A Review of the Concept of God by Ronald Nash

Ronald Nash is one of my favourite apologists and philosophers; as such I always find his books to be intriguing reads. This books was actually not on my reading list for the summer, but I ended up wrestling with some of the issues it dealt with during my studies for the large project I am currently working on, deciding to pick it up I found it to be a rewarding read. Nash, a late reformed philosopher from the Southern Baptist tradition, in The Concept of God takes up the topic of the philosophical conception of God. If one approaches this book desiring to read an exposition on what Scripture has to say on the nature of God, it will prove to be a disappointing read; but Nash is unapologetic about the fact that this is not his intent with this book (9-10). Nash in the Concept of God examines the “Classical” conception of God attributed to Thomism in the face of the challenge posed by the Panentheism[1]of Process Theology. It is Nash’s contention that Aristotle’s Unmoved Mover that made its way into Christianity through Thomism is, as Process theology suggests, incompatible with the loving and merciful God of Scripture; but he does not see this as requiring Christians to either accept an inconsistent Thomisitic Christianity or take up the god of Process Theology, what he calls for is the adoption of a concept of God that is more in line with Scripture and less married to Aristotelian philosophy. He discusses the packet of attributes accepted by Thomism and shows how not every attribute here (like impassibility and pure actuality) is actually required by Scripture and, in fact, how some cause internal contradiction with our understanding of God. I found it to be an intriguing read on the philosophical conceptions of God in the late 20th century; while it will not prove to be a theological treatise on God’s nature, this is not its intent and when read for its intended purpose it provides a great philosophical supplement to theological studies, a solid critique of the Panentheistic and Thomistic conceptions of God, and a good introduction to the philosophical study of religion and Theism.

This book gets a rating of 5/5


[1] The god of Panentheism is not identical with the world, as in Pantheism, nor transcendent over it, as with Theism, but is interdependent with it (23).

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