“children recognise from certain little cues that are usually given at the beginning of a story that the supernatural world is transcendental. Not transcendent, but transcendental; not above, but presupposed; not data, but programming; not given in the world of everyday experience, but supplying the standards and patterns that are to be applied to the data of experience. Supernatural stories do not give information, they program the mind.
after Plotinus, God came to be thought of as infinite and having infinite attributes. For God’s infinite attributes must nihilate by comparison everything that is merely finite and creaturely; and when, in the tradition of Western theology founded by Augustine, every thing and every event has come to be thought of as utterly dependent upon the decree of an infinite and inscrutable sovereign will, the result is a positivism so extreme as to verge on nihilism (Gillespie 1995). The world is reduced to disconnected bits, each of which is as it is because God willed it so, and that is that. Human beings cannot fully expect to understand anything, ever, except by a graciously granted supernatural illumination of the mind. The concern for secular knowledge is unprofitable, vanity, curiosity – in a word, sin. “