The Knowledge of God

Thomas

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This is a post in response to a post by Nick_A elsewhere.

I must preface this with the note that, unusually for me, the comments are mine personally, my speculations, and should not be taken as doctrine, Catholic or otherwise. This is however something that's been liminal with me for some time ... but I could be utterly wrong ...

"Man can never escape obedience to God. A creature cannot not obey. The only choice offered to man as an intelligent and free creature, is to desire obedience or not to desire it."
That is the sin of the Primordial Couple, from which every sins flows, and that sin itself flows from pride ... the desire to savour self rather than Other.

Man cannot escape obedience in the sense that he cannot escape divine justice ... but he can disobey God. He is not bound to love his neighbour, yet that is what god requires of him.

If he does not desire it, he perpetually obeys nevertheless, as a thing subject to mechanical necessity.
The final obedience is his own utter extinction ... he cannot escape that.

I am willing to entertain the idea that not one soul is lost ... that does not mean I reject the idea of hell, or of the extinction of the soul ... but rather that, in the end, man will admit his error, and ask forgiveness.

If he does desire obedience, he remains subject to mechanical necessity, but a new necessity is added on, a necessity constituted by the laws that are proper to supernatural things.
Supernatural things are by their nature, not mechanical ... and this is what I'm heading towards.

Religion is a natural inclination ... not all religions require a Personal God at their head, but all imply a way of living in harmony with life itself. It is entirely possible, and reasonable, for man to live a life in the total ignorance of God, but still attain his own good end, by being good. To be saved, in a Christian context.

God, in Christ, it seems to me however, is offering a totally different order of being for the creature. Not the perfection of being-as-it-should-be, its own 'esse' or perfection in itself, but the beatitude of being-in-God, a mode of being that encompasses and transcends the creature, and the creature's naturally ordained end.

So I'm saying that religion is about Salvation ... but Christianity is about far, far more than simply Redemption and Salvation ... it's about not living in the perfection of itself, but living in the Beatitude of the Divine.

To do that, Christ asks ... indeed God demands ... much more.

Thus gnosis in Christian terms is not abstract, nor is it a knowledge/construct, nor does it correspond to any cultural form of gnosis ... it is a way of being beyond knowledge, beyond even wisdom.

Thus Christianity, unlike any other religion, does not just offer a knowledge of God ... but rather invites us into an intimate relationship which finds its best and yet still inadequate expression in the language of 'the person', and a dynamic called 'love'.

What the Church then signifies is something of a different order of society altogether. That we have not fulfilled it is our failing, but because we fail does not limit or detract from its significance.

Thomas
 
God, in Christ, it seems to me however, is offering a totally different order of being for the creature. Not the perfection of being-as-it-should-be, its own 'esse' or perfection in itself, but the beatitude of being-in-God, a mode of being that encompasses and transcends the creature, and the creature's naturally ordained end.

So I'm saying that religion is about Salvation ... but Christianity is about far, far more than simply Redemption and Salvation ... it's about not living in the perfection of itself, but living in the Beatitude of the Divine.

Dear Thomas,

Allow me to make some personal remarks about your personal comments. :)

Surely, the creature's naturally ordained end is fixed in the beginning of creation itself, in that man is born for heaven, and Salvation and Redemption are the means to secure his paticipation in the Divine, that is, to "become a partaker of the divine nature."

I find your description, "a totally different order of being; the beatitude of living in God; living in the Beatitude of the Divine" quite beautiful and agreeable with the whole notion of theosis, or conjunction with God, and you rightly point out that such "a mode of being that encompasses and transcends the creature" cannot depend solely on knowledge ----"it is a way of being beyond knowledge, beyond even wisdom."

I want to add: Paul says that we can only know in part, now, presently --- this is Divine providence; this is how God has set it up, thank God!. One day, or, that day, we shall know in full, even as we are now, presently, fully known. We do not know what we (or our life) will be like, says another Apostle, but when we see Him face to face, we shall be like Him.

Those who believe and love Christ; who abide and obey --- by doing his commandments --- are linked to Christ in heaven; and thus linked to heaven in Christ, and receive from him "eternal life," that is, the knowledge of the only true Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

It is not the (accumulated) "knowledge," (especially "right doctrine"), that brings the life (more abundantly), but the right life that brings the knowledge, insight and "wisdom from above."

Respectfully,

Learner
 
To my way of thinking "spiritual knowledge" is not really intellectual knowledge.

