by Benjamin Ong

1. It is submitted that, if God is never-changing, then there is no single legitimate narrative: no salvation, no grace, no mercy but that which was, and is, and ever will be; no localised saviour, nor purveyor of grace or mercy nor fall, nor deliverance, but that which was, and is, and ever will be everywhere. For it is an outrage to claim that a deity which holds all human beings in equal regard should have chosen to reveal itself only to one people, or to make itself accessible through only one human form; for it would then follow that the deity would favour some over others. (Or, in the alternative, it is an outrage to claim that a culturally-bound deity is to be imposed upon the whole world.)

2. It would be wrong to lower the level of generality, such that the quality ‘will make response R when met with particular human behaviour B’ is attributed to the deity. For this would pave the way for people-based or circumstance-based exceptionalism.

3. Nor would it suffice to argue that all human beings are to have access to the deity through some event of chance, whether it be called Grace or any other name. For the narrative of chance is the narrative of denied chances, of the failure of chance.

4. Nor would it be reasonable for an omnipresent, omnipotent being to limit the range of its outreach, though its form may be limited for the sake of facilitating understanding, or the extent of revelation for any reason.

5. Nor, it is respectfully submitted, should a deity allow that emerging temporal factors, such as cultural issues, should at any time necessarily have any effective bearing on that which is said to be universal.

6. It is therefore submitted that texts associated with religions centred around a deity of constancy should be held to have, at most, rhetorical significance, for even their claims to legitimacy, completeness, and centrality derive from historical narrative — they come from a Prophet or a Messenger, and are approved and promulgated by a Council or a Church, and may evidence or give an example of the nature of the deity, but are not themselves complete, or wholly reliable, or exclusively reliable expositions of the deity. Faith must therefore claim legitimacy from first principles, and, in particular, not from any external form or experience, though these things may evidence (but merely evidence) that which is the object of faith.