Saturday, August 28, 2010

How can there be two opposing desires within the Trinity?

Inspired by a recent episode of the Reasonable Doubts podcast.

I'm still wrestling with the whole issue of the Trinity. The concept is not found 'fully formed' in the bible, but there are a smattering of verses that provide a foundation for an embryonic belief in the trinity.

What is not clear to me is how exactly the whole Trinity thing is supposed to work?

Take the situation in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14v32-36):
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
Here we clearly have the situation where the Father and the Son 'will' opposite things. They are not united in the desires of their hearts. One has to set aside his own will to do the will of the other.

Now this is perfectly understandable if they are two discrete persons, but not really understandable if they are two parts of a perfect unity.

How do trinitarians manage to harmonise this? Anyone got any insights here?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Where does it say...? #1

This is the first in an occasional series of short posts asking the simple question

'Where does it say [such and such] in the bible?'

I believe that many current 'Biblically based' Christian beliefs are based on nothing of the sort.

So where does it say that God is infinite?

Lots of Christians believe this, but where does it say it?

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The forgotten twist in 'The Prodigal Son' story

I've heard this story preached many times before, including twice this week. The emphasis used to be on the son. Then people used to focus on 'the loving Father'. More recently I've heard an awful lot about the elder brother.

But in all the times I've heard this preached, there's one aspect of the story that I've never heard a sermon on...

Luke 15v11-13:
Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
And so on...
Did you notice the first twist in the story?

The younger son goes to the father and said (in essence) "Give me everything I'll get when you are dead". This is fairly shocking in itself, but the amazing thing here is that the father does this!

What does this tell us about God? He's prepared to give the full share of inheritance to those who reject him, wish him dead, or even deny his existence? What does that mean in practice?