Friday, June 29, 2012


The second part of my paper.
Part one is here
Part Three is here

In the past the idea of relativity has been mocked. Yet if we are honest, we filter through finite minds and taint truth to our own flavor. Even if we try, we fall victim to unfortunate interpretations and beliefs either out of laziness or it feels most comfortable. The Christian in a Postmodern world needs to understand in whom they have reality. The understanding that I am not God and God is God should be ingrained in every Christian. Humility should be the staple food for helping come to the Reality that is Christ Jesus. So often we get caught up in the “things” of God or doing the things we believe God wants us to do, people often begin to force others into that very things without thought to what God’s will is for him or her. This is what Paul spoke against in Colossians 2:16-17 warned against when he wrote:

“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or in regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath Day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come, the reality, however is found in Christ.”
To take this idea one more step Jesus spoke of himself as “real” food and “real” drink (John 6:55 NIV) and shows us He is Reality that we feed from.

The true believer in Jesus is called to love and not be doctrine junkies or as N.T. Wright explains it the believer needs to be “living a true Christian praxis”. [1] The Postmodern world goes far to help true believers see the system, doctrines, teachings, and teachers that just do not work. Postmodernism exposes the lies, and though it may bring us to our own road to Emmaus, [2] it can also expose us to the truth we need to know to grow into authentic and truly “loving as we have been first loved” Christians.[3] We can look at Postmodernism as a tide that overcomes us, thus making us run back into the arms of Modernism (which has its own dangers) or push ahead in faith knowing God is already there.

Religious plurality or greater opportunity
In Postmodernism we have a movement from the premodern “I think therefore I am”, to the idea of “since I am, there for I construct reality”, to the Postmodern “But is the reality I constructed reality for others or the Prime Reality?” [4] The issue though is that Descartes fell into Platonist dualism. Descartes’s view of “matter and mind” as proof there is no God, overlooks that many theologians do not believe in “ex nihilo” but rather God is “creatio ex deo” (creation out of being God). The idea being express by some theologians like Thomas Jay Oord, is that God did not create out of nothing but rather from pre-existing matter. In a sense this matter is also eternal as God is the “eternal creator” who is and has been and never changes. [5] A simple reading of Genesis shows that there was “something” and not “nothing” with God:

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Note that there are at least two other things with God here: “the deep” or in the King James, “the abyss” and the “waters”. These two things qualify as matter in a very real sense. Thomas Jay Oord points out that creation ex nihilo is not even biblical as he states:

Following the reference to the Spirit hovering over the primordial chaos, Genesis speaks of darkness covering the “face of the deep.” The “deep” in this last phrase, tehom in Hebrew refers to something nondivine and primordially present when God began to create. Biblical scholar Brevard Childs says, “the tehom signifies here the primeval waters which were also uncreated.” [6]
Thomas Jay Oord also points out “2 Peter 3:5 supports this interpretation”: [7]
5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

So the idea that matter is eternal does not harm the argument for the existence of God, but in fact may support the truth of the existence of God. If we view creation as more multidimensional than the Platonist dualism, we then see truth is expanded as our knowing expands. Doubting does not have to be an end, but rather an opportunity to step further in faith. The self-realization that we are NOT God and God is God and that we are His creation (as imperfect as we are), nullifies the arrogance of modernism. Postmodernism then opens doors to see a bigger picture of God instead of bringing a Nietzsche style death.

[1] (Wright 1998)

[2] Ibid

[3] (1 John 4:19, NIV)

[4] (Sire 2004, p. 216-219)

[5] (Oord 2010, p. 101)

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

Brainy Quotes. Brainy Quotes. 2001 - 2012 BrainyQuote. (accessed 6 19, 2012).

Luther, Martin. Martin Luther's Basic Theological Writings. Second. Augsburg Fortress: Fortress Press, 2005.

Oord, Thomas Jay. The Nature of Love: a theology. Danvers: Chalice Press, 2010.

Palmer, M.D. Elements of a Christian Worldview. 2nd. Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2002.

Sire, J.W. The Universe Next Door. Madison, WI: Inter Varsity Press, 2004.

Wright, N.T. The Resurrection and the Postmodern Dilemma. 1998. (accessed June 19, 2012).

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