Monday, 6 June 2011

On Being Like God

If you've been taught that the essential thing about God is the omni-powers (omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence etc) then 2 Peter 1:4 poses a problem.

Peter tells us that Christians will share in God's divine nature. Now, if God's nature is primarily a list of omni-s then sharing in God's nature means we will become omni-beings, but that poses at least two problems:

  1. We become equal egos with God himself. A preposterous thought to any card carrying evangelical Christian, but more fundamentally...
  2. You can't have a watered down version of omni-powers. You are either omnipotent or not, either omniscient or not. You can be no more "half-omniscient" than you can be "half-alive."
Fortunately, the logical contortions posited by the philosophers aren't required. Jesus Christ reveals God as a community of love. The most fundamental thing you can say is that God's nature is life-giving love. So coming to share in this loving God's nature is no problem, because whilst omnipresence cannot be perfected in a finite being, love can (John 17:23). The difference between the love of God and his perfected people is one of degree not type.

Love will be perfected in those who love Jesus, and that is a moment he is very much looking forward to. (Song of Songs 5:2)


Mark Amos said...

Barth's take on this is good. He talks about the Omni's in terms of God's perfections rather than God's nature; that is, they are qualities that are part of his self-revelation as Trinity but not constitutive of his being. The God we participate in is primarily God as Trinity - as in 2 Peter!

Richard Walker said...

Cool. :-)