What Can We Know of God with Our Minds?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” - Isaiah 55:8-9

In my first reading of the question I was to address, I misread it as “What can we know of the mind of God?” I wondered if simply answering, “nothing” would suffice, even as I contemplated the nuances of how God’s mind may be revealed to us both through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

I was grateful to return to the assignment and realize that the question was in fact, “What can we know of God with our minds.” I was again tempted to oversimplify and answer, “everything”. Our God is the God of all creation, anything and everything we know is of God. So then, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, all that we know with our minds, is in fact of God.

While tempting, these all-or-nothing answers are not entirely satisfactory. Indeed, God is known through all things but what of God? Philosophically there are few definite to be known, whereas others fields of science are more versed in known entities. Scientific advancement has revealed a great deal about creation, well beyond casual observation.

I had the good fortune of attending a presentation by some leaders from NASA about the telescopes planned for Mauna kea (Maui). The lead presenter spoke at length about general advancements of science, leading us toward to current progression of telescope technology. He explained that despite other advancements, location of these instruments was critical to maximizing their potential. He went on to explain, with no small amount of fascination that our definitive knowledge of further and further systems continued to expand. It is also interesting to note that throughout our progression of understanding the expansiveness of creation, so too our understanding of smaller and smaller aspects of creation come to light.

He observed that science still offered no definitive answers to the beginning of the universe, nor could it. But, whatever set the course of creation in motion was still at work. Indeed, it seems that creation is still being created, even at an ever-increasing pace. He paused to note that they did not know, or name this force. I muttered to those nearby that I had a few suggestions in this department.

I see science and faith as old friends. Perhaps they have a spat every few generations, but I am hopeful for their restoration. I believe this hope is well founded, as some in the science community who have been reluctant to believe in God because of what could be known are now also able to see that some force beyond creation (named or unnamed) has certainly interceded. The calculable odds of creation and all of its complexity simply happening are unfathomable.

No matter how much knowledge we accumulate, mystery remains. While God can be observed through the knowledge, I imagine God resides more so in the mystery. So then, can the knowledge found in philosophy, theology and doctrine be easily differentiated from our scientific knowledge? Is it similar to the difference of knowing something and experiencing it to be true?

Mercy, grace and love are not easily quantifiable. Yet, I know they exist. I have experienced mercy, grace and love from other persons. I have experienced mercy, grace and love of God. I believe these are principle expressions of God. I know with my mind, that part of my role as a Christian and as a priest of the church is to make God’s mercy, grace and love known to others as well.

The Rev. Paul Klitzke is the rector of Church of the Ascension in Dallas.

Posted by The Rev. Paul Klitzke with

Why Anglican?

Why Anglican?

The Anglican tradition, as Christians, affirm along with our fellow Christian brethren that Jesus Christ died on the cross, rose on the third day and is sitting in the right hand of the Father as Lord until his return.

As Anglicans, we also hold to the affirmation and believe that the transcendent Christ, through the Holy Spirit has formed, reformed and inspired continuously the Catholic Church.

Anglicanism represents a continuous tradition of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Anglican identity owes a great deal of its liturgy and doctrine to the English reformation. The Anglican tradition, has acquired over the years a distinctive identity that can be articulated through how we see authority, scripture, tradition and reason.

IDENTITY

Anglicanism is a worldwide church composed of many cultures, languages and nations. However, wherever Anglicanism is found, our communities can be identified by our common liturgy. The Book of Common Prayer is one of the key features of our Anglican identity. The Book of Common Prayer, known worldwide, is one of the most well known key features of Anglicanism, containing our unique expression of prayer and Christian worship. The BCP is predominantly composed of prayers drawn out from scripture. In it are also our norms for our worship, discipline, and Anglican doctrine, which have been adapted into the many languages where Anglican communities gather.

AUTHORITY

Like all Christians, our supreme authority begins with the Trinitarian God. God the Father, creator of heaven and Earth, of all that is, visible and invisible; God the Son, author of our salvation, Church head; and God the Holy Spirit, God at work in His Church leading us into all truth and enabling us to grow into the likeness of Christ in order to build up the body of Christ. Anglicans have traditionally operated under three interrelated sources of authority as well: Scripture, Tradition and Reason.

SCRIPTURE

We believe that Scripture is the Word of God, which contains the divine revelation of God. As Anglicans we are lead through the Holy Spirit and guarded by Tradition for the interpretation of Scripture. Scripture is also the heart of our identity, it is found in our daily prayers in our offices (BCP) is the center of our lives as Anglicans.

TRADITION

Our Anglican recognition of the appropriate role of tradition in discerning the mind and will of God is based on the certainty that share the witnesses of the first Apostles of our Lord. St. Paul, wrote, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Co. 15:3), as proclaimers of the Gospel we share in the same proclamation as those whom came before us. Tradition is also expressed in the liturgies of the Church, in the collects, prefaces, sacraments and order.

The Early Church: Anglicans have always held in high esteem the "teachings of the ancient fathers and councils of the Church in accordance with Scripture," which are summarized in the Apostles, Nicene and Athanasian Creeds.

Articles of Religion: The Articles of Religion, also known as the "thirty nine articles," summarizes the biblical faith that was articulated from the times of the reformation and which have become a form to describe our own common Anglican identity still in out present time.

