A Universalist Eschatology of Humanity’s Three-fold Nature

Below is a meta-heuristic outline of my theological anthropology. Systematically, this is where I provisionally closed last year (2020). This is to say that it feels like I have already said all that I really wanted to say, theologically. My next life task may be to express it all differently, somehow, e.g. accessibly, concretely, spiritually, etc. So far, I’ve neither felt such an urge nor heard from my Muse.

In a nutshell, I have come to believe that, in the end,

1) that we’ll exist is wholly determined. “We’ll” refers cosmotheandrically;

2) that our original beatitude will be restored; that our primary nature, including our experience of an essential aesthetic intensity, will be wholly determined; and

3) that our theotic nature and secondary beatitudes, including our degrees of intimacy and scopes of aesthetic experience, will remain wholly indetermined.

1) vestigial Dei
  a) indicative apocata
  b) original being restored
  c) existentially determined
  d) ecclesiologically, unitive dynamics restore our essential belongingness

2) imaginal Dei
  a) indicative apocatastenai
  b) original beatitude restored
  c) primary nature determined
  d) soteriologically, sacramental dynamics restore our aesthetic intensity

3) similitudinal Dei
  a) subjunctive apocatastasis
  b) secondary beatitudes realized
  c) theotic nature indetermined
  d) sophiologically, intimacization dynamics expand our aesthetic scopes

And that’s the basic thrust of my Cosmotheandric Pan-semio-entheism.

Addendum regarding Types of Participation

I. Ontological or enstatic participations (vestigial) of primary natures

acts of existence – essential potencies (formal intelligibilities of whatness) reduced by existential acts (facticities or relationalities of thatness)

II. Perichoretic or hypostatic participations (imaginal) of personal natures

acts of will – material potencies (haecceities of howness incl when & where) reduced by efficient acts (volitions of whoness)

III. Teleological or ecstatic participations (similitudinal) of secondary natures

acts of becoming – final potencies (communion as ultimate whyness) reduced by formal acts (communicative & habitual – as in virtuous &/or vicious)

Ladies, Lyrics & Laughter and Unspeakable Grief

For the heartwarming story behind this cover image by photographer Jan Somers, see: http://axiomnews.net/photographer-wants-world-go-nose-nose

A Facebook Post from April 2020

Good morning, family & friends.

Today is Monday, March 52nd, 2020.

Many of us awoke today without some of the gifts that we thanked God for yesterday?

For most of us, those will have included some of life’s most ordinary moments & simplest of joys. Others of us may be suffering from various God-sized holes in our hearts as can result from all manner of loss. Let me share a few words with those who are suffering life’s bigger losses, presently, for it’s you with whom I experience the deepest solidarity & wish to minister compassion & consolation, presently.

The following words are from Gerald May (from 3 different books, perhaps):

“We are conscious not just because our hearts are beating but because they are yearning.”

“The only way to own and claim love as our identity is: to fall in love with love itself, to feel affection for our longing, to value our yearning, treasure our wanting, embrace our incompleteness, be overwhelmed by the beauty of our need.

“Love is present in any desire … in all feelings of attraction, in all caring and connectedness. It embraces us in precious moments of immediate presence. It is also present when we experience loneliness, loss, grief and rejection. We may say such feelings come from the absence of love, but in fact they are signs of our loving; they express how much we care. We grieve according to how much of ourselves we have already given; we yearn according to how much we would give, if only we could.” end of May quotes

What I can promise you, in the vein of always teaching best what I’ve most needed to learn, is that, while God has fashioned each human spirit to heal in its own due time & own unique manner, more generally, He has also formed us as incredibly resilient persons, who, for the most part, will inexorably learn to live again, to love again and, yes, even to laugh again.

There’s a beautiful group of ladies in my hometown who call themselves “The Three Ells,” which stands for Ladies, Lyrics & Laughter. Its membership spans multiple generations. Biennially, in the spring, they put on a variety show (a real healing liturgy for those with Eucharistic lenses) and donate the proceeds to a different local charity. [I’m struggling to keep this short, but my heart gets so full when I write about my peeps & I’ve a neighbor passing on the levee, who’s often whistling Amazing Grace at this particular locale on his daily walk. One can’t make this stuff up!]

When the precious sacred faces of the 3 Ells make their precious sacred sounds in lyrics with laughter, it is because I happen to know so many of their stories, many regarding immense losses of unimaginable proportion and unspeakable griefs of every variety, that I also know that I am a witness to the Resurrection, as we experience it now in part, anticipatorily, and will some day realize it fully in a way … well, “Will we sing hallelujah? Will we be able to speak at all? We can only imagine!”.

Now, for others of us, for example, in quarantine mode with hearts aching & breaking to be unsocially distanced, let me help you imagine your next greatest moment of joy. Below is a song, the refrain of which came to me in a dream, wherein I was walking through downtown Lutcher, near my first ever place of employ on Texas Street. In my dream, a radio was playing through a screened shop window, with a song that I thought was beautiful. I suddenly awakened, grabbed my guitar, and penned the refrain lyrics, charted the guitar chords & hummed the tune into my phone’s voice recorder, so as not to lose what felt like a gift. Then, back to bed. The next day, I penned more lyrics, making it autobiographical, although, in my dream, I had associated the song with an old friend, as I pictured her real life experience of kissing her boy’s coffin, then whispering his name & goodbye.

Well, gotta stop here. But, enjoy the song and imagine how you’ll feel when you can once again Eskimo Kiss those precious sacred faces, whose voices make such precious sacred sounds!

