Friday, December 30, 2022

Magical thinking

One of the king’s primary responsibilities was to defeat and contain these threatening beings, thus maintaining the stability of the world. This was of utmost importance in Egyptian ideology, and the king was often depicted in the act of annihilating rebels or symbols of evil, who usually took the form of foreigners. For example, in smiting scenes, the pharaoh strides forward with a weapon raised overhead in order to execute the one or more foreign enemies who are in his grasp (fig. 1.5). In other scenes, the king takes the form of a sphinx or griffin and tramples foreign enemies (fig. 1.6). This imagery, like all imagery in ancient Egypt, had a magical capacity: by depicting the king defeating his enemies, the Egyptians guaranteed that the king would continually do so. The image created the reality. In this way, such imagery was both apotropaic and effective.—Ancient Egyptian Prisoner Statues: Fragments of the Late Old Kingdom, 8–9

<idle musing>
In the old days, we used to call this sympathetic magic, but that term has fallen out of favor in the last thirty or so years. I don't recall what they call it now, but it's still the same: Like begets like.

Makes sense, doesn't it? As one of my seminary professors used to say, when you reason from the given to the divine, you end up with magic—the attempt to control your circumstances by manipulating them symbolically, i.e., magic.

Unfortunately, some of that thinking has invaded Christian thought, theology, and behavior. Now, I'm not trying to minimize or deny the effectiveness of acting out some things, such as the writing of offenses on a piece of paper and then burning the paper—we are embodied beings and actions help—but, to think the action in and of itself is effective? Well, no. Emphatically, no. It only becomes effective through the power of God in the Holy Spirit, working in and through you and your circumstances.

And as for the practice that I've seen of placing a Bible on someone as if the book is magical? That's just plain wrong. The Bible is just a block of wood, thinly sliced—unless the Holy Spirit quickens it. Nothing more; nothing less. And there is nothing magical about reciting scripture over someone either.

"Guard your thoughts" means more than just watch out for mean or sinful thoughts; it also means guard your thoughts (and practices) against sub-Christian ideas. You can't manipulate God, and that's what is happening in the above scenarios. Pharaoh was trying to manipulate the gods into striking his enemies. It didn't work! The Old Kingdom fell.

What's interesting is that this practice of destroying prisoner statues was prevalent at the end of the Old Kingdom, as it was getting weaker. Think about that for a minute.

Magic tends to run rampant when we feel like the world around us is out of control. But, if you really believe that God is in control (or as some prefer, in charge), then why should you need to perform magical actions?

Could it be that, as J. B. Phillips's 1952 book put it, Your God Is Too Small?

Consider that in you New Year's Resolutions…

Just an
</idle musing>

Divine hope

513 C. M.
The garner of God.

COME, thou omniscient Son of man,
   Display thy sifting power;
   Come, with thy Spirit’s winn’wing fan
   And throughly purge thy floor.

2 The chaff of sin, the’ accursed thing,
   Far from our souls be driven;
   The wheat into thy garner bring,
   And lay us up for heaven.

3 Whate’er offends thy glorious eyes,
   Far from our hearts remove; -
   As dust before the whirlwind flies,
   Disperse it by thy love.

4 Then let us all thy fulness know,
   From every sin set free;
   Saved to the utmost, saved below,
   And perfected in thee.
          Charles Wesley, from the Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 ed.)

Thursday, December 29, 2022

For the love of…

Sir. 31:5    Whoever loves gold won’t be declared just,
      and whoever pursues profits
      will be led astray by them.
6 Many have been ruined because of gold,
           and their destruction has met them head-on.
7 It’s a stumbling block for those
      who are possessed by it,
           and it will take
           every senseless person captive. (CEB)

<idle musing>
We Protestants could do worse than reading the deuterocanonical books once in a while. There are some real gems in there…
</idle musing>

To what end salvation?

