the god who shows patience
abraham's plea and genesis 18
Numerous images and depictions of God fill the Hebrew Bible. In some texts, YHWH, the God of Israel, draws intimately near to God’s creation, in others God’s name is scarcely mentioned. At times God liberates God’s people, at others God calls them back into slavery; God will avenge those who act wrongly against Israel, yet God also will use the nations to enact divine punishment upon Israel in their disobedience. Each of these images and depictions is rooted in the God described by the author(s) of Genesis. Ultimately, God is progressively revealed to be far more complex than the reader of Genesis could ever imagine.
In this weekly series for paid subscribers, I will examine what the book of Genesis has to say about the God who shows great mercy, feels divine emotion, and is intimately tied to creation.
Week 3: The God Who Shows Patience (Genesis 18:16-33)
Dutch-Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck argues that divine patience has been negatively framed as God’s action of “[sparing] those who are deserving punishment.” Rather than an action rooted in love and relationship, God’s patience, Bavinck suggests, patience is framed as a begrudging act.
However, as this series has shown, God’s divine action in the world is not rooted in the fulfillment of promises God now regrets. God’s relationship to and with creation is instead a mysterious act of participation and invitation marked by love. To create the conditions for this participation, God offers us a law that is not rooted in dogmatic adherence but memory of God’s faithfulness to us.
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