ESKIMO KISS WALTZ

Truly yours,

John Sobert Sylvest

Trading the insanity of our Bayesian priors for the wisdom of the Benedictine priors

Advocacy journalism has become a redundancy, to be sure, but it’s a problem that presents in terms of degrees?

Thriving casino industries & multi-state lotteries are a cynical tax on people who are bad at math?

If they also watch too much news, that can contribute to their habitual over- or under-estimation of the probabilities of future – & actual incidences of past – un/desirable outcomes.

Further participation in online echo chambers only exacerbates their levels of Bayesian incompetence.

Any politicians & journalists who’d knowingly exploit all of this vulnerability are especially despicable, whether regarding, for example, Covid or election fraud. Most of them, though, I suspect are just unwittingly susceptible to bad math. I may be grossly underestimating … never mind.

I know I’m cognitively, hence emotionally, vulnerable to bad math. Every time the phone rings, it scares the crap out of me! Rather, I frighten myself.

I need to exchange the insanity of my Bayesian priors for the wisdom of Benedictine priors. For Lent, I hope to spend less time with the tv, talk radio & online chatter and more time with the Liturgy of the Hours.

The Turn to the Subject, who Participates – in defense of both immediate & mediated virtually unconditioned knowledge

No, we can’t know everything via human dynamisms of immediacy & mediacy, but, by golly, we can indubitably know some things, for all practical purposes, from each of them.

We know this from – not a neo-Kantian “a priorism” but – a robustly “a posterioriturn to the subject, who participates cosmically & arguably eternally.

Dynamisms of immediacy like Polanyi ‘s tacit dimension, Newman’s illative sense, Maritain’s connaturality, Lonergan’s notion of being, Fries’ nonintuitive immediate knowledge, Aristotle ‘s intuitive induction, Peirce’s abductive instinct & common sense, as well as faith’s noesis as pistis, each immanently presupposes irreducibly triadic normative patterns of inference & participation.

While such immediacy presents prior to some developmental experiences of mediacy (personal acculturation) & to some cognitive operations (understanding & judgment), they’re constituted by adaptations (fast & frugal heuristics) … adaptations that express a 2 million year accumulation of successful understandings & judgments, all made by the coevolution of brains & symbolic (hence triadic) languages.

What I am arguing is that what we refer to as cognitively immediate is, in a very real sense, essentially mediated, only diachronically via a collective (phylogenetic) memory of cumulative past understandings & judgments, now operating in our hardwired but open-ended processes, i.e. abductive instincts with built-in triadic deductive logics that respond algorithmically to (variously novel) inductive experiences. This is otherwise distinct from, but integrated with, the triadic inferential cycling of mediated knowledge, which progressively & developmentally deepens our understandings & advances the efficacies of our judgments, i.e. realizing human authenticity.

Admittedly, that’s not an infinite biosemiosis of an eschatological community of inquiry, but, heck, I’m willing to work with it, despite its ineluctable fallibility & intrinsic biases.

I’m going to go out on a limb to suggest we can know:

the existence of other minds;

the laws of noncontradiction, excluded middle & identity;

reality is intelligible to a marked degree;

humans are intelligent to a modest extent;

common sense understandings of causation are meaningful;

AND that the ubiquitous belief in the Ens Necessarium is eminently reasonable!

The irreducibly triadic normative patterns of

inference include abduction, induction & deduction & of

participation include existential, co-creative & formal acts,

which reduce essential, material & final limited potencies, respectively representing natural, hypostatic & theotic logics.

Also, triadically:

eco-semiotics of ousia – what does home (cosmos) mean?

eco-logy of hypostatic logoi – how do homemakers (Christs) make homes?

eco-poetics of energeia & theotic poiesis – why is this (Cosmic Christ) the way home?

See: οἶκος & λόγος: a gloss | Reflections on Ecosemiotics, Ecopoetics & Apologetic Theology: Reading the “Signs of the Times”

Per the logic of immaterial hypostases, such substances, neither formal nor repeatable, are indifferent toward & irreducible to essences, whether primary (essential) or secondary (theotic) natures.

Material hypostases may involve a whole different ball of quarks. Can’t say.

Yes, I’m a godforsaken positivist & empiricist – just not, respectively, the logical or radical type!

Discussion: However much fallibility & bias afflict us, such that, proximately & inferentially, we can’t indubitably know everything, because we enjoy an holistic dynamism of immediacy from 2 million years of adaptations, it’s silly to say that we can’t indubitably know anything!

In my view, we’re gifted, via a coevolution of language & brain, a holistic dynamism of immediacy, a privileged approach to & notion (not grasp) of being, an immanent dynamical normative pattern in the structures of our consciousness.

A hyper-fallibilism lacks justification.

That holistic dynamism already operates symbolically, however tacitly & anticipatorily, prior to our developmental experiences of mediacy, personal acculturation, understandings & judgments.

What ails Peirce’s grounding can be cured by situating his semiotic within Lonergan’s method, perhaps?

The more I read CSP & Lonergan, the more complementarity I perceived between their cognitive theories. Both prescribed antidotes to skepticism, naive realism, Cartesianism, knowledge as direct intuitive act & nominalistic pragmatism. So, less daylight tween ’em than I was taught.

