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From Plato to Wittgenstein and religions from Judaism to the Hindu tradition, interspersed with divine influences from Classical Greece, Romantic poetry, and the occasional scene from 'Alien', 'God: A Guide for the Perplexed' charts the path of humanity's great spiritual odyssey: the search for God. Leading the way through this minefield is acclaimed philosopher-theologian Keith Ward, blending the sublime and the eclectic in a narrative which offers wit, erudition and moments of genuine pathos. As a survey of the different manifestations of God through the centuries, and an examination of humanity's search for the divine, this is an engaging and informative book. As a deeply moving testament to our endless capacity for spiritual hope, it is compulsive reading for anyone interested in, or embarking on, the great quest for meaning. 'A lively and very clearly written discussion summarizing and criticizing the thoughts of many significant thinkers.' Times Literary Supplement 'Wry but delightfully non-ironic, intelligent and clear, this book is a blessing. ' Publishers Weekly 'Highly informed, witty and immensely accessible. One of the most congenial, lively and informative introductions to this field.' Alister McGrath, Professor of Historical Theology, Oxford University
God is unbounded. God became flesh. While these two assertions are equally viable parts of Western Christian religious heritage, they stand in tension with one another. Fearful of reducing God's majesty with shallow anthropomorphisms, philosophy and religion affirm that God, as an eternal being, stands wholly apart from creation. Yet the legacy of the incarnation complicates this view of the incorporeal divine, affirming a very different image of God in physical embodiment. While for many today the idea of an embodied God seems simplisticaeven pedestrianaChristoph Markschies reveals that in antiquity, the educated and uneducated alike subscribed to this very idea. More surprisingly, the idea that God had a body was held by both polytheists and monotheists. Platonic misgivings about divine corporeality entered the church early on, but it was only with the advent of medieval scholasticism that the idea that God has a body became scandalous, an idea still lingering today. In God's Body Markschies traces the shape of the divine form in late antiquity. This exploration follows the development of ideas of God's corporeality in Jewish and Greco-Roman traditions. In antiquity, gods were often like humans, which proved to be important for philosophical reflection and for worship. Markschies considers how a cultic environment nurtured, and transformed, Jewish and Christian descriptions of the divine, as well as how philosophical debates over the connection of body and soul in humanity provided a conceptual framework for imagining God. Markschies probes the connections between this lively culture of religious practice and philosophical speculation and the christological formulations of the church to discover how the dichotomy of an incarnate God and a fleshless God came to be. By studying the religious and cultural past, Markschies reveals a Jewish and Christian heritage alien to modern sensibilities, as well as a God who is less alien to the human experience than much of Western thought has imagined. Since the almighty God who made all creation has also lived in that creation, the biblical idea of humankind as image of God should be taken seriously and not restricted to the conceptual world but rather applied to the whole person.
The underlying idea of the book is that most ordinary religious believers -- not philosophers or theologians -- do not realise how weak the case for Gods existence is. The Case Against examines the reasons why the belief has such a strong hold on so large a section of humanity, and attempts to show that the reasons are inadequate. The concepts involved in religious belief are examined in detail. It is shown that great difficulties -- of which believers are usually unaware -- are involved in forming concepts of entities from a higher -- perhaps spiritual -- realm. In particular, God and the idea of a life after death are examined and it is proposed that viable, coherent concepts are probably impossible in both cases. For many believers the God theory is seen as (a) explaining the origin of the universe, and (b) enabling the apparent injustices of this world to be righted in a life after death. The theory actually fails to do either. It is also shown, however, that the main alternative to theism, which is materialism, itself presents difficulties. No final answer is given, and it is accepted that (informed) puzzlement may ultimately be the only rational position. The God theory could perhaps be seen as an attempt to answer genuine problems. While it fails, it can nevertheless be understood and treated with sympathy. God: The Case Against is not intended for philosophers or theologians! Rather, the aim is to make the arguments accessible to intelligent, intellectually curious, open-minded people. The book attempts throughout to give clear, simple explanations of the issues, benefiting here from the authors own experience in teaching philosophy to young people.
The concept of providence is embedded in the life and theology of the church. Its uses are frequent and varied in understandings of politics, nature, and individual life-stories. Parallels can be discerned in other faiths. In this volume, David Fergusson traces the development of providential ideas at successive periods in church history. These include the early appropriation of Stoic and Platonic ideas, the codification of providence in the Middle Ages, its foregrounding in Reformed theology, and its secular applications in the modern era. Responses to the Lisbon earthquake (1755) provide an instructive case study. Although confidence in divine providence was shaken after 1914, several models were advanced during the twentieth century. Drawing upon this diversity of approaches, Fergusson offers a chastened but constructive account for the contemporary church. Arguing for a polyphonic approach, he aims to distribute providence across all three articles of the faith.
