The Impossible; Part 5. Existence and the Story of Death to Life.

Whew! Those Impossible essays really get thick. So perhaps a rejoining to a more approachable speaking. But hold on! The ride is just getting fun.

I have been interacting through comments and replies with Dave, who writes the blog called “Big Story Guide”. Our conversation is quite wonderful, so, just as I used our conversation for the basis an earlier essay post ( See: Aphilosophy, Convention, Faith and God), I do the same here, and because this latest reply grew to such lengths (even though I think I have posted replies even longer than this one).

The reader can see our extended conversation under the comments of “Issues and Existence”. And please feel free to visit Dave’s blog “Big Story Guide”: http://bigstoryguide.wordpress.com/2-the-death-to-life-project/

*

We last saw our heros continuing enquiry into each other’s ideas. Dave is curious for a rendition of Lance’s ‘Big Story’, and Lance has been attempting to discover from Dave the significance for the Christian and the non-Christian in the claim of Christ Jesus. Dave (in italics)…

Your notion of “the qualitative motion of history” suggests a bigger story than The Bible tells – a story within which The Bible should be interpreted. So, when you say, “Teaching, method, apprehending or comprehending terms through a particular scheme, is the issue at the heart of the Gospels,” it seems as if you are sort of taking an aerial view of a mansion of reality/truth. You can see Christians entering through one door (scheme) on one side of the mansion while you see Hindus and others entering by other doors (schemes) on other sides of the building
.

The quality of history reflects an essential motion, where as history itself changes with the times. I think the Bible presents a certain correspondence with these ideas, one ironic, one conventional.

“If that is the case, what is the more faithful rendition of our story, told from that larger view?”

You have captured one of the more insightful philosophical rebuttals to some of the existentialist authors here, one that contributed, I feel, to the discarding post-modernist critiques to a particular era, and the movement beyond it. The larger view is entirely existential, that we are humans doing human things, that has no more meaning than the meaning we have of it at the time, that there is no knowing a true history, that anything anyone can say has to do only with present discursive situations. The question would be then, how could they know of this? The rebuttal is something like the accusation that the so-called existentialist (but Laruelle with his non-philosophy likewise) authors set themselves as a sort of ‘omniscient’ or ‘removed’ viewer, as if their view is not likewise conditioned by the existential situation.

But I would say that the ‘death to life’ story, as you describe it of the Bible, is no larger than what the above situation grants. To wit: How would it be possible to step out of existence so as to gain such a view? The answer is excruciatingly ironic, for the one who is ‘stepping out’ is the one who says it cannot be done.

One way to speak about it is to say there is no stepping out of existence, that there is no larger story but the story that is reflected in itself by itself, and that this reflection is based in an apparent separation.

Take for example a story book, a novel. Can the characters step out of the story in order to see the story? No, they cannot. They are determined in and by the story to be the story as it goes. It is only the reader who steps out of the story, but he does this by an interesting move. This is the historical significance of the development of the novel-type writing. The reader starts at the beginning and reads to the end. He thereby can summarize the story, talk about its characters, its plot, the development of tension, climax and such; but this telling is not the story, it is a story of a story. The real state of the reader is removed from the story but in such a way that he views the summary and discussion of the story as referring to the story itself. But his telling is not the story; it is not even a summary. It is the story of the story. This real reader misses the story by staying removed from the story, and it is this assumptive state of removal, of distance enacted by the author as well as the reader in reality, that allows the story of the story to be not the story but its summary. This state of being human corresponds with the state of reality, that which marks a quality of history to the reading of history.

Thus another way to speak about it would be to see that to live ‘in the worldly’ way is to live by separation, and with reference to your ‘Death to Life Story’, is the way ‘of death’, not dissimilar to your Big Story.

Would you say that Abraham, being after the Fall, was likewise ‘living death’? I would say no. I would say the he ‘lives’, but did not need Jesus and so was not ‘restored’ to life, but merely ‘lived in God’ but after the Fall. How did he get that way?

The same with Noah before him; …he “was a just man, perfect in his generations, Noah walked with God”. How was this so if all men live in a state of death after Adam? How did Noah “[find] grace in the eyes of The Lord”?

Further, the only thing it says of how Abraham got to know God is “Now the Lord said unto Abraham…”

And what of Moses? Did he do anything to bring God to him or chose to meet God? No. God chose him. And I would add that this is the most offensive aspect of the Bible to the reader of its stories: It could have only happened in the past since if God chose someone today, in the same way as Abraham, Noah, Moses or Jesus, it means that God has not chosen me; but where there is irony, this statement, the meaning of Moses, etc, ‘being chosen’, has no contradictory baring upon my relation with God.

I think that, as a result of your bigger-than-The-Bible-Big-Story, your interaction with the biblical figures Abraham and Jesus becomes pretty highly conceptualized. For example, Abraham experiences “a true ‘before the fall’ covenant, so to speak, with God.”

Are these three people human beings? I would say yes, they are actual human beings who ‘knew’ God. And, in that they did nothing to achieve such a relation with God, that is to say, they did not beckon favor with God, they also did not choose anything about God, at least, not any more than someone else could have; God exactly chose them. In fact, I would say, because they are ‘after the fall’ people, they could not have chosen God; nothing they could do could remove or get beyond their ‘fallen’ condition; only an act of God could do so. In fact, choosing God could only get them as far as their own ‘sinful’ condition was able, which is ‘removed from God’, offended in this state.

This is clearly anachronistic within The Bible’s story, so it would be tremendously helpful to know the bigger big story within which this Abraham event took place. Please, tell me about “the real mistake that began as the Fall.”

Sin can be seen as “the real mistake that began as the Fall.” The mistake of taking an object before God. If this is a signal of human heritage, passed down as a condition or state of being human, then as we are in sin, at some point in the past it would seem there was an original sinner.

In a way, in the story, the ‘fruit’ or ‘apple’ represents the ‘idol’ that comes to stand between Adam and God; it is the worldly object that is seen to be able to make Adam and Eve like God, knowing good and evil: ethics/universe of objects the control of which make humans ‘like God’. The mistake that unfolds in history is the progressive domination of such object, the ‘death’ that ultimately pushes God entirely out of human knowledge and experience. When such ‘worldly saturation’ occurs, then Christ returns to restore life, that is, God.

If this post-fall state is inherited by all humans, then as this is indicated by choice or free will, our state determines thus our ability to know God. This ability, founded in the ‘first significant choice’ – since if there was choice before the Fall then its significance was consistent with God’s will, where ‘everything’ would be significant, thus allowing nothing significant to be punctuated as such – thus likewise conveys the beginning of ethics, since that which is consistent with God’s will has no weight against what could be evil since such a motion in that ‘pre-fall’ state is God’s state and not so much a human state. The post Fall state of humanity, wherein choice upon good and evil resides or is established, is the entirely of what we can know, our knowing being limited by the sinful condition of knowing with choice, can be called the universe, because it consists of or is correspondent with what all humans can possibly know. So it is that Kierkegaard, in “Fear and Trembling” (I believe its this book) begins with “the universe is the ethical”.

It’s worth mentioning again that I think the question, “Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical” is an interesting one raised by the Abraham-Isaac story. But, I don’t think it is at the heart of the story. Instead, the issue of humanity’s death and the possibility of resurrection is at the heart of the story.

