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AllYourCanonsAreBelongToUs

So what is the difference between changing gender in The Shack and species in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Also, why would it be okay for Lewis to completely leave out the concept of the incarnation?

Chris Rosebrough

AllYourCanons,

Lewis was picturing Christ according to one of His Valid Biblical titles and descriptions, "The Lion of the Tribe of Judah."

Rev 5:5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Also, your claim that Lewis left out the concept of the incarnation is laughable (Read the entire series) but more importantly it is a red herring and has nothing to do with Kassain's very valid criticisms of The Shack.

AllYourCanonsAreBelongToUs

Chris, I wasn't being sarcastic or trying to create (throw? what does one do with) red herrings. I was asking a question that I wonder about. I've read the Chronicles of Narnia from Digory to Puzzle many a time, as well as the Space trilogy. I’m a friend and you needn’t be snippy with me.

I guess I can buy the part about the Lion of Judah.

Can one expect fiction to faithfully represent Biblical truth? I know that Aslan elsewhere points out that he’s the second person of the trinity, but he was never “made lion” as Christ was made man to be propitiation for our sins, and not just for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. The animals of Narnia never suffered a fall as Adam did, instead they are subjected to a fall just as in our world, and so there is no desperate need for salvation as there is with men - thus the closing of The Last Battle presents salvation as a dangerously (Pelagian?) matter of choice, as Lewis also presents in The Great Divorce. This attractive teaching, as presented by Lewis, hung me up for a long time until I was taught better at my Lutheran church. There is no third person of the trinity presented, and the Godhead is shown only in rudimentary fashion, nothing like what you’d confess in the Athanasian creed.

Fiction is fiction. There are things one ought not write, heretical things (perhaps that’s the problem with the shack?). But in the end, taking one’s theological cues from a work of fiction is a silly thing to do. I don’t believe you can make a work of fiction from which one could derive one’s theology. Best to stick with the Bible, with the Book of Concord as its interpreter.

Chris Rosebrough

Allyourcanons,

I never thought you were being sarcastic. I've given up trying to figure out a persons 'tone' when they post a comment. And your concern that I was not treating you as friend but rather as a foe was not correct either. Its one of the primary limitations of this mode of communication.

I was merely being bluntly factual with you.

I am of the opinion that Fiction is not a neutral medium of communication and that it does transmit theological ideas both good and bad.

I would point you to the books in the Northern Lights series (published as the Golden Compass). They are fictional children's stories YET the author, Philip Pullman, rather boldly lets on to the fact that these fictional stories teach atheism.

Also consider the phenomena of a growing number of people who claim their religion as Jedi. These are people who have adopted the principles and teachings of Buddhism which were part of the fictional Star Wars movies.

Rather than being neutral, fiction instead can be a VERY POWERFUL medium for theological indoctrination.

Josh

"Trust in God--She will provide."
Some of the texts which started me rethinking the way I conceptualize God.

A: Female images for God (drawn from women’s biological activity)

1. God as a Mother:

a. a woman in labor (Isa. 42:14) whose forceful breath is an image of divine power .
b. a mother suckling her children (Num. 11:12)

c. a mother who does not forget the child she nurses (Isa. 49:14-15)

d. a mother who comforts her children (Isa. 66:12-13)

e. a mother who births and protects Israel (Isa. 46:3-4).

f. a mother who gave birth to the Israelites (Dt. 32:18) The biased translation of the Jerusalem Bible ("fathered you") obscures the feminine action of the verb, more accurately rendered "gave you birth":
JB: You forget the Rock who begot you, unmindful now of the God who fathered you.
NRSV: You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.
The Hebrew word in the first line can be translated as either "begot" (male activity) or "bore" (female activity); the context must provide the key. The word in the second line can only refer to female activity. Scholars have taken these two lines either as a male and a female image of God back-to-back, or they take both of them as female, due to the way this verse is located in the overall poetic structure of Deuteronomy 32.

g. a mother who calls, teaches, holds, heals and feeds her young (Hosea 11:1-4) This poem is in the first person, where in Hebrew there is no distinction between male and female forms; the speaker can be either male or female. The series of activities are those that a mother would be likely to do: "it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I was to them like those who lift infants [lit., suckling children] to their cheeks [OR: who ease the yoke on their jaws]; I bent down to them and fed them." (NRSV)

Given the context, it is possible that Hosea is indirectly presenting Yahweh as the mother over against the fertility goddess mother figure of the Canaanite religion that he is challenging. The images belong in pairs. Israel is presented as a wife in ch. 2 and as a son in ch. 11, that is, as female and male in tandem. It may be that Hosea is making the point that Yahweh alone is God by presenting Yahweh as the husband in ch. 2 and as the mother in ch. 11.

