Note to My Readers: from mid-June to mid-August (6/18 - 8/20), I will be taking a summer break from posting new articles for my Thursday and Friday slots. This will only affect my Thursday series on the global growth of Christianity, and my Friday series, the "Theological Bestiary" of birds, both of which will resume in late August. During the summer, I'll be dusting off some of my best essays from the first few years of this blog (a decade ago), as well as my verse play "Thus Ends the World," and re-posting them in the Thursday and Friday slots. All other weekdays will continue to feature new material throughout the summer.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

95 Theses: Introduction, and #1-2

I wrote a set of theological propositions a couple years ago, and since there happened to be nearly a hundred of them by the time I was finished, I crafted them into a list of "95 Theses" as a tip of my hat to the first great theologian of the Reformation, Martin Luther. My theses are short snippets of theological thoughts that I find compelling, amounting in the end to a sort of systematic theology in bullet-point form. What I hope you'll find interesting, though, is that it contains a number of interpretations that may put a fresh spin on the traditional evangelical ways of presenting Christian doctrine. Some of them are simply hypotheses or suggestions; all are held lightly and are open to future fine-tuning or repudiation.  But almost all of them, even the most speculative, rest on an authorities other than myself. They integrate theological systems and insights that I've learned over the years from the early church fathers, Eastern Orthodox theology, the traditions of Christian devotional writers, and the contemporary work of theologians who study the intersection of faith and science. 

1.)  Love and the Trinity – God is love (1 John 4:8). Since love, by its very nature, requires both a subject and an object, we can conclude that God, though a single, personal being and thus having a single nature, is in fact a unified plurality of Lover-Beloved. And since the attributes of God are in fact descriptions of the super-personal nature of God himself (this is classic doctrine of divine simplicity), we can conclude that the Love that exists between the Lover and Beloved is itself a person within the unified plurality of God—Lover (the Father), Beloved (the Son), and Love (the Holy Spirit): a self-existent Trinity.

     2.) Love and Creation - In love, God created all that is. Nothing outside himself compelled him to create it; he freely chose to create it in order to allow the eternal love of the Trinity to overflow into the lives of other beings also capable of love. Love, as experience has taught us, is, in its highest form, exclusive (that is to say, there cannot be another Beloved than the one Beloved), but at the same time it is outwardly, overflowingly joyful—it seeks to welcome all those around it into the joy of the Love that exists between the Lover and Beloved. As such, we were created in order that we might drink in full the joy of the Trinity’s endless love.

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