Wednesday, December 26, 2018

God, Evil and Atheism - Who or what is God?

  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.