Thursday, September 06, 2007

One Mother, many handlers

At 7:54 PM, Ben Douglass said...

Dear Jonathan,

Thank you for clarifying what you meant when you rejected "the notion of divine speech as caused human communication." That's enough for that issue.

Regarding anthropomorphism and biblical inerrancy, on the other hand, I still have reservations about your position.

We should be able to take every proposition in Scripture as if God Himself had uttered it, since He is the primary author of Scripture. God is just as free as we are to use analogical and metaphorical language, therefore, even if we predicate every proposition in Scripture to God as if He had uttered it in the first person, this should not necessitate seeing Genesis 3:8 as a literal, metaphysical description of God.

Also, your original statement implied that the sacred author of Genesis could have understood his anthropomorphisms as a literal description of God, as He is. This is not compatible with the Catholic doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy since the Holy Spirit affirms everything at least as far as the author does. The Spirit does not make a mental reservation and affirm a statement only to a limited extent which the human author affirmed to a fuller extent. Therefore, the sacred author must have understood his anthropomorphic language as analogical, not literal.

In Catholicism, Mother Church is like one of those rich old ladies who's gotten a little funny in the head. As a result, she has a stream of official spokesmen who vie with each other to interpret her "true" intentions.

“Mother” is bedridden. We never get to see her in the flesh. Indeed, no one has seen her—except for her official representatives—since she was rumored to have suffered a stroke and gone into a coma—back in the 2nd or 3rd century (no one quite remembers).

Instead, we witness a flurry of activity as lawyers, bedpans, and pizza boxes shuttle in and out of her bedroom. You never know how many friends and heirs you have until you're rich and senile!

The lawyers come and go on a daily basis with the latest edition of her will—duly notarized by one of her spokesmen.

Behind closed doors we hear a lot of yelling as official spokesmen haggle over the terms of her estate. The list of beneficiaries has a strange way of changing from one day to the next. But I can assure you that each spokesman is only acting in the best interests of “Mother.”

After the shouting dies down for a bit, a spokesman—you never know which one—emerges from the bedroom to announce her true intentions for the day—which may or may not bear any discernible resemblance to her true intentions from the day before, or the day after.


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