A Lively God

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January 11, 2012 Tags: Biblical Authority

Today's video features Lincoln Harvey. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Today's video features theologian Rev. Lincoln Harvey and is courtesy of filmmaker Ryan Pettey, director/editor of Satellite Pictures.

In today's video, Rev. Lincoln Harvey discusses our desire to "domesticate" the liveliness and abundance of God. Harvey notes that the Trinity highlights both the manyness and oneness of God, which can be hard to Christians to fully understand. While this lack of understanding can be unsettling, Harvey encourages Christians not too force God into too neat of a box. Often, this desire to domesticate can be found in our interaction with Scripture. The Scriptures can be understood, but there is still something lively, mysterious, and beautiful in them that resists our desire to tame them. We should instead approach Scripture, as we approach God, with a spirit of humility and openness.

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.


Lincoln Harvey is Tutor in Theology at St Mellitus College. He studied Systematic Theology at King's College London under the supervision of Colin E. Gunton, on whose theology he has edited a collection of essays with T&T Clark. He was previously Tutor for Christian Doctrine at The South East Institute for Theological Education (SEITE), and has also taught on the MA programmes at King's College, London. He has contributed to a number of books and journals, and is currently working on a theology of sport. Lincoln is Associate Priest at St Andrew's Fulham Fields, having served his curacy at St John-at-Hackney in East London.


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Roger A. Sawtelle - #67055

January 13th 2012

Rev. Harvey speaks my language.

Indeed the Trinity defends the living nature of God Who lives in and beyond the pages of the Bible.

Also the Trinity makes possible the understanding of Jesus Christ as the Logos, or  we could look at it the other way around.  The Logos makes possible the Trinity.  In any case the Trinity destroys dead, insipid fundamentalisms of all kinds.   


MrDunsapy - #67120

January 15th 2012

 Hi Rodger 
This scripture is what Jesus said after he was resurrected.
What did Jesus mean that he had a God and it was the same God, we have?
John 20:17

Common English Bible (CEB)

17 Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold on to me, for I haven’t yet gone up to my Father. Go to my brothers and sisters and tell them, ‘I’m going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67126

January 15th 2012

MD,

The Father is God (just like the Son.)


MrDunsapy - #67132

January 15th 2012

Hi Rodger

Are you saying there are 2 Gods in heaven? 

Roger A. Sawtelle - #67133

January 15th 2012

MD,

If you do not understand the basic Christian doctrine of the Trinity, you need to read a good book on the subject. 

 


MrDunsapy - #67139

January 15th 2012

Hi Roger

I have read the ‘good book’.  But there is no information on the Trinity there.
Anyway, its OK , I was just wondering, how some would answer that. I have talked to many scientists, and this comes up all the time, they think religion, is not logical, or could stand up to science, because of ideas like this. They say religions even Christendom believe in myths, and ideas that that do not make sense.

Roger A. Sawtelle - #67158

January 16th 2012

MD,

Your attitude stinks.  There is plenty of information in the Bible about the Trinity and if you don’t see it I feel very sorry for you.

Despite your rotten attitude I will respond to your response. 

The first response is that there is much that is “not logical” in science.  Such as the fact that science maintains that more 80% of the matter and energy of the universe is “dark,” which means that it is invisible or hidden.  How can science claim to understand the universe if it is unavailable to observation or experimentation?  We know nothing about dark matter and dark energy except that it is hidden.

How can particles act like energy or waves sometimes and at other act like particles?  How can energy, light, act at times like a particle and at times like a wave or energy?

This is the viseral, “so’s your old man!” response while is valid but not very productive response.

The second response is more nuanced, difficult, but more productive.  It is to point out that in the Western tradition as opposed to the many Eastern traditions, we understand Reality through three different disciplines, philosophy, theology, and modern science.  Each has its own perspective of reality and each has its own way or “logic” for examining of reality. 

One can see with one eye, but two eyes provide the perspective necessary to best understand our world.  Thus we see reality from two perspectives and our mind integrates the two pictures into one.  Some scientists are doing experiments with people who have difficulty in integrating the vision of both eyes and are coming up with strange conclusions.

Therefore it is not science vs faith, or subjective vs objective.  It is how to integrate the physical, rational, and spiritual spects of life into one overall worldview.  If life is only physical as some say, looking at it with only one eye, we miss the dimensions of the rational and spiritual.  If life is only intellectual as others say, looking at it with only their mind, we miss the dimensions of the the physical and the spiritual.  If life is only spiritual, looking at it with only the other eye, we miss the dimensions of the physical and the rational. 

