Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Challenge To Our View Of GOD

I have been reading Jean Pierre de Caussade's little book, Abandonment to Divine Providence. In it he writes this:
"The divine action, although only visible to the eye of faith, is everywhere and always present."
 In response I wrote in the margin: "then how do we know?" I mean, if GOD's presence can only be seen through the eye of faith, how do we know it's true? 


Which caused me to remember the parable of the illusive gardener made famous by Anthony Flew:
Once upon a time two explorers came upon a clearing in the jungle. In the clearing were growing many flowers and many weeds. One explorer says, "Some gardener must tend this plot." The other disagrees, "There is no gardener." So they pitch their tents and set a watch. No gardener is ever seen. "But perhaps he is an invisible gardener." So they set up a barbed-wire fence. They electrify it. They patrol with bloodhounds. (For they remember how H. G. Well's The Invisible Man could be both smelt and touched though he could not be seen.) But no shrieks ever suggest that some intruder has received a shock. No movements of the wire ever betray an invisible climber. The bloodhounds never give cry. Yet still the Believer is not convinced. "But there is a gardener, invisible, intangible, insensible, to electric shocks, a gardener who has no scent and makes no sound, a gardener who comes secretly to look after the garden which he loves." At last the Sceptic despairs, "But what remains of your original assertion? Just how does what you call an invisible, intangible, eternally elusive gardener differ from an imaginary gardener or even from no gardener at all?"
I think it is clear that epistemology [how you know, and how you know you know] is just as challenging to the core of the faith's realness as the sociological process of pluralization.


We must re-discover or somehow uncover what the, "Spirit is saying to the churches," now, at the beginning of the 21st Century. To do this our creative theologians must begin with GOD because everything rises or falls on our view/understanding/placement of GOD.


In the back of de Caussade's book I outlined the challenge like this:
  • Our view of GOD is culturally given and culturally driven 
  • Our view of GOD is theologically frozen and theologically limited 
  • Our view of GOD is linguistically shaped and linguistically inadequate