Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Bp. Kallistos and symposium

Yesterday I heard Bp. Kallistos open a symposium by giving a speech on 4 models of the crucifixion. He had 3 main criteria for evaluating each model:

1. Does it represent a change in God or in us? (It can't represent a change in God)
2. Is it objective or subjective? (It must in some way actually alter our reality)
3. Is it biblically and patristically consistent?

Well I agree with all of his premises. However, throughout he kept mentioning that "we can't imagine God as vindictive" or "we can't imagine God as a warlord" or "we can't imagine that God demanded sacrifice to satisfy his own ego". Hmm.

The problem here is that it seems to assume that scripturally and patristically God is consistently viewed as a non-vindictive, non-wrathful, non-egotistical, non-warlord. While I would venture to say that Patristics might back him up on this one, scriptures are not nearly as consistent.

Indeed, I can find almost exact descriptions of all of the "we can imagine" personifications in Old Testament scriptures. Of course, we have to use words carefully. For instance, the OT wouldnt straight up say "God is an egomaniac", but it certainly does give all of those traits we would typically attribute to such a person: I'm a jealous God, I will visit you with my wrath, I will judge you by my commandments, I am giving you the land of Canaan as a judgement on the inhabitants who live there, etc etc.

Now this isn't to say God the Father isn't fair about things, but we shouldnt be so quick to declare that he, like God the Son, is well.... deep down really a sweetheart. Jesus does intercede with us, and through him we come to know the will of the Father, but we must take the anthropromorphized descriptions seriously if we are to avoid being crypto-Marcionites.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The crypto-Marcionites" would be a good name for a rock band.

12:42 AM  

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