Thursday, January 15, 2009

Robinson on God and Deification

The following is an excerpt of Stephen E. Robinson I've typed out from "How Wide the Divide?" It addresses a key difference between Evangelicals and Latter-day Saints:

"Prof. Blomberg asserts that a key concern for Evanglelicals is to preserve the distinction between the Creator and the creatures. This may be the heart of the disagreement between us, for Latter-day Saints maintain that God's work is to remove the distinctions and barriers between us and to make us what God is. We do not deduce this by philosophical argument; it is flatly stated in the New Testament:
...That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one even as we are one. (Jn 17:21-23)

"We become one in them as they are one in each other. Whatever the relationship is between them, we can share it. Assuredly not as fallen mortals, but as saved, resurrected and glorified sons and daughters of God, we can participate in the life of God through God's grace and the atonement of Christ.....

"The strict wall of separation between the human and the divine ("we aren't really his children; we can't really be like him") in my view is not really biblical but, once again, philosophical. It rests on the same objection to the clear sense of Scripture that led to the equally unbiblical doctrine of the two natures in Christ, which was added to historic Christianity by the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451. Scripture says that God in Christ became man, that "the Word was made flesh" (Jn 1:14), that "in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his bretheren" (Heb. 2:17). Nevertheless, Greek philosophy, the intellectual fashion of the day, demanded that the divine could not become truly human, and vice versa, since Plato had decreed that the human and the divine were mutually exclusive. So the Council of Chalcedon invented a second nature for Christ, something never stated in the Bible, to satisfy the philosophers by keeping the human and the divine separate in Christ as Plato insisted they must be. According to Chalcedon, Christ's divine nature never became human, never suffered, never died--the claims of Scripture notwithstanding.

"Latter-day Saints reject all that. The Word was made flesh. In Christ, God became man. And if the divine can become fully human and then as human be raised up again to be fully God (Phil 2:6-11), then it is established that what is fully human may also be divine--Q.E.D. And by the grace of God we humans can also be raised up to be joint heirs of God with Christ (Rom 8:16-17). Christ is the example of what God finally desires of us and for us. It is God's intention, through the atonement and the gospel, to make us what Christ is and share with us what Christ has."


Papa D said...

I love his writings. Thanks for the excerpts.

ama said...

I think it's interesting what you share here about the Greek influences of early Christians. I'm reading a book now called "The Inevitable Apostasy" by Tad Callister. He has a whole section in there about how main-stream Christianity today is really the heretical Christianity compared to what the original Christianty taught. One of the reasons is because of many Greek philosophical influences that crept into the early church.