I have been a bit distracted, in a good way, recently, so no posts since last Monday and not much engagement with comments in the last few days. Our youngest child turned 21 at the weekend and the celebrations involved our house and garden. Some intensive effort to prepare things and then some full on hospitality as family arrived home and other family arrived. Food and drink to be purchased.Oh, and not all has been purchased so back to the supermarket. It has been great and wonderful and heartwarming. But a 21 year old youngest child means I am, well, older myself and the intensive effort has been tiring, including muscles not normally used when typing words on a laptop.
Fortunately the greatest crisis or moment of change in the Anglican world seems to be the non-controversial restoration of the Archbishop of York's clergy collar, following Mugabe's downfall. If only all Anglican challenges were so simply resolved - albeit after many years, too many years of waiting for change.
Also noted, English cricket's perennial struggle to match Australia, innings for innings when playing in Australia!
A comment each on a couple of comment threads through last week.
Creation in Genesis - myth or history?
A fascinating exchange last week which (in my words) went something like this:
X: you can't claim Genesis 1-3 as historical facts
Y: you claim we are made in the image of God, which comes from what you call the "creation myth" in Genesis 1-3, so either Genesis 1-3 is true or it isn't. Which is it?
Critical here is that Genesis 1-3, before it is determined to be historical or mythical (or even both), is Israel's claim that in these chapters truth has been revealed about God, humanity and the world in which humanity lives. God is sole source of the life of the world and of the life in the world. Humanity is the apex of God's creation (Genesis 1) and the centre of the life God has created (Genesis 2). As apex of creation, humanity is distinguished from plants and animals by being created in the image of God. This theological claim cannot be confirmed by biology or archaeology. It is a theological claim because it is integral to Israel's "talk about God." Israel's God has both created the world and communicated with the world. In Francis Schaeffer's phrase, God is not silent.
What many Christians struggle with, in the modern age, is that the scientific narrative of the origins of the world and of the life within it, at best contrasts with and at worst (from a theological perspective) contradicts the theological narrative told through the first chapters of Genesis. (By "theological narrative" I mean that a story is told in which truth about God and God's actions as creator and communicator is conveyed to readers and hearers of the narrative.)
Something we who live within the modern age seem to rarely grasp about the Genesis narrative is that it was a response within a particular, non-scientific context. In a world of plural creation myths, Egyptian through to Babylonian, and most likely with particular reference to the latter, since Genesis was almost certainly finalised after Judah was exiled to Babylon, the Genesis narrative told Israel that the other myths were at best partial insights into what happened. There was only one creating God and that God had neither competitor nor delegated secondary God/god assisting or hampering creation.
Genesis had to respond to the myths of the day not to a forecast of Darwinian evolutionary theory some 2300 years hence!
Jesus himself (and Paul) worked with the world in which they lived, an Israelite context in which a bedrock "fact" was the single origin of humanity through the first couple, Adam and Eve. Jesus was incarnated into a specific context. We must not think of his brain pausing every time he mentioned (or implied or presumed the story of) Adam and Eve to work out how truthful he was going to be because he also "knew" all about Darwin. He lived and breathed the scriptural world of his fellow first century human beings.
And the mission of Jesus was to save those made in God's image. (Sorry, dogs and cats, but we have absolutely no reason to think you will be also saved. You may or may not be. You are just not important enough for Jesus (or Paul) to have bothered with inane - yes, I am deeply prejudiced against the salvation of animals - questions about those not created in the image of God)!
Has Anglican theology, or Anglicans theologising, gone deep enough into the theology of life, of church, of salvation?
I have a lot of material to digest via various posted links in comments made, as well as comments themselves about my critique of the Jerusalem Declaration (as well as some comments made on my last post on You Known What). I cannot guarantee I will get to much of this before Christmas. My daughter's 21st is a gateway to quite a lot of Christmas/End of Year functions coming up :). But a quick sense is that we Anglicans really, really need to dig deeper than we are doing. It is not just that we are going to the dogs by drifting away from orthodoxy/"orthodoxy" and only digging deeper will bring realisation of how close to the precipice we are going (cf. Bryden Black's recent comments here). It is also, I sense, that we are not even close to understanding what development/"development" of dogma and doctrine might mean for a rapidly changing world. By which I do not mean being progressive/"progressive." Indeed the fact that for some Anglicans we appear only able to consider "development" to be development when it is clearly "progressive" is itself a sign of the lack of depth to our theological ruminations.
Right, back to annual leave. There are some post-party developments in my garden (Eden!) which need attending to :)