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“Confessions” – Book III: Chapters 7 – 12

 

Saints Augustine and Monica, 1854. Artist: Scheffer, Ary (1795-1858)

Saints Augustine and Monica, 1854. Artist: Scheffer, Ary (1795-1858)

 

We will finish the rest of Book III as we go over chapters 7 – 12.

 

The more questions I think of as I go through Confessions the more profoundly impressed I am of Augustine and his thinking.

 

Please answer one of these questions and write an essay on it.

 

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What is God Like? Does God Change? Is Everything Predetermined/Predestined by God? Has God Settled the Future? – Greg Boyd

 

Does God change?

 

Does God know the future?

 

In most churches today, if you would answer in the affirmative to the first question and negative to the second, you’d likely be branded a heretic or “liberal”.  Many people seem to be so set in his or her ways that they won’t even carefully consider a different opinion or viewpoint about God or other theological matters.  But it makes sense – for many, his or her view of God that they’ve grown up with or have adopted over the years, they’ve formed a close, emotional (not just psychological or spiritual) bond to it that’s hard to let go.

 

The very notion of entertaining the thought of God NOT knowing the future or that he can experience new things, or that he is NOT in absolute, complete control of everything (his omniscience, omnipotence, etc.) can be quite (emotionally) unsettling to even consider.  (As a criticism of open theism, it may seem to anthropomorphize God a bit too much.)

 

Much of theology these days (and same goes to a vast majority of the view of God that is communicated through pulpits every week on any given Sunday) seem to be stuck in medieval or Reformation times, and seem to be unwilling to budge.  As you know, much of history, science, technology, etc. has changed and progressed since that time, and the Church has had a hard time (or a very stubborn reluctance in) catching up to the rapid changes that are happening in our modern world, so it faces a crisis of remaining relevant to future generations if the Church continues on this trend I believe.

 

Perhaps our theology and understanding of God need to be updated.

 

Interesting viewpoints on God’s nature and action according to open theism.

 

 

From the website:

Does God know all future events? Only if the future is in some real sense already determined. God, to be God, must know every true proposition, including all about the future. But if the future is truly ‘open’, not even God could know the future because there are no true facts about the future to know. Why is this disturbing?

 

Has God Settled the Future? – Greg Boyd

 

Gregory A. Boyd’s profile and an interesting series on God and theology below his profile.

 

 

 

 

Does God Change in Response to Suffering? Motlmann, von Speyr, the Cross, and the Suffering of God, the Trinity

crucifixion10c.jpg (31279 bytes)

Matthias Grünewald, Isenheim Altarpiece, chapel of the Hospital of Saint Anthony, Isenheim, Germany,       c. 1510-15, oil on wood

 

Undoubtedly, suffering and death changes us in some degree or another.  It’s a given in life.  A death of a close friend, parent, or loved one can profoundly affect the outlook of one’s life.

I can only imagine the unimaginable pain a parent has to go through if their child dies.  It would undoubtedly change the parent’s life.

Is it the same for God then?  Did God change when he experienced Jesus’ death?  Does God himself change in response to suffering, pain, and death?

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