February 7, 2013 by Gerald Hiestand
Being made in the imago Dei means that we were made to be both lords and creatures; a sort of creature-god. Lords in the sense that we are images of the One Divine Sovereign who exercises total dominion; and yet we were also made as creatures, and thus we intuitively know that we occupy a place of vulnerability and dependence. And thus we find ourselves at one time craving to both be gods and to be taken care of. To be both bride and groom. To be both parent and child.
In as much as our sexuality is a facet of the imago Dei, it makes sense that our innate human impulses for both sovereignty and security manifests themsleves in our sexuality. This is why the twin idols of sex ultimately relate to a craving for security and sovereignty. When we find ourselves inordinately drawn to sex, we are either trying to achieve a sense of security or a sense of sovereignty. And while the division of this idolatry tends toward a gender stereotype, whereby men tend to desire sex for the sake of sovereignty and women tend to desire sex for the sake of security, such division is not universal.
The key to overcoming sexual idolatry, then, is to understand what one is really looking for, the true craving that lies beneath the inordinate impulse for sex. Am I craving a sense of lordliness–the sense of affirmation that comes when another surrenders the most intimate part of themselves–and thus their person–to me? Or am I craving a sense of security–the sense of affirmation that comes when I am taken care of and loved by another in the most intimate way? In both instances, the key is to recognize that both impulses are legitimate, but that they are only ultimately met in the gospel, whereby our final destiny is to be both lords and taken care of by the Lord. Sex has the unique and powerful capacity to shadow/image a picture of our ultimate eschatological hope–but it is only an image, not the real thing.
Jesus as the true God-man–embodies this dual identity perfectly. He is the true Son of Man and Son of God — simultaneously creature and creator — the rightful lord of heaven and earth who yields himself in vulnerability to the Father. And it is being made into the image of this God-man that we come to find the perfect realization of both of our innate impulses to be both sovereign and secure.1 Comment
June 6, 2012 by Jason Hood
I’ve written elsewhere on Greg Beale’s work on “becoming what we worship.” I recently came across a precursor that nicely sums up Beale and goes beyond him to include some macro-analysis as well. It was written before I was born.
The author, Bob Goudzwaard, offers “three basic biblical rules”: (1) “every man is serving god(s) in his own life”; (2) “every man is transformed into an image of his god”; (3) “mankind creates and forms a structure of society in its own image.”
“In the development of human civilization, man forms, creates and changes the structure of his society, and in so doing he portrays in his work the intention of his own heart. He gives to the structure of that society something of his own image and likeness. In it he betrays something of his own lifestyle, of his own god.”
Bob Goudzwaard, Aid for the Overdeveloped West, 15
(cited by Goheen and Bartholomew, Living at the Crossroads, 49-50)0 Comments
August 29, 2011 by Jason Hood
Well, it’s that time of year again: fantasy football time, and all my friends are on my case to join them in the fun. I just don’t have the time; the last thing I need is more time on the computer at home or at work. But I like the idea of fostering a little camaraderie and gamesmanship. So the question is, how can I make a game out of work?
Here’s my first effort: Fantasy Theologian. 10 points for a book. 5 points for a conference. 1 point for an interview or op-ed. 1 point for every 20 blog posts. I drafted N. T. Wright and Tim Keller in the first three rounds.
You select a theologian from each category: NT, OT, Systematics, Pastor-theologian, and (for special teams) Activist Theologian. You don’t have to sit a guy unless he goes on sabbatical (like John Piper) or gets nailed for some heresy (negative points).
Even more fun: Fantasy Televangelist. 10 points per TBN appearance. 5 points per conference tour. 2 points for each continent visited during a season. 1 point per person slain in spirit, faith offering; celebrity guest while on tour (heck yes Carmen counts) and 1 point for every 10 foot lengthenings. Negative points for divorces, congressional investigations, and sex scandals.0 Comments
March 29, 2011 by Jason Hood
This morning I’m teaching Judges and Ruth in an OT Intro course. Those are perhaps two of the easiest books to teach in the OT (which is why I’ve heard multiple sermon/talk series on both, a rarity for OT!): strong, central, themes that are easily seen, especially once we make the connection to our world and the life of the Christian today:
[T]he central theme of the Book of Judges is the Canaanization of Israel. Herein lies the key to the relevance of this ancient composition for North American Christianity, for like the Israelites of the settlement period, we have largely forgotten the covenant Lord . . . . Like the ancient Israelites we too are being squeezed into the mold of the pagan world around us.
