Chapter 2: Divine Persuasion in the Old Testament

The Lure of God: A Biblical Background for Process Theism
by Lewis S. Ford

Chapter 2: Divine Persuasion in the Old Testament

This differentiation between persuasive and coercive power moves somewhat beyond the Old Testament context which rarely addresses itself to this particular contrast. Nonetheless its dominant experience of divine power seems to emphasize coercive elements, with the symbols for power drawn heavily from the military and political spheres. Its roots are found in the very early tradition that Yahweh is a God of war:

Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. (Ex. 15:21)

In the greatness of thy majesty thou overthrowest thy adversaries; thou sendest forth thy fury, it consumes them like stubble. (Ex. 15:7)

Throughout its history Israel relied upon the military prowess of Yahweh, first in the prosecution of holy war in defense of the tribal amphictyony, then against the enemies of the Lord’s anointed (Psalm 2), and finally in expectation of the destruction of all powers oppressing Israel in the last day. ‘‘Does evil befall a city, unless the Lord has done it?’’ (Amos 3:6b). He has all power, both to create and to destroy, and that destructive power could also be turned against Israel itself. The entire prophetic corpus ends on that note of dire warning, "lest I come and smite the land with a curse" (Mal. 4:6).

Exclusive concern with divine power, however, distorts the texture of biblical experience, which does not systematically articulate a series of doctrines carefully correlated with one another, such that each may safely be considered on its own merits. Rather, Israel bore witness to that action of God directly impinging upon the situation at hand, letting the total cumulative context make the necessary adjustments and modifications. God is free to act as he wills (Ex. 33:19), so the experience of what God is now doing is neither determined by nor could it possibly repudiate what God has already done. But by his covenant with Israel all of God’s actions could be accepted and understood as expressions of his age-long struggle and personal confrontation with his people and not as mere displays of raw, naked force. Divine power was interfused with moral purity, as witnessed, for example, in the experience of Isaiah the year King Uzziah died (Isaiah 6). Yet no matter how august, how holy, or how destructive God’s power might be, it was always experienced as the expression of a divine will in personal interaction with his people.

That context, however, is no longer our context. The history of God’s dealings with Israel can no longer serve as the all-embracing horizon for our understanding of God, which must now be correlated with a greatly expanded world history, a scientific understanding of nature and man, and a drastically altered social and ethical situation. It would appear that only a philosophical structure can provide a sufficiently inclusive context suitable to our needs. Therefore the hermeneutical task calls for the translation of Israel’s experience into a contemporary systematic and conceptual framework, one that can do justice to its historical concerns. Much hermeneutical discussion today centers upon options within existential thought. Without question existential emphases upon risk, subjective appropriation, and decision must be affirmed, and the call to authentic openness may be appreciated as a protest against impersonal ethical norms. But as a total context existential philosophy is methodologically too restrictive If faith can only be expressed in terms of human encounter, such that we are precluded from using any cosmological framework in expressing our understanding of God, then we have no way of appreciating God’s activity and manifestation of concern toward the rest of the created order. We are in danger of succumbing to a global anthropocentricity in our existential preoccupation, precisely at a time when members of the scientific community are reckoning with the strong probability of intelligent life inhabiting other worlds within our universe.

It is no accident, however, that the present hermeneutical concern in biblical circles received its impetus from existential concerns. For the problem was not so much how to update a first-century world view, as how to express the biblical experience within any systematic, cosmological framework. Insofar as a cosmology was able to articulate the biblical sense of divine sovereign power, it seemed destined to minimize any creaturely contribution to creation and to transform providence into determinism. In the official formulation of Christian doctrine, Whitehead complains, "the deeper idolatry, of the fashioning of God in the image of the Egyptian. Persian, and Roman imperial rulers, was retained. The Church gave unto God the attributes which belong exclusively to Caesar." 3

Process theism involves the persistent effort to conceive God’s activity primarily in terms of persuasion. It firmly opposes those views which from its perspective imply certain kinds of coercion within divine power. Here it is necessary to be precise as to what we mean by coercion. Not every cause which is not persuasive is therefore coercive. Nor is every efficient cause coercive, and every final cause persuasive. Coercion is readily understood on the experiential level of social or physical behavior, but its proper metaphysical definition is difficult to ascertain.

