Part two from Greg Boyd's "Repenting of Religion" here. This is one of those passages that I occasionally run into from Boyd where I stop dead in my tracks and realize that this was something I felt all along but never quite had the words strung together to express.
I also think that this summary stands in response to what I saw wrong with a point made by Joel Hunter (which I blogged about almost exactly a year ago).
Living in Ambiguity (pgs 136-138)
The Fallen Impulse to Reject Ambiguity
Trusting that Jesus Christ is the definitive revelation of God and humanity requires that we accept our vast ignorance of God and the world outside of Christ. In our fallen state we find this very difficult to do, and this fact reveals another fundamental feature of the illegitimate knowledge we seized from the forbidden tree. By its very nature, the divine knowledge of good and evil rejects ambiguity, for this knowledge rightfully belongs only in an omniscient God for whom nothing is ambiguous.
The vast complexity of the world is no problem for God. With perfect clarity and perfect character, God knows good and evil. When we seize the divine prerogative of knowing good and evil, we appropriate the impulse to be omniscient without possessing the divine capacity to be omniscient. We are thus inclined to act like God in pronouncing judgment, but we do it without God's perfect clarity and character. We also do it without God's fullness. Indeed, we pronounce judgment out of emptiness and as a strategy for getting full. Hence, the exercise of our knowledge of good and evil is invariably self-serving.
The fact is that for non-omniscient, severely limited beings such as us, reality is mostly ambiguous. The cosmos is incomprehensibly complex. Humans can't know the innumerable variables that influence us and condition what God does in any particular situation. We thus can't legitimately draw definitive conclusions about good and evil. yet, under the deception of the Enemy and operating with forbidden knowledge, we have a sinful impulse to ignore this vast ignorance and unfathomable complexity and act as though we do have clarity and can draw such conclusions. We have an impulse to fit people and situations into the Procrustean bed of our categories, lopping off all ambiguity as though it were irrelevant.
What is more, because of this same impulse, we often convince ourselves that people and situations would be fixed if only they would conform to our Procrustean bed. Our forbidden knowledge resists the humbling truth that some problems are simply beyond the capacity of humans to fix and some questions beyond our capacity to answer. Hence, when the world resists our fixing, we are inclined to blame it on the fact that it doesn't conform to our judgments, If only everyone though like we think all would be well with the world. We feed our empty selves with the illusion that we are fixers rather than ones who need fixing.
Ironically, few mindsets have inflicted more suffering and problems on the world than this arrogant mindset. In the name of fixing the world, religious and political ideologues have murdered millions. Even more ironic, however, is the fact that Jesus systematically evaded attempts to engage him in the numerous ethical, social, and political problems of his day (eg. Matt. 22:15-22; Luke 12:13-14). As we noted in chapter 5, his concern was not to bring clarity to ambiguous ethical, religious, and political dilemmas but to provide people with a relationship with God that would transform their perspective on all ambiguous dilemmas and on all of life. Jesus' dominant concern was to call us to surrender ourselves completely to him and to walk in obedience to his Spirit within us.
SIDENOTE: Speaking of Greg Boyd ... his latest book is due out in May. For once, I plan on reading one of his books immediately upon release.