by guest author: Melisa Marzett
I was curious about why we do not see God, why we cannot talk with him, why we cannot touch him to feel his presence to the fullest since early childhood. No answer made it to where I hesitated whether it is worth believing in God and, as I understand now it was not by coincidence.
Once in the temple, I complained about confession about my lack of faith and complained that I did not live in the times when God walked the earth to see Him. To what the father rightly said that I would see a man. Therefore, simple vision would hardly help me. To see God, you need something else. So what?
From the very beginning, it is necessary to determine what the word “see” means for us. By vision, I understand perception, which, along with our other feelings, gives rise to a sensation that has emotional and logical interpretation. For example, I see (feel) a beautiful (associative emotion) tree (exact image). The main point of this analysis is that interpretation is an integral part of the act of vision. Moreover, even in the absence of physiological obstacles, the distortion of understanding leads to a weakening of sight (the complete lack of interpretation means blindness).
From this example, we can conclude that if our organs of perception are all right, but we do not see God, it means that the “logic” of our vision suffers. Here it is appropriate to recall the text of the Holy Scripture: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt. 5: 8). It is a statement of fact. The heart interprets our sensations. Purity, the correctness of interpretation, is no less important than the purity of the organ of perception itself (in the case of sensory vision, the eye).
Excellent perception of the surroundings is something that sometimes attracts in the church environment, intuitively appearing to be true. This spirit involuntarily wants to penetrate, without even delving into the question of the reality of God – its source. However, here lures the temptation. Refusal to ask a question instead of searching for an answer to it is shyness. Thinking that for others this question is not worth it, which means you do not need to doubt, you lose that little purity of heart that you had in questioning, and you are going blind. Against the background of external well-being, the natural result of this blindness is even greater doubt in the existence of God.
I found a way out in the thought, which, it seems to me. It consists in the fact that one of the most important aspects on the path to faith is an honest attitude towards yourself. I cannot remember the surprise and joy expressed in my simple thought that it turns out that I do not understand something alone.
Do not silently, automatically perceive everything that we hear in the church, since it goes from the amvon (and therefore correct), but, on the contrary, be extremely attentive to words and what it means to us.
Another conclusion I made was that the search for God is rational. God is infinitely more man, and the attempt to approach Him lasts a lifetime. Moreover, just stopping this search should be alarming and honestly not understanding or not knowing before God is an indicator of spiritual health.
In this experience, in my opinion, I caught one of the rules of the Christian life. It is impossible to move away from the question that life (and God) puts before you. You need Him. Besides, if you still do not see the answer, then you have to work hard to find it.
For example, for someone, it may be the question: “How to forgive your neighbor?» You can, of course, say to yourself – “Once it is said to forgive, I will simply forgive,” and try to throw it out of my head. However, if it does not leave and forgive fails, it means that your measure is different, and you still have to search, and it turns out that for the “forgive” is sometimes worth more “justify.” That is the very accusation of the neighbor most often lies a wrong attitude towards another person and self-love, which closes his sins from a person. That to forgive, one must try to change oneself not formally, superficially, to correspond to a specific norm, but fundamentally, existentially.
Nevertheless, the profound, existent change of the soul to God is the most important movement of a person on earth. It is impossible to pass by. Because according to Tradition, the Lord said: “When I choose a time, I will judge fairly.” And again: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 5:20). It means that the formal execution of the “norm” is not enough.
It is essential to understand that if you do not have this experience, it means that the concepts you possess do not fit. For example, if a person has never eaten lime, but has eaten a lemon, then through a lemon he or she can have an image of lime flavor. However, if after that this person imagines the taste of lime through this image, it will be a mistake. That is why it is impossible to think that we genuinely understand the saints when we read about the experience of their communion with God. We do not have relevant concepts for this. Unfortunately, this mistake often happened to me, and I understood what I heard and read, without reasoning. In the end, I began to treat God as a fairy tale. It often resulted in a crisis of denial of God, after which there was an understanding that that god, which I deny, really does not exist, He is another.
Against this background, it is essential to keep and responsibly relate to that small real, which goes beyond our everyday routine, the experience of the knowledge of God, which we have. It is the experience of answering our prayers, the experience of the sacraments of confession and communion. It may be small and hard to catch, but it is. Therefore, our judgments turn out to be false.
It is also impossible to think that if we continuously do not experience the nearness of God, it means that there is no God. Especially if you have already felt this before. After all, we do not stop believing in what we once saw, even when we turn away and look at something else. Also, when we are absorbed in worldly concerns and do not see God, this is because we are “looking” in the other direction.
In my childhood, another embarrassing factor for me was the feeling of contradiction between science and religion. Only having matured, I understood the incorrectness of this opposition, and that even in science the same mistakes of knowledge are made sometimes. It is about extrapolation, which can occur not only in personal human experiences but also in the field of human knowledge.
