Tuesday, June 12, 2007

capacity for God

In Dante's The Divine Comedy, as I traverse through the Pardiso (Paradise, Heaven) part, we run into thoughts about our capacity for God. In the poem redeemed souls are in the same places and full of delight and rest, perfectly satisfied in their state and in relationship to God and to each other. I surely add my own thoughts here which can alter Dante and which I don't mean to do in attempting to describe this.

Yet their capacities for God and for delight vary, according to their growth in grace during their earthly lives. So the apostle John and another, who on earth was "saved", yet whose life was little fixed on what is eternal and lasting, these two, side by side in fellowship with each other, nevertheless vary in their capacity for and delight in God and the light of truth.

We see this at work now among us. What are some keys? Trusting and obeying God's Word to us in Christ is one key. Continuing on in God through Christ all of our lives, practicing the means of grace or sacraments given to the church is also vital to our growth in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Capacity for God is a key thought. We don't know how much we lose when we choose a path of sin. Those who believe in "eternal security" may think they can go their own way, at a crucial time and fork in their lives. They can, but the error of their way will impact their capacity to receive grace. Even though that grace in Christ is just as fully available to them. What they face in repenting in not only making amends to the affected parties, often impossible in this life, but also in recovering their own sense of blessing before God is a question I can't answer, of course. God is a god of great grace and forgiveness.

At the same time, in Scripture there is a marked difference between God's people, it seems, as to their capacity for God and for receiving his grace. But great sinners should see their need of the great Savior. So in this way one who has chosen the wrong path can repent with a broken and contrite heart, and receive God's promise of forgiveness and blessing, and may very well outstrip his "older brother" in his appreciation of God's gift in Christ.

I really don't care in a way if my capacity for God is not the same as someone else's. This is all rather beside the point. I would rather think that we are together to help each other grow in our capacity for God. That we do so together, not content to leave others in their "lesser state" or capacity. So that we can all enjoy whatever "reward" we have from God, with others.

What take do you have on this subject or my rambling thoughts in regard to it?


L.L. Barkat said...

I never thought of it quite that way... of people having a capacity for God. Maybe because I believe none of us really do, and even we who open ourselves find all too soon that our hearts can never hold the magnitude of his love.

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Thanks. I see this as human words to try to describe why some seem more full of God (Christ at the pinnicle of that) than others, why some seem closer to God than others, why some seem to reflect more of God's light and glory in their lives than do others.

Of course this is all of grace. In ourselves none of us have it, though humans are created to know God and be in communion with him, now needing the new creation in Jesus to realize that.