Monday, June 11, 2007

Just Passin' Through: Coordinates and Gaps in the Hyperdimensional Godhead

If we extend our Matterhorn analogy and think of God, or the Absolute, as a sort of hyperdimensional mountain range, what does that imply for human beings?

I don't know. I'm thinking about it.

Let's see. Perhaps we can compare the situation to dogs and people. Obviously, a human being has many "dimensions," so to speak, that a dog doesn't. So how is a dog supposed to understand a human? He can't. Not really. Or just a very narrow "frequency" out of the totality. I remember about 15 years ago, when we were training our first dog. The big breakthrough occurred when the trainer explained that we might think of the dog as a dog, but she doesn't think of us as human. In order to get into her world, you have to think like a dog. Dogs have an elaborate nonverbal language that you have to tap into. Basically, you want them to consider you the alpha dog.

But that analogy can't be quite right, because although dogs aren't made in the image of man, nine out of ten sages agree that man is made in the image of God. If this is correct, then a certain kind of applied introspection can lead to accurate intuitions about God, just as knowledge of God can lead to wisdom and self-understanding.

Interestingly, Orthodox Christianity emphasizes this two-way movement, with Athanasius of Alexandria's formula that "The Son of God became man, that we might become God." Therefore, only God's kenosis, or self-emptying, makes possible theosis, or union with God. As such -- since we are the image and likeness -- our own self-emptying would apparently be a prerequisite for theosis. And this is indeed what all mystical paths emphasize in one form or another, the three part process of purgation/purification, illumination, and union -- which has certain shared points of reference to the aspiration-rejection-surrender theme we discussed a couple of weeks ago.

Last week I mentioned that a photograph, painting, or any perception at all is actually a geometrical transformation that maintains certain coordinates and dimensions while distorting others. For example, this is why we can all recognize the simple "have a nice day" smiley face as a smiling face. You can transform a human face with just a couple of dots and a semi-circle and still recognize a face (even infants can do this). It is also why we can view a two-dimensional movie and experience it as three-dimensional. We subconsciously employ certain coordinates, or "invariants," to project the missing dimension.

In linguistics -- I think I'm more or less right about this, but I could be making this up -- a declension occurs when a more general term is modified to become a particular case. In a certain sense, it means that potentiality is reduced to actuality. I believe we can see that scripture operates in the same way, in that the Absolute in itself can have no interlocutor, no mediator, no middle term, not even a "here" and "there" -- "for no man shall see me and live" (Rabbi Mo).

To a certain extent, this accounts for the inevitable "incoherence" of religion, which cannot not be. The reason is that scripture is a description -- a declension -- expressed in our terms of something that vastly exceeds the terms of expression. For example, imagine a flat sheet of paper, where two-dimensional beings live. None of them knows anything about the third dimension. Now imagine your hand moving through the sheet of paper. What would that look like to the two-dimensional beings? First of all, they wouldn't see a hand. First they might see a point -- the tip of a finger -- expanding into a circle. Eventually they would see five points expanding into separate circles. But then those circles would merge and blend into one larger oval (the palm), followed by a smaller circle at the wrist. And then everything would disappear as the arm moved through.

Now, if God is a hyperdimensional object (or subject-object), perhaps we need to take a lesson from this. Supposing that for the flatlanders, the Mysterious Arm is God. But their description of the arm would be very distorted. In fact, they would experience what is actually a singular object in space as a series of events playing out in time. Could it be therefore that we experience God in the same way -- as the "playing out in time" of what is unified and whole on a higher dimension?

"I am Alpha and Omega." "Before the world was, I AM." "When He prepared the heavens, I was there." "Blessed is the one who stands at the beginning, for the one who stands at the beginning will know the end." "Blessed is the one who comes into being before he came into being" (Gospel of Thomas), "Lucky is the blind man who can feel a woman's wrist and learn everything he needs to know about the rest of her" (Gospel of Ray Charles).

