God As Aspirations

November 9, 2007

In the Archery Analogy, God is seen as a target at which we aim. As in archery, where we aim high to adjust for gravity, so too with moral development: we create an imaginary spot, above our actual target, and aim there even though we know we won't actually reach it.

That's an intriguing and useful analogy. I noticed the author's comment on Fish's editorial in the Times due to his mention of the Baha'i Faith as descended from the Abrahamic tradition and concept of God. So few notice that it too is an Abrahamic Faith =).

And yet, as noted in the previous post, the conception of God is not static in the Abrahamic faiths. As a Bahá'í, I see God as an emergent existence completely beyond my ken:

"To every discerning and illuminated heart it is evident that God, the unknowable Essence, the Divine Being, is immensely exalted beyond every human attribute, such as corporeal existence, ascent and descent, egress and regress. ... He is, and hath ever been, veiled in the ancient eternity of His Essence, and will remain in His Reality everlastingly hidden from the sight of men." (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p46-47)

And yet Bahá'u'lláh and His Son 'Abdu'l-Bahá frequently use human-oriented attributes in addressing God in their prayers and writings. They refer to God with terms such as the "All-Merciful," the "Omnipotent", the "All-wise", the "Beneficent," and so forth. Your analogy perfectly captures the sense I get from these attributes — that, rather than directly describing God, they describe that toward which we must strive. That is, assuming one believes that we humans should bother striving toward anything at all. Virtue.