Monday, November 17, 2008

What Are the Signals?

What are the signals, I wonder, that warn you that you're asking the wrong questions...?

7 comments:

orrologion said...

My astronomy professor in college said that he was always wary of mathematical theories based on infinity. If an equation worked out to be infinity, then the wrong answer was likely asked. Depending on the subject matter, the equivalent of infinity is likely a good sign, i.e., fanciful, almost mythological answers that are unverifiable and unknowable.

(Of course, this professor's opinion on infinity had to do with the existence of black holes, whose existence were then still very much in doubt. They have since then become rather 'proven' parts of the universe, so...)

The other tools would be Occam's Razor.

Anonymous God-blogger said...

Thank you, Orrologion.

I think that some people say that the many-worlds theory is that kind of unverifiable "fancy." I don't know enough physics to know if that's so or not.

And speaking of infinity, after church at lunch on Sun. I found myself in a conversation with several people about different sizes of infinity--sounds counterintuitive, but it made sense and was completely fascinating.

Can you think of a time when the nature of your questions (about anything) changed?

orrologion said...

Well, converting to Orthodoxy was definitely a change in question. In fact, my pat quickie response on Luther is that he had all the right answers to the wrong questions. That is, the right questions are not "how can I be sure of my salvation?" or "how can I be assured of God's love towards me?".

Yeah, those way out physics questions and theories are very interesting. I especially like the talk about branes and the inquiry into whether the reason gravity is so weak comparably is because it is actually a law of nature from an abutting brane leaking over into ours.

Anonymous God-blogger said...

You wrote, "...That is, the right questions are not "how can I be sure of my salvation?" or "how can I be assured of God's love towards me?"."

Interesting...So what would you say the right questions actually are, as opposed to the ones you mentioned?

orrologion said...

I guess it isn't even really questions. The Orthodox answers to the questions Luther posed are that we can't be assured of our salvation but can be assured of God's love. How? the Gospel act: God became man, suffered an innocent death giving up all that He had by His Godhead (sacrificing all his power and being) and when all looked lost rose from the dead as our Champion, carrying our common human nature in his Person thus raising us up with Himself and reopening eternal communion with God, which had been lost in the Garden. Actions speak louder than words, and God's actions show (they don't just 'tell') He loves us. Judas shows that this love, this salvation is not coercive and not enough to 'assure salvation' - we are in the mix, too, and we screw everything up.

So, the change in question is a change out of one's head, away from academic questions and theories (quasi-Anselmian atonement) and into the joy of Pascha, death overcome, reunion and communion with God Who is Love, which is the Gospel. (The Gospel of my youth was defined as the proclamation of a debt paid [yawn] on my behalf, not on my resuscitation from spiritual and physical death and the start of the process of godlikeness.)

Anonymous God-blogger said...

Thank you!!

Gordy Thomas said...

In a more general sense, there are a few signals I've been made aware of: "How often and in what context do I say "I", "me", "my" and "mine" in prayer? Not sure what I mean? Take a look at The Lord's Prayer and see the form it follows: acknowledging God, blessing the name of God, calling for His kingdom to come and for His will to be done. Only then, within that context of "God The Father" do we then turn to God as children saying "Feed us!...Forgive us!...Lead us!...Deliver us!" which is then affirmed by the priest in his use of heavenly logic: "(because) For Thine is The Kingdome..." Some might think that a legalistic outline, but it is actually an open door to limitless prayers, personalized by our unique life circumstances. I do like the fact that The Lord's Prayer is almost exclusively written in the first person, plural. I make it my habit to ask myself if I can change the prayer I plan to pray for myself and make it a prayer for "us"--The Body of Christ. BTW, did you know that The Creed was first written "WE believe..." I have been taught that this was changed to I believe because it is already being recited in a communal setting, and changing the pronoun allows for the personal declaration of faith of each believer within the gathering.