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

God fittingly determines that the essential nature of human persons necessarily includes that measure of epistemic distancing sufficient to allow for our choosing among rationally desired eternal goods.

God thereby permits each of us to co-creatively self-determine our unique charismatic character, spiritually.

One thing such an epistemic distancing necessarily entails is the axiological ordering of higher & lesser goods, for it’s in our very deliberations between them that we will learn which of God’s gifts we most deeply desire to both receive & give back, thereby developing our unique spirituality.

For if loving is the answer, then who’s the giving for? ~ Noel Paul Stookey

Now, it is necessarily the case that, because of such an epistemic distancing, at times, out of ignorance, we will unavoidably choose lesser goods. But, it is also the case that, eventually & inevitably, we can overcome such ignorance, precisely through this process of choosing.

What has never been the case, however, is that an ignorant choice of a lesser good is either necessarily culpable or ever irremediable, for to err, in & of itself, is not to sin and every mistake or sin lies within the scope of God’s mercy (cf. Romans 8).

Our human finitude, however radical, does not by design make sin necessary, although it does make its possibility unavoidable.

In pursuing our rational desires, even when we err, we can thereby erase a modicum of ignorance, or, in other words, close a measure of epistemic distance. It is only when one, with both sufficient knowledge & freedom, chooses a lesser good that one sins.

So, that very same epistemic distancing, which allows for our choosing among rationally desired eternal goods, thereby becoming who we co-creatively & self-determinedly choose to be, charismatically or spiritually, is also necessary for the growth of our freedom in choosing higher over lesser goods, virtuously or morally.

When we choose lesser goods, we sin in a measure commensurate to our current epistemic distance, ie some sufficient degree of freedom & knowledge.

So, the essential nature of human persons includes that epistemic distancing necessary for becoming free when deliberatively choosing both between lesser & higher goods as well as among eternal goods.

Beyond the co-creative self-determination of our unique charismatic character, spiritually, epistemic distancing allows us to grow a wholly virtuous character, morally.

A finally free person will only ever deliberate among rationally desired eternal goods, choosing in a way that fits one’s spiritual character.

How did Jesus experience His finitude or axiological-epistemic distancing?

Spiritually, He fully & perfectly expressed every charism. Humanly, He deliberated – not only among eternal goods, but – between lesser & higher goods and learned from His mistaken choices, progressively closing His kenotic epistemic distancing. He thereby even grew His human freedom, even as His need to deliberate between lesser & higher goods diminished with every epistemic closure.

Never did Jesus choose a lesser over a higher good with degrees of human knowledge & freedom sufficient to constitute a sinful refusal, a self-denial of Goodness, Himself.

Afterthoughts or Prologue or Whatever

Generally, I purposefully remain radically agnostic re probabilistic & evidential approaches to the problem of evil, but I’ll share my provisional “feelings.”

I would say that we’re sufficiently distanced, epistemically, to realize, operatively if not gnoseologically, Who & What we are as imagoes Dei sans mortality.

I could, however, imagine nonphysical, eg relational, forms of death being pedagogically indispensable to our fully realizing, both operatively & gnoseologically, who we most truly are, ie participants in a concrete, social Absolute.

BUT – would we be sufficiently distanced to realize, operatively if not gnoseologically, Who & What we can become theotically as similitudines Dei sans mortality?

YES!!!

Further reflections

I reckon Hick & Wykstra borrowed the term epistemic distance (dang, can’t use “ED” as it’s already taken) from applied linguistics (e.g. pedagogy) & probabilistic epistemology, where the concept of epistemic distancing refers to a linguistic modality re semantic meaning, pragmatic interpretation & cognitive learning.

Personally, I receive Augustinian & Irenaean approaches, including evil as privation, soul-making & free will defenses, as establishing a mere logical compatibility between classical theism & evil.

HOWEVER, I reject all evidential theodicies in their attempts to further develop such defenses probabilistically b/c they tend to trivialize the immensity of human pain & enormity of human suffering.

YET – I do provisionally accept Stephen Wykstra’s systematic, skeptical theistic reply to evidential arguments, precisely b/c he grounds it in the epistemic distance between us & God, for it at least succeeds in showing that our failure to explain evil doesn’t confirm atheism.

A choice is forced upon us: imagining either it’s the existence of evil or God’s character that must remain unintelligible.

BECAUSE OF – DBH’s game theoretic disposal of the antecedent-consequent decree distinction is decisive over against any eternal residue of evil’s parasitic existence … and because of

God’s character revealed in Jesus & discerned by the Fathers, who embraced apocatastasis …

God’s sufficiently intelligible … and

THAT gives me all the hope I need.

Still, what place might death & other horrendous evils have in our lives?

I can only say that – from the Logos, Who’s been eternally spoken – the only logoi going forth remain those of being, well being & eternal being.

Ergo, God’s got no-thing to do with & no place for death apart from its eternal vanquishment.

THAT, not how, all this may be true, I insist!

Finally, what gets God out of the dock needn’t be based in case theory (logical defenses, evil as privation, free will) & shouldn’t be circumstantial evidence (theodicies). Juries are instructed that they can rely on character witnesses, alone, for not guilty verdicts.

Thus surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, a holy host of others standing ’round

Who do YOU say …?

Speculative Angelology – some caveats

As theological realists, we can establish semantical, ontological & epistemological contours for our meta-heuristics.

Employing the hypostatic union as our cosmological cipher, we then recognize those contours via a

semantical univocity of persons,

ontological analogy of natures &

meta-heuristical univocity of logoi.

As metaphysical realists, we can prescind from any given metaphysical root metaphor (substance, relational, process, experience, field, etc) to a phenomenological meta-heuristic.

Even while thus remaining metaphysically agnostic regarding the givens of determinate being, i.e. its primitives, forces & axioms, we can hermeneutically cycle through Lonergan’s functional specialties, following his transcendental imperatives.

And we can thereby harvest the value-realizations of our philosophical, historical & exegetical foundations and of our creedal doctrines, when we live as we pray & grow in authenticity.

We recognize, however, that these universal foundations & doctrines must be pastorally & sacramentally communicated to all in ways that are otherwise particular to each cultural milieu.

Our receptions of these creedal doctrines & celebrations of these liturgical gifts will have necessarily been preceded by systematic interpretations & idiomatic translations, which will have fostered the manifold & multiform Gospel inculturations & moral enculturations we encounter in our world today.

Christianity thus certainly implicates realist meta-heuristics, both phenomenological & theological, grounded in both general & special revelation.

Systematically, though, it remains in search of a metaphysic, whether such “explanations” reflect the deliverances of time-honored, commonsensical folk-psychologies or modern philosophies of mind.

Highly speculative medieval angelologies well framed many of the ongoing anthropological “explorations” in the modern philosophies of mind. We should all eschew the hubristic “consciousness explained” shtick of today’s eliminative materialists, even as we vigorously & laudably explore our angelologies.

We should recognize, too, when engaging in these angelologicalexplorations,” that our “explanatory” conclusions will often flow from – neither the consistency of our logic nor rigor of our premises, but – their tautological embeddedness in our very terms, i.e. chosen root metaphors.

The truths of our faith do not require the refutation of metaphysical ignosticisms, as those self-subvert. Neither do they hinge on whether or not consciousness is a primitive, along side space-time & matter-energy, or emergent therefrom per a nonreductive physicalism.

While I neither reject nor hold any given philosophy of mind, angelology or cosmology, I do applaud & encourage others’ explorations, only ever insisting that they not be confused with explanations and not be overinvested in terms of normative impetus. In other words, their deontological implications should be held, at least, as modestly as their ontological conclusions are tentative, which is very.

A Theological Anthropological Meta-Heuristic for a Neo-Chalcedonian Cosmotheandric Universalism

A Grammatical Heuristic for the Hypostatic Union:

Person or hypostasis is primary, whether divine or human.

Christ, the person, the Logos, has an essential divine nature and a secondary human nature.
His assumption (becoming) of the latter humanizes the Logos.

The essential nature of human persons is identical to Christ’s secondary nature, but it is not a nature each person fully exemplifies or realizes, initially. It is a nature we become. That
becoming for us constitutes our deification.

The identical uncreated logoi (divine volition & energeia) that humanize the Logos, deify the
human person.

Christ is constituted by & fully exemplifies the divine & human natures.

Human persons are constituted by the same human nature, only progressively so, I would
suggest, participating in the divine nature as vestige, then image, then likeness, thereby only
signifying” the divine nature which is analogous to the human nature, which different
persons realize to varying degrees.

So human nature is analogous to the divine nature, participating as an effect proper to its
cause, resembling it to varying degrees, so signifying (semiotically) vestige, image & ,
eventually & hopefully likeness. That essential nature, when fully realized, would be identical to the human nature assumed by the Logos.

These are grammatical heuristics. BYOM (Bring your own metaphysic!)

Given that heuristic for relating the divine & human natures in the Hypostatic Union, what constitutes this shared human nature – cosmically, noetically & logically?

For every noetic form of knowing there is a corresponding form of logical engagement, as these epistemic approaches engage every aspect of our donative reality via probes that are methodologically autonomous but axiologically integral: descriptive, interpretive, evaluative, normative & contemplative. [1]

Human Agency Acts:

1) Cosmically, as vestigium Dei or Human Being, which reflects the cosmos, involves existential causes in potency to probabilistic essential causes, which include probabilistic telic realities-

teleopotent (veldopoietic),

teleomatic (cosmopoietic)

teleonomic (biopoietic) &

teleoqualic (sentiopoietic).

Divine Causal Joint:
The Spirit operates here via the Gratuity of Creation

2) Noetically, as an imago Dei or Willing Human Person, which reflects the Divine Nous of the divine esse naturale and involves efficient causes in potency to probabilistic material causes as

kinetic (dynamical) and constituting the will, which is teleological (sapiopoietic) and which responds [2] per innate nous, intellectus or sapienta, which can assent, refuse or remain quiescent (absence of refusal) & which engages

descriptively via the

perinoetic (empirical);

interpretively via the

dianoetic (logical), aporetic (diastemic), epinoetic (apophatic), & ananoetic (metaphysical);

evaluatively via the

anoetic (affective) ;

normatively via the

deonticnoetic (moral & prudential); and

contemplatively (receptively) via the

metanoetic (theotic).

Divine Causal Joint:

The Spirit willingly operates via the Gratuity of Grace on human persons as

vestigia Dei thru divine energeia through their teleopotent (veldopoietic), teleomatic (cosmopoietic), teleonomic (biopoietic) &
teleoqualic (sentiopoietic) natures (generally considered exceptional or miraculous), thereby effecting all manner of existential causes (which are efficient causes but not distinctly human) and as

similitudines Dei thru divine energeia through their semiotic natures, thereby effecting all manner of formal causes in utterly efficacious but ineluctably unobtrusive ways.

But the Spirit, condescendingly, refrains from operating on (coercing) the human will via any manner of distinctly human efficient causes (contra Reformed & Báñezian anthropologies). So the Spirit will not operate via the Gratuity of Grace without the human will’s assent or quiescence, as it will not coerce one who refuses to cooperate with Grace.

3) Logically, as a similitudino Dei or Human Becoming, which reflects the Divine Logos of the divine esse intentionale and involves formal causes in potency to probabilistic final causes as

phronetic (autonoetic) and constituting reason, which is teleological (scientiopoietic) and which responds [3] per logic or ratio, which can progressively transmute the will (metanoesis) by engaging

descriptively via the

empirical (perinoetic);

interpretively via the logical (dianoetic), diastemic (aporetic), apophatic (epinoetic) & metaphysical (ananoetic);

evaluatively via the

affective (anoetic) ; and

normatively via the

moral & prudential (deonticnoetic); and

contemplatively (receptively) via the

theotic (metanoetic).

Divine Causal Joint: The Spirit operates here via the Gratuity of Grace.

A Gelpian-Lonerganian Architectonic – a missiological meta-heuristic

Be attentive, orient, describe, truth, final causes, eschatological, protological, transjective necessity or Ens Necessarium – analog of paterological uniqueness

Be intelligent, empower, interpret, unity, efficient causes, ecclesiological, interpretive, intersubjective intimacy – analog of hypostatic unity

Be reasonable, sanctify & consecrate, evaluate, beauty, formal causes, soteriological, evaluative, charismatic, harmonic, unified self as intrasubjective integrity – analog of mystical, creaturely-divine, sophianic union

Be responsible, sustain, nurture & heal, norm, goodness, material causes, sacramental, ethical, normative, interobjective indeterminacy – analog of essential unicity

Be in love, save, contemplate, freedom, existential causes, synergy, sophiological, liberational, theotic, intraobjective Logos-logoi identity – analog of unitary energeia

Notes:

[1] These furnishings of the human epistemic suite correspond roughly to Lonergan’s transcendental imperatives and eightfold functional specialties, as explicated elsewhere in my Retreblement.

[2] Noetic responses roughly correspond to aspects of “knowing” as, for example, Newman’s illative sense; Polyani’s tacit dimension; Maritain’s connaturality; Fries’ nonintuitive immediate knowledge; Peirce’s abductive instinct; Aristotle’s intuitive induction; even noesis as pistis or faith.

[3] Logical responses roughly correspond to a more reflective engagement of existence’s donative realities, which are apprehended more inchoately when appropriated, noetically.

This is a companion piece to my Retreblement – a Systematic Apocatastasis & Pneumatological Missiology per a Neo-Chalcedonian Cosmotheandrism

Also to my Cosmotheandric Universalism

NeoChalcedonian Cosmotheandric Universalism

Because the Incarnation eternally proceeds from – not the divine nature as an essential necessity, but – the divine will as a volitional inevitability, therefore 

occasioned – not by some felix culpa, but – from the cosmotheandric get-go,

apocatastasis less so seems intended as some “restitutio in pristinum statum” and moreso seems to me

an indefeasible proto-logical entailment, hence eschato-logical inevitability.

Finite persons are constituted via acts in potency, divine persons by pure act. As such, Jesus eternally humanizes the Logos and deifies human nature via the cosmotheandric incarnation, thereby implicating several types of participation per distinct but analogous forms of dynamical perichoreses:

1) trinitological between the divine persons;

2) Christological in the hypostatic union;

3) cosmological in vestigia Dei;

4) anthropological in imagoes Dei; &

5) theotic in similitudines Dei.

Through those Trinitological & Christological perichoreses, divine persons “exemplify” the divine nature.

Through those cosmological, anthropological and theotic perichoreses, human persons “signify” the divine nature.

These eternal cosmotheandric realities thus constitute the proto-logical contours of all paterology, Christology, pneumatology, Trinitology, anthropology, ecclesiology, soteriology, sacramentology, sophiology, missiology and eschatology.

These proto-logical contours logically advert to no such reality as “evil.”

While, temporally & ephemerally, privations of goodness can obtain ontologically via a “parasitic existence,”  eternally, no coherent accounts of oikonomic condescension or kenotic tzimtzum could abide same and remain logically consistent and existentially congruent with the integrally related  & inherently consonant divine logics as are revealed in our Scriptures, celebrated in our Liturgies & Devotions and realized in our Theoses.

Eternally perduring parasitic existences would render unintelligible every divine logic: proto-, Christo-, anthropo-, soterio-, ecclesio-, sophio- and eschato-

This is all developed systematically in:

Retreblement – a Systematic Apocatastasis & Pneumatological Missiology per a Neo-Chalcedonian Cosmotheandrism

PRECIS for
https://www.academia.edu/43938792/PanSEMIOentheism_A_Neo_Chalcedonian_Cosmotheandric_Universalism

By existentialist & personalist, I mean that the predicate of existence (entitative existential quantification) will precede any of essence & energy & that any theory of triadic naming (semiotic-like) will be more fundamental than any emergentist theory of triadic terms.

So, any entity, person or hypostasis is more fundamental than essences or energeia (relations).

Absolute and nonstrict identities re determinate realities will have derived from a more fundamental relative identity re nondeterminate & self-determinate realities in our realist metaphysic.

Similarity & difference must be dynamically related via constitutive functional relations of formal identity, which is quidditative for determinate realities but not nondeterminate.

Three name theory will employ both existential & universal quantification but no universal qualification for nondeterminate & self-determinate realities.

Three term theory employs existential & universal quantification; also – the universal qualification of our irreducibly triadic propositional modal ontology; as well as propositional object in/determinacy for determinate realities.

ERGO, per our emergentist (participatory) dynamic, neither essences nor relations will infinitely regress for they will have ultimately derived from, participated with and been formally identified in relation to primal energeia or primal relations or primal logoi of a primal Logos.

This avoids both a pantheism and theopanism because the determinate realities of this emergentist account will have derived – neither from primal entities, themselves, nor a primal essence, but – the primal will of Persons, Whose divine haecceity refers (indexically) to hypostases in their otherwise indescribable, unqualitative, indefinite hereness & nowness.

What, then, of the “stuff” we’re made of, much less the stuff of which divine persons were begotten (& not)?

Well, it’s not as if our account has no antinomial residue. It’s consistent but incomplete, which is an architectonic feature not a positivistic bug.

While for material determinate realities, matter, alone, suffices to individuate hypostases, even when only metaphorically & analogically, the taxonomy of immaterial determinate realities (human persons, because we are analogical images of the divine persons), can only employ a naming strategy that recognizes “that, when & where” each of us, ultimately, came to be in our thisness, hereness, nowness (even in some form of eternal simultaneity).

Who each person is remains, ultimately & ineluctably, indescribable, unqualitative and indefinite!

A contemplative pause, then gaze, then stance with respect to any beloved accesses this truth.

What we do profess is that we know from Whom and Why we emerged.

And our participatory metaphysic suggests, with its inescapably vague (in/definite) and inescapably general (not specific) terms and modal ontology, How.

Some of us learned this in our catechisms when we reached the “age of reason” prior to our Holy Communion:

“Who made us?” and “Why?”.

Only a participatory process of Anamnesis (concelebration), which facilitates forgetting, at least, some of what we learned in our Age of Enlightenment, will get us back in touch with those fundamental truths, which are more so Christological, much less so philosophical.

I’ll now turn to making a list of things to forget.

Feel free to submit. For starters:

Ockham

God Out the Dock

All the talk of defenses & theodicies vis a vis the problem of evil, which are more vs less on point (though not reckoning in my universalist logic), bring to mind an analogous criminal paradigm.

