Divine Illumination and Revelation
| Human beings do not create their
own experiences and the events of experience therefore imply a source
external to the human entity. This source is called reality and it is, in
part, defined by human experiences of it.
Reality and truth are two sides of the same coin. Claims about reality must be true. Otherwise they cannot be claims about reality. False realities are illusions and assertions based on illusions have no value. The Creative Source tells us about reality every time we solve a problem providing we have followed the practical and moral rules which govern intellectual enlightenment. If these rules are ignored the result is an understanding based on illusion. In philosophising or theorising beyond the facts we endeavour to grasp the meaning of larger segments of reality. So we try to understand physical or intellectual reality as a whole based on a sampling of the facts of experience.
Reality in its entirety cannot be understood from the investigation of experiences of that reality. Starting from the knowledge that the Creative Source will answer any question based on a problem that we can understand, the strategy is to find a real problem of experience the answer to which is the understanding of ultimate reality. Working from this problem definition, the solution specification, and supplementary questions, when submitted to the psychological processes, result in knowledge of God in what is termed methodical revelation.
The methodology of intellectual enlightenment by the Creative Source therefore leads to the understanding of reality, both as a whole, and in its parts. The truth is the meaning of reality and the word "Truth", with a capital letter, is often used to refer to the meaning of ultimate reality, or God.
In the Middle Ages Christian philosophy recognised three forms of reality. One was the physical reality with which every living creature must learn to deal. The second was ideal reality, or the universe of ideas. The third, and most important, reality was God Himself. As Christians their interest was in understanding God, not the physical world. The understanding of God could only be reached by intellectual effort and through the understanding of the ideal reality.
The basic model of ideal reality is that of the cognitive entity, the "I", processing experience to achieve new and extended understandings. To the intellect there is only understanding and it recognises only understanding. That which cannot be understood even as a problem, does not exist for the individual. The individual cannot break out of his process of understanding within his private world of the intellect to observe something beyond.
There is some similarity between this view of ideal reality and Descartes' fundamental proposition. According to Descartes, "I thence concluded that I was a substance whose whole essence or nature consists only in thinking, and which, that it may exist, has need of no place, nor is dependent on any material thing: so that "I", that is to say, the mind by which I am what I am, is wholly distinct from the body and is even more easily known than the latter, and is such, that although the latter were not, it would still continue to be all that it is".
The limitation of the subjective intellect, to observe only understandings, is shared, for example, with the system of objective knowledge theories. In the theory system the world is a theory. Any insistence that there is a reality beyond the theory is a theory about the theory and that reality, if it exists, might be very different from the picture given by the theory. Physical reality, for example, has been seen at various times as consisting of atoms, energy fields, and particles separated by vast spaces, as well as the sensible reality of bodies of matter in space apparent to everybody. According to Immanuel Kant, whatever the given reality is like might bear no resemblance to the human understanding of it. It is the understanding or the theory with which the individual must deal and not the actuality.
The intellect is not self-sufficient. It exists as an entity in process of development. The developmental process requires the input of experience seen as problems, and also the input of the solutions to those problems in the form of intellectual enlightenments. This development process may, to some extent, be controlled by the intellect. The direction of development may be influenced by the careful selection of problems to be solved. The motivation to control intellectual development is given both by the awareness of intellectual ignorance and error as evidenced by events of experience, and by the need to understand why the development process exists at all.
The ideal reality is here mapped to show its functioning in both normal operation and in knowledge development.
THE INTELLECT SUPPORT SYSTEM
The classical view is that there is a reality outside oneself which may be observed. These observations, seen as sense data, amount to facts about this external reality. Knowledge of this external reality is based on the factual record given by the senses.
A problem may be seen to occur when subjective experience is examined. People do not experience sense data intellectually and have no access, direct or indirect, to the information that is passed from the senses to the brain. They have, instead, only understandings of sensory events. The physical senses respond to physical processes in the external objective world, but what is actually experienced are subjective phenomena created by the mind. Human understandings of sensory events are subjective translations of physical experiences into psychological experiences and are not direct observations of external reality. There is, therefore, no corpus of reliable physical data on which to base a theory of knowledge of an external reality.
This situation gives rise to a problem of knowledge of reality. If people have no access to sense data they cannot know directly about the external world. They know instead about their own psychological responses to this data. Since subjective experience is psychologically determined, what goes on inside the human mind has a significant influence on what can be known.