Lonergan does more clearly relate knowing to being?

re: remote criteria of truth to ground judgments, BL’s ‘talking things out‘ & CSP’s ‘community of inquiry‘ converge.

re: proximate assertions, some relate CSP’s ‘exhaustive investigation‘ to BL’s ‘virtually unconditioned.’

What is truth? or Who?

How well can we understand understanding?

How much insight can we have into insight?

Is there a relationship that necessarily (vs only probably) obtains between our indispensable methodological presuppositions and metaphysical verities?

When one asserts that a belief is truth-indicative, has one presupposed that other beliefs are necessarily truth-conducive?

When one asserts the virtually unconditioned, whether regarding probabilities or certainties, has one necessarily presupposed the strictly unconditioned?

In the same sense that the principle of falsification, itself, is not falsifiable, what about the principle of fallibilism? Might it be fallible?

Just because some arguments self-subvert when parodied or can be reduced to absurdity, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily false? Just because other arguments survive parody and don’t seem absurd, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily true?

Some of these questions risk the conflation of distinct conceptions, so can confuse.

To talk about knowledge, we must first talk about truth.

Falsification, fallibilism, understanding, insight, immediacy, mediacy, methods, the virtually unconditioned, parodies & reductiones refer to knowledge.

Our theories of knowledge presuppose, & their principles inescapably must refer to, realities like the strictly unconditioned, nondeterminacies, necessities, metaphysical verities, in a word, truth.

Some theories & principles of knowledge have circled back to saw off the same ontological branches wherein their own epistemological eggs are nestled.

The best axioms gift us – not only a home to hatch those eggs, but – fruits of a goodness we can taste & a beauty we can see, with a truth that neither can be nor need be derived or proved, for its own givenness in turn donates the very possibility of goodness & beauty, themselves, and of knowledge, itself.

Taste and see the goodness of the Ens Necessarium.

What’s Grounded & Justified & How?

Categorially, necessity, contingency, nondeterminacy, determinacy, self-determinacy & indeterminacy, all successfully refer. We know this, for all practical purposes, immediately. This guarantees a modicum of intelligibility of reality, consistent with a foundherentism.

The virtually unconditioned can indeed ground our empirical judgments.

Unanswered & of profound existential import, though, is the nature of any putative necessaria, e.g. an ens necessarium. Such answers may turn on mereological realities, e.g. whether reality’s parts suffice to explain the whole or not. An eminently reasonable leap of faith is pragmatically justified (e.g. fallibilist, pragmatic, semiotic realism; abduction of the Ens Necessarium).

I am strongly tempted to suggest that virtually refers only to putatively practically exceptionless realities, both the empirical & normative.

God’s got nothing to do with death or gratuitous evil

As always, there are some depthful conversations going on here: https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2021/01/20/if-god-is-going-to-deify-everyone-anyway-why-not-deify-everyone-immediately/

While no systematic theology can avoid all mysterian appeals or some degree of skeptical theism, those strategies should be reserved for matters involving divine modal identities & ontologies (that, what, this, where & when), as Christianity remains in search of a metaphysic.

We should not engage them in our existentialist & personalist understandings of God (how = Who) or of His operations (why), as gifted by revelation.

So, I thus hold fast to the belief that the divine nature remains sufficiently intelligible in terms of humanity’s shared aesthetic sensibilities & moral intuitions. To remain existentially satisfying for & rhetorically persuasive to me, no theological anthropology should sacrifice such intelligibility.

Pastor Tom Belt has well explicated what he calls DBH’s moral argument or what I refer to as his game theoretic analysis, which is an element integral to DBH’s multi-pronged defense of universalism. It demonstrates why the infernalists cannot coherently invoke the antecedent – consequent divine will distinction without sacrificing God’s moral & aesthetic intelligibility, eschatologically.

Faced with a choice between consistency & completeness, our accounts must remain consistent with revelation (e.g. per exegetical & patristic sources) vis a vis God’s moral & aesthetic intelligibility. We must otherwise accept the incompleteness of our metaphysical explanations.

To otherwise pretend that we have consistent metaphysical accounts, e.g. henologically & ontologically re the trinity, creation & incarnation, but an inadequate account of God’s moral character, seems bassackward to me.

Now, some seem to be arguing that what’s good for the game theoretic eschatological goose seems to be good for the morally inculpatory temporal gander.

Admittedly, on its face, that argument would appear to ignore the difference between an infinite & eternal quasi-Manichean parasitic evil and a finite & temporal one. But, even once stipulating to that quantitative & qualitative difference, the more salient takeaway that’s being urged is that the antecedent – consequent will distinction can’t salvage God’s moral intelligibility vis a vis finite, temporal parasitic evils, either. And I’m wholly sympathetic to that stance: God’s got nothing to do with death or gratuitous suffering. FULL STOP.

What we do not adequately grasp is not God’s moral & aesthetic intelligibilty. Rather, we lack formal definitions for the other Anselmian divine attributes, all in terms of “that which is greater than which cannot otherwise be conceived without falling into theological contradiction, anthropological absurdity & metaphysical incoherence.”

Our creedal contours define apophatic constraints on the God-references of our exploratory meta-heuristics. They don’t pretend to provide formal God-definitions in terms of explanatory metaphysics. That’s a feature – not a bug – of any coherent systematic theology.

Guess what. A materialist monist nihilism is also a mere exploratory meta-heuristic & not a robustly explanatory metaphysic. It, too, must avoid mereological contradiction & metaphysical incoherence, even as it asserts anthropological absurdity.

