The interplay between the experience of excessive phenomena and the power of distance is important. We naturally elevate presencing over distance””it’s better to know something, to gaze upon it and see it for what it is, than to be struck by the infinite distance that exists between us and particular phenomena. Western culture’s suspicion of universal claims of logic and reason has all at once created a concern for a subjective experience. We want something that strikes us personally, and I think Christianity affirms this in many ways.
The excessive phenomena, which philosopher Jean-Luc Marion calls “over-saturated phenomena”, are those things which overflow our intuition, and in their overflowing, we encounter a distance that can’t be traversed. By their nature, these phenomena demand an experience, and thus demand an openness to them. Distance is an important part of this over-saturation because it protects the divine; in a way, it does the exact opposite of what most apologetics do. Rather than formulating systems to make sense of the divine, these phenomena present to us an experience of God, while all at once protecting divine mystery. So despite the intense excessiveness of the experience, it also creates an infinite gap, which allows us to succumb to the experience, rather than ascend a ladder and intellectually confine it….So does this mean that apologetics have no place in Christianity? Absolutely not….