Monday, August 21, 2006

so anyway....

To return to what I was calling the "theological blog contest! aka what's wrong with this?".... wherein I asked what the problem was with the Scotist's assumptions / hermeneutic, etc.

Well, MM got the right answer. KingFriend circled around it, then went off in other (helpful) directions. The rest of you just looked on from a half-interested distance. Here's what MM said that I am callign "correct" --

"The probem is perhaps a Protestant refusal to recognize reality as ontologically located in physical substance."

Here's how I would have put it: matter matters. And now that I think of it, maybe it isn't an essentially protestant problem, though it tends to be. Especially among unreflective American evangelicals. But rather than put it in the terms of protestant denials (or "refusals" in MM's terms), maybe we can avoid controversy by putting it in terms of catholic affirmations. Existence in this world is essentially material. We are material beings, embodied souls, etc. And this state of affairs is "good" according to God in Genesis.

Concomitantly, God's self-revelation is always mediated by materiality. He always presents himself to us, in this world, materially -- whether in the flesh of the man Jesus, or in the words of Scripture, or in the Eucharistic Host, or whatever. Even visions, "senses," dreams, intuitions, and what not are presented to you through the functioning of your brain. Which is to say that in this life, your consciousness and psychology is wrapped up in the materiality of the firing of synapses and so forth, in other words, your psychology is packaged in neurobiological realities. (And note I am not saying that consciousness is reducible to neurobilogoical realities, but just that the latter are necessary for the obtaining of the former in this order of existence, which God has caused to be, and which he has called "good.").

It is in this material state of affairs that humans relate to one another. And one of the realities of this necessary physicality is the God-ordained materiality of gender. In short, I agree with Barth. Gender is necessary for humans in this order of existence. And this order of existence is the only one that pertains to us at the moment.

Also note: yes, our understanding of things theological is informed by our eschatological orientation; but pace Scotist, I don't see anything in Scripture or tradition that indicates that our eschatological existence won't be gendered. Apparently we will be neither married nor given in marriage, but that does not mean that we will have transcended our gender particularity, which seems to be wrapped up in our incarnatedness, our physicality. And because one of the main events of the eschaton is the resurrection of the body, it seems to me that our understanding of the eschaton ought itself to be informed by the truths of Genesis.

But anyway, congratulations to MM for winning. And to KF for playing. But since the game was really "read Father WB's mind," the deck was stacked.

1 comment:

koenigsfreunde said...

WB,
Once MM entered the contest, I knew all hope was lost! Naughty chap, you ought to forbid your fiance from participing in a contest which involves "reading your mind".

In any case, I've formulated a puzzle for folks to solve over at my blog. Come one; come all; blog away! Go (here to participate!