Creationists treat the Bible as a scientific textbook, trying to reduce the doctrine of Creation to a scientific event, instead of theological understanding of how God works.  By reducing the Bible to science they use only one eye, instead of using the both eyes (or books) God gave us .  Scientismers  attack the Bible as if it were a scientific textbook. so they use one eye.  Both of them are guilty of the same type of error, confusing science with theoloogy.            

      

  


MrDunsapy - #67159

January 16th 2012

Hi Rodger

True science is logical.  The creation was done with logic and science.  The science is the evidence, the fact.  The scientists puts interpretations on the evidence. 

Now if God was not logical, and we are the image of God, we would not be logical either. But we search for logic in everything.
And example , is that God had no beginning. We can not understand no beginning.  But logic tells us that is the way it has to be. We accept it because the evidence and logic tells us that is true.  The scientists, have the same question, and have the same answer, in that something had to be always there.
Also many scientists will say you think there is a ‘magic man’ that created things. But then they say life is just an mixture of chemicals, and we are going to show you, how it could happen naturally.. So they go about trying to prove that by creating life in a Lab. Is that logical? Because it can only show creation. It certainty doesn’t show how life could happen on its own.So their experiment isn’t logical , but it does show that life comes from creation. If they can learn how things are put together, it is no longer magic. It is science and logic.
In humans we do have a spiritual mind. We need something to put our trust in. Today many to not believe in God, but they put  their 
trust in money or governments or in science etc.
 The bible is not a scientific text book. But what it says , about science has always been  correct and ahead of  the scientists.  
That is one of the proofs of a God.
So creation and science are the same thing. And logic, is one way  we understand who God is, and why the world is the way it is.
That is why there are answers to these questions. We need logic to understand. If it is not logical it is not from God. 

Roger A. Sawtelle - #67163

January 16th 2012

MD,

We still aren’t communicating.  Creation and science are not the same thing.  They are not opposites or enemies, but they are not the same thing. 

Creation is theology.  Creation is basically about God.  Science is basically about the universe.  The universe is not God and God is not the universe.  This is God’s universe and God’s fingerprints are all over it, but it and God are not the same thing.

Maybe the one track narrow thinking that keeps you from seeing the witness to the Trinity in the Bible also maintains a monistic view of Reality that refuses to acknowledge the separation between God and the universe.    


MrDunsapy - #67174

January 16th 2012

Hi Roger

Science and creation are the same thing. The problem is  that many people think that there is a clash  because  some scientists and some religious ones, have  erroneous  interpretations from  both sides.
Science is the study of things that have already been done, and are in existence. The reason the scientists, can learn about how life works and the universe, is because, it was all done with the use of science. 
All of us use science every day. If I can throw a baseball, over home plate.I figure that out in my brain, by using sight, physics, mathematics etc.and then control my muscles to do the correct movements. All of these things can be  broken  down  into scientific, disciplines.  We don’t have to do math first, our brain does that for us, on another level than having to sit down and doing, the calculations.
The same with cooking meals, we use chemistry, to get reactions to make bread for example.   

 If you would like to compare the bible to science, or the base for learning about God, many theologians have many  different  interpretations. That is why there are so many Christian religions. There are many ideas on the length of the creative days for example. They can’t be all correct. 
And some of the ideas the scientists scoff at. Because they are not logical. Just as, creationist  scoff at the  scientists,  because what they say is not logical. 
That is why there is a polarization of some scientists and some theologians.  But the science and creation are still the same thing.
The Trinity is one of those , non logical ideas. Just as ‘abiogenesis ’  and ‘evolution’ are also not logical.
So even though most scientists support ‘evolution’ and most Christian churches support a Trinity, does not make it correct. But they both fulfill prophecies in the bible.


Cal - #67195

January 17th 2012

Mr. Dunsapy:

Seemingly contradictory does not mean not logical. I think Roger’s example of Light is the perfect example.

Though the Trinity is a form of stating who God is, I think anyone (not bound by the councils as chains) can say they’re merely groping at what Scripture speaks about. A crude example I recall was Time. Time is Past, Present and Future, it is not time without one of those components but Past is not Future and Future not Present, but they’re all Time. Don’t dig at it too deeply or it falls apart, but it’s an elementary sketch at what’s presented in the Scriptures.

Also, “Evolution” is a boogeyman word. You can see “Evolution” occur in the creation of different dog breeds. What you probably have issue with is ‘macro-evolution’, but you must define your terms right!


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67197

January 17th 2012

Cal,

Thank you for your support.  I was wondering when someone else would join the conversation.

