God takes responsibility for sin – or not.

spider2 - CopyBack in late spring/early summer of this year reviews of Boyd’s CWG began to surface and online discussion of the book took off. Of the reviews that were published online at the time, I don’t recall any that gave CWG all-around thumbs up. Some who passionately defend a non-violent view of the atonement nevertheless had serious concerns about core arguments and implications of Greg’s project. I suspect that has changed some, I don’t know. I’m not following the reviews at this point. I posted my own support for points I thought Greg made well alongside criticisms of weakness.

However, Greg is a friend whose ideas – even those I disagree with – I don’t mind returning to on occasion, if only because the concerns that motivate them and the passion that propels them are inspiring. Here I’d like to reflect a bit upon a particular phrase Greg uses to describe the Cross as God’s “taking responsibility for the world’s evil.” For example:

[T]he fact that the Son took responsibility for all the evil that he as Creator allowed to come to pass in his creation entails that the Father and Spirit, in their own unique ways, also took responsibility for all this evil, though they are no more morally culpable for any of it than is the Son.

Or here:

God assumed responsibility for all that he allowed to take place in his creation.

The idea derives ultimately from Greg’s belief that God creates freely, unnecessarily. That’s important, because the question of why God would take responsibility for a necessary God-world relationship (as proposed by standard Process metaphysics) never really arises. But someone like Greg who espouses the (quite orthodox belief in the) utter gratuity of God’s choice to create, the question of God’s “taking responsibility” for the absolute mess the world plunges itself into poses a challenge. Consider:

  • God creates freely and unnecessarily.
  • Creation freely corrupts itself and becomes overwhelmed by violence and suffering.

The freedom involved in the latter would be explanation enough for some, maybe most. But Greg believes that though we are endowed with the freedom to self-determine (which makes us and not God morally culpable for our individual choices), there remains an additional factor that we need to account for:

  • The eruption of evil was inevitable.

Over top all of humanity’s particular free choices stands the all-embracing statistical inevitability of sin and violence. Given the precarious condition of our origins (human weakness, finitude, ignorance, basic appetites and drives, the influence of socialization, the Satanic corruption of matter, and more), sooner or later creation would go off the rails. Greg may be an open theist who holds the future to be (partly) open, but he maintains the causal closure of the world’s descent into evil given these factors. God knows human sin and vice will inevitably erupt, and it is this inevitability that God freely creates and (I will suggest regarding his view) what God takes responsibility for.

van-gogh-pietaIt’s true of course, in an almost trivial sense, that God takes responsibility for what God does if by that we mean to say that God’s actions are fully informed, fully intended, fully acknowledged, fully his own, utterly embraced – entailments and all. But this is not news. The staunchest classical theist would affirm it.

But this is not what Greg means by saying God “takes responsibility for evil.” What Greg means, I gather, is that God assumes something approaching a moral responsibility for the world’s evil and suffering. In suffering the despair of godforsakeness, God suffers his own free choice to create, and this responsibility has a definite moral shape to it. God didn’t have to create but he did so knowing things would go desperately wrong. Thus (and this “thus” reveals the logic of God’s “responsibility” in Greg’s view) God suffers for us by suffering for having freely created us. That is at least part of the logic at work. Greg explains further:

[O]nly by affirming the authenticity of Jesus’ God-forsakenness can we affirm that God has fully entered into, fully experienced, fully embraced and fully redeemed the God-forsakenness of the world. Because the Son experienced the horror of God-forsakenness, and because the Father experienced the horror of forsaking his Son, we can affirm that “even Auschwitz is taken up into the grief of the Father, the surrender of the Son and the power of the Spirit.” [cf. Moltmann] In the nightmarish separation of the Father and Son, he writes, we can see that “the whole uproar of history,” with all of its unthinkable atrocities, is embraced “within God.” [cf. Moltmann] In other words, the authenticity of the Jesus’ abandonment on the cross means that God is a God who is entering into and embracing our hell. And its only because of this that we can be confident that God has poured himself out completely in working to redeem us from our hell.

