Category: Theology

Ugh, We Have to Talk About The Shack

Note: For the regular viewers, this week’s post is fucking huge.

So The Shack is a Christian book that got read by heaps of people and then got heaps of blowback for doing theological things that were interpreted in a particular way. I don’t like talking about The Shack, because most of the arguments that people put forward against it are boring. However, I accidentally read this post on a theology blog that I follow, and now my blood’s up, so, ugh, I guess we have to talk about The Shack. You don’t have to actually read the initial post – I’m going to go through it point by point, so you can read it if you want to check I’m not taking things out of context or whatever.  (more…)

Aquinas: Is God’s Will Done?

This is another one of those delightful little traps that Aquinas constructs for himself. Is God’s will done? If so, then is all of the evil and horror of the world willed by God? But if God’s will is not done, then is He really all-powerful? In fact, Aquinas provides a Biblical basis for his answer: he looks at 1 Timothy 2:4, which (in his Bible) reads “God wills all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” He also quotes Psalms 115:11 (113 in Catholic Bibles), which reads “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” So there we go – God wills all men to be saved, and whatever God wants, God does. So, uh, what’s gone wrong?  (more…)

Aquinas: Does He Have To?

As we’re working towards predestination, I’ll cover some of the foundations that Aquinas lays out as starting points. For example, 1a.19.3 asks ‘Is God bound to will whatever He does will?’ Now, predestination is the idea that some people are just destined to go to hell. There’s nothing they can do about it – they’re just fucked. They’ve been fucked from eternity – they were created fucked, they’re going to live fucked, and when they die they’ll go to hell, because they’ve been fucked. Thus 1a.19.3: is God bound to fuck those people over? Does He have to damn them to hell from before the creation of the world? Or could He, you know, not? (more…)

Aquinas: Does God Know Sin?

We’ve got some fun coming up now – we’re about to get into God’s will, which includes discussions of whether or not God wills evil, or whether or not God wills people to go to hell. Predestination, kiddies, it’s coming. As an entrée, we’ll look at God’s knowledge. Does God know evil? If He does, then evil has its roots in God – “for God’s knowledge stands to all created things as the artist’s to his products”, according to Aquinas (1a.14.8). If He doesn’t, then… God doesn’t know everything? This is one of the things I love about Aquinas – he sets up a framework of how something works, and then goes ‘Right, how can I break this?’ (more…)

Outreach? Here?

A while ago I was talking to a guy about my blog here, and I mentioned that it alternated between theology and video games, which – well, you know, I don’t imagine there’s a lot of other people who do a similar thing. It was an oddity that he commented on – something along the lines of “Don’t know who you’re trying to reach with that combination”. It’s been swimming around in my mind ever since – and now I’ve got something to say about it. (more…)

Aquinas: Speaking about God

Last week we talked about how we can know God – or at least how Aquinas theorises that knowledge of God works. This week, we’re talking about his next question: how we can speak of God. He’s already established how God is infinite and all-powerful, and (drawing back to Dionysus) there aren’t really any words that are suitable as containers of meaning when we talk about God. This is the beginning of 1a.13.1 then:  (more…)

Aquinas: Knowing Form, Knowing God

Aquinas’s twelfth question asks in what way we ‘know’ God. It ties in nicely with the idea of subjectivity that’s dominated this half of the blog for, uh, over a year now. This particular volume is actually the first I ever read of Aquinas, so it’s nice to be returning to it now. I read this and then decided that I’d better read Pseudo-Dionysus first, because Aquinas refers to him a bunch. 1a.12.2 asks whether we see God by way of “created likeness”, which – well, it’s complicated.  (more…)