However it must be noted that this is not the case of someone not understanding the Trinity.  This is the case of someone denying the divinity of Jesus Christ.  This is the case of someone like the Jehovah Witnesses saying that Jesus was not God, but a god by which they mean an angel and Jesus was in fact an angel in human form, rather than the God-Man Who died for the sin of humanity.

Jehovah’s Witness grew out of a false prophecy in the 19th century and compounded the problem by denying the divinity of Jesus and thus becoming a non-Christian cult.  They have even altered the Bible to read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”

False religion leads to bad ideas and the idea that Creation and science are the same is among the worst.  The facts speak for themselves.  We cannot alter them to make God into Whom we want God to be.   


MrDunsapy - #67199

January 17th 2012

Hi Rodger

This is just a discussion, so no one has to agree with me, its just that should be looked into.  
The Trinity became part of Christianity in the time of Constantine. it was part of the Gauls religion. And Constantine, wanted to unite, his Kingdom. This is also where the cross came from. This about 300 AD. It really was a pagan teaching. 
Yes the bible does say the word was God. And as Jesus was God creation, he had a beginning. But God almighty never did.  Also God has immortality, but Jesus didn’t until he died on the stake.
Jesus said there are many Gods. But there is only almighty God.

1 Corinthians 8:5-6

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)5People may say that there are gods in heaven and on earth—many gods and many lords, as they would call them. 6But for us,“There is only one God, the Father. Everything came from him, and we live for him.There is only one Lord, Jesus  Christ.  Everything came into being through him, and we live because of him.” 

Did you notice that  there is only one God the Father everything came from him. And When talking about Jesus it says “Everything came into being through him”

Any way I didn’t really want to get into this too heavily. So if you want to continue this I  will  but  if you don’t, that’s OK.

It’s just the scientists look at religion, as not logical and believing in myths. So it is important to set the record straight. 


ps Constantine and the Council of Nicaea

  What role did the unbaptized Emperor Constantine play at the Council of Nicaea? The Encyclopædia Britannica states: “Constantine himself presided, actively guiding the discussions . 

The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Some bishops, blinded by the splendour of the court, even went so far as to laud the emperor as an angel of God, as a sacred being, and to prophesy that he would, like the Son of God, reign in heaven.”


  



Roger A. Sawtelle - #67200

January 17th 2012

MD,

Constantine was unbaptized at this time not because he was an unbeliever, but because he postponed his baptism until just before his death.  While his reasoning was strained, it was also “logical.”  He knew that his job as Emperor involved difficult “worldly” decisions and he wanted to make sure he was forgiven at the time of his death, so he was baptized shortly before it. 

The Nicean formula is generally ascribed to the great African Church Father Athanasius who is indeed was its greatest proponent, not Constantine.  It grew out of the theological struggle against the Egyptian Arius, who indeed believed that Jesus was not God. 

 If you want to be an Arian, that is your choice, but that means that you are not Christian, who are followers of Jesus Christ.  If we follow Him and He is not God, then we are guilty of blasphemy.  If you do not follow Him and He is God, then you are guilty of not worshiping the true God, so this is anot an incidental issue.

Augustine in his great theological work On the Trinity established the Western understanding of the Trinity.   

To set the record straight, Jesus was crucified, died on a Roman Cross.  This has nothing to do with pagan teaching.  Jesus was crucified because Rome could not stand the thought that there could be any Ruler higher than Caeser. 

Jesus the Logos, the second Person of the Trinity was not created.  God created the universe.  The Father is the Source of all that is, while the Logos gives Form to all that is.  Both the Source and the Form of the universe come from the One God, so we have one God and two Persons of God, not two or three Gods, or God and gods.

Jehovah’s Witnesses put Jesus on the same level as the Devil, both are created spiritual beings or angels.  There is not way that that can be true, according to the NT and the experience of the Church of Jesus Christ. 

Please note that God, YHWH, states that God alone is the Savior.  The NT makes it clear that Jesus Christ is the Savior of humankind, therefore Jesus must be God, or the Bible is completely false.

Please get your facts straight lest you be led away from the light of the love of God by false teachers who do not understand the Truth of God.        

