Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Creation in the image of God and the limits of Christian homophobia

It seems to me as if when we see people as created by God, and as being whom God has an interest in making happy for an eternity, then we will be more, rather than less likely to take their interests seriously here on earth. "Endowed by their creator with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. "Endowed by evolution with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" makes no sense whatsoever.

Christian homophobia, for example, has to be limited by the fact that, given Christianity, homosexuals are human beings created in the image of God for the purpose of eternal salvation. That are not just biological accidents doomed to drop out of the gene pool since they can't reproduce. 


32 comments:

Martin Cothran said...

Is it necessary to use a common gay rights Devil term ("homophobia") without at least delimiting what you mean by it?

Victor Reppert said...

I agree that the term is problematic. If it follows from the fact that you consider homosexuality to be sinful that you are a homophobe, then does believing that stealing is a sin make you a kleptophobe?

B. Prokop said...

HERE is an article written from the pro same sex marriage side that actually makes some very good points about this issue, to include this line:

"To the greatest extent possible, people should not be compelled against their conscience to provide services for an event they do not support."

And count me in amongst those who think the ridiculous term "homophobia" should be used only by bigots and haters, and not by those supporting traditional marriage.

Jezu ufam tobie!

oozzielionel said...

"as being whom God has an interest in making happy for an eternity"

If we take that as the primary purpose of God, I think we are heading for trouble. The primary purpose of God is His own glory. He invites those who will pursue that purpose to endure persecution, suffering, and personal sacrifice. Christians are to serve God, not be served by God.

B. Prokop said...

oozie,

I think Victor left out an "a", which may have caused you to misinterpret his posting. The sentence (perhaps) ought to have read:

"if when we see people as created by God, and as [a] being whom God has an interest in making happy for an eternity"

With the "a" in place, then Victor is not talking about the "purpose of God", but the "purpose of Man".

miej miłosierdzie dla nas i całego świata

im-skeptical said...

If God was interested in making his beings happy for an eternity, he wouldn't have made beings who fail to make the cut. Why would he make some people gay? No, what this God cares about is his own glorification, and he rewards those who pay sufficient homage to his vanity. You might call it omni-vanity.

oozzielionel said...

I should avoid a false dichotomy between God's care for us and our worship of Him. They are linked. My push-back to Victor is framing our views on just God's purpose of making us happy. Our happiness is linked to and subservient to God's glory.

Catholic Version:
"358 God created everything for man, but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him:" http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p6.htm

Protestant Version:
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
http://www.reformed.org/documents/wsc/index.html?_top=http://www.reformed.org/documents/WSC.html

IM: Vanity is defined as excessive pride. This is quite prevalent in people and quite impossible for God.

B. Prokop said...

oozie,

I am certain that this was merely sloppy writing on your part (heck, we're all guilty of it at times - even me), but I must respond to your sentence "The primary purpose of God is His own glory". There are a number of reasons to not like this wording. Most importantly, God cannot be spoken of as having a "purpose", which would imply (indeed, necessitate) something higher than God by which He must be measured. This is, of course, a logical inconsistency. If you wish to use the wholly inadequate human terminology of "attribute", then you might say that God's primary attribute is "Love". But even this is ultimately wrong. Love is not an "attribute" of God, but rather His substance.

That's why, by the way, the doctrine of the Trinity is absolutely critical to Christianity - it stands or falls on the Truth of this doctrine (as well as the Resurrection, but that's a separate conversation). If God were unitarian, then He (being Love) would either basically be in love with Himself, and therefore a monster, or alternatively, He would require creation, in order to supply Him with something to love. Once again, how can God have needs? But... the Father loving the Son and their mutual love being the Holy Spirit makes God a Loving Community within Himself - three Persons in one Godhead.

Also, God cannot be said to glorify Himself (and the New Testament explicitly states this), but rather the Father glorifies the Son, and the Son the Father, but neither glorifies Himself.

(But I know you meant all this all along.)

Święty Boże, Święty Mocny, – Święty, a Nieśmiertelny

im-skeptical said...

"Also, God cannot be said to glorify Himself (and the New Testament explicitly states this), but rather the Father glorifies the Son, and the Son the Father, but neither glorifies Himself."

Sure, Bob. Whatever you say.

Andrew W said...

B. Prokop:

"Also, God cannot be said to glorify Himself (and the New Testament explicitly states this)"

I put it that the above statement is quite false. For example, John 12:28:

'Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”'

Who is doing the glorifying? The Father. Whose name does & will he glorify? His own.

Also, other situations where God / the Father acts for the explicit purpose of his own glory (have filtered references to provide only the most explicit):

Ex 14:4,17,18 - God will (through his own actions and for his own ends) get glory over Pharaoh.

Psalm 79:9 - the Psalmist appeals to God for aid so that God will glorify God's name

Is 42:8, 48:11 - God is jealous of his glory, and will not share it

Phil 2:10-11 - the Father exalts Jesus for the ultimate purpose of bringing glory to the Father.

The entire Scripture clearly teaches that the goal and purpose of creation is God's glory. God creates and loves us ultimately for his glory, not our own. As part of this, God glorifies mankind in order to bring glory to himself.

The history of the universe is God's magnum opus, a cosmic demonstration of the glory of God. We are both participants and audience of this work.

B. Prokop said...

Andrew,

Thanks for your comment.

I was thinking more along the lines of this: "Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee" (John 17:1), and many, many other places (especially in Paul). As for the passage you quoted, that is actually a good example of the (rarely seen in Scripture) internal dialogue between the Persons of the Trinity. Jesus even makes this explicit by saying immediately afterwards: "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine." This exchange between Jesus and "the Voice" is similar to other New Testament places where a Voice from Heaven glorifies the Son (the Baptism and the Transfiguration) and really ought to be considered in context with those episodes.

As for your Old Testament passages, ascribing various actions and words of God in the Hebrew Scriptures to one Person or another of the Trinity is always problematic, and I would not wish to debate you on such matters. I personally am often never sure just Who is being referred to in countless places in the OT. When "Wisdom" is invoked, for instance. Are these passages speaking of the Son, or of the Holy Spirit, or even now to one and now to the other? Are the three men who visit Abraham the Trinity? And if so, which Person does the speaking? I have heard good cases for both the Father and the Son. Who is speaking from the burning bush? Here I have read where minds far superior to and more learned than mine have argued variously for all three Persons. I'm not even going to try to guess.

Argumentum ad verecundiam here, but my comment was really not even my own (as in, I did not think it up, but was rather a re-hash of what Thomas Aquinas wrote in his Catena Aurea (A 3000 page work which I've never managed to sit down and read end to end, but just pick up now and then (it occupies a Place of Honor on my desk) and dip into at places of interest). So ultimately your dispute is not with me, but with him.

Omnes Sanctos, Ora pro nobis!

B. Prokop said...

Andrew, you referenced the following:

"At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:10-11)

These lines from Paul actually beautifully support what I wrote above. The Father is in no way glorifying Himself, but rather we give glory to the Son, Who in turn passes it along to the Father. Again, a wonderful example of the loving exchange within the Trinity.

Jezu ufam tobie!

im-skeptical said...

Yes, because the amazing three-in-one God is all things to all people. He's one god when your logic needs him to be one, and three separate gods when you need him to be three, and he's three that are really one, except when your twisted logic calls for one that's really three, but he can be three and one at the same time. Wait - that makes four.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>He's one god when your logic needs him to be one, and three separate gods when you need him to be three,

Stop right there Gnu! Didn't I correct you on this in the past loser?

If you believed in logic (& we all know from past experience you and logic never keep company) in order for there to be a contradiction we need to claim X and Not X at the same time in the same relation.

One God and Three Gods at the same time and in the same relation are examples of this.

However One God and three subsisting Divine Relations in the One divine essence(One God) is an example of being One in One Sense and Three in Another Sense.

The later is the doctrine of the Trinity & by definition can't be an example of X and Not X at the same time and in the same sense or relation.

Geez Skepo after all this time you are philosophically a knuckle dragging Neanderthal.

What is the fraking point of you Gnu?

B. Prokop said...

Ben! Is that you?!?

im-skeptical said...

Of course it's Ben. Still spouting the same old nonsense.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

It is I.......

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Good grief!

>If God was interested in making his beings happy for an eternity, he wouldn't have made beings who fail to make the cut.

God is not obligated to make any beings at all. Duh!!!!!

More Theistic Personalist donkey shit!!!

You all know I HATE Theistic Personalism with fire of 10000 suns!

Only the Classic Theistic God (otherwise known as YHWH) exists.

The God of Abraham and Aquinas.

