Posted by: chuckbumgardner | January 31, 2010

Garrett, Systematic Theology, Quotable 2

(More interesting and representative quotations from James Leo Garrett, Systematic Theology, 2nd edition)

(11) “. . . we must be prepared to acknowledge that our very interpretation of texts of the Bible may have been influenced by one or more of the other channels of authority — church and tradition, the divine-human encounter, or a specific human culture or civilization.” (1:207)

(12) “The teaching about God or the gods is central to and significant for any religion.  Religions do not rise to heights above their conception of deity.  Christian theology has no more basic task than the explication of the being of God.” (1:213)

(13) (In relation to clustering divine attributes around the central attributes of holiness and love) “Eternity is the duration of God’s holiness.  Constancy is the continuing stability of God’s holiness.  Wisdom is the truth of God’s holiness.  Knowledge is the cognitive reality of God’s holiness.  Power is the strength of God’s holiness.  Jealousy, anger, and wrath are the reaction of God’s holiness to sin.  Glory is the recognized manifestation of God’s holiness as majesty.” (1:264)  “Patience or forbearance is the persistence of God’s love.  Faithfulness is the reliability of God’s love.  Mercy-kindness is the deep compassion of God’s love.  Grace is the free and undeserved condescension of God’s love.  Suffering is the assumed and endured pain of God’s love.” (1:292)

(14) “The task of explicating the Christian doctrine of creation at the beginning of the twenty-first century does not begin with scientific observation or with philosophical speculation or with legislative maneuvering; rather it begins with the exegesis of pertinent texts in the Old and the New Testaments and their proper correlation.  The Bible bears witness to the creative activity of God, and that witness is fundamental to anything that Christians today can believe and teach about creation.” (1:340)

(15) “Creation is an expression of the free activity of God as Creator.  Strictly speaking, creation was not necessary.  God did not create in order to bring himself to completion.  Nor did he create because he was driven to do so by external compulsion.” (1:348)

(16) “Even while the arguments for and against ‘creation science’ continue, a counter warning needs to be given against that too facile harmonization of revelation and science, of Genesis and geology, anthropology, and biology so that legitimate scientific investigation may be hindered or ignored and biblical writings put to uses never intended by their human authors or by God.” (1:371)

(17) (Regarding determinism and free will) “. . . because of the influence of Stoic fatalism and because of forms of interpretation of the Christian doctrines of predestination and foreordination, Christian theology has tended to subject human beings to determinism, with the result that the responsible human decision-making as to sinning/not sinning and obedience/disobedience which is so evident in the Bible is obscured or denied.” (1:383)

(18) “Not all suffering permitted by God is necessarily ordained by God.” (1:392)

(19) “In a sea of callous humankind and amid religious movements that show little of the glory and power of the one God, miracles may be part of God’s contemporary doings.” (1:412)

(20) “There seems to be at present no agreed upon harmonization of early Genesis and anthropology.  Because of the genuine difficulties which have not been fully resolved, it is fitting to be cautious as to any final statement of the question.” (1:474)

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