Not every limitation is coercive. The laws of logic, metaphysics, and nature (causal uniformities) in one sense limit what is possible, but they also structure it. I am not coerced by demands of consistency, nor by the law of gravity, nor by my inability to fly. Even within the realm of possibility so structured by logic, metaphysics, and causal regularity there is the further limitation that my present possibilities conform to the particular causal conditions of my past. What I can now become must emerge out of the totality of those past conditions impinging upon me. These dictate the overwhelming improbability of my becoming the next astronaut, or the next president. These past conditions may sometimes be felt as coercive, but they are not coercive as such. They are also the enabling conditions where I am presently able to actualize myself, since I can only actualize myself as the outcome of the past.

We may define coercion generally as any restriction upon the range of real possibility which would otherwise be available. This definition cannot be made fully precise, for it is impossible for the same event to have other causal conditions or actualizable possibilities than it in fact has. If they were different, that would be a different event. The event can only be compared with contrary-to-fact conditions, and then only in terms of those properties we intuitively feel would "ordinarily" or "normally" apply. A judgment about coercion is thus always comparative and relative.

In general, there are two ways in which effective real possibility can be restricted. The first way concerns what is usually thought of as efficient causation, the way in which past causal conditions affect present decisions. The nature, variety, and complexity of these conditions may either expand or restrict the range of alternative possibility open to us. Any external alteration of these past causal conditions which restricts the range of possibility otherwise available acts as a restraint, and is thus coercive.

On its own terms, classical theism is hardly coercive. God’s efficient causality is that which creates each being as it is, enabling it to exercise whatever freedom it is capable of. If, however, freedom is precisely that which cannot be derived from any external agency, including God, because it is the intrinsic self-creativity of each occasion, then divine efficient causality may be perceived to be coercive. Here we are comparing alternative metaphysical frameworks. If, in terms of process theism, God acts fundamentally through final causation, and the range of real possibility is correlated solely to finite past causal conditions, then the addition of some divine efficient causality may act as a restraint.

Suppose God’s efficient causality acts as one causal condition among the others. Then there is an additional factor the occasion must conform to. This additional factor cannot be an enabling factor, since the totality of finite causal factors was sufficient in itself to allow the occasion to actualize itself. It can only be a restricting factor.

Suppose the divine efficient causality unifies all the other causal conditions. If it does no more than simply transmit the totality of past finite conditions, it would not itself be peculiarly coercive, but then it would be difficult to see how God’s causality made any difference. If this divine efficient causality transcends the past conditions in some unlimited way, then the occasion would be completely determined by its past, and could not exercise its own self-creativity. Such absolute determination would be coercive.

This consequence is usually mitigated in classical theism by the supposition that when I act, it is also God acting through me. Finite and ultimate causation coincide. This identification is not possible in process theism, which sees self-decision and divine persuasion, along with the multiplicity of past causal conditions, as distinct but indispensable and complementary aspects of every act of freedom. Moreover, if efficient causation is identified with past causation, then if God exercises complete efficient causation, the past usurps all the space for present self-determination. Strictly speaking, if God is omnipotent, having all power, we can have none.

There is also a second form of coercion which primarily affects final causation. The range of real possibility relative to past causal conditions may remain constant, but the effective options within this range may be curtailed by threat. Such threats disturb the evaluation of future possibilities for their own sakes by attaching to these possibilities further consequences which are so undesirable as to eliminate them from serious consideration. While threats are generally most effective in restricting our options, promises of rewards may also work in this way. A possibility may no longer be judged on its own merits, but in terms of the reward it promises. In the absence of such coercive measures, however, the evaluation of real possibilities is genuinely persuasive, and influences purposively creaturely decision. The absence of complete causal determination is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for persuasion; there must also be the evaluation of alternative possibility. For process theism, this evaluation ultimately stems from God and constitutes the way he acts in the world by divine persuasion.

Both Plato and Aristotle proposed that God acts upon the world by persuasion, but this suggestion was not picked up by the early church. Christian theology would be vastly different if the church fathers had done so instead of adhering closely to the Greek ideal of perfection as Immutability. As a result the biblical tradition has rarely been interpreted in terms of divine persuasion. Yet there are a good many biblical themes that the concept of divine persuasion can appropriate and illuminate, particularly themes which are a source of embarrassment to exponents of classical omnipotence. In the remainder of this chapter we shall isolate features that illustrate divine persuasion drawn from the areas of creation, providence, and biblical authority, reserving for the next chapter the difficult theme of the interaction of persuasive and coercive elements within the biblical image of God as king.

