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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.


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About hoghead1

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  1. hoghead1

    How Does Gay 'Marriage' Hurt Us? Here's How.

    Sounds to me like a bunch of homo[phobic p[propaganda.
  2. hoghead1

    Leibniz’ Contingency Argument

    I think that God is both cause and effect. It is as true to say that God creates the universe, as that the universe creates God. God has existed eternally, true. However, God is sensitive, responsive to the universe. I view God as a social-relational being, who then arises out of God's relationship to creation, just as we arise out of our relationships.
  3. hoghead1

    The doctrine of predestination

    Why are you asking me this? It is totally beside the point here.
  4. hoghead1

    The doctrine of predestination

    The doctrine of predestination claims that before the foundations of the world were ever laid, God predetermined everything that will happen, right down to the smallest detail. Hence, the elect and reprobate were decided long before any of us came along. Hence, we have no choice in the matter. We cannot be sure who the elect are, since only God can judge. This doctrine has been challenged by many Christian thinkers for not honoring freedom, presenting us as puppets, and making God the author of terrible evil.
  5. YHWH, pronounced Yahweh, is the proper name of God in Scripture. "Jehovah" is a famous mistranslation of the Hebrew. Who is God? What is God like in his own nature? That is a topic of great debate in Christian theology. Traditionally, the church went strictly on Hellenic metaphysics and standards of perfection. That meant God was described as void of body, parts, passions, compassion, wholly immutable. That is sometimes referred to as "classical theism." Since the 40's, the classical model has been under fire. Hence, there is also a neo-classical model of God available for Christians. This model presents a fuller account of God, by adding on dynamic features that enable us to see a fuller, more complete picture of God, by understanding God as eternally creative, continually changing, and responsive to creation. I follow that model. God, as is any true personality, is a synthesis of both consistency and change.
  6. hoghead1

    Is God the Triune God?

    Jennifer, much depends on what you mean by triune God. Many today take this to mean that there are three subjectivities or minds within the Godhead. However, that automatically collapses into tritheism. In historical Trinitarian thought, "person" had a much different meaning from the modern one, which some unduly read into the Trinity. The Nicene Creed is very important to read. However, some cautions. There is more than o ne version. The Eastern omits the filiogue, the clause that says the Holy Sprit proceeds from the Son. This has been a major bone of contention for centuries between the East and West.
  7. hoghead1

    Is God male?

    Prayer really isn't an appropriate response in serious theological discussion. What you should be doing is presenting a solid counterargument. When you pray, you are simply dumping on your opponent's character, rather than his or her arguments. If you want to attack liberalism, you can. However, you need to make a case. You didn't do that here. Where is your evidence that liberalism is wrong? All you presented was a lot of inflammatory rhetoric with nothing to back it. Yes, the OT is a puff piece for Israel. It's intended to set them up as the chosen people and sanctify their right to the land. The fact that sins of Israel are talked about in no way alters this fact. The NT does not repeat the OT. The NT marks a major break. The laws of Moses are thrown out the window. The juridical, punitive God of the OT is thrown out the window. The basic commandment is to do what is loving. In fact, there is such a major change between the OT and NT that one of the early fathers, Marcion, is said to have taken scissors and cut out the whole OT. Nobody comes to Scripture, with a blank mind. Everyone reads Scripture through a lens. For many, this les is that provided by traditional church teachings. Many come to Scripture, with the idea firmly implanted in their minds that it is inerrant. The way Scripture says things happened is exactly the way they did. OK, for laity. But this is about the worst thing you can do in serious biblical studies. Here, you need to come to Scripture and view it through the lens provided by a healthy skepticism for traditional teachings. The inerrancy theory of Scripture is just that, a human-made, possibly fallible set of speculations as to how God and Scripture may be related. Like nay human-made theory, it needs tested out. Unfortunately, many are unwilling to do that. Maybe it is inerrant, maybe not. Let's carefully study the texts and then reach a conclusion. Now, I submit that such an objective study calls the inerrancy theory into serious doubt. For example, there are about 100 well-documented contradictions in Scripture, plus Scripture proves to be a totally inaccurate geophysical witness. In addition, Scripture never claims it is inerrant, does not state what is canon and what not, does not claim every passage is divinely inspired. Some, yes; all, no. What's in question here really isn't whether God is right or wrong or Scripture is right or wrong; it's whether your interpretation is solid or not. I submit it isn't.
  8. hoghead1

    Is God male?