The intellect is a component part of the psyche and a complete understanding of the psychology of knowledge demands an investigation of the psyche beyond the bounds of the intellect. The investigation of the human psyche is prior to all other knowledge projects and the conclusions of this study determine what may be known in all other sciences. The following discussion is concerned with the investigation of the psychological processes that lead to knowledge of reality.
The intellect is the compendium of all that has been learned in life. It is the result of the processing of experience and contains no innate understandings. The psyche is capable of more than behaviours learned from experience and the purpose here is to isolate and outline some of the innate facilities of the psyche which play a part in knowledge creation without attempting a formal definition. These psychological processes are referred to as the intellect support system to distinguish them from the intellect itself which is also a part of the psyche. The intellect is able to function only with the services supplied by the support system.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
The Functions of the Support System
If certain psychological processes are analysed it is found that their functionality cannot be explained by simple learning from experience, nor can conscious decisions to construct them be given as an explanation. These processes exist, and are beyond individual reach should there be a wish to modify and improve them. They seem to respond only to confidence in their efficacy or to its lack. For example, there exists an ability to recall past experience in an ordered manner. This facility has not been invented by individuals or otherwise implemented as a consequence of any decision to preserve a record of experience. Confidence in one's memory produces some improvement in retrieval of records, and lack of confidence also appears to be self-fulfilling.
The innate processes form the Intellect Support System which, together with the intellect, constitute the human psyche. This is the mental equivalent of the physical system that is the body. The body enables the individual to function in the Cosmos and the psyche gives the required functional capabilities in ideal reality. Together these two systems, the physical and the mental, form the package which constitutes the given human entity.
The Intellect Support System supplies a number of services to the individual, most of which are usually unnoticed and taken for granted.
Internal Intellect facilities
The system of consciousness
Current status maintenance
Memory management Retrieval of understanding
The organisation of the subconscious
The management of the conscious/ subconscious interface
Creative Source interface facilities
Mental picture formation
External interface facilities
Recognition of purposes
Language encoding and decoding
Control of the physical body
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
The Description of Intellect Support System Facilities
The System of Consciousness and non-consciousness
The support system controls the operation of the conscious. The conscious exists only while the individual is awake. Each time he awakes the conscious is reconstituted. The interval between first awareness and full conscious intellectual operation is quite small but is perceptible. In that short time full recovery of current status and information system windows is effected. The process may be compared to switching on a computer system and re-establishing full operational status. The support system continues to operate in the sleep state, for example filtering noises so that usual noises are ignored and unusual noises will provide the trigger to restore the conscious. The dreaming state provides a picture of the operation of the intellect without the conscious or reflective thought mechanism.
The support system operates the reflective system whereby thoughts are drawn from the intelligence and displayed in the conscious work area. The intelligence may be seen as a cauldron of meanings swirling in a flow of rapidly changing emotion. It is quite random in its processing of meaning. The reflective process, imposed by the support system, forces the intelligence into serial mode. It reads and abstracts from the intelligence the currently dominant meaning and reflects it back to the intelligence through the conscious. The mature intellect endeavours to maintain serial processing of meaning by purposeful concentration of thought and the exclusion of currently non-relevant meanings. In sleep, where the constraining mechanisms do not operate, dreams tend to be disjointed.
Current Status Maintenance
People do not as a rule experience discontinuities such as finding themselves at a railway station and wondering whether they are to travel or to meet someone. Their current operating status is known to them. One may experience what it means to lose current status understanding when, on occasions, as for example waking up in a strange bed, one is for the moment are unable to make sense of the situation. The problem is almost always soon rectified, but it is possible to lose the current status data temporarily or permanently. This current status is updated with every event and individuals always know what they have to do next. If there is a need to phone someone regarding a matter and before it can be done that person phones and settles the problem the current agenda is automatically brought up to date so that the original plan is not carried out. The system operates like a task list linked to project information systems windows, set within logical environments, and is always related to a personal understanding. It is maintained by the support system.
The retrieval from the recesses of the memory of the record of past experience is a common enough operation within the intellect. One speaks of having a good or bad memory. It is rare for an individual to stop to wonder how he comes to have a memory at all. The individual may ponder on the possible paths and links followed by the retrieval facility to discover and bring to consciousness whatever he wishes to recall, but he is, in the process, aware that he did not design or engineer the system of storage and retrieval.
