The God Insight: Vengeance or Destiny?

  • John Bacon


My God is neither a Creator, much less an avenger, but rather the ultimate final cause (telos)—the end for the sake of which the cosmos works and our lives are lived out (partly in striving, as well as in pain and disappointment). This God is what Sartre denied—the meaning of life and of natural phenomena. To Aristotle’s problem of the uniqueness of the Prime Mover: if two Gods were per impossibile to exist, one would have to embrace the other’s telos. So God’s existence is to be taken for granted, but not as proven or empirically necessitated. Such a God is essential to us, but He is not detritus of the Big Bang, nor incarnate of the Virgin Mary, not omnipotent, nor comforting, nor prayer-accessible. Although such a God is undeniably a kind of let-down, He still explains the fundamental importance and value of the religious impulse in us.


Good Explanation Meaningful Life Intentional Object Childbed Fever Conversation Partner 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aristotle. 1941. Phsyica. In The basic works of Aristotle, ed. Richard McKeon. New York: Random House [Oxford University Press], ch 6, 198a-198b et seq.Google Scholar
  2. Bacon, John. 1991. “Real beauty”, Sydney Society of Literature and Aesthetics (colloquium, 4 Oct. 1991) 11:30 am. [Greeted with polite silence.]Google Scholar
  3. Bacon, John, and Richters Juliet. 1990. What shall we live for? A dialogue. In On being human: Meditations on experience, ed. Nelson Venetia, 9–17. Melbourne: David Lovell.Google Scholar
  4. Brams, Steven. 2003. Biblical games: Game theory and the Hebrew Bible. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Brentano, Franz. 1874. Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunk. Leipsic: Dunker & Humblot. [Interestingly for our purposes here: Another book of ex-priest Brentano’s was Die Lehre Jesu and ihre bleibende Bedeutung!]Google Scholar
  6. Buber, Martin. 1950. Zwei Glaubensweisen. Zürich: Manesse Verlag.Google Scholar
  7. Costigan, Mairéad F. 1998. Ironic irony in the Phaidros, Honors thesis, Department of Trad. & Mod. Philosophy, School of Philosophy, University of Sydney, November 1998. [Eugenio E. Benítez, supervisor.]Google Scholar
  8. Dawkins, Richard. 2006. The God delusion. London: Bantom Press pbk. [Provoked this paper.]Google Scholar
  9. Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. London: Caxton, undated; orig. 1855–1857. [Amy Dorrit, protagonist; her father William Dorrit, “the Father of the Marshalsea”; her intended Arthur Clennam; his mother Mrs. Clennam.]Google Scholar
  10. Dickenson, Emily. 1999. The poems of Emily Dickenson, ed. R.W. Franklin. Belknap Press/Harvard University Press. [the definitive ed.]Google Scholar
  11. Dostoyevski, Fyodor. 1963–1969. Brat’ya Karamazov’ [The brothers Karamazov]. Moscow: B. V. Voronestkiy. Trans. Constance Garnett and Ralph E. Matlaw. New York: Norton, 1976; Harmondsworth: Penguin pbk, 1958.Google Scholar
  12. Edwards, Jonathan. 1995. Sinners in the hands of an angry God. In A Jonathan Edwards reader, ed. E. John Smith et al. New Haven: Yale University Press. orig. 1741.Google Scholar
  13. Einstein, Albert. 1972. Letter quoted in Banesh Hoffman. In Albert Einstein, creator and rebel. New York: Viking. p. 195 [Other Einstein quotes op. cit.].Google Scholar
  14. Eliot, George. Adam Bede. London: Dent/Everyman, 1906; Harmondsworth: Penguin pbk, 1980. [Adam Behe, protagonist; his intended Dinah Morris; Arthur Donnithorne, local “squire”; Hetty Sorrel, his mistress, unwed mother and suicide.]Google Scholar
  15. Eliot, George. 1973. Middlemarch. London: Pan Books pbk; orig. 1871. [Dorothea Brooke, protagonist; her first husband Edward Casaubon; her intended Will Ladislaw; Mr. Lydgate the doctor; pretty airhead Rosamond Vincy.]Google Scholar
  16. Eliot, George. Silas Marner, the weaver of Raveloe. Edinburgh/London: Blackwood, undated; orig. 1861. [Silas Marner, protagonist; his ward Hephzibah (“Eppie”).]Google Scholar
  17. Franklin, James. 2007. Letter to Ed. Quadrant, vol. 51.6 (Junde 2007) p. 9 (re Hodgson, 2007)Google Scholar
  18. Gellar, Sarah Michelle: see Whedon.Google Scholar
  19. General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA (ed.). 1933. The hymnal, 275. Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Christian Education.Google Scholar
