Monday, December 12, 2011

Supernatural Existential

The “supernatural existential” is the central feature of Karl Rahner’s theology. Often misunderstood, this has less to do with our need for a divine relationship, and more to do with our capacity to receive it.  I find Karl Rahner’s idea that the very metaphysical makeup of humans contains aspects of the divine which intersect into the sphere of being human extraordinarily convincing…indeed inspiring! I think that whether every human person realizes it or not, we are always searching for something outside ourselves, something bigger. I encounter this “tendency to meaning” regularly as a spiritual director. Humans strive to make meaning out of just about anything. We are constantly striving to fill up this space in ourselves that always seems to need satisfying; I imagine this is the capacity in us for the supernatural existential. Those people who have no language for this, or whose parents didn’t model for them what values to adopt in their lives, sometimes fill up this space with things of a superficial or harmful nature. Often people who have encountered much suffering in their lives will outright deny the existence of a supernatural other. Though interestingly, even those who outright deny the existence of a higher power, still seek to prove that fact with such vigor that they almost end up turning their unbelief into a sort of god. A Rabbinic poet once said: “The God of my unbelief is magnificent!” So in a sense then, whether a person is a theist or an atheist, both serve as proof to us of the fact that within human beings there exists a capacity for the supernatural existential. This fact, serves as yet another example of God being a God of relationship, constantly extending us the invitation to either respond to God’s love and luring us toward relationship or to ignore it. However, it is almost written onto our very DNA to tend toward the former because our nature will never be completely satisfied and we will forever seek after some unnamable meaning until we link back up with that from which we came. It makes one wonder if this violates free will or not. Hmmm…another blog… J

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