The mystery of God’s existence is so deep and unexplainable. Even man in the search of truth could not fathom the reason why God does the thing in a particular circumstance. Only God knows what should be and what should not be. When man gives argument through reason, still he could not contain God in his limited and finite knowledge. The movie dogma has something to bring to the avid viewers. It is not only about religion; it has something to do also with the understanding of man about the existence and the nature of God. In order to make it clear, I would like to explain three substantial points to support the things to be taken seriously in the movie. First, it has to focus on the battle between the entity of God as omniscience and the free will of man. If God is all-knowing and he knows what my decision is going to be, where is my free will? God has a vision that is broadly open and can see everything in entirety. He can see all things. I could not hide the stupid things I did for He knows the reason of my actions. He sees me in my decision making. By the mere fact that God knows everything about me, eventually everything comes into existence by that very fact. God’s wisdom precedes the existence of a thing or even an entity. When final judgment comes and when my decisions are becoming final, God will judge me according to what I did when I’m still alive. Man has free will since God does not intervene in their decisions. Since God is omniscience and his knowledge is supreme, man could not change His decisions. Therefore, man’s free will is limited because God intrudes in the identity and decisions of man. If a man has limited free will, it is not anymore free will but its essence stands only on the will that is controlled and monitored by the Supreme Being.
Second, God is perceived in diverse view. When Bethany called up her mother regarding the problem she has; the only reply she received was “God has a plan.” Bethany felt angry and disappointed for the advice of her mother. With this statement, Bethany questions that if God has a plan what about her plans? In other words, the mother of Bethany describes the cause in the way that she describes the effect. Since God knows everything, he was often placed in the idea that he plans for the good. But Bethany complains the other way around. Therefore, He was not a perfect God. God has his own plan because He is the cause of the destiny for man. But it is not only the case that causes literally resembles their effects. When her mother vividly uttered the plan of God for Bethany. How sure she was in saying this? Is the plan of God the same with that of Bethany? Of course not! As for that, the positive view about God can be grounded in the fact if God plans; he has presumably caused the decision to be right. When we form positive statements about God, we must somehow mean what we say. We must mean that God is what we assert him to be. But do we really mean what we are saying or we just based it according to our own understanding? The word plan can be applied to two things without meaning the same thing at all. God has a plan. There is an enormous difference between God and Bethany, the same term as plan cannot be applied to God and to creatures univocally. God has a plan! Her mother said. This word for God is not confined to the meaning of the word but goes beyond it. Hence, it is clear that the word plan is not used in the same sense of God and human beings, and the same is true of all other words, so they cannot be used univocally of God and human. The mother of Bethany may not know God’s plan, but she still insisted about God’s nature through His plan. She was saying it without being clear as to what exactly she was saying. In order to speak meaningfully about God, it is not necessary that one should understand exactly the significance of one’s statement about Him. God is incomprehensible. But it does not impede us to use words significantly and ask for more questions.
Lastly, the movie depicted the faith of the people, especially with that of Bethany. There were times that she wanted to abandon God because of His reverse plan. This reality brings regrets and frustrations about the nature of God. Sometimes, we could say, does God care for us? If he does, how? If he does not why? Our faith is so confusing because God confuses us. We could no longer determine if He is real or not in our experience. Faith becomes a true faith if God is present in the life of the person. But faith can become false belief also even if God is in our midst. How can we determine if God resides in the faith we believe? How does He manifest Himself? Faith is sometimes defined through reason and at times reason becomes confusing. Who knows, what we believe is not a true doxa but a belief out of human wishful thinking. Only god knows everything, man has only limited knowledge and understanding about God. Dogma calls us to examine our own lives and the things we believe. God wants us to follow Him, not because the pope or the bishop has told us to. The church does not define who we are in our relationship to God.
By: Reynard Tubid