 


MrDunsapy - #67216

January 18th 2012

Hi Rodger

Did you really want to continue on this? I will if you would like. But my goal was to show why many scientists, see that religion is just myths and lacks logical reasoning’s. Therefore are just mythical stories. That makes them compare Christianity , to many pagan and tribal Gods. 
I see this all the time, and have to go in to what the bible really says, to get them to at least listen. The way you do that is by logic, and what the scriptures say.We are made in Gods image , so he wants us to understand him and we can, but it also has to be logical. 
Here is an example. Adam and Eve were created to live on the earth forever, they would never die. So the question is, would, God make a place that he would torture them in Hell, or would he make a place for them in heaven, when they were never to die? These places would be of no use.
So mans  place and what is natural for man is the earth.
That has not changed.
So when the scientists hear many say we  go to heaven or Hell when we die, that is not logical for them. Also the angels are already in heaven they did not need to come to the earth first. So if God wanted more angels he could have just created them as  angels. 
I am constantly taking questions like this from ones that do not believe in a God because it does not make sense.It’s not logical.
Do you see what I mean?

Roger A. Sawtelle - #67217

January 18th 2012

MD,

Those are interesting questions. 

When I suggested a good book could answer some of the questions you had, you dismissed the suggestion and went on concerning silly disinformation about Constantine and the Trinity.

So it really does not seem that you are serious about learning the answers God has to these questions, or justifying a JW point of view.

If you are really serious, let me know, and I’ll see what I can do. 


MrDunsapy - #67221

January 18th 2012

Hi Rodger

Rodger I am serious about the bible and God. I think you know that. I also am serious about science.  
I look at all of this as a big puzzle, one the 1,500 piece one. Now science is really a small part of the puzzle manybe a few pieces in the sky and a few in ground. But you don’t need it to see what the picture is about.  But at the same time it has to fit.  There is an absolute answer to things. Because we real there has to be. 
So to be logical, science and creation are the same thing.It is just that the interpretations on both sides that need to be checked out. 
So that means if your understanding, has contradictions or is not logical, its not that the evidence isn’t there, it is our understanding that needs to be looked at.
Here is an other example. Satan basically said to God ( from the book of Job) people will only serve you because of what you give them. A selfish motive and not a loving relationship. So Job was tested.
Because of that taunt from Satan, one of God creation , had to succeed, till death. That was so because, Adam was perfect and lost life. So another perfect life was used to show Satan that Gods creation would remain loyal. But there are no perfect men. So Jesus came to the earth as a man, and proved Satan a liar.
Now is it logical that God used himself as a proxy as his creation to be loyal to himself. That is not logical. But the bible says Jesus was Gods only begotten ( or first born) son. Just as we look at a son.
So now this makes sense. A creation of God’s remained loyal, even to death. This also goes for heavenly angels because some of them also, failed. But Jesus was also a spirit creature in heaven , so this answered all of Satan’s , taunts. That is why God can kill Satan off. Even the angels do not have immortality.
Now Jesus was always a special creation to God, and was in a higher station that any other angel or spirit, creature.
So do you see that Jesus could not be God, because for the questions to be answered it had to be one of Gods creations.
This is shown by an example God gave us. Abraham and Issac. God was not saying we should offer our children up to God by killing them. That illustration is showing what God was going to allow to happen to his son Jesus. Abraham pictured God, Issac pictured Jesus. 
Isn’t this logical now if you understand  who Jesus really is?

Now just to go back to my last post. Talking about Adam and Eve.  They were never going to die so heaven or hell  were not needed. To go with that , that is the same for our soul or spirit. There was not any idea of a soul leaving the body. Because we were always going to be on the earth. Alive as a human.
So we are a soul , we don’t have a soul.
Do you see how this is logical?

One other thing, If the ones that died before Jesus came. Like Abraham and others . If they lived on in hell or in heaven, before Jesus died, what was the point of Jesus death. They would have already had life. 
That makes Jesus death  not logical. Those ones would have already gotten life. 

Roger A. Sawtelle - #67223

January 18th 2012

MD,

You really need help.  What I really do not know if you will accept it.  You seem so sure of yourself, even though you are drowning in ignorance.

If you really want to learn the truth, I will send you my book. 


MrDunsapy - #67224

January 18th 2012

Hi Roger

Our space here is getting narrow.
Though you have to admit it is logical.
Thank you for the offer but it’s OK. 
The bible becomes very contradictory if logic is not used. That also is something I have explain the the scientists. They think that if the bible is from God it should not be contracting itself. So then I have to explain, that the bible isn’t contradictory it is the explanations , from some that are the problem.
But anyway Rodger, I won’t press this. 
Thanks for the chat.
 

Roger A. Sawtelle - #67228

January 18th 2012

MD,

What you need to learn is that the Bible is about facts.  Jesus is God, and so is the Father and the Holy Spirit.  These are the facts that you do not want to accept for some reason.

Logic is from people.  When God’s way of thinking is not our way of thinking, we need to accept God’s Way even if we do not understand it and find it not logical. 

