Photo (c) 2010 Aneta Blaszczyk
Too often the Christian version of popular culture's sentimental view of love is that, of all things, Christians should be nice. After all, people ask, isn't the Church about forgiveness? Aren't Christians supposed to love others without condition? This book not only focuses on the aspects of Christian love that are not easy--such as when it comes to loving our enemies, and even forgiving those loved ones who have hurt us--but also helps readers understand, then, what biblical love really is. As author D. A. Carson points out, thinking seriously about Christian love soon embroils us in reflection on justice, revenge, war, the authority of the state, forgiveness, hate, and much more. This book shows some of the important ways in which the love of Christians is a reflection of the love of God, and enables believers to develop an appropriate understanding of how to love in the hard places of life.
Season 5, Episode 12: Painless
At Cuddy’s house. She was at home with the baby after a home inspection to see if she is eligible for adoption. The inspection was earlier than expected and she did not have time to clean up her mess at home. There’s a knock on the door. Cuddy sees who it is.
Cuddy: It’s open. [Wilson enters carrying a giant, stuffed duck. She laughs.] Thank you.
Wilson: Is it too big?
Cuddy: She’ll grow into it. You can put it there. [She points to a chair.]
Wilson: I take it the home inspection was pushed back.
Cuddy: I passed.
Wilson: You do realize that's a good thing?
Cuddy: This place was a disaster. I had to stash a dirty diaper in my briefcase.
Wilson: So you buy another briefcase.
Cuddy: I let House supervise himself. That’s like handing a 12-year-old the keys to the liquor cabinet and the car.
Wilson: You passed the inspection. The patient lived. The car is still in the driveway.
Cuddy: And the next time my nanny gets sick when House wants to saw someone in half?
Wilson: Did I mention you passed the inspection?
Cuddy: I passed by their meager standard. I failed by mine.
Wilson: Why do women always do that?
Wilson: Create ridiculous standards that no human could meet, with your careers, with your kids. You got to be more like us men.
Cuddy: Be lazy? Blame others?
Wilson: Get help! Most men in your position have a deputy and two assistants at work, and a wife and two nannies at home. You’re not superwoman. Don’t be a martyr.
Presuppositions, then, are the assumptions we make in order to be able to hold some fact to be true. We cannot go on indefinitely saying, “I know this is true because…” In the end we must come to that which we accept as the final authority. By definition a final authority cannot be proven as an authority on the basis of some higher authority. The highest authority must be self-attesting. Only God is such an authority.
The presuppositions we must make in doing biblical theology are those of Christian theism. The alternative to this is to accept the presuppositions of some form of humanism. Either we work on the basis of a sovereign, self-proving God who speaks to us by a word that we accept as true simply because it is his word, or we work on the basis that man is the final judge of all truth. The Christian position, to be consistent, accepts that the Bible is God’s Word, and that it says what God wants it to say in exactly the way he wants to say it.
Thus, when the biblical theologian sets out to describe the theology that is in the Bible, he must understand the presuppositions that he accepts as the basis of his method. Many of the bible theologies that have been written over the past hundred years have been shaped by the presuppositions of humanism. In such cases the Bible is not allowed to speak for itself, but is subjected to a continuous assessment on the basis of human reason, which is seen as quite independent of God.
The presupposition of an independent and self-sufficient human reason has resulted in the writing of biblical theologies that tend to be descriptions of the supposed development of religious ideas among the biblical people. Such descriptions are complicated by the refusal to accept the Bible’s own testimony of the history of Israelite faith. When evolutionary philosophy was popular it was applied to the biblical documents to test their historical accuracy. The assumption was that religious ideas undergo a natural development from simpler to more complex forms. The possibility was excluded that the God of the Bible actually exists and reveals himself in the way the Bible depicts. Man is in control of the whole process of knowledge-gaining and God is only a religious idea that many people hold in varying forms.
Genesis 2:4-9 4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens. 5 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up- for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground- 7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:15-17 15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
John 13:34-35 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Matthew 22:36-40 36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."