If God is inherently self-sacrificial toward a redemptive end for everyone (even God’s enemies), then that is where we should expect to find God: in redemptive self-sacrifice as we participate in it. The writer of 1 John states: “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love” (4:8). A corresponding, more suitable translation is: “Whoever does not self-sacrifice (for redemptive purposes) does not know God, for God is self-sacrifice.” Accordingly, one’s coming to know God in discerning God’s will is not a spectator sport or an armchair pastime. Instead, it requires one’s joining in what is inherent to God’s moral character: redemptive self-sacrifice. Such knowing and discerning may be foreign to certain modern conceptions of relatively disengaged knowledge, but they fit with the expectations of the intensely redemptive God, the Father of Jesus Christ. — Paul K. Moser, Doing and Teaching Christian Philosophy: Reply to McFall, page 9, from the Christ-Shaped Philosophy Project at the Evangelical Philosophical Society.
Christian philosophers often overlook the crucial importance of a nondiscursive manifestational witness to God’s powerful redemptive work, as they overemphasize the role of discursive, intellectual reasons. This deficiency may be the residue of a dubious kind of epistemic coherentism that lacks the needed resources of a modest experiential foundationalism. Alternatively, it may stem from a debilitating confusion of the conditions for one’s either having or manifesting evidence and the conditions for one’s giving an argument. We do well, however, not to confuse evidence and an argument. If all evidence is an argument, we face a devastating epistemic regress problem.
One’s foundational reasons or evidence need not be discursive or assertive, but can be nonpropositional character traits supplied by God’s Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, and so on (see Gal. 5:22–23). Accordingly, John’s Gospel portrays Jesus as announcing that his disciples will be known by their agapē for others (Jn. 13:35). Jesus did not mention, allude to, or use any philosophical arguments in this connection, or in any other connection, for that matter. The same is true of his followers who are represented in the New Testament, although some of them were perfectly capable intellectually of wielding philosophical arguments. This noteworthy fact, moreover, does not qualify as a deficiency in their actual reasons, evidence, or mode of engagement.Talk is cheap, especially regarding God, and therefore many inquirers will wonder whether a confession has support from a corresponding nondiscursive witness, which can have power and cogency irreducible to statements and arguments. — Paul K. Moser, Doing and Teaching Christian Philosophy: Reply to McFall, pages 6-7, from the Christ-Shaped Philosophy Project at the Evangelical Philosophical Society.
[Martin] Luther’s interpretation [of the Sermon on the Mount] means that the Christian has to live in constant tension with the world. More so than Augustine, Luther emphasized the aggressive nature of the world in which the Christian must live. Luther knew that the way of life dictated by the Sermon always seems absurd to human reason. Its teachings contradict and overturn the normal, rational conduct of the world. When the text says, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ human reason balks and rebels. As Luther writes, ‘Thus, all these statements are aimed and directed again the world’s way of thinking…’ — Susan E. Schreiner, The Sermon on the Mount Through the Centuries: From the Early Church to John Paul II, Chapter 6 Martin Luther, page, 117.
Love that is not willing to suffer is not worthy of that name — St. Clare of Assisi (via mercypoured)
Salient evidence of God in Gethsemane includes, as we yield, evidence of God’s deep deliverance of us from temptation to disobey. This evidence emerges in Paul’s epistemologically important remark: “Hope [in God] does not disappoint us, because God’s agape has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5). (This is one of the epistemologically most important statements in the New Testament and in all of religious literature, but its importance is widely neglected. The Evidence for God tries to correct for this, as does my book The Severity of God.) Paul would endorse a similar view about the foundation of faith in God. He has in mind the agape of God as the humanly experienced compassionate and merciful supernatural will, exemplified in Jesus, to bring lasting good life to receptive humans, including enemies of God. Such agape, according to Paul, is the salient evidential antidote to epistemic disappointment in God. Gethsemane is the challenge for humans to appropriate divine agape as actually life-forming in reverent companionship with God as Lord, in contrast with selfishness, pride, despair, and lack of forgiveness. This agape is reportedly experienced widely by humans, and it offers a distinctive experiential foundation for knowledge of God. — Paul K. Moser, Gethsemane Epistemology, Philosophia Christi, Vol. 14, No. 2, Page 272.
Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. — Daniel 10:12 ESV
Before a God worthy of worship, our epistemology must be inherently volitional and not merely intellectual: an epistemology of Gethsemane. — Paul K. Moser, Gethsemane Epistemology, Philosophia Christi, Vol. 14, No. 2, Page 269.
Gethsemane is where humans should allow God’s moral power to be apprehended for what it is: divine rather than human. Humans then properly receive God’s power, and thereby welcome and even become salient evidence of God’s moral character and reality, aside from the speculations of philosophers and natural theologians. Humans thus can participate in God’s unique moral character and even become personified evidence of God. —
Paul K. Moser, Gethsemane Epistemology, Philosophia Christi, Vol. 14, No. 2, Page 267.
Moser’s brilliant paper makes a convincing case that calls for evidence of God can never be divorced from the particular context of the individual demanding the evidence. We experience the power of God on his terms and then become personified evidence for him.
Don’t let me ever think, dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story—just like the typewriter was mine.
Inheritance and Invention: Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal : The New Yorker