Saturday, August 12, 2017

Homo artifactus/a; or Made, not begotten

"This [technocratic] conflation of what were once called the speculative and the practical orders means that technologically generated exceptions and possibilities now largely govern how we think about what is true.  This is difficult to see from within the paradigm, as we have largely grown accustomed to it, but once it is noticed, it appears to be a constitutive feature of contemporary thought.  Again the examples are endless.  The so-called sexual revolution, for instance, is most fundamentally the technological revolution turned on ourselves, not only in the deep sense that the canonical dualism of sex and gender presupposes a more basic dualism between the affective part, usually thought to be the locus of personal identity, and a meaningless material body regarded as a kind of artifact, but also in the more mundane sense that the technical conquest of human biology is its practical condition of possibility.  Just as same-sex 'marriage' would have remained permanently unimaginable were it not for the technological conquest of procreation, so too would it have never been possible to think that a man might 'really' be a woman if we did not think it were technically possible to transform him into one.  And yet these technologically generated exceptions have occasioned a radical rethinking of the whole of human nature, sexuality and embodiment."

     Michael Hanby, "The gospel of creation and the technocratic paradigm:  reflections on a central teaching of Laudato Si'," Communio:  international Catholic review 42, no. 4 (Winter 2015):  735-736 (725-747).

Friday, August 11, 2017

"be doers of the word, and not hearers only"

"for Gregory, this process of sanctification is one in which a kind of 'trinitarian' structure intrinsic to human existence becomes an ever purer mirror of the Trinity.  The Spirit meets us, successively, in our practice [(praxis)], word (logos), and thought (enthymion), the last of these being the principle (archikōteron) of all three; for mind (dianoia) is the original source (archē) that becomes manifest in speech, while practice comes third and puts mind and word into action.  Thus the Spirit transforms us, until 'there is a harmony of the hidden man with the manifest'; and thus, one might say, the Spirit conducts the Trinitarian glory upward into our thought, making our own internal life an ever fuller reflection of God's own 'circle of glory.'"

     David Bentley Hart, citing Gregory of Nyssa, De perfectione at GNO 8/1:210-212 =PG 46, col. 284A =FC 58, trans. Callahan, pp. 120 ff., as well as Adversus Macedonianos at GNO 3/1:98-99.  "The hidden and the manifest:  metaphysics after Nicaea" (2009), in The hidden and the manifest:  essays in theology and metaphysics (Grand Rapids, MI:  Eerdmans, 163 (137-164).  Cf. Hart on Augustine's somewhat different trinity (and, by comparison with Gregory's "'from glory to glory'," "rather homely" sense of continuous transformation "throughout eternity" (revelation as sanctification (154))):  "it is only thus that the coinherence within us of memory, understanding, and will is raised to the dignity of the divine likeness":
Insofar, says Augustine, as we know God, we are made like him, however remotely; and when we know God, and properly love this knowledge, we are made better than we were, and this knowledge becomes a word for us, and a kind of likeness to God within us.  And it is only thus that the coinherence within us of memory, understanding, and will is raised to the dignity of the divine likeness; the mind is the image of God not simply when it remembers and understands and loves itself, but only when it is able to remember and understand and love him by whom it was made [(162, underscoring mine)]....

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

"one single law, the unchangeable will of God"

     "We believe, teach, and confess that, although people who truly believe in Christ and are genuinely converted to God have been liberated and set free from the curse and compulsion [(Fluch und Zwang | maledictione et coactione)] of the law through Christ, they indeed are not for that reason without the law.  Instead, they have been redeemed by the Son of God so that they may practice the law day and night (Ps. 119[:1]).
". . . the proclamation of the law is [therefore] to be diligently impressed not only upon unbelievers and the unrepentant but also upon those who believe in Christ and are truly converted, reborn, and justified through faith."

     Formula of Concord (1577) Epitome VI (Concerning the third use of the law).1-2, trans. Robert Kolb.  There is much more of value here, and even more in Article VI of the Solid Declaration.  The headline is from Epitome VI.6:  "for both the repentant and unrepentant, for the reborn and those not reborn, the law is and remains one single law, the unchangeable will of God."

Sunday, August 6, 2017

"Forgiveness and prudence"

"It is easier to forgive but remain passive in the face of the other's error, than to forgive and take corrective measures so that he reforms."

    Francisco Ugarte, From resentment to forgiveness:  a gateway to happiness (New York:  Scepter, 2008), 42.  All of the rest notwithstanding, this, too, is true.