Trinity Talk


and BMX reviews

A review and a comment on Bible Matrix.

First a comment on Facebook from Chris Griffith:

Started reading Mike Bull’s fascinating new book Bible Matrix. Two chapters into it and I’m already realizing this is a groundbreaking book. He’s synthesizing Jordan and Leithart and giving the layperson an access into understanding biblical typology.

And the amazon review from my friend Bryce Cassin:

Michael Bull takes a fresh look at the Bible, appropriate to the technologies we think with and the language we use in 2010. He also demonstrates a continuum – between talking about the way we use words and the language of the Bible itself. How is this possible? The rich pictures and metaphors in the biblical text have an enduring quality, they may well be the common substance of the Bible, the threads of the tapestry. This book is biblical theology at its best, but it doesn’t use those words. This book is a thorough reading of the biblical text, but you are unlikely to have read it like this before. So this review is about the art of Michael’s book, not a decomposition of its contents page – his publisher can do that for you by making the book available to view in Amazon!

Michael and I belong to the same church in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, and he has shared many stories with me about writing The Bible Matrix. In fact it is impossible to talk to Michael without him sharing a story about biblical ideas and the consequence of the rich pictures in God’s Word. I have also read through much of Michael’s Bull’s longer book, Totus Christus, the volume on which the Bible Matrix is based, and its all good biblical stuff. Through the lens of a (graphic) artist’s eyes, Michael brings an honest approach to his experience of life, God and the people around him. What becomes clear as you read this book is that the events, language, people, places and meaning within the Bible are enduring but have largely in the past been interpreted through the lens of an assumed ‘science’ when the Bible is primarily written from an artists perspective.

What often passes for ‘theology’ is a dualism of Western culture that denies access to the creative mind of God. The flowing river, the substance of the biblical text, is not designed for decomposition into buckets of analysis, but its artistic creator wanted to stir his human beings with material that made sense in the river of human experience. If we ignore the literary boundaries and conventions set by scripture we are timid when approaching the text, shy away from its metaphors, and deny ourselves its clarifying and purifying light. This is the intention of the artist. We are God’s creative material, his plot involves his people as characters. His story is our story. His words are the stuff of life. God’s perceived object in giving us his word is rarely seen as a work of music with a mood in mind, a landscape painting with a pastoral heart. Meanwhile we chop up passages about the Potter and his clay as if they were units in a high school science experiment.

It is time to animate the scriptures as a work of art. The Bible is not an exhibit based on human causal reasoning but a pervasive act of creation that demands understanding on it own terms. Michael Bull helps us unplug from the matrix of Cartesian dualism, unplug from the mythology of supposed ‘scientific’ laws, to see God’s words as they stretch out indefinitely, full of mystery, calling us to experience, to sense, to feel, to live in the unlimited envelope of His Word. The Bible Matrix beckons you to experience the Bible, to catch a glimpse of an untravelled world, that exists beyond the margins of theologies, systems, -isms and schisms, where you can live and move and find your being.

A few other people have indicated they’d like to review. They don’t have to be this long, guys! And they can be critical.

Also, if it works technologically (I’m a bit impaired in that department), I’ll be on Uri’s Trinity Talk show soon. Not that kind of Trinity.


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