Open Theists who posit that God is polarized into higher levels of righteousness by interaction with men who seek to “restrain His anger” imagine that God is “just like them” Ps 50:21

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That is not the testimony that Christ bore of the Father. “And this is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 Jn. 1:5 NAS)

Some have cited the two incidents where Moses interceded with YHWH to spare Israel when He announced that He was going to judge them for their rebelion as evidence that Moses essentially challenged YHWH to a higher level of righteous. That reveals more about those Open Theists than any putative darkness in God. Indeed it has been my observation that many of them do not have a coherent view of the psychology of moral action and consequently and do not understand that love and selfishness are mutually exclusive purposes of life.

Take for instance their queer fascination with Old Testament Scholar Walter Brueggemann, whose take on momentous intercession by Moses and God’s willingness to turn from His just indignation stands as an exercise of pitch black proportions in psychology:

==========
“My take on it is that the God of the Bible is “in recovery” from a propensity to violence, a recovery that requires, on God’s part, intentionality and resolve against an easy reactive treatment of any opposition. Such a view permits us to see that the character of God in the Bible is a real character, with a real internal life, and an on-going resolve to be faithfully God.

On the one hand, we can see texts where God is challenged for God’s propensity to violence. In the narrative of Exodus 32, God in God’s anger is about to assault the recalcitrant Israelites. Except that Moses intervenes and intercedes on behalf of Israel. Moses urges God to reconsider for the sake of God’s own reputation (Exodus 32:11-13). In response to that intercession, it is reported:

And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people (v. 14).

Later on, in Numbers 14, Moses again intercedes to change God’s mind about God’s proposed wrath. This time, in verse 18, Moses quotes God back to God from God’s statement in Exodus 34:6-7), and urges God to act in forgiveness. The exchange goes like this:

Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now. Then the Lord said, “I do forgive, just as you have asked… (vv. 19-20).

In both cases, God’s new reach depends upon urging from God’s human partner. Thus YHWH’s “recovery” depends on bold human agents who will dare to challenge God’s intent and summon God to alternative behavior.”
==========*

If you are an Open Theist and you do not know that Brueggemann is a significant influence among millennial’s who have theological interests and self-identify as “Open Theists” may I urge you expand your field of vision. That such a view is in diametric opposition to Jesus’ teaching is countered by them by saying that “Christ is the evolved state” that God who has been “stretching” since the Golden Calf incident, has finally arrived.

But to come full circle on the initial criticism that many seem bereft of any coherent view of the psychology of moral action I’m going to quote from Finney’s publication, “True and False Conversion” as a consistent application of what love in both God and man means as the backdrop of exegesis of Moses’ two-fold intercession over the rebellion of Israel in the wilderness.

“So Moses had respect to the recompense of reward. But was that his own comfort? Far from it. The recompense of reward was the salvation of the people of Israel. What did he say? When God proposed to destroy the nation, and make of him a great nation, had Moses been selfish he would have said, “That is right, Lord; be it unto thy servant according to thy word.” But what does he say? Why, his heart was so set on the salvation of his people, and the glory of God, that he would not think of it for a moment, but said, “If thou wilt, forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book, which thou hast written.” And in another case, when God said he would destroy them, and make of Moses a greater and a mightier nation, Moses thought of God’s glory, and said, “Then the Egyptians shall hear of it, and all the nations will say, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land.” He could not bear to think of having his own interest exalted at the expense of God’s glory. It was really a greater reward, to his benevolent mind, to have God glorified, and the children of Israel saved, than any personal advantage whatever to himself could be.”

This is a coherent exegesis that has taken to the logical conclusion the Biblical affirmation that God is love.

* citations taken from Brueggemann’s blog: /god-in-recovery-by-walter-brueggemann/ – (search on the phrase to find the blog.)

Go One More Time For Me…

In the 40 year long ministry of Jeremiah the prophet he was often threatened and sometimes physically abused and even put in jail, and yet the word of the Lord would come to him again and again. We, reading in hind sight, are often apt to miss the pathos of God that comes through in the terrible contexts of judgement.  But Jeremiah misses nothing.  At times he felt unduly “put upon” but he would often be moved by the pathos of YWHW to tread the path to the court of the Lord’s house and appeal to the people in the most affecting ways. One might even imagine Jeremiah hearing the echo of “Go one more time for Me” stirring the deep embers of love for God for whom he suffers the loss of all things. 