There are Gödel-like constraints on ALL theories of everything. Given the ineluctable equiplausibility of many competing worldviews, it’s eminently reasonable to choose among them based on their varying degrees of existential actionability.

God is love – yesterday, today & forever. He has nothing to do with death or gratuitous evil, eschatologically or temporally, instrumentally or permissively, antecedently or consequently. Death & evil did not ensue in the wake of some ontological rupture located in the past, even though they indisputably interfere with our teleological strivings oriented to the future.

We do profess an adequate understanding of divine omnibenevolence & omnipathy, theologically, even as our grasps of divine omnipotence, omniscience & omnipresence remain rather inchoate, metaphysically. Such a theoretic metaphysical incompleteness is no more fatal to classical theism than it is to a nihilistic materialist monism (which apparently prefers to grapple with gratuitous beauty).

I wrote the following (link below) musing before encountering DBH’s game theoretic analysis in TASBS. While the arguments in TASBS aren’t advancing a theodicy, I appropriate them as an indispensable prerequisite to any coherent logical defense or evidential theodicy, as well as for any exegetical & patristic inventory of the divine character (the latter sufficing for me).

https://sylvestjohn.org/2019/09/27/marrying-the-theological-anthropology-of-david-bentley-hart-to-a-more-compelling-systematic-theology/

Addendum – my contribution to a related thread at EO

I am deeply sympathetic with the earnest affective dispositions toward and grateful for your thoughtful probity of the problem of evil by various contributors at EO. That said, I do most strongly resonate with the stances shared by Robert, DBH & Jordan DW.

What eventually got God out of the dock for me, to use a criminal law metaphor, wasn’t mostly based in case theory (logical defenses, soul-making, evil as privation, free will) or circumstantial evidence (theodicies). Juries are instructed that they can rely on character witnesses, alone, for not guilty verdicts. Ergo, revelation satisfied me, existentially, i.e. Jesus revealing God as Daddy, Romans 8, etc

I can’t explain why God’s not guilty given the circumstantial evidence but do tenaciously hold THAT He simply can’t be morally culpable.

I still vacillate regarding – not only whether evidential theodicies could succeed, but – whether they’re even morally defensible, as they can risk trivializing the enormity of human suffering & immensity of human pain. So, I mostly take refuge in a skeptical theism.

BUT – I have speculated, nonetheless, looking for something – not just sufficiently compelling for me, but – more widely compelling to other earnest seekers.

This is not a suitable forum to go into the details but, generally, I adhere to versions of divine simplicity, although weakened, & impassibility, except with a thin passibility.

If creation is Incarnation, then, per an eternal simultaneity, God will have self-determinedly & kenotically opened Himself to a divine omnipathy. God will have known, then, how every creature will have felt, retro|pro-spectively vis a vis Romans 8, i.e. eternally aware that every scintilla of any Karamazovian nyets will have been replaced by Marian fiats, once affectively energized by the realities of universal restoration. God thus knows, eternally, via divine omnopathy, that no tickets will have been returned by Ivan, by any lion or lamb, by any quake or quark.

Beyond that, I have speculated, re creatio ex nihilo & ex Deo, that they needn’t necessarily be conceived as incompatible with a co-eternal prevenient  chaos or tehomic  profundis. Why must a co-eternal void (or abyss or  tohu va bohu or chaos or  tehom), whatever else its ineluctable logic might necessarily entail, be conceived in absolutely dualistic terms, i.e. as if any quasi-Manichean residue would have to remain eschatologically?

The exnihilating dynamics of creatio ex nihilo & Deo may also be operating ex chaos & profundis across a multiversal plenitude of incipiently telic realities?

It seems coherent to me to conceive of a dualistic, even pluralistic reality, without conceiving it in robustly Manichean terms. The bigger caveat would be the need to avoid a wimpy, nominalistic process God. I believe that folks like Joe Bracken & Norris Clarke navigate such conceptual shoals. And they can precisely accommodate the brilliance of those who anticipated them, e.g. especially Maximus, Bulgakov, Bonaventure, Eriugena, etc

I more exhaustively address such matters in my notes:

https://www.academia.edu/43938792/PanSEMIOentheism_A_Neo_Chalcedonian_Franciscan_Cosmotheandric_Universalism

To be clear, I rely on neither my putative accounts of divine omnipathy (which doesn’t impair intrinsic perfections) nor of creatio ex chaos (non-Manichean dualism) to resolve the problem of evil, nor on logical defenses or evidential theodicies.

But I’m not wholly dismissive of such attempts & haven’t desisted from same, myself. Rather, I essentially take refuge in revelation and a nuanced mysterianism.

It is my fervent prayer that all may attain the consolations I have come to enjoy and avoid the desolations that can afflict us all, when beset by doubt, deep suffering or the existential angst that can set many on such a theodical quest.

Hypostatic Logic from the Capps, Cyril & Maximus to Bonaventure & Scotus – or why a Franciscan, Neo-chalcedonian Cosmotheandrism

PRECIS

We best distinguish the postmodern heuristic as – not a system, but – a critique. Any system that adopts a thoroughgoing anti-metaphysical ignosticism will self-subvert. It otherwise suffices that we distinguish our theories of truth & knowledge to recognize that, while we’re fallible in our metaphysics, they indubitably converge on some Absolute.

