Theophanies and Classic Theism

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TryingToLearn

Puritan Board Freshman
Ever since reading James Dolezal's "All That Is In God", I've often wondered about the nature of theophanies. God is infinite, timeless, eternal, invisible; so in what sense are theophanies God? To experience time and space, as theophanies do, is something only creatures do, not the Creator. It's quite strange to me because most (if not all) Biblical theophanies also seem to be only appearances of the Son rather than the Father, but of course we don't want to say the Son alone has some sort of "peculiar properties" that allow Him to appear in time/space, because this would make Him less than the Father, not sharing His simple essence. So how exactly do theophanies work with classic theism? I hope what I'm asking makes sense and I'm sure someone must have written on this somewhere, but I'm just looking for anything to help.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Ever since reading James Dolezal's "All That Is In God", I've often wondered about the nature of theophanies. God is infinite, timeless, eternal, invisible; so in what sense are theophanies God? To experience time and space, as theophanies do, is something only creatures do, not the Creator. It's quite strange to me because most (if not all) Biblical theophanies also seem to be only appearances of the Son rather than the Father, but of course we don't want to say the Son alone has some sort of "peculiar properties" that allow Him to appear in time/space, because this would make Him less than the Father, not sharing His simple essence. So how exactly do theophanies work with classic theism? I hope what I'm asking makes sense and I'm sure someone must have written on this somewhere, but I'm just looking for anything to help.

Although he didn't use this terminology, for Augustine they functioned somewhat like holograms.
 

TryingToLearn

Puritan Board Freshman
Although he didn't use this terminology, for Augustine they functioned somewhat like holograms.

I guess that makes me wonder about, "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live" (Ex 33:20). Not sure if this makes any sense but I guess my question would be, if theophanies are just holograms, what would be the big deal with seeing "God's face"? Then again, another question I have is what about those who actually did see the face of God (in the Angel of the Lord) and didn't die? The Bible even recognizes this issue in Judges 13:22. If the answer is nobody can see The Father's face and live (like Matt Slick argues here), then you're back to the problem of the implication that the Son isn't truly deity.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
John Owen on Heb. 2:2
3. It remains, then, to consider how, notwithstanding this, the law is said to be “the word spoken by angels.” It is nowhere affirmed that the law was given by angels, but that the people received it “by the disposition of angels,” and that it was “ordained by angels;” and here, “spoken by them.” From hence it is evident that not the original authoritative giving of the law, but the ministerial ordering of things in its promulgation, is that which is ascribed to angels. They raised the fire and smoke; they shook and rent the rocks; they framed the sound of the trumpet; they effected the articulate voices which conveyed the words of the law to the ears of the people, and therein proclaimed and published the law; whereby it became “the word spoken by angles.”

Grotius on this place contends that it was a created angel who represented the person of God on mount Sinai;
and in the confirmation of his conjecture, after he had made use of the imagination before rejected, he adds, “that if the law had been given out by God in his own person” (as he speaks), “then, upon that account, it would have been preferred above the gospel.” But as the apostle grants, in the first words of this epistle, that the law no less than the gospel was primitively and originally from God, so we say not that God gave the law immediately, without the ministry of angels; but the comparison which the apostle is pursuing respects not the first author of law and gospel, but the principal ministerial publishers of them, who of the one were angels, of the other the Son himself.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I guess that makes me wonder about, "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live" (Ex 33:20). Not sure if this makes any sense but I guess my question would be, if theophanies are just holograms, what would be the big deal with seeing "God's face"? Then again, another question I have is what about those who actually did see the face of God (in the Angel of the Lord) and didn't die? The Bible even recognizes this issue in Judges 13:22. If the answer is nobody can see The Father's face and live (like Matt Slick argues here), then you're back to the problem of the implication that the Son isn't truly deity.

Most of the theophanies aren't personal representations of God the Father. No one thinks the bush is God. Moreover, the hologram isn't really there, so the terrible power of God's essence is at least at one remove from the audience.

To be sure, there are some significant problems with Augustine's view, but I did find it relatively coherent.
 
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