 “In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying,
2 Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: 3 If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. 4 And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, 5 To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; 6 Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.

In the course of these great prophecies that Jeremiah not only spoke but recorded twice (once after being burned by the King) we often miss the nuance of short phrases by God. The great and mighty God is viewed in heaven surrounded by fire and angelic beings thundering judgement in His august sovereignty.  The urge to make “maximal greatness” the fundamental hermeneutic keeps us from hearing these affecting revelations.

“If so be they will hearken” as the King James renders it though we find other versions make these gems easier to perceive.  The New American Standard for instance has “Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds.”

Still many read those words and say “Ok, and?” As if only their eyes read those words but they never really entered their mind or heart.  Theology is the most blessed of the “sciences” but often traditions blunt the force of the text.  It is instructive to unpack the Hebrew of the phrase “Perhaps they will listen” and “that I may repent of the calamity”.  Calamity that God had purposed to bring upon them.

Verse 3: “Perhaps they will hear” – “אוּלַ֣י  .אוּלַ֣ייִשְׁמְע֔וּ is a particle that literally means “perhaps” and is so translated 35 times in the Old Testament.  In cases where humans are involved no one has a problem.  But when God uses that term a whole hive’s worth of hornets swarm around us threatening us to keep in conventional tradition.  There is no “uncertainty” with God.  And yet there it is unambiguously staring back at us from the page of Scripture. Language means something and here God is speaking in mode of contingency.  That means the thing that He hopes for has no certain outcome in view. And in the second phrase “that I may repent” is equally unambiguous.  The word of repent is וְנִחַמְתִּ֣י :  regret: a) have regrets, a change of heart 1 S 15:29; b) niḥam ʿal allow onesf. a change of heart regarding, relent regarding Ex 32:12; c) abs. turn fm. former attitude, repent Jb 42:6;—2. (allow onesf. to) be sorry: a) subj. God Ps 90:13, w. that Gn 6:6f; b) subj. man.[1] This is also a prospective contingent event and speaks of an outcome that is not a fixed certainty to God.

This whole chapter is a recitation of God’s overwhelming love that seeks every opportunity to appeal to rebellious men and women to repent in a way that reveals the pathos of His heart.  They heard that pathos and yet turn away from its appeal.  In fact they determined to do away with Jeremiah himself. “Thou shalt surely die” v8.  Jeremiah reiterates the message further underscoring the contingent nature of the prophecy.

“The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.  Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.” v 12-13. He argues further and cited three previous similar occasions where judgement was averted in the same way being offered then.

It is a wonder to witness the great lengths scholars have gone to wrap God’s works in theological burritos to disguise the magnitude of their direct meaning.  The reasoning goes, “God always knew that they would not repent for He knows everything”.  This was just accommodating speech because man can’t really understand the Mind of God.  Well one thing’s for sure, God has spoken to us so much as if we can understand Him that their arguement rings hollow, if not irreverent. Their theology has become the ultimate hermeneutic above what is actually written.  They have tried to twist the words of God to mean the opposite of exactly what He said. 

Maybe theologians don’t want to hear about the moving ethos of God’s heart.  Maybe they want a theology of the head that does not move the heart. I say, a man ought to humble himself, and indeed even tremble at His word and take it at face value. 

Passages like these are the mirror images of Jesus’ life and teaching.  No wonder he could say, “If you have seen Me, You have seen the Father.”  Jn. 14:9 

When “Can’t” means “Won’t”

Well known Calvinists, e.g., Jonathan Edwards were unable to make that simple observation when it came to God’s nature.  Failing to distinguish between His ontology and His moral attributes he interpreted “God is love” as an ontological attribute.  In other words he reduced the Divine Perfections to cause and effect.  Process theologian Thomas Jay Oord’s latest book “God Can’t” reveals a similar blurring of that all important distinction.  It has been his contention that  Pentecostalism needed process thought for philosophical justification.  That he does not consider other possiblities for the meaning of “cannot” taints that claim with a bit of irony.[1]

Gregory of Nyssa (circa 350 AD) wrote an essay on the possible meanings of “cannot” taken from various locations in Scripture and general literature.
 
