More on Hart

February 27, 2014

There has been quite a lot of commentary on David Bentley Hart’s latest book The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss. It has ranged from brazenly uninformed (Jerry Coyne in The New Republic) to thoughtfully engaged (William Carroll at Public Discourse). A short review of the book, by Mark Anthony Signorelli, appeared recently at The University Bookman, and it strikes me as one of the more nimble and informative overviews that I have seen. Signorelli writes, in part:

Enthralled to the mechanistic picture of reality, modern persons—even devout believers—have a hard time envisioning God’s relationship to nature through any other conceptual lens than efficient causality, positing him as the one who bestows on matter its appearance and proper functioning. Hence the ubiquitous, though irritatingly imprecise, image of God the watchmaker. But this is to turn God into only one more being among beings, robbing him of his unique status as Being itself, and the origin of all other beings, complete with the remarkable philosophical ramifications this status bears. Modern atheists, for all of their supposed fury against theistic belief, have only ever aimed their barbs at a supreme being, and thus have never “actually written a word about God.

I do wonder about that initial “enthralled to” — which surely ought to be either “enthralled by” or “in thrall to”, should it not? — but I nonetheless recommend the whole thing.

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