An ethical dilemma in Hosea?

In reading through the book of Hosea, the theme, that kicks off the book, and is repeated throughout, is quite clear.

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” (Hosea 1:2)

and

My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore. (Hosea 4:12)

God is angered by the nation’s turning away from Him and towards idols, rejecting His call to live justly and love others (Hosea 12:6 cmp. Micah 6:8). After numerous warnings, God, through the prophet, tells the nation that He will judge them, rejecting them as His people and showing them no more compassion.

The name of each of Hosea’s children emphasize the coming judgment.

  • Jezreel represents an end to the house of Jehu & the kingdom of the house of Israel
  • Lo-ruhama represents the lack of mercy to be shown to the house of Israel
  • Lo-ammi reminds the nation that you are not my people, and I am not your God.

At the risk of missing the forest (main point) for the trees (details), there is an interesting ethical dilemma that is presented to the astute reader in the opening passages.

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Can the Holy Spirit solve the problem with Vulcan Theology?

The last few posts have been inspired by several books on science I’ve been reading. They have explored the idea that we all come to the big questions in life with existing frameworks. These frameworks in turn lead to our holding various biases and presuppositions, which can result in our seeing what we wish to see rather than what is really there. I have adopted the term Vulcan Theology to describe this as it relates to interpreting Scripture.

As a result of these posts an interesting question arose. What is the role of the Holy Spirit in dealing with the Vulcan problem? If the Spirit provides illumination on a particular passage can that help us see it accurately?

This question invites us to first define the term illumination.

The Moody Handbook of Theology, defines illumination as “the ministry of the Holy Spirit whereby He enlightens those who are in a right relationship with Him to comprehend the written Word of God.” Going on to say that:

The believer is aided by the Holy Spirit’s ministry of illumination in guiding the believer to an understanding of divine truth (1 Cor 2:11-13).

J.I. Packer unpacks this term in Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs (link).

[Illumination] is not a giving of new revelation, but a work within us that enables us to grasp and to love the revelation that is there before us in the biblical text as heard and read, and as explained by teachers and writers.

Defining the work of illumination as the process in which the Spirit aids us in understanding the Scripture is a rather broad definition of the term. It does differentiate the work of illumination from other forms of guidance (ed. see this post and this one for more on that topic). However it still leaves open the question: does the Spirit help us arrive at the correct interpretation of a passage and thus eliminate Vulcan theology? Continue reading

Einstein: Know your History

I finished reading The Trouble with Physics by theoretical physicist Lee Smolin. In this book Smolin tackles the current state of physics and its lack of progress in solving the five fundamental questions.albert-einstein It was an interesting read, though if you are not someone who tackles popular works of science I would recommend Brian Greene’s Elegant Universe first.

Toward the end of the book, Smolin laments the inability of the scientific community to jump start another series of great discoveries, like those of the early twentieth century, to help move science forward toward finding the grand Theory of Everything (TOE). He attributes this to an academic system that rewards master craftsman who don’t challenge the current theories, while also failing to promote an environment for seers to flourish. Continue reading