Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Not the God of Traditionalists or Progressives


April 15, 2015 by Kenneth Tanner 1 Comment

In Jesus Christ, God is not an abstraction, concept, or idea but a Person. The Unknowable is made known. The Invisible is made material. All mysticism is now grounded, and all agnosticism now countered, in this particular Person; there is now, paradoxically, a Measure within Measurelessness.

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” (Col. 2:9) “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ.” (Col. 1:19) Conversely, whatever is not revealed in Jesus is not the Triune God.

Contemporary Christians (of all sorts of persuasions) tend to de-couple God from Jesus.

Traditionalists and progressives alike construct complicated (often confusing) systems of conceptual theology which collapse when confronted with the reality of Jesus, God enfleshed; the reality of Jesus, the crucified God; the reality of Jesus, the resurrected, ascended, yet-flesh-bearing–inescapably material–Lord of the finite and infinite.

Jesus makes it hard to claim that we don’t really know who God is and can’t really say much for certain about him, which is the temptation of many progressives.

He also makes it hard to press Classical Greek (pagan) attributes for the divine that no longer make entire sense when we encounter God’s arrival in time, space, and matter, which is the temptation of many traditionalists.

We can say a great deal about God because of Jesus Christ. We can also rule out a lot about God because of Jesus Christ.

Many skeptics and cynics are actually opposing not Jesus but the systematic God of the ancient philosophers or the soft “Otherness” God (who can be whatever we want God to be). Christians worship neither of these gods.

We follow the flesh-and-blood manifestation of the Creator we have in Jesus Christ, revealed in the New Testament and in the worship of the Church as the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world for the sins of the whole world.

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