Driver's view from a moving car
03 Aug 2022

What the Eastern Church Does Best

In a previous article, I admitted the tension of experiencing unanswered prayers for my own chronic condition, all the while rejoicing in the fact that the Church heals souls; “…for what does it profit a man if he gains his whole life while destroying his soul?” There I made the claim that God primarily heals the outer human in order to prove that He can heal the inner human, because physical healing offers little benefit

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04 May 2022

Modes of Being

The term “being” is used in many senses, but with reference to one thing and to some one nature and not equivocally.   — Aristotle I claimed in the last post to have made some progress toward clarifying the notion of “being” (for the remainder of this post I will use the term “existence” so as to avoid an annoyingly numerous number of quotation marks). Following the train of thought whereby we come to know the

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11 Apr 2022

Book Review: “On Gender and the Soul”

If you’re anything like me, when you hear the word “soul,” your mind probably leaps immediately to something resembling the folk conception of a “ghost.” We live in a culture saturated with images of humanlike spirits being swept up to heaven or down to the abyss, from Dante’s luminous Paradiso to the stormy hellscapes of Supernatural and What Dreams May Come. This soul/ghost inside us is imagined as a kind of ethereal doppelganger, capable of

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09 Mar 2022

Does Existence Exist?

That is not the case when you say “is” alone, for it is by itself “nothing…” – Aristotle (De Interpretatione I, 3) ipsum esse nondum est.[1]– Boethius (De Hebdomadibus, rule II.) In a previous post I explored what I had called “the glimpse of being” to discover that there is a distinction between what something is (essence) and that something is (existence). The study of being—at least as the metaphysician takes it up—is the study

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09 Feb 2022

On God and Hypotheticals: Further Thoughts

  “I do not think that we can possibly deny that there is some other way than the one we have spoken of, on the supposition that God can do what human reason cannot comprehend.” -Anselm of Canterbury “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” – Jesus of Nazareth I recently read with great interest Wesley Walker’s article entitled “The God of

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21 Jan 2022

Karl Marx: Prophet of Authenticity, Part II

This is the second installment of a three-part series. Part I can be viewed here.  Inauthentic Man Marx’s final confidence notwithstanding, he (obviously) was taken up with the proximate, intervening problems standing in between man and his destiny. Namely, that modern man in the capitalist epoch of history is not living authentically. As a cog in the “automatic system” he is alienated from his labor which means that he is alienated from both himself and his

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22 Nov 2021

Evangelicalism Is Moving Backwards in Some Ways

Contemporary Westerners seem to believe, at least most of the time, that society is either driving forward into new territory or staying the same. This idea is firmly reinforced by the popular terms “progressive” and “conservative”; the progressives drag society forward, and conservatives dig their heels into the ground, hoping to keep things exactly as they are. The same idea, from what I can tell, holds true within Western evangelicalism: progressives are trying to move

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12 Nov 2021

Karl Marx: Prophet of Authenticity, Part I

In his new bestseller, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, Carl Trueman argues that Marx, along with Nietzsche and others, contributed to the plasticity of man. Meaning that human nature is contingent, not static, and subject to the desires and will of man himself for its ultimate meaning, manifestation, and final end. In sum, it is the erosion of metaphysics and traditional ontology. Marx, capitalizing on his predecessors, represents an inward turn in

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06 Oct 2021

From Essence to Existence: Pondering the Glimpse of Being

And the question which has always been raised, in times of old and still in our day, and always embarrasses us, is ‘what is being?’ – Aristotle I’ve noted previously that our common sense approach to reality leads to a kind of intuition of “being” as that highest of all unities. Everything that is is, as Parmenides put it. Saying it this way, however, is liable to misunderstanding. “Being” is not simply what we come

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04 Oct 2021

The Hungry Heart of Eden

Perhaps one of the most overlooked passages in Scripture for Christian formation is the story of Creation. We are shaped so much and so obviously by the Fall, and the matrix of serpent-apple-temptation-nakedness resonates with our imaginations in such visceral ways, that it nearly seems genetic. As we consider, however, God’s first acts of creative goodness in Eden, we are invited to look upon a lost world, a world that will never return. That prelude

