Presence as Absence

The absence of people we love isn’t absence at all. For absence is just that — nothingness, a lack, the not-being-there of a particular person. If this is what we felt in the gone-awayness of our loved ones, than the phenomenon of missing them would not exist. Would we experience their absence as just that — absence, nothing at all, experienced as I currently experience the absence of Costa Rica, as simply not there for me.

The absence of the loved one isn’t absence at all, but the concentration of their presence. This is one of those marvelous ways in which the human person transcends the apparent laws of space and time, noting them only long enough to say, “No, thank you, I’d rather things be incredible.” We feel the missing person like an atmosphere, not gone so much as everywhere, the whole world crowded as a Parisian metro with their nearness. As if the hole spoke of its doughnut, as if silence sounded like the missing lover’s voice, so nothingness takes the shape of the absent person, and thus cannot be called nothingness. But it gets worse. We’ve heard the cliche — you don’t know what you have until it’s gone — and it is rooted in experiential truth, for not only do we feel the presence of the person in their absence, but we often feel it even more acutely than in their simple presence.

Absence reveals to us the core of who we love. There are hundreds of different ways to relate to our loved ones. There is the relation of space, by which we are near to them, them to us, and our relationship can be measured with a straight line. There is the relation of time, measured by the hours, days, and years we are with the beloved. There is the physical relationship, by which we relate to each other in our bodies, each of us, through touch, momentarily occupying the same space, as well as the relationship of all our other senses — we hear, smell, see, and in the deeper intimacies of mother and child, lover and lover, even taste the loved one.

But the very fact of a wonderful, multitudinous splay of possible modes of relation suggests that there is some core relation that makes them possible. We assume this in our relationships of love. We can keenly feel when a relationship that enables all others is being neglected for a particular mode of relation. “You just love because you’ve known me for so long,” we say, and thereby fault the other for holding the particular mode of temporal relation over some primary relation. “You just love me for my body,” pointing out that the physical-sensual mode of relation is being placed above a relationship which ought to establish it.

This will be very difficult to slip through the skulls of a scientistic age, but I believe personal relationship renders all other modes happily possible. Difficult, because we — and by we I mean others — think of the material as all that is real. The concept of the person — a synthesis of body and soul — is a concept that assumes there is such a thing as the spiritual. Surely this is religious nonsense? Surely it is the physical that serves as the basic relationship that makes all other modes of relating possible? Surely the actual, observable, scientific fact of an existing human enables all subsequent relating?

No — boring, awful, wrong. The physical only exists because it is an expression of the entire person. We move, touch, smell, speak and gesture, but we do so as revelation of the spiritual. We reach out and touch the face of our loved one, but this physical reaching only exists because it is prompted by our internal desire and our free decision. Our body expresses our internal life. When a girl holds our hand, we are overjoyed, not just because we are delighting in the physical fact of a hand wrapping around our own, but because we know that the knowable hand-hold is a revelation of an unknowable, unobservable decision within the girl to hold our hand. In short, we know that the physical relationship is only possible because of the existence of a person, the existence of a secret, interior spiritual life which expresses itself through the physical. Hand-holding is not an action of the hand, but an action of the person. If there is physical relation, it is only because there is first a person, a hypostasis, that synthesis of body and soul.

Lust is evil precisely because it is moronic in this regard. It takes the physical and treats it as if it were not the revelation of an internal life, as if kisses were simply the gift of a pair of lips and not the gift of a particular person, emanating from his unobservable interior life. Purely physical relation, that is, relation to a body that does not presuppose an internal life expressed by that body, is relation to a corpse, which has all the happiness of being precisely what materialists say we are — all material.

But enough meandering. When the loved one is ripped from our universe, whether in death, loss or heartbreak, we do not experience their absence as nothingness, as their simply not-being-there. Rather, we experience the absence of all modes of relation as painfully revelatory of the one relationship upon which they are founded — the personal relationship, which may be accessed through the physical, the sensual, the temporal, the spacial, and all the rest, but ultimately transcends each of these modes by fathering-forth the very possibility of their existence. Absence strips relation to its core. All we have left, when the loved one is absent, is the very person of the loved one, terribly inaccessible, but painfully present nonetheless, in what Christos Yannaras calls the non-dimensional space of personal relation.