The question “Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?” is Kierkegaard’s primary concern, as I have said, through all his works. This question means: Is there a way of knowing or otherwise communing with God-as-God, meaning, without the ethical doubt that injects one’s humanity in the way of God’s communication with him? In other words: is there a possibility of a God-man?

One of the things I feel like I’m missing in our conversation is how you might see the teleological suspension of the ethical being necessary to some kind of resurrection.

Resurrection, with regards to the ‘death to life story’ of the Bible, is a teleological suspension of the ethical, a breach of universal ‘right-ness’, an actual communion with God ‘as Life’, as opposed to ‘death’. Such communion or communication would not have a possibility of ‘wrong-ness’ since God is above or beyond ethics: God is God, creator of the universe, creator of choice, indetermined by choice. God is righteousness as opposed to nothing else. Hence Kierkegaard considers Abraham and Jesus.

Your questions regarding Jesus’ experiences with faith strike me as also being an interesting aside. I would find them much more compelling if I believed that Jesus represents a God-in-man issue. But, I believe that Jesus is the God-man who came to address the death of humanity through His death and resurrection.

God can only be ‘in man’ as much as man sees God as distanced, or removed, from man; but the movement is that man made that choice to remove himself from God. Hence the significant questions concerning the state of humanity is: What about you is not God? What is resurrection?

This is essential.. This is essential.

[Jesus’s] experiences with the teachability, and learnability of faith, and His personal experiences with doubt strike me as being pretty speculative (but still interesting) and less essential.

I would think these represent his humanity, and, ironically, they are entirely speculative and less essential – and it is interesting how K speaks about ‘the interesting’ as a quality of various worldly topics.

*

The contradiction between the God-man and the God-in-man presents the impossible situation of reality: Would you know if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was standing right in front of you? How would you know? Would everyone know? How do you know?

Reality imposes its maxim, framed or determined by the impossible: You are not God, and, no one can have a personal audience or communion with God as God. A man, though, may have God ‘in him’, and hope to be communicating directly with God, because this is the condition of man after the Fall: He needs a redeemer, a proxy, a go-between. Faith allows for a traversing of the distance that has been created by the sin of not choosing God, or maybe better put, the sin of being able to choose God now that there is a sufficient distinction by which to make a decision. This is the post-Fall universal condition of humanity. Only those of the past can be such God-chosen people, for if I told you that God indeed has spoken to me, has chosen me, in the same way as Abraham and Moses, you would call B.S. or think I’m insane. Because reality has it that we are all equal, all of the same capacity and existential presence in the world, then if this is the case, that I commune and communicate with God as God, it means that God has chosen me and not you. This is offense. This is the evidence of sin. This is impossible.

Kierkegaard thus considers the possibility of Christ. Is it possible that God sent his Son to be here on earth, a human? If this is possible, what does it mean for humanity? Does this meaning exceptionalize meaning to certain qualifiers, such that there are ‘humans’ and then there are ‘human but also something else’? How does the exception also place me in a certain position with reference to God? Does this meaning, the exception, include all humans, regardless of how they are qualified? What does this mean? Where do I exceptionalize myself as human, but not ‘that’ human? What is God? Who is God? Where am I offended? Where do I sin? What stories do I tell myself to qualify myself in the world? What are these stories? What is blasphemy?

Can I know God as God? Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?

For reality, the answer to these questions being the same, is impossible!
But only through faith.

O.M.G.

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60 thoughts on “The Impossible; Part 5. Existence and the Story of Death to Life.

  1. I don’t believe that I have the authority to pronounce someone “good.” But, assuming that we could identify a set of people who are “ethical (good) people who disclaim the Bible,” I don’t see much difficulty in accounting for them because I don’t think The Bible was written to make people good or ethical.

    I don’t think humanity’s problem has to do primarily with being good. I think our problem has more to do with our relationship with God.

    I think The Bible is the most consistent, coherent, and cogent rendition of our story. As we interact (and as I interact with other people), I continue to listen for a rendition of our story (or parts of our story) that is more consistent, coherent, and cogent.

    I have found your thoughts about God to be helpful at times, but you have resisted trying to give your thoughts narrative coherence.

    I don’t think the story you have (sort of) suggested about humanity’s “fall” is very consistent, coherent, or cogent. I think “separation” might continue to be a helpful term if you want to keep trying to understand each other on this matter.

    I understand that you doubt that humanity has a monolithic story, so I hope I’m not sounding overly critical. But, I think humanity does have an essential story. And, I think Jesus is at the heart of the most faithful rendition of that story.

    I also think it is at least plausible that some people will be “saved” and others will not.

    1. My Big Story. I continue to put thought into this. In a way, as I’ve said, the Bible tells it as your Big Story, but somehow I read it differently than you. I guess that’s what I’m attempting to get at, where mine and your Stories may find common ground between us.

      My considerations try to account for the real situation, for example, that there are people who do not recognize the Bible, there are those who know the Bible but who do acknowledge it, as well all those who interpret the Bible differently but who nevertheless convicted in their reading.

      If the Bible does account for all history, then the ‘saved or not saved’ version seems inconsistent with that God created all humanity. My attempt involves finding a meaning that is consistent with the Bible as well as real human experience.

      Because if I am choosing to not be Christian then I am willing to ‘not be saved’. Why? Why would I or could I believe in the Bible Big Story but then come to the conclusion that I am included in the Promise by being one who is excluded? Why would the God I believe in make me in such a way so as to not choose to believe His dictates, and feel fully thereby justified in God? If I am deluded then God made me that way and I am ok with eternal damnation. If it because I have not concept of how terrible this could be then oh well. God made me convicted in the faith in Him that he has sentenced me by my choice.

      What do you make of this situation?

    2. Pt2
      Perhaps I can say it like this: you tell me ‘Jesus is the Son of God sent for the forgiveness of sin’. I say ‘yes I agree with that statement’. But what are we agreeing about? I ask then ‘what does Son of God mean? What is Sin?’. I am not asking this because I don’t know – I agree with the statement. But what are we agreeing upon?

      This is what I’m getting at. When I read the Bible and say ‘yes’, how can anyone say that my ‘yes’ is really ‘no’? Because my understanding is complete, there is nothing that does not make sense completely. Now, when I goto talk about this understanding, I am usually countered by a ‘no’, you are incorrect. But this is because they see my explanation as telling them of their understanding ‘no’.

      1. If you have ever agreed that “Jesus is the Son of God sent for the forgiveness of sin”, then I misunderstood you. I have never understood you to say that.

        I have heard you wonder about Jesus as a differend; one who enables us to speak about reconciliation or overcoming our misperception of separation from ‘god’ – a misperception born of our “fall” into consciousness.

        This is one example that causes me to wonder what you say “yes” to when you read The Bible. Several months ago, you mentioned that you know what The Bible is really saying. So, I continue to listen for an expression of our story that is less conventional and more essential, and I’m glad to hear that you “continue to put thought into this.” I think this is important.

        When I read The Bible, I am understanding it within a pretty simple big story framework:

        There is a Creator-God, and that God likes what He created.

        God created humanity, breathing “the breath of life” – His Holy Spirit – into the first man, demonstrating His intention to live in intimate relationship in/with humanity.

        When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they died just like God warned them they would. Separation took place between the Holy Spirit and Adam and Eve. Subsequently, this is the condition into which all human beings are born. Death.

