Monday, June 01, 2020


A crucial theological issue, quite apart from those important matters, is to somehow prevent an unhelpful and overly historicized “developmentalism.” “Development” is, let it be underscored once more, something of a magic word—not only because it is hard to determine cause and effect in sciences outside the natural ones (and even there, it is not always easy), but also because development often connotes a kind of upward trajectory, a myth of progress. In such instances “developmentalism” is at root little more than a kind of dressed-up dispensationalism, the ramifications and outcomes of which I wish to strenuously avoid, not only because they so often reek of supersessionism, but also because they are inherently and conceptually unable to mark an end to the development in question, which is to say, they are unable to justify why the current, always-superior moment in time will not be surpassed by the next development, stage, or “dispensation.” The whole thing smacks of arrogance, if nothing else, but also arbitrariness: one must simply draw a line in the sand somewhere when it comes to development, a line that, again, does not seem theoretically justifiable, even if in some cases it is theologically understandable.—Brent A. Strawn in Divine Doppelgängers: YHWH’s Ancient Look-Alikes, 154

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