Thought for the Week

All that exists, and in particular all persons who exist, participate, by virtue of mere existence, in the existence of God. . . As [Catholic theologian Karl] Rahner explained, 'God does not merely create something other than himself-- he also gives himself to this other. The world receives God, the Infinite and ineffable mystery, to such an extent that he himself becomes its innermost life.' Human beings are the creatures who instinctively respond to that innermost life. 'This mystery,' Rahner writes, 'is the explicit and unexpressed horizon which always encircles and upholds the small area of our everyday experience . . . we call this God . . . However hard and unsatisfactory it may be to interpret the deepest and most fundamental experience at the very bottom of our being, man does experience in his innermost history that this silent, infinitely distant holy mystery, which continually recalls him to the limits of his finitude and lays bare his guilt yet bids him approach; the mystery enfolds him in an ultimate and radical love which commends itself to him as salvation and as the real meaning of his existence.'

-- James Carroll in Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews

--Mr. Gobley


Rob said...

I wonder what Mr Carroll would think of this article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46793-2004Nov12.html

about this book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0385720319/

It's funny. In the debate about the true nature of humanity - are we simply materialist automata or are we driven by some inner spirit? - it may turn out that BOTH sides are correct. We are simply atoms and cells, but on the other hand, our makeup and brains are so complex that the behavior that emerges may as well be attributed to God or our spirit or whatever. Maybe complexity IS our soul.

We'll call it Mr Gobley's Law in deference to our host: A sufficiently complex automata is indistinguishable from a creature with a soul.

Mr. Gobley said...

Dear Rob:

Like faith itself, your excellent commentary, and the article to which you link, circle back on themselves, or perhaps around each other, the twin strands of DNA that are distinct but that together reveal a common -- truth?

"Mr. Gobley's Law," as you so graciously call it, might have broad utility: whenever the argument over faith vs. natural law arises, we can brandish the article and invoke the law as gentle reminders that both sides may in fact be making the same argument.

Thank you, Rob.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Great discussion, guys. I fully expect mechanism and vitalism to be united on some plane that we human beings cannot experience or understand, where our human debates -- Is it this or is it that? -- seem juvenile. As someone once said, "Our God is the god who hides himself."