Bearing in mind what we said above about transformation, perception, coordinates, and invariance, Schuon writes that "Religious formulations limit themselves to enunciating points of reference without being too concerned with outward coherence, although from another point of view, the mythic and symbolic image always evokes a profound and lived reality" [i.e., something higher than that which maps it]. For example, "the history of Adam and Eve may clash with a certain need for logic, but we bear it deeply within ourselves, and it is this inherence of the sacred image which on the one hand justifies it and on the other explains a relatively easy adherence to it."

Thus, "it is precisely the surface contradictions, the fissures so to speak which, by a crowning paradox, offer the decisive points of reference for the discovery of the metaphysical homogeneity of doctrines or symbols that are at first sight disparate."

What is Schuon saying? That the gaps and fissures in scripure are more like points of entry which testify to its higher dimensional reality -- just as the five fingers passing through flatland testify to the existence of the hand. But in Flatland, there would undoubtedly be philosophers and skeptics who would look at the same data and conclude that the gaps were evidence of incoherence, not coherence. They literally could not "see the big pitcher," which is to say, Randy Johnson's left arm passing through Flatbush on the way to Manhattan.

The point is this. Being that we are in the image of God, "the sacred truth is part of our soul." Therefore, to begin to comprehend it, you must see how the truths embedded in scripture are a transformation of your own self. Or, you might say that revelation is a memo from your higher (dimensional) self to your lower self. And this is why it is such a -- I won't say "sin," but a shame -- to seek only a literal understanding of scripture, thereby interpreting it in terms of the lowest human way of knowing it. In other words, in doing this, you eliminate all of the higher dimensions and deeper connections. And we're back to dogs, Beethoven, and tone-deaf atheists.

For example, take one of the many works of Bach which stand as an eternal monument to the transdimensional God. Even an atheist can appreciate this music on his own level. But what will specifically be denied him -- or what he denies himself -- is the Real Presence from which the music flows and to which it stands as testimony. But can a single work of Back possibly encapsulate that object? Yes and no. If he were alive today, he would still be cranking out his aural monuments to divinity, since a higher dimension cannot be exhausted in a lower one. There is literally no end to the forms which a higher dimension can take in a lower one. And yet, they are all one. And who has the musical vision to "integrate" all of the musical gaps between Bach's indivdual works, and apprehend the higher dimensional unity from which they flow?

I'm guessing that there's some mystico-musically gifted person out there who has done it. In a way, this is again what Joyce was attempting in Finnegans Wake: to describe the single hyperdimensional object as it passes through our world as the experience of "history." Joyce simply took seriously the idea that "time is the moving image of eternity." And if that's true, then every passing moment is a unique and priceless snapshot of the eternal Magic Mountain.

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that could be written. --John 21:25

44 Comments:

Blogger CrypticLife said...

Of course, it's impossible for the human to understand the dog as well. Dogs have senses we cannot imagine having, a sense of hierarchy and ethics which differs from our own, and a viewpoint of reality which impossible to replicate. I suspect that for dogs, the dividing line between human and dog exists, but is blurred.

Similarly, it's probably a mistake to assume what the flatlanders would conclude, even though it makes for nice writing. If I see five spots appear in the air before me, and then see them merge into an oval, clearly I assume a relationship and consider a common cause, whether it's five literal objects or spots on the back of my retina. It's not purely my three-dimensional nature which allows me to do this -- a flatlander could still have the experience of five things merging to one.
__________
_______/
-------,'-------------------
\___________________
\_________

An intelligent flatlander would not be unable to conceive of such a thing, and would not necessarily reject a separate dimension if given evidence.

6/11/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

Okay, that diagram could have come out a LOT better :).

Hopefully you can imagine how it was intended.

6/11/2007 08:38:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

I think you're making Bob's point. Intellectually awakened humans are indeed able to intuit the higher dimensional God.

