He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God. – 1 Peter 1:20-21
A couple of days ago I got home from my early morning Bible study, parked my VW, hung up the keys, then dumped what I’d been carrying on the counter before pouring a cup of coffee and taking it to Rebekah.
When I came back into the kitchen a little later I noticed the pile, and it grabbed my attention. What I’d been carrying around had been my iPhone, my wallet, my iPad, and my Bible.
The Bible was holding everything else up. Not only that, but it was nicely reflected in the granite counter-top. God’s word literally inhabiting the stone.
So I thought about the concept of Christ the solid rock – “On Christ the solid rock I stand – all other ground is sinking sand” – and the fact that so many of the biblical metaphors (and, yes dear literalists, there is a lot of metaphor in the Bible) use rock, ground, foundation, cornerstone, and more; the gravitational pull of truth, the immovable and irrevocable certainty of God’s great love for us.
But then I remembered a passage that demonstrates the fact that Jesus taught well beyond the limits of even the most solid earth-bound metaphors, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). The words of The Living Word hold truth that is more solid and more durable than absolutely anything we can see, touch, smell, taste, or feel.
My iPhone is a piece of technology that can be rendered completely useless in a heartbeat; I use the iPad mostly for reading things that disappear when some digital anomaly strikes; even my wallet now has RFID blocker technology built in…
And then there’s my Bible. Smarter than the smartest smartphone; more complete than all the Amazon libraries my iPad taps into; more secure than the digitally loaded cards I carry in my wallet – and it keeps me (ultimately) secure from identity theft, because God knows me, uniquely and completely.
It’s important to understand that the truth about God may be rock solid, but it stands outside and beyond earth, time, and space. Before the words that make up our Bible were written, The Living Word – aka Jesus – existed as part of the Godhead – “Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).
I like the way the rock metaphor is modified in Psalm 46, verses 2-4:
…Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God…
Even solid rocks can crumble. Even mountains fall into the sea. Everything we rely on outside of God has the potential to fail us, fall apart, disintegrate, vanish, vaporize… But, there is a river. And this river is another metaphor, a metaphor for the constancy of God, and God’s love, God’s fluidity – even beyond the confines of this broken world.
That’s what is reflected in the granite counter-top. Not even the physical Bible, the pages and the printed words – but the transcending fact of God, and the truth that Jesus promises us full lives in himself, The Living Word; a truth not merely chiseled into granite, but more foundational still.