If God Is Love Means The Father Eternally Loves The Son, Does God Is Judge Means He Eternally Judges The Son?

Source: If God Is Love Means The Father Eternally Loves The Son, Does God Is Judge Means He Eternally Judges The Son?

Augustine in the eighth book of On Trinity begins to talk of love as involving three substances: the lover, the loved, and love. Modern apologists like Ravi Zacharias have argued that the statement God is Love could only be true if God is essentially and eternally a Triune being: the Father eternally loves the Son through the Holy Spirit. Thus, it was not that God was all alone (a monad) before the creation and had nothing to love, but being the Triune inter-personal God, He ever existed as Love.

Of course, Augustine also talks about the possibility of loving oneself and sees three things involved in this as well: “when the mind knows itself and loves itself, there remains a trinity: mind, love, knowledge; and this trinity is not confounded together by any commingling”. However, in this mono-love, there is only one person, though one may divide the experience into the lover, the loved, and love. Loving oneself is not inter-personal, and therefore possesses no love act of self-giving and submission. Therefore, the concept of the Triune God as Love is considered significant.

One objection raised to this argument goes something like this: If God is love means the Father eternally loves the Son through the Spirit, does God is Judge means the Father eternally judges the Son through the Spirit? And this applies to all statements such as “God is jealous” or “God is a consuming fire”. Is the Father eternally jealous or eternally consuming the Son? The objection tries to reduce the argument to ad absurdum.

A few clarifications are necessary. The objection misses the difference between love and the other mentioned predicates. “Jealous” here is an adjective, not a noun. “Consuming fire” is metaphorical for the righteousness of God in His judgment. “Judge” is an office which stands in relation to the created world. The statement “God is Love” is not the same as “God is Loving”. When one says that “God is Love”, there is an identity of substance and not just participation in or possessing of an attribute. This cannot be predicated of any other being. For instance, one cannot say that Mr. A is Love; we only say Mr. A is loving in nature. To say God is Love is to speak in absolute and infinite terms. The statement “God is Love” points to God as the ground of all morality and personality. Note the following excerpt from a previous post:

There are at least three approaches to understanding Trinity.

The Rational Approach. … personality finds its best explanation in the personal nature of God, whose existence as three persons (I-YOU-HE Sufficiency) in one Godhead is the ground of personhood.

The Moral Approach. It seeks to find in the doctrine of Trinity a rational ground for the absolute nature of moral virtues, such as love, goodness, and joy. If God didn’t eternally exist in a subject-object relationship, then He would be amoral and morality would not be absolute. The doctrine of Trinity provides a rational ground for any discussion of morality with respect to its absolute nature…. [See Illustrating Trinity]

Love is the summation of morality and personality and morality cannot be dissected of each other. To be a person is to be moral. Therefore, the reality of personality and morality must find an ontological ground in an infinite inter-personal Beginning and End of all things. The Triune Persons cannot be FOUR since inter-personal sufficiency is sufficed by the I-YOU-HE tri-personal Sufficiency), or else infinitude would be reduced to finite polytheism without any essential unity. Thus, the revelation of God as Love is crucial to our understanding of every other contingent reality of moral personhood.

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Is Fallenness Present As Opposite Sex Attraction In Some And Same-Sex Attraction In Others?

Source: Is Fallenness Present As Opposite Sex Attraction In Some And Same-Sex Attraction In Others?

Sometime back, a pastor and leader in a reputed apologetic ministry commented that temptation to him occurred in the form of same-sex attraction, emphasizing that Christians must not regard temptation as sin but fight against temptation. He then went on to state that the fallenness of humanity is common to all and that while depravity may be manifest as opposite sex attraction in some, it appears as same-sex attraction in him and others. His comments went viral on social media. However, I disagree with his latter theological comment. Let me clarify the reasons:

1. Opposite sex attraction is considered natural in the scriptures and in common human history as well. Perversions exist with regard to this in the form of incest, adultery, sadism, and the like. However, this is not the case with same-sex attraction. It is by nature unnatural and cannot be put in the same terms as opposite-sex attraction. The statement made by the apologist hints at an understanding of same-sex attraction as something that exists as congenital perversion, i.e.present from birth as a pervert orientation. I believe that this is theologically inaccurate. It not only suggests that perversion is not uniform but also that it is diversely transferred as particular sin-acts and not just principle at birth. The blame is thrown on original sin. The Bible, however, states that God fashioned all hearts alike, but humans have perverted their ways. Romans 1 doesn’t say that people became homosexuals because they were wired in that way. It says that they became so because they rejected God.