Anyway those who don't make the cut had been given sufficient grace so salvation was a real possibility for them. It's their fault if they go to Hell like an adult film star they blew it.

>Why would he make some people gay?

Because he made free will and some people choose to indulge in perverse erotic novelties.

OTOH if homosexuality isn't chosen then He created material nature in which flaws develop including inverted desires. Material things by
nature compete with other material thing for perfection. Something in gay people has brought about it's own perfection at the expense of an ordered sexuality.

God could have created a universe where things don't do that but if he did it would not have been our universe which is material.

Still gays get the same sufficient grace as the rest of us so salvation is available to them.

>No, what this God cares about is his own glorification, and he rewards those who pay sufficient homage to his vanity. You might call it omni-vanity.

Pelagian heresy! You can earn nothing without grace. When God crowns our merits he is only crowning his own gifts.

Skepo your criticisms of Christianity have become that much dumber since I was last here. How dumb?

Where is Paps? I need a standard of low brow stupidity to make the comparison.

im-skeptical said...

Seems I struck a nerve.

Andrew W said...

B. Prokop:

Still, two issues remain unconsidered.

(1) You claimed that "God cannot be said to glorify Himself (and the New Testament explicitly states this)". Where is this explicit claim?

(2) The apparent implication of your claim is that God's (the Father's) goal and motivation is to glorify others. Now, it's quite true that the Father does glorify others, most notably the Son, and the Son and Spirit bring glory to the Father. However, all the passages I quoted show God acting with the explicit ultimate goal of bringing glory to himself.

I must apologise with respect to the quote from Philippians, as I should have started with verse 9:

"Therefore God has highly exalted him ... to the glory of God the Father." The Father acts to exalt the Son so that glory will accrue to the Father. There's no false modesty going on here, with the Father and Son each playing "you go first". Rather, the explicit goal of both is that ultimately the Father is glorified.


This ties back to your objection to ozzie: "The primary purpose of God is his own glory" / "God cannot be spoken of as having a purpose".

You've completely mishandled the claim. The word "purpose" is active, not passive. "This is God's agenda" rather than "this is the reason for God to exist". God does indeed purpose his own glory, and this agenda is primary throughout the Scriptures. We humans exist precisely so that God can show his glory to us, and be even more glorious by sharing it with us.

When a man gathers his grandchildren to him, he does it not to downplay himself, but to both demonstrate his glory and to share it. When a king calls for a great feast is his own name, he does it not to downplay himself, but to both demonstrate his glory and to share it. And so also it is with God.

B. Prokop said...

"Where is this explicit claim?"

I cited it in my last posting.

"The apparent implication of your claim is that God's (the Father's) goal and motivation"

God cannot in any way be said to have purpose or goals (at least, not in any human terms). As I said, such would imply something greater than God, by which His actions would have to be measured. His essence (not His "purpose") is Love - and (to repeat myself) such does necessitate a Trinitarian Godhead, the only other alternatives being either self-contradictory or monstrous.

As to Philippians 1:9, it appears we read that passage quite differently. Thank God for the Magisterium, so we do not have to rely on our own fallible interpretations! This is precisely where the many thousands of Protestant denominations come from.

Good distinction between passive and active purposing! I like that. But it does nothing to change my perception that you appear (unless I am totally misunderstanding you) to simply not wish to view God's glorification through a Trinitarian lens. This may be my own personal quirk here, but I see the Doctrine of the Trinity as the Number One, basic, rock-bottom, fundamental, absolutely indispensable, all-explaining yet never exhausted, supreme thing that we can ever know about God. Seen from the perspective of this doctrine, everything else that we can know, both within Scripture and in the universe as a whole (to include knowledge obtained by whatever means, such as science, art, personal experience, history, literature... you name it) makes sense, both in isolation and as a whole. Without it, everything's a muddle.

By the way, very refreshing to have such a satisfying conversation as this one. I wish all contributors to this website were both as serious and as mannerly as you.

Sub Tuum Praesidium

B. Prokop said...

Should have been more specific. John 17:1 was the idea I was thinking of, but I instinctively dislike using "proof verses" in a debate. I prefer to argue from the General Sense of Scripture, (I know, I know... that's a Protestant idea. But every now and then, they do come up with a good one.) with various specific passages being illustrative rather than serving as "killer apps".

Jezu, ufam tobie!

im-skeptical said...

