Lecture 37

We are discussing the building blocks of the creation order. I’ll be talking about the modal scale – remember the context in which we came to it. In talking about modalities we are taking scientifically, in pre-scientific life we don’t know the organic over against the physical.

When we say a tree is beautiful we are not abstracting the aesthetic, we are experiencing the tree in one of its facets, in everyday life not thinking of organic as distinct from aesthetic.

Locke is a Cartesian, he is a Christian, but not in his theorising, we must prove as much as we can by reason alone. He was fearful that science might rule out revelation.

In the seventeenth century there was the wars of religion and the rise of the scientific movement. Many intellectuals abandoned the Christian faith. Civil law and scriptures was being abandoned for a view of natural law which all rational creatures with a priori ideas could agree. ‘Reason is always and everywhere the same’ became a slogan. Reason is an entity that brings these definitional ideas with it at birth. They were held in common by every rational creature. All based on autonomy: common notions.

Read Ch 8 of Berkouwer’s General Revelation

Romans 2: 14-15: For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.

John 1: 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

In the Greek manuscripts there was no punctuation marks. If you see a comma someone thinks it should be there.

“every man that cometh [a present participle] into the world”
What does it modify? What is it to be construed with?

Every modern editor puts a comma.

Some second century church fathers see it as meaning Christ set these rational functions right, so they know what id true, right and beautiful and so on.

He talking about the fact that there is darkness everywhere – not light. He is talking about the incarnation, not some universal enlightenment of mankind – that is Greek philosophy.

The incarnation happened in the midst of history, in the midst of the Roman Empire.

There is no a priori knowledge.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit brings revelation to bear more than he does at other times.
Is there a body f concepts that come with our ability to reason and from which our reasoning starts? I don’t believe that – neither did Calvin. We must seek beyond ourselves. That is why Descartes in seventeenth century is the bringing of the modern it’;s me only – it’s all in me.

We are dealing with this modal theory – Dooyeweerd had two theories; the modalities theory of modal structures and theory of typical structures of individualities. It is important to keep these two theories distinct in your mind.

Let’s look at the theory of typical structures of individuality. We are saying that there is something existing which are individual things but there is n thing as purely, solely individuals. This is a big debate in the history of philosophy. the question of universal. This chicken a aparticular, if I say chicken then there si a group, a class of universal class of chicken. That is what my coleage is getting at in his book about swans

Three positions: the earliest Greeks, were universalists. Only the universal exists, what we call individuals are momentary offshoots of universals; eg fire, earth, water, air. Fire meant the class of firey things, which have in common their fire-ness. The universals break up into minimal portions and come together in this animal, that plant and so on – in some individuals they may have more water than fire and so on. The death of that individual thing means the separation of the the universal stuff which then goes back to their proper place. Individuals are a passing phenomenon. Individuals are only a passing phenomenon. Only the universal exists, individuals are sparks from the bonfire.

Individualism – only individuals exist, universal exist only in our mind. We see only individual swans, rocks and so on, but for all practical purposes we group things, for pragmatic reasons to make communication better we group individuals together and form a class name which we call a concept, they only exist in the mind. They exist in concept forming, not in the ‘real world’.

When we get to the modal scale and subject-object we will see how very solidly there is a built in a theory to exclude a lower physical world of external reality and an internal world of mental concepts, there is no such thing. I can’t see how a Christian can hold it.

Individualists say universals on exist in concept forming not in what they call the external world. Universals can also exist in our name giving. (We mustn’t confuse the lingual with the logical.) For the universalist the fact that every oak tree is an individual entity it is only for practical reasons that we have grouped them and called them oak trees.

There is a third position. macrocosm and microcosm Macro = big and micro= small. macrocosm is a cosmos enlarged, microcosm cosmos in the small. Leibniz modalology. This is the idea we have the big world out there, fire, clouds, air , earth, rocky ground, water, to each one of these are certain qualities: fire = warm and dry; air = warm and moist; water cold and moist; earth = cold and dry. By qualities I mean something I can feel, the feel-ability of them. I feel the table, but the table is capable of being felt. God created everything with man to be the central covenant partner, everything in relation to man, thing are feel-able because man can feel and so on.

The Greeks thought that fire was nous or intellect, fiery cloud was psuche, air and water the organic and earth together was physical – getting a hierarchical ordering of these stuffs.

The microcosm are individual humans, plants, animals and so on. The structure of these individuals is similar to the macrocosm. individuals are structured like the macrocosm. Fire is like nous, microcosm come and go, they exist (unlike in universalism) but they are of a short duration. Fire is the divine nous, the fiery cloud is the divine psyche, the humans nous is like the divine nous but only short lived, his psyche, organic, the physical etc is like the divine but only short lived. The microscosm is pure individuals, the macroscosm is purely universal, whether on the subject side or the object side.

This background for a discussion we are about the have.

The modal scale:

Energetic or Physical
Organic or Vital
Analytic or Logical
Lingual or symbolic

1.It presents us with an irreversible order of functions
2.It displays an indissoluble coherence of meaning aspects
3.It points beyond itself to a deeper underlying unity of functions

I have to try and convey the type of ontic reality – modal scale, modalities come from Latin modus, a way a manner; these are all ways in which our presence is made known, ways in which we present our selves. How does a rock present itself economically? We have to discuss subject and object functions. Every created thing exists on each level either subjectively or objectively.

Man has an office – a commission and an authority to carry out that commission – he is commissioned to give form to and develop the whole cosmic reality. The fall doesn’t break it. man is created in this relation, only God can break the relation, they may deny a relation that exaists, but they can’t break it. They deny what they are, they live in a perpetual lie.

We will also talk about: a functional ladder, fifteen ontic a prioris and fifteen law spheres.

Explore posts in the same categories: By Runner, Lectures

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