Thursday, July 20, 2017

CWG (Chapter 22)

Chapter 22: Caught in the Cross Fire

Boyd believes that the New Testament amplifies and clarifies the 'cosmic conflict' worldview of the Old Testament. Jesus viewed Satan as a powerful agent and functional ruler of the earth. Indeed, Jesus ministry was about overcoming the rule of Satan and establishing a new rule. And His crucifixion is the act by which this overcoming was accomplished.

Boyd's view is similar to that of C.S. Lewis. The devil simply did not understand the 'secret' plan that God was carrying out via the cross of Christ. Selfish Satan could not comprehend selfless love. Violence done to Jesus isn't what saves us. Jesus willingness to love without limits is what saves us, for it reveals the true character of God (destroying the devil's false-teachings about God's character).

In the remainder of the chapter, Boyd touches on the fact that we DO have, within us, an image-of-God bearing warrior instinct. It was never meant to be directed at people. It is intended toward the cosmic conflict. Because this instinct is legitimate, there are valuable lessons we can learn from the violence in the Old Testament (actual violence and imprecatory Psalms).

This chapter felt a bit scattered in nature. Authors sometimes like to try to keep the chapter lengths close to the same when, to my mind, it's okay to have numerous short chapters.

In any case, I did find what Greg had to say about the 'secret' nature of God's plan intriguing. This is not a motif that is talked about all that often, but it is present in Scripture. I think his criticisms of (at least) the popular versions of Penal Substitution Atonement are valid. I think he's right that there is a legitimacy to the 'warrior instinct' and that that is relevant to the usefulness of these Old Testament passages.

I'm not with him on the imprecatory Psalms, though. I think it is far easier to interpret them as simply honest expressions from human beings. They are 'inspired' in the sense that God is pleased when we deal honestly with HIM instead of taking out our anger, frustration, and hatred on others.

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