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The Living God and the Fullness of Life by Jurgen Moltmann

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Westminster John Knox Press in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the Author

moltmannJürgen Moltmann is professor of systematic theology at the Protestant Faculty of the University of Tubingen. His main works are translated into several languages and include The Theology of Hope, The Crucified God, Trinity and the Kingdom of God: The Doctrine of God, and The Spirit of Life.

7 thoughts on “The Living God and the Fullness of Life by Jurgen Moltmann

  1. Aaron I used to comment here years ago and have recently rediscovered your blog. The format and content is a little different but I am enjiying it. How is your health? I share your opinion about Moltmann. I can’t help but think he is sincere but just a little off kilter. When I in first came across his writing I was impressed with how he had a deep commitme to finding the truth about God from scripture. This is so different from his colleagues. But in the end his theology is just filtered through another philosopher. Not Aristotle perhaps but in a sense Marx and Luria amd others. What makes theology filtered through them any closer to truth than Aristotle puzzles me. None of us can escape understanding scripture through a worldview i formed by those who came before us. Is God impassible? Well,yes and no. Is he immutable? Yes and no. But not in an arbitrary human way. He is both justice and mercy at the same time. Why can’t he be both moved and immovable at once? This does not necessitate change in his being. He is beyond our compression and is wholly other than us.

    • Welcome back Byron! I am doing very well health wise. I know where you left off with my updates but things are going well.

      I think you are right about both our inability to escape our presuppositions and about God being wholly other. Although I would add that while he is wholly other, he chose to reveal himself in such a way that we can understand him. So we read of God engaging human oriented behavior such as forgetting or changing his mind. Does he really forget? No, I think that is how we sometimes perceive him because he he seems to take so darn long in coming to our rescue at times. Does he change his mind? No, but we have no other experience in human experience to describe an outlandish mercy when certain death is what is deserved (Jonah 3).

  2. I have never heard of him but what do you mean by its possible that God constricts himself to make room for the space and time of creation? Sounds like an interesting fellow if you are into thinking that far into things but I just take the doctrines of Scripture at face value.

    • Marie this is referring to the space and time of creation. I explain it like this… Prior to creation, all that existed was God. There was no universe for him to fill, there wasn’t even empty space because if there was empty space it would be separate from God and also eternal. So where did the space of creation come from? God could have created it first, in fact he necessarily would have had to… but then where did he place empty space of he is all that is? Zimzum would suggest that God contracted himself, allowing for space which was not divine and usable for creation. So you can imagine this by placing a paper and calling that God. The paper is all that is. If you fold a tiny piece of the corner into itself, you now have space that is not paper for creation. The paper is still fully a whole piece of paper but has now contracted to allow space for something else. This concept also applies to time.

  3. Oh! I get it now. Kind of. So then this is about how God created? Still feel like I’m missing something. How does this all fit back into the book about God and the fulness of life? Sorry if I’m thick headed. I haven’t had my afternoon coffee yet!

    • Marie, I’m thick headed even after coffee so don’t feel bad. What Moltmann does then is to extrapolate God’s self-limitation in creation to his very nature. If course, we see some of this going on in scripture but not at the expense of his essential properties. I don’t see these as evidences of dipolarity but rather as a opposite extremes finding their perfect balance in a unified characteristic of God. So God’s otherness in relation to his handling of sin is not mercy alone and not justice alone…not even justice AND mercy… but something which contains both human concepts but is not bifurcated…something for which we have no category. If we were to conceptualize it, we would call is something like God’s just mercy or merciful justice. Yet even that falls short because we have to compound two human categories to conceive of it.

  4. Ryan

    Aaron that just flew way over my head but I recognize some of the ideas from your primer on process theology. So would you say that God limits himself? I’m guessing not since you have pretty traditional beliefs. I just couldn’t quite tell from your reply to Marie. Does Moltmann say God limits himself? I guess yes. It sounds like it from the review but in what ways?

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