Christians, is this not how we relate to God and to his Saints? Is there any absence more present? Are we not flung hard against His person by the fact that He is not available to our immediate modes of relation? “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) The Christian’s blessedness is precisely his personal relationship with God; thank God then, for an absence that delivers so mighty a personal presence. This is one the reasons I find arguments with the new atheist difficult — the absence that is his trump card is my reason for belief. But it is love that makes the difference.

(There is much more to be said here. For instance, we may experience the absence of a loved animal or country as painful presence. How, if they are not persons? In short, because we who miss our hometowns are persons, and by our love we incorporate them into personal relation, something only possible if all things are in fact the revelations of a personal God. But I need to think about it. (Possible next post: When You Love a Mountain You Contribute to the Creation of a New Earth, Maybe.))

  • Maura Shea

    ” This is one the reasons I find arguments with the new atheist difficult — the absence that is his trump card is my reason for belief. But it is love that makes the difference.”

    Could you explain a little more what you mean by “the absence [of God] is my reason for belief”?

    As a believer myself, I feel like I know what you mean, but it is very difficult to put into words. It’s God’s profound absence – the infinite hole in our hearts that doesn’t ever get filled – that speaks to the existence of God.

    Still, I think a statement like that would only annoy people who don’t believe. So could you please explicate it further?

    • Skyler von Enn

      I think it’s a source of joy, and a sign of God’s love that He hasn’t shown himself to me, and chosen to give me the blessing of not being able to see Him. The ability to love God, and that He chooses to allow us to love Him without seeing Him, giving me the ability to love Him without the other, tangential loves, is beautiful,]. That He doesn’t reveal to us Himself in splendor and destroy us in the process (like Zeus), but rather woos us, desiring not just to be our God, but our lover.

      Maybe that doesn’t help at all though…

      • Y. A. Warren

        I promise you that any time you see unselfish compassion (love) in the eyes of a person looking at you, you are seeing the essence of The Sacred Spirit that many have perverted with all kinds of physical attributes that diminish this spirit in each of us who chooses to embrace our full humanity.

    • Kyle S.

      I’d just like to confirm that it was annoying.

    • Montague

      I think what Marc wants to say – in few and blunt words – is that 1) love is a relation between persons which does not disappear with the physical absence of the person, therefore 2) a person’s absence is a proof and revelation of the essential relation one has to them through love, and thus 3) in the physical absence of God, we are able to see the presence of His relationship to us of love.

      Another try: love is a real thing that does not disappear with the body of the loved; and is directed at the person (not the body) of the loved one. Therefore, the absence of the loved one proves through the loving that the person of the loved one is really there, as love-relation’s other part. True love is between persons. So if the love remains, then that person remains, the most essential nature, rather than the merely physical (for the love of the physical alone is non-love). If the greatest love of ours (God) is gone, then our loving-of-person of God reveals to us His actual presence-as-love.

      Really, if someone really wants a pat answer about Love or God, then that person is a fool and probably insane. Seriously, I mean it. You really don’t want that.

      Or put another way (though I confess I am no competent mystic, if mysticism can be competent, any more than a man can drown competently) when Christ left us, He sent us the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is Himself the Person of the Father’s Love for the Son (now applied also to us). The absence of our beloved (The Groom, Christ) allows His Presence (The Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father Filioque) to be with us until such time as the Father has set for us to see The Son. Therefore, a type of absence reveals a more fundamental presence; the absence of the Beloved makes us realize (even in a physical sense) His Presence, His reality as Beloved and Lover.

      …And this is why, when you want to know about the relation of lovers’ souls, one ought to read poetry like the Song of Songs, rather than bumbling internet-passersby. Apologies if this isn’t at all helpful.

