Posts Tagged ‘immago dei’

An Evangelical’s Perspective on God’s Other Creatures

May 10th, 2010 No comments

Take a listen.  Most of the sources he mentions on my Resources page or in the Library Thing link in the sidebar.  When you’re done with these, check out the other videos from the Wake Up Weekend set from the link underneath.

Ben’s website Not One Sparrow (fixed link)

Wake Up Weekend – Ben DeVries Part 1 of 2 from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Wake Up Weekend – Ben DeVries Part 2 of 2 from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Peaceable Kingdom from Tribe of Heart

November 13th, 2009 No comments

The Christian Origins of Suicide Food

November 10th, 2009 No comments

An unexpected little blurb about suicide food.    Martyrs are fed to vicious animals to propitiate the vicious animals, God seething mob.  Pigs and cows are martyrs animals .   Jesus was an animal God incarnate, who, as the ultimate martyr, was fed to vicious animals slaughtered for the animals, God us so we could be fed saved.  It’s all the same clear now.

In the transition from a pagan to a Christian culture, Christian conceptions of sacrifice were sometimes combined with traditional conceptions.  From the Nolan countryside, the Christian monk Paulinus wrote in 406 ce about a pig and a heifer that offered themselves for slaughter at the tomb of Saint Felix (Carmen, 20).  As Denis Trout has recently shown, when animals were slaughtered at the tomb of Saint Felix, the needs of rural life were thus taken care of, and Christian and pre-Christian religious practices were combined. (Trout 1995; cf. Trout 1999: 179-86).  It is worth noting that in the Christian amalgamation of traditional sacrificial ritual and Christian piety, the animals were not merely cooperating as they had been expected to do in the traditional sacrificial cults.  The pig and the heifer were eagerly and happily hurrying towards their destiny as the Christian martyrs were thought to do.

~ Ingvild Saelid Gilhus, Animals, Gods And Humans:  Changing Attitudes to Animals in Greek, Roman and Early Christian Ideas (New York: Routledge, 2006), 157.   The Trout reference is from Trout, D.E. (1995) “Christianizing the Nolan countryside: animal sacrifice at the tomb of St. Felix”, Journal of Early Christian Studies 3, 3, 281-98.  and  (1999) Paulinus of Nola:  Life, Letters, and Poems, Berkely, Los Angeles and London: Univ. of California Press.

How long God?

November 3rd, 2009 No comments

Dairy requires pregnancy.  Pregnancy results in calves.  Veal is a byproduct of the dairy industry.  For what it’s worth.

HSUS releases new undercover  investigation.  or   here.

“The righteous know the needs of their animals,

but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” (Prov 12:10)

However men may differ as to speculative points of Religion, JUSTICE is a rule of universal extent and invariable obligation. We acknowledge this important truth in all matters in which MAN is concerned, but then we limit it to our own species only.…To rectify this mistaken notion is the design of this treatise, in which I have endeavored to prove, that as the Love and Mercy of God are over all of his works, from the highest rational to the lowest sensitive, our Love and Mercy are not to be confined within the circle of our own friends, acquaintance, and neighbours; nor limited to the more enlarged sphere of human nature, to creatures of our own rank, shape, and capacity; but are to be extended to every object of the Love and Mercy of GOD the universal Parent; who, as he is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, will undoubtedly require of Man, superior Man, a strict account of his conduct to every creature entrusted to his care, or coming in his way; and who will avenge every instance of wanton cruelty and oppression, in the day in which he will judge the world in RIGHTEOUSNESS.  ~  Humphrey Primatt, 1776

The Way of All Flesh

June 20th, 2009 No comments

From David S. Cunningham, “The Way of All Flesh: Rethinking the Imago Dei,” in Creaturely Theology, ed. Celia Deane-Drummond and David Clough (London: SCM Press, 2009).