A few thoughts in response. First, it’s important to note that such claims as Greg makes in this last quote are nowhere found in the New Testament. Are they legitimate inferences drawn from biblical passages? Examining this question would take me outside the narrow interest of this post, and I’ve already reviewed CWG elsewhere and responded to key biblical passages (2Cor 5.21’s “God made Jesus to become sin”; Gal 3.13’s “Christ’s became a curse”; the Cry of Dereliction in Mk 15.34|Mt 27.46). Such passages needn’t imply that the Triune relations suffer the curse of godforsakeness which is the intrinsic consequence of our sin.

I am, secondly, more interested in exploring the nature of this suffering as a “taking of responsibility for evil” and the assumptions behind viewing it in such terms. True, Greg notes that God cannot be morally culpable for any of the particular evils of free agents. However, over top our particularity is the inevitability of sin and evil as such. Though God may not be responsible for the former, he is for the latter, and this gives every appearance of being moral in nature. Consider the gravity of the consequences God suffers and why. What constitutes this gravity in Greg’s project? What reality makes God’s suffering godforsakeness a “responsibility”? It would seem that since the inevitability of the depths of evil and suffering derives from God’s free choice to create, God owes it to the world (morally, not logically – given the gratuity of God’s choice to create and the wretched mess we made of ourselves) to suffer the godforsakeness we suffer.

It is important to say that this responsibility is beyond the fact that our salvation requires a demonstration of love sufficient to address our addiction and bondage to sin and violence. Here things get interesting inside Greg’s view. Certainly our created and fallen state presents natural conditions God must accommodate to rescue us from that state, (God’s redemptive manifestation to us must be embodied, human, finite – as opposed to be incarnate as a cow or a porpoise). Greg recognizes these. However, these include the particular extent and nature of God’s suffering (the reducing of God’s ad intra triune experience to the fragmentation and despair of godforsakeness). That God suffer so is entirely dictated by our condition.

But this leaves the “taking responsibility for sin” ungrounded. There’s no truth of human fallenness that makes it obvious that our rescue requires that God suffer the particular godforsakeness and despair which are the consequences for us of our evil. It appears that what ultimately grounds the necessity that God suffer in this particular godforsaken sense is the gratuity of creating a world bound inevitably to do great violence and suffer immeasurable evil. Because God is not culpable for particular human evils but must suffer infinitely to assume all human (and animal) suffering and godforsakeness, the responsibility God assumes in suffering so would be grounded antecedently in the very inevitability that supervenes upon the entire “the whole uproar of history.” This, not anything human beings require per se, appears to define why God must suffer so.

For Greg everything rides on it being the case that on the Cross God assumes this responsibility through suffering the despair of godforsakeness intrinsic to our sinful choices. The very “authenticity” of Jesus’ suffering as a redemptive act, its very ‘saving efficacy’, requires that God experience the combined sum of the world’s godforsakenness. We get a clue toward the end of the previous quote from Greg into what constitutes the link between God’s godforsakeness and our godforsakeness in terms of “responsibility.” God’s suffering must be “authentic” relative to our need. And it is only authentic if it is equivalent (same despair, same godforsakeness, same crisis of identity, same loss of hope, same pain), but infinitely so for God of course because he has the entirety of human and animal suffering to assume). Only if we perceive the Cross as being this may we have “confiden[ce] that God has poured himself out completely in working to redeem us from our hell.” This “confidence,” for Greg, is how faith appropriates the healing, reconciling work of the Cross.

But why suppose any of this? It’s not an explicit claim of any NT writer. And it isn’t obvious that our being reconciled to God or healed from our own godforsakeness requires that God be equally as godforsaken as us. Why must our healing from godforsakeness require the multiplication of godforsakeness in God? We don’t universally assume that acts of saving or healing of an inter-personal, loving nature are only authentically transforming and redeeming if the gracious saving party shares every consequence intrinsic to the offending party’s choices.

We do agree, with Greg, that it is not anything human beings do to Jesus that saves us, rather it is what the Father is doing “behind the scenes.” But where Greg sees the Father abandoning Jesus behind the scene of the the human abandonment of Jesus, we see the Father doing something else, namely, not abandoning Jesus but empowering him to endure human rejection “for the joy set before him,” to forgive those lynching him, to offer paradise to those who entreat him. On the Cross, Jesus still “does what he sees the Father doing.” But on Greg’s view, as I understand it, Jesus sees the Father abandoning him but does something else, namely, not abandon others but forgive and offer paradise instead.

