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UPDATE: “Confessions”: Book III – Chapters 7 – 12

Spirit

What do we mean when we say that God is ‘Spirit’? What is a ‘spirit’ anyway? How is it different from a soul? How do we relate with God’s spirit? Or is ‘spirit’ just a fancy way of saying ‘I have no clue what I’m talking about’?

 

So we had a very active and stimulating meeting last night and discussed a whole range of topics; a lot of it focused on the nature of God and how He relates with us.

 

Virtually all of us agreed that a theocracy was not the best form of government and disagreed that the Kingdom of God that Jesus talked about would not fall under the category of a theocracy; strains of Manichean beliefs or at least dualism within not only charismatic and fundamentalist sects of Christianity but also Catholicism; struggling to define what a ‘spirit’ actually is and what it means that God is ‘spirit’, and whether or not it differs with the concept of a soul; the eternal question of free will and God’s sovereignty (i.e. Does God have a predetermined plan for everyone’s lives or are we responsible for our own actions) and whether or not the universe might be free and open; and discussions on whether or not God suffers and if that is the case, does that mean He can change his mind or plan on things.

 

Here are our essays.

 

 

 

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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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Neuroscience of Memory and Salvation (Soteriology)

Scientists watch glowing molecules morph into memories in real time

Memory-forming molecules traveling around the brain to form new memories.

 

Came upon this site about the latest research on how memory forms in the brain.

This relates to some articles I wrote about pertaining to cognitive neuroscience and theology.  (The summaries on Peterson and Rev. Choong in particular.)

The key point to understand is that when memory forms, or when new memories form in your brain or when you learn something new (like I hope you’re doing now), there’s a physical change that’s occurring in your brain – i.e. your brain changes.

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New Submissions for Chapter 13: “Hagia Sophia” & “Byzantine Spirituality”

Hi all,

New updates and submissions about the reign of Justinian I (aka Justinian the Great), the Byzantine Empire, Hagia Sophia, and the Orthodox theology of theosis.  You can find them here.

Tonight, there were interesting talks about what constitutes theosis and how it perhaps relates to the more Reformed understanding of sanctification.

Also, to clarify some points on terminologies that often confused us tonight:

  • Dyophysitism –  the Chalcedonian position that full deity and full humanity exist in the person of Jesus Christ as two natures without confusion or change.
  • Monophysitism – states that in the person of Jesus Christ, his human nature was absorbed into the divine nature like a cube of sugar dissolves in a cup of water. Therefore, Christ was left with only one nature, the Divine (Greek mono- one, physis – nature). (i.e. Christ had only a Divine nature.)
  • Miaphysitism –  holds that in the one person of Jesus Christ, his Divinity and Humanity are united in one “nature” (physis), the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration.  This is the position of the Orthodox and Coptic Churches.

It was also interesting to see tonight how hard it is for most Christians to articulate very basic terminologies we use all the time like:

  • What is a spirit?  How is it different from the soul?  What is a soul anyway?  After death, how exactly does the soul or the spirit separate from the body?
  • How is a soul saved by God?  Saved from what ?  It’s saved from Hell?  What is hell exactly and where exactly is it located within the known universe?  If it’s outside the universe, how do know that?  (Same questions apply to the notion/concept of heaven.)
  • What is the nature of a “resurrected” or “spiritual” body?  What type of matter will it consist of?

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