November 9, 2019

If one is looking for natural theological signposts in a broken world, they will of course be broken signposts to the road forward, to where God wants things to go. Tom suggests in Chapter 7 various of these broken signposts, but not before offering the zinger: “the platonic eschatology of Western Christianity (‘souls going to heaven’) has generated a moralistic anthropology (‘my problem is sin’) which has then produced a pagan soteriology (‘God so hated the world that he killed… Read more

November 8, 2019

Chapter Six is entitled The New Creation, and in many ways it revisits Tom’s classic text Resurrection and the Son of God, debunking various objections to the bodily resurrection of Jesus, among other things. But near the beginning of the chapter there is this interesting observation “The model of ‘knowledge’ which has been privileged in Western culture is certainly focused on the left brain… but it is also…an attempt at controlling epistemology, a ‘knowing’ in the service of power.” (p…. Read more

November 7, 2019

On p. 155 Tom sums up how he sees the problem of modernity in dealing with Christ– “epistemology has tried to do without the notion of ‘love’, producing historical study a false antithesis of rationalist certainty-hunting on the one hand and skepticism on the other; Jesus and his first followers have been portrayed as holding an imminent-end-of-the-world belief which has distorted other features; and the question of God and the world, of which natural theology is one aspect, has suffered.”… Read more

November 6, 2019

Despite all the good that came out of the Enlightenment including the recovery of ancient sources of all kinds, and an interest in their historical substance (see my lecture on The Bible and the Reformation in JETS), there was, as Wright notes “Enlightenment’s radical split of cosmology and history are bound to produce false readings….if we think of a closed continuum of Epicurean world-development then anything to do with ‘God’ must by definition be entirely separate….This is one reason why… Read more

November 5, 2019

“Genuinely historical study of the relevant Jewish and early Christian material produces a narrative about beliefs that were actually held and that, through the consequent human motivations, generated actual events, in the light of which we can and should construct a mature, genuinely grounded picture of Jesus and his first followers within their historical and cultural settings… The Gospel narratives do what Paul did in his travels; they displayed the Jesus-story as public truth, the truth of events which were… Read more

November 4, 2019

In some ways, chapter 3, entitled Shifting Sands, is the most important chapter in the book. It presents us with Tom Wright’s definition of what history is and what it does, and why it is important for theology, including natural theology. Wright stresses that history is a necessary, though often absent, ingredient in natural theology. Doing history requires: “humility to understand the thoughts of people who thought differently from ourselves; patience to go one working with the data and resist… Read more

November 3, 2019

The notion, as Tom says, of a God who periodically intervenes and interrupts the natural processes, that it is supposed he set up in the first place, is problematic. Intervention implies regular absence, but the God of the Bible is said to be, among other things omnipresent and as Jesus was to say ‘he is always working’. So the modern notion of God as an absentee landlord, simply isn’t a picture of God the Bible agrees with. There is something… Read more

November 2, 2019

The arguments of this book are frankly too dense and too detailed to simply summarize chapter by chapter (though I tried in the previous post), so instead I’m going to focus on some of the main leitmotifs that are the driving forces of all the arguments of the book, one of which is that ancient Epicureanism is the grandfather of modern dualistic thinking about God and the world. On p. 12, Tom says the following: “Deists and Epicureans share the… Read more

November 1, 2019

(Available on Amazon for $31). There are many good Tom Wright books, and amongst them there are a few great ones, even landmark studies. History and Eschatology. Jesus and the promise of natural theology falls into the latter category. It is 365 pages of sustained argument, carefully footnoted at length making Tom’s case to broaden the category of natural theology to include human history, and in particular Jesus and perhaps especially his death. The book is readily available now on… Read more

October 31, 2019

Can you identify which person in this picture is my sister Laura???? Read more

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