In the first stage of my argument, I want to raise some questions about the definitive distinction between human beings and other animals that seems to be presumed within many theological accounts of the created order.  … such distinctions are commonplace in the history of Christian theology; in fact, so obvious does this distinction seem to many theological commentators that they simply never bother to argue the case.  We might hypothesize that, in this line of inquiry as in so many others, the theological imagination is often easily overwhelmed by empirical data and by the cultural assumptions under which it operates.  In short, human beings are assumed to be radically different from other animals because they look different, they act different, and they are treated differently.  These same indicators are among those that have been used, over the centuries, to render poor theological judgements about the various races and ethnicities, and the divide between gay and straight people.  In all these cases, empirical and cultural judgements were used to bolster, falsely, a claim that a significant theological distinction existed between, for example, men and women. (101)

(emphasis mine)

That’s the rub isn’t it … theologies, thoughts about the eternal, transcendent God are products of a particular cultural location in time and place.  Arguments are made that new theology is “just” a product of the current culture when by that same stance traditional theology was also “just” a product of its culture.  It’s not as if the “cultural influence” switch got magically turned on after the Reformation, or, in my opinion, wasn’t on when the Biblical writers were writing (stockbreeders describing God as a stockbreeder).

Cunningham goes on to suggest that in light of Darwin, biology, and ethology there should obviously, as opposed to begrudgingly, be a rethinking of much older foundations of the divide between humans and other creatures.  I’d add more specifically that when people begin to do theology who aren’t devoted to defending (albeit perhaps unconsciously) a particular traditional behavior  – in our case meat eating – Biblical revelation will be allowed to be just that again, revealing.

His argument is that in light of what we know now, we need to take a good hard look at how scripture actually positions humanity in relation to the other creatures God made.  He suggests a re-orientation around the Biblical notion and use of  the word Flesh as opposed to the phrase Image of God.  Image of God turns out to not be terribly helpful primarily because the signified (God the Father), the archetype,  is unavailable for direct comparison, making the word Image (as a signifier) tricky indeed.   He does not deny that there is any reservation of the phrase specifically for humanity, only that it might not be as clear cut an issue as it is usually taken to be.

Cunninham goes on to note important testamental differences in the way that the phrase “Image of God” is used.  The word Flesh, however, is used in a more consistent way across both the Old and New Testaments.  In the Torah, Image of God is only used three times (Gen 1:26-27, Gen 5:1, Gen 9:6) and is used in reference to humans in general.  In the New Testament, however, the phrase is used more frequently and “its center of gravity is not on human beings in general but on Christ as ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Col. 1:15; John 1:18, 14:8-9; 2 Cor. 4:4; Heb 1:3).”  (107)   Essentially the theme of the NT is that Christ is the new Adam.  Beginning with Christ, there is a new standard for image of God and it’s not us by default … Christ now carries it and the only way to get it back is through him. We cannot look at ourselves as the image of God unless we see Christ reflected through us.  Thus he concludes “Image of God” is not rightly a means by which Christians can presumptively contrast ourselves to other creatures, our gaze must not be merely horizontal, but in a Christological sense, must be the way by which all creatures (all flesh) are seen in light of Jesus.  Our gaze must always be lifted towards our Lord.  As a Christian I must consider myself among the subjects of Jesus’ reconciliatory work in the world, for the whole created order, and not as the sole (soul) focus of it.  (that was a freebie)

We might suggest the following analogy: relying on Aristotle’s arguments about the special place of humanity within creation would be similar to claiming that the reason that we know that God cares more for the earth than for the other planets is because everything revolves around the earth, just as Ptolemy told us.  … We can generalize the point to some degree, and make the following claim: a shift in scientific thinking need not require us to create a new argument based on new science; but it may well behoove us to stop basing our arguments on the old science.  And this may lead us to observe that we had perhaps been relying rather too heavily upon manifestly a-theological or anti-theological accounts to buttress our (supposedly) theological arguments.  … [Newer theological arguments] should force us to ask why we had been so captivated by the older forms in the first place. (103)

Evolution, Design, Killing, and Christianity

June 12th, 2009 No comments

My pastor recently did a multi-week series on the topic of the interpretation of the creation account in Genesis 1.  His purpose was not to tell us how we should think but only to show that there are different faithful interpretations; broadly speaking they are metaphorical, 6 literal 24 hr. days, and something called the day age interpretation.  Shortly thereafter we had a guest speaker, the author of the book “Nature’s Witness: How Evolution Inspires Faith“.   Again, none of this was in order to standardize belief for our congregation but to allow room for discussion on a topic that is usually polarizing to the point of paralysis.

