THe Puzzle of God

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Mungo, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. Mungo is a Verified MemberMungo Well-Known Member
    Mungo

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    While I've been away I (re-)read an interesting book by Dr. Peter Vardy called The Puzzle of God (1995 edition). Dr. Vardy is a lecturer in the Philosophy of Religion at London University's Heythrop College.

    He says "If you ask someone who speaks Chinese to write down the Chinese symbol for God, he or she may well say, 'Which one? The Catholic God or the Protestant God? The Chinese language has a character for each of the two different Gods.

    He goes on to say 'There is an enormous difference between the Gold of traditional Catholic theology and the God with which many Protestants identify, although many Catholics worship the Protestant idea of God and many Protestants think in terms of the Catholic view.' He does adds at one point that "Most believers in all churches have never even thought the issue!'

    He gives three different models of God, although only two concern us here.

    The first he calls the Wholly Simple God. God is simple (has no parts), timeless and spaceless, and is immutable (unchanging). God exists outside time and space. All time is eternally present to him. There is no such thing as past and future to God.

    The second he calls the Everlasting Suffering God. God exists in time and because of that God cannot know the future. since it has not yet happened.

    On the way to this point he discusses "What is truth?" and in what way can human language be used in reference to God. With the simple timeless God, only metaphors and analogies can be used since such a God is so different to us. God cannot actually change his mind or have emotions. With the everlasting God univocal language can be used. Univocal language is where words mean broadly the same thing in different situations.

    Each of these models has problems.

    For example with the simple, timeless God there are the problems of language (noted above). Also in this view God cannot suffer and we have to question whether we could have a personal relationship with such a God.

    An everlasting, suffering God might seem too anthropomorphic, more like a superhuman, insufficiently transcendent. Also if God exists inside time then he cannot have created it and cannot know the future and this is a limitation on his omniscience, as is suffering.
     
  2. Anthony D'Arienzo is a Verified MemberAnthony D'Arienzo Well-Known Member
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    #2 Anthony D'Arienzo is a Verified MemberAnthony D'Arienzo, Aug 6, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
    "Mungo,



    .[ God cannot actually change his mind or have emotions. With the everlasting God univocal language can be used. Univocal language is where words mean broadly the same thing in different situations.]

    This one...
     
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  3. Mungo is a Verified MemberMungo Well-Known Member
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    ?????
     
  4. Joe is a Verified MemberJoe Tattooed Theist
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    I think there is a lot of truth to all of that. And I think it's impossible to know if one is the absolute truth over the other.

    As he wrote about, there are issues with all of them and it's interesting that we don't or refuse to recognize that.
     
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  5. Anthony D'Arienzo is a Verified MemberAnthony D'Arienzo Well-Known Member
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    General objections don't really help the discussion. You have to give a specific or some specific examples of why you think there's a problem with the third position.
    What do you find objectionable?
     
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    It seems that whichever view we adopt affects our theology, for example open or closed view theology, and what happens after death.
     
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    http://www.chapellibrary.org/files/3913/7643/2884/aogo.pdf


    “ACQUAINT NOW THYSELF WITH HIM, AND BE AT PEACE: thereby good shall come unto thee” (Job 22:21). “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD” (Jer 9:23,24).

    A spiritual and saving knowledge of God is the greatest need of every human creature. The foundation of all true knowledge of God must be a clear mental apprehension of His perfections as revealed in Holy Scripture. An unknown God can neither be trusted, served, nor worshipped. In this book an effort has been made to set forth some of the principal perfections of the divine character. If the reader is to truly profit from his perusal of the pages that follow, he needs to definitely and earnestly beseech God to bless them to Him, to apply His truth to the conscience and heart, so that his life will be transformed thereby. Something more than a theoretical knowledge of God is needed by us. God is only truly known in the soul as we yield ourselves to Him, submit to His authority, and regulate all the details of our lives by His holy precepts and commandments. “Then shall we know, if we follow on [in the path of obedience] to know the LORD” (Hosea 6:3). “If any man will do His will, he shall know” (John 7:17). “The people that do know their God shall be strong” (Dan 11:32). - A.W. Pink, 1930

    God did not merely decree to make man, place him upon the earth, and then leave him to his own uncontrolled guidance; instead, He fixed all the circumstances in the lot of individuals, and all the particulars which will comprise the history of the human race from its commencement to its close.

    He did not merely decree that general laws should be established for the government of the world, but He settled the application of those laws to all particular cases.

    Our days are numbered, and so are the hairs of our heads. We may learn what is the extent of the divine decrees from the 5 dispensations of providence, in which they are executed. The care of Providence reaches to the most insignificant creatures, and the most minute events—the death of a sparrow, and the fall of a hair.
     
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    Secondly, the decrees of God are wise. Wisdom is shown in the selection of the best possible ends and of the fittest means of accomplishing them. That this character belongs to the decrees of God is evident from what we know of them. They are disclosed to us by their execution, and every proof of wisdom in the works of God is a proof of the wisdom of the plan, in conformity to which they are performed. As the Psalmist declared, “O LORD, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all” (104:24)
     

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