The Facts of Life Series: Knowing God Intimately
Belief, any mind, must rest on evidence, on detail, on truth. Otherwise, ideology is just an arbitrary notion, a personal perceptual liking, new ideas that claims it is real and true, but which offers no substantiation of its says.
For a creed without ground is at best a vacuous guess. Even an educated guess, even a manipulating hypothesis supplies some modicum of supportive evidence, while intentionally restriction the allegation of the hypothesis’ truth claims until further caring ground surfaces. That is why Catholics have been involved in apologetics from the start. The Catholic faith has always vindicated its faiths with rational and practical sign, with revelational and historical evidence, with spiritual and epiphanic evidence.
Despite this wide of evidence for creed in the Catholic God, feeling often takes on an idiosyncratic mood based on the personality and circumstances, the thought and feelings of all persons, as they explore the reality of God. Some beings are more intuitive in their approach to God; others are more circumspect about the whole question. Some look to order and rationality, science and history, while others find emotion and righteousnes most compelling and tempting to their search, just as others find God in appeal and altruism, as well as in evil and sin.
But, there is a reality to the search for God, almost every seeker and every devotee forgets or undervalues. And, it remains a constant regardless of individual peculiarities, preferences or interests. That constant, that actuality is the fact that God is seeking you , not generally, but solely, personally. For that is what love does.
God is not a passive entity or some blind and drain oblige. He is a being, the excellent being, the personification of all truth and all goodness, the epitome of all glamour and all love. He loves each of us and all of us. And, He wants us to know that He exists. That He is real and He is near. That He is active and He is intimate, as intimate as we will let Him.
For there is another kind of knowing about God that is more than evidentiary. This form of knowing embraces the many forms of evidence about God’s existence and His nature and handiwork. But, it also transcends them. Scientific evidence and deductive proofs, morality’s principles and instincts, beauty’s essence and countless shows, the martyrs and the saints, the sumptuou and the banal aspects of life itself tells us of a mighty and enjoying God, who is truth, goodness and beautiful exemplified, who is all-knowing, all-powerful and ever-present.
Yet, this other kind of knowing does not challenge or deepen any of these. It fulfills them. For indicate such as these show us God Himself. His character. His nature. His perfection. But the whole point of this is not mere insight or faith. It is your personal friendship with Him. And, His personal intimacy with you.
For He is the God who loves you, seeks you, longs for you just as the father-god in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. In that educating, the leader probes the compas for his rebelliou and lost lad. And, where reference is considers the lost son, he ranges to him. He embraces the son and smacks him, neglecting the lost son’s defense and explanation of votes. He celebrates the son’s return showering him with endowments and fete, for the son who was lost now is learnt.
This is the God of our proofs and our history, our legend and our individual and collective experience. This is our God, a God who loves us fully, perfectly, relentlessly. And, He hopes us are in place to return His loving intimacy every moment of “peoples lives”. For he knows how to cherish us separately and perfectly and He wants us to know Him deep , not just to be informed about Him.
To illustrate the importance and profundity of this idea, my Greek professor in graduate school utilized his initial lecture to introduce it. He opened class by asking us what the opposite of “knowledge” was. We responded quite quickly that the opposite of “knowledge” was “ignorance.” You either know where he is or you don’t.
But then, he told us that was a Greco-Roman way of thinking about knowledge. Then, he asked, what would St. Paul, who was a Hebrew, have called the opposite of “knowledge.” While we contemplated this for a bit, we responded, though more tentatively than our initial response, with the same answer — “ignorance.”
Once again, he chastised us. He told us, “ignorance” is an information notion that corroborates “knowledge” as simply that — knowledge. But, to St. Paul, the Hebrew, the opposite of “knowledge” was not “ignorance”, but “estrangement, interpersonal length, even rebellion.” He went on to explain that both information and estrangement elucidate different ways of knowing, though the informational mode is subsumed by the greater relational action of knowing. And, they both apply simultaneously when it comes to God. We can know about Him and, at the same time, know Him personally, relationally, intimately immediately.
Just as you can know about a person, you can’t really know them until you spend time with them personally. And, the more occasion you invest, in a variety of circumstances and activities, the more fully and intimately you will know them. So too, with God. Knowing about God is not just information, it is an opportunity for an experience of Him and with Him, very. For knowledge about God is simultaneously an experience of God.
For example, the study of theology and apologetics, necessitates knowing about God, His existence, His nature. Yet, it is also an opportunity to experience Him directly and immediately, informationally and relationally. This wide-reaching, holistic understanding of “knowing” and its concomitant spirituality manufactures esoteric meetings possible in the most mundane of occasion, in the most scholastic of activities, in the mental, emotional, practical minutes of our regular lives and living.
For not only can we “know about” God in any and all of our activities, we can “know of” Him, as well. We can because that is the way God is and that is the way He procreated us.“Knowing about” Him is “knowing of” Him. And, this proximate, intimate and active God, who desires us to know Him in the most comprehensive relational feel, strives us firstly, seeks us very, in the general way He does for all His children and in the particular quirky way for each of us as individuals. For He is our perfect cordial Father. And, He wants us to know that more. That He enjoys us perfectly and that He is ever with us.
We also recommend Mr. Cronin’s recent diary, The World According to God: The Whole Truth About Life and Living. It is available from your favorite bookstore and through Sophia Institute Press.
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