Saturday, February 24, 2024

A Science of the Inexact, So to Speak

I think we're done thinking about God from our side of the divide. Let's flip the universe and check out what God has to say about himself. Then we can harmonize the two and come up with a single mega-metaphysic that covers everything from the universe on up, to God on down, and everybuddhi in between. 

I visualize it like a mountain, with O at the top: O . The upward pointing arrow to the left is natural theology, the downward pointing one to the right revelation. 

However, once received, the right arrow can circle back to the left and fill out lacunae and aporia that necessarily exist on that side: again, () can say that God is, but there are limits on what it can say about who he is. 

The right-to-left movement can correct any false conclusions of the left, but there is a mutual influence, because the left can correct certain incorrect interpretations of the right, at least where there is ambiguity. As always, Truth is the controlling principle.

I've said on a number of occasions that the very first thing revealed to us of God is that he is the Creator, which is a rather large hint, and turns out to be full of implications. 

I thought I was the only one who felt this way until stumbling upon a book called Creator: A Theological Interpretation of Genesis 1, which we will be playgiarising with this morning and until further gnosis. 

Leithart comes to a number of unorthodox conclusions, but for me they are perfectly orthoparadoxical. I don't know enough about Presbyterianism to know why he is one, but Calvin? I find him intellectually and morally offensive in the extreme, but I'm not here to judge, let alone condemn. That's Dupree's department.

His writing is at times pedantic and rambling, without the concision and organization of a Thomas. Nevertheless, I find his criticism of certain Thomistic conclusions to be entirely coongenial. 

For as I've said on a number of occasions, it seems to me -- for what it's worth, since I am not a Trained Theologian -- Thomas smuggles in certain Greek assumptions of deity that are insufficiently baptized, let alone bobtized. This is precisely what I mean above about the right arrow of revelation () having to fill out and correct the left arrow of metaphysics and natural theology ().

If that's not clear, it will be as we proceed. I'm not a sola scriptura guy, but nor am I not one. Rather, "sola O" with two avenues of approach that we aim to reconcile. 

This approach is also distinct from Schuon, who, as it were, posits the same mountain but with with different authentic religions constituting distinct but equally valid paths meeting at the top: "the transcendent unity of religions." We are not religious indifferentists, but nor do we dismiss the others. 

Again, this should become clear as we proceed. But for me, the revelation of the Triune God most adequately accounts for even the possibility of (), not to mention science and other nice things we take for granted in the West.

I'm just going to start flipping from the beginning, and light on any passages that shed further light on the argument.

Our capacity to name and shape the world through words at all is a continuous miracle, a daily aftershock of the Creator's first magical fiat lux. Mystery does not suddenly confront us when we begin to speak about God.

Exactly. This goes to what was said above about even the possibility of (); you might say that we need a metaphysic that can account for the very possibility of metaphysics -- or a () that explains how () is possible. To paraphrase the Aphorist, not an exact science but a science of the inexact. Our two arrows 

are mutually determinative. Because God [AKA O] is transcendent, unbounded by temporal and spatial limits, he is immanent, present, and active in every space and time.... his hiddenness -- his transcendence -- is always already manifestation.

God transcends the language he never stops speaking. So to speak. "He transcends language because there is always more to say of him, always forever more to say..." Even -- especially -- "scientific knowledge is not impersonal and objectivized but arises from deep communion with reality" (cf. Polanyi for  details).

The truth is objective but not impersonal.

It is at once () but nor is it not ().

Anthropomorphism is not a projection from finite to infinite. In the order of knowing, it seems so. In the order of being, it is the opposite: It is authorized from the top down.


Truth is a person.

If not, then there is no ground, principle, or basis for () of any kind, whether scientific, philosophical, or theological. Stalin said, No man, no problem, and he wasn't wrong.  

Having created a world that comprehensively speaks of God, why would God prohibit us to use the language he made? How could it possibly be inadequate or inappropriate?

He's making an argument against radical apophaticism, but at risk of belaboring the point, () is perfectly valid so long as we don't detach it from () and pretend it is self-sufficient or self-explanatory, or can adequately map O. "Even abstract language rests on metaphor that has concrete, physical roots," and -- this is getting ahead of ourselves, but let us recall that

Metaphor supposes a universe in which each object mysteriously contains the others.

"God creates by the Word; creation is his speech to us. By virtue of creation, we are surrounded by the inescapable speech of God" (Leithart).

As we know from our recent series of posts, it's a talking universe, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it except listen and follow the words back up to their nonlocal source. Let those with ears see Oand hear it speak.

Much more to come...

1 comment:

julie said...

However, once received, the right arrow can circle back to the left and fill out lacunae and aporia that necessarily exist on that side:

I like that; reminds of one of those videos where somebody is mixing color into a big blob of silicone. At first it's just a streak, but after many iterations of being kneaded and folded together, eventually the whole becomes one unified color.

Let those with ears see O⇘ and hear it speak.

Indeed. Without ⇘, understanding faith and the world would be a purely intellectual exercise, thus never really convincing, much less satisfying.

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