Sunday, April 11, 2010

Negative Theology (Apophatic Theology)

Who knows what "today" will bring. It started with a short biography of Charles Krauthammer, presently a political commentator on Fox News and political essayist for the Washington Post. Krauthammer cited Maimonides as one who led him away from his Jewish roots.
Next question; Who was Maimonides? A Jewish philosopher who lived in the 10th and 11th centuries, was deeply into Aristotilean philosophy, and who taught/thought that one's understanding of God could not come by human reasoning and affirming statements made about God. Thus, no positive statement about God (what/who God is...) could be taken as truth about God and that only negative statements (what He is not..."apophatic theology") can be considered true. (Apophatic and cataphatic theology are opposites...but this may be more than we care to know on a sunny Sunday).
Given the Jewishness of Maimonides, and if he too rejected Jesus as the Christ, it is probably a foredrawn conclusion that anything Jesus said of Himself (e.g. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light...") would be unacceptable on two counts: it is a positive statement of the God-Man rejected by men who rejected Jesus as the Christ and thus as God. Where John writes (1st John) that "God is love..." would be treated likewise.
Sometimes I try to read and understand things apophetic about Christianity; to get inside the mind of critical philosophers and those said to be theologians. It's then I realize that the search is fruitless for two reasons: I do not have the mind and training of a philosopher or theologian, nor, as I look more deeply, do I see anything to be gained that will make me more like Christ.
My wife and I then started talking about the differences between intelligence and wisdom. Bible texts began coming to mind; particularly those of Solomon in his proverbs. I have decided, as did Solomon, to pray for wisdom and discernment; for it is by these that we will be enabled to follow the words of Christ in Matthew chapter 24 where He says, four times, " not deceived..." The "wisdom" of this world and of worldly men, though they be thought wise, shall end up (perhaps) as having a part in the rapidly approaching unraveling of all things not built upon the "Rock" of Jesus Christ.
Have a blessed day. e.c.

No comments: