Friedrich Nietzsche’s statement God is dead (German: “Gott ist tot”), has had many interpretations and offshoots in the century since first suggested.
From the theologian and academic evolved all sorts of theories from the demise of God, and things godly, to the ideas that God never existed in the first place.
The death of God is a way of saying that humans are no longer able to believe in any such cosmic order since they themselves no longer recognize it. The death of God could simply mean the one who believes such thoughts has never had a serious encounter with the creator-God most folks believe is among us, for us, within us. A scientific explanation is useless regarding a matter of faith.
The cover of Time Magazine of April 8, 1966, had the large bold type question: “Is God dead?” Anything to sell a publication, right? Or to get someone to read a column.
Those who would argue the stagnant condition of many churches and the rise of terror and crimes of a horrific nature prove God has no power now, if he ever did. The instance of a church being alive or dead has little to do with God, but those who lead and attend said churches.
It is a question that tantalizes believers on both sides of the question. Those who secretly fear that God is but can’t admit it and the atheists, who find it difficult to prove a negative. Those who believe there is a God but do not want the experience to get too personal and ethical.
Nietzsche’s point, as I understand it, and I don’t understand much of German theology, is that mankind’s own self-centered, egotistical nature killed the idea of a righteous God. God is not dead, but he has become dead to a lot of people.
In his book, God is Dead, Steve Bruce sees the modern instruments of science and progress as drawing down man’s belief in a supreme being, an eternal creator. We have been able to “create” so many devices that there is little room in our finite minds for a God anymore.
The absence of a Divine Order to things raises more questions than it answers. We are just expected to go on with our lives like a ship without sails or a rudder. Flounder around hoping for the best.
That is no comfort to a ship lost at sea without the power to move. Neither does it make much sense for man to have just appeared, lived and died to no purpose–other than possibly going to war with one another.
That there is a God who can respond to mankind’s emotions and relate in human terms to individual needs and direction offers comfort to millions. God is not a robot maker or puppeteer, but one who gave us the will to choose. That God is, is a fact to me. (I use the word “fact” loosely, but with faith.)
Britt Towery, a retired Baptist missionary, writes for the Brownwood Bulletin in Brownwood, Texas.