Archive for the ‘Raymond Abba’ Category

The Greeks viewed time as cyclical

November 9, 2009

Platonism attributed a cyclic nature to the time process, and this idea was developed in the Stoic philosophy. Just as the seasons of the year rotate in a certain fixed order…so, they thought, did all events happen, history periodically repeating itself. Thus Aristotle remarks, ‘For indeed time itself seems to be a sort of circle.’

Raymond Abba, The Naure and Authority of the Bible, p.70 quoting Aristotle, Physics, 4.14

Which undercuts the uniqueness of the historical events such as Creation, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, Judgement etc. since they would be wiped of their meaning when the wheel of time reverts back to a new cycle.

It means history has no goal or purpose ultimately – it’s reminiscent of Nietzsche’s philosophy or Eastern philosophies based on karma. Nothing is ultimately fixed – the tvery hing that lends weight to all our decisions.

Which gets me to thinking: since humans at once crave meaning yet run from responsibility we are caught on the horns of a dilemma. It is only a worldview that validates responsibility that secures meaning.

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the eternal Son of God who knew no sin experienced death as sinful men experience it – as a final and awful separation from God…But the miracle of the resurrection is then in the fact that this final state of alienation from God was not final for Christ

October 2, 2009

Since death means in the Bible a destiny ‘specially connected with sin and separation from God’, the resurrection of Christ means ‘an act of divine victory over both death and sin as the means of the coming of the reign of God’ (Ramsey). It means that Christ has conquered death in this Biblical sense of the word: the eternal Son of God who knew no sin experienced death as sinful men experience it – as a final and awful separation from God…But the miracle of the resurrection is then in the fact that this final state of alienation from God was not final for Christ.

Raymond Abba, Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.168

Miracles are restoration of nature’s laws, not violation

September 10, 2009

There is a disturbing element in the world…a principle at work absolutely contrary to the principle of Law – what the bible calls sin…If miracle seems abitrary and violent, may it not be because some forcible method is necessary to redress the balance already upset by the introduction of evil into a world originally ‘very good’?…When the physician…restores the body to health, although he forcibly interrupts a series of physical processes which apart from him must have worked themselves out, he is really ranged on the side of the natural and normal…May we not say then that in the sphere of biblical miracle the real intervention is not the intervention of grace, but that of the sin that required it?

J.R.Dummelow in R.Abba, Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.138

Laws of Nature are observed regularities only

September 7, 2009

(a false assumption is that) the so-called ‘laws of nature’ state what must always necessarily occur. They are regarded as ontological entities which determine the course of nature on the supposition that ‘an observed regularity in events is somehow also an observed immutable necessity’ (H.H. Farmer). laws of nature, however, are mental concepts, not ontological entities. They are generalizations made on the basis of the observation of certain regularities in the events which have happened hitherto in the phenomenal world.

R.Abba, Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.156

Nature held in suspense by the higher law of mind

September 7, 2009

‘Physical laws are suspended any time an animate being moves any part of its body; the laws of matter are suspended by the laws of life’ (Mozley). Archbishop Trench: ‘When I lift my arm, the law of gravitation is not, as far as my arm is concerned, denied or annihilated ; it exists as much as ever, but is held in suspense by the higher law of my will’…this is what Lord Kelvin meant when he said that from the point of view of science every free human action is a miracle. Man, says Augustine, is a greater miracle than all that he can work…If it gives scopeĀ  for the exercise of human personality to such an extent that it may be deflected from its normal course by the mind and will of man, is it reasonable or unscientific to believe that it may be influenced to an even greater extent by the mind and will of God?

R.Abba, Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.157

Bible – Canon recognised, not imposed

July 30, 2009

The significance of this virtually universal acceptance of the canon as we now have it is that it was not imposed by an ecclesiastical authority but was arrived at spontaneously in churches of widely separated regions – Italy, Gaul, Africa and Egypt. The formation of the canon did not invest these particular writings with authority; it was the acknowledgement by the church of the divine authority mediated through them.

Raymond Abba, The Nature and Authority of the Bible, p.288