Lecture 22

I want to repeat some of the criticisms of Aquinas from last time.Book recommended One hundred years of Thomism: Aeterni Patris and Afterwards edited by Victor Brezik

Thomas was enamoured of Aristotle. He wanted the wisdom the Greeks knew + revelation.

An aside: the doctrine of common grace, it all depends on what we mean by it. God has showered his gifts on men indiscriminately. For example, Marx’s economic critique stands up.

The question is, what has man made of God’s gifts? Do they accept God’s gifts as truth?

Common grace – everyone has truth every where, we shouldn’t be so isolated, we should be part of the world so we can share the truth – I reject that view completely!

What does the human heart do with the gifts God gives? The human heart is an active suppressor of the truth. Man is the one who suppresses; God showers gifts and makes himself known.

The ultimate nature of creational reality shines through distortions. What does it mean to say that Aristotle has the truth as far as he went? Is man a rational soul? Can we know truth trough rational analysis? Not if you understand the Scriptures!

Within 100 years of Calvin’s death the Reformed world was dominated by Nature/ Grace dualism. That’s how the notion of miracle is supernatural came about. The world is not split up into these two spheres; it is an integral creation. There is not some physical world by itself.

1968 Lecture ‘Christianity and Humanism’ [part of it is read out]

(There is no such thing a s ‘pure’ thought.)

God’s creation is integral. Man didn’t sink to a lower natural state when falling away form God as Aquinas maintained.

A loss of faith is not unbelief. Unbelief is not a loss of, or absence of, faith.

According to Aquinas, the fall meant men lost this higher knowledge, and went back to the ‘essential’ human nature. If that’s biblical I’ll eat my hat!

In the fall, man doesn’t sink to a lower natural state = nature + culture.
Where we don’t have belief in the word of God we have an incipient totalitarianism. Only the world of God provides limits to the State’s power.

In the scriptures unbelief is a form of faith, misdirected belief. The worship of Baal is structurally just as much belief as belief in God. Directionally it is belief that terminates upon something other than God.

Man is ineradicably a believer – even though he may believe a Lie.
A faith of some sort is always necessary. Creation order is the basis of reality – fall is a fall of the creation order, redemption is a redemption of the creation order. The believer can see something of creational order in these suppressions.

Aristotle: ‘man is a rational animal’ this is a lie!

Vollenhoven once remarked that it was strange that Christians spent so much time memorising scripture verses. Scripture is a light bulb, we don’t stare at the light bulb. If we do we won’t see anything at all. We need to discern by the light of the scripture what is going on in the world.

Faith of some sort is always necessary.

Isaac Asimov’s works are worshipped – they all worship the modern mind. Man has to find his own way using science and technology.
Why do many of the young people spend their lives asleep under the influence of drugs? They know there is no meaning – suicide or sleep it out. We lack commitment. We have to believe in something in order to analyse our own life.

Satan is no creator, he is a creature, whatever lie has to be derived from the word of God.

There was a holy Roman Empire from the crowing of Charlemaine until 1806.

The popes and Emperors were locked in battle because both thought they had ultimate authority. Roman Court and Canon law. There was no consensus as to had the ultimate authority.

Nature is not, in the scriptures, normal.
There are two meanings in the scriptures: the original creation and since the fall, creation in its apostate state – it requires redemption.

For Aquinas grace was added to it, it doesn’t need correcting. Grace is not supplemental – it turns the alienated creation around. It doesn’t accept it as normal.

Aquinas’s conception of nature is wrong, his conception of faith is wrong and his conception of grace is wrong.

His conception of body is also wrong.
Body in the Greek world is the organic functions, not the appreciation of beauty and so on. Compare Romans 12: 1 ff body is me, the whole me. It is not some part of me, it is the inner man.

The soul or heart is the whole man as God sees him. The religious concentration point – where the direction comes.
The body is the whole man, as you and I see each other in our acts. There are all sorts of acts: cultural, aesthetic, ethical, economic, technical acts and so on.

Paul talks of the inner and outer man; Greek philosophy speaks of the lower and higher parts of man. It is a distortion of the biblical insight of the unity of man.

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