A snippet from “Reading Scripture with the Church Father’s” by Christopher A. Hall

“Norris notes that Gregory understood that “the meaning of a word in Scripture can also be enhanced by know what options exist for the means the word in everyday language as well as in the Bible.” The example Norris supplies from Gregory’s work concerns the Eunomian controversy …

The Eunomians’ denial of the equality of the Father and the Son was based on texts such as John 5:19. Here Jesus teaches that “the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing.” The Eunomians interpreted Jesus’ inability to act on his own as a sign of his inequality with and submission to the Father. 

Gregory knew, however that to “understand what ‘can do nothing’ means, the interpreter must as what ‘cannot’ means.” Gregory responded with a detailed study of what “cannot” means and does not means, an analysis largely base on how “cannot” functions in every day language. Norris has identified at least five aspects of Gregory’s exegesis of “cannot.” 

  1. It can “refer to an ability at a particular time in relation to a specific object. Young children are not accomplished athletes, but they may grow to be such. A little puppy with closed eyes certainly cannot fight, but later he may both see and attack.” 
  2. “Cannot can refer to “something that is usually true but is not true from a particular perspective.” For example, Jesus speaks of a city “on a hill that cannot be hidden.” Does he mean that it could never be hidden” No. “If one stands with a higher hill in the line of sight, the city cannot be seen.” 
  3. “Cannot can refer to “something unthinkable” or not sensible. “At the celebration of a wedding feast, the friends of the bridegroom ‘cannot’ fast while everyone around them is celebrating.” 
  4. “Cannot” may “designate a lack of will as when Jesus ‘could not’ do miracles because of the people’s lack of faith. Jesus did no mighty works in his home town, but that did not mean that he had no power to do them.” 
  5. “Cannot” can refer to things that are simply “impossible,” such “God not existing … or something non-existent existing, or two plus two equaling ten, not four.”

    In this way Gregory compared Scripture with Scripture and showed a wide range of possible meaning for “cannot.”

    [1] “Oord argued that “because Pentecostals and Charismatics claim to be in direct communication with God, they should find a sophisticated philosophical basis in process philosophy for their claim” (Oord 2006:254). “According to Oord, Pentecostalism needs process thought for philosophical justification.” Reichard, Joshua D. 2010. Pentecost, Process, And Power: A Critical Comparison of Concursus in Operational Pentecostal-Charismatic Theology and Philosophical Process-Relational Theology.”

The Transfiguration: The Outshining of the Glory of the Divine Nature.

Transfiguration_Blog_Master

“Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.  And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.  And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.  Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here … While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said,

“This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.  And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.”

And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone. … As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.””Matt. 17:1-9.

This outshining of His glory exceeded anything of mortal experience and was so like the appearances of God in heavenly Glory in the Old Testament that suggesting it was like Moses experience is ludicrous.  The Apostle Paul’s comparison safely excludes that.

“For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it.  For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,  and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.  But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.  But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit””.

Paul calls both Jesus and the Spirit Lord, and in Koine vernacular in this context it is an appellation of Divinity.  The unity and diversity of the Divine Nature.

YHWH’s Creed Ex. 34:5-8

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“And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” (Exod. 34:5-7)
———-

It has beem increasingly common for modern theologians, especially those of the “open-ish” kind, in their haste to deconstruct all things “classical” in theology, even words like “Omniscience” and other default or “intutive” assumptions about God, to employ constructs that are synonomous with “finite godism”.

A case in point is the Old Testament Scholar Walter Brueggemann.  He has a number of blog articles at The Center of Biblica Studies, one of which is entitled, “God in Recovery.”  God has “anger issues” and via interaction which chose partners is “In Recovery” from a overwhelming vindictive sense of righteous judgement.  Moses and Abraham are supposed to have challenged YHWH to new levels of righteous.

Such a dissonent exegesis from YHWH’s creed as cited above.  “…merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,…”.  One has to wonder what Bible Brueggemann is reading to conclude that God needs to “recover” from the “issues” he says He has.   The following is taken from the afore mentioned blog by Brueggemann.
———-

God in Recovery in the Old Testament

“My take on it is that the God of the Bible is “in recovery” from a propensity to violence, a recovery that requires, on God’s part, intentionality and resolve against an easy reactive treatment of any opposition. Such a view permits us to see that the character of God in the Bible is a real character, with a real internal life, and an on-going resolve to be faithfully God.

