Part XI: That Natural Desire

Part XI: That Natural Desire Seeks What is Beyond Natural Power.

Read here

and here

(And secondly)

Man has a natural desire for what he cannot naturally attain. He can know that there is a greatest good, but he cannot naturally lay claim to it; he can know that this greatest good is an intelligent being, and yet no intelligent being can be forced to befriend a man; and further, since this greatest good is also the highest ruler, no man can appeal to some higher law if he feels the greatest good has wronged him*. Every accusation or disdain for God reduces to a disgust that he made us the way he did- said another way, all disdain for God is founded on self loathing.

Again, man naturally desires an absolute uncreated mystery, which he understands through creatures. At times, man understands God by negating something of creatures (as when he calls God immaterial, unmoved, etc) at other times, man understands God by seeing a created thing in relation to him (as when we call God first cause, or creator) and at other times we extend the meaning of a term that applies to creatures in order to apply it to God. But at no time can our reason look to any creature and see something that exists in God. We see intelligence, but intelligence is not in God like that, we see existence, but existence is not in God like that, we even see love, but love is not in God like that. The intelligence of man is certainly able to say true things about God- both in affirming and negating- and yet one of the most fundamental of these is that God is the absolute uncreated mystery.

But if man naturally desires what he cannot naturally attain, both because he simply cannot demand the friendship of anyone, and because by his created natural powers he cannot overcome the whole infinite distance that separates the contingent and relative from the absolute; then, again, it remains for him only to hope that God himself will overcome the whole vast distance between himself and man, and join himself to man. Before this union happens we can only, like all lovers, hope for it. So long as we love God so, we will also hope, but both our love and our hope rest-for now- on faith.

* The argument from evil, whenever it has any emotional force, involves a claim that God is being unjust or immoral in his relations to man. I have no idea what this could possibly mean. Looking for some standard by which to judge God is like looking for the part of a book beyond the cover, or a part of a steeple above the cross. We cannot deny God out of some claim that he is immoral or unjust, since every immoral being is under an authority, and is therefore neither the first authority nor divine.


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