jeudi 30 octobre 2014

Dooyeweerd: Meaning in the fall of man

Jan Davidsz. de Heem, "Triopall le Blàthan is Measan"
"Cha tèid càil san t-saoghal Dia-àicheil seo air chall ann an Crìosd. Chan eil pàirt sam bith de fhànas, chan eil beatha thìmeil sam bith, chan eil gluasad tìmeil no lùths tìmeil, chan eil cumhachd, gliocas, maise, gràdh, creideamh no ceartas sam bith as urrainn dhan t-saoghal pheacach a chùmail mar shealbh aige fhèin as aonais Chrìosd.
...Tha e gu tur taing do ghràs coitcheann Dhè ann an Crìosd gu bheil meadhanan sam bith air am fàgail san t-saoghal thìmeil a chur an aghaidh neart sgriosail nan eileamaidean a fhuair ma sgaoil; gu bheil meadhanan ann fhathast a bhith strì an aghaidh galair, gu bhith bacadh thinneasan-inntinn, gu bhith cur smaoineachaidh loidsigich an gnìomh, gu bhith sàbhaladh leasachaidh chultaraich bho dhol sìos ann am buirbe mi-chneasta, gu bhith ag altram cainnt, gu bhith gleidheadh comas a' chonaltraidh shòisealta, gu bhith seasamh an aghaidh mi-cheartais, agus mar sin air adhart. Tha na nithean uile seo mar thoradh air obair Chrìosd, fiù 's mas do nochd E air an talamh. Bhon toiseach sheall Dia air A chruitheachd leagte ann an solas an t-Slànaigheir."
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought, Vol II p 34)
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 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 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 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.
     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, 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 (1). 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 psychic maladies, to practise logical thinking, to save cultural development from going down into savage barbarism, to develop language, to preserve the possibility of social intercourse, 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 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. 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'.
     Any attempt to obliterate these limits by a supposedly autonomous thought results in an attack upon the religious 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 to the meaning of logic, 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 of reality in the place of the religious fulness of meaning in Christ. The religious value of the criterion of meaning is that it saves philosophic thought from falling away from this fulness."

     (1) In his Kirchliche Dogmatik KARL BARTH has tried to escape this consequence by deriving the positive power of sin from the 'Divine No' placed over against His 'Yes' with respect to His creative act. But this dialectical solution of the problem results in a dualistic (at the same time positive and ncgative) conception of creation.
     The Divine 'No' cannot explain the power of sin, which as such is derived from creation itself, as we have stated in Vol. I.
     The idea of a negative creation is destructive to the Biblical conception of the integral Origin of Heaven and earth, because it implies that sin has a power outside creation in its positive sense.
     Creation itself implies the Divine 'No' with respect to sin in its negative sense as 'privatio'.
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Vol II, p 32-36)
"Brí i dtitim an chine dhaonna.
     Tá fós, áfach, fadhb lárnach eile atá ana-thábhachtach: Maidir le a nádúr daonna, is é Críost fréamh an chruthaithe athshaolaithe, agus mar seo is lánmhaireacht na brí é, bunús créatúrúil brí na réaltacht teamparálta uile. Ach tá ár saol teamparálta, ina fhréamh reiligiúnach dhiashéantach, faoi mhallacht Dé agus faoi mhallacht an pheacaí. Dá bhrí sin tá fritéis radacach ann i dtaobh-suibiachta fréamh an chosmais dhomhanda. D'fhéadfadh sé a bheith go ndearna an fhritéis seo a réiteach leis an Fhuascailt in Íosa Críost, ach i réaltacht teamparálta leanfaidh an choimhlint gan staonadh idir ríocht Dé agus ríocht an dorchadais go dtí deireadh an domhain...
(Herman Dooyeweerd, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Vol II, p 32-36)