Thursday, 24 January 2008

The problem with primal harmony

“Plain experience and common sense inform us that no abstract Person can have made us as we are … without also wishing to delete us and start over (Gen. 8:21; Zeph. 1:2). Therefore, the existence of cruel and arbitrary nature, together with the universality of human sin, prevents us from beginning the theological enterprise with any concept of God that is distinct from revelation. All theologies of a cosmic harmonic principle shipwreck on the truths of tragedy, catastrophe, and injustice.”

—Paul F. M. Zahl, A Short Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), p. 7.

Note: This is an unusual book. It includes some strangely arresting passages (such as the one quoted above), together with some strangely banal passages, such as this one (which is so bad that it is memorable): “The risen Christ has expanded to reach the frontiers of all human experience. Because he is nowhere in particular, he is everywhere in general” (p. 49).

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