Family Resemblance [2]

So we are going to approach this matter with the assumption that a person has the ability to read Scripture and understand it, and that a necessary attribute of Scripture is, as it says in Deu 6, that it produces an effect like this: “It is the LORD your God you shall fear.” This is, you can know God, and know what He has commanded, and know something about Him through His word.

And that’s not really very controversial – any decent Catholic will tell you that you ought to read Scripture. They agree that it is useful for Spiritual formation – it is in fact listed as necessary for the right formation of conscience by the CCC. The question is: what do you do with what you read there?

While I have used Deu 6 as a jumping-off place to sort of position the rest of this discussion, my main text for this meditation or series or whatever you want to call it is actually in 1 John 2:
    I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?
There’s more to my passage here, but let’s think about that for a second: John says here explicitly that anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ -- that is, the Messiah, -- is a liar. That’s a pretty specific category to think about: those who deny the Christ-ness of Jesus are not speaking about the truth, but are speaking a lie. And what’s even more interesting is what kind of lie John calls this:
    This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us--eternal life.
It’s not just a lie which you can just ignore or whitewash: it’s a lie which denies the Father -- a lie which makes one antichrist and places one outside of eternal life.

See: John here, in a few short sentences, defines the right way to see God. One must see the Father through the Son in order to see the Father at all. It’s not a matter of degrees. It’s not a matter of general revelation. It’s a matter of whether or not one denies the Father when one speaks of Christ.

And it’s not even just a matter of whether you “deny” the Father, but a matter of whether, as John continues, you will receive eternal life. If you are in Christ, you have God’s promise of eternal life; if you are not in Christ, you are not given that promise.

Those who deny Christ are liars, John says – the kind of liars which are not given a certain promise of salvation, but denied the promise of salvation. It’s a goats-and-sheep dichotomy; it’s frankly left or right. There’s no fence left to sit on in John’s theology. And it hinges on the identity of the son relative to the Father.

So as we go to review the section of the CCC in the next post, think about that: John is clear that denying Christ is not an act of ignorance but an act of deceit or lying – and doing it denies the identity of God the Father. You can’t be talking about the Father unless you accept the Son.

This is the Scripture’s view of how unique and necessary Christ is. Think about that as we move to compare it to something else.