Every man has forgotten who he is. One may understand the cosmos, but never the ego; the self is more distant than any star.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; but thou shalt not know thyself.
We are all under the same mental calamity; we have all forgotten our names. We have all forgotten what we really are. All that we call common sense and rationality and practicality and positivism only means that for certain dead levels of our life we forget that we have forgotten. All that we call spirit and art and ecstasy only means that for one awful moment we remember that we forget.
What a profound and beautiful quote. We’ve all forgotten who we are, and we’ve all forgotten that we’ve forgotten. Theology and studying the Bible then is actually as much about discovering who we are as it is about discovering who God is. Why? Because the more we discover about God and the Bible, the more we actually learn about ourselves. This is why I love theology so much.
God is mysterious. Knowable but completely other. He’s so weird. Unlike so many other gods in the world, He wants to be known. And not just intellectually, but intimately by corrupted, broken human beings. Weird. If I were God I wouldn’t want to be intimate with me. Yuck. All I see is a disgusting, corrupted sinner. God, however, see’s so much more. This is the best thing about theology, the more you figure out who God is and His story, the more you figure out who you are and all of our stories.
Last week I wrote a blog titled “The Lonely Theologian.” In it, I reflect on the often lonely and isolating nature of doing theology that challenges your tribe and tradition. The reason why these days I find myself falling outside of these traditional categories is that the more I study the Scriptures, and the more about God I discover, the more I realise how inadequate my understanding of Him is and in turn myself.
This is true and good theology: to know the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent, and then to know thy self truely.
- To know: what I mean here is to know in the intimate sense of the word. For the Bible intellectualism, experience, feeling, desire, are all wrapped up in what is called the heart. When God says He wants us to know Him, He means in the same sense as we know our best and deepest friends.
- The one true God: There is one God who eternally exists in three persons. Father, Son, and Spirit. There are other gods, sure. However, there’s only one worth getting to know.
- Jesus Christ: Here’s where the rubber hits the road. In Jesus Christ, we have two things happening (among others). We have one person who is both truly God and truly human. To know Jesus is to truly know God and in turn ourselves.
So what am I getting at? You’ve heard it a million times “we’re all on a journey.” This is true, sort of. We are all on a journey… except some of us like to sit on the park bench along the way, smile (or frown), and wave at those who pass on by. They’re fine. Part of the theological journey is learning to love and accept people like that. However, I can’t help but press on. I feel like I’m tripping and stumbling through life with the only thing guiding me is the desire for knowledge and wisdom. I’m on a pilgrimage with no real destination in mind except for the mecca of God. I’m just a theological pilgrim.