Converging and Convincing Proof of God: The God of Promises and the Iron Cage of Modernity
and the very mark of the Absolute in us."
The very fact that we make promises and honor them, that we can understand fidelity and value it, that we desire that it be eternal, that we want it to survive death, suggests to the philosopher's reason the philosophical hope that this human reality participates in an Infinite Fidelity, the Fidelity of an absolute Other, an absolute Thou. In fine, God.
This gave rise to hope. "Hope," Marcel wrote in his Being and Having, "is a spring; it is the leaping of a gulf. It implies a kind of radical refusal to reckon possibilities, and this is enormously important. It is as though it claimed . . . to touch a principle hidden in the heart of things, or rather in the heart of events, which mocks such reckonings."
This hope mocked such human reckonings by realizing that such reckonings had their limit. Hope sought to transcend reason's limits, and so it was the brother of faith. This sort of hope opens up the prospect of reality outside time, of the existence of an invisible world, and the God behind it all.
"This is what determines the ontological position of hope--absolute hope, inseparable from a faith which is likewise absolute," Marcel wrote in his book Homo viator.
It was therefore from the chain of human experiences of persons, of communion with the other, of promise, of fidelity and of desire that fidelity not be limited by death that Gabriel Marcel, using the illative sense, apprehended that there must be a transcendent reality behind these things: a personal communion with an Other, an Other that is faithful beyond death.
The existence of this Other seems to be what we desire, what we, from a philosophical standpoint, hope for. But are Gabriel Marcel's philosophical reasonings fulfilled?
A Christian of course will answer, "Yes!" Marcel's philosophical hope is satisfied concretely by He, that divine Person with both divine and human nature, who was communion, fidelity, and hope incarnate: the Lord Jesus. Faith in Jesus answers reason's limited reckonings.
Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) He prayed, in his high priestly prayer, that we may be one "just as we [the Father and he] are one." (John 17:11) He may as well have said, "I am communion." If the Church is anything it is our communion with God the Son made flesh who is in communion with God the Father. Here is the "I' and the "other" together in communion.
Jesus was "faithful to the one who appointed him," (Heb. 3:2), that is God the Father, and so can rightfully ask us to be faithful to God even unto death. (Rev. 2:10). His message is one of faithful love. Here is "creative fidelity" in communion with the Uncreated Fidelity, the Faithful One.
"He is not here," said the angel to the women who came to Christ's empty grave. "He has risen, as he promised." (Matt. 28:6; Luke 24:6). By these words, the angel gave witness to the fact that the God-man Jesus is indeed faithful, and his fidelity transcends even death, since his fidelity broke through the boundaries of the grave and trespassed the limits of time into eternity. Here are promises that transcend death.
This Jesus was Gabriel Marcel's philosophy fulfilled. St. Paul equates Jesus with hope: "Jesus our hope," says St. Paul (1 Tim 1:1). Here is well-placed hope.
Jesus was Person, Communion, Promise, Fidelity, Hope. And, as Life, he overcame death.
Jesus fits all of Marcel's philosophical yearnings for freedom out of the "iron cage" Jesus fits like the right key to unlock the lock in the gate in the prison cell which keeps us from freedom. For it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. (Gal. 5:1)
Jesus is the key which unlocks the "iron cage" of modernity into the freedom and the glory of the Sons of God. (Rom. 8:21)
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at email@example.com.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: existence of God, proofs of God, illative sense, Gabriel Marcel, Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq, fidelity, promise
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