Sunday, August 06, 2006

philosophising pt. 2

as promised, here is the next installment of my ideas about breaking down dichotomy-based thinking. see below ('sun is shining') for part 1. today, by the way, the sun is most definitely not shining. in fact, we're having continuous rain.

in part 1, i talked about how dichotomy-based thinking could potentially be broken down by going back to a "hebraic" philospohical framework, and about how this could break down our traditional view of things like metaphor. but when you look around, and indeed when you look at christian thinking, you can see that there does seem to be evidence for a dichotomy. eg. light and darkness, sin and perfection - those sorts of things. so, i wanted to look at how the dichotomy came about, and what it can mean in reality.

when we look at things from a christian perspective, i think we can break ideas down into 'pre-fall' and 'post-fall' (there's a dichotomy for you). 'pre-fall' is a reality based on the conditions that existed in the world before sin entered it - God's ideal system. 'post-fall' is the stuff that became reality as a result of sin. it doesn't 'replace' the pre-fall system (that is the system that God works towards restoring), it is a system that came into effect as an ultimately temporary solution to deal with the realities of sin in the world.

one of the primary features of sin is that it divides. when it entered the world it created polarities. so, now instead of just having wellness, we also have sickness etc. it also drove a wedge between God and nature. because of this reality, the whole system has been forced into recognising dichotomies. even my differentiation of "pre-fall" and "post-fall" is a dichotomy that we are forced to create because of that reality. humans have helped to entrench those dichotomies by coming up with such ideas as "spirtual = good, physical = bad". in many ways this has been a coping strategy. it is evident that a lot of sin stuff happens in the physical, while it seems that if we could only think more "spiritual" then we could avoid a lot of sin. so hence the dichotomy emerges.

but, regardless of this coping strategy and the realities of the post-fall world, it is important to acknowledge that God has an agenda for unity. ultimately, his aim is to destroy sin and establish perfection forever, meaning that all dichotomies cease to operate. God's agenda is a kind of "higher logic", if you will (here another dichotomy i am forced to use), or as c.s. lewis might have put it, "a deep magic". a world in which "tangible" water and "abstract" water are one and the same entity is a world in which the logic of God is operating. we will probably never be able to experience the full extent of the collapse of metaphor in this regard in this current world. so we have the promise of a new heaven and new earth.

a feature of this new world, is the merging of "physical" and "spiritual". a demonstration of this is that christ's post-resurrection body was able to pass through locked doors but also able to be touched. it was both scarred and glorified. likewise, to go back to my favourite example, there will be no difference between "spiritual" water and "physical" water - there will be one entity eminating directly from God's primary concept of water.

the beautiful thing about this restored system is that the post-fall strategy will prove not to have merely been just a holding pattern while God sorted everyting out, but will be shown to have become an integral part of the main story. Christ's scars came about because of the post-fall strategy, but they nonetheless remain on him in the restored system - bearing witness for all time that God entered the post-fall system and has the marks to prove it.

i did have more to say, but i'll leave it for the next installment. next i'll talk about what it means creatively, here on earth now, to seek to work towards God's concept of unity given the nature of a world in division, and about the creative energy that exists in aiming towards this unity.


Megan said...

Intoresting deep view of Christ. I liked how you desribed it so well I could see it.
I like your cartoon you did for Princess Annes blog.
I like to wonder about deep things and question whats under the surface.

Jonathan Nalder said...

now, you are so right that the fall and humanity is all about dichotomies - its human to see things that way, but its also ultimatley dangerous and unfulfilling - thats why we need someone outside ourselves to reveal the balanced way, the both way...