Re: Coercion

From: Howard J. Van Till <>
Date: Tue Apr 20 2004 - 16:50:10 EDT

On 4/20/04 10:41 AM, "Terry M. Gray" <> wrote:

> Howard,
> You wrote in several places:
> "My heart cannot affirm as true what my mind tells me is false."
> I would not go so far as to say that my mind tells me these things
> cannot be. However, my mind does tell me that God is greater and
> wiser and in a profound way, unlike me. Theologians have sometimes
> spoken of the incomprehensibility of God here.

But that's an easy answer to ANY theological conundrum. It solves ALL
problems equally well, which means that it solves NO problems at all.

> This is the message of
> Job 38-42 as I see it. Here's where I think there is an incredible
> arrogance in your position (even though you are admirably humble in
> promoting it--I on the other hand suffer from a more arrogant
> promotion of what I consider to be the more humble viewpoint).

You may put it down as arrogance if you like. I am more inclined to think of
it as a willingness to take personal responsibility for exploring,
evaluating possibilities, and making tentative choices in the face of
difficult questions.
> Given this rational recognition of God, His character, His purposes,
> etc. then it is not irrational to accept the notion that my mind may
> not be able to put all the pieces together. I must "defend" this set
> of theological propositions because I think they come from God
> Himself--not from some flawed faith community.

What you have actually done is to make a decision to accept, without
question, a received view of the canon. I tried that route for decades; I
finally had to explore other choices.

> Your question " Why did God act to assure outcome X or choose not to
> assure outcome Y?" is in fact Job's question. You can read for
> yourself God's answer.

No, I don't think so. What I can read is the answer that the writer of the
book of Job posed for our consideration. I feel no need to agree with it.

> God essentially chooses not to answer Job and
> simply points out that He is God and that Job is not. You can find
> the same sort of answer in Romans 9 where the absurdity of the pot
> questioning the potter is highlighted.

Yes, it's a familiar religious theme that flows from a familiar (humanly
crafted) portrait of God.

Received on Tue Apr 20 16:50:46 2004

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