Quite apart from biblical precedents, the temptation to interpret God’s role in creation in terms of efficient power is extremely great. If the entire created order is dependent for its existence upon his will, then it must be subject to his full control Such control of the creative process entails efficient causality, for the divine initiative must be prior to the outcome, and the effect must conform to its cause. Since this divine efficient causality was essentially unlimited, it was preeminently conceived as calling forth being from nothing. Man, like his fellow creatures, was a created substance ultimately brought into being solely through divine power. Yet once in being, man is capable of exercising his own freedom to the extent that God is willing to relinquish some areas within his complete control.

This basic model of divine creative control through efficient causality, however, is seriously defective in confronting the problem of evil, for then God ought to reduce the amount of unnecessary evil to a minimum and to curtail that exercise of human freedom which he foresees will go astray. Insofar as God controls the world, he is responsible for evil: directly in terms of the natural order, and indirectly in the case of man.

Divine persuasion responds to the problem of evil radically, simply denying that God exercises full control over the world. Plato sought to express this by saying that God does the best job he can in trying to persuade a recalcitrant matter to receive the impress of the divine forms. But the early church rejected this solution on the grounds that it establishes a cosmic dualism between God and evil which undercuts human responsibility for sin and denies the biblical witness to the essential goodness of creation. Process theism therefore faces the double task of making creation without control credible and of overcoming these objections to Plato’s doctrine.

The notion of divine persuasion entails a twofold expansion of our traditional understanding of freedom. It cannot be limited solely to man as an exceptional privilege to be enjoyed on divine sufferance, but some degree of freedom or spontaneity must be accorded to all of God’s creatures, even the lowly atom. Secondly, it is not so much that a being is first treated and then acts, as that its responsive activity in actualizing its own potentiality is part of the creative process itself. Divine persuasion maximizes creaturely freedom by respecting the creature’s own integrity in the very act of guiding its development toward greater freedom. God is not the cosmic watchmaker, but the husbandman in the vineyard of the world, fostering and nurturing its continuous growth throughout the ages; he is the companion and friend who inspires us to achieve the very best that is within us.

God’s dialogue with his creation is not limited to man, but is manifest in the entire evolutionary process. The world’s general advance toward increased complexity does not emerge by chance, but calls for a transcendent directing power constantly introducing richer possibilities of order as the occasion arises. God proposes and the world disposes. The creature may or may not embody that divine urge toward greater complexity, but insofar as that ideal is actualized, an evolutionary advance has been achieved. This process is directed but not controlled, for the necessary self-activity of the creature requires spontaneity of response. This spontaneity may be extremely minimal for elementary particles but it increases with every gain in complexity. Spontaneity matures as freedom. On the level of human freedom it becomes possible for this divine urge to leave the biological sphere and be directed toward the achievement of civilization, and for the means of divine persuasion now to be consciously felt in terms of ethical and religious aspiration.4 Not only we ourselves but the entire created order, whether consciously or unconsciously, is open to this divine persuasion, each in its own way.

Conceived in terms of persuasion, creation is the emergence of that which is genuinely new, requiring the new initiatives God is constantly introducing. It is not simply the recombination of the old, but depends upon novel structuring possibilities hitherto unrealized in the temporal world. The emergence of life is perhaps the single most dramatic example on this planet, yet even life also requires a material substratum of organic macromolecules out of which this radically novel form of existence could emerge. Creation is the fusion of novel form with inherited matter by the self-creative decision of the emergent creature. It cannot be simply conceived in terms of a creation out of nothing. In themselves the Old Testament traditions concerning creation, whether in the Priestly (Genesis 1) or Yahwistic (Genesis 2) accounts, or in Second Isaiah, Job, or the Psalms, do not insist upon this. Creation out of nothing is first mentioned in the Apocrypha: 2 Macc. 7:28.

