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The Problem of God

The Problem of God: Yesterday and Today

John Courtney Murray
Copyright Date: 1964
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 128
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  • Book Info
    The Problem of God
    Book Description:

    In an urbane and persuasive tract for our time, the distinguished Catholic theologian combines a comprehensive metaphysics with a sensitivity to contemporary existentialist thought. Father Murray traces the "problem of God" from its origins in the Old Testament, through its development in the Christian Fathers and the definitive statement by Aquinas, to its denial by modern materialism. Students and nonspecialist intellectuals may both benefit by the book, which illuminates the problem of development of doctrine that is now, even more than in the days of Newman, a fundamental issue between Roman Catholic and Protestant, theologians and nonspecialst intellectuals alike will find the subject of vital interest. As a challenge to the ecumenical dialogue, the question is raised whether, in the course of its development through different phases, the problem of God has come back to its original position. Father Murray is Ordinary professor of theology at Woodstock College, Woodstock, Maryland. St. Thomas More Lectures, 1.

    "A gem of a book-lucid, illuminating, brilliantly written. A fine contribution to the current Catholic theological renaissance."-Paul Weiss.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16199-1
    Subjects: Philosophy, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. 1-4)

    The phrase ‟the problem of God” is distinctively modern. Its currency, if not its coinage, seems to derive from Edouard Le Roy’s bookLe Problème de Dieu, published in 1929. No one reads the book today, but it aroused a good deal of discussion in its time. It belongs to the last phase of the modernist crisis, so-called, a crisis of the philosophical and historical intelligence as well as of religious faith. Hence, the phrase has a characteristic ring to our ears, upon which the correspondent phrases, ‟the God of reason” and ‟the Christ of history,” strike discordantly as contradictions...

    (pp. 5-30)

    Our first line of inquiry, which concerns the Old Testament, will proceed in three steps. My assumption is that the books of the Old Testament record the events of a sacred history in and through which God revealed himself to the people whom he chose as his own, and also record the developing faith of the people in the God who so revealed himself. The first step in the inquiry will be an exegesis of Exodus 3:1–15, the towering text that tells the story of the theophany to Moses at the burning bush, the commission of Moses as leader...

    (pp. 31-76)

    Matthew Arnold speaks somewhere of the contrast between the religious atmosphere of his own day, dusty with depressing doubt, and the New Testament climate of ‟boundless certitude and exhilaration.” There is justice in the remark. The ‟bloody thread” of conflict indeed runs through New Testament history; one traces it clearly in the Acts of the Apostles. But it is evident to the reader of the ‟Gospel of the Holy Spirit,” as this beautiful book has been called, that the men of the New Testament were not caught up in anxious questionings about God. They were absorbed in a serene quest...

    (pp. 77-121)

    I prefer to speak of the godless man rather than of atheism in order to avoid any possible suggestion that the problem is abstract or that it presents an issue only on the level of argument. The suggestion would be entirely false. God is not a proposition but an Existence: ‟I am he who is.” Similarly, godlessness is not a proposition but a state of existence. The knowledge of God is not an affair of affirmation alone; it is a free engagement in a whole style of life. Similarly, ignorance of God is not simply a want of knowledge or...