jueves, 28 de junio de 2012

The indefinable God revealed to man

When we speak of God we do only because he allows us to. We cannot speak of God on our own terms because him who we end up speaking of is not the creator but a reflection of us creatures. Rather the God who speaks and acts is the only source to refer to him. He speaks by doing and does by speaking so his word is a dynamic utterance that knows no bounds. He is the one who said “I am who I am” (Ex. 3:14). The name `ehyeh,  I am, is  preceded by an explanation: `ehyeh `aser `ehyeh, I am who I am, suggesting to some a participial nuance compounding the meaning and taking it beyond its simple possibilities. He is the God who is exceedingly more than we can define or grasp or put in a mold.
His appearance in “man’s history” is an act of revelation by which he plans to show himself in terms and acts known to mankind because without this graceful initiative God could not be comprehend in any other way. So God speaks and acts in a world that is of his making, of his keeping and it is his will to reveal himself in it and by it. The indescribable God by an act of his grace comes within the reach of words: the unutterable becomes known; the inexpressible becomes describable in our praises. God has made himself known!
Man’s history is also a source of deception because it is not actually of his making. Man is a thief that shamelessly takes history and makes it his own. This plagiarism that makes man the author of history purports to explain the world as a lost un-authored manuscript that man claims to have found and restored to sell as his own. As many have said God’s history is in all reality “his-story.” History becomes a source of deception when God is taken out of it because in every corner of revelation we understand that God meant always to make history the natural ambience of God’s words and acts.
Faith is the corollary of his knowledge. Heavens, nature and the world in general are divine testimonies not very clear for the busy and hyperactive culture that has learned to hide his questions about God. Furthermore, man has decided to avoid any contact with that which he cannot fully master. He has also silenced every statement or witness that he cannot use for his endless needs and desires. Faith is lost among this myriad of adult caprices. The Gospel the message that by its meaning brings good tidings is hushed by man as a meaningless word not to be spoken. “When the Son of Man returns will he find faith on earth?” 
This has rendered the word God meaningless. It seems that the World and the Church have much in common when they have not room for the most important issues of life: God and mankind as an expression of God’s image. Yet, at the same time, both the World and the Church have a consuming passion for magic, the culture of novelty and the superficial luxuries of human excitement. Men abandoned faith, hope and love without ever tasting the joy of knowing God, partaking in the adventure of trusting him and sharing in the thrill of loving him. This worldly sentiment displaces the meaning of God and by the same token dislocates the very meaning of life.
God is reflected in man yet is totally different to him. Man is a reflection of God yet is wholly dependant upon him. Just as Christ is the very presence of God yet he is a different person than the father; and at the same time the Son of Man is also our redeemer yet he is completely dependent on the father to accept his eternal sacrifice. The anselmian question Cur Deus homo? is a summary of the Gospel that brings together man and God at the incarnation, for reconciliation and for justification by grace.
And it is because of this coming together in him, that the Gospel is also a translation of the word “God” in all its beauty and dept, since the best definition of God is Christ who was born, lived and died for our sins under Pontius Pilatus, and was raised on the third day as an irruption of God’s power on mankind, starting with Christ the first fruits. This is the essence of who God is, and of what we must believe and practice in order to live out faith, hope and love along with the good works that must follow those who believe. 

