Your daily goal:
Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
(Monday-Friday, from my morning quiet time, I will write a short thought for that day which I pray God will use to motivate you to ‘GO’ for that day. Your objective is simple…to GO…to GO OUT and share the love of Christ with someone in that day….to GO and bear fruit …to be light to the world.)
Today’s Daily Light
Friends….delicious and thick and gooey morsels of light and truth today….dig in 😊 so yummy good…take time to digest each bite
Biblical, Philosophical, and Emotional Reflections on a Perpetual Question
By: Joe Rigney, Professor, Bethlehem College and Seminary
Confronting the Problem(s) of Evil Part VIII
The Emotional Problem: Divine Author, Divine Character
This narratival account of evil and the greater-good theodicy that accompanies it has much to commend itself. It is biblically faithful and philosophically cogent. It deals honestly with the layers of reality as set forth in Scripture. It takes the question of God’s power and goodness and human freedom and accountability seriously, offering a nuanced perspective on causality and moral responsibility. And it offers us hope and stability in the midst of suffering and chaos, freeing us to rest in the goodness and wisdom of the divine author.
However, there’s one more piece to the puzzle, the place where God takes the analogy, shatters it, and puts it back together in a way that bends our very brains.
Begin with God’s revelation of himself to Moses in Exodus 3. God reveals himself in two ways: as “I Am Who I Am” and as “Yahweh,” the name by which he is to be remembered throughout all generations.
“I Am Who I Am” emphasizes that God is the Independent, Self-Existent One. He is not ultimately defined by anything outside of himself. He is absolute, independent, autonomous. He has no needs or unmet desires. He existed before creation and apart from creation. As Paul says, “God is not served by human hands, as though he needed anything” (Acts 17:24). He is perfectly and infinitely and completely happy in the fellowship of the Godhead.
So when God says “I Am Who I Am,” he is emphasizing his God-ness, his independent and self-sufficient existence.
The name Yahweh, on the other hand, stresses God’s relationship to his creation, the reality that he is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Exod 3:15). He is Yahweh, a God merciful and compassionate, having mercy on whom he has mercy (Exod 34:6). What’s more, some Hebrew scholars believe that the name Yahweh is actually based on the causative form of the Hebrew verb hayah, “to be.” These scholars argue that we should interpret the name Yahweh as “The One Who Causes All Things to Be That Are,” or “The Causer of All Things” for short. Thus, the name Yahweh stresses the absolute sovereignty of God over all of creation.
Think of it this way: C. S. Lewis has existence apart from Narnia. Even if the Narnian chronicles were never written, C. S. Lewis would still exist. Thus, C. S. Lewis simply is who he is, apart from Narnia. However, in relation to Narnia, he is also the causer of all things that are. Narnia has no existence apart from him; therefore, were he to reveal himself in Narnia, Narnians could call him the Causer of All Things. So too with God. Apart from creation, he is God, I Am, the Self-Existent One. But in relation to creation, he is Yahweh, the Causer of All Things. Thus, “I Am” emphasizes God-as-God; Yahweh emphasizes God-as-Author.
Now here’s the amazing thing, the piece that I’d missed for so long. How do we know that God is God? How do we know that God is the Author, the Causer of All Things? Answer: God reveals it to Moses in a burning bush, at a particular time, in a particular place. In other words, we come to know that God is self-existent and that he is the Author because God reveals himself as a character within the story. God is not merely the one in whom we live and move and have our being. He is also the one who speaks to Abraham at Mt. Moriah, who leads Israel through the wilderness as a pillar of cloud and fire, and who makes his presence to dwell in the temple in Jerusalem.
God-as-Author and God-as-Character means that we can view God’s relationship to the world in two complementary ways. On the one hand, he is transcendent and high and lifted up, looking far down upon the children of man. He is the Alpha and Omega, relating to creation atemporally, outside of time. If history is a great river, he views the entire sweep of it — twists and turns and all — in one comprehensive glance from his heavenly mountain.
On the other hand, he enters into his story as a character, walking with his creatures and engaging with them as fellow characters, rejoicing over their successes and grieving over their losses. He enters the river and rides the rapids with us, hands waving wildly in the air. This is the God who weeps, the God who repents, the God who changes his mind. This is the God who, though unchanging, becomes flesh and dwells among us.
(Last ‘part’ tomorrow. )
Father God…I am so glad you put on human skin and walked, bled, and died among us ‘so that’ we could see and feel your ‘heart’…feel your passion…and feel your love. YOU are beyond and above what we can truly understand or fathom while we are in this limited realm of human understanding…..but….Your word declares that in the next realm…we will fully see and fully know the ‘all’ of YOU. And ‘that’ will be pretty amazing. In the meantime…You give us sufficient revelation of yourself through your presence that lives inside us and such gives us ‘enough’ and adequate and real assurance that we are safe in ‘You’ now….Thank You for being how and who You are…that You can accept us into your family ‘through’ legal adoption ‘through’ the work that God-the-Son-Jesus provided for us on the cross. Oh..how wonderful is your plan…how wonderful…to save and adopt people who are so imperfect, like me. I am sooo very thankful. Bless your Holy Name. Amen
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