        God wants humanity to be restored to Himself – to life. He initiated a “Death-to-Life” project with Abraham, and that project continued through the nation of Israel.

        Eventually, Jesus was born in Israel to fulfill God’s many promises to accomplish the Death-to-Life Project. Jesus’ death and resurrection make possible humanity’s restoration to life.

        Jesus will return to complete the restoration of humanity and all creation. All who receive Him will have life – the return of the breath of God; the Holy Spirit.

        ***

        I will continue to listen for the big story framework within which you are interpreting The Bible.

      2. Well; I have said I agree with your story and that the Bible makes sense to me. I would think then that any thing said in the Bible I agreed with, as to the Story. So I picked one phrase that came to mind, though maybe it was not an exact quote.

        So maybe back to : why or how did man choose to die, to eat the fruit? For wouldn’t have God known before hand that man would do that? If he didn’t know, I would say then, that God is not ‘the true God’ but ‘limited God’.

      3. Some time ago, we talked a little about the possible compatibility of determinism (or God’s sovereignty) and human choice. I think it’s possible that God knew what Adam and Eve were going to do, but that it was still their choice to eat the fruit.

        Why would they eat it? The Bible offers this interaction between the woman and the serpent in the garden:

        “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

        When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

        ***

        It looks like Adam and Eve believed the serpent and their own assessment of the situation instead of God.

      4. How could they ‘believe’ the serpent? And it would seem Gods plan really has nothing to do with life or death since God sets us up to make the wrong choice, and his plan from the beginning was that people would, a plan that completely makes no sense to us, that is beyond our comprehension.

      5. It is interesting that this passage seems to suggest that once they ate the fruit that they not only ‘died’ but that they either just remained ‘not knowing’ good and evil’ or became unable to know it. Actually it seems to say that they remained they way they were with their ‘eyes closed’. So is death ignorance of good and evil? How are we able to characterize our present ideas of good and evil then?

      6. I see the stories of the Story and being correct as they have to do with real experience of real human beings and God, as they have been told through the only available reference to terms and writing.

        On a side: I wonder if you have ever read Rudolf Ottos ‘Idea of the Holy’. It is very interesting his thoughts.

      7. You wrote, “How could they ‘believe’ the serpent?”

        I don’t think I understand the question. God told them not to eat the fruit from the tree – if they did, they would certainly die. The serpent told Eve, “You will not certainly die.” Adam and Eve acted on what they heard from the serpent. They trusted the serpent and ate the fruit.

        Are you asking me how that is possible?

        You suggested “that they remained the way they were with their ‘eyes closed’.”

        Here’s how The Bible’s account continues from the point at which I left off: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”

        What do you mean when you say that God sets us up to make the wrong choice? Do you think Adam and Eve had no real opportunity to make a different choice regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

        ***

        I am not familiar with Rudolf Otto. What is it about our current conversation that made you think of his “Idea of the Holy”.

      8. The Serpent’s advice is taken to mean the opposite of what actually happened: they would not die; they would become like God knowing good and evil. But he is deceiving them, meaning that the eating of the fruit does make them die, they do not become like God, they become or remain not knowing good and evil.

        Under which rubric does ‘they saw they were naked’ fall?

        And, if they did not know good and evil before eating, how would they know what a (God’s) ‘command’ was? In what way could they know the implication of what a command means? Is it ‘good’ to follow Gods command to not eat of the fruit of the tree?

        Or, once they ate, they died and lost the ability to know good and evil? But if they already knew, then what condition arises by the eating of the fruit? They evidently did not actually die, for they still lived. Perhaps they had a different meaning of ‘death’ before they ate? So the serpent was right after all? So where is the deception?

        What is their real condition before and after eating? A certain relation with God? What is the actual human condition, what does it mean ? Separation from God? Life? Death? What are these ‘states’? What is the serpent really saying? What is good and evil? What is ‘naked’? Is being naked good or evil? From or for what do they cover themselves? Because they are ‘dead and naked’? What does that mean?

        Being in a state of not realizing their nakedness; what has this to do with life and death, of knowing good and evil? Where they living before they ate? Why would they believe the serpent if they already knew they were alive and knew good and evil ? What meaning could ‘you will not die’ have for them? Perhaps it was the ‘being like God, knowing good and evil’ that allures them. But why or how could they have a Life with God and be jealous of God? Why would they have any reason to trust the serpent? Was the Life with God not all it’s cracked up to be?

      9. Otto: I’ve just had occasion again in my work to reference the book. I was just thinking you might find it interesting because he tries to come to an ‘experiential’ notion of how the idea of Holiness may have arisen to human understanding and usage. I had no direct with our conversation reason to bring it up except that I thought you might be interested in a book like that; kind of like a religious studies book. I could be wrong though. Either way, it’s ok.

      10. Just had a further thought. Maybe they ‘covered’ their ‘dead nakedness’ with True Objects because the ‘evil’ is no longer having God as their ‘cover-Life’.

      11. I’ll try to follow your questions and comments through the narrative in Genesis 1-3.

        You asked, “What is [Adam and Eve’s] real condition before and after eating? A certain relation with God? What is the actual human condition, what does it mean? Were they living before they ate?

        Genesis 1:27 – “So God created human beings in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”

        It looks like human beings were already like God, upon our creation; made in His image. And, it looks like being created male and female was an important feature of human beings’ likeness to God.

        Genesis 2:7 – “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

        Something vital and intimate happened at this moment. I think that it was more than a physical act. I think that God breathed His Holy Spirit into the first man, and that it was God’s intention to live in humanity and to have humanity live in Him. I believe that God’s design for “the actual human condition” was to have humanity live in this kind of intimate relationship with Him.

        The Bible doesn’t tell us much about Adam and Eve’s condition or their quality of life before they ate the fruit. But, it does make a point of telling us, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25)

        You wrote: “. . .if they did not know good and evil before eating, how would they know what a (God’s) command was? In what way could they know the implication of what a command means?” I think you also implied the question, what meaning could “you will certainly die” have for them?

        I would guess that they understood very little about the implications of violating God’s command regarding the tree. If you wish to consider the possibility that God didn’t give them enough information to make the crucial choice, I suppose you can. It looks to me like Eve had enough information to at least postpone her decision. I don’t know why she couldn’t have gone back to God and said, “This is what the serpent said about the fruit. . . .” It’s hard to say how much more their understanding of death might have increased if they had asked God some questions about the suggestions the serpent was making.

        You commented: “They evidently did not actually die, for they still lived.”

        I think this is an important observation. This is why I consider it critical to be clear about the more-than-physical nature of God’s act when He “breathed into [the man’s] nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” The life that Adam and Eve lived before they ate the fruit was lived in the Holy Spirit, and with the Holy Spirit in them.

        When they ate the fruit, they did die – immediately. The Holy Spirit no longer lived in them and they no longer lived in the Holy Spirit. The first evidence of this is that, immediately, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked.” Their relationship with God was fundamentally changed, and the impact on Adam and Eve’s relationship with each other was huge.

        You wondered if, after eating the fruit, “they do not become like God, they become or remain not knowing good and evil.”

        Genesis 3:21-23 – “And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever. So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden. . . .”

        I think, at this point, Adam and Eve have intimate, experiential knowledge of evil, and it looks like God does not want them to live forever in this condition.

        You asked, “Why would they have any reason to trust the serpent? Was the life with God not all it was cracked up to be?”

