Sep 06

The Atonement, Violence and God.


Attached is an essay that discusses the problem of redemptive violence and proposes a way of looking at the atonement in a way that avoids the implication that the violence of the cross makes God appear vindictive.

My reflection on this issue is ongoing and the current version is dated 17/4/15. I welcome any comments to further advance this study.

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Sep 06

Made in the Image of God


This essay is a revision of one that I wrote for my theological anthropology subject. It proposes a covenantal meaning of the ‘image of God’ phrase in Gen 1:27 to describe the creation of humanity. When I discovered this interpretation it opened up the possibility of understanding the violence of the cross in a different way. See my ‘Christ the Saviour’ essay in the post on the atonement and violence.

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Apr 11

Christian Ethics

Here are some essays from my theological ethics course.



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Apr 11

Church History

Here are some essays from my Church History to 600AD course.



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Jan 26

The Goodies and the Baddies

Movie and TV story lines are simplified for the sake of brevity and to make it clear to the audience who the main characters are and what the issues are. Have you ever noticed in a movie that the bad guy, just before he meets his end, will do something particularly bad? This appear to be so that when he meets a violent death, no-one feels bad about it. Just the opposite happens: the crowd cheers.


Movie morality is portrayed in terms of good and bad. Consequently, the characters are either goodies or baddies. A diet of this type of entertainment has contributed to a generation of people with a simplistic understanding of human nature and morality. They classify real people as being either goodies or baddies. The goodies can do morally wrong things but, because they are goodies, they are seen as being okay. The baddies, on the other hand, if they do anything morally questionable, it is seen as typical of their bad character.


As for ourselves, we are goodies, no matter what we do. We see our less-than-kind deeds as justified or not nearly as bad as what bad people do. When confronted with what God might make of our behaviour, our response is to say that the God we believe in is loving and forgiving, merciful and kind, a good God who knows who are the goodies and who are the baddies, and we are definitely on the goodies side.


This distorted world-view is all too common today. Jesus was quick to point out that God alone is good (Mark 10:18). Where does that leave the rest of us? We are all bad! We might not be as bad as we could be, or as bad as some others, but we are definitely not good. This situation has come about because of our alienation from God, who is good, with result that everything we do is sinful (to use the theological term for things done in rebellion against God). Even the things we do that we like to think of as being good, are tainted by sin.


How would it change our view of the world and our behaviour if we see everyone as all being in the baddies’ category? For a start, we wouldn’t be so quick to be unkind to people we think of as baddies. And what about God? He is indeed forgiving, but we would have to admit that we are one of the baddies if we are to receive God’s forgiveness.

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