Re: [asa] rainbow covenant

From: Merv <>
Date: Fri Oct 12 2007 - 08:40:04 EDT

Jack wrote:
> I am reluctant to recommend a book based just on a book review, but I
> just read the review last night and I have not had a chance to read
> the book yet. But as I was reading the review it struck me that the
> ideas in the book are similar to many things that we discuss here, but
> in a historical context instead of a scientific one. And the topic of
> the book deals specifically with this issue of God's punishment.
> The book by Steven J. Keillor is titled; God's Judgments, Interpreting
> History and the Christian Faith,
> and the review is here:
> Some excerpts from the review:
> "Claims of divine providence and divine judgment [as causes of
> historical events] are at a minimum empirically unverifiable, if not
> also na´ve, irresponsible, and dangerous. Therefore modern historians
> who are also Christians must work according to critical, disciplinary
> canons that include writing as if they were deists or atheists, even
> if they believe that God acts in history."
> "In three densely exegetical and theological chapters, Keillor
> develops his interpretive foundation. Central is the notion, pervasive
> in the Old Testament prophets, that God judges not only individuals,
> but nations-all nations, not only ancient Israel and its neighboring
> kingdoms-as part of his action in history....Unlike modern conceptions
> in which divine action and natural causality are assumed to be
> mutually exclusive, Keillor follows Scripture and traditional
> Christianity in seeing God's action in and through ordinary historical
> processes; ..."
Merv writes: the more I've read & thought about Divine action and
providence (esp. as discussed on the ASA) the more obvious it seems to
me how irrational the mutual exclusivity assumption is. Or maybe
"irrational" is the wrong term; dare I call it... theologically
vacuous? It is simply an assumption that nobody (not YECs nor anybody
else in all recorded history) has ever consistently clung to, unless it
be modern militant atheists who want such exclusivity to push religious
understanding entirely out of consideration. They, and the creationists
who have taken their poisoned bait may be the first to try to erect this
barrier. Who among us (YEC or not) would argue, e.g., that praying
for safety and protection as a matter of faith is a mutually exclusive
action to looking both ways before you cross the street? Both are
freely accepted as inextricably entwined into the life of faith. You
pray AND you do what you can -- in fact the "doing" is part of the
prayer. Yet so many go back on this nearly universal acceptance when
it comes to discerning divine and natural activity.
> Christine:
>> Regardless, I think the meaning of the rainbow
>> covenant goes beyond the particular context of a
>> flood. I see it as a promise that God will never
>> (again?) use natural laws and natural phenomenon to
>> reign whole-scale destruction on the world (or what
>> seemed to Noah to be the world, at the time) as
>> punishment. Thus, it speaks to the larger questions
>> that we all ask when a major natural catastrophe
>> strikes--why did this happen? Why didn't God stop it?
>> Was God angry with us?
There are many in the world who see life as a stage where s***
happens. We westerners don't accept that because we have so many
options to try to do something about it. This plays into the nearly
universally accepted paradox I brought up above. God uses prophets to
announce when and which are God's judgments. Sometimes it is only in
retrospect (from centuries) that it is seen by us whether or not they
were false prophets. But the poorer 2/3 of our world would accept much
of what we are tempted to view as judgment as just a regular part of life.


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Received on Fri Oct 12 08:29:32 2007

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