I return my reader to one of the key questions of this book: What is the goal of salvation? For too long, scholars and laymen alike have myopically viewed justification and salvation as ends in themselves, whether for the benefit of the individual or of the incorporative body of Christ. The goal of salvation is believers’ conformity to the Son of God—their participation in his rule over creation as God’s eschatological family and as renewed humanity—but only and always with the purpose of extending God’s hand of mercy, love, and care to his wider creation. This was humanity’s job in the beginning; it will be believers’ responsibility and honor in the future; it is God’s purpose in calling his people in the present.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 266

<idle musing>
Indeed! We underestimate the purposes of God and are unaware of his ability to bring it about.

That's the final paragraph of the book. I hope you enjoyed the brief snippets I posted; they really don't do the book justice. It is definitely worth the time invested in reading it. But, be aware that it is loaded with untranslated Greek—both LXX and NT—so if your Greek is rusty/nonexistent, you will miss some of the nuances. But, it is still worth the time invested.
</idle musing>

A hymn for the new year

1128 C. M.
For a blessing on the truth.

O GOD, by whom the seed is given,
   By whom the harvest blest;
   Whose word, like manna shower’d from heaven,
   Is planted in our breast ;—

2 Preserve it from the passing feet,
   And plund’rers of the air;
   The sultry sun’s intenser heat,
   And weeds of worldly care.

3 Though buried deep, or thinly strown,
   Do thou thy grace supply:
   The hope in earthly furrows sown
   Shall ripen in the sky.
                  Reginald Heber (1783–1826)
                  from the Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Participation in Christ

God’s children will receive this glory in full when their own redemption and adoption is complete, but they also are currently glorified, even if in part. This is the reason believers are predestined, called, and justified: that, as God’s eschatological family, his children might be used by God to bring redemption to the world around them, in part by action and in part by prayer (Rom 8:26–27). This participation is the now of believers’ glorification, the present purpose for which they were called (Rom 8:28, 30). Believers are not yet glorified entirely or completely, but they nonetheless participate in the Son's glory in the present as those whose new identity is established in the Messiah, the Son of God.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 250 (emphasis original)

Sanctified Knowledge

1011 1st P.M 6 lines 8s.
Sanctified knowledge.

COME, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
   To whom we for our children cry
   The good desired, and wanted most,
   Out of thy richest grace supply;
   The sacred discipline be given,
   To train and bring them up for heaven.

2 Error and ignorance remove;
   Their blindness, both of heart and mind:
   Give them the Wisdom from above,—
   Spotless, and peaceable, and kind:
   In knowledge pure their minds renew,
   And store with thoughts divinely true.

3 Learning’s redundant part and vain
   Be here cut off, and cast aside:
   But let them, Lord, the substance gain;
   In every solid truth abide;
   Swiftly acquire, and ne’er forego
   The knowledge fit for man to know.

4 Unite the pair so long disjoin’d,
   Knowledge and vital piety:
   Learning and holiness combined,
   And truth and love, let all men see
   In those whom up to thee we give,
   Thine, wholly thine, to die and live.
                  —Charles Wesley, Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tozer for a Tuesday

[Speaking of those who force an interpretation and call it "rightly dividing the word of truth," he says} Rightly dividing the Word of Truth turns out to be anemic and usually bleeds to death in the hands of the man who holds it. Then he carries a dead text around with him and rams it down everybody’s throat. The carnal urge to “rightly divide” arises from intellectual pride. And that is What we call trying too hard.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 33

<idle musing>
We all know people like that, don't we? : (

Lord, deliver me from being one of them!
</idle musing>

Monday, December 26, 2022

Participation in Christ

God’s children are tasked with the role of participating in God’s restoration process in creation through the practice of prayer. In this way they participate with the Son's rule over creation as those whose new identity is in Christ. Just as the Son intercedes on behalf of the saints in his glory in Romans 8:34, so also the saints demonstrate their sonship, and thus their participation in the Sons glory, in the present. And they do so not in domination but in a Christ—modeled dominion (e.g., Phil 2:6–11) that leads to redemption. But because of their weakness, they can only fulfill this role with the help and intercession of the Spirit.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 245

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Hymn for a Christmas Eve

493                                     L. M.
There remaineth a rest for the people of God.

COME, O thou greater than our heart,
   And make thy faithful mercies known;
   The mind which was in thee impart:
   Thy constant mind in us be shown.