Retrieval of Understandings
A special case of retrieval is that of understandings, which have been described as programs which set in motion behaviours to deal with specific events of experience. The difference between a record of experience and a record of understanding is therefore that same difference between a data file and an executable program file in a computer. The search criteria for the two types is different and the organisation of the files is different. The support system organises these files taking note of purposes to ensure that important data is related to information systems monitoring those purposes. These programs are invoked, without conscious intervention, by the support system, although in some cases the individual in the conscious state may over-ride the support system's actions.
The Organisation of the Subconscious
One important area of the subconscious is assigned to those executable files which control the physical body. The use of the limbs, for example, is learned and the programs which give the control necessary to walking and other limb operations are stored in the subconscious.
The subconscious may be seen as a stack of layers or modules of understandings. At the lowest are understandings of basic physical functions and at the top is the individual's philosophical understanding of reality and his part in it. In between the two are layers of understanding that aid the translation of the minutiae of experience into recognisable patterns or understandings. The invoking of these programs generally bypasses the conscious, as do all semi-automatic procedures. The support system interprets and responds to the purposes and objectives of the individual in the control of mental and physical behaviour.
The Management of the Conscious/ Subconscious Interface
All decisions and other judgments made by the intelligence in the conscious state are passed to the subconscious for storage. To a large extent they are then irretrievable to conscious searching and amendment. A subconscious which is alterable at will and whim would be an unpredictable initiator of behaviour and so the support system imposes a level of protection over the subconscious. In general, change can only follow the evidence of experience for the common individual case.
Problem Solving Support
There is a continual problem solution creation process going on throughout the thinking that takes place each day. Every stage of the problem solution method is supported by the creation of solutions to the thousand and one daily problems. The solution specification lies at the end of a formal process for ensuring problem understanding. Each stage can be seen as a step forward in the development of understanding. The formal process has the following stages;
* The problem of what the problem is.
Stage 1: The understanding is gained of what the problem is;
* The problem of what facts are relevant to the problem.
Stage 2: The understanding is gained of what facts are relevant to the problem;
* The problem of the best way to organise the facts.
Stage 3: The understanding is gained of how to analyse the facts;
Stage 4: The understanding of the problem is gained.
* The problem of how to specify the solution.
Stage 5: The understanding is gained of what would be a solution;
Each stage starts with a problem and involves the formulation of new understanding as the solution. Each stage, furthermore, consists of many smaller problems the solutions of which give small improvements of understanding. The interaction between problem and solution is a frequent process in daily life. In effect, the intellect grows in understanding and power as a result of the interaction between the support system, the intellect, and the Creative Source.
Mental Picture Formation
The most obvious service of the Intellect Support System is the creation of the mental picture by which people see the world, and the creation of the mental pictures that occur when the intellect visualises or when the individual is dreaming. Theories of perception which attempt to explain this phenomenon in a mechanical way cause more problems than they solve and may be rejected as failing to give an adequate account. The data of vision passed from the brain is the raw material of sensory vision and may be compared to the video part of the television signal which is used within the television receiver to recreate the picture. The process of picture creation itself is to be distinguished from that of the handling of visual data, and is a function of the Creative Source. The distinction here is that of a problem definition in terms of data and the problem solution as a picture.
Part of this process involves the combination of two streams of signals, one from each eye, into one three dimensional view. A similar facility is available to animal intellects and combines the views given by eyes, even where the eyes are on the sides of the head, into one usable view.
The visualising process, in which the individual turns inwards to see pictures in his intellect which are not related to the current data of eye vision, are created the same way but from stored data or memories. The visualising process is usually controlled by a purpose, even in daydreaming. Dreaming while asleep is, for most people, purposeless and reflects current physical and mental concerns which are troubling the nuclear intelligence or spirit.
Speaking seems to be one act which is totally under individual control. People say what they intend to say. The meaning of what is said is the meaning they intend to communicate. However deeper analysis reveals that people use verbal constructions which are not selected from some internal library of phrases but are formulated to suit the needs of the occasion. Chomsky and others have considered how general purpose language statements could be generated. It is not clear that they have reached a plausibly complete position on statement generation but the studies in this area have shown that generation must satisfy a number of complex rules. Individuals are not conscious of these rules when they speak. Most people are not aware that they exist. The generation of correct speech is a process which lies outside the immediate consciousness and control of individuals.
