Is God in Christianity Personal? Term Paper

Pages: 12 (3210 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] God and Human Relations

God was clearly involved in His people's lives. He reveals himself in many important ways throughout the scripture to his people. We will list a number of ways in which God revealed himself to His people and showed that he was personal. First, with a general belief in the gospels, we accept our Lord's teachings that the authors of both the New and the Old Testaments were guided by God. That prophecies were fulfilled is another clear indication that God is involved in the human history process. God predicts the future and also sees the fulfillment of such prophecies. God's miracle works in history is another example of his intervention. The crossing of the Red Sea (Ex14) or the confrontation involving Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:16-40) is another example. Generally, a miracle is meant to confirm or teach a message. This indicates that God is interested in our needs and existence.

God also paid direct visits to his people -- a display of His attention. Abraham walked with God (Gen. 18) and Moses had God reveal Himself to him (Ex. 3 -- 4: 17). He also appeared to Israelites in a pillar of cloud and fire (Ex. 13: 21 -- 22), and also when He gave them the ten commandments. (Ex. 19: 16 -- 20). King Nebuchadnezzar witnessed a fourth person join Daniel's friends in the fire (Dan. 3: 19 -- 30). Such happenings were rare but they were retold over and over throughout the centuries thereby making people believe that God occasionally intervened personally on His peoples' behalf. Jesus' incarnation is the ultimate indication that God is involved personally with humans. For thirty years Jesus walked on earth, taking part in its sufferings and temptations -- the full experience of human life.

(Heb.2:18;4:5). His painful death by being nailed on the cross is testament to God's interest on human kind. Jesus shared our pain so as to make redemption possible. The resurrection of Christ is a foreshadow of the future of every believer. This here is the epitome of love. Not in any instance in any religion has God been man in such a special way. The scripture provides evidence that our God is personal. He is involved in the situations of human life.

There exists a relationship between human beings and the divine. This could be literal if the term 'relationship' could be taken to mean how things are connected to each other ( as defined in http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/relationship). It could be metaphorical if relationship was to be taken to mean how things or people are connected. Metaphorical because there are aspects of the divine not found in the human person. This leads to a situation where the attributes of this relationship cannot be clearly defined. We have to figure out this ourselves. The business of human existence is to figure out the blueprint of human existence, which God is, for this is what allows us to 'have life' and abundantly so (John 10:10). Human beings, however, have misunderstood the blueprint time and again and this explains why some awful things are done on account of religion.

The Savior

With support from the Holy Scripture, we attest that the being referred to among humans as Jesus of Nazareth, and also as Jesus the Christ by those who recognize that he is God as Jesus the Christ, was with the Father before being brought to flesh by birth. We also attest that while with the Father he was ordained to be the redeemer of humanity.

Christology is the core of theology as it lays emphasis on the work of God as concerns salvation through Jesus Christ and the significance that this work has on humanity's history. By seeing God's face in Jesus Christ's face, we are able to know the nature of God. Through Jesus death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection, we are able to see the Father's plan for this world. Theology tends to focus on the many divine-human interactions in history as found in Jesus Christ's history. Philosophy, on the other hand, contemplates God's nature in the transcendent and the abstract. To know God one must know Christ, and to know Christ is through faith in the promises of Christ revealed in the Bible.

A Loving God

God loves the world (John 3:16). In God's interaction with the world, we detect a desire for community and full relationship. It is only through person-hood and freedom that such a relationship can be made possible. The incarnated God so appears in Christ Jesus as a God wanting another way of fellowship with God's creation than was the case in the history of salvation. God's desires that the world desires God. This reflects the community desire by God: " & #8230; that whoever believes..." God desires that we have faith in God. God's desires for us are referred to as love, faith and hope in Christian theology. Humans are incapable of loving something abstract and this explains God's desire to be material -- so that humans can love Him.

Present in Jesus teachings is the desire for God's kingdom.

Further, Jesus points to God as an object of love that is dissimilar to other objects of love. God cannot be seen, and Christ therefore is the face of that which is invincible: "He is the visible image of the invisible as invisible." Therefore, the love for God is not the same as the love we have for possessions, for fellow humans or for ourselves. To an extent, these are a manifestation of our world. Christ's revelation provides for us a platform to be aware of the gift of love that is our world.

Conclusion

Several hints that God is personal are present in life. He orchestrated miracles, made predictions of the future and inspired many writers to write the scriptures in the biblical times. There were occasions when he intervened directly. Jesus' incarnation is however the biggest self revelation.

Whatever the definition of the divine, there are several areas where God is unlike humans. Where there are similarities, such similarity is often heavily qualified. The person-hood of God can therefore be argued to be metaphorical. Not all 'personal' attributes of God are literal characteristics of God. It is therefore safe to say that 'God' is the term used to refer to that which brought into existence the universe. How we are supposed to behave is a standard provided by God. The standards of behavior expected of us are narrated within the stories where the nature of God is revealed.

There exists a divine agency. And the divine influences humans since goodness influences human beings, in so far as our lives are affected by it and also in its requirement of us to conduct ourselves in a given way. The business of human existence is to understand the blueprint of human existence which is God. This is what allows us to 'have life, and have it abundantly' (John 10:10). Whichever way theism is interpreted, be it liberal or conservative, God may be understood as 'personal'. This is to be understood metaphorically, not literally.

The metaphor portrays truths that are vital to human beings, albeit clumsily. A literal understanding of this truth can impede religious belief; it may appear to a segment of non-believers (e.g. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (London: Banam Press, 2006), pp.347 -- 352) as if God is similar to a child's 'imaginary friend'. When comprehended as a metaphor, the concept of divine person-hood is probably one of the most vital attributes of God.

Bibliography

Bloesch, Donald G. 2006. Jesus Christ: Savior & Lord. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press.

Burns, Elizabeth. "Must Theists Believe In A Personal God?" THINK 8, no. 23 (Autumn, 2009): 77-86,

http://search.proquest.com/docview/218367703?accountid=12085.

Cross, George. "Does a Philosophy of Morals Tend to Undermine the Christian Faith in a Personal God?" The Journal of Religion .Vol. 1, No. 2 (Mar., 1921) (pp. 197-199)

Frame, John M. The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God. Phillipsburg: Presbyterian & Reformed

Publishing, 1987. ISBN: 9780875522623.

Habermas, Gary R., "Our Personal God: God Interacts With Us" (1999). Faculty Publications and Presentations. Paper 35. http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/lts_fac_pubs/35

Henriksen, Jan-Olav. "It's Personal - or Not at All: On God as Love / R."Dialog 1 (2011): 63-70. Accessed August 30, 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6385.2010.00582.x.

Nash, H. Ronald. The Concept of God. An Exploration of Contemporary Difficulties with the Attributes of God. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983

"lisk Matt "The Trinity,"carm.org (n.d) accessed September 29, 2014 http://carm.org/trinity

Talmage, James E. 1981. Jesus the Christ: a study of the Messiah and His mission according to Holy

Scriptures both ancient and modern. Salt Lake City, Utah: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day

Saints

Thatcher, Adrain. "The Personal God and a God Who Is a Person," Religious Studies 21, no. 1 (Mar 1985): 63-73, accessed August 30, 2014, http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.liberty.edu:2048/stable/10.2307/20006139?origin=api. p. 73

1 Thatcher, Adrain. The Personal God and a God Who Is a Person, Religious Studies 21, no. 1 (Mar 1985): 63-73, accessed August… [END OF PREVIEW]

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