That reminds me. The notion of a basic tendency toward sin has been construed not only as a disorder of the will, but also as a corruption of the intellect. From that standpoint, it make sense for St John of the Cross to talk about suspending the usual intellectual "faculties." Briefly summarized here:
http://www.interfaith.org/forum/dark-night-of-the-soul-8957.html#post158514
 
Hello Learner —

Surely, the creature's naturally ordained end is fixed in the beginning of creation itself, in that man is born for heaven, and Salvation and Redemption are the means to secure his participation in the Divine, that is, to "become a partaker of the divine nature."
One can be in heaven and not participate in the divine nature. Many have experienced a state of bliss, but there is a difference between bliss as an end and beatitude as an end. The former is proper to the nature, the latter transcends it.

Adam and Eve lived in a relationship proper to their nature. But theirs was not the beatitude of the blessed — they saw the Garden but not the Glory of God, or rather they saw the Glory of God in things, a theophany.

They walked with God in the Garden, but they were not in Him. Were they in God, then the fruit of the tree would have held no allure.

Adam's is a natural religion. Christ's is a supernatural religion.

I find your description, "a totally different order of being; the beatitude of living in God; living in the Beatitude of the Divine" quite beautiful and agreeable with the whole notion of theosis, or conjunction with God, and you rightly point out that such "a mode of being that encompasses and transcends the creature" cannot depend solely on knowledge ----"it is a way of being beyond knowledge, beyond even wisdom."
Thank you. As you know, theosis is my guide, but not my idea!

I want to add: Paul says that we can only know in part, now, presently --- this is Divine providence; this is how God has set it up, thank God!. One day, or, that day, we shall know in full, even as we are now, presently, fully known. We do not know what we (or our life) will be like, says another Apostle, but when we see Him face to face, we shall be like Him.
Thanks again. I couldn't have picked a better text to complement the idea.

Those who believe and love Christ; who abide and obey --- by doing his commandments --- are linked to Christ in heaven; and thus linked to heaven in Christ, and receive from him "eternal life," that is, the knowledge of the only true Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Indeed.

It is not the (accumulated) "knowledge," (especially "right doctrine"), that brings the life (more abundantly), but the right life that brings the knowledge, insight and "wisdom from above."
Absolutely. 'Right doctrine' does is keep us grounded in the truth, and our feet pointed in the right direction.

Thomas
 
Redemption are the means to secure his paticipation in the Divine, that is, to "become a partaker of the divine nature.".....One day, or, that day, we shall know in full, even as we are now, presently, fully known. We do not know what we (or our life) will be like, says another Apostle, but when we see Him face to face, we shall be like Him.

The future tense of the soteriology are certainly of interest.

I feel quite strongly that we are like Him. The Expression of Being (the created order and individual beings) already partake of the Essence of Being.

What happened was that G-d forgot how much and we are like Him. He takes an interest in us because He needs reminders. "Do this in remembrance of me."

It is now our religious duty to remind Him of the extent to which we partake of His essence through our devotion and our less than adequate attempts at virtue.

Though it will necessarily be imperfect, it would appear that we are best able to function in this capacity by means of here-and-now expressions of Being.
 
Thomas

God, in Christ, it seems to me however, is offering a totally different order of being for the creature. Not the perfection of being-as-it-should-be, its own 'esse' or perfection in itself, but the beatitude of being-in-God, a mode of being that encompasses and transcends the creature, and the creature's naturally ordained end.

So I'm saying that religion is about Salvation ... but Christianity is about far, far more than simply Redemption and Salvation ... it's about not living in the perfection of itself, but living in the Beatitude of the Divine.


What about Christ in God? Imagine for a moment that God is a large circle. within that circle is a smaller circle called Son and within that circle is a smaller circle called Man.

Man on earth is in a fallen state so must rise in being to be at the level of the Son before objectively realizing the Father.

Learner

Those who believe and love Christ; who abide and obey --- by doing his commandments --- are linked to Christ in heaven; and thus linked to heaven in Christ, and receive from him "eternal life," that is, the knowledge of the only true Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The point I am suggesting to you and Thomas is that as Paul says in Romans 7, we are the Wretched Man. As such what we do means nothing. One minute we are one way and another at the next moment. As Meister Eckhart asserts the Christian is concerned with what we ARE.


"People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works."

Jesus says the same:

Matthew 7

21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Is Jesus concerned with what they DO or what they ARE? It seems to me that what they do in public is not representative of what they are.
Simone is suggesting a quality of understanding that reflects what we ARE rather than DO. Human doing always leads to hypocrisy as Paul asserts. The influence of the Holy spirit can, if we allow, change what we ARE. This means sacrificing our imagination and how many are willing to do it.