A general theory of crime, classically,
must involve a rational will. A given crime involves a set of facts, evidentially. A
particular case theory interprets those facts.

Logical defenses can represent interpretive case theory arguments, including whether or not there was a crime.

Theodicies represent evidential arguments
for specific facts, which might beg explanations.

An incredibly weighty form of substantive, positive evidence is good character. It needn’t be weighted in the context of other matters. That is to say that it needn’t be considered in the context of other evidence but is an independent factor that can, by itself, engender reasonable
doubt or produce a conclusion of innocence.

Jury instructions make clear that the law recognizes that a person of good character is not likely to commit a crime contrary to that person’s nature, so, that person’s character or nature can
require a verdict of not guilty.

So, while theodicies are repugnant & defenses can be merely adequate
(understandably, nevertheless, important to many), neither are necessary to take God out of the dock, if He can assemble great cloud of (character) witnesses.

I suspect that’s how many of us roll.

Sophia, Energies & Logoi in a Neo-Chalcedonian Cosmotheandrism

Sophia has been a challenge to map as revealed in historical treatments. Setting those descriptive accounts to the side, at least in part, below is my own normative formulation.

I like to conceive Sophia as an

attribute of the divine essence, belonging to the Trinity,

exemplified hypostatically by the Son as wisdom & Spirit as glory, &

manifested as uncreated Sophia thru such as divine energies (Palamite) & logoi (Maximian).

These uncreated logoi are manifested theophanically, as they terminate in effects on determinate being (as created logoi) in manifold & multiform participable ways, e.g. teloi, laws, nomicities, gifts, grace, signs & wonders.

Every creaturely cooperation with, hence participation in, the logoi constitutes a theotic, sophianic eternalization that incorporates us into created Sophia, Christ’s Bride or Mystical Body.

Thus we imitate the Bridal Fiat of the Theotokos & thereby participate in her incarnational synergism as it’s both eschatologically consummated in the divine nuptial union & protologically anticipated by  (contained in) the pre-existent logoi of Christ.

Creation happens.

To Be or Not, to Sophianize or Not our human secondary nature: The Unbearable Lightness of Being (eternally self-determined)

Divine Modes of Identity – Bulgakov, Balthasar & Bracken with Scotus & the Greek Fathers

Retreblement – a Systematic Apocatastasis & Pneumatological Missiology per a Neo-Chalcedonian Cosmotheandrism

Creativity would be the nature of God, pattern of existence & activity proper to God that God shares in varying degrees w/finite entities in an expression of divine empowering love. ~ Bracken

Thus I re-situate Bulgakov’s sophiology, Maximus’ Logos-logoi & Palamas’ energies.

re: use of Whitehead’s cosmology for Christian understanding of the God- world relationship risks misinterpretation of ANW: In my judgment, Aquinas made basically the same “mistake” in employing Aristotelian metaphysics to set forth his understanding in the ST. ~ Joe Bracken

Bulgakov claims Aquinas’s account is insufficiently Trinitarian, too influenced by pagan philosophy, & separates the divine will & intellect in such a way as to introduce arbitrariness into the relationship between the divine ideas & creation. ~ John Hughes

Here I am not endorsing the controversial thesis of creatio ex nihilo advocated by Irenaeus and others over the centuries, but instead proposing the notion of creatio ex deo. ~ Joseph Bracken

Bulgakov understood the doctrine of creation to be negatively defined as creatio ex nihilo and positively defined as creatio ex Deo. ~ Pavel L. Gavriljuk

Christian systematic theologians until quite recently grossly overemphasized the role of divine power and thereby significantly underestimated the role of divine love in their understanding of how God deals with the creatures of this world. ~ Joseph Bracken

For God to be the transcendent source of creativity within the cosmic process, God must be ontologically both the primordial source and ultimate goal of the cosmic process. ~ Joseph Bracken

A New Process-Oriented Approach to Theodicy Joseph Bracken, Process Studies, Vol. 48, No. 1 (Spring-Summer 2019), pp.105-120 https://jstor.org/stable/10.5406/processstudies.48.1.0105#metadata_info_tab_contents

The Problem of Pantheism in the Sophiology of Sergii Bulgakov: A Panentheistic Solution in the Process Trinitarianism of Joseph Bracken? by Brandon Gallaher

This essay explores Bulgakov’s thought as an alternative form of panentheism to Bracken’s

‘The Problem of Pantheism in the Sophiology of Sergii Bulgakov: A Panentheistic Solution in the…academia.edu

The God-World Relationship Between Joseph Bracken, Philip Clayton, and the Open Theism, by Dong-Sik Park, Claremont Graduate University

The God-World Relationship Between Joseph Bracken, Philip Clayton, and the Open Theismscholarship.claremont.edu

In Whom We Live & Move & Have Our Being, Panentheistic Reflections on God’s Presence in a Scientific World, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004 Below, I will list several chapters of this book, above, as are relevant to energies, logoi & sophia in a panentheism.

a) God immanent yet transcendent : the divine energies according to Saint Gregory Palamas, Kallistos Ware

b) The universe as hypostatic inherence in the logos of God : panentheism in the eastern orthodox perspective, Alexei V. Nesteruk

c) The cosmic vision of Saint Maximos the Confessor, Andrew Louth

d) Panentheism : a field-oriented approach, Joseph A. Bracken

e) The logos as wisdom : a starting point for a Sophianc theology of creation, Celia E. Deane-Drummond

Bulgakov’s Account of Creation: Neglected Aspects, Critics and Contemporary Relevance, Pavel L. Gavriljuk, International journal of systematic theology, 2015, Volume: 17, Issue: 4, Pages: 450-463

Creatio ex nihilo and the Divine Ideas in Aquinas: How fair is Bulgakov’s critique?, John Hughes, Modern Theology, Volume 29, Issue 2, 2013

“Words and phrases must be stretched towards a generality foreign to their ordinary usage; and, however such elements of language be stabilized as technicalities, they remain metaphors mutely appealing for an imaginative leap” ~ Whitehead, Process and Reality

Implicit here is my long- standing conviction that every metaphysical system is inevitably provisional and thus in principle open to reform and revision. ~ Joseph Bracken

Notes regarding Divine-Human Interaction & Grace per Libertarian Free Will

My account, below, will not exhaust every manner of divine-human interaction & of grace, but will address one aspect that I find deeply consoling — that God infuses grace universally, superabundantly & even without our assent, ever respecting our libertarian free will.

In reconciling divine-human interactions via grace & libertarian freedom of the will, might we draw on diverse conceptions from Scotism, Neoplatonism & Thomism (analytical not Banezian)?

We could conceive of both Scotus & Maximus as libertarians for whom the intellect’s necessarily operative but not wholly determinative in volition, where self-determinative volitional acts remain limited in potency to the logoi of being, well-being & eternal being.

The divine & human wills are thus not connected by one’s choosing between “this or that” but in “why the will wills at all,” as it does remain free not to act (via a type of quiescence). Such a volition would entail a moderately libertarian & moderately voluntarist free will.

Scotus locates the will in efficient causation. For many, this represents a conceptual relocation from the formal.

Interestingly, this can be squared with Eleonore Stump’s relocation of the operation of grace from efficient to formal causality over against Banezian premotion.

Stump distinguishes between an “assent to,” a “refusal of” & an “absence of refusal of” grace, as, per Aquinas, one can cease to refuse grace without assenting to it.

God thus infuses grace in us all, even when we don’t assent, as long as we’re not refusing it, i.e. as long as our wills are “quiescent.”

Thereby He infuses the good will of our justifying faith.

Thereby we can abandon ourselves to Divine Providence through quiescence.

Thus, let us pray –

w/Ignatius: “Take, Lord, receive all my liberty.”

w/the Psalmist: “Be still & know that I am God.”

with Merton: “I know you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.”

May we both cooperate with the graces of today & be alert to divine infusions.

Divine Freedom & Necessity in a Cosmotheandrism

For Bulgakov: I”s are constituted by “Thou”s

In the semiotic approach to emergence, Terry Deacon has coined two terms:

1) an “ententional” phenomenon is characterized by

2) a specific reality that it lacks, i.e. an “absential

Those terms, for me, bring to mind what I would call “embodied antinomies” or dynamical ententional-absential aboutnesses.

If epistemology models ontology, then, not every mediation need dialectically express some accommodative middle, whether epistemologically &/or ontologically.

Rather, because some of reality’s deepest value-realizations are precisely generated by the antinomial embodiments of ententional phenomena in ontologically creative tensions with their absentials (i.e. via epistemic & axiological distancing), our languages can semiotically express such dynamics only through such non-accommodative mediations, as would nurture a healthy aporetic sense.

We might say, for example, that ententional “I”s are constituted by absential “Thou”s.

And we might even observe that certain forms of “freedom” are constituted by “necessity.”

We could even say that, we, as creatures, exist as absential “thou”s for the necessarily freely willing loving God, the supremely ententional “I am.”

Such a divine ententionality depends essentially on a supremely personal divine intentionality per a divine volition that’s, at once, in some sense groundless as well as grounded by a self-constituting love, beyond all of our meager voluntarist or libertarian conceptions.

What might the Trinity’s economic generation of our own antinomial embodiments, our own radically social natures, our own human ententional phenomena (logoi) & absentials (tropoi), reveal “about” the ad intra Trinitarian generations & taxis?

The economic can, in principle, reveal nothing ontologically quidditative about the immanent Trinity (ad intra aporia).

Semiotically, however, because the divine energies do, at once, connotatively signify the essence & denotatively indicate the hypostases, from the unitary nature of the divine energies, while epistemically constrained by sophianic aporia (e.g. un/created, in/determinate, non/necessitating, causal logoi & teloi?), we can nevertheless connotatively infer the ultimate unicity of the divine ousia, even though constrained by essential aporia (e.g. indivisible yet communicable?), and denotatively infer the unitive relations of the divine hypostases, i.e. Monarchy of the Father & divine taxis, although constrained by hypostatic aporia (e.g. how & which metaphysical idiomata are modeled by our epistemic gnorismata?).

Because human symbolic inference is irreducibly triadic, interpretively, it’s also inherently performative, which means such connotative & denotative inferences, above, flow from our efficacious participations in the divine logoi, i.e. concretely & experientially, hence, sacramentally. Only then can our participatory imaginations, next, lend themselves to the post-experiential abstractions & discursive formulations of our Eucharistic anamnesis.

So, this creation’s not born of any necessity as would in any measure negate the eternal freedoms (both with & without ratio, i.e. both groundless & of a self-constituted ground, e.g. love) of nondeterminate divine being. Rather, it would ensue from the radically free, kenotic self-limitation of the self-determined divine being.

The Logos thus freely & donatively gifts participable logoi.
And not just per those bilateral theandric logoi as are proportionally (asymmetrically) participated in via incarnational humanization & theotic divinization, such as when we live as we pray – Biblically, creedally & liturgically. The entire creation participates, cosmically, proportional to other ententional aboutnesses or teloi – all as existentially oriented in an emergent hierarchy of nested absentials:
• veldo-poietic (field-like) entities present as teleopotent or end-unbounded;
• cosmopoietic – teleomatic or end-stated;
• biopoietic – teleonomic or end-directed or end-coded;
• sentiopoietic – teleoqualic or end-purposed; and
• sapiopoietic – teleologic or end-intended.

As such, this account approaches being, apophatically, as radically discontinuous ontologically, with an aporetic approach to nondeterminate, self-determinate, indeterminate & determinate entities, which exhibit characteristic aboutnesses via manifold & multiform antinomial embodiments.

Kataphatically, reality’s cosmotheandric hierarchy of ententional-absential participations via the Maximian Logos-logoi identity affords us a profound degree of existential actionability as we proportionally imitate the Christ, analogically & ontologically – each per her unique embodied tropoi, and literally & teleologically – all via participation in identical logoi.

Antinomial embodiments thus constitutively relates all being, whether nondeterminate, self -determinate & in/determinate, in dynamical terms of essential unicity, hypostatic unity & unitary energeia.

The protological (paterology, christology & pneumatological) thus constitutes – not only the eschatological, but – the ecclesiological, soteriological, sacramental & sophiological.

See: https://sylvestjohn.org/2017/12/13/contemplative-being-behaving-believing-belonging-desiring-becoming-an-outline-of-foundations/

Liturgically, then, after our meditation on the Word, the Logos, through our Offertory, our own ecstasis & proodos of self-transcendence, we’ll enjoy Communion, our enstasis & mone in union, to then go forth empowered to love & serve via our Post Communion epecstasis & epistrophe or self-reception.

Notes regarding different forms of volition:

indetermined w/o ratio or with freedom from necessity, including one’s choosing whether to will at all, moderately voluntarist

in/determined w/ratio (desires or needs) or freedom to – assent, refuse or permit (absence of refusal), moderately libertarian

self-determined or self-limited or freedom for, as in kenosis, authentically sacrificial

These are imagoes Dei of the Divine Volition which is nondeterminate (both w/ & w/o ratio) & self-determinate via ad intra ur-kenosis & ad extra kenosis.

Neo-Chalcedonianism is Uncommonly Commonsensical

Cyril & Maximus ambitioned nothing robustly explanatory. Instead, they much more modestly established Christological grounds, which remain fertile for cultivating new meanings of the Incarnation, today. In our Trinitology & Christology, we can take a commonsensical approach to understanding the divine persons. We can fruitfully employ vague & general exploratory heuristics, using grammatical semantic references, in our ongoing probes of the meaning of our encounters of these persons in scripture & liturgy.

We similarly probe the meanings of methexis & theosis. Terms referring to essential propria, hypostatic idiomata & relational energeia & logoi, in principle, can’t be considered constitutive ontological definitions suitable for use in analytical, explanatory metaphysics.

The question of meaning put to us was – not WHAT, but – WHO do you say I am?

As we recognize & affirm the protological in the eschatological & vice versa, this needn’t entail a thoroughgoing theological determinism, not even for a universalist stance, at least, not if we properly distinguish & nuance determination, causation, necessitation & freedom.

Proportional participations in Maximian logoi, beyond being theandric realities, express universal cosmic realities?

This evokes for me Bulgakov’s seeing divine beauty in nature, God as indifferentia oppositorum & his embrace of Nicholas of Cusa’s coincidentia oppositorum.

Not thru an ontological “middling” but via a teleological “muddling” of antinomial realities do sophia, energeia & logoi reveal the unitary nature of the divine energies, ultimate unicity of the divine ousia & unitive relations of the divine hypostases.

Peirce’s semiotic realism well navigates past the existentially perilous shoals of an empty nominalism, vulgar pragmatism, idealist anti-realism, arbitrary voluntarism & corrosive relativism.

Insofar as life’s inescapably liturgical, we might more parsimoniously refer to that creedal collection of negations as the Litany of Nihilism.

To the extent that our creeds are inherently orthopraxic, we must all be on our guard to not celebrate this Litany of Nihilism, i.e. unawares & in the very manners that we move and live and have our being.

This is to observe that we all need to be more vigilant, as we will all on occasion entertain angels, unawares, and they best not be Screwtape or Wormwood.

While Peirce’s abduction of the reality of God does barely sneak by a naive fideism, any refusal to journey beyond his Ens Necessarium would implicitly entail a radically apophatic deism.

So, in the same way that Peirce went beyond both Scotism & German Idealism, influenced by & appropriating their best intuitions, setting aside any inadequacies, I’ve found a most profitable way to go beyond (not contrary to) Peirce is by turning to Булга́ков & Флоре́нский.

Of the Actus Purus, we may semantically predicate though not ontologically define essential, personal & energetic distinctions like being, willing & doing. If we attentively, concretely & experientially behold the Trinity’s universalized & particularized presences among & donative presents for us, we’ll be overwhelmed by the mysterium tremendum et fascinans. In our post-experiential processing, as our participatory imaginations yield to a cognitive map-making of discursive reasoning, an ineluctable antinomial residue will inevitably remain.

Our numinous experiences do not dialectically resolve the dynamical tensions that resist our fallible reasoning. We don’t know what to make of essences, persons & energies, which present, at once, groundless, grounded & self-grounded vis a vis our meager conceptions of necessity, freedom & kenosis. And this involves no mere Gödelian trade-off of consistent axioms for systematic incompleteness, such as we employ for determinate being. Rather, we’re confronted by an horizon where our logic’s unavoidably paraconsistent, at best, our systematics remain semi-formal, at best, the nature of our language, itself, antinomial, at best, our notions of identity alternately absolute, relative or nonstrict, at best.

But, wait!

For philosophers, who’ve paid any attention at all to the intractable aporia confronting our accounts regarding the origins of the quantum, of the cosmos, of life, of consciousness & of language, the above-listed epistemic constraints & antinomial residues yet pertain no less to the essences, persons & energies of determinate beings than they do to their divine analogates?

Just as with our failed theodicies, what will finally rescue our rationalistic theologies, will not be sylly syllogisms. What will finally satisfy our insatiable appetite for Goodness beyond all goodness, our admirable quest for Beauty beyond all beauty, our insatiable longing for Unity beyond all unity, our transformative realization of a Freedom beyond all freedom, need not require the elimination of reality’s antinomial residues but, instead, may be divinely provisioned by a ceremonial rescue of being by Being, itself, Who loves us with the same ur-kenotic Love of Our Father, Who eternally generates our Saviour & Advocate, the Son & Spirit. Having thus tasted & seen the Goodness of the Lord, we might even lose interest in His antinomies, or, at least, be no more concerned with them than we are with the axioms that ground 2+2=4, for which one would have to proceed halfway through the Principia to grasp their proof? It’ll finally be the participatory encounter with Love that calms our restless hearts.

Any idle curiosity regarding the biographical knowledge ABOUT our Divine Spouse will thus get eclipsed by the experiential knowledge OF Her via Mystical Union in a vision, most beatific.

The concept of ens is everywhere engulfed in antinomies. In fact ens seems to be subject to the most contrary dialectical passions: it is one but also many, necessary but also contingent, infinite & finite, immutable yet mutable … Rosmini

The Litany of Nihilism employs a vulgar pragmatism as a theory of knowledge, but, regarding a theory of truth, is eliminativist. Few journey that way, theoretically, b/c it’s just not sustainably actionable, existentially.

