A couple of weeks ago I ran across Chris Emerick’s (Strayer University) paper (presented at the 42nd annual meeting of the Society of Pentecostal Studies last month in Seattle) titled “Conversation, Being, and Trinity: Toward a Trinitarian Hermeneutical Linguistic Ontology.” I know I know. Titles. Wow. What would Freud say, right? Anyhow, it was a great paper. And in it Emerick appropriates Oliver Davies’ work in The Creativity of God: Word, Eucharist, Reason (Cambridge, 2004) which I ordered and am just into. I thought I’d share a bit from his introduction that leads me to suspect he’ll have something helpful to say regarding God’s transcendence of the world. Can’t wait.
The second element in this middle section of the book is the use of a theory of the text in order to conceptualise the relations between the divine speaking and the world. The world stands to the divine originary breath/speaking as a written text does to the voice of its author(s). This parallel has a double value. In the first place it offers a model of the coinherence of God and the world which reproduces many aspects of the medieval system of analogy without, however, employing the Aristotelian model of causality which postulates a similarity between cause and effect. And secondly, while a theory of the cosmic text is not explicitly present in Scripture, it is deeply consonant with a scriptural account of the world. Texts, like bodies, are voice-bearing, and when the author entrusts their voice to a text, it undergoes a kind of alienation as the context of the speech passes from an intimate, oral medium to one that is objectified in the visibility of the written word. The text itself thus becomes a modality of embodiedness: a voice-bearing corpus of deferred, or replicated, presence. The author now knows that from now on their voice can only be received through an extensive act of interpretation. The authorial voice remains in the text, to be heard and understood, but only indirectly and through the interpretive imagination of others. The world is much like this in its relations to God. It demands to be understood and known by a community of human interpreters. Most fundamentally, the divine voice (and will) can be and frequently is entirely misunderstood and abused by its human interpreters. The divine voice, or breath, which is entrusted to the text of the world becomes estranged within the medium of the text. It is this that leads to the second cycle of divine creativity, which is the repristination of the text of the world. In this section of the book, I develop a pneumatology which understands the Holy Spirit to be the continuing presence of the divine breath/voice in the world—the world-text’s memory of its origin in God—and the Son to be the redemptive and sacrificial sounding again of the divine speaking within the text, as the retrieval of the world-text back into the flux of originary Trinitarian speech.