Monday, September 19, 2022

About that unmoved mover of yours…

A most interesting narrative in Isaiah is about God’s responsiveness to a king’s plea to extend his life (chapter 38). God sends the prophet to inform King Hezekiah of his impending death. The king begs God for more years of life and God listens and relents, changing what he decreed would happen, giving Hezekiah fifteen more years to live (38:5). Again, this is often chalked up to anthropomorphic speech by philosophically minded interpreters who bring to the text baggage borrowed from extrabiblical philosophies. According to most extrabiblical metaphysical schemes, ultimate reality cannot be affected by finite beings. Plato’s “Form of the Good,” Aristot1e’s “Unmoved Mover” and “Thought thinking itself,” Hegel’s “Absolute Spirit”—a1l are incapable of changing his (or its) mind in response to events in time, space, and history. But God, the ultimate being, the absolute person of biblical revelation, is intensely personal, self-limiting, and self-determining, and can voluntarily change his mind in response to his covenant partners’ pleas.—The Essentials of Christian Thought, 60

<idle musing>
The key here is "self-limiting." God is omnipotent and omniscient (and the other omni-s!), but he willingly self-limits himself to allow his creatures genuine self-determination. Truly amazing!
</idle musing>

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