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Now I Know…

I mentioned in a previous post, that I am involved in a topic study on Open Theism. This post is a result of some of the ongoing reading/discussion:

 

In his book “No Other God”, John Frame argues for an anthropomorphic interpretation of Genesis 22:12 “Then He said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy or do anything to him. For now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your only son from Me.”” To speak anthropomorphically is to use human terminology in regards to God, in order to communicate a meaning, even though the human attribute isn’t true of God. for example, “the right hand of God” would mean God the Father’s power even though we know God the Father is a spirit and doesn’t have a body. Frame’s defense of this, as seems to be typical of him up to this point in his book, is to attack the opposing view instead of substantiating his own. While there is a problem of saying this is anthropomorphic, I would like to point out the problems with Frame’s attempted attack on the Open Theistic interpretation of this passage.

AbrahamIsaac Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2014 in Apologetics, God

 

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God – Personal or The Ultimate Stick in the Mud?

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I am doing a group study on the topic of Open Theism. The group I am in has agreed to read three books (1 pro-Open Theism and 2 pro-Classical Theism): Greg Boyd’s “God of the Possible”, John Frame’s “No Other God”, and Norman Geisler’s “Creating God in the Image of Man?”. While it is difficult for me not to go into detail of all the arguments among the three that I have found convincing or failing, I will resist the temptation. I just want to focus on one from Geisler’s book. Dr. Geisler founds his book on “Aquinian” reasoning (he takes the first 25% of his book to argue for his position in this manner). He uses the philosophical works of Thomas Aquinas to “prove” that God must have certain attributes if He is in fact really God. (This seems odd to me for one who should be letting the God of Scripture be defined by the Scripture He inspired.)

In illustrating how an immutable God can have a genuine relationship with humanity he employs the analogy of a pillar and a man. Dr. Geisler states,

“Thus, when there is a change in the creature there is no change in God. Just as when the man changes his position from one side of the pillar to the other, the pillar does not change; only the man changes in relation to the pillar.” (“Creating God in the Image of Man?” – pg 33)

The pillar is such because it is stationary (representing immutability). This pillar stands there, like a stick in the mud. And this “stick-in-the-mud” pillar is analogous (in Geisler’s mind) to God.

stickinthemudTo Dr. Geisler, this constitutes a genuine relationship between persons. The human relates to the stick, and we describe this relation through prepositions: above, beside, behind, beneath, beyond, around, etc. Geisler argues that when Scripture says God changes, it is not God that actually changes but man’s position to God that has changed. From man’s perspective the stick has changed, but the stick has always been the way it is, it is just the man seeing the stick differently or relating to the stick differently; but the stick has not changed. Aside from the problem that Geisler dismisses these passages as anthropomorphic with the ease of a Jedi mind trick; it affirms that there is no real, personal relationship with God. God does not feel, does not change according to the actions of the beings around Him. If God appears to be angry, it is just because we are on the angry side of God. We need to reposition ourselves to God. The analogy goes like this: If we would relocate ourselves away from the ugly side of the stick over to the bloomingly beautiful side, then to us it would appear the stick has changed. But it hasn’t, for it cannot change, because if the stick were to change then the stick would not be the ultimate stick as it would be somehow affected by man and thus relationally dependent on man. Geisler even states, which is the common view of classical theism, that prayer doesn’t even change God.  He states,

“It is utterly presumptuous for mortal man to believe that their prayer actually changes God. Instead prayer is a means by which God changes us and others.” (“Creating God in the Image of Man?” – pg.87)

The stick must not be affected by anything around it. It is just there, in the mud, unemotional, unmovable. The epitome of a loving relationship, right?

This Harvy Dent view of God is the price one pays to maintain the “classical” view of God. There is no real relationship. There is HarvyDentmerely the immovable, unaffected God that we must play ring-around-the-rosie with in order to stay on His “good side”. An unmoveable deity that speaks to us as if, and acts as if, He changes and is affected by our actions and prayers, but Who is really quite the opposite. A god who is a misleading, immovable, stick in the mud.

That is not the God revealed in Scripture.

That is not the God revealed in Jesus.

 

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2014 in Apologetics, God, Jesus Christ

 

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The Defining Character Trait of God

“The price you paid for us has fully been accepted,

Because of your shed blood we cannot be rejected.”

This is the the beginning lyrics to a bridge in a worship song. Who is the one who has paid for us? Jesus – The Son of God. Who is The One Who would reject us if not for Jesus? God The Father. Sadly many hold to, and some adamantly defend, the view of this Father God who needs to be pacified by some sin-payment before He will be willing to forgive the sinners. (Which one has to ask if that’s really forgiveness at all since payment was still exacted… but another topic for another day, perhaps.) The idea propagated in the song (Penal Substitutionary Atonement) is founded upon the idea that God’s defining Character trait is holiness, and that since God is holy, He cannot just forgive sin. The belief is that God’s primary attribute is holiness. Yes, God is love, mercy, just, BUT above all HE IS HOLY! It is this holiness that demands He not merely forgive sin, but exact payment for sin. A verse of Scripture used to support the idea of God’s dominant holiness attribute is Isaiah 6:3 “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” The thought is that nowhere else in Scripture is it said God is thrice anything. Never does it say, “God is love, love, love.” or, “God is mercy, mercy, mercy”; therefore holiness wins out in the attribute battle. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2014 in God, Jesus Christ

 

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Punishment vs. Discipline

I had the blessing of teaching the 3rd grade boys Life Group something today that I didn’t learn until I was 30 years old – The difference between punishment and discipline. For 98% of my life, those two words were grossly conflated (actually, the definition of “discipline” was almost completely dropped), and the problem it created was massively screwed up view of God. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in God, Jesus Christ

 

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What? I thought I just saw Jesus! (This should be us, Christian)

Want an idea of what Jesus looks like in today’s world?

 

 

Now, let us all go and do likewise…. including myself.

Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  ~ James 1:27

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2013 in Christian Life, Culture, God, Jesus Christ

 

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A Tale of Two Sons

There was a king with two sons. Twins they were, nearly identical.. well, hair and eye color was different, but on the inside (the part that matters most) they were identical. Mannerisms, humor, etc. there was no mistaking who their father was.

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Posted by on September 8, 2013 in Devotion, Evangelism, God, Jesus Christ

 

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How THE LAMB OF GOD…

Did not defeat the enemy….armedlamb

 

DID defeat the enemy….

slain lambHe died at the hands of those He was saving from the enemy… FREELY, IN LOVE, GAVE HIS LIFE.

 

For God was pleased to have
all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile
everything to Himself
by making peace
through the blood of His cross—
whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Colossians 1:19-20

American Church, are you sure you really want to follow Him?

 

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