atheism – the case against God

In my formative years I picked up George H Smith’s Atheism: The Case Against God. The book was actually very well written, but it seemed more like a treatise against Calvinism and Covenant Theology then it did against the God of the Bible. Some excerpts:

On limiting God:

Indeed, to say anything about God is to limit God. To say that God possesses characteristic A is to say that God lacks the characteristic not-A

On negative theology (the Latin attributes of God):

The first problem with negative theology is that, if God is described solely in terms of negation, it is impossible to distinguish him from non-existence—”any Being which had to be characterized entirely in negations would, surely, not be discernible from no Being at all.” God is not matter; neither is non-existence. God does not have limitations; neither does non-existence. God is not visible; neither is non-existence. God does not change; neither does non-existence. God cannot be described; neither can non-existence. And so on down the list of negative predicates. If the theist wishes to distinguish his belief in God from the belief in nothing at all, he must give some positive substance to the concept of God.

On omniscience:

The first problem with omniscience is that it cannot be reconciled with any theory of free will in man. If one believes in an omniscient being, one cannot consistently hold that man has volitional control over his actions. If God knows the future with infallible certainty, the future is predetermined, and man is impotent to change it.

On omniscience v omnipotence:

There is another irritating problem with the idea of omniscience: it contradicts the attribute of omnipotence. If God knows the future with infallible certainty, he cannot change it—in which case he cannot be omnipotent. If God can change the future, however, he cannot have infallible knowledge of it prior to its actual happening—in which case he cannot be omniscient. (This is similar to the issue of in what sense, if any, God can be said to have free will. Does God know his own future decisions? If so, how can those decisions be free? Perhaps God does not make decisions. If so, how can the idea of volition apply to a being with no decisions—and hence no choices—to make?)

On understanding God:

The Christian is faced with an either-or situation. Either we can use human language to speak meaningfully of God (in which case God cannot differ in kind from finite existence), or human language cannot be applied to God at all (in which case the word “God” becomes meaningless). By stipulating that God is supernatural and unknowable, the Christian effectively removes God from the domain of language and communication—thereby removing himself from the context of rational consideration.

In short, Atheism: the Case Against God is a welcome read to those who understand the Bible and have a clear disdain for pagan teachings of Calvinism.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
This entry was posted in Calvinism, God, Omnipotence, Omniscience, Open Theism, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

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