Sunday, August 12, 2012. San Juan Capistrano, California.
So God pulled up a stool and ordered a Budweiser. First question answered: God did not drink Coors Light as I had first surmised. I had postulated He was concerned with clear mountain air and pure Rocky Mountain Spring Water. Those gritty hot train scenes with sudden blasts of cold air to cool sweaty city workers–that may have ruined it for Him. Of course, I also wondered if those messes left behind by the Clydsdales distressed Him. Taking a long swallow from his long necked bottle, and wiping his lips, he looked at me and rolled his eyes. “Can we get on to more important questions?”
“I see you’ve been wasting a considerable amount of time relying exclusively on logic. Logic works so well because the world is based on predictable, definable principles. Where it doesn’t work is that I am neither predictable nor definable. Now this causes some very intelligent folks so much discomfort that they choose not to drink with me at all. Scientists can get really snotty, and artists become simply silly, even as they get rich. One of my favorite pals, Francis Schaeffer actually nailed the situation when he tracked how things spiraled downhill fast once I was kicked out out of the discussion. “Well, with a name like “Francis” I’m not sure he could get through the door here at the Gulp’s Tavern.” God looked at me, raising his bushy white brows for effect. “I’m pretty sure he would get to the core of the issue regarding the porn adorning the walls of the men’s toilet,” God noted as an aside.
Then He got back on track: “But here’s the core problem with logic, if not pornography: logic is a pure system of major and minor premises, followed by inevitable conclusions resulting from the system itself. That is, it is not “reality” which mandates the conclusion, but the system. So, you can be perfectly logical, and reach wrong conclusions, that is, conclusions disconnected from the facts and truth of reality.”
I hated it when God dropped a thought like this my way after I had a beer or two. I tried to clear my head, but couldn’t. I resorted to that sad fallback plea: “Could you give me an example?”
Well, one of my favorite creatures, Aristotle, 2300 years ago, seems like only yesterday, figured it out, even without calling on Me. Let’s pick a major premise, say, “All men drink only Budweiser. Frank is a man. Frank drinks only Budweiser.” I raised my Corona bottle in a salute. “Logical but false, may Augie Busch weep in his grave” I noted. “Oh, when it comes to weeping, the real cry baby should be another one of my superstars, Gottlob Frege” God replied. “I took another gulp of Corona, just as the Good Ole Boy Band struck up another cowboy blues tune. “Now, I like the sound of ‘Gottlob.’ I think with a name like that, you’d think twice about messing with him.”
“Well, Frank, the fact is, a man named Bertrand successfully challenged Gottlob, and cut him down to size. Now Bertrand, (his full name was Bertrand Russell), was one of my favorites, and in spite of rejection, gave me reason to be rather proud of him. He said something along the following lines: in the world of numbers, there are classes or categories of numbers. Now, if you say that there is a class of numbers that is the class of “numbers not itself”, then that “premise” if true, means that premise is also false, but a premise cannot be both true and false at the same time!” God was positively excited by this idea, and really seemed to enjoy explaining it.
I was still in a fog. “Yeah . . . so? . . .” God just looked at me for few seconds. Then He looked at an unopened case of Coors on the floor just on the other side of the bar. “Frank, let’s say that case of Coors is a collection of all bottles of beer that are not Coors.” Still no lights. “Yes? . . . “ Good thing God was “infinitely” patient. “Well, that collection can’t be both “Coors” and “only non-Coors” at the same time. The only possibility is that there’s nothing in the box! But a collection can’t both exist and not exist at the same time.
I had a little more luck with the beer analogy, and it helped to that it was a hot day, and I frankly enjoyed an ice-cold beer, and the box was right there in front of me, and it was a real wake up call to think the box was empty.
God took another drink, had a big smile on his face, and with a gesture of his right hand, indicated he wanted a little positive feedback. “OK, so I think I get it. When Aristotle showed that logic had its limits in the world of words, Bertrand Russell showed logic had its limits in the world of numbers?” God gave me a high five on the spot. My high five was a little weak. It really didn’t make complete sense, so I asked Him: “Why does it matter?”
Now God got deadly serious. I felt a mortal chill. Looking me in the eye, He said: You remember the response I gave Moses when he kept at me to give him my name so he could identify me to the miasma of Jews gathered in the Sinai? I told him to tell them: “I am the I am.” I am a category of One, and I contain all categories, including the category of all non-things or “nothings.” I am both nothing and everything, at the same time. If you will, I am a complete contradiction, an impossibility. I am both a member of the category of “God” and a member of the category “non-God.” I am a member of myself, and I am not a member of myself.
“Uh?” was all I could say. I felt so finite and insignificant. God looked at me with love. It felt wonderful, like a feeling of total security and peace. “I don’t mean to be cute.” He said. “Just know I’m beyond categories, and therefore beyond logic. Logic, mathematics, and science are your greatest tools as humans, but they just can’t do the job of defining me. Only I can do that. Your tools can give you clues of what I have already done. One day, your tools will be put aside, and I will reveal still more to you, and to Bertrand as well. By the way, that question Bertrand asked me on arriving in heaven: ‘Why didn’t you provide me with more evidence?’ I answered it for him. “And me?” I asked. “Well, you’ll have to wait” He answered.
© 2012 FXP