Proof #29: Think About Communion

January 10, 2008 at 4:39 am 2 comments

Marshall Brain, not surprisingly, has completely missed the spiritual practice of communion and has turned it into a bizarre ritual for the benefit of trying to prove that God is imaginary. Looking at the verses that he cites, one needs only to read the next few lines to see that communion is meant to be a spiritual teaching and not literal cannibalism.

Brain cites Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:14-23, and John 6:53-55 as proofs. However, if you read the passage in John carefully, you will see that these are spiritual teachings and not literal ones.

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:53-63)

It is significant that Brain cites The Da Vinci Code as evidence. This book has been refuted dozens of times by people who aren’t Christians or even theists. The history in it does not represent accurate history. Here is a refutation of that book. Several books have been written about it, this is one of the better ones.

Communion is a spiritual teaching and not a literal one.  The Jews of the first century believed that eating something and drinking its blood would make you like that thing.  That is why they didn’t eat “unclean” animals–they did not want to internalize anything that God had declared “unclean,” lest they become unclean themselves.

Subsisting upon the flesh of Jesus would make you like Jesus, which is one of the primary tenants of the faith–to be more Christ-like (Paul said it indirectly at 1 Cor 11:1).  Jesus was asking the crowd to internalize his teachings, and in a way that Scripturally savvy people would understand.

Let’s look at this another way.  In Jewish apocryphal literature, the Law is compared to bread.  Before the verses that Brain quotes, Jesus talks about the bread that was given in the wilderness–the manna.  He says that the forefathers ate that bread and they died.  However, He is the true bread that has come down from heaven and to eat this bread the people will live.

This idea of bread as a metaphor for law works with the prediction of the prophet Jeremiah (31:33) that new law that would be coming, a law of grace rather than a works-righteousness law (see Gal 3:10-14).  Jesus is identifying Himself as that new Law, and is saying that if we internalize His teachings that we will have eternal life.

Entry filed under: Jesus, Religion.

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  • 1. Mark  |  July 14, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Communion is not symbolic.
    The people who compiled the Bible believed in transubstantiation.
    If communion is “symbolic” why did Paul get his pants in a bunch about unworthy people taking it?
    No one will throw a fit over a cheepy Jesus fish bumpersticker being torn. It’s just symbolic.

  • 2. Anti-Devil  |  July 15, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    No one will throw a fit over a cheepy Jesus fish bumpersticker being torn. It’s just symbolic.
    -LOL?wats ur point? wat has thing got to do with stickers?lol..are u alright?

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