lundi 7 juin 2021

New Research on Groen van Prinsterer and the idea of Sphere Sovereignty by J. Glenn Friesen (2018)

Groen van Prinsterer (1801-1876)
New Research on Groen van Prinsterer and the idea of Sphere Sovereignty 
by J. Glenn Friesen (2018)
Abstract
Historians of reformational philosophy often claim that Abraham Kuyper obtained the idea of “Sovereignty in its own sphere” from Guillaume Groen van Prinsterer. But very little historical research has been done on Groen’s sources for and development of this idea. The first use of the Dutch phrase “souvereiniteit in eigen sfeer” is much earlier than previously thought; it was used in 1853 by J.I. Doedes, an associate of the “ethical theologian” Chantepie de la Saussaye. Groen became aware of the ideas of Franz von Baader through journals founded by them, and by reading and corresponding with them and others like J.H. Gunning, Jr. and Friedrich Fabri. Groen himself owned copies of some of Baader’s books. Groen also relied strongly on the work of the jurist Friedrich Julius Stahl, who was 37 years younger than Baader, but taught for a while at the same Munich university, and shared Baader’s anti- revolutionary ideas. [
The idea of sphere sovereignty has its source in non-Calvinistic ideas.]
PDF of full article (26 pages)
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mardi 1 juin 2021

Distinction Between Naive Experience and Theoretical Thought of Dooyeweerd (Audio Lecture by Dr Arnold DeGraff, 2005)

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PANEL DISCUSSION OF ABOVE LECTURE
With: Dr Arnold DeGraff, Dr Robert Newton(?), Dr Cornelius Van Til, Dr Wm Young
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J. Glenn Friesen: Note on GEGENSTAND
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DOOYEWEERD:The Epistemological Gegenstand-relation (1975) (PDF 35 pages)
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'Two Humeans Preaching Causality to Nature’
by Steven Campbell (Scottish, 1984)

mardi 23 février 2021

Herman Dooyeweerd: In Christ, the root of the reborn creation, the transcendent fulness of individuality has been saved.

Still Life by David Davidsz. de Heem (Dutch 1606-1683/4)
In Christ, the root of the reborn creation, the transcendent fulness of individuality has been saved.
by Herman Dooyeweerd
(Extract from ‘A New Critique of Theoretical Thought’ Vol 2 pp 417-419)

§ 2 - THE ELIMINATION OF THE MODAL MEANING-INDIVIDUALITY IN THE FORM-MATTER-SCHEME OF IMMANENCE-PHILOSOPHY.

The problem could not be solved, if the modal structures and the typical structures of individuality had no common root. The old problem of scholastic rationalistic metaphysics in its ‘realistic’ attitude, viz. the question: What is the principium individuationis? is insoluble and internally contradictory. This metaphysics started from the dialectical Greek form-matter motive which prevents the insight into the radical individual concentration of temporal reality in the human I-ness.

So the dialectical problem was born as to whether individuality originates from the essential form or from the matter of natural substances. If the latter solution was accepted the form in its pure essence was conceived of as a universale which can be only individualized by matter. But this individualization contradicted its ideal character. If the first solution was chosen the form seemed also to be deprived of its ideal nature.

In Greek metaphysics individuality was depreciated in principle. If religious primacy was ascribed to the form-motive individuality was conceived of as an apeiron, which in its ultimate indeterminateness is of no consequence for philosophy. If primacy was ascribed to the matter-motive, individuality was conceived as a guilt which must be reconciled by the dissolution of individual beings.

Matters are entirely different in the light of our Christian cosmonomic Idea. According to the latter there cannot be in creation any dialectical tension between the universal and the ultimate individuality of things and events. The universal is inherent in the law-side, the ultimate individual is essential to the subject-side of our earthly cosmos, in a strict correlation of these two sides of creation. This correlation is maintained in the religious root of our empirical world. Consequently there can be no question of a depreciation either of the individuality of factual things and events or of the universal trait inherent in the Divine order of laws.

In Christ, the root of the reborn creation, the transcendent fulness of individuality has been saved. The ‘corpus Christianum’ in its radical religious sense is not a colourless conceptual abstraction without any individuality. Rather it is, according to the striking metaphor used by St. Paul, a religious organism in which the individuality of its members is ultimately revealed in all its fulness and splendour. Individuality, in other words, is rooted in the religious centre of our temporal world: all temporal individuality can only be an expression of the fulness of individuality inherent in this centre. However obfuscated by sin, it springs from the religious root.

If the modalities of meaning are temporal refractions of the religious fulness of meaning, then the fulness of individuality must also be refracted prismatically within the modal aspects, and temporal individuality must be diversified in all the meaning-modalities. The modal meaning-structure can only function in the temporal coherence of the law-spheres. Therefore the modal individuality of meaning can only be understood from the temporal coherence of all the modalities of individuality.

The insight into the transcendent-religious root and the immanent cosmic meaning-coherence of the modalities of individuality necessarily implies that there is not a single law-sphere that may be considered as the exclusive origin of individuality. The cosmonomic Idea also here proves to be of universal and fundamental importance to the sense in which philosophical problems are understood.

On the immanence-standpoint it is impossible to recognize the modal all-sidedness of individuality. It is immaterial whether in a rationalistic way individuality is degraded to a phenomenon, or, conversely, whether it is absolutized in one of its aspects (e.g., the psychical, historical, aesthetic, ethical modus) in an irrationalistic conception. In both cases the insight into the radical sense of individuality and into its true relation to the universal character of law is lost sight of.

Nominalism in its older as well as in its more modern varieties may assert that all things are individual in themselves and on their own account, and that the universal is only a subjective abstraction in the human mind. But Nominalism must do the same thing as Realism did, though in the opposite direction, viz. it must eliminate the cosmic coherence of meaning and enclose the true reality of things in certain meaning-aspects. On this standpoint the insight into the modal all-sidedness of individuality is equally impossible.

The ultimate cause which prevents immanence-philosophy from doing justice to individuality is always to be found in the dialectical character of its religious basic motives. Not only the Greek form-matter motive but also the modern Humanistic motive of nature and freedom are involved in a dialectical tension between the individual and the universal in the point of departure of the philosophic view of reality.

Thus in all immanence-philosophy the richness of meaning of individuality revealed in the modalities of the law-spheres has to suffer from a process of schematic impoverishment. This impoverishment is most clearly manifested in the metaphysical and in the modern critical form-matter scheme.
(Extracted from Herman Dooyeweerd’s 
‘A New Critique of Theoretical Thought’ Vol 2 pp 417-419)
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Cf with Thesis 62 (page 443) of J. Glenn Friesen’s ‘Neo-Calvinism and Christian Theosophy: Franz von Baader, Abraham Kuyper, Herman Dooyeweerd’ (Kindle)
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Free downloads of Herman Dooyeweerd’s books 
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vendredi 8 janvier 2021

DEEP CALLS TO DEEP | ADOLPH SAPHIR AND HERMAN DOOYEWEERD (5) SCRIPTURE

DEEP CALLS TO DEEP
ADOLPH SAPHIR AND HERMAN DOOYEWEERD
(5) SCRIPTURE
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Adolph Saphir writes: 
('Christ and the Scriptures')