The Absolute could lie, nondeterminately, beyond all possibilities, including intelligibility and being, itself, while self-determining as an infinite whole of being & intelligibility, which presupposes, in principle as a corollary, many finite manifestations:

a) manifold determined participations in being [1ns*],

b) coinherences of relatively self-determined actors [2ns*] &

c) synergies of jointly-determined, hence relatively in|determined, operations (e g. via pneumatological ex|in|halations) [3ns*].

*Peircean categories

Eschatologically

a) primary nature: indicative apokatastenai or universal restoration of natural beautitude per determined aesthetic intensity

b) everlasting perichoretic epektasis;

c) secondary (theotic) nature: subjunctive apokatastasis per self-determined aesthetic scope.

RETREBLEMENT: watch for the irreducible triadicity

Below is a follow to this thread, which I do not want to otherwise derail: https://twitter.com/CorbyAmos/status/1347730739819917312?s=09… 1/

When I first read Jordan Daniel Wood’s thesis, especially together w/his retrieval of Bonaventure, I saw some of the same themes in play w/my own (mis?)appropriation of Zizioulas. 2/

How Scotus Might Gift Zizioulas Coherence

What I observed was that there’s a certain idiomatic felicity in tracing Christology from the Capps & Cyril to Maximus with Scotus. One can get to a Neochalcedonian Christology w/Aquinas, but they need JDW’s thesis & Bonaventure paper. 3/

If hypostases refer to persons who ground, existentially, as irreducibly brute thatnesses & who distinguish (or differentiate or individualize) themselves by properties that refer to “how” they “act” … 4/

(i.e. not “what” they “are,” even indifferent to whatness, essence or nature, although inseparable therefrom) … and

If perichoresis refers to hypostases & “how” they relate, while participation refers to natures & “what” hypostases share per variously non/in/determined modes 5/


Then, we can properly “Behold the paradox to contemplate a composed hypostasis without thereby predicating a composed nature of that hypostasis, as if of a species.” ~Maximus

For Scotus, divine hypostases are – not primary substances, but – exemplifications. 6/

re exemplification

Again, note the semiotic language, consonant w/Eriugena’s theophanic stance, w/Bonaventure, even Bulgakov via manifestation, signification & revelation. Because we speak of hypostases using semantic references, not ontological descriptions, 7/

Scotus thus proposes a Univocity of Predication “In Quale” & Analogy of Predication “In Quid.

Basically, we’re just trying to avoid category errors between propria, idiomata & energeia, natures, hypostases & opera, etc 8/

David Bentley Hart & Duns Scotus Walk Into a Bar, See Radical Orthodoxy & Ask: Why the Long Face?

At any rate, when I first introduced my meta-heuristic of panSEMIOentheism in a paper (2010) w/Amos Yong, I did not realize that my approach was consonant w/or even implicated a Maximian Neochalcedonism, but the OFMs work well w/ Byzantine Neoplatonism. 9/

https://academia.edu/43938792/PanSEMIOentheism_A_Neo_Chalcedonian_Franciscan_Cosmotheandric_Universalism…

re Aquinas & Bonaventure

The comments on this post at Faber’s “The Smithy” are interesting: http://lyfaber.blogspot.com/2007/12/ss-thomas-and-bonaventure-compared.html?m=1… 10/

Part of my interest in having a consistent grammar of hypostases (and ousia) of both divine & creaturely (non/determinate, self-determinate & in/determinate) realities is to go beyond analogy & apophasis of ousia to better refine our references to participation & perichoresis.

IOW, what do we mean by humanization & divinization, Logos-logoi, creatio ex Deo, synergetic acts in terms of divine-creaturely agential interaction?

I’m pressing toward a mereological panentheism of – not beings & whats, but – doings & hows of actors (nonrepeatable, nonformal).

re how I feel about some antinomies.

We re-cognize them b/c we are “embodied antinomies” (intentional-absential) that exist for eternal I-Thou epektasis. Identity & difference are unitive & harmonious – not violent.

Because creaturely identities are primordially grounded in differences between relative & divine perfections, the natures of all creaturely autonomies are essentially & ineluctably harmonious with & participate in the Logos and so manifest various degrees of freedom as proportional to each tropos. Any metaphysic (or ecology or politics) that otherwise grounds those identities nihilistically, i.e. in differences between nonbeing & being,will conceive all creaturely autonomies as unavoidably competitive due to natures that are essentially & inescapably violent, b/c they view evil’s existence as substantial, when it is rather a parasitic subcontrary. In no measure, then, is evil necessary to the eternal act of creation or for eternal acts of incarnation (One Pure Act, really). This discussion pertains also to differences like those of epistemic distance.

God Ordains Epistemic Distancing toward the end of Our Co-creative Self-determination but that…sylvestjohn.org

Whither divine vestige, image, likeness & identity?

Persons reduce the

1) essential potencies of their primary nature via participatory existential acts by being images of God (divine esse naturale);

2) im/material potencies of their hypostatic nature by perichoretic efficient acts by doing, thereby reducing any inherent material potencies, cosmically, as vestiges of God, & immaterial potencies, theandrically, as identities of the will of God (divine esse intentionale);

3) final potencies of their secondary nature by participatory formal acts by becoming likenesses of God (divine energeia). consistent w/Cosmotheandrism & Neo-Chalcedonism.

Eschatologically, primary & secondary natures participate, respectively, in apokatastenai (essential beatitude) & apokatastasis (theotic beatitude); hypostatic “natures” in a perichoretic & inexhaustible deeping of intimacy expand their aesthetic scope of beatitude in epektasis.

