Friday, September 27, 2013

Man's Faith in God's Faith in Man

Some interesting comments yesterday about divine foreknowledge, free will, the nature of prophecy, etc.

In rereading the post, the following passage caught my attention: "Rather, I can only provide some general outlines and directions, but I hope to begin fleshing things out on Monday. Anyway, don't jump to any conclusions just yet. It will all make sense in the end."

First of all: Napoleon, like anyone can even know that.

But... I do know it, at least in a kinda sorta way. I mean, I don't know it like I know the sun is shining outside, but I have this intuition that a number of diverse strands will somehow come together and make sense.

So, it's not yet knowledge. Nor is it foreknowledge, because it's not like a mathematical equation, which, given the variables, has only one solution. You know the feeling. Call it... faith.

Faith is always a kind of unKnowing, because it's not just blind stupidity or flat ignorance, but an irreplaceable mode in the search for meaning, guided -- or lured -- by an invisible gradient of deepening coherence. Faith points and we follow -- it's analogous to our natural compass that points us toward foodsexgrog, but on a higher plane. It's a supernatural compass.

The world is full of “particulars,” of loose ends and bits of disconnected information. The deeper philosophy will be the one that connects the most fragments into a unified whole. Therefore, reality is both “present” and hidden from us, depending on our skill in weaving our own psychopneumatic area rug and pulling the cosmic womb together.

But this goes to what one commenter said yesterday vis-a-vis the differences between present, past, and future. These three are so different that it is difficult to see how they relate to the same word, time.

For the past is fully real (or realized), the present is the space of possibility, and the future hasn't happened at all, so it is not "real" in the same way as the first two.

Anyway, you might say that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unSeen. Thus, it is both substance and evidence, but not a physical substance and not empirical or (merely) rational evidence.

This got me to thinking: faith is said to be such a commendable virtue, I wonder if there is something analogous with God?

Again, I go back to the principle that man is in the image of the Absolute, so if this modality is so critical to our existence, why wouldn't it also be present in God, albeit in some analogous fashion? (Or, more properly, our faith would have to be an analogue of God's faith.)

So, is there any evidence that God has faith? Or is there some kind of reciprocity going on, whereby we have faith in God and God has faith in us?

You biblical scholars out there will be better at this than I am, but my first impulse was to check out my concordance in search of God's faith, and there it was, all over the place. For example,

Even with the Holy One who is faithful (Hos 11:12).

But as God is faithful, our word to you was not Yes and No (2 Cor 1:18).

He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it (2 Thes 23:24).

... for He who promised is faithful (Heb 10:23)

He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:9).

So, it's almost as if we are called upon to have faith in God's faith in us. If God's faith is analogous to ours, I suppose it would mean he "hopes" we do the right thing, just as I hope this series of posts will make sense.

In both cases, the faith is not just "passive"; or rather, it is passive in the sense of opening up an unsaturated space of freedom and possibility in the now, but active in the sense of movement toward the source of our faith, which in turn is the "vector of coherence," so to speak, or the density and interconnectivity of wholeness. Our faith is the shadow cast back and down by the light of this wholeness.

This again touches on the issue of God's omniscience, and whether it is possible to have the same sort of omniscience vis-a-vis the past, present, and future.

It seems to me that omniscience of the past is not especially problematic, because it consists only of "what happened." And knowledge of the present would flow from God's interior prehension of the whole -- or in other words, there would be no coherent whole, no cosmos at all, in the absence of God.

But what of the future? When God "prophesizes," I wonder if it is, in a way, analogous to my "prophecy" that this series of posts will somehow "all make sense in the end." Thus, it wouldn't so much mean This is going to happen, and I know exactly how, but rather, Don't worry. This is gonna happen, even if the particulars aren't all worked out yet.

Thus, this would allow for genuine surprisal in history, and God's ongoing "adjustment" to it, so to speak, to bring about the "ordained" outcome. In other words, there are many roads, none of which were built in a day, all leading to home.

Well, that's about it for today. Still no time to get into the unseen substance of what I was hoping for.


Rick said...

Some times the synchronicity: it too great.
Bobtender, I'll have another.

We arrived on this isness we call faith and God's reflection of it. We don't get that from nowhere. Perhaps it come from the same Beyond-Nothing after-all.

My brain-google of the Bible produced this isness of prayer as well. For what would be the purpose of it? And then we realize that Jesus prayed "Our" Father, not "your" Father. Inotherwords, God prays with us, not merely as teacher.

And are you telling me that no one ever threw Jesus a surprise party?! (our fault then)
Brain-google says He was "amazed" not never, but on more than one occasion.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

This post brings to mind how God emphasizes the Spirit rather than the letter of the Law.

Faith is crucial if we are to avoid the dangers of being preoccupied with the particulars.
Particularly since we cannot always make the most informed decisions based on the few particulars we gno.

