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God Is Not a StoryRealism Revisited$
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Francesca Aran Murphy

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199219285.001.0001

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Naming God

Naming God

Chapter:
(p.85) 3 Naming God
Source:
God Is Not a Story
Author(s):

Francesca Aran Murphy

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199219285.003.0003

This chapter is about arguments for the existence of God. It shows how grammatical Thomists like Herbert McCabe and Denys Turner make proving that God exists into a matter of proving that it is rational to question whether God exists. Their leading question, ‘why is there something rather than nothing?’ assumes rather than proves that the world is contingent: it takes us around the ‘story’ of God's existence from the inside of faith, and does not refer to any specific creative action of God. Circulating thus within human psychological acts, the grammatical Thomist argument is focussed on the act of questioning rather as a movie holds our attention by repeatedly posing new questions, causing us to suspend disbelief but not to credit it with real agency. The way in which story Barthians use the ‘ontological argument’ makes the Biblical stories about God into an evidential basis of God's existence. Robert Jenson's ‘story Thomism’ takes Thomistic and Barthian narrative theology to a logical conclusion by making ‘God’ a character within a wider story, whose plot requires ‘contingent’ and ‘Creator’ characters.

Keywords:   deductive, inductive, contingency, language, edit, question, logic, Thomas Aquinas, essence, existence

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