"The point that apocalyptic makes is not only that people who wear crowns and who claim to foster justice by the sword are not as strong as they think--true as that is: we still sing, "O where are Empires and Kings now of old that went and came?" It is that people who bear crosses are working with the grain of the universe. One does not come to that belief by reducing social progress to mechanical and statistical models,nor by winning some of one's battles for the control of one's own corner of the fallen world. One comes to it by sharing the life of those who sing about the Resurrection of the slain Lamb."
John Howard Yoder, "Armaments and Eschatology"; as quoted by Stanley Hauerwas in "With the Grain of the Universe"
"God is Impassible and Impassioned: Toward a Theology of Divine Emotion", Rob Lister, (Crossway, 2013)
I was first made aware of Lister's work by a dismissive passing comment on a blog that will remain unnamed here. The nature of the comment was such that one wondered if the blog writer had ever read Lister's book, but was merely dismissively reacting to the title. I also found that this book was recommended by my friend Dr. Ardel Caneday, a man whose theological judgement I respect. I have heard in recent days the impassibility of God has become such an issue in some quarters that one loose association of churches has actually split over the issue. This is not light reading. There are a plethora of footnotes included with the text. I am now halfway through this work, and so far am satisfied Lister's thoughts on the matter are headed in a direction I would be in general agreement with. I have my thoughts on the whole matter, but prefer to finish Lister's work before attempting an articulation of those thoughts.
"With the Grain of the Universe: The Church's Witness and Natural Theology", Stanley Hauerwas, (Brazos Press,2001)
This publication is the wriitten form of the lectures Hauerwas delivered at the 2000-2001 Gifford Lectures at the University of St. Andrews. In those lectures as presented in this book form, Hauerwas gives an interpretation of American intellectual history with focus on William James, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Carl Barth. It is this philosophical and theological history that I find of interest and value. I am about a quarter or so into this one.
"For I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.
For the creation,with outstretched head, is eagerly looking forward to the revelation of the sons of God. For it was not by its own choice that the creation was subject to futility, but (it was) because of him who subjected it, in hope, because the creation itself too will be set free from its bondage to decay, so as to share the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation, with one accord, has been, and still is, groaning as in the pain of childbirth."
Romans 8:18-22 as translated by William Hendriksen, "New Testament Commentary: Romans Chapters 1-8"
"And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea." ~ Isaiah 11:6-9
There will be a day when all creation will once again exist in harmony with itself. The birds that come to my bird feeder will no longer be afraid. The emerald Ash borer attacking my Ash tree, will no longer cause it or any other tree harm. Needle cast will no longer afflict my Evergreen trees. Those animals that are our friends and pets will not get old or sick, nor will they die. The trees will not be splintered by a lightning blast, nor blown over in the storms. All will be at peace and harmony with all else in that New Heavens and New Earth. Such is the promise of God. Such is our hope and the hope and yearning of creation itself. Blessed be the name of the LORD!