My aim with this post is to Biblically demonstrate why I reject the more liberal interpretations of the attributes of God. Below is a list of the specific attributes I will be discussing in this post.
Below is an outline of the verses used by liberal theologians to deny the Omni’s of God. If you want a comprehensive analysis of any of these the links below under each category will take you to articles put together by smarter people than myself over at CARM.
- God changes His mind.
- God regrets.
- God is surprised.
- God didn’t know what people would do.
- God tests people to learn what they will do.
- God shows uncertainty about the future.
Rather than go through all of those one by one myself I am going to address one which CARM seemed to miss to demonstrate my hermeneutic.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” Luke 13:34 KJV
Above we see that Jesus is speaking about the people of Jerusalem over the ages. Specifically, Jesus wanted Jerusalem to repent and would have done things differently had they complied. The argument is that Jesus didn’t know they wouldn’t repent ahead of time, had he known one would presume that he wouldn’t have been upset about it.
It is the conclusion itself that I disagree with, primarily because scripture is so clear that God knows everything. To use this verse above to argue that God doesn’t know everything would be to put scripture against scripture. Furthermore, it is not necessary to do so. Jesus isn’t saying his divine nature didn’t know the future, he is instead expressing grief.
I would argue based on putting this text together with the doctrine of omniscience that though God does know the future and is all powerful that doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for our sins. In this case the Jewish people had sinned grievously and over the ages consequences came to be as God said they would in Leviticus 26. Just because God knew they would fail doesn’t mean that his promises of blessings in the case of obedience were untrue, nor does it mean the consequences for disobedience were not painful to watch happen.
One of the Biblical doctrines that is helpful for understanding such dynamics is that of the Hypostatic Union. It is not something I have blogged on yet but I intend to cover it with greater detail in the future. Essentially, we confess that Christ is fully God and fully Man.
“…For the right faith is, that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood; Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ: One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God” – Athanasian Creed
We see this reflected in scripture in that Jesus was not a super man or a demi-god, but showed the full and distinct qualities of both.
|Divine Nature||Human Nature|
|Walked on Water||Matt 14:24-25||Ate Food||Matt 9:10|
|Rose the Dead||John 11:25-26||Grew Weary||John 4:6|
|Omniscient||Matt 9:4||Slept||Mark 4:38|
|Omnipresent||Matt 26:26||Learned||Luke 2:52|
|Creator||John 8:58 Col 1:16||Not-Omnipresent||John 11:6|
|Rose from the Dead||1 Cor 15:4||Died||Matt 27:50|
Just as God is divine and infinite in every way does not mean he cannot express himself to created beings in less than an infinite fashion when he chooses to (Psa 115:3). In this expression we see his grief, sorrow, and mercy. But at the same time we see that the consequences of our actions are real.
Though we cannot save ourselves we can certainly damn ourselves, and are fully responsible for our own actions and all the consequences that come with it. We should count ourselves lucky that Christ saw fit to die on our behalf so that he would bear the eternal consequences of our actions.
Ultimately this last point is the reason that I discern liberal views on the Nature of God become a Gospel issue. If God were not all knowing, if he were not all powerful, if he were not unchanging, then it would be logical to assume he could learn something new. And by that knowledge change his mind about saving mankind and send us all to hell. Since the promises of our salvation are assured beyond any measure of doubt then it is logical to presume there is no doubt and that nothing is going to change God’s mind.
“8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Rev 13:8 KJV
“6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Php 1:6 KJV
“13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 Jhn 5:13 KJV