Saturday, 28 January 2017

Eclectic Orthodoxy: Those Darn Greeks: Metaphysics and the Hellenization of the Gospel

Eclectic Orthodoxy: Those Darn Greeks: Metaphysics and the Hellenization of the Gospel

"Why this interest in metaphysics and philosophical theology? Blame it on the writings of David Bentley Hart, particularly his book The Experience of God. Hart has persuaded me that a rudimentary grasp of classical metaphysics is essential to the exposition of Christian doctrine. If you had asked me about the gospel and metaphysics 25 years ago, I would have told you that the biblical understanding of divinity had been distorted by the patristic appropriation of Greek philosophy. I would have referred you to theologians like Robert W. Jenson and Jürgen Moltmann and confidently talked about the temporality and passibility of deity and the need to evangelize metaphysics.Had not Adolf Harnack taught modern theology that the original Jewish understanding of divinity had evaporated in the second century, only to be replaced by the God of Plato? Who in the New Testament claims that Jesus is homoousios with the Father? Theologians and biblical scholars alike have taken Harnack’s Hellenization thesis to heart and have sought to reconstruct an authentic “biblical” theology, excising the corrupting influences of the Greek and Latin Fathers. We are confronted today by a plethora of books proclaiming the temporal God, the suffering God, the open God and the process God. As some have discovered, once one takes this step, it becomes increasingly difficult to hold on to the orthodox doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation."

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