REASON:

Our Anglican emphasis on the decisive role of reason in the discernment of the mind and will of God is based on our awareness that experience and human reflection are fundamental, along with Scripture and tradition. Through God's wisdom and grace, He has allowed reason; guided by the Holy Spirit to lead and help us discern His revelations to us.

Therefore, as to the question, why Anglican?

It is because as Christians, within the Anglican tradition, I feel we have the opportunity to live out the Great Commission through our rich worship, common liturgy, and the proclamation of the Gospel.

 

 

¿PORQUE ANGLICANO?

La tradición Anglicana, como cristianos, afirma junto con nuestros hermanos en la fe que Jesucristo murió en la cruz, resucito al tercer día y está sentado a la derecha del Padre como Señor hasta su regreso.

Como anglicanos, también mantenemos la afirmación y creemos que el Cristo transcendente, atreves del Espíritu Santo ha formado, reformado e inspirado continuamente la Iglesia Católica.

El anglicanismo representa una tradición continua de la Una, Santa, Católica y Apostólica. La identidad anglicana debe mucho de su liturgia y la doctrina a la Reforma.

La tradición anglicana, ha adquirido a lo largo de los años una identidad distintiva que puede ser articulado a través de como vemos la autoridad, de las Sagradas Escrituras, la tradición y la razón.

IDENTIDAD

El anglicanismo es una Iglesia mundial compuesto de muchas culturas, lenguas y naciones. Sin embargo, donde quiera que se encuentra el anglicanismo, nuestras comunidades pueden ser identificadas por nuestra liturgia común. El Libro de Oración Común es una de las características clave de nuestra identidad anglicana. El Libro de Oración Común, conocida en todo el mundo, es una de las principales características que identifica el anglicanismo, que contiene nuestra expresión única de la oración y el culto cristiano. El (LOC) está compuesto predominantemente de oraciones elaboradas de las Escrituras. En ella se encuentra también las normas de nuestro culto, la disciplina y la doctrina anglicana, que se han adoptado en los muchos idiomas donde se reúne la comunidad anglicana.

AUTORIDAD

Al igual que todos los cristianos, nuestra autoridad suprema comienza con el Dios Trinitario. Dios el Padre, creador del cielo y de la tierra, de todo lo que es, visible e invisible; Dios el Hijo, autor de nuestra salvación cabeza de la Iglesia; y Dios el Espíritu Santo, que actúa en su iglesia, nos conduce a toda verdad y nos permite crecer a la semejanza de Cristo para la edificación del cuerpo de Cristo.                                   Los anglicanos tradicionalmente hemos operado bajo tres fuentes interrelacionadas de la autoridad; es decir, la Escritura, la tradición y la razón.

SAGRADA ESCRITURA

Creemos que las Sagradas Escrituras son la palabra de Dios, la cual contiene la revelación divina de Dios. Como anglicanos somos dirigidos por el Espíritu Santo y resguardados por la tradición para la interpretación de la Escritura. La Escritura es el corazón de nuestra identidad, que se encuentra en nuestras oraciones y oficios diarios el (LOC) es el centro de nuestras vidas como anglicanos.

TRADICION

Nuestro reconocimiento anglicano de la función apropiada de la tradición en el discernimiento de la mente y la voluntad de Dios se basa en la certeza de que compartimos los testimonios de los primeros apóstoles de nuestro Señor.                                                                           San Pablo, escribió: “En primer lugar les he enseñado la misma tradición que yo recibí, a saber, que Cristo murió por nuestros pecados, según las Escrituras”          (1 Co.15:3), como proclamadores del Evangelio compartimos la misma proclamación como aquellos a los que nos precedieron. La tradición se expresa también en las liturgias y prácticas de la Iglesia con sus propios, colectas y salmos, lecciones y prefacios, y predicación.

Los anglicanos hemos mantenido siempre en alta estima las “Enseñanzas de los antiguos Padres y Concilios de la Iglesia en conformidad con las Escrituras, “y que se resume en el Credo de los Apóstoles, Credo Niceno y Credo de Atanasio.

Los Artículos de Religión (1563).- también conocidos como los “Treinta y nueve Artículos,” resume la fe bíblica que se recuperó en la Reforma y que se han convertido en la norma doctrinal para los Anglicanos alrededor del mundo.

LA RAZON

Nuestro énfasis anglicano sobre el papel decisivo de la razón en el discernimiento de la mente y voluntad de Dios se basa en el conocimiento de que la experiencia y la reflexión humana sobre ella son fundamentales, tanto para la Escritura como para la tradición. A través de la sabiduría y la gracia de Dios. La Gracia de Dios ha estado siempre presente en nuestra razón, haciendo posible que el Espíritu de Dios nos conduzca a la verdad. Por tanto, podemos recibir y comprender la revelación de Dios en la Escritura, la tradición y la experiencia mediante la razón.

Por tanto a la pregunta de ¿Por qué Anglicanos?

Porque como cristianos, dentro de la tradición anglicana decimos Venga, Adore y trabaje con nosotros, es decir tenemos la oportunidad de vivir la Gran Comisión a través de nuestro culto, unidos en la liturgia, rica en tradición e historia y la proclamación del Evangelio.

 

The Rev. Deacon Juana Lara is a deacon at  Iglesia Episcopal San Francisco de Asís in Dallas. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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