The Problem Of God -- By: Clark H. Pinnock
JETS 16:1 (Winter 1973) p. 11
The Problem Of God
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois
Those of us who are concerned to interpret the Christian belief in God in an understandable manner to people in our day know there is a problem of God. But the problem is a many-sided one, which is by no means simple either to define or solve. This paper is an attempt to clarify the nature of the problem, and indicate precisely where the chief issues lie.1
The importance of this issue cannot be easily exaggerated. The doctrine of God is the most fundamental concept in the entire range of theological ideas. All other issues logically secondary to this one. If God is a problem, then strictly speaking he is the only problem there is. There is certainly no Christian faith without God. Ogden was right, Paul van Buren notwithstanding, when he wrote,
“However absurd talking about God might be, it could never be so obviously absurd as talking of Christian faith without God.”2
Important as the subject is for theology, it is hardly less so for Western culture. For the loss of God perhaps more than any other single factor is responsible for the crisis of human values which plagues our civilization. The most formidable problem which our intellectual leaders face is how to shape their life and work in a universe no longer seen as created and controlled by God. Human existence, devoid of religious commitment, lacks any ultimate aim or motivation, and has become for many meaningless. God is not a problem then only for the church and for theology. God, if he is truly absent, is the decisive problem of our culture.3
The problem of God is multi-dimensional. We will examine three of those dimensions: the theological, the cultural, and the philosophical.
1. The Theological Dimension
(a) In a real sense, the problem of God arises directly out of the nature of the concept ‘God’—defined in Christian terms as the infinite ground of all being, as having reference to reality which is transcendent of and not locat-able within finite being. The prophet Isaiah admitted that, in the last analysis, there was nothing that could be compared to him ( 40:18, 25).
JETS 16:1 (Winter 1973) p. 12
Therefore, we can say at the outset that the problem of God is not in its entirety the fruit of modern scepticism. But, at the same time, since this particular problem has been known for millennia, and s...
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