      • Y. A. Warren

        My main disagreement with what is called “Christianity” is the insistence that Jesus was the first human to open the door to personal experiences of The Sacred Spirit available to all humanity.

        • Montague

          That’s not Christianity… Christianity says that Christ IS God, as well as man. He is the Way because He is also the goal – humanity is brought to God by God Himself, brought humanity to God in His own person.

          But you’ll have to be more clear than that for me to have the foggiest sense of what you even really think (about anything, or about Christianity)

          • Montague

            I don’t get if you mean “spiritual experience” in general, or God, or some sort of Hindi idea of spirit, or what.

          • Y. A. Warren

            Much of what I have experienced in mainstream “Christianity” is not remotely related to what I have read about the example of Jesus. I simply wonder who many of these “Christians” are following as their christ.

            We are all told in Genesis that we are made in the image and likeness of YHWH (the Spirit, or Breath) of The Most Holy. Religion has reduced humanity to slaves of sin, fear, and the clergy’s ability to “save” us from ourselves.

            Before Jesus was conceived, The Holy Spirit existed in many physical manifestations in the universe. This same Holy Spirit is alive in all of us who want to embrace our most sacred selves and the sacred in others.

            I have not given up The Holy Spirit, but I have replaced fear with awe.

          • Montague

            Pentecost.

          • Y. A. Warren

            Yes! Exactly what I believe!

          • Montague

            My Point is that Pentecost shows the Holy Spirit as 1) a distinct person, 2) Only known to be widespread after Christ’s ministry on earth, 3) spread through and creating the Church, not inherent in people otherwise. Which contradicts what you seem to me to be saying.

          • Y. A. Warren

            You are correct. I believe that The Holy Spirit is, was, and always will be the essence and eternity of the universe.

  • Fred

    God is absolutely Present. All of space contains all of the Truth. Every fraction of “matter” and every part of light, if penetrated, reveals the Absolute. That which is to Realized (not just believed in) is absolutely and eternally Present, and Omnipresent, All-Pervading. It need not be sought elsewhere. It need not be sought in a particular place inside ourselves or in the world. Wgerever you would look inside, outside, if you penetrated the limiting conditions that your presumptions create, you would Realize the Revelation.

    If you entered into a profound open-ended investigation/consideration on anything you put your attention on and if you thus transcended the limitations that you brought to that moment of attention you would see the Revelation of Truth completely. You must let attention be or rest in God. Whatever the circumstance, whatever the phenomenon that seems to be arising in the moment, nothing is to be seen but this One Living Reality. And it is not just to be believed to be there. It can be most perfectly and directly Realized as The Obvious.

    In that free state of attention, everything is Transfigured. Wherever there is free attention there is free feeling-energy. The world is then seen seen to be free energy. The world is seen through. Its absolute aliveness or love-bliss-radiance is Realized. There is no self holding on to anything or demaning it. There is simply the recognition of the Ultimate Condition of every appearance.

    • Y. A. Warren

      Yes!
      >Wherever there is free attention there is free feeling-energy. The world is then seen seen to be free energy. <

      …and what we call life and death are simply a metamorphases from one manifestation of that energy to others.

  • Matthew Maule

    Great post, thanks so much! Could you tell me the title of the painting and the name of the artist. It’s so beautiful.

  • http://shackra.bitbucket.org/ shackra sislock

    hahah, thanks Marc, great post!

    Cheers from Costa Rica, ha! :D

  • Emily

    What’s with all the dualism?

  • Matthew

    Please, write the next post about mountains!

  • http://allweathercyclist.blogspot.com/ JethroElfman

    Desire is the uneasiness a man finds in himself upon the absence of anything whose present enjoyment carries the idea of delight with it.
    - Johann Kaspar Lavater

    As one of the new atheists, I am having great difficulty making sense out of your post. It appears to be completely irrational that absence demonstrates presence. It’s as if you are conceding atheism’s most basic argument, that there’s no material evidence of God, and claiming it as some sort of victory.

