The Altogether Grand Other Who Speaks

Dear hijas,

The Judeo-Christian position for the answer to the problem of knowing is that of God’s self-existence, as well as self-contained knowledge existing in the triune Godhead before there was anything else. And by ‘anything else’, I mean everything that we see and observe on earth, in the skies with our telescopes, and under the seas with our cameras. This altogether grand Other, the infinite-personal God of Judeo-Christianity created ‘from nothing’ everything that is ‘there’, including man in His image. It is because He has spoken that the epistemological question is answered. The Judeo-Christian answer posits two levels of existence: God’s existence as self-contained, infinite, and personal, and man’s existence as derived, personal, and finite. We see the level of God’s knowledge as absolutely comprehensive, and the level of man’s knowledge which is not comprehensive, but derivative and reinterpretative. Our knowledge is rational because God is ultimately rational. So how does He speak?

Let me answer that question by telling a story. Suppose there is this altogether Grand Other who is omniscient in knowledge, omnipotent in power, omnibenevolent in love and goodness, perfect in every way our minds can conceive of perfection, existing as tri-unity: three Persons, one Godhead, sharing love and communion with each other before anything existed. Eternal, from which there is no cause, always having been there. Then suppose He created ‘from nothing’ everything that now exists, including man and woman and placed them on a rotating mass of ground (earth), spinning around a bigger mass of light(the sun), with other rotating and spinning masses in the skies above this man and woman He has created.

Now suppose, because He is infinite, everything else would be limited in contrast to His enough-ness, or infinite-ness. Man and woman are created as personal on the side of His personalness, yet finite as opposed to His infinite-ness. Would it be strange to think that this infinite, uncreated Personal, would not want to communicate to the created, limited personal to which He has created? To tell them of what He has done, the nature of the things around them, and something of Himself as their uncreated Creator? Of course, if this uncreated Personal were to communicate to this created personal, He would not exhaust Himself in His communication, but would tell her things that are true. He would not lie, for what would be the purpose?

It would also not be unexpected, if the uncreated Personal really cared for the created personal, to speak of things in a propositional nature; to communicate in the same way that the created personal communicates to other created personals. As a limited, finite reference point, the created personal if she began with herself, would not be able to know everything there is to know about everything if this uncreated Personal didn’t tell her those things. Of course, she wouldn’t know everything because that would make her God, wouldn’t it, but at minimum she would know those things that the uncreated Personal wanted her to know, and those things He wanted her to know would be true. Because He created the world she lives on, and the universe she lives in, He would also create in her a spirit of discovery; a rational mind to uncover other things about herself and the world around her. Her knowledge of those things would need to be in relation to Him; analogical to His knowledge though for them to be true to what is, and true to His creation of those things in the first place.

What we have in the above then, is exactly what the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, the Bible, claims for itself. It claims to be propositional revelation from the uncreated Personal to the created personal in verbalized form. God speaks, and we have His knowledge as non-created Personal, perfect and infinite, to tell us what He wants us to know as the created, finite personal.

Would it be wise to listen to what He has to say?

(Source: Francis A. Schaeffer, He is There and He is not Silent, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, IL, 1984).

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad

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