Paul Fiddes on Participation in God

When describing the nature of salvation and the Christian life, the conceptual options are many. As of late, one of the more popular has been “participation” (due, in part, to renewed interest among Protestants in Patristic voices such as Irenaeus, St. Athanasius, Gregory Nazianzen, Maximus the Confessor, and Gregory Palamas).

Consider, for example, how Paul Fiddes describes the participation of human persons in God:

We dwell and dance in triune spaces. The room that God makes for us within God’s ownrublev_trinity.jpg self is not a widening of the gap between individual subjects, but the opening up of intervals within the interweaving movements of giving and receiving (p. 54).

The comprehensiveness of Christ as incarnate wisdom consists therefore in his relationship as Son to Father. This relationship in which Christ participates within the communion of God’s life comprehends the infinite aspects of all relations of giving and receiving in God. The filial relationship of this particular human son [Christ] to God exactly corresponds to the movement of relationship within God which is like that between a son and a father; thus, in Christ, human sonship is the same as divine sonship not only in function but in being, since relations in God are more being-full than anything else. Continue reading

On Reading Scripture & Wisdom

What does wisdom have to do with reading Scripture?

Here at Theology Forum, we believe the ability to read and engage theological texts in a judicial and irenic (peaceable) spirit is something to be cultivated. Far too often it seems, readings are done polemically or in ways that harm the Christian community. So, toward opening up irenic discussion and cultivating the theological craft of inquiring honesty and deliberating wisely we are starting a new series.

We will post selections from various theologians from across the spectrum, suggest some questions, and invite your interaction. The goal here is not necessarily critique, but careful reading, irenic dialogue, and the fostering of good theological habits.

‘The specifically theological character of the rereading [of scripture] lies in it being done before david-ford.jpgGod, in relationship with God, seeking in the Spirit to follow the purposes of God in the world and finding in scriptures inspired testimony to what all of that involves. If “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” then wisdom interpretation of scripture is done primarily with respect to and for God. The most important thing is to learn to read and reread for the sake of God and the Kingdom of God. This sort of reading is not just a skill to be mastered; it is inseparable from learning to love God, neighbours and enemies, and from transformations of life as well as mind (p. 68)’

- What is the relationship between the (re)reader of Scripture and God? Does this matter? Why?

- How are the activities of the (re)reader and God portrayed? Does one receive more emphasis than the other?

- What can Ford teach us about our reading the Scriptures- individually or corporately?