    At first I thought to argue that absence only provides a connection to something that has been experienced — ie. you can only miss something that you used to have. Having never experienced the presence of God, the absence isn’t real. Yet, the Santa Claus mythos decries this. The absence of anticipated presents on Christmas morning is a strong emotion, even though it is an absence of something that we have not yet had. The result, however, is not a stronger affection for the item once received, but a sense of loss. You lose the strong emotion of desire when it is fulfilled. Wanting something provokes stronger feelings than having it. Yet, what you feel isn’t the presence of the thing, you are feeling the desire for it. It is desire that fills the void of absence. The presence is replaced with an icon that can be quite different from what the thing truly is. You create an idea of what you seek, and polish the idea, so that the image is much more glorious than the true nature of the thing itself. Upon fulfillment of the desire, the perfection of the icon is shattered with the imperfection of the actuality.

    How empty this reveals your presence of God to be. You thus aren’t experiencing the presence of God in His absence, you are exulting in the desire for God. You are creating an idealization and continually upgrading it into an icon of perfection. Hence, the depiction of God is so unblemished and holy. Omnipresence? Omniscience? He’s what you want Him to be rather than anything that could possibly exist. Even as an atheist I feel the desire for God. I want life to have meaning. I want justice to be served. I want evil to be punished and good rewarded. No amount of desire is going to make it so.

    • Stephanie

      Unless you use the simple definition of God being love, something invisible and immeasurable (as soon as you start to wonder, “how much does she really love me?” you start to doubt the value of the relationship). However, if you believe, like I do, that it is possible to love another person and that selflessness is an Actual Thing That Exists, then love exists. That is why I believe in God and in the soul.

    • john smith

      “Hence, the depiction of God is so unblemished and holy. Omnipresence? Omniscience? He’s what you want Him to be rather than anything that could possibly exist. Even as an atheist I feel the desire for God. I want life to have meaning. I want justice to be served. I want evil to be punished and good rewarded. No amount of desire is going to make it so.”

      How do you know that omniscience and omnipotence can’t possibly exist? Isn’t that a profoundly un-scientific declaration? How do you know?

      And justice is served. Evil is punished. Good is rewarded. It happens intermittently, not always, and not always when we want it to or think it should, but it does happen. And the desire for it is most certainly what makes it so.

      My question to atheists is this: if you believe in a strictly materialist view of the universe, i.e. that reality is nothing but meaningless physical matter, then how do you explain imagination? Where do we get our ideas? Not just when it comes to religion, but in music and literature and art. Let’s assume that you’re correct and God is simply an imagined concept. Then how do we imagine things that can’t possibly exist?

      That’s a very honest question, by the way: Whence do our strictly material bodies pull these images and concepts that “can’t possibly exist,” if physical matter is the only thing that really does exist?

      • http://allweathercyclist.blogspot.com/ JethroElfman

        Now now, don’t get all scientific on me. We’re discussing theology. The scientific method consists of 1) making observations, 2) developing a theory which fits the observations, 3) running experiments. The experiments lead back to step 1. By this means you improve your theory. Nothing is absolutely certain. We can just suggest the likelihood of something. The theory of relativity was just some lovely words until experiments could be devised to test it. This is tough when one of the tenets of religion is that God in His absence is immeasurable. Infinite cosmic power? how to measure it? It reminds me of the argument over whether parallel lines meet at infinity. How can you tell? Can we go there and see?

        How do we come up with ideas? I don’t have the slightest idea. Someone is trying to find out. There’s these guys who want to build a billion dollar computer simulation of the human brain Maybe they will find out where our imagination comes from, why we dream.

        There’s actually people studying how to measure these things. I read a book this year, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. By doing brain scans, they found that introverts have differences compared to extroverts in how much stimulus can be rapidly processed. Love is a wave pattern in the brain. Maybe one day they will be able to measure quantity of love.

        • john smith

          Well, thanks, I guess. I went to a fairly decent college so I have actually heard about this “scientific method” of which you speak.

