Thursday, November 01, 2007

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu; Chapter 25 "The Mother of All Things"

I note that Lao Tzu describes God as "Tao" (translated as the "Way"). I further note that Lao Tzu says that Tao could be called "the Mother of all things". And finally, Lao Tzu gives Tao the name "The Great". This is a profound chapter from the Tao Te Ching.


Scott Starr said...

First this is great work on the clip.
The look and the flow is spot on.

Next, what this reminds me of as do all the Sun Tzu clips is these passages from Acts 17, pay special attention to verses 23-31:

16 Now while Paul was awaiting them at Athens, his spirit was grieved and roused to anger as he saw that the city was full of idols.

17 So he reasoned and argued in the synagogue with the Jews and those who worshiped there, and in the marketplace [where assemblies are held] day after day with any who chanced to be there.

18 And some also of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him and began to engage in discussion. And some said, What is this babbler with his scrap-heap learning trying to say? Others said, He seems to be an announcer of foreign deities--because he preached Jesus and the resurrection.

19 And they took hold of him and brought him to the [c]Areopagus [Mars Hill meeting place], saying, May we know what this novel (unheard of and unprecedented) teaching is which you are openly declaring?

20 For you set forth some startling things, foreign and strange to our ears; we wish to know therefore just what these things mean--

21 For the Athenians, all of them, and the foreign residents and visitors among them spent all their leisure time in nothing except telling or hearing something newer than the last--

22 So Paul, standing in the center of the Areopagus [Mars Hill meeting place], said: Men of Athens, I perceive in every way [on every hand and with every turn I make] that you are most religious or very reverent to demons.

23 For as I passed along and carefully observed your objects of worship, I came also upon an altar with this inscription, To the unknown god. Now what you are already worshiping as unknown, this I set forth to you.

24 The God Who produced and formed the world and all things in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in handmade shrines.

25 Neither is He served by human hands, as though He lacked anything, for it is He Himself Whogives life and breath and all things to all [people].(A)

26 And He made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes),

27 So that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him, although He is not far from each one of us.

28For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your [own] poets have said, For we are also His offspring.

29 Since then we are God's offspring, we ought not to suppose that Deity (the Godhead) is like gold or silver or stone, [of the nature of] a representation by human art and imagination, or anything constructed or invented.

30 Such [former] ages of ignorance God, it is true, ignored and allowed to pass unnoticed; but now He charges all people everywhere to repent ([d]to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins),

31 Because He has fixed a day when He will judge the world righteously (justly) by a Man Whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made this credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead.(B)

32 Now when they had heard [that there had been] a resurrection from the dead, some scoffed; but others said, We will hear you again about this matter.

33 So Paul went out from among them.

34 But some men were on his side and joined him and believed (became Christians); among them were Dionysius, a judge of the Areopagus, and a woman named Damaris, and some others with them.


1. Acts 17:11 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
2. Acts 17:13 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.
3. Acts 17:19 Many modern interpreters note that the Areopagus may also have been a reference to the Council of the Areopagus, the supreme court of Athens, custodians of teachings that introduced new religions and foreign gods. See also Acts 17:34.
4. Acts 17:30 Joseph Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon.

Cross references:

1. Acts 17:25 : Isa 42:5
2. Acts 17:31 : Ps 9:8; 96:13; 98:9

Anonymous said...

The passage that you cite is an example of quasi-spiritual Judo.

Paul is "roused to anger" and yet he does not give-in to rage. He uses the philosophy of Jujitsu and Judo. He uses the "gentle way" to bring his detractors to peace & knowledge in Christ.

I know that you understand the principals of Judo. However, there is a unique difference with Christ's "Judo".

Judo has a philosophy of a passively dynamic defense. It is the way of gentleness, with the intent of defeating the aggressor, through a passive redirection of the dark energy of the attacker.

However, Christ (and Paul in Acts 17) do not seek to defeat their attackers.

This is a distinct deviation from the carnal application of Judo and Jujitsu.

Christ seeks to elevate the assailant, not to defeat him.

This elevation of the aggressor comes when the attacker sees the superiority of Jesus' way (a.k.a. Tao), and then feely abdicates self-will, to the will of the One (“the Great”), whom he, the attacker, has been given power to destroy, i.e. Jesus on the cross.

I wonder how many men and women have seen this “way” as clearly as Lao Tzu sees it. I believe that God’s Holy Spirit revealed this to him.
I am enjoying the thought of others who see the value of being a neighbor, as Jesus defines neighbor in Luke 10.

Scott Starr said...

I think you've summed that up quite well. I have struggled with the gentle way in one way or another for most of my life. In these writings I am generally successful at that but it is still a weakness.

Its ironic you mention my background in the martial arts. Today I got yet another request via e-mail to be a training partner. My name is posted fapparently for good on some martial arts forums.

Taking up the training is tempting because I need the exercise benefits. Yet, I am trying to focus my energies into preaching Christ rather than the arts of kicking butt. This has been somewhat of a challenge to explain to the men that request to train together...because many of them ARE Christians and yet do not understand my hesitance to further train in martial skills.

The thing is, even if I can theoretically justify training, by employing the philosophy of "the gentle way", I still have a limited amount of time...

If I want my life to make a REAL and lasting, dare say eternal, difference- then where should my "spare" (as in not making- money-by- being- a- wage- slave) time be spent?

I think I'll stick with push ups and interval running for the exercise and writing, study and ministering for what other time I have that I can spend out. I have two of those requests for training to reply to at present. I am still mulling over how to handle it.