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Flashcards in judeo-Christian god Deck (53)
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How is the God of the bible portrayed?

separate from and superior to the physical world
having no body – incorporeal
exists outside time and space in eternity


What is the philosophical problem of how God is portrayed in the Bible?

How can a transcendent God have any dealings with this temporal world? The Bible paints a very different picture of God in which there appears to be no problem with a transcendent God working in and through creation.


What is a miracle?

A miracle may be described as God suspending the laws of nature in order to bring about a certain course of events.


What are some examples of miracles in the Old Testament?

Moses parting the Red Sea – Exodus 14:5-31
Joshua and the Walls of Jericho – Joshua 6:1-16
Joshua and the Sun standing still - Joshua 10:1-15
Elijah and the priests of Baal – 1 Kings 18:20-40
Elisha healing Naaman of leprosy 2 Kings 5:1-27
Isaiah causing a shadow to move backwards – 2 Kings 20:1-11


What are some examples of miracles in the New Testament?

The Virgin Birth – Matthew 1:18-25
Feeding of the Five Thousand – Mark 6:30-44
Jesus walks on water – Mark 6:45-52
Cure of a Paralytic – 5:17-26
Gerasene Demoniac – Luke 8:26-39
Jesus’ Resurrection – John 20:1 – 21:25
Peter cures a lame man – Acts 3:1-10
Peter’s miraculous deliverance – Acts 12:1-19
Paul and Silas’ miraculous deliverance – Acts 16:25-40


What are the three issues with miracles?

the problem of definition; what do we mean when we use the word ‘miracle’
the issue of whether miracles actually happen or whether it is reasonable to believe in miracles
the implications of the idea of miracle for an understanding of the nature of God


What does Maurice Wiles (1929 - 2005) say about miracles?

Wiles concludes that miracles do not occur because God does not intervene in events in the world on an individual basis. If miracles did occur then God would undermine the laws of nature and the accepted order of things. Even if this does happen, why would God choose to perform miracles for some and not for others. Wiles asks why miracles have not taken place at times of great human tragedies. Those who claim that miracles do take place can only give trivial examples in comparison.


What does Wiles say in his book, God's Action In the World about miracles?

“If the direct action of God, independent of secondary causation, is an intelligible concept, then it would appear to have been sparingly and strangely used. Miracles must be by definition, relatively infrequent or else the whole idea of the laws of nature… would be undermined, and ordered life as we know it would be an impossibility. Yet even so it would seem strange that no miraculous intervention prevented Auschwitz or Hiroshima, while the purposes apparently forwarded by some of the miracles acclaimed in traditional Christian faith seem trivial by comparison”


What does Wiles say would be a problem of a God who performs miracles?

Wiles concludes that either God does not intervene in the natural order or He has an arbitrary will that results in His intervention to help the plight of some and ignore the needs of others. If in fact the nature of God is one that may choose to cure an individual of cancer but to ignore the plight of those trapped in the twin towers of New York on 11 September 2001, then Wiles concludes such a God, who acts selectively and not on a wider scale, is not worthy of worship. The concept of a God who arbitrarily intervenes in the universe debases the notion of God itself.


How are Plato influenced Judeo-Christian thinking?

• First appearances are not as important as the real person (Allegory of the Cave)
• Sense pleasures should not be the objective of one’s existence
• There is an eternal realm where we shall live after death (Realm of Ideal Forms)
• The soul is released form the body when you die (Dualism)
• The concept of good has helped Christians perceive God as perfect and the source of all goodness (goodness as an ideal form)


How has Aristotle influenced Judeo-Christian thinking?

• God is unchanging, eternal, and beyond time and space (transcendental)
• The universe and everything in it exists for a reason – it is purposeful (telos)
• God is the causer of the creation of the universe (Prime Mover)
• A pattern of design only capable of coming from God is evident in the world


How is God seen as a personality in the Bible?

God is seen more than just an ideal to follow, which remains unaffected and does not care who aspires to it. God is seen as a personality, reacting to people and caring about the way they behave.


How does God interact with people in the bible?

God sets a standard for the people to follow, and watches too see the way they respond. In Exodus 20 the Hebrew people who have been lead out of slavery by Moses into the wilderness are given laws directly from God which they are to follow as part of their covenant relationship with him. Some laws relate to their relationship with God and others to their treatment of one another; for example the10 commandments (the Decalogue):


How is goodness revealed in the bible?

Goodness is revealed to faith, not reason (as in Platonic thought). Some of the characters in the bible who are singled out for special commendation are those who through faith continue to obey God’s commands even if they don’t understand them.


In what way is God shown to have righteous indignation in the bible?

God becomes angered at injustice because he cares about his creation, and calls upon his prophets to let his people know they are failing him. He is hurt when people refuse to recognise and respond to his goodness.
Jeremiah – ‘I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you – I am weary of relenting’


When is God shown to have a compassionate response to prayer?

God can also be moved to pity. For example at the beginning of 1 Samuel, Hannah was distraught because she had no children and asked God for a child in prayer. She conceived a baby boy soon after.


How is God affected by the ways people respond to him?

God is affected by the ways in which people respond to him. The prophet Hosea uses the imagery of an adult and a small child to show how God can be likened to the love and pride of a parent when a baby is taking its first steps; God’s goodness is also compared with the reins used to steady a toddler.


In what way is God concerned with the individual?

It is God’s love that demands people to become the best they have the potential to be by obeying his commands as they are revealed. Therefore God’s goodness is concerned with individual people, not like the universal form of good.


What is the problem with God having perfect interactive goodness?

God’s goodness although interactive is described as perfect. Some philosophers would say that God’s interaction makes him capable of change. Since perfection by very nature is unchanging, God cannot be perfectly good and at the same time a relationship with his creation.


How is the goodness of God shown through Jesus?

In the New Testament the goodness of God is shown in the person of Jesus. God came into the world as a man in order to demonstrate his love for humanity:
‘For God so loved the world he sent his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life’ – John 3:16


What is the philosophical issue of Jesus?

This raises the question; how could God be in human form when he is incorporeal? If God is outside space and time (transcendental and omnipresent), how can he enter the world at a fixed point in history? When God was in the world was he also in heaven at the same time?


How is God seen as a moral law giver?

In Judaeo-Christianity God is seen to be a judge who will bring about eschatological justice – he will elect those people worthy of salvation and an eternal life in heaven on the basis of their faith and good works in the current life. As creator and shaper of the universe, everything is answerable to God. He can therefore be seen as the primary enforcer of the moral code of the Judaeo-Christian ethical system; he is a moral law giver and is responsible for denouncing what is moral and what is not.


What is the Euthyphro Dilemma?

But if God is the moral law giver, the question can be asked: is something good because God commands it – in which case the content of morality is dependent on God’s whim, or does God command something because it is good – in which case God is subordinate to a higher law. This is known as the Euthyphro Dilemma.