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3. Starting with a God of Love

Summary points for Week 3: Chapters 7—11 & 3.3

 

Chapter 7: Plan of Approach

      Postulate 1 God exists.

      Postulate 2 God is One.

Chapter 8: The ‘I am’

      Postulate 3 God is Being Itself. 

Chapter 9: God is Not Us

      Postulate 4 God loves us unselfishly.

Chapter 10: Images of God

      Postulate 5 All the world, and each of its parts, is a kind of image of God.

Chapter 11: God is Love

      Postulate 6 God is Love.

 

Where to begin Theism?

      ‘God is an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient being who created & sustains the world’.

o   But these attributes do not have 
specific consequences for minds & spirit!

      We want the ‘God of the Living’, 
not just ‘God of the Philosophers’.

      Better: ‘Living theism’:

o   God is that Person who is a necessary being, 
who is unselfish Love itself, 
Wisdom itself, 
and (in fact) Life itself.

o   God enlivens our world.                   (That is, not ‘deism’)

 

Essential Theistic Principles

      God is love which is unselfish
and cannot love (only) itself.

      God is wisdom as well as love and thereby also power and action.

      God is life itself: the source of all dispositions to will, think and act.

      Everything in the world is a kind of image of God: 
all minds and also natural objects of all kinds.

      Our life from God derives from divine power, depending on us.

 

Religious Support for Postulates

      Love: “God is Love” 1 John 4:8

      Wisdom: “the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” Proverbs 2:6

      Life: “the Father has life in himself” John 5:26

      Image of God: “God created man in his own image” Genesis 1:27

      Our life is from God: “The free gift of God is eternal life”   Romans 6:23

 

Consequence 1: We either are God, or depend on God for existence

      God is Being itself (Postulate 3)


      We (as individuals) have being (as, we exist).


  Therefore, our being either is, or depends on (derives from), God (Being itself).

Which?

 

Consequence 2: God is Not Us

1.     God is love which is unselfish

2.     Unselfish loves cannot love itself.

Therefore, we must be distinct from God.

  That is: 
We are separate from God in some way: 
God is not us.

      So: not ‘pantheism’, when everything is a part of God

 

A Problem for God:

a)    God is inner nature of all existence, and

b)   God cannot love himself,

  What is he to do? Can there be a separate being to love?

(see next week)

 

Consequence 3: Every active thing is (some) image of God

      All the world, and each of its parts, is a kind of image of God

      We are images to greater or lesser extents,
depending on our nature and actions.

(more details next week)

 

Consequence 4: Adjusting Religion (Section 3.3)

      God is a being composed entirely of Love, and, moreover, a completely unselfish love.

o   Anger, jealousy, exclusiveness and selfishness are completely foreign.

      But God is often portrayed as angry or jealous!

o   He permitted early religions to be more external and behavior-based.

o   Why?

 

      Proposal: it is our variation which lead to God having varying appearances to us.

      Psychology (to be confirmed):

o   When we are angry, then
God appears angry with us.

o   We can choose to become less an image of God.

 

      Matt. 5:45: “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, 
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”.  

      Like the sun rising & setting to make day and night. Does the sun vary, or the earth?

 

 



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