Chapter 8, “How Odd of God to Choose the Jews” (Loc. 1192)
We rejoin Socrates at the second Christology class. In the past week Socrates has read the Old Testament to learn about the Jewish background of Jesus. Socrates then explains what he has learned of the God Jesus would refer to. Before this, Thomas Keptic states we cannot think of ideas which are not governed by our upbringing, which Socrates roundly rejects.
Socrates considers that there is one true and unknown God. Some in class dispute the claim of the existence of truth, while one student repeatedly quotes Chesterton to the annoyance of the others. Socrates’ desire was to find out about the true God. He hoped to find data wich would guide his pursuit. The reality of evil was a problem in all his models to identify God. The best solution (Loc. 1276) was that God was not all-powerful. The proper service to God was to live an ethical life.
In the Jewish Scriptures Socrates found that there was only one God, perfectly good. He was surprised at the insistence that all others were false. He was surprised at the universal claims, that this was the God of all people. Creation explained an all-powerful God. Socrates also saw that things were willed by God to be good. His goodness is very concrete. He was also struck by the perfect nature of the God who created everything and could govern it all. Yet what is greatest is that God’s will is for the good of his people, not himself. Finally, what struck Socrates the most was God’s revelation of his name as “I am.” His nature is as the subject, that which cannot be observed but which acts.