The Table Podcast
Douglas K. BlountDouglas K. BlountDarrell L. BockDarrell L. Bock

The Doctrine of God in the Nicene Creed

In this episode, Drs. Darrell L. Bock and Doug Blount discuss the Nicene Creed, focusing on doctrine of God.

Timecodes
00:15
The significance of the Nicene Creed
03:01
The historical context of the Nicene Creed
07:56
Common ground between Christianity and Judaism
13:38
God as the all-powerful creator of all things
20:17
Understanding the doctrine of the Trinity
26:13
How Trinitarian analogies fall short of orthodoxy
32:26
Contrasting the Christian and Muslim conceptions of God
35:50
How the incarnation reveals God’s relational commitment
Transcript
Darrell Bock
Welcome to the Table, where we discuss issues of God and culture. I'm Darrell Bock, Executive Director for Cultural Engagement at the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary. And we are working our way through the Nicene Creed. This is going to be a multi-part series taking the creed kind of a piece at a time, a topic at a time to work through. My guest today, our expert, is Doug Blount who is at Southern Seminary. And Doug, what is, you know I actually don't know the answer to this question, what is your official title there at Southern?
Doug Blount
Well, my official title is Professor of Christian Apologetics, and I'm also chairing the Department of Apologetics and World Religions.
Darrell Bock
Okay, well that's very interesting. I might have to come back to you when we do the world religions stuff. And so, we've asked Doug to discuss the Nicene Creed and the opening part of the creed which reads as follows, We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth of all things visible and invisible. It's not a very long sentence, but it's saying a lot. So let's first talk about the Nicene Creed in general, and your take on the role of this creed in the history of the church and the significance of this creed. Tell us a little bit about the Nicene Creed as you see it.
Doug Blount
First of all, I think it's important to note, as with all of the church's early creedal statements that the church didn't see herself at Nicaea as creating doctrine, right? What's going on with the council, is because various issues that have arisen, the Fathers are interested in articulating what they understand to have been the teaching of Christ and the apostles. And so, the Creed of Nicaea, the Nicene Creed as well as the other early confessional statements give us a window into the early church's understanding of the Apostolic teaching. And while the creedal statements are certainly not inspired, certainly not in the technical sense in which scripture is, they're therefore less authoritative, they're not infallible, they're not inerrant, they are nonetheless faithful articulations on the part of the church of their understandings of the doctrines of the Apostles that they received from Christ. And consequently, the Nicene Creed, as well as the other early confessional statements of the church deserve great respect.
Darrell Bock
So, how do we think through what the actual setting is for the creed? I take it that the backdrop is we're in the midst of sorting out kind of how to articulate the trinity in a concise way, and how was the creed used? I guess I've got two questions there. So, the backdrop to the creed, and then how was the creed actually designed to function?
Doug Blount
Well first of all, I take it the backdrop involves claims that Christ is either less than fully human, or less than fully divine. What the creed is particularly interested in doing is affirming his humanity and especially his divinity, right? And so the language of the creed is particularly clear that Christ is one substance, of one substance with the Father. In other words he is very God of very God. So, presumably what's going on is the church is encountering opposition. False teachers are claiming that Christ is less than fully divine. The creed is intended to serve as a corrective on that false teaching. It's intended to make clear, what the parameters for the understanding of the nature of Christ are with respect to divinity.
Darrell Bock
Okay, so it's primarily Christologically and Trinitarianally focused? Would that be fair to say?
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely. I think that is.
Darrell Bock
And the function of the creed, you produced the creed to help the churches? Help people in the churches understand this doctrine and serve as a potential correction for teaching they might be getting that doesn't match the standards of orthodoxy?
Doug Blount
Yeah, I think that's correct. Yeah. And of course, the emphasis on Nicaea is on trinity, particularly on the divinity of the Son. The Chalcedonian definition will later come along and stress the divinity of Christ, also the humanity of Christ.
Darrell Bock
Interesting.