1. HUMANITY, FALL, LAW OF GOD, DECALOGUE
Or take the idea of the law of God. What the Bible teaches us concerning man is no less wonderful than the idea of God which it brings before us. What is man? [...] Look at the Scriptures, teaching us that man is created in God’s image. And because since the Fall we do not know clearly what that means, God gives us in the law his idea of humanity; and the law teaches us that man is to love God with all his heart, and his neighbour as himself. How wonderful are the Ten Commandments! How high is the law of God, elevating man to communion in love with the Lord God! How deep, - requiring truth in the inward part, the affection of the soul, the surrender of the will! How broad, - taking cognizance of all our varied relationships, of all occupations, circumstances, duties; entering into all the minute detail, into all the ramifications of our earthly life! And this idea of man, existing in the original purpose of God, realized in Adam, and subsequently described in the law of Jehovah, is afterwards manifested in greater fulness and glory in the person of Jesus Christ, the second Adam. (p 36)
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2. PAUL, SPARROW, MUSIC, SILENCE
Paul, who was determined not to be afraid of the offence and foolishness of the cross, has often been criticised as falling into Talmudical trifling, by men who little knew that their vaunted intellectualism and spirituality are allied to that rationalism by which Jewish, Papal, and philosophical Rabbis have made the Divine truth of none effect. But the God, without whom not even a sparrow can fall to the ground, and who shows wisdom in the minutest work of his hand, may surely have watched over every expression used in his Scripture; and to discover the wonders of God’s Word by microscopic examination, is the sign not of a trifling but of a great mind. But Paul derives an argument not merely from a word, but from the silence of Scripture. The circumstance that Scripture does not mention Melchizedek’s parentage, is in Paul’s estimation significant; and thus, even as in music, not only the notes, but also the pauses, are according to the mind and plan of the composer, and instinct with the life and spirit which breathe through the whole, the very omissions of Scripture, be they of great mysteries, such as the fall of the angels, or of minute detail, such as the descent of the king of Salem, are not the result of chance, or of the accidental ignorance of the writer, but according to, and in harmony with, the wisdom of that eternal Spirit who is the true author of the record. (p 73)
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3. INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE
The inspiration of Scripture is a fact, not a theory. We find great difficulty in framing a theory even of those influences of the Spirit which we ourselves have experienced, such as regeneration and conversion. How can we, with any degree of certainty, propound a theory of an influence of which we have no personal experimental knowledge? We receive the fact, asserted by the Scriptures themselves, and abundantly confirmed by them, that, though written by men, they are of God, and that the ideas they unfold are clothed in such words as He, in his wisdom and love, intended, so that they may be safely and fully received as expressing his mind, and the thoughts which He purposed to convey to us for our instruction and guidance.

When such a view is described and condemned as mechanical, there is, after all, nothing said and proved. There is scarcely a Christian, however illiterate, who imagines that Isaiah did not feel awe and reverence when he wrote the sixth chapter of his prophecy; that Jeremiah, in writing the book of Lamentations, was a mere amanuensis, who, without sympathy in his heart and tears in his eyes, obeyed the dictation of a higher voice; that David’s heart was not filled with joy and gratitude, when he sang the 23rd or the 103rd Psalm; that Paul, in writing to his congregations, did not pour out the rich treasure of his own experience and love. However strong and unguarded may have been the expressions of some Christians regarding the objective authority and perfection of Scripture, they never deserved to be characterized as teaching "cabalistic ventriloquism,” which has been so frequently done, and by men who meant no irreverence. The Lord has spoken, and that it has pleased Him to speak, “at sundry times and in divers manners” through prophets, may appear to us mysterious, but the fact is received by faith with gratitude, and with the assurance of that light which is seen only in God’s light. (pp 81,82)
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4. SPIRIT, PAUL, MARY, INK NOT YET DRY.

It is our experience that the Spirit becomes Paul to Paul, and Mary to Mary. (p 78) 

[...] The Bible not merely was inspired, but is so still. The Holy Ghost not merely inspired the men as they wrote, but He is still connected with the Scripture. It was originally Spirit breathed, but the Spirit is still breathing on it. When the soul, thirsting after God, reads the words, “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; buy wine and milk without money and without price;" when the burdened heart and oppressed conscience reads the words, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”, the words are breathed again by the Spirit. It seems as if the ink was not yet dry, and as if the warm breath of eternal love, from which these promises flowed, was even now quickening and consoling the troubled soul. The Spirit makes the Scripture a living word. The Spirit breathes here as in no other book. He makes the writing spirit and life, and man lives by it, because it is word proceeding even now out of the mouth of God. He who has experienced this can have no doubt about the origin of Scripture; for in his measure he receives it from God Himself, as David, Isaiah, Paul, John, received it. It is to him a Divine word. He knows not merely it is written, but that it is the living word and voice of the Lord. (p 89)
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5. BOOK FOR ALL TIME & ALL GENERATIONS

If the Bible is the book of the Spirit of God the Eternal, it must be a book for all ages. It cannot possibly be merely a record of the past, or a guide for the present. Emanating from Him who is, and was, and is to come, the Scripture also must be a book for all generations. All God’s acts as well as words are in accordance with his counsel, and stand in relation to that whole plan which shall be fully manifested in the age to come. The Bible is therefore an eternal book. We breathe here the atmosphere of eternity. The author is He who is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.

Hence we find in every Scripture narrative, and in every successive revelation, limited and individual as it may be in its form, an element which is universal; it contains a lesson for every period of the Church’s history, even as it is connected with the whole economy of God’s dealings with men. The Scripture is a whole in every part, a mirror of the world, and a picture of all ages. The words of Scripture are according to the all-comprehensive view of God; and though often very limited and local, everything is of the widest application. (pp 91, 92)

[...] Thus eternity, as a characteristic of Scripture, includes two elements, the one opposed to the limits of time, the other as showing the substance under the transitory form. Scripture has thus, if we may say so, extensive and intensive eternity. Hence it is that Scripture is throughout parabolic. It views the visible as corresponding to, and showing forth, the unseen. It explains the silent language of nature; it beholds the principles of the spiritual world shadowed forth in the manners and experiences of men. 

[...] Hence every portion of Scripture has a meaning and application which no single age exhausts; it fulfils itself continually. (pp 94, 95, 103)
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6. AGAIN IT IS WRITTEN

All Scripture, we know, is Divine and profitable. What is meant, then, by “Again it is written"? It means that the Holy Ghost directs the conscience and heart to the right passage, which gives light and commandment for the present situation and want; and that while the passage quoted by the adversary was perfectly true and most precious, the application was erroneous and contrary to the Spirit, so that “Again it is written," does not modify the Bible statement, but places it in its true light. (pp 106, 107)
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7. HEART, HIDDEN CENTRE

We may also say that He, who alone knows the human heart, is alone able to speak to the heart of man; and while other writings are pre-eminently logical and imaginative, or addressed to the conscience and feelings, Scripture speaks to man, to “all that is in him” (Ps. 103:1), to the inmost and hidden centre, from which proceed all thoughts, words, and works. This penetrating peculiarity of the Scripture style is another feature of its Divine origin. Scripture speaks to the heart of man. (Isa. 40:1, Heb.) (p 112)
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8. BIBLIOLATRY: “We think of catching a sunbeam in a trap”

By Bibliolatry I understand the tendency of separating, in the first place, the Book from the Person of Jesus Christ, and in the second, from the Holy Ghost, and of thus substituting the Book for Him who alone is the light and guide of the Church. In explanation of this twofold tendency, I submit the following considerations:

The Jews regarded Scripture as the Word of God. They reverenced its very letter, guarding it with scrupulous care and studying it with indefatigable diligence. They were zealous defenders of “the oracles of God” entrusted to them, and boasted of the wonderful treasure in their possession. How then was it, that with such a reverence and knowledge of Scripture, they could not understand the Living Word, Jesus Christ?

[...] And now the rule of man began. For if instead of God we have the Bible, the task of commentators, interpreters, casuists, commences. For the text is obscure, the commentary distinct; the text is severe, the casuist accommodating; the text is deep and many-sided, the interpreter shallow and one-sided; the text desires inward truth and radical cure, the tradition heals the hurt of the daughter of my people superficially and falsely. In course of time the tradition came to be regarded as more valuable, more necessary, more practical, than the Bible. Naturally so. Without a living God, viewing the Bible as God’s substitute, a clear and detailed interpretation of the code is in reality of greater importance than the code itself.

This fact, Israel reverencing the Bible and crucifying Christ, is patent and striking to all. But it may not have been sufficiently considered, that it is a fact for all ages, and that the principles involved in it have a special importance for the Church.

[...] The Holy Ghost is above Scripture. Not that there is anything in the Scripture which is not in accordance with the Spirit’s teaching, for all Scripture is inspired of God, but the Church is in danger of ignoring the existence of the Holy Ghost and her constant dependence on Him, and of substituting for the Spirit the Book. And now commences the reign of interpreters and commentaries, of compendiums and catechisms; for if we have the Spirit’s teaching in the Book instead of the Spirit’s teaching by the Book, men wish to have it extracted, simplified, reduced to a system, methodised. And then, practically speaking, the creed is above the Bible.

Thus there has been, to a great extent, “text-preaching” instead of “Word of God” preaching. The Word was “outside” of us, instead of “dwelling” in us. And our testimony is different in tone and power from that of the apostles and primitive Christians; for their testimony was in the Spirit and of Christ according to Scripture, while ours has become testimony concerning the Bible in reference to Christ and the Holy Ghost. The apostles spoke of Christ, and confirmed and illustrated their testimony by the prophecies of Scripture. They looked to the Man in the first place, and secondarily to the portrait given of Him in the Book. Whereas the pseudo-apostolic preaching fixes its own eye and that of the hearer in the first place on the Book, and deduces from it the existence and influence of the Person. The impression in the one case is: that the preacher announces a message from Christ, who is a reality to him; and this his experience of Christ, he asserts, is according to Scripture. The impression in the other case is: that Isaiah, Paul, John teach, according to the preacher’s exposition, such and such doctrine. The one is preaching Christ; the other, about Christ. The one is life and spirit; the other is possible without the spirit and and vitality. The one is testimony; the other is an exposition of another man’s inspired testimony. The one is preaching the Word (with or without text); the other is text-preaching without the Word. Paul preached Christ; our tendency is to preach that Paul preached Christ.

Why is it that God, in speaking to his own people, says so often, “I am the Lord”? Why does He speak so frequently and so earnestly against idolatry? Why does He teach us continually that the Spirit quickeneth; that the letter, even the good and inspired letter, killeth? Because the root-tendency of man is to substitute shadow for substance, the form and outline for the fulness, rules for life, and dead things for the living God. Because we like to stand on terra firma, and resemble children, who cannot understand on what pillars earth, sun, and moon do rest. Because we think of catching a sunbeam in a trap, instead of depending on the sun in the heavens. Therefore we are always apt to deify “brazen serpents”, “Bible doctrine”, past experiences. (pp 125-128)

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The 15 MEANING-MODALITIES of COSMIC TIME
(aka ASPECTS / LAW-SPHERES / MODES of CONSCIOUSNESS)
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Herman Dooyeweerd writes: 

 1. LINGUAL MEANING OF TEXT
It is the unbreakable connection between the revelation of God and the function of faith (along with the faith aspect in which this function works) that accords faith its position as the boundary between time and eternity [please see above chart]. As such, the faith function is encompassed within the temporal world order. It belongs to temporal life just as the organic, psychical [ie sensory], logical, and lingual functions do. The structure of the faith aspect itself demonstrates that faith stands in time; like the structures of all the other aspects, its structure expresses a coherence with every other aspect of temporal reality. The aspect of faith is the last in the temporal order. The others precede it. Nevertheless, it is related to what transcends time; namely, to the absolute ground and origin of all temporal life. Thus the nuclear moment of the structure of the aspect of faith points beyond time to the religious root and origin of our temporal existence. At the same time, this nuclear moment is bound up inseparably with a whole series of moments that point back to the nuclear moments of all the earlier aspects.

[...] A lingual analogy too is inherent in the structure of faith. In the core of its meaning the lingual aspect is symbolic signification accomplished through the use of signs (words, gestures, signals, and so on). Inherent in faith is a symbolism in which the revelation of God is “signified,” made plain to us. The lingual analogy within the meaning of faith is not reducible to the original function of language. Holy Scripture signifies for us the true revelation of God’s Word. This revelation can be understood only through faith guided by the Holy Spirit who operates in the religious ground-motive of God’s Word-revelation. If we read Scripture with an unbelieving heart we may indeed grasp the lingual meaning of its words and sentences, but their true faith meaning [geloofsbetekenis] escapes us. Thus the exegesis of Scripture is not simply a linguistic matter that is the concern of expert philologists. It is not even a purely theological affair, which only presupposes solid scientific, theological knowledge. A Jewish rabbi reads Isaiah 53 differently than a believing Christian, and a modernistic theologian does not discern its prophecy of the atoning suffering and death of the Mediator. Whoever does not understand the religious ground-motive of Scripture lacks the key to faith knowledge. This biblical ground-motive is not a theoretical truth which one can understand scientifically. Rather, it is the all-controlling, dynamic power of God’s Spirit which must open our hearts to what God has to say to us, and which, with our hearts thus opened, must unveil the faith meaning of Holy Writ. But again, even though the lingual analogy lying within the structure of faith cannot be reduced to the original meaning of language, faith cannot exist without it. Exegeting Scripture may not be a merely linguistic matter, but it is not possible without linguistic analysis.

It is hardly necessary to explain the dangers of the "allegorical" exegesis of Scripture practiced by Gnostics and Greek Church fathers in the first centuries of the Christian era. Allegorical exegetes are fond of quoting Paul: "the letter kills, the Spirit makes alive" [2 Corinthians 3:6]. But God bound his Word-revelation to Scripture, thereby linking faith meaning to lingual meaning. Those who sever this bond do not follow the guidance of God's Spirit but merely their own arbitrary views. As a result they cannot understand the faith meaning of Scripture. 
(Herman Dooyeweerd, Roots of Western Culture: Pagan, Secular, and Christian Options, Paideia Press 2012, pp 94, 96)
(256 pages) 
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2. CONCRETE MEANING OF TEXT
"[T]his conception [of faith] also disagrees with the view nowadays defended by KARL BARTH according to which the human subject of Christian belief originates from a new creation, since it is only constituted by the relation of this belief to Jesus Christ. The latter view can be hardly accepted from a Biblical standpoint. [...] But if Christian belief has no point of connection with this temporal order, all the analogies of the other meaning-modalities [see chart above], which reveal themselves in the analysis of the modal aspect of faith, lose their basis. And all that is said in the New Testament about the analogical relations between natural life and the life of faith should be interpreted as mere metaphors. Which is, however, impossible without abandoning the concrete meaning of the texts concerned. In fact, we are again confronted here with the dialectical basic motive of nature and supernatural grace in an antithetic and dualistic conception. 
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought Vol 2, pp 300-302) 
(626 pages)
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3. HET GROOTE KEERPUNT
Aanvankelijk sterk onder den invloed eerst van de Neo-Kantiaansche wijsbegeerte, later van HUSSERL's phaenomenologie, beteekende het groote keerpunt in mijn denken de ontdekking van den religieuzen wortel van het denken zelve, waardoor mij een nieuw licht opging over de doorloopende mislukking van alle, aanvankelijk ook door mijzelf ondernomen, pogingen een innerlijke verbinding tot stand te brengen tusschen het Christelijk geloof en een wijsbegeerte, die geworteld is in het geloof in de zelfgenoegzaamheid der menschelijke rede.

