Mystery cannot be a term used to hide meaning. What is mysterious is mysterious, it is opaque not revelatory. So, the admittance of mystery is no consolation but a disconsolation. I am content, and only know content. To approach or come into contact with the content-less is terrifying. Less terrifying is contact with contradiction. Contact with the impossible is not terrifying, because it is not. There is nothing to be terrified about. Contact with the mysterious is to be conscious both of that which is, and that which is unknown. To exposit such would be more than is necessary.
Consider the child in bed at night devoid of sight, consider the hiker lost and without direction, consider the dying but of what and for how long is not known.
Aquinas if famous for his inferences from the known to the unknown. From the mundane like “efficient causes”, “motion” (change), fact of “contingency”, reality of hierarchy, or fact of order and regularity Aquinas moves, in a few short steps, to something else, namely the divine.
The “from whence” is all good and in order. Yes, I say, there is change (A green leaf turns brown)! There are things which support other things in existence (like oxygen for human life)! There are contingent things (finite and coming into and going out of being)! Hierarchy, yes (we have verified this at home in our fishtank. The fish that swims in circles continually at the surface is not as good of a fish as the one who swims strategically down below! And by golly there is a difference in my tomato plants. There is better and worse!)! Order, absolutely (the seasons, the stars, the acorn that always becomes oak, the humans that always produce humans, order!)!
The “end point” I am not clear on though. Please attend:
That there is change can be explained by an initial changeless or by an infinite change. Do please tell me about the changeless. “God”. No we were using “changeless” to characterize God. We cannot use God to characterize changeless. Do speak of changeless…waiting.
That there are some things that support others can be explained by a supporter that needs no support or by an infinite series of support. Given that everything encountered needs support. From whence do we postulate the self-supporter? Can we understand it? No we cannot. We can say the words, but to understand and to say are different. The latter I can do. The former not.
That there are contingent things can either be brought about by a necessary thing (there is meaning trouble there. What conception do I have of a necessary thing? Any?) or by an infinity of other contingent things. We can raise questions about where we get the content of conceptions? Lets assume being is not a kind. We are already in trouble. But, set it aside. Do you have any way, other than the wandering and gesticulating of your finite and incomplete (read limited) mind to think that here is any thing that is necessary? …Waiting.
That there is hierarchy within kinds either culminates in a most superior trans-kind or culminates in a plurality of kinds without hierarchy. But what reason, oh theist do you have to prefer the trans-kind supremely valuable? Given that it is trans-kind, what is it? There is good reason that rank must be according to kind, but if you say that God shares a kind with everything else, isn’t God within a class? And if you say existence is class, we will have other words. I say, we keep talk of rank and hierarchy to kinds, and that kind implies limitation and determination. And it cannot include what is not those things.
That there is order either requires an orderer or an order intrinsic to the things ordered. By what reason, oh theist, do you rank orderer that is not itself ordered by anything more reasonable than intrsinsic order? It seems you need the notion of intrinsic order for your God, but if you can take advantage of the notion of intrinsically ordered there, may I not posit it here?
It is interesting what the skeptical works of the likes of Hume and Kierkegaard or the questions about meaning asked by Socrates can do to he who undergoes them. They have a way of reducing talk or saying to a minimum. But maybe this is a good. Too often saying and thinking (in the loose sense of gesturing and opining) have a way of trying to be in place of being. To tear down the facade of the chimerical fantastical utopia of saying is to leave the individual with nothing but being. And in being is everything.
Saying is a kind of doing, but the cheapest and easiest to misuse. It should be that which communicates being and doing, but it should never become the doing itself. Do! Silently! And you will speak volumes. Let the talkers talk.
Investment metaphors are never far from my mind: let the talker invest in talking. Let the doer invest in doing. Take almost anything and you will find that the doing is far superior to the talking. Doing virtue is better than talking virtue. The latter may get more attention immediately. It is louder. But the former will pay dividends in the long run that far outpace the talkers.
To approach the dine is to approach mystery. But the best we can find of that which approaches divinity in our limited and incomplete human reality is righteousness, purity, virtue. To my mind I can do no better than to let those concepts fill my concept of God. What better are there? I will worship (by doing…in my better moments) righteousness, purity, virtue.
It is interesting that the sage Jesus says, “The pure in heart will see God”. Oh the correlation between evidence for the divine and moral status. Such a relationship leaves the “proofs” in the dust. Blah, blah, blah.