Doug Blount
But yeah, absolutely. These creedal statements provide the parameters of how the early church understands God, in this case particularly the Father and the Son, and consequently are intended as teaching devices.
Darrell Bock
Okay, and I like to point out to people, you're dealing in a time in which people aren’t walking around with books. They certainly don't have paperbacks they're putting in their back pockets. They don't have digital devices that they're functioning with. And so, these are creeds I take it that would have been circulated orally and read in the services and that kind of thing? How would they have functioned on a day to day basis in terms of how they would have been utilized and people would have been aware of their contents?
Doug Blount
Yeah, I think certainly they would have been used liturgically in worship. And of course, your point is exactly correct. The knowledge that most people would have of the creed would come of public recitation. By way of public confession, which of course would primarily take place at public worship. But yeah, these would be heard orally and committed to memory. Of course, in the cultural context, because paper is a more precious commodity, writing is not nearly as easy to come by as it is today. The oral nature of the culture would have disposed people to be far more reliant on memory than we are. And I suspect the fact that we are more of a written culture, a visual culture than an oral culture then we have probably lost some of that ability to commit things to memory.
Darrell Bock
Yes, I think that's a very common difference between the ancient period and our own, and it's something that usually people don't spend time thinking about. You know, they're used to processing information the way they're used to processing information basically.
Doug Blount
Yup. Absolutely.
Darrell Bock
Okay. Well, let's take a look at this statement and what we're going to do is we're going to look at the statement and elaborate on it. And I think one of the things that's interesting here is the brevity with which the Father is covered, which is kind of our focus in this part one, is a reflection of the fact that the issue of the Father, wasn't the issue that the Son and the Spirit were.
Doug Blount
Absolutely, yeah. I think that's right. In fact, the early church would of course have inherited a particular understanding of God and the oneness of God from its Jewish background. It would've inherited that from Judaism. And so the basic point that there is one and only God, with which the Nicene Creed begins is one that have not been disputed. It would have been received from the earlier Jewish tradition, certainly. So there's much less, that the church felt apparently necessary to say explicitly about the Father. Although, it is not irrelevant that she affirms that he is almighty, which the term we would typically use is omnipotent. And in connection with his omnipotence, he's the maker of all things.
Darrell Bock
Yeah, in fact, it's the role of creator that is distinctive about what becomes the conversation in relationship to Jesus, in part and that is, he's on the creator side of the creator creature divide-
Doug Blount
Absolutely.
Darrell Bock
-which puts him on the side of deity.
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely. In fact, as you well know Darrell, the New Testament text that stress the divinity in Christ, the ones I have in mind are obviously, John 1, Hebrews 1, Colossians 1. All of these texts that speak of the divinity of Christ, also identify him as the creative agent of the Father. The word by whom the Father creates. So that the connection between the fact that he is the creative agent of God and the fact that he is indeed is divine is very strong in the New Testament text.
Darrell Bock
Yeah, in fact it's one of the key ways we get an identification of the divine work of Jesus, the other way of course, the New Testament does this is having Jesus perform various actions that are reflective of divine power-
Doug Blount
Absolutely.
Darrell Bock
Things like forgiveness of sins, the calming of the storm which shows his control over creation. Those kinds of things that point to really his hand and authority in the affairs of the world.
Doug Blount
Absolutely, in fact, for instance, you know, at the end of John chapter eight Jesus upsets, to put it mildly, the Jewish leadership by claiming to be God, right, when he says “I am.” And in John nine we pick up where Jesus heals the man born blind. And the way he heals him is particularly interesting right? Because he spits in the dirt, makes up a paste, puts it on the eyes and tells the man to go wash. Well I take that miracle is placed by John in his account right after the interaction with the Jewish leadership, because it emphasizes the fact that Jesus is indeed Yahweh. Yahweh created man out of the dust of the earth, and so when Jesus heals this man born blind, he re-creates his eyes so to speak out of the dust of the earth. And I take it that's a clear indication that he's doing the very things that are indicative of Yahweh.
