March 30th, 2012
One of my friends, who is also in the philosophy class I help teach, emailed me several weeks ago asking why God loves us? It’s a great question. In light of our sin and the darkness within us why would a perfectly moral and holy being love us? I responded to her question and I thought I’d share it online here. So, to jump to the end and give you my answer up front: I have no idea why God loves us.
This is one of those things that you can surely put the puzzle pieces together to say that God is just and that God is loving. Any philosophy of religion text or systematic theology can articulate the theological coherence of these things. The hardest thing about this is that, like you, I still don’t get it. It’s certainly not a simple answer in my opinion. I’m an existentialist at heart. I think we find ourselves on the scene thrusted into existence without any ability to say otherwise.
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January 12th, 2012
Theology Thursday is a new feature on the blog, which gives a brief introduction to a theological person of significance.
Theologian: Paul Tillich (1886-1965)
General summary of his theology: Tillich’s reasoning tends to reflect the romanticism of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and is intuitive rather than excursive. He expressed a theme of the relationship between the infinite and the finite. The infinite is known as the infinite only in relation to the finite. Tillich also incorporated symbolism. Any finite thing may have the double capacity to be both what it is and to participate in and point beyond itself to the infinite. This is not to say that he didn’t think systematically as well.
According to Tillich, religion comes by means of a systematic use of paradox. Religion is the state of being ultimately concerned or that which concerns us ultimately our being or not being at all. Religion must always be translated into political action. This is not being who I am or where I am, but, being or not being at all. This has to do with the absolute abyss of negativity and nothingness.
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December 22nd, 2011
The following is a guest blog post by Bryan Raszinski. Bryan is a Religion undergraduate at Liberty University.
“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.” (Ephesians 5:22-30, NASB)
Going back and forth the last few years to college and then home has definitely changed the way I see things and what it takes to be a man of the gospel ; a man who, on a daily basis, declares he is going to take up his cross and follow Jesus no matter the cost. I have also learned a lot about marriage in its self and going back and forth have seen two parts that I think need to be addressed because, for the most, one or the other is given the priority and the one that is not given priority seems to be ignored (this is not the case for every single couple getting engaged to be married I am sure but the trend seems that most are this way). At school I see the practical readiness of marriage set while the theological readiness seems to take a seat it should not and at home I see the exact opposite the theological readiness takes the priority and the practical readiness takes the seat. Both are essential before tying the knot and while no couple is ever completely ready to be married and knows how everything will go, the important thing remains that in order to even get engaged these two things need to be settled and discussed so both the future husband and wife know what the other expects from them.
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November 4th, 2011
Let’s have a thought experiment. If Adam, before sin, had tripped and fell on a big sharp rock and cut his head open, would he die? Think about it, the neurological and cranial damage would be tremendous and even if that wasn’t damaged, there is still the risk of infection. What if Adam wanted to enjoy a swim in the river, what if he got a cramp and couldn’t swim anymore and drowned? I hear the objections already, “Well God could alter the physics or perform a miracle,” or, “Adam would have seen that rock or would have known not to swim at that time.” Sure, these are possible, but not plausible. I think those objections won’t work because you have a problem of a theodicy on your hands, why wouldn’t God interfere with Adam sinning?
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January 15th, 2011
Our understanding and interpretation of nature has a significant presuppositional role in hermeneutics. The most prevalent role I find science to hold in a biblical hermeneutic is how we recognize what a miracle is. Natural laws are based on induction, we see the universe behave in a regular pattern that is predictable. These laws are descriptive and not prescriptive.
We understand that given the chemical make-up of water its chemical structure cannot change to wine by natural means in the manner in which the miracle at Cana is described. It has never been observed that a once living organism dies and comes back to life. That would be contrary to what is predictable by these laws and by empirical experience. I don’t want to suggest that miracles are a violation physical law either. I would define a miracle as: A divine intervention into, or interruption of, the regular course of the world that produces a purposeful but unusual event that would not have occurred otherwise (see The Problem of Miracles for more).
My point with hermeneutics is that we should not use sola scriptura for epistemic purposes. The Bible is not a science textbook, though it is consistent with issues of science it does touch (see Article XII of the Chicago Statement). Scripture isn’t our only revelation and we must, and do, rely on the reliability of natural revelation as well (i.e. biology, chemistry, cosmology, human reason, moral intuition, and other records of nature). Sola sciprtura suggests that the Bible alone is the final authority on matters it addresses. There’s more science in your exegesis then you probably realize. Science isn’t an enemy.