Note: I like Gelpi’s Lonerganian-Peircean conception of grace as “transmuted experience,” which, using my wording, is gifted us gratuitously, both by creation & special revelation. I’m especially consoled in knowing it comes via – not only assent, but – absence of refusal! PTL!

A Pansemiotic Hypostatic Logic? – panSEMIOentheism

How is each divine person constituted? distinct from the others?

What principle individuates, differentiates or particularizes persons?

What theory of idiomata applies?

And what theory of universals?

Is there a logic that might apply to both the ad intra trinitarian taxis and the hypostatic union?

If so, then, why wouldn’t it extend to anthropology?

And, if that is so, how could it not extend to cosmology?

That is to ask, wouldn’t this logic apply to – not just personal, but – all hypostatic realities?

To which realities must we refer with proper nouns and which with common? And which are particular and which generic?

How might we best refer to that infinite reality than which no greater can be conceived? How might we best refer even to the Monarchy of the Father in terms regarding both His person & his nature?

What insights to these questions might we glean from Peirce’s “secondness” or Scotus’ “haecceity” or Maximus’ “λόγος“?

Why is Peirce’s modal ontology and semiotic pragmatism irreducibly triadic? Whether regarding ontic possibilities, actualities & probabilities – necessities or epistemic icons, indices & symbols? Each category with its unique application of the principles of noncontradiction & excluded middle?

The underlying dynamics of both my appropriation of Peirce’s semiotic as well as of the Neo-Chalcedonian hypostatic logic is foundationally one of emergence without supervenience, the emergence of novel entities in terms of thatness, thisness & howness but with neither epistemic nor ontic reducibility from whatness.

To be clear, my Peircean semiotic approach only provides a metaheuristic that bookmarks reality’s ontological aporia and asserts epistemic irreducibility.  Any stances regarding ontological irreducibility, themselves, go further, inviting an exploratory direction without aspiring to a complete metaphysical explanation. They involve, then, a leap of faith, albeit in no way an unreasonable one, rather the product of a practical reasoning under uncertainty regarding ultimate concerns that are (per James) forced, vital & live, hence, eminently actionable, existentially, & defensible, evidentially & rationally.

Might it be because, primordially & emergently, an ineffably nondetermined person beyond being self-determinedly, eternally & kenotically donates all being, self-emptying by communicating all possibilities & actualities – not arbitrarily, but – with mediating nomicities?

Divine perichoresis is “exemplified” by the dance between that which is nondetermined in & self-determined by divine persons. All creation “signifies” divine perichoresis in the dance between that which, in each person, remains divinely determined & that which, in each person, is self-determined.

Creation’s overdetermined possibilities are not arbitrarily reduced by hypostatic self-determinations without mediation by an underdetermined range of probabilities, a range (scope) which has been necessarily & wholly determined.

The divine fontal plenitude, the abyss of anarchical nondetermination,  self-determinedly manifests as an eternally, freely willing loving person, Who communicates His being (nongeneric “whatness”) as revealed by each divine person.

Each person freely & willingly loves, both self & each other, in a way that’s different from “how” each other person manifests love per each’s own  ineffable, irreducible & brute “thisness.” A person’s identity is that existential thatness presenting with “this” unique “howness” that’s otherwise indifferent to & irreducible to any given whatness.

So, while a participatory metaphysic of being still obtains, it seems that freely, willing, loving divine persons
are individuated – not by matter or accidents, i.e. “what,” but – per a perichoretic metaphysic of goodness, which provides an account of “how” each loves. The anthropological implications are that all human persons freely & willingly love – not only via natural participation in Being, but – via hypostatic coinherence with divine operations.

The perichoretic concept used in late Patristic Trinitology  conveyed mutual interpenetration or permeation without merging or mixing. But, the concept was first employed in early Patristic Christology by the Cappadocians.

So, while the Trinitarian perichoresis refers to homogenous, consubstantial realities, the Christological refers heterogenously & heterosubstantially, thus, again, indifferent to & irreducible from any nature, ousia or essence.

The practical upshot?

There’s no reason it can’t refer cosmotheandrically!

Beyond Christological perichoresis, the Logos-logoi identity of Maximus further emphasizes how we as creatures perichoretically coinhere relationally (albeit participatorily proportional to our being) – not only creature to creature, but – with divinity, for the very same logoi that humanize the divine also divinize the human.

Christ, for Bonaventure, is the centre of the entire created order. This echoes Origen of Alexandria, the Cappadocians, Maximus the Confessor,
Gregory Palamas, and would be deepened and enriched by Duns Scotus and his doctrine of the Primacy of Christ. ~ Mulholland

Perhaps relational accounts of MOF can be characterized as ‘only personal’ (weaker) or ‘also emanational’ (stronger)?

While it’s in Christology (via its epistemic primacy) that the meanings of various types of coincidence of mutually affirming complementary
opposites are revealed, it’s in Paterology that we locate their intrinsic structural foundation per hypostatic logic in terms of innascibility & fecundity. That
Bonaventurian architectonic busts several moves:

Cappadocian emphasis
on persons (more so than substance);

Nazianzen & Damascene mutual coinherence;

Dionysian self-diffusive goodness;

Victorine highest good as
love; hence, a

Neoplatonic ’emanation, exemplarity & consummation’
perichoretic metaphysic of goodness (more than just a participatory metaphysic of being).

for Aquinas persons are both constituted & distinguished per relations

for Nyssen persons are distinguished causally but he’s silent re constitution

for Scotus, personal relational properties constitute the persons but aren’t their only unique properties;

we might add Bonaventure’s emanational relations or something analogous to Scotus’ haecceities

They’ll all assert the indivisibilty of the essence & incommunicability of
hypostatic properties to avoid, respectively, tritheism & modalism, using analogies to different substance – universal accounts or idioms to show via
similarities what divine essences & hypostases are like, but as soon as those analogies lead to unhappy inferences, they’ll assert dissimilarities, then get confronted with the combined challenges of loss of intelligibility & charges of mysterian adhockery, which can be defended in various ways to various degrees.

identificatory vs constitutive?

