Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

Where a recovering ex-atheist skewers things with a sharp two-edged sword

What is the kingdom of God? Introduction: a tale of two kingdoms

Why do the gospels represent the good news as being about the “kingdom of God”? What is this kingdom, and how does it relate to us today? In this series I trace the surprising biblical narrative of kingdom, from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, starting by showing that John 3:16 is actually about God transforming man’s ruined kingdom into his own eternal one.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 10: the urgency of preaching Jesus as king of the western world

The results of the evangelical gospel are things like easy-believism, an inability to easily squash the lordship salvation controversy, moralistic therapeutic deism—and ultimately cultural relativism due to the privatization of religion. The New Testament’s cosmological gospel confronts these errors.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 9: the Great Commission as a directive to conquer

The evangelical moralistic gospel hopes less, demands less, and achieves less than the all-encompassing ambitions of the New Testament’s cosmological one. If Jesus really is ruling until he puts all his enemies under his feet, then he is creating a new nation out of all the old ones through the Great Commission—and this happens geometrically until there is nothing left for us to do.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 8: the gospel as a message of triumph

Whereas the apostles front-load the gospel with Jesus’ resurrection for worldwide kingship, evangelicals front-load it with his death for sin. Thus, whereas the New Testament’s gospel is a message about all-encompassing cosmic restoration through Jesus’ resurrection and enthronement, today’s gospel is a message about individual moral restoration through Jesus’ death and atonement.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 7: where we are now, and what we can look forward to

God’s end-game is a human kingdom that is not just restored, but glorified, with believers taking their place as new sons of God, ruling with Jesus forever.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 6: how God is retaking Adam’s kingdom from Satan

God used the collapse of his kingdom Israel, and the death of his king Jesus on a cross, to overcome sin and make the human nature itself sacred space. He thereby disarmed Satan’s claim over humanity by crowning a perfect human king in his place—and started inexorably transforming Adam’s ruined kingdom into Jesus’ restored one by dwelling in human hearts instead of in a land.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 5: when God began retaking Adam’s kingdom from Satan

Before we can understand how God is retaking Adam’s kingdom, we must first establish when he began to do it. Daniel 7 was fulfilled after Pentecost when Jesus went into heaven on a cloud and received kingship to place his enemies under his feet.

Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #4: predestination and foreknowledge

In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s “Unseen Realm”—in this instance, his comments in chapter 9 on how God foreknows without predestining.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 4: a tale of two seeds

The fallout of the curse was a bitter war between the seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman, within the one kingdom God had established. This culminated at Babel, where Yahweh disinherited mankind and divided them among the sons of God—taking Israel as his kingdom and giving the rest to Satan.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 3: what happened in Eden

Adam was created as the first human member of the divine council. The serpent was a shining, serpentine being who didn’t like Adam being given dominion of the earth instead of someone higher up…like him.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 2: the divine council

Israel, like all ancient Near Eastern peoples, conceived of the world as being governed by a cosmic bureaucracy—a bureaucracy the Bible calls the divine council. Prophets were brought into this council when they were commissioned.

What is the kingdom of God? Part 1: representation and rulership

The kingdom of God and the kingdom of man started out as the same thing, and Adam’s representation of God is mimicked in the physical world’s representation of spiritual realities.

Prelapsarian predation, part 4: the curse

Were animals bitey before the Fall? Or did they only start munching on each other afterwards? In the fourth part of this series I assess what we can infer about death and predation from the curse.

What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 7: the early church

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I demonstrate how they must cite cherry-picked evidence from the most absurdly unqualified sources to make the case that eternal punishment wasn’t part of early church doctrine.

What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 6: argument from statistics

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I briefly demolish their “statistical argument” that if hell were in the Bible, it would appear more often.

What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 5: exegetical fumbles

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I show the blunders and gymnastics required to so comprehensively misunderstand the obvious “hell passages”.

What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 4: is hell eternal or age-long?

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I show that if you believe hell’s duration should be translated as “age-long” rather than “eternal”, you not only mangle basic language, but eviscerate the gospel and spiral into heresy on the nature of God himself.

What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 3: Gehenna

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I correct their hasty assertions about how “Gehenna” is mistranslated, by examining its use in Second Temple sources.

What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 2: the nature of hell

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I illustrate their fundamental misunderstanding of the traditional doctrine of hell.

What is hell, and is it biblical? Part 1: hell and the gospel

A response to Jacob McMillen and Josiah Pemberton. In this installment, I question how their view of hell can square with a gospel that preaches eternal life.

