Ben Witherington’s blog has become essential reading for me- he has a lot to say on such diverse topics as Biblical archeology and movie reviews. The following quote from his blog is from a draft of an upcoming book on the New Testament and ethics called The Indelible Image. His blog post contains a much larger segment on the connection between the Old and New Testaments. It’s good stuff, and I think even non-Christians who question the validity of the Bible, believing it to be full of errors and contradictions, will find it interesting and hopefully enlightening. Trust me – if you’ve ever criticized the Bible, you probably should read this if you want to maintain any kind of intellectual integrity.
Some will ask why is it so important to consider the theology and the ethics in the Bible in a processive and progressive manner? One answer is that we cannot judge the meaning of a story, and the character of its actors before we get to the end of it. Consider for a moment the example of the great trilogy the Lord of the Rings. One cannot tell whether Frodo will have the necessary character to do what is required with the ring until we get to right near the end of the story. Up to that point we do not know whether he will pass the test. Or even more tellingly, we cannot tell whether Gollum is going to end up being an adversary or an assistant in the process of saving the Shire and the world until right near the end. Or what of Gandalf? Will he return in time or at all to help the human race ward off evil? We don’t know until many hundreds of pages into the story. The Bible involves a similarly epic story from creation through fall through various acts of redemption to the final new creation. Viewing the whole story from the end changes the way we look at the character of God, the character of God’s people, how human history will play out, the nature of redemption, and a host of other subjects. The truth is—we don’t fully know God and the divine character sufficiently for eternal salvation before Jesus turns up to reveal it.
This is not necessarily the best section to quote, but I chose it because it is reasonably self-contained and does give the flavor of what he’s saying. I really encourage you to head over to Ben’s blog (here’s the link again) and read the entire article.
Now for something completely different, thanks again to Ben W for finding this little gem:
Who says that Christians don’t have a sense of humor?