Four Notes

-When we know the proofs for the existence of God, there is still nothing I the imagination beyond material things; just as our thoughts on the author of Beowulf are nothing more than reflections on various lines of the poem.  

-One of the more well known meditations on the divine intimacy is to call to mind that Christ died for all men individually, such that he would have died for us even if we were the only person on earth. There is another side to the hypothetical worth reflecting on: if I were the only person on earth, I would have been the one who killed him. 

-If you buy a high chair at the store you usually need to put it together at home. Note that you give the same name to the thing and what is able to be the thing. In a similar way, people finance a movie or a voyage before either one exists. We use this sort of naming for natural things too: corn is the name for both the seed and the ear; and sugar is sweet whether someone is eating it or not. All of this testifies to a certain likeness that the mind observes between what has the ability to be something, and the thing it has the ability to be. It is essential to preserve this likeness- and not to deny our experience either by saying that there is really no likeness at all (and it is just sloppy naming), or by saying that there is a perfect identity between the ability to be a thing, and the thing actually existing.     

-To define is to set the limits of something. The imagination pictures this in terms of the first sense of “setting limits” or fixing a boundary, which involves drawing a shape. What can the imagination teach us here? 

To fix limits in the imagination is to give something form. This sense of definition as formal carries over to its intelligible, secondary meaning. To fix limits also involves making a finite thing. Definition, however, does not involve making the thing finite, but in making our understanding of the thing finite in the same way as the thing itself.  

This making the thing finite in mind can be taken in two ways: first as definition cutting a thing off from all other things defined, but secondarily as only taking up a part of the extension of our imagination or powers of mind. Definitions are always within mind, and so in this sense our mind must exceed every finite and definable being, whether taken one at a time or altogether. Mind is not just in a certain way all things; in a certain way it exceeds all things and contains them.

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