Five ways God works


On the open source theology website (its down in my blogroll if you want the link) are a series of Tom Wright lectures. They are a few years old and much of what he says can be found in his books, but…

I do enjoy listening to them and would really recommend downloading them.

In the first presentation he talks about the five ways God is acting in the world, yet remains sovereign over it, these are:

  1. God’s word – he spoke and things just happened. we are not just talking speak, his words are powerful, living and active!
  2. Wisdom –  Proverbs 8 shows wisdom was sent to live in the world and wisdom is a metaphor for God acting in the world
  3. Law/The Torah – God acts by giving law, its as if it is part of God’s character
  4. God’s spirit – this is the breath of life and there is renewal through the giving of the spirit
  5. Tabernacling Presence of God, the Shekinah or glory – the fire, the cloud, the presence in the temple that occasionally broke out

The question for Jesus (and when Jesus walked the earth) was ‘what was it going to be like when God came back?’ Malachi tells us God will return, but at the time of Jesus, he was still absent. Jesus showed that the presence of God will be like all five ways; that the five ways are templates and paradigms of how Jesus was in the world. Jesus was acting out the return of YWHW to Zion.

The lesson for us is, maybe it just doesn’t look like God is acting in the world, just as for those at Jesus’ time it didn’t look like they thought it should, like, power, might, overthrowing of rulers, etc.

What it looked like was a surprise, and we too have to be ready for surprises!

Grace and peace


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