Saturday, August 11, 2018

"the proper effect of God [and God alone] is . . . esse [(existence)] without qualification"

"Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations.  What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?"

     Stephen Hawking, A brief history of time, updated and expanded 10th anniversary edition (New York:  Bantam, 1998), 190, as quoted by Holmes Rolston III in "Divine presence—causal, cybernetic, caring, cruciform:  from information to incarnation," in Incarnation:  on the scope and depth of Christology, ed. Niels Henrick Gregerson (Minneapolis:  Fortress Press, 2015), 259 (255-287).
the problem . . . here [is] . . . how to get the mathematics embodied—not yet in any flesh, but . . . in matter-energy.  Mathematics per se does not cause anything.  There are worlds imaginable in mathematics that are never realized.
See also Holmes Ralston III, Three big bangs:  matter-energy, life, mind (New York:  Columbia University Press, 2011), 5-6:
Something is needed beyond the pure mathematics to compel it to exist in an actual world.  There are worlds imaginable in pure mathematics that are never realized" [(5, italics mine)].
     The heading comes from St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I.45.5.Resp., but could be taken elsewhere in that corpus, too.

God is still incarnate

"when the self-renunciation is removed by exaltation, the state of incarnation remains."

"Illa intelligitur hic exinanitio, quae per exaltationem est sublata; sed incarnationis status permanet."

. . . the emptying . . . is, by the exaltation [(ascension)], lifted, but the state of incarnation endures.

     David Hollatz (Hollazius), 1646-1713, Examen theologicum acroamaticum (1707), 765, as quoted by Henrich Schmid, Doctrinal theology of the evangelical Lutheran church, 3rd ed., rev., trans. Charles A. Hay and Henry E. Jacobs (Minneapolis:  Augsburg, [1899]), 381.

The doctrine of the session of Christ (sessio Christi) is required by the perfection of his one sacrifice. Christ "s[its] down at the right hand of God" because "by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified."

Obverse of an early 14th-century
Bulgarian coin
Heb 10:11-14:"And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices [(ἕστηκεν καθ’ ἡμέραν λειτουργῶν καὶ τὰς αὐτὰς πολλάκις προσφέρων θυσίας)] that can never take away sins.  But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, 'he sat down [(μίαν ὑπὲρ ἁμαρτιῶν προσενέγκας θυσίαν εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς ἐκάθισεν)] at the right hand of God,' and since then has been waiting 'until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.'  For by a single offering he has perfected for all time [(μιᾷ γὰρ προσφορᾷ τετελείωκεν εἰς τὸ διηνεκὲς)] those who are sanctified."

     Contrast this with the doctrine of the session in Protestant scholasticism as summarized by, for example, Richard A. Muller, who, in the second, 2017 edition of his Dictionary of Latin and Greek theological terms, speaks only of the oppositional significance it takes on in the Lutheran and Reformed traditions, according to which it signifies, respectively, the ubiquitas (ubiquity) of the glorified body on the one hand, and its ubietas (whereness, locality) on the other.
     Undoubtedly Muller's sources didn't neglect Heb 10:11-14, despite the fact that the controversies of the late 16th century and beyond forced them to concentrate more on the significance of the (in Reformed terms) "location" (ascension to "the right hand of God") than that of the session itself.  See, for example, Heinrich Schmid, Doctrinal theology of the evangelical Lutheran church, pp. 380-407, which I have only skimmed, but where the emphasis seems to be on "the assumption, on the part of the human nature of Christ, of the full divine glory and dominion" (380), or, in Reformed terms, "1. Supreme majesty and glory" and "2. Supreme power" (Riis, 406), not (as here in Hebrews) the significance of the distinction between standing on the one hand, and sitting on the other.  But check also Heinrich Heppe (Reformed dogmatics:  set out and illustration from the sources) and, even better yet, Muller himself (Post-Reformation Reformed dogmatics:  the rise and development of reformed orthodoxy, ca. 1520 to ca. 1725, 2nd ed. (2003)
), as well, of course, as the period before the Reformation!
     An enormous research program, no doubt.  For now, I simply set down the observation, and wonder (without starting down what is bound to be a very long path with many twist and turns) who (besides the exegete) treats the session itself in this way.
     The sessio Christi elsewhere in Hebrews:  1:3, 1:13, (2:8, 4:4, 4:16, 7:24), 8:1, (9:25-26,) and 12:2, at least.

Friday, August 10, 2018

"Any physical theory of everything [will be] a thousand orders of magnitude away from a philosophical theory of everything."

     Holmes Rolston III, Three big bangs:  matter-energy, life, mind (New York:  Columbia University Press, 2011), 13.

"The regions of our experience governed by force or active energy are . . . superficial in comparison with the silent informational depths of the universe."

(To which "informational depths" the Word of the Triune God is not, however, to be reduced!)

     John F. Haught, God after Darwin:  a theology of evolution, 2nd ed. (Boulder, CO:  Westview Press, 2008), 82.

Thursday, August 9, 2018


"divine scripture teaches us that we will only obtain this [(our greatest likeness to and union with God)] through the most loving observance of the august commandments and by the doing of sacred acts."

  Pseudo-Dionysius, Ecclesiastical hierarchy 2.1, trans. Colm Luibheid (CWS (New York:  Paulist Press, 1987), 200).

Ταύτης [(ἡ πρὸς θεὸν ἡμῶν ὡς ἐφικτὸν ἀφομοίωσίς τε καὶ ἕνωσις)] δέ, ὡς τὰ θεῖα διδάσκει λόγια, ταῖς τῶν σεβασμιωτάτων ἐντολῶν ἀγαπήσεσι καὶ ἱερουγίαις μόνως τευξόνεθα.

     Corpus Dionysiacum 2, ed. Heil & Ritter (Berlin:  Walter de Gruyter, 1991), 68.  =PG 3, col. 392A.  From the immediate context, the sacred acts in question would appear to be those acts of obedience, of keeping Christ's word (Jn 14:23), to which one is bound by the rite of baptism.  Yet there is also this larger emphasis on the Christian mysteries.  I was put onto these words by Margaret R. Miles, who quotes it in the context of an emphasis on "dehabituating exercises, thoughts, visualizations, bodily postures, . . . verbal formulae," etc. (Practicing Christianity:  critical perspectives for an embodied spirituality (New York:  Crossroad, 1988), 90).

What does the abbreviation "S. D. N. D.", common in papal bulls of the 16th century at least, stand for?

Here's my first guess:
". . . Sancti(ssimi) Domini Nostri, Domini [Pii] . . ." (where the second and largely superfluous occurrence of "Domini" is sometimes dropped, as in the abbreviation "S. D. N.") 
". . . of Our (Most) Holy Lord, the Lord [Pius] . . ."
See, for example, the top of this page in the important 1853 Richter/Schulte edition of the Canones et decreta Concilii Tridentini here, where, however, some additional words intervene, so that what you get, severely abbreviated further on down as "S. D. N.", is
". . . the pontificate of Our Most Holy Father in Christ and Lord, the Lord Pius IV, by divine providence Pope . . ."
Cf. these 19th-century translations of the Tridentine bulls of Pius IV (just one in a whole series of bulls that begin in this way).  Cf. also (as some specialists on FICINO reminded me) Cappelli's Dizionario di abbreviature latine ed italine, sv S.D.N.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

"the lasting presence of the temporal before the eternal God may become the experience of the temporal itself. . . ."

     Wolfhart Pannenberg, "Theological questions to scientists," Zygon 16, no. 1 (March 1981):  74 (65-77).