Panentheism has gained popularity among contemporary thinkers. This
belief system explains that "all is in God"; as a soul is related
to a body, so God is related to the world. In "Panentheism--The
Other God of the Philosophers," philosopher and theologian John
Cooper traces the growth and evolution of this intricate theology
from Plotinus to Alfred North Whitehead to the present.
Set against the tumultuous backdrop of contemporary China, Larry Lewis's autobiographical The Misfit tells a moving story of how God breaks through the aridity of human hearts, and how healing occurs in the midst of the everyday. Father Lewis, a Maryknoll missioner, was estranged from himself, his church, and his Maryknoll colleagues when he accepted an assignment to teach English to Chinese students in the interior Chinese city of Wuhan. It was a year before the now-infamous massacre in Tiananmen Square. The Misfit tells how the young Chinese Lewis taught saved him from his alienation and revealed that an important dimension in the growth of all human beings lies in accepting their "misfitness" for the unidimensional life that contemporary culture seeks to impose. With the political turmoil of 1980s China always in the background, Lewis and his Chinese students discover eternal truths through the American literature they study and the growing bonds of friendship they share. Reading John Gardner's "Redemption", Emily Dickinson's poetry, and Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find", Lewis and his students discover that they live in "a world without a roof", and the missioner finds himself rescued from estrangement by the humanity all around him.
"My desire is that this book may help readers to know more fully the God of biblical revelation and, as a result, to proclaim God as the God of life". Who is God? Where is God? How are we to speak of God? Gutierrez looks at these classic questions through a review of the Bible, and his answers challenge all Christians to a deepening of faith.
This book is an extensive treatment of the entire doctrine of pneumatology, using some 1,500 Scripture citations, and is designed for anyone desiring to get a complete presentation of the third person of the Trinity who indwells all Christians.
For the Spirit, being somewhat forgotten is an occupational hazard. The Holy Spirit is so actively involved in our lives that we can take his presence for granted. As they say, familiarity breeds contempt. Just as we take breathing for granted, we can take the Holy Spirit for granted simply because we constantly depend on him. Like the cane that soon feels like an extension of the blind man's own body, we too easily begin to think of the Holy Spirit as an extension of ourselves. Yet the Spirit is at the center of the action in the divine drama from Genesis 1:2 all the way to Revelation 22:17. The Spirit's work is as essential as the Father's and the Son's, yet the Spirit's work is always directed to the person and work of Christ. In fact, the efficacy of the Holy Spirit's mission is measured by the extent to which we are focused on Christ. The Holy Spirit is the person of the Trinity who brings the work of the Father, in the Son, to completion. In everything that the Triune God performs, this perfecting work is characteristic of the Spirit. In Rediscovering the Holy Spirit, author, pastor, and theologian Mike Horton introduces readers to the neglected person of the Holy Spirit, showing that the work of God's Spirit is far more ordinary and common than we realize. Horton argues that we need to take a step back every now and again to focus on the Spirit himself-his person and work-in order to recognize him as someone other than Jesus or ourselves, much less something in creation. Through this contemplation we can gain a fresh dependence on the Holy Spirit in every area of our lives.
Neal Donald Walsch was experiencing a low period in his life when he decided to write a letter to God, venting his frustrations. What he did not expect was a response. As he finished his letter, he was moved to continue writing - and out came extraordinary answers to his questions. This work presents the answers that Walsch received, helping him to change himself, his life and the way he viewed other beings.
In the six-session small group Bible study, God is Closer Than You Think, John Ortberg helps you to discover and enjoy a vibrant, moment-by-moment relationship with God the Father.
Today you can see God in action. Today you can hear God speaking to you. Today you can connect with God heart-to-heart. Today
Intimacy with God can happen right now a closeness you can feel, a reality you can experience for yourself. God is closer than you think, and connecting with him isn t the exclusive domain of monks and ascetics. It s for business people, high school students, busy moms, single men, single women and most important, it s for YOU
In God is Closer than You Think, Ortberg reveals the face of God waiting to be discovered in the complex mosaic of your life. This insightful and impactful small group study will help you:
This Participant Guide is designed for use together with the God Is Closer Than You Think DVD (sold separately) and includes discussion questions for individuals and groups. When used together they provide you with a practical tool than can transform your faith.
"My road to atheism was paved by science... but, ironically, so was my later journey to God." Former atheist Lee Strobel has discovered that science, far from being the enemy of faith, now provides a solid foundation for belief in God. New scientific discoveries point to the incredible complexity of our universe, a complexity best explained by the existence of a Creator. This revised six-session study (DVD/digital video) invites participants to encounter this evidence delivered in a compelling conversational style. Join Strobel in reexamining the theories that once led him away from God. Pastors, small group leaders, and individuals seeking resources that answer tough questions about the existence of God will find compelling answers in the Case for a Creator study. Sessions include: Science and God Doubts about Darwinism The Evidence of Cosmology The Fine-tuning of the Universe The Evidence of Biochemistry The DNA and the Origin of Life Designed for use with the Case for a Creator Revised Video Study 9780310699606 (sold separately).
