The Greatest Story Ever Told

It is extremely refreshing to find probably the greatest philosopher of our time writing something like the following in his newest book:

For according to the Christian story, God, the almighty first being of the universe and the creator of everything else, was willing to undergo enormous suffering in order to redeem creatures who had turned their backs on him. He created human beings; they rebelled against him and constantly go contrary to his will. Instead of treating them as some Oriental monarch would, he sent his Son, the Word, the second person of the Trinity into the world. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He was subjected to ridicule, rejection, and finally the cruel and humiliating death of the cross. Horrifying as that is, Jesus, the Word, the son of God, suffered something vastly more horrifying: abandonment by God, exclusion from his love and affection: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ All this to enable human beings to be reconciled to God, and to achieve eternal life. This overwhelming display of love and mercy is not merely the greatest story ever told; it is the greatest story that could be told. (Plantinga, Alvin. Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2011, 58-59.)

As noted above the book is Where the Conflict Really Lies by Alvin Plantinga. Theologians will undoubtedly find problems with the remainder of the work, and certainly the whole book does not read like the quote above, but I remain grateful for such a sharp thinker who unabashedly states and defends his Christian convictions in the face of the greatest philosophical challenges leveled at believers today.

And the book is definitely worth a read.


One Comment

Ron Krumpos

Plantinga’s book is primarily directed to atheists (especially naturalists), but has lessons for apologetics as well. Most religious people respect science and all use its findings. Many scientists are religious, some very much so. Both science and religion, however, have limitations which should be mutually respected.

In my free ebook on comparative mysticism, “the greatest achievement in life,” is a quote by Albert Einstein: “…most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and most radiant beauty – which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive form – this knowledge, this feeling, is the center of all religion.”

E=mc², Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, is probably the best known scientific equation. I revised it to help better understand the relationship between divine Essence (Love, Grace, Spirit), matter (mass/energy: visible/dark) and consciousness (f(x) raised to its greatest power). Unlike the speed of light, which is a constant, there are no exact measurements for consciousness. In this hypothetical formula, basic consciousness may be of insects, to the second power of animals and to the third power the rational mind of humans. The fourth power is suprarational consciousness of mystics, when they intuit the divine essence in perceived matter. This was a convenient analogy, but there cannot be a divine formula.


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