Thursday, September 30, 2010

Truth Without A Christ Context

LeRon Shults, former professor of theology at Bethel Theological Seminary, wrote:

From a theological perspective, this fixation with propositions can easily lead to the attempt to use the finite tool of language on an absolute Presence that transcends and embraces all finite reality. Languages are culturally constructed symbol systems that enable humans to communicate by designating one finite reality in distinction from another. The truly infinite God of Christian faith is beyond all our linguistic grasping, as all the great theologians from Irenaeus to Calvin have insisted, and so the struggle to capture God in our finite propositional structures is nothing short of linguistic idolatry.

This is a fantastic thought but woefully incomplete. This is truth without the context of Christ. Yes, Christianity (and all the major monotheistic religions) confirm that God is infinite and beyond description. However, if an infinite God wants to communicate to a finite being, He will limit Himself in that revelation.

When a parent speaks to a child, do they use their "native" adult language? Maybe that parent holds a doctorate degree. Do they use high-brow academic language when speaking to their toddler? Aren’t family physicians taught to limit their technical jargon when communicating to their patients?

Christianity says that the infinite God has revealed Himself in a finite way. This is profound when you consider that this finite way was in the physical form of Jesus Christ.

Christ is the ultimate set of propositions. The Scriptures literally call Him “The Word”. The very statement “There are no absolutes.” is an absolute statement.

With the above said, let me also write against the other extreme. God cannot and should not be reduced only to a set of propositions. The scriptures describe this “Word” as living, walking, breathing, talking, dying and resurrecting. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and loved all. Unlike other gods who claim to love us, He proved it by giving His life, something your average god can’t do.

BTW, this answers the age-old philosophical question, “Can God create a rock that He can’t lift?” Yes He can and He did. He is infinite so He CAN limit Himself. He HAS limited Himself so that we can know Him. We cannot know the infinite. This doesn't mean He is limited in ability, only in presentation to us.

In other words this God who is infinite in ability, has limited His will. The Godliest thing we can do is to do the same. THIS is why belief in the Christian God is tied to morality, character and integrity.

But people that reduce God to just black and white, tend to be dogmatic out of what appears to me to be a sense of insecurity. I think they are insecure with NOT knowing. This is antithetical to the idea of faith.

Faith is a moderation of belief. It is to believe something enough to not be a persistent, consistent skeptic but to doubt it enough to not be dogmatic. Anything else is extremism of belief. At least that’s what I believe, but I can’t be for sure.

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