2 O let us by thy cross abide,
   Thee, only thee, resolved to know,
   The Lamb for sinners crucified,
   A world to save from endless wo.

3 Take us into thy people’s rest,
   And we from our own works shall cease;
   With thy meek Spirit arm our breast,
   And keep our minds in perfect peace.

4 Jesus, for this we calmly wait;
   O let our eyes behold thee near!
   Hasten to make our heaven complete;
   Appear, our glorious God, appear!
            Charles Wesley, Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870)

Thought for the day

3 Rich people inflict injury,
   but then act as if they’re the ones
   who have been wronged;
     the poor suffer injury,
     but they’re the ones
     who must apologize.
4 If you are useful to the rich,
   they will work with you,
     but if you are in need,
   they will abandon you.
5 If you own anything,
   they will live with you;
     they will exhaust what you have,
     and they won’t suffer.
6 If they need you, they will deceive you
     and smile at you and give you hope;
     they will speak nicely to you and say,
     “What do you need?”
7 They will embarrass you
   with their fine foods,
     until they have cleaned you out
     two or three times over.
     In the end they will mock you,
     and after these things,
     they will see you and abandon you
     and shake their heads at you.

Sir. 13:8    Take care that you don’t go astray,
     and don’t be humiliated
     by your own foolishness.
9 When powerful people invite you,
   show yourself reluctant,
     and they will invite you all the more.
10 Don’t be forward,
   or you might be rejected;
     and don’t stand far off,
     or you might be forgotten.
11 Don’t think that you can speak
   with them as an equal,
     and don’t trust in their
   lengthy conversations,
     because they will test you
     with a lot of talking;
     and when they are smiling, they are really examining you.
12 Those who won’t guard your secrets
   are cruel,
     and they won’t spare you
     from mistreatment
     and imprisonment.
13 Be on guard and pay attention,
     because you are tiptoeing
     around your own downfall.—Sir 13:3–13 (CEB)

<idle musing>
I try to read through the Deuterocanonical books every year, usually in December. I'm a bit behind schedule this year, only being in Sirach now.

Every year I notice something new. This year I was struck by the similarity of Wisdom to sections of Romans and Hebrews. I'll have to pursue that a bit…
</idle musing>

Friday, December 23, 2022

Just because

The weather right now:

That's warmer than yesterday??!! I didn't look yesterday when I was out shoveling (we got about 6 inches of snow), but it definitely was cold! I was outside for about 2.5 hours shoveling and the wind did feel cold. And when I looked at the temperature at about 8:00 last night, it was -12ºF. So I guess the wind chill would be lower than -27ºF.

Merry Christmas!

Hymn to God's holiness

100 L. M.

HOLY as thou, O Lord, is none
   Thy holiness is all thine own;
   A drop of that unbounded sea
   Is ours,—a drop derived from thee

2 And when thy purity we share,
   Thine only glory we declare;
   And, humbled into nothing, own,
   Holy and pure is God alone.

3 Sole, self-existing God and Lord,
   By all thy heavenly hosts adored,
   Let all on earth bow down to thee,
   And own thy peerless majesty:

4 Thy power unparallel’d confess,
   Establish’d on the Rock of peace
   The Rock that never shall remove
   The Rock of pure, almighty love
              —Charles Wesley, Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870)

For whom do we groan?

