Friday, January 7, 2011

Threw New Eyes - James B. Jordan

Through New Eyes: Developing a Biblical View of the World by James B. Jordan
Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers Inc (First printing 1988)

This is a book I've heard about a lot but never read. It was a much easier read than I first anticipated and I really enjoyed it. I wish it was something I'd done a long time ago.

I've never actually read anything by Jim Jordan (besides a few articles) so it was pretty interesting after hearing hours of his lectures. His voice was pretty stuck in my head.

I think Through New Eyes really helped me see better where he and a lot of other writers and teachers are coming from...more of the root of it, you know. It was really an exciting read.

He goes through the Biblical "worlds" and covenants and points out imagery and symbolism that really hit you on the head and make you think. It is a quick but invaluable overview from Genesis to the church today.

Besides the fact that we want to see the world biblically and see the Bible biblically, I found this book really exciting when it comes to trying to write fiction in a way that portrays accurately God's world.

Recently I've been going through a series of lectures on The Church and Pop Culture. In one of the talks N.D. Wilson says that all fiction would be plagiarism if we weren't so bad at it. And we are miserably bad at it. I don't know if the connection makes sense, but it did to me at the time... :-)

Here are just two portions that I thought were particularly interesting-

What emerges from this discussion is that if we want to acquire a Biblical view of the world, we shall have to make a study of Biblical symbolism. The way the Bible uses symbols shows us how to interpret God's natural revelation.

The Jews of this period had almost completely perverted the law. As we have seen, they were not keeping the moral requirements of the law. Neither did they understand the symbolic aspects. When Jesus told the Jews that if they destroyed the Temple He would raise it up in three days, referring to His body, they were utterly confused (John 2:19-21). Similarly, when Jesus talked with Nicodemus and referred to the water-cleansing rites of the Old Covenant as a means of resurrections and new birth, Nicodemus was confused. Jesus expressed amazement: "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things?" (John 3:10).
In the first century, the Jews had rejected Biblical symbolism and typology, and were divided into two groups. The Pharisees had turned symbolism into moralism, and were keeping the law as a means for salvation. The Alexandrian Jews had replaced Biblical typology with allegories grounded in Greek philosophy. As a result neither group was able to recognize Christ when He came to them.

Basically Through New Eyes is amazing and should be a must-read.

I have the feeling that the books I love and admire the most are the ones that get the crummiest reviews... Something I need to work on. But in one sense I just don't feel qualified and I'm not sure what I should add. You should read it. :-)

Thanks for reading,
Miss Pickwickian


Hannah said...

I've read this book, and I think you did a great job summarizing and pointing out the parts you connected with. Good job!

rebuildbiblicalworldview said...

This is a good review. It's incredible how understanding the symbolism brings Scripture to life in ways I never imagined. I think this method is popular more with younger adults -- which the Church needs more of -- than with older adults.

You published this review over a year and a half ago; has the book made a lasting impression on you?

Bethany said...

Thank you for the comment.

I've been surrounded with a lot of this type teaching (a huge blessing), but this book certainly has had a huge and lasting impression on me. I've been very blessed, encouraged, and instructed by it!