From our Book Club, Everywhere Present, Chapter 4, “The God Who is Not There”, we read, “We do not know or experience anything in general –only in particular.” God is everywhere present and filling all things, but this is not how we experience him. We experience him in the present and filling only one place at a time. I recall a conversation in seminary. One of the students laughed out, “God does not feel…” This other person was dismissing my reality, my experience of God, based on his philosophical notion of God. In other words, he never experienced God as emotional, but he was more than willing to dismiss my experience of God based on his abstraction that God cannot feel if he is to be immutable. Here is the problem, every time God meets somebody it is in a particular moment and place. Think of how many times Scripture reveals God as mad, or pleasured, or jealous, or even forgetful. God wrestles with Jacob, speaks to Moses on the Mountain, walks with Adam and Eve in the Garden, etc. Even if this is not philosophically the best way to think about God, it is experientially the best because we can only know God, I mean personally know God, from our very human way of encountering God, in particular, in our reality. To put it another way, this is the primary way God wants us to know him. We can never personally know God in his mode of being because we are not-infinite beings. In short, knowing about God is one thing (reading books or listening to podcasts), knowing God (experiencing him particularly) is quite another.
Fr. Nathan Symeon
Saturday, September 11 –