Creatio ex nihilo is the dominant creation theory in the Christian tradition. Relational theologian Thomas Jay Oord proposes an alternative creation theory, in which God everlastingly creates from what he previously created. Key reasons why Oord argues creatio ex nihilo should be rejected are that it has Gnostic roots, is not explicitly taught in Scripture, and is illogical. This article critically assesses Oord’s arguments against creatio ex nihilo, contending that his conclusions are misguided due to a Biblicist tendency in his reading of the text and the inaccurate definition of creatio ex nihilo he argues against. With the biblical and historical data, a definition of creatio ex nihilo representative of the Christian tradition is articulated. This essay then demonstrates how creatio ex nihilo is superior to Oord’s alternative theory.
Responding to John Piper’s book, Providence (2020), and building on the work of Howard Snyder, this article articulates a Wesleyan-Arminian theology of ‘prevenient grace’. Highlighting Philippians 2:12–13, prevenient grace is articulated as a theological concept, rooted in the Bible, clearly expressed in the writings of James Arminius and made more widely accessible by the teaching of John Wesley. The theology of prevenient grace has been debated through the centuries and continues to be a primary point of distinction between those who would align their thinking to John Calvin (and Calvinism), in opposition to those who align with the teachings of John Wesley (and Wesleyan/Arminianism). From the perspective of God’s providence, the article identifies the slight, yet profound, difference between irresistible and prevenient grace. It argues that the caricature of Arminius’s, and therefore, Wesley’s teaching as Pelagian is unfounded. It concludes with suggestions of how the theology of prevenient grace offers a helpful framework for pastoral care.
The Synoptic tradition, 4 Ezra, and Similitudes of Enoch all feature the Son of Man as a human yet divine eschatological judge, which is an innovative reinterpretation of the Danielic Son of Man. The question then becomes, who began this innovation? Given the generally monotheistic milieu of first-century Palestinian Judaism, the Synoptic tradition is most likely the source of this innovation. Why, however, would the Jewish/Jewish-Christian authors of 4 Ezra and Similitudes have taken their cue from the Synoptics in regards to this innovation? This article conjectures the possibility that Jesus’s own designation of the fall of the Jerusalem Temple as the beginning of the eschatological schema, at the end of which the Son of Man comes as an eschatological judge, may have inspired the authors of 4 Ezra and Similitudes for such adaptation of the Son of Man in the aftermath of the fall of the Temple.
This article explores the semantic value of ἀλήθεια in Ephesians with special attention given to its polyvalent nature and its potentiality for communicating the notion of ‘faithfulness’ rather than ‘truth’. First, an examination of instances of where ἀλήθεια indicates faithfulness in the LXX and the NT provides a broad hermeneutical viability for this enterprise. Second, a study of ἀλήθεια in Eph. 1:13; 4:21, 24, 25; 5:9; and 6:14 reveals a semantic shift in 5:9 and 6:14 wherein the author’s exhortation centers not on doctrinal truth, but embodying faithfulness as a child of the light and as a defense against the Devil’s schemes.
The Corinthian assembly has been characterized by scholarship as full of anxieties that Paul writes to appease: anxieties about ritual impurity (1 Cor. 5:1–13), death (15:12–34), social relations (7:1–24), and other matters that occasion social conflict within the group. Paul, however, also writes in ways that evoke and fan anxiety, particularly through his appeals to knowledge. Knowledge is a central theme throughout 1 Corinthians, and in his use of knowledge-language Paul highlights a distinct lack or insufficiency in the knowledge of his audience. Mediated through the affective technology of the letter, the repeated impressions of unknowing, ignorance, and lack have the potential to coalesce in their audience into negative feelings around the threat of incurring shame. While Paul may rhetorically employ this language to position himself as a broker of right knowledge, the consequences of his rhetorical choices may emerge in his audience as a distinct set of anxious feelings read within the affective script of Roman verecundia.
This introduction briefly describes the affectively charged materiality of ancient letters, including Paul’s, then situates the articles in this special issue in relation to current trends in scholarship on affect and emotion in Paul. Mapping this diverse scholarship by surveying its orientation toward history and the body, it asks which conventional assumptions of Pauline scholarship these approaches disrupt, and which they leave intact.