Strength

This final dimension of our being is most moving to me in the context of Christ’s commandment, and the most odd to me in the context of this treatise.  Can there be a proof for the existence of God from the realm of our bodies? In fact, I think so.  First, in that our bodies represent and make manifest that part of us which is God-like, or made in the image of God.  Second, in that we are weak, and He is strong. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. -Genesis 1:26 Imagine you want to tell a story.  Not just any story, but an adventure, in a world you would want to live in, and with characters who – as much as possible – really seem alive, really seem to be making their own choices. Observe:  This is an act of the imagination.  As such, these characters do not really exist outside of your mind.  And yet they truly do exist in your mind, in the world you are creating for them. The story will not have any interest for you, or any potential reader, if it is about the fibers of a carpet, or oxygen atoms that have been scattered and separated by exactly half of the Earth’s circumference.  For there to be any sustained interest; for you to have any real purpose in telling it; for there to be any intrinsic value as a story at all, the characters must be like you. Consider:  How is it that these characters may be made in your image? You might say, for example, that you could make them look like you, or like your friends and family.  Yet, though you have a body in this world, your body does not move anything in the world you are creating.   You cannot lift the least thing with your fingers.  You cannot take a single step, or speak a single word with your voice.  And yet you are all-powerful. The power is in your will.  That world, existing as it does in your mind, does not respond at all to your body.  Rather, it is by your will that anything can be accomplished, and your will can execute only that which it knows.  What you know is delivered to you through your intellect. See, then, that this is true before you have even examined it:  Your characters also possess intellect and will.  There is a set of things they know, and there is the set of actions they take with respect to what they know.  Their power, of course, depends on their body, on their ability to manipulate the environment you created. Therefore, though they have bodies in the context of your story and you do not, they are nevertheless made in your image.  It is likewise with us and God. What is the proof here?  Come, friend – let’s put this together, like building a tower out of stones. In your story, your characters have something like will and intellect.  Though it is not exactly like your will, and your intellect, it is analogous.  We may fairly say that a character in your story is making his own decisions, even if he really isn’t by our standards.  We may say he knows something, even if he doesn’t know it the way you do. And if we happened upon a story, and wondered whether it had written itself – wouldn’t the next person out think us mad?  Is there any real notion, anything at all, which suggests to you that a story could tell itself? Let us observe, then:  The derivative proceeds from the original.  Your will precedes the the will of your characters, not just in time but in kind:  It is obvious that you created them, and not the other way around.  But what we are saying here is that their will could never have been manifested unless your will preceded theirs! Likewise, your characters can know something about the world they inhabit, but you know more.  In fact, you know all.  Therefore, where there is incomplete knowledge of the world, somewhere there is greater knowledge.  The lesser knowledge proceeds from the greater knowledge. Now set the story aside.   Here, in this world, you have a will.  You make choices, and all of us seem to admit about ourselves that we sometimes make poor choices.  Moreover, there is a question of whether we have free will at all, or if all things are determined. Now, think of this:  If everything is perfectly determined, so that you have no free will, this is much the same situation as the characters in your story, no?  Don’t they think they have free will, at least the appearance of free will, even if they really don’t? Hold that in your mind, and further consider:  If we do have free will, but still entertain doubts, then surely there is a greater, purer experience of free will than ours.  There must be some level of consciousness (think of the aliens!) which recognizes, with greater confidence, their own free will.  In fact, think of me! Put the turret on the tower:  In either case, whether we have true free will or not, there is a higher level of consciousness which has greater and truer free will.  This is proven by the fact that you have greater free will than your characters.   Could they possibly have greater free will than you? And so, until we reach complete free will, the perfection of free will, we have not reached the end.  In this way, that we have bodies, and that we control our bodies as if we were not perfectly identical with them, or at least as though there was more to us than simply our bodies – in this way, our bodies testify to a Maker.  They pivot and point to a greater will, on which our own will is modeled. And I start with the difficult one.  What of intellect? This is yet clearer in the context of your story – after all, which character knows more about her world than you do?  Which character knows better what will happen next, or what has already happened in the history of her world, than the author? Whereas, with the will, we see that the author and the character might both be totally determined, it is impossible that any character should know as much as the author – unless he were one with the author. This is not typically the case, and so we can advance the point:  Your knowledge and mine are obviously incomplete.  We do not know all that there is to know about the world. But if we know anything, this would suggest there is someone who knows more.  Indeed, it is proverbial that there is always someone who knows more than any given person. This, too, is a regression that must end.  In other words, if we always have someone who knows more than the next person, then we must have an infinite number of persons (and an infinite amount of knowledge) or a perfect knower (with perfect knowledge).  Since an infinite regression is absurd, it is more rational to accept a perfect knower, one who knows everything that can be known. And this we call God.