    Well, I guess I'm in for some stiff opposition. Big deal, so what? I believe that God is basically a loving God. When you love someone, you do not coerce them with threats and horrible punishments. Ancient Judaism tended to view God, in a distorted fashion, as punitive and vengeful. So I am not surprised with the Book of Revelation. I don't hold with the inerrancy of Scripture, not do I hold it was just all just made up. Rather, it represents an interaction between God and an ancient culture. Divinely inspirited as it may be, Scripture is still the product of a racist, sexist, semi-barbaric, prescientific culture and then reflects such views. The Bible is not the Word of God, the Bible is the Word of Man, the Word of God is revealed through the Word of Man. The OT is a history of ancient Israel, but it is not an objective, neutral account; it is very much spin doctored to favor the Israelis and sanctify their divine right to rule the land. If the Egyptians or native Canaanites had presented their side of the story, it would be a very different account, believe me.
  9. hoghead1

    Is God male?

    The OT is definitely racist in that the Jews, no one else, were the chosen people. They felt they had the right to go into Canaan and exterminate the indigenous population and without mercy. Also, it was probably impossible for most gentile males to become Jewish, as that would require circumcision. Even in the NT, there are the Judaizers, early Christians who felt the uncircumscribed were inferior. That was a major part of the conflict between Peter and Paul. I know what Christ said. I also know the OT God is brutal, sadistic, legalistic. The God of love revealed by Christ isn't like that at all. When I was working as a substance-abuse counselor, I facilitated weekly sessions for males only. We focused on sharing feelings. More than one did cry and felt much better afterwards.
  10. hoghead1

    Is God male?

    If I had a nickel for every time I heard that, Cornelius... That's the problem. We males have trouble getting in touch with our sensitive side, with our feelings.
  11. hoghead1

    Is God male?

    Yes, it was racist because it believed the Jews were the apple of God's eye, the chosen people. Sexist because it viewed women s grossly inferior to men. Semi-barbaric because it was warrior led. David was a warrior. Where does the Father weep? Good question. In traditional theology, the Father could not suffer. In fact, God couldn't have any emotion at all. Hence, it was considered major heresy to say that the Father suffered. Biblically, however, it is a different story. Try Jeremiah 15:6-10. God says, "Alas, am I not unhappy? For I have done everything possible to make men righteous, yet I have not succeeded."
  12. hoghead1

    Is God male?

    I disagree. I think Christ represents a much different image of God. Christ is loving, does not present himself as overbearing power, as per the OT God. Christ preaches forgiveness, the OT preaches vengeance, eye for eye. The Bible is not a work in systematic theology. It presents various snapshots of God, which often conflict. It is left to the reader to piece it together into a unified picture.
  13. hoghead1

    Is God male?

    Thanks for clarifying your position. First off, I thought the NT said that Jesus wept. Also, I am aware of all this in the OT. God appears as the stereotypic tough-guy warrior, active, all controlling, independent, inflexible, unemotional, totally lacking in receptiveness, affection, and responsiveness. So no, I don't think the OT God has good qualities. I think the OT is a very limited revelation of God, especially limited because the biblical writers are conditioned by a racist, sexist, semi-barbaric culture.
  14. hoghead1

    Is God male?

    Yes, that is very true. Males can be very loving and empathic. However, it is also true that the traditional male image pushes these way into the background. Real boys and men don't cry. It's much harder for males to express their sensitive side. I don't know what you mean when you say you see more masculine characteristics in God. Could you please explain.
  15. hoghead1

    Is God male?

    I think it important to consider what "sex" you are applying to God. Traditionally, God has been depicted in the masculine. That means God was seen as the stereotypical cold, unemotional male warrior. Hence, the church fathers and the major creeds described God as without body, parts, passions, compassion, wholly immutable. I vice that as a very lopsided image of God. What's missing are the passive, empathic, receptive dimensions. That's why I sometimes refer to God in the feminine, as these trait have been traditionally identified with females. I view the universe as the body of God. Hence, I view God as both make and female.

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