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A World Without God

A World Without God

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Published by glennpease

"Oh that I knew where I might find him!" JOB
xxin, 3.

"Oh that I knew where I might find him!" JOB
xxin, 3.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 18, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A WORLD WITHOUT GODBy R. J. CAMPBELL, D.D."Oh that I knew where I might find him!" JOBxxin, 3.I HAVE just been reading an essay on the"Conflict between Science and Religion," inwhich the author maintains that belief in Godand immortality is, from the point of view of the scientific mind, unnecessary as an explana-tion of the cosmic process; in fact, his opinionis that not only is there no evidence for either,but that the conditions of sentient life on thisplanet tell heavily against belief in a personal,intelligent, and benevolent deity. The atti-tude of mind thus indicated is so widespread atthe present day, and is so likely to be repre-sented in this congregation this morning, thatI feel impelled to address myself to it. Exceptin the reasons given for its existence it is no newattitude. Probably it found some expression,though secretly, even in the ages of faith, asthey were called, when the church held undis-puted sway over the souls and bodies of men;certainly it did so in the civilization which pre-ceded Christianity in the Western world. Fromthe beginning of human thought until todaythe difficulty of accounting for the world asit is, on the assumption that it is governed by a[81]A World Without God
divine intelligence, has been acutely felt. Insaying this let me be careful to add that themodes in which the difficulty has been appre-hended have varied so widely from age to ageas to bear but little resemblance to each other.Thus, in the heroic age of ancient Greece humanills were attributed to what was called the jeal-ousy of the gods, by which was meant the desireof superhuman beings to prevent humanityfrom acquiring such wisdom and power as tobecome a dangerous rival to themselves. Youwill find a trace of this idea in the story of thefall, as given in the book of Genesis. Herethe motive for driving Adam out of Eden isstated to have been the fear that his newlyacquired knowledge might enable him to scalethe heights of divinity. "Behold now the manis become as one of us" observe the pluralnumber "to know good and evil; now there-fore lest he put forth his hand, and take alsoof the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:... So he drove out the man." Clearly thisis not our way of looking at things. Again,almost up to our own day, a prevailing perplex-ity of many religious minds has been to accountfor the toleration of human wickedness by arighteous God. ow the mood has changedonce more, and our puzzlement is to reconciledivine benevolence, not so much with the per-mission of human wickedness, as of human suf-fering. This is, as you see, comparativelymodern, and is due more than anything else[821A World Without Godto the civilized man's increased sensitiveness to
pain.But in the Old Testament there is just onebook in which this same problem is discussedthe book of Job. This remarkable epicpoem occupies a place by itself in biblical lit-erature because of this very thing. o otherbook attempts it, nor does any other writerseem to be conscious of it, in anything like thesame degree. Perhaps, to be accurate, I oughtto say that the difficulty of the author of thebook of Job is not so much that of accountingfor the presence of suffering in the world as of finding a satisfactory reason for the pain of the righteous. At the period in which he wrotethe prevailing assumption of the Jewish mindwas that if a man prospered he had pleased God,and vice versa. You know how sharply Jesusrebuked this notion : " Think ye that those uponwhom the tower of Siloam fell were sinnersabove all other Galileans? I tell you nay."The writer of Job voices the same protest. Hecannot believe that it is only the guilty who arecalled upon to suffer, and he cannot see anymeaning in the suffering of the good. or doeshe seem to question the existence of God, asmodern thinkers do who are faced with the sameproblem. He takes it for granted, and thenproceeds to challenge his justice. In the wordsof my text "Oh that I knew where I mightfind him!" he confesses indeed a hunger forspeech with God, and an inability to discover[83]A World Without Godhis presence in the world, but exhibits no

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