All of us do fall prey to lapsing into a practical nihilism, as we un/consciously opt, in any given moment, at this or that existential disjunction, to live as if there “really” is no truth, beauty, goodness, unity or freedom.

Our belief in Truth is a disposition & decision we make anew, in every moment, b/c, as God sustains our essential natures via creatio continua, as imagoes Dei, we volitionally sustain our virtuous (or vicious) secondary natures per our own co-creative creatio continua.

Whether historically justifiable or not, Bulgakov charitably interpreted Apollinaris as consistent w/Chalcedon. We might return the favor & tweak Bulgakov’s sophiology in doctrinally consistent ways?

Sophia may not be the only idiom but, for me, seems a felicitous one to collectively approach:

a) paterologically, the monarchia as principium of the hypostatic unity;

b) christologically, the eternal hypostatic union, Logos-logoi indentity, created & uncreated logoi;

c) pneumatologically, the eternal universal cosmic-indwelling presence;

d) trinitologically, the ad extra economic dynamics in relation to ad intra immanence;

e) theanthropically, androgyne, feminine & masculine realities;

f) scripturally, divine wisdom;

g) speculatively, antinomial (not dialectical) mediations & the essential unicity; h) eschatologically, the eternal protological ur-kenotic taxis, kenotic creatio continua & theotokos’ incarnational fiat;

i) soteriologically, an aesthetic teleology;

j-1) sacramentally, creaturely imitation & participation, and

j-2) sophiologically, theurgy & theosis – via the divine unitary energeia & logoi (at once humanizing & divinizing);

k) ecclesiologically, the Mystical Bride;

l) mystagogically, cosmotheandric intimacization;

m) theodicially, intertwined ontic & personal evils, as privative realities finally overcome by sacrificial love per

m-1) a primordially liminal, supra-temporal fall or

m-2) sophiology placed in non-nominalistic process theology.

n/ systematically, its anticipation of an open theist approach. In my view, it best be re-situated in a view more sympathetic to classical theist commitments, e.g. Norris Clarke’s personalist Thomism or Joe Bracken’s neo-Whiteheadian divine matrix.

Also see: Paul L. Gavrilyuk (2005). The kenotic theology of Sergius Bulgakov. Scottish Journal of Theology, 58, pp 25

http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0036930605001390

Bulgakov’s Sophiological Panentheism’, keynote address at the Fourth Annual Symposium in honor or Fr. Georges Florovsky, ‘Creation and Creaturehood: The Doctrine of Creation in the Patristic Tradition’, Princeton Theological Seminary, 14-15 February 2014

https://www.academia.edu/9802768/_Bulgakov_s_Sophiological_Panentheism_keynote_address_at_the_Fourth_Annual_Symposium_in_honor_or_Fr._Georges_Florovsky_Creation_and_Creaturehood_The_Doctrine_of_Creation_in_the_Patristic_Tradition_Princeton_Theological_Seminary_14-15_February_2014

‘Graced Creatureliness: Ontological Tension in the Uncreated/Created Distinction in the Sophiologies of Solov’ev, Bulgakov and Milbank’, Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies, 47.1-2 (2006), 163-190.

https://academia.edu/220401/_Graced_Creatureliness_Ontological_Tension_in_the_Uncreated_Created_Distinction_in_the_Sophiologies_of_Solov_ev_Bulgakov_and_Milbank_Logos_A_Journal_of_Eastern_Christian_Studies_47.1-2_2006_163-190

Theology serves as Queen of the Sciences in an axiologically integral relationship to them but doesn’t deny their methodological autonomy. While it’s implicit metaphysica generalis rejects nonoverlapping magisteria, still, its role contributes – not explanatory, but – only heuristic value. And it can thus impart same even for those who receive its metaphysical presuppositions as mere methodological stipulations. As such, it should emulate the epistemic humility of a servant leader, eschewing any triumphalistic hubris. There’s no reason to believe that a robustly fecund theological heuristic can’t fruitfully proceed from a radically inclusivistic pneumatology (rather than imagining its success need require some militantly Christocentric account).

Bulgakov: Science is sophic: this is the answer we can give to skeptical pragmaticism & dogmatic positivism. It is removed from Truth, for it is a child of this world … but it’s also a child of Sophia, the organizing force that leads this world to Truth.

Sophiology, Science And Technology

Moderately Libertarian Approaches to the Will – with Scotistic & Maximian influences

Both Duns Scotus & Maximus the Confessor sufficiently nuance their notions of the will in ways that sufficiently navigate past both voluntarist & intellectualist flaws.

The following strategies are influenced by but not developed solely from Scotistic & Maximian approaches.

relocate primary causation (as an immediate, continuously conserving cause) to the act of existence, which is in limited potency to an essential cause

recognize that secondary causality includes realities that vary in degrees of indeterminacy

relocate the will from a formal to an efficient causal act, which is in limited potency to a material cause

relocate the operation of grace from an efficient to a formal cause, which is in limited potency to a final cause

distinguish will (self-determination) from nature (hetero-determination)

distinguish an “assent to,” a “refusal of” & an “absence of refusal of” grace (as one can cease to refuse grace without assenting to it)

distinguish three logoi of being, well-being, and eternal being, God the sole cause of the first & third, while well-being’s intermediately caused by our sponaneous movement & gnomic willing (epistemic & axiological distancing), hence, intellect’s necessarily operative but not wholly determinative in volition

attribute gnomic will to evolution not a “fall”

distinguish freedoms to assent, refuse or permit (absence of refusal)

distinguish:

freedom from – an indeterminate willing w/o ratio (choosing among goods, including one’s choosing whether to will at all) from

freedom to – a determinate willing w/ratio (fallibly choosing between goods, per one’s constitutive desires & needs, and privations, iow, refusing grace) and

freedom for – a self-determined or self-limited willing (as in kenosis)

Helpful Resources:

The Subtle Doctor and Free Will, Part 1, Maximus Confesses

The Subtle Doctor and Free Will, Part 2, Duns Scotus on Freedom of the Will and Divine Foreknowledge

A paradox in Scotus account of freedom of the will by Gonzalez-Ayesta

Duns Scotus on the Natural Will by C. Gonzalez-Ayesta

Chapter 4, Duns Scotus on Freedom as a Pure Perfection – Necessity & Contingency by Gonzalez-Ayesta in
Margaret Cameron ed., Philosophy of Mind in the Early and High Middle Ages: The History of the Philosophy of Mind, Volume 2, Routledge, Jul 6, 2018

St. Maximus the Confessor on the Will—Natural and Gnomic by David Bradshaw, Ph.D.

But the Problem of Free Will by David W. Opderbeck, Ph.D.

Divine Freedom & Necessity (analogues & antinomies)


no best possible worlds but a pareto front of equipoised optimalities, choosing among the perfectly good – jssylvest

Freedom and Necessity in Modern Trinitarian Theology, Oxford University Press, 2016

Brandon Gallaher shows that the classical Christian understanding of God having a non-necessary relationship to the world and divine freedom being a sheer assertion of God’s will must be completely rethought.

Review of Brandon Gallaher, Freedom and Necessity in Modern Trinitarian Theology (Oxford: OUP, 2016), Reviews in Religion & Theology 24.4 (2017): 697-699–Justin Shaun Coyle.pdf by Justin Shaun Coyle

Retreblement – a Systematic Apocatastasis & Pneumatological Missiology per a Neo-Chalcedonian Cosmotheandrism

One can find further resources regarding Scotistic & Maximian libertarian conceptions of the will within these notes, above, especially by searching for Mary Beth Ingham, Marilyn McCord Adams & Eleonore Stump.

Nature & Grace, Natural & Supernatural, Primary & Secondary Causality, Volitional Aspects With & Without “Ratio

Ordinarily & universally, primary causality operates via existential & formal acts of secondary causation per their essential & final potencies, i.e. in the gratuity of creation or naturally.

Extraordinarily & particularly, primary causality operates – not only via those existential & formal secondary causes, but – via efficient causes, i.e. gratuities of grace & miracles or supernaturally.

Only, per the divine kenotic condescension, grace does not act via the efficient cause of human volition (teleological intention, which includes the proto-rationality* normally designated as w/o ratio). This does not preclude divine activity via other human efficient causes per hierarchically nested (embedded) emergent, ententional (& absential) phenomena (teleoqualic, teleonomic, teleomatic & teleopotent).

*The proto-rationality of connaturality, abductive inference, illative sense, tacit dimensionality, etc apprehends the beauty of universal harmonic orders, both implicate & explicate.

When talking about the divine being or essence, aseity means “not made.” When talking about divine persons or hypostases, aseity has a different meaning – “not from.” All of the persons are “not made,” but only the Father is “not from” God.

To what might such an eternal (not temporal) cause, origin or principle (aitia, arche or principium) refer? Communication. The Father freely & willingly communicates Love, eternally loving (begetting) the Son, loving (spirating) the Holy Spirit & loving (exnihilating) creation.

All persons then participate in the Logoi proportionate to the nature of their being, e. g. God “from” God, “made” by God, hypostatic union, etc
#

While neither Maximus nor Scotus viewed the Incarnation as a result of some felix culpa, that conclusion was a response to different questions posed by each. There’s little doubt that they would’ve very much agreed with each other.
Oversimplifying, but – Maximus inquired after the purpose of creation, concluding it was the means toward the end of the Incarnation. Scotus inquired after the purpose of the Incarnation, concluding it was to communicate divine love & Ad majórem Dei glóriam.
When we conceive of divine freedom (e.g. creative) in terms of w/& w/o ratio, as variously ungrounded, constitutively-grounded &/or self-grounded, what’s “constitutively grounded” would refer to – not an essential necessity, but – a volitional inevitability.
All is distant from God, and is remote from Him not by place but by nature— ou tôpo alla physei— as St. John Damascene explains. And this distance is never removed, but is only, as it were, overlapped by immeasurable Divine love. ~ Archpriest Georges Florovsky

Foreordained from All Eternity: The Mystery of the Incarnation According to Some Early Christian and Byzantine Writers ~ Bogdan G. Bucur https://academia.edu/4996258/Foreordained_from_All_Eternity_The_Mystery_of_the_Incarnation_According_to_Some_Early_Christian_and_Byzantine_Writers

Foreordained from All Eternity: The Mystery of the Incarnation According to Some Early Christian…

academia.edu
#

While recognizing that “dance” clearly lacks philological warrant, LaCugna valued dance because of its metaphorical effectiveness. Still, what justifies a metaphor that portrays such a human participation in divine operations?

Well, even if not ad intra trinitarian taxis, certainly the hypostatic union. The perichoretic concept was used in late Patristic Trinitology to convey – not circle dance, but – mutual interpenetration or permeation without merging or mixing (Maximus & the Damascene).
But, such a concept was first employed in early Patristic Christology by the Cappadocians (Nyssen & Nazianzen). While the Trinitarian perichoresis refers to homogenous, consubstantial realities, the Christological refers heterogenously & heterosubstantially.

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 participate, albeit proportional to our being, in divinity, for the very same logoi that humanize the divine also divinize the human.

Dance thus remains a great metaphor, even if much of Western theology stumbled upon it accidentally!

cf. Stamatović, Slobodan. (2016). The Meaning of Perichoresis. Open Theology. 2. 10.1515/opth-2016-0026.
#
As w/equivocal uses of God (eg predicate, name), so too re Oneness (eg essential unicity, unitary energeia, hypostatic unity, monarchical uniqueness). Behr’s concern seems to be that MOF most straightforwardly reconciles w/monotheism? Which oneness does monotheism most implicate?
The Capps reconcile with Augustine, Cyril, Aquinas, Scotus, Maximus, Palamas, RC, EO & much of Protestantism on MOF & ousia. Even if for Scotus it’s a primary substance & immanent universal, like TA, it remains communicable but indivisible. Scotus is more felicitous w/Capps is all.

More Notes re Theological Anthropology of this project


Evokes for me the aesthetic teleology of those who employ metaphors fr complexity theory & nonequilibrium thermodynamics, except they say (of dissipative structures): the more complex, the more fragile (due to number of permutations that can be threatened), the more beautiful.

Since the Beautiful beyond all beauty acts eternally as a Simplicity beyond all simplicity with no residues like fragility, those metaphors seem to express an antinomy that’s not mediated ontologically but teleologically, e.g. via the Maximian Logos-logoi
#
The paterological uniqueness of the MOF is not in the least over against the essential unicity, unitary energeia or hypostatic unity. Still, we best get this historical account correct
because the proper reconciliation of monotheism & trinitarianism hangs in the balance. Furthermore, especially for those of us who affirm both the soteriological & theotic significance of the Incarnation, unitarianism, for example, undermines – not just our trinitological
& Christological dogma, but – the practical, hope-filled, dynamical approaches of our participatory anthropology & transfigurative cosmology. So, it’s not sufficient to learn true statements, creedally, or even speculative grammars, heuristically.
#
Scotus is definitely in the “felix culpa or not” camp. It took Maximus to properly extend the implications of the 3C’s further. Going beyond the Cappadocians, Cyril (mia-physite) & Chalcedon, in identifying the Logos’ divine will with the divine logoi, Maximus advanced our understanding of deification, when he recognized it as the corollary of Christ’s humanization. That’s to say that creation was the means toward the end of the Incarnation, which, itself, provides the means toward the end of our deification (& salvation).
#
Another нет (nyet) to Aquinas’ irreversibility thesis & да to Maximian irrevocability! “Scotus is particularly dismissive of the view (held by others besides Thomas) that angels, once they choose, choose irrevocably (ibid. d.7 esp. nn.9–26).
The possibility is expressly left open by Scotus that some angels sinned but repented (ibid. d.6 q.2 n.78).” So, not all medieval speculative angelology supports Feser’s post-mortem anthropology & related infernalistic premises.
I’d continue to insist that “habitus,” whether as one’s virtuous &/or vicious secondary nature, remains always situated between formal acts & final potencies, facilitating or crippling but never “killing” those potentialities, which remain eternally immersed in Divine Logoi.
#
Yes. Scotus holds the keys to any coherent angelology: All finite causes must be together, spatially, to produce an effect. I’d made up a little heuristic to navigate such distinctions but, instead, relied on the term “embodied.” Scotus departs from TA in many regards.
1) in/communicable essence? all essences, divine & creaturely are communicable 2) dis/embodied? all creaturely entities are naturally embodied (communicatability & spatial extendability) 3) in/animate? some entities are animate & some animate entities are agential 4) in/corporeal agents? angels & contingently dis/carnate souls are incorporeal 5) im/material? agential formal causes are immaterial 6) presence spatially located operationally (Aquinas) or per se (Scotus)?
#

When talking about the divine being or essence, aseity means “not made.” When talking about divine persons or hypostases, aseity has a different meaning – “not from.” All of the persons are “not made,” but only the Father is “not from” God.

To what might such an eternal (not temporal) cause, origin or principle (aitia, arche or principium) refer? Communication. The Father freely & willingly communicates Love, eternally loving (begetting) the Son, loving (spirating) the Holy Spirit & loving (exnihilating) creation.

All persons then participate in the Logoi proportionate to the nature of their being, e. g. God “from” God, “made” by God, hypostatic union, etc
#

While neither Maximus nor Scotus viewed the Incarnation as a result of some felix culpa, that conclusion was a response to different questions posed by each. There’s little doubt that they would’ve very much agreed with each other.
Oversimplifying, but – Maximus inquired after the purpose of creation, concluding it was the means toward the end of the Incarnation. Scotus inquired after the purpose of the Incarnation, concluding it was to communicate divine love & Ad majórem Dei glóriam.
When we conceive of divine freedom (e.g. creative) in terms of w/& w/o ratio, as variously ungrounded, constitutively-grounded &/or self-grounded, what’s “constitutively grounded” would refer to – not an essential necessity, but – a volitional inevitability.
All is distant from God, and is remote from Him not by place but by nature— ou tôpo alla physei— as St. John Damascene explains. And this distance is never removed, but is only, as it were, overlapped by immeasurable Divine love. ~ Archpriest Georges Florovsky

Foreordained from All Eternity: The Mystery of the Incarnation According to Some Early Christian and Byzantine Writers ~ Bogdan G. Bucur https://academia.edu/4996258/Foreordained_from_All_Eternity_The_Mystery_of_the_Incarnation_According_to_Some_Early_Christian_and_Byzantine_Writers

Foreordained from All Eternity: The Mystery of the Incarnation According to Some Early Christian…

academia.edu
#

While recognizing that “dance” clearly lacks philological warrant, LaCugna valued dance because of its metaphorical effectiveness. Still, what justifies a metaphor that portrays such a human participation in divine operations?
Well, even if not ad intra trinitarian taxis, certainly the hypostatic union. The perichoretic concept was used in late Patristic Trinitology to convey – not circle dance, but – mutual interpenetration or permeation without merging or mixing (Maximus & the Damascene).
But, such a concept was first employed in early Patristic Christology by the Cappadocians (Nyssen & Nazianzen). While the Trinitarian perichoresis refers to homogenous, consubstantial realities, the Christological refers heterogenously & heterosubstantially.
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 participate, albeit proportional to our being, in divinity, for the very same logoi that humanize the divine also divinize the human.
Dance thus remains a great metaphor, even if much of Western theology stumbled upon it accidentally!
cf. Stamatović, Slobodan. (2016). The Meaning of Perichoresis. Open Theology. 2. 10.1515/opth-2016-0026.
#
As w/equivocal uses of God (eg predicate, name), so too re Oneness (eg essential unicity, unitary energeia, hypostatic unity, monarchical uniqueness). Behr’s concern seems to be that MOF most straightforwardly reconciles w/monotheism? Which oneness does monotheism most implicate?
The Capps reconcile with Augustine, Cyril, Aquinas, Scotus, Maximus, Palamas, RC, EO & much of Protestantism on MOF & ousia. Even if for Scotus it’s a primary substance & immanent universal, like TA, it remains communicable but indivisible. Scotus is more felicitous w/Capps is all.
#
Evokes for me the aesthetic teleology of those who employ metaphors fr complexity theory & nonequilibrium thermodynamics, except they say (of dissipative structures): the more complex, the more fragile (due to number of permutations that can be threatened), the more beautiful.

