Thursday, March 27, 2014

If we wish to know God

“Certainly for rationalistic thought, the concepts of divinity and incarnation are contradictory, the one excluding the other. It is not intelligible that God, who by his nature should be infinite, unlimited, all-powerful, etc., should exist as a finite, distinct human unit subject to the limitations of space and time. Therefore for the Greeks of the time of Christ, the proclamation of the humanity of God was really “foolishness” (1. Corinthians 1:23). 

But, for someone to accept or to reject this “foolishness”, he must have answered certain fundamental questions, which decide very generally the sense and the content which he gives to life. Is everything that exists predetermined and must it exist in the manner which human logic imposes? Or is existence an event which surpasses the predeterminations and the patters of the understanding? Can we accept it and study it only with direct experience? What truly exists: what we comprehend with our senses, what our logic confirms? Or dot there exist realities which we know within the bounds of a more immediate and general relationship? Is this a relationship which permits us, for instance, to distinguish qualitative differences, to conceive the “sense” of poetry beyond the words, to bring to awareness the function of symbols, to be assured of our subjective “identity”, to reveal the inexpressible uniqueness of a person, to understand the aphorisms of contemporary physics about the “fourth dimension” or about the double interpretation of the nature of light?
…If we wish to know the abstract concept of God which logical necessity imposes, we must follow consistently and precisely the rules of logic. If we wish to know God of the psychology of religion and of the emotions, we must cultivate within ourselves the psychological and religious motives for this knowledge. And if we wish to know the God of the Judeo-Christian tradition, we must follow the way of personal relationship and experience, the way of faith. To follow both one and the other route, to combine the modes of knowledge is the surest route to confusion and impasse”[1].  

[1] Yannaras, Christos, Elements of Faith – An Introduction to Orthodox Theology, (Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1991), p.9-10

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