procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Friday, June 22, 2007

eschatology and restoration

only two days away from my WaSaBI seminar on the above-mentioned topic, subtitled, is it right to say "the Christian hope is to go to heaven when we die"?

my plan is as follows:
  • why do we think what we think?
    and take a look at world histories, and how we get to where we seem to have got to

  • what actually happens when we die?
    we can think thru matrices(!) and a few passages that talk about the now and the not yet

  • what will be the characteristics of the new heavens and new earth?
    looking at a few passages, working out what will be continuous, where the discontinuity is

  • what is God's goal for creation?

  • if we live now for the future because of the past, how does our thinking about the future affect how we live now?

  • it will be nice to get all this stuff out that has been swinging around in the monkey-bars of my head for so long.
    and i hope it should be fun too!
    Sunday 24th June, 2:30-4:00pm, Wild St Church Hall, Maroubra

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    Monday, June 18, 2007


    i used to be a mathematician.
    well, i did lots of maths at high school.
    7 units in my final two years, to be precise!

    and it may be (unless you include counting animals in the ark), that we finally have a use for maths in Theology!

    John Polkinghorne, in his chapter in The End of the World and the Ends of God (Trinity Press, 2000) on Eschatology, suggests that an understanding of matrices may help us understand the nature of the resurrection!

    the current state of forgiven sinners is that which is portrayed in the first 20 chapters of John's Revelation.

    but what then happens when we die? are we bodiless? do we go do the limbo rock?

    Polkinghorne postulates:
    What [we] would naturally think of as the vector spaces of the old and new creations could be "alongside" each other, with the continuity of resurrection being the result of a structure-preserving mapping from one space into the other. From this point of view, it would be conceivable that all persons arrive at the general resurrection at the same "time," irrespective of the time of their deaths in this world. (p40)

    no limbo, no "sleep", no bodiless resurrection, no playing harps in clouds.

    but does it hold water?

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    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    the bible was written for me! or was it?

    When you're feeling a bit down, reading the Psalms, it's easy to start seeing yourself in them.
    When I wept and humbled myself with fasting,
    it became my reproach.
    When I made sackcloth my clothing,
    I became a byword to them.
    I am the talk of those who sit at the gate,
    and the drunkards make songs about me.

    Hide not your face from your servant;
    for I am in distress;
    make haste to answer me.

    Psalm 69:10-12,14

    You start saying - yeah, that's so true. That's exactly what's been happening. It's like it was written just for me, 3,000yrs beforehand!

    But then you come across something like this:
    Reproaches have broken my heart,
    so that I am in despair.
    I looked for pity,
    but there was none,
    and for comforters,
    but I found none.
    They gave me poison for food,
    and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.

    Psalm 69:20-21

    And then you remember that all of the scriptures point not to you, but to the Christ, the suffering servant King – to Jesus, who fulfilled this on the cross.
    He was despised, abandoned, rejected; to top it all off all 4 gospels testify to him being offered sour wine to drink, fulfiling this Psalm. (c/f Matthew27:48, Mark15:36, Luke23:36, John19:29-30)
    For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
    2 Corinthians 5:21

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    Sunday, June 10, 2007

    the problem of evil

    are things as good as they can be?
    why aren't they?
    God uses bad stuff for 3 reasons:
    1. as judgement because of sin (c/f isa45:7 dan9, 1cor11:30)
    2. to discipline us as his children (c/f heb12:10)
    3. to test/make sure of our faith (c/f 1pet1)

    therefore we should be satisfied that God is in control over all, knowing he works all things for good (Rom8:28)


    reading this article by Matheson Russell, it was good to see his righteous indignation at this "ideology", this apathetic, laissez-faire view of the evil.

    Theodicy [This idea of God using evil for good] misrepresents evil by saying that evil is necessary for the good; God is weaving a tapestry and he needs the light and the dark thread to make the picture beautiful. But the analogy won’t wash: while the weaver may need the light and dark threads, the creator of heaven and earth made a world that was good, very good without a drop of blood being spilt. And theodicy puts us in the wrong relationship to evil since it asks us to put our pain, outrage and opposition to one side and to see the bigger picture, the harmonious and rational whole of the universe in which evil has its place. But this does not do justice to victims of pain, loss and injustice. And even more importantly, it doesn’t do justice to the good news of the gospel [...]

    and what is the good news of the gospel?
    that God is seeking to right the wrongs.
    that he will not be content with a world that is self-destructive, consuming itself in hatred.
    that no price is too great a price to pay, that this world might be redeemed for that which he purposed it.

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    Monday, June 04, 2007

    mmm. salt.

    “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet." Matthew 5:13

    Jesus here is telling Kingdom people, those living with him as their king, that they're to be the salt of the earth.

    now, it has been put to me there are two options for Jesus' use of the word salt here:
  • as a flavour enhancer, and/or,
  • as a preservative.

    how do we do that?
    i'm thinking it's a great idea, but is there not a point at which you're no longer tasting the real food underneath? if i'm eating something (chips are probably the exception here), i want to be tasting what i'm eating. i want to know if whatever i'm tucking into is off. roadkill with lots of salt is still road kill. i'm not saying we're not to be in the world, we are, but we're not to be of the world. we're to show that we are different, that we don't value things which will rust and rot and the moth will eat. so does that pretty much rule out the flavour enhancer idea?

    and what of salt being a preservative?
    for what are we preserving this decaying world? we're told the heavens and earth will be renewed - isn't it like putting a fresh coat of paint on a wall you're about to bulldoze?

    comments? what have i missed?

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  • Friday, June 01, 2007

    thru a mirror dimly

    ... it is as if this story's (Mark's biography of Jesus) method is to possess the reader through its characters, in order to provide a range of mirrors back on the viewing I.

    what is the purpose of the scriptures?
    what do you like about this quote?
    what would you change?

    (from John Carroll's The Existential Jesus)