A train stops on the tracks in the middle of the night and a lone woman steps out, following a call from deep in the forest. In these six richly imagined short stories, Andrea Lundgren explores a liminal space where the town meets the wilderness and human consciousness meets something more animalistic. From foxes to blue whales to angels, the creatures that roam through these stories spark a desire for something more in their human counterparts: a longing for transformation. Whether dealing with familial tensions, romantic troubles, or a crisis of faith, their human anguish is explored with psychological depth and poetic insight in the earthy, evocative world of Lundgren's northern borderlands.
KNOWING GOD is one of the most significant and popular Christian books of our time and has deepened the faith and understanding of millions of people around the world. 'Dr Packer says we're cruel to ourselves if we try to live in his world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. I'm convinced we're cruel if we deny ourselves the wisdom contained in this Christian classic.' Rico Tice
'Because "God" is infinite, nobody can have the last word' What is this thing, religion, supposedly the cause of bloodshed and warring for centuries? What is 'God' and do we need 'Him' in our modern world? Karen Armstrong looks again at these questions in a refreshing and startling way. God is not to be 'believed in' as a child believes in Santa Claus; religion is not a story to be proven true or false, but a discipline akin to music or art that answers a deeply human need, and can teach us to discover new capacities of mind and heart. Selected from A Case for God, Fields of Blood and The Lost Art of Scripture VINTAGE MINIS- GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS. A series of short books by the world's greatest writers on the experiences that make us human Also in the Vintage Minis 'Great Ideas' series- Art by Simon Schama Science by Ian McEwan
Does science necessarily undermine faith in God? Or could it actually support faith? Beyond the flashpoint debates over the teaching of evolution, or stem-cell research, most of us struggle with contradictions concerning life's ultimate question. We know that accidents happen, but we believe we are on earth for a reason. Until now, most scientists have argued that science and faith occupy distinct arenas. Francis Collins, a former atheist as a science student who converted to faith as he became a doctor, is about to change that. Collins's faith in God has been confirmed and enhanced by the revolutionary discoveries in biology that he has helped to oversee. He has absorbed the arguments for atheism of many scientists and pundits, and he can refute them. Darwinian evolution occurs, yet, as he explains, it cannot fully explain human nature -- evolution can and must be directed by God. He offers an inspiring tour of the human genome to show the miraculous nature of God's instruction book. Sure to be compared with C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity, this is a stunning document, whether you are a believer, a seeker, or an atheist.
Peter Vardy's much acclaimed introduction to the study of ideas about God -- now revised and updated. A clear, well-written guide to philosophical thinking about God. Starting with the question of what it means to say we believe in God, and looking at the nature of truth, Peter Vardy goes on to examine ideas about God and their influence on Christian thinking. Peter Vardy takes the reader through the arguments, using amusing illustrations and analogies. He writes for the lay person or student, not assuming any specialist knowledge, and not imposing any particular view. 'This is about the best elementary textbook in the philosophy of God I have come across... an extremely useful book.' Hugh Meynell, The Tablet 'This is a masterpiece of coherence. Step by step the reader is led clearly and humorously through the philosophical maze which confuses our thinking about God.' Linda Smith, Head of Religious Education, King's College, London
Challenge our common images of God by blowing the lid off conventional God-descriptors.
We do not have to let go of one sense of God to take up another. Neither do we need to go about challenging old metaphors. What is crucial is to find a metaphor or two, or six that creatively point toward what we believe. from Chapter 1
Let Carolyn Jane Bohler inspire you to consider a wide range of images of God in order to refine how you imagine God to have and use power, and how God wills and makes divine will happen or not. By tapping into your God-given ability to re-imagine God, you will have a better understanding of your own beliefs and how you, God, and the world relate to each other.
Wonderfully fresh and down to earth, Bohler uses playful images, moving stories, and solid scholarship to empower you to break free of old habits and assumptions, whatever your faith tradition. She encourages you to explore new names for God that are not only more consistent with what you believe, but will also deepen and expand your experience of God. Think about God the Choreographer of Chaos God the Nursing Mother God the Jazz Band Leader God the Divine Blacksmith God the Divine Physical Therapist God the Team Transformer and more
Peter Hitchens lost faith as a teenager. But eventually finding atheism barren, he came by a logical process to his current affiliation to an unmodernised belief in Christianity. Hitchens describes his return from the far political left. Familiar with British left-wing politics, it was travelling in the Communist bloc that first undermined and replaced his leftism, a process virtually completed when he became a newspaper's resident Moscow correspondent in 1990, just before the collapse of the Communist Party. He became convinced of certain propositions. That modern western social democratic politics is a form of false religion in which people try to substitute a social conscience for an individual one. That utopianism is actively dangerous. That liberty and law are attainable human objectives which are also the good by-products of Christian faith. Faith is the best antidote to utopianism, dismissing the dangerous idea of earthly perfection, discouraging people from acting as if they were God, encouraging people to act in the belief that there is a God and an ordered, purposeful universe, governed by an unalterable law.
