Comments and Cautions Regarding “Why?”
My announced plan is to post a first commentary on “Why? On Suffering, Guilt and God” by A van de Beek this Thursday (May 4). But, as they say, “Man plans and God laughs.” So, God willing and (as they say in the South) “the creek don’t rise,” I still plan on that. However, I do have a doctor’s appointment this week and…. So please do not be dismayed if the planned first installment does not appear on time.
Please do not be discouraged by the first few chapters of “Why?” You might be tempted to ask “Why so many words that don’t go anywhere?” Like most European (at least Germanic and Dutch) theologians, van de Beek takes his time getting around to his thesis. He has to talk first about the problem implied in the title and some traditional Christian “solutions.”
Here is a little teaser. What if it were possible to do theology simply as non-philosophical interpretation of the biblical story? Is this a kind of “narrative theology?” (Van de Beek does not say that it is.) What if it were possible to set aside the long history and tradition of theology relying on “perfect being ontology” and just go with what the Bible says and implies about God and us? What if God is more like us than like Plato’s form of “The Good” or Aristotle’s “Unmoved Mover” or Hegel’s “Absolute Spirit?” What if, for example, in his “encounter” with free and sinful creatures made in his own image and likeness but rebellious, God experienced frustration and had to change—not became “becoming is more fundamental than being” (Heraclitus to Whitehead) but because his ways were not working?
*Note: Don’t refer to or quote from the book yet. Please wait until I have posted my first commentary on the book—Part 1 Introduction.*