28.3.04

It is the custom of unbelievers to speak as if the air of Palestine were then surcharged with belief in the supernatural, miracles were everywhere. Thus they would explain away the significance of the popular belief that our Lord wrought signs and wonders. But in so doing they set themselves a worse problem than they evade. If miracles were so very common, it would be as easy to believe that Jesus wrought them as that He worked at His father's bench, but also it would be as inconclusive. And how then are we to explain the astonishment which all the evangelists so constantly record? On any conceivable theory, these writers shared the beliefs of that age, and so did the readers who accepted their assurance that all were amazed, and that His report "went out straightway everywhere into all the region of Galilee." These are emphatic words, and both the author and his readers must have considered a miracle to be more surprising than modern critics believe they did. Yet we do not read of any one was converted by this miracle. All were amazed, but wonder is not self-surrender. They were content to let their excitement die out -- as every violent emotion must -- without any change of life, any permanent devotion to the new Teacher and His doctrine.
... G. A. Chadwick (1840-1923), Gospel of St. Mark [1887]

Rational conviction, even when it can be had, is very different from commitment... Commitment to Christ is a matter for the entire person, not for his mind alone; and intellectual conviction (if, indeed, it can be had at all without the whole person being involved) is not the whole business. But the whole business, precisely because it concerns the whole person, can never be achieved in defiance of the intellect. Reason, though not the whole, is part of personal response.
... C. F. D. Moule, The Phenomenon of the New Testament [1967]

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