The Faces of God: God the Enemy

This week we explore what is perhaps the most difficult of images, God the Enemy.  We begin by looking to the Book of Lamentations for such an image and then begin to explore what kind of relationship it really represents when we cast God as Enemy.  Perhaps when we are honest with ourselves and can recognize when we find God as Enemy, this actually tells us far more about ourselves and our relationship to God than it does about God.

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1 Response to The Faces of God: God the Enemy

  1. Corey Rouse says:

    Allow me to start with a boring, but argumentatively important principle. This will serve to contradict the Inimical Face of God simpliciter, though this is only the first stage of the examination and is not meant to put a halt to the detailed considerations which needs be made.

    I would say that an inimical relationship would necessarily require God to be a direct/per se agent foe to his people.

    1) This would require the Creator to be a Destroyer. The first question is: Was God set against his sinful people or with sin itself. I think that we can say that it is always the sin.

    2) Sin is sometimes defined as a privation of good in a moral act.

    3) If God is an Enemy and Destroyer of non-being in our deprived moral action, God would not be pitted against the very lives and creaturely essences of his people, but against what is not, i.e., against the absence of due nature and order.

    This only saves me from the impious Face of God as Enemy according to a nominal line of argumentation.

    This abstract and categorically neat argument is less interesting, however, than the common presentiment of Divine Enmity in our own lives. Yes, there are people who blame God for it all. As for myself, I cannot ever say that I have ever attributed my own misfortunes or those of others to God as though he were pro-actively out to get me. It is all too easy for me to follow the threads and see how my own sins carry their own punishments.

    But what of the innocent who are afflicted? What about those persecuted groups of people who seem to be mistreated by institutional religions (“God’s minions”)? Well, it is still conceivable and generally intelligible that some proximate causality is to blame and not the Universal Cause. This still does not explain how the innocent could be so savagely treated under God’s watch. We are not going to make any breakthroughs in theodicy here. Sorry. Providence, the Will of God, this is inscrutable anyway. I’ve already abused this space by smuggling in scholastic theo-logic.

    Alas, I fail to answer any question, but I can offer another question which I think more accurately gauges man’s notion of God.

    The more common question:

    Is God merely an audience/voyeur of the intricate drama of the cosmos? Why does he just watch these things happen? I would wager that this is the more common ‘face’ that we attribute to God.

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