        I think that was the serpent’s suggestion – that God was holding back something good/better from them. And, it looked to Eve like that was true. If you want to consider the possibility that God was not as good to Adam and Eve as He could have been, I suppose you can. I think the serpent lied, implicitly, about God’s character and about the value of the fruit.

      12. I would say that in order for the serpent to have made any sense at all to Eve, she would have already have had to have suspicions about God; likewise Adam to listen to Eve.
        I see a strange inconsistency though: the image I think I’ve always had of Adam and Eve in the Garden before they ate, one I am reminded of again, is that of them being sort of blissfully ignorant, childlike even. That then in their childlike state there Eve encountered a serpent who used the child mentality and curiosity against her, and Adam. And then because they ate, then they had to toil in the earth and Eve have child baring pains and such; in essence they had to ‘grow up’. Does this childlike state correspond with having the Holy Spirit with them? And then it would seem that their growing would eventually bring them back to God, as a progress of history, Gods plan.

      13. I disagree. I don’t think it was necessary for Eve to have already had suspicions about God in order to understand the serpent. For example, simply wondering what the problem with the fruit was would have made her ripe (sorry about that) for the conversation with the serpent. However, I think it’s also possible that she didn’t give it much, or any, thought. I don’t see why the serpent’s thoughts couldn’t have been brand new to her.

        Also, I think that characterizing humanity’s story, beginning in the garden, as one of emergence from a “child mentality” and “growing” toward God does not convey the weight of the Fall, the hopelessness of humanity’s separation from God, or the significance of the actions God would take in response to the Fall.

      14. Yes, you may have a point on Eve there.

        It seems that we may have a different view on their being human. I have always felt that the story of Adam and Eve was conveyed as if they are like naive children; this is the impression I always got. I don’t know why; I think maybe it was Sunday school or cartoons about Gensis creation story or something. Don’t know.

        Yet, I have reconsidered this in light of myself being a ‘mature’ (maybe, lol) grown adult, that perhaps they, Adam and Eve, were like me in their humanity, that is to say, just as ‘thoughtful’ and able to be ‘considerate’ of actual life events. Hence, such questions as I have put to you about them and their situation.

      15. Pt 2

        For, it seems it should be one or the other: were they like children, naive, and were deceived because of her curiosity, or were they like us, in respect with our ability to consider options?

        Still though; in both cases we are dealing, it seems, with very human attributes, and it does seem to include God creating Adam ‘whole’ that is, as a man, not as a baby, able to walk, eat, on his/their own, etc.. And, I cannot but wonder how they were created manifests as something that is not human, meaning, something other than how or what we know is human.

      16. There is an awful lot we don’t know about this story. I think you raise some interesting questions: How big of a factor was naiveté in the interaction between the serpent, Eve, and Adam? In terms of human development, as we know it, how developed were this man and woman who seemed to enter the world, physically, as adults?

        I have also wondered about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For example, I have wondered if a day was coming when God intended to meet Adam and Eve and say something like, “Come with me to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil this morning. I want you to eat its fruit. There are some things I want you to understand.

        Pretty speculative, but interesting to wonder about.

        What I think is important to see happening at the beginning of The Big Story, as The Bible tells it, is that human beings were created to live in vital, intimate, loving relationship with God. We were meant to have the breath of God – the Holy Spirit — living in us. But, humanity’s existence changed at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We no longer have the breath-of-God existence that Adam and Eve had in the beginning. (The impact of this on human beings and the world we were given to care for has been incalculable.)

        Two critical questions at this early point in the story are: Is there anything humanity can do about this situation? What is God going to do about this situation?

      17. If I have an idea of A&E that they are human like me, then I try to put myself in that eRly situation. And ask myself: what is this occasion , this experience? What is the serpent. And the fruit?

      18. Pt 2
        Kay. So here I am, Eve, and everything is fine. And then I come accross this serpent who tells me that this fruit that I hadn’t really thought about before, actually will make me like God…

      19. Lol. Well, actually I was leaving it open. How would you fill in that blank?

        How can I (putting myself in Eve’s place, as a human being like me) conceive of the serpent? Did an actual snake talk to me?

        My take is like this: It is possible that the Universe does not ‘run’ by the Laws that our ‘modern’ scientific mind sets out to be ‘for all history and time’, that humans, though consistent in their our humanity, live(d) in a Universe that is constituted differently, running upon different Laws in different time(s).

        What do you think?

      20. Yes, I’m assuming that the serpent spoke to her. That’s the simplest reading of the text. How exactly that worked, I don’t know. And, I understand why someone might say, “I have never spoken with a serpent, and I don’t know anyone who has ever spoken with a serpent, so I doubt that anyone has ever spoken with a serpent.”

        I think Eve’s interaction with the serpent is a historical event. And, I think there are other historical interactions with the serpent in The Big Story. For example, Revelation 20: “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”

      21. It would seem we have at least two possibilities; the universe of Adam and Eve that does not adhere to our modern scientific version of laws that have governed the workings of the universe since its beginning, and the the universe (of them) that has operated the same since their time to our time.

        It seems this way to me; it has to be one or the other. A beginning of the universe that actually began with two God created people must have existed, as humans like us, in a universe that was completely foreign to our understanding, that is, by contrast, if we live in our present world of scientific type methodology of real things, where evolutionary theory describes the actual universe for all times.

        The former universe, one could say, had ‘miracles’, a universe where a serpent at times could talk and be motivated by ‘more than instinctual’ animal processes. This universe also has staves that could turn into snakes (Moses), a certain finite number of creatures that Noah could gather, and ‘works’ of Jesus, where a person that was dead could actually come back to life physically, and probably a myrad of other miraculous possibilities spoken about by other cultures. A universe where extra-universal energies (God?) still were involved directly with the universe.

        Now, see though, I am not being facetious. I am not even thinking about ‘what if’.

        The other universe is one where the humanity we know now, the capacity and ability we count as human today, including that part which extends into science, is The universe that has always been, running by the same Laws, the same limitations, one of which says that serpents could never speak to humans let alone convey a complex thought in speaking, or staves that could become snakes.

        Also see that I feel that in being human, I should explore the world with all my capacities, barring no thought, considering all that might be able to come under my view. Granted, this view involves a certain morality so far as to what I may enact, but so far as the possibility of truth in the world, I must be at least willing to consider it in its possibility, including the possibility that may offend my idea of what is real and true. To me, this is a God given capacity and ability, that he gave me (us) to use to its fullest. In other words, I should, within this capacity and ability, be at least willing to try to set aside what I know is correct.

        Under this maxim for being in the world, this is why I can say or have said I do not have faith, but my faith is in doubt. For, if I do not have faith, then the faith that I do have is defacto, by definition, doubt. But inso much as somehow I have a commitment or an imperative of my being that does not allow me to have faith, by virtue of this situation, I am having faith in a meaning from which I derive that statement ‘I do not have faith’ in order to be able to say it and mean it, and thereby this condition admits, my condition, my faith is in doubt. I become subject to a peculiar situation whereby the position I advocate betrays itself, and I am left nowhere by what I may say, except that somehow I have said it, because the faith that I do have, the faith that allows me to speak and mean with conviction, is in question by the very fact that I may say and mean ‘my faith is in doubt’.

