God! No subject has, perhaps, engaged the consciousness of men for the better part of human history as this word or concept, and, probably, understandably, so. Supposed to be the Creator and Source of all that exist, including humankind themselves, God has been, to many, a paradox of the greatest reality and mystery upon which there are as divergent opinions, ideas and beliefs, depending on the individual’s culture, religious exposure, education and inner maturity and disposition.
This is what makes Stephen Lampe’s a welcome and, unique contribution to the age-long conversation. Although its author, probably out of modesty, shies from making the claim, the book powerfully furnishes rare, comprehensive and revolutionary enlightenment which, though, may not necessarily forge an immediate consensus among the disparate strains of views, nevertheless, definitively and satisfactorily addresses the essential grounds of the controversy for a clear and self-consistent understanding of the subject matter (that is, the greatness and sublimity of the Godhead, as well as how he relates to His Creation) to emerge.
In this regard, Lampe, a prolific author of spiritual writings, including The Christian and Reincarnation and Building Future Societies: The Spiritual Principles, argues compellingly that a true knowledge about God cannot be found in mutually exclusive searches in science and religion, pointing out that the two fields known to be concerned with the phenomenon and associated issues, are handicapped and cannot lead to the truth due to certain inherent limitations in the spheres, their tools, as well as procedural defectiveness.
He prescribes, instead, a non-sectarian, non-intellectual approach as such, but which may be called rational spirituality. This, the author stresses, requires a genuine truth-seeker to make personal investigation and reflection employing his intuitive faculty, out of which alone, he declares, understanding and conviction can develop!
The book, with an attractive purple cover and gold-leaf title lettering and published by the Millennium Press, is packed with an incredible mass of data, facts and research findings scoured from the natural sciences, social sciences, philosophy, anthropological, historical, and theological sources. From the laboratories and workshops of scientific/technological geniuses, through the sanctum of the Papacy in Rome and leading Ivory towers to various powerful state houses and parliaments across the world, Lampe travels through classical times to the contemporary age to unearth, dissect and evaluate both profound, as well as absurd and implausible thoughts and theories on the subject matter, offering incisive illumination and pushing the frontiers of discussions beyond the traditions.
The exceptional mark of the book is the introduction into the contemplation of God, knowledge that has largely been absent from the innumerable treatises on the subject. This includes a survey of creation and subsequent creation, or what one might call an outline of a complete cosmology as well as some laws alternately called Natural Laws, Divine Laws or Laws of Creation, which, according to Lampe, self-activates and regulates the mechanism of creation.
Chapter after chapter, he elucidates on and applies them to the discussions.
Although the author says it is not his intention to gratuitously denigrate the viewpoints of any particular religion, many a popular dogma, doctrinal teachings and beliefs crumble under the keen test to which Lampe rigorously and relentlessly subjects them with a razor-sharp, deep, and ramified logical reasoning.
The book is divided into 17 chapters. Lampe devotes chapter one to an overview and summary of the fundamental issues raised and which are to later receive elaboration in the subsequent chapters. In chapter 2, he debunks all arguments and effectively undermines the position of the materialists against the existence of the invincible, the non-physical and mysterious, as prelude to making a strong case for the existence of God.
In Chapter 3, the author relates the idea of revelation which he has consistently argued cannot be dismissed as mere religious superstitious phenomenon, as it also features in the practice of science, to the spiritual sphere, saying there has been progressive revelations of God to the entire humanity at definite turning points in the development of Creation.
Chapter 4 deals with the human being and human purpose, while in Chapter 5 the book reiterates the point that Creation includes realities that are non-physical and that may never be accessible to science with the outline of the structure of creation and subsequent creation. The next five chapters are critical contemplations of what are commonly considered the major attributes of God – Perfection, Omnipotence, Omniscience, love, justice, omnipresence and the Trinity of God.
Chapter 15 opens up a totally different perspective on the concepts of praying and prayer, explaining that they have been misrepresented, hence, the disappointment and frustration that result when they fail to accord with the necessary preconditions. Chapter 16 (God and Miracles) sheds light on what and what is not possible in what are called miracles under the condition and operations of the inflexible and perfect Divine Laws. Lampe illustrates this with some of the miracles reportedly performed by Jesus Christ in the gospels.
The book rounds off with a discussion in Chapter 17 of the problem of evil in relation to our understanding of God. How did evil come into the world? How is it sustained? Why does God allow evil? In other words, why does an omnipotent God not wipe off evil with a fiat? These questions were convincingly answered with logical and fresh insights. Another remarkable feature of Lampe’s discourse is his effectiveness in simplifying complex concepts and ideas without being simplistic and with an elegant style in which the choicest of diction is deployed!
With Thinking About God, Lampe has done humanity a great service in pointing out the blasphemy and serious harm many unwittingly commit by their continual ignorance and stubborn sticking in the old and false.