The process of conversation appears to include
HEARING OF SPEECH...> APPREHENSION OF MEANING...> APPEARANCE OF MEANING OF RESPONSE...> GENERATION OF LANGUAGE LEVEL STATEMENT...> VOCALISATION PROCESS
The recognition of the meaning of the heard speech and the generation of the response takes place within the intelligence. There is no consciousness of any act which gives rise to the meaning of the response but, nevertheless, the response is recognised to be what is meant and what it is intended to communicate. People, as intelligences, are intimately connected with meaning recognition and meaning formulation in a way such that there is no discontinuity or progression between "I" and "mean" in the term "I mean". "I mean" describes a state of being of the intelligence and not an act. Here "mean" is not to be distinguished from "understand".
The support system lies between the primitive language of meaning or understanding and the general purpose language constructions. It functions as an integrative process for the hearing of language and a differential process for speaking. Its operation can best be seen in speaking where a series of complex meanings are analysed into the understandings of words and the words themselves are assembled according to their internally held understandings of how they are used.
This facility has been the subject of much investigation by linguists and philosophers in recent years. The logic is complex and its complete understanding is still unachieved. But of course the task of analysing meaning into a general purpose language, and the reverse process of integrating language constructions into meaning, is performed by every individual many times a day.
A large part of experience occurs as sensory events, which are electro-chemical actions on the brain. The effect of these data may be compared with, for example, the depression of a key on a computer keyboard which causes a physical data array to take a binary setting. This setting is then polled by the operating system and processed. In a like manner the brain data values are read and processed by the support system and an understanding is returned to the intellect. At no time does the intellect have to deal with the raw events of sensory experience.
Interrupt Management and Windows Management
A flood of information must be dealt with every day by human intellects. In the space of minutes the individual may deal with several individuals, answer the phone a number of times, and read some documents, all while becoming aware that he is hot and thirsty, and the time available for work is rapidly diminishing. This myriad of thoughts and their supporting understandings is brought to the intellect without any need on the part of the individual to search his memory with questions concerning the histories of problems and relationships, or to consciously organise the several different streams of data.
The system handles multiple sensory and other interrupts and encapsulates them in an understanding and presents those understandings to the conscious intellect in the manner of a Windows system. Individuals may switch between windows with no confusion of data or understandings.
Recognition of Individual Purposes
Thinking is more than browsing through existing understandings. The problem-solution process occurs frequently in thinking, and operates so naturally and smoothly, that it can, and usually does, pass unnoticed. Generally the flow of ideas which prompts intellectual action is consistent with the purposes being pursued. Non-relevant experience is suppressed, and only pertinent experience is generally allowed to claim the individual's attention. A degree of control over interrupts is imposed by the support system to reduce the tendency towards chaos. In general interrupts are handled according to a priority based on the individual's purposes, of which survival is always the most important. After that, the principal interests of the individual are given priority and interrupts are suppressed in areas of no interest.
Language Encoding and Decoding
The brain and body in combination are responsible for vocalisation and hearing. The support system programming involves the production of control statements which trigger the vocalisation, and the interpretation of interface data settings which result from the hearing of speech. For example, a string of meaning which is the understanding of the sentence or other word set is encoded, and the code which may be seen as command statements, is presented to the brain for vocalisation procedures to be operated. These processes can most easily be recognised in the learning of foreign languages. Pronunciation difficulties are observed intellectually, and vocalisation commands to the brain are modified to obtain improvements.
Two subsystems are involved and there are two areas of the brain which are being addressed, one concerned with speaking and the other with hearing. Problems in the brain with either of those areas do not affect the other. Problems with both areas of the brain simultaneously do not necessarily affect the support system or the intellect, and if they do it is due to atrophy from lack of use. The intellect continues to function even if its interfaces with the brain are damaged beyond repair. This may be seen in cases of brain damage by strokes. There is some evidence that the support system will find other undamaged brain areas to use.
In this description the brain is viewed as the physical controller and the intellect support system as the mental controller. While data passes both ways across their mutual interfaces, it is a rule of general knowledge theory that the mental controls the physical.
Control of the Physical Body
The control of the physical body follows the same pattern as vocalisation. Control statements with appropriate parameters are generated by the support system in response to the act of will of the intelligence. The intelligence takes the state of purpose or intent and this is read and executed by the support routines without further conscious intervention..
