The Limits of External Truth

To speak of Jesus Christ apart from the interrelated web of gospel (the unity of His life – the intention to know what happened), traditioned reasoning (His unity with Israel – the setting to make His life intelligible), and enacted narrative (the implications of His life – the long term intentions to follow Him) presumes the (successful) quest for truthful knowledge about the identity of Jesus Christ can begin somewhere other than the character and work of God; it is to presume there is a neutral ground within the human mind upon which rationality is capable of arriving at the truth about Jesus.

The mind is not, however, a neutral arbiter of factual experiences and propositions that bombard the senses from the world outside. The mind is shaped by the world, both sensually and intellectually, such that matters of fact and fiction can only be expressed in terms of their coherence or incoherence within the present shape of the mind; and not, as supposed by those who seek neutral knowledge about Jesus, by arriving at the correlation between idea or experience and a particular set of eternal truths outside of but accessible to the mind.

To make this statement is not to preclude the existence of external truths, but to assert that the move from flawed understanding to external truth is not within the power of the human mind nor is it contingent upon a succession of finite correctives to human knowledge. The true identity of Jesus Christ can only be grasped within the particular narrative revealed by God and accessible through the power of the Holy Spirit. His identity is, therefore, fundamentally different if not understood in the terms by which God has chosen and continues to choose to reveal Him to the world.

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