Lecture 4

[Tape starts part way in]

The word of God is God himself speaking.  The word of God is lively and penetrates to the inner most being.  God actively takes the meaning of his word and enlightens our hearts in the truth – they are not some objective words there and I have to make the best sense of them.  The word of God gets us out of the relativity of historicism (every thing is historically dated).  Historicism means that the second century truth will not be valid in the twentieth century.

An  –ism means that we have absolutised something; in historicism we have absolutised historical change.  It is one of the greatest errors and dangers of our times.  Many twentieth century theologians and philosophers are historicists.  They don’t believe that there is truth that remains valid for all centuries.

Historicism is a denial that the Holy Spirit is the authority of scripture and that God brings his word to man at all times.

There are two distinct meanings to the word theology.  (i) Guided by the scripures, the word of God, ‘theologically guided’ (ii) the other meaning theo logos = science of God (I won’t argue if it’s a good definition or not).

Those who do scientific research – systematic themes, schools of theology (Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist etc.), theology is the scientific expression of theologians who have worked with the word of God, they may be bound by traditions of which they are not aware.  Remember there is a 2600 year long tradition of accommodation of the scripture to philosophy.

There are different schools of mathematics and they interpret mathematics differently – there is a war of schools of mathematics going on. It is the same for other disciplines, the same is true in theology.

From the middle of the second century Justin Martyr – shows how much biblical thinking had manoeuvred into the form of Greek philosophy.

Read Diemer Nature and Miracle – get the feel of it.

Since modern times (end of the sixteenth century) the realm of the ‘physical universe’ (single quotes indicate that I think it’s an abstraction of a mental construction’) with Francis Bacon, Newton etc in 1750 it became a mature expression.

They thought in terms of a causal (not casual!) determinism.  The view that is taken of this ‘physical universe’.  Methodological determinism – the search for all the causes.

Many Christian theologians simply accepted this concept of the ‘physical universe’.  (It doesn’t mean that there isn’t a physical side to things.) It is not the same as what the scriptures call creation.
1. The ‘physical universe’ excludes man (apart from his body).
2. Creation includes heaven (and this doesn’t mean the starry heavens) and earth.
ISBE – a good place to consult; look up heavens.

The notion of a ‘physical universe’ that is casually determined is thoroughly pagan – it has nothing to do with scripture.  Modern physics has developed so rapidly since Copernicus, that Christians were overwhelmed by it.  Many Christian theologians accepted this ‘physical universe’.

Newton had a deistic attitude – God must simply intervene, miracle had to be an interruption. if interruption then there can be no causal determinism!  If you interrupt the chain how can it be determined? There is no chain anymore!  Therefore miracle is impossible.

The Christian who has fallen for that idea of miracle as an interruption because thay had fallen for the idea of the ‘physical universe’ can’t believe in miracle anymore.  That’s how liberalism grew.

Another assignment: read Bernard Zysla’s preface to Relation of the Bible to Learning (5th edn)

Subdivisions of philosophy

Epistemology
•    Is truth and knowledge the same?
•    Do our minds possess only opinions or knowledge? [end of tape]
•    If there is no certainty
knowledge is something that abides, it is not subject to change, opinion changes
The religious drive behind the whole epistemological enterprise – we need to know what abides as the basis for action.

•    If there is knowledge how can we recognise it?
•    By what criterion does knowledge announce itself?
•    How may kinds of knowledge are there?
•    What are the limits to human knowledge?

Axiology – we will come back to that later.

Metaphysics
Cosmology
Most twentieth century people hear the word cosmology and think of astronomy.  I’m not using it in that sense.
Cosmos = beautifully ordered whole (cf cosmetic). It is not just the ‘physical universe’, but the structure of the created world/ universe (at least as far as the earth goes).
Where does it belong?  In someways an subdivision of metaphysics.

Anthropology
Since the nineteenth century there has been a rapid rise in the social sciences – anthropology, physical and cultural, not talking about that side.
anthropos = man, a theory of man
going to consider it under metaphysics.

I will argue later against the use of the term metaphysics in favour of ontology.

Being – created being, cosmology and anthropology.
For the Greeks human beings and divine beings had one thing in common being.  A general ontology is a theory of being.

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One Comment on “Lecture 4”

  1. Netalielfi Says:

    cute! thank you.

    you can also read it in my car blog


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