Religious Concerns

Analogy with a spider

At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face.
At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.

— 1 Corinthians 13:12

While we can form a conception of this ultimate reality that we call God, we cannot take on a complete comprehension of it. Human reason has its limits.

Consider a spider, a remarkable creature that somehow builds a strong, beautifully structured web. I can understand that a spider is an “eight-legged” “predator”, and that it is possibly “dangerous”. (Most, of course, are not.) But can I think as a spider “thinks”? Does the question even make sense? Does a spider “know” what it’s doing? It probably has some conception of it, considered in terms I can’t imagine, never mind understand, but surely it “understands” something, if only that the web is somehow necessary, and must be maintained or, on occasion, abandoned.

In the same way, the spider can see me, and is aware of me, perhaps even afraid of me. It has a conception of me that is not altogether false: “large”, perhaps, “dangerous”, and probably also, “not food”. But the spider does not comprehend me.

We see that human reason can form some not-altogether-false conception of the spider, and the spider can, in its way, form some not-altogether-false conception of humans. In the same way, human reason can form some not-altogether-false conception of God.

On the other hand, if I cannot comprehend the material spider, I certainly cannot comprehend the immaterial God, because my perception of immaterial things is far weaker. Indeed, human history is filled with various notions of divinity, most of them at odds with each other.

So the only way for divinity to be understood properly is if it should reveal itself. Now, suppose it can?

After all, if divinity is being itself, the most fundamental reality there is, on which our personal existence depends… why couldn’t it?