Ik ging verstaan, welke centrale beteekenis toekomt aan het ‘hart’ dat door de Heilige Schrift telkens weer als de religieuze wortel van heel het menschelijk bestaan wordt in het licht gesteld.
  
 Vanuit dit centrale Christelijk gezichtspunt bleek mij een omwenteling in het wijsgeerig denken noodzakelijk van zoo radicaal karakter, dat KANT's ‘Copernicusdaad’ daartegenover slechts als een periphere kan worden gequalificeerd. Want hier is niet minder in het geding dan een relativeering van heel den tijdelijken kosmos zoowel in zijn zgn. ‘natuur’-zijden als in zijn zgn. ‘geestelijke’ zijden tegenover den religieuzen wortel der schepping in Christus. Wat beteekent tegenover deze Schriftuurlijke grondgedachte een omwenteling in de beschouwing der werkelijkheid, welke de ‘natuur’-zijden der tijdelijke realiteit relativeert ten opzichte van een theoretische abstractie als KANT's ‘homo noumenon’ of zijn ‘transcendentaal denksubject’?

In het licht der Schrift bleek de geheele instelling van het wijsgeerig denken, welke dit laatste als zelfgenoegzaam proclameert, een standpunt in den af-val van de ware menschelijke zelfheid, wijl het in wezen het denken aftrekt van de goddelijke openbaring in CHRISTUS JEZUS.

De eerste consequentie van het Schriftuurlijk gezichtspunt in zake den wortel van heel de tijdelijke werkelijkheid was een radicale breuk met de wijsgeerige realiteitsbeschouwing, welke in het door mij zoo genoemde immanentie-standpunt wortelt.
(Herman Dooyeweerd: De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee I, v-vii) 

3a. THE GREAT TURNING POINT (English translation by Dr. J. Glenn Friesen)
The great turning point in my thought was the discovery of the religious root of thought itself. This discovery shed a new light on the continuing failure of all attempts, including my own, to bring an inner connection between Christian belief and a philosophy that is rooted in the belief of the self-sufficiency of human reason. I came to understand the central significance that Holy Scripture repeatedly places on the “heart” as the religious root of all human existence. From out of this central Christian viewpoint, it appeared to me that a revolution was necessary in philosophic thought, a revolution of so radical a character, that, compared with it, Kant’s “Copernican revolution” can only be qualified as a revolution in the periphery. For what is at stake here is no less than a relativizing of the whole temporal cosmos in what we refer to as both its “natural” sides as well as its “spiritual” sides, over against the religious root of creation in Christ. In comparison with this basic Scriptural idea [grondgedachte], of what significance is a revolution in a view of reality that relativizes the “natural” sides of temporal reality with respect to a theoretical abstraction such as Kant’s “homo noumenon” or his “transcendental subject of thought?”.

In the light of Scripture, the whole attitude of that kind of philosophic thought that proclaims thought to be self-sufficient, appears to be one that takes its standpoint in a falling away [af-val] from our true human selfhood, since it essentially withdraws human thought from the divine revelation in Jesus Christ. The first result of the Scriptural viewpoint in relation to the root of the entire temporal reality was a radical break with the philosophic view of reality rooted in what I have called the 'immanence-standpoint.' (pp 1,2)
(Herman Dooyeweerd: De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee I, v-vii, 
English translation by Dr. J. Glenn Friesen)
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4. PAUL’S FORGOTTEN CLOAK
[We note that the following remark by Dooyeweerd:
a) further confirms his concrete reading of Scripture
b) does NOT question the veracity of the given text. (FMF)]

He [an American "visitor"] asked me what I thought about the distinction between the Bible and the Word of God. Now, I speak freely, and I said, “That is just self-evident. You can’t really say that everything in the Bible is inspired. When the Apostle Paul writes to his assistant Timothy that he has forgotten his traveling cloak somewhere and asks whether he will bring it with him when he comes, are we to regard that text as ‘inspired’ just because it stands in the Bible? That would be foolish, wouldn’t it?” But my interrogator was of a completely different opinion. According to him the Bible was “inspired by God word for word” and he therefore found my distinction between the Bible and God’s Word to be an insult to God’s Word. With that of course there was no point in any further dialogue. (p 27)
(LAST INTERVIEW [1975], 
published posthumously [in Acht Civilisten in Burger]
Translated by J. Glenn Friesen). 
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5. THEOLOGY A DANGEROUS SCIENCE
I am sorry if my explanation concerning the scientific field of research of dogmatic theology seem not clear at first sight. The difficulties and questions to which it gives rise do not concern the divine Word-revelation, but exclusively the scientific character and bounds of a theological dogmatics and exegesis. And it is necessary ad humanam salutem to go into these difficulties in a serious way. For dogmatic theology is a very dangerous science. Its elevation to a necessary mediator between God's Word and the believer amounts to idolatry and testifies to a fundamental misconception concerning its real character and position. If our salvation be dependent on theological dogmatics and exegesis, we are lost. For both of them are a human work, liable to all kinds of error, disagreement in opinion, and heresy. We can even say that all heresies are of a theological origin. Therefore, the traditional confusion between God's Word as [on the one hand] the central principle of knowledge, and [on the other hand] the scientific object of theological dogmatics and exegesis must be wrong in its fundamentals. For it is this very confusion which has given rise to the false identification of dogmatic theology with the doctrine of Holy Scripture, and to the false conception of theology as the necessary mediator between God's Word and the believers. 
(Herman Dooyeweerd, In the Twilight of Western Thought p 93) 
(177 pages)
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6. KEY OF KNOWLEDGE / SKANDALON
Let us first consider how the Word of God presents itself to us in its full and actual reality. The divine Word-revelation has entered our temporal horizon. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. This was the skandalon which was equally raised by the incarnation of the Word-revelation in the Holy Scriptures, a collection of books written by different men in the course of ages, be it through divine inspiration, yet related to all the modal aspects of our temporal horizon of experience. It is, however, only under the modal aspect of faith that we can experience that this Word-revelation in the Scriptures has been inspired by the Holy Spirit. And the actual belief through which we know with an ultimate certainty that it is so, cannot be realized in the heart, that religious center of our consciousness, except by the operation of the Word itself, as a spiritual power. What makes the diversity of books of the Old and New Testament into a radical spiritual unity? Their principle of unity can only be the central theme of creation, fall into sin, and redemption by Jesus Christ in the communion of the Holy Spirit, since it is the key to true knowledge of God and self-knowledge. We have established that, in its central spiritual sense, as divine motive power addressing itself to our heart, this theme cannot become the theoretical object of theological thought, since it is the very starting point of the latter, insofar as theology is really biblical.

[...] From this it may appear that there must be a difference in principle between creation, fall and redemption in their central sense as the key to knowledge, and in their sense as articles of faith, which may be made into the object of theological thought. Insofar as Reformed theology, too, was influenced by the scholastic basic motive of nature and grace, it also developed dogmatic views which must be considered unbiblical. The Jewish Scribes and lawyers had a perfect theological knowledge of the books of the Old Testament. They wished, doubtless, to hold to the creation, the fall and the promise of the coming Messiah as articles of the orthodox Jewish faith which are also articles of the Christian faith. Nevertheless, Jesus said to them: "Woe unto you, for ye have taken away the key of knowledge!"

