On God's paths: Reflections on our spiritual quest: The path of knowledge
In the first article of this series I made a brief description of the five paths that I have identified in our search for spiritual growth. In this article I will explain what I have found on the path of knowledge, which is the path of intellectuals, theologians, philosophers, even some scientists and in general, of all those who prefer the search for God through reasoning. instead of revelation.
Knowledge gives us the ability to understand the reality that surrounds us through reason. Some students of the spiritual agree that it is not possible to reach God through knowledge, that it is only possible to reach him through faith . However, I think that through the wisdom that knowledge can give us, we can achieve our desired encounter with God.
Philosophy has been the way used to try to understand, through reason, the origin and nature of creation and, through that knowledge, understand its relationship with the God that religions conceive. This has made one of the objects of attention of philosophy to be precisely the concept of God and although the God of philosophers is far from the God of the predominant monotheistic religions, just considering it within the scope of their studies, reveals the importance that the understanding of belief in a God has for philosophy.
Modern science has its origin in philosophy and it is through science that many scientists devote time and effort to explain the "non-existence" of God, which sounds contradictory considering the atheism attributed to science, because what sense Do you have to find an explanation for the "non-existence" of a God whose existence is denied in principle?, the mere fact of doing so, suggests the possibility or at least the doubt that it really can exist.
As I see it, a problem that science faces in this situation is that, although it is true that it has not been possible to scientifically prove the existence of God and I do not know if with the current scientific methodology that is possible one day, I do not It has been possible to demonstrate that it does not exist, so the most acceptable conclusion would be to assume the inability of our current level of understanding to access knowledge that manages to explain the existence or not of God.
As for modern sciences, even though they do not officially declare that they are in search of God, it is clear that some of their effort is aimed at the search for truths that explain the origin, behavior and destiny of creation, including man as a very important part of that creation, which in large part is the same search for religions, only that these have been limited to explaining it through faith in a creator and sustaining God of all that exists.
Among the branches of science that currently scrutinize more in the secrets of creation are: particle physics, cosmology, molecular biology, neurology and psychology, to name a few. The first seeks to understand the laws that govern the behavior of matter and energy at subatomic levels. The second pursues the same, but at the cosmic level, seeking to understand the creation, evolution and final destiny of the universe. The third seeks to explain the wonder of creation, the functioning and evolution of life and, especially, of the human species, through the understanding of the molecular biochemistry that gives rise to and sustains it. Finally, neuroscience and psychology seek in the intricate neuronal interconnection of our brains, the explanation for the emergence of consciousness that makes us go beyond the basic behavior of non-human animals, in search of explanations of our own existence and of everything around us, including the existence of God.
The interesting thing about these scientific searches, is that as they go deeper into their studies, even when they get answers previously unknown and some of them explained only by faith, new questions arise that point to the need to find answers to what appears to be an implicit order in creation. It is as if at the sub-thermal level and at the cosmic level, through all levels of iteration of matter and energy, there are laws that guarantee the orderly behavior of the universe as it is and not as the total chaos that could be of not existing such laws. This behavior that seems intelligent, has made some scientists think that behind it is precisely that God who, although it does not meet all the characteristics of the Gods of traditional religions, is omnipotent, omnipresent, creator and sustainer of everything that exists.
On the other hand, given the belief that science and religion are not compatible, it sounds paradoxical that scholarship in science can lead us to our encounter with the Divinity; However, there are known cases of scientists who, as they have advanced in the deep knowledge of their specialties, have become more convinced of the existence of something whose understanding is more It is beyond science and even if they have not called that God something, the mere perception of their existence has led them to the search for their explanation.
How we advance on the path of knowledge
In my opinion, the door that opens the path of knowledge is doubt . Doubt as an impulse to seek the answer to the big question: does God exist or not?
At the beginning of this path we feel ignorant or unbelieving in religious or spiritual issues that can help us answer our questions about creation and its maker. At this stage we are aware of knowing very little or nothing about God, but we are also aware of our desire to know more about him.
To overcome this ignorance or disbelief it is necessary to decide which of the branches of knowledge we will advance to reach the level of understanding and wisdom that allows us to achieve the goal of our encounter with God. Depending on which branch we identify most with, we can choose philosophy, theology or the same science or a combination of them. Once the route is selected, we will have to do our best to deepen our understanding of the principles that govern the specific path we have chosen.
Obstacles in the path of knowledge
The main obstacle in this path is the laziness of studying and acquiring new knowledge. If we fail to overcome it, the recommendation is to look for other paths that require less effort to reach our goal.
If laziness does not defeat us, then we can study and acquire knowledge that will help us to understand more and more the creation and its creator. That knowledge can make us scholars in religion or science and as we move forward we will realize that we are learning more and more about them, which motivates us to continue expanding our understanding. Philosophy and theology will help us achieve religious scholarship, while the scientific can be achieved through specialized branches of science that seek to explain the mysteries of creation and among them the great mystery of God.
Once we reach that level of scholarship, the obstacle of vanity can appear, with which we believe ourselves unique and special. We may come to believe that we know everything and that we no longer need to learn more. If we fall prey to vanity, the recommendation is to face it and overcome it, because it is an obstacle that will prevent us from moving forward on all roads.
When vanity fails to impede our progress, we can continue to acquire more knowledge, at a level that we will no longer need to be aware of what we know, intuition will be part of our capabilities and we will access knowledge without prior reasoning. We will reach the level of wisdom.
Once wisdom is reached, the obstacle that we must overcome to realize our encounter with God is perfectionism, which is the obsession of never feeling satisfied with what we have achieved, thinking that we can go further. Through wisdom we already know the Most High, but perfectionism prevents us from accepting it. When we come to understand that being human we are not perfect and that we will only be when we reach the Creator, then we will finally understand that we have achieved it.
AUTHOR: Juan Sequera, author for the White Brotherhood family.