6/11/2007 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Route 42
when the o-men came
i ran but missed the last ride
planet of squared time

6/11/2007 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been reading for a few months now. What I find interesting is the questions of thought you chase after are so substantially similar to the materialist metaphysics yet you not only draw the opposite political conclusion but you give a lot of space to bashing the materialist inquiry. Anyway, I want to communicate that in the last few days that you haven't done the partisan polemics and that has made your writing so much more engaging.

Beside the topical similarities between the language of your arguments and the most relevant materialist thinking, there are probably other points of similarity. If you'd like, keeping with the current way you're contemplating the divine itself without the partisan language may generate even more interesting discussion. What contrasts this blog with, say, Dr. Sanity, is that such a partisan screed is not really interesting to someone who doesn't agree with the precise partisan fervor she is so taken with, while in this writing space, there are so many declensions of the divine in language that even those who may not agree with your politics but who are interested in the divine may consider your points.

Here is one example where some of the things that you have said strike a chord with the materialists. The kind of dismay you see in only literally interpreting scripture is something that most who have been polarized into the left by American political dialogue are also dismayed about - sometimes you may see those on the left who are mocking the religious as atheists, when they may be mocking the spiritual ignorance of sticking to a religious party line when there is much more to the divine and the cosmos. Granted there are people who are materialits, leftists who are quite literal about what other leftists and materialists say, and so of course they demonstrate ideological blindness. But a broader human trend of dogmatically sticking to an exclusively literal understanding of language results in both dogmatic spirituality and dogmatic materialism. That there are also so many dogmatic devotees associated with those who explore this terrain does not discount the authentic stuff - which is divine.

6/11/2007 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

I found a parallel to this line of thought in a very unlikely place this weekend: a goofy videogame, Super Paper Mario for the Wii.

The majority of the game takes place in a flat, 2d environment, and most of the characters you meet exist only in that environment. But the main character has the ability to see the world turned at a right angle, for short intervals, which adds the third dimension. In that dimension, he often finds things that are hidden and completely unavailable or impossible in the 2d world. To get through the game, you must successfully navigate through both modes of existence.

I doubt the creators of the game intended to create a deep metaphor, but switching back and forth between the two modes in a game format strongly demonstrated in a visual and interactive fashion the concepts we've discussed here.

wv: miuznmt - Musing Mt.!

6/11/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

But the game for the Wii actually takes place completely in a 2d environment in reality -- the tv screen itself. It's only your perception that it's 3d. You're not really navigating two modes of existence, you're navigating one.

Should we re-apply the analogy?

6/11/2007 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

And, Julie, the transition - what is 'solid' in the 2-d world versus its orientation in the 3-d is not always logical or even what we might call intuitive. But there it is!

BTW -

"But a broader human trend of dogmatically sticking to an exclusively literal understanding of language results in both dogmatic spirituality and dogmatic materialism."

In all cases we must never dispose of the literal interpretations nor the intention of those who wrote them. We cannot, for instance, take the Gospel of John in an entirely esoteric sense and ignore what his intent was. It is esoteric but also literal. But, not always 'cleanly' so - when he talks about - the quote at the end here - the acts of Jesus, he does not mean the literal acts of the living man, Jesus, but those of the Word. It takes wisdom and understanding to parse and figure out the meanings, and Bob says (and quotes) -

"Thus, "it is precisely the surface contradictions, the fissures so to speak which, by a crowning paradox, offer the decisive points of reference for the discovery of the metaphysical homogeneity of doctrines or symbols that are at first sight disparate.""

It is only because of the disparities - such as the differences on the surface of the Gospels, the two Genesis stories, the surface contradictions in The First Epistle of St. John - that I was forced to dig deeper. I had to say to myself, "Ok. Wait a minute. What if there is something deeper here? What if these differences are a sort of divine object lesson? A 'rite of passage' innate to wisdom? The means by which the secret protects itself?"

Sadly, many who are drawn 'leftward' are pushed away by a straw man God, or straw men Christians, etc. The left demonstrates its viciousness with each anti-war protest, or with sympathizing with mass murderers, etc etc etc. Sometimes we see the disallowing of literal meanings as to try to change reality - as if reality, existence at least - is somehow subject directly to the whims of our thoughts.