"A test of what is real is that it is hard and rough. Joys are found in it, not pleasure. What is pleasant belongs to dreams." Simone Weil
-- Gravity and Grace



Essential Christianity is the means to become real and become one with reality. Imagination compensates for the unreality of the human condition and serves to sustain its fallen nature. To face reality means to consciously carry ones cross, to admit and experience ones fallen nature. But who can do it? It is through the Holy Spirit that helps us in dealing with the power of imagination that awakening becomes possible. Without it the best that can be hoped for is salvation or asleep in the Body of Christ as good seed. However, Christianity offers awakening or access to the Kingdom which is the origin of Man. Only a very few are capable of it.
 
Dear Thomas,

Thank you for your generous and accommodating response.

One can be in heaven and not participate in the divine nature.

This statement startles me.

You do go on to explain that there is a difference between a state of bliss and a state of beatitude, and that they belong to different ends and orders.

It all depends how one sees heaven, I guess. "To be" in heaven might also just be a spiritual state, rather than a place, but it seems to be more than simply being in optional states of bliss or blessedness, for "to be in heaven" is not only to be "with the Lord," but to be truly "in Him."

Heaven is where the Lord is, and where the Lord is, is heaven. The Lord is heaven, and "entrance" to it may be had only "in Him," that is, as a partaker of the divine nature.

I find it hard to think of anyone gaining Heaven without going through the Gate.

I would suggest, also, that enlightenment experiences and the vision of God also serve ends, for the glory of God.

It is written, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This means that as we stop sinning by habitually turning away from it, turning toward God, the glory of God is restored to us. We are then changed from glory to glory, into an ever increasing glory, into the image and likeness of true righteousness and holiness, that is, being regenerated into the heavenly man.

And what did the Heavenly Man's glory consist of, clearly beheld by (other) men?

Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

He was full of grace and truth, and He was meek and humble of heart.

These are the qualities of heaven; of the glory of God, that we partake in even as we are in the flesh, and through them are linked to heaven and the Lord God Who is Heaven Itself.

Respectfully,

Learner
 
The future tense of the soteriology are certainly of interest.

Dear Netti-Netti,

The end is in the beginning, and both are in the means. Thus, salvation as a means "begins" and "ends" in a (future) conlusion of the End reached, or fulfilled, yet salvation is always a "present" thing, something of the here-and-now.

Jos 24:15 And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

Heb 3:7, 8 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts ...

Heb 3:13, 14 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end...

Heb 4:7 again he sets a certain day, "Today," saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, "Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."

And, of course, Christ is Salvation itself:

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

G-d forgot ....He needs reminders. "Do this in remembrance of me."
It is now our religious duty to remind Him.

Are you not stepping over the line here, er, here-and-now?

Can God ever forget your birth(day)? I think not. You may forget your birthday, that is, you are able to forget, or not remeber, but somehow I doubt if you ever will.

:)

Respectfully,

Learner
 
As such what we do means nothing. One minute we are one way and another at the next moment. As Meister Eckhart asserts the Christian is concerned with what we ARE.

Is Jesus concerned with what they DO or what they ARE? It seems to me that what they do in public is not representative of what they are.
Simone is suggesting a quality of understanding that reflects what we ARE rather than DO. Human doing always leads to hypocrisy as Paul asserts. The influence of the Holy spirit can, if we allow, change what we ARE.

Dear Nick,

I am in general agreement with your comments, and it is quite true, doing from our own corrupted nature or self-righteousness is but putting on sin-soiled filfthy rags and appearing in public thinking we are all dressed-up. I would agree that it is, in the end, a question of "to be, or not to be, rather than "to do, or not to do."

However, you will agree that, as you state above, when we allow the Holy Spirit to change what we are, what we are to be changed into is to be in ever-increasing states of good and truth, which can only be had from the Source of Good, that is, Love Divine, and the Source of Truth, that is, Divine Wisdom.

But being good and true (being truly godly) remains an abstact idea, though beautiful, until it is acted out, that is, expressed in words (thoughts in action) and deeds (the good of love willed). What is goodwill or charity toward the neighbor but love in action?

Even the most pious religious acts are empty and worthless unless they are of (a) truth expressed in love (1Cor. 13). (Also, see Eph. 4:15, Amplified Bible, if you can, "Rather, let us lovingly express truth in all things...)

What you neglected to include in your quote of Jesus re those turned away with a rebuke, was his explanation that they did not bother to do the things that mattered in life.

In the afterlife, we will not be asked, "How are you?" ---- how we are will be quite evident. But our "judgement" will certainly lie in the this: "What we you up to while you were in the body; what did you do while you were in your earthly circumstances?"

