God and the World
11 June 2014

¶ Feedly is down today (egad!), so we had to make do, and a link by a friend (thanks, Eric!) came in very handy.

We didn’t read Adam Gopnik’s “Bigger Than Phil,” in one of last winter’s New Yorkers, or, if we did, we forgot it. But reading David Hart Bentley’s complaint about the piece left us no happier with him.

The tiny, thwarted blastema of a thought that seems to be lurking in Gopnik’s words is the notion that we have only lately discovered that God cannot be found as a discrete physical object or force within the manifold of nature, and that this is somehow a staggering blow to “that hypothesis”— though, curiously enough, Augustine or Philo or Ramanuja (and so on) could have told him as much: God is not a natural phenomenon. Is it really so difficult to grasp that the classical concept of God has always occupied a logical space that cannot be approached from the necessarily limited perspective of natural science?

Whether or not Bentley is right to attribute such thinking to Gopnik, we have our own two cents to put it. The question of God has been mooted by a rupture in the connection or relation between divinity and the cosmos. No one is interested in a God who is “out there” — not at least along the lines shaped by gods of the past. The God of Adam, certainly, has withdrawn to His proper place in the universe, which is within the hearts and minds of those who believe in Him. While He may be of great importance in the intimate connections of human beings, He no longer has a place in the world. We defy His believers to upstage it.

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God and the World
11 June 2014

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