This key of knowledge in its radical and integral sense cannot be made into a theological problem. The theologian can only direct his theological thought to it as to its necessary supra-theoretical presupposition [ie underlying ontical “state of affairs”], if he is really in the grip of it, and bear witness of its radical [ontical “radix”] meaning which transcends all theological concepts. But when he does so, he is in no other position than the Christian philosopher, who accounts for his biblical starting-point, or the simple believer, who testifies to the radical sense of God's Word as the central motive power of his life in Jesus Christ. In other words, the true knowledge of God in Jesus Christ and true self-knowledge are neither of a dogmatic-theological, nor of a philosophical nature, but have an absolutely central religious [ie ultimate structural time-transcending “root”] significance. This knowledge is a question of spiritual life or death. Even an orthodox theological dogmatics, however splendidly elaborated, cannot guarantee this central spiritual knowledge. 
(Herman Dooyeweerd, In the Twilight of Western Thought p 99) 
(177 pages)
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7. BIBLICAL STARTING-POINT, CORNELIUS VAN TIL

Extract from interview with Herman Dooyeweerd by Magnus Verbrugge in 1974, translated by Dr. J. Glenn Friesen -

DOOYEWEERD: Now Van Til thinks that in this first question, the Philosophy of the Law-Idea is really entering a neutral territory—[an area] where the Christian religion does not yet arise. 

VERBRUGGE: (interrupting) A kind of naturalism.
  
 DOOYEWEERD: Yes, and that is such a terrible misunderstanding. For he [Van Til] should have understood that that interpretation is impossible, for I would then contradict myself. I assert that there is no autonomous theoretical thought. And he thinks I should have begun with that and should have acknowledged it in this first question, “What is the nature of theoretical thought?” But if he had looked more closely at this question, then he would have immediately discovered the influence of my religious Biblical Ground-motive. For why else do I say that the other, non-logical aspects cannot be reduced to, deduced from the logical aspect [please compare above chart]? Because I start from the idea of sovereignty in its own sphere. And what is the basis for the sovereignty in each sphere of the aspects? In creation [ie “according to their kinds”].

VERBRUGGE: In creation. Naturally.

DOOYEWEERD: And that is my Christian, religious point of departure. And it is purely Biblical. Thus, this is a terrible misunderstanding [by Van Til]. (pp 19,20)

(‘Interview of Herman Dooyeweerd by Magnus Verbrugge 1974’
Translated by Dr. J. Glenn Friesen.) 
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8. TRIFLING WITH HOLY SCRIPTURE
At present we are only concerned with the inner contradiction found in the accommodated Aristotelian view of the soul, which remained mixed up with the ecclesiastical dogma concerning the individual “immortality of the soul.” [...] For this the famous psycho-creationist theory was first brought forward: God still separately creates each human soul! And this was said notwithstanding Gen. 2:1, 2, which expressly teaches that God’s work of creation was completely finished, and that according to the Scriptures, no new acts of creation can take place. But once this way of trifling with Holy Scripture was begun, then one could of course go a step further and construe the “continued creation” of the “animae rationales” in such a way that [this idea] could be accommodated to the Aristotelian teaching concerning “matter” as the individualizing principle. [...]The whole psycho-creationistic theory, as well as its antipode, (at least in its original form), the traducianist theory, is derived from the dialectic Ground-motive of form and matter in its impossible accommodation with Scripture. 
(The Idea of the Individuality Structure and the Thomistic Concept of Substance: A Critical Investigation into the foundations of the Thomistic doctrine of being 
[De Idee der Individualiteits-structuur en het thomistisch Substantiebegrip: Een critisch onderzoek naar de grondslagen der thomistische zijnsleeer] 
by Herman Dooyeweerd 
[Excerpts translated by J. Glenn Friesen 2007] 
(Above text from page 12 of pdf)
 (31 pages)
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9. PHILOSOPHY OF THE LAW-IDEA
And now, in the development that I have so briefly outlined, the development of the Philosophy of the Law-Idea in a rapidly changing time, the question always came up as to what was really the core [kern], the center, and what was the periphery [omtrek] in this philosophy. You are all my witnesses that from the very beginning I have said that, as philosophy, the Philosophy of the Law-Idea is human work, fallible. I have said that it requires no privileged position with respect to other philosophical systems. That is something that could easily happen, to hide oneself behind the name ‘Christian,’ or ‘reformational,’ and to say, “Yes, but this is a philosophy that is a better guarantee against error than the others.” No. Every time I have warned against that and with great emphasis. That is not the way it is. Philosophy itself remains human work. But it is human work that is directed from out of a spiritual driving force that does not come from man, but which comes forth from out of the Word of God, and which works in the community, de communio, Spiritus sanctus, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, whenever these Ground-motives – I am convinced that there still is much misunderstanding about them, also in our circle, also in the circle of our own Association. Some have become afraid when they have heard this and they have thought, “Here a selection is being made.” For the Ground-motive is described as that of creation, fall into sin and redemption through Jesus Christ in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. And then it is said, “And after this the Bible can remain closed. If that alone is the Ground-motive that leads this philosophy, then the Bible can remain closed.” Now, it was so difficult to remove this misunderstanding. For I have said that the Ground-motive is the key of knowledge of Holy Scripture, and a key serves in order to open something up. And what must be opened up, that is Holy Scripture. Thus the key belongs to Holy Scripture, and it is itself only to be understood from out of Holy Scripture. It is not something that is imposed upon it, but it is certainly something, this motive in its completely central, in its radical character, that completely fits with the revelation given by God in the beginning, in the first chapter of Genesis, of the creation of man according to the image of God. If you read that further in relation to everything that the Bible also teaches us about the religious center of human existence, then it must become clear that the divine revelation, the revelation of the Word, which became flesh, must be adapted to human existence as it was created by God. Otherwise there would be no revelation. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Christ became man. Jesus Christ, and lived among us. And God’s Word has spoken in our human language and in our human world and has thereby also entered our human horizon of experience. And just as man, who was created by God, with a great diversity of functions and structures with respect to his bodily existence, but with one central unity. The heart of his existence, that religious center, out of which are the issues of life, and which according to the order of creation was destined to concentrically direct all the powers that God had placed in the temporal world. These were to be directed in the service of love to God and to our neighbour as the bearer of the image of God. For our neighbour, too, is created according to the image of God.

When you see that, then it is no longer strange that Holy Scripture also has a center, a religious center and a periphery, which belong to each other in an unbreakable way. That center is the spiritual dunamis, the spiritual driving force that proceeds from God’s Word in this central, all-inclusive motive of creation, revelation of the fall into sin, redemption through Jesus Christ in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. And naturally, we can also speak about creation as an article of faith, a doctrine, and that is also clear. Naturally. And one can theologize about that. Of course that can occur. It is also necessary. But when it concerns true knowledge of God and true knowledge of self, then we must say, “There is no theology in the world and no philosophy in the world that can achieve that for man. It is the immediate fruit of the working, the central working of God’s Word itself in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, in the heart, the radix, the root unity of human existence.”
(Center and Periphery: The Philosophy of the Law-Idea in a changing world by Herman Dooyeweerd, Thursday, January 2, 1964. Lecture at the annual meeting of the Association for Calvinistic Philosophy, Translated by Dr. J. Glenn Friesen, pp 21-23)
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10. PSALM 139
As the Creator, God reveals Himself as the Absolute and Integral Origin of the "earthly world", concentrated in man, and of the world of the angels. In the language of the Bible He is the Origin of heaven and earth. There is no original power which is opposed to Him. Consequently, in His creation we cannot find any expression of a dualistic principle of origin. The integral character of the Biblical motive of creation is superbly expressed in the majestic 139th Psalm:
"Wither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."
This is certainly the radical opposite of the Greek dualism of the form and matter motive. In the revelation that God created man according to His image, He discloses man to himself, in the religious radical unity of his created existence, and in the religious solidarity of mankind, in which was integrally concentrated the entire meaning of the temporal cosmos.