Darrell Bock
Yeah. So it's interesting, because I'm thinking about this creed, and I want to, I will want to come this eventually. If this creed were being written today, probably with the background of Islam in place we might get a little more expansive declaration of who God is and the covenant nature of his engagement with humanity. Because here, the stress is simply on the one-ness of God, I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth of all things visible and invisible. We get stress on his power and his role as creator, but what makes Christianity distinct at least in some degree from Islam, where Islam stresses this sovereignty and power of God, Christianity has this covenant making aspect, this relationship aspect of God that makes it somewhat distinct from Islam in emphasis.
Doug Blount
Yeah, I think that's right. I think obviously enough, the introductory statement about God as you point out, doesn't distinguish the Christian understanding of God from either the Muslim or the Jewish understanding.
Darrell Bock
Because Islam doesn't exist yet.
Doug Blount
Well, absolutely, right. It wouldn’t be intended to. Well, my point is today, a Muslim could certainly stand in agreement, as could of course a Jew, with that opening statement.
Darrell Bock
Right, so the controversy in the creed really comes later, in a number of ways.
Doug Blount
Yeah, I think that's right.
Darrell Bock
Yeah, so let's talk a little bit about this emphasis on God as creator, and you've already alluded to actually it was the passage that I taught on this morning, Colossians 1, which talks about Jesus being the image of the invisible God, and interestingly enough, almost mirrors the last phrase of this creed. Of all things visible and invisible, in which, as you made the point earlier, Jesus is the agent through whom, God does the creating. So, let's talk a little bit about that creating, because this is building a bridge if you will towards the larger confession of the creed where the Son is brought in and he is associated with the creation as well. And the line that says, in the second portion dealing with the Son, through him all things were made, the part that I see echoing what's said of Jesus interestingly enough through Colossians 1 is that all things visible and invisible, which you get in the Colossians 1 passage as a description of Jesus. So let's talk a little bit, because this does set up talking about the Trinity a little bit in this context, let's set up the relationship between the Father and the Son in association with the creation.
Doug Blount
Well, of course Genesis teaches us very clearly in the early chapters that God creates by speech, by his word, he speaks all things into being and of course we learn in John, first chapter of John, that that word by whom the Father creates is none other than Christ. So again, Christ is the creative agent of the Father who brings all things into being, and holds all things into being as Paul also makes clear. The emphasis on maker of all things visible and invisible I take it as an emphasis on the fact that God exists asei, that all things apart from God himself, all things depend upon him though he depends upon nothing. And when I say God exists asei, or when I refer to the doctrine of aseity, this is the doctrine which Christians have historically formed that God is utterly independent of his creation. He depends on nothing, though everything distinct from him depends on him. So I think that's part of what's implied and intended by the phrase, maker of all things visible and invisible.
Darrell Bock
Now this has another implication that I think is pretty important, and again, I'm getting us to think about a world in which we're coming out of the edges of the Greco-Roman world in which idolatry is a very important reality for a lot of people. They live in the midst of cities where a whole array of Gods are being worshiped, and of course within Judaism the belief of a Spirit world that's been inherited in Christianity as well. So, you've got those two things going on as well, so the contrast here is that God is over any and all that, that there's no Spiritual reality outside of the reach and awareness of God.
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely. So that all other beings, whether we're talking about things in the physical world that are tangible, that are visible, or we're talking about things in the Spiritual realm, angels for example, that all things owe their experience to God. And it's not just that they owe their existence to God because he's their original creator, though that's true, but of course that all things exist because God continues to hold them in being, so that God not only creates everything initially, but that everything continues to be at the divine pleasure and by the divine will.
Darrell Bock
So we've got this, God as creator, but God as sustainer as well.
