Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Welcome to "The Gallery of God." Yes, that is very pretentious. However, it does illustrate my current understanding of theology. I don't think of theology as an organized set of propositions, or a catechetical series of questions and answers. I'm not saying either of these approaches are wrong, but they are not exclusive. The Christian Bible itself isn't set up systematically. Even the most theological book in the Bible, the Epistle to the Romans, isn't.

It seems to me, one of the things that is missing in Christian theology is the beautiful images themselves. Language is the communication of images, not merely concepts. The concepts come through the image. No, we won't get into language theory here. For those who aren't wired to the left brain, the statement of a theological proposition is met with a blank stare, "OK.... So, uh, what does that mean?" Then, an illustration or metaphor is provided, and the response changes, "OH... Now, I get it." Why do we begin with the proposition? Why don't we begin with the image or metaphor?

What are you talking about, Rod? Off the top of my head:
I am the light of the world.
Behold, the Lamb of God.
He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.
Look and live.
The bride of Christ.
God is love.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.
I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.
His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

All of our soteriological words are also images. Again, off the top of my head:
Ransom
Propitiation
Redemption
Atonement
Regeneration
Conversion
Justification
Adoption
None of these can be understood without the image.

So, I suggest that we, for the moment, stop quibbling about what is first in our systematic theology and instead step back and think about the elegance and beauty of religious thought.




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