Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Leslie Weatherhead: The Will of God 2

Leslie D. Weatherhead, The Will of God © 1944; © renewed, 1972

Chapter 2: God's Circumstantial Will

Chapter 2, part 1:


Will of God coverThis chapter deals with God's plan within certain circumstances; Weatherhead uses the image of the cross to better explain how circumstantial will works. Reading and connecting to this chapter, I keep finding myself full of gratitude for quite a few totally unintended circumstances I've found myself in--and, of course, particularly thankful for the people who've helped carry me through those times that weren't easy in any sense of the word. Here’s a little on the first part of chapter 2:

Regarding the Cross: given the circumstances of evil, the crucifixion became God's will. Dr. Weatherhead says, "The laws of the universe, which are themselves an expression of God's will, were not set aside for Jesus, the beloved Son." That fact relates to God's preference for acting in incarnational ways! Also, as our moderator observed, there are both natural and spiritual elements within God's circumstantial will.

But continuing: so, like, "every woman" has a maternal instinct...though possibly "repressed into unconsciousness?!" "...a home and husband and babies..." are a women's "primary raison d’être"?!?!?!?! This book is © 1944 and the copyright renewed in 1972. Oh, his definitive solution here is sublimation...no comment.

Chapter 2, part 2:

Whether (or not) an event is the will of God? Get our thinking straight, because the answer is both Yes and No! Once again, natural laws vis-à-vis God's [spiritual] ultimate will. "The Christian minister...he..." OK, this book was written quite some time ago...God would not allow an event to occur if of itself it had the power to defeat Godself. Dr. Weatherhead is correct that in the Bible we don't hear people explaining away diseases, etc. as "the will of God," but this has happened, or currently is happening "that God might be glorified!" He's got it right about the kingdom of evil – in deutero-Pauline terms, "powers and principalities" and their sometimes temporary sway or even what appears as their momentary rule over the Kingdom of Heaven. God's perspective is different...yes! Jesus overcoming the world rather than explaining the world!
My notes from later in this chapter:
...indeed the biblical writers were "trying to give God the credit or blame for everything that happens, even the bad stuff!" Because that's the way the people who were beholden to all those other gods were used to thinking - you remember, the temperamental nature gods and place gods that demanded tribute, propitiation, sacrifice and protection? Whatever happened, it simply had to be because of some volatile divinity's anger, pleasure, rage or approval! For a fact the Bible reveals a constantly developing, growing and evolving understanding on the people's part of Who God is and how God acts--and of God's real requirements for the people of God, coupled with increasing awareness of the gracious gifts of God that enable the people's response and fulfillment of God's holy and just demands. Of course I'll refer you to the God of love and mercy - the God of righteousness and holiness - the God Who in Jesus of Nazareth "shared our common lot." With Martin Luther I believe there's a real sense in which all scripture is not equal; like Luther, I'd definitely assign a higher position to those passages that "show forth Christ" most fully.

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