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely. And that's a point that, you know, that we don't talk about in church these days. I think a lot of lay folk are, without even realizing it, in a certain respect deistic in their understanding of God and his relationship to creation, right? It's not enough for a properly Christian view of God's activity to simply say, he's the one who got everything started to begin with as you said, he sustains all things and being, and of course when you think about being the creative being of Christ by whom all things are created and sustained. it's a mind-boggling concept. You know, we just recently celebrated Easter. And I can't help but reflect that even as Jesus is being scourged by the Roman soldiers, it is he, as the Word of God, who holds them and sustains them in being. It's a remarkable truth. It's hard to wrap our minds around, but it's an extraordinarily important one.
Darrell Bock
Yeah, and I've sensed the same thing. You know, I was in a discussion yesterday with someone in which the question came up what does it mean to be in heaven? And we were talking about the idea of rest and they were describing it in such a way that they almost thought of it as a state of complete passivity. And I'm sitting here responding, well you've got to remember, God did create across the picture of six days, but the idea of resting doesn’t mean that he's completely passive because he's still sustaining the creation he created, and so there's activity even in the rest.
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely so that the divine power is always at work, so to speak. So that it is always active.
Darrell Bock
Right, I think that as we kind of turn our attention to the role of how the creed functions, and we turn our attention, begin to turn our attention to, I've got this confession of one God the Father Almighty, at the top, one might think that the confession of one God the Father Almighty is being distinguished from one Lord Jesus Christ, which comes further down, and the only Son of God, and yet the confession of we believe in one God actually covers the entirety of the creed. Am I reading that right?
Doug Blount
Oh, absolutely, yeah. So, it would be a mistake to think that when the creed says we believe in one God and then says the Father Almighty, that it only means the Father almighty. Of course, the and in one Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God is also covered by that one God we believe. I believe Darrell, you're exactly right about that..
Darrell Bock
In the line, that says God from God under Jesus, and true God from true God, is designed to underscore that very point that we're talking about. That very first line covers everybody, Father, Son, and Spirit.
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, and you're right I think about God of God, very God of very God, and of course the language of begotten. The creed is quite emphatic, as well as the Chalcedonian definition later, that Christ is not a creature, right? He is not a created being. So as you put it earlier in our conversation, the Son is clearly on the creator side on the creature-creator divide.
Darrell Bock
Let me also make the point that the Spirit is also described in ways that point to his deity later on in the creed, that says he is the giver of life that points to a divine activity, he proceeds from the Father and the Son, so he is connected to them in a significant and intimate way, and he's worshipped and glorified which is something in the context of monotheism is something you would only do for a deity. So, the Spirit is wrapped up into this oneness of God as well.
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.
Darrell Bock
So, let's talk about how this works. I think that for most Christians, not to mention most people in general, the idea of the Trinity is a challenging concept. The idea of three in one, the idea that there is one God, but we talk about three persons. You have a philosophical background, so you're going to be able to help us sort this out, and I'm sure we'll be full of clarity on the other end. So, help us sort through the idea of the three in one and how that works. You know, Christians get accused of being polytheists, and it's clear that at least the attempt of the wording of the confession is designed to prevent that from being the conclusion that one makes, so how do we get there.
Doug Blount
So first of all, it's important to note, and I'll try to bring some clarity though they'll be some mystery attached to this however clear we're able to get. But it's important to note that in the sense that God is one and in the sense that he is three are different. We are not claiming there is one God, and oh, also there are three Gods. Obviously that would be contradictory. Nor are we claiming that there is precisely one divine person, but there are also three divine persons that would also be contradictory. But that there is one God and this one God is divided into three persons, so three divine persons who are God. So, as far as the biblical basis for this, the early church follows Jesus in affirming that there is one and only one God. But she also recognizes that not only is the Father God, but the Son is God and claims so to be. The Spirit is also affirmed as divine, both by Jesus and the Apostles. So there's one God, and yet the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Spirit is God. Now, so far you don't have the doctrine of trinity, but when you add to that the fact that the Father is neither the Son nor the Spirit, the Son is neither the Father nor the Spirit, and of course the Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son, when you put all that together, you have the doctrine. So the claim is there is one God who is three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, and all of these persons, each of the three persons is fully divine. So that each of them possesses each of the attributes that is essential for divinity. So it's not just the Father who is omnipotent. Because he is fully divine, so also the Son is omnipotent. And of course, because also the Spirit is fully divine, so also he is fully omnipotent. And as it goes with omnipotence, so it also goes with the other attributes. So, I've probably gone off on a tangent from your question Darrell so reel me back in if you would like to.