Basically this doctrine was designed as a protective measure against Greek speculation designed to safeguard the essential goodness of God’s creation and man’s responsibility in the fall. It affirms that there is no recalcitrant evil external to man and the other creatures out of which the world must be made. Process theism can certainly agree with the intent behind this safeguard. God’s creative persuasion is wholly good, and the symbol of the fall may be generalized to apply to the gap between divine purpose and creaturely actualization in every creature. This is the point of identity between creation and fall to which Tillich has alluded.5 Evil enters the world through creaturely response, not from some preexistent chaos God is forced to work with.

Divine persuasion illuminates our understanding of the creative Word. Classically, the divine Word in John’s prologue is the Logos, that basic structuring principle whereby the world is a cosmos and not a chaos. While true, this suggests a certain static character inconsistent with the emergent, improvisatory, evolutionary nature of our universe. God speaks in creation to each of his creatures, according to its particular situation, persuading it to bring forth the best that is within it; this speech is continuously being uttered anew. Here the consecutive acts, "And God said, let there be

. . ." of the Priestly creation story, more adequately symbolize the dynamic character of the Word. Eight acts of divine speech schematically represent the untold multiplicity of divine urgings whereby God shaped this world, originally without form and void, into that which we may celebrate as a fit habitation for man.

The Word once spoken calls for a hearer, one capable of responding, whether on the human or subhuman level. If God says, "Let the earth put forth vegetation," we may understand the earth’s bringing forth vegetation as its response to that divinely evoked aim (Gen. 1:11-12). As king of the universe, God’s commands deserve such response. Speaking of the sun and the moon and the shining stars, the Psalmist writes: "For he commanded and they were created" (Ps. 148:5). It is not the case that he who commands our allegiance and obedience merely happens to be the creator of the world. It is the same Word spoken in creation that addresses us now, for the same purpose, which is the evocation of ever-increasing fulfillment of creaturely possibility. That Word spoken in the creation of the natural order also brought Israel into existence, and that Word incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth became the means whereby the church, the body of Christ, was created.

Israel itself was profoundly aware of the continuity of God’s activity in the formation of the natural order and in the emergence of Israel. Psalms 135 and 136 directly juxtapose these two events in successive stanzas, while Second Isaiah fuses God’s assault against the primeval waters of chaos with his assault against the waters of the Red Sea:

Was it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces,

that didst pierce the dragon?

Was it not thou that didst dry up the sea,

the waters of the great deep;

that didst make the depths of the sea a way

for the redeemed to pass over? (Isa. 51:9b-10)

The collective memory of Israel concerning its own creation in the total Exodus event places the emphasis upon the intervening power of Yahweh, who "with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great tenor, with signs and wonders" (Deut. 26:8) brought them out of Egypt into a land flowing with milk and honey. At the same time, however, this memory preserves traditions concerning the utterance of a divine Word calling forth obedient response: the commission to Moses at the burning bush, and the commandments of Yahweh at Sinai. The covenant between Yahweh and Israel clearly symbolized the reciprocal character of effective creative activity: divine initiative and creaturely response. Israel’s emergence and continued existence depended upon the conjoint presence of the divine Word and its own faithfulness to that Word, and this may serve as the paradigm for understanding creation.

From the standpoint of divine persuasion, providence is simply another way of looking at God’s guidance of the historical process already manifest in creation. Classical omnipotence, however, in affirming God’s sovereign control over the future, must look for a final break with the ambiguities of history in which God’s goodness is unambiguously made manifest. Whatever the historical causes for the apocalyptic world view might be, its logical basis is a belief in God’s full control of that which is to come. If God’s activity is not readily apparent within the present Vicissitudes of good and evil, that is because his hand is now stayed, but if God has the power to actualize the good unambiguously, then his goodness requires that he do so, and that right early. The more we feel the tension between God’s sovereign omnipotence and the wickedness of the world, the greater will be our sense of expectation that the end must come quickly; any delay becomes increasingly intolerable. Moreover, since it is God alone who can bring about this good, independently of the course of creaturely activity, it can be determined "from the foundations of the world" when and how this should be brought about.

Process theism cannot share this apocalyptic expectation because it sees the future as organically growing out of its past. All such actualization depends upon the vicissitudes of creaturely response. This does not preclude faith and hope, but such faith is a trusting and loyal devotion to God’s purposes in the face of a risky and uncertain future, not belief in a divine timetable. Insofar as the whole creation trusts God to realize the purposes he proposes to us, then the good will triumph. The continued presence of evil, both in man and in the natural order, testifies to the very fragmentary realization of creaturely faith in God. Nonetheless, we may hope that the grace of God may be received and permeate all beings and in that hope do our part in the great task. Such hope prohibits other-worldly withdrawal, but calls upon us to redouble our efforts to achieve the good in the world.

