Greenflame

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Faith & Religion

Thinking ahead

I’m lecturing next week on the Christian hope for creation. (Specific title “Cosmic Eschatology”). It reminded me of this meditation that I’ve used before by Terry Falla that draws us back to God as creator and sustainer.

Alpha and Omega

Before galaxies burned in empty night,
planets hurled through deepest space,
waves broke upon primeval shores,
volcanoes roared with molten rock;

Before lightning split an angry sky,
glaciers cut through tortured steeps,
flowers danced in zephyr winds,
streams chattered by forest glades,

You were already God.

And when in unimagined aeons
the earth ignites in flames of dying sun;
or missiles flash to cities doomed,
ash drifts, boughs break, unheard, unseen,

You will still be God.

Christ risen, what futile, cold assurance,
if he were not our God! But Alpha, cosmic,
crucified, he comes in grace confounding:
Omega, Father, Saviour, Friend;

Our Judge, our Breath, our Joy.

From: “Be Our Freedom, Lord.” by Terry C. Falla (p.42)

4 Comments

  1. Darrem

    Stephen,

    This meditiation describes Gods infinity, and then concludes with a paragraph regarding Jesus. This raises the question, how can Jesus be God? That is to say, how can the Almighty, an infinite being, come to earth contained in the form of a finite human body?

    Regards,
    Darren

  2. That’s lovely.Thanks for posting it. I’ll add it to my “found prayers” folder.

  3. Darren,

    I see you posted a similar comment on another posting of mine that referred to the Trinity. Suffice to say I don’t think any human being can describe or explain how God might become “flesh and blood and move into the neighbourhood” so to speak. Certainly that’s a problem if for those working within Greek Platonic or Gnostic frameworks – spirit is good and pure, matter is tainted or evil.

    But within the Trinitarian tradition that I live and work we struggle to balance the problem there is one God yet simultaneously that God is distinctively Father, Son and Spirit. On one hand there is continuity with the traditions of the Hebrew Scriptures (monotheism – One God) but on the other the implications of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ together with his power to restore human beings into right relationship with God, and the experience of the Holy Spirit lead to trying to explain that too. (And the analogies we use will always be insufficient).

    Mostly the Christian church swings between emphasing the oneness or unity of God (in the West) and the three persons of the Trinity (in the East).

    I can put up a bibliography of material that I’ve found helpful in trying to understand it. Then if you’re interested in following it up you can. On the other hand if you’re a thoroughgoing monotheist and I’m a dedicated Trinitarian than I don’t either of us will change the others mind in a hurry.

    Peace,

    Stephen.

  4. Darren

    Stephen,

    I must respectfully disagree with you with regards to God being a Trinity.

    Although the belief in the unity of God is taught and declared on virtually every page of the Hebrew scriptures, the doctrine the Trinity is never mentioned anywhere throughout the entire corpus of the Hebrew Bible. This is understandable when we consider that primitive Christianity, in its earliest stages, was still monotheistic. The authors of the New Testament were completely unaware that the church they had fashioned would eventually embrace a pagan deification of a triune deity. Although the worship of a three-part godhead was well known and fervently venerated throughout the Roman Empire and beyond in religious systems such as Hinduism and Mithraism, it was quite distant from the Hebrew origins out of which Christianity emerged. However, when the Greek and Roman rather than the Hebrew began to dominate the church, it created a theological disaster from which Christendom has never recovered. By the end of the fourth century, the doctrine of the Trinity was firmly in place as a central tenet of the church, and strict monotheism was formally rejected by Vatican councils in Nicea and Constantinople. Interestingly enough, the pagan God, Mithra, was also born on the 25 of December, he also had twelve followers, we was also said to be mankinds saviour, he was killed and then was ressurrected, he was said t be born of a virgin birth, he was also known as the “light” unto the world.

    I know that in many places the corpus of the Gospel suggests, “Jesus and the Father are One”. However, there are places in the Gospel where Jesus says differently.

    For example, in John 14:28, Jesus declares, “I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I” How can Jesus be God if God is “greater” than him?.

    In the Book of Mark, Jesus is asked by four of his disciples when the Tribulation period will occur. In 13:32 Jesus responds, “But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the son, but the Father.”
    The problems this verse creates are staggering. If Jesus were coequal with the Father, how could the Father have information that Jesus did not? That is to say, if Jesus were God manifested in the flesh, as some contend, how can God not know something? If somehow the second Person of the godhead didn’t know, how did the first Person find out? Moreover, if, as some persist, the son was limited by his human nature, why didn’t the Holy Spirit know?

    God is very clear and very specific when he describes His nature to us. Deuteronomy 32:39 says, “See now that I, myself am He! There is no god besides Me”. How much more specific can God be?
    Furthermore Deuteronomy 4:35 says, “You are the ones who have been shown, so that you will know that God is the Supreme Being, and there is none other besides Him!”. I Kings 8:60 says, “so that all the nations of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other!”. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one”

    Furthermore, we know that God did not screen or veil his divine nature. In fact, Isaiah unequivocally proclaimed that the Almighty did not reveal Himself in darkness or in a hidden or veiled fashion. In Isaiah 45:19 the prophet, speaking in the Almighty’s name, declares that, “I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, “Seek Me in vain.” I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.”

    The idea that God came down to earth and took a human form as Jesus, I think is a bit imaginative. The Bible specifically tells us that this is not possible. I Kings 8:27 says, “For will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have built?”

    God also tells us in no uncertain terms that he does not take a human form. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a mortal that He should change His mind.” This concept is expressed again in I Samuel 15:29, “also the Eternal One of Israel will not lie nor change His mind; for he is not a man, that He should change His mind.” Additionally, Psalm 146:3 says, “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no salvation!”

    Instead, Isaiah 43:10 -11 says, “Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no Savior.”

    Regards,
    Darren

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