Literary Jesus

One of the most inspiring things about God is his literary dimension. The Bible is an unbelievably rich literary and reference material. If you want to learn how to write it’s a fantastic guide. You can’t apprehend the full dimension of God if you don’t appreciate his personage. Stop limiting God to moralistic role confines. He’s a personality with emotional and mental attributes. He’s not some high-up-there-you better-serve-him-difficult-to-please remote law giver. God is a personage – he’s brilliant, laughs, has emotions, deliberates, makes friends, gists, writes… You learn a great deal more about God studying his personage as you read texts of scripture.

The texts of the Bible help us configure the dimensions of God – his attributes, compassion and power. That’s why Jesus in his conceptual capacity as the Word said if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father. The word of God gives us a visualisation of the invisible God. It gives us insight into his reasoning. The God we “see” from scriptures is very approachable, loves the masses, is matter of factly. He engages in intellectual jousts. He likes people making their case, just as he makes his. He said in Isaiah 1:18, “Come. Sit down. Let’s argue this out.” You can reason with God, argue! Faith is not anti-reason. Neither is it anti-intellectual. God is an intellectual.  In fact you can negotiate and bargain with God on his intentions. Abraham did. He negotiated on the destruction of Sodom. God had confided in Abraham he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah but Lot, Abraham’s nephew lived there. To save him Abraham began to negotiate. What if fifty God-fearing people lived in Sodom, would God still destroy it? God said no! From 50 Abraham negotiated to 45, then 40, 30, 20, 10. He stopped at 10, felt 10 covered Lot and his family. To Abraham it was inconceivable that there’ll not be up to 10 God-fearing people in a whole city. He didn’t reckon with the notoriety of Sodom and Gomorrah. About the twin cities, God said: “The cries of the victims in Sodom and Gomorrah are deafening; the sin of those cities is immense.” And so God came to personally verify the reports, to “see if what they’re doing is as bad as it sounds.” Genesis 18:20-21).

If Abraham had negotiated further, say up to five, the word “sodomy” might not have entered our lexicon of infamy. Alas, there were not up to 10 righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. The rest is history. But you can negotiate with God and conversate with him. Throw out religiosity. Forget the formats.

The Bible is God’s documentary output- a literary masterpiece. It’s a compendium of cosmology, anthropological science, legislative frameworks, social contracts, government and politics, history, futurism, poetry, songs… Look at this poetry verse (We’ll call it rap today):
“God’s love is meteoric,
His loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic,
His verdicts oceanic.”

Psalm 36:5-6 MSG

You can borrow phrases from God. In Psalm 36:12 (MSG) he used the expression, “moral midgets”. In Psalm 36:3 you have this expression: “Words gutter from his mouth, dishwater dirty”. Consider this ornate expression from the rich damask of the King James edition of the Book of James: “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, receive with meekness the engrafted word…” James 1:21. I’m just saying God is bigger than religion or moral code. That you need to relate to God as a personage. You have to appreciate the variegated dimensions of divinity. You can’t know the fullness of God otherwise. Writers routinely borrow from the Bible. Because some of us are not familiar with scriptures we don’t realise.

There are also common expressions we use that we don’t realise are from the Bible. “Bridle your tongue” is one: “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, this man’s religion is vain.” (James 1:26 KJV). Film makers and game developers borrow ideas from the Bible. The Bible contains dragons, serpents, strange creatures…
Revelation 13:1: And I saw a beast having seven heads and ten horns and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Revelation 13:2: And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
Isaiah 27:1: “In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan the piercing serpent even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.”

Matrix is full of Biblical references.  Morpheus captained a boat called Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar is the Biblical Babylonian king who dreamt of “end times”. Morpheus announced the arrival of Neo much like John the Baptist announced the arrival of Jesus. Cypher who betrayed his crew is the equivalence of Judas. Of course there are names like “Trinity”. Neo is the “Christ-figure”. He was the messiah sent to liberate men from their fallen state. He is killed by Smith, a leader of the Agents. Vital to the control of mankind. Because he described himself as Leo’s foil and opposite in the second Matrix installment, he’s a type of the Antichrist. Agent Smith’s license plate is IS5416. It references Isaiah 54:16: “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire and I have created the waster to destroy.” Neo’s final sacrifice at the end of the third movie is reminiscent of the sacrifice of Jesus. He is resurrected and lifted into the sky, akin to the resurrection and ascendance of Jesus into heaven.

The Bible is a rich literary source. It’s a book you can enjoy. Some of the stories are sagas. The literary output of God includes the story of salvation. Jesus wrote that with blood, his blood. For without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22).

Please pray this prayer: Father I come to you in the name of Jesus. I am a sinner. Jesus shed his blood for me. God raised him from the dead. I accept Jesus as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.

© Leke Alder |