On the one hand, we can see texts where God is challenged for God’s propensity to violence. In the narrative of Exodus 32, God in God’s anger is about to assault the recalcitrant Israelites. Except that Moses intervenes and intercedes on behalf of Israel. Moses urges God to reconsider for the sake of God’s own reputation (Exodus 32:11-13). In response to that intercession, it is reported:

And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people (v. 14).

Later on, in Numbers 14, Moses again intercedes to change God’s mind about God’s proposed wrath. This time, in verse 18, Moses quotes God back to God from God’s statement in Exodus 34:6-7), and urges God to act in forgiveness. The exchange goes like this:

Forgive the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you pardoned this people, from Egypt even until now. Then the Lord said, “I do forgive, just as you have asked… (vv. 19-20).

In both cases, God’s new reach depends upon urging from God’s human partner. Thus YHWH’s “recovery” depends on bold human agents who will dare to challenge God’s intent and summon God to alternative behavior.”
———-

One can only come to such a dull and pejorative exegesis of these passages if one starts out with a God, “like one of us, just slob like one of us” or some other projection of the human psyche onto a larger screen.  Only the “fobiles” in man are much larger in YHWH.  It certainly has similarities to Process philosophy’s “God-Word” description of His ontological relation to the world.  In that view, God is “becoming” in ever larger appropriations of His experience with man,

One might be tempted to relegate such a description of God to the less tended heaps of Old Testament Theology, but Brueggemann’s reach extends to the New Testament as well.

God in Recovery in the New Testament

From the same blog article:

“And EVEN JESUS needed to be instructed! In his confrontation in Mark 7:24-30, Jesus contrasts the entitled “children” (Jews) with the contemptible “dogs” (Syrians). He is still thinking in tribal categories.” [emphasis mine]

That is, Jesus while in pursuit of the very highest objective still needed to shed the “tribal” bias of Judaism.  He too recovered from old standards of righteousness to a new and higher level by interaction with this woman.

While that is a possible interpretation, it is bizarre in the extreme, and shows gross ignorance of the moral purity of Christ.  Brueggemann’s “Partner in passion” representation of Israel’s core testimony (see partners in recovering from violence) is the controlling hermeneutic of interpretation whereby he runs roughshod over the Person of Christ.

As a scholar of Biblica languages it is expected that Brueggemann knows, (or at least should) that Jesus did not use “κύων” which is used by Jesus earlier as a figurative referencee of reproach for persons regatded as nholy and impure, e.g., ” …do not give to κύων (i.e. dogs) that which is holy …” but rather in this instance Jesus used the word “κυναρίοις” used of a little dog, permitted in the house and even a lap dog, which carried none of the moral denigration of the former.

It was the woman’s humility and faith in the Character of God as He had been expounding it (Jn 1:18) that cut through the hustle and bustle of the crowd. At times Jesus was so crowded that some who possessed the same humility and faith of this woman touched his garment and virtue flowed out of Him and healed her. She too stopped Jesus in his tracks. He did not know who it was, but wanted to see their face!

The truth is, Jesus’ own heart was transparent in humility, purity and passionate benevolence that it was ever listening for the voice of faith, and on occassion found it to exceed that of any found in Israel!

What a contrast between this view and the “earthy” smear of Brueggemann.

God’s Recovery Plan for Mankind

From these few samplyings of Brueggemann’s remarks about “God In Recovery” it is certain that he failed to hear Moses recouting of YHWH’s decent in a cloud to stand by him and delcare Who He is.  It is even more certain that Brueggemann could not see the paralell in the New Testament in Christ’s High Priestly prayer on the night of His betrayal.

“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me …

O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (Jn. 17:8, 25-26 KJV)

———-
Ref.
God In Recovery | The Center for Biblical Studies
thecenterforbiblicalstudies.org/god-in-recovery-by-walter-brueggemann

~ Shiva And the Physics of God ~

ShivaCERN

Polkinghorne on Quantum Theory

It is one thing when someone of Polkinghorne’s caliber shows an inclination towards the Copenhagen interpretation. But it is another thing altogether when those trained in theology adopt it because they suppose it can be used to show validity to their doctrines by apparent agreement with science.

