An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Modal aspects and the Bible

Over at ReformationalUK I've posted a summary of chapter 2 of B J van der Walt's excellent The Eye is the Lamp of the Body.

In it he mentions that the Bible is a multi-dimensional book and he gives some examples:
  • physical side - it is written/ printed on paper
  • historical side - it tells us what God did during the course of history
  • logical side - it is comprehensible
  • lingual side - it was first handed over verbally, and latter written down
  • moral side - it provides guidelines for how we should live.
I wonder, how might the Bible show its multi-dimensional character in the other modal aspects? I've put a few off the top of my head thoughts below.
  • Numerical - it has 66 books and a number of pages?
  • Spatial - it takes up a certain amount of volume/ space as a book or a number of bytes as a computer package?
  • Kinematic - ?
  • Biotic - it brings life?
  • Psychical- ?
  • Social - interpretation is best done in community; it helps create a community: church
  • Economic - it costs something to buy it?
  • Aesthetic - the design and layout
  • Legal - provides laws for us to live by (how is this different from the moral?)?
  • Faith - it is a book of faith
Some of the above could apply to any book - does the Bible have a unique numerical, spatial or physical facet?

Any comments, thoughts? And what about the kinematic or psychical aspects?


Bruce said...

The Bible moves around the world through translation and proclamation of its message.
On the history side - it is a formed artefact - Cal Seerveld refers to the bible as the Booked Word of God and N T Wright suggests that the Old Testament is something like a family photo album from our (spiritual) ancestors.
Economic - it not only costs something to buy it it also costs something to believe it and it might cost you your life to own it.
Lingual and Social - Bible has always involved translation which has been part of the ongoing interaction of its message with those who come within ear-shot of its message.
There's more to say on this of course - not only is the Bible a multi-dimensional book in the sense that it like any other book functions in all modal aspects - but the Bible as the Word of God is also creaturely, like other creatures ... like humankind the Biblical word is God-breathed and God's Spirit is the course of its life.

dave b said...

yes many of these things are typical of any book.

One thing that that strikes me is that although the Bible is made up of 66 books in two different testaments it is still one book.