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Showing posts from June, 2012

Does God care? (divine impassibility)

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This post continues the series exploring the book Forsaken (The Trinity and the Cross, and Why it Matters) by Tom McCall. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1234678.

An accurate discussion concerning God's love and wrath must account for the full doctrine of God, which includes the topics of divine impassibility and divine simplicity. In this post we'll look at what McCall has to say about the first.

Does God suffer with those who suffer, or is he the "Unmoved Mover"? According to McCall, some misunderstand divine impassibility to mean that God, by definition, is without emotions ("affections"). From this perspective, God is seen to be "cold and detached, the 'Unmoved Mover'" (p64). Understandably, many modern Christians reject this viewpoint, instead embracing a "revisionist viewpoint," which states that...
God is "relational" and "dynamic"... a God who is passionate, which includes be…

Understanding God's wrath and love

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This post continues the series exploring the book Forsaken (The Trinity and the Cross, and Why it Matters) by Tom McCall. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1235678.

We'll now look at McCall's discussion of God's wrath in which he asks the question, "Did the death of Jesus make it possible for God to love us?" (p49). His answer is no, because the question presupposes the mistaken belief that God did not love us before Jesus died for us on the cross. The fact of the matter, revealed to us by Jesus, is that God has always loved us. And it was out of love and for love that God the Father sent his Son to become one of us, and as our representative to die and rise for us in order that we might enjoy full fellowship with God forever.

God's wrath But what about the many scriptures that speak of God's wrath toward sinners? How do we reconcile God's wrath with his love? Does God have a "dark side" that is opposed to hi…

Jesus' cry of abandonment and Psalm 22

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This post continues the series exploring the book Forsaken (The Trinity and the Cross, and Why it Matters) by Tom McCall. For other posts in the series, click a number: 1245678.

Last time we looked at two arguments that McCall uses to defend the view that God the Father did NOT abandon his Son at the cross. Now we'll look at his third argument, which has to do with understanding that Jesus' cry of abandonment (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?) should be understood as referring to the full message of Psalm 22, not just the one sentence. In support of this view, McCall cites Matthew's and Mark's accounts. Clearly, both intend that their readers understand that the events at the cross echo the entire message of Psalm 22.

For example, McCall notes that both Mat 27:27-31, 38-44 and Mark 15: 16-20, 25-32 tell of Jesus being mocked--a clear echo of Psa 22:6-8:
6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see…

Does God like you?

I heard a sermon recently on the topic of anger. The preacher said something quite profound:
It has taken me many years to understand something that has melted away layers of pent-up anger: God likes me! Has the preacher fallen prey to pie-in-the-sky, wishful thinking? Is he right - does God actually like him? Here's another question - does God like you? The answer is of great importance.

The preacher was relating his personal struggle with a performance-based religion that says God relates to us based on how well we are (or are not) doing. This legalistic view suggests that God is never quite pleased with us - even when we are on our best behavior. This is a common view of God as our judge (and a harsh one at that) - a God who is a sort of cosmic Santa Claus, "making a list and checking it twice, gonna find out who's naughty or nice."

One could hardly view this sort of God as liking us.

However, the God revealed to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ is utter…