domingo, 24 de junio de 2012

Prolegomena is the First Voice in Theology

Revelation is about condensation of human categories that relate God to man. It is a juxtaposition of spheres and realities that explain the meaning of God for man. All of Scriptures opens with this intention when it says in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gn.1:1).  It is not about how God created and populated heaven alone. Nor how he formed and populated earth. This approximation of sorts is condensed in a Hebrew idiom of opposites to convey everything God is concerned with.
It is true that after this God detailed how things are related one by one establishing a primordial difference between creatures among themselves and between him and Man. Man came about as a creature and theology is borne as a creaturely reflection. But a creator is behind the creature, therefore theology is also a gift from above, just as life, wild creatures and every good gift come from a good and kind creator. Theology must start as a reflection on the origins to be also a gift from God the creator.
God begins to speak to a man who after creation begins to hear. Silence without hearers has no meaning. “In the beginning God” is far more than acting and shaping the world. It is also the beginning of a narrative of love, of telling his plans to man and making himself known. In this early stage God is hidden in his words and deeds and also revealed by them as much as God’s love for man permits and man creaturely bounds allow.  It is an act of his grace to pronounce the first creative word when nothing had been said before in order to create something where there was nothing. Nothingness is not grace; something is and can communicate his grace.   
Nothing is not an object of ponder unless it can be compared with something. Something is an object of ponder precisely because nothing cannot explain anything nor everything. It is the vital coming into existence of every thing that amazes man because Silence, emptiness and nothingness are not expressions of love. The spread of creatures and life on earth is like a man who puts most of his jewelry on a blanket to contemplate it and jealously guard and watch over it. Theology is the telling of the especial kinds of life residing in the creatures of God, God’s jewelry, who by their very existence communicate God’s grace.
Theology has also the limit of the fall. We know nothing in a perfect way, we know about the existence of everything but tainted by a historical man who decided to superimpose his will to God’s. This very same attitude at work in all of us attempts to superimpose our imperfect knowledge of models, natural laws, discrete and concrete languages on God as a path for man to depart further away from him who said “Hear Israel Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one; you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Dt. 6:4-5). The rupture between God and man will always try to superimpose other voices and languages on God’s. Learning by hearing his particular voice and language is the main business of theology after the fall or we might follow strange voices that our nothing but our own.
Theology is also juxtaposition in incarnation of humanity and deity. It is an approximation of God to man and not only of him to an impersonal world. This reveals a deep commitment of God to his creature as man because from the beginning it assumes that there is a perfect match between humanity and deity that merges in the person of Jesus Christ. The Jesus Christ event is a single act of God’s freedom to be like one of us and to partake by his love of everything that he had previously designed for us. Therefore, theology is also a Christian endeavor in a supreme way. There is not theology apart of the incarnation of Jesus Christ in whom all of God’s interest in man is revealed and all of man’s search for God can be understood.
Finally, theology is an act of communication. But it is not a rational communication only, as if God had created brains without a body (Greek, Aristotelian model). It is not a passional communication only, as if God had created only bodies without brain (modern, existentialist model). Theology is a personal endeavor where passion, excitement, joy, freedom, love and doubt take place in order to be in every respect both a question and an answer to whole human beings. This communication is both, creative, open and intelligent as it comes from a sensible and thoughtful God to humans who are searching for meaning, love and freedom in an imperfect world that slaves and deceives even our very search for God.

lunes, 18 de junio de 2012

What is faith?

“The faith of human beings is their heartfelt Yes to Jesus Christ and to the divine judgement that has been passed and enacted. This Yes comes from the heart, because the divine judgement has come into the heart of believers, striking them in the centre of their existence.... The affirmation, the Yes that the believer says to God’s judgement, is not just some arbitrary word which could just as well be replaced by some other word. Rather, by this Yes ... the whole person, human existence as a whole, is expressing itself. The Yes of faith is the most concentrated expression of human existence. When we believe, our whole existence becomes a single Yes by which we are affirming God’s decisive judgement over all human existence and thus over our own existence.” —Eberhard Jüngel, Justification: The Heart of the Christian Faith(Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2001), p. 238.

