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The Face of God Hardcover – 16 Jan 2014

3.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum (16 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847065244
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847065247
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 1.8 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 420,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Roger Scruton is one of our most interesting intellectuals... This is an important book, with a very wide cultural range. It is brave in pointing to a turning away from God as the fundamental plight of our times. --The Church Times

About the Author

Professor Roger Scruton is Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Washington and Senior Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. His other books include Sexual Desire, The West and the Rest, England: An Elegy, News from Somewhere and Gentle Regrets (all published by Continuum).

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Format: Hardcover
(This review first appeared in Philosophia Christi 15.1 [2013], 208ff.)

In this published version of the Gifford Lectures delivered at the University of St Andrews in 2010, Roger Scruton, the British writer, philosopher and self-proclaimed skeptical Anglican, argues for theistic belief via the face. Scruton's thesis appears in the final paragraph of Chapter 1. He states: "I shall argue that we can reconcile the God of the philosophers with the God who is worshipped and prayed to by the ordinary believer, provided we see that this God is understood not through metaphysical speculations concerning the ground of being, but through communion with our fellow humans (21)". He goes on to construct "a general theory of the face: the face of the person, the face of the world, and the face of God (21)". That said, humankind's response is to "destroy the face (1)", and this in an attempt "to escape from the eye of judgment (2)".

Scruton begins with the scientific worldview via Richard Dawkins, the Big Bang theory and Immanuel Kant, but finds the scientific worldview wanting. He then considers two responses: Richard Swinburne's version of the argument from the fine-tuning of the universe and Stephen Hawking's version of Brandon Carter's weak anthropic principle, but finds these similarly wanting. After a brief discussion of the Newtonian world, the theory of relativity and Quantum mechanics, Scruton concludes "that while science has closed the gap between the world and our knowledge, it has also dissolved the world in the knowledge. By becoming knowable the world has ceased to be imaginable (8)".

Turning to Aristotle, Avicenna, and then Aquinas, Scruton argues for a "relation of dependence that binds the world to God (13)", and this in distinction to a causal relation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In "The Face of God", the philosopher Roger Scruton considers the epistemological possibility of the revelation of God and our apprehension of Him in the Universe. The book consists of an expanded series of addresses given at the University of St. Andrews as the Gifford Lectures in 2010. For Scruton, the apprehension of the presence of God is part of a two- way process by which we perceive God as revealed to us in time and history as a person, the consequence of which is that we, as His creation, are endowed with person hood and subjectivity. God is a person with a face, and we are likewise persons with faces. With those faces we look out on the world, are responsible to it and are judged by it. In that lies our capacity for self- transcendence and the means to co-operate with God in the task of re-enchanting a world that became disenchanted (sundered from God by Original Sin) after the Fall. That is our central task in life as followers or disciples of God. That is what we strive to do when we obey Christ's injunction to follow the two great commandments of love of God and love of neighbour ("Agape").

The face of God cannot be discovered or proved according to the causal laws of physics, the laws of matter and nature. Rather, it can only be perceived by a disposition of receptivity to God's call and invitation to friendship with Him. According to Scruton, the existence of God and the truthfulness of revelation cannot be ascertained by reason and evidence; indeed they occupy a different category of knowledge to that of scientific reason.

The hiddeness of God is a constant challenge to human reason. The Hebrew Bible contains passages calling on God to "rend the heavens and come down".
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Review of The Face of God: The Gifford Lectures 2010 Roger Scruton [continuum 2012]
In the middle of last century Austin Farrer wrote what should have been a seminal book exploring the compatibility of science and religion when God is understood through the framework of human comprehension that is theology in parallel with science. Regrettably, the path taken in the science and religion debate since has been predominantly adversarial; to the point where science largely rejects religion as irrelevant not just to scientific understanding but to understanding per se while religion retreats into a cocoon of denial, either by ignoring science altogether or else by seeking to trivialize scientific understanding through pseudo- science as evidenced in Creation Science and Intelligent Design arguments. (See my review of Farrer's A Science of God? at Amazon)
Roger Scruton's Gifford Lectures of 2010, now published as The Face of God, offers the possibility of rapprochement again - in keeping with the foundational intent of the Gifford bequest - as he "explores what we lose when we lose [God] belief". Scruton argues that expressing a disbelief in God "is not only an intellectual phenomenon ...but also a moral phenomenon, involving a turning away from God". Through the analysis of face as the core concept of meaning and understanding for a metaphysic in harmony with the diversity of human knowledge and understanding, Scruton seeks to re-open the transcendental dimension that has been lost to Postmodern consciousness.
God is not a `hypothesis' to be set beside the fundamental constants and the laws of quantum dynamics. .... It is not causation but revelation that leads us to such an entity ..." And that revelation is, ultimately, the revelation of the face of God.
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