The G-d[1] Filter

The G-d[1] Filter

The Competing Realities of Hawking[2] & Einstein[3], Buber & Teilhard[4] and the Rev. Dr. Polkinghorne[5]

Preamble:

The paradox of being can be posed in these two questions:

If it has no beginning, why does it contain beginnings?
If has a singular beginning, why does it contain us, the beings who can apprehend being?

The paradox of atheism can also be posed in a single question:

If you believe in the absence of God, on what do you base that faith?

The core paradox of agnosticism can be stated as a longer question:

If you lack the ability to believe that God exists or that God does not exist, on what do you base the faith that you actually exist in a community of other beings on a planet that orbits a sun in one solar system among trillions?

On Metaphorical Communication

Data and even the first level explanations of the physical sciences are disordered and organized descriptions, respectively, but neither conveys meaning. For that task, even the most intelligent and sophisticated minds use metaphor.

Well constructed metaphors are the cognitive tools by which we grasp and attempt to tame those subtle and elusive aspects of our experience of reality (and the reality of our experience) that otherwise would defy understanding and frustrate discourse.

The core Genesis insight is that we, as beings, are organized in the same pattern as the Supreme Being. No thoughtful, world-aware person (except the severely metaphor challenged) takes seriously the notion that deity has a beard and floats somewhere in the clouds. For the sophisticated believer, God is not anthropomorphic; instead humans are partly theomorphic. The differences between human and g-d are questions of local/particular vs. infinite/universal, wholeness vs. incompleteness, integrity vs. fragmentation; these are matters of scale, depth and reach, not the essential nature of living Being.

Getting to the Core of the Matter

At our best, we are an inherently moral species, fiercely volitional and committed to reason. This is why some of our best and brightest minds instinctively reject a stupid, authoritarian God.

Ah, but what if…?

Suppose that God is a brilliant, inherently moral Being, fiercely committed to our volition, and represents the very embodiment of scientific reason, moral reason, mathematical reason, creative reason, and compassionate reason – all facets of all ordered conscious thought in all its manifold forms.

Suppose such a deity has been generously communicating to all minds in space-time that were and a willing and able to listen and apprehend.

What about our bandwidth limitations?

What distorted picture of such a deity would emerge when filtered through the minds of stupid, authoritarian humans?

Fortunately, for many of us, G-d appears as the One who judges and loves the judged, forgives and lives in those who forgive.

There is much more to be said, of course, but this is just a blog.

JBG

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[1] Why omit the “o”? See my essay, “Why G-d” posted at http://www.jaygaskill.com/WhyG-d.htm .

[2] I’m just now reading Stephen Hawking’s latest book, The Grand Design, which posits a cosmological model in which ‘God’ is not necessary to the story. This is not an original viewpoint, however original Hawking’s latest theory may or may not be. I plan to provide a careful analysis when I’ve finished digesting the book.

[3] For reasons too long to condense here, I am fully persuaded that Albert Einstein was a deist, someone who recognized G-d’s handiwork in the beautiful logic of creation, but did not believe in a deity Who would intervene in nature.

[4] Martin Buber, arguably the most famous Jewish religious philosopher of the 20th century, is best known for his masterwork, “I and Thou” (Ich and du – 1923), first published in English in 1937. The French biologist turned priest, Pierre Teilhard d’ Chardin (1881-1955), proposed an entirely different vision of evolution, one that was subtly but firmly directed towards the ennoblement of creation.

[5] One of my favorite writers is the physicist, turned Anglican priest, the Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne, who wrote, “As embodied beings, humans may be expected to act both energetically and informationally. As pure Spirit, God might be expected to act solely through information input. One could summarize the novel aspect of this proposal by saying that it advocates the idea of a top down causality through “active information.” Belief in God in an Age of Science, “Does God Act in the Physical World?” by John Polkinghorne (Yale 1998) at p 63.

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