The Support System Programming
The existence of the intellect support system becomes obvious when it is asked how an artificial intelligence could be equipped to carry out intellectual activities of the human type. The innate psychological processes are not, in principle, difficult to program and none exercise choice but simply interpret and execute intellectual judgments. The support system must be classed as preprogrammed functionality.
The support system divides into internal and external subsystems, roughly comparable to the operating system and input-output system of a personal computer. The internal management routines further divide into those foreground tasks which support the system of consciousness and thinking, and the background database system which manages the records of the intellect.
The theory of the intellect support system also explains the observed mental capabilities of animals. In general, animals have a smaller intellectual capability and greater innate support than do human beings. Certain animals, for example, are capable of walking within minutes of birth which shows that limb control is not learned but is a function of the support system.
The account of the intellect support system rests on a survey of the field rather than a study. A full study must include the psychological arrangements of animals which would provide insights into the development of special operating systems and explain why the human psyche takes its present form.
The programming of true problem solving is beyond human capabilities. Here the requirement is to take a problem definition and solution specification, such as that constructed by Albert Einstein for the Theory of Relativity, and to produce within the program the solution in the form of that theory. The chances of doing so appear to be small. Programming the creation of new ideas as solutions to problems is a problem which defies all known techniques. However, this function lies outside the Support System and its programming specification.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
THE REALITY OF THE INTELLECT
For human beings the viewpoint is always from within the intellect. It is the intellect which is the primary environment of the individual and the Cosmos is external, secondary, and logically remote. The Creative Source and the intellect support system have been shown to interface to the intellect. The support system is the interface with external reality and the intellect lies logically between this interface and the Source of new ideas.
Diagram 3.1.1 shows the relationships of the entities comprising intellectual reality, which, in addition to the intellect itself, are:-
* The Intellect Support System, which is the most immediate entity. This system incorporates the psychological processes involved in the creation of knowledge and understanding.
* The Cosmic Manager which, through the changing patterns of the cosmos, gives the raw data of experience. The cosmic management system is that set of rules or laws controlling the operation of the physical universe.
Ideas of the Cosmos have been undergoing radical revision in recent times, and the impact of the new thinking on epistemology must be considered. Physics, as the study of space, time, and matter has, in the 20th century, offered theories which contradict, not only previous physical theories, but the commonsense view of the universe. These theories are not compatible with each other and there is no general agreement on their meaning.
According to Relativity, the objective world is spacetime, with all events, for all times, included. There is no present, no past, no future. Every one of the infinity of possibilities, good and bad, physically exists. The picture is that of predetermination in which the human conscious, as a physical state, is also determined. Epistemology, in this picture, is no more than tracing the relationships of conscious states to physical states within the spacetime continuum, and this study is seen as the physics of consciousness.
This understanding of physical determinism is not supported by quantum theory, which itself has problems which are relevant to epistemological theory. Quantum theory emphasises indeterminism and suggests the possibility of free will. Intruding into what seems to be a law abiding universe is a randomness, and future experience is inherently uncertain. There are problems of the relationship between time, matter, and mind, and of the nature of consciousness itself.
For some scientists and philosophers, Quantum physics has undermined commonsense ideas of objective reality, but there is no agreement on the extent to which the nature or existence of reality is affected. The apparently concrete world of matter is claimed by some to be insubstantial. A picture is painted in which the universe cannot be considered, in the traditional sense of the word, as real. For subjectivist philosophers and physicists, reality is not a property of the external world solely but is intimately bound up with the presence of conscious observers, some theorists claiming that the observer literally creates the universe by his observations. Reality, in this extreme view, appears to be entirely a subjective affair. Claims of this sort are dependent on the relationship between matter and mind; between physical theory and the theory of the conscious intellect. This latter theory falls within the immediate interest of epistemology and an explanation of the part played by consciousness in the creation of knowledge has been offered above.
The questions of whether physical reality is predetermined or random and uncertain, or whether that reality is substantial and real lie beyond the province of epistemology. Physical experiences are, however, real even if the Cosmos eventually proves to be insubstantial.