“One must remember that the physicists understand why complementarity works the way it does for rather specific reasons in quantum theory, but this does not license the unthinking application of the idea to other disciplines.” [1]

Apparently many theologians did not heed his warning, but neither did other scientists, most notably some at CERN who welcomed a deputation from the Indian government who presented the foundation with a large statue of Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the dance of creation and destruction.

“In choosing the image of Shiva Nataraja, the Indian government acknowledged the profound significance of the metaphor of Shiva’ dance for the cosmic dance of subatomic particles, which is observed and analyzed by CERN’s physicists. The parallel between Shiva’s dance and the dance of subatomic particles was first discussed by Fritjof Capra in an article titled “The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics,” published in Main Currents in Modern Thought in 1972. Shiva’s cosmic dance then became a central metaphor in Capra’s …- The Tao of Physics….” [2]

“A special plaque next to the Shiva statue at CERN explains the significance of the metaphor of Shiva’s cosmic dance with several quotations from The Tao of Physics. Here is the text of the plaque:

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, seeing beyond the unsurpassed rhythm, beauty, power and grace of the Nataraja, once wrote of it “It is the clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of.” [3]

Polkinghorne specifically denied that such an association was credible. “It is not the case that the quantum world is totally dissolving in its character, in a way analogous to the Eastern idea of the play of maya.” [4]

Furthermore, Polkinghorne showed an uncommon objectivity when he pointed out a little known truth about the dominant status that the Copenhagen interpretation enjoys. It seems that “the claimed indeterminacies of quantum theory are not absolutely required to be present but they are a matter of metaphysical choice.”

“The apparent uncertainties of quantum theory are simply due to the fact that not all the causal agencies at work are accessible to us. Covert causes of this unseen kind are called ‘hidden variables’. David Bohm was the first person to construct an empirically successful theory of this nature. Its experimental consequences are identical to those of conventional quantum mechanics. Bohm’s theory has both (objective) particles and also a wave that encodes information about the environment and which ‘guides’ the motions of the particles, without being itself directly observable. The existence of this alternative interpretation shows that the claimed indeterminacies of quantum theory are not absolutely required to be present but they are a matter of metaphysical choice. A deterministic, but partly hidden, account is perfectly possible. Most physicists, however, incline to Bohr rather than Bohm. Those who make this choice reflectively, rather than simply acquiescing in a consensus, do so because they feel that Bohm’s theory, though very instructive, is too contrived in its character to be fully persuasive. This choice is made on strictly non-empirical grounds, but that does not mean that it is not a rational scientific decision, since science involves more than mere empiricism.” [5]

Further, he states, “The near universal preference among physicists for Bohr over Bohm serves as a reminder of the importance of non-empirical criteria in scientific theory choice.” [6]

It should be pointed out that Polkinghorne’s statement should be qualified. While he is correct that Bohm was the first to construct an empirically successful theory, in fact the pilot wave theory was put forward by de Broglie presented this theory in 1927.

“Dr. de Broglie presented his pilot wave theory at the 1927 Solvay Conference, after close collaboration with Schrödinger, who developed his wave equation for de Broglie’s theory. At the end of the presentation, Wolfgang Pauli pointed out that it was not compatible with a semi-classical technique Fermi had previously adopted in the case of inelastic scattering. Contrary to a popular legend, de Broglie actually gave the correct rebuttal that the particular technique could not be generalized for Pauli’s purpose, although the audience might have been lost in the technical details and de Broglie’s mild mannerism left the impression that Pauli’s objection was valid. He was eventually persuaded to abandon this theory nonetheless in 1932 due to both the Copenhagen school’s more successful P.R. efforts and his own inability to understand quantum decoherence. Also in 1932, John von Neumann published a paper, claiming to prove that all hidden-variable theories are impossible. This sealed the fate of de Broglie’s theory for the next two decades. In truth, von Neumann’s proof is based on invalid assumptions, such as quantum physics can be made local, and it does not really disprove the pilot-wave theory. [7]

This article serves as ‘fair warning’ to those Christians who are deadly serious about their faith and are earnestly seeking to grow in grace and the true knowledge of God. (2 Pet 3:16 -18)  If some one shows up in the operating room with a jackhammer where you are just about to be anesthetized for brain surgery you would call the whole thing off immediately.  I’m afraid some Christians don’t have the good sense to verify what their chosen spiritual leaders are teaching them.  Especially when they teach those things that have been proposed by materialistic science as the “new epistemology” of quantum consciousness so called.  Take a good look at the picture above and recall where that statue stands.

