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A Plausible GodSecular Reflections on Liberal Jewish Theology$
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Mitchell Silver

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226818

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226818.001.0001

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A Second Pass: God as the Potential For Goodness

A Second Pass: God as the Potential For Goodness

Chapter:
(p.21) 3 A Second Pass: God as the Potential For Goodness
Source:
A Plausible God
Author(s):

Mitchell Silver

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823226818.003.0003

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

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