A Working Definition of Yawheh

After rattling off the usually long list of reasons why the God of the Hebrew Bible is everything from in a bad mood to gleefully sadistic, Donald Akenson provides one of my favorite paragraphs from any book on the history of religion, and the great difficulties of belief:

But not liking Yahweh is irrelevant. The reason the god of the ancient Israelites is so convincing is that, as he is limned in the covenant, he is the perfect embodiment of what is: reality. Whatever controls the lives of individual human beings (and there is an infinity of philosophical debate about such matters), it is not consistently nice, benevolent, predictable, or even understandable. Yahweh personifies that ultimate reality exactly. Life is bounteous, so too is Yahweh; life is unfair, so too is Yahweh (just ask Job). Yahweh is the name for reality invented by Hebrew religious geniuses who paid attention to the way the world works.

– Donald Harman Akenson, Surpassing Wonder: The Invention of the Bible and the Talmuds, 98