The following examples can illustrate this. Therefore, before the discovery of Einstein’s quantum theory and gravity theory, people extrapolated the laws of Newtonian mechanics to the micro world and cosmic scales. However, it turned out that those concepts formed in our familiar environment, on a scale of meters – kilometers, cannot logically be applied outside this range. Indeed, the fact that the momentum and the coordinate of the quantum object of the micro world cannot be accurately measured simultaneously, ambiguous in the framework of Newtonian mechanics. And only the results of experiments, unequivocally confirming the quantum theory, force us to put up with this absurdity.
Despite this experience, they repeated this extrapolation successfully in other areas of science. For example, many people have no doubts that if over the years we have been able to select breeds using the large adaptive properties of living organisms, this can be easily generalized to scales of several million years for the evolution of species. The similarity of the phases of development of living beings seems to confirm this thought. However, in the absence of relevant experimental data, the transformation of this argued hypothesis into a paradigm indicates a loss of fairness of judgment. As a result, we get rather strange conclusions based on speculation, for example, a man turns into an animal, and morality turns out to be an aspect of the social life of the animal world, and so on.
Having lost our moral sensitivity here, we lose sight in further discussion. The answer to the purely philosophical (in the absence of experiment) question of what the development of life is – a manifestation of inherent potencies or self-creation – being decided voluntaristically in favor of the latter, suddenly begins to have a “scientific” character, leading to “scientific” atheism.
These examples show the importance of a clear understanding of the boundaries, in this case, the limits of scientific knowledge. Science is a logical formulation of the laws derived from the results of observations. Since our experience speaks of the immutability of the formulated laws, science has for us the predictive power, in which the aspect of faith is naturally present. In this sense, science and religion are fundamentally different areas of human knowledge, since their location is on different levels.
In the matter of seeing God by analogy, it is essential to understand the limits of the concepts inherent in the human world correctly. Indeed, what we know about God does not fit into this framework. For example, the dogma of the Trinity, the postulate that a person is free, but nothing happens without the will of God. It is clear that we are not talking about “in terms,” as in matters of science.
A remarkable passage from the book by Viktor Frankl “Man`s Search For Ultimate Meaning” comes to mind. He wrote that it is impossible to understand human freedom at the level of conditioning of his psyche. It lies on the other, the highest level. As an analogy, he considered the projections of ordinary glass onto two-dimensional planes. Depending on the chosen projection, horizontal or vertical, we get a circle or a rectangle. One cannot reduce these figures to one another and in a certain sense contradict each other. The same statement that glass is an open figure is generally impossible to obtain from projections since both the circle and the rectangle are close figures.
In my opinion, this example can serve as an analogy of the relationship between the human world and God. What is revealed to us about God in the church is true? However, this truth is about the world, including our society in itself and qualitatively more than it. Part of it is not yet available to us. Therefore, when we learn from the experience of people who have approached God, that God knows both the past, and the present, and the future, this does not mean that everything is determined. And it does not contradict human freedom. In our concepts, this says that God exists in a higher dimension and looks at our world as if from the outside. And from there He sees all the moments of being at once, therefore for Him both “There is no difference in the Lord`s sight between one day and a thousand years;” (2 Pet. 3: 8).
It is the idea of the closure of our world that is accessible to our perception, impedes the realization of the sensation of God. To oppose it is possible the idea of the principle openness of our world about the completeness of everything that exists. The analogy in science here can be with the generally accepted modern concept of the existence of black matter, which is so far inaccessible to our observation. However, it is worth remembering that this is an image. I think that science, philosophy, and religion are the facets of a single whole only in the fullness of knowledge about the world.
Do not forget that our anthropological perception of God is conditional. “God is a spirit” (John 4:24). And in this regard, it should be even more difficult to see Him than to know a person by an ant and to understand what he sees. And the very attempt to see Him as something external, to objectify God, is erroneous. He is everywhere and in us.
The last thing I would like to dwell on is the subjectivity of our view. From the psychology point of view, every person lives in a world that, in a certain sense, was invented by himself. This world may be more or less connected with reality. Loss of touch with reality is called mental illness. At the same time, the complete connection with reality is deification, since “God said to Moses: I Am The One Who Is” (Ex. 3:14).
Deification is what each person has as a goal. But the vision of real reality can only be beyond our reach. With this reality of our world, we are partly in contact with sorrows. It is precise with this that the feeling of the presence of God in our life, which we can feel under challenging moments, and which sometimes eludes us in the subjective world of well-being we created, can be connected.
Summing up the brief analysis of the question posed, there are assumptions that the path to the vision of God is an honest attitude towards yourself and the environment, an awareness of the relationship between yourself and God, and an active search for this vision. It is said: “Seek and You Will Find” (Mt. 7: 7). I am sure that, like all the words of the Gospel, it is just a statement of fact.
About the author: Melisa Marzett believed in God since she was a little girl. She took a Bible with her at school and was reading it at the further reading classes. She is a writer now. She writes guest articles. Melissa is in charge for papers at
http://puressay.com/ and enjoys writing very much. Among her hobbies, she likes outdoor activities, communication, and travel.