Monthly Archives: October 2012
I never thought I’d write a blog about angels! Like many contemporary Christians I don’t give angels a thought from one year’s end to the other, though accepting their existence. After all, Jesus and the New Testament took a definite stance on them, together with resurrection, against one of the influential Jewish parties (Acts 23.8). The reasons for ignoring them are probably similar to those poor ones I suggested in relation to forgetting Christ when discussing creation. Nevertheless, I don’t want to engage in angelology, but simply to mention three things that we might learn by considering them in relation to creation.
I’ve written about how Creation’s prime purpose is the glory of God, and how that glory was eternally planned to come through the suffering of Christ. But there’s also a sense in which the whole of creation was made for mankind, and it’s to that unfashionable idea I turn now.
I said last time that the creation, like all things, was ultimately for the purpose of bringing glory to God. But there’s more to that than either just the making of many wonderful things, or the forming of rational creatures to worship him, though both those things are true. There’s a verse that gives us our first clue to how this creation will glorify God: The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him … Continue reading
I want to spend a couple of posts looking at what the Bible teaches about the purpose of creation. This is multifaceted, so bear with me for building the picture gradually and, perhaps, appearing to ignore or downplay certain aspects as I do so. There is method… My first task is to point out that in the Bible God’s will and purpose in creation predominate over all other aspects of creation itself, especially the material, which of course is the opposite of the scientific approach, in which teleology is absolutely excluded. There’s maybe room for a separate post on just how this, and other key aspects of creation teaching, are … Continue reading
One good place to start, but by no means to finish, when looking at creation christologically is St John’s concept of Logos. We must avoid the trap of buzzword “Logos Theology”, because apart from its use in John’s gospel prologue, there are only two rather equivocal references to the term, both of them in the Johannine corpus. But it is true that the meaning of Logos permeates his whole gospel, and maybe provides an understanding of how other NT writers came to give Christ exactly the same divine role in creation (Paul, Peter and the writer to the Hebrews). At the very least it gives a dramatic expression to that … Continue reading
In my last post and elsewhere I have attacked the root of the influental concept of creation understood as God’s self-emptying (in various forms) by showing the insupportability of such divine self-emptying from Scripture. Ted Davis points out that at least kenosis focuses on Christ’s role in creation in a way that much Christian thought since the Enlightenment hasn’t. That seems a good enough reason, in the next few posts, to look at some biblical bases for a Christological approach to creation that are more in line, I hope, with theological orthodoxy. Maybe somebody will find some resources in these posts for thinking about the scientific questions. At least I … Continue reading
In my last post I examined “the incarnational model of Scripture” as an example of doing theology by buzz-word. Another example is the “kenotic model of creation”, though “kenosis”, like “incarnation”, is a word that gets, like sand, into everything – there’s a kenotic model of Scripture too, just as there’s an incarnational model of creation. It seems as if you give a theologian a yellow crayon, and come home to find he’s scribbled over everything with it. The Amazon blurb for a John Polkinghorne book says: The development of kenotic ideas was one of the most important advances in theological thinking in the late twentieth century. So one supposes … Continue reading
Why do I hate buzz-words so much? I think it’s because their use makes it hard to judge whether the use of the word actually stands up to scrutiny. So as soon as you speak of God’s making a free creation, you imply (or even trumpet) that disagreement means opting for a coerced creation. If that’s true for general vocabulary, it’s far more so for theological words. Tie your creation to the crucified God, and whether it is a legitimate concept or not you subtly suggest that anyone who disagrees devalues the death of the Lord Jesus. Peter Enns’ view of Scripture as “incarnational” is a case in point – … Continue reading
I happened to read two articles yesterday relating to ancient literary sources and their use. The first example was the essay by philosopher Robin Collins recommended by Ted Davis on his BioLogos post. This is the article suggesting a new model for understanding Adam and human sin which Collins calls the historical-ideal view. I won’t discuss the article’s arguments, though I found it unpersuasive for a number of reasons. But one of those reasons was that he follows the apparently almost universal current practice of misrepresenting historical sources.
Metaphysical commitments have consequences, obviously. Imagine you were once taken to an evangelistic service, and to your agnostic surprise it seemed God was speaking directly through the speaker to you. Your heart, like Wesley’s, was strangely warmed and you become a Christian. Time went by. Like most Christians, you perceived a few remarkable answers to prayers. You had some numinous experiences of God’s presence, or a new conviction of sin, or a new sense of the truth of Scripture – the kind of thing most believers will report from time to time. Finally, you become firmly convinced that God wants you to enter the ministry, and you end up at … Continue reading