On the God of the Christians tries to explain how Christians conceive of the God whom they worship. No proof for His existence is offered, but simply a description of the Christian image of God.
The first step consists in doing away with some commonly held opinions that put them together with the other “monotheists,” “religions of the book,” and “religions of Abraham.”
Christians do believe in one God, but they do not conceive of its being one in the same way as other “monotheists,” like the first of them, the pharaoh Akhenaton (18th century before J.C.), like some philosophers, e.g., Aristotle, or like Islam.
Christians admit the authority of a Holy Book, but don’t consider it as being the peak of God’s revelation. For them, revelation culminates in the person, life, and doings of Jesus - including his passion and resurrection.
Christians acknowledge the exemplary figure of Abraham, but the stories they tell about him they share with Jews, but not with Muslims, who see in him the first Muslim.
The Trinity is not a way to loosen the exclusivity of the only God. It is the very way in which God is one, i.e., in the inner richness and fecundity of love.
The God of the Christians is Father, but not male. Human males become fathers through the mediation of a female. God is so radically the Father of everything and, in a very special sense, of the eternal Son, that He is not in need of a partner. His fatherhood can in no way legitimate the superiority of the male over the female sex.
The God of the Christians doesn’t want us to obey Him in order to enslave us; He expects us to act freely according to what is good for us. Now, the Good is not something that He has in store and bestows on His creatures. The Good is what He is and He is the Good of His creatures.
The God of the Christians is merciful, but He takes seriously man’s freedom, even when man doesn’t accept Him. Hence, He doesn’t content Himself with forgiving fromthe outside. He has to contrive a system (technically speaking: salvation history or “economy of salvation”) that will enable Man freely to accept His love.
|Publisher:||St. Augustine's Press|
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Table of Contents
Chapter I: Disposing of three trios
I. Three monotheisms?
1. Monotheism is not essentially religious
2. There are not only three monotheisms
3. Do monotheism and polytheism simply
oppose one another?
4. The real question
5. Islamic monotheism
6. A mutual recognition of the
II. Three religions of Abraham?
1. The same Abraham?
2. Three religions of Abraham, or only one?
III. Three religions of the book?
1. A deceptive expression
2. Three very different books
3. Three relations to the book
4. The idea of revelation
IV. Three religions?
1. How do the three religions distinguish
themselves from one another?
2. Three books?
Chapter 2: To know God
I. To know
1. What does “to know” mean?
2. To know the singular
3. Self-knowledge, personal knowledge,
knowledge of God
4. To look in the right place
II. A particular object
1. “Open your eye, the good one!”
2. Faith and knowledge
3. To know a paradoxical object
4. Faith, will, love
Chapter 3: The one God
1. The dangers of monotheism
2. The rediscovery of polytheism
3. The dogma of the Trinity and political
1. “Monotheism”: a vague concept
2. Uniqueness and unity
3. The concrete problem
III. Union: the human model
1. The bond of charity
2. Love and identity
3. To accept the other as other
IV. Union: the Trinitarian model
2. To give rise to the other
Conclusion: United to the one God?
Chapter 4: God the Father
1. Sexuality and the image of God
2. Masculinity and virility
3. Creation and paternity
4. Uncoupling paternity and virility
Chapter 5: A God who has said everything
I. Nothing more to say
1. Power, or the word
2. A stingy grace?
3. The definitive religion
4. A God reduced to silence
5. The discourse of the God who is mute
II. The silence of the flesh
1. Who wants more, really wants less
2. Without return
3. The incarnate Word
4. The Trinity
III. After Everything
1. What to do when everything is said?
2. The word now belongs to us
3. A general rule
Chapter 6: A God who asks nothing of us
I. I know what to do
1. The amplitude of the normative
2. What does God ask?
3. The end of the Law
II. God’s expectation
1. The vegetal model
2. The Old Testament
3. The New Testament
III. Responding to the expectation
1. To eat
3. Pride and humility
Conclusion: The “meaning of life”
Chapter 7: A God who forgives sins
I. A few clarifications
1. Sin and pleasure
2. Offending God?
3. Sin presupposes forgiveness
II. My sin
1. Where is evil?
2. “For every sin, mercy”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
New atheists generally betray crass ignorance about the Christian idea of God, or even the idea of God in the best religious traditions of the world. However, the misconceptions that many believers, including devout Christians, harbor about the deity they worship are similarly unfortunate. Now, the great French scholar Rémi Brague has penned a terrific book clarifying the Christian notion of God. His first step is to clear the recent bad habit of including Christianity among the “religions of the book”. Revelation for Christians is not a book but a person, the person of Jesus of Nazareth, a real human being whom they believe to be Son of God. Then Brague helps the reader understand three key ideas about God: the God of the Christians has already spoken everything in Jesus; the God of the Christians asks nothing of us; and the God of the Christians is a God who offers to all forgiveness and remission of sins. For atheists this book should be a sort of academic duty. For Christian believers, it should be required reading. As Baron von Hugel put it in a letter to his niece Gwendolyn, “Before people worry about the Church or even about Christ, they must be helped to get their notions as to God sound and strong.” Brague’s book is a triumph of clear, illuminating, and liberating thinking about God.