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Saturday, October 31, 2009

What is Peter Doing?

My comments to the post on Peter Jensens vacuous talk at Synod were a little cryptic, I admit; so what was I saying when I wrote:

It amazes me that PJ does not see:
(a) that he is buying into a religious belief system when he supports materialist contentions about the nature of the real;
(b) the Bible's structuring of the real from the revelation of God in Gen 1, etc, and the words of the Bible elsewhere that clearly eliminate both long ages and evolutionary ideas...both of course being long standing pagan notions anyway!

Let me put it another way.

When Peter discounts the direct meaning of, say, Genesis 1, and the chronogenealogies of Genesis, plus the Lukan genealogy, etc. he is saying that God has connected himself to us in a way other than the way he has stated. So Peter, what is the way...via pond scum and the random pain of billions of years of evolutionary chance...gag me with a spoon!

Peter has stepped straight past some critical aspects of the scriptures when he thinks that their time and world-frame has no real part to play in their theology, the basic covenant between creator and creature, or the interaction between creator, creation and creatures.

There is probably a pile of aspects to this set of connections, but I'll mention only a couple.

The incarnation is set in the Bible in identical terms to the creation and its events: that is, both occur as discrete event sequences within the contiguous time-space that we inhabit, and are constrained by. If the creation is a reference by imagery of some other thing that happened, then it ceases to act in counterpoint to the incarnation, which was an event in 'dateable time', to quote John Dickson's recent video.

If the creation was outside the concrete and direct realism by which it is related to us, then it seems hard to pin down the precise connection between us and God, which connection is important for the incarnation: thus Luke 3, as cited above. Otherwise, the whole enterprise is based on a tale of mythic proportions that cannot argue a direct and close connection with our lives, or our collective life-history. We are no better off than ancient mystery religion worshippers.

But, if God did create in dateable time, and in the world constrained as we experience it, then he could say so, putting his work, our lives, and the incarnation both on the one time-line, and in the one time-space world, meaning, pretty directly, that our collective life is from God, before God and in relationship to God (either good or bad, now bad, of course, but for Christ) in the most palpable way. Myth, the vageness of chance and the 'fates' have no space in which to intervene and push God's realness out of our realness.

All this goes, of course, if God does evaporate into the never-never past. He becomes one with the dreamtime tales of Australian aborigines and his connection with our lives is mythic, not real, his salvation is just words, and not lives reborn.

Peter must be relying on a description of our collective history that is other than from the hand of God. His reliance is on a materialist myth to which he adds God, but fails to make God critical to the success of the tale: God in or God out of the materialist story, and you still have the materialist story; 'God' as an idea doesn't make the story change or show us where the lacunae are repaired. At root Peter calls on a materialist account of the cosmos to which God is a foreigner.

But God's story is different, and he makes that difference connect with our world by showing that he is the creator of what we are standing in, in the same terms that operate within the world we experience: ontological contiguity is the prime frame of Genesis 1, and we jetison at the peril of a meaningful Christian theology and proclamation of our Lord's salvation.

1 comment:

neil moore said...

A Mystic would see no difference between the "real" and "unreal" whereas Christians are urged to distinguish the difference and always act on the "real".