Overt Christology in the Old Testament, part 3: the face of Yahweh

Let me show you Jesus, hiding in plain sight…

Overt Christology in the Old Testament, part 2: the angel of Yahweh

Let me show you Jesus, hiding in plain sight…

Overt Christology in the Old Testament, part 1: the word of Yahweh

Let me show you Jesus, hiding in plain sight…

Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #3: perfection and freedom

In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s “Unseen Realm”—in this instance, his comments in chapter 8 on the nature of perfection, and genuine freedom.

Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #2: who is ha’satan?

In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s “Unseen Realm”—in this instance, his comments in chapter 8 on Satan.

Constructive criticism of The Unseen Realm #1: filters and mosaics

In which I offer a friendly critique of some elements of Michael Heiser’s “Unseen Realm”—starting with his idea that viewing the Bible as a mosaic means throwing out our “filters”.

Prelapsarian predation, part 3: wildness in Genesis 1-2

Were animals bitey before the Fall? Or did they only start munching on each other afterwards? In the third part of this series I look at clues in Genesis 1-2 that reveal a much wilder world than creationists suppose.

Prelapsarian predation, part 2: the provision of plants for food

Were animals bitey before the fall? Or did they only start munching on each other afterwards? In the second part of this series I assess what we can infer from God’s provision of plants for food in Genesis 1.

Prelapsarian predation, part 1: could it be “very good”?

Were animals bitey before the fall? Or did they only start munching on each other afterwards? In the first part of this series I assess what we can infer from God’s repeated declaration that his creation was “very good”.

Thorny problems with Calvinism #4: why evangelize if everything is predestined?

In which I clear up a natural but very mistaken confusion.

Are pictures of Jesus idolatry? Part 2: what were ancient people thinking?

Thinking so is an understandably venerable Reformed tradition which strikes me as naive and legalistic on several levels. Here, I look at why ancient peoples created idols to worship, and how this radically affects our understanding of the second commandment.

Thorny problems with Molinism #4: the internal contradiction between CCFs & PAP

In which I illustrate that if counterfactuals of creaturely freedom are true, the principle of alternate possibility must be false.

Thorny problems with Molinism #3: the theological grounding objection

In which I show that Molinism is a just-so story when it comes to God’s omniscience.

Thorny problems with Molinism #2: the demonstrable falsehood of its governing intuition

In which I demonstrate what I had previously claimed: namely, that starting with our intuitions rather than with what God has revealed is a lousy way of doing theology.

Thorny problems with Molinism #1: doing theology backwards

In which I raise a fundamental issue of methodology, and also vent a bit.

What is love? Part 6: revisiting the standard definition

What does it mean that God is love, that he loves us, and that we are to love him? In part 6, I return to the broader definition of love, to demonstrate how to presupposes onetogetherness, but also points us to other biblical concepts.

What is love? Part 5: the nature of our love for enemies

What does it mean that God is love, that he loves us, and that we are to love him? In part 5, I consider what loving our enemies means in light of onetogetherness, and whether it entails pacifism as some Christians think.

What is love? Part 4: the nature of our love for God and neighbor

What does it mean that God is love, that he loves us, and that we are to love him? In part 4, I move into examining what God means when he commands us to love him, and each other, in light of love as onetogetherness.

What is love? Part 3: the nature of God’s love toward us

What does it mean that God is love, that he loves us, and that we are to love him? In part 3, I delve into the notion of triune love as “onetogetherness”, and what it therefore means when God says he loves us.

What is love? Part 2: the nature of triune love

What does it mean that God is love, that he loves us, and that we are to love him? In part 2, I sketch out some of the important characteristics of God’s love.

What is love? Part 1: how to find the right answer

What does it mean that God is love, that he loves us, and that we are to love him? In part 1, I explain how we should approach this question, and why.

Thorny problems with Calvinism #3: double predestination makes God a moral monster

In which I defend the most despised doctrine in Christianity.

Thorny problems with Calvinism #2: the unfairness of election

In which I ask how a God who decides to save only some people can be worthy of worship.

Thorny problems with Calvinism #1: the pettiness of self-glorification

In which I ask how a God who seeks his own glory can be worthy of worship.

Are pictures of Jesus idolatry? Part 1: exegesis

Thinking so is an understandably venerable Reformed tradition which strikes me as naive and legalistic on several levels. Here, I look at the context of the second commandment to exegete the limitations of its meaning.

Was Jesus a guru? (Part 3)

What if his message got lost in transmission?

Was Jesus a guru? (Part 2)

Is there not some hubris in thinking that, when reading a translation of a text, you have picked up on something which two millennia’s worth of its most adept students failed to notice in the original languages?

Was Jesus a guru? (Part 1)

Some people think so, and they quote Jesus himself in support of the idea.

Thorny problems with karma #6: free will

If karma decides how we should act toward other people based on their karmic debt, how can our actions really be free?