First Day is Goldingay

First Day is Goldingay May 1, 2008

Well, Goldingay’s 2d chp (Israel’s Faith (OT Theology, vol. 2)) is bogging me down, but this chp has a section that is a virtual open theism statement. So, here are some thoughts from the chp…

“God thus has a plan for Israel’s life. Perhaps it would be better to call it an intention or purpose.” And this: “The assumption that everything that happens in the world emerges from God’s plan stands in contrast with the more concrete way in which the Scriptures speak of God’s plan.” In other words, Yahweh manifests constancy and flexibility.
Now some references on which some of his observations are made:
1. Mal 3:6: ““I the Lord do not change.”
But, this does not mean God is immutable, which would be close to saying that God is dead (89).
2. Ezek 20:8-12: “8 ” ‘But they rebelled against me and would not listen to me; they did not get rid of the vile images they had set their eyes on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in Egypt. 9 But for the sake of my name I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations they lived among and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites by bringing them out of Egypt. 10 Therefore I led them out of Egypt and brought them into the desert. 11 I gave them my decrees and made known to them my laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. 12 Also I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the LORD made them holy.”

The emboldened “But” is the point for Goldingay. God didn’t do what he said he would do. He “relented.”
Which is why the next verses say the same: “13 ” ‘Yet the people of Israel rebelled against me in the desert. They did not follow my decrees but rejected my laws—although the man who obeys them will live by them—and they utterly desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and destroy them in the desert. 14 But for the sake of my name I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out. ”
3. Jonah 3:6-10: “6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
Goldingay calls this “dialogical reciprocity” (91).
Here is a way he puts together what the Bible actually says: “God assumes room to maneuver” (91).
“There are thus two passages that say that God never relents, and forty or so indicating that God does” (92).

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