Where Are We, Anyway?
April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
We’ve covered much ground thus far in this Blog and a recap is in due order. After having 1.) established what types of knowledge exist, our general approach has been to 2.) establish certain of God’s Attributes. This knowledge has then been parlayed into 3.) how we are to properly respond to these in thought and action; attitudes and perspectives and duties, obligations, and responsibilities. Most importantly, 4.) this framework allows for determining our purpose in life to know God.
Qualitative Theory of Truth – There are two types of knowledge which comprise this; Quantitative and Qualitative. The former concerns ontological facts regarding a subject’s Who, What, When, and Where questions and answers. Qualitative knowledge, on the other hand, deals with teleological Why and How questions and answers which identify a subject’s purpose and how it is fulfilled. The Qualitative possesses more explanatory power than the Quantitative and, when applied to our human condition, allows for identification and development of a practical manner of living consistent with God’s Will.
Knowledge of God – Like other subjects of knowledge, God has Quantitative and Qualitative aspects. The Quantitative refers to His a priori metaphysical Attributes such as Goodness, Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence. The Qualitative concern a posteriori ontological attributes, known as Principles of Creation. These are established by God’s Creative Act and Power as manifested in the world. With this Act and Power, God infused into Creation His Attributes of Goodness, Grace, Mercy, and Justice. Qualitative knowledge of God, as derived from Principles of Creation, provides us with identification of a practical manner of living consistent with God’s Will.
Qualitative Meaning of Life – Reasoning from God’s Perfection, a Quantitative attribute, and the contingency and non-necessity of the world, a Principle of Creation, our purpose in life is to know Him. As a perfect Being, he lacks and, therefore, desires nothing. Thus, Creation cannot be thought of as benefitting God in any way. Therefore, the world exists and is sustained by Him for our sole benefit. With Creation, a duality of existence occurred; God as Eternal, Immutable, and Perfect and the world as rooted in time and space, subject to change, and contingent. To fulfill a meaningful life, our thoughts and actions need be aligned with the most fundamental reality in existence which is God.
Social Justice – God’s Qualitative Attributes, discerned from His Quantitative ones coupled with certain Principles of Creation, establish His Goodness, Grace, Mercy, and Justice. From this, multiple attitudes and perspectives and duties, obligations, and responsibilities follow for us. These include the following:
* Acceptance of perceived hardship and suffering and perspective concerning them as opportunity
* Inherent goodness of Creation
* Trust in God and His Will
* Giving and service to others
* Sanctity of life (anti-abortion, euthanasia, and capital punishment)
* Social Justice
* Animal rights
* Environmental protection
* Authentically and urgently responding to God’s Will and our purpose in life to know him
* Loving values of acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding towards others
* Equality of persons
* Criminal Justice; rehabilitation of the criminal
God’s Will & Material, Immaterial, & Divine Love – Fulfillment of our purpose in life to know God can be had in sowing Immaterial Love and experiencing Divine Love. As a contrast to these types of Love, Material Love need be explained. It is an irrational, subjective, and spontaneous relationship experienced as a feeling between us and material things of the world; people, places, and things. Material Love is defined by our selfish and self-centered perspectives of how the objects of our Love affect, benefit, and relate to us.
Conversely, Immaterial Love is rational, objective, and deliberate. It is defined by seeking to know God through identification and fulfillment of His Will as dictated by His Qualitative Attributes and our emulation and imitation of them. This action entails a Loving quality on account of its attempt to seek fulfillment of a purpose; realize an end; accomplish a goal. In place of Material Love’s emphasis on self, Immaterial Love’s concern is with God and our relationship with Him.
Divine Love occurs when a person undergoes a full or partial union with God as in the case of mystical experience. Typically pure gift to and consciously unattainable by those who have them, these experiences may in rare cases be spawned by disciplined and rigorous prayer and meditation. They are paradoxically characterized as consisting of feelings of ineffable noetic oneness with God and the world. As a result of these experiences, a person commonly undergoes a profound shift of perspective relative to themselves, God, the world, and their relationship with the latter 2. So powerful are these experiences that they have the capability to obfuscate the distinction between Material and Immaterial Love wherein all things, material and spiritual alike, are Loved equally and effortlessly for the Love of God, the Creator of all.