          Since you’re an atheist, I assumed that you approach the entire world through a scientific lens. My point was that your statement, that omniscience and omnipotence is not possible, is not falsifiable by human means. So it seems like you might be the one jumping back and forth from theology to a strictly materialist perspective.

          There are (by definition, I suppose) an infinite number of ways that an omniscient and omnipotent consciousness could be real and active in our universe, even if not a single word of the Bible or any human religious scripture were true. So it’s an odd assertion for an atheist or, more specifically, a strictly science-minded-type person to make.

          I’m honestly not trying to convert anybody to anything, here or in real life. I don’t even go to church, though I do believe in God.

          But I feel compelled to say that it seems like you might have closed your mind off to an important topic without addressing some critical questions. Maybe you should start with agnosticism and work your way into atheism once you have settled on some more solid theories about these things other than “I don’t now, somebody else is trying to figure it out.” Those people aren’t any smarter than you, no matter how much ill-gotten tuition money they abscond to their research labs with.

          Please don’t take offense. I’m probably being condescending because I suspect I’m painfully older than you. But you seem smart and not rash nor truly close-minded so I wanted to reply.

          Thanks for the book recommend, I like reading about the scientific study of human consciousness.

          • Pofarmer

            “There are (by definition, I suppose) an infinite number of ways that an
            omniscient and omnipotent consciousness could be real and active in our
            universe, even if not a single word of the Bible or any human religious
            scripture were true. So it’s an odd assertion for an atheist or, more
            specifically, a strictly science-minded-type person to make.”

            Then wouldn’t it also be true that there would be an infinite number of ways that it would be false? Look, almost all Atheists are Agnostics. That Statement is that God’s don’t exist. Do you believe in Zeus and Jupiter? The miracles of Krishna? The Golden plates and revelations of Joseph Smith? Yeah, well, neither do I. If God exists, he has done a crummy job of showing us that he exists. In fact, I think the idea that there CAN be doubt, disproves the existance of God. I mean, if this omniscient, omnipresent, all powerful being existed, wouldn’t we KNOW it? Wouldn’t he make sure of it? Could we even doubt? Yeah, I know, free will. The Theists get out of jail free card.

          • http://allweathercyclist.blogspot.com/ JethroElfman

            Thank you for the kind response. I was raised on young-earth creationism, and was appalled at the foolishness of it all when I got around to some proper investigation of it. That’s why it makes me twitch when a Christian brings up science. So what if God created the universe? What does that tell me about what He’s doing now, about what He wants from me? Those are the questions that bring me here. I like Catholicism because it covers so much more ground than “repent or burn in hell forever!!!!” Tell me how is this going to make me a better person? What can we do to build a better society? I like when Marc writes about those things, and this post felt like it was really pointed in the wrong direction.

      • Pofarmer

        If you can find it, there was a very good episode of a TV program named “Through the Wormhole” titled “Did man invent God.” It deals with some of your questions. There are several other episodes dealing with very current research in brain function and cognition. If you can find them, check them out.

    • Y. A. Warren

      Do atheists have an agreed-upon term for the source of the energy that we call “emotion”?

  • axelbeingcivil

    This is… Certainly a thing. It doesn’t really hold water, even with the most precursory examination. The human ability to desire isn’t proof of the existence of the object of desire, and the human ability to think, feel, care, etc. is not proof of any sort of soul. These things are very easily explained in mundane terms, without supernatural invocation.

    • Y. A. Warren

      How about we dump the word “soul” and substitute unseen center of energy?

      • axelbeingcivil

        Why? We’re talking about defined abilities here, and explanation of their origin doesn’t really require any unexplained force. These capacities can be explained via brain activity, without need to invoke exterior forces.

        • Y. A. Warren

          Cosmology and physics are all about unseen forces that are manifested from exterior forces to internal forces.

