Thursday, November 28, 2013

Theological Ambiguity

There are many biblical doctrines articulated with ambiguous language which breeds misunderstanding.

I hope to clarify a few of these doctrinal misunderstandings. 

1. God is Triune
Christians explain the Biblical teaching that God is one eternal being who is simultaneously three persons. Yet many Christians speak as though the three persons are separate in nature. Biblical Christianity, however, sharply defines the persons as distinct but not separate. The essence of God is neither divided nor separated. Thus Christians are just plainly mistaken when they define the Trinity with the word 'separate.' This is not merely a semantical quibble here, it is foundational to distinguish trinitarian monotheism from polytheistic tritheism. Therefore, an informed Christian will properly define the doctrine of the Trinity as one eternal being (neither divided nor separated in nature) who is simultaneously three persons, namely, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In other words, God is one what and three who's. More discussion of this topic is in my post here.       

2. Divine Attributes

Christians often say God is all-powerful and all-present. From the sounds of it, Christians seem to be saying, God can do absolutely anything and He is present even in the depths of hell. So these attributes need to be carefully but briefly defined. Christians' believe God is all-powerful in the sense that He can do whatever He wills; and what He wills is consistent with His nature. This implies there are things God cannot do that have no affect on His omnipotence. For example, God cannot create a married bachelor since such a thing would contradict His rational nature. Moreover, such a thing is not any thing at all but merely a contradiction of terms. So creating a married bachelor amounts to creating nothing. But of course God could have refrained from creating.

 God is all-present in the sense that He is cognoscente of all things in virtue of causally ordaining and sustaining all things. This means God is not spatially located everywhere, but rather, God is "causally present everywhere" since He controls all things.

3. Sin
Sin is a general term that refers to anything that does not conform to God's revealed: nature, purposes, or commandments in the states of beings, motives, or actions. With this definition in view it shows sin is essentially spiritual and not merely physical. In the case of humans, when Adam sinned, all mankind became sinners by imputation, inheritance, and imitation. To explore, further, how we might characterize man's condition, please review my posts here and here.  

4. Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
It is said Christians are indwelled and filled with the Holy Spirit. This simply means Christians are controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Thus there is not two spirits (i.e the Holy Spirit and the human soul) indwelling the physical body of any given believer. 


No comments: