Often the very different (and strongly disagreeing) answers to the same question, are all correct and all wrong at the same time depending on your starting premise. In other words, our starting point inevitably determines our conclusions. We see this in politics all around us, every single day. If we understand a SuperSet of principles governing any discipline, then we will far better comprehend and understand the SubSets either flowing from or feeding into that SuperSet. When we consider the Sciences for example, if we understand, say, Biology, (the SubSet), we will not necessarily understand any more about the discipline of Physics (the SuperSet), than the absolute least we need to know in order to improve our understanding of Biology. But if we study out Physics (the SuperSet, or if you like, the Big Picture or the Macro-Level), our comprehension of Biology (the Subset, or if you prefer, the Little Picture, or the Micro-Level) will unfold both faster and broader.
My problem with most of the conclusions we see in the “Grace Movement”, is that, in the effort to explain away assumed anomolies in the story, most amateur theologians, try to divorce the “untenable” bits from the record. This is nothing new. In most of Modern and Post Modern Christianity, there are no end to the concoctions dreamed up in order to explain miracles or say, the angry God of the Scriptures talking about beating out the brains of babies upon a rock versus Jesus the “express image of God” inviting the little children to “come unto Me”.
IF we view the evolution of the story as one in which God was reactionary, then fitting these two SubSets into the one Superset becomes impossible without first deprecating one of the apparently conflicting claims; in other words, one of the facts apparently in evidence, must either be seen to be allegorical at best or false at worst.
But if we view the evolution of the story as one in which God was not reactionary, but “actionary” or as the initiator rather than the respondent, a very different picture might emerge.
The “God was never angry” theory, is dependant in whole, upon aat least two common errors;
(1) We anthopomorphise God; that is to say, we have the human tendency to think that God is just like us but bigger. We assume this because, if we were created in God’s image, then WE must be just like God but smaller, no? We depict God as human so that we can understand God, examine God
or judge God the same way we would any other human. We shouldn’t be angry, so why should God be angry etc.
This is, of course a false assumption; God is, in fact, an alien of the first order to us, and all too often, we choose to view God through the wrong end of a telescope in order to reduce Him to something we can then put in a box. Think of an ant trying to understans a human person, and judge that human person by ant standards. Curious indeed, how we might laugh at that comparison, yet take ourselves so seriously when we replicate that foolishness in our own thinking.
(2) We make the mistake of thinking that when God tells us SOMETHING about a topic, He has told us EVERYTHING about it. The Bible talks about God’s secrets, which we conveniently overlook. All those alleged Christians from history who murdered each other, all the time trumpeting that the very same Holy Spirit, had led them all to completely conflicting positions, made this same very obvious error.
Could it be that we are asking the wrong questions? Is that possible?
Instead of asking how we can correlate or synthesize the claimed competing images of an angry Father, a loving Son, and the Son being claimed to be the express image of the Father, what if the question shifted to “what is the SuperSet here?”; What is the REAL big Picture?
What if as part of that imagined superset, this alien God PLANNED to exhibit anger for purposes of His own? After all, in Jesus, we certainly seem to witness conflict resolution, no?
Why is it so important for us to make everything dovetail together according to our “ant” reasoning? Is it possible that it might be so that WE, asd humans, can feel good about God acting like any reasonable human should? Is it so that we can feel good? ? Or is it so that we can arrive at the truth?