---

"Dogs have senses we cannot imagine having, a sense of hierarchy and ethics which differs from our own,"

Dogs don't have ethics. Ethics is a human concept which is being imposed on the behavior and social interactions of dogs. We can in fact imagine the dogs' senses, which is something they are most likely unable to do. If there is something they do have that we don't it is less clutter, but that's par for the course of having abstract language and conceptualization. It would be like calling tribal rule better than democracy because you don't have to worry about the voting process.

It has its function, time and place, but the picture is bigger.

In fact, we 'imagine' a dogs sense of smell any time we use advanced detection devices (as we are creating them.) Detect a 1/1000000th trace of x chemical, etc.

It is impossible to 'be' a dog, that is, having knowledge it will ultimately pull a Heisenberg on our understanding of the dog's interior 'world' and make us unable to experience things precisely as a dog does.

But can't imagine it? If it exists, we certainly can imagine it.

6/11/2007 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

crypticlife - use your imagination. That's what these games are about.

If you want to be that way, what's the deal with those patterns of 1's and 0's? Just ones and zeros. Ones and zeros. Arrays? Illusion. Everything is serial. 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1...

6/11/2007 09:55:00 AM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

There has always been propriety in the use of double negatives, integral to understanding much of the misunderstood. ;~)

JWM:
Yes, of course "grassing" the algoracle, all good. I would offer one suggestion - cut and bale the grasses first, deliver from the barn window. ;~)

Rejoinder continued ........ Did you know that a twenty-five square foot patch of grass supplies enough oxygen to sustain an adult over both their life times?

If I hear this news blurb(admittedly a nice piece of 5GW agit prop)about a "vote of no confidence" one more time ........... Congressman Ron Paul is so right, very few understand our Federalist Republic. Unfortunately he's SO wrong on too many other things. Constitution? What constitution? Said same for Bill of Rights. ;~)

6/11/2007 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

That's what bothers me about Paul. He can be exactly head on about certain things - but then immediately go off into wack-o land. I guess his straight-talking is partly a function of his being a bit off his rocker.

Ben, glad to hear everything is doing okay. I'm busy on weekends, so I didn't get a chance to comment on that.

6/11/2007 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Other than seeking political office, how is Paul off his rocker?

6/11/2007 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

Father's Day approaches. Dads? Hint around for this gift from your Son(s). You'll have a lifetime of great memories ensue.

"The Dangerous Book for Boys" by Conn and Hal Iggulden. ;~)

6/11/2007 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"...as the "playing out in time" of what is unified and whole on a higher dimension?"

I like that, nice illustration.

cousin dupree said "I think you're making Bob's point. Intellectually awakened humans are indeed able to intuit the higher dimensional God."

I was laughing & thinking the same thing Cuz.

cryptlife said "..a sense of hierarchy and ethics ..."

I see River's already noted on this, but I gotta say, for someone so bent on only the demonstrable proof... ethics? Perhaps you could devise some ways of drawing out some form of demonstrating rudimentary heirarchical 'thinking' on the part of dogs, but ethics? Are you aware how deep, literaly, how deep a chain of conceptual strata is necessary to lay down to even come up with the idea of Ethics, much less system of Ethics?

I'll assume that that was just a too quick dashing off of a line... but if you were serious, I'd love to see you reasoning on that one!

6/11/2007 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph said... "Other than seeking political office, how is Paul off his rocker? "

You need more?

;-)

(just taunting)

6/11/2007 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

joseph: how about the Ron Paul/Truther nonsense going on? That qualifies in my book.

6/11/2007 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous dloye said...

WV: bgvgwpw (this big vegtable hit the fat with powerup!) And I got it wrong... I have to try again.

I hate/love it when I read something and one thought sizzles in my head till nothing else can break through.

Dogs, Flatlanders, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,..., Josua, Judges,... what are those all the way through but the story of the us Flatlanders trying to trace the historical arc of the interactions of "O" and the image.

