In the article “Bridging a false divide” (First Things, 2014), Bishop Robert Barron touches on several topics, but this thought touches on God’s nature and Divine Action in Creation and is worth sharing:
“One of the characteristics of the books of Samuel is that God’s activity, though clear and definite, is never in competition with human agency. According to the author of these texts, the God of Israel never “intervenes” or appears as a deus ex machina.
In fact, the entire narrative — from David’s youth, through his adventures with Saul and Jonathan, to his accession to the kingship and his ultimate demise — makes perfect sense when read through psychological or political lenses. It is a coherent human story. But at the same time, the author insists that through all of this very human drama, through these ordinary events and activities, God is working his purposes out.
But such a state of affairs is possible only if God is not one finite cause among many, not one more item in a nexus of conditioned agencies. Only if God is construed as a properly transcendent actor could this sort of arrangement obtain, for otherwise he would be jostling for position on the same playing field with human agents.
And this, of course, is precisely what we find within the biblical context, wherein God is presented, not as an item, however supreme, within the world, but as the creator of the world in its entirety. Second Isaiah signals this truth with particular clarity by highlighting, over and again, the qualitative otherness of the creator God. Yahweh is not only greater than the other gods; he is incomparable to them.”
Note: this text was first shared in 2014 on the SMF facebook page.
Picture: King David by Walter Habdank
Previous post on this topic on our blog: Is God a Puppet Master?