Thursday, January 06, 2011

God signs

From time to time you see God signs like this quoting God. When people read them, nobody thinks God actually said these things. Even though they are usually written by Christians, nobody accuses the Christians of false prophecy either. The reason is because that would be a confusion of genre. The signs are not meant to be prophecy, so they can't be false prophecy.

On facebook, some people have this app where "God wants you to know..." something. The app posts a blurb written in first person from God's point of view that usually contains some shallow platitude or feel-good advice. But nobody thinks God himself is actually saying these things, and nobody intends for it to be taken as if he did.

I also see mock conversations between God and somebody else that Christians include on T-shirts, cards, books, or whatever that are supposed to illustrate some point. But none of these things are meant to convey what the author thinks God actually said. Nobody takes them that way, and nobody intends for them to be taken that way.

Do you ever wonder if some of the things in the Bible are that way? Maybe it's a genre, and maybe some of the "prophecies" in the Bible fall under that genre and are not meant to be taken as prophecy at all. I'm inclined to think apocalyptic literature (e.g. Daniel and Revelation) are like that. What do you think?


At 10/06/2011 4:09 PM , Blogger David Dodson said...

The Old Testament contains several different genres of writings: narrative, poetry, dialectic, and prophetic. What are most important about the writings of the Old Testament are the God events. All the writings of the Old Testament directly relate to covenant. What we have in the Old Testament can all be related back to two points in history: God’s covenant making moment with Abraham and God’s covenant making moment with Israel/Moses.

God’s covenant with Moses, the Law, is the predominate event historically that makes the writings in the Old Testament what they are. Israel’s prophets were seers, yes, but more importantly they were God’s team of lawyers. A prophet did God’s bidding in regards to the covenant Israel had with God. God had prophets to remind Israel what was okay and not okay to do under the Law.

A key feature in the Law had to do with what God had promised to do to and for Israel given either their failures or successes while under the Law. God promised both rewards and punishments for Israel depending on how successful Israel had been in keeping the Law. The Law was not guess work. God had it all spelled out for Israel, what the consequences would be if they did or did not do morally as they had promised God in covenant.

God’s promises under the Law were all physical, earthly, in content. If Israel failed, God proceeded with the curses. If Israel succeeded, God proceeded with blessings. Both blessings and curses under the Law had it to where God literally did stuff to Israel. What is typical of God’s curses under the Law is that Israel would suffer drought, or militarily another nation would defeat Israel and occupy their land. What is typical of God’s blessings under the Law are that Israel’s crops would prosper, or Israel would go through a peaceful period regarding surrounding nations.

The reason we no longer see God doing stuff like He did in the Old Testament (dreams, visions, supernatural interventions) is because of how the Bible has said that there’s been a change in covenant. In other words, God is no longer obligated to do as He once promised to do under the Law. God has issued a whole other new set of promises in the New Testament. In other words, although God has not changed, the behaviors we see of God have, because of how there’s been a change in covenant, in God’s promises. For Christians and those seeking, it would be a valuable pursuit for one to filter through the New Testament just to see what God has promised under the new covenant.


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