"If it is true that there is Someone in charge of the whole mystery of life and death, we can hardly expect to escape a sense of futility and frustration until we begin to see what He is like and what His purposes are."
(from the Introduction)
In Part I of his 1961 book, J.B. Phillips examines naive, "destructive" notions of God, and suggests some mature, "constructive" notions in Part II.
Religious education is a delicate task: how to adequately impress the student with the seriousness of virtuous behavior, without instilling a mistaken sense of worthlessness? Or, from the other side, how to relate God's grace and love, without encouraging a casual attitude toward sin? Phillips' "destructive" notions largely stem from unbalanced, selective consideration of the various guides to God's nature. It's not unusual for children to identify the harshness or indulgence of their parents or religious educators with God's own character; it should be obvious how a child early "turned off" or desensitized to religious inquiry might carry this model into adulthood. Likewise, sectarian prejudice may lead one to the belief that God is particularly a Catholic, Baptist, or whatever one's denomination happens to be. Phillips also takes some time to address Christian concerns, such as imagining God as an impersonal manager-of-the-universe, involved more with the spinning of galaxies than miniscule daily human affairs.
To replace these naive notions of God, Phillips suggests examining God's nature in light of what we observe about the world He made, human nature, and the teacher-savior-prophets who have spoken in God's name throughout history, especially Jesus.