14.5 God as the source of our own understanding
We will consider how our own understanding and wisdom are related to those
of God. According to theism, our understanding only functions because of continuous
contributions by God. How might this work? Some of the details of this process will
be outlined in Part IV. For now I present a pictorial image
of the method. This image of our understanding uses the representation of God as
a brilliant sun that shines on us and the representation of his Wisdom as clear,
The basic idea is then that our own personal understanding of what is true is
a kind of perception in the light of Gods Wisdom. When we understand anything,
a mathematical proof for example, when we actually see it to be true, we are seeing
it as if an object in the light of God. Truths, when properly understood, are in
plain view of the light of truth. If the light is not clear and pure, but colored,
then we see things in a biased manner: some true things now appear false, and some
false things appear true. Everyone thinks he sees clearly, but theism claims that
clarity of vision depends also on the purity of his associated loves.
Everyday language is full of metaphors for thinking in terms of seeing and perception.
Do you see my point? Do these suggestions yield any insights? Perhaps you cannot
see clearly what I am presenting to view. If not, perhaps I am not casting enough
light on what I want to illuminate or elucidate.
This view of personal understanding means that perceiving what is true is not
a matter of calculation but of seeing with a clear mind. Illumination for our minds
has many analogies with the process of light for our physical eyes. The source of
light does not shine into our eyes (mind) directly, but it shines on objects which
select from the clear source and reflect back limited spectra to our eyes. The source
is certainly not within our own eyes. We are not the source of light, but we use
light that comes from the source. We rely on its color purity for accurate perceptions.