|Photo: F. MacFhionnlaigh|
Dooyeweerd: we would have no awareness of time if we did not transcend time.
Short extract from book
‘Time, Law, and History: Selected Essays’
It is indeed correct to say that we would not have a genuine awareness of time if we did not transcend time in the deepest core of our being. All merely temporal creatures lack an awareness of time. Every instance of absolutizing time rests on a lack of critical self-reflection.
But the true concentration point, the supra-temporal root of our existence, cannot be known on the basis of an autonomous philosophy; for the latter, in its theoretical character, necessarily remains enclosed within the horizon of time. It is only the divine Word-revelation that discovers us to ourselves. True self-knowledge, as Calvin remarks in his Institutes, is acquired only through true knowledge of God. I call this the religious concentration law of human existence.
The “soul” of the human being, which according to the testimony of Scripture is not affected by the temporal death since it continues to exist even after laying down the “body” - that is, after laying down the entire temporal form of existence enclosed in the individuality structure - is the religious root of the human being, also designated by Scripture as the “inner man” or the “heart” of a person, from which flow the “issues of life” and in which “eternity is laid”. It is, as Kuyper expresses it in his Stone Lectures on Calvinism:
“that point in our consciousness where our life is still undivided and where it is still bound together in its unity.”According to Kuyper this concentration point is not found in:
“the spreading vines but in the root from which the vines spring. That point cannot be found anywhere but in the antithesis between all that is finite in our human life and the infinite that lies beyond it. Here alone do we find the common source from which the different streams of human life spring and separate themselves.”Kuyper employs not only the image of a religious root but also that of a focus:
“Personally it is our repeated experience that in the depths of our hearts, at the point where we disclose ourselves to the Eternal One, all the rays of our life converge as in one focus, and there alone regain that harmony which we so often and so painfully lose in the stress of daily life.”However, this religious root of the individual human existence ought not to be understood in the sense of an “autonomous individual,” since it is created by God participating in the religious root-community of humankind. In Adam it found its first head falling away from God, but in Christ as its second head this religious community with God is restored. This religious root-community of humankind is the true supra-individual concentration-point of the entire cosmos. It also explains why the fall in Adam not only affected the total human race but drew with it also the entire temporal cosmos, as in Christ the whole cosmos is saved in its root.
A truly Christian philosophy of time is therefore impossible when theoretical thought is not directed towards the genuine supra-temporal concentration-point of the temporal cosmos. Theoretical thought in philosophy is never self-sufficient. Rather, by virtue of the structure of creation itself it is necessarily religiously determined, whether in an apostate direction or in a directedness towards the true Origin of everything, as revealed in Christ Jesus.
Herman Dooyeweerd, ‘Time, Law, and History: Selected Essays’, Collected Works, Series B - Volume 14, Paideia Press 2017, pp 67-69)