Reinterpreting the Divine
About The Book
Is there a God?
Why are we here on this earth?
Is there any meaning to our existence?
Could we just be accidents of nature?
These questions are discussed in the book.
In this book, Lynne Renoir questions the traditional view of God as an all-powerful being who created the universe and governs it according to his will. She argues that such an idea can be challenged philosophically, and that it does not accord with discoveries in modern science. On the other hand, she suggests, it is evident that experiences of transformation can occur in the lives of individuals who wholeheartedly embrace religious beliefs.
She explores possible explanations for this situation by proposing that truth is found in the inner dimensions of a person’s being, and is not something that can be imposed from an external source. Renoir’s work was the result of her own difficulties in experiencing the transformation she sought through her Christian faith, and followed years of research undertaken in the areas of philosophy, science, and psychology.
God Interrogated makes a worthy, impartial and measured assessment of the human relationship with the numinous delivered with a neutral tone and, it seems, with a certain pragmatism in mind.
Section 1 - God and Philosophy
The role of reason
Examining human experience
The leap of faith
Beyond revealed truth
God as mystery
A truth beyond God
An uncertain question
Section 2 - God and Science
The infinite universe
Participation in the divine
Section 3 - God and Belief
Exploring the mind
Among the most important questions that have ever been asked are those concerning the way everything we know came into being, and how this process or event may be related to the purposes of our existence. Three major religious traditions known as monotheisms attribute the whole of reality to a divine, all-powerful creator. The earliest, Judaism, holds that God revealed himself to the Israelites, and that if they obey his laws he will acknowledge them as the people he has chosen to bring his light to the world. Christianity teaches that God came to earth in the form of his son, Jesus of Nazareth. Through faith in the saving death and resurrection of Jesus, it is claimed, our relationship with God, broken due to our sinfulness and rebellion against him, can be restored. Within Islam, the name of the one true God is Allah, and the Quran is his most perfect revelation. Muhammad is the final prophet sent by Allah to teach human beings how to live.
The decision to believe in God may result from a sense that there must be a higher power who is responsible for everything that exists. Alternatively, it may arise from an instinctive feeling that there is something more to life than can be explained by what is immediately apparent. Belief in God may also be based on the awareness of deficiencies in a person’s experience. Among the needs that could met in this context would be a sense of having sins forgiven, of receiving divine love, guidance, and protection, and of finding meaning and purpose in life.
Although the existence of God cannot be proved, a person who decides to exercise faith in him would expect to receive an assurance that some kind of transformation has occurred as a result of taking that decision. It is possible however for a person to accept the doctrines of a given faith and to put into practice the behaviours it requires, without at the same time experiencing any deep-seated sense of inner change. If on other hand such an awareness should become a reality, the individual would have reason to regard the experience as a confirmation of the teachings embraced.
One of the factors working against the validation of beliefs by personal experience is that similar kinds of transformation can take place in the lives of adherents within the different traditions. Although there are certain areas of commonality among the teachings of the monotheisms, a comparison of specific doctrines shows that many of them are contradictory, or at least inconsistent, so that what is held to be true in one system of belief would be regarded as false in another. An example would be the Christian doctrine that God became man in the person of Jesus, whereas the idea of an incarnated God is regarded as blasphemous in both Judaism and Islam. From this it follows that if similar kinds of inner change occur in the lives of believers from the different faiths, transformative processes based on truth would appear to exist alongside those based on untruth. Because of the distinction between the experiences themselves and the concepts on which they are based, inner change of itself is insufficient to establish the accuracy of the beliefs held, regardless of the status attributed to them by the individual.
My own interest in this subject arose from fifty years of deep commitment to the Christian faith. Although I had no doubt that Christianity was true, I did not experience anything of the transformation that is described in the scriptures as being normative for the believer. During this period I met people of various religious persuasions who were living examples of the qualities I lacked.
Lynne Renoir has created an astonishing tour de force, thoroughly exploring attitudes to God from philosophy to theology and even quantum physics. This book will give you a grounding in many areas of human thought and help you with your own inner journey.
This book will appeal to both those that believe and those that do not equally, for even though it is rooted in the Christian tradition, the undeniable sense we all feel, at times, of simply trying to make sense of how God fits with philosophy, theology, quantum physics and just plain old rational philosophy, is a question (amongst others) taken into consideration here; and, for the most part, wholly answered.