  20. Handel, George Frederick. 1742. The Messiah, dir Handel. Dublin: Premier.Google Scholar
  21. Hardy, Thomas. 1975. Life and death of the mayor of Casterbridge: A story of a man of character. London: Macmillan; orig. 1878. [Mayor Richard Henchart, protagonist; his wife Susan; their fancied daughter Elizabeth-Jane Newson.]Google Scholar
  22. Hempel, Carl.G. 1966. Philosophy of natural science. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  23. Herberg, Will. 1960. Judaism and modern man: An interpretation of Jewish religion. New York: Meridian.Google Scholar
  24. Hodgson, David. 2007. Dawkins and the morality of the Bible. Quadrant 51(5): 38–43. Review of The God delusion.Google Scholar
  25. Holschneider, Andreas. 1960. Zauberspuk and und philosophishce Oper” in program notes to recording of Die Zauberflöte, Karl Böhm, dir., Berliner Philharmonkier RIAS Kammerchor (Deutsche Grammophon #138 982, unplaced, undated; ca. 1960) pp. 7f. [Eng. Pp. 12f.]Google Scholar
  26. Hugo, Victor. 1862. Les misérables. Brussels: Lacroix & Verboeckhoven. [Jean Valjean, protagonist; his daughter Cossette; her boyfriend Marius.]Google Scholar
  27. Jacobs, Mary C. [“Watty Piper”]. 1910. The little engine that could. Daughters of the American Revolution; repr. New York: Platt & Monk, 1954. [A classic, wildly popular American childrens’ book.]Google Scholar
  28. Job [’lov] in K e tuvim, in Tanach (q.v.).Google Scholar
  29. Kaplan, Mordecai Menachem. 1957. Judaism as a civilization: Toward a reconstruction of American-Jewish life. Philadelphia: Jewish Publishing Society.Google Scholar
  30. Maler, Johan. 1978. Jesus von Nazareth in der Tamudischen Überlieferung. Darmastadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. [An invaluable critical compendium of Jewish-Christian historical and theological encounters from post-New-Testament times to the 20th C.]Google Scholar
  31. Mozart, Wolfgang A. (composer), and Emmanuel Schikaneder (librettist & Papageno). Die Zauberflöte. Theatre an der Wien, Vienna: Premier, 30 September 19710. [Prince Tamino and his intended Pamina, co-protagonists; Sarastro, Masonic CEO; Queen of the Night; sundry supporting cast.]Google Scholar
  32. Oxford Wolfson College. 1998. College record 1997-98. Oxford: Wolfson College.Google Scholar
  33. Pagels, Elaine. 1995. The origin of Satan. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  34. Plato. Phaidros, 369–367. oral pub, Athens: Academy Press. [A dialogue from Plato’s third or mature period, presumably before the second Sicilian trip] [Socrates, Phaidros; Lysias in absentia.]Google Scholar
  35. Richerts, Juliet Coleman: see Bacon.Google Scholar
  36. Stifter, Aldabert. 1948. Brigitta. Stuttgart: Reclam pbk. [Mag. Stefan Murai, protagonist; his intended Brigitte; and edified youth as narrator.]Google Scholar
  37. Taylor, Richard. 1970. Good and evil: A new direction. New York/London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  38. Edited: Tol e dot Yeshu [Antecedents of Jesus]; see Maler [nasty anti-Christian stories].Google Scholar
  39. Tomasso di Aquino. 1972. [The five ways of proving God’s existence] An Aquinas reader, ed. Mary T. Clarck, from Summa theological I, quaestio 2, a. 3; pp. 122f et seq. Garden City: Doubleday Image pbk.Google Scholar
  40. Edited: K e tuvim Book 3, in Tanach [trans. Holy Bible, Old Testament, Book 18]. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 5759; trans. Toronto/New York/Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1953.Google Scholar
  41. Whedon, Joss [Joseph Hill Whedon], prod. 1997–2003. Buffy the vampire slayer. Los Angeles/Hollywood: Warner Bros. TV Network. [Featuring the brilliant Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Anne Summers, the Slayer, and the “Scoobies,” her loyal circle of friends at UC Sunnydale.]Google Scholar
  42. Wine, Sherwin T. 1995. Judaism beyond God: A radical new way to be Jewish. Michigan: Ktav Publishing House/Society for Humanistic Judaism/Milan Press.Google Scholar
  43. Zemach, Eddy M. 1991. Real beauty. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 16: 249–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zemach, Eddy M. 1997. Real beauty. College Park: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations