Saturday, 4 June 2011


I still can't comment on this or other people's Blogger sites. Infuriating!

I'm very wary of using the word 'can't' of God. It's a sort of hyper-Arminianism I come across quite often; God can't force us into Heaven, and now there's a string of other things he can't do either. He's supposed to be an omnioptent being, though, and in that case there can't be anything he can't do!

Luke speaks of the Holy Spirit's presence repeatedly in his Gospel. Elizabeth and Zechariah are filled with it, it rests on Simeon. Then Jesus is filled with it. It doesn't seem to be the least bit inhibited before the Ascension, so I think there's something else going on. Elizabeth, Zechariah and Simeon all prophecy, paralleling passages in the OT where people are filled with the Spirit, and prophecy. Jesus is filled for the duration of his ministry, then,  when it's time for the church to continue his mission, the Spirit fills the disciples. Wherever God is acting, the Spirit, which in Luke is like the active presence of God on Earth, is also present.


  1. Maybe "doesn't" is a better word than "can't"?

    If hyper-Arminianism says God can't force us to love him (otherwise love would not be love), then hyper-Calvinists say God can't forgive whoever God wants to forgive (otherwise justice would not be justice).

    Maybe we should all - Arminians and Calvinists - just let God be God?

    Sorry you can't comment. Must be infuriating.

  2. It's working in Firefox. Thanks, Dave.

    I think Calvinists and Arminians share a blind spot; they both accept the traditional idea that there's a cutoff point at death. We'd better get ourselves right with God and into the church before then (rather hard if you're a Saudi villager, I'd have thought!) or we're going to hell. There's not that much difference really; Calvinists won't accept free will at all; Arminians accept it, only a lot of people never come into meaningful contact with Christians, and are effectively predestined to damnation anyway.

    But if Origen was right, and all creation gets saved in the end (I forget exactly how he phrased it), with the Devil bringing up the rear, then God's love and justice are both preserved; the wicked can roast for as many billion years as you like before they finally get forgiven!

  3. I don't know what happens after death. What I believe is that God wants all people to be with God (prevenient grace).

    I believe that there will be individuals who choose not to be in God's presence. But I suspect that they will be in the vast minority.

    But I could be wrong. Who knows? In my personal faith life the question of who goes to "heaven" and who goes to "hell" isn't really a key part of my faith. You might think that's strange for a hospital chaplain who mainly serves ICUs but the thing about that experience is that I see God working all the time and I don't see God withholding divine grace from anyone. I believe with Paul that "God is no respector of persons" (as per the AV language).