Those five points break through in sequence and bushes burn and sticks turn into snakes, and slaves are set free. We stand on the shoulders ... in awe and thanksgiving. As long as you can snatch the moments to blog, keep on keeping on. Thanks, many thanks.

6/11/2007 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

"Our own self-emptying would apparently be a prerequisite for theosis"

cf.

"a literal understanding of scripture, thereby interpreting it in terms of the lowest human way of knowing it." 

Surely, interpreting it in terms of serving one's own ego, preconceptions, and tastes is the lowest. Faithful application of the literal is poised to lead past itself, into the foothills out of flatland.

St Francis heard a voice from the crucifix
saying to him, "Francis, go rebuild my church which as you can see, is falling to ruin." With that, he gathered materials and
began repairing the old church. Others joined him in the effort. Gradually, through the work of rebuilding, Francis learned that the true message of the voice was not only to fix up the broken walls, but to rebuild the Church of his day through beginning a new order of religious men....


Refusal to get down with the literal, before the remainder is yet clear, is in danger of aborting the process. Byron Katie's advice, to "follow the simple directions" can turn out to be a pretty straight route to whatever's next, or higher.

St. Simeon the New Theologian on kenosis: "I beg you brothers, cease and desist from these inquiries. Make haste instead by grace of repentance and tears and humility, and by fulfillment of all the commandments, to purify your own souls..."

And there's this, by the poet Christian Wiman, who is facing this.

And this. Turned into scandalous art here.

6/11/2007 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

Isolationism. From our government and it's power, drill down to each individual American and the extensions of isolation, not good.


Rut roh! Another anon"yet"mous. The future will bring my subjecting 'coons to rejoinder. Ya know, well uh, um, ah, my being the closest to a dog and all, like that. Prepare the tetanus/diphtheria. ;~)

6/11/2007 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

River: :~(} HA! Yeah, you funny too!

6/11/2007 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Dilys, you touched on what I was thinking.

There is a purpose, after all, for biblical scholarship (said the scholar's wife :) ).

6/11/2007 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

Ron Paul is clueless in so many ways. He comes off to me like a nut. I wonder why he thinks he's a republican when he sounds like a lefty dhimmicrap in every way.

6/11/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A brief note on esoteric Christianity:

In John 16:25, during his last discourse, Jesus plainly says that up until now he has been speaking in parables, but a time is coming when he will speak no more in parables. Interesting that this comes at the end of his mission, and we don't have much about his teaching after this point. So it seems most of Jesus' teaching recorded in the Gospels is the exoteric version.

(Sorry about the anonymous. My password is no longer accepted. -HV)

6/11/2007 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Just so it is clear -- as I have emphasized before, I never denigrate the literal, rather, approaches that are only literal -- in other words, exegesis that excludes layers or shades of meaning or which treats clearly non-literal texts in a literal manner. I would be equally critical of approches that are only metaphorical or allegorical, such as the Jungian/Joseph Campbell school.

6/11/2007 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

Van,

Hierarchy is just a matter of knowing who's above you and below you in a chain of authority. That dogs are hierarchical is something that can be observed in their behavior in their own packs, and as pets.

As far as ethics goes, yes you can consider it an overstatement of what dogs think if you like.

As far as being able to intuit a deity, I indicated, "would not necessarily reject a separate dimension if given evidence."

6/11/2007 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Cryptic - Take care. The barrier of preconceptions and objections you are building could become so thick that no amount of "evidence" can penetrate it. Unless, of course, that is your intent.

Exactly what evidence would it take for you "to be able to intuit a deity" and "not necessarily reject a separate dimension"?

6/11/2007 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Along the lines of using, but not stopping at the literal reading, Dante's brief explanation/instruction to an aristocrat pupilDante to Cangrande: English Version on this topic is well worth reading (scroll down to #7 for the immediate goods), he describes descending into the material starting with the Literal, then deeper into the allegorical, deeper still into the moral and further still into the anagogical (mystical, spiritual) interpretation.

