Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Faur on the Judeo-Christian distinction

"Only a mythological deity leaves traces of its presence. The God of Israel, even when performing the most astounding miracles, leaves no evidence of His presence. . . . In this fashion God, author of the universe, simultaneously bestows existence to the universe and covers His traces 'out of existence'."

     Jose Faur, as quoted by David Burell, CSC, "Maimonides, Aquinas and Ghazali: distinguishing God from the world," Scottish journal of theology 61, no. 3 (2008): 271. Some qualifications are in order here, but there is an orthodox sense in which this is quite true. (Faur isn't denying the reality of divine action.)


Timothy Perisho said...

Obviously this is a quote, not a fleshed out idea, but wouldn't it have to be qualified to say something more like: "God only allows the evidence of His participation where He wills such as on the hearts of his believers"?

Steve Perisho said...

Sorry, Timothy. I'm just seeing this. Something like that would be a requisite qualification to be sure. I mean, Calvin calls faith "a firm and certain knowledge [(cognitio)] of God's benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Institutes III.ii.7). And Edwards, following Calvin, speaks of a "spiritual sense" that delivers "a conviction so clear and evident and assuring as to be sufficient to induce [one] with boldness to sell all, confidently and fearlessly to run the venture of the loss of all things," etc. (Religious affections, pt. 3, sec. 5). Nor would any Catholic theologian worth his salt disagree. Yet what makes this "solid, full, thorough and effectual conviction of the truth of the great things of the gospel" faith (and not sight) is precisely the utter transcendence of God. And that is the point that Burrell is using Faur here to make. It is also why theologians like Hanby join with 1 Cor 13 to argue that faith (of this sort) will be necessary even in heaven.