1 Samuel 5:1-7:2: ‘Arkeology’ and Theology
- The nature of God
- The sovereignty of God
- The holiness of God
Man always pretends to be a professional when it comes to the knowledge of God, but in truth this is the area of our greatest blindness and where we need God to give us the greatest help. Whenever the men of the Bible ever encountered God in a vision that revealed something of His true glory we see that they put their hands over their mouths, fell down as dead or declared their utter sinfulness. We instinctively exchange the truth of God for lies. We are so certain of our knowing that we make our knowledge and experience the frame of reference that God must subscribe to. From time to time God has to break down our idols that we have built and re-impress upon us the true nature of His glory and being. God has been blasphemed by both the Israelites and the Philistines and in 1 Sam. 5-6 He will set the record straight Himself.
This trend to domesticate God is alive and well today. There is a brand of theology called Open Theism. They have rejected what Christians have traditionally believed and have a god that is shaped by modern values.
- Love is God’s most important quality. In other words things like Hell are thrown away, and love becomes a tyrannising principle that silences other attributes like holiness.
- Love is not only care and commitment but sensitivity, vulnerability and responsiveness. In other words, God loves like human beings and can be changed by emotional appeals, feel pain and loss, and enter into a give and take transaction like that between humans.
- Creatures exert an influence upon God, namely we can help Him feel sad or glad, we can change His mind and influence His will.
- God’s will is that ultimate thing that determines the universe but man and God’s will together.
- God does not know everything and is timeless but is in a process Himself and learns as He goes along.
- God is dependent on the world in some ways.
Open theism may be winsome and articulate in its teachings and even sophisticated in its philosophical foundations but ultimately it is nothing more than remodelled paganism. In paganism god can be manipulated by gifts, he can change His will if we perform well enough; he gets hungry and needs our contributions. This portion of Scripture is God acting to remind us of His true nature and glory.