THE CONCEPT OF GOD by Ronald. H Nash, (Paternoster Press. £4.80). The God of the philosophers seems very remote from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In both cases one can say with Si. Paul 'How incomprehensible are his judgements and how unsearchable his ways.
For who has known the mind of the Lord?' All who write about God come up against the mystery of his being. This does not mean that philosophers cannot gain some glimpses of his reality.
Professor Nash's purpose in his book is not concerned with proofs for the existence of God. It is, as the sub-title indicates /in exploration of Contemporary Difficulties Kith the attributes of God.
Many of these difficulties have been the subject of age-old controversy. A leading example is the relationship of God's omniscience with man's freedom. How does God know the future acts of a free human being? Dominicans and Jesuits have both given -their unsatisfactory answers.
Immutability also involves problems.
Scripture presents a changing God; one who loves and hates and becomes angry. How can the world and human beings make any difference at all to him? God's simplicity is perplexing.
This .states that God's attributes are not really distinct from one another. They are identified with the divine essence.
Wisdom, goodness, power, etc. are not separate qualities in God though we have to conceive them as such. Solutions or attempted solutions to the problems of God's attributes depend upon a particular concept of God. The book presents two main concepts.
The first is that expounded in the writings of Thomas Acguinas and the second is what has come to be called process theology.
The main emphasis in the former is on "being" while in the latter it is on "becoming".
The author's aim in the book is to show that the Christian doctrine of God is not lacking in coherence. The book provides an interesting introduction to this field of philosophy. It is written in a fresh and lucid style.
THE TYRANNY OF TIME by Robert Banks. (Paternoster Press. £5.95) The keynote of this book is sounded in a quotation at its beginning 'one's attitude towards time will affect how one regards his life as a whole' (R. Lee).
The use or misuse of time clearly affects a person's character. Many people complain that they never seem to have time to do what they want. For some life is one hectic rush to get in as much time as possible.
The author raises a number of questions about time in modern days. Do we have less time than previous generations? Do we have more leisure? He also writes about the pressure of time today. Its effect upon the quality of family life and friendship and political life. He discusses whether there is a Christian response to time.
Is there a theology of time? In the latter part of the book he writes about practical ways in which the problem of time can be answered. There is need, he says for a more relaxed attitude towards work and leisure. "our regular periods of recreation should include meditation, prayer, appreciation of God's world, culture, creative activities.'' He adds "The biblical writings have provided a general framework within which we should operate with respect to time 'and have given us a set of perspectives from which to approach it'.
EVANGELISM by Harvie M
Conn, (Paternoster Press. £3.60) Harvie Conn is professor of Missions at an evangelical theological seminary in the United States.
His book is not an assalysis of the nature of evangelism. It is more an account of the relationship of evangelism to social questions. His argument is that evangelism must involve both verbal witness and exemplary deeds.
He therefore stresses the necessity of preaching but also spreading the message of the Gospel in such a way as to make it relevant in different cultures and in a variety of situations.
. Discussing the relationship between the sacred and the
secular he states that there should not be a complete dichotomy between the two; the secular and the sacred should in some way he conjoined.
The author gives plen Iof example to illustrate his ttiestv. and to show its success when properly applied.
Maurice Nassau SJ