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Robin Parry is the husband of but one wife (Carol) and the father of the two most beautiful girls in the universe (Hannah and Jessica). He also has a lovely cat called Monty (who has only three legs). Living in the city of Worcester, UK, he works as an Editor for Wipf and Stock — a US-based theological publisher. Robin was a Sixth Form College teacher for 11 years and has worked in publishing since 2001 (2001–2010 for Paternoster and 2010– for W&S).

Friday, 21 May 2010

God's passionate love

“When the poet and the prophet speak of this passionate love that God is, how dare our theologians turn back from the promised land of love to the barren desert to stare at the bush which never burns.”
Ray S. Anderson, The Soul of God, p. 80.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I know what he's saying, but what is the meaning behind

"the bush which never burns" ?

The Presbyterian use of the "Burning Bush" as its symbol doesn't seem to fit with this.

Predestined said...

Moses was the first theologian to stare, and so we follow. It isn't God's Love on display, it is His Holiness.

Robin Parry said...

Theodore

do you think that we can consider God's holiness apart from his love or his love apart from his holiness? I like P. T. Forsyth's talk of God's "holy love".

In the case of Moses the holy God appears to Moses in order to declare his loving redemption of Israel

Robin

Robin Parry said...

Anonymous

I think that Anderson was taking a swipe at the abstract theology which is orthodox but lifeless. God is "everywhere" but never "somewhere"; God can do "everything" but never does "anything." You have the bush without the burning presence of God in the world.

That's what I took him to mean

Robin

Anonymous said...

Thanks Robin.

Yes, I see it's the poet and prophet who feel the love of God and act in response, rather than the dry orthodox theologian who writes without feeling and fire!

Predestined said...

Yes, Robin. I concede that God's attributes cannot be divorced from each other. However, some passages do emphasize one particular attribute in a particular context.

Your reading of the primary source may be more readily correct, as I had only the snippet to work with. I just wish people would see things beyond the love of God, and see the love of God more biblically, so to avoid sentimental and syrupy versions of it.

Cheers,
TZ

Robin Parry said...

TZ

I totally agree although I guess that my frustration is more the other way.

I tend to meet many theologically-inclined Christians who, in their eagerness to get away from soppy views of divine love (a commendable aim), wish to emphasize divine justice and wrath - but justice and wrath construed in such a way that they end up being incompatible with divine love.

To me that is just as bad as the sentimental approach to divine love.