To ask whether God is necessary is in various forms a very common question. It is also a deeply revealing question since the answers we offer unveils something of what our ultimate concern is – our ultimate concern is deeply connected to the reason for asking the question in the first place – and thus the nature of our faith. It could therefore be said that our answers to some extent defines the question since we cannot speak of our ultimate concern without at least implicitly also speak about God. Some might object to this claim by saying that it is possible for an atheist to speak of ultimate concern without God, but my response would simply be that a world unchained from God is a world without ultimate concern. The fact that many would contest this statement is just a clear indication that modern atheism, theoretically speaking, should be described as a misdirected theology rather than the result of scientific achievements or sophisticated reasoning.
I believe that the understanding of God as a necessary being always moves us towards an idolatrous faith situated within systems of thought created by man. The fundamental problem is thus that the categories of thought are too narrow to contain what one attempts to talk about. I would further argue that to assume that God is necessary not simply diminishes God but also that such believes are potentially dangerous and oppressive. God is not to be thought of as a necessary being that we weave into our beliefs of existence in order to cover the gaps of our understandings. Rather than thinking of God as a ‘deus ex machina’ we should acknowledge that God is the Crucified One who forsook heaven to perform the ultimate kenotic move for the sake of the world. Theology should therefore begin in the receiving of the broken body of the Crucified since this practice acknowledges the brokenness of humanity while it allows for God to be God and our ultimate concern to be shaped by the apocalyptic event of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
If our theology is a result of the conviction that God is necessary, then God is necessarily confined by our reason since our reason is what determines what is necessary. Unfortunately, this way of reasoning is all too common because modernistic theology has bought into the lie that our epistemology must be rooted in our own, individual existence. The modern quest for self-certainty resulted in an anthropocentric worldview that expelled faith from its rightful place and considered it to be either distinct from reason (atheism) or the result of reason (conservative and liberal Christianity). The truth is that everything we consider to be reasonable essentially is the result of faith. Christian theology should therefore be understood as faith seeking understanding, not understanding seeking faith, and at a fundamental level the humbling task of the theologian is therefore to make sense of that which God has revealed in order for it to guide our understanding of the world and our actions in it.
Is God necessary? I initially remarked that our answer to this question to some extent defines the question and in light of what I have said in this post I therefore feel compelled to say no, God is not necessary. That is not to say that God is not, rather that the question itself is corrupt since it is spelled out from an anthropocentric perspective.