Re: The state of suburban theology

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Jun 15 2004 - 09:50:47 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Howard J. Van Till" <>
To: "George Murphy" <>; "Ted Davis" <>;
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 9:19 AM
Subject: Re: The state of suburban theology

> I had written:
> >> 1. As I read various forms of episodic creationist literature, I find
> >> anything short of form-imposing supernatural (coercive) intervention is
> >> commonly rejected as just not sufficiently impressive. The idea of
> >> kenosis would be hard to sell in most YEC & ID communities.
> George replied:

> > As I noted, this is indeed a critical difference, one which we've
> > debated before. In the kenotic view, God doesn't intervene to stop the
> > Holocaust &c - but also doesn't intervene to save himself from the
> But perhaps the cross, as traditionally understood (paying the blood price
> for human sin that would not be forgiven, by divine choice, any other way)
> is a misunderstanding of God that has been drawn from the New Testament
> as written and interpreted against the background of Old Testament
> supernaturalism and Ancient Near Eastern concepts of blood sacrifice,
> atonement and scapegoat rituals, and the like.

    It isn't a particular "theory of the atonement" that is at issue. The
more fundamental point is that, as Tertullian put it, "It is the creed of
Christians to believe that God did die, and yet that He is alive for
evermore." _Why_ God did this is an important question and, for
considerations of the issues of sin and salvation, essential. But for the
present topic it's secondary to the claim that God chose to share in the
suffering and death of the world.

> > Consistently sticking with the freely made choice of kenosis is a
> > for creatures to be able to understand the world - a gift to creation
> > indeed has a price, one which both creatures & God pay.
> I'm afraid that those humans who paid the high price would find the "gift"
> vocabulary trite and offensive.

        The fact remains that without divine self-limitation the human race
never would have gotten out of the nursery as far as understanding the world
is concerned.
In any reasonable sense that is a gift. Whether or not it is a gift that
(together with other considerations I mentioned) "justifies" God's failure
to intervene in the Holocaust &c is another question, but the fact that
_you_ find the word "trite" and "offensive" doesn't prove anything.

Received on Tue Jun 15 10:08:12 2004

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