God knows the “future of nature” but – just what is the “nature of the future”? anthropopathic projections or theopathic interpretations?

​That God omnisciently knows the future of nature, there should be no doubt. On the other hand, the nature of the future must be properly understood.

Peter Geach held that apart from present trends and tendencies there is no future to be known. This squares with a divine omniscience of peircean thirdness. 

See, for example: Oxford Studies  in Philosophy of  Religion  (vol.  III),  ed.  Jonathan Kvanvig  (OUP,  2011),  pgs  222-251.   Geachianism 

A truly Catholic open theism, as would be consistent with many of the thoughts of Norris Clarke and Peter Geach (Roman) or John Polkinghorne (Anglican), could make for a very generic version.

In addition to the distinction between esse naturale and esse intentionale

See, for example: William Norris Clarke and Robert A. Connor on Person as Thomistic Esse
http://robertaconnor.blogspot.com/2005/05/fr-clarke-sj-and-i-on-person-as.html?m=1

we can also distinguish between an essential impassibility and affect passibility (and certainly affirm both).

See, for example: Graham  A.  Cole, The God Who Wept a Human Tear: Some Theological Reflections http://ojs.globalmissiology.org/index.php/english/article/view/612/1538

In light of the imago Dei, one needn’t interpret the Biblical depiction of divine suffering as some anthropopathic projection, but can interpret human suffering as theopathic or God-like. 

See, for example: Graham A. Cole, The  Living God:  Anthropomorphic  or  Anthropopathic?   Reformed  Theological  Review,  59 (1, 2000),  pp.  16-27

Also, see:

Marcel Sarot (2001) Does God Suffer?, Ars Disputandi, 1:1, 53-61 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15665399.2001.10819711

Fr  Raniero Cantalamessa,  The  Gaze  of Mercy: A  Commentary  on  Divine  and   Human  Mercy, Frederick,  Maryland:  The Word  Among  Us  Press, 2015

Walter Kasper, Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to the Christian Life, Paulist Press, 2014

Divine Attributes per Greg Boyd

Divine Omniscience

http://reknew.org/2011/04/if-god-anticipates-each-possibility-perfectly-how-does-he-differ-from-the-frozen-god-of-classical-theism/

Divine Omnipathy

http://reknew.org/2007/12/what-do-you-think-of-the-classical-view-that-god-is-impassible/

Divine Omnibenevolence

http://reknew.org/2015/08/god-is-different-than-you-think/

http://reknew.org/2015/08/how-much-does-the-cross-really-matter/

http://reknew.org/2015/07/what-does-a-perfect-god-look-like/

http://reknew.org/2007/12/what-is-omni-resourcefulness/

http://reknew.org/2014/05/is-god-personal/

Divine Omnipotence

http://reknew.org/2016/10/redefining-omnipotence/

Divine Omnipresence

http://reknew.org/2008/01/in-light-of-einsteins-conclusion-that-time-is-relative-how-can-you-believe-that-god-is-not-above-time/

Divine Immutability

http://reknew.org/topic/attributes-and-character/

http://reknew.org/2014/08/is-god-immutable-part-ii/

http://reknew.org/2016/10/gods-moral-immutability/

Divine Necessity & Contingency

http://reknew.org/2007/12/do-you-believe-god-is-pure-actuality/

HOWEVER:

We should take the theological stances, above, as opinions, even better, as questions!

God knows the future of nature but we don’t fully know the nature of the future.

At bottom, our philosophical theologies, beyond some rather vague phenomenological commitments, only frame our questions but should not pretend to have answered them, proving too much, telling untellable stories, saying way more than we could possibly know. Instead, we abide with paradox, tolerate ambiguity,  nurture creative tensions, seek out the antinomies, resist rushes to closure and admonish the voices of certitude  … but move forward,  anyway, in  humility, with hospitality, doing what we’ve discerned we must and saying what we believe we should, dialogically, boldly and imaginatively! There is, after all, a certain wisdom in distinguishing between a legitimate plurality of theologoumena and matters that are de fide?

Any kataphatic theopoietic, which aspires to articulate our theopoiesis (our divine cooperations via kenosis, katharsis & synergia) and theosis (our ineffable, unitive divine participations via theurgy & theoria), will necessarily quickly unsay itself, apophatically. Above all, suitable analogical predications must be employed.

What we can say, then, for example, is that …

God suffers impassibly.

Norris Clarke critiques Hartshorne, whose process approach ignores the possibility of a rich, inner life of divine plenitude, thereby overemphasizing ad extra divine relations.

At the same time, in the same way that he employs the esse naturale vs intentionale distinction, which seems consistent with open theism, he similarly draws a distinction between

God’s infinitely intense interior joy (never rising higher in intensity of perfection) and its relational expressions, which do entail a divine enrichment via novel determinate modalities of expression of those joys, such finite modalities being limited participations in that infinite Source.

This reminds me of Boyd’s distinctions between the intensity and scope of aesthetic experience as well as between definitional and constitutive (relational) dispositions, all consistent with my appreciation of the essence-energies distinctions.

Note:

Clarke affirms divine contingency. I interpret his reference to the “eternal now” not so much as an argument for or against a/temporality but as his attempt to remain modally agnostic, temporally speaking.

In other words, in affirming the THAT of divine contingency, i.e. openness, at the same time (ha ha), he’s saying that that affirmation is nontemporal, that it’s not taking a stance on HOW temporally thick or thin God’s now might be.

For Clarke, the question of divine foreknowledge springs from a category error re: god-talk (needs to be decisively analogical). He otherwise certainly seems on board with the “open future” conception of the open theists.

Clarke wouldn’t object to a temporal view of the divine relational consciousness, i.e. God as changing, as long as we’re only referring to esse intentionale and as long as God’s only affected — not improved — by relations with the world.

In my view, each such formal distinction (not quibbling with thomistic real-logical relations as the logical can refer — not just to conceptual distinctions, but — to noninherent but inseparable relations) may or may not reflect a divine contingency, for example, vis a vis the future (properly conceived!), mutability (of this or that attribute), im/passibility, a/temporality, or even enrichment. At least the necessity and/or contingency of each attribute or energy would have to be argued separately. One could, for example, affirm open theism vis a vis omniscience but still deny passibility.

Fr Clarke could be interpreted to be, using Boyd’s terms, affirming an enrichment of the divine aesthetic scope while denying same regarding intensity, especially given his recognition of one Source of value — thus supporting a thin notion of enrichment or a thin passibility vis a vis the divine esse intentionale.

Regarding most theological opinions (vs de fide), I don’t have a dog in such hunts. I’m still trying to understand the questions they raise.

It seems to me that Orthodox approaches to panentheism (as indwelling w/sufficient ontological distinctions beyond just mereological distinctions) do not threaten classical theistic approaches to divine attributes, immutability, impassibility and so on.

Because open theism entails no theologic amendments to omniscience and only metaphysical reconceptions re: temporality, i.e. the nature of the future, it should be compatible with Anglican, Roman & Eastern Catholicisms and Orthodoxy, whether via a classical theism or proper panentheism.

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