———————————————————————————————————

1. Polkinghorne, ‘Science and Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998) p. 35.

2. Capra, ‘Shiva’ Cosmic Dance at CERN ( http://www.fritjofcapra.net/shiva.html)

3. Ibid.

4. Polkinghorne, ‘Science and Theology (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998) p. 33.

5. Ibid., p. 30.

6. Ibid., p 33.

7. Wikipedia – de Broglie-Bohm Theory ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Broglie%E2%80%93Bohm_theory

~ ❦ I Am He – Too close to Divine Usage to be Mistaken ❦ ~

I_AM Microsoft PowerPoint, Today at 6.15.27 PM.png

Jesus’ use of “ἐγώ εἰμι” Lit. “I am” without “He” in the New Testament parallels the Hebrew “I am, or I am He” and the LXX exactly (though never repeated) so consistently that no Jew could hear Him say *that* about Himself and not understand that He was merely carrying out and establishing a locus of data points that were exactly in line with Divine usage in the Old Testament.

= = = = = = = = = = OLD Testament = = = = = = = = =

“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.” (Deut. 32:39)

ἴδετε ἴδετε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν θεὸς πλὴν ἐμοῦ (Deut. 32:39 LXX )  “I am” w/o He.

‎ רְא֣וּ׀ עַתָּ֗ה כִּ֣י אֲנִ֤י אֲנִי֙ ה֔וּא (Deut. 32:39 WTT)

I, even I am He
– – – – –

“Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.” (Isa. 41:4 KJV)

ἐγὼ θεὸς πρῶτος καὶ εἰς τὰ ἐπερχόμενα ἐγώ εἰμι (Isa. 41:4 LXX) “I am” w/o He.

אֲנִי־הֽוּא׃ (Isa. 41:4 WTT)

I am He.
– – – – –

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” (Isa. 43:10 KJV)

ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι (Isa. 43:10) “… that I am” w/o He.

‎ כִּֽי־אֲנִ֣י ה֔וּא (Isa. 43:10 WTT)

I am He
– – – – –

“Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” (Isa. 43:13 KJV)

[ ego eimi ] absent but implied

אֲנִ֣י ה֔וּא (Isa. 43:13 WTT)

I am He
– – – – –

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Isa. 43:25 KJV)

ἐγώ εἰμι ἐγώ εἰμι (Isa. 43:25 LXX) Lit. “I am, I am” twice.

אָנֹכִ֙י אָנֹכִ֥י ה֛וּא (Isa. 43:25 WTT)

“I, I am He
– – – – –

“And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you. (Isa. 46:4 KJV)

ἐγώ εἰμι (Isa. 46:4 LXX)  “I am

אֲנִ֣י ה֔וּא (Isa. 46:4 WTT)

I am He
– – – – –

“Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.” (Isa. 48:12 KJV)

ἐγώ εἰμι πρῶτος καὶ ἐγώ εἰμι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα (Isa. 48:12 LXX) “I am .. I am ...”

אֲנִי־הוּא֙ אֲנִ֣י רִאשׁ֔וֹן אַ֖ף אֲנִ֥י אַחֲרֽוֹן׃ (Isa. 48:12 WTT)

I am He, I am first and I am last”
– – – – –

“I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;” (Isa. 51:12 KJV)

ἐγώ εἰμι ἐγώ εἰμι (Isa. 51:12 LXX) “Iam, I am…” twlce

אָנֹכִ֧י אָנֹכִ֛י ה֖וּא (Isa. 51:12 WTT)

“I am, I am He
– – – – –

“Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. (Isa. 52:6 KJV)

ἐγώ εἰμι αὐτὸς (Isa. 52:6 LXX ) “I am He

כִּֽי־אֲנִי־ה֥וּא (Isa. 52:6 WTT)

I am He

= = = = = = = = = = New Testament = = = = = = = = =

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (Jn. 8:24 KJV)

