Day by Day 63

Introducing: a simple concept that helps when conversations get annoying

This is a continuation of Day by Day 62. In it, I mentioned two levels of truth. This is what I meant.

I. The Basic Level of Human Perception

As creatures, the basic level of truth is human perception. Every human is able to see and describe truths that can be perceived.

Humans fell. And although they might be able to occasionally agree on what is true according to perception, perceptions are frequently warped and distorted.

Before the Fall, humans were able to perceive the same truths. This is no longer the case. All that is left is the possibility for two humans to perceive the same truth. This proves that, although the Fall warped human perception, it did not destroy it. If that were true, then no unbeliever would be able to discuss truth on the basic level of human perception. Obviously they are, Socrates and Wittgenstein.

Human perception is unreliable but can still be used, like your old computer.

II. The Higher Level of Divine Perception

The higher level of truth is Divine perception.

Divine perception is what the Triune God perceives.

The Triune God, because of the incarnation of Christ, has both human perception and Divine perception.

This higher level of truth is absolutely perfect in every way. It is the Divinity poked at by unbelievers for so long. Buddha, Plato, Socrates, Hume, Wittgenstein, and many other philosophers acknowledged and desired to have this perspective completely.

And many of them rightly determined that this perspective for the creature is equal to a death of some kind.

Bring on the hemlock!

Yet, this perspective is unattainable without a Christ-driven intellect.

So, the unbeliever is left with a mystery, but not without qualifications.

III. “Yes, but!” Well, yes, but no

The Divine perception is frequently used as a qualification for the human perception. In a conversation, for example, someone may say that something is true (according to human perception), when another will try to qualify it by saying that it is not always true (according to Divine perception).

IV. A Silly and Short Abstract Example

Imagine, in the coffeeshop…

“There are three basic realms of interest; truth, beauty, and goodness.” She says, pleased that she can finally share what she does not understand.

“No, no,” he strokes his beard, “That is not true at all. They are all the same thing.”

“What do you mean?” She giggles.

He throws hot coffee in her face. “You fool!”

V. The Youth and the Beard

Both of these people are discussing true things, but on the two separate levels.

The girl is interested in the basic level of truth, while the beard is interested in the higher level of truth.

Truth, according to human perception, is quantifiable, categorized, and understandable.

Truth, according to Divine perception, is qualifiable for human perception, universal, and mystical.

This is true only for the self-driven intellect and others-driven intellect.

Philosophy without Christ cannot reconcile the two. It cannot recognize that both human perception and Divine perception are true but contrasting.

It cannot recognize paradox, where the truth is not only not found in either extreme, but also not in a balance. It is found in an entirely different perspective – one that goes in both extremes simultaneously. The balance is an estimation of this.

For the unbeliever, human perception negates the existence of Divine perception. He is left with his categories and stale, insurmountable thinking.

For the unbeliever, Divine perception negates the existence of human perception. He is left with mysticism.

In the end, both are left proud and uncertain.

And secretly, the one who denies Divine perception makes room for a nameless mystery anyway…

VI. You May Be in Mystery and Still Do Surgery

For the believer in a conversation, both levels are recognized and used simultaneously. They are able to quantify truth, but not so much as they are able to qualify it. Truth, beauty, and goodness are indeed separate, but they are inseparable in the Triune God.

This is paradox. And it is necessary to see and speak anything rightly.

The believer recognizes the validity of human perception – however distorted – and Divine perception. He understands that he may use categories how he wishes, because we live in a world of human perception. And likewise, he may release his mind of categories, because everything is connected and perfect in God.

He does not feel pressured to use one perception over the other. The believer has the perception of God within his own.

He may separate them for a time in order to study a basic truth, even though the perceptions are never actually separated in his mind.

VII. The Truth That Balance Estimates

Consider the job of a scientist.

He studies truth on the basic level. He is trying to find truth according to what he might perceive.

If he was looking for a basic truth, it would not do him well to solely use the Divine perception.

He may use that perception, however, because it provides insight for both levels.

He may take the human perception solely into the lab, trusting that a Divine perception is possible and influences his human perception.

This is why a believer can be comfortable never bringing up the Divine perception in a conversation, because he trusts the Divine perception of truth. He may freely use his human perception in a conversation with an unbeliever, securely founded in a Divine perception.

The youth and the beard do not need to disagree.

VIII. Freedom in Conversation

If you want, you may call the basic level of truth “particulars” and the higher level of truth “universals”.

A Christ-driven intellect frees a human from having to consistently quantify or qualify things.

He is free to think.

He is free to have a conversation.


  • Your links on Facebook don’t work.

    In response to your post: But, but, but Caleb! If we stop quantifying and qualifying things… WE WON’T BE MODERNISTS ANYMORE OH NOOOOOOOOOOO–yeah, hm. I’m over it.

    This is basically a huge part of what I have concluded over the past year. I phrase it differently, though. The way I see/say it is that you can’t underestimate the power of the divine to interact with reality. I feel your framework here (as presented) still rests too heavily on the individual, as opposed to the balance and unity found in, well, a union between the natural minds and the spiritual mind.


    • Hey, thanks for telling me about the facebook problem.

      Mike, could you explain a bit more what you mean? I am looking for a principle that helps two people in a conversation talk to each other, not at each other. Not because they are both blind to the other way of seeing things, but they know they can go and see it that way whenever they feel like it.

      Maybe I could be accused of “dualism” (God forbid!). Lots of people would like to be able to speak on both levels at the same time all the time with everyone understanding.
      But that isn’t possible here.
      And because it isn’t possible here, the distinction between this life and the afterlife is proof of a forced dualism.
      Does that make sense? Is it too abstract? We are basically forced into choosing one level or the other to talk on.
      And when we cut it like that, we are simply approximating the truth that, yes, you can talk on both levels at the same time, but only if the other person can too.

      What do you mean it is too much based on the individual? How can we tap into God’s perspective using words in a conversation about, say, soup?


      • Sure. That all makes sense.

        I wasn’t critiquing your thoughts so much as how you presented them. Meaning, I totally think you everything you said about individuals was correct; I would just wish you focused in on more than individuals. What is, after all, wrong with soup? But, with the ultimate goal of your post being about communication, then, I suppose the point is moot. Ironically, that point didn’t come through as strong for me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.