Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More Sokolowski

"the Christian sense of God must be 'distinguished' from issues such as these. God is not the ever elusive but ever involved oneness, the steady pivot that lets the plays of presence and absence, and sameness and otherness, and rest and motion, occur in the beings and the forms of presentation we encounter. This oneness or goodness is what thinking catches glimpses of when it reaches the edge of rational order and tries to think about what lets the order be: but this letting be is not creation. Perhaps the Platonic oneness and the dyadic divergence that is always played off against it were obscured as themes for thought because of the theological brilliance of [the Christian doctrine of] creation; but Heidegger's statement of these issues, and the emphasis many writers have placed recently on relation and opposition as prior even to substance, demand that the Christian sense of God and creation be more explicitly differentiated from these things that appear so much like it. Even mysticism, if considered a form of experience appropriate to approaching the center of things, is not necessarily or exclusively related to Christianity, nor can Christianity be judged by the criterion of its potential for mysticism. There is another dimension beyond being and reason, and it is acknowledged by Plato, but it is not the same as the transcendence of God appreciated in Christian faith. . . . There are difficulties in making contrasts here because the sense of oneness we find in Plato is itself reached only by the most refined and angled expression, . . . and it is reached as a nec plus ultra for language. But the Christian God is not simply a plus ultra, something yet more distant but in the same direction. . . . The Christian sense of the divine is simply and entirely another issue."

Robert Sokolowski, The God of faith and reason: foundations of Christian theology (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1995 [1982]), 50-51.

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