What do we really mean by “God”?
Atheism is on the rise. Skeptical thinkers like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris vigorously attack belief in God as irrational or, even worse, dangerous. The so-called New Atheism has attracted millions of young people thanks to bestselling books such as The God Delusion and God Is Not Great.
How should Christians respond? How can we turn the tide of secularism and draw people back to God?
In this new six-part film series and study program, Bishop Robert Barron reaches into our rich intellectual tradition to teach us how. Using the insights of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Pope Benedict XVI, he uncovers a clear yet sophisticated understanding of what we mean by “God”.
Who is God? And why does he matter? Watch this series and you’ll not only learn the answers yourself, but you’ll discover how to share them with others – especially those who no longer believe.
Lesson 1 – Atheism and What We Mean by “God”
There are lots of views about God. Some see him as a mythical fairy in the sky, others as the Supreme Being. Some consider him a threat to our freedom. But for Christians, God is not one being among many. He’s not a competitor to our flourishing. God is that than which nothing greater can be thought, the strange and unique source of being itself. Before discussing anything about God we must become clear about one question: who is God?
Lesson 2 – St. Thomas Aquinas and the Paths to God
In the thirteenth century, St. Thomas Aquinas composed his famous five paths to God. His proofs don’t depend on the Bible or divine revelation. They simply start from the world around us—trees, birds, buildings, and even ourselves. Thomas noticed that none of these things have to exist. But if that’s the case, there must be some cause behind them, something grounding their existence. For Thomas and all Christians since, we know this source of all being by its ancient name—God.
Lesson 3 – The Divine Attributes
Once we understand who God is, we naturally wonder, “What is he like? How does he act?” We can never fully answer those questions. Yet we can know that God is self-sufficient—he doesn’t need the world but creates it out of love. God is omniscient, knowing all things. God is omnipresent, everywhere in existence. Through these attributes we discover a God who presses upon the world, always and everywhere, not aggressively but only with love.
LESSON 4 – Providence and the Problem of Evil
Perhaps the most difficult question in theology is this: Why does God allow evil? If God is all-good and all-powerful, then why are our lives marked with pain and suffering? These are not abstract questions. They go right to the heart of our experience. We have each wrestled with misery, wondering when God would intervene. As with Job, God does not give us answers. He instead offers a person: the crucified Jesus, through whom God enters our suffering and makes it his own.
Lesson 5 – Exploring the Trinity
The most important event in human history took place when God, infinite and incomprehensible, became a finite and familiar man, Jesus Christ. While some people reduce Jesus to a wise teacher, the testimony of scripture and the early Church makes it clear that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God incarnate. He’s the Second Person of the Trinity. And by his sacrificial death and glorious resurrection, we too can enter into Trinitarian life.
Lesson 6 – The God Who is Love
The book of Genesis reveals that we are made in the image and likeness of God. What does this mean? For St. Augustine it affirmed that our own traits—our minds, our self-knowledge, our self-love–can tell us something about God as a Trinity. What is Christianity finally about? What is the deepest meaning of being and all reality? The Christian answer is this: God is love, a play of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God Revealing Mysteries Most Relevant Verses Daniel 2:28
“However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed.
The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.”
Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven;
“He reveals mysteries from the darkness And brings the deep darkness into light.
“It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.
‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
“I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:
“As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future; and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place.
“To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have given me wisdom and power; Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”
“But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living man, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.
and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him
to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables,
And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that SEEING THEY MAY NOT SEE, AND HEARING THEY MAY NOT UNDERSTAND.
that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,
which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief.