Jordan Peterson appeared on the Joe Rogan Podcast earlier in the week and made some stunning remarks about the Christian scriptures, seeming to reverse a long-held belief about the books and hopefully demonstrating that the Holy Spirit is continuing to absolutely wreck the worldview of the famed author and academic.
Peterson, who calls himself a “pragmatic Christian,” claims to follow the teachings of Jesus as best he understands them and holds that the First Century rabbi’s moral philosophy forms a superior and worthy ethos to live a virtuous life. Peterson, however in the past has denied the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, and the resurrection (in other words, he’s no more a Christian than was Martin Luther King, Jr).
In truth, Peterson is the thought leader of our age. A promoter of logic, reason, and general sanity, he has gutted the anti-intellectual emotionalism of the political left and has done so through a secularist worldview.
Jordan Peterson has gleaned more understanding about God and his created order from natural revelation than leftist Christians have gleaned about God and his created order from special revelation. Probably more so than any man has ever articulated it, Peterson has taken natural revelation as far as it can be taken, and now seems to be grasping for more.
This was seen a little less than a year ago, after he choked up and shed a tear at the idea of following Jesus, saying at the time “what you have in the figure of Christ is an actual person who actually lived, plus a myth, and in some sense, Christ is the union of those two things. The problem is, I probably believe that, but I don’t know…I’m amazed at my own belief and I don’t understand it…”
In that time, he has come to develop a stronger view in the truthfulness of the bible, but how he gets there should make us wary and consider.
“Culture is a structure of category that we all share. So we see things the same way. But that’s why we can talk… roughly speaking, we have a bedrock of agreement. That’s the Bible, by the way.
So I just walked through the Museum of the Bible in Washington. That was very cool. It’s very cool museum.”
Rogan: So that structure, that’s what the bible provides?
That’s what I figured out. I’ve just figured this out this week. So it was a cool thing to walk through, because it’s chronological, they have one floor, which is the history of the Bible. But it’s not exactly that it’s really what it is, is the history of the book.
Now, in many ways, the first book was the Bible. I mean, literally, because at one point, there was only one book…and that book was the Bible. And then before it was the Bible, it was, you know, scrolls, and it was writings on papyrus,…(which eventually turned into books)
But all those books, in some sense, emerged out of that underlying book. And that book itself, the Bible isn’t a book, it’s a library. It’s a collection of books. And so what I figured out was, partly because I was talking to my brother-in-law, Jim Keller.
…So in any case, we were talking about meaning and text, because we were talking about translation and the problem of understanding text. And Jim said, ‘the meaning of words is coded in the relationship of the words to one another’, and the postmodernist make that case- that all meaning is derived from the relationship between words. That’s wrong, because, well, what about rage? That’s not words. And what about moving your hand? That’s not words. So it’s wrong, but part of its right, because the meaning we derive from the verbal domain is encoded in the relationship between words.
So now, then you think, Well, let’s think about the relationship between words. While some words are dependent on other words, some ideas are dependent on other ideas, the more ideas are dependent on a given idea, the more fundamental that idea is. That’s a definition of fundamental.
So now imagine you have an aggregation of texts in a civilization, you say, which are the fundamental texts? And the answer is ‘the texts upon which most other texts depend’. And so you’d put Shakespeare way in there in English, because so many texts are dependent on Shakespeare’s literary revelations, and Milton would be in that category. And Dante would be in that category, at least in translation, fundamental authors, part of the Western canon. Not because of the arbitrary dictates of power, but because those texts influenced more other texts.
And then you think about that as a hierarchy. Okay, with the Bible at its base, which is certainly the case. Now imagine that’s the entire corpus of linguistic production, all things considered. Now, how do you understand that? Like, literally, how do you understand that? The answer is, you sample it by reading and listening to stories and listening to people talk, you sample that whole domain, you build a low resolution representation of that in your inside you, and then you listen and see through that.
And so it isn’t that the Bible is true. It’s that the Bible is the precondition for the manifestation of truth, which makes it way more true than just true. It’s a whole different kind of true, and I think this is not only literally the case, factually, I think it can’t be any other way. It’s the only way we can solve the problem of perception.
Continue to pray for Peterson, that he sees the truth and that the Holy Spirit saves him. The bible can be understood as the precondition for the manifestation of truth all he wants, but unless he repents of his sins and believes the gospel of Jesus Christ, he will be lost.