Rob Bell's bestseller 'Love Wins' tackled subjects church leaders have been afraid to touch. Now he asks the biggest question faced by any Christian: how do we know God? Although 2000 years of Christendom has seen huge changes in our broader understanding of our place in the world, belief remains rooted in archaism and tradition. Rob Bell believes we need to drop our primitive, tribal views of God and instead embrace the God who wants us to reach the potential within us; people who understand their universe of quarks and quantum string dynamics, but who recognise our fundamental need for stories of heroes and sacrifice and profound longing for a guiding force larger than ourselves. 'What We Talk About When We Talk About God' will reveal that God is not in need of repair to catch him up with today's world, so much as we need to discover the God who goes before us and beckons us forward. A book full of mystery, controversy, and reverence, 'What We Talk About When We Talk About God' promises not to disappoint.
Jay Rosenberg's penetrating and persuasively argued analysis of the central metaphysical and moral questions pertaining to death has been updated and revised to expand and deepen several of its key arguments and to address conceptual developments of the past fifteen years. Among the topics discussed are: Life After Death; The Limits of Theorizing; The Limits of Imagination; Death and Personhood Values and Rights; 'Mercy Killing'; Prolonging Life; 'Rational Suicide' and One's Own Death. Rosenberg's prose is lucid, lively, thoroughly absorbing, and accessible to introductory-level readers. Essential reading for anyone interested in reflecting on this engaging topic. Jay F. Rosenberg is Taylor Grandy Professor of Philosophy, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Confused, angry, and hurt after the death of his father, a young R. C. Sproul began his personal search for ultimate truth with these piercing questions: Who are you, God? And why do you do the things you do? In Enjoying God, readers journey with R. C. Sproul to discover the attributes of God through the questions many of us have asked: Where are you, God? Can I trust you, God? and more. In this warm, personal account, Dr. Sproul communicates deep truths in a fresh and easy-to-understand style as he shares his passion to know God and urges the reader to dig deep and seek the God who is alive, who is real, and who loves each one of us.
The hard work required to make God real, how it changes the people who do it, and why it helps explain the enduring power of faith How do gods and spirits come to feel vividly real to people-as if they were standing right next to them? Humans tend to see supernatural agents everywhere, as the cognitive science of religion has shown. But it isn't easy to maintain a sense that there are invisible spirits who care about you. In How God Becomes Real, acclaimed anthropologist and scholar of religion T. M. Luhrmann argues that people must work incredibly hard to make gods real and that this effort-by changing the people who do it and giving them the benefits they seek from invisible others-helps to explain the enduring power of faith. Drawing on ethnographic studies of evangelical Christians, pagans, magicians, Zoroastrians, Black Catholics, Santeria initiates, and newly orthodox Jews, Luhrmann notes that none of these people behave as if gods and spirits are simply there. Rather, these worshippers make strenuous efforts to create a world in which invisible others matter and can become intensely present and real. The faithful accomplish this through detailed stories, absorption, the cultivation of inner senses, belief in a porous mind, strong sensory experiences, prayer, and other practices. Along the way, Luhrmann shows why faith is harder than belief, why prayer is a metacognitive activity like therapy, why becoming religious is like getting engrossed in a book, and much more. A fascinating account of why religious practices are more powerful than religious beliefs, How God Becomes Real suggests that faith is resilient not because it provides intuitions about gods and spirits-but because it changes the faithful in profound ways.
When Neale Donald Walsch was experiencing a low point in his life, he decided to write a letter to God. What he did not expect was a response and the result was Conversations with God Book 1. In Book 2, the dialogue expands to deal with the more global topics of geopolitical and metaphysical life on the planet, and the challenges now facing the world. This incredible series contains answers that will change you, your life, and the way you view other beings.
First published in 1991, Richard M. Gale's classic book is a response to and critique of new, contemporary arguments for the existence of God from analytical philosophers. Considering concepts including time, free will, personhood, actuality and the objectivity of experience, Gale evaluates the new versions of cosmological, ontological, pragmatic and religious experience arguments that emerged in the late-twentieth century. Presented in a fresh twenty-first-century series livery, and including a specially commissioned preface written by Paul K. Moser, illuminating its enduring importance and relevance to philosophical enquiry, this influential work has been revived for a new generation of readers.
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