|Eye of God Nebula (Image: karenquinto.com)|
Simple truth miscalled simplicity. – Shakespeare
Earlier this month the New Republic did something rather brazen: it published an article attacking a book that the author freely admits he did not read. In the piece, outspoken atheist Jerry A. Coyne claims that he is not impressed by David Bentley Hart’s new book, The Experience of God and amazingly, without having read the work, he concludes that Hart’s thesis is “meaningless”. Now, I have not read Hart’s book either, but I have studied enough philosophy to know that the main idea Coyne finds so opaque—that “God is the condition of the possibility of anything existing at all”—is one of the oldest and most venerable notions of God, arguably going all the way back to Plato, and traditionally believed to be reflected in Exodus 3. It is certainly not meaningless, even if great minds have disagreed about it.