Thursday, July 8, 2021

Handbook of Christian Faith

Nice little book by Schwarz.  Not so little for those who don't take to reading so readily (an increasing number these days, I daresay, given the dominance of visual cultural media).

Nevertheless, if you are going to read one book as an overview of Christian faith, this is quite good.

In fact, I would have treasured this as a young Christian. I was baptised at 12 years old, or maybe 11, but this was a capstone on my belief over my childhood and not due to a sudden conversion.

As it was, I was in a quite non-intellectual church of an non-intellectual denomination, so, few books in sight. The view was, 'the Bible is the only book you need'. In one way correct, but reading the books of people who've thought deeply about their faith is always worthwhile.

My one gripe with Schwarz is his seeming leaning to the the religious evolution school of thought, and his reflexive use of the term 'story' for the accounts of the Bible. Except for the writings and the letters, the works up to Esther in the Old Testament are accounts of events, as are the Gospels and Acts.

He claims that here are two creation accounts. Not so, of course. More properly, the 'creation' is Genesis 1-3. It starts with the global statement, the headline, 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth'. We start with the entirety of the creation. The rest of chapter 1 zooms in to the earth, the place of our habitation and fellowship with God. Chapter two enlarges on Genesis 1:27. Chapter 3 is then how this pans out (poorly) as how the creation will now play out, with some very important parts.

In chapter 3:8 we see God embarking on drawing man into fellowship. But man has rejected him. But its not all bad: the ultimate defeat of the anti-god (3:15c) and God's clothing them, protecting them, with the first death in 3:20.

He mealy-mouths his way around Genesis 1-3 as well, reducing it to a pious 'story' that, even though he seems to regard it has having no objective factual content, holds that it manages to teach something. How he knows this, I fail to grasp. He fails to make the connection between his (unwitting?) Neoplatonist treatment of the section and its real world significance.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.