All supremely good and brave stuff.

Here’s my take.  My educational background is equal parts anthropology and psychology.  I’m all about evolution.  That’s not a problem.  My problem is highlighted by two of the comments/questions that were posed during the question and answer time after the author spoke.  They were something along these lines:

  1. “I heard that cooking meat is what made us have bigger brains and that’s essentially what made us the humans we are today.”  – maybe not the exact words but something about eating cooked meat makes us human.
  2. “We’re different from animals because animals don’t fear death, they will lay down and bare their throats to the blade.”  – that one’s more close to the actual wording, it was so disturbing it’s easier to remember.

Read more…

Bill Maher, Michael Pollan, Food Inc.

June 1st, 2009 No comments

Bill Maher interviews Michael Pollen about his new book, In Defense of Food, in his 5/29 show.  Pollen isn’t exactly a vegetarian but … as they say, if they’re not against you, they’re with you. (In the time since I originally posted this I’ve learned how much Pollen actually falls into the “against you” category.  Even so I suppose I would still write the next sentence.) I don’t care where the information comes from at this point as long as people start hearing it.  The best part comes at 2:50 … about the rate / amount of change in our diets in the last 50 years compared to our entire history.  Go Bill.  (if the video gets pulled you might try bill maher’s site?)  Anyway it was a great show.

Now that the movie is out … see it for yourself.  Food Inc.

While you’re at it … there’s also Earthlings.

Scary God?

April 2nd, 2009 No comments

I got this from Greg Boyd’s website, he highlighted it in a recent blog entry.   Thanks, Brad Cole, whoever you are, for this article.

an excerpt

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-44 – GN)

I’m tempted at this point to take this article in a different direction and to ask, “What should a Christian look like?” This is radical stuff and sadly it shows that Christians do not often follow the teachings of Christ, but the point to make for now, with regards to the Old Testament is this. Jesus’ repeated words in this sermon “You have heard it said….BUT NOW I tell you…” suggests something critically important to our understanding of the Old Testament. This may sound strange and perhaps even wrong, but please wrestle with this statement. Here it is: There is a hierarchy of truth in scripture.

Why does that sound wrong? Well, one view of inspiration is that since the scripture is God-breathed everything is on an equal plane of truth whether we are in the book of Judges or the gospel of John. But what did we just hear Jesus say? He said that the rules such as ‘eye for an eye’ were not the ideal. That rule is a very, very dim light compared to the very bright light of loving your enemies. In Jesus we can say that Gandhi was right, that “an eye for an eye makes the world blind.”

the whole enchilada here.

The Bride of Christ

March 16th, 2009 No comments

Black is White.  Evil is Good.  We’re already in hell.  Thanks Jonathan for fighting the good fight.  There are some things that can’t actually be done “for the glory of God”.  

Humane: having or showing compassion or benevolence.  

Benevolence: well meaning and kindly.  

Compassion: feeling of sympathy or sorrow for the suffering of another, often includes showing mercy.  

Mercy: showing compassion when it is within one’s power to harm.

What could “humane meat” possibly mean when there is a perfectly viable option to not kill in the first place?  It seems to me like the exact same kind of mental gymnastics required to say the words “humane abortion”, or “humane rape”, or “humane torture”.   If humane can be used this way then I suggest it means nothing.  If humane can be used this way as some sort of definitive descriptor of humanity then I also suggest that humanity means nothing.  




You say penal substitution, I say tomato

March 12th, 2009 No comments

I’m thinking a lot these days about what the sacrificial system was actually about, not just the Israelite tradition but ritual blood sacrifice in general.  Here’s one of the texts I’m reading if you’re interested.  The ‘right’ traditional church answer (at least for the past couple of hundred years)  is probably something about how it pre-figured the death of Jesus.  That doesn’t really say anything though about what actual psychological work was supposedly being done when a sinner took an animal to have its throat slit and its blood spilled all over the place.

Read more…