Tag Archives: Christ

Tinsel, Santa and the Incarnation

Each Christmas, over the past few years, I’ve read through Karl Barth’s little book Christmas. The chapters are adapted from articles he wrote for publication in German newspapers between 1926-33. In the final chapter of the book, Revelation, Barth reminds us that although God is ‘eternal and invisible and spiritual’ he is also ‘temporal, visible and a physical person.’ He points out too, that it is no longer left to us to construct a God of our imagining; to attempt to ‘seek him somewhere in “infinity”’ and then come up with our clever theories about him. Rather ‘He has come to us (without ceasing to be infinite) in finiteness’ (emphasis mine). In other words, the revelation contained in the Christmas story sweeps away our preconceptions and makes the nature of God real as the ultimate mystery is revealed in time and space. Read more »

Was Jesus an Environmentalist?

With all the conversation about creation-care amongst Christians, one has to ask, “Was Jesus an Environmentalist?” It isn’t a silly question, one would hope that if Christians are going to engage in an activity as part of their Christian obligation, it would make sense to ask if Jesus would support the behavior?

In one sense, the question of environmentalism is anachronistic. People in Christ’s day had enough trouble just staying alive, let alone worry about whether a specific species was going extinct. But on another level, we can inquire and gain some insight on how his behavior should be a model for ours? For example, many people worry about whether they are recycling enough or feel guilt about the bottled water they bought because they were thirsty.
Consider Christ, he killed a fig tree simply because it didn’t bear fruit when he wanted it (Mk 11). Does this exemplify behavior of someone who is supposedly calling us to environmentalism?Christ killed a tree simply to make a point. Is that right? Couldn’t he have just made his point in a more environmentally responsible way?

I think a couple of points should be considered. First, Christ is Lord of Creation. He can do with his property as he wished/s. Second, since Christ was fully human, it means we too can destroy elements of God’s creation in God’s service. That may shock some people, but it is true. When you eat an animal, you destroy God’s creation but no moral stain obtains. The key is to judge oneself accurately and truly, by asking, “is this destruction to God’s glory or yours?”  While that is a humbling question, we should also consider that Christ’s yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Stephen Vantassel is a tutor at King’s Evangelical Divinity School and author of Dominion over Wildlife? An Environmental-Theology of Human-Wildlife Relations (Wipf and Stock, 2009)

What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel? Or, to translate the word ‘gospel’, what is the Good News? You may think it a rather unexpected, or even silly question, to be asking on the website of a college which exists to teach the bible and Christian theology. And yet, I would suggest it is not. I believe there is a great deal of confusion over this word and guess that if you were to put this question to a number of churchgoers, you would get various answers. In the majority of the larger denominations for example, you’d most likely be told something along the lines that the Gospel is simply the love of God. Or that Jesus loves you and has a plan for your life. Some people asked may also talk about Jesus dying for us, but not be clear as to how this works. Read more »

Why love one and eat the other?

While in Denver, Colorado, in mid-October, I saw a billboard that said, “Why love one and eat the other?” You can see the sign at Mercy for Animals. It shows a picture of a dog and a pig.  It is an ingenious marketing ploy. But as usual, it is yet another example of how animal rights protest industry advocates miss the point.

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Risk

Bernstein’s book, Against the Gods, takes the reader on a remarkable historical journey on the identification and management of risk. Risk involves uncertainty and lack of control about negative unforeseen events. For example, when one buys a house, will it increase or decrease in value? That question is ultimately about risk as no one, short of God, can know for certain the answer to that question. So a buyer must make an educated and informed assessment regarding the likelihood of losing or gaining money on the purchase. Interestingly, the bible has much to say about risk.

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