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I’m not one to go picking theological fights with the likes of Rowan Williams, but I do have some questions about his New Year’s message. The Archbishop, who is “first among equals,” of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, brings the basic message that in our disposable culture we moderns consume, and waste, much, from plastic […]

2 Comments

  1. Interesting question!

    I’m inclined to answer that God has been understood, partially understood, largely misunderstood in a large variety of ways.

    What you refer to as the “Old Testament God” is itself a bit of an over simplification.

    There are a number of different conceptions of YHWH in the books of the Jewish Scriptures. On the whole they seem to me to get more insightful as time went on. But each of the authors was trying to get a clear, helpful, handle on making sense of his/her religious experience with YHWH.

    None of them got it all correct, or all incorrect. They were working within in their own tribal, social, theological context to try to understand their religious experience. It would be rather stupid to try to absolutize any of their pictures of YHWH.

    Similar remarks apply to the New Testament authors. They are far from agreeing with each other, even including their conceptions of God, or of Jesus, or of the Messiah (the Christ). They are all struggling to make what sense they can of their experience with Jesus and with God.

    Don’t try to absolutize their culturally conditioned perspective either. And those who are serious about finding God, are engaged in the same process of trying to make what sense we can of our own experience with God–a process in which we may find some help in examining the struggles of our predecessors to do the same.

  2. Excellent points, Mr. Gravis. The numerous writers of the both testaments certainly seek and depict, numerous faces of God. Still, it’s striking how often God is depicted as vengeful and jealous and willing to dispose of creation. Perhaps it’s a reflection of a desert people living in a perilous time. But it does raise many questions with regard to the good archbishop’s message of God’s faithfulness to humankind. I grounded my question in the Bible, specifically in the Old Testament, because it is the source of so much dissension within Anglican ranks, especially the injunctions against homosexual acts.