Life in a Cave

Youth Daily Devotional Blog: 06/29

Written by: Intern Sam B. Nguyen
Scripture Reading: Matthew 13:10-17
During my early years in University, a common concept that I brushed up against was the “Allegory of the Cave”. This idea was one that was developed by the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato and goes like this:

Imagine a cave that holds a group of people. Those people have been put in chains so that they are next to each other, and left to face the walls of the cave. Behind the people is a bonfire, which casts shadows onto the walls of the cave. The people can’t see what’s behind them, but they can see the shadows created by the fire and, using the shadows, they believe they know what the rest of the cave is like.

According to Plato, the people in chains are like Humanity. We cannot see the whole truth of reality, and what little parts we see and understand are just reflections of the whole, like shadows of reality rather than reality itself. I think that we understand God in very much the same way. God is so massive and grand that it is difficult for us to quite comprehend or understand. But we can understand the shadows made by God’s light. The reflections of God in our world.

I think that’s a big reason for why Jesus uses parables in his teaching. While he could be upfront and direct about how he describes God and the kingdom, I think that the use of analogies, metaphors, and parables makes that understanding much easier and much easier to understand for an audience who has, historically, struggled to make sense of God.