ἐγώ εἰμι (Jn. 8:24 ) “I am” w/o He

“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (Jn. 8:28 KJV)

ἐγώ εἰμι (Jn. 8:28) “I am” w/o He

“Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.” (Jn. 13:19 KJV)

ἐγώ εἰμι (Jn. 13:19) “I am” w/o He

“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.(Mk. 13:6)

ἐγώ εἰμι (Mk. 13:6) “I am” w/o He

“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am [Christ]; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.(Lk. 21:8)

ἐγώ εἰμι (Lk. 21:8) “I am”
– – – – –

One need only to read these passages in succession to see the commonality of expression from the Old to the New Testament to realize that Jesus was claiming equality with the Father, even in kenosis, i.e., Incarnate submission as Son of man.   In first century Judaism, for Jesus to take up that moniker and apply it to himself was claiming equality of essence with the Father.

Christ’s claims to “be he of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write” (Jn 1:45) at the beginning stirred hopes that he was Messiah, the one to deliver Israel from their enemies so that they could worship God in holiness without fear, their aspirations swept him up.  The Jews knew that Messiah was going to make intensely personal claims on their allegiance, but there appears to be widespread ignorance of the full implications of dignity of identity of Messiah as shown in may Old Testament passages, e.g.,

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord (הָאָד֣וֹן), whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts (Mal. 3:1 KJV)

Yet as time went on, Jesus began to reveal the full import of who He was as shown in passages like these:

“All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” (Matt. 11:27 KJV)

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (Jn. 5:22-29 KJV)

Honor the Son, EVEN AS, they hour the Father?  Clearly over the top for a mere mortal to say about themselves.

But in the end, the Chief Priests, Pharisees and Elders of the people chose to reject Christ as that august Personage because Jesus ‘ presence and teaching incited the hatred of exposure that their deeds were evil.  It can be truly said that “they hated Him without cause” and so took away his justice and denied that He had a valid claim as “Son of the Blessed”.  A claim he owned so emphatically that they pretended that in his case he were a mere man claiming to be God.   That does not excuse them from the evidence that they did know that Messiah was Son of God in a unique and unparalleled way.

The apostles knew that Jesus was making a claim to unity with the Father in an unparalleled way for they also refer to him as:

“…the Lord of glory…”  1 Co. 2:8, Jam 2:1.

I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images (Isa. 42:8 KJV)

That the Scripture gives witness to the Plurality of Persons as what it means to be God, it is not surprising that the proud heart of man would reject the notion that God could be manifest in the flesh because they have already relegated the glory of His essence to be finally controlled by a mathematical hermeneutic.  I. E., God could only, by definition, be One in the cardinal sense of the number “1”.

The Apostolic witness of Who Christ was (and is) was brilliantly, and strategically stated in the Apostle John’s “prologue” in an unambiguous challenge to the god’s of this world.

“1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word *was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (Jn. 1:1-3 KJV)

* That is, all that it means to be in the same exclusionary class of God.


ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος.

“The Word was with God, and the Word was God. Again, a subset proposition is envisioned here. The λόγος belongs to the larger category known as θεός. The force of this construction is most likely to emphasize the nature of the Word, not his identity. That is to say, the Word is true deity but he is not the same person as the θεός mentioned earlier in the verse.” [1]

1.) Wallace, Daniel, “Beyond the Basics”,  II Predicate Nominative, 3.The Semantics and Exegetical Significance of the Subject-Predicate Nominative Construction. pg 45.

The Error of Descartes – And of some Open Theists

In the letter of dedication by René Descartes to the Dean and Doctors of the Faculty of Sacred Theology of Paris, to whom he appealed for support in promulgating the principles contained in his “Meditations on First Philosophy …”, he erroneously concluded from Romans 1:19 that by reason alone one could show the existence of God and the soul.

“And in Romans, Chapter 1, it is said that they are ‘without excuse.’ And again in the same passage it appears we are being warned with the worlds: “What is known of God is manifest in them,” that everything that can be know about God can be shown by reasons drawn exclusively from our own mind.”

Who cannot immediately see that the great Descartes has gone too far in his inference. It does not say that *everything* that can be known about God follows from ‘a prior’ principles and unaided reason, but rather that specific things about God are manifest in all men, as God has made it part of their nature i.e., ‘a priori’ (revealed law in his nature) and in the creation of the universe external to man, has provided the stimulus of discovery of “first truths of reason” in man.