        So it is that the possibility that there was a singular and momentous human being who was the Son of God, sent into this world for the forgiveness of sins, that those who believe in him may not die, but have everlasting life, this actual person-God 2000 years ago as the Bible tells – I do not have faith in this, which I to say I do not believe it, but yet I do believe, have faith in the idea, that it is just as possible as the truth I know, by which I have faith in doubt. This is ironic, the situation of irony: to have faith in doubt.

        *

        The possible situations of the universe as I presented above, both rely upon an implicit idea of progress. The former, where a serpent actually talks to Eve, suggests a universe that has been moving away from God, a universe that began with God and where God used to interact, where miraculous things could and indeed did happen as they are told about, but that the universe is or has been moving in a manner where such strange occurrence, one could say at least, become less and less, leading ultimately to our time, wherein any and all miraculous events are immediately usurped and explained by our modern understanding, thus stripping them from the truly miraculous and leaving them, at most, merely strange or mysterious.

        The latter universe extends its reaches to the ‘beginning’ and proclaims that humans a long time ago were not as intelligent as we are now. Even though they had the capacity innate in the (our) developed brain, its processes, as an adapted mechanism of natural selection of acquired traits, needed time in trial and error in dealing with the true universe to find out what is actually real and true. Early man was superstitious, and believed in all sorts of spirits and demons, gods and deities, supermen and fantastic creatures, and was prone to believing false ideas such as a geocentric universe, four basic elements, and the body’s functioning through chakras and humors. Eve talking to a serpent is explained as analogy or as ignorance, as a real human event hidden in symbolism or clouded by superstition. This universe is of a progress toward true knowledge, of humans learning and understanding their true place and the true structure of the universe.

        I am unable to have faith in either one of these universes, to believe, which is to say, will myself, choose, to have one or the other be true. I can only consider their possibility in regards to possibility. In fact, so much as what is true, is that they are both possible given the condition of knowledge that I inhabit; and this is to say, they are both true, and this truth requires, as an act of will, no faith. But my faith is in doubt. That which I come upon as true has given these sensible conclusions. What is real as to the world in which I live, while tending toward the latter, ‘scientific’ universe, comes to be in question because of what is true. This question then brings what can be called ‘commitment’ (see my post on “Love”) and develops along lines that can be called faith. Which universe do I choose?

        *

        The point, I suppose, that I am getting at so far as Eve and the serpent is that I am incapable of coming to a Big Story, of the type your asking. Or, I would have to say that it is ‘in between’.

        It is this in between-ness that is the problem between us, maybe. Because, the story the Bible presents I can say to be true, but the meaning I have of this truth seems not the same as what you mean when you say its true. In part, I would say my Story is both stories, the former and the latter, of both of the universes I described. What this would mean is that taken separately their veracity must be taken in faith, an ‘either/or’. Taken together would show something to the effect that the historical move away from God is the move toward God, and this totality then would deny that there was ever a ‘true’ history designated by either the Bible’s Big Story or the Science/evolution Big Story, but that the apparent contrary movements reveal no movement, or a movement that exists only in the ever-present moment, and that on one hand, the promise of Jesus can come ‘in the blink of an eye’, at the end of time, or on the other hand, in the ‘thoughtful’ realization of the oppressively limiting power that ‘scientific’ knowledge has over the individual in reality right now. Since the Subject of both stories is the single human being’s relationship with the world, and how that Subject really has nothing to do with the world, of him or herself as a Subject of worldly things, but the Subject of God.

        So, I apologize; I can’t help but ask these questions:
        A serpent spoke to Eve. What is a serpent? An animal of the so-and-so kingdom and species and genera etc… Lives here and there, etc… Behaves in such a way, etc… A construction of mind, indicated in many symbolisms, etc… A bad person, as another word for ‘liar’, ‘deceiver’, ‘sheister’, …an analogy etc… Another word for Satan, etc… All of these… What is ‘knowledge’? What is ‘God’? What is ‘creator’? What is ‘good and evil’, etc….

        What does it mean that Eve talked to a serpent that told her that if she ate from God’s tree, she would not die but become like ‘us’, God, knowing good and evil? What does ‘deception’ mean? What is the intent of a God that knew a serpent would tell Eve this and she would believe it? If God’s intension is to have humans be restored to him, why would it be apparently so difficult? Why would God ‘deceive’ us through these stories that are prone to so much speculation? Why would a God give me the ability to doubt Him, if His plan was not for me to doubt, but to go against the very nature that He bestowed me with as his creation?

        I dont know is not sufficient for me. Why would a God make me so I am not able to have the faith He supposedly wants me to have?

        In one way of speaking, there can only be one answer: I already know why: to show me the truth of Him; to bring me close to Him. To disclose Himself to Me. To know Him. In fact, the very reason your Bible Big Story seems to be telling, strangely enough.

      22. What I see, is that Christiany as a profession of choice and faith, is indeed for a humanity where, in many sectors, people are such in their temperaments that a relationship with God, as Himself, is not ‘believable’ or possible. Such people either have an attitude that sees God as ‘not possible’ due to the ‘rationality’ that is prevalent now a days, or they ‘have an issue’ personally that ‘rejects’ such God.

        Christianity is thus an effort against such obstinacy; Jesus allows for a ‘forgiveness’ of these kinds of attitude. A type of potential or way for an individual to ‘leap’ from their very real condition of obstinacy, to faith.

        The Fall, then, helps with a convincing for one to be able to make such a leap; since God, as a real ‘source’ is ‘removed’ from them for themselves, their various attitudes. Christianity thus is a very real and Godly way, an act of compassion, Jesus a very real help to such people.

      23. I dont know what happened. I pressed the ‘flag’ button on the message while viewing your latest reply, and then your reply completely disappeared. I still don’t know what the flag means or what it did besides deleting your reply. Can you send it again?

      24. I think the flag means something like, “This reply is brilliant — whatever you do, don’t delete it.”

        ***

        Your characterization of Christianity as “an effort against such (rational) obstinacy that is prevalent nowadays” strikes me as being anachronistic. I don’t think Christianity emerged as a response to rationalism.

        As you considered the two frameworks within which to understand the “universe of Adam and Eve,” you suggested that “the Subject of both stories is the single human being’s relationship with the world, and how that Subject really has nothing to do with the world, of him or herself as a Subject of worldly things, but the Subject of God.” I think it is a mistake to reduce the story to a manner of speaking about the single human being’s relationship with the world and “God.”

        I also think it is a mistake to conclude that there is no true history, and that the only movement that takes place is that which “exists only in the ever-present moment.” I don’t think there is such a thing as “the ever-present moment.” There is always a moment that is present, but the idea of an ever-present moment is mistaken and has the potential to turn our view of history into an existential kaleidoscope of confusion.

        Your emphasis on doubt in your characterization of faith seems out of balance to me. I understand your statement that your “faith is in doubt” to mean that you are engaged in a process of doubt – one that repeatedly concludes in absurd terms. It seems to be a process that, for example, makes it possible to talk about morality in terms of social contract, but it never allowed you to make the ethical commitment to say that people matter when we were discussing Nirbhaya’s situation. In such a case, this sort of process-of-doubt faith seems to tip toward a skepticism that can commit to no ground for ethics. This seems incoherent to me.

        I continue to listen for your Big Story as I hear you consider Jesus as the Son of God. You say, “I do not believe it, but yet I do believe, have faith in the idea. . . .” I don’t know what that “idea” is, but I think it is probably central within your Big Story.

        You also asked several questions regarding God’s intentions. I don’t think it is true that God makes you “not able to have the faith that He wants [you] to have.” Within The Bible’s story, it appears that, currently, there is room for both faith and doubt in a loving relationship with God.

        You asked why God would even give you the ability to doubt if His “plan was not for [you] to doubt.” I don’t know that God’s plan ever was for humanity to not doubt – or at least to not ever have incomplete or imperfect knowledge of Him. I would guess that our ability to doubt was, and is, meant to be exercised as wonder, not accusation.

      25. How is it a mistake to reduce the story to being about a single persons relationship with the world and God? We don’t All come to Jesus as a group, do we? We may come together As a group of persons who have come to Jesus, but we all don’t get together and ‘meet’ Jesus; no?

      26. I don’t mean to minimize an individual’s response to Jesus. I just didn’t want to miss the magnitude of what He has done; acting to save all human beings. John 3:16 captures both realities: “For God so loved the world [all humanity] that He gave His only Son that whoever [individuals] believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

      27. Sure, but this occurs by the single person. The issue has to do with a single persons relation to… Jesus and what he stands for or what he did for humanity is nothing without the considerate human being, indeed, more, the obstinate non believer.

      28. Pt 3..
        Also..
        I mean, are you a Christian because it fits well with your ethical humanitarian view, so far as having a certain compassion in that carrying the Message of Christ you are trying to help others? Or, has Christ entered Your life, and so you have such compassion?

      29. Pt 5

        And similarly I could not suddenly choose to believe in Christianity, as Jesus as my savior; it would take an act of a God to allow me to do this. Yet, because I may have faith in God as truth, as I have faith in doubt, I know that if he wished me to be Christian, then it would be so. Which is possible to happen, but it hasn’t happened yet.

      30. I’m struggling at this point in our conversation because you say so much while articulating so little big story context. I appreciate your respect for the process of doubting, but I think some measure of commitment to a working draft of your big story would help a great deal. More context would help.

        For example, you alluded to Nirbhaya, the rape victim. You spoke of her as being “in God’s hands;” that “God loves her, and will take care of her.” And, you spoke of her abusers as “children of God.” You speak about them as if they matter. This confuses me because you have refused to simply say that people matter. Please, tell me more of the story about people who are loved by God – who are in His hands, in His care. Tell me more about how humanity came to matter.

        Similarly, you continue to make references to “fall” and our “fallen condition.” But, the manner in which you tried (some time ago) to explain “fall” in terms of emerging consciousness suggested that there is no real “problem.” The big story that this suggests puzzles me. It seems to be the story of a world in which there are so many real problems, but ultimately, no real problem. Please, tell me more about how this is so. (I wonder if the term “fall” is really very useful to you in conveying your understanding of The Big Story.)

        Also, your story seems to include the possibility of knowing God. Tell me more of the story that helps me understand why this matters. I can’t tell why knowing God matters within your story – and it seems to matter quite a lot. You say that if I come to “know God through Jesus, then Jesus becomes unnecessary.” (This strikes me as being a lot like saying, “If you come to know love through your wife, then your wife becomes unnecessary.”) Please, tell me more of the story of human beings coming to know God, and the incidental paths we travel to know God.

        You have much to say about the mechanism of faith — how it works. And, I think you have some interesting thoughts. But, with so little big story context, I start to wonder why I should care about how faith works.

      31. I might have gotten lost in your maze of tangents and excursions into truth and reality! I replied to one of your recent posts. But, you might have to let me know if you answer because I don’t know that it will show up in my notifications or reach me by email.

      32. It came up . Part of my slowness to reply is the app on my iphone lags v bad in the reply box to type. Soon I’ll reply Proper

      33. The recent post of mine was basically a posting of a reply that u already read 🙂 maybe u noticed that. But it is not the one I mentioned recently that I’ll post as the reply to your last reply ;).

        But I was also thinking: so far as the Big Story. This recent post the motion of two progresses I mention. I think it is sound. Because they both appear to evidence the same motion: one is the move torard the return of Christ, where God is restored, but generally a move ‘into’ death. The other says this move is actually a motion of true knowledge where God was is just a ‘superstion’. I see these representing two opposite orientations of the same historical movement.

      34. I did notice — it’s what made me wonder if I had gotten lost in the maze!

        ***

        I don’t understand. . . .

        “apparent contrary movements [that] reveal no movement, or a movement that exists only in the ever-present moment” (?)

        Or

        “two opposite orientations of the same historical movement” (?)

      35. One movement that is true. This movement can be said to be ‘knowledge’ in the condition that it is known. This condition is the total feature of what is known as ‘good’ or right or correct, and what is known as ‘bad’, wrong, incorrect; together constituting the totality of what is known: knowledge.

        Two orientations:

        1) Religious. From God ‘life’ toward or into ‘death’. The knowledge of good and evil being the condition of being ‘sided’ in an either/or state. It is ‘like God’ but it is not ‘God’: it is false. God is the removal of this either/or, where everything is reconciled; God created the ‘either/or’ condition but in as much as there is that condition, God is implied not of it. History here is the movement away from God. The beginning, God, is here correct knowledge; history is a move away from correct or true knowledge. History has been a progress into ignorance: false knowledge.

        2) Scientific. From ignorance ‘superstition’ toward or into correct or right knowledge. The idea of a God is an incorrect notion of what is true. History has been a progress into knowledge, knowledge of the truth. A move away from ignorance toward true knowledge.

        The former sees the reconciliation in the return of Jesus, which is really God. History as a progress into ignorance that eventually opens up for the return of true knowledge, God.

        The latter sees the reconciliation in the gaining of more and more truth about reality. History as a progress that reveals true knowledge.

        If there is one movement of history that is true, then it is the movement that contains all knowledge as knowledge. The movement that is situated upon representative biases, where one type of knowledge is favored over another, one ‘true’ the other ‘false. When we include the totality that is the condition of knowledge, then we can see two movements that function correspondently. One that says true knowledge will return, one that says true knowledge will come. One says the return is due to a progressive divergence, one says truth will come through convergence of a totality of facts.

        Each stand at the ‘ends’ of history and proclaims its own sovereignty. One stands at the beginning, the furthest point one can recede into the knowable past, and one stands at the end, the furthermost point one can know of the future. Each counter the other in principle but draw from each other as an economy of meaning that establishes polemical ethics of right and wrong, correct and incorrect. One says ‘spirit’, one says ‘material’.

        It seems that neither of these gains any actual footing to account for humanity; each leaves out significant and obvious factors or elements that are involved with being human. One weighs in the ‘spirit’ but has difficulty with accounting for ‘material’ actualities; one weighs in the ‘physical’ but has difficulty with ‘spiritual’ aspects.

        It would seem that the sensible route is to deny that either one of these are true by themselves, but together are both true, together both account for the ‘largest’ sensible accounting for the human being.

        If this is so, then the ends or beginnings that either propose cannot be in themselves true, since then we have to account for how both or either attain their truth while apparently denying the other.

        Perhaps the ‘middle’ route is the best account. This would then discount claims of beginnings and ends, and habitate strictly from the middle, the position from where we can ‘see’ beginnings and ends. This also seems to be a proper accounting for a human being who can know, since without knowing, there can be no human being, at the beginning or end, created, returned or enlightened.

        So, ironically, I say, in one sense, that God will return when the reality that denies God due to its reliance upon ‘material’ facts of a polemical nature gives up its dominance, or, argues itself to its own annihilation. But, correspondently ironic, I say, such a moment never comes, for reality will always situate humanity in ends and beginnings, instead of in the middle. Even if such a revolution were to come about, because of the insistence of the nature of humanity and reality, the revolutionary knowledge will be again situated within beginnings and ends, and thereby will avoid the ‘enlightening’ feature it claims to be a process of. Thus, the conflation of partial movements reveals that the ‘enlightenment’ each sees itself involved with, the return or the ‘great reckoning’, does not come in any historical ends as situated by either, but by the ahistorical move that is exactly ironic and ‘in the middle’ so to speak, and, by this very nature, thus never occurs, or only occurs in the eternal moment that defies all history.

      36. I just posted the essay developed from as a reply, and actually, it does well following the reply I just replied just recently. 🙂

      37. Lol You know its funny Because to me it is very simple. Hence my issue of how to convey it. And why I apprciate our interaction. 🙂

      38. I was just pondering my latest post in consideration of you reading it. You see that I think our Stories are complicit in the same motion. And so far as I describe the virgin birth as a feature of coming to see the operating of consciousness upon conditional ‘meanings’, such that one can be said to be born ‘of a virgin’; it is not too difficult to likewise see that the ‘shortcut’ of Jesus in belief, the idea of being ‘born again’, as Christians like to call it. It is indication of the same occurrence: the ‘sensible’ relief of the discrepancy. Yet ‘born again’ would be understood in the light of my essay as upholding the truth of the categories of reality, of the true past and such. So indeed, the shortcut that is Jesus, that makes sense where the initial sensibility of God is not working, can be seen to effectively return the individual to God.

      39. Pt4. I think it would be quite ironic if by doubting, I accuse God of not existing or not being real – oh wait! That is exactly what I’m doing!

        Because if God was not part of my life, how could I even say ‘God, you do not exist’. And, what does it mean if I was accusing … nothing?

        Part of what I propose is that if you know God through Jesus then Jesus becomes unnecessary, because the point of Jesus is to know God, to be ‘saved’ from the world, and at that, from doubt! But the doubt that would see its process as getting to some true thing that exists, as if the process is the significant aspect, as the focus on the process of achieving the true thing might actually work to prevent the attainment of the objective.

        Maybe its like if I’m trying to get somewhere then I walk over there, but I don’t have to keep my feet in the places where I stepped in order to have gotten to where I was going.

        But the thing with faith is that it is built upon a whole scheme of inter relational ‘true’ meanings, such that to adjust one term has corresponding meanings for the whole scheme. For example; because Jesus is such a foundational element in the Christian belief of God and the proper structure of the universe and the way to believe, one could not simply choose to believe that Jesus was the ‘way’ rather than then objective, because they are both intertwined in meaning for the faithful. Nor could they choose to believe that by this path to God Jesus has become obsolete as a concept and so is no longer needed in the relationship one has begun with God, and that Jesus’s feelings will not be hurt, nor will God be mad if Jesus is set aside as already for filling his purpose. It would be like building a house and the removing the foundation: the house would crumble.

        But God is not the house, Jesus not the foundation. Jesus is the Way and Life. The house just needed the foundation to build the house to find a Life; because the Way and Life is God, the house becomes no longer needed. Or some weird analogy metaphor like that. Lol.

      40. Pt2.

        Anyways from what I remember of it, part of it:

        My point with the ‘rational’ is that it seems apparent that there are many people who have an issue with God or even the idea of a God. Whether it be because there is ‘no proof’ or ‘it makes no sense’, or whether it is because some sort of ‘religious’ trauma occurred for them that they have a resentment toward religion of even God himself.

        In my essays, I argue a true polemic between what is real and not real. Conventional faith falls in the category of real; conventional faith allows for the ‘One’ real truth, so in order to speak about what is true, beyond negotiation, beyond merely belief, I have brought what is ‘not real’.

        Now, this is not to argue that what is real is really not real, rather it is to say that there is reality that operates through particular meanings, and this is real.

        So, I propose that Christianity offers a real solution to what could be called ‘spiritual obstinacy’, which might be that situation of people that refuse, for one reason or another, to relinquish their particular sensibility that ‘tells them’ that God is false or a superstitious idea. In a manner of speaking, using this orientation or sensibility, it could be seen that I confront it head on and could say then that God is ‘not real’.

        Jesus, following this line of reasoning, is thus a real option, yet a ‘transitive’ object that links God and human, not real and real. It confronts the human tendency, that we see everywhere, to deny God. The operation of the denial being capable of being ‘overridden’ or ‘by passed’, by locating real human attributes that bring about the ‘no God’ sensibility, and presenting a path for such attitudes (attitudes of death, one could say, sin) to be ‘forgiven’. By wholesaling the ‘human rationale’ unto itself with reference to our ‘fallen’ condition, and ‘packaging’ it as sin, The Promise of Jesus can be gained through a choice to believe that such a sinful rationale might be incorrect. See here that I say this and use ‘packaging’ as a type of analogy and with a sincerity, and not to point to some ‘capitalist’ inauthenticity.

        *

        Faith in doubt. If you have read any of my essays I always come back to irony. One way of reading this is that I have ‘faith’ in the process of ‘doubting’; this reading would not be incorrect, for it is true. Yet also, consistent with this process, or way, it can be read, my ‘faith’ (in doubt) is in question, which is to say, the route that I profess, my faith, the way of doubting, is itself ‘in doubt’, it has been brought into question: That which I profess as true may not be true. I have faith in doubt.

        This, not incessant, but maybe more, ‘entwined’ or ‘innate’, ‘inherent’ move presents an odd sort of situation. Perhaps this I why I often say ‘one could say’, or ‘in a manner of speaking’, because we are dealing with what is True, and not what may be true through convincing or through argument; I am dealing with what is True beyond what one may believe or have an opinion about. It is about facts. Facts are neutral. The tree there out in the yard is a neutral situation of existence, but the speaking about it automatically presents a real situation of negotiation. So some philosophers ask ‘what is a tree?’ Or ‘what do we mean by ‘tree’?’ Or, how is it possible for the object we call a tree to exist as a tree?’ Etcetera. Such speaking about the tree is a ‘universal’ situating, an ‘ethical’ manifestation, because it has to do with discussing how we are to organize meaningful terms to come to the truth about the event of the tree itself. Such discussion concerns what is right and what is wrong: in other words, what is ethical.

        It is not wrong to have faith; it is a real operation of being human. It is a fact of reality. Yet what is true needs no faith; one cannot make a choice about what is true. That is, except in reality. This is irony. That I do not have a choice but to choose, but in so much as I choose, I could not have chosen differently. If I ‘believe’ in Christ, I would say, I am evidencing my orientation upon the true objects of reality, as if Christ is one of the objects that I get to negotiate as to whether it is true or not: I thus believe or not believe. If I know the truth of Christ, I am not so much concerned with what is real, because I know the truth. This is not an ‘either this is right, or that is wrong’ situation. It is a statement of the fact of existence, that reality is constituted by a negotiation of choices upon true objects.

        I propose that much of the stories of the Bible speak about this situation. That the presentation of the story can be taken two ways: First, as a proof for decision, and how such (historical) choices implies what one should rightly choose, and second, as an example of the truth, of what occurs when choice is removed, what one should expect when one – as has been said – ‘makes the choice that could not be made’. The former amounts to proof, the reasons, whereby one should choose to believe what is true, the second is the example that the choice made that could not be made is true.

        If I believe that the rape victim is a child of God, I cannot presume to justify what happened to her according to God: she is in God’s hands, and God loves her, and will take care of her. Nor can I justify by God what of her abusers, for they too are children of God. I am not God, I cannot presume His intensions. Only in the world, of humans, can I say she was innocent, and they are evil. This too is of God, but it is not God’s attitude. I am entirely unable to understand God and his workings; I can only understand how God has created me, and thus be consistent to myself, as I am to the creation I am of God. There is not contradiction in this; rather, the choice between such polemics is entirely a human problem of assuming what God wants for everyone. The truth is not negotiated. Reality is negotiated. The truth of God as God I do not bargain against my attitude and opinions, which He has bestowed of me. Only in reality do I bargain what God may or may not deem as right or wrong. Yet all this problem is solved in God, which is, to a human standard, ironic.

      41. Jesus as differend would amount to the inability for a human being to see that ‘Jesus is in the father; you know Jesus; why then do you ask Show me the father’. The inability to see that Jesus ‘stands in the place’ of ‘you’, such that when one knows Jesus, one also knows the father. The question implied of ‘show us the father’ indicates a differend of knowing, an ‘unseen’ contradiction that is already reconciled.

  2. I disagree with your characterization of the larger view as being “entirely existential.” And, I don’t think it is the case “that we are [nothing more than] humans doing human things that [have] no more meaning than the meaning we have of it at the time.”

    If it’s true that the things we do have no more meaning than the meaning we have of them at the time, then I think any endeavor to speak meaningfully about our existence is less than ironic. It’s nonsense.

    I also don’t think it is the case “that there is no knowing a true history,” unless by that you mean that there is no knowing it completely.

    I recognize that The Bible presumes to convey a true history from God who wants human beings to know [Him]. And, at this point, I think I will just become embarrassingly conventional and say that I believe God knows true history and has, in fact, conveyed the most faithful and essential telling of humanity’s story in The Bible.

    I’ll take another look at your comments in this post regarding Abraham, Jesus, death, life, and a teleological suspension of the ethical to see if I can respond with anything helpful. But, your conclusions that there is no knowing a true history and that the larger view of humanity is entirely existential make that difficult. I feel like I’m on a tennis court, about to return a volley to a guy who is standing on a baseball field waiting to play baseball with me.

      1. I have understood you to say that you don’t think our existence is meaningless or absurd — only our endeavor to speak meaningfully about our existence. But, as I listen to you, I don’t understand how it is the case that our lives have meaning.

        To say that we make our own meaning seems to empty the word “meaning” of its meaning.

      2. Irony, as a general definition is, that last thing that is expected, or the outcome is opposite of what is expected, or the inconsistency of this.

        So, it would be quite ironic if the meaning of meaning was only the meaning we have of it, if the truth were found as the contradiction instead of the ‘either/or’ it seems to imply.

        I think one of the situations that accounts for this development concerns human experience: What does it mean if I have an experience that is so exceptional to what I see other’s experience is and what I see that they would understand, that when I do speak about it they indeed do not understand or think I have lost my mind? This is the question of self: Am I insane?

        Wouldn’t it be so very ironic if in my insanity I was actually sane, and the world that tells me what is sane, is actually the insane proposal?

        If the answer is yes, I am insane, the what does this mean? If the answer is no, what does that mean?

        In such a situation, I have two routes: if I am insane, I can seek psychological help. But this then invalidates my experience because I see it is a problem of myself in reference to ‘what I should be’.
        If I consider the situation as not a problem with me and what I should be, then I am validated, and the question of insanity becomes a question with reference to the world that does not understand what I’m saying when I speak about it.

        But this issue is not a question I ask myself as if to come to some correct answer, for I already know the answer from the experience, because it is a foundational experience, of a quality that cannot, is incapable, of being denied. The issue becomes how to speak about it.

        But alas, it seems Abraham was wiser by his silence.

      3. You said, “it would be quite ironic if the meaning of meaning was only the meaning we have of it, if the truth were found as the contradiction instead of the ‘either/or’”

        I don’t mean to insult you by repeating myself, but I think it would be less than ironic. It would be nonsense.

        A little while ago, when we discussed the terrible treatment of Nirbhaya, you said that what was done to her was “absolutely wrong” and “wrong in a universal sense.” I think you were right. I also think that a judgment such as this has to be grounded in meaning beyond “only the meaning we have of it.” The terms “absolutely” and “universal” have to be grounded in this way.

      4. Is it immoral for a tidal wave to erode a mountain? Because I am human, there is ethics.

        The contradiction that would have human activity no less ‘routine’ than water erosion is a paradox.

        Humans don’t like paradoxes. We like distinction, definitide, either/or stuff. That is the nature if human meaning: it means. God is ultimately above and beyond such necessity for meaning: God ‘makes’ meaning, he is not subject to our meaning. Paradox. If he is not subject to our meaning making, how might we have a meaning of God? And how could we know what He wants? since if he is beyond human meaning, how could he instill in our meaning making any knowledge of himself ? For he would then be subjecting himself to human meaning making for the purpose of establishing himself as true for humans.

        Hence Ks founding question.

      5. (Pt 2) now, it seems I just contradicted myself my indicating a human and a ‘natural’ situation, saying they are the same ‘ethically’ but using the example based in that they are not.

        Sounds pretty nonsense. But that is part of the point: our ability to make meaning when taken to its meaningful ends finds nonsense.

        How are we able, capable, then to determine the ‘right’ meaning? The ‘ethical’ meaning?

      6. I don’t think that “because I am human, there is ethics” is an adequate ground for your conclusion that what was done to Nirbhaya was “absolutely wrong” and “wrong in a universal sense.”

        A human could believe that Nirbhaya is essentially made of the same stuff as rocks and flowers. I don’t see how this belief would lead to the ethical conclusion that what was done to Nirbhaya was absolutely, universally wrong. It seems like it could just as easily lead to the conclusion that humans can do what they want with rocks and they can do what they want with other humans. There’s no qualitative difference between the two.

        I think there is equivocation in your question, “if [God] is beyond human meaning, how could he instill in our meaning making any knowledge of himself?”

        God is beyond human meaning in this respect: we do not make God meaningful. But I don’t think this makes God inaccessible – unknowable. Instead, I think God is the ground of meaning, and because we have the capacity for making meaning, we can recognize God. I don’t see why our meaning-making has to lead to nonsense.

      7. So if God made us for our ability for meaning, and we thus have such meaning then of Himself that he gave us, how do you account for ethical (good) people who disclaim the Bible?

      8. (Pt3) I merely mean to point out all the various ideas of God. And so it comes back to the Jesus question. There are deeply religious people who do not see Jesus as the Son of God as it tells in the Bible.

        So when it comes down to it, who is right? To you it makes sense, enough to try and tell others; but so do other people have theirs. So we all try to convince each other, but inside or in secret, everyone really holds onto the idea that they are correct and the other argument is not. Is God present in all these opinions? It would seem if he was then my personal ‘belief’ is not as correct as I would like it to be. If my personal belief is correct, then we are back at square one: so ‘I’ am going to be saved and ‘you’ are not.

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