Richard Rice and the Question of God – Part I

The Question of God is important for every believer because it’s decisive for determining the profile and nature of his/her own religious experience. But a singular religious experience is not transcendent for a whole community and even less for a historical period. So why then might it be important to consider Richard Rice’s understanding of God? Certainly, not as a personal experience, but as a theologian’s reflection, and particularly as an Adventist Theologian’s reflection, on God. The question of God should be the first question any Christian community addresses but in fact it usually becomes the last one. Rice’s significant contribution, since the very beginning of his theological endeavor, has been in addressing this primary theological issue.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Just as a child is perfect within his developmental stage, so is he perfect with his cognitive interpretation of the Bible. And the principle is true as we go through each developmental stage until we meet our creator. No pretensions. What is needed is tolerance and acceptance of each stage of perfectness.


Another jewell by Dr. Gutierrez. Thank you. Your essays are always great triggers of dynamic thinking. Book reviews are always very helpful and welcome.

Regarding Rick Rice’s views in general, I sympathize with them very much. My first encounter with his writings was right after “The Openness of God” was first published, in the early 80’s I think. It helped me to understand God better.


Are book reviews superior to reviews of book reviews? :rofl:

Don’t you have a member of your shadow GC leadership team that is a well reputed reviewer of book reviews?

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Yes, there is someone like that, @Cliff . He actually helped clarifying some obscure aspects of a book that Bryan @bness forgot to include in his review… :rofl:

Maybe Clifford will have some spared time to take a look at Dr. Gutierrez’s review and write a great critique of Rick Rice’s book. After all, Cliff is an expert on “boox”… :laughing:


Yes. Dr. Gutierrez’s discussions are a breath of fresh air. Speaking of book reviews. I recently read a book review of Marilynne Robinson’s latest novel in her respected Gilead series. The reviewer describes a character stuck in the author’s fictional world: “…a remote, airless, vaguely pretentious universe where people are always rehashing the same religious arguments.” The same could be said of too much of the back and forth we hear around here or on Fulcrum7, too, I guess. Dr. Gutierrez challenges the reader to break out of that universe.


Maybe the solution is to drop our identity as the remnant people of the “last days”. At this rate, if SDA “theology” is true, we will be living in a new earth, not knowing what to do with God without looking forward to the “last days”. Those will, presumably, be behind us - and then what? That question is on the level on which Adventist would think. There must be more to God…


Ah, herein lies the problem because there should be less of God than what we have bestowed on him.

Let me explain. First we construct a god by determining the characteristics that all can agree. Examples are “God is love, we are all created in the image of God, forgiveness is universal, care for the unfortunate” and others. Then we attribute traits that all wish we had ourselves such as omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent among others. We should stop at a maximum point where there is the most agreement. The problem begins when we add past that threshold to separate us from the group such as “we are the remnant church, the people of the book, the Investigative Judgement.”

Now you get a clearer picture. It’s all up in the head. :innocent:


I think the Hebrews had it right - not to even utter the name of God. I don’t mean to pile on all kinds of human attributes and constructs. “More to God” - as in more mystery. He’s not just the ultimate we can picture. Our pictures are about us. The closest we come to that, is Jesus the hunman form of God - the one we can somewhat understand and relate to. God is beyond understanding. Common, how can we know an entity that can throw together something like the universe and everything in it???


Talk about “mastery of subletenes!”…


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