Thursday, April 27, 2006

John 6—metaphor?


John 6, Metaphor?
I was thinking about this, and someone else I know brought up a very valid point. He told me that this passage cannot be a metaphor

Jhn 6:53 “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.”

And then he pointed out something that i had not noticed. In the passage, if you will notice, Jesus says "Verily, Verily". And, my friend said, Jesus would never say this before using a metaphor, but only when he was revealing something as absolute truth. And in a sense he is right. Verily Verily, or truly truly, was kind of like swearing an oath to be true. To use it before a metaphor or a allegory would be unthinkable. So it cannot possibly be a metaphor. This leaves us with two possible interpretations that I know of. Either we physically take in Christ's body and blood, I.E. the Eucharist, or we do so spiritually. So, this leaves another question. How do we interpret this passage here?



This is a textbook example of folks who have their theology spoon-fed to them from Mother Church instead of reading the Bible for themselves.

i) Gwahir says the verily-verily formula is only used to reveal something as “absolute” truth.

Does this mean that whenever Jesus does not preface a statement with this formula, that his statement is not absolutely true?

How true is a statement of Jesus without this prefatory formula? Half true? Two-thirds? A quarter?

Is it only true every second Sunday of the month?

ii) And where does Gwahir come up with the idea that a metaphorical statement can’t be true?

When Jesus says he’s the light of the world, or the true vine, isn’t this true? Isn’t it just as true as a literal statement?

Of course, you need to determine the meaning of the metaphor, but the statement is true according to the intentions of the speaker.

Gwahir is pulling these claims out of thin air. And that’s not the worst of it. It’s obvious that he didn’t bother to consult a concordance before he made his sweeping claims.

“And he [Jesus] said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see haven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man’” (Jn 1:51).

This is, of course, an allusion to Jacob’s ladder (cf. Gen 28:12).

So, if we apply Gwahir’s yardstick to this verse, then it’s “unthinkable” that Jesus is figuratively a ladder to heaven.

Rather, by the miracle of transubstantiation, Jesus is transmuted into a wooden ladder with actual rungs, or perhaps a masonry staircase, if you prefer.


“So Jesus again said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep’” (Jn 10:7).

Again, as Gwahir would have it, Jesus is literally a wooden gate, by the miracle of transubstantiation, or consubstantiation, or whatever.

I’m sure that Gwahir is a much nicer man than I, but what gives him the right to make religious assertions without ever bothering to do any elementary fact-checking?

Christianity is not something that exists inside our heads, like an imaginary story that we can armchair claims about.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Gwahir should read on to v. 63.