Darrell Bock
Well, no. That's gets us at least started. Because I think what people find hard to understand is this distinction and unity at the same time. You know, people posit all sorts of analogies for the trinity, I've seen a shamrock appealed to. Some people have tried to say it's like ice, water, and-
Doug Blount
H2O, yeah.
Darrell Bock
-and mist, think of it that way. But none of those quite exactly work, do they?
Doug Blount
No, in fact the truth of the matter is the analogies that people will typically put on the table if you think of them carefully, actually are suggestive of what the church would find to be as heretical understandings. So, we believe in one God not three, so we're not tritheists, but we believe that this one God is three persons, so we're not what would be called modalists. We don't think that there's only one divine person who sometimes appears sometimes in the mode of the Father, sometimes in the mode of the Son, and sometimes in the mode of the Spirit.
Darrell Bock
And that's the problem with the H2O illustration.
Doug Blount
Absolutely, absolutely. That's right. The H2O example what you've got is one substance that appears in different modes. So, that lends itself to a modalistic understanding. The truth of it is, there is no analogy in nature that will help us makes sense of the trinity. God is unique, and his triune nature is part of that unique nature.
Darrell Bock
Yeah, I've tried to take a shot at this by saying. If we can modify nature a little bit, and you want to go with the H2O illustration, think about it being simultaneously solid, water, and mist, and all three of those inter-penetratively interactive, and that's about as close as you can get.
Doug Blount
Yeah, I think that's right, but as soon as you start thinking about that issue of interpenetration as you say then it becomes mysterious, right? So we end up understanding the mystery of the triunity of God in light of this other mystery. Sometimes I'll have students ask me, what do you say to children? How do you help children understand this doctrine of the trinity? And what my response is Darrell, is whatever I do, I don't give them analogies that are going to lead them down a false path. So, when my daughter was young, I told her this – there is one God, who is three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. And when she said to me, daddy, I don't understand, my response was, honey, I don't either. But we know this to be true because it's the teaching of Christ and the Apostles. The scriptures make various claims that lead us to this claim quite clearly.
Darrell Bock
And this leads us into a discussion that I think is worth having at this point, and that is the value of affirming the mystery of God, and I like to put it in the context of thinking of the vastness of God, that God is so vast, so immense, the concept is so comprehensive if you will, that to think that we're able to penetrate it and talk about it, actually underestimates the character that we're describing.
Doug Blount
Yeah, I think that’s correct. I mean if God, if our conception of God was such that we could wrap our mind around it in full, it would almost certainly be a mark that this was a manmade conception rather than the truth. We ought to expect, insofar as we are finite and God is not, we ought to expect what we find, is certainly the fact that he is beyond our ability to comprehend. Now that doesn't mean that we can't understand anything at all about him, right? But what we understand is what he has made known to us by way of revelation. And there are limits to what we can understand, right? So, we can't fully understand, right? And of course, the church has confirmed divine incomprehensibility. That doctrine is just about this point, right. That we can understand God insofar as he has revealed himself to us, but not in full.
Darrell Bock
Yes, and I think on one hand this aspect disturbs people, but I also think on the other hand it is an opportunity to comfort people, to recognize that God is so vast and so large, that to think that we could package him, if I could play with an analogy from scripture, there's no building that could hold this God. You know, he's bigger than that, he's vaster than that, if vaster is a word. More vast.
