Pilgrim Posts

On 7 Types of Atheism

Recently, I finally read Seven Types of Atheism by English philosopher John Gray and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not going to provide a proper review of the book but rather some of my thoughts and impressions about it. For a proper review, I suggest one by Andrew Wilson who first brought the book on my radar which you can read here.

What Gray incisively does is by exploring the history of ideas he demonstrates how modern atheism is not a monolith and in many popular forms still remains heavily indebted to Judaeo-Christian monotheism. As a Christian I must admit there was a certain pleasure in reading Gray, who is himself a committed atheist, absolutely take to task popular atheism for thinking itself intellectually and morally superior to monotheistic faith. For example his critique of new atheism is is quick and delightfully devastating. Continue reading “On 7 Types of Atheism”

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The Trinitarian Problem

One of the lesser known arguments for the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is that it is the solution to a theological problem found in the New Testament. The problem is there is one God yet Jesus and the Spirit, who are distinct from God and one another, are also considered to be divine. The most influential proponent of this argument is theologian Arthur Wainwright in his 1952 book The Trinity in the New Testament. In it he called it the “problem of the Trinity” which he argues was later clearly articulated and fully resolved as “the doctrine of the Trinity”, that is, in the formal creeds. As such it is a version of the developmental argument for the Trinity and the most popular version of it. The Trinitarian problem approach is the most popular argument for the Trinity among the theologically educated. Even though I think it is the best argument for the Trinity there is a serious problem with the Trinitarian problem thesis. Continue reading “The Trinitarian Problem”

Covenant Making God

Covenant keeping God, there is no one like you.

The above line from Willie and Mike’s song Covenant Keeping God captures a profound revelation of who God is. It is hard to understate how important covenant is. However, he is not just a covenant keeping God, he is a covenant making God. On this the late renowned Hebrew Bible scholar Moshe Weinfeld writes: Continue reading “Covenant Making God”

Covenant Relationship

The Problem with a “Personal Relationship with God” Part III

A covenant is basically an ancient contract. It brought two parties into a formal relationship with one another. They were very common in the ancient Near East (ANE) so unsurprisingly there are many examples of covenants in the Bible as well. Most importantly, covenants defined the terms of the relationship between God and his people and how that relationship unfolded through the course of the biblical narrative. They are therefore sometimes described as the backbone of the Bible since the narrative framework of the Bible depends on them. So instead of talking about something as ambiguous as a “personal relationship with God” we should use the definite biblical language of covenant. Continue reading “Covenant Relationship”

The Problem with a “Personal Relationship with God” Part II

As humans we can only conceive of God using human metaphors and analogies, which is why God communicates with us in human terms, but like any good symbol or metaphor, such language is a pointer to something other than itself. The human relational language Scripture employs provides useful and effective metaphors that point to the reality of our relationship with a being who is categorically beyond us. So God in the Bible is portrayed human terms but it also emphasises how God is unlike us. For example, a powerful metaphor for God the Bible often uses is that he is our Father but he is not characterised as a father in a physical sense. So because God is both like and unlike us, a relationship with him is also like and unlike a relationship with other humans. Continue reading “The Problem with a “Personal Relationship with God” Part II”

The Problem with a “Personal Relationship with God”

One of the terms in Christian pop theology that I do not like is a “relationship with God.” Now relationship is a perfectly good word in itself that should be used in talking about God because there is such a thing as a relationship with him. My problem is the word does not mean anything terribly specific the way it is used. This partly due to the fact the English word “relationship” could refer to all sorts of associations without clearly describing what the exact nature of that connection is. This is compounded by when Christians generally talk about a relationship with God, what they mean is just as ambiguous. There is no particular definition in mind of what sort of relationship it is and what it precisely means. Continue reading “The Problem with a “Personal Relationship with God””

Rethinking Torah with John Walton

A few months ago I posted about the wonderful work of Old Testament Professors John Walton and Joshua Berman on Torah. In the following interview for The Holy Post podcast Walton explains why Torah is not really law but is a different genre of ancient literature. Continue reading “Rethinking Torah with John Walton”