Re: formation & incarnation

From: George Murphy (
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 21:12:50 EDT

  • Next message: George Murphy: "Re: RFEP and the Heartl of Christianity"

    I'm not sure that we have a significant disagreement here since I'm in general
    agreement with your statement. The "problem" to which I referred was the attempt to
    make a strict separation between "formational economy" and the divine "economy" in the
    patristic sense - i.e., the Incarnation.

                                                            George wrote:
    > George:
    > I don't agree that the Incarnation must somehow be accepted as an
    > after-the-fact action by God if one does not view it as part of the
    > ordinary formational economy (sensu the RFEP = Robust Formational Economy
    > Principle) . As I described in a previous post in this thread, I view our
    > physical evolution to God-awareness and the ongoing ordinary behavior of
    > the Creation as products and part of Creation's gifted ontology, but this
    > does not "require" nor necessarily logically imply that God must operate
    > exclusively by those means. I think once God's creation evolved (according
    > to the properties he graced it with) us humans to the point of
    > God-awareness (or at least the ability for God-awareness) that he began to
    > approach us and reveal himself to us by various means, some of which were
    > special or miraculous. Suppose he always intended for his revelation to
    > culminate in Christ (I think this is what I would describe as my belief);
    > he must have delighted to watch our "ontogeny" (development) until the day
    > we were ready to "hear his voice". In a sense, the beginning of scripture
    > marks the day when he finally said to us, "Hello! Yes, I am here. I've been
    > waiting for you. Come, let us sup with one another, and I will begin to
    > teach you many wonderful things that you may delight with me in who I am."
    > He had in mind to teach us Christ. In this scenario, it was inevitable
    > that the RFEP would produce a being like ourselves (in the sense of being
    > ready to receive his "special" revelation) AND the Incarnation would still
    > have been his intended climax. Does these two ideas have to be a "problem"
    > or conflict?
    > Douglas
    > George Murphy
    > < To: "Howard J. Van Till" <>
    > m> cc:
    > Sent by: Subject: formation & incarnation
    > asa-owner@lists.
    > 09/18/03 11:04
    > AM
    > Howard J. Van Till wrote:
    > >
    > > From: <>
    > >
    > > > Questions for Howard and the supporters of RFEP:
    > > >
    > > > I am still hoping for an explanation of how we are to understand basic
    > > > Christian doctrines in light of the RFEP. It seems to eviscerate all
    > the
    > > > fundamental doctrines like Election, Virgin Birth, Prophecy, the
    > > > Incarnation, Miracles of Christ and the Resurrection.
    > > >
    > >
    > > It's really quite simple. The RFEP is purposely stated in a way that, a)
    > > limits its application to matters of the formational history of the
    > > universe, and b) avoids a categorical denial of supernatural divine
    > actions........................................
    > Perhaps part of the problem here has to do with how to delimit
    > "formational
    > history" from the rest of the history of God with creation - or indeed
    > whether such a
    > strict separation is possible. In order to make that separation one would
    > have to
    > assume that the Incarnation (if one believes that there was one) & events
    > preparatory
    > to it & following from it are not essential to the formational history of
    > the universe.
    > That would be the case if one held - to use traditional language - that
    > Christ would not
    > have come had humanity not sinned. But if the Incarnation is not solely a
    > remedy for
    > sin, if it in fact is the _purpose_ of creation (cf. Ephesians 1:10) then
    > the
    > formational history of the universe in its full sense has to include the
    > coming of
    > Christ & its subsequent effects.
    > Howard's older & more limited phrase, "functional integrity of
    > creation," to
    > some extent avoids this problem.
    > Shalom,
    > George
    > George L. Murphy

    George L. Murphy

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