Four times I have read the opening chapter of the book with the terribly misleading title, A Guide to the Understanding of the Bible, written by Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick. That chapter discusses the evolution of God in the Bible. If I may reduce the four score pages of argument to a paragraph of boiled down essential ideas, the reasoning, if we may call it that, is as follows: Primitive man had a devilish concept of God. Noah’s God destroyed the earth with a flood. Abraham’s God was a bloodthirsty God who wanted a human sacrifice. The God of Moses was the horrible God of volcanic fire, speaking to him from Sinai. Little by little man has advanced as the centuries rolled on. David began to have high ethical thoughts of God, but they were mixed with the terrible imprecatory Psalms that call down wrath upon the enemy. By the time of the prophets, God was really improving. He now hated unrighteousness and spoke out against the crimes committed by men. When Jesus came along, the idea of God took on the marvelous concepts of fatherhood and brotherhood, and was the greatest idea up to that time. But Jesus had the repugnant idea of Hell, of which he spoke so much. This must be abandoned in order to continue the upward curve of development. The modern idea of God is all sugar and spice and everything that is nice. He has no Hell for the wicked, and little by little He has become so respectable that He can be worship in good taste by the people of Park Avenue and Morningside Heights. Yet it is a scientific fact that if such a writer had been acquainted with even the rudimentary findings of the greatest of ethnologists and anthropologists he could never have fallen into such an error. Perhaps this writer had not read anything more up to date than Frazer’s Golden Bough. Great as that work is as a collection of the follies of the human race in the field of religious thought, its conclusions have been completely nullified by the work of Schmidt of Vienna. In a great four volume work Ursprung der Gottesidee, that is the last word in its field, Schmidt has demonstrated that the idea of one God is much older in the human race than the idea of many gods. Polytheism is the degradation of monotheism. To hold the opposite view is nothing more than an escape mechanism to avoid the implications of the existence of the Creator to whom the creature must be absolutely responsible. Donald Grey Barnhouse, Man’s Ruin, Romans 1:1-32, 249-250.