Since the Beautiful beyond all beauty acts eternally as a Simplicity beyond all simplicity with no residues like fragility, those metaphors seem to express an antinomy that’s not mediated ontologically but teleologically, e.g. via the Maximian Logos-logoi
#
The paterological uniqueness of the MOF is not in the least over against the essential unicity, unitary energeia or hypostatic unity. Still, we best get this historical account correct
because the proper reconciliation of monotheism & trinitarianism hangs in the balance. Furthermore, especially for those of us who affirm both the soteriological & theotic significance of the Incarnation, unitarianism, for example, undermines – not just our trinitological
& Christological dogma, but – the practical, hope-filled, dynamical approaches of our participatory anthropology & transfigurative cosmology. So, it’s not sufficient to learn true statements, creedally, or even speculative grammars, heuristically.
#
Scotus is definitely in the “felix culpa or not” camp. It took Maximus to properly extend the implications of the 3C’s further. Going beyond the Cappadocians, Cyril (mia-physite) & Chalcedon, in identifying the Logos’ divine will with the divine logoi, Maximus advanced our understanding of deification, when he recognized it as the corollary of Christ’s humanization. That’s to say that creation was the means toward the end of the Incarnation, which, itself, provides the means toward the end of our deification (& salvation).
#
Another нет (nyet) to Aquinas’ irreversibility thesis & да to Maximian irrevocability! “Scotus is particularly dismissive of the view (held by others besides Thomas) that angels, once they choose, choose irrevocably (ibid. d.7 esp. nn.9–26).
The possibility is expressly left open by Scotus that some angels sinned but repented (ibid. d.6 q.2 n.78).” So, not all medieval speculative angelology supports Feser’s post-mortem anthropology & related infernalistic premises.
I’d continue to insist that “habitus,” whether as one’s virtuous &/or vicious secondary nature, remains always situated between formal acts & final potencies, facilitating or crippling but never “killing” those potentialities, which remain eternally immersed in Divine Logoi.
#
Yes. Scotus holds the keys to any coherent angelology: All finite causes must be together, spatially, to produce an effect. I’d made up a little heuristic to navigate such distinctions but, instead, relied on the term “embodied.” Scotus departs from TA in many regards.
1) in/communicable essence? all essences, divine & creaturely are communicable 2) dis/embodied? all creaturely entities are naturally embodied (communicatability & spatial extendability) 3) in/animate? some entities are animate & some animate entities are agential 4) in/corporeal agents? angels & contingently dis/carnate souls are incorporeal 5) im/material? agential formal causes are immaterial 6) presence spatially located operationally (Aquinas) or per se (Scotus)?
#

How might our experience of God serve as an authoritative source of theology? Peter Neumann employs the Wesleyan Quadrilateral to engage the projects of 3 contemporary Pentecostal theologians: D. Macchia, Simon K.H. Chan & Amos Yong …
placing them in dialogue w/Catholic, Orthodox & Protestant streams: Congar, E Johnson & D Gelpi; Lossky & Bulgakov; & Moltmann, J Cone & Jenson. Pentecostal Experience: An Ecumenical Encounter, Pickwick Publications 2012 I resonate most w/ Yong, Gelpi, Bulgakov & Moltmann.
Yong echoes the “warning of Robert Jenson that the tension in pneumatology between the particularity of the Spirit in Jesus & in the Church & the universality of the Spirit as a cosmic reality ‘strains Western intellectual tradition to breaking . . .

To identify in other religious traditions elements of grace capable of sustaining the positive response of their members to God’s invitation is much more difficult. It requires a discernment for which criteria have to be established. ~ Giovanni Cereti http://vatican.va/jubilee_2000/magazine/documents/ju_mag_01091997_p-56_en.html

cf Discerning the Spirit in World Religions: The Search for Criteria by Benno van den Toren in The Spirit Is Moving: New Pathways in Pneumatology, Studies in Reformed Theology, V 38 pp 215–231, Ed: Gijsbert van den Brink, Eveline van Staalduine-Sulman & Maarten Wisse

cf KirsteenKim, The Holy Spirit in the world: a global conversation

The Holy Spirit in the world: a global conversation

Because experiential discernment criteria (Kirsteen Kim) will have ecclesial (confess Jesus is Lord), ethical (fruits), charismatic (gifts) & liberational aspects , we have to go beyond a mere hierarchical episcopal magisterium (vis a vis Scripture & tradition)

to include other magisteria. Theologians, laity, the poor & marginalized & believers of non-Christian religions must also be considered to achieve authoritative teaching (Peter Phan). I would add criteria related to a growth in intimacy, i.e. devotional, theotic, etc

As we go forward to better establish pneumatological discernment criteria in a global context – not just theistic, but – Christic criteria remain essential, because Christ remains – not just our norm, but – our Goal.
#
If not for a healthy aporetic sense, paraconsistent logic, dialethism, antinomism, semiformal systems, gödelian axiomatic constraints, our speculative approaches to quantum, cosmic, life, sentience & language origins would explode. The Trinity? Got a sylly syllogism for that!
#

The Capps reconcile with Augustine, Cyril, Aquinas, Scotus, Maximus, Palamas, RC, EO & much of Protestantism on MOF & ousia. Even if for Scotus it’s a primary substance & immanent universal, like TA, it remains communicable but indivisible. Scotus more felicitous w/Capps is all. As w/equivocal uses of God (eg predicate, name), so too re Oneness (eg essential unicity, unitary energeia, hypostatic unity, monarchical uniqueness). Behr’s concern seems to be that MOF most straightforwardly reconciles w/monotheism? Which oneness does monotheism most implicate?
#
Evokes for me the aesthetic teleology of those who employ metaphors fr complexity theory & nonequilibrium thermodynamics, except they say (of dissipative structures): the more complex, the more fragile (due to number of permutations that can be threatened), the more beautifulSince the Beautiful beyond all beauty acts eternally as a Simplicity beyond all simplicity with no residues like fragility, those metaphors seem to express an antinomy that’s not mediated ontologically but teleologically, e.g. via the Maximian Logos-logoi identity?

#
The paterological uniqueness of the MOF is not in the least over against the essential unicity, unitary energeia or hypostatic unity. Still, we best get this historical account correct
because the proper reconciliation of monotheism & trinitarianism hangs in the balance. Furthermore, especially for those of us who affirm both the soteriological & theotic significance of the Incarnation, unitarianism, for example, undermines – not just our trinitological

& Christological dogma, but – the practical, hope-filled, dynamical approaches of our participatory anthropology & transfigurative cosmology. So, it’s not sufficient to learn true statements, creedally, or even speculative grammars, heuristically.
It’s necessary to inhabit the proper historical thought patterns, as they emerged from post-experiential encounters (exegetical & liturgical) of Christ. Such a successful inhabitation (existential) presupposes our own holistic encounters of Christ in Scripture,
worship & theosis — encounters that must be adequately ortho-communal, ortho-pathic, ortho-praxic & ortho-theotic if our thought patterns are ever to be sufficiently ortho-doxic. Translated, right belonging, right desiring, right behaving & right becoming
will best foster right believing. Only then can we optimally engage, historically, the proper thought patterns (patristic &/or scholastic) & go beyond mere recitations of true statements & mere rehearsals of proper grammars to authentically encounter Christ &
will best foster right believing. Only then can we optimally engage, historically, the proper thought patterns (patristic &/or scholastic) & go beyond mere recitations of true statements & mere rehearsals of proper grammars to authentically encounter Christ &
to truthfully bear witness to Him in our thoughts, words & deeds. Otherwise, we’ll talk the talk, creedally, but may inadvertently find ourselves in material heresies, not just christological or trinitological (as in the example above), but walking the walks of gnosticism,
historicism, manichaeism, antinomianism, donatism, iconoclasm, pelagianism, jansenism, or worst of all, a practical nihilism.
#

Scotus is definitely in the “felix culpa or not” camp. It took Maximus to properly extend the implications of the 3C’s further. Going beyond the Cappadocians, Cyril (mia-physite) & Chalcedon, in identifying the Logos’ divine will with the logoi.

Maximus advanced our understanding of deification, when he recognized it as the corollary of Christ’s humanization. That’s to say that creation was the means toward the end of the Incarnation, which, itself, provides the means toward the end of our deification (& salvation).

When talking about the divine being or essence, aseity means “not made.” When talking about divine persons or hypostases, aseity has a different meaning – “not from.” All of the persons are “not made,” but only the Father is “not from” God.

To what might such an eternal (not temporal) cause, origin or principle (aitia, arche or principium) refer? Communication. The Father freely & willingly communicates Love, eternally loving (begetting) the Son, loving (spirating) the Holy Spirit & loving (exnihilating) creation.

All persons then participate in the Logoi proportionate to the nature of their being, e. g. God “from” God, “made” by God, hypostatic union, etc
#

While neither Maximus nor Scotus viewed the Incarnation as a result of some felix culpa, that conclusion was a response to different questions posed by each. There’s little doubt that they would’ve very much agreed with each other.
Oversimplifying, but – Maximus inquired after the purpose of creation, concluding it was the means toward the end of the Incarnation. Scotus inquired after the purpose of the Incarnation, concluding it was to communicate divine love & Ad majórem Dei glóriam.
When we conceive of divine freedom (e.g. creative) in terms of w/& w/o ratio, as variously ungrounded, constitutively-grounded &/or self-grounded, what’s “constitutively grounded” would refer to – not an essential necessity, but – a volitional inevitability.
All is distant from God, and is remote from Him not by place but by nature— ou tôpo alla physei— as St. John Damascene explains. And this distance is never removed, but is only, as it were, overlapped by immeasurable Divine love. ~ Archpriest Georges Florovsky

Foreordained from All Eternity: The Mystery of the Incarnation According to Some Early Christian and Byzantine Writers ~ Bogdan G. Bucur https://academia.edu/4996258/Foreordained_from_All_Eternity_The_Mystery_of_the_Incarnation_According_to_Some_Early_Christian_and_Byzantine_Writers

Foreordained from All Eternity: The Mystery of the Incarnation According to Some Early Christian…

academia.edu
#

While recognizing that “dance” clearly lacks philological warrant, LaCugna valued dance because of its metaphorical effectiveness. Still, what justifies a metaphor that portrays such a human participation in divine operations?
Well, even if not ad intra trinitarian taxis, certainly the hypostatic union. The perichoretic concept was used in late Patristic Trinitology to convey – not circle dance, but – mutual interpenetration or permeation without merging or mixing (Maximus & the Damascene).
But, such a concept was first employed in early Patristic Christology by the Cappadocians (Nyssen & Nazianzen). While the Trinitarian perichoresis refers to homogenous, consubstantial realities, the Christological refers heterogenously & heterosubstantially.
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 participate, albeit proportional to our being, in divinity, for the very same logoi that humanize the divine also divinize the human.
Dance thus remains a great metaphor, even if much of Western theology stumbled upon it accidentally!
cf. Stamatović, Slobodan. (2016). The Meaning of Perichoresis. Open Theology. 2. 10.1515/opth-2016-0026.
#
As w/equivocal uses of God (eg predicate, name), so too re Oneness (eg essential unicity, unitary energeia, hypostatic unity, monarchical uniqueness). Behr’s concern seems to be that MOF most straightforwardly reconciles w/monotheism? Which oneness does monotheism most implicate?
The Capps reconcile with Augustine, Cyril, Aquinas, Scotus, Maximus, Palamas, RC, EO & much of Protestantism on MOF & ousia. Even if for Scotus it’s a primary substance & immanent universal, like TA, it remains communicable but indivisible. Scotus is more felicitous w/Capps is all.
#
Evokes for me the aesthetic teleology of those who employ metaphors fr complexity theory & nonequilibrium thermodynamics, except they say (of dissipative structures): the more complex, the more fragile (due to number of permutations that can be threatened), the more beautiful.

Since the Beautiful beyond all beauty acts eternally as a Simplicity beyond all simplicity with no residues like fragility, those metaphors seem to express an antinomy that’s not mediated ontologically but teleologically, e.g. via the Maximian Logos-logoi
#
The paterological uniqueness of the MOF is not in the least over against the essential unicity, unitary energeia or hypostatic unity. Still, we best get this historical account correct
because the proper reconciliation of monotheism & trinitarianism hangs in the balance. Furthermore, especially for those of us who affirm both the soteriological & theotic significance of the Incarnation, unitarianism, for example, undermines – not just our trinitological
& Christological dogma, but – the practical, hope-filled, dynamical approaches of our participatory anthropology & transfigurative cosmology. So, it’s not sufficient to learn true statements, creedally, or even speculative grammars, heuristically.
#
Scotus is definitely in the “felix culpa or not” camp. It took Maximus to properly extend the implications of the 3C’s further. Going beyond the Cappadocians, Cyril (mia-physite) & Chalcedon, in identifying the Logos’ divine will with the divine logoi, Maximus advanced our understanding of deification, when he recognized it as the corollary of Christ’s humanization. That’s to say that creation was the means toward the end of the Incarnation, which, itself, provides the means toward the end of our deification (& salvation).
#
Another нет (nyet) to Aquinas’ irreversibility thesis & да to Maximian irrevocability! “Scotus is particularly dismissive of the view (held by others besides Thomas) that angels, once they choose, choose irrevocably (ibid. d.7 esp. nn.9–26).
The possibility is expressly left open by Scotus that some angels sinned but repented (ibid. d.6 q.2 n.78).” So, not all medieval speculative angelology supports Feser’s post-mortem anthropology & related infernalistic premises.
I’d continue to insist that “habitus,” whether as one’s virtuous &/or vicious secondary nature, remains always situated between formal acts & final potencies, facilitating or crippling but never “killing” those potentialities, which remain eternally immersed in Divine Logoi.
#
Yes. Scotus holds the keys to any coherent angelology: All finite causes must be together, spatially, to produce an effect. I’d made up a little heuristic to navigate such distinctions but, instead, relied on the term “embodied.” Scotus departs from TA in many regards.
1) in/communicable essence? all essences, divine & creaturely are communicable 2) dis/embodied? all creaturely entities are naturally embodied (communicatability & spatial extendability) 3) in/animate? some entities are animate & some animate entities are agential 4) in/corporeal agents? angels & contingently dis/carnate souls are incorporeal 5) im/material? agential formal causes are immaterial 6) presence spatially located operationally (Aquinas) or per se (Scotus)?
#

How might our experience of God serve as an authoritative source of theology? Peter Neumann employs the Wesleyan Quadrilateral to engage the projects of 3 contemporary Pentecostal theologians: D. Macchia, Simon K.H. Chan & Amos Yong …
placing them in dialogue w/Catholic, Orthodox & Protestant streams: Congar, E Johnson & D Gelpi; Lossky & Bulgakov; & Moltmann, J Cone & Jenson. Pentecostal Experience: An Ecumenical Encounter, Pickwick Publications 2012 I resonate most w/ Yong, Gelpi, Bulgakov & Moltmann.
Yong echoes the “warning of Robert Jenson that the tension in pneumatology between the particularity of the Spirit in Jesus & in the Church & the universality of the Spirit as a cosmic reality ‘strains Western intellectual tradition to breaking . . .

To identify in other religious traditions elements of grace capable of sustaining the positive response of their members to God’s invitation is much more difficult. It requires a discernment for which criteria have to be established. ~ Giovanni Cereti http://vatican.va/jubilee_2000/magazine/documents/ju_mag_01091997_p-56_en.html

cf Discerning the Spirit in World Religions: The Search for Criteria by Benno van den Toren in The Spirit Is Moving: New Pathways in Pneumatology, Studies in Reformed Theology, V 38 pp 215–231, Ed: Gijsbert van den Brink, Eveline van Staalduine-Sulman & Maarten Wisse

cf KirsteenKim, The Holy Spirit in the world: a global conversation

The Holy Spirit in the world: a global conversation

Because experiential discernment criteria (Kirsteen Kim) will have ecclesial (confess Jesus is Lord), ethical (fruits), charismatic (gifts) & liberational aspects , we have to go beyond a mere hierarchical episcopal magisterium (vis a vis Scripture & tradition)

to include other magisteria. Theologians, laity, the poor & marginalized & believers of non-Christian religions must also be considered to achieve authoritative teaching (Peter Phan). I would add criteria related to a growth in intimacy, i.e. devotional, theotic, etc

As we go forward to better establish pneumatological discernment criteria in a global context – not just theistic, but – Christic criteria remain essential, because Christ remains – not just our norm, but – our Goal.
#
If not for a healthy aporetic sense, paraconsistent logic, dialethism, antinomism, semiformal systems, gödelian axiomatic constraints, our speculative approaches to quantum, cosmic, life, sentience & language origins would explode. The Trinity? Got a sylly syllogism for that!
#

The Capps reconcile with Augustine, Cyril, Aquinas, Scotus, Maximus, Palamas, RC, EO & much of Protestantism on MOF & ousia. Even if for Scotus it’s a primary substance & immanent universal, like TA, it remains communicable but indivisible. Scotus more felicitous w/Capps is all. As w/equivocal uses of God (eg predicate, name), so too re Oneness (eg essential unicity, unitary energeia, hypostatic unity, monarchical uniqueness). Behr’s concern seems to be that MOF most straightforwardly reconciles w/monotheism? Which oneness does monotheism most implicate?
#
Evokes for me the aesthetic teleology of those who employ metaphors fr complexity theory & nonequilibrium thermodynamics, except they say (of dissipative structures): the more complex, the more fragile (due to number of permutations that can be threatened), the more beautifulSince the Beautiful beyond all beauty acts eternally as a Simplicity beyond all simplicity with no residues like fragility, those metaphors seem to express an antinomy that’s not mediated ontologically but teleologically, e.g. via the Maximian Logos-logoi identity?

