How can America make sense of her tragedies?

1.  She can crack open her Bible that she brought over on the Mayflower.  It really helps on days like this.

2.  And rather than be hostile to Christ’s Church, seek out the household of faith.

Praying tonight for those in Aurora,

Todd

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7 comments

  1. That address is a caricature of western theology, and a straw man by extension. Anselm and many others attribute divine justice as God (just as God is love, God is holy etc…, the attributes are God, not independent of him), and that God acting justly is acting according to nature, not God acting subservient to justice. To argue this is to completely misunderstand western theology, Roman and classical Protestant, as a whole.

  2. But “Love” is not simply a divine attribute, as justice in some way may be. Love is the ontological essence of God. “God IS Love” and this is borne out, in the first instance, by the fact that God is Trinity, the eternal, archetypal Community is whose image and likeness humanity is created in Love, by Love, and for Love.

    I grew up in Evangelical Protestantism. There is no strawman here. The “River of Fire” refutes the theology of salvation I was raised to believe. The problem is, our fallen human nature in some way prefers a god that is “just” over God Who Is Love. Why? Because sometimes, Love is simply not “fair” (it transcends “lustice”) and we, as fallen creatures, find that extremely hard to deal with. See Matthew 20:1-16.

    The tragedy of Anselmian theology is that it provides a “Christian” rationale for what is in fact a sub-Christian (sub-Jewish even) understanding of God and how Christ, and Christ’s death and resurrection, reconcile us to the Father in the Holy Spirit.

  3. For justice to be an attribute, it must be God. Otherwise God can be divided into parts, which is against the classical Christian view of God. Virtually every classical theologian, both east and west, holds that God is “simple,” which means he is his attributes. God is love for sure, but God is holy, God is justice, God is mercy, God is beauty etc… John of Damascus is an eastern father that comes to mind in this regard. To separate attributes from the source of the attributes is to make God less then God.

  4. Then, as St. Isaac of Nineveh insists, God is not “just” as we understand “justice”. He says, in effect, “Do not say that God is ‘just’. We know nothing of God’s justice, only of God’s mercy”.

    This is borne out over the entire course of Scripture. The parable I cited above immediately comes to mind, of course, but also, statements like, “God gives rain to the just and the unjust” as well as the whole tenor of Scripture.

    Because “God IS Love” we must understand the Divine attributes, in the paradigm you are using, in terms of Love, and not vice-versa. IOW, God’s justice transcends anything we understand by that word in light of the overwhelming reality of God, again God the communal Trinity, as eternal, infinite transcendent Love.

    The bottom line here is this: Christ does not die to save us because He must do this in order to save us. There is not Divine requirement for this. He reconciles us to the Father, not the Father to us. WE need this the death of Christ,,for educational and existential reasons and because this is how Christ, as man, can enter into realm of the dead and defeat Satan on Satan’s own turf.

    We, as humans, need this for educational reasons in that, as Jesus says, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all to myself” and for existential reasons. Death enters the human experience after the fall as both blessing and curse. It is a blessing because it means that human are not condemned to an eternity of falleness. Death is great re-boot. But it cannot be this, it cannot lead to resurrection, apart from the action of God, which takes place in the death and resurrection of Christ by which all who are “baptized in Christ” and die with Him in this baptism are empowered by the Holy Spirit to also rise with Him.

    “….the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.” This is expiation, not propitiation. To the extent that the death of Jesus is propitiatory, it is so precisely because it is expiatory.

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