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely. The truth is we have to approach God in humility and recognized that he has condescended to make himself known to us, and insofar as he has done that, and in the work of his Spirit helps us understand what he's made known, we can know him in part, but it's hubris to think that we can understand him in full,
Darrell Bock
Now, I want to come back to one of the things that makes Christianity so distinctive in the way that the trinity operates, and it's back to this idea of thinking about our confession of God vis a vis, say a monotheistic faith like Islam in which we do have a picture of an all-powerful and all sovereign God, that's the picture of the Islamic God, and yet it strikes me in thinking about the creed, and particularly the creed as a whole now, the fact that we are talking about one God who is Father, Son, and Spirit, that actually has a relational dimension in the confession that is distinctive from Islam, fair?
Doug Blount
Oh, absolutely. God is a community, right. And so we certainly don't want to de-emphasize the unity of God. But he is a community of three persons, and Darrell, another thing worth reflecting on is this. Jesus' understanding of himself cannot be made sense of apart from recognition that God is a community of three persons, because of course Jesus understands himself as the Son entirely in terms of submission to the Father. So, for instance, in John 5, Jesus says I can only do what I see my Father doing, the Son can do nothing on his own. And this theme plays out throughout the Gospel of John very explicitly. Christ understands himself in submission. This is one reason why modalism is theologically disastrous. If there's just one person it makes a mockery of Christ's submission, because of course submission to yourself isn't submission.
Darrell Bock
Right.
Doug Blount
So the relationality of the Father and the Son is absolutely critical to the ministry that Jesus has in, or that Christ has in the incarnation, and is therefore really critical for the work of salvation.
Darrell Bock
Yeah, and I think that this is an important difference. In the interactions with Muslims and talking about the character of God, we talk about his sovereignty and those kinds of ideas, we really are on a similar plain of interaction. And we can understand each other. But the moment you move toward the idea that Jesus is divine or that divinity can be so related to humanity, that divinity can take on humanity, I don't know if I'm saying this carefully enough or not, that's the move a Muslim can't make. That's very hard for them to understand and engage with. They see it as a demeaning of God to think that deity can become God and captured within humanity.
Doug Blount
Well, yeah, certainly they do. That being said of course, we recognize that it is humility on the part of the Son, and it's a humbling thing and it's a sign of God's humility that the Son would become one of use. Certainly Paul emphasizes this quite strongly in writing to the Philippians. You know, so certainly we want to grant that this is a humbling on God's part to become one of us. And yet at the same time, it is a sign of the love of the Father and the Son for those who were created to be God's children, but who alienated themselves from him by way of their sin. That God's love for fallen humanity was such that Christ was willing, the Son was willing to humble himself to such an extent. And I guess this gets to one critical distinction of the Christian understanding of God. And that is that God is essentially humble. We see this of course in the Old Testament, as well as the New, that God of scripture of the old and new testaments that God is a God who exalts the humble, but humbles the proud. In fact, I don't think we evangelicals make enough of this point, the point that God is essentially humble and the scriptures portray this as absolutely central to his character.
Darrell Bock
Yeah, and in fact the thing that strikes me about it is that is shows the depth to which, if I can say this, the relational side of God is at work in Scripture and in the portrait of who God is. This reaching out if you will to use the language of Philippians 2 talks about Jesus emptying himself, at least in some sense, in taking on humanity, and in that humbling if you will, we see his commitment to relate to us, not just at the level of his divinity, but to connect with us at the level of our humanity and go through, this is the language of course of the book of Hebrews, to go through the experiences of humanity yet doing so without succumbing to sin in the process.
Doug Blount
Yeah, insofar, well, in so doing he establishes a new humanity right? He becomes the head of a new humanity, so that those of us whose head was the first Adam, might, might identify with him and the new humanity. Yeah, the Son by the will of the Father submits himself to the indignity of being one of us that we might be made like him, not in the fulness of divinity of course, but in righteousness, in holiness, etcetera.