Three possess the one indivisible divine essence, and are constituted as distinct persons by certain incommunicable properties, not common in one with the other two.

Personal relational properties constitute the persons but aren’t their only unique
properties (those properties aren’t communicable).

Bonaventure’s Christ illuminates the hypostatic & essential logics that inhere in paterological uniqueness (MOF), essential unicity, unitary energeia, hypostatic union, hypostatic unity & sophiological union, as well as trinitological, Christological, cosmological (vestiges),
anthropological (images) & theotic (likenesses) perichoreses.

“Samenesses & differences in relation” reduce to Sophianic I-Thou-nesses

The Onenesses of emanational & personal relations variously present as different types of embodied antinomies (semiotic ententional – absential relations) via the

paterological uniqueness or monarchy,

essential unicity or simplicity,

unitary energeia or trinitologically,

hypostatic union or christologically &

sophianic unity or cosmotheandrically,

all constituted by “samenesses & differences in relation” that reduce to I-Thou-nesses.

Beyond the analogy of being, essentially, & energeia, relationally, the Logos-logoi identity constitutes a mereology of hypostases, personally – not of static substances, ontologically, but of dynamical actors acting, synergetically. eg lords a leaping, pipers piping, lovers loving.

It’s like the 12 Days of Christmas, only substitute the beatitudes in this hypostatic mereology of participators participating.

Greater than the sum of its parts (every creature!), the bidirectional synergy of this Whole is asymmetric, e.g. Jesus ascended, Mary was assumed.

God IS with us, Emmanuel!

And that, Alfie, is what it’s all about!

Merry Christmas!

Notes on synergies as analogical perichoretic coinherences

vertical (or essential causal series) paterological monarchical emanational relational-synergy, ur-kenotic

horizontal trinitological tri-hypostatic-synergy; or personal relational-synergy

vertical (self-determinate) christological hypostatic-synergy – a descent; kenotic

horizontal cosmotheandric pluri-hypostatic-synergy- a diffusion

In Universalism’s Renaissance, Charges of Rationalism Stick Less Often than Many Imagine

In Universalism’s Renaissance, Charges of Rationalism Stick Less Often than Many Imagine

Per Lonergan’s functional specialties, we proceed from foundations (exegetical, liturgical & historical) & doctrines (creedal) through
systematics (theopoetic & metaphysical idioms) in the service of communications (pastoral, homiletics & missiology).

That’s to recognize that, theologically, we proceed from the normative & evaluative through the interpretive to the descriptive.

So, any charge of rationalism is basically suggesting that one has made one’s metaphysic the normative foundation of one’s theological conclusions, when it otherwise should merely be providing an interpretation of revelatory foundations & doctrines, mostly for translation purposes, communicatively.

This is to agree, then, that one’s universalism must derive, for example – not from Neo-platonic metaphysics, but – from Scripture, Eucharistic prayers, Patristics and the Creeds to yield, for example, a Christianized Neoplatonism. Otherwise, what one might embrace could be a Neo-platonized Christianity.

Now, charges of rationalism, caricaturizing both East & West, are nothing new, e.g. Orthodox mysticism vs Latin rationalism. What might be novel, though, would be any tu quoque-like reverse application of the so-called de Regnon paradigm (sounds like a Championship Wrestling maneuver off the old theo- turnbuckle?). For example, one might suggest that it’s some rationalism that must be grounding another’s universalism, a priori rejecting the possibility that there might otherwise be a competing, defensible interpretation of revelation at its heart.

It does seem to me that the universalism of the East is precisely derived from Scripture & Tradition as rooted in & expressed by its Biblical exegesis, prayers of the Church & teachings of the Fathers. There are even those, both East & West, who hold that such an indicative universalist posture should be recognized as a valid opinion & acceptable minority position, even if not dogmatized.

And many of them suggest that the West has over-dogmatized much of its eschatology (e.g. purgatory & hell), in general, and post-mortem anthropology, in particular. As a matter of fact, regarding the latter, too much of it represents the dogmatization of elements of a highly speculative angelology (e.g. irreversible choices). It would be tempting to call that a rationalism, i.e. proceeding from a metaphysic, but the alternate interpretation – that it’s an over-dogmatization – is both more charitable & likely more correct? In other words, it otherwise entails a more or less defensible interpretation of revelation that’s being explained metaphysically rather than a metaphysical stance that’s being turned into an anthropological conclusion, theologically.

One practical takeaway might be that we best resist facile caricatures of competing theological stances, as they are often tantamount to arrogantly insisting that another’s theologoumenon clearly must represent a rationalistic philosophical grounding because, after all, it couldn’t possibly have Scripture & Tradition at its heart, at least, not given my infallibilist interpretation!

Universalism – a qualified defense of both indicative & subjunctive apokatastasis

Regarding universalism, I’ve long held a view that’s situated somewhat between that of DBH & Paul Griffith’s.

