Carne Levare

Know Other People

Pictures of “Passing Away”

Posted by Remy on May 9, 2009

A botanist decides to study a flower and his apprentice follows him out to the field, notebook in hand. They spend weeks studying the bloom and the bloom only. The botanist concludes his study of the flower and begins to pack up. The confused apprentice delays. He says, “Don’t we need to study, say, the rest of the flower?”

“Whatever for?”

“Because that’s a part of the flower.”

“It’s the old flower, the flower has been made new, right here. The bloom is the climax of the flower, in fact, it is the flower. That’s all we need to study.”

“What about the stem, the leaves, the root system, what about the seed it came from and the process it went through to get to the bloom?”

“Bah, that’s the old things. It can’t help us to understand the bloom, look at all those colors, look how much more beautiful the bloom is.” 


*   *   *   * 


Imagine a husband who anytime his wife began to tell him of her life prior to marriage he cut her off. “That’s all in the past, I don’t need to know that. You’ve been recreated, all things are new, only what happens now is what matters.”

“I had a life before you came along” she responds.

“That life has passed away.”

“But you can’t know who I am unless you understand my history.”

“What really matters is when you and I stood together at the altar and said ‘I do’ anything before that doesn’t matter nearly as much.”

“Certainly that was a big event, changed my life and I admit that you and I have been transformed, but don’t you think there’s value in learning about me before that time?”


“If you loved me you would want to know everything about me.”

17 Responses to “Pictures of “Passing Away””

  1. You could also say, if you don’t look at the word in his hand, what reason do you have to look at the Word in hers? The object in the hand of the saint plays the same role in both icons. “This one is important and to be venerated, therefore listen to his word.” If we do not heed the word of the Ezekiel icon, why should we heed the word of the Theotokos icon?

    (Note also this icon of St. Moses the law-giver with the Theotokos painted on the book of the Law. And pictures like this belong not only in the narthex of the Church.)

  2. I just had trouble with a post. Just seeing if I’m allowed to post, or if the internet is glitching.

  3. Josh said


    Of course, I agree with all of this.

    I want that wife to tell her husband how she used to get treated like a second class citizen. It’s important for him to hear what it used to be like for her, how lonely she used to be, all the things she hoped marriage would be like.

    Good post.

  4. “Second class citizen” – Whoa.

  5. Josh said

    Whoa is right.

  6. The problem, and it is a bit of a problem for the original metaphor, is that the new husband is the same person as the old person. Jesus is Lord, the Name (YHWH). You cannot cast moral judgment against him.

    And besides, the Torah was a priestly/holiness system. You can’t understand it without understanding temple and sanctuary. It is transfigured now, located in the people of God (priesthood of all believers; most certainly not the non-priesthood of all believers), and thus to understand ourselves, we need to understand the old law.

    The book of Revelation shows that new covenant saints engage in harem warfare as well, only they do so with other-worldly weaponry.

  7. Eh, that last sentence should say “cherem” warfare.

    “Harem” warfare is probably a little different…

  8. I’m trying to post a comment that WordPress keeps eating. Is it just not letting me post links?

  9. Josh,

    It keeps eating my comment. I don’t know why. Here’s my (hopefully Orthodox) response to Josh.


  10. Josh said


    The position I’m holding to here doesn’t at all undercut most of what you wrote.

    I’m glad to be done with the Old Covenant. The New Covenant is way better. It’s remarkable how many Christians want to dispute this. If it’s moral judgement against God to say that today is better than yesterday, then you’ll have to arrest St. Paul, too. Or, like, all postmillenialists.

    Steven, as I said earlier, I’m sympathetic to Remy’s point. I think it’s good to study the Old Covenant and to venerate the faith of the Patriarchs, as is done in Hebrews.

    But which local Reformed guy was it who said that Christians should be required to spend 25 years reading the OT before they’re given the NT? Hyperbole, sure, but soul crushing, too.

  11. But you keep implicitly stating that the Old Covenant was immoral, which is something different.

    Theonomy was wrong. You’ll get no argument from me on that one. Our buddies who haven’t yet made peace with Luther do so to their own detriment. But Biblical Theology is pretty rad, and I think you’d do yourself a great favor by picking up a few books on temple in order to understand what was going on in the OT.

  12. Josh said


    I sat under Leithart’s teaching for years. Actually went to his church, was a member of his church until about six months ago.

    Let me speak for Matt Yonke on this one as well. Re: the CRE-ish reaction to members leaving for the Vatican or points East: Shall the potter say to the clay, “Why have I made you thus?” Or shall the potter say to the clay, “I have not made you thus”?

    I know something of which you speak and often find it compelling. I’m psyched for Leithart’s exegesis book that’s out in September. I’ll read it through and learn a metric ton from it.

  13. Well, I actually don’t think you know of what I speak.

    I’m not thinking of Leithart (though he’s super rad and cool), but rather G. K. Beale, Crispin Fletcher-Louis, Margaret Barker, Alan Segall, Bruce Chilton, and Jacob Neusner.

    Of course, much of this is also in the old Reformers too. Plenty of good stuff back there.

  14. Also,

    I’ve written a few irritated emails to “the potter” basically asking what’s going on in the pottery barn up there. The answer is typically that lifelong renegades are firmly placing their fingers in their ears.

  15. If that’s what they say about me, it’s different than what they say about me to me.

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