From Madeleine L'Engle's book Walking on Water:
Sin, that unpopular word again. The worse things get, the more we try to rationalize and alibi. When we do wrong we try to fool ourselves (and others) that it is because our actions and reactions have been coded into our genetic pattern at the moment of conception. Or our mothers didn't understand us. Or they understood us too well. Or it is the fault of society. Certainly it is never our fault, and therefore we have not sinned.
[By] such dirty devices, any shred of free will left in the human being is taken away. If I do wrong, I may do it unwittingly, thinking I am doing something for the best; but if it turns out to be wrong, I have done it, and I must bear the responsibility. It is not somebody else's or something else's fault. If it is, [then] I am less than human.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
From Madeleine L'Engle's book Walking on Water:
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
In summary, beauty (or "excellency") is a type of proportion, regularity, equality, and/or symmetry between individual elements of reality, while ugliness is the opposite of such (disproportion, irregularity, etc.). In other words, beauty is order and structure (which Edwards called "being"), while ugliness is disorder or chaos (which I'm calling "nothing"). In addition, the more an object increases in these qualities, the more pleasure it produces to the subject; conversely, the more it decreases in these qualities, the more pain it produces. Still with me? Good, let's move on then.
The reason pleasure and pain is produced is because the more and object increases in proportion, etc., the closer it gets to absolute order (which Edwards called "Being"), which is the highest and most excellent good; likewise, the more it decreases, the farther it gets from absolute order and the closer it gets to absolute disorder or chaos (which I'm calling "Nothing"), which is the lowest and most debased evil. In short, the imitation of the Good produces pleasure and the imitation of the Bad produces pain. Still got it? Great, let's keep going.
Now here is where the argument begins. Edwards calls this increase of proportion, etc., the "consent of being," i.e., beauty is consensual. This is because proportion, etc., necessarily requires two or more parties: a circle is "symmetrical" only after you divide it into two or more parts and compare the parts to each other. As Edwards put it, an aboslute whole (or a "singular") can only be beautiful/excellent by a "consent of its parts," i.e., because its oneness contains a "plurality." Thus, a "singular" without a plurality necessarily cannot be beautiful because beauty is contingent upon proportion, etc., which is contingent upon consent, which implies plurality. Therefore, beauty necessarily implies plurality. As Edwards put it, a singular "that is absolutely without any plurality cannot be excellency, for there can be no such thing as consent or agreement."
Perhaps you are beginning to see where the argument is going. If we admit that God is the Creator of all things, He is therefore necessarily the source of all things (i.e., all things come from Him). That means that whatever can be found in reality finds its absolute realization in Him. For example (and in regards to the argument), if we find beauty (proportion, etc.) in reality, then that necessarily means that beauty is in God as well (albeit, in an absolute sense, i.e., Beauty, or to use Edwards' term, "Being"). However, if beauty necessarily implies plurality, then that means that in order for God to be the source of beauty, He too must be a plurality; or, to phrase it another way, for God to be the source of beauty, His oneness must necessarily contain a plurality. Question: What do we call it when God's oneness contains a plurality?
A: The Trinity. I rest my case.
Caveat Emptor: This post is about how the nature of beauty could possibly give us reason to believe in the Trinity. This post does not presume to explain how this oneness/plurality dynamic works in detail within the Godhead. Thus, I don't need any of you nit-pickers out there getting hung up on my use of words like "divide," divided," and "parts." I am not making a comment on how the thing works; I'm simply stating what may be a reason to believe that the thing is real.
Related to this post.
Rabid post-modern emergent Christianity and rabid militant atheism have this in common: both are prideful rebellion against God. The former's pride exalts man's experiential subjectivity above God, while the latter's exalts man's fallen and limited intellect. The former interprets God through their individualistic experiences, while the latter interprets through strictly naturalistic scientism. Neither one allows God to interpret Himself by His own revelations (viz., the Bible). Thus, they exalt themselves into God's position, which is the very essence of pride itself.