Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Triune God

One of the chief obstacles to understanding the triune God of love is the modern change in the notion of person. In the language of the fathers, person (persona, ύποστασις) means independent, individual subsistence. In modern times, however, there is the additional quality of self-consciousness, which is entirely lacking in ancient usage. If we are to continue using the notion of person in relation to God, we must be careful to realize that no implication of self-consciousness is present in its theological expression. There are not three self-conscious personalities in God but one divine self-consciousness confirmed in God's threefold being. There are not three separate wills in God but one will. There are not three minds in God but one mind. One divine energy pervades the three modes of being or persons. . . . There are not three personalities in God, there are are three "persons." One self-identical nature or essence exists in three individual persons.

Paul C. McGlasson, Invitation to Dogmatic Theology

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Since the force of this will act is so great that in satisfying us with its own gratification it takes the place of the deed, it follows that it will be punished in place of the deed. It is sheer folly to say, "I willed, but I did not act." Rather you should complete the act, since you will it; or you should not will it at all, since you are not going to complete it. Actually, you condemn yourself by the confession of your conscience, for if you desired a thing that was good you would have tried to carry it through to completion; if, on the other hand, you fail to carry it through to completion because it is evil, you ought not even to desire it. Whatever position you take, guilt holds you fast, for you have either willed what is evil, or you have failed to accomplish what is good.

Tertullian, On Penitence

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Foolish to Disbelieve God's Providence

Those who disbelieve in the reins of providence and are foolish enough to maintain that the universe, consisting of heavens and earth, for all its ordered arrangement, is without a guiding hand, seem to me to resemble a man sitting in a ship traversing the sea who watches the pilot take the tillers and move the rudders as required, bearing now right and now left, and directing his ship into ports of call.

Now that man would be a manifest liar, obviously resisting the truth, if he said that there was no helmsman at the poop, that the vessel had no rudders, that it was not directed by the movement of the tillers, but that it was carried along automatically, that it overcame the force of the waves on its own, that it struggled of itself with the impact of the winds, and that it was in no need of help of sailors or of a helmsman to issue orders for the common good to the crew.

Theodoret of Cyrus, On Divine Providence, Discourse 2

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day

Another Independence Day is here, and I was thinking about the true freedom in Christ.

What is he free from?
Rom 6:6-7
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Is he indeed free?
Rom 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

What is he free for?
Rom 6:22
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

What is he not free to do and not do?
Gal 5:1
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

What should be his conduct?
1 Pet 2:16
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

I am privileged to live in a society where Christ can be openly acknowledged. However, this is neither my country nor my home.

Phil 3:20-21
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

That yet awaits.