Monday 7 December 2020

Putting yourself in God's place: essential, futile or blasphemous? (William Arkle's approach)

William Arkle (edited for clarity from a privately recorded lecture):

My way of understanding something of ourselves and of our presence here in creation; is to attempt (from everything I know, and feel, and experience) to put myself where I feel the creator to be. 

I feel that's not a silly thing to try to do, because a part of that understanding is that our creator - our source of being - has given each of us a divine spark, a little bit of his own substance, that is the basis of our reality. 

And therefore within us is this alive, absolute reality of the creator's own being. 

So within us is this principle which is 'on the creator's wavelenth'. And because it is on the creator's wavelength it is able to move up alongside the creator, or into the being-nature of the creator... to the point that it is capable of doing such a thing. 

Much as, in our human life on earth, some of our friends - and even our children - can some-times get close to us...


The vital question of whether I can understand reality by means of an intuitive identification with God the creator, hinges upon our understanding of the nature of God and of our relationship to God. 

If a traditional monotheist (or 'tri-monotheist' Nicene-creed-like) perspective is adopted of an 'omni-God' (or a Supergod) - then the gulf between creator and Man is infinite and incomprehensible; so any  attempt to identify with God is futile, and indeed blasphemous (since it cannot work, but brings God down to our level). 

We cannot but submit to God's will - as it is reported to us by Authority. And we cannot, by knoweldge of God's real nature, discern whether God's will truly is as reported. 


But if the creator is seen as Our Father (or Heavenly Parents) in a real and literal sense - as understood, for instance, in Mormon theology and in a a close-reading of the Fourth Gospel regarded as the primary scripture; then understanding by identification makes sense.

(Albeit understanding is bound to be incomplete due to our relatively vastly lower cognitive capacity - analogous to a child's understanding of his parents.)


Once one has determined that an intuitive identification with God is possible, it naturally becomes a major aim of life; a thing which probably becomes the most important thing in life for understanding the nature of this reality, and our role in it. 

To know God intuitively is then something to which we would naturally dedicate our best and sustained efforts; offering - as it does - a way of discriminating the truly Godly from wordly impersonations, errors and lies.  

Something - therefore - we need now, more than ever.


Faculty X said...

Why do people's intuitions differ if intuition works for putting oneself in God's place?

I have no way of seeing from the outside whether someone's claim about God's views are other than what they claim.

An example would be female ministers. My intuition says one thing, yet another person's intuition apparently says another.

The Bible is very clear on that subject, yet we know the Bible is ignored or opposed on that and many other topics by people who claim to be Christians. And I think a percentage of those intuit that God can't be as He is described to be.

Bruce Charlton said...

@FX - People's intuitions differ due to their different capacities, and (very much so) because of the different amount of effort people put into intuition.

"I have no way of seeing from the outside whether someone's claim about God's views are other than what they claim."

Yes you do! We all equipped with God-given discernment. We Must judge others, all the time, and act on those judgments (contra the modern mantra) - and also be open to revise those judgments on the basis of further knowledge.

What you are complaining of, is probably that you cannot be 100% sure that your discernment of another person's motivation is 10% correct. That's true, of course, as it is true of every single form of human communication - including the communications of hard science. Yet somehow we manage...

My point is that what applies to the uncertainties of intuition applies everywhere. My point is also that we all use intuition as bottom line - the only difference is whether we acknowledge this, and whether we recognise the specific intuitions we have-made.