Friday, September 01, 2006

Epistemic certainty

ED: I did not realize that epistemological certitude was the purpose of revelation. I guess I have been mistaken...

SH: Yes, you’ve been mistaken—from start to finish.

For one thing, you’re confusing epistemic certainly in reference to the way in which inspiration secures the wording of Scripture with epistemic certainty in reference to the effect of reading or hearing Scripture on the mind of the audience.

These are two quite different things. For someone with your intellectual affectations, you’re a very sloppy thinker.

The point at issue is not the psychological state of the reader, but the autographic text of Scripture.

ED: Yes, this is why the actual self-revelation of God occurred in a person, not a text or a sermon.

SH: We’ve been over this ground before. Yours is an especially inept disjunction.

1.To begin with, 21C Christians know Christ by description, not by acquaintance.

Our knowledge of Christ is mediated by linguistic propositions recorded in Scripture.

2.You further disregard the teaching ministry of Christ. The self-revelation of God in Christ was by no means limited to the person of Christ, but consisted, in large measure, in his teaching. The spoken word—later committed to writing.

3.As has also been pointed out on more than one occasion, given your view that God is ineffable and inscrutable, a divine Incarnation would not disclose the nature of God.

ED: This is why Paul says that knowledge of God is foolishness--after all, the moment you have claimed certitude in quantifying the eternal nature of God is the very moment that you have forgetten the extreme scandal that God in Christ was massacred on a bloody cross. All categories for "knowing", in this light, are completely exploded.

SH:

1.Given your theory of language and denial of propositional revelation, you surrender the right of appeal to the Passion narratives or 1 Cor 1-3.

2.If “all categories of knowing are completely exploded,” then we don’t “know” that Christ was massacred on a bloody cross.

3.You also bungle the meaning of 1 Cor 1-3, completely missing the pervasive irony of Paul’s argument.

Paul is not saying that the knowledge of God is foolishness. To the contrary, the knowledge of God is the true wisdom.

His point, rather, is that divine wisdom is foolish to fallen men because fallen men are fools.

God is wise, but men are fools. Because men are fools, they equate true wisdom with folly when, in fact, what they deem to be wisdom is actually foolishness while what they deem to be folly is actually and supremely wise.

3 comments:


  1. 3.You also bungle the meaning of 1 Cor 1-3, completely missing the pervasive irony of Paul’s argument.

    Paul is not saying that the knowledge of God is foolishness. To the contrary, the knowledge of God is the true wisdom.

    His point, rather, is that divine wisdom is foolish to fallen men because fallen men are fools.

    God is wise, but men are fools. Because men are fools, they equate true wisdom with folly when, in fact, what they deem to be wisdom is actually foolishness while what they deem to be folly is actually and supremely wise.


    Bingo! Notice that E-D has Paul agreeing with the Ebionites and Elkeasites, two groups with whom he repeatedly disagrees. Furthermore, he appeals to a text that includes this: But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

    So E-D appeals for support to the very text that actually condemns him and tells him that he is unable to understand spiritual truth, and, lest he go on to say that this text somehow proves that propositional revelation is unable to convey truth by itself, we agree in that we have a doctrine of illumination. However, this text presumes that linguistic propositions are understandable; the reason that natural men reject the truth of them is because they love their own evil and are morally unable to embrace that truth apart from divine intervention, not because the propositions themselves do not convey the truth properly. The problem lies in man himself, not the words. Further, E-D appeal to Scripture for his statements, but this same Paul regularly employs it, presuming it conveys the ideas he is communicating, cf. 2:9, which draws from Isaiah.

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  2. steve--

    SH: Yes, you’ve been mistaken—from start to finish.

    Yes, indeed...

    For one thing, you’re confusing epistemic certainly in reference to the way in which verb inspiration secures the wording of Scripture with epistemic certainty in reference to the effect of reading or hearing Scripture on the mind of the audience.

    These are two quite different things. For someone with your intellectual affectations, you’re a very sloppy thinker.

    The point at issue is not the psychological state of the reader, but the autographic text of Scripture.


    This is all patent conjecture. After all, to begin, the autographic text of Scripture no longer exists. Next, even if it did, upon what standard would you determine that it, indeed, bore the marks of "inspiration?" The only possible answer would be either upon some arbitrary standard devised by your own thinking, or an appeal to the autograph itself--both of which terminate in exactly the same answer. Therefore, you entire argument is based upon fiat, not of the actual, objectively determinite nature of the thing itself. As I have said before, it would appear that if one could determine the criterion for identifying the mechanism of "divine inspiration," this very identification would seem to preclude the mechanism from being the thing which one has set out to prove that it is. This spiral continues, indefinitely.

    1.To begin with, 21C Christians know Christ by description, not by acquaintance.

    Our knowledge of Christ is mediated by linguistic propositions recorded in Scripture.


    Well, before the Scriptures were composed, the community of Christ-followers was the context in which faith in Christ was developed and communicated. The so-called propositions of Scripture came after, not before, and developed out of the "being" of the church.

    2.You further disregard the teaching ministry of Christ. The self-revelation of God in Christ was by no means limited to the person of Christ, but consisted, in large measure, in his teaching. The spoken word—later committed to writing.

    Christian faith is in the person of Christ. The very limited teachings of Christ which were incidentally recorded in the Scriptures are important, for sure. However, the church formed around a person, not a curriculum.

    3.As has also been pointed out on more than one occasion, given your view that God is ineffable and inscrutable, a divine Incarnation would not disclose the nature of God.

    Well, this depends upon how one defines "disclosure."

    1.Given your theory of language and denial of propositional revelation, you surrender the right of appeal to the Passion narratives or 1 Cor 1-3.

    Okay....? Very erudite comment.

    2.If “all categories of knowing are completely exploded,” then we don’t “know” that Christ was massacred on a bloody cross.

    Do we know in an absolute, objective way (as you define "know")? Of course not. But knowledge of historical events is not particularly what I am talking about. My discussion has been centering exclusively upon the potential for human knowledge of the infinity of the divine nature.

    3.You also bungle the meaning of 1 Cor 1-3, completely missing the pervasive irony of Paul’s argument.

    Perhaps you did not read what I wrote...

    Paul is not saying that the knowledge of God is foolishness. To the contrary, the knowledge of God is the true wisdom.

    I agree. However, the kind of knowledge Paul is opposing is that of the Jews and Greeks who each had their particular ways of categorizing and qualifying the divine nature to suit their own purposes. Paul argues that the knowledge of God revealed in Christ denies such a possibility, for the "glory" of this knowledge is Christ crucified, the scandal of human epistemology.

    His point, rather, is that divine wisdom is foolish to fallen men because fallen men are fools.

    Yes. And who are the fools? Those who believe they can quantify the knowledge of God in such a way as to twist it to their own purposes.

    God is wise, but men are fools. Because men are fools, they equate true wisdom with folly when, in fact, what they deem to be wisdom is actually foolishness while what they deem to be folly is actually and supremely wise.

    Interestingly enough, this is precisely what I said above. However, you appear to be so intent on antagonizing every word I say that you cannot even coutenance agreement with me when we do, in fact, agree.

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  3. hostus twinkius9/02/2006 1:50 PM

    You're a real piece of work E~D, try preaching this message at your local Rescue Mission...

    ReplyDelete