The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

My Photo
Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

considerations of christian claims about deity

If we look at the Christian claim about God, it seems to amount to this: God exists. There is one God; There are three persons in the one God; These three persons are the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit.
On the face of it the Muslim teaching about God is simpler. The Muslim understanding as I understand it is: God exists. God is one; There is only one God: There are no divisions in God; God does not have a Son nor is there any need to conceive of the Holy Spirit as a distinct person of the godhead.
From a certain perspective I find the simplicity and directness of the Muslim assertion connotes a likelihood that it is close to the truth.
Similarly the Jewish understanding of God admits of oneness but not explicitly (or not for most Jews) of three persons in the one God.
Both Christian and Muslim understandings have in some way (I think a mystical way) come from Judaism. My assessment of this is confirmed for me by the saying attributed to Jesus in Saint John's gospel: "Salvation comes from the Jews."
My belief that salvation comes from the Jews is also underscored by Catholic Church Papal teaching. Pope Pius the Eleventh taught: "Anti semitism makes no sense. Spiritually we are all semites."
I would express this by asserting that for any of us who wish to believe in God or to know God, the Jews are our fathers and mothers in faith.
I would also suggest, in  my more deistically inclined moments, that the reason there has been so much historical hatred for the Jewish people is precisely because God has used them to make himself known to all nations.
Again I am postulating a mystical conspiracy theory, to wit: God has used the Jews to make himself known to humanity therefore the devil hates the Jews more than he hates any other people.
In every era, I am suggesting, it is Satan who has sought to demonise the Jews and none other.
But I digress.
Let us return to my attempts at a clinical comparative assessment, ie a non supernatural one, of the Christian idea of God.
The simplicity of the Muslim notion about the oneness of God may not be as resonant or persuasive or indeed irresistable as I have sometimes found it. Simplicity does not necessarily encompass every truth at every level. Occam's Razor, the philosophical methodology formulated by a monk in the Middle Ages based on the notion that the simplest explanation tends to be the best, is not an exhaustive perspective. It doesn't really carry when misapplied, say when one is attempting to conceive of a mapping for a deoxyribonucleic molecule. How much more, may it not carry, when one is considering the mind boggling claims of Christians regarding the reality of God as being one God containing Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This requires discernment.
The truth is not always most readily summed up in our simplest explanations though simplicity does most certainly seem to a keynote of fundamental truth.
So let's see.
Is there any reality that I have perceived or felt or encountered, that leads me to truly believe God is one and yet at the same time he is three persons in one God?
The testimony of the Catholic church weighs heavily with me.
The testimony of Christians of many disparate churches, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant among them, throughout history weighs heavily with me.
The statements attributed to Jesus in the four gospels, not just his actions, the statements, also seem to demand, well to demand awe, the awe due to God.
According to one gospel witness he said variously:
"Before Abraham was, I am."
"The Father and I are one."
"I am the resurrection..."
These make a strong impression on me.
The experience of life has also, I believe, shown me that the name of Jesus is itself powerful. People cast out demons by that name. The sick are healed. The lame walk, Prisoners are freed. Those of us filled with hate are filled with love instead. The blind see. The dead are restored to life. Selfish people change and give up their lives and their fortunes to educate others. Hospitals are built. And schools. And cities. And nations. All these things are happening now by the power of the name of Jesus.
And they are Godly things.
As for the Holy Spirit also being a person of the godhead, I again find myself looking to the most ancient and continuous traditions espoused by Christians through the 2000 years. It's been a fairly consistent, nay universal, declaration among all those who have lived and died, braved and sacrificed, endured or been martyred, inspired by this faith.
Personally I believe I have felt the touch of the spirit at times and his presence.
I have also had the curious feeling from my teenage years, that if I wanted to speak true or to discern a truth, I had first to stop everything, lay aside a whole lot of baggage, and listen for the spirit, and then trust him.
Most of the time though, I have not done this.
There's more.
There have been two occasions in my life when people have told me that my face shone with some sort of light, once in church at a wedding, and once when I had confessed a sin.
The first time I was fully aware it was happening and that someone else was meant to see it even though my eyes were closed.
The second time I think I was told about it because God wanted me to know from someone else's lips that he was present with me.
My understanding of the notion that a face might become luminous is that such a happening is a gift of the Holy Spirit.
As are music, literature, the arts, healing, prophecy, friendship, understanding, science, wisdom, life and love.
A brilliant debater once stymied me with the simple statement: "We'll never know for sure if God exists or not."
After a moment I ventured a reply.
My reply was: "There is one circumstance in which we will know for sure if God exists or not. If the Christians are speaking truly about Jesus, God is not a secret and we will know. All of us."


Post a Comment

<< Home