Only the Puzzlers survive

Jesus …

Jesus preached in stories. The ways of God were carried by simple tales of ordinary men and things. Many were meant to puzzle. Many were beyond the grasp of most or left room for disagreement. Before he died, he promised to move beyond these figures. “A time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. (John 16:25)”

The great debates about him and his message, both before and after Nicea exposed what puzzles he had left, living puzzles, the stuff of life and death for many.

Socrates was a great old puzzler, a teacher who exposed the ignorance of the smug, who made men helpless (Aporia) so that they began to know themselves. His thoughts, often contradictory, were still the foundation of wisdom this century.

But the Sphinx …

“What goes on four legs in the morning, on two at noon, and on three in the evening?”, asked the Sphinx, “Answer or you will die.” “Man”, his answerer said, “crawling on all fours when new, on two legs when grown and needing a stick when aged.” His puzzle solved, the Sphinx killed himself.

Only the puzzlers live on. Jesus is alive as long as people revel in his ambiguity [1] [2]. Socrates is the sage of the question [3] [4] [5] [6]. But the sphinx is dead, its riddle solved, just a tourist statue [7].

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