In this online paper Mary-Jane Rubenstein considers Karmen MacKendrick’s Divine Enticement.
This is as good a place as any for me to take up a number of related threads: the nature of our times, the relationship of God to Nature, and contemporary theology. MacKendrick’s writing is an occasion for Rubenstein not only to consider these threads, but in so doing, to probe her own thought. And the same goes for me.
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here. I’ll jump to the chase with the final paragraph of Rubenstein’s paper:
So what is it about this high-octane immanence, I wonder, that doesn’t quite suit the endlessness of divine seduction? What is lost when Cusan cosmology goes Brunian? And is it lost? Right in the middle of her most recent book, MacKendrick writes, ‘‘I want to suggest that what rightly astonishes us is the peculiar object of faith, the mystery — what is of the world and yet not exhausted by it, the more of what is’’ (p. 117, emphasis added). To be sure, if what is is finite, then an infinite God cannot be exhausted by it. If, however, the world itself is infinite, then one could argue that ‘‘what is’’ is ‘‘the more of what is.’’ What, then, would be at stake in calling or not calling this intracosmic ‘‘more’’ by the name of God? To what extent does God need to be thought of as ‘‘beyond’’ or ‘‘other than’’ a universe that is already non-identical and self-exceeding? Could we call that non-identical selfexceeding itself by the name of God? And would such a call constitute panentheism, pantheism, or something else entirely?
Fair warning from me to you, dear readers: I spent some years as a Christian, but am no longer a Christian. I am however a believer in God, though not of a fundamentalist sort.
On the face of it, Rubenstein is arguing for something perhaps like pantheism or panentheism on the grounds that “what is” is, itself and sufficiently, “the more of what is.” This thought entices Rubenstein in spite of the fact that the infinity of “is” required to support this is only “if.”