When knowing works backwards…

I like this quote from writer John Shea:

We need an understanding of God that blows our mind.

St Anselm created the ontological argument for God to remedy the ennui of monks. Without going into detail, the ontological argument states God is that than which nothing greater can be thought. If you carry out this experiment in thinking, you will always be approaching God without ever arriving. It will only dawn on you in retrospect that it is the incomprehensibility of God that brings consolation. Despite what we may think, we are not calmed by knowing-for-sure. Our hearts relax through a process of profound not-knowing that leads to trust.

Another way of saying this is: we dwell in essential mystery. Accidental mystery is something we do not presently know but will know someday. Essential mystery is the experience of “the more we know the more mysterious it is.” Increased knowledge does not end essential mystery; increased knowledge increases mystery. Spiritual and theological traditions value this type of knowledgeable not-knowing because it safeguards both the transcendence of God and the human capacity to acknowledge the divine without fully comprehending it. When our minds dwell in this rarified atmosphere of knowing and not-knowing, the smaller fears that normally terrorise us loses some of their power. It is not that they go away, but that we see through their menacing masks. Better said, they are taken up into larger truths that provide a meaning more in accord with love.

The more our minds entertain larger truths about God, the more we are personally and existentially in a relationship of trust…

Published by wonderingpilgrim

Not really retired but reshaped and reshaping. Now a pilgrim at large ready to engage with what each day brings.

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