Shadows On A Wall

Just a homework break to write about Forms.

In his commentary on Colossians, Douglas Moo points out that Paul may be referencing Plato’s analogy of the cave in Colossians 2:17 where he (Paul, not Plato) says that “these are shadows of greater things.” Plato’s analogy of the cave was central to understanding his cosmology, where he explained that the objects in the world we interact with are like the shadows created on the wall of a cave by objects being carried before a fire.  The real world, the World of the Forms, is the source and inspiration for all things in our world in Plato’s mind.

If Moo is right, then Paul interacts with platonic categories without critique; in other words, he seems largely to just accept and use Plato’s language to communicate his message to his audience. I find that fascinating. Just one more reason to study the Greeks.

By the way, Plato’s most robust discussion of these ideas occurs in The Republic.


The Best-Smelling Rose


I’m reading a book right now by Brian Greene, called The Fabric of the Cosmos. I love reading books about science for two reasons: first, of course, I love the actual bits about science, and second, I love the philosophical statements these scientists always make, sometimes without even realizing it. For some of these men and women, they’ve operated in one philosophy of science for so long that they’re no longer aware that their philosophy isn’t empirically demonstrable (certainly behavior unbecoming of a scientist).

Now, I have to say that Greene seems to be very self-aware. He’s a brilliant man with a sense of beauty, which I appreciate. Listen to him recount reading Feynman:

And when I read Feynman’s description of a rose- in which he explained how he could experience the fragrance and beauty of the flower as fully as anyone, but how his knowledge of physics enriched the experience enormously because he could also take in the wonder and magnificence of the underlying molecular, atomic, and subatomic processes- I was hooked for good. I wanted what Feynman  described: to assess life and to experience the universe on all possible levels, not just those that happened to be accessible to our frail human senses. The search for the deepest understanding of the cosmos became my lifeblood.

I like that. I think it’s true. And I think I’ve got something better.

See, when Brian Greene looks at a rose, he sees an organism complex beyond human comprehension, beautiful on a thousand levels. But when I look at a rose, by virtue of my faith in God, I see a gift. I see a glimpse of the infinite care, the vitality, the creativity and power, the joy of my Creator. I see that this rose is no accident, that at this moment in time it was placed here for me and I for it, so that I might enjoy it and that God may be glorified in my joy.

When Brian Greene looks at a rose, he can feel amazement, and no more. When I look at a rose, I feel amazement, yes; but in and beyond that I feel love, worship, and gratitude- and that makes the roses smell all the better.