A Second Pass: God as the Potential For Goodness

Mitchell Silver

in A Plausible God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226818
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236565 | DOI:
A Second Pass: God as the Potential               For Goodness

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This chapter discusses the doctrine that God is the feature of the universe that makes good things possible. God is characterized as the potential that enables us to do good. This enabling capacity sometimes leads to the characterization of God as sheer potency, as energy that animates one's angelic urges. Lerner calls God the “Force”, thereby echoing Star Wars theology. However, God as simply the ur-energy of the universe is problematic for the theologians' purposes. Pure energy, however powerful, aims at nothing. Thus potential for self-consciousness is the good that the theologians frequently identify as God. The theologians' most frequent characterization of God is the universe's potential for better self-consciousness. God as a transforming power is a central doctrine of our theologians, but the precise nature and locus of that power is uncertain, especially when trying to determine whether the divine transforming power is transcendent or immanent.

Keywords: potential; energy; Force; goodness; transforming power; transcendence; immanence

Chapter.  4084 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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