John 17 Notes.docx

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Religious Studies
Stephen Westerholm

John 17 - Early church did not understand what was meant by Holy Spirit preceding from the Father and the Son being begotten from the Father, but preserved in spite of the misunderstanding of the word begotten according to Scripture instead of changing the wording - Father, Son , Spirit o Misimpression of this traditional language that God is male o God is Spirit and is beyond sexual differentiation o Some people think we`re better off leaving it as Father, Son, Spirit due to the fact that it is scriptural and changing it may change the meaning o May be truths that we lose or meaning lost whether we ‘re aware of or not that have escaped us o Better explaining the language than changing the language that was divinely given to us Divine Accommodation - Divine accommodation: God has accommodated himself to human ways of understanding by using human language that inadequately describes him but points us in the right direction - any human language that we use to speak of God is inadequate - God is beyond our comprehension, reality that is God cannot be captured by the human language - Any human language is only partially true and falls short of God - Analogous: the language that we use of God is used by analogy from human experience - We speak of God as Father not because Father adequately conveys what God is but we know what a Father is and by analogy God is something like that - God’s eyes, arms, etc. are inaccurate because God is spirit but we know what these are and are used in analogy - Tendency in Christian interpretation – try to substitute something for it, but Luthor in particular says you have to stick to the language because this is how God spoke to us and we may be losing something we don’t understand just to put it in comprehensive terms - Hidden God: the God beyond all human comprehension; God as Gods-self - Revealed God: revealed himself in human understanding and its human for human beings to cling to the way in which God has revealed himself and not speak of God in ways of our own understanding and language - Traditional language of Father, Son, Spirit may give the misimpression that God is male but some insist we stick to language but explain God is not male because this is the way in which God has chosen to reveal himself to us - Jesus himself , his favourite / most distinctive term of speak of God was Father - Aramaic term: Abba - Jesus is absolutely unique in speaking of God as Father , no other Jews had ever used that language  difficult to say because who can say if someone used it before (not totally unique) - Abba means Daddy  Abba is the ordinary word for Father - Jesus’ use of the term Abba for God was distinct; unusual enough that it stuck with people - 3 times in the NT (was written in Greek) we have the Aramaic word Abba kept in its form - Felt it was important to keep Abba as Abba -
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