I propose that nothing in the text warrants reading τὸ γὰρ τί προσευξώμεθα καθὸ δεῖ οὐκ οἴδαμεν [We don’t know what we should pray] in Romans 8:26 as a reference to the prayers believers should make only on their own behalf. Instead, what believers ought to pray for in Romans 8:26 and what the Spirit intercedes for in Romans 8:27 is not only for the believers’ own good but is also for the good of the creation, which currently groans, hence Paul’s transition from creation to believers in Romans 8:22–23.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 244 (emphasis original)

Thursday, December 22, 2022


I suggest that, though God’s children have not yet fully received their adoption as sons and thus are not yet in full possession of the inheritance, they are nevertheless called with the purpose of cooperating with God to bring restoration to his creation in the present. Discussions regarding humanity’s responsibility toward the nonhuman creation are increasingly popular, particularly within discussions surrounding the intersection of ecological concerns and theology. Byrne even goes so far as to suggest that “the future of the world (salvation) does to some extent lie in human hands.” He continues by stating, “Hope for the future in this sense takes human action into account. It remains hope in God but it is also hope in the prevailing power of God’s grace working through, not around or above human cooperation.”—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 242 (emphasis original in/quotation)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

He shall glorify…

OK, I've been listening to Handel's Messiah, what can I say! Anyway, here's today's excerpt from Conformed to the Image of His Son:

Glorification, according to my working definition, occurs in two stages. On the basis of believers’ union with Christ, glorification is a present reality, at least in part. They are free from the powers of sin and death and have received the Holy Spirit, the firstfruits of their adoption. When believers’ bodies are resurrected to share in the glory of Christ, as in Philippians 3:21, then they will do so fully.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 237

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Tozer Tuesday

As soon as we accept the doctrine or the idea that the Bible is a book of theological toys to be played with by tender saintlings, we have missed the purpose of the Scripture and face the danger of slipping into false doctrine before very long. For the Bible was given to us not to satisfy our curiosity but to sanctify our personality.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 33

Monday, December 19, 2022

An Advent hymn

118 C. M.
Design and object of His advent.

HARK, the glad sound! the Saviour comes,——
   The Saviour, promised long;
   Let every heart prepare a throne,
   And every voice a song.

2 He comes, the pris’ner to release.
   In Satan’s bondage held;
   The gates of brass before him burst,
   The iron fetters yield.

3 He comes, from thickest films of vice
   To clear the mental ray,
   And on the eyes oppress’d with night
   To pour celestial day.

4 He comes, the broken heart to bind,
   The wounded soul to cure,
   And, with the treasures of his grace,
   To’ enrich the humble poor.

5 Our glad hosannas, Prince of peace,
   Thy welcome shall proclaim,
   And heaven’s eternal arches ring
   With thy beloved name.
                    by Philip Doddridge
                    from the 1870 Hymns for the Methodist Episcopal Church

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Numismatic abbreviations

The last two books I've edited have had numismatic references, and therefore abbreviations. I'm not a numismatics guy—far from it! So, I had to dig around for a good site for abbreviations. The one I've had the best success with so far is this one called Wild Winds.

I also found a link to the Mionnet supplement volumes on google books here. There are nine of them!

This is mainly for my reference, but others might find it useful. If you have better sites, please add them in the comments.

See all the copyediting stuff here.

Friday, December 16, 2022

But what does the text say?

Contrary to Schreiner, Witherington, Moo, and others who maintain this guaranteed future reality, there is no indication within the context of Romans 8:30 that Paul writes from this future standpoint. Assurance alone is not a strong rationale for assuming Paul is writing about believers’ guarantee of glorification from a future perspective. I suggest that scholars take this view because their presupposed definition of δόξα [doxa] requires it: God’s people have clearly not yet been brought fully into the divine glory; therefore, the only explanation of the aorist is that, because it is so assured in the future, it can be spoken of as if it were a reality already in the present. This anticipatory interpretation, however, is unsupported.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 236

