Sunday, June 3, 2007

Christology and Omnipotence

So I haven’t been ignoring Christology, just trying to figure out what to say next that doesn’t presume too much. I came up with a list of issues that I wrestle with and thought I might set them out here and try to cast a general framework for my thinking. No idea what will come next.

One of my deepest theological convictions is that omnipotence, in the God can do anything-anywhere-anytime sense, is one of the biggest theological errors of the church. It shows up most any place, but a number of important questions are raised in Christology if you can’t envision God being omnipotent and the Abba of Jesus at the same time. The power of God is much more than an abstract issue in my mind, because religious people tend to imitate their understanding of God (on their best days) and if God sets the world right through coercive power and force it is logical or at least pragmatic for followers of God to do so. I could go on here, but will save my anti-empire spill for later. The point for me is that if God is relational love, then a reconciled creation can not be accomplished by the force of divine will. Any way, here are some Christology issues that need to be looked at if you are against an imperialist incarnation. If you have more ideas, questions, or issues to discuss holla at me. If you want to get ill on heretic go see Zach who is talking about homosexuality. Everyone knows it’s much more “in” to condemn heretics for their view of sexuality and not Christology.

Incarnation without Invasion: I am generally wary of describing the incarnation in a way that the initiator, should it not be God, sound more like the description of a military invasion.

Biology and Cosmology of Baby Jesus: Just how did the conception, birth, and coming of the Christ happen? My goal is to use the phrases “seminal logos” and “God sperm” as many times as possible, because it still makes me giggle.

Prophecy, Prediction, and Fulfillment: How could a Messiah be prophesied about, it actually be Jesus, and God not plan out history? That questions just makes me shiver if no other reason than I may have gone through a period in middle school where I used Josh McDowell’s “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” to witness to a Jewish friend. Sorry Raphael, you tolerated a bit of religious presumptuousness from me, stayed friends, and laid hands on me at my ordination. (Raphael is the handsome Hebrew in the picture with Alecia and I from my ordination service.)

Resurrection without Coercion: I think it is possible but I am not sure what I would do if it wasn’t so this may be a spectacle in theological projecting. I know Corbin (if he has the internet yet after leaving me in Winston-Salem) will let me know the error of my ways.


coemergentco said...

I very much resonate with your Christological conviction against omnipotence. I am reading The Weakness of God by John Caputo and find it very interesting. Though Caputo only strays in and out of Christology in his argument against omnipotence called a Theology of the Event, I find his descriptions most compelling when rooted in the person of Jesus.

Tripp said...

that is on my summer reading list. i just finished a couple other of his books. i saw him lecture on it at the American academy of religion meeting.

Theron Mathis said...

One thing to think about:

The Incarnation was not God's plan B. It did not begin with the Annunciation, but with Creation. The world was created by the Word and for the Word. God had the Incarnation in mind from the beginning.

Tripp said...

a little theois from theron? i really like the concept if i understand it correctly. would love to see theron blog on theois.

Theron Mathis said...

I'll put it my blog drafts...theosis is definitely the way Orthodox describe salvation. 2 Pet 1:4 is a good summary, or the phrases of the Fathers: "God became man, that man might become like God." We become like God by grace, what He is by nature.

Corbin said...

Now what would make me uncomfortable about Christology Tripp? Or resurrection for that matter; doesn't the grand ole apostle tell us without resurrection we have nothing? I just don't think my faith would be shattered with a body in the tomb if we truly believe in "new creation" being fundamentally different, though there must be some aspect of old creation supervening on new creation (to preserve the 're' in resurrection). BTW, if you knock, Jesus will answer...with an AR 15 and a 1911.