Theology Sun, 29 Nov 15 07:19:29 -0500 Theology en-CA "'Man come-of-age' misconception"? Sin, pride, apathy, and personal responsibility Sat, 31 Aug 2013 06:40:12 -0400 emmeline 79@/forum/discussions
Here's a long quotation to provide context from The Cross of Christ. It's taken from a chapter on The Problem of Forgiveness, which looks at the gravity of sin, human moral responsibility, true and false guilt, and the wrath of God:

A full acknowledgment of human responsibility and therefore guilt, far from diminishing the dignity of human beings, actually enhances it. It presupposes that men and women, unlike the animals, are morally responsible beings, who know what they are, could be and should be, and do not make excuses for their poor performance. This is the thesis of Harvey Cox in his book "On Not Leaving it to the Snake". Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden, he urges, was not so much her disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit as her feeble surrender of responsibility which preceded it, not her pride but her sloth. Although Dr Cox is surely mistaken in his refusal to accept the biblical view of sin as essentially pride, and is tainted with the 'man come-of-age' misconception, he nevertheless makes an important point when he says that 'apathy is the key form of sin in today's world.... For Adam and Eve apathy meant letting a snake tell them what to do. It meant abdicating ... the exercise of dominion and control of the world' (p. xvii). But decision-making belongs to the essence of our humanness. Sin is not only the attempt to be God; it is also the refusal to be man, by shuffling off responsibility for our actions. 'Let's not let any snake tell us what to do' (p. xviii). The commonest defence of the Nazi war criminals was that they were merely following orders. But the court held them responsible all the same.

I'm not entirely sure why I seem to respond strongly to the ideas here, but it's something to do with the idea of human beings having an "exercise of dominion and control of the world" being a noble thing. I sometimes feel that Christian messages portray the exercise of individual critical discernment as pride, and I wonder if this "'man come-of-age' misconception" is Stott criticising excesses of individualism, or over-reliance on one's level of education, in "On Not Leaving it to the Snake" by Cox? 

I see Cox has also written other books such as the 2004 "When Jesus Came to Harvard: Making Moral Choices Today".
Genesis 1 & 2 Thu, 07 Mar 2013 10:01:33 -0500 croc 70@/forum/discussions Gavin

Re comments made in previous thread I've just read

Hell. Wed, 16 May 2012 01:14:25 -0400 bonnie43uk 50@/forum/discussions What are your personal views on Hell?

I would imagine that most of you people in here dont believe in the literal "fire and brimstone" eternal hell.  (though i could be surprised).

With my catholic upbringing as a child, hell was taught to us as a real place that existed, this idea stayed in my head well into my teens, it's taken quite a few years to wean myself off of this concept. My brother in particular was affected quite badly with threats of hell, .. these have even accompanied him into adulthood in various guises.

Do you simply see hell as a place that is somehow "not with god"? which could mean some kind of an eternal emptiness. I'd be quite happy with that really, .. it reminds me of Mark Twains quote when asked about death .."I was nothing for billions of years, and it didn't inconveinience me in the slightest"

It would be interesting to hear any personal views of hell.

Atonement Wed, 28 Sep 2011 17:24:38 -0400 Simon 4@/forum/discussions
I have previously characterised the common penal substitution view of the atonement - as favoured by many evangelicals - as:

"God sacrificing himself to himself to allow himself to change the rules that he himself made".

When I made this comment on the CiS email list the main complaint people had was that I was not taking the doctrine of the trinity seriously enough. Thing is I worry that theologians have got themselves tied up in too many knots about the trinity to the point that they seldom clarify anything. My simplistic "scientists" view is that "God the Father" is the label we give to God's creator/sustainer role, "God the son" is the label we give to his human incarnation in Jesus, and "God the spirit" is the name we give to his moving within people and the church - perhaps God's immanent aspect.

Given this understanding of the trinity, I maintain that penal substitution makes no sense as a theology of atonement.


What makes good theology? Tue, 05 Jun 2012 17:47:53 -0400 Simon 53@/forum/discussions
I think the only conclusion that remains consistent with my other arguments is that if there is any conceivable way that a theological belief can be proved wrong by science, then it is not a good theological belief.

For instance the direct biological lineage of all mankind to two individuals called Adam and Eve is a bad theological belief because it can be shown to be false using genetics. However the resurrection of Jesus is not a bad theological belief because there is no conceivable way that science can disprove it - the best science can say is that no one has been observed rising from the dead and as there is no known scientific mechanism that might allow for this, it is therefore extremely unlikely (but not impossible!).

Is this a good test?
Resurrection of the Body: Does it Matter? Thu, 29 Mar 2012 18:22:47 -0400 exchemist 44@/forum/discussions
I find it hard to resist the thought that, while this may have been culturally important for some reason at the time of St. Paul, it is something that a modern theologian would be tempted to discard or marginalise as inessential. 

One of these days my son will ask me about it and I need to give him an answer I feel comfortable to stand behind. Any guidance appreciated.