Monday, October 25, 2021

Keep the Change

Let's zig over to Chapp's The God of Covenant and Creationwhich we were discussing the post before last. Specifically, we pretty much agreed that divine immutability must be understood analogically -- like anything else we say of God, otherwise we will be led astray. 

Which is equally true of any idea about anything. Concepts help us to understand the object in question, but they aren't the object itself. Rather, they are the intelligible part of the object. (There are more elegant and official ways of saying that, but you get the point.)  

In this regard, Thomistic common sense occupies a nuanced third position between a naive and precritical realism on the one hand, and a Kantian phenomenalism on the other. The latter is the basis for the widespread barbarism that "perception is reality," AKA the absolute relativism of my truth, my lived experience, and other pathologies of the left. As if the cosmos starts and stops at their convenience!   

Everything, no matter how intelligible, is always partly unintelligible, which is precisely why our knowledge of things proceeds more deeply in an asymptotic manner. At the top of the asymptote is God himself; or, God is the origin of the infinite asymptotic ray(s) emanating from Celestial Central. Grab any one of them and ride it back to the top! Or, stop arbitrarily and call it a deity.

Come to think of it, these nonlocal rays form the warp of the cosmic area rug, while the circles around the center are the weft. As we've explained before, this is why the cosmos is both continuous and discontinuous: the rays account for the continuity, the concentric  circles for the discontinuity. 

If not for the rays, we could never, under any circumstances, pull the cosmos together via its timeless and universal principles. Rather, we would necessarily be reduced to nihilism, permanently banished to wanderment in blunderville.

But let's refocus! In last Saturday's post we made a passing comment about the principle by which the Incarnation is possible. Chapp agrees with our longstanding stand that it must be located in nature of the Trinity itself:

the sovereignty of God manifests itself in self-abandonment rather than a holding on to a static and univocal nature.... This exteriorization within God forms the ontological ground of possibility for the analogous exteriorization of a finite world, as well as for the exteriorization of God that we refer to as the Incarnation (emphasis mine).

In other words, the principle of both Creation and Incarnation is God-the-Father's own "prior" "exteriorization" of the Son-Logos. Except there's no "prior," rather, only this immutably continuous (so to speak) engendering.

This is why it's so misleading to say God is immutable and leave it at that, for the Trinity provides a way to understand such diverse things as relativity, change, time, contingency, multiplicity, human freedom, etc. -- you know, all those otherwise impenetrable and annoying things into which we are plunged.

It's a big deal, for it not only means "there exists within God something for which our creaturely experience of spatiality and duration are analogies," but that "the becoming of creatures in their relations with worldly others is an image and likeness of the event-like quality of the Trinitarian relations."

Again, we're trying to shorten the posts, so let's call a lid on this one.

11 comments:

julie said...

Everything, no matter how intelligible, is always partly unintelligible, which is precisely why our knowledge of things proceeds more deeply in an asymptotic manner.

Tennyson:

"Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower--but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is."

A Japanese Dream said...

You can hear the three spinning
sounds talking
each time you hear.
I have been listening for about 5 years, but
I still hear new conversations.
Take them to a deserted island
or put them together in the grave when they die.

julie said...

I wonder if they have any idea how their comments sometimes come across as poetry?

Gagdad Bob said...

No, you're probably the second to realize it. At the moment I'm listening to In a Silent Way while reading Schuon's Transfiguration of man. The Japanese reviewer explains:

Miles,
which is said to be “a man walking on the shell of the egg,”
is a pleasure ♪
speedy drum and bass spree stretch and crisp without mute.
Although it is a strange and repeat of editing,
not complicated about Bitches Brew,
the name of the nimble jazz-rock than Jack Johnson!!
Why is the influence of Xavinur that makes the image of outer space?
In the album of Miles is this

Gagdad Bob said...

And now I'm switching over to Sly & the Family Stone while working out:

“combative and darkening” as the years go by.
Shine the world, a song that sounds like a hit continues,
at the root of it, I fully know the weakness of human beings
and still watch it with a wry smile,
“You too, you know, no ginger”
I feel that boundless kindness is transmitted strongly.
Sly is said to have lost sight of himself,
indulging in drugs from the conflict with the world,
but the innocence and straightness that firmly penetrate the core
has not changed from the time of debut,
without shaking a little, one by one

julie said...

It’s funny, even though they don’t quite make sense, reading these - or reading a lot of poetic imagery, for that matter - is pretty much the opposite of trying to decipher word salad. Even if it doesn’t quite translate, the author had a very definite point.

EbonyRaptor said...

I've never been able to appreciate free form jazz, and free form verse is not usually something I can sink my mind's eye into easily either. Neither is abstract art although I find it interesting to look for patterns of shape and colors which I guess is me trying to find some form in something supposedly formless. I don't need simple but I do need something that makes sense to me. I suppose that doesn't speak well of me on an intellectual level but there it is.

Drew P Wiener said...

After I got broke I got woke.
So I took a toke with a bloke
who spoke of jokes.

julie said...

@ EbonyRaptor, Why wouldn't that speak well? Everybody experiences the world in different ways. Paraphrasing the Man, it isn't what goes into your brain that matters, so much as what comes out of it.

Anyway, abstract art, much like freeform jazz or free form verse, are very broad categories. I went to art school; I know a lot of abstract art is pure crap or essentially mental gibberish, created by people who couldn't draw a decent picture to save their lives. But then there are some artists who work in the abstract and it's wonderful. Just so, some jazz really is just noise, and some verse really is just word salad.

Drew P Wiener said...

I’ve been telling Bob for years that being more like Chuck Close than Salvador Dali isn’t where the money is. Although Bob Ross did make a decent living teaching artistic "techniques" to achieve his own particular vision of slack.

The trick seems to involve selling what feels right to the target audience. If you’re into money that is. Yet, doesn’t one grow more through adversity and the demanding efforts required in the striving for competency? It’s a pickle, I must admit, though possibly a limp one at best.

I anticipate an episode where we learn how one can uses life’s trials to motivate oneself to strive for a better quality of slack. Philosophically speaking, of course. It may even involve getting the Holy Spirit involved.

EbonyRaptor said...

Thanks Julie for the kind words. I don't beat myself up over it and I'm comfortable in my own skin but I think it's more or less a case of me missing something that others appreciate and think perhaps there's a bit of a "casting pearls before swine" element ... with me playing the role of the porker. :)