The integral Origin of all things according to God's plan of creation has its created image in the heart of man participating in the religious community of mankind. The latter is the integral and radical unity of all the temporal functions and structures of reality, which ought to be directed in the human spirit toward the Absolute Origin, in the personal commitment of love and service of God and one’s neighbour.

This Christian view cut off at the very roots the religious dualism of the Greek motive of form and matter, which came to a head in anthropology in the dichotomy between a material body and a theoretical rational substance of a pure form-character.

Moreover, the creation implies a providential world-plan, which has its integral origin in the Sovereign Will of the Creator. We have indicated this world-plan in the transcendental Idea of the cosmic temporal order. Naturally, Divine Providence is not restricted to the law-side of the temporal world. However, in so far as it embraces also the factual side, this Providence is hidden from human knowledge, and therefore not accessible to a Christian philosophy.

The revelation of the fall into sin is inseparably connected with that of creation. Sin, in its radical Biblical sense, does not play any role in the dialectical basic motives of Greek and Humanistic thought. It cannot play such a part here, because sin can only be understood in veritable radical self-knowledge, as the fruit of Biblical Revelation.
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought Vol 1, pp 173,174
(608 pages)
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11. MOSAIC LEGISLATION
Furthermore, every theory which conceives property right as an exclusive and absolute civil right of the individual directly contradicts the biblical doctrine regarding God’s absolute dominium over all temporal goods. This doctrine finds application, for example, in the Mosaic legislation with its peculiar prescriptions regarding the jubilee year, the Sabbath year, headland harvest, and so on. Though these laws may bear an exceptional theocratic character, the basic principles upon which they are built are still of fundamental significance for our present-day property relationships - also because at no time does it sacrifice the individual freedom of the owner to the private or public dominium of a temporal supreme owner.
(Herman Dooyeweerd: Time, Law and History
Roman and Germanic Conceptions of Property, p 386). 
(482 pages)
* * * * * 
Christ has freed us from the ‘law of sin’ and from the Jewish ceremonial law. But the cosmic law, in its religious fulness and temporal diversity of meaning, is not a burdensome yoke imposed upon us because of sin, but it is a blessing in Christ. Without its determination and limitation, the subject would sink away into chaos. Therefore, Calvin recognized the intrinsic subjection of the Christian to the decalogue, and did not see any intrinsic antinomy between the central commandment of love as the religious root of God’s ordinances, and the juridical or economic law-spheres, or the inner structural law of the state.
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought Vol 1, p 518) 
(608 pages)
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12. CREATIONAL ORDINANCES / DECALOGUE
Some may object by posing the following questions: Is such an intricate investigation really necessary to gain insight into God's ordinances for historical development? Is it not true that God revealed his whole law in the ten commandments? Is this revelation not enough for the simple Christian? I answer with counter questions: Is it not true that God placed all the spheres of temporal life under his laws and ordinances — the laws that govern numerical and spatial relationships, physical and chemical phenomena, organic life, emotional feeling, logical thinking, language, economic life, and beauty? Are not all these laws, without exception, grounded in God's creation order? Can we find explicit scriptural texts for all of them? If not, shall we not acknowledge that God put the painstaking task to humankind to discover them? And admitting this, can we still hold that it makes no difference whether in this search we start from the ground-motive of the Word of God or are guided by unscriptural ground-motives?

Those who think they can derive truly scriptural principles for political policy formation solely from explicit Bible texts have a very mistaken notion of the nature of Scripture. They see only the letter, forgetting that the Word of God is spirit and power which must penetrate our whole attitude of life and thought. God's Word-revelation puts people to work. It claims the whole of our being; where death and spiritual complacency once held sway in us, it wants to conceive new life. Spiritually lethargic people would rather have the ripe fruits of God's revelation fall into their laps, but Jesus Christ tells us that wherever the seed of God's Word falls on good soil, we ourselves must bear fruit.

Today Christians face a fundamental question, namely, what historical yardstick do we possess in this new age for distinguishing between the reactionary and the substantially progressive directions in history? We cannot derive this criterion from the ten commandments, for they were not meant to save us from investigating God's creational ordinances. To answer this basic question, one needs insight into the specific ordinances that God established for historical development. It requires in-depth investigation. Our search will be protected against derailment if the creation motive of God's Word obtains complete control in our thinking.

But I already hear another objection, coming this time from the followers of Karl Barth. The objection is this: what do we know of the original ordinances of creation? How can we speak so confidently of creation ordinances, as if the fall had never happened? Did not sin change them in such a way that they are now ordinances for sinful life? My reply is as follows:

The ground-motive of the divine Word-revelation is an indivisible unity. Creation, fall, and redemption cannot be separated. But Barthians virtually make such a separation when they confess that God created all things but refuse to let this creation motive completely permeate their thinking. Did God reveal himself as the Creator so that we could brush this revelation aside? I venture to say that whoever ignores the revelation of creation understands neither the depth of the fall nor the scope of redemption. Relegating creation to the background is not scriptural. Just read the Psalms, where the devout poet rejoices in the ordinances that God decreed for creation. Read the book of Job, where God himself speaks to his intensely suffering servant of the richness and depth of the laws which he established for his creatures. Read the gospels, where Christ appeals to the creational ordinance for marriage in order to counter those who aimed at trapping him. Finally, read Romans 1:19-20, where the creational ordinances are explicitly included in the general revelation to the human race. Whoever holds that the original creational ordinances are unrecognisable for fallen humankind because they were supposedly fundamentally altered by the advent of sin, essentially ends up denying the true significance of God’s common grace which maintains these ordinances. Sin did not change the creational decrees but the direction of the human heart, which turned away from its Creator. Undoubtedly, this radical fall impacts the way in which humankind discloses the powers that God enclosed in creation.

The fall affects natural phenomena, which humankind can no longer control. It impacts itself in theoretical thought led by an idolatrous ground-motive. It appears in the subjective way in which humankind gives form to the principles established by God in his creation as norms for human action. The fall made special institutions necessary, such as the state and the church in its institutional form. But even these special institutions of general and special grace are based upon the ordinances that God established in his creation order. Neither the structures of the various aspects of reality, nor the structures that determine the nature of concrete creatures, nor the principles which serve as norms for human action, were altered by the fall. A denial of this leads to the unscriptural conclusion that the fall is as broad as creation; i.e., that the fall destroyed the very nature of creation. This would mean that sin plays a self-determining, autonomous role over against God, the creator of all. Whoever maintains such a position denies the absolute sovereignty of God and grants Satan a power equal to that of the Origin of all things.
(Herman Dooyeweerd, Roots of Western Culture: Pagan, Secular, and Christian Options, Paideia Press 2012, pp 59,60)
(256 pages)
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READ ALSO:
Some quotes from Herman Dooyeweerd’s 
‘Reformation and Scholasticism in Philosophy’ Vol 2
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PREVIOUS ARTICLE IN SERIES:
(4) COSMIC MEANING
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READ ONLINE: CHRIST AND THE SCRIPTURES by Adolph SAPHIR (1864) -

mardi 5 janvier 2021

DEEP CALLS TO DEEP | ADOLPH SAPHIR AND HERMAN DOOYEWEERD (4) COSMIC MEANING: “From Him, through Him, and to Him are all things”

DEEP CALLS TO DEEP
ADOLPH SAPHIR AND HERMAN DOOYEWEERD
(4) COSMIC MEANING: 
“From Him, through Him, and to Him are all things”
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Adolph Saphir writes: 
('Christ and the Scriptures', pp 95-101)

“Hence it is that Scripture is throughout parabolic. It views the visible as corresponding to, and showing forth, the unseen. It explains the silent language of nature; it beholds the principles of the spiritual world shadowed forth in the manners and experiences of men. 

