Presentation on theme: "Set 2: Doctrine of God Part 1: OT sources: conflicts and identity TH01 Introduction to Theology Term III 2011-12 Pittsburgh Theological Seminary."— Presentation transcript:
Set 2: Doctrine of God Part 1: OT sources: conflicts and identity TH01 Introduction to Theology Term III 2011-12 Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Pedagogical Approach: Historical Understand Doctrine through the History of its Development Start with earliest Hebrew ideas of God and continue through the most recent Christian theology Why not other traditions or a history of religions approach?
In the end…focus on concepts, not historical events Who is God? Question of identity, narrative, personality What is God? Question of being or essence. Only ONE God What is God like? Question of attributes or qualities How is God related to the creation? Doctrines of creation, incarnation, salvation, and consummation
However, an Historical Pedagogy Helps Us Ask Additional Questions Whats the relationship between the God of Abraham and Sarah and the God of Jesus Christ? –Continuity? –Change? Whats the relationship between the God of Jesus Christ, the God of Pentecost, and the God of today?
History and the Idea of God Avoid two extremes: –theology has no history –theology is nothing but its human history Revelation through history of encounter, the story of Gods history, not in a single installment or definitive message, but with preparation and synthesis. Does God have a history? Does God change?
ConsiderGenesis 17:1: When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. "El Shaddai" --the One of the Mountains.
Exodus 3:13-15: But Moses said to God, "If I come to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, " I Am Who I Am." He said further, "Thus you shall say to the Israelites, "I AM has sent me to you.'" [I Am or "He causes to be".]
Two names? El Shaddai and I Am Who I Am or Yahweh? But then… Exodus 6:2-3: "God also spoke to Moses and said to him: "I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name "The Lord" (YHWH) I did not make myself known to them."
Or more…? And he took up his discourse, and said, "The oracle of Balaam the son of Be'or, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, 16: the oracle of him who hears the words of God [Elohimthe generic term for God], and knows the knowledge of the Most High [Elyon], who sees the vision of the Almighty [Shaddai]… Numbers 24:15-16b
Gideon in the Book of Judges 8:30: Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31: And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abim'elech. 32: And Gideon the son of Jo'ash died in a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Jo'ash his father, at Ophrah of the Abiez'rites.
8:33: As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and played the harlot after the Ba'als, and made Ba'al- be'rith their god. 34: And the people of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had rescued them from the hand of all their enemies on every side; 35: and they did not show kindness to the family of Jerubba'al (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.
Historic Struggle for Monotheism 1 Kings 18:19: Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Ba'al and the four hundred prophets of Ashe'rah, who eat at Jez'ebel's table." 20: So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel, and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel.
21: And Eli'jah came near to all the people, and said, "How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Ba'al, then follow him." And the people did not answer him a word. 22: Then Eli'jah said to the people, "I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD; but Ba'al's prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
36: And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Eli'jah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. 37: Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that thou, O LORD, art God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back."
38: Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39: And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God." 40: And Eli'jah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Ba'al; let not one of them escape." And they seized them; and Eli'jah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and killed them there.
Only One God: Starting Point of the Commandments and of the Identity of Israel Exodus 20:1: And God spoke all these words, saying, 2: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3: "You shall have no other gods before me.
Deut 7:6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. 7: It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples;
8: but it is because the LORD loves you, and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9: Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…
The Emergence of Monotheism Conflict? Our one God is the best? Integration? Our one God integrates all powers of history and nature in one? Evidence of both, but clearly the second rises as the overall tendency of Hebrew faith and ritual (viz. agricultural festivals)
This is only an artist's approximation of what King Solomon's Temple looked like when it was originally constructed. The building of the Temple kicked off massive construction efforts during Solomon's reign that resulted in the erection of many royal and public buidings. The Temple, however, remained the center of Jerusalem until its initial destruction in the sixth century B.C.
Prayer of Solomon (2 Chron 6:14) Solomon said, 'O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant in steadfast love with your servants who walk before you with all their heart---
16-17: Therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant, my father David, that which you promised him, saying, 'There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children keep to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.' Therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant David.
(18-19) But will God indeed reside with mortals on earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! Regard your servant's prayer and his plea, O Lord my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you.
(20-22) May your eyes be open day and night toward this house, the place where you promised to set your name, and may you heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. And hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; may you hear from heaven your dwelling place; hear and forgive.
Glorious and yet accessible 1: Thus says the LORD: "Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house which you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? 2: All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says the LORD. But this is the man to whom I will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. Isaiah 66:1-2
Crisis of Destruction of Israel and Exile: Is God Defeated? God acts in history to punish: Isaiah 10:5 Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger, the staff of my fury!
Isaiah 10: 24 Therefore thus says the Lord, the LORD of hosts: "O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians when they smite with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. 25 For in a very little while my indignation will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. 26 And the LORD of hosts will wield against them a scourge, as when he smote Mid'ian at the rock of Oreb; and his rod will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. 27 And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke will be destroyed from your neck."
Condemnation of Idolatry: Isaiah 44:9-20 9: All who make idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit; their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. 10: Who fashions a god or casts an image, that is profitable for nothing? 11: Behold, all his fellows shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are but men; let them all assemble, let them stand forth, they shall be terrified, they shall be put to shame together.
12: The ironsmith fashions it and works it over the coals; he shapes it with hammers, and forges it with his strong arm; he becomes hungry and his strength fails, he drinks no water and is faint. 13: The carpenter stretches a line, he marks it out with a pencil; he fashions it with planes, and marks it with a compass; he shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.
14: He cuts down cedars; or he chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest; he plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15: Then it becomes fuel for a man; he takes a part of it and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread; also he makes a god and worships it, he makes it a graven image and falls down before it.
16: Half of it he burns in the fire; over the half he eats flesh, he roasts meat and is satisfied; also he warms himself and says, "Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!" 17: And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol; and falls down to it and worships it; he prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for thou art my god!" 18: They know not, nor do they discern; for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their minds, so that they cannot understand.
19: No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, "Half of it I burned in the fire, I also baked bread on its coals, I roasted flesh and have eaten; and shall I make the residue of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?" 20: He feeds on ashes; a deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?" Isaiah 44:9-20
Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Summary: God in Hebrew Scriptures God is creator of everything and the source of all creaturely powers (or gods) God is Lord of history, an active force of liberation or salvation in history Our God is the universal God, who uses the events of history, the powers of nature, and other gods; therefore above, distant, glorious Nevertheless, God is here, tender, merciful, loving, even vulnerable