In this installment of the “two or more part series” (please hold the laughter) of reactions to A.B. Caneday’s “Veiled Glory…” (a chapter contribution to “Beyond the Bounds”), I’d like to say a few words about types and truth.

The thought that has been in the back of my mind for the past few weeks focuses on the manifestation of spiritual truth in physical reality by God. Caneday talks about God making man in his own image, and that image being the means by which we can understand something about God. God specifically applied certain characteristics to us that are his own. Thought, emotion, passion, being, appreciation for beauty, creative impulses, etc. Whereas we are not like God in his perfection, there is some image of him that he made us in (or in us).

Thinking about image, I considered the subject of spiritual truth present directly and analogously in natural things. For instance, Jesus in parables appeals to all manner of natural phenomena that most of us can relate to. Was he just really really clever in finding these analogies?

No. I think since Jesus created and sustains all things, he intentionally designed the universe to reflect those truths. So instead of plants having some chiefly pragmatic reason for growing the way they do, they grow primarily to illustrate spiritual growth.

Or as another example, when Jesus is explaining spiritual birth to Nicodemus (in John 3), he says that the “…wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”(ESV) Did Jesus produce that illustration “on the spot” if you will? I think while he could have, the analogy is inherent in God’s creation of wind such that it will illustrate how he made spiritual birth to function.

I was able to put this concept in words for myself for the first time after reading Canaday. It is an exciting moment to understand something new that is and feels quite old.

Next time, Lord willing, I’ll discuss some examples that highlight the import of this concept and perhaps explore some more examples.