Monday, November 29, 2010

On Love And Affection

"May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine"

- Song of Solomon 1:2

Sunday, November 28, 2010

On Being, Theology, Metaphysics And The Failure Of Platonism

The fact that Neoplatonism makes bad theology and worse [biblical] exegesis is no philosophical argument against the Platonic notion of being. Yet, it goes a long way to prove something else, which is the only point I am now trying to make. If any being ever entailed the notion of existence, it is Yahweh, the God whose very name is, I AM; and here is a Christian theologian [Marius Victorinus] who, because he still conceives being after the manner of Plato, cannot even understand the very name of his God. A tangible proof indeed that the Platonic notion of being is not only foreign to existence, but inconsistent with it.
- Étienne Gilson, Being and Some Philosophers, 2nd Ed., (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1952).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

On Romans 8:1-4, Reflection And Observation

Having read Romans 8 countless times, it is easy to oversee the intricacy and brilliance of Paul's argument. There are so many things to think about. For instance: what is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus; or what is the relationship between no condemnation (v. 1) and the condemnation of sin in the flesh (v. 3); moreover, who is the "He" in v. 3; further, what do we do with the en hemin in v. 4; finally, what was Paul doing with the tois in relation to the hemin and the following kata limiting qualification in v. 4?
1 Therefore there is no no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh: God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

- Romans 8:1-4

Friday, November 26, 2010

On Nonverbal Communication

Upon immediate reflection, it appears as though the relationship between nonverbal communication and communication by way of blogs is seemingly ironic. Either way, it's important to learn how to communicate one day at a time, one mode at a time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

On Time, Wisdom, And Love

Moses writes in Psalm 90:1-12:
1 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. 3 You turn man back into dust and say, “Return, O children of men.” 4 For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night. 5 You have 1swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; in the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew. 6 In the morning it flourishes and sprouts anew; toward evening it fades and withers away.

7 For we have been consumed by Your anger and by Your wrath we have been dismayed. 8 You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. 9 For all our days have declined in Your fury; we have finished our years like a sigh. 10 As for the days of our 1life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away. 11 Who 1understands the power of Your anger And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? 12 So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.
I find it interesting that in Ephesians 5: 15-21 Paul seems to not only echo Moses but includes an ethical exhortation of love. In other words, perhaps Paul is fortifying his exhortation that we should be careful in the way we love one another in the humility of time since our days are fleeting and evil. Therefore, he argues we must intentionally love one another without hesitation; if you can love your brother today -don't wait until tomorrow.

To weave the final theme of wisdom in, Paul argues that true wisdom is fulfilled in love for God and love for neighbor that is without delay. It seems, perhaps, that this is nothing more than a simple ethical recapitulation of the greatest commandment resituated through the wise lens of the humility of time and life (c.f. Matthew 22:37-39; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:27). Consider Paul's words for yourself:
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And ado not get drunk with wine, 1for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to 1one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Faith And Reason

Theology is structured as an understanding of faith in the light of a twofold methodological principle: the auditus fidei and the intellectus fidei. With the first, theology makes its own the content of Revelation as this has been gradually expounded in Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Church's living Magisterium. With the second, theology seeks to respond through speculative enquiry to the specific demands of disciplined thought.

Philosophy contributes specifically to theology in preparing for a correct auditus fidei with its study of the structure of knowledge and personal communication, especially the various forms and functions of language. No less important is philosophy's contribution to a more coherent understanding of Church Tradition, the pronouncements of the Magisterium and the teaching of the great masters of theology, who often adopt concepts and thought-forms drawn from a particular philosophical tradition. In this case, the theologian is summoned not only to explain the concepts and terms used by the Church in her thinking and the development of her teaching, but also to know in depth the philosophical systems which may have influenced those concepts and terms, in order to formulate correct and consistent interpretations of them.

With regard to the intellectus fidei, a prime consideration must be that divine Truth "proposed to us in the Sacred Scriptures and rightly interpreted by the Church's teaching"89 enjoys an innate intelligibility, so logically consistent that it stands as an authentic body of knowledge. The intellectus fidei expounds this truth, not only in grasping the logical and conceptual structure of the propositions in which the Church's teaching is framed, but also, indeed primarily, in bringing to light the salvific meaning of these propositions for the individual and for humanity. From the sum of these propositions, the believer comes to know the history of salvation, which culminates in the person of Jesus Christ and in his Paschal Mystery. Believers then share in this mystery by their assent of faith.

For its part, dogmatic theology must be able to articulate the universal meaning of the mystery of the One and Triune God and of the economy of salvation, both as a narrative and, above all, in the form of argument. It must do so, in other words, through concepts formulated in a critical and universally communicable way. Without philosophy's contribution, it would in fact be impossible to discuss theological issues such as, for example, the use of language to speak about God, the personal relations within the Trinity, God's creative activity in the world, the relationship between God and man, or Christ's identity as true God and true man.
- Pope John Paul II in Fides et Ratio
§§ 65f.

Friday, November 5, 2010

On Beauty And The Moon

You love the moon and the stars because they are beautiful. But if I seek beauty why, then, should I look at the sky?
"Who is this that grows like the dawn, as beautiful as the full moon, as pure as the sun, as awesome as an army with banners?"
- Song of Solomon 6:10