Thursday, December 30, 2010

Apophatic Theology

The picture is a very typical explanation of why many people don't believe in God. The typical argument from such a skeptic goes something like, "If God Loves us, then why would he allow  (insert name of personal and/or historical tragedy) to happen?" Exceptional points include but are not limited to: child suffering, eternal hell, or holocaust.

And then the skeptic sits there as if they know that under their statement, no loving God could exist....

EXCEPT...

the problem....

and we must always point this out....

The skeptic is coming from a position as if they know what love is.

The skeptic wants to blame God for things that don't make sense.

Which means the skeptic thinks they know more than God.

Essentially to say something to the effect of "There is too much suffering in the world for God to exist" means that the person think him or herself God to be able to declare when suffering goes "over the edge."

The reality though, is the human being knows they are not God, and thus cannot say what love is. The idea of love is fully beyond our human ability grasp fully (think about all the pastors who say they don't understand God's grace).....

The cross doesn't make sense. Does that mean the Christ's death was false? or the fact that our human minds can't grasp just how great and deep God's love is?

This is where something I have been reading about comes in...

It's called Apophatic Theology.

And it initially confused me whenever I read about it over the past few years. For goodness sake it's a "negative theology." There is not much to like about that.

Except some of the reward is it's a reminder that humans are fallible. God is infallible. Thus Human descriptions of God will never do justice to who he really is (The description of God as I AM becomes even more profound in this regards because it doesn't attempt to describe God).

Anyways, my friend posted this article a few weeks ago and I couldn't help but feel it was a great description (though it does necessitate some rereading) of this theology.

1 comment:

Timothy James said...

Great topic to tackle and great response. It reminds of the "why do bad things happen to good people?" question that presupposes there are good people and that the questioner is one of those people (Luke 18:19).
1 Corinthians 1:25 for your post.