lecture 27

The meaning of revelation: God coming down to our level and making himself known. He has ways of speaking that are appropriate to us. He took on human form, God is known in the angel of the Lord – God reveals. This was possible before the incarnation because the incarnation was going to take place.

God is known to us – he made himself to our level.

Two kinds of God-talk.

1. Corresponds directly his essence, only a talk within the Trinity. It remains within the Godhead and is nothing to do with revelation.
2. God’s revelational talk that goes outside the Trinity.

The first is emphasised by Barth’s dialectical theology. Calvin ascribes revelation to God’s good pleasure.

Schilder:

It is exactly over against dialectical emphasis in the concept of distance between God and man in the relation of a talking God to hearing man that Calvin places the divine accommodation approach God who can adapt/ lowers himself to our crudeness/ abilities and weakness – the idea of such a God is essential to Calvin’s doctrine of revelation.

Back to the Greek story assumed the same wisdom – part of Greek worldview was that gods and humans had the same mother. As we see in Matt 11 there is a knowledge that the Father-Son share that no one else does. What does it mean to reveal? To bring down to our level.

Knowing is an activity of internal structure function. Knowledge will depend on the structure of the being knowing. It is the same for God’s knowledge – the being of God is different from the being of man. Keep before us the fundamental difference between God the creator and man the creature.

Wisdom and knowledge that is a piece with our creaturley mode of existence (under the law – God is above the law).

14th century William of Ockham (Occam) had a view of sovereignty – God could do what he wanted – deus ex lex. God is outside the sphere of law.

Calvin attacks – one thing that is n the foreground God’s faithfulness to self. God has his own being he is faithful to himself in blessing and in judgement. No escaping Christ’s suffering and death he is faithful to his covenant work.
God is deus legibus exlex.

God is free from laws (not under laws) but he’s faithful to his word of law because he is faithful to himself.

There is a fundamental difference between the creator and his creature. Wisdom and knowledge is part of our creaturely mode of existence.

Rom 10, Deut 30 the gap between God and man has been bridged by Christ the Word. He has made himself known in a creaturely way. Whatever knowledge we may be able to acquire of God and of his ways with us men in the world and of the history of such dealings can be adequate, that is true in the sense that God has validated this creaturely expression of such knowledge in Christ without being that knowledge being adequate within the old medieval, ie scholastic sense.

Scholasticism used ‘adequate’ in the sense of a point for point likeness of physical and mental [correspondence theory of truth].

We never see God as we see a tree – true knowledge of God can never be had, so adequate, correspondence mental and physical objects. This is the kind of knowledge we have of God.

Many philoosphies argue that theological language is meaningless, as no object to correspond to the notion, no object to be expected.

For moderns theological language is an attempt to form correct notion of deity. Can’t be true – it is an expression of covenantal disobedience.

Human knowledge is always human knowledge. This can’t be appreciated withot the notion of man’s position in the cosmos (Ps 8). Man is a relational being he exists in covenant relation – if he doesn’t know that he can’t come up with true knowledge.

(Some call it a Christian humanism – but the term is best avoided.)

Whenever one kind of being attempts to communicate with a being of another kind there is a problem of levels of existence.

Just as God tells us about himself by becoming a piece of my life. So if I am to convey to the bee the sense of being hman I shall have to do it by getting down to the bees level – and convey my sense in terms of bee experience structures experiences are without the presence of logical, technical, social, economic, aesthetic, jural, ethical and cultic life.

To be successful I shall have to become a bee among bees.

I have left out one thing: man is created in the image of God. So some differences between God communicating to us and us communicating to the bee.

(We will leave the discussion if bees have a social life – leave it until we discuss the modal scale.)

The upshott of our discussions that Pythagoras’s view is not viable. Philosophy is a completely human phenomenon.

Philosophy in all aspects and stages are human results.

Werner Jaeger Humanism and TheologyMarquette University Aquinas lectures 1943.

Reading from p 28ff

“Revival of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries also marked a turn from the arts to the ….”

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