2. One must distinguish between addictive slavery to acts and dispositions of human nature. For instance, nobody is created with orientation to smoking. They get addicted to it by beginning to try smoking. Later, they turn slaves to it. Then, even after some accept Christ, the temptation to smoke may exist unless one is completely delivered. But, for one who has never smoked, this temptation doesn’t exist. It is not due to congenital depravity but due to bondage inflicted by acts. The same applies even to sexual attractions. The one in bondage needs deliverance from that form of perverse and unnatural bondage. Nobody is wired to specific acts of sin at birth. They get snared by their choices. Some bondage could even have resulted from not being able to recover from abuse.

3. The Bible also talks of evil spirits and temptation by the devil towards greed, murder, pride and sin. If someone is in bondage because of giving in to evil powers, that person needs deliverance by the Holy Spirit. One cannot resist the devil, however, unless one has submitted to God. And, when that happens, the devil will flee.

The only true kind of deliverance is spiritual. The battle, whether of attraction or addiction, is in the mind. The Bible calls for renewal of mind. It means to reject any psychological or pseudo-theological opinion that tries to shift blame on a “sinful nature” that cannot be removed. Deliverance is real. There are many cases of people who have been delivered and have absolutely no desire for say smoking or alcohol anymore. They can’t stand these. The songs of worship which were boring to them once are now sweet and refreshing to their souls. They can’t sit with the scornful talking worldly things. There has been a change of nature, change of appetite, change of disposition. But, they had to first take that first step, though seemingly weak, towards repentance and faith in the Savior. They also must choose to be renewed in the spirit of their mind.

What Is Wrong With Homosexuality?

Sodomites trying to attack Lot are striked blind by angels

The contention of being “oriented” argues from a supposedly ontological basis. Just because a person claims to be so oriented, gives him/her justification to act in the way he/she claims to be oriented. The premise is: Whatever is natural (or the nature of one) is moral and justified. However, there is a problem with this premise.

First of all, the objective nature of the claim has to be conclusively established — the claims themselves being subjective and the nature of the investigation being empirical makes this quite unrealistic.

Secondly, it is quite superfluous to assume that within members of the same species, opposed “natures” or “orientations” exist. Obviously, that defeats any attempt to definition. Originally, one understands what a man or a cat or an elephant is by nature. If any member of a particular species seems to be behaving differently or contrary to this nature, the behavior is considered to be unnatural. But, if a multiplicity of “orientations” were allowed as natural, the definition of what is natural suffers.

The Bible calls homosexuality as being “against nature”.

For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful,and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Rom 1:26-27)

Those who have no interest in the Biblical pronouncement, however, must explain their grounds for basis a moral argument for homosexual rights. Obviously, it will be self-defeating for them to accept the subjective “orientation” arguments. For, if they accept that, they would also be legitimizing every other form of sexual “perversion” (as we understand all such acts that are contrary to nature). [Check the Wikipedia List: List of Paraphilias]

For an atheist, the issue might be quite subjective and moral norms a matter of majority judgments. For instance, Bertrand Russel, in his debate with Father Copleston, argued that cases such as Hitler’s in which he felt his actions to be right may be compared to people who have jaundice and so saw things as yellow. But, if the jaundiced were the majority, their view would be considered “natural” and the others “unnatural”. Such an argument is ultimately self-defeating. How would a society in which everyone believed that murdering each other was good and protecting each other was considered evil be like? How about a society in which homosexuality is considered natural because the majority are homosexuals and heterosexuality is considered unnatural? In both the cases, if all other implications of the argument are worked out, there should be no human left to sustain the argument. Everybody will kill each other and sincere homosexuality would put an end to human reproduction, wouldn’t it? Certainly, something is wrong here.

Sadly, the “think-tanks” of liberation only want to sing the chorus of feelings and independence. These are their only absolutes that they fight for. But, how can one claim to have an answer without first working out all the implications of a problem? How can one have arrived at a conclusion without first following all the necessary steps involved in working out the solution of a problem? These are not “think-tanks”; these are choruses.