Scientific methodology is based on the problems of experience and requires only a source of experience seen as problems. The immediate source, for the conscious intellect, is the intellect support system, and the problems of experience are passed to the intellect by this source. What happens beyond the support system is yet to be determined, since it depends on better physical knowledge. Intellectual reality therefore includes a set of experiences which may or may not indicate the existence of a Cosmos. This set of experiences, when subjected to the problem solving procedure, may be understood in a way relevant to human purposes.
Scientific epistemology therefore takes the position that there is a reality independent of the conscious intellect, that reality is the source of experience, and that experience, correctly understood, is knowledge.
* The Creative Source which gives all understanding of reality.
The concept of imagination as a source of creative behaviour, both intellectual and artistic, has a long history. The idea of the involvement of the creative faculty in the innovation of ideas considered as knowledge, has more recent origins. Questions regarding the nature and functions of creativity have been explored in the previous part, using the scientific problem solving method. The conclusion is that creativity is unlimited intelligent power and recognises truth, subject to the requisition for truth. The general form is:-
CREATIVITY = POWER---> KNOWLEDGE = POWER
Creativity is the power to create, and in creating the solution to the problem of experience in the form of knowledge, where knowledge is true understanding and correct mental and physical behaviours, it gives the intellect the power to deal with that aspect of reality which gave rise to the problem.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
The Operation of the Intellectual System
The intellect, through its support system, is in tandem with its body during the course of natural life, and its objectives with regard to the body are executed through the cosmic system. The purposes of the individual, both practical and moral, are taken into account by the Cosmic Manager. Feedback, in terms of sensory data, is returned through the support system. Feedback, in terms of feeling, is obtained directly through the individual's emotional investment in the physical body.
The thesis of rational scientific epistemology is that both the cosmic system and the Creative Source are functions of the Holy Spirit. From external reality there is a flow of experience in the form of problems. From the Source come the solutions. Between the two the intellect grows in understanding and power. This arrangement of external physical reality, support system, intellect, and Source, constitute the entities of human intellectual reality. They function as a co-ordinated whole to promote the understanding of intellects committed to exploring the truth.
In general, the materialist understanding sees only the physical universe. Spiritual thinkers look towards the Creative Source as the origin of Divine illumination of the intellect. The completely rational intellect looks both ways. The Cosmos provides a vast wealth of learning material, physical, moral, cultural, and personal. The inner view provides access to knowledge of ultimate reality and the truth. Holding the two aspects in tension the rational intellect makes progress towards the truth.
The individual, in approaching this reality, is faced with the task, not merely of making sense of it, but of using it to his best advantage. That best advantage should aim at more than survival in the physical universe, and should include the question of human fulfilment.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
The Explanation of Knowledge of Ultimate Reality
This overview surveys the ways by which individuals come to know of God. These are:-
* formally by report, which is the method of education.
* subjectively, directly and rationally. This form of knowledge is based solely and directly on the events of individual experience.
The survey relies on positions established in the earlier chapters, and particularly on the account of the problem solving method and the Inner Creative Source of all new ideas. Rigorous method is not necessary to knowledge of God, as the Source as the Teacher responds to the simple desire to know formulated as a philosophical purpose.
The Creative Source provides the means to explore Fundamental Reality, using the knowledge methods that work for physical studies. Questioning the Source leads to knowledge of ultimate reality. To the more mature theological understanding, which is capable of assimilating complex answers, the flow of explanation from the Source may have the appearance of revelation, which is defined as the free gift of knowledge of God by God. However, as it is the solution to the usual form of requisition of knowledge it is better described as methodical revelation. Revelation as a free and unpredictable act of God, is outside a study of epistemology.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
The Source as the Teacher of Ultimate Truth
The Source is a teaching agent through which the individual can come to know of God. The Source is capable of educating, re-educating, and restructuring the intellect to ensure rational understanding. The essential conditions for advance are the desire to know and the belief in the possibility of knowing. The individual cannot acquire any knowledge which he cannot understand. In order to understand new knowledge the foundation of prerequisite understandings must exist. At a minimum the individual must have a real interest in finding answers to fundamental questions. The methods for achieving this knowledge have been described earlier.
