No, they are spiritually, but not physically correct.
No, they are spiritually, but not physically correct.
Mincing words? You clearly know what I meant
Yes the truth is spiritual, super natural, the physical descriptions are allegory
demeaning all human inhabitants of earth, across all earth space and earth time, seems to fuel their Pride in being the pinnacle of evolution in the universe
Sometimes I feel like “their eyes are glowing” and their rejection of God in heaven is not actually a rejection of all super terrestrial Powers
Thanks for your reply Mitchell and sorry for my delay in getting back to you.
Sadly, the enemy of all fruitful theological conversation is the imprecision of language and the ability of the communicator to deploy it effectively. On that score, in the quote above I failed to say what I meant. Let me have another crack at it.
The doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture is to do with the content of scripture not the means of salvation. So when the Creeds are quite clear that salvation comes through faith alone in Christ alone as a result of God’s grace alone (can give examples if you want). In that sense, you, me, and the creeds agree: Salvation is through a relationship with Jesus, not merely mental assent to a set of theological propositions. So when Belgic and Westminster talk about things we need to ‘believe unto salvation’ or things ‘known, believed, and observed for salvation’ it is talking about core gospel beliefs that are required for a relationship with Jesus.
Let me give you an example, I’m sure we’d agree that a person cannot have a saving relationship with Jesus if they do not believe that Jesus existed. This is the teaching of scripture too since it clearly presents Jesus as a real person. Evidence for the historicity of Jesus might be helpful in showing that history supports the witness of scripture, but that extra-information is not necessary for salvation. In other words, a person can have a relationship with Jesus without knowing about the historical evidence. In this sense, the witness of scripture is sufficient for that person to put there trust in Jesus as a real, historical, saviour.
To put it simply, the doctrine of sufficiency says everything we need to have a relationship with Jesus is found in scripture. We don’t need extra-biblical information; new revelation; or church tradition to become a Christian, just the gospel recorded in scripture.
Importantly, This does not mean extra information or tradition is useless or in opposition of the scriptures, as WC 1.7 says “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all.” Clearly, every time a Reformed Theologian opens a commentary by John Calvin, a lexicon, or even the Westminster Confession they are affirming that extra-biblical information and tradition is useful and helpful for understanding what the bible teaches, it just isn’t necessary for a saving relationship with Jesus.
Does that help clear things up a bit?
Good to have you here on the forum. Welcome!
I appreciate that you (and Barnett) do not think that God’s revelation in the Bible had the purpose of teaching physics, astronomy, chemistry, etc. to a people that had not yet acquired that knowledge.
At the same time, when I read the geocentrism passages, I see an acceptance of the accepted physical cosmology of the time. What to make of this? I adopt Calvin’s argument that God accommodated His revelation to the culture of the time. He wasn’t trying to teach them physics, astronomy, and chemistry; He was teaching them about Himself and the covenant He was establishing with them.
Within a worldview in which the cosmology is geocentric…
and stars are just points of light in the sky…
and planets are merely wandering stars…
and galaxies do not even exist…
there is no concept of a spiritual geocentrism.
For us who are aware of the billions of planets in our galaxy and the trillions outside of it, the notion of spiritual geocentrism is full of meaning. God has chosen our planet, rather than all the trillions of others He could have chosen. To the ancient Hebrews and to the early church, this kind of thought is not even possible. As far as they were concerned, there was only one planet, and it was the one they inhabited–the flat, circular-shaped one with a solid sky.
Thus I think that it is overreach to say that the Bible teaches a spiritual geocentrism. At most, you could say that “spiritual geocentrism” is compatible with the Bible. But it is not the only possibility, in my opinion. The lyrics to Larry Norman’s song “UFO” are equally compatible:
And if there’s life on other planets
Then I’m sure that He must know
And He’s been there once already
And has died to save their souls
Incorrect. I would not agree to any such thing. This is like saying we need to believe that oxygen exists in order to breathe. It does not follow. The Bible makes the disconnect between such things in Romans chapter 2…
12 All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
You don’t have to know the law in order to obey the law. You don’t have to believe in some doctrine of God in order to have His law written on your heart. And you don’t have to believe Jesus was an historical person or believe any other doctrine of Christology in order to have a relationship with the living person of Jesus. This question of a relationship with Him will always be something for Him to say and never something for us to measure and judge. For another place in the Bible where it tells us this quite plainly and directly about a relationship with Him, there is Matthew 25…
31 “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Sounds like one won’t need to whisper “Jesus sent me” to enter St. Peter’s speakeasy.
Hey Mitchell, thanks for your reply. I do apologise for presuming something about your beliefs which is not accurate. My mistake.
Thanks for your follow up post, there is plenty to think about there. Whilst you still may not agree with it (which is fine ), would you say I given a clearer explanation of ‘The Sufficiency of Scripture’?
1 Corinthians 1:22 (NIV2011)
22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
One important way to look at the Christian faith is to see it as God’s way to reconcile the Greeks and the Jews. At the time of Jesus they were directly opposed to each other. The Jews saw the Greeks as pagans, worshippers of false gods. The Greeks looked at the Jews as Barbarians, uncivilized people. In the end many Greek Gentiles received the God of the Jews, and many Jews accepted the philosophy of the Greeks, but the reconciliation has not been complete.
Please do not equate anti-intellectualism with being critical of philosophy. Scientists have been hostile to philosophy by rejecting teleology and rejecting speculation as a source of truth. They are materialists, while philosophy is primarily dualists or idealists.
Christianity separates philosophy from theology, which allows them to disagree, which they do. However, the fact is that philosophy sees reality as static, while Christianity sees it as dynamic. We need a new philosophy that sees Reality as dynamic
We need to re4concile Science, Philosophy, and Theology to meet the needs of today’s world. See my essay on this on Academia.edu.
I think so… though it was largely a new topic for me, so I can only judge whether it agrees with my understanding of Christianity. Your second explanation was mostly agreeable to me and and that which I remarked upon (about having to believe Jesus was historical) was my only objection. And to be clear, I certainly believe that Jesus was historical, but I do not make my beliefs any kind of measure of salvation, and I don’t think that is a proper thing for Christians to do.
Alright, “compatible with”
But I would point out “forward compatible with”
God’s revelation to humanity has always been such that an enduring truth was always encoded into it, such that if and when humanity ever learned of other worlds, then the spiritual interpretation would remain to vindicate the revelation enduringly