I had a post touching on the sense of this awhile back in the I-Doctor.

6/11/2007 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

CrypticLife said... "Hierarchy is just a matter of knowing who's above you and below you in a chain of authority. That dogs are hierarchical is something that can be observed in their behavior in their own packs, and as pets."

umm... okay... technically, I suppose so. There's a bit of a difference between an ordered perceptual grasp of the physical('cold, warm, hot' - 'pipsqueak mutt-bite 'em!, same as me-grr, bigggg doggg - better pee'), and the conceptually heirarchical mode of thought that marks human understanding.

"As far as being able to intuit a deity, I indicated, "would not necessarily reject a separate dimension if given evidence." "

Well, no ones stopping you from getting it, go ahead already.

wv:grvybr - it is all gravey at the gravy bar.

6/11/2007 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

Thank you for the warning, nomo.

To a certain extent it's unneeded. I'm not trying to win a debate, simply trying to air out issues as I see them.

Cousin Dupree is the one who claimed "intellectually" (I cannot believe he actually meant this precisely, given that it's previously been stated that mere intellectual achievement is not sufficient for enlightenment) awakened humans are able to "intuit the higher dimensional God. " I could only assume he meant "spiritually awakened". Of course, being "spiritually awakened" is then descriptive of what it's attempting to assert, unless one's willing to claim a spiritually awakened person might not intuit a deity.

In a way, I suppose you're getting at the question of what evidence would indeed be required for sufficient proof. It's certainly a valid and serious question and a difficult one to answer. However, I don't think my standards are particularly high. I accept, for example, that you exist despite having no proof. I'll tell you what: give me my wife's and kids first names, and the first names of my wife's parents, and I'll believe you're psychic. If you say the knowledge comes from another dimension, I'll seriously consider the possibility. That challenge would be open to anyone on this blog.

I don't expect anyone to do it. If you can come up with anything similar, I'd certainly be willing to listen. Clearly, I know exactly how you'd get certain pieces of information about me, and could hypothesize how you might get other pieces if you had the right information. However, for those names it would be quite difficult unless you were quite unusually situated.

The skeptical flatlander, too, would need convincing of any theory. They might not reject a theory out of hand, but they wouldn't be convinced merely by words, either. It would take some kind of demonstration, some attempted impact on the hand, a restriction or a pulling. Before that the appearance of the circles, merging, and disappearance would merely be a phenomenon. Talking about it would be akin to discussing an equine's dentation without actually examining an equine.

6/11/2007 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Bob...I know, that's one of the things I like about your blog.

I'm an "inerrantist," but I couldn't be classified as a fundamentalist. 'Cause they wouldn't have me. :) Because, yes, there is an esoteric element to my faith. So it's weird to hear lefty-types lump everybody who takes scripture seriously into one big "fundamentalist" category.

I guess they just don't know of what they speak.

"The kind of dismay you see in only literally interpreting scripture is something that most who have been polarized into the left by American political dialogue are also dismayed about - sometimes you may see those on the left who are mocking the religious as atheists, when they may be mocking the spiritual ignorance of sticking to a religious party line when there is much more to the divine and the cosmos."

I guess this perspective is more what I was responding to. It could be taken as the old There Are Many Paths to God shtick, and there's also the implied tendency to equate American evangelicalism with "fundamentalism" when they are different (though perhaps slightly overlapping) categories.

I do understand the frustration with undue literalism, though. As when my friends take a proverb and try to make it into a universal and unshakeable promise, rather than viewing it for what it is...wisdom literature, a truism. This is where good biblical scholarship comes into play--helping people establish a solid hermeneutic.

All in all, though, I'd far rather err on the side of having more faith in God's word than less. :)

6/11/2007 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

There's been on-going discussion about "evidence of God." My two cents (quotes are from Bob):

Evidence for me has been that...
"the sacred truth is part of our soul." So, despite the cultural static that goes with living in interesting times, I can recognize it, and have at least "some" capacity for understanding it. It's like spotting someone you know in a crowd of strangers; it's instantaneous, and there's no need to question it.