The error of some Open Theists is in going too far in the other direction in denying that certainty about morals or even any attributes of God is possible or legitimately claimed. That error should be obvious in what Paul further says:

“…for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Rom. 1:19-20)

Those are discrete aspects of God: eternal power and divinity. Even without the Bible every person in possession of right reason has default views, given by God, of moral law and the perception of his infinite power and identity as creator of all things.

“Ye Have Heard That It Was Said by Them of Old Time”

The classic work of Dr. David Daube, “The New Testament And Rabbinic Judaism” identified the phrase as a reference to the traditional Jewish midrash that had become more authoritative than the text of Scripture itself. Much like the “Baptist Faith and Message” or the Catechism of Catholicism, it formed a tradition that invariably made “the word of God of no effect.” Jesus had poured forth his criticism upon that tradition in no uncertain terms (e.g., see discourse on ‘Corbin’) and it should not be surprising that in the Sermon on the mount its contrapuntal use to his own “But I say unto you” forms a landmark hermeneutic of the initiation of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus’ clear reference to Scripture are predicated by “it is written” or “the word of God” and similar unambiguous terms making the phrase “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time” conspicuous by its obtuseness. But this phrase has been used copiously by biblical historical critics to show a putative dichotomy between the “Law” and “Christ” as if Christ were indicating that his teaching superseded the law it self.

Such claims are understandable coming from an ethos that assumed that Scripture, especially the Old Testament, was at core the production of myth and tradition (e.g., German biblical historical criticism) but has been perpetuated in the teaching of a number of self-identified “open theists.”

The chief problem with the “Law” vs “Christ’s teaching” is that the context of the contrapuntal back and forth is prefaced by:

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-19 KJV)

That is the exegetical key to understanding what follows. That and the solemn warning that “…except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:20 KJV).

Jesus was excoriating the “theology of Phariseeism” that had taken up the text of Scripture into its superseding midrash. One can easily think of popular “open theist” authors who use the Sermon on the Mount as a pretext for redaction of the Old Testament to conform to a “kinder and gentler” view of God, or the basis for denying the authority of the law in the age of grace.

As a corollary interest many have claimed that Jesus’s “fulfilling the law” was also a statement to the effect that its purpose has been accomplished and its need now removed. But that is based upon the assumption of a definition that has clear alternatives. In light of the Jesus’s disavowal of coming to destroy the law, the case to be made for “to make to stand” or “to establish by scrutiny and examination, by exegesis and by obedience to the sprit as much as the letter.” [1] is more consistent with his stated purpose.

All to say that the popular assumption that Jesus was directly quoting from Scripture in his “But I say unto you” does not satisfy a consistent contextual exegesis, and the alternative undermines a number of pretexts for denying a high view of Scripture or enables a valid ground to redact the Old Testament portrayals of God using violence to accomplish His purposes in the Old Testament.

1.) See Guillaume, ‘The Midrash in the Gospels’, Expository Times, 37, 1926, 392.

Romans 8:26 – Synchronous Suffering

Probably the most overlooked passage of Scripture that demonstrates a shared continuum of duration between us and God is the following.

“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:26-28 NAS)

“…intercedes for us (as our infirmities are hurting us) with groanings too deep for words.” (pause)

Intercedes – συναντιλαμβάνεται verb indicative present middle. A compound verb depicting “to lay hold along with, to strive to obtain with others, help in obtaining 2) to take hold with another”. Being in the middle voice emphasizes the initiative of the one doing the action.

So the Spirit is depicted as living right alongside of us taking up the weight of our infirmities, as He encounters them, and does so with extreme passionate concern.

Then we are told that the Father who is always searching hearts (another statement of durative consciousness for God) is present tense *knowing* the mind of the Spirit (nonpersonal forces don’t have “minds”) and is hearing the Spirit because “…Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (1 Cor. 2:10) and in THEIR consultation the Spirit formally intercedes synergistically with the will of God.

I don’t know how a more emphatic case could be made for the durative, intimate and deeply sympathetic experience of the Spirit of God within our experience.

Postulating that God is outside of time totally ignores this passage and exempts Him from our experience.