2. Other maternal references: Ps. 131:2; Job. 38:8, 29; Prov. 8:22-25; 1 Pet. 2:2-3, Acts 17:28.

B: Feminine images for God (drawn from women’s cultural activity).

1. God as a seamstress making clothes for Israel to wear (Neh. 9:21).

2. God as a midwife attending a birth (Ps. 22:9-10a, 71:6; Isa. 66:9) (midwife was a role only for women in ancient Israel).

3. God as a woman working leaven into bread (Lk. 13:18-21). This feminine image is equivalent to the image of God as masculine in the preceding parable of the mustard seed.

4. God as a woman seeking a lost coin (Lk. 15:8-10).This feminine image is equivalent to the image of God as masculine in the preceding parable of the shepherd seeking a lost sheep. Both Luke 13 and 15 contain paired masculine and feminine images for God, drawn from activities of Galilean peasants.

C: Additional examples of the divine feminine.

1. Female bird imagery. Yahweh is described by an analogy to the action of a female bird protecting her young (Ps. 17:8, 36:7, 57:1, 91:1, 4; Isa. 31:5; Dt. 32:11-12).

a. The eagle: Dt. 32:11-12: "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead Jacob ...." (KJV). The female eagle, both larger and stronger than the male, does the bulk of the incubation of the eggs as well as the hunting. She is the one who bears the eaglets on her wings when it is time for them to leave the nest. In a sudden movement, she swoops down to force them to fly alone, but always stays near enough to swoop back under them when they become too weary to fly on their own. It is a powerful image of God nurturing and supporting us when we are weak, yet always encouraging us to grow and mature. Cf. Ex. 19:4, "I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself," and Job 39:27-30.

b. The hen: Mt. 23:37 (par. Lk. 13:34; cf. Ruth 2:12): "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not." In his lament over Jerusalem, Jesus employs feminine imagery. Whereas the magnificent eagle is associated with light, sun, height, mobility and exteriority, the lowly hen is "associated with the shadows and darkness of the henhouse, and with depth and stillness and interiority beneath the mothering wings" (V. Mollenkott, The Divine Feminine [Crossroad, 1987], 93). Each image illuminates a different, important aspect of God’s relation to us.

2. God as Mother Bear (Hosea 13:8), a fierce image associated with the profound attachment of the mother to her cubs. God’s rage against those who withhold gratitude is that of a bear "robbed of her cubs."

3. Holy Spirit (in Hebrew, feminine; in Greek, neuter) is often associated with women’s functions: the birthing process (Jn. 3:5; cf. Jn. 1:13, 1 Jn. 4:7b, 5:1, 4, 18), consoling, comforting, an eschatological groaning in travail of childbirth, emotional warmth, and inspiration. Some ancient church traditions refer to the Holy Spirit in feminine terms (the Syriac church used the feminine pronoun for the Holy Spirit until ca. 400 C.E.; a 14th c. fresco depicting the Trinity at a church near Munich, Germany images the Holy Spirit as feminine).
As we seek to follow biblical inclusivity, let us also affirm the consistent witness of the church, namely, that God is neither feminine nor masculine (gender), neither male nor female (sex). God accommodates to human limitations by using physical, relational, gender-laden images for self-disclosure. Some of those are feminine. Inasmuch as God inspired the biblical authors to be inclusive, who are we not to be?

from http://www.pngoc.com/content.php?r=&c=57

Ken

The author of The Shack is the speaker at the California Prayer Breakfast to be held soon in Sacramento.

John C

God is Spirit (John 4:4) and the spirit has no gender. God is neither male nor female. This is tied to the mystery of marriage referenced in scripture and goes back to the original paradaisical state.

We are externally focused as a result of the fall, so we tend to think in outward, fleshly terms.

Blessings

Ray

John C,

John 1:1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
John 1:14 "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Jesus was in the begining with God and was God. And then He became flesh and dwelt among us. He became a man, not only in the sense of becoming human but also male. He was (and is) a male man, with male man parts. When He walked the earth, He was a male man. When He preached and taughted and performed miracles, He was a male man. When He suffered, was crucified and died for our sins, He was a male man. When He was buried, He was a male man. When He rose from the dead, He was still a male man. When He ascended into Heaven, He was still a male man. He is, today, still a male man.

God is spirit, but He is also flesh, and that flesh is not genderless.

Ray

PS. That's John 4:24 ("God is spirit...")

JR

Genesis 1:21 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Not too hard is it? He mad man in His image. And just so you didn't miss it He said it again -In the image of God created He Him... not her.

I could use a metaphor and say that "I (I am a man) dote on my son like an aged grandmother". It is merely an expression aimed at giving you an understanding. Only a fool would take that to mean I am a woman.

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