viernes, 1 de junio de 2012

La Biblia y las cosas de la lógica y fe

Hace unos días en facebook se coloco un rótulo en donde para la Iglesia el matrimonio del mismo sexo no es “natural” mientras los milagros si son “naturales.” Yo aclaré al autor del post que es un error de lógica usar la palabra "natural" en dos sentidos distintos como si fuese el mismo. En el primer sentido "natural" se usa para referirse a aquello que va de acuerdo a los usos de la naturaleza (los padres cuidan a los hijos; los animales se reproducen; el cambio de las estaciones, etc.); en el segundo uso la palabra natural se refiere a todo aquel efecto que le sigue a su causa (que las relaciones sexuales no dejan a una mujer virgen; que los animales no tienen el aparato fonético para hablar, que los cuerpos por su densidad y masa se hunden en el agua y que el hálito de vida al escaparse del cuerpo resulta en muerte, etc.).
La Iglesia Católica y la tradición judeo cristiana, en general, condenan el primer caso, cambiar los usos de la naturaleza, principalmente por el uso y abuso que el ser humano sufre en esas prácticas. En cuanto al segundo uso de" lo natural", dicha tradición solo dice que se trata de condiciones en donde por no seguir el patrón de  casusa y efecto solo se pueden calificar de milagrosas o sobrenaturales.
Cierto objetor dijo que ya que “jugábamos con palabras”, el problema era el hambre de los niños frente al oro de las iglesias. A lo que respondí,  que la lógica no es juego de palabras, es la clasificación del significado de las palabras para ver si se habla o no de la misma categoría o cosa. Los niños que mueren de hambre tienen un padre y una madre que deben responder por ello. Los curas llenos de oro son el resultado de gente que les entrega sus bienes (libremente o tontamente depende de quien lo diga) creyendo que de esa manera se ganan el cielo. Pero en apretada lógica, ni todo el oro del mundo (no solo el de los curas) podría alimentar a todos los hambrientos del mundo ya que para eso hay que trabajar.
Propuso entonces el interlocutor que para solucionar eso había que eliminar a los predicadores y a los políticos. Non sequitur es otro tema en lógica. Es decir, lo que se concluye no se sigue de lo hablado. Peor aun, cómo se llega de la preocupación por el hambre de los niños (seres humanos) a "eliminar" a los predicadores y políticos (seres humanos) es algo que no se sigue de la afirmación inicial y menos de la preocupación original. Pero, poniendo eso de lado, sugería yo que para eliminar algo hay que ver cual es la demanda, si la demanda de algo es importante, entonces el problema es más complejo y difícil de resolver de lo que suponemos.
Otro interlocutor sugería que el problema no era lógico sino la explicación de lo inexplicable y hasta contradictorio, según la Iglesia, y la visión restrictiva de los textos bíblicos, porque las iglesias, interesadamente prefieren tener a la gente en la iglesia y no en la calle reclamando sus derechos. Decía el que si la gente pensara por si misma, no iría a las Iglesias. Yo simplemente respondí que veía la cosa diferente, por ejemplo, esas cosas inexplicables son eso, inexplicables. No todo lo inexplicable es contradictorio, cosa que en lógica se distingue muy bien. Pero si hay una aclaración que debe hacerse, es que una cosa son las fuentes del cristianismo (La Biblia) y otra las iglesias que puedan tener este o aquel interés.
En cuanto a pensar por si mismo, nadie lleva a la gente a las iglesias a la fuerza. Especialmente, en países tan seculares. Ni siquiera en países tan religiosos, se obliga a nadie. Si conozco países en donde se  lleva gente a la manifestación política a la fuerza. Así mismo, conozco muchos hombres pensantes que aquí y en otros países, los domingos tampoco se van con las masas a las calles a protestar, se van a sus trabajos a hacer dinero o con sus familias a convivir. Es medio idealista pensar que a las masas lo único que les satisface es pasar los días (de descanso) gritando consignas del partido en las calles. No es cierto aquí, no es cierto allá, ni siquiera es cierto en donde los llevan a la fuerza. Por otro lado, es posible que algunos que van a las iglesias sean además gente pensante, porque no esta el monopolio del pensamiento solo afuera de las iglesias, en efecto, es posible que ellos prefieran estar en las iglesias porque están convencidos de lo que ellas enseñan y eso les satisface mucho mas que estar en las calles protestando. Esa gente pensante de las iglesias a menudo trabaja y no quiere carroñar nada que no se haya ganado con esfuerzo y responsabilidad.