Questions about God
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Answers two questions on God, the trinity, and the nature of God.... More...
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Question What is the nature of God The Christian understanding of God has long been the focus oftheological inquiry In Arius\'s Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia it isaffirmed that God is without beginning The construction of God as one and as alone unbegotten alone everlasting alone without beginning alone true alone possessing immortality alone wise alone good alonemaster judge of all immutable and unchangeable is central to thisconstruction of the deity Within the single God thus described there are three equal partsconsisting
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The Christian understanding of God has long been the focus oftheological inquiry. 67. Ibid., p. 31. Daniel Migliore. 64-65. Ibid., p. A trinitarian understanding of God and of salvation gives new direction toour awakening." The attributes of God in my theology are theattributes of the Father, Son, and Spirit without whom Christianity wouldnot be the all embracing religion that it is. As DanielMigliore has pointed out, the Bible depicts "God not only as a father whocares for and protects his chosen people, but also as a mother who givesbirth to, feeds and comforts her children." A trinitarian understanding of God coheres with the witness of theOld and New Testaments. The doctrine of the trinity isnot an arcane, speculative doctrine; it is the understanding of God that isappropriate to and congruent with the Gospel message." The triune God, consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit providesfor the universal Christian experience of salvation - "being saved by Godthrough Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit." Whether one chooses toview the progression of Father, Son, and Spirit as a type ofsubordinationism or a form of modalism may matter less than the basicbelief that the triune being of God is "a mystery that we cannot fullycomprehend." Vladimir Lossky suggests that the highest point of revelation inChristianity is "the dogma of the holy trinity" which is preeminently anantimony. This analyst says that "when I say God, I mean Father, Son,and Holy Ghost; for Godhead neither diffused beyond these so as tointroduce a multitude of Gods nor yet bounded by a smaller compass thanthese, so as to condemn us for a poverty-stricken conception of deity."As articulated by Lossky, the Trinity is a divine plenitude that lifts thehuman soul "beyond the world of being, changing and confused, in bestowingupon it this stability in the midst of passions." In their discussion of this triune God, Johnson and Webber state thatit was with the birth of Jesus that mankind became aware of the triune Godas distinct from the singular God of the Old Testament.[1 ] Earlyliturgical materials reveal that "God is one" as was present in the HebrewShema, but the God of the New Testament is revealed as having a triunenature. Johnson and Webber go on to point out that "all of God'scharacteristics such as his power, his love and grace, his wisdom, hisprovidence, and his mercy and forgiveness, are displayed in the events ofJesus' life, death, and resurrection, and also in the gift of the HolySpirit and the calling out of his people." Thus, the core elementssubsumed within the Christian understanding of the nature of God begin withthe recognition that God presents a mystery and proceeds to the assertionthat there is a triune deity that is composed of Father, Son, and Spiritwhich are in no sense divisible from one another or autonomous. 48.[1 ] Alan F. 32. 71. Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (New York:St. The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. Johnson and Robert Webber What Christians Believe (GrandRapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993), p. 8  Ibid., p. The Trinitarian Controversy. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdsman, 2 4.Rusch, William G. As Migliore affirms, the triune God "is self-giving love that liberates life and creates new and inclusive community.... Question 1: What is the nature of God? God's strategy was to move from theparticular to the universal." Though I reject the notion that theOld Testament God was a monism, I feel that there is no reason to beconfused regarding the existence of three beings in God. Faith Seeking Understanding (Grand Rapids, MI:Eerdsman, 2 ), pp. Editor. 75. Ibid., p. The construction of a God that is personally capable of reaching eachand every one of his creatures is deeply embedded in Christian theology.To achieve this goal, I agree with Arius that it is necessary for God tohave sent his Son or Word to man.[2 ] The completion of the triune God isnecessary if we are to have access to the wisdom of God and the salvationthat he promises to us. cit., p. The Trinitarian Controversy (Minneapolis,MN: Fortress, 1984), p. Rusch, op. cit., p. immutable and unchangeable" is central to thisconstruction of the deity. Within the single God thus described, there are three equal partsconsisting of Father, Son or Word, and Spirit. Rush, Editor. Each ofthese manifestations are equally representative of the holiness and purityof God. This is a God of love and compassion who brings about redemptionand the forgiveness of sins in Jesus along with the correspondingrecognition of the inspiration provided to man through the Spirit. I cannot imagine the existence of a monad thatwould not require an external means of reaching the people. In Arius's "Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia," it isaffirmed that "God is without beginning." The construction of God as"one" and as "alone unbegotten, alone everlasting, alone without beginning,alone true, alone possessing immortality, alone wise, alone good, alonemaster, judge of all... 69. Ibid., p. The task that Christians face is one of accepting the mystery of God. Faith Seeking Understanding. I also agree that "God reveals his inner being in historyin such a way that his Word (the Son) and Spirit (The Holy Spirit) are madeknown." My understanding of God is of a being that is "the God ofelectrifying grace or covenant love" who through his sovereignty "chose toform a people on the basis of his grace in order to carry out his purposesin redeeming the whole world. 47. Ibid., p. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1976), p. I cannot imagine understanding a monad as in andof itself sufficient to accomplish all of the objectives that are to be metthrough belief, worship, and faith. God is eternal andeverlasting, presenting within the triune formulation an inexhaustiblemystery in which three separate entities coexist in harmony andcoordination. As noted by Migliore, "the doctrine of the trinity is thealways-inadequate attempt to interpret this witness (Scripture) in the mostsuitable images and concepts available.... 81.[2 ] William C. 83. Ibid., p. 84. Ibid., pp. Accepting these witnesses is the first step in acceptingthe reality of the triune God. 49. Ibid., p. 62-63. Vladimir Lossky, op. 3 . Ibid., p. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1993.Lossky, Vladimir. TheFathers of the Church "affirm the oneness of God" while acknowledging "thediversity of God" and it is this recognition of both the diversity andunity of God that "lies behind the development of the doctrine of theTrinity."Question 2: The personal doctrine of God In my theology, I recognize God as Creator, Father of Heaven andEarth and all that lives on Earth. Comprehending God is perhaps limitedby our all too human cognitive frailty, but this comprehension is certainlypossible through faith. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1976.Migliore, Daniel. 43. Ibid., p. New York: St. The witness of the Christ to the existence of the Father and the Spiritand the revelations of the Father in the Old Testament and the spirit inthe New Testament are sufficient evidence on which the Christian can basehis or her faith. BibliographyJohnson, Alan and Webber, Robert E. 51. Daniel Migliore, op. We are fullycapable of understanding "the mysterious identity of the monad and thetriad." The instinct for truth is faith and while there are certainvery real challenges when one brings rational speculation to what Losskycalls "contemplation of the mystery of the Trinity," it is possible tocross the abyss and engage oneself in the personae of the deity. It seems to me to matter less whether one follows the Latinexpression of the Trinity by starting from one essence to arrive at threepersons or the Greek theory of the three hypostases than to simply acceptthe understanding that an all-knowing, omnipotent God is able to manifestin any way that is needed to serve the needs of his creation and to providewisdom and redemption. 77. Ibid., p. cit., p. I am fully in accord with the traditionof diversity explicated by such second century theologians as Irenaeus andTertullian in terms of the underlying reality that rests in the word andwisdom of God. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1984.----------------------- William C. 79. Ibid., p. This is clearly amystery but it is not a mystery from which our faith bars us. What Christians Believe.
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