          • axelbeingcivil

            Exterior, in the case of my previous post, was in the context of outside the observable and testable laws of physics and material nature of the universe. Right now, we have no evidence of thoughts and feelings being a result of anything but brain activity, is my point. We don’t need to invoke a soul to explain it further.

          • Y. A. Warren

            Brain activity is precipitated by stimuli. This is provable. I am all for dropping the world “soul” from our vocabulary.

          • axelbeingcivil

            I wasn’t disputing that brain activity is precipitated by stimuli; that’s what I was clarifying in my prior post. I was using exterior in the sense of supernatural.

          • Y. A. Warren

            The definition of supernatural may be a topic worth discussing. Perhaps it means natural to a higher order than the usual.

          • axelbeingcivil

            Supernatural’s definition is typically assumed to be something that exists or operates outside the universe or its known laws. If something can, say, create energy from nothing outside of phenomena supported by the known, physical universe, it would be defined as supernatural.

          • Y. A. Warren

            “Typically”, things that are not understood are attributed to “God.” My premise is that we have to reexamine what is “typical” with a broader linguistic approach.

          • axelbeingcivil

            I say typically because that’s the dictionary definition, at least in the dictionaries I have access to. Not everyone uses the dictionary definition, though, so I thought I’d be clear.

          • Y. A. Warren

            I understand your position, and I believe we have to challenge our definitions that are limited by our own cultural biases. I believe this is the only way we will get past our hang-up on words versus messages the words are meant to impart.

    • Brian Anthony

      perhaps easily explained, but not very satisfyingly explained.

      • axelbeingcivil

        I suppose I have to inquire as to your meaning for satisfyingly. If you mean that details behind the hows and whys of consciousness are still being sorted out, and that brain function is still very new as a region to explore, then we are in agreement.

        If you mean that it doesn’t make you happy, though, then that’s not really something I can help you with. The facts being what they are, we have proof for the brain and its functioning and the role of those functions in allowing the various capacities that form up what we call consciousness. We don’t really have any proof of a soul.

        • Brian Anthony

          unless we understand “soul” as the scholastics and the ancients did, as the center of rational thought. The brain is the center of almost every process in the body, but it is material. there are clearly immaterial aspects to our thought, and feeling, and emotions. if we understand soul as “rational intellect” like St Thomas Aquinas would have then it begins to make a little more sense,

          • axelbeingcivil

            What do you mean by “immaterial aspects”? What evidence do you offer to suggest that these exist?

  • Pofarmer

    This is so bone headed. We form loving relationships with other individuals because of interactions with them. It’s a function, first, of our brain chemistry, then, as a relationship progresses, a function of our Cognition. Have you ever fallen out of love with anybody? It’s a very physical, real, thing. Now, cognitive research is showing that when we pray, the same areas of our brain light up as when we have a conversation. Note here, different areas light up for different faiths depending on what they believe their deity to be. So, our brain records our side of the exchange as if we had a conversation, if you do this often enough, you form a very real(to your brain) physical connection just as if there was a person present. So, you’ve talked yourself into a relations ship that is only one sided. Athletes and salesmen and others use this technique too. It’s called self actualization. You practice something in your head enough times, tell yourself something enough times, then when it comes time for the actual event to occur, your brain reacts as if it has done the event multiple times already. It’s positive reinforcement but there is no physical component to it, it’s all mental. I don’t really know why I’m saying this. I’m not trying to be hateful or mean. But, it seems to me as strong Catholic tendency to demean the physical to the advantage of the spiritual, when, in fact, the spiritual is only possible BECAUSE of the physical in the first place.

    • Y. A. Warren

      As a cradle RC, brought up beforee Vatican II, I agree with this.

    • Brian Anthony

      actually you dont really seem to know how close your last statement is to traditional catholic teaching…

      • Pofarmer

        What I understand of Catholic teaching, is that Catholics participate in the sacraments and do good things, etc, to make their physical state more holy to become closer to the spiritual. All of this time, they are not seeking to do good for the physical reason to be doing it. They are seeking to be closer to the spiritual. The spiritual is the driver and goal, the spiritual is seen as the cause, not the physical.

