Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No formula here!

“ cannot reduce divine-human interaction to a single model (the problem of Job!), especially because of the dynamic of divine and human sovereignty. The Old Testament is witness to the consistent recalcitrance of humanity but also recognizes the mysterious sovereignty of God. Before renewing covenant with rebellious Israel in Exodus 34, a renewal based on Yahweh’s gracious and just character showcased in 34:6–7, Yahweh declares in Exod 33:19: 'I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.' This divine freedom is recognized regularly throughout the Old Testament in phrases such as 'who knows' and 'perhaps,' which precede hopes for God’s grace in reply to human response (2 Sam 12:22; Joel 2:14; Amos 5:15; Jonah 1:6, 3:9; Zeph 3:3). It is expressed by the people in Lamentations 3, who claim that God refuses to listen to their penitential cries, and those in Isaiah 64, who claim that God has hardened their hearts. This divine freedom most often benefits humanity. For instance, Cain deserves no grace, but instead Yahweh mitigates his punishment. The nation of Israel is deserving of annihilation in Exodus 32–34 and Numbers 13–14 but instead is preserved by God. The dominant pattern of human sin–divine discipline–human response–divine grace in all of its forms cannot be reduced to an impersonal retribution principle separated from the dynamic relationship between Yahweh and his people.”—A Severe Mercy, pages 521

<idle musing>
And we can all thank God that the divine freedom usually benefits us and can't be reduce to an impersonal principle. I much prefer the divine-human relationship.
</idle musing>

No comments: