Saturday, 16 July 2011
Permission to use theistic notions..
My default naturalism does not change my awareness that the notion of God is in some manner 'meaningful'. To my mind when people refer to God I 'translate' this as a reference to the sense of the infinite, of a 'ground of being', of the 'eternal' and a 'unity' behind creation. I don't use the term 'God' because of the 'baggage' that the idea carries but God as 'Being' rather than as 'a Being' in the sense that the theologian Paul Tillich taught, makes some sense to me. This God is not a providential deity who 'creates' by design and divine fiat. For me God is not a 'personal self' though if a universe that contains selves clearly has a 'conscious dimension' and God is another word for 'ultimate reality' then there is clearly 'person-ness' as an aspect of deity-universe. The person of deity is infact met in 'the other' - the other person, particularly the other sentient creature. Also in this sense God is love. Not that God loves, because God is not an individual who loves, but God is love itself. Whereever there is love in the world it seems to me this is 'the presence of God', but there is no God person outside the world who would have to explain why his loving cannot prevent evil befalling the beloved. Thus God for me is a 'transtheistic' notion - the term 'God' is meaningful, but mythical notions of God as a 'person' presiding over the world are rejected by me. Yet God is not 'mere' physical existence, which some forms of pantheism seem to suggest. The conscious may depend on the physical, but the consciousness cannot be 'reduced' to the physical conceptually.