Thursday, September 17, 2009

History - theology - science

April, this morning in September, makes a plea to separate confessional from historical reasoning. Der Evangelische Theologe invites us to see a different view of logic in Calvin. We need to follow the ana-logic of obedience and the Christo-logic of faith.

April insists that temporal physical resurrection is anhistorical*. The canonical writings show that Anointing makes present all time and space - our faith entangles us wholly with the faithfulness of the Anointed Jesus and in so doing brings us that same Anointing through the Spirit. This too is exactly the experience of Hashem to the witnesses of Tanach. The cost of the 24 hour day of Creation (Genesis 2:4 'in the day the Lord God created the heavens and the earth') is well laid out for faith in the 24 hours of the Gospel of John.

As George Herbert says of days at the end of his poem, I got me flowers,

We count three hundred but we miss
There is but one and that one ever.
The middle verse expresses the presumption of history over the analogy of love.
I got me flowers to strew thy way;
I got me boughs off many a tree:
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought'st thy sweets along with thee. 

The Sun arising in the East,
Though he give light, and the East perfume;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume. 

Can there be any day but this,
Though many suns to shine endeavour? 
We count three hundred, but we miss:
There is but one, and that one ever. 
Update - see Doug's response here for more on the philosophy of history and the circularity of April's argument in September.
* anhistorical is a deliberate coinage


Jim said...

Hello Bob,

“.. our faith entangles us wholly with the faithfulness of the Anointed Jesus and in so doing brings us that same Anointing through the Spirit ..”

Entangles? Like let the spooky apostolic-electrons go where they may? And this makes history a science? Or theology a science? Or just the iterated real-time history of science a science?

Or what?

About now, any old what will do!

I’m not feeling argumentative. I bounced from your blog to April’s. And back again. And I’m entangled. I can see her concern for history as an objective science. I don’t buy the idea that spitting the adjective ‘science’ at history makes it so. And I don’t have a theological axe to grind. For what it’s worth, I don’t think QM needs interpretation; but, in the social sciences and in most of the natural ones, we can’t interpret data via a model without a theory. I think April’s lament is partly valid. And partly a swan song over the dwindling in-house consensus over what constitutes a valid theory in the interpretation of history. If that’s her party, she can cry if she wants.

Though if pressed up against the bifurcated wall of theology vis history, I’d rather say the ana-logia of Paul in Romans includes an inherent subjective metric (since metron is also used with analogia in the same text), so that we need to be in touch with our subjective sense of faith motivating us to act, and to act beyond just iterating and then re-iterating the ana-log of cognitive theology as some historical or theological payload - in the halt function of always checking our last statement against the apostolic last statement ...

I’m probably not getting the problem. Confused in media res.



Bob MacDonald said...

Your phrase "faith motivating us to act" certainly turns faith into observable experience. Act - as in "act of God in raising Jesus from the dead" puts the ground of faith into the world.

I was at a conference yesterday on Darwin - one speaker drew three circles - theology, nature, science. The thesis is that without the Hebrew story of creation, evolution would not have been theorized. Creation is not the plaything of the gods, so we can do science of the natural world. Theology has helped us to clarify and reduce the assumptions behind our natural experience.

Non-local apparent cause and effect is exactly what I would expect 3-dimensional science eventually to discover after the creation of time.

I do play with words - so I may have some outlandish statements written. But there is One from whom I have not hidden myself - thanks to the power of the death of the Anointed for me.

Jim said...

Bob, thank you!

A fascinating conference with an interesting hypothesis.

Thanks also for -- “I do play with words - so I may have some outlandish statements .... One from whom I have not hidden myself - thanks to the power of the death of the Anointed for me.”

Ah. My prayer for you: that you continue as the not-hidden and fully expressed variable in intimacy with that One before whom all things are known.

If I am getting the gist of your Anointed One.

My part-Quaker predisposition for seeing the priority of the Spirit of God as authoritative over anything textual and written does not prevent me from affirming the historical accident of the Apostles’ Creed nor from affirming the authority of the holy writ under properly (or, your “sufficiently”) Anointed readings, Reformed and Quaker ways in the Way converge on this horizon of the necessity of Spiritual reading. This is my bias. And my ignorance speaking.

To your history thread. I don’t have the solutions. I note that Polkinghorne recently added his own two-cents on his method of textual redaction. Or maybe this is his Bayesian prior: "The Bible is more of a laboratory notebook than a literal history."

Polkinghorne at:

Which further confirms my bias that theological concepts and categories can be empirically derived.

That our self-report presents in our lab notebooks -- and that our self-reports can involve fraud in the form of hiding from the Anointed (as if we can really get away with this) only means that theological expressions under such conditions are normative rhetoric. And this fraud includes our un-inspired parroting of biblical verse. So when I wondered about your comments regarding entanglement, I had in mind at least one alternative and more modest definition, namely, that for us to say that this-or-that exists independently of our observations requires that this-or-that be defined, which definition means that observers and the-observed become entangled. This entanglement means only that our knowledge is theory-laden. Our theory-ladenness too is known by the Anointed. Which is why our hope is not in text alone.

Thanks for the fun. And worthy exchange.



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Bob MacDonald said...

Danilo - can you be more specific on your comment? I looked at your blog - but I am restricted to getting it translated from the Portuguese - thank you for the invitation.