Faith and mystery
I believe that the synoptic gospels are accurate and trustworthy retelling of events, but they are not without human influence and personality. Even the biblical authors had their own agendas or purposes in what they wrote. They reflect different aspects of God, Jesus’ life and teaching. I do not believe that Matthew viewed God the same way Paul did. I believe that the experiences that Matthew had in choosing to follow Christ impacted his theology. I believe that Paul’s experience of being struck blind influenced his theology. Are they both real? Yes. Are they both trustworthy? Yes. Can they be systematically reconciled? I don’t believe so.
There is an aspect to following Jesus that is mystical, it is mysterious, and certain things are comprehended at that level and they are difficult to communicate. What is the relationship between God’s influence and our free will? For Matthew it was all about choice, for Paul we were predestined. They are both right and I don’t know how or why. I am content to leave it a mystery. There are some things that we take on faith and we move on.
One of the major problems with evangelical religion is that it is absent of faith. There is very little we accept on evidence we cannot see or explain. There is no mystery that is so profound and life changing that it cannot be expressed with words. Today faith is not acceptance of evidence unseen, but the ignorance of what we can see. We try to fit the divine scriptures in to a systematic mold and they don’t fit. We cling tenaciously to traditional interpretations of scripture long after they have been challenged by honest science.
We are afraid. Afraid that if we acknowledge one crack in our system the whole thing will fall apart and it will be useless. We need to stop propping up scripture with ignorance, and have the faith to trust it as it is.