The denial of the possibility of knowledge of God is self-confirming since the psychological processes will take the denial into account and terminate. If this denial is followed by a refusal to take any interest in matters concerning ultimate reality the intellect support system suppresses further experiences of the unwanted types. No understanding is forced onto an individual by the Creative Source and the individual may be permanently locked out of knowledge of God by this type of judgment. Atheistic secular education may produce a similar effect.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
There is a moral obligation upon God to explain what is going on, which may be fulfilled through what is called Revelation. Revelation commonly includes an explanation of God's initial purposes and objectives, and some account of the problems faced and solved to produce the situation in which human beings find themselves. The explanation provides much material for further enquiry. Revelation of God is provided by the Creative Source in response to the standard form of requisition of understanding and it is subject to the same conditions. Revelation is the prerequisite to human understanding of the truth and is therefore discussed in greater detail in the next part.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
As stated above, problem solving is not of necessity a verbal process carried out in the conscious. Infants in the prelingual stage form understandings. Artists do not necessarily consciously analyse their work, but comprehend it as a whole, at the intuitive level. Their understanding is real although not verbal. Many individuals, and especially those who do not have the training to analyse and express their intuitive understandings, nevertheless form, hold and act on these understandings.
Such intuitive understandings are formed in the common way from problem understandings. They may lack precision and even truth. On the other hand, where the purpose of the individual is to pursue the truth they may be as truthful as any formal understanding or theory. Pursuit of the purpose of truth, carried far enough, leads to the understanding and knowledge of God, irrespective of whether the intellect is educated and verbally competent or uneducated and intuitive. These understandings are supplied by the Creative Source and therefore have the same authority as any other understanding, theological, psychological, or physical.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
As the fiction writer receives a flow of ideas in accordance with the specification of the story to be written, the individual may receive a flow of truthful ideas in answer to some project or other form of inquiry. The Creative Source responds to the individual's purpose and questions with a flow of understanding which exceeds any prior understanding of truth. In practice, the given solutions, as they are understood, are incorporated back into the solution specification and create the snowballing effect which appears as the flow of truth. In going significantly beyond the individual's initial state of knowledge the new understandings may be regarded as inspired. This parallels experiences of theory creation where the new theory can exceed any prior estimate of its character. The Scriptures are often claimed to be inspired in this manner.
Where the individual is highly developed spiritually his or her relationship to the Creative Source may be personal and the flow of understanding may be seen to be from God as a Person to the individual as a person and to bear the warranty of God. In such circumstances the given understanding may be described fairly as the Word of God. Some believers claim that the Scriptures, either in whole or part, amount to the Word of God.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
The individual may also come into knowledge of God formally through religious education. This is the common method for secular belief. The most common source of religious knowledge is the Bible. The reading of the Scriptures poses many difficulties of understanding for individuals, whether educated or not. Where these problems are pursued in the spirit of truth, the Creative Source will return truthful solutions which are accommodations to the understanding of the reader. The sympathetic reader of the Scriptures may come into the knowledge and truth that they contain. This is also true for any religious writings, including those of non-christians. The only difference at this level of enquiry is the relative qualities of these writings judged on the criteria of truth and usefulness to human needs.
The teaching of the Creative Source may be subverted by positive as well as negative prejudices. The negative thinker denies the value of the Scriptures and so learns nothing from them, but the extremely positive attitude which sees every statement as literally true blocks the Creative Source's attempts to impart a deeper truth and the student gains only a limited understanding. Imposing conditions upon the teaching of the Creative Source may lead to intellectual error.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
The Knowledge of God
The individual who is trying to understand the meaning of life and who is concerned to establish the truth in his or her intellect may come into the knowledge of God in all the above ways. This is true irrespective of the religious framework within which the individual develops. This accounts for the widespread and persistent knowledge of God among the races of the world.
The religious framework within which the enquiry is pursued may be helpful or unhelpful. Obsolete religious systems with closed attitudes to experience and further knowledge ultimately limit their adherents' development. However religious knowledge, in its objective form, has a limited purpose and usefulness. Ultimately the religious researcher finds his or her way to the Creative Source, seen as the Teacher, the Inner Light, or the Holy Spirit, and further spiritual and intellectual development becomes the direct responsibility of God. St.Augustine describes the state of learning directly from God as Divine Illumination.
There is a distinction between the knowledge of God given by the Creative Source in response to formal enquiries, and knowledge of God achieved through direct experience. This direct experience may be obtained through a method such as contemplation, or may be the result of an unrequisitioned religious or spiritual event. Such experiences may be emotionally overwhelming but they fall within the category of human experience and their explanations as understandings must be given, as a later stage, by the Creative Source. It is this type of experience that relates the understanding of God to the reality of God.