Questionable Grammar & Theology Statements.

At the core of Israel’s theological grammar are sentences governed by strong verbs of transformation. Such sentences are so familiar to us that we may fail to notice the oddity of their grammar and therefore neglect such a theological beginning point. This focus on sentences signifies that Israel is characteristically concerned with the action of God—the concrete, specific action of God—and not God’s character, nature, being, or attributes, except as those are evidenced in concrete actions. This focus on verbs, moreover, commits us in profound ways to a narrative portrayal of Yahweh, in which Yahweh is the one who is said to have done these deeds.

Walter Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament : Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997), 145.

I admit that the following discussion examining God as creator, God as promise maker, etc., yet at the same time, to talk about theological grammar, sentences, & verbs in this way is linguistic nonsense. For one, what can anyone say about God that isn’t: God causes X. There’s no other way to talk about something that is inaccessible like God. Fundamentally, God’s acts & deeds are all one can have. The only way that Brueggemann could show such statements as “God creates” to be theologically significant grammar would be to show that Israel and only Israel ever used such semantic-syntactic constructions to describe their divine being.

So again, his following discussion is an excellent one, but to frame the discussion around grammar & syntax is wrongheaded and nonsensical.