Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The action of God in history and time

The lesson repeated over and over again in the books of the Bible — unlike the one suggested by Greco-Roman paganism — is that man, in the events of history, is not the plaything of a blind fate but in the hands of a Power, a Principle, a personal God on whom all depends and who wishes to lead him to his true goal.

This is what gives the Bible its very special meaning and what was already known by its inspired authors, who, in all they wrote, had but one purpose: to bring home to men the action of God in the world and in the dimension of time. To reproach them with lack of the famous modern "objectivity" is pointless. For them, history is written at God's dictation as part of His designs: the moral writings seek to elevate man to the likeness of God; poetry in its various forms exalts the glory of the Most High and furnishes believers iwth the means of associating themselves with His work through prayer; and the midrashim bring home the infallibility of His actions.

What give the historical study of the Bible its whole import and puts the Bible as a history book in a class by itself is that this slice of events cut out of time and space reveals the divine action; in fact, it is the divine action, directed toward revelation. An indissoluble union of human realities — some of them a painful, even a lamentable sight — and transcendent and divine realities; that is the very substance of the Bible; that is what constitutes its greatness, but also its difficulty.
Henri Daniel-Rops, What is the Bible?

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