Evidence of the “Canaanization” of the church are everywhere: our preoccupation with material prosperity, which turns Christianity into a fertility religion;
our syncretistic and aberrant forms of worship; our refusal to obey the Lord’s call to separation from the world;
our divisiveness and competitiveness; our moral compromises, as a result of which Christians and non-Christians are often indistinguishable; our [male] exploitation and abuse [and neglect] of women and children;
our reluctance to answer the Lord’s call to service, and when we finally go, our propensity to displace “Thy kingdom come” with “my kingdom come”; our eagerness to fight the Lord’s battles with the world’s resources and strategies; our willingness to stand up and defend perpetrators of evil instead of justice. These and many other lessons will be drawn from the leaves of this fascinating book . . .
He goes on to cite what the book teaches regarding the reality of God’s wrath and power of his grace and the constancy of his plan to build himself a people, a light to the world; “the true hero in the book is God and God alone,” even if God is repeatedly using people to show us how he is our hero.
Daniel Block, Judges and Ruth (NAC), 71-2.4 Comments
January 20, 2011 by Jason Hood
With the book in full swing, it probably won’t be the last time I bring this topic up. I hope this excerpt from David B. Hart (the Rolls Royce of writers…make that the Bentley) is tame enough for our blog:
Atargatis, the “Syrian Goddess,” was a demanding mistress. For one thing, her priests (the galli) could win their way into her affections only by emasculating themselves.
According to the De Dea Syria, attributed to Lucian of Samosata, any young man disposed to dedicate himself to her service in Hierapolis had to make this first and most extravagant oblation on one of her high holy days, in a fit of divine ecstasy, with a single economic slash of a sacred sword kept at her temple.
Emphasis is added. (How could I not?!) After this surgery
he would run naked and bleeding through the city streets until he found a home into which he felt inspired to fling the freshly severed jetsam. Any household thus “honored” was then required by religious decency to supply the new initiate with female attire and adornments.
Now, admittedly, we all do our best to lay up treasure in heaven, and I suppose one ought not to cast too many peremptory judgments on to other people’s pieties; but I think most of us can agree that this was a fairly exorbitant sum to place in escrow on an uncertain bargain.
Cults like Atargatis flesh out the important theme summarized by Greg Beale: “All humans have been created to be reflecting beings, and they will reflect whatever they are ultimately committed to, whether the true God or some other object in the created order. Thus, to repeat the primary theme of this book, we resemble what we revere, either for ruin or restoration.”
So Psalm 115:8: “Those who make idols are like them; so are all who trust in them” (compare Psa 135:18). The prophets taunt Israel’s enemies—or Israel herself—with this truth: they are just as blind and mute as their wood and metal gods, for those who worship gods will mirror their traits.
Case in point: when you slice off your ability to reproduce, you become as impotent your god, who is a dead idol unable to create or sustain life.1 Comment
January 12, 2011 by Jason Hood
Idolatry is something of a hot topic right now. Tim Keller, Greg Beale, and Brian Rosner have recently published good books on the topic and its significance for Christians. The topic brushes up on a book I am under contract to write for IVP, so I am reading on this topic and others related to it. One really thought-provoking quote on idolatry:
In the Old Testament, the
image-of-God-in-humanity theology says that idolatry is ruled out of court because to locate divine presence and action in another part of creation or in that which we create is to absolve ourselves of our own responsibility to bear divine presence and action.
The idolatrous humanity, like Narcissus, clings to those objects made in its own image [and those of creation] which it believes will affirm its being [and values] and guarantee its security and prosperity. The true humanity in the biblical vision is one which affirms, gives security to and [multiplies] the life of creation. The mark of the former is passivity and that of the latter activity.
Any pious resurrection of divine (privilege and) responsibility for the one human Jesus Christ must therefore be mindful of the besetting danger at the root of idolatry: a self-absolution from the responsibility given to us at creation of bearing divine presence.
Crispin H. T. Fletcher-Louis, “God’s Image, His Cosmic Temple and the High Priest: Towards an Historical and Theological Account of the Incarnation,” in Heaven on Earth: The Temple in Biblical Theology, ed. T. D. Alexander and S. J. Gathercole (Paternoster 2004), 92, emphasis original, paragraphs added.
CHTFL rightly responds to “low anthropology” by pointing to the biblical vision for humanity, and the idol-nurturing consequences of pushing that vision into the edenic past or the eschatological future so as to accept no weight or responsibility in the present.3 Comments
January 11, 2011 by Matthew Mason
I cringed. I laughed. And then I realised – it isn’t satire. Oh my.5 Comments