Since our language is a human creation, devised to reflect human concerns and to respond to human needs, we are very limited in what we can communicate regarding God. But it follows that, through language, very little regarding God can have been communicated to us. We may hear that God is omnipresent, for example, that God is everywhere; but hearing that doesn’t familiarize us with God. What does it do? It increases our ability to participate in a way of speaking called theology.

What would it even mean to familiarize yourself with omnipresence?

A blind person could theoretically become a skilled optician, could even teach university courses on optics. She might lecture effectively on rainbows, without ever having experienced one. In theory, she might even be productively lecturing to a classroom full of blind students, and they might go on to become lecturers themselves.

The analogy isn’t perfect, because the blind optician might possibly regain her sight, and then be able to experience a rainbow, to familiarize herself with a rainbow, while there is nothing that might happen to the theologian such that he could now experience or familiarize himself with omnipresence. Or omniscience. Or omnipotence. Or spirit. Or perfection. Or eternity.

If we insist on learning about God, what we are in fact insisting is that we be taught a language, the language of theology, so that we may participate in the sociology of theologians. This is what Wittgenstein used to refer to as a language game.

But we want something more, don’t we? We want something like the optician finally seeing her rainbow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s