Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Implications of Biblical Theomorphism

If you have been reading my blogs, you will discern that I am adamantly disdainful of theologians who rely on anthropomorphic explanations to make excuses for many of God's attributes or behavior. Just look at the commentaries and how they explain the fact that God RELENTS, i.e., repents (changes His heart or attitude) about what He said or did, repents from it and reverses from His initial intent or action. See the examples of Hezekiah in Isaiah 38 and His forgiveness of Ninevah in the account of Jonah.

Look at those theologians who condescendingly declare that the God that they "know" is so sovereign that He controls everything! Everything? Well, I know where they're coming from but there are many things where God has, by definition alone, relinquished absolute control. That is the biblical repercussion of God creating man in His Own image (Genesis 1:26, 27). For maximum effect, let us quote that part of Scripture here;

"26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. ..."
27So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them."

So, what may I ask, is being created in the image of God like, exactly? well, approximately, what does it mean or imply or redound to?

What then are the essential attributes of God by which we were molded or created after? For one, God is wholly-other, so to speak. God is an independent thinker, equipped with an entirely Free Will or volition, the ability to make His own decisions or courses of action, the ability (and Self-given privelege to change His mind), with the capacity for tangible intangibles like Love, Jealousy, hate, emotions, etc. among others, of course. However, why did I explicitly mention those qualities or attributes, if I may speak so?

Love is an expression that CANNOT be controlled by someone external to the lover. Jealousy is a feeling, or attitude that CANNOT be controlled by someone external to the one expressing jealousy. Faith or faithfulness, is a quality that CANNOT be controlled by anything or anyone outside of the person expressing faith.

I think you can surmise where I am going with this. So God, created man, out of His infinite and absolute wisdom, in HIS OWN IMAGE! Why did the writer of Genesis actually state this three times with emphasis? I will tell you why.

First, God took a risk not in creating man but in creating such a creature IN HIS OWN IMAGE. Why? Because, God was going to endow this creature with something beyond instinct like the animals have. God was going to bestow free will, the capacity to decide for himself, the capacity to love, the capacity to express faith, the capacity to express jealousy and other emotions which God Himself CANNOT control once they are created!

Swallow that thought for a moment. This is where classical thought and philosophy collapse because this concept is outside of their box. It is beyond the parameters of their closed-minded think process.

Love, once controlled by anything or anyone other than the lover, is by definition, no longer LOVE! A man who forces a woman to love him is just fooling himself. We all know that. It is common sense (but not for some, yeah, not for some even intelligent theologians!). God, being all-wise will not fool Himself either, and so He Himself CANNOT force LOVE from man. Otherwise, that which has been forced by Him, is NO LONGER LOVE, by DEFINITION!

One can argue that God can control and manipulate a person's love so that this person will really think he loves. But who is God fooling? The creature or Himself? Such a thought process insults the sovereignty of The Creator and God of the Universe! Genuine Love is genuine, unadulterated, uncontrolled, unmanipulated love, nothing more, nothing less!

So is faith and hope. That is why Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13:13 declares that "Now abides faith, hope, and love....and the greatest of these is love". These indeed are qualities that God cannot control in man. Man is a theomorphic creature endowed with independent thought and the privilege to independently express faith, hope and love the way he desires.

God can only encourage or court the responses of faith, hope and love. That is where He took the risk in creating man in His own image. To understand otherwise is to miss THE WHOLE POINT of Genesis 1:26-27.

Now let me tie this in with the Great Commandment declared in the Synoptic gospels but let us just stick with St. Peter's version through the writings of his protege, St. Mark 12:29-31. I declared in another blog that the Westminster Confession has it COMPLETELY wrong about the chief end of man. The chief end of man is NOT to glorify God (But do read the blog, 003-The Chief End of Man is not necessarily to Glorify God!, for its logical impact)! God requires LOVE precisely because He now CANNOT get it any other way, and instead of forcing man to LOVE Him, God courts man to LOVE Him! That is the great theme of the Bible!

Yes, there is judgment for those who refuse to love Him back, but the WHOLE POINT is that GOD still CANNOT FORCE LOVE (Note that WILL NOT refers to volitional control, while CANNOT refers to ability or capacity to do something. If God forces love, then He destroys His Own definition of Love.) Creating man in God's image WAS a RISK that God took, out of LOVE! "Amazing Love, how can it be......!" Now, we appreciate that hymn all the MORE!

Note: God is a God of order, of logic, of true meaning and substance. So the age old classical question of "Can God make a circle square?" is absolutely ridiculous, EVEN TO GOD! So, can God force or control Love? is likewise and oxymoron. God will not change meaning, God will not change definitions. God will not change substance. All this to demonstrate His perfection and order in the universe.


  1. My search of Theomorphism brought me to my first visit to your blog. I was taught Classical/semi-Calvinist doctrine in theory, yet, what I know now to be Open Theism in prayer. Your blog has me saying amen and dittos. I'm afraid you are too rational and logical to be accepted by many theologians. I felt alone for years until finding Michael Pearl and Greg Boyd- and now you.
    Thanks for your work.

  2. Thank you and may God richly bless your journey towards reasons for faith. As I continue to delve and do deep dives into the richness of the Word, I am truly amazed than such an intelligent God just wants us to use simple common sense to understand His word. All these theological mambo-jumbo we get from seminary has produced too many shameful Christians who cannot understand the simple meaning of living transformed lives as a response to the great unfailing love of an all-wise, super-intelligent God - none other than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob completely revealed to us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.