Monday, July 17, 2006

A sin-filled podcast

Jim’s recent, impassioned and tear-jerking attempt promoted me, perhaps, but I spontaneously decided to do a podcast tonight, on a subject that we all hate to love ...

SIN! (Pronounced Siiiiiiiiiiiiin, if your are called Cardinal Spin. Or if you’re puritanical. Or just plain odd.)

Yep. Sin has been on my thoughts much recently. If you know what I mean.

In my thesis, I’ve just moved on to my exegesis of 2 Cor, and my friend, Volker, recently delivered a paper on 2 Cor 3:18 in Tübingen, and so I’ve worked some of my own thoughts about that verse around my ponderings on the nature of sin in Paul.

I won’t go ahead and say what I said cos that would be stupid, so I’ll just write:

click HERE to download my latest podcast (it’s only 2MB and just over 10 minutes long – crikey, 10 minutes! What did I say that took so long?!)

I’m afraid that I’ve been having real problems with the audio recording due to a faulty microphone, so the quality is almost as bad as my preparation, but I hope you find some of the thoughts interesting, and perhaps even helpful.

By the way, I forgot to mention Berger’s work on the nature of sin in relation to Rom 7. He claimed, in Identity and Experience in the New Testament, that desire is the means by which sin rules over a person.


At 7/18/2006 1:32 AM, Anonymous Jon said...

What a BBC accent! I expected you to be a cockney!

At 7/18/2006 9:48 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

THanks for this Chris. I was reading a Thesis on the warning passages in Hebrews by my friend Andrew Wilson. And there appeared this name: Chris Tilling. Can it be the one and same person?

At 7/18/2006 1:28 PM, Anonymous Volker said...

Thanks for your stimulating podcast, Chris!
As you know, I also draw on Psa. 63 as one of many verses that help us understand 2 Cor. 3:18 better. While I think that there are still better passages from the OT and early Judaism to enlighten our reading of 2C3:18, I think I have now understood in what particular way you see Psa. 63 as illuminating. If I get you right, you say that through the Psalmist's seeing the glory of the Lord he is transformed to now desire the presence of the Lord (as opposed to the desires of sin). This would go well with 2C3:18 - if that was what the Psalm says. However, the Psalm says exactly the oppposite: he has desire for the Lord (v.1) and FOR THAT REASON (indicated by the conjunction at the beginning of v.2 in both MT and LXX) does he look at the Lord in his sanctuary.

So, while I think there is some general empowering implied as the consequence of the beholding of the glory of the Lord in Psa. 63, the link between beholding and desire seems to be the opposite to what you suggest.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

At 7/18/2006 1:30 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Jon! I can do cockney too - I grew up in the London suburbs. But it takes a bit of effort!

Hi Sean,
Crikey, I hope Andrew said something nice, or he can expect a Chinese burn he'll never forget! I think I only ever met him once, so I'm curious as to why I'm mentioned!

At 7/18/2006 1:41 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Volker!
I'm suggesting that seeing and desire are related. I would argue that both directions appear in Ps 63, and in others "How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God" (Ps 84)

Would you suggest that desire provokes a seeing, but seeing not desire? The Psalmist seeks God, seeks his face, because he wants to, because he desires to (Better is one day in your court ...). Because in seeing this glory, his soul is satisfied, and thus a mutually feeding cause-effect is set up.

The more he sees of God's glory, the more he wants to see it; the more he wants it, the more he seeks it. Out of this dynamic, I suggest, one can make sense of the passion in the Psalms, perhaps also in Paul.

At 7/18/2006 1:57 PM, Anonymous Volker said...

Hi Chris,
yes, I totally agree with you on that general dynamic. However, I wonder whether this thougt of "The more he sees of God's glory, the more he wants to see it..." has an EXEGETICAL grounding in Psa. 63 or 2C3:18. Psa. 63 starts of with the desire. However, it is not (at least not explicitly) stated that the consequent seeing leads to further desire. Rather, it is because of God's love, that he will praise God (v.3). Maybe this is hairsplitting, but I think in order to establish such a new reading of 2C3:18 you need a very clear parallel in at least one particular passage. And then you need to show how this human desire is (actively?) involved in 2C3:18. Personally, I do not see anything mention of human desire in that verse - it is just a description of what God does by his Spirit and by his glory, but does not specify too much about what is (somewhat passively) transformed in the believers.