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The goal

My emphasis here is on the ultimate goal of the calling, which Paul makes clear is not believers’ justification, contrary to much of Protestant post-Reformation theology. The goal is a redeemed people through whom God brings redemption to the rest of the cosmos. The embedded structure of Romans 8:28–30 makes this clear.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 230–31 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
A helpful reminder, isn't it? Post-Reformation theology gets hung up on the penultimate goal, forgetting what the reason for salvation is in the first place. God's ultimate goal hasn't changed: He gave humanity the imago Dei to be his stewards on earth; the method has changed because of sin and rebellion, but the goal remains the same.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Speech does not equal writing

The assumption that writing exists solely to represent speech is also gravely mistaken. As Coulmas has observed, “Writing is for readers who have little need for minute phonetic information because they know the language that is written and, therefore do not depend on such information for identifying meaningful units in the text.” Moreover, as Coulmas notes that the origins and development of writing are independent of spoken language: “writing did not evolve as a means to record speech but as a system of communication” (2003: 15). The purpose of writing is to communicate meaning, not sound.—William Schniedewind, in Advances in Biblical Hebrew Linguistics, 113

<idle musing>
I need to be reminded of that every now and then…
</idle musing>

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

But we see Jesus…

In short, what I have argued here in Romans 8:29-30 is that Paul sees that those conformed to the image of the Son are those who, though once participants in the Adamic submission to the powers of sin and death, now participate in the reign of the new Adam over creation. Mankind’s position on earth as God’s vicegerents to his creation is now restored, though now through the image of the Son of God, who reigns as God’s preeminent vicegerent. The depiction of humanity being crowned with glory and honor and established with dominion over creation in Psalm 8 is now again a reality, through both the Firstborn Son of God and those who participate in his exalted status, that is, his glory. Byrne notes that this is the “full arrival at the goal of God’s intent for human beings” in Romans 8:29. Those conformed to the image of God’s Son participate in the Firstborn Son’s sovereign position over creation as adopted members of God’s eschatological family and, as such, as a reglorified humanity.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 226–27

Tozer Tuesday

Double dose today!

I do not believe that evangelical truth necessarily must accept any one theory of inspiration as long as we believe that the holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. “For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18 [KJV]). This, I believe, fulfills the requirements for belief concerning inspiration of Scripture.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 29


It is usually the case in the Word of God that there are a multitude of applications, so that if one man says it means this, and another man says it means that, and three others say it means some other thing, they are not contradicting each other; they may easily be complementing each other’s interpretation. I have no objection to various interpretations provided they do not say, “Accept my interpretation or I rule you out.” That mindset is too narrow and legalistic.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 30

<idle musing>
Isn't that a refreshing viewpoint? You could call it a generous orthodoxy. Quite the change from the heresy hunting and boundary-drawing activities of some today!

May those of his tribe increase while the heresy hunters decrease. The church (and world) would be a better place!

Just an
</idle musing>

Monday, December 12, 2022

Who's leading the show?

Rom 8:30 should first (not only) be read through a disciplined lens of biblical theology, in which we strive to let the text inform our system rather than (in an unhealthy way) our system inform the text. To be sure, it is not only impossible but undesirable to read any given text without a systematic framework. Yet our mindset must be one of self-consciously letting the text tinker with the framework rather than the framework with the text.—Dane Ortlund, Inaugurated Glorification: Revisiting Romans 8:30 JETS 57 (2014): 128 (emphasis original); cited in Conformed to the Image of His Son, 225

<idle musing>
But how often is it the other way around? Far too often we go to scripture seeking a proof text for our chosen position, rather than going there with an open mind. Yes, we all have frameworks (presuppositions), but they must be open to modification if we intend to grow spiritually (as well as intellectually and emotionally).

Back in the day, we used to call that inductive versus deductive reading. Not sure what they call it now, but the principle remains the same: Let the text dictate what you find, not the other way around.

To share a story: Many years ago, another person and I used to get together to sight-read in the Greek New Testament. One day, the person I was reading with said something to the effect that they were truly amazed because I let the text dictate how I translated and interpreted it. I asked them what they meant. They replied that they had been taught to go to the text with a firm idea and then find it there—and this person was seminary-trained! Yikes!

