Weblog of a Christian philosophy student

Weblog of a Christian philosophy student. Please feel free to comment. All of my posts are public domain. Subscribe to posts [Atom]. Email me at countaltair [at] yahoo.com.au. I also run a Chinese to English translation business at www.willfanyi.com.

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

My Theology in 60 Seconds

How are humans made in the image of God?

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How are humans made in the image of God? We may also ask: how can something finite have anything in common with an infinite God? Here's what I think is going on: before God made any of us, He decided to take on finite aspects and put Himself into finite reality. This would someday allow the creation of people apart from God. Because this process involved God taking on finite aspects, the resulting person who came from it - Jesus - is said to be the 'image of God' (Col 1:15). Through Jesus, God made other people who share in the image of God (John 1:9). God gives brains and bodies a share in the image of God by somehow giving us access to the infinite qualities in Jesus, although we're not God like Jesus is. It's through the image of God found in Jesus that we gain access to qualities like consciousness/mind, free will, love, morality and so on, which make us human and in God's image. Those qualities involve stuff that only the infinite can have, which is why we need to get them through God in the flesh (Jesus) to have them at all.

Free will

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How do we get free will? Free will doesn't seem to make sense in a lot of ways. We get free will through the image of God provided for us in Jesus. Jesus is God, and He gives us access to infinite qualities through Him. So free will is a phenomenon of infinity, borrowed from Jesus/God. We can't understand it very well because we use a finite brain to think, and that means we can only understand finite things. That's why we know that we have free will but have no idea how to explain it. It's the same with consciousness, which also comes through what we get from Jesus/God.


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Suffering comes to us through such things as earthquakes, diseases, and evil people, but suffering *also* comes to us through the image of God (our soul), because the image of God makes us conscious rather than a robot.  So having the image of God enables us to suffer. This implies that we need to understand the image of God to have a 'full account' of why we suffer. But finite reasoning can never understand the image of God because the image of God is infinite, given to us by and through Jesus. So the 'problem of evil' must always leave relevant knowledge unexplored. That's why it's such a mystery (see Romans 5:12-14 for how the things of infinity affect the image of God.)

Where does morality and God's goodness come from?

If anyone saw infinity as it really is (i.e. with infinite reasoning) then they will love the person that they see with all their 'heart, mind, soul and strength'.  God loves us and never sins because He sees us as we really are, i.e. He sees our infinite image of God with infinite reasoning (1 John 3:2).  We have a moral sense because our image of God tells us that other people have the (infinite) image of God as well.  To love that which is infinite is to act according to the '2 + 2 = 4' of infinite reasoning.

Why does God value faith?

It's difficult to save people (Matt 19:25) because people will always have free will and finite reasoning in heaven. Why does this present a problem? Well, because our finite reasoning cannot know what infinite reasoning knows. So our finite reasoning constantly creates temptations in us to sin against God and other humans, because we cannot see God and other humans as they really are (i.e. their image of God) - 1 Peter 2:11 (see above). This is why all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. God develops our faith and trains us to rely on His word in this life because that trains us to place infinite reasoning above finite reasoning. Why is this important? Because you can only go to heaven if you are willing to accept God's grace for an eternity, and any temptation not to do that is always going to come from our finite reasoning. So it's important for God to help us prioritise infinite reasoning over finite reasoning, because that develops Christians so that they don't reject grace (from a finite reasoning temptation) over an eternity in heaven.

Why does God send people to hell?

God creates a soul by allowing the brain to access the image of God in Jesus. This makes our soul exist in God's infinite 'world', even though it's marred by sin. Now, it makes sense that if a soul (which ought to be like God) does something genuinely wrong, with no excuse, that this could sever or cut-off the soul's connection to God in God's 'world'. A holy and perfect God cannot allow sin in His/Her/Its presence. That's really, really bad for us because our soul gives us consciousness (see above). So having our soul cut-off from God in the 'world of God' infects all of our experiences with some degree of suffering and imperfection. It doesn't matter what's going on outside your head, no matter where you are, a soul cut-off from God's presence will always suffer. Either in a hell in earth (which is where we are), or in another hell. The only way out is to become morally perfect, like Jesus, because then your soul can connect to God, making you as happy as God. There is no 'other option'. Given these kinds of reasons, the only way for anyone to avoid hell forever (interpreted above) is to become morally perfect forever (which is only possible through the work of Jesus, John 14:6).

Informative links:

How are finite things different to an infinite God?
What's the deal with the atonement?
How is this theology - 'infinite God theology' - meant to succeed as an answer to tough questions?
My interpretation of original sin.
Why God lets Christians experience doubt and severe testing.
We can identify four paradoxes to finite reasoning in free will.
What is consciousness, how does it work and why does it love?

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