This morning's post over a TeamPyro is a little riff by Dan Phillips on doubt.
Our unbelief has to be unfathomable to God, as was the disciples' to Christ.
To say that God knows and understands all things is not to say that God finds everything understandable, if you take my meaning.The first sentence is absurd on its face; Dan believes in an omniscient God, right? Of course he does, and the second sentence provides the equivocation on that statement. God understands, he just doesn't like it or sympathize with it.
Pressed on this a bit in the comments section, Dan clarifies a bit:
Dan Phillips:This is thoroughly incoherent. It's double-speak. On the one hand, Jesus is supposed to know all things, and on the other, Dan has Jesus thinking doubts about him are "nuts" -- irrational, crazy, unfounded.
We generally use "understandable" in the sense of taking something as reasonable, to be expected, and thus worth acceptance. God knows and knows the meaning of everything. That is not to say (to say the least!) that God shares our view of everything, or finds our view reasonable, rational, and acceptable.
Here, the post-resurrection Jesus clearly finds their unbelief astonishing. It isn't that He doesn't know literally everything there is to know about it. Actually, it's that He does, and He knows it to be nuts.
If Jesus knows all things, then he fully understands that from a reasoning standpoint, his resurrection, even preceded by preparatory miracles, is completely without precedent, and violates a set of basic understandings rational minds develop about the world. Jesus would understand that the people around him are thoroughly convinced that when a man dies, he's dead, that's it. It's permanent.
So it's perfectly rational for someone to be incredulous at the news that a person they had be killed at the hand of the Romans and buried in a tomb was once again alive, and making appearances to his friends and family. It's such an extraordinary event that it be would irrational to accept such reports at face value. That nullifies and jepoardies everything we know about human physiology, about life and death. Now, maybe something has happened that calls all that into question, but only a fool would simply abandons the witness of one's experiences, and the collected knowledge of those all around him, at first sign of a report that a dead man had come back to life after three days.
If that's not clear, imagine a colleague informing you over the water-cooler on Tuesday morning that your Jim, a colleague who had tragically died of masive heart attack last Friday, and who you had seen in his casket at a reviewal on Sunday, had come back to life! In fact, Jim was planning to be back in the office by mid-day Thursday.
Would you doubt such a report? What would you think about someone who simply smiled, and believed, and said "Wow, that's great news. I'll be happy to see him."?
We're deeply reliant -- necessarily dependent -- on our ability to observe, establish patterns, and expectations, and apply skepticism and credulity. And yet, Dan Phillips supposes that our basic rational processing of new claims and propositions -- doubt in the face of the extraordinary and fantastic is "nuts" -- irrational. He's arguing that our rational behavior is actually irrational.
But wait! Since Jesus knows the truth, doesn't all that doubt become "nuts" then, to Jesus, anyway? No, as per Dan, Jesus would understand the rational basis (proper function) of man's thinking about such matters, and would be fully aware of the limited information man has to go on, which, Jesus' miracles prior to his resurrection notwithstanding, points completely at the permanence of death. Jesus, understanding all this, should not be the least surprised at this -- it's rational behavior.
Commenter "StrongTower" helps make this point a little further down in the comments, if unwittingly:
StrongTower:In a court of law, a man's understanding that death was permanent would be held as perfectly reasonable, overwhelmingly indicated by precedent. StrongTower nicely demonstrate the "black is white" inversion that proceeds from Dan's double-speak.
In a court of law we must find quilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A reasoned doubt is based upon some finding of fact. Doubt that is based upon no precedent is unreasonable, and therefore without understanding.
There was no reason for those to whom Christ was speaking to doubt, "If you do not believe my word, believe for the sake of these works..." This then goes to the heart. Unreasoned doubt is bound in the darkness of understanding. Where there is no light there is no reason. They stumble but they do not know over what. Why do you doubt? Seeing as there is no reason to give light to your doubt, it is not understandable that you do.