Re: God the interactor (was God the tinkerer)

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Tue Aug 30 2005 - 15:11:24 EDT

On Mon, 29 Aug 2005 17:47:47 -0400 "George Murphy" <>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <>
> > I was wondering when we'd hear from you. It looks to me as though
> you
> > are viewing the incarnation from the human viewpoint. God didn't
> scratch
> > his head when Adam fell and figure that he'd have to become the
> redeemer.
> > He didn't wait until you were conceived, or born, or baptized, or
> reached
> > the age of accountability, to determine that you were one of the
> > redeemed. It's common to say that foreknowledge and predestination
> were
> > settled in "eternity past." But there is no past, present or
> future in
> > God's eternity, for it is of a single piece. His eternity differs
> from
> > ours, which is endless time, whereas his is timeless. Mixing
> eternities
> > leads to confusion.
> 1st, it would be nice if you would provide the scriptural references
> that
> define God's eternity in contrast to ours.
> Then although election took place "before the foundation of the
> world"
> (Eph.1:4), God became incarnate in our world circa 4 B.C. Of course
> that is
> said "from a human viewpoint or not" but incarnation in the fullest
> sense
> means precisely that the 2d Person of the Trinity became a
> participant in
> human history and can be viewed "from a human viewpoint" just the
> way Joe
> Schmoe can be. & when he died on the cross circa A.D. 30 it was an
> historical event that affected God.
> The assumptions that God is utterly timeless, immutable in all ways
> and
> totally impassible are mere philosophical assumptions which clash
> with the
> biblical picture of God. Of course there are a few verses like
> Mal.3:6 &
> Jas.1:17 that speak of God not changing but it's the height of
> arbitrariness
> to insist that these must be understood in the broadest & most
> literal
> fashion while all the texts that speak of God loving, hating,
> repenting &c
> can be treated figuratively. Of course there are ways in which God
> does not
> change - God's fundamental character & faithfulness - & the few
> verses that
> speak of God as unchanging can be understood in this sense. But the
> source
> of belief in God's utterly immutability is Greek philosophy, not
> Mal.3:6 &
> Jas 1:17.
> > I see a similar problem in the discussion of God's transcendence
> and
> > immanence. The latter is usually viewed as his presence in time,
> whereas
> > I believe that it should be seen as there being no time outside of
> his
> > purview, support, control, providence, or whatever other term
> > characterizes the relationship. The normal view involves a
> restriction on
> > God; the latter, on creation. The matter is too subtle to be
> relevant to
> > our prayers, but philosophical analysis makes much of minutiae.
> >
> > As to /homoousoious/, are you suggesting that the Father became
> > incarnate? This could skirt the patripassian heresy. Any
> discussion
> > involving the Trinity will probably provide statements that
> mislead.
> > Ultimately we are dependent on revelation, but finite human
> beings
> > interpret it.
> My reason for mentioning the homoousion is that if God really did
> experience
> death on the cross, if Isaac Watts got it right when he wrote
> Forbid it Lord, that I should boast
> Save in the death of Christ my God,
> then the 2d Person of the Trinity - is capable of suffering &
> contact with
> perishability. & since the Son is homoousious with the Father &
> Spirit, the
> divine /ousia/ must be capable of such suffering & contact. (Of
> course
> part of our problem is the need to make some contact with the
> language of
> substantialist metaphysics in which these doctrines have been
> expressed.)
> This is not "patripassianism" in the traditional sense, for the
> Father (&
> Spirit) were not crucified. It is better described as
> "deipassianism," &
> not only with reference to the cross. Having said that, I think it
> is
> correct to say (with Moltmann, Juengel & others) that the Father
> suffered
> the loss of the Son in the event of the cross.
> We are indeed ultimately dependent upon revelation in such matters &
> should
> stick to it & not let ourselves be deflected by our common sense
> ideas of
> what God must be like.
> Shalom
> George
I can give you chapter and verse for the difference between divine and
human eternity just as soon as you give me the reference for
"homoousious" and "deipassianism." The fact is that, whether in Christian
theology or Christian philosophy, we work out what we find (or think we
find) in scripture. Lutherans, Calvinists and Zwinglians read the same
scriptures and disagree on the nature of the eucharist. By the way,
though the term was used by the Lord in the estblishment of the
sacrament/ordinance, I don't think the ceremony was so named in
scripture. As to eternity, I simply have to conclude that the Creator /ex
nihilo/ cannot be in time, and that the creature cannot be outside of
time. Only if God is a shaper of what exists independently of him or
identically with him can he be in time. And that is not a creator.
Received on Tue Aug 30 15:16:01 2005

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