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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Streetwise: God's Wrong is Most of All

I have been reading, off and on, Kenneth Cragg's book God's Wrong is Most of All: Divine Capacity. At times I find it brilliantly insightful. Other times I hurl it against the wall because, frankly, Cragg's writing has a near-impenetrable ponderousness and density to it. This is partly, perhaps, because of the subject-matter demanding something like this (trying to think theologically, but without slipping into a neat, pre-determined mold), but I think it is also partly due to the author's writing style. This is unfortunate, because it will lead to his books being picked up by fewer readers than otherwise might be the case. But enough review, on to the quotations.

[on divine compassion/ omnipotence] 'It is clear already, even in an Islam-style mood of theology instinctively shunning the question, that divine 'association' with the human situation incurs being vulnerable apart from any heinous measures of human perversity. If indeed, as the old Rabbis would say: "The Lord is enthroned on the praises of His people," when the praises languish and stay, where is the throne? "Thou art worthy to receive..." is the cry of John in Patmos. What then when the "Gloria in excelsis" is guiltily silent in human minds and wills and seemingly cancelled in profundis?

'It is clear that omnipotence can only be reconciled with creation and with human custody therein as a venture of deliberate condescension and consequent exposure to ensuing liabilities from which reality can concede no exoneration....Gibes about a deity sadly to be pitied, as if helplessly inadequate on earth if not in heaven, have no ring of truth in this cosmos of divine authority. Rather, they distort the sovereignty they should more searchingly explore to find the nature of omnipotence as self-expending love.
...
'If we hold that limitation is anathema for omnipotence, it will not be so if that limitation is from within, in the nature of love as power suiting its real task.' (p.36)

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