With DBH & others, I reject how facilely notions like compatibilist & libertarian are so often used. But, I resonate w/Scotus & Maximus & (mis?)appropriate them as moderately libertarian.

I recognize “who we are” existentially & essentially per our primary nature as wholly determined by God, ie as imagoes Dei. With Maritain, I reject ECT because I believe in an indicatively universal apokatastenai, which restores our primary nature, necessarily, such that we’ll no longer be choosing “between” higher & lesser goods, post-mortem.

That’s distinct, then, from “who we can become” formally & finally per our secondary natures as self-determined by us, ie as similitudinae Dei. I thus believe a subjunctively universal apokatastasis is defensible as a theologoumenon and that it involves the theotic realization of our secondary natures, probabilistically, as we choose “among” eternal goods, post-mortem.

So, what’s at stake, self-determinately, can never entail “being who we are” as imagoes Dei, as if we could ever self-annihilate that which remains everlastingly & intrinsically good, but is rather “becoming who we could” as likenesses of God.

What’s at stake, then, are degrees of intimacy & objective beatitude.

I depart from that defensible theological opinion (subjunctive universal apokatastasis), though, because it seems that the same mercy & graces that Maritain invoked to defend an indicative universal apokatastenai, in my view, would also implicate an indicative universal apokatastasis, wherein we will forever self-determinately choose “among” eternal goods, passing from glory to glory, just not “between” higher & lesser goods.

At bottom, we are – not absolutely, but – only ever relatively free. As finite creatures, we can’t justly be dealt infinite punishments, whether ECT or annihilation. As a person in solidarity with humankind, but, especially as a parent, I can’t countenance either as they’re both, to me, aesthetically repugnant, relationally abhorrent & morally unintelligible. They don’t comport with the nature of God revealed in the Incarnation.

As for my model, I don’t know how theosis would work post-mortem without the epistemic & axiological distancing that’s integral to our experience of freedom, temporally. Perhaps we’ll only be choosing among eternal goods & not between being & well being. It may be that our temporal sojourns self-determine our degrees of subjective beatitude (aesthetic intensity), even as our eternal self-determinations realize various degrees of objective beatitude (aesthetic scope).

See:

God Ordains Epistemic Distancing toward the end of Our Co-creative Self-determination but that doesn’t make sin necessary

Types of Causal & Explanatory Eliminativisms per Aristotelian Causes & Lonerganian Imperatives

Types of Causal & Explanatory Eliminativisms per Aristotelian Causes & Lonerganian Imperatives

Eliminative Nihilism is ignostic regarding existential causes & any explanatory that. It violates the imperative to be & denies transcendent being. Lord, give me only your love

Eliminative Nominalism is ignostic regarding essential causes & any explanatory what vis a vis attending, descriptively. It violates the imperative to be attentive & denies transcendent truth. Lord, give me your grace

Eliminative Voluntarism is ignostic regarding efficient causes & any explanatory who vis a vis intelligence, self-transcendently. It violates the imperative to be intelligent & denies transcendent freedom. Take, Lord, receive my entire will

Eliminative Relativism is ignostic regarding material causes & any constraints on (explanatory *) when or where vis a vis responsibility, normatively. It violates the imperative to be responsible & denies transcendent goodness (in terms of ordinacy, ie lesser & greater). Take, Lord, receive all my liberty

Eliminative Materialism is ignostic regarding formal causes & any explanatory how vis a vis reasonableness, evaluatively. It violates the imperative to be reasonable & denies transcendent beauty. Take, Lord, receive my memory

Eliminative Pragmatism is ignostic regarding final causes & any explanatory why vis a vis relationships, interpretively. It violates the imperative to be in love & denies transcendent unity. Take, Lord, receive my understanding

  • One can substitute “constraints on” for explanatory.
  • the material is that which takes up space-time

Final Word

The above is intended as an informal heuristic to foster reflection and unavoidably includes some rather facile, although not wholly indefensible, conceptual mappings.

The major practical upshot, consistent with all of my musings, is that metaphysical ignosticisms enjoy no epistemic warrant. One adopts any of these eliminativisms at the peril of self-subverting their own stance via parody.

One problem faced by every type of eliminativism – nihilism, nominalism, voluntarism, relativism, eliminative materialism or vulgar pragmatism – is that, taken as a system, it will self-subvert through parody.

Contra Wittgenstein – He should’ve said: It’s not “only” how things are but that & Who things are, which is the mystical.

For reality’s enchantments pertain to the reduction of – not only essences by existential acts, but – final & material potencies by formal & efficient acts.

This is to say that, among other epistemic [methodological] limitations & ontic [putative in-principle] occultations, that reality’s shot through with Godel-like constraints & infinite semiosis vis a vis all axiomatizing aspirations & [inescapably informal] interpretations.

This applies to explanations of – not just putative primal realities that lend themselves, undecidably so, to competing alternative axiomatic accounts of initial, boundary & limit conditions, but – EVERY instance & set of samenesses & differences that participate in relationship.

By “undecidable” we refer to a strictly logical undecidability vis a vis competing accounts, which otherwise get adjudicated pragmatically in terms of existential actionability & relationship enhancement, ie via an equiplausibility principle & not per some vulgar pragmatism.

Modally, the essential samenesses are rooted as possibilities from the past (primary natures), the materially individuated (& or haecceity-like) differences as present actualities (hypostatic natures), which formally participate, relationally, toward a future finality (secondary natures).