#
The paterological uniqueness of the MOF is not in the least over against the essential unicity, unitary energeia or hypostatic unity. Still, we best get this historical account correct
because the proper reconciliation of monotheism & trinitarianism hangs in the balance. Furthermore, especially for those of us who affirm both the soteriological & theotic significance of the Incarnation, unitarianism, for example, undermines – not just our trinitological

& Christological dogma, but – the practical, hope-filled, dynamical approaches of our participatory anthropology & transfigurative cosmology. So, it’s not sufficient to learn true statements, creedally, or even speculative grammars, heuristically.
It’s necessary to inhabit the proper historical thought patterns, as they emerged from post-experiential encounters (exegetical & liturgical) of Christ. Such a successful inhabitation (existential) presupposes our own holistic encounters of Christ in Scripture,
worship & theosis — encounters that must be adequately ortho-communal, ortho-pathic, ortho-praxic & ortho-theotic if our thought patterns are ever to be sufficiently ortho-doxic. Translated, right belonging, right desiring, right behaving & right becoming
will best foster right believing. Only then can we optimally engage, historically, the proper thought patterns (patristic &/or scholastic) & go beyond mere recitations of true statements & mere rehearsals of proper grammars to authentically encounter Christ &
will best foster right believing. Only then can we optimally engage, historically, the proper thought patterns (patristic &/or scholastic) & go beyond mere recitations of true statements & mere rehearsals of proper grammars to authentically encounter Christ &
to truthfully bear witness to Him in our thoughts, words & deeds. Otherwise, we’ll talk the talk, creedally, but may inadvertently find ourselves in material heresies, not just christological or trinitological (as in the example above), but walking the walks of gnosticism,
historicism, manichaeism, antinomianism, donatism, iconoclasm, pelagianism, jansenism, or worst of all, a practical nihilism.
#

Scotus is definitely in the “felix culpa or not” camp. It took Maximus to properly extend the implications of the 3C’s further. Going beyond the Cappadocians, Cyril (mia-physite) & Chalcedon, in identifying the Logos’ divine will with the logoi.

Maximus advanced our understanding of deification, when he recognized it as the corollary of Christ’s humanization. That’s to say that creation was the means toward the end of the Incarnation, which, itself, provides the means toward the end of our deification (& salvation).

Layers of Analogia in Eschatological Anthropology

The musing, below, was evoked by Resurrection Prolegomena at Fr Kimel’s Eclectic Orthodoxy.

I post it here so as to avoid being inapposite to others’ more pressing concerns (as I tend to digress) and to avoid sucking the participatory oxygen out of another’s forum (as what I usually lack in general accessibility is too often only made up for by my long-windedness).

When I (most vaguely) consider the possibility of a post-mortem discarnate soul, even as somehow embodied, even with an identity as somehow constituted of different types of form, including unitary, plural & partial …

it occurs to me that Bonaventure may have well been correct in that “every act of cognition must be theology’s slave” …

because such a metaphysical anthropological account as that above, which eclectically incorporates Thomist (unitary), Bonaventuran (plural) & Scotist (partial) conceptions of forms

even if does not necessarily presuppose an eschatological, theological anthropology

does implicitly recognize that Aristotelian syllogistics, alone, cannot metaphysically account for anthropological realities to the same extent or with the same facility that it does regarding other finite determinate realities.

When we (e.g. Abelard) bridge the modal ontology of our Aristotelian syllogistics with the modal identities of our divine syllogistics, we unavoidably must employ an epistemic approach that integrally intertwines univocal semantic, analogical ontic & apophatic conceptual strategies.

The alert metaphysician, especially emergentist, semiotic realists (whether Augustinian, Bonaventuran, Scotist, Neo-platonist, Thomist, classical or process, even naturalist but, sorry, not Cartesian) recognizes that …

For finite determinate realities, we unavoidably must bridge the logics of end-stated and end-purposed realities (the merely teleomatic & teleonomic) with those of end-intended realities (the clearly teleo-logic), similarly, employing an epistemic approach that integrally intertwines univocal semantic, analogical ontic & apophatic conceptual strategies.

As epistemology models ontology, there are, unavoidably, layers of analogia required to model reality’s layers of complexity, all characters in search of their Author, all complexities in search of the Simplicity, all determinacies in search of the Ens Necessarium, as “omnes cognitiones theologiae famulantur” (every act of cognition is theology’s slave).

So, when braver (incarnate) souls than I, e.g. Paul J. Griffiths, speculate regarding eschatological anthropology, I adopt a posture of charitable interpretation that presupposes their recognition of & attendance to those requisite analogical intervals & apophatic predications that will integrally relate to & qualify their otherwise univocal semantic references.

And I expect those, who employ robustly personalist stances, both divine & human, to draw such distinctions as between esse naturale & intentionale.

Then, regarding the natures, energies & wills of divine hypostases, when incarnated, due to those analogical intervals, ontologically, they’ll necessarily refer to them only in terms of, respectively, dyophysitism, dyenergism & dyothelitism, or, at least, a properly nuanced miaphysitism.

I would expect them to apply the same degree of nuance & same deliberate parsings to the plural & partial forms that constitute human hypostases, respecting the analogical intervals & employing suitable apophatic predications between those aspects of our identities as they variously correspond to our teleomatic physicality, teleonomic physiology & teleologic intentionality.

Specifically, then, when philosopher-theologians like Griffiths speculatively refer, denotatively & putatively, to finite, determinate human realities in terms of physical primitives, i.e. mass, energy, gravity & space-time, it seems to me that he’s certainly employing the necessary parsings & nuances. For example, implicitly, his use of prefixes like im-, non-, dis- , ir- and in-, and suffixes like –less introduce the requisite apophatic bracketing. Explicitly, his citing of dis/continuities and drawing of eternal-temporal distinctions properly advert to reality’s unavoidable analogical intervals.

So, that’s all to say that I don’t see anything, a priori, logically inconsistent or internally incoherent, metaphysically.

Theologically, his eschatological anthropology remains within traditional contours, historically & exegetically, dogmatically & liturgically, pastorally & theotically, although I see a workaround in the distinctions between esse naturale & intentionale vis a vis our eternal realizations of aesthetic intensities vs scopes, where he could affirm rather than deny Greogory’s epektasis.

Systematically, though, Griffith’s work is very highly speculative, because he’s boldly conjectured beyond the vague categories of hylomorphism using a scientific idiom that remains very much a moving target, e.g. the nature of space-time or his timespace, as we’re nowhere near articulating a Theory of Everything.

As I’ve written, previously, our minimalist transcendent methodology would interrogate physical reality, for example, asking such questions as whether it’s NECESSARILY

  • volumetrically in/finite,
  • geometrically un/bounded or un/closed,
  • topologically un/re/curved,
  • spatialized temporally,
  • temporalized spatially,
  • essentially or emergently spatio-temporal,
  • a/symmetric,
  • essentially non/inflationary,
  • quasi/exponentially expansionary
  • dimensionally 2/3/4/more-D,
  • homo/hetero/genous,
  • an/isotropic,
  • uni/multi/versial,
  • with dimension/less physical constancy,
  • with non/universal constancy,
  • nomologically im/mutable

and on and on and on.

Answers to certain of these questions will necessarily implicate answers to certain others.

Suggested Reading:

I resonate more with much in the following accounts, all consistent with my Scotistic sensibilities articulated above, than with Griffith’s, but certainly consider his equiplausible versus them, metaphysically.

Thomas M. Ward, John Duns Scotus on Parts, Wholes, and Hylomorphism, Brill, 2014, Review by Robert Pasnau

Why I – rather naturally – Have No Metaphysic

B.P. Prusak, Bodily Resurrection in Catholic Perspectives, Theological Studies 61, 64-105.

Relevant Twitter Thread by John Sobert Sylvest

U-turns and Transcendentals

https://wp.me/pZJmO-76L

Because comments are closed, above, to wit:

It recent reading regarding free will, both temporally & in the eschaton, a thought occurred to me.

Temporally, the issue of being equipoised deliberatively arises, raising a concern of arbitrariness.

Eschatologically, the nature of deliberation, itself, is questioned, presumably, because of a lack of dispositional potencies.

Now, in my view, our freedom necessarily derives precisely from both epistemic AND axiological distancing, both temporally & eternally.

Therefore, even when one realizes a given divine telos, precisely attaining its divinely specified epistemic-axiological intensity, whether that value-realization has gifted one a temporal equi-positioning (chocolate or vanilla?) or even an eternal dis-positioning (God or God?), that need neither, in the former case, implicate arbitrariness, nor, in the latter, obviate deliberative willing.

Why?

Because aesthetic intensity, alone, needn’t exhaust our notions of intentionality, whether temporally or eternally, whether of human volition or of the divine esse intentionale.

Integral to any coherent notion of intentionality, one must include the conception of an aesthetic scope, even if a relatively thin notion of post-mortem human enrichment, as one has thus happily moved from image to likeness (vis a vis our thin notion of divine passibility, as has been well articulated & defended by folks like Norris Clarke & Greg Boyd).

The human will thus perdures deliberatively, temporally & eternally, epistemically & axiologically distanced, varying aesthetically in scope even when not in intensity, appropriating novelty & enjoying diversity, moving from glory to glory to glory (hence nonarbitrarily choosing now vanilla, now chocolate, unless C.S. Lewis was correct regarding our heavenly desires for sex and ice cream).

Regarding those post-mortem, who’ve not thus closed their epistemic-axiological distance, haven’t been glorified, they, too, remain irrevocably deliberatively engaged, so to speak, on purgative & illuminative paths toward unitive beatitude.

Not to adopt Pastor Tom Belt’s irrevocability thesis but to embrace various irreversibility theses does violence to our common sense & sensibilities regarding personhood.

Augustinians & Thomists, Nature & Grace, Politics & Religion

The following notes are in continuity with & supplemental to:

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/maritain-murray-macintyre-milbank-a-medieval-integralist-walk-into-a-bar/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/the-pre-political-grounding-of-both-liberal-illiberal-regimes/

For responses to Nouvelle Theologie, Feser lists:

1) Lawrence Feingold’s The Natural Desire to See God According to St. Thomas Aquinas & His Interpreters

2) Steven Long’s Natura Pura

3) Ralph McInerny’s Praeambula Fidei

4) Bernard Mulcahy’s Aquinas’s Notion of Pure Nature and the Christian Integralism of Henri de Lubac

5) Serge-Thomas Bonino’s edited volume Surnaturel: A Controversy at the Heart of Twentieth-Century Thomistic Thought

I would add as a meta-critique of all the schools:

Don Gelpi’s The Gracing of Human Experience: Rethinking the Relationship between Nature & Grace

He names fallacies of Christian thinkers that have in the past skewed theological understandings.

In The Gracing of Human Experience: Rethinking the Relationship between Nature and Grace, Gelpi argues that Charles Sanders Peirce’s philosophy avoided those fallacies & provides a novel frame of reference for rethinking the theology of grace. While he eschews any artificial extrinsicism, he doesn’t underestimate secular conversions in the gratuity of creation.

In my (eisegetic?) take, Gelpi’s view is consonant w/both a faithful Augustinianism, the best of Existential Thomism & sympathetic to Nouvelle’s Communio, rejecting transcendentalist anthropologies (e.g. Whig Thomism) or those flirting w/depravist tendencies, as do some integralists (e.g. Political Augustinianism) & Augustinian radicalisms (Radical Orthodoxy & Benedict Option).

Per Thaddeus Kozinski: Both classical & new traditions neglect four realities:

1) mutually dependent relation of speculative & practical reason

2) subjectivity-shaping role of social practices

3) tradition-constituted-&-constitutive character of practical rationality

4) indispensability of divine revelation in ethical inquiry & practice. <<< end of Kozinski critique from Brandon Watson

While some may be justly criticized re 1-3, many feel caricatured.

Regarding #4, it mustn’t be coupled w/an ecclesiocentric exclusivism at odds with Nostra Aetate.

Elsewhere, Kozinski presses his critique vis a vis #4 against Maritain (& Rawls).

Among those claiming caricaturization, Feser responded to Kozinski.

Re: Macintyre’s criticism of Maritain, Ralph McInerny well notes that, even inadequate & false justifications have embedded in them an implicit recognition of the true ends of human nature & thus of the true basis for practical precepts.

We can thus distinguish between the natural law as operative in a plurality of largely theocentric societies (functionally personalist & communalist) & its theoretic grounding, both implicit & explicit. The operative is ontological, the theoretic — gnoseological.

Over against Alasdair MacIntyre’s social philosophy, Bryan Turner suggests its pessimistic view of the collapse of a common moral vocabulary is unfounded.

For one thing, MacIntyre creates a nostalgic picture of the coherence of past communities, & for another, MacIntyre neglects the growth of human rights & international law as instances of a shared moral system that is not based on emotivism.

Alasdair MacIntyre on morality, community & natural law, Journal of Classical Sociology 13(2) 239–253, 2013

We mustn’t overestimate natural law accessibility as we descend from the more general precepts to increasingly specific concrete norms, or underestimate its operative efficacies in, at least, provisioning a modicum of public peace, order, justice & morality.

So, there’s no reason that our world’s largely theocentric vision can’t explicitly, even if sometimes inchoately, affirm that freedom’s inherent duties are objectively & communally ordered to realize the aretaic & deontological ends (teloi) of eternal & natural laws.

Or that we grow in freedom through a formative & liberative process of learning, which will necessarily include the increasingly habitual practice of these duties.

While I am sympathetic to the rhetorical strategy regarding exaggerated “rights talk,” in & of itself, it’s not philosophically bankrupt as some suggest, for freedom’s rights remain correlative with & inseparable from its duties to be/come who & do what we ought. They are, therefore, rather precisely implicated.

Maritain, McInerny, Murray, MacIntyre, Milbank & a Medieval Integralist walk into a bar

Maritain, McInerny, Murray, MacIntyre, Milbank & a Medieval Integralist walk into a bar serving optimism & pessimism. Let Maritain & McInerny drive you home. The others are inebriated.

Regarding the following questions –What would Murray, MacIntyre, Milbank & Medieval Integralists Say?

Has a clearly successful civil polity (with articles of peace but not of faith) ever been founded in any pluralistic society based on some shared thematized natural law?

Has a fairly successful civil polity (with articles of peace but not of faith) never been founded in any pluralistic society, at least based on shared values, although not on shared justifications?

Has a lack of certain shared moral outlooks always necessarily ensued from some subjectivism, emotivism, voluntarism, relativism, utilitarianism, vulgar pragmatism, secularism or nihilism that precluded shared metaphysical commitments & axiological frameworks? What about Mortimer Adler’s account of humanity’s common sense & sensibilities and of certain self-evident prescriptive inferences that derive from our being immersed together in a similarly situated human condition, especially regarding major precepts?

Has a lack of certain shared moral outlooks never otherwise ensued from an ethical pluralism that included shared metaphysical commitments & axiological frameworks, but was derived with a suitable epistemic humility, metaphysical fallibilism & moral probabilism?

Murray, MacIntyre, Milbank or Medieval Integralists would each in their own way employ a theological anthropology that’s either excessively optimistic or pessimistic, based on (mis)conceptions regarding the relationship between nature & grace, variously implicating notions regarding the gratuity of grace.

A Goldilocks Theological Anthropology, neither too optimistic nor pessimistic, would be better reflected in the anthropology of Maritain, combined with Gelpi’s adaptation of Lonergan’s approach as modified by Gelpi’s account of grace as transmuted experience.

Per Maritain, humanity’s transcultural apprehension of the natural law is not robustly & discursively thematic but more so inchoately & connaturally intuitional. So, we can share evaluative dispositions, moral sensibilities & ethical intuitions that presuppose varying degrees of moral realism without sharing their justifications via deeper metaphysical commitments. Maritain would thus answer the above questions differently from his pub buddies.

If we adopt Gelpi’s Lonerganian adaptation in conjunction with Maritain’s account of humanity’s ubiquitous moral sensitivity to the natural law via connaturality, we can distinguish between the secular conversions (intellectual, affective, moral & sociopolitical) and religious conversion, whereby the former more properly reflect the gratuity of creation with its obediential potencies for grace, and the latter relate to the gratuity of grace, itself, to which one responds responsibly in faith (to some historical act of divine self-revelation & self-communication).

Certainly, from a pneumatological perspective, the secular conversions reflect the ordinary presence of the Holy Spirit in the world via its universality & prevenient connaturality. The particularity of the Holy Spirit’s action in the lives of Christian believers, however, reflects a radically transformative & extraordinary presence.

Afterthoughts

This does seem to be the crux. With Maritain we can’t deny that a prevenient connaturality hasn’t provided humankind’s inchoate realization of natural law via shared moral sensibilities & ethical intuitions, sufficient for a modicum of public peace, order, justice & morality? With Gelpi, we wouldn’t deny that humankind journeys more swiftly & w/less hindrance when secular conversions (intellectual, affective, moral & socio-political) are transvalued by religious conversions (radical & kerygmatic; yes, other religions w/degrees of truth & goodness) . So, no, there’s never been some edenic epoch of either a Whig Thomism (neocon or neoliberal) or an idyllic integralism (political Augustinianism). And monastic, anarchic & pacifist approaches have only ever been vocational & spirituality “options” not theopolitical norms (as in Augustinian radicalisms).

Too many conceive Catholic social & moral teachings as primarily intended to shape politics, reflexively thinking in terms of coercive polity in response to every papal utterance or episcopal exhortation, relegating their familial, social, civic & nongovernmental implications. They see government as the primary means of coordinating the initiatives of our better angels, which it sometimes can be, rather than for ameliorating the initiatives of our fallen angels. Gospel inculturation, moral enculturation & ministerial accompaniment aren’t coercive.

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Regarding a Supposed Natural Law Impotence

Impotent natural law arguments nonvirtuously cycle abductive hypothesizing and deductive clarifying without the benefit of inductive testing, unlike the church’s highly esteemed social teaching with its NL plus personalist approach. Too many NL theorists employ abstract, aprioristic, deductivistic, rationalistic, biologistic arguments that bear little resemblance to the concrete, lived experiences of people. Church social teachings have employed triadic inference w/inductive, personalist approach+NL and are widely received. For some, NL hasn’t been tried and found wanting but hasn’t even been tried. When it has been done properly, it has been highly esteemed and widely accepted. Flawed methodologies need fixing. Shared inchoate NL sensibilities and intuitions suffice for public order, public peace, public justice and public morality in a secular governmental polity. More robust NL methods are of course required for thornier moral objects (e.g. bioethical). The latter methods can result in an ethical pluralism due -not to relativism, but- metaphysical fallibilism and moral probabilism, ie epistemic humility not HUBRIS!
_____________________________________

Does faith shape our politics or is it too often the other way around?

From a formative spirituality perspective, “other way around” may happen more often among those in earlier stages. If we view progressive & traditionalist sensibilities as charisms of pilgrims & settlers, later on our faith journeys, those gifts may well shape our political ministries.