The more I’ve pondered these differences with Greg, the more I come to recognize the more fundamental difference from which our other disagreements derive. Surprisingly, it is not that Greg is a Kenoticist and we are not, nor is it that we believe in God’s undiminished triune delight and Greg does not. It is, I believe, our very different views of the human predicament. Just what is the “fallen human condition” the rescue from which we give the name “salvation” to? And how does Jesus’ dying and rising together heal that condition? For us, the notion of godforsakeness (viz., that God must, objectively speaking, become “cursed” [Gal 3.13] by experiencing the despair of ‘forsaking’ and ‘being forsaken by’ God) that informs Greg’s whole project, is the very myth we need saving from. Where, for Greg, God’s own godforsakeness constitutes our salvation, for us godforsakeness is what Jesus’ death and resurrection expose to be the myth that enslaves us – and one doesn’t expose myths by believing them.

All that said, let me shift directions here —

Part of Greg’s project involves a hermeneutical re-centering, a cruciform hermeneutic. The cruciform hermeneutic makes what happens on the Cross the hermeneutical center (or “lens”) through which everything else in the Bible is read. I’ve already reviewed why I think this is impossible, but I though I might find it helpful to turn this entire dilemma of Greg’s on its head. Instead of God taking responsibility for creating, what would happen if we view God as taking responsibility for being created? That is, in Christ, God the human being fulfills humanity’s responsibility before God to present itself humbly, obedient and trusting in the face of all the vicissitudes inherent in that nature, and fulfills human nature’s calling and purpose. In this case Jesus’ death fulfills created nature, loving and trusting God within the constraints of created finitude. Christ, the God-Man, represents creation to God, takes responsibility for being creatED (not for creatING), unites creation to God, and in so doing reconciles the world to God, not God to the world.

Am I suggesting that we replace the Cross with something else, the Resurrection perhaps, as “the” hermeneutical center? No. I’m suggesting (following James Alison) that we define the center phenomenologically as the act of faith integrating incarnation, passion, resurrection through knowledge of the One Christ – the “risen-crucified” One. These events (atonement, ministry, passion, resurrection, ascension) are all temporally distinct but aesthetically one.

vgflowersWhat do I mean by temporally distinct but aesthetically one? Take the transforming effects of beauty encountered in, say, Van Gogh’s “Vase with Cornflower and Poppies” (1887). I’ve stood before this painting many time, completely lost in the moment. I can’t tell you how beautiful it is.

Consider – the hermeneutical center of its beauty is not divisible into any of the temporally distinct steps it took to produce it. Its beauty – which is what we relate to, what we believe in, that which saves us – is indivisibly one. We could (and we do) separate the painting into its contributing events (gathering and grinding the raw materials to make the colors, mixing the colors on the palette, composing the under layers, sketching the outline, the particular brush techniques used, filling in the main features, adding the final touches, and so forth). But to do this – and this is the point – is to step away from the immediate experience of its beauty.

Furthermore, no one’s experience of the beauty of this painting is reducible to a hermeneutic that views one of these steps as the primary “lens” through which the others are defined or their beauty understood. Yet this, it seems to me, is precisely what Greg attempts theologically, and it is aesthetically violent. There is no possible way for faith to apprehend Christ in only one of any of the contributing events of his existence as a human being (incarnation, ministry, passion, resurrection). To try to elevate one hermeneutically is to do violence to them all.

In the end, then, there is no cruciform hermeneutic, that is, no hermeneutic of transforming faith that derives from the Cross alone. There is “a” hermeneutic – a way to read/interpret life – which one can derive merely from the Cross, yes. We see it in the two on the road to Emmaus before they recognize the risen Christ, and we note it in the disciples crouched in fear and uncertainty before the risen Christ arrives to say “Peace.” But a cruciform hermeneutic that takes the Cross as a saving act of love through which lens all else is to be interpreted? Quite impossible. It’s impossible because to read the Cross as a “saving event” is already to read it through another lens, a resurrection hermeneutic. There’s no getting around it. The Cross only becomes (viz., is revealed to be) a saving act when faith interprets the Cross in light of the resurrection. We wouldn’t possibly know God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself apart from the interpretive light of the risen Jesus. So all of Greg’s descriptions of the Cross as God’s love stooping to accommodate us in our weakness, etc., – all true – are by definition post-resurrection readings of the Cross.

