Reading philosophy tends to make this student reflective with more questions than answers. This was certainly the case this week while reading Hicks’ Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. Stephen R.C. Hicks is professor of philosophy at Rockford University, where he is also Executive Director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship. Diving the depths of Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, Rousseau and others left me with a continuing thought, “Humans have God given limitations and this is truly a gift.”
With all our progressive knowledge and ingenuity, we must continually admit there are limits to our understanding. Objectivity versus subjectivity, reason versus metaphysics, skepticism versus faith, the seen versus the unseen worlds. These various opposing dynamics continually lead us to dualism, either/or dispositions and extremism. It seems God hedges humanity in so that we are protected from ourselves, somewhat. When the pendulum swings too far, thoughtful people begin asking questions that force us to consider another way, different possibilities. This pulls us back from the ledge of extreme. I see the goodness of God in it all and a somewhat ironic sense of humor. I wonder if God smiles when the most brilliant of minds exposes our true limits. Could it possibly be the way to whet our appetite to continue mining the depths of Divinity’s omniscience, to make obvious again that God is God and we are not? Yet, as his crowning creation he makes room for us to exhaustively probe, progress, experiment, prove, grow, and wonder giving us opportunity to discover the end of ourselves.
In Hegel’s attempt to connect philosophy to the Judeo-Christian concept of creation. He connected Being and Nothing. Heidegger reasserts his claims by stating, “Every being, so far as it is a being, is made out of nothing.” This describes the limits of man and the limitless nature of God. Hegel states,
As yet, there is nothing and there is to become something. The beginning is not pure nothing, but a nothing from which something is to proceed; therefore being, too, is already contained in the beginning. The beginning, therefore, contains both, being and nothing, is the unity of being and nothing; or is non-being which is at the same time being, and being which is at the same time non-being.
This week I have lost track of time and normal activities as I have faced aging and mortality through my 93 year old mother. Watching as her heart stops for seconds, even up to two minutes at a time, seeing life slip from her body, observing her ashen complexion and thinking she’s gone only for her to gasp and regain awareness. These days have been filled with philosophical pondering about meaning in life, being and becoming, and even nothingness. My neatly described theologies, narratives of who God is and who we are, human knowledge and wisdom, are all laid bare before the Creator. We are suddenly faced with the deepest understanding of our limitations in these moments and it is a gift as we rest in the One who determines our days. In Psalms we are taught to pray, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” The book of wisdom exhorts us to search for knowledge, wisdom, understanding, discernment and discretion as if they are fine treasure. We are told to wear them around our neck as adornment as they will guard and keep us. The all-knowing, all-wise God encourages to search for meaning and probe the questions of life. Paul addressing the philosophers of his day made this statement, “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” That we are, made in his image, given the gift of limits so we will look to him for life and in death, more life.
 Stephen R.C. Hicks, Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (China: Ockham’s Razor Publishing, 2011), Kindle Loc. 1631.
 Ibid., Kindle Loc. 1322.
 Psalm 90:12 NIV
 Acts 17:27-28 NIV