I had an interesting thought about the relationship between faith and God after a conversation with Dave and Yoc on the porch last night.
I’ve heard the argument that we can’t fully know God; the best we can do is draw a negative outline of who God is. That is to say, we cannot define God in absolute or certain terms. We can, however, understand things which are not fully God, and therefore understand God to be a within the undefined remainder. In essence we create a silhouette of God. It’s like painting God into a corner, except it is done without the malicious aggression that is typically associated with that euphemism. Rather, it is motivated from a desire to know and experience a God which exceeds our abilities to experience and understand.
Last night Dave quoted some famous philosopher (whose name I forget) who said that faith begins to exist on the border of logic or reason. That is, anything beyond our brain’s capabilities to understand or know, we embrace and accept by faith. In that our capacity for knowledge, logic and reason is limited, faith becomes our mechanism for coping with and embracing that which is beyond our capabilities.
Therefore, it is through faith that we experience God.
If God is that which is beyond our ability to comprehend, and if faith is that through which we accept what is beyond our ability comprehend, then it is through faith which we accept God.
However, as we seek to embrace God in faith, we cannot let such faith become an excuse for intellectual laziness. If we are not constantly proding at said edges of reason, we are dishonoring ourselves and God. A healthy faith is one which we ourselves are constantly attacking and invading.
Yet, in my experience, faith is resilient enough to sustain such dimishings and remain undiminished. The more I learn and understand, the more I realize I do not know or understand. The more blank areas of God that I color in, the more areas I see that need colored. This is why, “painting God into a corner,” in my experience, is not malicious, because the “corner” expands with every brushstroke I make.
I don’t believe I will ever paint it all in.