Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Monday, April 7, 2014

God's Glory is God's Love and Nothing Less

The “Chief End of Man”…God’s Glory…Yes and Amen (But…)

by Roger Olson
April 4, 2014

Recently I re-read Jonathan Edwards “Dissertation on the End for Which God Created the World.” And I watched and listened to John Piper’s address about why the evangelical church needs Edwards’ “God-entranced vision” today. (It’s on Youtube.)

Some people would be surprised to hear that I agree ALMOST entirely with Edwards and Piper about this subject. First, yes, I agree, whole heartedly, that everything, without exception, is created for God’s glory and that everything’s chief end (purpose) is God’s glory. Edwards’ and Piper’s “God-entranced vision” is needed by evangelicals (and others) today…with a few important qualifications. (The devil is always in the details.)

The Westminster Shorter Catechism says that “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” I say “amen” to that. We do not exist for ourselves; nothing exists for itself. Everything was created for God’s glory and exists to glorify him. As Edwards acknowledges, there are subordinate “ends” (purposes) for things, but the chief end, purpose, of whatever exists, has being, is God’s glory.

I sympathize with Piper’s (and others’) concerns about contemporary evangelical Christianity in America. We have fallen into various forms of human-centeredness. “Moralistic, therapeutic deism” is one of them. Another is worship and preaching that focuses on creation and human “success in life” (happiness, fulfillment, prosperity, etc.). I do not recognize much that is called “evangelical” as that.

So what is my problem with Edwards’ and Piper’s vision (they are basically the same) of this “God entranced vision?” They and I part ways over some very important details.


First, INSOFAR as they imply that sin and evil and hell are “designed, foreordained and governed” by God for his glory I demur. These are PERMITTED reluctantly by God and he uses them to glorify himself.

How so? Because God’s glory is his love. Even Edwards seemed to acknowledge this in The Nature of True Virtue by defining “true virtue” as “benevolence toward being.” Love does not coerce others into loving oneself. Sin, evil and hell are permitted by God as part of his consequent will, not “designed, foreordained and governed” by God as part of his antecedent will. But they still exist to glorify God–not because God planned them for his self-glory but because their existence is the result of his love for creatures which glorifies him. A God who permits creatures to resist him is more glorious than one who meticulously controls every thought and intention and decision and action of every creature.

How does hell glorify God? Not by being NECESSARY for the display of God’s justice in wrath (Edwards) but by being God’s painful refuge for those who reject him.

(For you Edwards experts out there…yes, I know Edwards also said that God “permitted” sin and evil to enter his creation, but he clearly MEANT “efficacious permission.” He clearly meant that the fall and all its consequences were planned by God and rendered certain by God according to a great plan and scheme to glorify himself by displaying his justice through wrath.)


Second, INSOFAR as they (Edwards, Piper and their ilk) imply that POWER takes precedence over LOVE in God’s glory, I demur.

God’s glory IS his love–first his innertrinitarian love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and second his love flowing out from the Trinity toward creatures.

God is glorious BECAUSE he is perfectly loving as well as perfectly powerful. BUT, since love is his essence, he can restrict his power (but not his love).

To be sure, Edwards believed in God’s love, but he MEANT God’s self-love and then, secondarily, his love for the elect. Piper tries to rescue God’s love even for the non-elect by saying he gives them “temporal blessings” on their way to hell. That’s absurd, of course. It is the same as saying he give them a little bit heaven to go to hell in. Wesley said that is such as “love” as makes the blood run cold. I agree.

My point is that, in my view, anyway, while Edwards and Piper are correct to emphasize God’s glory as the chief end, purpose, of everything, they are wrong to empty God’s glory of meaningful love and focus it on power. Power without love is not glorious.

Church father Irenaeus is famous for saying that “the glory of God is man fully alive.” So, yes, everything in creation exists for God’s glory, but God’s glory is not narcissistic. It is his perfect benevolence and ability to display it and give it to creatures.

As my friend Austin Fischer says in his wonderful book Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed (Wipf & Stock) “Love is not a cog in the glory machine.” But in our opinion, Edwards and Piper make it just that.

Rather, as Scripture itself testifies, “God is love.” God IS love. That is God’s glory.

So, let me say again, loudly this time: TRUE ARMINIANS ALSO BELIEVE GOD’S GLORY IS THE CHIEF END OF EVERYTHING. But we disagree with Edwards and Piper about the NATURE of God’s glory. Yes, it is his beauty and perfection, but his beauty and perfection are his perfect love, his benevolence toward being–his own and creatures’.

continue to -


Why High Calvinism is Impossible: The Importance of Language

Why (High) Calvinism Is Impossible

* * * * * * * * * * *

Follow Up to Why (High) Calvinism Is Impossible

by Roger Olson