An Initial Conclusion about “the Soul” (IV. God’s Presence to Our Consciousness)
In previous posts, we investigated our consciousness of God. In this post, we now we bring our third topic of “God’s Presence to Our Consciousness” to a close.
We have seen three ways in which the transcendent reality touches us:
- The numinous experience – in which the numen presents itself as mysterious, daunting, uncontrollable, fascinating, good, and empathetic, and invites us into itself by inciting our interest and desire.
- The religious intuition — in which we sense that the sacred transcendent reality has broken into the world, which invites us to draw closer to the sacred reality through sacred place, ritual, and myth.
- Conscience – through which an omniscient, invisible, searcher of hearts bids us to do good and avoid evil.
These three dimensions of contact with transcendent reality invite us and bring us into the sacred and spiritual domain.
These three connections with the Sacred-Transcendent Reality are not static; they are interrelational and dialogical. Otto’s numinous experience includes a dimension of empathy and invitation within the feeling-contents of fascination, desire, goodness, care, and comfort.
Eliade’s religious intuition includes a dimension of sanctification by the Transcendent Reality within the desire for the sacred, and Newman’s conscience includes an experience of an omniscient invisible searcher of hearts within the feelings of guilt, hope or fear, misgiving of the future, being hurt, tender sorrow, sunny self-satisfaction, and lightness of heart.
When the Transcendent Reality makes itself present to us, it manifests concern and care for us, calls us into a deeper relationship with itself, and offers us guidance and sanctification in our life’s journey.
Those who open themselves to the “transcendent presence within” will find not only the mysterious and sacred “wholly Other,” but also a personal, empathetic, and loving being passionately interested in bringing us to the fullness of life through itself.