Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Contnued Attempt at Getting the Epistemology

The Judeo-Christian God reveals Himself to be the Creator of all that is. He is not a Being, but the very meaning of “Being,” Ipsum Esse. He is not any kind of being, but the act that we experience every kind of being to be – if it is.

   As Barron makes particular emphasis: the texts of Col. 1, 15 -  19 and Jn. 1, 4 reveal the Creator to be the ontological power  at the center of all that is, and at the same time to be a created part within the whole without pantheism. As “Being” but not a Being, even Supreme Being, Barron borrows the phrase “otherly other.” That is, He is not only other as not being one individual of many, but His otherness is not knowable as the many are knowable. And yet He is created human part within the whole and can be known within the whole.

                Granted, it sounds like a riddle. But I hasten to my point. It seems that if Christ is the ontological center of all creation, as Barron writes it: “individuals, societies,cultu res,animals, plants, planets and the stars  - all will be draw ninto an eschatologicalhar mony thro ugh him… Mind you, Jesus is notmerelythe symbolof an intelligibility,coherence, andreconciliationthat canexist apar t   f rom him;rat her, he is the activgeand  indispensable means oby wehich t hese  reali ties come to be. This Jesus,in short, is the all-embracing, all-including, all-reconciling Lord of whatever isto be found in the dimensions of timeandspeace.”[1] If  this is so, then to know (read “understand” [intus legere: read from within] Creation, then one would have to “know” Jesus Christ “anthropologically.” That is, one would have to live in such a way as to be like and so, read Him from within oneself. I w ould da re  saythat one wouldhave to experience  creation.

                And we do  this through the senses: “Feel me and see, that a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have,” and in so doing to go out of self by sense and spirit and confess “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” I take this to be a background condition to knowing anything truly and authentically as creation. I say  this with the historical background of the cogito of  Descartes, because it was there that t o arrive at subjective certainty of any kind of knowing, Descartes separated sensible experience from thought so that feeling and seeing would not deliver the identity of the God-man to him. He wanted the certainty of thought, of the clear and distinct idea. The bold move that he made was to withdraw from the created and normal way of being in the world. Charles Taylor wrote that “as we live normally through them, our experiences of the red dress or of a toothache are the ways in which these objects are there for us. The red dress is present for me, through my seeing it; the tooth insistently clamors t hat it is in pain. I attend to the object through the experience as Merleau-Ponty and Michael Polanyi have variously described it. What Descartes calls on us to do is to stop living ‘in’ or ‘through’ the experience, to treat  it itself as an object, or what is the same thing, as an experience which could just as well have been someone else’s. In doing this, I suspend the ‘intentional” dimension of the experience ,  that is, what makes it the experience of some thing...”[2]

In a word, the centrality of Christ to the whole of creation, and the place of prayer and the theological epistemology of knowing Him, seem essential to the realism of knowledge, science and education.

[1] R. Barr on, “The Priority of Christ,” Brazos ( 2007) 134-135.
[2] C. Taylor, “Sources of the Self,”

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