Being and Doing: On Rebellion

The relationship between the truths of the Christian faith, and the Christian way of life, has fallen into great disrepair in modern times.  At its core, the Protestant Reformation was focused on this relationship.  In the contemporary world, our idea of faith itself has become anemic.  One is a Christian if they believe that certain propositions are true.  This reduces the last judgment to a true/false test, in which correct answers gain one eternal life.  This misunderstanding then generates a whole series of debates regarding exactly which propositions, and how many, are absolutely required for salvation, or to be a Christian, and which ones and how many can be held in disagreement.  In those areas where it has been decided…

Man as the Image of God in Reverse

That human persons are created in the image of God is explicit from the first pages of the scriptures (Gen 1:27).¬† As a concept, removed from its particular purpose in the Genesis narrative, this fact has become the subject of a seemingly endless series of speculations as to exactly what this means.¬† In contemporary theology, this most often takes the form of seeking to identify ‘the image of God’ in man with some characteristic or characteristics of human person.¬† So it is proposed that rationality, or language, or freedom, for example, are the substantial meaning of God’s image.¬† All of these speculations, and this approach as a whole, have severe difficulties.¬† On one hand, as we advance in our knowledge‚Ķ

The Spirit of God in the Old Testament

This week serves as a sort of epilogue to the recent series on Christ in the Old Testament.¬† These previous posts discussed the reality that Second Temple Judaism, through a close reading of the Hebrew scriptures, had developed the idea that there is a second hypostasis of Yahweh, the God of Israel.¬† The terminology for this within the Jewish world was to speak of the ‘Two Powers in Heaven’.¬† The identity and origin of this second hypostasis was the subject of much debate and conjecture in Jewish literature.¬† The New Testament authors clearly identify the second person of the Godhead as Jesus Christ, incarnate in their day.¬† In response to this core argument of the Christian proclamation, the Jewish community‚Ķ

God’s Body

One feature of the Orthodox Jewish synagogue service is the hymn sung near its dismissal which repeatedly affirms that ‘God does not have a body’.¬† This particular hymn was added in the fourth or fifth century as a direct response to, and rejection of, Christianity.¬† On the surface, far removed as we are from the issues in the early debate between the nascent Christian and Rabbinical Jewish communities, we might assume that this is aimed at a rejection of the Christian doctrine of the incarnation.¬† In reality, however, the primary field of debate in that era was over the correct interpretation of the Hebrew scriptures which would become the Christian Old Testament.¬† The repeated reaffirmation that the Jewish believer ought‚Ķ