And without faith it's impossible to even be in the ballpark.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Patience and prudence also are key.
The joke ain't gonna be funny if we keep clamoring for the punch line, or worse, become hecklers.

Not a good idea, heckling God.

Open Trench said...

A sage stated before coming to be born, the soul imbibes the water of the river Lethe which cleanses the memory. We are not meant to have ultimate knowledge because it would jack up our mission here on earth.

So, we can request knowledge, and think hard about things, but we're going to get resistance in finding things out which would distort our story line or lesson plan.

Ephrem Antony Gray said...

Maybe the seeming 'Don't worry, I've got this' aspect to God's foreknowledge is what tricked Satan into believing God wasn't the Pantocrator but just older and more clever than anyone else.

Everything is accidents, explosions and disasters but yet, somehow he always comes out on top!

Given that Jesus, as God, actually comes and fulfills the things in the prophecies, and most of the others pertain to 'structural inevitabilities' it would seem like prophecy is self-fulfilling.

So unless God lets you know before hand what's up, *probably* you're talking out of your rear.

mushroom said...

I've said in church a lot of times that God is never surprised by anything. I was never comfortable with it, but it was "doctrinal", and there must be a sense in which it is true since God is omniscient.

Yet, like you and River are saying, the future is different. God knows He can work it out. He knows the end He wants to get to, and He will.

The reason not every whiny atheist has a Damascus Road experience is because most of them aren't "vital" enough to the end result. That fire-breathing Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, was.

I think of that scene in Apollo 13 where they have to fire the engines and manually fight the controls to keep the ship correctly oriented to reset their course.

Sometimes a miracle is God's manual course correction.

Open Trench said...

Hi Mushroom.

Loved your comment. Especially "Sometimes a miracle is God's manual course correction."

Or, in other cases, its a slap upside the head.

Adversity and problems need to be parsed very carefully because they may contain important instructions.

So you have to wonder: Why doesn't Petey tell Bob all he knows?

The answer is "Bob probably is given everything he needs to know to stay the course. Anything additional would tend to confuse things."

Some of us, like myself, don't even have a celestial case officer to talk to and have to depend on circumstances to reveal their meanings in a slow and random way.

I trust the best thing that could happen, happens, whether I like it or not. I try not to complain too much.

julie said...

But... I do know it, at least in a kinda sorta way. I mean, I don't know it like I know the sun is shining outside, but I have this intuition that a number of diverse strands will somehow come together and make sense.

Yes, I know that feeling. Had a very particular example this week, in fact; I almost forgot how things tend to sort themselves out. Then I remembered, and remembered to be patient, and hey presto! Things Sorted Themselves Out. All purely coincidental, I'm sure....

julie said...

Of course, there's always also a dark and misplaced version of that faith; a faith that everything won't work out, as it were:

See, if you ignore that Hockey Stick, and accept, as the writer (now he tells us) announces, that the Hockey Stick always had " too much certainty and inappropriate simplicity," and just accept that Global Warming might be much more variable and unpredictable than previously claimed, then you can accept the truth that it's Totally Predictable and We're All Going to Die So Just Believe Us Please.

julie said...

Though I have to wonder; it seems as though the people who love to predict manmade global destruction always seem to have faith, somehow, that they themselves will survive the apocalypse...

Ephrem Antony Gray said...

They're probably right that civilization as it is, is doomed. But not because of some magical Global Warming thing.

I think the Marxism virus might be fatal.

ge said...

Remember how during the good old Bush years every 6 or 8 months the New Yorker would publish some long scathing anti-GW piece by the turd Seymour Hersh?
Well at last he emerges from the woodward with this telling POV, although you'll note, he hasnt himself bothered to research & write the anti-Obama tirades that would put him above the crowd he crits!:

JP said...

"It seems to me that omniscience of the past is not especially problematic, because it consists only of "what happened." And knowledge of the present would flow from God's interior prehension of the whole -- or in other words, there would be no coherent whole, no cosmos at all, in the absence of God.

But what of the future?"

Well, to start with, there are three different pasts.

Was that the chapter on Death in MOT?

I don't have it in front of me.

Anyhow, you can't start to talk about the past without knowing which past you are talking about in the first place.

That was a very useful part of the book, to me.

Ephrem Antony Gray said...

About the 'amazed' thing, I think Jesus is amazed at the Centurion's faith. I don't know that the word is used, but he certainly exclaims.

Open Trench said...

Probably we all "know" this stuff since we were somewhere before we came here and we'll be going somewhere after. So if you can wait, you'll have your answers.

In the meantime, Lakein's question is on the table.

What is the best use of my time, right now?

Use the past and the desired future to direct you in the present, and just keep truckin' until you die, and all shall be revealed.

I hope. I don't actually know.