From that recognition and understanding, it seems to me that..."the truths embedded in scripture are a transformation of your own self. Or, you might say that revelation is a memo from your higher (dimensional) self to your lower self." So, for me, the idea (or truth) that we are made in the image of God becomes like a "formula," a key that unlocks many doors.

I can respect sincere "searching," and the doubt that may accompany it; after all, metaphysical matters are often paradoxical. But searching the vertical has provided me a bonanza; not just evidence, but overt Indications, and Help.

I believe Will said the other day that the spirit hides itself in plain sight. If I miss it, should I look harder - or look smarter? How often is my search unfruitful because I am just looking in the wrong direction?

6/11/2007 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Cryptic--knowledge of God doesn't work like sorcery. You can't play Him like a Ouija board.

Having said that, I *have* heard some pretty amazing words of knowledge, just as you described...and I don't know why some receive them and some don't. God does this for reasons scrutable only to Him. :)

In fact, there was a prophecy spoken over my husband that has tested quite true over the course of his life. Naturally, only in retrospect have we seen it prove out. Thus, I'm sure one could find all kinds of reasons to discount this kind of evidence if so inclined.

In the end, I don't know why God chooses to work as He does... appearing in majestic visions or speaking audible voices for some; whispering through a still, small voice for others. Healing a street person who never once before that moment sought Him, and not healing a believer's beloved family member. I don't know why; all I know is, "He is there and He is not silent."

Surely it's true that proof is predicated to some extent on belief. The Lord doesn't dope-slap us upside the head very often, (though He's been known to).

"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

As for as God is concerned, before our Maker, the just judge of the universe, we are utterly without excuse for our wicked unbelief (Romans 1 again). It's a matter of submission.

Surely if certain possibilites are excluded, one would be incapable of recognizing the evidence of them. Someone with zero disposition to believe (or, as is more often the case, resistance to the necessary and uncomfortable realities and changes belief entails) is not going to accept *any* evidence marched before him. Isn't it true that one must at least posit the thesis and open a sincere search in order to start gathering the proof?

Cf. Jesus' rejection among the leaders of his community, despite many signs and wonders and fulfillment of prophecies. One must be "watching and waiting" in order to receive, like Simeon or Anna.

A witness is accepted as evidence in a court of law. I could easily point to testimony after testimony of God's grace and mercy shown to individuals of my acquaintance, whose hearts have been utterly renovated...if you want me to.

6/11/2007 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

CrypticLife,

"I'll tell you what: give me my wife's and kids first names, and the first names of my wife's parents, and I'll believe you're psychic."

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone here claimed to be psychic. Furthermore, even if someone here were to contact you with that information, there are ways to find it that don't require supernatural means. I don't think you'd be convinced; I'm fairly certain I wouldn't be, though I would feel rather paranoid.

There is a world of difference between knowing in your soul that God Is and having psychic abilities.

For my part, I was an agnostic for a long time, and even now I don't go to church; my thoughts about God don't fit easily with any particular sect, and I'm frankly too contrarian. I've never seen a vision of the Presence, never spoken with angels (though I know some who may have - again, nobody knows for sure but them and God), never had miraculous revelations; even if I had, I might not trust such an experience to be true. For me, it's the still, small voice, the one that, if I'm paying attention, always has acted in my best interest (even if I didn't see it at the time), and which when ignored has also had penalties. It has answered my most hearfelt prayers.

If you sincerely want to know God, the best advice I can give is to try to still your own mind, and simply open yourself to the possibility. The inner knowledge probably won't happen immediately, as many here can attest, but eventually you may wake up and realize to your surprise that at some indefinable point, you went from possibility to certainty. It is then that you begin to see the little miracles around you.