"I wish all contributors to this website were both as serious and as mannerly as you."

Hey, Bob. Any time you want to have a serious, civil discussion, just let me know. I'd be happy to oblige you. Just remember, it's a two-way street.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>Hey, Bob. Any time you want to have a serious, civil discussion, just let me know. I'd be happy to oblige you. Just remember, it's a two-way street.

Says the guy who said "Sure, Bob. Whatever you say."

and

"No, what this God cares about is his own glorification, and he rewards those who pay sufficient homage to his vanity. You might call it omni-vanity."

Yeh God has Emotions.....NOT!!!!!!!!!

Then there was the idiot repeat of the Trinity is Three Gods bullship.

You don't want a serious conversation jackarse.

Besides Bob is the most civil, generous to a fault, & niceest among us till you Dawkinoid Gnus tried even his strong patience.

So you can deal with me or maybe Crude will drop by to give you the whatfor if he is interested.

oozzielionel said...

So, back to how being created in the image of God relates to the "pursuit of happiness." Victor started with the statement that Christian (attitudes toward homosexuality)[edit suggested by Martin's comment], for example has to be limited by...1) creation in the image of God and 2) eventual eternal salvation. I have the following objections:
1) This seems to assume universal salvation. Which begs the question, "Salvation from what?" If all are saved by virtue of being created in the image of God, none are lost. If no one is lost, how can anyone be saved?
2) God has no obligation to make any thing in creation happy, much less everyone.
3) The right to the pursuit of happiness as a inalienable gift from the creator is a creation of the Declaration of Independence, not Scripture.
4) There are many biological accidents that happen and many other affects of sin. Just because someone is born with a characteristic, predisposition, trait, etc., does not give it standing as something good, acceptable or proper.

Victor Reppert said...

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which,if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

B. Prokop said...

"Just because someone is born with a characteristic, predisposition, trait, etc., does not give it standing as something good, acceptable or proper."

Amen to that! Doesn't current science now tell us that serial pedophiles are "born that way"? Do we now have to celebrate that particular "lifestyle"?

Jezu, ufam tobie!

im-skeptical said...

"Doesn't current science now tell us that serial pedophiles are "born that way"? Do we now have to celebrate that particular "lifestyle"?

To the extent that deviant behaviors are harmful, we (as a society) shouldn't tolerate or celebrate them. But your rejection of gay people is just plain bigotry, and it is taught by your church.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Father John Zuhlsdorf

vs.

The Gay Wedding Fascists and anti-Free Speech punks!

This is brilliant!!!

We need to do this to these scumbags!


http://townhall.com/columnists/brentbozell/2015/04/17/a-way-out-for-christian-wedding-businesses-n1986452

B. Prokop said...

Interesting idea, Ben. I wonder if it would work? It would require some serious nose holding on the part of those providing the services, but Father Zuhlsdorf may just be on to something here. But don't underestimate the ability of the "other side" to find discrimination where there ain't none. The caterers might just get sued for failing to display the requisite amount of enthusiasm.

Jezu, ufam tobie

im-skeptical said...

More gratuitous references to communism. Nice one, Bob. No one can accuse you of wanting to discuss issues seriously.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

@Bob

>Interesting idea, Ben. I wonder if it would work? It would require some serious nose holding on the part of those providing the services, but Father Zuhlsdorf may just be on to something here.

To be fair I think I once saw a similar idea put forth by a Rabbi on The Blaze. Fr. Z might have borrowed it or not...not that I care.

> But don't underestimate the ability of the "other side" to find discrimination where there ain't none. The caterers might just get sued for failing to display the requisite amount of enthusiasm.

They are shameless but overcharge them and give all their money to conservative marriage causes & tell them you are going to do that.

As for enthusiasm well you tell them up front what you offer. If they don't like it they can go somewhere else. If you sell wedding cakes refuse to stock groom/groom or bride/bride figurines for the cakes.

If you can sue them for religious discrimination do it. They want war give it too them. They don't want to live in peace. They won the right to get a piece of paper for the state that says marriage like Anglican holy Orders for us it is just a piece of paper.

Other things you can do is Churches can get together to form marriage organizations and you as a wedding business can exclusively contract with them. Of course only Churches which forbid same sex marriage can join the organization and only their members can be serviced.

We have to resist the government at every turn.

As Dennis Prager said there are no more liberals on the left.

They have all devolved into totalitarians.