Darrell Bock
I think that the answer to the Muslim sense that this is an insult on God actually is a reflection of his greatness and his commitment to his creation to step into that creation in an intimate and direct kind of way and be a model and be a reflection of what he calls us to be at the same time.
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Adam and Eve were created to be the Son and daughter of God, but by their sin alienated themselves, and so God in his wisdom, knowing beforehand, established a path for those who he would have as his children to be brought back into the family and adopted as sons and daughters. It, I mean, frankly my sensibilities are of course Christian sensibilities but it strikes me that it gives us a beautiful picture of God. It's not just true, though it is that, it's beautiful as well. And you know would that Muslims as well as other unbelievers would come to see the truth and the goodness and the beauty of this.
Darrell Bock
You know, another implication that grows out of this is thinking through the relationship of God as he interacts with us through the Trinity, through the Father, through the Son, through the Spirit, with our being made in the image of God. I like to describe salvation as God reclaiming all of the image of God that he has created within us can be kind of getting us back to what that's supposed to be. And when you think about what God does as the creator and as the sustainer, here is someone who stewards the creation well. Who manages the creation well. He designs it, he forms it, he sustains it, he interacts with it, he relates to it, etcetera. And it seems to me that there's an element of being made in the image of God, of having that ability that makes humans different than the rest of creation in significant ways, and also the ability to relate to this God and understand him that makes, that's a part of what makes humanity unique. And we're designed for that relationship as well.
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely. The stewarding aspect is appropriate for those who have been made as the children of God, right? We are heirs along with Christ, precisely because we are children. And who better to entrust creation to than the creators children. Yeah absolutely. I think Darrell, the point about the restoration of the image of God, however precisely we articulate the point is an extraordinarily important one. You're probably well aware of a work published by Cornelius Plantinga several years ago called Not the Way it's Supposed to Be. God is in the business of restoring things to the way they are supposed to be, the way they were originally supposed to be.
Darrell Bock
Yeah, and it reconnects, I actually think that at the core of salvation is this reconnecting us to the image of God, the way it was designed to be and to restore us to all that that was designed to be. And part of the story of reconciliation that comes in and through God's work on our behalf is the job of rebuilding in a sense and recapturing that which has been lost.
Doug Blount
Yeah, absolutely. All things will be made new, right? And the Father will bring all things back to a state of newness, and so absolutely, I think that's right.
Darrell Bock
And that reconciliation involves things visible and invisible. It extends to the whole of creation as Romans 8 tells us.
Doug Blount
Yeah, yeah absolutely.
Darrell Bock
Well, Doug, I thank you for taking the time to roam through the doctrine of the trinity and in particular to have us think through the relationship of the confession of one God to the idea of God as Father and he is the Almighty and he is the creator of things both visible and invisible. This opening part of this very important creed and to help us reflect on some of the implications of that. I appreciate you taking the time to be with us.
Doug Blount
Thank you Darrell, my pleasure.
Darrell Bock
And we hope that you’ve enjoyed this time of reflection as well and particularly God and Father, and hope that you're join us in the rest of the series on the Nicene Creed, and we hope that you enjoyed your visit to the table and we can see you again soon.
Darrell L. Bock
Darrell L. Bock Dr. Bock is senior research professor of New Testament and executive director for cultural engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited more than 30 books, including Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels, Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods, Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King, Who Is Jesus?: Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith, and Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Collaborative Exploration of Context and Coherence.
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Theology
Aug 15, 2017
Kevin VanHoozerKevin VanHoozerDarrell L. BockDarrell L. Bock
The Pastor as Public Theologian In this episode, Drs. Darrell Bock and Kevin Vanhoozer discuss the pastor as public theologian, focusing on the minister’s identity and mission.
Theology
Aug 8, 2017
Michael H. BurerMichael H. BurerDarrell L. BockDarrell L. Bock
How the Holy Spirit Transforms Daily Life In this episode, Drs. Darrell Bock and Michael Burer discuss the Holy Spirit in Galatians, focusing on practical implications for the Christian life.