Friday, 8 August 2014

A theology based on God's love, and the need for a personal relationship with God; not on "hard-core metaphysical attributes"

Explaining the basic difference in approach between Mormon theology and the classical 'metaphysical' theology of mainstream post-Apostolic Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant).

It is remarkable that throughout the history of Christian thought few indeed have started their exploration from the basic conviction that 'God is love'.

It is commonplace in Christian theology to start from metaphysical concepts, such as the notion that God is a perfect being or that God is the metaphysical explanation for all existence. 

The metaphysical approach to God... emphasizes the more abstract and impersonal attributes of God, including divine omniscience and omnipotence. It emphasizes the 'hard-core metaphysical attributes' of divine simplicity, pure actuality, aseity, impassibility, timelessness, and immutability.

[But] any theology that begins with metaphysical postulates makes it very difficult to speak of God in interpersonal terms...

Whereas the picture of God that has dominated Christian theology is that of the Unmoved Mover, it seems that the interpersonal God of disclosed in the scripture is the Most Moved Mover - that person who above all else seeks to persuade us to enter into a loving relationship of the type that exists between a father and a son, or a committed husband and a beloved wife. 

Relationality is the true essence of God - the opposite of the God of the philosophers... 

What if, instead, we started from the most basic commitment of Jesus's teachings - that God is the type of person whom we could seek in intimate prayer as our 'abba', our 'Daddy in Heaven'?


Edited from Chapter One of Blake T Ostler's Exploring Mormon Thought: the problems of theism and the love of God - Volume 2.