Divine providence cannot be understood as the unfolding of a predetermined course of events. Prophecy is not prediction, but the proclamation of divine intent, dependent for its realization upon the continued presence of those conditions which called forth that intent and upon the emergence of the means whereby that intent may be realized. Isaiah’s proclamation of the destruction of Judah was dependent upon the further, persistent opposition of Israel to God’s commandments and upon the power of Assyria. For the prophets, then, God becomes the great improvisor and opportunist seeking at every turn to elicit his purpose from every situation: if not by the hand of Sennacherib, then by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. If the nation of Israel will not actualize his redeeming purpose for man, then the task must be reserved for the faithful remnant. If that faithful remnant fails, we may then confess that God’s aim becomes focused upon a single carpenter from Nazareth. This history is quite contingent and open-ended in its making, but it becomes the way in which God achieves his purposes in one way or another.

God’s general, everlasting purpose is everywhere one and the same: the elicitation of the maximum richness of existence in every situation. Yet because creaturely response varies, the achievement of this good is highly uneven and follows many different routes. In biological evolution many other lines were tried -- amphibians, reptiles, marsupials -- before mammals emerged, and of the mammals only certain primates were responsive to the call to become human. Among men the response to God varied considerably, and even when that response was intense, God’s address must be radically different depending upon their particular circumstances. The Word addressed to Abraham was not the same as the Word addressed to Ikhnaton or Gautama or Lao-Tzu.

Once that response has been made, it establishes a new situation permitting the intensification of divine purpose. Now God has increased potentialities with which to work. Abraham’s journey establishes the nomadic conditions favorable to the emergence of a patriarchal cult whose God is no longer tied down to one particular locale. The cherished memory of a promised land then forms the background for the possibility contained within the call of Moses, while the traditions of the Exodus and Sinai in turn provide the framework in which the struggle between the prophets and the kings could occur. This enabled the prophets to declare their higher patriotism in proclaiming the destruction of their own land. It is the contingent character of this human response to the divine Word which generates the particularities that God then uses in the furtherance of his general aim at the intensification of value. The history of Israel assumes such religious importance because it proved to be the arena of a very dramatic intensification of divine purposes, generating both the expectation of the Lord’s anointed and the awareness of God’s involvement in the suffering of the world.

In addition to these themes of creation and providence, let us look briefly at the problem of biblical authority. As we all know, the God of the philosophers is not the same as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But why is this so? I think that classical theism found no really satisfactory answer to this question insofar as it maintained that all of God’s attributes are strictly necessary. If God’s control over the world is absolute in that it is independent of all creaturely contingencies, then God’s activity may flow directly from his unchanging nature which was deemed wholly necessary and self-sufficient. But it is the business of philosophy to ascertain that which is purely necessary and universal, and any limitation placed upon philosophical reason ultimately appears to be arbitrary. If God’s nature and activity are wholly necessary, then Hegel is right in supposing the biblical God to be an historically conditioned, concrete guise of that which finds its purest expression in the philosophical Absolute.

Classical theism has a penchant for universality, thus encroaching upon the proper dominion of philosophy, which has its own specific procedures and canons for evidence. Yet classical theism is acutely aware of its divergence from most philosophies. We are urged to believe various doctrines concerning the incarnation, the atonement, and the resurrection of Christ for which philosophical evidence or argument is quite inadequate, on the grounds that in these religious matters human knowledge can never suffice. Yet as Brand Blanshard has recently written:

The world seemed to me one whole, and reason [meaning in this context our natural cognitive faculties] the only instrument we had with which to explore it. But if so, could the standards of belief that we applied in philosophy and science be dropped when we turned to religion? . . . There seemed to me to be an ethics of belief whose clear mandate was ‘‘Adjust your belief to the evidence," and I could not see why, if this was valid for common sense and science, it should not be valid for religion also.6