So, the hermeneutical center cannot be a single proposition or event, but rather must be faith perceiving itself as apprehended by the risen-slaughtered One, and so not taking responsibility for having created if that means God must become cursed and share in the despair of godforsakenness. There is only need for that (and arguably not even then) if one insists on a reason to believe, or for the meaning for faith, or for redemption, that derives solely from the Cross (i.e., the Cross interpreted linearly with its doors closed to the resurrection). But that would be like looking to the weight required to press organic raw materials until they yield their beautiful reds, yellows, and blues as “the” explanation for everything else that goes into a Van Gogh painting, including why it’s beautiful.

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19 comments on “God takes responsibility for sin – or not.

  1. Robert Fortuin says:

    Hi Tom,

    Good stuff! I spoke about a hermeneutic last night in relation to Sola Scriptura at William Jessup University (were you able to make it?), a hermeneutic which takes no single event (i.e. death, resurrection, ascension) in the life of Christ, but rather Christ himself as the interpretive lens, the incarnate God-man who in the flesh instructs His disciples about whom it was that Moses and the Prophets wrote.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tom says:

      Thanks Robert. I had last night on my schedule and was planning on attending, but work stuff (and a doctor’s visit) came up. Couldn’t make it. Sorry!

      We’ll make it happen. San Fran is too close!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tom, this is absolutely brilliant. Being in the thick of working on my MA in Christian Thought I haven’t had the space for fun reading (which I consider your blog to among the funnest of reads). There’s a lot to unpack here that I wish I could dialogue about…but I just want to encourage you to PLEASE keep writing. This stuff is sooooo good.
    A couple unorganized responses:
    -I was reminded of a book I just finished by the Latin American liberation theologian, Jon Sobrino who quoted something his mentor had once said (don’t have the quote in front of me) along the lines of “The world has turned out badly for God.” I wonder if Greg would agree.

    -If so, would it be fair to say that Greg is suggesting that the Cross is God’s act of repentance towards humanity? This would move us beyond a Moltmann like approach of seeing the cross as an act of solidarity with humanity and into something which I can’t think of historic precedent for (and yet I would not dismiss on those grounds alone)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tom says:

      Haven’t read Sobrino. Interesting that you mention him, because a book I’m into right now (Brian Robinette’s Grammars of Resurrection) engages Sobrino’s work. Dunno about that particular quote, but I’d agree (with Greg) that the world turned out badly for God. I just think we unpack that differently. I think though that it’s not the last word – i.e., the world turned out badly, but it’s not over. If Rom 8 is any clue (“present sufferings ‘not worth comparing to the glory that shall be revealed in us’), how bad it is won’t be able to stand alongside how good it will be to get a comparison off the ground.

      I don’t imagine Greg would agree that the Cross is God essentially saying:

      “I’m sorry I got you into this. Lemme equalize things by experiencing the sum total of everybody’s pain and suffering. When you perceive that I suffered the same despair you suffer, you’ll be ‘confident’ that I have more than compensated for your pain.”

      I do see that being what his view essentially reduces to though.

      I read Moltmann back in the day, but it’s been a while. The sense I got is that this is Moltmann’s view as well – i.e., God suffers the pain of godforsakeness in the dissolution (temporarily) of God’s triune experience (of mutual seeing, knowing, affirming, loving). Some feel the Trinity was blown for just a tiny moment (during the Cry of Dereliction) but this moment was enough because it was ‘infinite’ in its pain. Others say the hiatus persisted through the three days Jesus was in the grave. Balthasar says that since no one can come to the Father but by Jesus, and since Jesus was unavailable for three days while in the grave, God himself was inaccessible to creation for those days. (But that would go for the 9 months of gestation and years of early development as well. God would have been inaccessible to humanity during those times too since the Son was not available to be God’s availability to creation. Impossible.)

      Tom

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      Paul, on reading Tom’s post, I had the immediate response: God is apologizing for creating the world by submitting himself to the Passion. But does the apology actually help us in any real way? Obviously it helps Boyd; but it does not help me. I am still left with the fact that God created the world fully knowing that the world would go to hell. I do not feel better knowing that he too experienced this hell. It does not help me to persevere. It does not help me embrace my sufferings. It does not help me to live in hope. Only the resurrection, with its implied promise of apokatastasis does that—at least for me. Only in light of this hope am I able to accept suffering, to the tiny degree that I do accept it, as a means of salvific transformation.

