Friday, October 12, 2012

Finite Understanding of the Infinite God

I've begun reading How (Not) to Speak of God, by Peter Rollins.  Great read so far.  If God is infinite and completely "other" than us some would conclude that therefore we cannot speak of God at all--words are useless and totally inadequate.  Others conclude that because God is infinite and transcends us it elicits volumes of words in attempts to describe or praise him.

He cautions against an easy familiarity with God and encourages a humility in our claims to know who God is.  Some people make all-encompassing descriptions of God as though they have him all figured out and any differing descriptions/theologies are, of course, false.  He urges us to hold loosely to our supposed certainty as to what we believe about God.  In that regard he tells the following joke:

A mystic, an evangelical pastor and a fundamental preacher die on the same day and awake to find themselves at the pearly gates. Upon reaching the gates they are promptly greeted by Peter, who informs them that before entering heaven they must be interviewed by Jesus concerning the state of their doctrine.  The first to be called forward is the mystic, who is quietly ushered into a room.  Five hours later the mystic reappears with  a smile, saying, "I thought I had got it all wrong."  Then Peter signals to the evangelical pastor, who stands up and enters the room.  After a full day has passed the pastor reappears with a frown and says to himself, "How could I have been so foolish!"  Finally Peter asks the fundamentalist preacher to follow him.  The fundamentalist preacher picks up his well-worn Bible and walks into the room.  A few days pass with no sign of the preacher, then finally the door swings open and Jesus himself appears, exclaiming, "How could I have got it all so wrong!"

Finding myself somewhere in the mix, I feel humbled but not shamed and will continue reading.

Hopefully, I will continue living with the tension of less certainty yet more faith.

1 comment:

Debra said...

That's so true!
Just what Jesus would say of the fundamentalist who has all the answers all tied up.