It is no accident that the leading exponents of process theism have shied away from revelatory or kerygmatic theology. Even Charles Hartshorne, whose "metaphysics of love" seeks to portray the salient features of Christian faith, establishes his conclusions solely upon philosophical and even rationalistic criteria. There is an unspoken skepticism of traditional beliefs which lack sufficient philosophical justification. Yet this need not be so. The logic of divine persuasion, moreover, requires us to recognize the limitation of the philosophical approach to God, not within its proper domain, to be sure, but with respect to the totality of divine activity. Process theism recognizes that God possesses both necessary and contingent features, while philosophy can only satisfactorily examine the necessary ones. Regarding these contingent features, we must resort to other methods, and here respect the evidence of historical testimony. Only because classical theism tended to conceive of all of God’s attributes as universal and necessary, and thus properly within the scope of philosophical scrutiny, did such a problem ever arise.

God’s generic attributes are necessary, and his steadfast purpose is everlasting, but his experience and activity are dependent upon the contingencies of the world. God’s total experience of the world is constantly growing and being enriched by the world’s growth. God’s concrete response to the world in evoking the maximum value from every situation must be constantly shifting with new circumstances and can only be fully relevant to the world insofar as it is sensitive to these contingent developments. But if philosophical inquiry thus discovers contingent aspects in God’s full actuality, it also discovers the intrinsic limits of its own inquiry into the mystery of God, for no amount of ingenious argument can deduce the concrete, historical character of that which happens to be, but which could have been otherwise.

Process is the abstract, necessary matrix whose contingent actualization is history. It is quite appropriate to speak of the history of God’s activity if this is bound up with concrete response to creaturely activity, as both biblical traditions and process theism can affirm. The Old Testament is above all a theological document, although we often fail to appreciate this in supposing that all theology must express itself in systematic, universal concepts. Its medium of expression is historical recital, which concentrates not on what God necessarily is but on what he has contingently done.

Process philosophy can complement this biblical recital by providing a description of the necessary conditions whereby such contingent divine activity is possible, just as the biblical recital can complement this abstract philosophical outline by giving it specific, concrete historical contours. This historical development is completely open-ended, for process thought does not impose any particular pattern of historical development upon history, since God is ever resourceful in finding new perfections for creation to strive for. The perfections aimed at are concrete and particular, arising out of the historical contingencies: a promised land and a long-awaited Messiah for Israel. Process theism need not dissolve these particularities into symbolic manifestations of universal truth, since it can proclaim a God vitally interested in precisely these particularities whose activity is shaped by their peculiar character. These aims do not lose their particularity in being broadened to embrace all mankind, since from the divine perspective man is only one particular form of creation.

Our justification for the appeal of divine persuasion is broadly philosophical: its inherent reasonableness, its applicability to all we know about the world we live in, and its consonance with our best ethical and religious insights. As such, it is at least a partially alien criterion by which to appreciate biblical traditions, since their understanding of divine power is rather different, a subject we shall turn to in the next chapter. We can recommend process theism, however, for the hermeneutical task of translating these traditions into a systematic context appropriate to our contemporary situation, without thereby losing Israel’s peculiar witness to the action of God in its history.

History need not be solely an immanent process which can at best point only symbolically to the divine, for that historical involvement may also shape the concrete actuality of God himself. Since it is in the particular, historical way that God was able to intensify his purposes through the agency of Israel that we experience our salvation, the Bible as the historical record of that way possesses authority for our lives. That authority cannot be found in its particular concepts of the divine nature, for these concepts must be open to correction and revision from whatever source is open to us. Yet in the absence of any comparable witness to the intensification of divine purpose for man this historical recital is indispensable. We may perhaps want to explain and understand Isaiah’s experience somewhat differently, but that Isaiah did experience God’s glory can only be discovered from the historical record. We can best proclaim God’s saving acts for us by retelling Israel’s history. If our retelling is selective, being told in systematic terms appropriate to our own age, we are only following the practice of the judges and the prophets themselves.7


1. RM, p. 55.

2. AI, p. 213.

3. PR, p. 520.

4. See RM, p. 119.

5. Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 2 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1957), pp. 39-44.

6. Brand Blanshard, ‘Rationalism in Ethics and Religion" in Peter A. Bertocci, ed., Mid-Twentieth Century American Philosophy: Personal Statements (New York: Humanities Press, 1974), p. 40.

7. Two such examples of this selective retelling of Israel’s past may be found in Joshua 24 and Ezekiel 20