The Biology of Salvation -- By: J. H. Traver

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 120:479 (Jul 1963)
Article: The Biology of Salvation
Author: J. H. Traver

The Biology of Salvation

J. H. Traver

[J. H. Traver has the Master of Science degree from Michigan State University, and is Research Associate in Biochemistry at Sterling Winthrop Research Institute, Rensselaer, New York.]

Often we compartmentalize our thinking concerning physical and spiritual things forgetting that the Creator of both realms is one. Yet, the realization that God has explained the spiritual world to us by illustrations from the physical universe is basic to the understanding of Scriptural truths. Much can be learned of the spiritual realm by examining the characteristics of the physical examples used in the Word of God to illustrate spiritual verities.

Jesus Christ Himself repeatedly taught spiritual truths in physical terms. Three notable examples of this method of pedagogy are recorded in John’s Gospel. In the sixth chapter after Jesus had satisfied the physical hunger of the five thousand, He emphasized that He had come primarily to supply spiritual bread for spiritual life, and that He was that bread. He stressed that He was speaking of spiritual truths because eating His physical flesh could not produce spiritual life (vv. 33–36, 63 ).

Again, as recorded in John 4 when Jesus used the physical water in Jacob’s well to teach the woman of Samaria that He could supply water to quench spiritual thirst, she did not understand and replied that He had nothing with which to draw and that the well was deep (vv. 10–11). Similarly, when Jesus explained to Nicodemus that a second birth, i.e., a spiritual birth, is required to enter the kingdom of God, Nicodemus also failed to comprehend and asked: “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus clarified this confusion of the natural and the supernatural by replying: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).

This method of pedagogy is not limited to the New Testament teachings of Jesus, for it appears that everything necessary for life in the physical world has a spiritual counterpart. In addition to food and water, man needs air to breathe (Job 33:4) and light, both for existence (John 8:12) and for revelation (John 3:19–20; 1...

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