      Tom, do you agree or disagree?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Robert Fortuin says:

        The idea of an apology is interesting – this implies God’s failure or offense of some kind.

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      • Tom says:

        Yeah, I don’t know how to relate (in healing, transforming ways) to God suffering in the sense Greg proposes. I try to work through it in my mind and process it in positive ways in his terms, but it doesn’t connect.

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  3. Again thanks, Tom.
    I love the way you understand things.

    God created so creation could be in union with God.
    Jesus didn’t come to fulfil God’s responsibility for evil and much less to do so BY PAYING A PRICE! That view is so inadequate, wierd, and frankly insulting to God, IMO.
    No, Jesus came to SHOW US GOD – God would bear this suffering, not to satisfy God’s or some cosmic need for justice, but because Love lead God to act thus.
    Jesus’s act on the cross, his whole life and decision to condescend to be present in flesh in first place is the highest demonstration of love the world has ever seen.
    This beautiful act of love is transforming the world.

    We must understand that many bits of the Bible cannot be read literally, or even as a commentary on truth. We must spot the grand trajectory and use that to pick the good cherries and discard the bad ones.
    Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. brian says:

    Thank you for these rich reflections, Tom. Like you, I admire the intensity and honesty of Greg Boyd’s inquiry whilst finding significant areas of disagreement. I am unable to respond adequately, but will throw out a few rather adventitious responses.

    You are right to emphasize a “holistic” soteriology rooted in a Christology that transcends a narrowly conceived staurological center. Your words brought to mind F.X. Durwell’s The Resurrection, where Father Durwell argues that the atonement was not complete without Resurrection and Ascension.

    I am not really sure you have properly expressed Balthasar’s understanding of Holy Saturday, but I do think it is true that Boyd and Balthasar both indulge in a kind of importation of tragic mythos into the immanent life of the Trinity that is a mistake. I wish I could remember where I read it, but Milbank has a nice piece where he discerns the corrective in Bulgakov’s atonement theology.

    I was also reminded of David Hart’s reflections on hell and risk. It is not really even a question of whether evil and violence were a virtual inevitability for finite nature. To paraphrase Hart, what you are willing to put at risk is already lost. So, even if one posits that the Fall was a minute, remote possibility, one might still cogently argue that “God is responsible” in some significant sense. And surely, the meaning of Incarnation is a dynamic living out of both God’s life for his creatures and the creature’s response to God. I don’t see the need or advisability of choosing between God “taking responsibility for creating” and “reconciling and uniting the world to God.”

    It also seems to me that Existential Thomism, a proper understanding of a participation metaphysics, Augustine’s insight that our most interior reality is a gift from God, Desmond’s passio essendi — all these indicate that God’s intimacy to his creatures is a primal existential reality. It does not require the Cross for God to be close to creation in its suffering. In that respect, I do think it is far preferable to understand Cross and Resurrection not as the initiation of solidarity in our suffering but as the healing grace whereby the flesh of Christ overcomes our sinful, mortal limits.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. All the criticisms that maintain that God does not suffer – there seem to me two problems. i) On any view of the Incarnation, the second Person of the Trinity suffers. Assuming one adopts a two natures Christology, the suffering of the second Person is not negated by the fact that it only occurs in his human nature, for he has a human nature just as fully as a divine nature. ii) Suffering, insofar as it is a conscious experience, is still a modality of being – of existence. It is incomprehensible to me that such a thing could exist and be existentially “unknown” to God. It would be like saying God doesn’t know what the color blue looks like. It’s only blue because God made it so. But surely if God makes it he must know it perfectly – indeed it must come absolutely from him and him alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Malcolm,
      I agree that Jesus, and therefore God, did (does) suffer however the real issue IMO is whether we think that THAT SUFFERING was NECESSARY for GOD to ALLOW union with us.
      I am convinced it wasn’t.
      Blessings.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, that makes sense. Otherwise suffering would necessarily be connected to the Good (and Love) as such. However, I’m not sure that what I said entailed that. Maybe I’m not connecting the dots?

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    • Tom says:

      Hi Chris,

      Great to hear from you. How goes it?

