People sometimes ask me the big ‘O’ question, that is, ‘how do you know that?’ (Ontology). So I will explain how I believe it works.
In seminary I was an enthusiast for the Bible and theology. My advisor, who was also the dean and sometimes my professor was an academic. I very much looked up to him when I went in. He knew a lot, and he often asked me this question. It is of course a perfectly good question, but after a while it became clear he had something negative invested in himself about it. He objected to the expression of certainty that I sometimes I expressed about God and some theological things. It may surprise you to hear I went to a very liberal seminary, perhaps the most liberal seminary in the country. ‘Certainty’ is a very bad word in a liberal seminary. They equate it with being dogmatic, a white supremacist, and an overbearing patriarch. Mostly they equate it with ultimate truth, which is also a bad word.
Once a different professor walked in to class and announced, “there is no such thing as an ultimate; there is only the contextual”, and went on to explain why. (In this seminary if you just used the words contextual, marginalized, social justice, and racism a lot you could go a long way.) A young first-year woman in the class asked, “I heard it is dangerous to think there is only the contextual and no ultimate.” The teacher tried to assure her it was not dangerous. This moment made the hair on my neck rise. I addressed the question because the young woman had the guts to ask this and she was new to how the seminary thought, and the professors answer was too much like brainwashing.
I am not going try to repeat what I said then, (though it was something like this), I will just address the question. It is true that everything is subjective in a natural sense, but the higher truth is that the only way to know anything is through the human body, mind and soul. Everything is contextual but everything is also connected to divine truth. Divine truth from the Lord is the living ultimate. To say everything is contextual, and there is no absolute is looking at only half truths. And half truths become falsities and lead to a sequential chain of falsities. The interrelation of the contextual and divine truth are pictured in the cross. On the cross the horizontal arm is the contextual – a reaching out to all the variety of people and communities and to nature; and the vertical arm is reaching to the infinite wisdom of the Lord. All influx comes from above to below, that is from heaven and the spiritual world to earth and nature. Influx is love and wisdom from the Lord that comes through his angels in heaven, the world of spirits to the people and things of earth. Influx also comes from hell in the spiritual world to those who entertain evil.
People think of the ultimate as some kind of static thing; the ultimate is the One God; And all good and truth proceeds from Him in infinite variety. In God there is infinite variety and so in the universe there is infinite variety. The spiritual sense of the contextual is this infinite variety. There are no two things in all that universe that are exactly the same.
The leftist at the seminary often use the concept of the contextual to relativize truths for it is a convenient idea, if just looked at in a natural way, to justify anything. Its an easy and convenient idea that kids use – ‘This is how I feel and its just as good as what you feel so I am going to do it”. Intellectuals use it to leverage power; the perfect example of this is liberation theology (which I have written about: “A New Era of Thinking Coming In to America and the World: Analysis of the Old Paradigm and the New”). In the seminary I went to there were many academics that didn’t even believe in God. In various ways they don’t think one can ‘know’ anything, that you have to have proof of everything, and they can always argue to defuse truths.
So here is how I believe it works. Love elevates perception. No-one can know if they don’t have enthusiasm to know. Intense desire, which is basically love, breaks through the dross of our mind and body to help our heart and mind come into harmony. This applies to any subject or endeavor. Here is the over-arching principle to remember. Contained in love is all the wisdom to achieve its end purpose. Love activates truth in our soul and we must pursue it and act on it. It takes intense desire, time and work, work from joy and from effort. The pearl does not reveal her secrets to everyone but only the sincere in heart. This especially applies to the Word. The Word is divine truth itself accommodated down to man from God. One must have desire, enthusiasm, and humility to receive it. The reason it is hard is that humans have hereditary evil from head to toe, which resists and denies truths; evil manipulates us in a million devious ways to block reception. The Word itself has an external and internal sense, and the external sense is a container and protector of the internal. Both are absolutely necessary and part of it, but it is the internal that makes the Word Holy. The external of it protects the Holy from those who would disrespect it and abuse it. This protection is as much or mostly for them.
Here is the specific reason all truth and love can only be received in the human body. The soul is the human form in the spiritual. The soul is an organ as the eye, or ear is an organ, except it is the highest from in the universe. It is the highest form because – we are made in the image of God. It is God’s from, and what is of the creator is repeated in all of his creation. He is infinite and we are finite. So it is essential to understand we are in a position of reception from God. From him proceeds all love and wisdom and in us humans we receive this love and wisdom in our primary faculties of will and understanding. This is so important to understand because our true stance is one of reception. God has intrinsic life and humans do not, but we receive life from God. So our true stance is humility toward the Lord. This is the only way to receive truth; there are many ways it can happen but having a quality of humility and innocence is essential. In true desire, love, wisdom, enthusiasm and honor there is a quality of humility ad reception.
So truth has a built in protector. The great danger of academics and spiritual pursuit is intellectual and spiritual pride. To the degree we entertain these truth is blocked, and to the degree we have humility we can receive. This is its built-in protection, and it is also why we humans have to go through trials and usually suffering to be broke down to a state of humility before we can change.
What seems to be little known is that all thought is proceeded by affection. Our affections move us to think any given thought. This is a universal truth. In the negative this is why a person who wants to can justify anything. It is why no matter how smart a person is they can believe and justify things that our absurd – because they are run by emotion not reason. You see this today when politicians say things like we should abolish ICE and open the borders. (The Pope is a good example). This is an insane position, but smart people hold it. In truth charity is only charity if it leads to something good. It is not charity, as these people think, to blindly enable those who do evil.
All this also shows that we can have a sense of conviction if we have love to the Lord first, and we can be at peace with this in spite of the storms of the world. Those who believe in their own prudence, not Gods, can’t do this, nor can they allow others to do it, until they have a sense of humility. They remain natural and the natural alone is blind to the spiritual. The natural must be in union with the spiritual, which is a rigorous practice. The basic tenants Christianity boiled down are these: 1. Be of good use to others in the world. 2. Acknowledge that all good comes from God. 3. Rule one and two must be done together in union, not separately.