“When Jesus speaks in parables it is in accordance with the whole method of Scripture. He is the true Son of David, who read the two books of nature and of the written Word (Psalm 19); the true Son of Solomon, who saw in earthly prudence the mirror of heavenly wisdom, and who uttered proverbs - ie parables, dark sayings - clear in their primary meaning, but suggestive of higher lessons. Jesus spake in parables, not merely because He was the Son of David and Solomon, the Israelite trained in God’s school of revelation, but also because He was the Son of man. 

“Man ought to have an eye for the beautiful works of God, for the light and the innumerable hues of wondrous beauty; he ought to have an ear to hear the thousand voices around him of deep solemnity and exquisite tenderness, even as his mouth should show forth the praises of God in response to God’s message of love and power at sundry times and in divers manners. But there is a separation, through sin, between heaven and earth, and it is faith only that can see the things which are not seen in the things which do appear. Jesus was in heaven while He lived on earth (John 3.13); the essence of all things lay before Him. God and his kingdom, Satan and his kingdom, He beheld and traced throughout. He opened his mouth in parables. He spake of nature. He had watched the clouds and the red sky at evening; the sun in his glory; the fowls of the air in their blithe carelessness; the flowers of the field in their gorgeous beauty; the wisdom of serpents, the guilelessness of doves, the eagle’s keen eye and sudden descent; the hen gathering her chickens under her wings; the wind blowing where it listeth; the vine and its branches; the trees good and bad: the fig-tree and its leaves; the mustard-seed and its development; - all this became to Him a picture of heavenly things.

“He spake of man; of the relationships and occupations of human life; of the eye as the light of the body; of the sick, who need a physician; of the father giving good gifts to his child; of the mother rejoicing that a child is born into the world; of the friend showing himself friendly to his neighbour; of the shepherd and the flock; the king and his nation; the master and his stewards; the merchant seeking goodly pearls; the sower going forth to sow; the fishermen casting out the net; even the little children playing in the marketplace; — and in all this He beheld pictures of eternal truth and spiritual relations.

“He noticed also the foolish and the evil way of men: the unrighteous judge, who feared not God, neither regarded man; the rich man trusting in his earthly possessions; the unmerciful servant, who will not forgive, though himself a debtor to mercy; the unjust steward; the man who begins to build without counting the cost; the thief and robber; the hireling; and here also He sees spiritual principles, eternal results.

“He noticed the common objects and events around Him: salt; the light and candlestick; the house and its foundation; the door; bread and water; the ways of the good householder. He spake of the marriage feast and the wedding garment; - in all He beheld the things that are real and are for ever.

“[…] The chief purpose, however, is, according to the spirit of parabolic teaching, to impress on us that we are even now in eternity; that everywhere we are surrounded by the same God; that the invisible kingdom is manifested in the visible; that God, and his truth, and his righteousness, are the true reality and substance.

“[…] And as all things are upheld for Christ’s sake, in Him and unto Him, there must be a great parallelism between history — the events and relationships which arise in providence - and the history of grace in redemption. There is only one Word of God, who expresses Himself in nature and in the spiritual world. Hence we have such striking resemblances. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." This mysterious law is true also in the spiritual world, finding its most wonderful and perfect fulfilment in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

“Thus we are prepared to find in all the realms of God’s kingdom, from the lowest to the highest, symbols of Christ. In the lowest we have Christ represented by the Stone, the Rock the emblem of strength, of firmness, of never changing stability; the foundation which cannot be moved. But He is also like the Plant. His is life, even as He gives life. He is therefore called the Branch (or ZEMACH), simply and most generally representing the idea of organic life. And this in its highest and noblest form, for He is the Vine; and in its loveliest and most beauteous manifestation, for He is the Rose. But He is symboled forth in a higher kingdom than that of the plants. He is strong and royal as a Lion; He is meek and gentle, attractive and patient, ‘made for suffering,’ like a Lamb. 

“But yet higher we rise. He is called ‘the Son of Man;’ for whatsoever is truly human (according to the idea of God) - wisdom and love, strength of purpose and gentleness of submission, concentration in God and expansive benevolence to all, work and energy, and meditative rest and festive sabbath, all that is truly man finds in Him its perfect exponent and fulfilment. And above all, He, the true Microcosm, in whom and by whom all things were created and are upheld, and who is the very Spirit of All, in so far as it is, is the Lord of glory, the Son of the Father, God of God, and Light of light. The Father beholdeth all things in Him, who is the beginning of the creation of God; and we, to our unspeakable joy, with adoring hearts and light-filled eyes, learn to see all things in Him and Him in all things.

“Jesus speaks of Himself as the King, the Shepherd, the Friend, and the Bridegroom; while the Spirit is spoken of under the emblems of Wind, or Breath, Fire, Oil, Water, and the Dove.

“The book of Nature is more especially brought constantly before us, that we may read in it, and trace in its pages the same wonderful truths which the Word has spoken more distinctly in the written book of God’s testimony. [
…] Of all that is in heaven, and on earth, and in the sea, God often speaks, showing us that all was made by the Word, even Christ, and therefore speaks and testifies of Him.

“In this symbolism everything is so simple, so real, that it speaks to the heart. There is nothing forced here. The spiritual meaning does not supplant, nor even place in the background the immediate and primary meaning of God’s works, as showing forth his wisdom, power, and goodness. Nor is this spiritual meaning a moral appended, as some lame fables require an explanation. We love and appreciate the works themselves the more we connect them, as God does, with the inward idea. God interprets Himself in interpreting his works, for there is but one God, Creator, and Redeemer.
(by Adolph Saphir, 'Christ and the Scriptures', pp 95-101)
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The 15 MEANING-MODALITIES of COSMIC TIME
(aka ASPECTS / LAW-SPHERES / MODES of CONSCIOUSNESS)
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Herman Dooyeweerd writes: 
Meaning as the mode of being of all that is created.

“This universal character of referring and expressing, which is proper to our entire created cosmos, stamps created reality as meaning, in accordance with its dependent non-self-sufficient nature. Meaning is the being of all that has been created and the nature even of our selfhood. It has a religious [ie default, time-transcending, structural] root and a divine origin
Now, philosophy should furnish us with a theoretical insight into the inter-modal coherence of all the aspects [modalities] of the temporal world. Philosophy should make us aware, that this coherence is a coherence of meaning that refers to a totality. We have been fitted into this coherence of meaning with all our modal functions, which include both the so-called ‘natural’ [ie up to and including the ‘sensory’ modality on above chart] and the so-called ‘spiritual’ [or ‘normative’, ie the analytical modality and all above it on chart].”
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Vol 1, pp 3,4)

Meaning in the fall of man.
“There remains, however, another central problem of extreme importance: As regards his human nature, Christ is the root of reborn creation, and as such the fulness of meaning, the creaturely Ground of the meaning of all temporal reality. But our temporal world in its apostate religious root lies under God's curse, under the curse of sin. Thus there is a radical [radix] antithesis in the subject-side of the root of the earthly cosmos. It may be that this antithesis has been reconciled by the Redemption in Jesus Christ, but in temporal reality the unrelenting struggle between the kingdom of God and that of darkness will go on until the end of the world. 

The falling away from God has affected our cosmos in its root and its temporal refraction of meaning. Is not this a final and decisive reason to distinguish meaning from reality? Does not the radical antithesis between the kingdom of God and that of darkness, which our transcendental Idea itself also recognizes as fundamental for philosophic thought, compel us to accept an ultimate dualism between meaning and reality? Is sinful reality still meaning? Is it not meaningless, or rather the adversary of meaning, since meaning can only exist in the religious [root] dependence on its Origin?