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08 Sep 2021

A Glimpse of Being

As a concept, being is both the most universal and the most abstract of all. Its extension is the richest, its comprehension the most poor. – Étienne Gilson It is the same with this object of thought, this primordial reality we call being. We have not looked it in the face. We think it something far simpler than it is. We have not yet troubled to unveil its true countenance. – Jacques Maritain In two

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09 Aug 2021

From Metaphysics to Classification: The Epistemological Turn in the Seventeenth Century

In a previous post I noted that the classical understanding of metaphysics—by which I mean Aristotle and the subsequent and variegated peripatetic tradition—differs significantly from the Modern, analytical understanding. (Of course, such a note is admittedly a generalization which admits of many an exception.) Rather than thinking of metaphysics as a synthesizing and generalizing theory of all the various scientific fields of inquiry about our physical world and the human place and purpose within it,

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19 Jul 2021

The Ambivalent Earth

“Re-enchantment of the world” is one of those phrases that tends to frequently show up within certain aesthetically inclined Christian circles. However, unlike other buzzword-y concepts that often make appearances in conversations along these lines (“human flourishing”?), this one is at least somewhat easier to nail down. Charles Taylor, one of the leading exponents of the theme, wrote in 2008: [T]he boundary between agents and forces is fuzzy in the enchanted world; and the boundary

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07 Jul 2021

Some Preliminary Reflections on Metaphysics

I have over the past decade or so engaged often with friends who to one degree or another find so-called ‘classical theism’ to be suspect. More often than not, I find myself convinced in these conversations that their suspicions ought to be able to be cleared away with some careful definitions and distinctions. But, then, more often than not, my attempts at definitions and distinctions do not actually clear away their doubts. Why not? It

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30 Jun 2021

It’s Disposable: Planned Obsolescence and a Culture of Death

  “Oh, I know how to use that mixer, my grandma’s is just like it!” I said to my hostess as she pulled out her mother’s mixer. She looked pleased and then sighed, “Yes, this one is still plugging away, unlike the things they make now. Planned obsolescence, they call it. So your products have a life-span of only a few years.” The term was not new to me, nor the concept—but that didn’t stop

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16 Jun 2021

Calvin and Theonomy

I recently wrote a critique of Theonomy over at Mere Orthodoxy. Lots of feedback came my way, some constructive, most not. What seems to have been lost on many readers is that, first and foremost, my critique was aimed at the critics. I want to take Theonomy seriously and my criticisms to push them to better explication of their ideas. Finding the majority of recent criticisms of Theonomy either unfair or unthoughtful—when it comes to

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24 May 2021

What Re-Enchantment Really Means

Out of all the Christmas presents I’ve received over the years, none so far can hold a candle to what showed up under the tree when I was ten: a thick paperback set of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I’d been raised on (and loved) C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, and Tolkien’s intricate cosmos felt just like that, but more. Here was a sprawling world with its own languages and

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The Good Place
12 May 2021

The Insufficient Eternity of the Good Place

Welcome! Everything is fine. That’s what the wall in front of you says the moment after you die. Or, at least, that’s what The Good Place suggests that the wall in front of you says immediately after the moment of your death. Appearing on NBC from 2016 to 2020, The Good Place is a fantasy comedy series that traces the journeys of four “Good Place” residents (along with their celestial architect friend and his AI

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03 Mar 2021

On the distinction between thinking from and thinking to

Dicit mihi homo: “Intellegam ut credam”. Respondeo: “Crede ut intellegas”[1]   — Augustine, Sermo 43 Sed inrideant nos fortes et potentes, nos autem infirmi et inopes coniteamur tibi[2]  — Augustine, Confessions I went off to college with a head full of new learning, and high spirits on account of it. I had only a few years prior discovered that there was much gain in reading ‘old, dead theologians,’ and so left for college with a modest

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22 Feb 2021

Timeless Eternity Is Not Divine Frozenness

Over the last few centuries, God’s timeless eternity has not been a strongly emphasized divine attribute. For many Christians, this precept reflects a particularly troublesome Hellenistic influence, given that the Platonic tradition laid great weight on the immutability of the eternal Forms and their corresponding immunity to corruption and decay. A doctrine of timeless eternity, in the eyes of its critics, necessarily calls into question the ability of God to work in history or respond

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