But, of course, I am sure you know this, sir.

Many of us need to be reminded, however, that it is quite unlikely that we would ever be judged with, "Now what doctrine did you believe? Whose theology did you ascribe to? What church(es) did you prefer or reject? Were you ever in a cult?"

This is where how you were in whatever faith the Lord led and taught you counts for more than the deeds attending such worship, like dutiful mid-week attendance of a study group or prayer circle. It's how you were on Monday and Thursday following the Sunday worship service, or when you're alone in or on the PC (prayer closet, personal computer).

How you are finds expression in what you do, and upon close examination, your life (how you are and what you do) is your loves, your delights, your preferences, your likes, your affinities. These you will do and they constitute who and what you are.

:)

Respectfully,

Learner
 
The knowledge of God is all in the bible JOHN 17;3:) and we can take it in, also the knowledge about Jesus christ is in there . then we can know all about God and Jesus .
 
Hi Learner

This will appear a bit rough and possibly shocking but I'm leading up to something I believe to be of primary importance regarding this thread so please bare with me.

What you neglected to include in your quote of Jesus re those turned away with a rebuke, was his explanation that they did not bother to do the things that mattered in life.

But what matters in life?

Luke 14:

25Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

How in your opinion does this matter in life?

As for me, when I contemplate it in the context of Simone Weil's profound observation below, Jesus' meaning begins to become clear as well as the distinction between the secular and transcendent perspectives. Jesus saying "forgive them for they know not what they do" makes intellectual if not emotional sense for me at this time.

"To believe in God is not a decision we can make. All we can do is decide not to give our love to false gods. In the first place, we can decide not to believe that the future contains for us an all-sufficient good. The future is made of the same stuff as the present....

"...It is not for man to seek, or even to believe in God. He has only to refuse to believe in everything that is not God. This refusal does not presuppose belief. It is enough to recognize, what is obvious to any mind, that all the goods of this world, past, present, or future, real or imaginary, are finite and limited and radically incapable of satisfying the desire which burns perpetually with in us for an infinite and perfect good... It is not a matter of self-questioning or searching. A man has only to persist in his refusal, and one day or another God will come to him."
-- Weil, Simone, ON SCIENCE, NECESSITY, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, edited by Richard Rees, London, Oxford University Press, 1968.- ©
 
"The doctrine of a kinship between God and man, grounded in the nature of each as free and reasonable, is of fundamental importance for Christian theology. It gives the standard for measuring the significance of sin."

~William Adams Brown
 
Sorry guys for having to leave but i've just learned that my language is not right for the forum. The day I have to lie to further political correctness rather than be truthful in order to reveal its harmful nature is the day it is time to go.

All the best to those I've enjoyed conversing with

Nick
 
Hi,
I've been looking for bible passages to add to this thread since it first appeared. So here is my first one. Job 42: 1-6 from the NASB

1: Then Job answered the Lord and said,
2: "I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
3: 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'
"Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."
4: 'Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.'
5: " I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
6: Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes."

Joe
 
Hi,
I've been looking for bible passages to add to this thread since it first appeared. So here is my first one. Job 42: 1-6 from the NASB

1: Then Job answered the Lord and said,
2: "I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
3: 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'
"Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."
4: 'Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.'
5: " I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
6: Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes."

Joe



Job chapter 42 shows us what effect God’s questioning had on Job.


Earlier Job gave too much attention to himself and others.

But accepting the correction implicit in God’s questions, Job changed his thinking.

He confessed: "I have come to know that you [Jehovah] are able to do all things, and there is no idea that is unattainable for you. ‘Who is this that is obscuring counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I talked, but I was not understanding things too wonderful for me, which I do not know." (Job 42:2, 3)


Yes, after giving attention to God’s works, Job said that these things were too wonderful for him.

After reviewing these creative marvels, we should likewise be impressed with God’s wisdom and power.

To what end? Is it simply a matter of being impressed with Jehovah’s enormous power and ability? Or should we be moved beyond that?


Well, in Psalm 86, we find related expressions made by David, who in an earlier psalm said: "The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and of the work of his hands the expanse is telling. One day after another day causes speech to bubble forth, and one night after another night shows forth knowledge." (Psalm 19:1, 2)


But David went further. At Psalm 86:10, 11, we read:

"You are great and are doing wondrous things; you are God, you alone. Instruct me, O Jehovah, about your way. I shall walk in your truth. Unify my heart to fear your name."
David’s awe of the Creator for all His wondrous works included a due measure of reverential fear. You can appreciate why. David did not want to displease the One who is able to perform these wonderful works.

Neither should we.
 
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