As I said before Science has its logic and Christianity has its way of thinking also.  Science and theology are not the same. 

I can see that you do not understand theology.  I question if you understand science.  I implore you, get some help.  You need it disparately, whether you know it or not.  


MrDunsapy - #67229

January 18th 2012

Hi Roger

This is getting too slender.
I will comment on the bottom of the list.

MrDunsapy - #67198

January 17th 2012

Hi Cal

We are talking about intelligence a life. Light and water, for example, work only because of the forces applied to them.
Though the Trinity is a form of stating who God is, I think anyone (not bound by the councils as chains) can say they’re merely groping at what Scripture speaks about..
God had a book written for us to tell us who is, why the world is the way it is. It explains what the future will be, and it tells us what God is like. ( what’s important to him)

Now the scriptures say:

2 Timothy 3:16-17

21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

16All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for all good works. 

 Reading this scripture, do you think that God wanted us to know about him, so that he is not a mystery?
We have the bible and Jesus came to the earth to explain him. That is why Jesus is called the word. The bible says Jesus was Gods Son. And even after his death, who resurrected Jesus, and why did Jesus say to he was going to his God ? We are in Gods image, so when he says a son, what do we think of as a son?
Do you see how scientists would look at the idea of a Trinity, as something that is not logical? 
As for ‘evolution’ it is the same thing, not logical. For example, we see today that humans comes from other humans, we have never seen a chimp become a human, we don’t have nay almost humans or any ex-humans. That is the same for other ‘kinds’ of animals, like Dogs for example.  There are no transitional fossils found. ( body parts that would be in  in  weird  places, eyes not places with eye sockets etc.)
What we see today and in the fossil record is  distinct  animals. So there is adaption,breeding, natural  selection  and mutations, none of which make new kinds of animals. But allow a variety in the kind of animal it is.
Besides scientists are trying to create life in a lab. Isn’t that exactly what God did, he prepared the earth and then made man from the dust of the ground. And the scientists say there are precursors to life on the earth. Are they not just proving creation? Otherwise they would just be finding life happening on its own.
So this is not logical.
Yes for defining terms ‘evolution’ is one kind of life becoming another kind of life over time naturally.

So the similarity’s in life can also be explained, by God creating one life from another life.Not just DNA swaps but actual materials.Like muscle bone flesh etc. That it would retain histories of populations of also preexisting life.  The scientists say there is this history in the genetics of  similar life.
This is not just my idea , God said he did that. In the case of Adam and Eve. Eve was created from Adam, not just DNA but also materials from Adam. 
The scientists are experimenting with this same  procedure  today. 
For more on this go here.
http://patternsofcreation.weebly.com/

Cal - #67239

January 19th 2012

I’ll circumvent the discussion on evolution. I was correcting your terms, that’s all. Evolution has many meanings and what you’ve applied to it (like many others) is misunderstood.

The Trinity may seem paradoxical, but it doesn’t mean it’s illogical. The Scriptures presents God and Him knowable through human affairs to the salvation of all men through the Messiah. But it doesn’t mean we completely understand Him. In Jesus, the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in bodily form. Paul restructures the ‘Shema’ with Jesus apart of it. It says God shares His glory with none other, how can a mere man, or angel, ascend to His righthand? It does make sense that God as King would return to the throne He gave to David, kingship of Israel. Every title of YHWH is given to Jesus. YHWH was the God of Israel.

Jesus is clearly portrayed as God, He also speaks of His Father who is also God. The outworking of the Trinity by Nicea is an attempt at putting in creedal terms what is presented in Scripture. He and the Father are One.

Also what you’re talking about Gallic influence is silly. If you’re referring to the Celtic mother goddess constitution of “maiden, mother, crone” that is not trinitarian. That is closer to Modalism as the goddess changes from one to the other and is not all 3 at the same time. Granted, even if it is close, it does not make the doctrine error. The Stoics understood God as close, but confused Him with creation. The Epicureans realized the Divine was transcendent but failed to realize how close at hand He really was.

As for Constantine, yes you can debate if he was ever a believer or using the Church as a political tool. His investing the Church with Imperial gifts was extremely damaging, but who knows a man’s heart but the Lord.


MrDunsapy - #67230

January 18th 2012

Hi Roger

 I just thought it is amazing that what was written thousands of years ago, is supported by the science of today.
So the scientists have not been able to do a thing against God. But actually prophecies tell us that men would be saying there is no God.
 Its a sign of the times.
 http://patternsofcreation.weebly.com/  



Roger A. Sawtelle - #67344

January 23rd 2012

Prophecies say much about false teachers.


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