I grew up Pentecostal and so someone arguing that there are spiritual beings, angelic or demonic, is neither new nor probative. Arguing that there are a council of created beings that the Triune God has set over things is interesting but speculative. Arguing that we have any real basis for understanding ANE cultural or religious perceptions is to argue that our glasses are not colored and that we can take them off. Sorry, our lenses are embedded in our eyes and we have no shot at understanding world views that don't presupposed a Post-Enlightenment understanding of the world. Nor is there nearly enough literature to parse such a world view from the Biblical texts. Luke Timothy Johnson is such a frustrating critic of the Historical Jesus movement because he is dead on, and while I like to read and have benefited from NT Wright, the fact is that the Historical Jesus is more a construct in my head as opposed to an objective truth. Now add 10 to 20 centuries and no Hebrew writings outside of scripture and we find ourselves contemplating our navels. A fun thing to do, but ultimately, highly speculative. I would be happier if the author just stipulated that this is a well informed, well argued SWAG at Psalms 82 up front instead of a what seems to be perceived as so seminal moment in Christian history where the blindfold comes off and we finally see the wizard. One final thought: Time doesn't exist to God; it can't and he be the container of everything, including the universe. If he isn't the container of the universe, then it is his container, and we really should re-evalute a great many things. Since all things that are or have and will ever be are known to him in no time, all things that have ever been and ever will be are now. Consequently, nothing that could be is because all that will be is. If knowing that will be is equivalent to predestination, then from our perspective it is predestined. Does God intended it? Who can know the mind of God or understand his ways. It isn't just a nice catch phrase. No one knows; in fact, the desire to know outside of God is sort of how we all came to our sorry state. I did enjoy reading the book; just don't agree with the conclusions.
- Dear Mr. Daniels, Your comments were interesting, but I have some questions. What are ANE and SWAG? I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "Time doesn't exist to God; it can't and he be the container of everything, including the universe. If he isn't the container of the universe, then it is his container." As I understand it, God created time - the sun and moon to rule the day and night for life on earth. In the incarnation, Jesus submitted Himself to the limitations of time, local presence, and so forth. From Heaven, God is not limited by time, but may have possibly limited Himself somewhat by time, since it nowhere says that we should or can pray and ask God to change past history. (If He would do so, then we could, for example, pray that Adam and Eve never sinned, and so the Bible and all history would have to be constantly rewritten with each successive prayer.) I am not sure what you mean by God as the "container". Does this mean 'box', or something more like 'limiter' or 'controller'? God does own the 'box' and the right and ability to limit or control the universe. I wholly agree that speculation is not a good thing, but unfortunately it is easier to spot when others do it than when we find something that just seems logical and reasonable to us. Thanks for taking the time to comment, it helped me decide whether to get the book or not.
- ANE - Ancient Near Eastern SWAG - A wild guess Time is the measure of change, whether you are Aristotle or Einstein, and God is because God unchanging. God created a temporal universe but he is not a creature in it. Paul and others assert God is necessary to hold all things together. Also, everything will grow old and pass away but God will not grow old because God does not grow. God is a container in that God bounds, limits, and defines the universe. It does not bound, limit, or define God. Put another way, the only alien in the universe is God. God is not of the universe; it is of God. God preexists heaven, preexists the world. You are correct; the incarnation is the great paradox of the universe and its creator. It is offensive. It is the most profound single event in all of the universe’s history. It is singularly unique. It is impossible. No one or no thing can alter its ontic, yet God does this very thing with Jesus. The infinite and the finite are joined and yet neither are corrupted. The creature is fully created and the creator is fully uncreated. This is the most profound mystery of Christianity.