Monday, April 04, 2011

The God Who Does Not Exist

The existence of God has been debated, it seems, for about as long as people have been debating (perhaps since the tower of Babel). The Church has made it quite clear that we believe that God's existence is profoundly important--worth spilling ink and even blood over--and even that God's existence is empirically evident. We've gone as far as to say that mental ascent to God's existence is relevant, vital in fact, to one's entrance into eternal salvation.

But what if God's existence is irrelevant?

What if the whole argument is a waste of time?

At no point in scripture is the dominant argument toward the objective existence of God. Amongst all the passages which talk of God's bringing things into existence--even ex nihilo, out of nothing--none speak of God's existence as something with which we can deal rationally. If it's an argument you're looking for, then you might as well conclude that God does not exist. Afterall, can we who exist really declare that God exists?

Existence is about occurrence... it is the mode of being subject to experience. Existence occurs out of nonexistence which makes it available to us. When something exists then we can speak of it, we can examine it, we can interrogate it, we can objectify it, we can even manipulate it--if not we, then something else which also exists.
Remember when Moses wished to speak of God? When he searched for a way of defining or naming God, God only provided Moses with three words; ehieh asher ehieh--I AM what I AM. Remember when John examined God in Revelation and could do no more than fall as though dead? Remember when Job tried to interrogate God? Job ended up placing his hand over his mouth. Remember when Israel tried to manipulate God in order to defeat the Philistines? They ended up losing their grasp of God altogether and losing their battle in the process as the Ark was taken from them.

God's existence is such that it does not exist. God's existence is irrelevant insofar as God is despite God's nonexistence. God stands is the background of all that exists, calling things into existence. In the same way that love does not call out its own existence but calls something else into the foreground, calling the particularity of an individual out of the formless void of a crowd, God speaks existence and therefore does not exist within existence until God, in freedom, steps from nonexistence into our experience. The incarnation, therefore is the argument for Gods' existence but even the argument of incarnation points toward nonexistence. Of what is Christ the incarnation if not of a God beyond existence? Perhaps this is why John went so far as to say that "God is love"... the existence of God is irrelevant for God is love.
Existence of God is not a hill worth dying on. Love, however, is.

Love, not as it exists but as it is expressed by God through Christ and as it is expressed through the creativity and imagination of a hope liberated from cynicism, is the mode of God's being. God speaks into the void and opens our hearts to a peace that surpasses all understanding, all our capacity to experience, and all our efforts to force it into the limits of our experience.

Indeed God does not exist but lives intimately with us. God does not exist but refuses to give up on us. God does not exist but touches us, dies for us, and lives in the face of death.

2 comments:

simplygrand said...

Too....much...philosophy! haha

Caleb Zwanzig said...

I agree, soo much philosophy. But, Wes, this has really struck a cord with me. Especially when you write,

"God speaks into the void and opens our hearts to a peace that surpasses all understanding, all our capacity to experience, and all our efforts to force it into the limits of our experience."

Somehow, this is comforting to me, as I search for this bizarre peace that seems so unattainable.