Earlier this week, Michelle Bachmann said something stupid… or at least something that I regarded as such. Later she said she was just joking. I posted it on Facebook and some people actually tried to defend her thinking that ‘god’ caused the earthquake and hurricane.
I have written before about how God does not direct tornadoes or punish the people of Haiti for some deal their ancestors made with the devil. I have said that Crucifying Job’s God” href=”https://bosanders.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/crucifying-jobs-god/” target=”_blank”>we need to update our concepts and adapt our frameworks (theological, philosophical, sociological, spiritual, etc.) to the realities of the 21st Century and not allow ourselves to get limited by what the ancients believed/understood in the first couple of centuries C.E.
What follows is an amalgamation of my comments in that Facebook conversation. I have modified some of them to account for responses by those in the conversation.
When I say that God did not cause these things, I am talking about intervention, ‘an act of God’.
Do you believe that God intervened in the natural order to make the earthquake and the hurricane? Did God cause them as part of ‘his’ plan?
I do not. But I also understand that those who want to believe like Bachmann that god does work this way and that scripture does not allow us to think otherwise … is certainly is one way to be a Christian. – a way I think made a lot more sense in the pre-modern world… but it is one way to be a christian.
That being said, it is not the way that I am looking for. I do not want to be limited to only the physics and meta-physics of the first centuries C.E. As christians, I want to incorporate modern realities, acknowledge scientific advancement and adjust to expanding knowledge. I want to grow up out of humanity’s infancy. This means we adapt and integrate to leave behind some of the previous ways of thinking.
Christianity is a perpetual maturing toward reality and moving from milk to meat.
In this rubric, the Bible is an inspired and authoritative record of God’s dealings with a part of humanity as interpreted and then represented by those individuals and communities in their understanding and capacity.
This is where ‘all or nothing’ thinking really fails us. I’m not saying to “throw out” the teachings or worldview of those who wrote the Bible. I am saying that we need to integrate. You have to have something old to integrate the new into. Otherwise it is replacement. I just don’t want to be limited ONLY to first century meta-physics. I obviously don’t want to chuck everything Paul said.
Here is why this is so important: part of the good news that the church has to proclaim is that the world is God’s and that God by God’s spirit is present at at work in the world!!
My hesitation here is what you mean by ‘in charge’ because God is not an Caesar-Emperor with ‘thumbs up- thumbs down power’.
- that conception of god is to miss that counter-narrative provided by Jesus. God is NOT like Caesar. Jesus shows us something different – that God is NOT like the powers of this world.
- those who miss this counter-narrative, often also miss that the God revealed in Christ is at work in Holy Spirit at this is why we must be Spirit Christians and not Old Covenant Christians just getting out frameworks and word pictures from the days of Kings. Jesus provides a revision to that understanding and a counter trajectory to simply sticking with that previous understanding.
When we say that it is time to update some things we are NOT saying that the ancients knew nothing about physics or metaphysics. Let’s say that they were exactly as proficient in their day as we are in ours. That is all we can do – do the best we can do in our time as they did in theirs.
What I am 100% against is saying that they knew MORE than us and we need to stick with ONLY what they knew!
I wanted to add a link to “making sense of the miraculous” for those who are interested