It does also seem that, even within denominations that accommodate a plurality of theological opinions regarding nature & grace, where one stands on the optimism-pessimism spectrum of theological anthropology (depravist & exclusivist vs inclusivist) often seems to shape political approaches.

____________________________

Yes, moral realities are transparent to human reason without reference to special revelation. BUT Prudential judgments evaluate conditions of MORAL legitimacy, presupposed within an established framework of values and priorities. For example, coercive measures mustn’t produce evils & disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated!

______________________________

I was heartened when the Religious Freedom Restoration Act here in US bolstered 1st Amendment protections regarding federal statutes (states would have to effect their own). While a generally applicable law advancing a compelling government interest could burden consciences, strict scrutiny requires that be done with the least restrictive means practicable.

The US approach to the Enlightenment employed a secularist political strategy that fairly well strengthened the influence of religion in citizens’ lives. On the Continent, however, a militant secularism marginalized religion; beyond a mere political strategy, it was driven from other spheres – civil, social, economic & cultural.

____________________________

Maritain recognized that prudential judgments must discern which civil polity is optimal from one location and concrete set of circumstances to the next, even from one epoch to the next. As the degrees of successful Gospel inculturation & moral enculturation thus vary, strategies advancing human dignity, common good, justice & peace must adapt.

_________________________________

Throw tribalistic cultures into the mix, along with recent results regarding neoconservative democratization “strategies” (e.g. war) & Arab Springs unsprung, is it not clear that no one political shoe will fit all peoples?

___________________________________

Prior to any political theology, one needs a Goldilocks theological anthropology, i.e. neither too optimistic (eg transcendentalistic) nor pessimistic (eg dialectical imagination or depravity), so, I commend the thoughts of my late fellow Yat (N’orleanian). For the convenience of any who may be interested, Don Gelpi on grace pt 2

Finally, I commend Amos Yong’s In the Days of Caesar: Pentecostalism & Political Theology, where he writes: Catholic Social Teaching is important less because of specifiable political proposals but because it articulates a theological vision of social & economic justice that has broad political implications.

I commend Yong’s book as in continuity with Gelpi’s theological anthropology and Maritain’s political philosophy.

From an anonymous reviewer:

Our political interaction, as expressed in our many different modes of public interaction, takes on a contextual expression that responds to the particular instances in light of the work of Christ. With this in mind, then, a Pentecostal political theology does not mandate a specific response that must be applied in all settings, but rather builds a framework of values and priorities which give freedom to those in each setting. This framework is not a wishy-washy approach, suggesting that whatever is done is always baptized in the Spirit, but instead offers freedom within the context of responsibility. We who are Christians, who seek to participate in this world in the power of the Spirit, do so in light of Christ’s own calling, and it is as such that Yong formulates his constructive theology.

Finally, I commend The Conservative Pragmatism of Charles Peirce by Thomas Short.

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Catholic Social & Moral Teaching – provides a framework of values & priorities to advance human dignity & the common good. Within that framework citizens apply their best prudential judgments to optimally realize those values & priorities. Such liberative strategies are not first and foremost coercive or political, but, when they do resort to political solutions, those have included most of the following:

Il-Liberalism

Integralism & Political Augustinianism

Augustinian Radicalism

Classical Liberalism

Neoconservatism

Neoliberalism

Libertarianism

Paleoconservatism

Political emphasis on negative rights & free exercise

Social, Economic, Fiscal, Political & Cultural conservatisms

Modern Liberalism

Social Democracy

Social Liberalism

Economic Statism & Keynesian Economics

Political emphasis on positive rights & nonestablishment

Social, Economic, Fiscal, Political & Cultural progressivisms

Socialism

Fascism

Communism

Totalitarian

Nontotalitarian

Just how could such manifold & varied political strategies, almost all, ever be deemed largely compatible with Magisterial teachings from place to place & time to time? That will be the subject of my next tweet, which I’ve been working on for the past decade. Since I’ve recently been afforded 280 characters, though, it’s going to take me a bit longer to compose it. I’ll give you a hint. Each of the above represents an ideology that variously over- and/or under-emphasizes one aspect of Church teaching or another. Foundationally, they can also be overly optimistic or pessimistic regarding their preconceptions of nature & grace vis a vis their implicit theological anthropologies.

A Polydoxic Pneumatological Missiology for Multiple Belongers

A contemplative posture orients one’s disposition toward reality more than it offers propositions about reality. It more so norms “how” we see and less so describes “what” we see.

Contemplation effects metanoia, which includes intellectual, affective, moral, social and religious conversions. While these conversion dynamics are distinct from developmental growth mechanisms (for example, as described by Piaget, Maslow , Kohlberg, Erikson and Fowler, et al), they are not unrelated as they do foster those processes.

The conversions gift us horizon-situated dispositions, which

1) open our perceptions via an awareness that there’s more to any given reality than our own thoughts can suggest; via logos;

2) open our minds to recognize the intelligence on display in other interpretations of any given reality outside of our own social and political circles; via topos;

3) open our souls by expanding what’s reasonable to expect regarding any given reality beyond what our own feelings might suggest; via pathos;

4) open our hands by enlarging our sense of responsibility toward any given reality beyond our own moral and practical concerns; via ethos;

and

5) open our hearts to being in love with and beloved by God, others, the cosmos and even one’s self; via mythos.

See: Contemplative Being, Believing, Belonging, Desiring, Behaving & Becoming

These conversions gift us with what Lonergan described as human authenticity, when he articulated his transcendental imperatives: be aware, be reasonable, be responsible and be intelligent.

Still, what theorists like Lonergan, Maslow, Gerald May, Viktor Frankl and others all eventually came to understand was that self-actualization was in fact a by-product of self-transcendence (not the end-product of self-interested strivings). Any pursuits of self-actualization, authenticity, Enlightenment and such for their own sakes, i.e. as sought after end-products, would be self-defeating, frustrating their own realizations. Any who would aspire to be aware, reasonable, responsible and intelligent — would best realize those values by, first, being in love!

Without following the imperative to be in love, one could not realize sustained authenticity. Without seeking Enlightenment out of solidarity and compassion, rather than for one’s own sake, Enlightenment would forever elude one.

The contemplative stance, then, while mostly dispositional, does entail one universal, even if vague, propositional posit, which is that reality’s origin and end, being and essence, value and appeal, meaning and purpose, is love.

Thus contemplation, as entailed in the spiritual practices, asceticisms and disciplines across traditions, expresses a singular, orthodoxic, soteriological trajectory. This orientation goes beyond the norms of authenticity or of a suitable epistemic humility, dis-positionally, to also include, pro-positionally, a belief that reality is robustly relational. It warrants an existentially actionable interpretation that, wholly and thoroughly beloved, we simply must be loving. (As the children sing why they love Jesus … because He first loved me).

In many cases, through interreligious dialogue, we are discovering that, beyond this singular, shared, orthodoxic, soteriological trajectory, the great traditions and indigenous religions will otherwise diverge with pluralist, diverse, polydoxic, sophiological trajectories, which, more simply put, correspond to different ways of being in love with different aspects of reality, including God, others, self and cosmos.

This is to recognize that, in many ways, as we move beyond the vaguely spiritual to embrace more specific religious paths, it will not necessarily entail competing interpretations of reality but only complementary approaches to reality, which can be variously more inchoate or developed, more or less inclusive, variously emphasizing our unitary being or our unitive strivings, more or less suited to foster conversions and to sustain authenticity, more or less perfectly articulating truth, enjoying comm-unity, celebrating beauty, preserving goodness and growing freedom & love. I mean to say all of that in full consonance with Pope Paul VI’s proclamation, Nostra Aetate.

When institutionalized religions fail in fostering conversions and in sustaining authenticity, many followers will, understandably, retreat into a spiritual but not religious stance. When religions are at their best, though, well, we “see how they love one another” as they foster open minds, open hearts and open hands!

And we see where the quest, itself, becomes our grail; the risks of faith, hope and love, themselves, become our rewards; the journey, itself, becomes our destination; the spiritual process, itself, becomes our transformational product; the next good step becomes the entire recovery program; the commitment, itself, becomes our outcome; the prayer and sitting, themselves, become our consolation.

Life’s highest goods, alone, can thus be enjoyed without moderation, as the pursuits of truth, unity, beauty, goodness and freedom are, intrinsically, their own rewards. The contemplative stance embodies that real-ization. Good religion enhances it.

In science, faith & quotidian life, epistemic virtues should first vault our speculative claims over the threshold of equiplausibility, where we can normatively adjudicate any competing responses using the principles of reasoning under uncertainty.

The hermeneutical spiral, above, recapitulates Lonergan’s transcendental imperatives & functional specialties.

See: https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/contemplative-being-behaving-believing-belonging-desiring-becoming-an-outline-of-foundations/

To wit:

De-liberatively, regarding our references, descriptively & interpretively, epistemic virtues should first vault our speculative claims over the threshold of equiplausibility, where we can adjudicate, normatively, any competing responses, using the principles of reasoning under uncertainty, evaluatively.

De-liberatively (cosmos & mythos – be free, be loving, be-loved per both temporal & ultimate teloi) …

regarding our references …

descriptively (logos or perceptionbe aware in research & communications) & …

interpretively (topos or understandingbe intelligent in interpretation & systematics) …

epistemic virtues should first vault our speculative claims over the threshold of equiplausibility, where we can adjudicate …

normatively (ethos or actingbe responsible in dialectics & foundations), any competing responses, using the principles of reasoning under uncertainty

evaluatively,(pathos or judging & decidingbe reasonable in history & doctrines).

I must stipulate with Hart & Milbank that any rivalry between ultimate worldviews, say nihilist vs theological, cannot be logically coerced. Reality remains far too ambiguous for us & way too ambivalent toward us to compel belief through speculative reason, alone.

With the Thomists, I would insist that, even stipulating that nihilism has not thus been refuted, philosophy well demonstrates the reasonableness of natural theology as an equiplausible competing worldview.

For me, Thomism’s reasonableness remains indispensable over against any thoroughgoing fideism, much less, nominalism, idealism, voluntarism or relativism.

I do not receive Milbank as coming from some Thoroughly [Post]Modern Millie, but, instead, take (eisegetically) his postmodern critique as an admonition to avoid the temptations of dueling hyper-formalisms in countering those insidious –isms.

This is to recognize that —

no essentialistic framing will finally foreclose nominalism, descriptively;

no naïve realism will convincingly defeat idealism, interpretively;

no intellectualistic speculation will logically overcome voluntarism, evaluatively;

no absolutistic insistence will compellingly obviate relativism, normatively; and

no rationalistic appeals will definitively refute fideism, existentially.

But what amount to epistemic misfires for some are but caricatures for others, whose

1) descriptive probes include semiotic & moderate critical realisms;

2) interpretive heuristics employ a metaphysical fallibilism;

3) evaluative dispositions engage an irreducible triad of logos-pathos-ethos, e.g. Aristotelian eudaimonia, Augustinian beatitudo or Thomist summum bonum;

4) normative propositions allow some degree of ethical pluralism grounded – not in an insidious relativism or vulgar pragmatism, but — suitable epistemic humility, metaphysical fallibilism & moral probabilism ; and

5) philosophical preambula vault fidei past the threshold of equiplausibility.

Thomism’s reasonableness thus gets vaulted philosophically past the threshold of equiplausibility by the valid & coherent arguments of natural theology & natural law. (And its deontological conclusions should be considered at least as modest as its ontological commitments are tentative). There, philosophy culminates in either the theological preambula fidei & its general precepts or a nihilistic cosmogony.

Any “competing” theological or nihilistic mythos would come after a normatively justified existential leap.

Past this threshold of epistemic warrant, speculative reason yields to practical reasoning under uncertainty. The speculative arguments between essentialism & nominalism, realism & idealism, intellectualism & voluntarism, absolutism & relativism and fideism & rationalism have previously been transcended by a fallibilist, critical realism.

Normative justifications commence and can lead either to the fideistic, voluntaristic dichotomy of a theological versus nihilistic mythos or to an existential disjunction, where rational equiplausibility principles, albeit often implicit, adjudicate a decision to “live as if” that which is (more so, perhaps, they who are) the most life-giving & relationship-enhancing, the most beautiful & good, the most unitive & liberative, will — first & proleptically, i.e. proximately & temporally, as well as eventually & eschatologically, i.e. ultimately & eternally — also happen to be the most true.

This constitutes meta-discourse, however inchoate or implicit, whether variously held provisionally or confidently, yes, prior to special revelations, and yes, on tradition-transcendent grounds. Importantly, this needn’t be formal discourse or what can sometimes devolve into sylly syllogisms, but more often, via our participatory imaginations, comes from our common sense & common sensibilities, from connaturality, an illative sense, a tacit dimension, intuitions & informal abductions.

The most problematical arguments of natural theology are rationalistically grounded in naïve rather than critical realisms. The most problematical arguments of the natural law are a prioristic, rationalistic, deductivistic, biologistic, physicalistic & infallibilistic, especially as they move from general precepts to specific concrete norms, particularly because of epistemic hubris and the lack of a more inductive, personalist relationality-responsibility approach. But the abuse of natural theology & natural law is no argument against their proper use.

The questions that beg?

What constitutes the most life-giving, existentially?

How do we define & measure the most relationship-enhancing? The most unitive, interpretively & orthocommunally?

Where’s the most beautiful instantiated, evaluatively & orthopathically?

And the most good realized, normatively & orthopraxically?

And the most liberative, metanoetically & orthotheotically?

These are not questions that yield to an armchair cognitive map-making but which must actively engage participative imaginations that are naturally embodied, historically situated, socially embedded, culturally bound, politically immersed & transcendentally horizoned.

Of course it’s incredibly problematical to apply our ortho-metrics to competing worldviews, precisely because their instantiations are so very particular & traditioned.

But I wouldn’t want to defend the notion that nihilism remains in that competition?

Finally, Between an overly pessimistic Augustinian interpretation & overly optimistic transcendental Thomism, perhaps a Goldilocks theological anthropology can be articulated:

/https://opcentral.org/resources/2015/01/12/donald-l-gelpi-two-spiritual-paths-thematic-grace-vs-transmuting-grace-part-1/

https://opcentral.org/resources/2015/01/12/donald-l-gelpi-two-spiritual-paths-thematic-grace-vs-transmuting-grace-part-ii/

Gelpi recognized both as donative realities – a gratuity of creation & gratuity of grace, the Spirit’s universal presence (e.g. nomicities) & particular presence, where Grace is mediated via transmuted experience, where, for example, Kerygma matter immensely.

This discussion continues here:

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/08/15/augustinians-thomists-nature-grace-politics-religion/

Where in the World is Sophia? —a Sophiological footnote

The created grace Gelpi refers to would be constituted by reality’s actualized potencies, eternalized teloi (both temporal & ultimate teloi) of Peircean thirdness, efficient materialities of secondness, connaturalized indeterminacies of firstness, existentialized essences, formalized finalities, participatory intimacizations eternalized, all temporal realities coaxed forth Pneumatologically, Christologically & Paterologically via Divine Energies as would account for effects as would be proper to no known causes.

Every trace of human goodness, for example, eternalized, i.e. every beginning of a smile & all wholesome trivialities!

Whether interpreted in Platonic, Neoplatonic, Aristotelian, Thomist, Scotist, Palamitic or Peircean categories (and I cross hermeneutical bridges between them all), collectively & dynamically, these cumulative actualized potencies or eternally realized divine teloi may represent Sophia, who participates in the Divine Energies in a perichoretic Divine Dance.

In The Wisdom of God, Bulgakov spoke of two Sophias, one created and the other uncreated. She to whom I refer above would be the created Sophia in her participatedness. While I affirm the Divine Energies per a formal distinction, I must defer to others regarding the manner of viewing Sophia in Orthodoxy. And still wonder just how we might best account for ecstatic visions of Sophia.

See more re this theophany:

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/essential-theophanic-putative-theo-ontological-aspects-of-human-divine-relations/

FINAL NOTE:

This body of work largely comprises my project, which I refer to as Pan-semio-entheism, because, as a systematic theology, while it is metaphysically realist, it prescinds from any given metaphysical root metaphor (substance, relational, process, experience, etc) to a phenomenological meta-heuristic.

See: Amos Yong With John Sobert Sylvest, “Reasons and Values of the Heart in a Pluralistic World: Toward a Contemplative Phenomenology for Interreligious Dialogue,” Studies in Interreligious Dialogue 20:2 (2010): 170-93

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/contemplative-being-behaving-believing-belonging-desiring-becoming-an-outline-of-foundations/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/03/23/mapping-metaphysical-distinctions-aristotelian-thomist-peircean/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2016/12/09/morrells-4-d-imax-rohrian-perichoretic-adventure/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/divine-dance-rohr-morrell-panikkar-oh-my/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/%e2%80%8bfrom-ontotheological-trinito-logical-is-ness-to-theopoetic-trinito-phanic-dance-ness-yes/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/perichoresis-as-vehicle-negativa-in-rohrs-divine-dance-a-trinito-phany-in-continuity-with-orthodox-trinito-logy/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/the-trans-formal-distinction-between-the-divine-essence-energies/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/epistemic-distance-the-greatest-good-as-divinely-willed-ends-in-an-anti-theodicy/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/06/18/maritain-murray-macintyre-milbank-a-medieval-integralist-walk-into-a-bar/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/07/10/a-semiotic-phenomenology-toward-a-more-ecumenical-trinitology-and-trinitophany/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/freedom-from-aquinas-to-modern-emergentist-semiotics/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/08/04/a-defense-of-metaphysics-to-be-or-not-to-be-or-to-e-prime-or-not/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/08/07/truth-broadly-conceived/

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/the-pre-political-grounding-of-both-liberal-illiberal-regimes/

The architectonic set forth herein suggests philosophical norms & theological heuristics, the contours within which I methodologically approach systematic theology, comparative theology & Gospel inculturation.

With this pan-semio-entheism, I aspire to develop a polydoxic, pneumatological missiology for the planting of ecclesial gatherings that will invite, orient, unify, sanctify, heal, nurture, liberate & send forth dual-practitioners & even multiple-belongers.

Anthropos

We must resist an under-estimation of the significance of special revelation in growing humanity’s orientation to God, as it allows persons to move more swiftly & with less hindrance on their journeys, realizing both temporal & ultimate teloi.

