Friday, January 11, 2013

St. Paul vs. St. James

St. Paul says that we “look into a mirror, dimly.”  In an earlier post, I tried to show how perplexing St. Paul’s claim is.  And then I found this:
“But be doers of the word [God], and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word [God] and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”
–St. James 1:22-24
James suggests, contra St. Paul, that our mirror, however distorted, tarnished, or dimly lit it may be, can show us our nature, that is, our being made in the image of God. Our mirror shows ourselves as we truly are, as images of God, and thus shows us both how we are and how we ought to be.  


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