And I think we may see that the Supra-rational philosophy can offer not merely a general but also a particular vindication of the assertion of affinity between God and 'good' - that is, that it not only gives its assent to the general principle of unmediated judgments, within a prescribed range, but also confirms this unmediated judgment in particular. This will become evident if we recall certain features of the Supra-rationalist interpretation of experience. For this philosophy, the ideal which animates the life-process of mind is the ideal of a self-sufficing or self-explanatory union of differences. Nothing short of this, no unity of differences in which the unity is still partially external to the differences, will afford rest or final satisfaction for the mind. And this means that nothing short of such a unity can accredit itself as 'reality.' But, we saw, the inner nature of the process whereby mind endeavours to attain to a true union of differents - the pursuit of 'grounds' ever more and more comprehensive - is such that mind is in principle incapacitated from attaining the type of unity which it craves. The ideal in so far as concretised in actual experience, the ideal in the form in which it is directly operative in guiding what we call 'advances' in our search for reality, reveals itself to criticism as but the shadow of the ideal in whose attainment mind can alone rest as the real. We found it imperative, therefore, to make a sharp distinction between the 'noumenal' and the 'phenomenal ideal,' or between the ideal in its purity and the ideal in its spatio-temporal expression. But - and this is vital for our present argument - the phenomenal ideal is the spatio-temporal expression of the noumenal ideal. It is the yearning after utter harmony which incites us to pursue the inadequate 'copy.' We aim at the ideal unity, and spontaneously, by the very nature of our being, we take the path of the phenomenal ideal. It is no matter of inference, on the basis of a conceived identity (which might be subject to correction), but an intuitive acceptance which we cannot help if we are to think or act at all.
1 This, as I understand it, is Kant's manner of establishing the philosophical vindication of the categorical imperative of the 'pure law' in Section C of the Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Ethics.
Herein, I think, lies the philosophical vindication of the affinity that is assumed between God and Good, between supra-rational harmony and humanly conceived harmony.
The true answer to the question, 'How can man believe that his phenomenal ideal prescribes his proper path to the nou-menal ideal?' is that he can believe it because he cannot help believing it. He can do no other. If he thinks or acts at all, this is the necessary condition of his thinking or acting. The phenomenal ideal we are forced to construe as the veritable incarnation of the Absolute, the 'Word made flesh,' the true medium of union between finite beings and the Infinite Perfection of Divinity.
But in concluding this section of the argument, I wish to caution the reader against a possible misinterpretation of my view. I do not believe that philosophy can, in the full sense, 'prove God.' What philosophy can do is to prove the reality of a Being which, with respect to its formal character, answers to the God of religious experience. Philosophy can thereby rebut the charges made by philosophy, which concern (in the main) the possibility of the reality of a Being whose formal character is thus. But this is not God that philosophy is proving. God is something more than an 'Inevitable Inference.' 1 The religious man would scoff, and rightly so, at the philosopher who believed that because he could demonstrate that Reality as a whole is a supra-rational harmony, or what not, he thereby 'knew God.' The form has a filling. But the filling is not for philosophy. If at all, it must be for direct experience. And with this we pass beyond the province of philosophy.
Let me pause here in order to recapitulate, in a very few words, the main stages in the advance of the argument to the present point. I began, then, by asking your recognition (provisional, if need be) of two features as fundamental in any genuine religious experience - serenity of soul and moral fervour. These two features, I allowed, contradict one another upon a prima facie interpretation of their objective implications. And the most plausible attempt at reconciliation of them, by way of the conception of the Finite God, I found it necessary to rule out as incapable ultimately of doing justice to the former of these features. The only solution, I then urged, lies in the frank acceptance of the supra-rational character of God's Perfection. And I sought to show how, from this point of view, the religious man may reply to the accusation of internal contradiction. The problem then arose as to whether philosophy can justify the world-view which this solution implies. I argued that on Bradley's principles it can, and that the Absolute of Bradley may legitimately claim to be the philosophic counterpart of the God of Religion. After a brief treatment of Bradley's own attitude to the alleged contradiction in religious experience, I went on to draw attention to the relation which exists for religion between the two features in question - a relation from which our previous account had abstracted. And I endeavoured to show that on this head the Supra-rational philosophy which derives from Bradley has not only nothing to condemn, but is in fact able to offer all the support which it is within the power of philosophy to offer to religious experience.
1 Cf. James, Varieties of Religious Experience (1928 ed.), p. 502, note (2).