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Posts Tagged ‘the bible’

If hope is not wishing, then what is it?

I’m searching for the ontology and the phenomenology of this thing called hope. Faith and trust as well, while I’m at it. These are juicy human necessities of the soul, substances I could use right now, if I could just settle them into my heart.

Religion/faith systems/communities of worship are built around mining and manufacturing these soul commodities for the health and consumption of their members. This is the highest measure of their value. But if we take the religion out of it, what do we have left?

Ontology is the essence of the thing at the level of being. What is the essence of hope? Is it an attitude? A substance? A spirit? An illusion?

Phenomenology is the experience of something. What does hope feel like? What is it like to ride on a wave of the stuff?

All my references to hope are biblical ones. Not a bad place to start:

But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:24&25

Hope concerns the future, certainly. But the thing we hope for in the future is not itself hope. Hope is the juice we have inside us while we look forward to the thing – that’s what I’m wondering about.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13.

Hope is something on the order of faith and love. Love I think I get better than the other two. Hope is a little harder to get my arms around. The Apostle Paul seems to state that hope is more than just a wish that things in the future will turn out well. It’s something that remains. Something that fuels the universe, something that enables life maybe.

In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope… I Peter 1:3

This is the most mysterious phrase of all – new birth into a living hope. Living hope. What could that mean?

Here are some things I suspect:

1. Hope, at its essence, can be more than a wish for something good.

2. Hope is imbued with a kind of spiritual substance – power maybe?

3. Hope is alive somehow, and feeds the soul.

We often get confused about what to put our hope in. That’s when hope disappoints.

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