Thursday, November 4, 2010

The divine telescope

To further a theme of opening one's eyes as per a previous post: we use a microscope to see very small objects; we use a telescope to see very distant objects; we use concepts to grasp large or complexly organized patterns: world, cosmos, self. Immanuel Kant called these regulative ideas.

It may be that without some concepts our vision is impeded, just as we cannot see very small or very distant objects without a microscope or telescope. The concept of God commends the largest possible perspective to us, at least ideally. It's surely true that some concepts of God limit and restrict vision; that's the essential notion of an idol. A task, and perhaps the task, of theology is to develop a concept of God that enhances our seeing of self, neighbor, world, and cosmos.

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