The Exegete Meets the Philosopher
There is also a brief note about Tillich here.
Professor Paul Tillich gave a lecture at Valparaiso University in Indiana while I was in school at Concordia, Ft. Wayne, Indiana. So a few of us ministerial students drove over to hear him. I wasn't impressed. But he said one thing that stuck with me as a marker of the division between European and American Christian theology. He asked, in answer to a question from a student,
What do you mean,
…the Son of God? Do you believe that the Eternal God actually had sex with Mary?
Answer the question.
If you answered yes, thank you for reading the New Testament carefully. The language in Luke is especially graphic, with the power of the Most High overshadowing Mary, a euphemism for human sexual mounting. Male sperm or not, her pregancy was His doing.
If you answered no, here is a second question. Tillich wants us to question the concept of
Son of God. But the answer to that question is clear: Geshua the Christ. He defines
Son of God. He who was born of the Virgin Mary. Here is my question for Paul Tillich: Who, or what, is
the Eternal God? See, that is where Tillich goes wrong. He is rejecting the biblical God, the God who ate lunch with Abraham, walked in the Garden, loved David, talked with Moshe, and bled and died on a cross. Tillich's God is rather the Perfect Light of Plato, the Prime Mover of Aristotle, the cold and distant God of philosophy. Such a God cannot possibly be mixed up in the blood and mud of birth and death.
I did not force this choice, Scripture does not force this choice, Tillich's question forces this choice. Is the biblical God identical to Aristotle's God? Or, even worse, did Aristotle get it right and Moshe get it wrong? I am talking about the incarnation of JHWH/Geshua. It is THE offense. For either Geshua and the New Testament (and the Original Testament, for that matter) are wrong or our concept of an abstract Supreme Being is wrong.
I'm not going with Tillich and the Europeans.
I'm going with Scripture and Occam.