      Where’s the ‘problem’ in (i)? (i) just describes Chalcedon’s ‘one person/two natures’ view. What’s the distinct problem there?

      On (ii), are there any experiences you wouldn’t want to say God is the subject of? When we talk about “what it’s like” to see blue, we’re talking qualia, the specific, subjective, immediately first-person perspective on experience, right? You’re suggesting that God shares our qualia?

      https://anopenorthodoxy.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/omnisubjectivity-and-passibility/

      Tom

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      • Robert Fortuin says:

        Tom,

        If I read Chris/Malcolm correctly, I believe he is defending the passibility of the impassible God.

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      • Tom says:

        Oh, I was reading his (i) and (ii) as expressing problems with that. My bad.

        Like

      • Robert Fortuin says:

        well I am not 100% sure

        passibility remains a thorny issue

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      • Howdy Tom! I’m well brother. I hope you are too.

        As far as i). Where I’m at now, I don’t see how to render a two natures view intelligible. The problem is precisely that on classical interpretations of the doctrine, the human nature (and even the contingent world) are “not really related” to the divine. We can get into that if you want, but it seems two natures is built on a conception of actus purus in which God (the divine nature) is completely simple and devoid of distinctions. Now, if anyone could reconcile the problems I have with actus purus and a timeless God being related to a contingent world I’d happily change my mind. But, if you’ve got a two natures view that doesn’t espouse actus purus (which I’m sure you don’t), then we may not disagree.

        The real question is – do we think the two natures are related to each other? And if so, how? Is one nature more “primary” in the Person than the other? Or are both as “important”?

        As regards ii) that word “qualia” keeps popping up, ha. As far as “God being the subject of” various emotive states. I’m not sure I would conceive it that way. That seems like emotions are “happening” to him, outside of his control.

        In fact, I have big problems imagining how God’s emotions work on a timeful view of God. Are his emotions “more” intense or less? How “fast” do these come and go? Is there any intentional “focusing” – in terms of him having a particular conscious perspective in which he is aware of “this” but not “that”? Does God temporally “reflect” on his own emotions, and try to curb them or master them? Does a temporal God have a subconscious?

        I would want to say, however, that I see no contradiction in supposing that God could “know” existentially every emotive experience of all finite reality – not in terms of a “this is happening to me” but rather in terms of a perfect imaginative power – “I can perfectly imagine what this would feel like.”

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      • Tom says:

        Chris: I don’t see how to render a two natures view intelligible. The problem is precisely that on classical interpretations of the doctrine, the human nature (and even the contingent world) are “not really related” to the divine…two natures is built on a conception of actus purus in which God (the divine nature) is completely simple and devoid of distinctions…[I]f you’ve got a two natures view that doesn’t espouse actus purus (which I’m sure you don’t), then we may not disagree.

        Tom: I ‘do’ have a two-natures view that doesn’t derive from ‘actus purus’ (or ‘simplicity’) classically understood. That’s all I’ve ever proposed here. 😛

        Chris: The real question is – do we think the two natures are related to each other? And if so, how? Is one nature more “primary” in the Person than the other? Or are both as “important”?

        Tom: Importance is a ‘perspective’ (or ‘valuation’) on a relation. There are some senses in which being created and embodied would be more important (by being more important ‘to’) than being uncreated (like ‘eating’ or ‘defecating’ or – sorry – ‘seeing blue’ which you have to have eyes to do). But for obvious reasons being uncreated is metaphysically, and thus transcendentally, “primary.” The transcendentals transcend created contingencies, not the other way around. Can we even imagine the uncreated-created distinction without some notion of the transcendentals. And once we have those, I think, don’t we have to understand them as not ‘really’ related to created, contingent realities? Of course, by ‘really’ we only mean they are not essentially defined by created realities – they don’t get their metaphysical make-up from contingent realities. But there are I think really related to those realities if by ‘really’ we’re talking about presence, teleology, aesthetic experience, desire, pleasure – basically everything that defines life as worth living for us. We’re not barred from the experience OF the transcendentals; they’re more present to us than our own contingency. But we are barred from defining them per se – which is all I take their not being ‘really’ related to us to mean. But that’s a good thing I think. It makes possible the existential fullness of our existence.

        Gotta run.
        Tom

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