Freedom and History

One of my least favorite slogans is “what will be will be.” What is expressed in this slogan may appear, of course, in other disguises, some rather sophisticated. For instance, it can be found dressed up in the language of the social and psychological sciences, delivered in the professional tones, and with the authority, of full professors at famous institutions. The idea itself is a bad one, nevertheless. Let me suggest that…

Dogmatic Love

The Bible regards as inseparable two things that modern man can hardly imagine are at all related—namely, love for one another and faith in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world: “And this is his commandment: that we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” Why both things together? Indeed, they appear at first to be…

The Wordling

During the two years that the Apostle Paul spent in prison at Caesarea (Acts 24:27), certain of his fellow workers had sufficient access to him that he could include them with the note “sends greetings” in the epistles that he wrote at that time. Their number included his “fellow laborers,” Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke (Philemon 24). It is curious, as we shall see, that Paul mentions Demas and Luke together. Near…

Language and History

To speak of history, it is necessary to speak of language. None of the properly human activity— thought, reflection, consciousness, choice—is possible without language, and language, in its turn, is inherited. It is derived from History. It is through language that Cosmology and History converge in human consciousness. There is an obvious corollary to this observation: History, as an object of man’s knowledge, must actually precede Cosmology; man cannot think about the…

Favored in History

It is instructive to reflect on the apparent implausibility—not to say, the scandal—of the Bible’s claims to a favored position for a particular people within history; the claim represents an affront to both the Perennial Philosophy and the widespread religious assumptions of mankind. The biblical claim of a special revelation to a particular people is deeply offensive for a number of reasons, but chiefly its appeal to history. History is an area…

We Know

In the mind of John, the new life in Christ is manifest two ways: The first is outward and empirical; it looks at the evidence of one’s love for those to whom he is joined in Christ. The second is inward; it has to do with a transformation of the Christian consciousness and is manifest in the confidence of prayer. Life in Christ is not guess work. In both cases John speaks…

Creation and Freedom

Gregory the Theologian placed the synthetic —body and soul—quality of human existence in the larger context of the whole created order, within which he distinguished three stages. The first stage, he said, was the creation of the angels, described as a created projection of the “first light,” which is God Himself (Orationes 40.5). These creatures are the most like God, Gregory declared, noetic spirits described in Holy Scripture as an immaterial form…

Intercessory Prayer

Among those sections that the gospels of Matthew and Luke, independent of Mark, have in common, almost all are directly didactic. That is to say, those sections almost invariably consist of the explicit teachings of Jesus, with no attention to events in Jesus’ life. Those shared sections convey, for instance, the sort of material we find in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount (Chapters 5-7) and Luke’s Sermon on the Plain (6:20-49). When,…

The Analogy of Freedom

Human freedom is an experience before it is a concept. Indeed, even as concept, freedom is extremely elusive. It is hardly surprising that modern science, concerned with precision and objectivity, is distinctly uncomfortable with it. The “scientific method,” with its emphasis on measurement and predictability, finds it much easier to deny the existence of freedom than to account for it. If we search for the reason for this experience of freedom, we…

Freedom and Perversion

The thinking man, if he wants his thought about freedom to be complete, must also reflect—on the basis of his own experience—that freedom is inseparable from consciousness and the conscious experience of pursuing and discerning truth. If freedom is really free, it must be part of self-reflective thought, or logos; otherwise freedom would be identical with chaos. To say that man is truly free, then, implies that he is gifted with the…