Monday, February 15, 2010

God As Morally Definite & Divinely Elusive

(Ancient Korazin, in Israel)

Paul Moser is a modern-day Kierkegaard without all the problem of a Regina. He challenges, anew and to the good, Hegelian-type pure rationalistic approaches to God, and lifts up the moral, holy God who is essentially interested in what humans will choose.

I just read Moser's beautiful, intelligent essay "Evidence of a Morally Perfect God," in God is Great, God is Good: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable & Responsible  (by Craig & Meister).

Moser suggests, in our search to find God and with our many rationalistic arguments for God's existence, that we approach the matter differently. He gives three questions which are suggestive of his God-finding approach. They are:

1) "What if we humans, in our moral imperfection and our resistance to unselfish love, are typically not ready and willing to receive God on God's terms?" (57)

2) "What if human pride, including our desired self-suffiency, obscures our apprehending (a) who God truly is, (b) the reality of God's call to us and (c) what God wants for us?" (57)

3) "What if divinely desired human knowledge is not a spectator sport but rather calls for obedient human knowledge of God as authoritative Lord, not as a morally indefinite creator?" (57)

For Moser, these are rhetorical questions. Given in the form of statements, we then read:

1a) We humans are morally imperfect. We resist agape love which is essentially unselfish. So we are not ready to receive God on God's terms.

2a) Our human pride obscures who God really is, the reality of God's invitation to us, and what God wants for us.

3a) The search for God's existence and presence is not some abstract "spectator sport."
Obedience to a morally definite Creator is prerequisite to knowing God. We are not sitting in the bleachers of life scrutinizing a God who poses on the playing field for us to examine his attributes. God is a "moving target."

For Moser our subject-object philosophical arguments for God's existence we are looking for God in all the wrong ways and wrong places. It is no wonder, given the spectator-approach, that God remains elusive. God is Subject, and we are God's searched-out objects of love.

Evidence for a morally definite God is "invitational," and operates at the level of our consciousness. If God is falsely viewed as "morally indefinite," in the sense of emphasizing the omni-attributes of God to the expense of the essentially and actively moral character of God, one should not be surprised if God does not reveal himself to us.

Moser's essay is thick, and must be read in its entirety. I could just copy the whole thing here, which would then do it justice. Some of his writing is beautiful, and calls me to a place where I have been before and long to be now. He writes:

 "The question of evidence of God's existence should become for us humans the question of how we respond to the gift of agape toward ourselves and others. In this connection, philosophy can only remove obstacles and clear a path for something ultimately nonphilosophical, because that "thing" is uncontrollable and more profound and transformative than any philosophy. It is irreducibly person-to-person: an I-Thou acquaintance of a person with the living God. At this sacred place, humans will be in thye presence of the personal God of holy love whom Blaise Pascal met and memorialized as follows:

'God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and scholars.

Certainty, certainty, heartfelt, joy, peace.

God of Jesus Christ, God of Jesus Christ.

My God and your God.'" (61)