Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Contradictory Theologies as a Guard Against Intellectual Idolatry.

I pursue a practice of daily devotions and journaling using the SOAP format, which I highly recommend.  Of late, I've begun posting photos of my journal entries as an easy way of sharing my life with others that are my travelling partners in the faith.  (Much easier than re-typing everything!)  So below is a photo of my entry for today.  It's a reminder that faith is about trusting a person, not confidence in a particular way of thinking about Him.


Unknown said...

Here's my take, and of course I'm no theologian but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night:

The three persons of the God-head each has a geographical/spatial role with God the father in heaven. God the Son, the Emmanuel, came down to us and returned to the Father's right hand in heaven; and, the Holy Spirit stays with us on Earth.

The Greek word for "approach" used in 7:25 is also translated as "intercedes" but it is only used here in Hebrews 7:25 and can be translated as "intervention." Christ is our high priest who intercedes/intervenes on our behalf - in heaven. The Holy Spirit resides within us here on Earth and communicates the Father's will for us. He is always present, always listening to our thoughts and ”intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” There is therefore no separation between us and God the Father, either here on Earth via the Spirit or in heaven through Christ.

The only reason God is "approachable" at all is because we have been made righteous through Christ's blood. . Hebrews 4:16: "Let us then APPROACH God’s throne..." - in heaven, not the other way around.

I probably missed your lecture or maybe the intent of your theology and thoughts on this.

My personal take is that we have lost the "fear" of God and try too hard to make him chummy. That is why I "continue to work out salvation with fear and trembling." I know how far I was from God before I came to Christ and what awaited me without him. I'm glad Christ reached out to my via his Spirit, that I accepted him as savior, and that I can petition the Father directly through him as my high priest. I didn't need God the Father to come down, but I sure needed to look up!

In regards to your other point about letting one theology contradict the other, it's supremely important to test all of our thoughts/beliefs against scripture. Didn't Luther say “Sola Scriptura?” and “The true rule is this: God's Word shall establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even an angel can do so.”

Thank you for your post. It got me thinking. Much appreciated.


Unknown said...

BTW, in now way was I try to making an 'modal' argument about the trinity. The God-head is indivisible. My illustration was about the roles of the trinity in our daily lives and how there is no separation between God and us. The Spirit is indeed at work within us communing with God the Father so that we are at one.

Feral Pastor said...

That must have been some hotel to inspire a person who's "no theologian" to put up a comment like that! ;)

In terms of reconciling what I offered as "contradictory" I think you've got a good explanation going. I particularly liked the Heb 4:16 reference. But my actual interest wasn't in resolving the contradiction so much as letting the contradiction force me to embrace my intellectual limitations. Or maybe to put it a better way, to release my embrace on my beloved intellectual certainty and the sense of security it brings, so that I might embrace Jesus instead and let my security be entirely a matter of the strength of his grip on me as opposed to the strength of my grip on the facts.

I haven't organized my thoughts much but I keep cycling back to some musings on things like conundrum and the limits of our rationality. Like... you know those "orange peel" maps of the world you get from trying to project a sphere onto a 2-dimensional plane? Imagine being *unable* to think about 3 dimensions and trying to navigate on the map. You'd get into situation where reality violates your conception ("mental map") of it. Conundrum. If you try to *force* reality into your map, you end up with some pretty odd theories that, I think, just get more and more Baroque as you go. Like a Rube Goldberg machine. Irresolvable conundrums are a clue to the existence of of aspects of reality that you are not *capable* of understanding.

So in scripture, and really in the theologies we build to make sense of scripture, I think this is what we see, and should *expect* to see if we really are in touch with realities beyond our comprehension.

(When I mull over the limitations of language as a tool for engaging reality, that also tends to leave me wandering off in this direction of intellectual humility.)

Okay, now I'm starting to ramble!

Towards the end of your first comment you moved into the topic of scripture which is also where I think this leads us. The more I sense the inherent limitations of language and rationality, the less I am inclined to see the *core* value of scripture in it's presentation of truth, facts, "Biblical principles," and articles of faith. That's not a *loss* of value for scripture, but a change in the way it has value. What, for me, emerges instead is the value of scripture as a kind of mosaic portrait that reveals Jesus to me, and ultimately, as an actual meeting place between Him and me.

Let me know if any of that makes any kind of sense to you, my friend!