Today we ask if there is any God at all. . . . Is there any criterion for judging the answers given?"" Pannenberg's criterion for the validity of God talk is to ask how the idea discussed ""illuminates our understanding of reality and especially of human life,"" a principle which gives much of the edge to this short book. The content makes its impact as a re-examination of some themes and episodes in church and bible history so that a shift of focus takes place, the reader is forced to think, and new meaning comes to the surface. ""The generation that lived to see the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians after the reign of the pious King Josiah could no longer recognize the righteousness of God in the course of history,"" is one starting point. The Constantinian switch, the ambitions of Charlemagne, and nationalist aspirations like Cromwell's and those of Lincoln's almost chosen people, are other topics leading to unexpected and fruitful conclusions. A collection of lectures at the level of serious reading for parish ministers, and worthwhile of its kind.