I. Who or What is God ?
There is a crucial distinction between the God of the philosophers and the God of religion . The God of the philosophers is the God of Plato, Aristotle , Thomas Aquinas , Leibniz , Jacques Maritain , Etienne Gilson and all philosophically inclined believers .
Our problem is the possibility of justification of the existence of evil and God who is responsible for the creation of the world including the great amount of destruction , irrationality, inhumanity of man to man , sickness and the necessity of dying. It is important to take into account the reality of God within the context of religious fundamental dogmas. We shall understand here the God and Creator in the three living religions of the world:
Judaism, Islam and Christianity are the three monotheistic living religions, however most of our thinking will be drawn from Christian understanding of God . In each of those religions God is conceived as infinitely good and powerful. However we must remember here the nature of God as Creator and the position of man as creature and we must look at the total picture of God's relationship to the universe and man and man's prospect as a finite spirit, destined for eternal life with God after the physical death , which in this context is nothing else but freedom from aging body and transition into eternity to meet the benevolent Creator. Some remarks are immediately important at this point.
(a) God did not have to create world at all , creation is a complete undeserved gift.
(b) Man's essential nature relative to God the Creator is that he is a creature completely dependent in his existence on the grace of God.
These two points are very important to remember. Otherwise we narrow down our vision to the limited abilities and anthropomorphic thinking from which the problem of evil loses it's clarity and possibility of rational solution. Our knowledge of God is analogical and very mysterious to the human mind. Even Thomas Aquinas maintained that we know that God is but we don't know what God is . Only within the context of a revealed religion we get more insight into the what of God. This however does not completely make God understandable or comprehensible to the finite and limited human mind. Most religions however agree on at least the point that God is the Creator of the universe and as a benevolent Creator He deserves worship. Religion always gives some assurance and even promises of eternity after the physical death . With this the question of haven or hell and the possibility of eternal happiness or eternal complete perdition becomes very crucial and inspires not only feelings of obedience and love but fear and quite often rebellion and rejection of a God who " tortures little children." God is Absolute and completely transcendent to His creation , however it is important to remember that God is not static as it were frozen, in His self-perfection. God is active as Thomas would say " Actus Purus." Creation did not start at some point in the past and stopped later. It is going on eternally present as true today as i was some fourteen and half billion years ago as contemporary physicists estimate the time which lapsed between now and the big bang. Creation is therefore not finished or completed and this universe is a developing process. We therefore do not have a complete understanding of the final plans of God in creating this universe and there always maybe and will be surprises in the overall evolution of the cosmos, it's history and man's changing situation in it.