6/11/2007 07:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

Every so often, I catch my constant inner monologue (everybody, I think, has something similar running in their heads constantly) turning into a dialogue. One voice is asking questions or making observations, and the other offering answers or commentary. The other voice seems to be less mine, because it is almost invariably dedicated to honesty at the expense of the first voice's potentially injured feelings.

And yet I don't get the impression that the other voice, the reasonable, brutally honest voice, is coming from somewhere outside - it seems to be coming from within, some part of my mind where I don't frequently go.

That other voice, incidentally, just offered this nugget of pithy commentary - "Perhaps the 'voice of reason' that so many have laid claim to is in fact the voice of God." Vox rationis vox Dei?

6/11/2007 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

juliec:

That was one of the more lucid and compelling testimonials on how God manifests in one's life that I've read in some time.

You have a gift for clarity.

6/11/2007 08:08:00 PM  
Anonymous troll in sheep's clothing said...

Well, I say bring back the political polemics. I'm extremely argumentative by nature and I need opponents if I'm to have any fun.

So dish it up tommorrow my good man, so that we may spar.

6/11/2007 08:34:00 PM  
Anonymous prophet said...

Worry not, troll.

Edwards will win the presidency in '08. This blog will spend the subsequent four years eating crow.

There will be many good battles to come.

6/11/2007 11:10:00 PM  
Anonymous sheep loving prophet said...

Worry not, troll

La Femme will win the presidency in '08. This blog will spend the subsequent four years eating crow.

6/11/2007 11:20:00 PM  
Anonymous sheepless in Seattle said...

"Edwards will win the presidency in '08. This blog will spend the subsequent four years eating crow."

Ugh, how gay.

6/11/2007 11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Whoa. Just lingering over the wonderful discussion here this AM and suddenly, without warning, it's garbage time, as they say in the NBA.

6/12/2007 03:59:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Follow-up to Ben's prophecy that the White Raccoon is coming
soon!

6/12/2007 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

If the passage of time and events through my life is to be perceived as the "arm of God" moving thru my life, how then, should I live?

I can perceive it as trans-dimensional and eternal, but bound by the 8.5 x 11 Flatland in which I live, I must observe it or be destroyed by it, or become one with that which is moving through my world. There's the trouble, you see.

A point, five points, an oval, a... arrgghh! Help! The paper cannot become the Hand moving thru it. How then, do the flatlanders become one with the Presence that has literally and figuratively torn them asunder?

This was my dream last night, my 3:00 a.m. mediation.

****

wv for the trolls: byewmp!

6/12/2007 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

I was in fact a partial abeautyist for much of my adult life. While I was aware that there was beauty in nature, I dismissed out of hand the possibility that clothes or furniture could be beautiful. This, I was sure, was simply a collective delusion imposed by crafty business empires using the power of mass advertising to manipulate the sheeple.

Being as I am single and celibate for unrelated reasons, this state of my soul went unchallenged until a few years ago, when I was befriended by two sisters who took great interest in the beauty of everyday things. To my amusement they would drag me along on their shopping, which could often last for hours even though they could only afford to buy a few of the things they saw.

What happened was that over a fairly short time, I started to see through their eyes. I realized that certain colors and shapes did in fact fit together and others not, and that clothes could be used to express one's personality as well as stave off the cold and hide one's tender parts. Fascinated, I went on my own shopping sprees, still without having paid any attention to advertising or mass media, and the resulting purchases met with the approval of not just those friends but also a number of other people whom I had not even asked for their opinion. I have to conclude that there must exist some standard of beauty in these things that exists independent of me but that I can tap into.

In conclusion, then, if there is a dimension or domain which you cannot perceive, a good idea may be to stay close to people who do perceive it and have an obsessive interest in it, and who furthermore are able to navigate it individually by their own perception rather than have to ask someone else.

(Incidentally, I now have enough clothes for a decade or two, so have stopped buying them...)

wv:oxdzr

6/12/2007 06:08:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

Magnus, what a fun metaphor! That's a great way to illustrate the point.

6/12/2007 08:21:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home