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Previous: 12.2 Life of created beings Up: 12. God is Life Itself Next: 12.4 Appropriating life

12.3 But we do appear to live!

But do we not appear to have our own lives? As sure as we are of anything, do we not live? In fact, animals and plants in the world all seem to be living in their many ways. Does it not seem strange for theists to insist that this life is not really their own, but someone else’s? Even if the someone else is God, it still is a hard teaching to accept.

The theistic reply is yes, we do indeed appear to ourselves to live. More accurately, we have the appearance of life from God. Every moment of every day, the Life of God is living in us, but in such a way that it appears to ourselves, and to everyone, that we are living from ourselves. The way God does this, is to give us his life. He provides us with life, and after he has provided it, we think it is our own life. All along, he is closer to us than our heartbeat, closer even than our life-vein.12.2Our own life comes from God, and we live as if from ourselves.12.3This ‘as if’ will prove to be an important phrase in many contexts of scientific theism, including:

Postulate 8   We all live from God’s life, as if from ourselves.

This issue of appearance does not refer to the fact that we exist, that there really are thoughts, feelings, actions in ourselves, or that the physical world really exists. All of these things exist unequivocally: not at all like the maya of non-dualist philosophy, where all of these things are held to be an illusion and just an appearance. In theism, the only thing that is an appearance is the attribution of the life that gives rise to these thoughts and feelings. What theism is saying is that our originating life does not belong to us. It does not come from our own nature. Rather, our life, as the deepest originating source of our capacities, is life itself, namely God. It just appears that it comes from ourselves.

You may wonder why God gives us our life in this indirect manner. The answer should already be obvious: we cannot have being, or love, or life, in ourselves; yet God loves us unselfishly and wants to give us all those things which belong to himself. Moreover, he wants us to delight in all of these. The important thing is that we only delight in the love and life we receive from God if we take it as if our own. If we regarded that life all the time as forever belonging to God and not to us, we would regard it as external and imposed from without. It would then generate good feelings, but they would not be our good feelings!


Previous: 12.2 Life of created beings Up: 12. God is Life Itself Next: 12.4 Appropriating life

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