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The Limitations of God

The Limitations of God

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
EDITED BY NATHANIEL MICKLEM, M.A.

THE problem before us appears most obviously
in the well-known dilemma that, in view of the
pain, injustice and evil in the world, God must
be thought of either as not almighty or not
good ; and it can hardly be said that represent
ative Christian thought has fairly faced it.
EDITED BY NATHANIEL MICKLEM, M.A.

THE problem before us appears most obviously
in the well-known dilemma that, in view of the
pain, injustice and evil in the world, God must
be thought of either as not almighty or not
good ; and it can hardly be said that represent
ative Christian thought has fairly faced it.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Dec 09, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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THE LIMITATIONS OF GOD EDITED BY NATHANIEL MICKLEM, M.A.THE problem before us appears most obviously in the well-known dilemma that, in view of the pain, injustice and evil in the world, God must be thought of either as not almighty or not good ; and it can hardly be said that represent ative Christian thought has fairly faced it. An attempt is sometimes made to meet the difficulty by asserting that when we see the end we shall find all to have been good. But this begs the question, for the part of evil that we call moral evil is just that which we are sure does not produce good : if we were sure it would produce good in the future, it would cease to be evil for us now. So that this suggestion saves the goodness of God by obliterating the distinction between good and evil. And, even so, it does not escape the imputation of limits to God. For it introduces the idea of purpose, and a purpose is an end sought through a series of steps because it can
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not be had otherwise ; so that it has been rightly recognized that to attribute purpose of any sort to God is to think of Him as working under limits in which He cannot have at once so THE LIMITATIONS OF GOD 51 what He wants. And in the present case it compels us to do so or to deny the goodness of God ; for if the good end could have been had immediately without the intermediate process laden with pain and evil, it would have been wicked not to do so. The thought of a purpose of God is one of the most deeply rooted in religion and one of the most necessary. For to think of the time process as purposeless so far as God is con cerned is to annihilate all possibility of
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conscious co-operation of human and divine activity. So that all active fellowship of God and man demands the attribution of at least such limits to God as allow us to think of Him as having a purpose in the world process. The same result comes more directly and forcibly in our consciousness of moral freedom and the possession of personality that goes with it. The limitation of God is given here directly by the very activity in which we find Him most surely. For we are never so sure of the universal element in us, and therefore of God, as in recognizing the distinction between right and wrong, a distinction that always involves the possibility of both (since the inevitable would not be morally wrong) and the sureness that one possibility, if realized, would be the opposite of what God wills. Does not a man s fight against injustice in the world find its base, not merely in the assured judgement that this thing is unjust, but in the reinforcing conviction that this has not been and is not what God wills?
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