As the title of the post asked, "Who's leading the show?" I hope and pray you let God, through the Holy Spirit, direct what you find in any given text, not what your presuppositions/framework/theology dictates has to be there or can't be there.
</idle musing>

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Self-righteousness, the ultimate false hope

443 S. M.
Self-righteousness destroyed

A GOODLY, formal saint,
   I long appeared in sight;
   By self and Satan taught to paint
   My tomb, my nature, white.
   The Pharisee within still undisturb’d remain’d;
   The strong man, arm’d with guilt of sin,
   Safe in his palace reign’d.

2 But, 0, the jealous God
   In my behalf came down;
   Jesus as himself the stronger show’d,
   And claim’d me for his own.
   My spirit he alarm’d,
   And brought into distress;
   He shook and bound the strong man,
   arm’d in his self-righteousness.

3 Faded my virtuous show,——
   My form without the power;
   The sin-convincing Spirit blew,
   And blasted every flower:
   My mouth was stopp’d, and shame
   Cover'd my guilty face;
   I fell on the atoning Lamb,
   And I was saved by grace.
                                  (1870 Methodist Episcopal hymnal)

Friday, December 09, 2022

What do you do with that εἰκόν [eikon] in Romans 8:29

How then should one understand Paul’s use of εἰκόν [eikon] in Romans 8:29? It should be noted first that, as Philip Hughes rightly suggests, τῆς εἰκόνος [tes eikonos] and τοῦ υἱοῦ [tou huiou] in Romans 8:29 should be taken as mutually explicative, so that the verse reads “be conformed to the image (that is) [God’s] Son” (see 1 Cor 15:49). The image is neither external to the Son nor an attribute of the Son that can theoretically be removed or replaced; the image is the Son himself, the perfect representation of Sonship.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 193

<idle musing>
For those of you paying close attention, you'll see over a hundred page jump here from the last one. That's because she has been laying a lot of foundational and literature review work (it's a revised dissertation after all!) that, while important to the study, doesn't lend itself very well to extracting a paragraph here and there. I recommend you look at the book if you are really interested. A word of warning though: If you aren't quite proficient in Greek, you will have a terrible time of it! She quotes large sections of the LXX without translating it.
</idle musing>

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Jesus, I am resting

1 Jesus, I am resting, resting
   In the joy of what Thou art,
   I am finding out the greatness
   Of Thy loving heart.
   Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
   And Thy beauty fills my soul,
   For by thy transforming power
   Thou hast made me whole.

   Jesus, I am resting, resting
   In the joy of what Thou art,
   I am finding out the greatness
   Of Thy loving heart.

2 Oh, how great Thy loving-kindness,
   Vaster, broader than the sea;
   Oh, how marvellous Thy goodness
   Lavished all on me
   Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
   Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
   Know Thy certainty of promise
   And have made it mine. [Refrain]

3 Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
   I behold Thee as Thou art,
   And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
   Satisfies my heart,
   Satisfies its deepest longing,
   And supplies its every need,
   Compasseth me round with blessings:
   Thine is love indeed. [Refrain]

4 Ever lift Thy face upon me
   As I work and wait for Thee;
   Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
   Earth's dark shadows flee.
   Brightness of Thy Father's glory
   Sunshine of Thy Father's face,
   Keep me ever trusting, resting,
   Fill me with Thy grace. [Refrain]
    By Jean Sophia Pigott,

<idle musing>

As an aside, read the author bio at Seems Hudson Taylor found this hymn to be of great comfort. Personally, I can see why. It summarizes very well the power of looking to Jesus.

I'm fairly certain I learned this hymn from the Methodist Hymnal, but it isn't in the United Methodist one I have (1964 edition, w/O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing as #1). And I searched the index of the 1935 Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (Holy, Holy, Holy as #1) at, which was the hymnal I grew up with until about 1969, and it doesn't seem to be there either. So, I honestly don't know where I picked it up. Nevertheless, God brings it to mind frequently when I'm feeling stressed. Just like Hudson Taylor, I find comfort in its words; I hope you do too.
</idle musing>

Genesis—yes, but which part?

