What is God primarily? @energion

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Vick notes that for the Adventist, God is Judge. That is nearly the sum total of their dogmatics, that God is Judge. This should be easy to see, in that most of their theology is bound up in the so-called Last Judgment.

But, what is God primarily?

The Apostles’ Creed simply posits that God is first the Father Almighty and then Maker of Heaven and Earth. God is then first Father, Creator, not judge. Perhaps this notion, that God is first Judge, has so polluted modern Christianity that we often times forget to look past this image to see that God can only Judge because he is first Creator. In my theological opinion, God is first Creator and because he is Creator, he can also be Saviour and Judge.


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4 Replies to “What is God primarily? @energion”

  1. I think it is important to note that both the image of Father and of Creator have life and its origins at their center, while contemporary notions of judgment typically center on death. Given that the life-giving images are primary in theology, perhaps it is time we begin to rediscover an image of God’s justice which is rooted in creation/generation rather than destruction.

  2. I’m editing a manuscript right now (for release in early spring) titled simply Creation: The Christian Doctrine. I wanted to quote briefly from it:

    Christians understand Creation rightly
    (1) by starting with the New Testament and with faith in Jesus Christ, by setting all discussion in the context of the New Testament revelation.
    (2) by then looking at the complex picture encapsulated in Genesis 1-3, and by remembering that the creation is the prelude to the Fall, that our human history is the history of fallen humanity. The product of the creation is a fallen world, a fallen humanity;
    (3) by seeing the purpose of the writers of the Genesis creation stories in the context both of the history of the Hebrews and in the context of the salvation history that produced Christian faith. This will involve engaging in some serious examination of the literary history of the documents.

    The reason I bring this quotation here is that I think it is precisely in making the new creation central that a doctrine of creation can be called Christian.

    I’m actually further along editing a companion volume to Vick’s, this one by Herold Weiss and titled Creation in Scripture. Here’s a quote:

    Christians cannot talk about creation without talking about the New Creation. To talk about creation is not just talk about nature. It is talk about God, not primarily about man or the world. It is to affirm that all that exists continues to exist and moves by God’s power, as Paul is quoted as saying, citing a pagan author at the Areopagus, “in God we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17: 28). This affirmation of Paul’s cannot be limited to creation “in the beginning”. It includes the New Creation that, like the creation of our physical reality, is also continuously in progress. To affirm the New Creation, like affirming the creation of Adam, is not only to affirm that God raised Christ from the dead two thousand years ago. More significantly, it is to affirm that all those who identify themselves with and participate in the death and the resurrection of Christ by the creative power of the Spirit are a New Creation. That is, both the creation “in the beginning” and the New Creation in the Risen Christ are creations that are taking place at every moment of our lives by the creative power of God. A doctrine of creation that does not affirm this truth is not Christian.

    Not all of this applies to this one post, but I think these paragraphs connect with a number of things you’ve been saying about creation over the last few weeks. I just finally took the time to come and comment.

  3. I would agree that Yhwh as judge is contingent upon Yhwh as creator, but it seems to me the notion of God as creator becomes salient in the exile. Prior to that he is, through covenant, primarily the heavenly king and Israel’s patron deity. Mediating these two positions is the metaphor of Yhwh as Israel’s father.

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