A Reflective Christian

All for God’s Kingdom

Omnipotence and atonement

Apologies for the abstract nature of this. Hopefully it is understandable.

If we affirm that God is all powerful, we must explore the nature of His power. What is the cause of God’s power? If the cause is anything other than God’s own desire, then one has painted God’s actions as dependent on something else. Therefore, God is not omnipotent. Only if God’s own desire is the only necessary and sufficient cause is God omnipotent.

If that is the case, what God wishes to do must not be necessitated upon any previous cause, even another action of God. If a previous action of God is necessary to perform another action, then part of the power is not placed in the desire of God, but the action itself. Omnipotence doesn’t exist in that case, but God requires more than Himself to perform an action. Now this does not mean that God can not desire to work in such a manner that also uses another cause than His own desire, but He can not be bound to any specific method of doing something.

Applying this to atonement, satisfacation theories begin to fall short. If God wants to forgive, he doesn’t have to have another cause (Jesus’ death) in order to appease His wrath other than His own desire to forgive and save. Is God powerful enough to forgive without sacrifice? If so, His desire is sufficient, and sacrifice does not appease God.

Atonement can not be theologically-centered then (theology proper, that is). It must become anthropologically-centered. Sacrifice isn’t about what it does to God, but what it does to us.


October 15, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

For you Greek scholars out there

How many of you translate the 2nd person plural as “y’all”? I personally make it a habit every time. Nothing I love more than to imagine Jesus saying to his disciples something like “Y’all better listen here now…”

October 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

The Mystery of God

Early Christianity through Aristotelian philosophy and parts of contemporary Christianity through modernism presume to be able to rationalize our understanding of God. That our logical faculties are capable of obtaining otherwise unknown information about the invisible God. It takes the revelation of who God is and tries to explain how, and then turn around at makes further statements about who God is, and makes all of it dogmatic and a test of good theology.

Theologians need to recognize the fence and “No Trespassing” sign that warn people that, while they may look past the fence, they may not walk on the other side of the fence as if that land was their own. The Owner should move the fence, not us invade where we have not been permitted.

Worship can not exist without the mystery of God, because the “god” we claim to understand has been made into merely an earthly image, something that is less than worthy our worship. Restore the mystery, and true worship can begin to bloom.

October 12, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

The source of Biblical authority

The trust of the authority of the Bible is not rooted in any particular theory of inspiration, or otherwise our faith relies upon abstract human reasoning and human attempts to explain the hidden God’s methods of revelation. Authority is had in simple trust that it is authoritative because we believe God’s act of revealing has been shown to be true in history (all of which relies only upon our passive acceptance of what is claimed to be God’s work) and not in any logical conclusion as to how the Scriptures are inspired.

It is “faith seeking understanding” and not “faith relying upon understanding.” It is still subject to rational criticism, but it does not demand a rational framework to accept. To do otherwise is to bring the knowing of God primarily through our own intellect and to destroy the basis of faith, which the belief in the things not seen, not to accept things one has seen. Faith is not to be merely the summary of our logic, but rather an extension of what we do know into that which we do not and can not be certain of rationally. To demand certainty before belief is to destroy what belief in the Biblical sense stands for.

September 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

The reason for God’s wrath

God’s wrath is not for himself. It is not because he is simply like man in wanting to seek vengeance for one’s own sake. God’s wrath is in fact rooted in His love, in His love for His people, in order to protect them and remove the sources of pain and disobedience from His people. The final judgment then is about creating a community of those who love and are loved, and the removal of all who would act to destroy that balance in the new creation.

September 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment