First Grade Apologist

God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens.  The late, great village atheist, made a living mocking Christianity.  While I don’t have an ounce of an apologist in me, it is easy to see through the straw men Hitchens and others erect.   Sadly, when I listen to Hitchens’ debates, I agree more with him than the Evangelical parrot.

Orthodoxy devised Apophatic theology. Its basic thrust is what God is not. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem says:  “For we explain not what God is but candidly confess that we have not exact knowledge concerning Him. For in what concerns God to confess our ignorance is the best knowledge.” American Christians assume they understand God.  Hitchens and other new atheists make a very good living on attacking those assumptions.

In my first grade understanding of theology, I developed my top ten negative verses about God.

Numbers 23:19God is not a man, that he should lie, nor is the son of man, that he should be changed. Hath he said then, and will he not do? hath he spoken, and will he not fulfil?

  1. Deuteronomy 32:31For our God is not as their gods: our enemies themselves are judges.
  2. Acts 10:34– And Peter opening his mouth, said: in very deed I perceive that God is not a respecter of persons.
  3. Romans 14:17For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink: but justice and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
  4. 1 Corinthians 4:20For the kingdom of God is not in speech, but in power.
  5. 1 Corinthians 14:33For God is not the God of dissension, but of peace: as also I teach in all the churches of the saints.
  6. Galatians 6:7– Be not deceived: God is not mocked.
  7. 2 Timothy 2:9– Wherein I labor even unto bands, as an evildoer. But the word of God is not bound.
  8. Hebrews 6:10For God is not unjust, that he should forget your work and the love which you have shewn in his name, you who have ministered and do minister to the saints.
  9. James 1:13– Let no man, when he is tempted, say that he is tempted by God. For God is not a tempter of evils: and he tempteth no man.

Augustine wrote: “We are talking about God. What wonder is it that you do not understand? If you do understand, then it is not God.”

 The Church’s catechism explains the Trinity this way:

The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”.83 The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: ”  “God is one but not solitary.”86 “Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: “He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son.”87  Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another.

I like Martin Sheen’s experience when talking to a village priest, ( Krista Tippet).  “We really don’t understand what God is?



Author: gbradepp

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