The point of Romans 1:23 is not the fall into sin of the primal pair from Genesis 3, particularly through idolatry, which thus affected either Gentiles specifically or humanity more generally, but humanity’s (אדם ['adam]) “exchange of the glory of the immortal God” in terms of its failure to fulfill its created purpose or identity as creatures made in the image of God, having dominion over creation as vicegerents of the Creator God—hence Paul’s obvious allusion to Genesis 1:26–28 and not Genesis 3:6. Dane Ortlund rightly argues that Paul’s reference here is not to God’s own glory, which then implies an “exchange of worship,” but that “it is probably human glory (the divine image) that is in view.” Humanity’s rejection of its created purpose throughout history took the form of idolatry—a form found in both Gentile and Jewish history—and resulted in a humanity that existed in their actions and desires as shadows of their created selves (Rom 1:24-32). Though the fall narrative of Genesis 2–3 is not implicit in Romans 1:23, Genesis 1:26-28 certainly is. Moreover, though the name “Adam” is not mentioned in Romans 1, the created purpose or identity of corporate humanity (“adam”; אדם) in Genesis 1:26-28 is undoubtedly of central importance in Romans 1:23.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 93–94

<idle musing>
Interesting idea, which I really like and think is probably correct. I don't follow Romans' scholarship very closely, so I don't know how common this view is, but let's let her run with it. It ties in nicely with Second Isaiah's idea of a recommissioned humanity via the Servant.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

My faith looks up to thee

1 My faith looks up to Thee,
   Thou Lamb of Calvary,
   Saviour divine;
   Now hear me while I pray,
   Take all my sins away,
   O let me from this day
   Be wholly Thine.

2 May Thy rich grace impart
   Strength to my fainting heart,
   My zeal inspire;
   As Thou hast died for me,
   O may my love to Thee
   Pure, warm, and changeless be,
   A living fire.

3 While life's dark maze I tread,
   And griefs around me spread,
   Be Thou my guide;
   Bid darkness turn to day
   Wipe sorrow's tears away,
   Nor let me ever stray
   From Thee aside.

4 When ends life's transient dream,
   When death's cold, sullen stream
   Shall o'er me roll,
   Blest Saviour, then, in love,
   Fear and distrust remove;
   O bear me safe above,
   A ransomed soul
Words by Ray Palmer, The Book of Hymns (Methodist Hymnal, 1964), 143

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Tozer for Tuesday

Not only does a Christian believe in the invisible world but he also counts on it. He acts, plans and lives as one who counts on the reality of the invisible. On the opposite side, the man of the earth does not believe in another world, or if he believes in it, he nods dutifully toward the belief in another world, but he does not let it change his plans any. He acts just the same as if there were no other world. He lays his plans precisely the same as if there were no invisible world, and he continues to live as if heaven is a myth and does not exist.

But the Christian counts on the other world, so that the invisible presence of God in His eternal kingdom, and the spirits made perfect in the holy church of the first-born, and the Holy Ghost and the invisible world actually influence his life. The invisible actually shapes his plans, determines his habits, comforts, consoles and supports him..—A.W. Tozer, —Living as a Christian, 21

<idle musing>
How many who call themselves Christian can fit into Tozer's category of the "man of the earth"? Too many I fear : (
</idle musing>

Unfortunate reversal

Behind the line of argument here [Rom 1:23] would seem to be the biblical tradition, stemming from Gen 1:26–28, where human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, are given dominion over the rest of creation (fish, birds, animals, reptiles), a motif given more poetic expression in Psalm 8 (esp. vv 5–8). Idolatry represents the summit of “futility” (v 21) in that it has human beings submitting themselves in worship to the creatures over which they were meant to rule. This perverts the whole raison-d'étre of the non—human created world, subjecting it to “futility” (8:30).—Brendan Byrne, Romans, Sacra Pagina (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007), 38; quoted in Conformed to the Image of His Son, 93

Monday, December 05, 2022

What amazing words of grace!

