Monday, March 18, 2013

Hearing God: Not All of Reality Involves Space

Foggy morning in Monroe County

Sometimes God speaks to us through physical events. His voice, to us, is mediated through physical reality. This is mediated experience of God. My journal is filled with examples of God speaking to me through his creation, through nature. many of these experiences have been powerful and relevant to my spiritual growth and life.

At other times God speaks to us directly. These experiences of hearing God's voice are unmediated experiences. In it important to note that, while God can speak to us in a mediated way, God's communication to us is not restricted to this. To understand this one must address the matter of one's worldview. If one is, e.g., a philosophical materialist (= physical facts explain all of reality) then of course unmediated God-encounters are impossible. Indeed, on philosophical materialism-as-atheism, "God" as am immaterial spiritual Person is impossible.

Dallas Willard, in Hearing God, addresses the matter of unmediated experience of God. Note that Willard is a professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, and a great scholar in the branch of philosophy known as phenomenology. So when a theist like Willard makes the claim that "not all of reality involves space" this is not some cut-and-paste internet "freethinker" (whose thoughts are, oxymoronically, shackled to a search engine) who is making the point.

Willard writes: "God does not have to go through physical intermediaries of any sort to reach us—though on some occasions he obviously chooses to do so." (Willard, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God, p. 96)

He adds:

"Conversational life with God - or prayer - is not hindered by space and distance. When you speak to God, it is like speaking to someone next to you. Spirit is unbodily personal power. Our conversation is not limited by space, time or matter. God is looking for those who will worship him in spirit and in truth. You don’t need a holy place, as the woman at the well learned when she asked, “Where is the holy place—on this mountain or in Jerusalem?” (Jn 4:19, paraphrase). God is not looking for a holy place. Places are holy because God is there."

Because God is non-spatial and therefore unbodily, God does not require a "place" from which to communicate to us.

This fact greatly encourages me, as it should you. Right now, wherever you are, is fine with God when it comes to him speaking to you and listening to you.

So i slow down in my heart..., and speak to God..., now..., and say... "Lord, here I am. If you have anything to say to me I am listening."