more thoughts

29 Nov

Jeremy has left a comment here well worth reading on the omnicience, omnipotent thread (Jeremy was my theology lecturer and my tutor at college and someones whose opinion i always value). Below is a reply from Phil Kingham another person who i listen to when they speak. Jeremy and Phil say quite similar things i feel and it has helped me almose confirm what i believed to be the case. Expressing that in a class room setting however i think will still be a challenge for me. Anyway thanks all for comments and replies it’s been really interesting. Here’s Phil’s take on it:

Hey Lewis

I confess that having spent large amounts of time trying to discuss with people whether God knows the future or not I have decided I would rather spend time on the things I understand. My simple perspective (not an answer to the question) is that trying to explain how God functions and what he knows is like trying to explain a 3 D object with photos. I can understand God’s character from the “snapshots” that he has given us in the world such as Fathers, human relationships etc – Jesus gave us lots of Pictures in Parables to do the same. The problem comes when you try to wrap up God with an all defining theory. It’s a bit like trying to describe a person by one photo – you can’t do it! You need stacks of snapshots and even then the perspective doesn’t match and the picture is incomplete. The truth is (as I see it) sometimes it is clear from scripture that God knows future events very clearly and there are others when he behaves as if he doesn’t – even being surprised by peoples responses. Certainly Jesus was neither omniscient nor omnipresent and yet never was anything less than God.

I have and always will fail to provide a nice cosy “wrap up” theory of how God behaves in relationship to us. As an aside it’s amazing how we are desperate to prove that we have free will and are not robots and yet would love to define God in robotic terms as someone who follows a set pattern of external rules and always behaves in the same way. We are desperate to define Him in this way because it makes him safe and nicely boxed up whether as a “monster” or a “nice” God.

God is defined not by his abilities or an external set of laws as to how he can and can’t behave. He is defined by his CHARACTER and how he responds to other characters such as us. It is his character that is unchangeing and also indefinable (even human characters are indefinable how on earth can we expect to wrap up God’s!!)History has proved him loving to the point of utter selflessness and graciously faithful when every human I know (even the nice ones) would have packed up and gone home long ago. He is also unchangeably HOLY and PURE (even fearsomely so!) and a number of other things too! If in the light of this we are still determined to label him a monster because of our human reductionist need to put him in a cosy box so he can’t jump out and mess up our little world views then nothing in earth will stop us.

God in his grace has given us a picture of what God looks like when you try to reduce him to Human understanding – JESUS. Only a monster would describe that enigmatic, fiery, gentle and selfless Galilean as a “monster”

This doesn’t answer the question I know. Jesus rarely answered the question. He did have a cunning knack of exposing the motives of the questioner through his answer. (I wish I was better at that!)

Apologies for the ramble




2 Responses to “more thoughts”

  1. Suse November 29, 2005 at 10:17 pm #

    Hay Lewis!

    Some of the stuff that guy said has been on my brain most of the week. See you tomorrow.


    P.S. I reacon Phil should get a blog. “The thoughts and pondering of Phil Kingham – mostly including Romans 8!” What do you say Phil?

  2. Amanda November 30, 2005 at 8:46 am #

    Just reading all those amazing, indepth comments… feeling slightly embarassed of my paltry reflections. ‘Tell them to go and read Romans’… hhhmmpph. Must go and work on my theological reflections, I feel. There is some good stuff to think about, though

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