Thursday, April 23, 2009

Paradoxical paradigm (John 1, cont.)

It's hard to wrap your mind around the core of the Christian message. How is it possible that the Creator should show up within the constraints of his own creation, and suffer indignities on that diminished stage? Older apologists used the metaphor of an author and a novel. The author can write himself into the novel, and interact with the other characters there, while still retaining his identity outside of the pages of the book. Virtual worlds have adopted a Hindu term, avatar, for the representations of ourselves we can send into those constructed, artificial environments. First person shooter games allow you to direct an avatar through a hostile environment filled with various monsters intent on doing you harm. Older readers may remember crobots, a shareware game that allowed you to create an autonomous program with limited artificial intelligence, that you could release into a battlefield to compete with other autonomous programs.

The Jesus we read of in the Bible had some kind of sense of identity with the pre-existing Creator. While doing his business within the time-bound framework of the creation, Jesus yet maintained connection with a God who stood outside of time. These paradoxes make for some interesting word play! Let's consider what John the Baptist had to say:
Joh 1:29 Yahya ertesi gün İsa'nın kendisine doğru geldiğini görünce şöyle dedi: "İşte, dünyanın günahını ortadan kaldıran Tanrı Kuzusu! Joh 1:30 Kendisi için, 'Benden sonra biri geliyor, O benden üstündür. Çünkü O benden önce vardı' dediğim kişi işte budur. Joh 1:31 Ben O'nu tanımıyordum, ama İsrail'in O'nu tanıması için ben suyla vaftiz ederek geldim."
And, a few words:
  • Benden sonra -- after me. Actually, sonra is one of those famous Turkish postpositions. "From me, after.."
  • biri geliyor -- one comes
  • O benden üstündür -- he / than me / greater is
  • Çünkü O benden önce vardı -- because / he / than me / before / was there
  • Ben O'nu tanımıyordum -- I / he / did not know
  • ama İsrail'in O'nu tanıması için -- but / to Israel / Him / to make known / in order to
  • ben suyla vaftiz ederek geldim -- I / with water / to baptize / am sent
I came to make known the One I did not know. He comes after me, but he is greater than me, because he was actually before me.

Go figure!

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