David Bentley Hart on Knowing God

‘As the source, ground and end of being and consciousness, God can be known as God only insofar as the mind rises from beings to being, and withdraws from the objects of consciousness toward the wellspring of consciousness itself, and learns to see nature not as a closed system of material forces but in light of those ultimate ends that open the mind and being each to the other. All the great faiths recognize numerous vehicles of grace, various proper dispositions of the soul before God, differing degrees of spiritual advancement, and so forth; but clearly teach that there is no approach to the knowledge of God that does not involve turning the mind and will toward the perception of God in all things and all things in God. This is the path of prayer –  contemplative prayer, that is, as distinct from somple prayers of supplication and thanksgiving – which is a specific discipline of though, desire and action, one that frees the mind from habitual prejudices and appetites, and allows it to dwell in the gratuity and glory of all things. As an old monk on Mount Athos told me, contemplative prayer is the art of seeing reality as it truly is; and, if one has not yet acquired the ability to see God in all things, one should not imagine that one will be able to see God in himself.’ (David Bently Hart, ‘The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss’, p. 321)

3 thoughts on “David Bentley Hart on Knowing God

  1. guymax December 9, 2013 / 9:53 am

    It seems to me that the first sentence should read ‘rising from beings to being’, (thus withdrawing from the objects of consciousness). I can’t make sense of rising from being to beings, since it would seem to be the opposite of rising. Maybe I’m misreading his intention.


  2. guymax December 10, 2013 / 7:19 am

    Lol. Typos are a killer. I have bad memories of some real howlers.


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