Sunday, September 20, 2009

Being and becoming

The sermon at church this morning was entitled, "Holiness: Being and Becoming." The texts were Exodus 19:1-6 and Romans 6. Last week we look at the holiness of God: he is set apart and morally perfect. We are not. But in Christ, we are holy and perfect, in God's sight. But despite this position/status/qualification, we do not experience life that way and we are called to live holy lives in accordance with our position.

Being: we are holy in God's sight.
Becoming: God is making us holy as we co-operate with him.

Clearly, there are some "logical" tensions and paradoxes here, similar to those I have discussed before about free will and predestination.

I could not but think of two scholarly books which also have similar titles and are not completely unrelated.

From Being to Becoming, is a book about the foundations of physics by Ilya Prigogine, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1977. He considered that determinism was not a valid scientific or philosophical position because of the subtleties associated with irreversibility and chaos. Furthermore, he considered that the question of the relation between Being and Becoming was "the central problem of Western ontology." He also discussed these ideas in a popular book, Order out of Chaos.

The second book is Becoming and Being: the Doctrine of God in Karl Barth and Charles Hartshorne by Colin Gunton, one of the most influential English theologians of the second half of the twentieth century. It is an expansion of his Oxford D. Phil thesis.

I mention these books just to illustrate how these questions do not have simple resolutions.

No comments:

Post a Comment