294 C. M.
Sufficiency and freeness.

WHAT amazing words of grace
   Are in the gospel found!
   Suited to every sinner’s case,
   Who knows the joyful sound.

2 Poor, sinful, thirsty, fainting souls,
   Are freely welcome here;
   Salvation, like a river, rolls,
   Abundant, free, and clear.

3 Come, then, with all your wants and wounds;
   Your every burden bring:
   Here love, unchanging love, abounds,——
   A deep, celestial spring.

4 Whoever will—O gracious word!—
   May of this stream partake;
   Come, thirsty souls, and bless the Lord,
   And drink, for Jesus’ sake.

5 Millions of sinners, vile as you,
   Have here found life and peace;
   Come, then, and prove its virtues too,
   And drink, adore, and bless.
                                          Methodist Episcopal Hymnal 1870 edition

How does the LXX use δοξάζω?

Two points of significance are notable here. First, in each of the examples for δοξάζω above [Daniel, Esther, 1 maccabees, Isaiah, and Sirach], the aorist active idicative third-person singular form is used—the same form used 1n Romans 8:30 for God's glorification of humanity. Second, in nearly every instance of humanity's glorification in the LXX (the exceptions being Ex 34:29-30, 35; Sir 50:15), δοξάζω refers primarily to a status or position of honor, authority, being radiant or brought into the presence of God.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 50

<idle musing>
Remember that! It will be important later in the book.
</idle musing>

Friday, December 02, 2022

It's tautological

Put another way, according to the presentation of the identity of God by the translators of the LXX, the identity of God is irreducible to his presence. God is presented as a God who reigns because he is omnipotent and, as an omnipotent God who ranks above all idols and other gods, he therefore reigns as king.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 45–46

Thursday, December 01, 2022

'Tis metaphorical, you see

All God-talk, all theology, even ours, is metaphorical, describing God in terms that properly belong to the human sphere. It cannot be otherwise, as human words, like human thought, belong this side of creation, and cannot begin to describe its other side, God as he is in his own interior life. Such knowledge as we have of God is not of God as he is, but as he shows himself towards human beings.… When we say that God saves, redeems, pities us, is our Father, our shepherd, our King, we are using metaphors or images drawn from human life and experience. In other words, we are using anthropomorphisms, ascribing to God human actions and human feelings.—J. C. L. Gibson, Language and Imagery in the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998), 22; cited in Conformed to the Image of His Son, 28

<idle musing>
Starting a new book today, Conformed to the Image of His Son. I picked it up at AAR/SBL a few years ago, and it languished on my bookshelf until recently.

Today's snippet might seem to contradict the previous post from Tozer about God being near, but not really. We use anthropomorphisms, but they accurately reflect God to a degree. The danger is to forget they are metaphorical, trying to describe what is beyond human comprehension.
</idle musing>

Tozer for a Tuesday (ok, it's Thursday; I forgot!)

So the believer accepts and believes in a real world of which God is the King, an eternal kingdom, an eternal world, a spiritual and invisible world co-existing with and touching and accessible to this world. Heaven is not so far away that we must take a jet and continue through light years of travel to get to heaven. The average Christian thinks of heaven as being so far away, and only by accommodation do we sing about heaven being near and “glory coming down our souls to greet.”—A.W. Tozer, —Living as a Christian, 17

<idle musing>
Sadly, he is correct. Too many Christians see God as "out there"—a great chasm separating us from him. That's not the biblical witness! God is close at hand, nearer than you realize; in fact, living inside you in the form of the Holy Spirit.

If we would internalize that understanding, it would transform how we live, wouldn't it? Lord, make it so!
</idle musing>