Monday, October 16, 2006

Plato and the Sovereignty of God

so over on some message boards that i hang out at every once and a while to try to be in conversation and to have a chance to write out some of my theology with people who i expect will disagree and with whom i would also usually disagree with also had started a discussion about the notion of the age of accountability, and most of the people at the board starting explaining two things that are very reformed and very Calvinist.

1. Children and babies are born into sin, and though we hope God will judge them mercifully, we don't know what will happen to them.
2. It is God's prerogative as to how he'd like to deal with these children and babies who die at young ages, and who are we to question God or his judgments.

both of these notions scare the crap out of me, and tell me a lot of what these folks think about God and his wrath, and they pose a huge unbreakable (and unchallengeable) wall of God's sovereignty in between God's relationship with humanity. talking about this stuff of course led into a discussion of hermeneutics, a time of defining what the gospel "really is", sin, and on and on about things that really probably can't happen on message boards or blogs because it is like trying to smash what takes some theologians 13 volumes to say in a few really loooong posts. which is dumb too because i am still deconstructing a lot of my own theology anyway, so i'm learning what i think often as i write...

but tonight in philosophy for theology, we were discussing Plato's allegory of the cave and a passage stuck out to me that helps illuminate how intertwined the reformed doctrine of the sovereignty of God and Platonic order of realities are:

"And is there anything surprising in one who passes from divine contemplations to the evil state of man, misbehaving himself in a ridiculous manner; if, while his eyes are blinking and before he has become accustomed to the surrounding darkness, he is compelled to fight in courts of law, or in other places, about the images or the shadows of images of justice, and is endeavouring to meet the conceptions of those who have never seen absolute justice?
Anything but surprising, he replied."

There is this question seen here in Plato's writings that who do the visible beings think they are trying to believe that they understand the Idea of justice from the highest Good? Who are they to question the Good, for their feeble minds are seeing but reflections of the shadows or perhaps the images of justice, but not the idea of justice...

and this reminds me of the reformed doctrine that tries to say through omission, that who are we to question God, if it is of God's desire to send little children and babies to hell, God is able to make such decisions...but in making these claims, we fail to think about what this actually says about the nature of God and how God acts. can we not say that we don't believe that this is how a good God, who pursues and longs to be in relationship with his creation would act?

1 comment:

chris said...

Hey Josh,
It's cool that you started blogging too. Thanks for keeping me posted on whats happening with you!

What's all this stuff your talking about in this blog post? I just don't understand! :) I'll never forget Jr. year, man.

You know since I came to Mongolia, I haven't gotten in one of these conversations. It's kinda nice actually.

Hope your doing well in brother!