Here we indeed touch the deepest problem of Christian philosophy. The latter cannot hope to solve it without the illumination of Divine Revelation if it wants to be guaranteed from falling back into the attitude of immanence-philosophy [ie any philosophy which seeks ultimate anchorage within time].

I for one do not venture to try and know anything concerning the problem that has been raised except what God has vouchsafed to reveal to us in His Word. I do not know what the full effect of unrestrained sin on reality would be like. Thanks to God this unhampered influence does not exist in our earthly cosmos. One thing we know, viz. that sin in its full effect does not mean the cutting through of the relation of dependence between Creator and depraved creation, but that the fulness of being of Divine justice will express itself in reprobate creation in a tremendous way, and that in this process depraved reality cannot but reveal its creaturely mode of being as meaning. It will be meaning in the absolute subjective apostasy under the curse of God's wrath, but in this very condition it will not be a meaningless reality.

Sin causes spiritual death through the falling away from the Divine source of life, but sin is not merely privatio [absence, deprivation, omission], not something merely negative, but a positive, guilty apostasy insofar as it reveals its power, derived from creation itself. Sinful reality remains apostate meaning under the law and under the curse of God's wrath. In our temporal cosmos God's Common Grace reveals itself, as KUYPER brought to light so emphatically, in the preservation of the cosmic world-order. Owing to this preserving grace the framework of the temporal refraction of meaning remains intact.”

The Christian as a stranger in this world.
“Although the fallen earthly cosmos is only a sad shadow of God's original creation, and although the Christian can only consider himself as a stranger and a pilgrim in this world, yet he cannot recognize the true creaturely ground of meaning in the apostate root of this cosmos, but only in the new root, Christ. Any other view would inevitably result in elevating sin to the rank of an independent counter-power opposed to the creative power of God. And this would result in avoidance of the world, an unbiblical flight from the world. We have nothing to avoid in the world but sin. The war that the Christian wages in God's power in this temporal life against the Kingdom of darkness, is a joyful struggle, not only for his own salvation, but for God's creation as a whole, which we do not hate, but love for Christ's sake. We must not hate anything in the world but sin.”
The apostate world cannot maintain any meaning as its own property in opposition to Christ. Common Grace.
“Nothing in our apostate world can get lost in Christ. There is not any part of space, there is no temporal life, no temporal movement or temporal energy, no temporal power, wisdom, beauty, love, faith or justice, which sinful reality can maintain as a kind of property of its own apart from Christ.

Whoever relinquishes the 'world' taken in the sense of sin, of the 'flesh' in its Scriptural meaning, does not really lose anything of the creaturely meaning, but on the contrary he gets a share in the fulness of meaning of Christ, in Whom God will give us everything. It is all due to God's common grace in Christ that there are still means left in the temporal world to resist the destructive force of the elements that have got loose; that there are still means to combat disease, to check psychiatric maladies, to practise logical thinking, to save cultural development from going down into savage barbarism, to develop language, to preserve the possibility of social interaction, to withstand injustice, and so on. All these things are the fruits of Christ's work, even before His appearance on the earth. From the very beginning God has viewed His fallen creation in the light of the Redeemer.

We can only face the problem of the effect on temporal meaning that the partial working of the falling away from the fulness of meaning has in spite of common grace, when we have gained an insight into the modal structures of the law-spheres within the temporal coherence of meaning. But — and with this we definitively reject any separation of meaning from reality — meaning in apostasy remains real meaning in accordance with its creaturely mode of being. An illogical reasoning can occur only within the logical [analytical] modality of meaning; illegality in its legal sense is only possible within the modality of meaning of the jural sphere; the non-beautiful can only be found within the modal aspect of meaning of the aesthetic law-sphere, just as organic disease remains something within the modal aspect of meaning of the biotic law-sphere, and so on. Sin, as the root of all evil, has no meaning or existence independent of the religious fulness of the Divine Law. In this sense St PAUL'S word is to be understood, to the effect that but for the law sin is dead ("χωρς γρ νόμου μαρτία νεκρά" Romans 7:8).

All along the line meaning remains the creaturely mode of being under the law which has been fulfilled by Christ. Even apostate meaning is related to Christ, though in a negative sense; it is nothing apart from Him.

As soon as thought tries to speculate on this religious basic truth, accessible to us only through faith in God's Revelation, it gets involved in insoluble antinomies [ie conflicts of modality demarcation]. This is not due to any intrinsic contradiction between thought and faith, but rather to the mutinous attempt on the part of thought to exceed its temporal cosmic limits in its supposed self-sufficiency. But of this in the next section. For thought that submits to Divine Revelation and recognizes its own limits, the antithesis in the root of our cosmos is not one of antinomy; rather it is an opposition on the basis of the radical unity of Divine Law; just as in the temporal law-spheres justice and injustice, love and hatred are not internally antinomous, but only contrasts determined by the norms in the respective modalities of meaning.”

The religious value of the modal criterion of meaning.
“If created reality is to be conceived of as meaning, one cannot observe too strictly the limits of the temporal modal law-spheres in philosophic thought. These limits have been set by the cosmic order of time in the specific 'sovereignty of the modal aspects within their own spheres' [ie ‘mutual irreducibility’. NB ‘irreducible’ even to the logical-analytical aspect. The aspects are not a construct of logic, but are primarily discovered by intuition].

Any attempt to obliterate these limits by a supposedly autonomous thought results in an attack upon the religious [ie supratemporal] fulness of meaning of the temporal creation.

If the attempt is made to reduce the modal meaning of the jural or that of the economic law-sphere to the moral one of the temporal love of one's neighbour, or if the same effort is made to reduce the modal meaning of number or that of language [lingual/ symbolical] to the meaning of logic [analytical], it must be distinctly understood that the abundance of meaning of creation is diminished by this subjective reduction. And perhaps without realizing what this procedure implies, one puts some temporal aspect [ie modality of time] of reality in the place of the religious [time-transcending] fulness of meaning in Christ. The religious [transcendent root] value of the criterion of meaning is that it saves philosophic thought from falling away from this fulness.”
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Vol 2, p 32-36)

Eternity illumines even the seemingly trivial.
In the Biblical attitude of naïve [(not pejorative!) everyday immersive/ pre-theoretical] experience, the transcendent, religious [supratemporal root] dimension of its horizon is opened. The light of eternity radiates perspectively through all the temporal dimensions of this horizon and even illuminates seemingly trivial things and events in our sinful world.

[...] This should not be misunderstood. It would be an illusion to suppose that a true Christian always displays the Biblical attitude in his pre-theoretical [concrete, everyday] experience. Far from it. Because he is not exempt from the solidarity of the fall into sin, every Christian knows the emptiness of an experience of the temporal world which seems to be shut up in itself. He knows the impersonal attitude of a 'Man' [Heidegger term] in the routine of common life and the dread of nothingness, the meaninglessness, if he tries to find himself again in a so-called existential isolation. He is acquainted with all this from personal experience, though he does not understand the philosophical analysis of this state of spiritual uprooting in Humanistic existentialism. 

But the Christian whose heart is opened to the Divine Word-revelation knows that in this apostate experiential attitude he does not experience temporal things and events as they really are, i.e. as meaning pointing beyond and above itself to the true religious centre of meaning and to the true Origin."
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought Vol 2, pp 29, 30)
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“A-mhàin thoir an aire dhut fhéin, agus gléidh d’anam gu dìchiollach, air eagal gun dìochuimhnich thu na nithean a chunnaic do shùilean, agus air eagal gun dealaich iad rid chridhe uile làithean do bheatha; ach dèan aithnichte iad dod mhic, agus do mhic do mhac.” (Deut 4:9)
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