Re: God's history (Was God the interactor)

From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
Date: Sun Sep 04 2005 - 19:35:37 EDT

Dave -

To take your last 1st, I do NOT believe in a "time restricted deity" but in an eternal deity who is willing & able to be involved in the world's history.

2d, I am not saying that we "must be silent where the Bible is silent" or insisting on a naive version of sola scriptura. But I do think it's important to distinguish between (a) things that are clearly taught in scripture, (b) the ways in which the Christian community has tried to understand those things by making use of philosophy, science &c, and (c) theological opinions which do not contradict (a) but which are not required by it. Admittedly the boundaries are not always clear cut.

Shalom
George
http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: D. F. Siemens, Jr.
  To: gmurphy@raex.com
  Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu
  Sent: Sunday, September 04, 2005 6:44 PM
  Subject: Re: God's history (Was God the interactor)

  George,
  We begin the same place, with the authority of scripture on matters of faith and practice. We also agree that the interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis requires input from science. A majority of our brethren in the United States disagree with the latter. There are other matters of hermeneutic where we agree, others where we disagree. On this general basis, you seem to have adopted the view that what is not revealed in scripture is left open. What I have seen of dogmatic theology is not always this restricted. And I am not speaking of liberal flights of fancy which "rode madly off in all directions." The orthodox may restrict themselves to Christian doctrine or New Testament theology, but don't have to. For that matter, there are some dear souls who don't have the wits to understand orthodoxy.

  If you want to accept only what the scriptures say (hermeneutics included, of course), that's OK. I am committed to combining the various claims into a coherent whole. It is not a pastoral necessity, or even benefit. But incoherence in any area is not beneficial, no matter how popular it may be. I contend that there are contradictions in many attempted descriptions of the deity and try to point them out. If there is a mismatch between the biblical revelation, science and my attempt to associate them, I've failed. But I don't see how a time-restricted deity can claim, "Before Abraham was, I am," and the other claims about the Word, etc.
  Dave

  On Sun, 4 Sep 2005 16:13:26 -0400 "George Murphy" <gmurphy@raex.com> writes:
    Comments in red below.

    Shalom
    George
    http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: D. F. Siemens, Jr.
      To: gmurphy@raex.com
      Cc: williamehamiltonjr@yahoo.com ; asa@lists.calvin.edu ; dfwinterstein@msn.com
      Sent: Sunday, September 04, 2005 12:28 AM
      Subject: Re: God's history (Was God the interactor)

      George,
      I contend that I take the implications of the Incarnation fully into account in connection with God's involvement with the world. The difference between us is that you take a single view, the terrestrial one, and I insist that it is necessary philosophically to consider the timeless and the temporal views. However, I see intimations of an unacknowledged divine viewpoint lurking in the theology of the cross.

      It is clear that God created the universe, which existed for some 13x10^9 years before human beings appeared on the earth--unless we're dealing with a multiverse, in which case we have no time scale for an origin. When did the Trinity recognize that human beings would need a Redeemer? When did "they" understand the cost, the Incarnation and crucifixion? When did the Godhead decide that I am glorified? When did God recognize that the universe had to be sustained at 8:40 PM MST 3 September 2005?

      Analyzing these questions so as not to spout nonsense requires recognition that the human temporal view has to be distinguished from the timeless view of the Almighty. Moses clearly looked forward to a Redeemer, while we look back to Calvary. In contrast, God is the eternal Redeemer, not involved in an afterthought when man turned up in his universe.

      "The timeless view of the Almighty" is not available to us. It might be more accurate for you to say "The timeless view of humanly constructed philosophical theism."
      All we know of God is what God has chosen to reveal to us, which is to say the history of Jesus - and that of Israel which leads to it - to which scripture bears witness. Philosophy & science can be used to understand revelation & its implications but they must play a subsidiary role. In contrast, on this topic (I do not say in other matters of theology) you are starting from philosophical assumptions about God's timelessness &c & then trying to understand revelation in that context.

      It is not at all my purpose to say that God created the world in the time of our world or that God is limited by our time. I am only saying that the Incarnation, if taken with full seriousness, means that God can allow himself to be affected by our temporal existence and in fact has done so. We can then go on from there to talk about creation &c but in doing that have to recognize that that is somewhat speculative & that we not have information about it from "the timeless view of the Almighty."

      Since human beings and their environment have to be redeemed where they are, the Second Person emptied himself to be born in Bethlehem. One thing this means is that he abandoned his glory, and his holiness was "toned down." Recall that Isaiah, having a vision of the thrice holy God, cried "Woe!" In contrast, wicked men did not hesitate to try to stone Jesus, and finally scourged and crucified him. These things happened in time according to the eternal will of the Father. This is history from the human viewpoint. But if the Word WAS in the beginning, if the saints are elect BEFORE the foundation of the kosmos, etc., there has to be a different look as well. Our language is not suited to express this difference. But philosophers have to try.
      But
      Granting all this for the sake of argument, it doesn't follow that God is utterly changeless in all regards.

      Is this surrendering to Greek thought and denying the Hebrew? Can't be. It simply recognizes that a temporal deity cannot be the Creator; that a Trinity in time does not have an eternal purpose, but one Person entering time is the Redeemer. I can view the history of redemption in time, for it unfolded in scripture. But I need a different, difficult viewpoint to understand creation /cum/, not /in/.

      I have no interest in defending the phrase "temporal deity." But the Word who became flesh is the creator. That's where you have to start.

      Just why must my image of the living God be based on my getting older all the time? Why should I put the Creator /in tempore/? Only the Word became flesh ?in tempore/.

      & again, the Word who became flesh /in tempore/ (I assume your ? is a typo for /) shares the divine nature. I'm sure this isn't what you mean but it sounds as if you're arguing that the deity can be only 1/3 temporal.

      I'm not sure we're covering any new ground at this point.

        
Received on Sun Sep 4 19:37:34 2005

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