Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 58 (1):5 - 23 (1996)

The recognition of God's goodness implies that man is becoming receptive to a transcendent order. This may be called a conversion. In philosophy of religion three levels of divine goodness are to be distinguished. At each higher level the lower is left behind, although preserved in a transfigured form. 1. The first level has to do with the good in which man as a cultural being participates. God's goodness is recognized as the source of human life. By his assent to the given good, man honours the glory of God. However, as God is never completely present, the fragmentation of His goodness makes man feel individually responsible for realizing the good. 2. Responsibility leads to the (second) level, which concerns the moral good that human beings have to accomplish. By considering the goodness of God as the rule for his behaviour, man comes to recognize that he is in duty bound to comply with the will of God. This obedience finds its outstanding figure in Isaiah's Suffering Servant of the Lord. 3. The third level of goodness exceeds the range of human endeavour. Here God's goodness is the object of infinite desire and condemns the self-sufficiency of the finite will
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