        • Brian Anthony

          treu in a sense, seeing as that to make a serious divide between spiritual and physical is actually a heresy (manacaeism) and so for the catholic the physical and spiritual are intimately intertwined and what is done for one aids the other.

    • Anton

      We form loving relationships with other individuals because of
      interactions with them. It’s a function, first, of our brain chemistry,
      then, as a relationship progresses, a function of our Cognition.

      I assume my experience of reductionism begins in the retina when I read sentences like these, but my dismay is something I feel in my entire being.

      • Pofarmer

        Feel whatever you like. Doesn’t change the science.

        • Anton

          Correct me if I’m wrong, isn’t science supposed to expand our knowledge about phenomena? So does analysis of brain chemistry tell us anything about the actual experience of love?

          • Pofarmer

            It can tell us how it happens. How and why we get the feelings and attachment that we experience.

          • Anton

            It can tell us how it happens. How and why we get the feelings and attachment that we experience.

            Well, it can tell us the biochemical and neurological basis for the experience. But is reductionism really the best way to tell us anything about the experience on the human level, the level of emotion and meaning? Or is that just gooey and irrelevant in contrast to the butch, real scientific level?

  • Y. A. Warren

    I have found no better way to explain what is so special about the energy exchange that we humans call “love.” To this, even an atheist should be able to relate.

    >There is the physical relationship, by which we relate to each other in our bodies, each of us, through touch, momentarily occupying the same space, as well as the relationship of all our other senses — we hear, smell, see, and in the deeper intimacies of mother and child, lover and lover, even taste the loved one.This will be very difficult to slip through the skulls of a scientistic age, but I believepersonal relationship renders all other modes happily possible. Difficult, because we — and by we I mean others — think of the material as all that is real.Our body expresses our internal life.Lust is evil precisely because it is moronic in this regard. It takes the physical and treats it as if it were not the revelation of an internal life, as if kisses were simply the gift of a pair of lips and not the gift of a particular person, emanating from his unobservable interior life. Purely physical relation, that is, relation to a body that does not presuppose an internal life expressed by that body, is relation to a corpse, which has all the happiness of being precisely what materialists say we are — all material.All we have left, when the loved one is absent, is the very person of the loved one, terribly inaccessible, but painfully present nonetheless, in what Christos Yannaras calls the non-dimensional space of personal relation.The Christian’s blessedness is precisely his personal relationship with God; thank God then, for an absence that delivers so mighty a personal presence.<

    • Collin237

      >the energy exchange that we humans call “love.”

      No. Lust is an exchange of energy. Love is an exchange of information.

      It is information that is the non-physical, person-dependent part of the world. And it is the “theory” that information has anything to do with physics, promoted by followers of mystics like Dooyeweerd or Jung masquerading as scientists, that is allowing politicians to subvert our understanding of reality.

      • Y. A. Warren

        Lust is not what I feel when with my friends and family.

  • mattv

    To think that it is not possible for there to be a God is extremely illogical. I say “GOD” as not a name, for God is nameless. God to me is more of an eternal consciousness of energy – it was that conscious universal energy that is Alive….which is why the concept of Life was made known to the universe through God’s creation.

    TO say that there is no intelligent, conscious energy that exists with it’s own individuality and character, who we call God, the Creator, allthewhile you call yourself intelligent, conscious, and energetic having individuality and character, but you were not responsible for giving yourself that capability, while it was infact the universe that did…..how can you say that the universe does not have the same or greater powers you did, when it was the Universe, or God, that gave it to you? How can you say the universe is not conscious when it invented consciousness??????

    the belief in God, the Creator, is extremely logical….and very probably, given the nature of the beings that exist in this world. God must have all the same abilities we humans do as we come from him….and we see the character of God best expressed through the individuality of Jesus Christ.

    • Y. A. Warren

      “I say “GOD” as not a name, for God is nameless.” If only we all believed and practiced this truth.


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