The Futurist Corporation


Part I of an Argument Against a Particular Sense of God
11 May 2010, 6:48 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A certain conception of theology may lead one to believe that the concept of God can roughly be understood as the collection of physical laws that affect reality–in the Greek sense of the word, the kosmos. The reference to God as a perticular individual would in this sense arise from the anthropomorphising of these physical laws. To know God, in this sense, would be to paint a face on gravity or perhaps the Newton’s laws of motion. God as the personality of order–Mr. Universe, even.

Levinas argues however that one’s identity is constituted in the face of the Other. In other words, as one is perceived, the perception of identity becomes identity itself. Levinas of course is working in phenomenological terms, so he uses Heidegger’s idea of the fragmented self, the complete reworking of the concept of self (Dasein is at its heart a nullity), and says that a whole self only arises in the face-to-face encounter. A whole self identity is only how one is perceived.

If we use Levinas as a lens for examine the above understanding of divinity, we reach a contradiction. By unifying and naming the “kosmic” elements of experience under the name God, we ultimately are reducing human understanding. Just as Moses was never allowed to look into the face of God, so by making the divine encounter a personal one, that of man to this-being-who-is-God, one’s possibilities of understanding the numinous are radically restricted. Thus by even construing a God-form, complexity is forfeit.

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