At 7/18/2006 2:53 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Volker! Again! Thanks for your mail. I didn't go last night, no.

Well, you know plenty more about Paul's ethics than me, but I suspect you are 'splitting hairs', here.

First, one needs to ask, 'why does his soul thirst for the Lord? And where does he do his seeking?'

Second, the 'thus, so,'. Thus, the psalmist looks upon God, because by seeing God, this desire is quenched, satisfied. This, third, causes the results in 5-8 (cf. the same conjunction in verse 4). Given this beholding, the psalmist thinks on God through the watches of the night, praises him, and his soul clings to him, because he has seen God's glory, experienced his love in his 'seeing', 'contemplation' (cf. v. 6).

I think, therefore, that the dual direction of seeing <<->> desiring is established in the text. But not only in Ps 63.

Also note Psalm 27:4 "One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple."

and Psalm 84:10 "For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness. "

How can he say, 'better is a day in your courts'? Because it is such a wonderful place to be in! Desire, as I think Tate puts it in his commentary on Ps 63, is remebered in verse 3, expressing his confidence. Delights are at his right hand, as another Psalm puts it. Also, at a more general level: The Psalmist desires to see God. He desires because he has seen, and experienced it as good - we desire what feels good! He desires, therefore, because he has seen.

I hope we aren't speaking over each other, these thoughts are just coming quick, as I need to get on with work.

It would be great to see you again soon. Oh, and look at Sean's response above, as you were there too.

At 7/18/2006 3:33 PM, Anonymous Jon said...

So the next podcast will be done in a cockney accent? What software did you use to record the audio for your podcast?

At 7/18/2006 4:28 PM, Anonymous tigger said...

Okay then wiseguy.... ;-)

How do we (practically) 'see the glory of God' in our everyday Christian lives?

Yeh, there! - that'll keep ya busy!

At 7/19/2006 1:25 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Jon, i used WavePad

Hi Richard, a good question! One aspect of the Hebrew tradition that I could highlight is the link between beholding and contemplation of God's character, but of course that is only part of it.

At 7/19/2006 8:19 AM, Anonymous tigger said...


Thanks (I liked the podcast btw!).

Would you, therefore, link up with Hebrews 1:3, 'Who, being...charakter tes hupostaseos autou', effectively making 'beholding Jesus' and 'beholding the character of God' the one and same thing?

If so - how do we do this as Christians? Perhaps through Word and Sacrament?

One final thing. Do you see in Rom 12.2 '..but be transformed by the renewing of your minds' the word tou noos representing the informational centre of our thinking (i.e. 'be transformed through corrected knowing') or the volitional centre of our cognitions (i.e. 'be transformed renewed desires')?

I think, practically, you're really on to something here, Chris. I think the merely 'knowing' of something is not sufficient to change us, but the infiltration of our 'desire' (or volitional centre - p.s. that's why I love German so much 'cos it makes the linguistic connection nicely - Wollen!) is central to our being 'remade in the imago Dei'.

I agree that Piper has also made this point but would want to really challenge just 'how' we allow this volitional transformation. I think Piper (being the Reformed guy that he is) would mention studying and reading the Scriptures - but this all too often lends itself to a shift in 'knowing' without a shift in 'desiring'. Perhaps this is the central importance of liturgy and sacrament within Christian praxis as it dramatically reveals the 'glory' of God and his character through Christ?

All the best

At 7/19/2006 9:49 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks for these thoughts, Richard. You've actually given me plenty to think about! Surely you are on to something!

"Perhaps this is the central importance of liturgy and sacrament within Christian praxis as it dramatically reveals the 'glory' of God and his character through Christ?"

Lovely! Balthasar, here I come!


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