The word “homosexual” is malakos in the Greek Bible. It means:
1) soft, soft to the touch
2) metaphorically, in a bad sense
2a) effeminate
2a1) of a catamite
2a2) of a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man
2a3) of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness
2a4) of a male prostitute

The word “sodomites” is arsenokoites in the Greek Bible. It means “one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual.”

The Bible gives the judgment:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1Co 6:9-10)

Source: What Is Wrong With Homosexuality?

“My Church” “Your Church” – How Right Are These Expressions?

With the growth of denominational and non-denominational groups, the expressions “my church”, “our church”, “your church”, and “their church” have also become part of many a church jargon. Of course, none of the users of such expressions intend to mean that the church “belongs” to them in the sense of “ownership”. Usually, users of these phrases only may mean to say “the local church group that I am going to or am part of”. Or do they?

Certainly, only Christ has used the expression “My church” and “My sheep” in the Bible. He said,

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18)
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. (Joh 21:17)

The apostles only used expressions such as “the church in Jerusalem” and “the church in your house” (Acts 11:22; Philem 1:2). When talking to the Ephesian elders, Paul said:

Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Act 20:28)

Notice, he says “the church of God”.

Usually, pastors may be using the phrase “my church” in the sense of “the flock I am made accountable of”. However, many servants of God consciously refuse to use such phrases. They feel grieved when anyone would use such a phrase and will humbly correct it as “Christ’s church” or the “church of Jesus”, and so on; rightly so.

But, in a highly fragmented world, where at times one may find several “churches” in the same location, or even the same building(!), people wish to identify with some name to distinguish between the groups, and these pronouns sound very meaningful and useful to them in such contexts. But, these phrases also often express the sense of fragmentation.

One danger of possessiveness is to forget that the Chief Shepherd is the one who cares for each His flock. The other danger of fragmented identities is that one may not feel so much at one with a member going to another group. But, if one cannot love his neighbor whom he sees, how can he love the Lord whom he doesn’t see? How real is this sense of “belongedness” to some group? Could it be cultic or communal to some extent? The same question can also be asked of para-church missionary movements and groups.

The flock is essentially the flock of God. The church is the sheep of God. Pastors and elders are only overseers entrusted with the care of the sheep. This doesn’t mean that they become restricted in their accountability for just flocks of one “denomination” and “group”. This responsibility is not man-appointed and doesn’t have boundaries imposed by men. It also doesn’t end with retirements imposed by man. Their accountability is primarily to God and for whoever the Lord appoints them to take care of.

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. (1Pe 5:2-4)

Was John 7:53-8:11 in the Original Text?

 

This famous well-beloved section, known as the Pericope Adulterae, has been the subject of not only many sermons but also many theses and dissertations. Some of the newer Bible versions try to place a footnote stating that the segment is not present in the more ancient available manuscripts. A number of commentators have tried to avoid commenting on it. Some regard the style and theme to be Johannine and opine that perhaps it was omitted in some early manuscript by a copyist and the error carried on into later manuscripts.  Some think the omission may have been deliberate in order to protect the community from becoming too lenient towards the sin of adultery. [1]

Internal evidence points out to the originality of the verses as inspired by the Holy Spirit. The theme of the light of life revealed in the grace of Jesus Christ (John 8:12) is consistent with the pronouncement in John 1:17, that the law came through Moses but grace and truth through Jesus Christ. Also, the contrast between the condemning light of the Law of Moses and the saving light of the Grace of Jesus is obvious. To those who walk in this light, there is cleansing by the blood of Jesus (1John 1:7).

The passage is certainly there in a number of manuscripts though it fails to appear in a number of others. However, the inductive nature of research cannot draw conclusions on the basis of what is not available yet, i.e. a more ancient manuscript that has this passage intact. There is still this possibility that this passage got missed in a copying process in certain manuscripts but remained intact in others. The verses possess marks of authenticity, were accepted and quoted by the church fathers, are consistent with sound doctrine, and are spiritually edifying.

Notes


1. John David Punch, The Pericope Adulterae: Theories of Insertion & Omission, Doctoral Dissertation submitted to Radboud University Nijmegen, 19 April 2010