The Unknown God

“The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 1o) can he interpreted mystically in such a way that the question of the knowledge of God becomes its focus. The priest and the Levite, who walk past the man who fell among robbers and was seriously hurt, are pious God-fearing persons. They “know” God and the law of God. They have God the same way that the one who knows has that which is known. They know what God wants them to be and do. They also know where God is to he found, in the scriptures and the cult of the temple. For them, God is mediated through the existing institutions. They have their God – one who is not to he found on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho.

What is wrong with this knowledge of God? The problem is not the knowledge of the Torah or the knowledge of the temple. (It is absurd to read an anti-Judaistic meaning into a story of the Jew Jesus, since it could just as well have come from Hillel or another Jewish teacher.) What is false is a knowledge of God that does not allow for any unknowing or any negative theology. Because both actors know that God is “this,” they do not see “that.” Hence the Good Samaritan is the anti-fundamentalist story par excellence.

“And so I ask God to rid me of God,” Meister Eckhart says. The God who is known and familiar is too small for him.”

Dorothee Sölle, The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance

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