We must also resist either an over- or under-estimation (of an extreme intrinsicism or extrinsicism) of humanity’s dynamic orientation to God & moral reality via natural theology & natural law.

Even among the intrinsicists of the Nouvelle Theologie, the blurring of distinctions between nature & grace didn’t remove anthropological tensions regarding the realities of sin & ecclesial accommodations to the world.

While the intrinsicists all agree in principle that we can discern what’s “common and accessible to all” and gradually move forward to the “highest data of theology,” some Thomists & Augustinians otherwise diverged precisely along the grounds for anthropological optimism & pessimism vis a vis both sin & worldly accommodations.

See:
Brandon Peterson, Critical Voices: The Reactions of Rahner and Ratzinger to ‘Schema XIII’ (Gaudium et Spes)

Peterson quotes a post-conciliar interview of Rahner: I would say that the dangers of a false adaptation of the Church to the modern world, or of falling into a purely secular humanism —which are real dangers in the Church’s attempt to open itself outwards to the modern world can invite as a defensive reaction the opposite danger, namely, to turn inwards and to make the Church a closed sect. Theology must help the preacher preach the gospel in such a way that it can really be understood and assimilated today; and theology also has a critical function in preventing the Church in its preaching or in its practice from becoming a ghetto or a sect within the contemporary world.

Peterson concludes: Christocentrism, anthropological methodology, and critical openness to the world stand in a creative tension which marks Gaudium et Spes itself, a tension which we must not relax if we are to be faithful heirs to this landmark council. For such a tension is an essential part of a theological approach which, executed properly, can proclaim the Gospel to a world that not only needs it, but needs to understand it.

How might we best exploit these creative tensions?

Reality emerges & gifts entities that present with different kinds of “aboutness” that suggest degrees of ontological density but which don’t definitively reveal metaphysical natures.

An emergentist heuristic might refer to these “aboutnesses” in terms of different degrees of telic influence.

• Veldo-poietic (field-like) entities present as teleopotent or end-unbounded;
• cosmopoietic – teleomatic or end-stated;
• biopoietic – teleonomic or end-directed or end-coded;
• sentiopoietic – teleoqualic or end-purposed; and
• sapiopoietic – teleologic or end-intended.

In this profusely pneumatological reality, divine interactivity gifts the Spirit’s universalized presence via creatio continua, consistent with the Thomistic aphorism – “Quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur.” This means that “whatever is received, is received according to the mode of the receiver.”

All reality participates, constitutively & relationally, responding to various formal & formative divine promptings of divine esse intentionale & energies, each entity according to its given telic modes.

Human persons interact with the Spirit’s universalized presence, constituted by & engaging in all of the above-listed modes of aboutness, but uniquely, as reality’s only sapiopoietic creature, via a teleological mode, in a robustly intentional way.
The sapiopoietic nature of human persons equips them to also interact with the Spirit’s particularized presence in special revelation.

Per Aquinas in the ST: It is befitting Holy Writ to put forward divine and spiritual truths by means of comparisons with material things. For God provides for everything according to the capacity of its nature. Now it is natural to man to attain to intellectual truths through sensible objects, because all our knowledge originates from sense. Hence in Holy Writ, spiritual truths are fittingly taught under the likeness of material things. This is what Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. i): “We cannot be enlightened by the divine rays except they be hidden within the covering of many sacred veils.” It is also befitting Holy Writ, which is proposed to all without distinction of persons — “To the wise and to the unwise I am a debtor” (Romans 1:14) — that spiritual truths be expounded by means of figures taken from corporeal things, in order that thereby even the simple who are unable by themselves to grasp intellectual things may be able to understand it.

Per Don Gelpi S.J.’s anthropology:

In an “experiential approach to human nature, any given human mind may or may not be oriented dynamically to God. Rather, each self must acquire such an orientation, either by fixing its personal beliefs on purely rational motives concerning the reality and nature of God, or by responding positively and graciously in faith to some event of divine self-revelation.”

The gratuity of creation, experienced by human persons as they interact with the Spirit’s universalized presence, can foster a rationally acquired dynamical orientation to God, gifting an awareness of & cultivating an aretaical disposition toward both temporal & ultimate teloi. It can thus foster – not only the secular conversions (intellectual, affective, moral & sociopolitical), but – an authentic theocentric religious conversion, which, while variously implicit & inchoate, cooperates with the obediential potencies formed by secular conversions.

The gratuity of grace, experienced by human persons as they interact with the Spirit’s particularized presence, can foster a dynamic reorientation of the self to God, if it responds positively and graciously in faith to some event of divine self-revelation.

If this dynamic reorientation of the self results from a response in faith to a particular divine self-disclosure, whether initially or subsequent to a previous reorientation fostered by the gratuity of creation, it constitutes an infusion of supernatural grace via the gratuity of grace.

Per Gelpi, supernatural grace “transmutes experience by endowing it with a new capacity to relate to God both correlative to God’s free act of self-disclosure and impossible apart from that self-revelation.”

A theocentric religious conversion orients a person via Lonergan’s transcendental imperatives as – beyond, temporally, being aware, intelligent, reasonable, responsible & in love with others, cosmos & even self – it also invites one into a relationship with a donative ultimate reality, much like Pip in Great Expectations as he related to his unknown benefactor or, perhaps, as Ralph McInerny put it, like characters in search of their Author. This represents the essential, orthodoxic, soteriological trajectory of the world’s great traditions & indigenous religions.

Consistent with Nostra Aetate, concerning the relationship of the church to non-Christian religions, in addition to that essential soteriological trajectory, various traditions & religions may otherwise diverge to various degrees in their polydoxic, sophiological trajectories, whereby persons grow in intimacy (theosis) with God.

See:
https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/%e2%80%8bwhat-the-contemplative-stance-means-to-me/

This is the Goldilocks anthropology that best exploits the creative tensions of the Nouvelle Theologie, which, when properly engaged, successfully sidesteps any sterile Neo-Scholasticism, transcendental Thomism or Augustinian radicalism.

Special Revelation clarifies what would otherwise remain indistinct in the logos of General Revelation.

First, in the order of logos:

Determinacies

We disambiguate ambiguities & define in/definite actualities, which are determinacies (in/definitive) that correspond to referenced or defined entities.

Indeterminacies

In/determinacies (in/determinable & in/determined) refer to generalities (probabilities & necessities) and vagueness (possibilities).

We determine in/determinacies by delimiting vague possibilities & specifying generalities, i.e. probabilities & necessities.
Beyond a mere propositional translation process (via our cognitive map-making) between noetic aspects of general & special revelations, as we move from natural to revealed theology or even between revealed traditions …

We must also engage in
dispositional interpretations (via the inhabitations of our participatory imaginations) of culturally embodied unitive, aesthetic, ethical & liberative norms, if we are to adequately appropriate the theological idioms required for our Gospel inculturation.

Then, beyond logos:

Beyond a creedal logos, we need participatory immersion in revelation’s other integral aspects: communal (topos), liturgical & devotional (pathos), moral (ethos) and ascetical & mystical (mythos).
Natural Theology shouldn’t be conceived in strictly logocentric terms, for even a theocentric religious conversion in the gratuity of creation, however inchoate, indistinct or implicit, propositionally, will dispositionally gift, both personally & culturally, embodied relationships to truth, unity, beauty, goodness & freedom.

As one cooperates with prevenient graces & obediential potencies via General Revelation, while these propositional & dispositional embodiments remain confused, imperfect & indistinct, due to the indirect nature of one’s knowledge of God, they reflect authentic existential orientations to the transcendental imperatives directly known via Special Revelation in the gratuity of grace.

To wit: https://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles3a.htm#25

Since all creatures, even those devoid of understanding, are ordered to God as to an ultimate end, all achieve this end to the extent that they participate somewhat in His likeness. Intellectual creatures attain it in a more special way, that is, through their proper operation of understanding Him. Hence, this must be the end of the intellectual creature, namely, to understand God.

Below are accounts of secular & religious conversions.

The architectonic, below, represents a hermenetical spiral, which proceeds successively & transformatively (via a divine gratuity of creation) through a cosmic, temporal chronos of logos, topos, pathos & ethos to a divine encounter with a mythic, eternal, kairos, whereupon, given a prevenient, obediential potency, a novel, foundational meta-ethos will donatively (via a divine gratuity of grace) emerge to thereafter norm, in reverse succession, the transformative dynamics of a doctrinal meta-pathos, systematic meta-topos & pastoral meta-logos.

This spiral presents, wholistically, in the overall soteriological trajectories of each transformative journey. It is also recapitulated, holonically, in every discrete axiological trajectory of each individual value-realization.

RIGHT BEING – PRESENCE

COSMOS of PENTAPARTITE ANTHROPOLOGY

GIFTED – authentic value-realizers – kairos of imago dei & chronos of cosmic evolution; an interpreting subject of a micro-cosmic mereological reality

  • Intellectual – be aware
  • Social – be intelligent
  • Affective – be reasonable
  • Moral & Practical – be responsible
  • Religious – be in love

RIGHT BELIEVING – WORD BROKEN OPEN

LOGOS of PENTADIC METAPHYSICS & ONTOLOGY (WORD)

GIVENS – orthodoxic phenomenology of objects of interpretation, sacred kairos & secular chronos; secondness

  • Unitary Being as Intraobjective Identity
  • Unitive Striving as Intersubjective Intimacy
  • Unified Self as Intrasubjective Integrity
  • Ultimate Unicity as Interobjective Indeterminacy
  • Ens Necessarium as Transjective Necessity

RIGHT BELONGING – COVENANT & PEOPLE GATHERED IN THANKSGIVING

TOPOS of PENTAPRAGMATIC COMMUNITY & MISSIOLOGY

THANKSGIVING – orthocommunal contexts & Eucharistic communities of interpretation (sacred kairos & secular chronos)

  • Eschatological – historical & scientific as ordered by & to truth; Spirit-oriented
  • Ecclesiological – sociological as ordered by & to unity; Spirit-empowered
  • Soteriological – arts, humanities & cultural as ordered by & to beauty; Spirit-sanctified or dedicated
  • Sacramental – economical & philosophical as ordered by & to goodness; Spirit-healed & nurtured
  • Sophiological – political as ordered by & to freedom; Spirit-saved

Beyond the mere propositional translations (via cognitive map-making), engaged dispositional interpretations (via inhabitations of participatory imaginations) of culturally embodied noetic, aesthetic, ethical, unitive & liberative norms will reveal the theological idioms necessary for Gospel inculturation.

RIGHT DESIRING – ANAMNESIS & MEMORIAL

PATHOS of PENTALECTICAL AXIOLOGY

GIFTS – orthopathic value-realizations of proleptic kairos & evolutionary chronos; firstness & the primacy of esthetic interpretion

  • Truth
  • Unity
  • Beauty
  • Goodness
  • Freedom

RIGHT BEHAVING – ITE, MISSA EST

ETHOS of PENTALOGICAL EPISTEMOLOGY (SPIRIT)

RECEIVING – orthopraxic value-pursuits through acts of interpretation, sacred & secular, pneumatological (kairos) & participatory imagination (chronos); thirdness

  • Descriptive
  • Interpretive
  • Evaluative
  • Normative
  • Contemplative

RIGHT BECOMING – MEAL – You are what you eat!

MYTHOS of PENTATARIAN THEOLOGY

GIVER – orthotheotic participations – theological manifestations as invitations from image to likeness for we are the Body of Christ indwelled by the Trinity & participating in the Divine Dance; interpreting subjects of a macro-cosmic mereological reality

  • Jesusology & Epiphany
  • Trinitology & Trinitophany
  • Paterology & Theophany
  • Pneumatology & Pneumatophany
  • Christology & Christophany

DIVINE PROVISIONINGS & GRATUITIES

Gratuity of Creation – the divine provisioning of co/operative connaturality, where humanization & socialization lead to authenticity via 1) secular conversions (w/inchoate grasp of natural law) and intimacization leads to sustained authenticity via 2) kenotic conversions (w/kenotic relational dynamics of temporal ends).

Gratuity of Grace – divine provisioning of co/operative grace, where deification leads to transformative realizations via 3) religious conversions (w/polydoxic relational dynamics & inchoate grasp of natural theology) and christianization leads to transformative fruition of eternal ends via 4) theotic conversions (w/beatitudinal & beatific realizations).

There’s a progressive realization of virtues, as one’s experiences are transmuted by cooperation w/the Holy Breath, w/decreasing risks of perverted ends, whether temporal or eternal.

Sophia effected by Divine Energies will express immanent & divine entelechies (via various teloi) in the gratuities of creation & grace, in universal & particularized instances.

CONVERSIONS

I. Natural Conversions – intellectual, social, affective & moral

A. descriptive – research/experiential perception – logos

B. interpretive – interpretation/intelligent understanding – topos
C. evaluative – history/judging – deciding – pathos
vital options

D. normative – dialectics/responsible acting – ethos
forced options –

II. Authenticity & Self-Transcendence – cosmos (self, others & world) via Spirit’s universal ordinary presence in the gratuity of creation (obediential potencies; prevenient/operative & cooperative connaturality). This gratuity involves the divine provisioning of temporal ends proportionate to Aristotle’s virtues of truth, beauty, goodness & unity (via humility) through operative (prevenient) & cooperative connaturality.
normative – foundations
live options – polydoxy
existential leaps

III. Religious Conversion – mythos (meta-cosmos or ultimate reality) via Spirit’s particularity & extraordinary presence in the gratuity of grace (response to special revelations via prevenient/operative & cooperative graces). This gratuity involves the divine provisioning of eternal ends (meta-ethos) proportionate to Aquinas’ theological virtues of faith, hope, love & unity (via communal oneness ) through operative (prevenient) & cooperative grace.
A. evaluative – doctrines (meta-pathos)
existential landings
B. interpretive – systematics (meta-topos)
theology of nature
C. descriptive – communications (meta-logos)
Gospel inculturation & moral enculturation

Regarding Philosophical & Theological Distinctions

A distinction is not truly philosophical if it hasn’t been discerned to make a difference, existentially, helping one realize one’s true temporal ends. And it’s not truly theological if it hasn’t been discerned to make an existential difference, helping one realize one’s true eternal ends.
One can only authentically become fully human by realizing our divinely ordained temporal & eternal ends.

An anthropology may properly relate the perinoetic|empirical, dianoetic|logical, diastemic|aporetic, ananoetic|metaphysical, epinoetic|apophatic & kinetic|dynamical aspects of our human episteme, yet, without an holistic integration with the METANOETIC|transformative reality of human BECOMING, it’s not robustly philosophical, much less theological.

Note:
If taken beyond methodological stipulations to metaphysical presuppositions, beliefs in sufficient reason/causation & reality’s intelligibility will ontologically reduce to theism. Beyond that, dynamical questions re reality’s immanent & transcendent entelechies may beg.
One’s metaphysical stances, sometimes implicit, toward any of a wide variety of interpretations of various origins (e.g. field, cosmic, quantum, life, sentience, language) may often then implicate: pan-, panen-, pan-en-, open or classical theism, deism or theistic personalism.

Architectonic of Divine Gratuity

Orthodoxic Path: Gratuity of Creation

Polydoxic Path: Gratuity of Grace

Theotic Path: Gratuity of Grace

Architectonic of Participatory Divine Gratuities

The apparent tension between divine simplicity & divine freedom results from the conflation of two distinct categories, the metaphysical & existential with the nonmetaphysical & quidditative.

Especially Cf. The Formulation of Thomistic Simplicity: Mapping Aquinas’s Method for Configuring God’s Essence, JETS 57/2 (June 2014): 371–403.

Other aporia remain but are located elsewhere.

We successfully reference God, metaphysically, only apophatically, e.g. divine simplicity & ousia, abducting THAT God is, existentially.

We successfully reference God, personally, per special revelation, variously employing kataphasis, apophasis, doxology, etc, inductively experiencing WHO God is, quidditatively, e.g. divine aseity & energeiai.

Revelatory references employ common sense rhetoric with ontological implications but not always strict metaphysical categories & predications, which, at any rate, wouldn’t, in principle, lend themselves to anything but apophatic, existential – not quidditative, essential – metaphysics. Logical consistency not subject to parody in modal ontological arguments requires apophatic predication.

That’s why I insist, for example, on labeling the essence-energies distinction as trans-formal.

Analogical predications of God exert much more normative leverage on our embodied dispositions – aesthetically, morally & relationally – as we participate in reality’s excess of meaning, making appropriate (e.g. Eucharistic) responses to ultimate reality via myth & storytelling, which aren’t always completely true, literally, or robustly effective, analogically, i.e. they exert little descriptive leverage on our abstract propositions or deductive argumentations.

I would thus urge any reference to a putative analogical god-talk to be restated as trans-analogical.

We judge that the Reality of God will somehow, ultimately, make existence far less ambiguous for, & ambivalent toward, us in ways we can neither prove nor fully express, because …

proleptically, we have participated through, with & in One, Who has loved us, Whose Spirit has gifted us first fruits, an earnest, a guarantee, a down payment, a seal, a promise, a confident assurance in things hoped for & conviction of glories unseen.

How, precisely, might we avoid a Spinozan modal collapse?

In my own Peirce-like modal ontology, first, we distinguish determinacies & indeterminacies. [1]

For determinacies, we must disambiguate any ambiguities (univocal, equivocal, analogical, apophatic, etc) & define any in/definite actualities, which are determinacies (in/definitive) that can correspond to vaguely referenced or robustly described entities.

In/determinacies (in/determinable & in/determined) refer to generalities(probabilities & necessities) and vagueness (possibilities). We determine in/determinacies by delimiting vague possibilities & specifying generalities, i.e. probabilities & necessities.

Next, we distinguish possibilities, actualities & probabilities in terms of Aristotelian causation.

A distinction may be real vs conceptual (re logical or virtual). Real distinctions can include modal distinctions (re temporality or adequacy).

Modal temporality can include a formal or metaphysically real distinction. This maps, somewhat, to both Scotus’ formal distinction & Peirce’s category of thirdness or 3ns.

Modal temporality as applied to Peircean categories can variously map to causes, where for:

2ns or actualities, where noncontradiction [PNC] & excluded middle [PEM] hold and act maps to efficient & potency to material causes;

3ns or regularities, where PNC holds but PEM folds and act maps to formal & potency to final causes;

1ns or possibilities, where PNC folds & PEM holds and act maps to our embodied connaturalities and potency to their indeterminacies.

