Skip to comments.A New Foundation for Positive Cultural Change: Science and God in the Public Square
Posted on 10/28/2006 3:22:14 PM PDT by betty boop
click here to read article
Von Balthasar has also argued for "l'irréductible opposition entre Dieu et la créature." He follows some of the patristics on this point and concludes with them (and Socrates) that human reason is creaturely. This view develops into the teaching of divine incomprehensibility, commonly found in the eastern orthodox churches. There's a different strain running from Augustine to Pope Benedict XVI.
You'll notice right away that this irreducible opposition resembles the opposition of noumena/phenomena in Kant. Kant held that our knowledge stops short of knowing the thing in itself; we don't know the noumena. So our knowledge is on this side of a mystery. What to do? Kant turns reason into a law. He makes a move perfectly parallel to Aristotle. He had to, or he'd be like Socrates, forever not knowing how to act because he doesn't know the big picture. One can never makes sense of the relative without an absolute. But as Voegelin has said, Kant has lost the image of God in his reason. That is, the noumena is effaced.
How does reason remain true in light of mystery? It must be provisional, true in part.
This ties into our earlier discussion of analogy. Here is a profound analogy:
reason : Logos :: law : Spiritwhere reason and law is limited, but logos and Spirit is unlimited.
I confess I don't follow von Balthasar on all the arguments he makes. I think the first volume of his "The Glory of the Lord" is full of good ideas, but find the remaining volumes mostly less useful. Similarly, he has some excellent essays, including an amusing putdown of fashionable modern theologians, but also some somewhat dubious writings, such as the business of Adrienne von Speyr and his argument that Hell may be empty. Ingenious, but not really helpful, IMHO.
Still, I think he is very good when he's good, and he's excellent on the split between esthetics and religion that took place in the modern world, beginning perhaps at the Reformation.
My friend Debora Shuger has written a couple of good books on the denaturing of religion as seen in literature and art that took place after the Reformation, not only in Protestantism but to some degree in Catholicism. She focuses on the disappearance of analogies of human sexuality from religion, although there is an ancient tradition, going back to the Song of Songs, relating the two. And St. Paul makes the famous statement that husbands should love their wives as Christ loves the Church (anciently His Bride). Or to take another example which I don't remember if Shuger points out, pictures of the Blessed Mother nursing the Baby Jesus were common in the middle ages, but vanished in the Renaissance, as apparently something natural, human, and divinely created became embarrassing. Another ominous sign of change.
Augustine, in The Confessions, says that God is Other, and unreachable; but he also says that although we cannot reach God, He can reach us, He can break through, which I think is more orthodox than the Eastern tradition you speak of, or Luther's Deus Absconditus.
God is both transcendant and immanent, as I think Alamo Girl was suggesting in the argument over physics. He created the universe; from moment to moment He also sustains it.
I like your parallel.
Analogy. Anything we conceptualize is an analogy. Every word is a metaphor. An abstraction. Always less than the thing itself. This does not mean knowledge stops short of the thing itself; only that the reasoning mind is veiled from the direct experience.
I think therefore.. When I don't think, don't narrarate my experience, I am not. And when I am not, God is.
Oh, I do like that, cornelis! Profound, indeed! Thank you ever so much for the thought-provocative analogy, and for your outstanding essay/post!
Hmmmm... The Spiritual Dimension must be the base of all things..
I think so, hosepipe!
So very true, hosepipe. Thank you for all of your engaging posts!
That was Ivan Karamazov, in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. He was a nihilist.
Just came across this "golden oldie" again, after a very long time. IMHO, the Nancy Pearcey article is still 100% on the money after eleven years.... I'm glad I had a chance to revisit it again.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.