Here, at least, what we call “god” is needed pt. II

‘The fatal mistake of the Church was trying to ‘prove to a world come of age that it cannot live without the tutelage of “God” ‘ . The inability to maintain this in the face of the world’s autonomy leads to the ‘ultimate questions’, where God now takes refuge. Here at least he is needed.

At this comes Bonoheffers most quoted question, a rhetorical one: ‘But what if one day they [i.e. these ultimate questions] no longer exist as such, if they too can be answered without “God”?  (‘Christ the Center’, p. 12-13)

Where does this leave Christianity? The more I think about it, the less I can avoid the thought that this is the cold, hard truth – that the ‘ultimate questions’ are the last bastion that God has in the world.

This thought prompts this question: if this is in fact the case, what is Christianity supposed to be?  Another question: how did Christianity arrive at the state it did?

Briefly, a glance at the New Testament seems to show that the very early church wasn’t terribly interested in providing the answers to ultimate questions – it proclaims a very simple, but very powerful idea: that Jesus Christ is the son of God, the Messiah as foretold by the Prophets, who was crucified, buried and resurrected, and in doing so broke the powers of sin and death over creation and opened up the divine nature for us to partake of.

In a nutshell, that’s about it. There certainly are questions that are answered – but so far as I can tell the early church did not see it’s message as an answer to ultimate questions that the natural world was incapable of answering.

Where does this leave us, and me? I don’t know. I think, however, that Christianity as a whole needs to be re-thought if its going to survive in this world come of age.


4 thoughts on “Here, at least, what we call “god” is needed pt. II

  1. Ian Thompson March 26, 2012 / 6:23 am

    I think you concede too much. By taking refuge in the Big Questions, you assume God has no role or influence in everyday life. To think that God might have an essential role is surely part of any good religion.
    Maybe you reply that ‘science has answered the everyday questions’? But ‘an answer’ being given does not imply that it is correct, or is the only answer!
    I want to conclude that we have to take religious theism much more seriously, even scientifically. Pascal is definitely a good example here.


    • whitefrozen March 26, 2012 / 10:26 am

      I don’t mean to say that God has no role in every day life – quite the opposite! I think that an emphasis on God in *every* aspect of life is part of the solution to the problem Bonhoeffer observed.


      • Ian Thompson March 26, 2012 / 10:32 am

        Good. Our challenge then is to unify this understanding of ‘close involvement’ with the theoretical parts of science. Or, more accurately, with what science can be changed to while still keeping its (mostly) successful components. Not a simple task.


        • whitefrozen March 26, 2012 / 10:35 am

          T.F. Torrance did a lot of work in the area of science/religion – I’d recommend reading him. He pretty much pioneered ‘scientific theology’, the kind endorsed by Alister McGrath.


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