Other real distinctions would include:

Existential
act – existence
potency – essence

Modal Adequacy
in/finite
whole/part or mereological

Real vs Conceptual (re logical or virtual).

Real distinctions include modal distinctions re temporality (above) or adequacy (in/finite or whole/part = mereological). Modal temporality includes a formal or metaphysically real distinction (PNC holds, PEM folds).

It could map like this:

Modal temporality can be applied to Peircean categories as mapped to causes, where for:

actualities, act –> efficient & potency –> material;

regularities, act -> formal; potency –> final.

existentially, act -> existence; potency -> essence.

Finally, we distinguish with Peirce, reality from existence. Gary E. Kessler describes Peirce’s distinction:

Reality is a broader term that encompasses what exists but is not synonymous with it. For something to be real it must have properties sufficient to identify it whether anyone attributes those properties to it or not. The existent, strictly speaking, is what interacts with things in a spatio-temporal environment.

Applying this distinction to God, then, in his excursus on Peirce’s Neglected Argument, [2] Kessler continues:

Since God is not another spatio-temporal object, it amounts to fetishism, Peirce remarks, to say that God exists. Hence his argument, strictly speaking, is not an argument for God’s existence, but for God’s reality.

Aaron Bruce Wilso writes, in Peirce’s Empiricism: Its Roots and Its Originality, Lexington Books, Oct 19, 2016

If the above- described distinctions refer to categories for spatio-temporal realities, how must they be modified to successfully reference the Reality of God, even if not successfully describe some putative Being of God?

Regarding the Reality of God:

Modal temporality would not successfully refer, much less describe God, because God’s

a) pure trans-actuality (actus purus or trans-efficient primal cause) lacks material potency as Ipsum Esse Subsistens.

b) God’s pure trans-formal act (primal telos) of Ens Necessarium lacks final potency; and

c) God’s pure trans-possibility lacks indeterminate potency.

Existentially, God’s pure act of existence lacks essential potency.

In terms of Modal Adequacy, the trans-infinite Reality of God lacks finitude.

Prior to theo-ontology, our theophany would define essential donative, communicative, participative & liberative aspects of human-divine relations. It would preclude all fatalism & determinism, include a robust conception of agency & proper conception of freedom.

Our dogmatic, relational essentials provide the theological contours within which we should remain as we aspire to our classical, neo-classical & other approaches.

The question of modal adequacy raises further whole/part or mereological considerations:

Would any of those dogmatic essentials necessarily be threatened in a theo-ontology that, for example:

pan-entheistically employs an ontological distinction between humans & God, where God donates & communicates creatively as we participate & are liberated imitatively?

panen-theistically employs a mereological distinction between humans & God, where God donates & communicates diffusively as we participate & are liberated substratively?

 

My Pan-semio-entheism

Bulgakov seems to echo Origen re: eternal creation, but Lossky – Athanaius, who deemed creation in time from God’s will rather than nature. Related to distinctions of Norris Clarke: esse naturale v intentionale & Palamas: essence v energies. Keller’s tehomic panentheism via creatio ex profundis makes sense to me as an eternal act, where the order of existence was the formless void of Genesis. CS Peirce affirms the atemporal Reality of God, where Being > Reality > Existence, denying God’s an existent. To that being:reality distinction, I impute naturale:intentionale & essence:energy distinctions. The Reality of God would freely proceed as energeia, per divine will, diffusing the tehom’s substrative forms w/divinizing finalities, that they may participate imitatively. Eternal creatio ex profundis & an in-time creatio continua preserve divine transcendence w/o sacrificing an intimate relationality, integral to a more robustly personalistic theology. (I’m trying to reconcile these approaches in resonance w/some of Staniloae’s intuitions.)

In the eternal generation of the Son & procession of the Spirit, the economic trinity manifests the immanent trinity.

The non-determinate Creator gifts (originates or speaks) …

the uncreated, transcendent, trans-determinate Logos (norms) mediated by …

the empowering Spirit to …

the determinate creation, the order of which thus presents as an harmonious, telic configuration of pluralities.

This manifestation of the economic trinity exhausts what can be said of the immanent trinity.

Apart from the creative act & divine energeia, which reveal an extrinsic, relational, trinitarian divine esse intentionale

we can attribute nothing determinate, intrinsically or essentially, to the trinitarian divine esse naturale in its aseity.

While being, reality & existence refer to creatures, only being & reality refer to the Creator, a non-existent.

The divine esse naturale (intrinsic, essential being of God) remains trans-formally distinct from the divine esse intentionale (extrinsic, relational reality of God).

I thus eisegetically adapt Neville’s creatio ex nihilo & Yong’s pneumatology in my own meta-heuristic.

Robert Cummings Neville‘s __God the Creator: On the Transcendence and Presence of God__ & Amos Yong‘s __Discerning the Spirit(s): A Pentecostal-Charismatic Contribution to Christian Theology of Religions__

 

See Addendum below regarding a “dispositional” metaphysic.

I argue that, in both cases, the answer is no.

ALL of the Reality of God metaphysical formulations above set forth apophatic predications, where both PNC & PEM hold. Apophatic predications in modal ontological arguments preserve a logical consistency not subvertible by parody.

HOWEVER, it is one thing to set forth such distinctions syntactically & grammatically following semantic rules (e.g. univocity of being) that foster successful references, allowing us to formulate logically consistent modal ontological arguments that can be rather compelling philosophically & metaphysically, as we abduct the Reality of God or THAT God really effected this or that effect as would be proper to no known causes —

And quite another thing altogether to imagine that this great accomplishment of Natural Theology has also gifted us quidditative knowledge regarding to WHOM that Reality of God-concept refers in any robustly semantical or contextual (pragmatic) sense. It’s at this juncture we can begin telling untellable metaphysical stories, saying way more, metaphysically, than what can reasonably be known, proving too much metaphysically, abandoning all prudent aporetic sensibilities!

It’s at this juncture where, happily, having evaded a fideistic leap, we must next turn to special revelation, not so much propositionally at first but dispositionally, inhabiting & embodying its belongingness, its desirings, its participations — tasting & seeing the beauty & goodness imparted by the Divine Energies, prudently imagining that the Reality of Natural Theology’s God must be true!

Because the Reality of God successfully refers to the Ens Necessarium, not only God’s trans-actuality (essence) but also God’s trans-formal distinctions (energies) require a modal ontological grammar, where both PNC & PEM hold for the Creator.

For the created spatio-temporal order, whether in the formal distinctions of generalities or in the vagueness of possibilities, indeterminacies must be admitted to avoid falling into the hopeless paradoxes of essentialism vs nominalism, idealism vs naïve realism, asymmetric temporality, logical vs efficient causation, and so on.

PNC thus folds for temporal possibilities & PEM folds for temporal probabilities. This sharply distinguishes the modal grammars of metaphysical, apophatic, existential God-talk from those of spatio-temporal metaphysics?

Enough theological aporia present on their own without our generating more by conflating metaphysical grammars.

What sets Spinoza apart is his Principle of Sufficient Reason on steroids combined with an idealist monism, where an Ens Necessarium obviates all indeterminacies, where only one modal grammar operates.

What distinguishes some atheological conceptions is a mereological distinction, where the fallacy of composition is presupposed and the whole does not beg questions for its necessary being, a materialist monist approach to a brute reality. Here the PSR is methodologically provisional & a philosophical naturalism essential, but not necessarily inconsistent with libertarian freedom, consistent with a number of philosophies of mind.

Theological conceptions employ a nuanced PSR, essentially, with a methodological naturalism, provisionally. Conceiving God in classical or neoclassical, pan-entheist or panen-theist, conceptions, the Reality of God begs questions, either ontologically as asking “why not rather nothing?” or mereologically as asking “why not rather something else?”. The response to either question evokes an abduction of the Reality of the Ens Necessarium, which sharply distinguishes the Creator from the created order, metaphysically, but emphatically invokes participatory interactivity, whether creatively & imitatively or diffusively & substratively or perhaps even both. It could well be both, especially if the nihilo of creatio is, metaphysically, trans-existentiale & no-thing, thus avoiding the fetishism of saying that God exists.

In an irreducibly triadic reality, perhaps our entitial states or actualities entail creative & imitative interactions, while our relational states or telic matrices entail diffusive & substrative interactions (think deep & dynamic fields).

The move from the Ens Necessarium to donative participatory interactivity takes us from a natural (onto-theological) to a revealed (theophanic) theological methodology. A philosophical move to a theology of nature (theo-ontological) seeks embodied understandings & theological idioms as that method proposes distinctions like creative & imitative and/or diffusive & substrative.

Logos

experiential perception or research

Human Existence – entitial, esse actuale as 2ns

Topos

interpretation or intelligent understanding

“God is | not x | is true apophatically & literally” refers to Existence, onto-theologically & metaphysically.

From Natural Theology or Onto-theology:

Divine Being – actus purus (divine esse)

Pathos

history & judging – deciding

Human BeingImago Dei, created-imitative esse essentiale as 1ns, connaturality

From Theophany & Theopoietics:

The statement “God is | x | is true kataphatically & trans-analogically” refers to Being, quidditatively, theophanically & theopoietically.

From Theology of Nature or Theo-ontology:

“God is neither | x | nor | not x | is true relationally & really” refers to Reality, theo-ontologically & intimately.

Divine Reality – relational, creative-diffusive essentiale (divine esse naturale) & uncreated substrative energeia (divine esse intentionale)

Ethos

dialectics & responsible acting

Human Reality – uncreated substrative energeia, created, relational, esse intentionale as 3ns

Theological Foundations – philosophical, historical & exegetical – explore a polydoxy of live options for our existential leaps

Meta-Pathos

Theological Doctrines as existential landings

Meta-Topos

Theological Systematics with further refined theology of nature

Meta-Logos

Theological Communications

pastoral, homiletics, catechesis, evangelization, missiology, apologetics, Gospel inculturation & moral enculturation

Let’s unpack a Dionysian-like Logic, where:

God is | x | is true kataphatically & trans-analogically;

God is | not x | is true apophatically & literally; and

God is neither | x | nor | not x | is true relationally & really.

Compare that to a Scotist- Peircean abduction of the Reality of God, where:

Being > Reality > Existence

The apophatic & literal statements work by metaphysically identifying God via such effects as would be proper to no known causes.

Because kataphatic & trans-analogical statements refer to God existentially, they must employ theophanic & theopoietic idioms, which don’t reduce to formal philosophical & metaphysical categories, as existence can’t be predicated of God, but which do express reality’s excess meaning in our stories & myths, liturgies & devotions.

While such statements offer no onto-theological, metaphysical leverage for our natural theology, descriptively & propositionally, they can still do theo-ontology, accomplishing a great deal of heavy lifting, normatively & dispositionally, discovering & crafting the idioms for our theologies of nature, whereby we affirm that our stories & myths, liturgies & devotions, “really relate” to God.

Therefore, we best formulate our real relational idioms of God in E-Prime (employing no verb forms of ‘to be’ or their equivalents), because, existentially, relational predicates will not successfully refer. With a Palamitic turn, real statements thus require the active voice as we refer to the manifold & multiform works done by God, energeia.

The statement “God is | x | is true kataphatically & trans-analogically” refers to Being, theophanically & theopoietically.

“God is | not x | is true apophatically & literally” refers to Existence, onto-theologically & metaphysically.

“God is neither | x | nor | not x | is true relationally & really” refers to Reality, theo-ontologically & intimately.

For moderate realists like Aquinas, Scotus & Peirce, the categories of Existence & Reality include, respectively, both entitial & relational created realities, i.e. the efficient acts & material potencies of entities and the formal acts & final potencies of teloi.

The category of Reality would also include the uncreated relational reality of Primal Telos, which, as Pure Act, sources created reality’s polydoxic teloi

energetically diffusing divinizing finalities into divine substrative forms …

thereby synergistically harmonizing the instrumental, efficient acts & material potencies of created, entitial existents that they might imitate the divine esse intentionale, growing dispositionally in an ever-deepening relational intimacy.

Divine Simplicity, metaphysically, refers to the apophatic, metaphysical abduction of the Reality of God as Ens Necessarium, esse naturale.

Divine Freedom, theophanically, refers to the uncreated energies of the Reality of God, which invite transformative effects (dis-positions) as would be proper to no known causes, hence from putative theotic participations, both entitial, creative & imitative, and relational, diffusive & substrative.

Any tension between Divine Simplicity & Divine Freedom does not arise onto-theologically in natural theology, for freedom refers to Divine Esse Intentionale trans-analogically (descriptively weak, propositionally, but normatively strong, dispositionally).

While denying a strictly metaphysical impasse between divine simplicity & freedom and while suggesting we’ve thus avoided any logical inconsistencies (e.g. due to parodies grounded in conceptual incompatabilities), it’s not to suggest we’ve also thereby eliminated the aporetic confrontations that inescapably attend to all theo-kataphasis. At the same time, it’s just no small victory to dismiss the facile caricatures & snarky parodies of “devastating” neo-atheological critiques?

A theology of nature, following these speculative grammars, can affirm divine simplicitly as a natural theological argument, philosophically, going beyond it, theo-ontologically – not only invoking Thomistic distinctions between efficient & instrumental causes, primary & secondary causations, to preserve creaturely agencies & avoid modal collapse, but – to affirm a real & robust divine-nature interactivity, pneumatologically, thereby also going, coherently, beyond a mere deism.

Theophanies & theopoietics aspire to successfully reference entitial realities, existentially, employing the ever-cascading & collapsing metaphors of our stories & myth, signs & symbols, liturgies & devotions, alternately revealing the concealed, then concealing the revealed, Who remains always timid but ever coy.

Theo-ontologies & theologies of nature aspire to successfully reference relational realities, personally, relating the uncreated Primal Telos of divine esse intentionale & the polydoxic teloi of creation (note below), which culminate in human intentionality. The seductions of divine intentionale remain ineluctably unobtrusive but so utterly efficacious in the wooing of Sophia (created).

Cf. regarding methodological distinctions of God-talk, see:

https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/the-apparent-tension-between-divine-simplicity-divine-freedom/

the Spirit woos creation forth•
makes this way south & that way north•
invites each blade of grass to green!

horizons, boundaries, limits, origins•
perimeters, parameters, centers, margins•
we’re given freedom in between!

thus truth & beauty & goodness grow•
thus lizards leap & roosters crow•
and dawns break with each new day!

good news is ours to be believed•
love freely given if received•
the Spirit in our heart will stay!

very old poem of mine

N.B. regarding polydoxic teloi

• Veldo-poietic (field-like) entities present as teleopotent or end-unbounded;

• cosmopoietic – teleomatic or end-stated;

• biopoietic – teleonomic or end-directed or end-coded;

• sentiopoietic – teleoqualic or end-purposed; and

• sapiopoietic – teleologic or end-intended

Cf. https://paxamoretbonum.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/contemplative-being-behaving-believing-belonging-desiring-becoming-an-outline-of-foundations/

Addendum:

What I have set forth above is a meta-heuristic, what I feel is an essential (pun intended) phenomenological grammar that is preambular to any metaphysic, substance or process, any natural theology, or any theology of nature, whether classical or neoclassical, pan-entheistic or panen-theistic, or even pantheistic or atheological. This represents the foundations of most of my musings.

After posting this, I happily discovered the work of Dr. Mariusz Tabaczek O.P., who has articulated a “dispositional” metaphysic. I commend his writings to all.

Please see:
https://ndias.nd.edu/fellows/tabaczek-mariusz/

https://mariopblog.wordpress.com/

Below is an excerpt from his dissertation. It is the best example of a theology of nature as would be consistent with what I am struggling to articulate.

Click to access 1234.pdf

“A theory of emergence based on dispositional metaphysics would show a new explanatory potential as well. It would not only reconcile Aristotelianism with emergentism, but also have a significant impact on the view of divine action developed in reference to the theory of emergence. God’s action would no longer be conceived panentheistically as an influence on the totality of the world, which metaphysically assumes that the causation of God and creatures is of the same kind (univocal predication) and so runs the risk of collapsing into pantheism. The recovery of the plural notion of causation allows for a recapturing of the classical understanding of divine action as proposed by Aquinas. God is regarded as the ultimate source of forms, and the ultimate aim of all teleology in nature. With regard to efficient causation, God’s transcendence is protected by Aquinas’ distinction between the primary and principal causation of the Creator and the secondary and instrumental character of the causation of creatures. Therefore, God’s immutability, omniscience, omnipotence, infinity, eternity, and impassibility are not challenged, while his immanent and constant presence in all worldly events is by no means undermined.”

Notes:

1) I say Peirce-like because I am not a thoroughgoing Peircean, metaphysically. I adapt, herein, his implicit modal grammar, importing Aristotelian, Thomistic & Palamitic distinctions.

2) A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God (1908) by Charles Sanders Peirce

Regarding the Neglected Argument, Gary E. Kessler writes:

I begin with some distinctions. First, Peirce distinguishes between an argument and argumentation. An argument is “any process of thought reasonably tending to produce a definite belief” while argumentation refers to an argument that proceeds “upon definitely formulated premisses” (6.456). We must note that Peirce’s Neglected Argument (hereafter referred to as NA) is an argument, but not argumentation.

Second, we must distinguish between reality and existence. Reality is a broader term that encompasses what exists but is not synonymous with it. For something to be real it must have properties sufficient to identify it whether anyone attributes those properties to it or not. The existent, strictly speaking, is what interacts with things in a spatio-temporal environment. Since God is not another spatio-temporal object, it amounts to fetishism, Peirce remarks, to say that God exists. Hence his argument, strictly speaking, is not an argument for God’s existence, but for God’s reality.

Conversations that touch upon my take above:

Mapping Metaphysical Distinctions: Aristotelian, Thomist, Scotist, Peircean & Palamitic

The “Trans-Formal Distinction” between the Divine Essence & Energies

Divine Simplicity and Modal Collapse

The Krueger-McHugh Debate: Theism or Atheism (2003)

The Formulation of Thomistic Simplicity: Mapping Aquinas’s Method for Configuring God’s Essence, JETS 57/2 (June 2014): 371–403.

Divine Simplicity and the Formal Distinction, Part 2