Rob Bell on Truth

From Velvet Elvis:

Truth always leads to more truth. Because truth is insight into God, and God is infinite, and God has no boundaries or edges. So truth always has layers and depth and texture. It’s like a pool that you dive into and you start swimming toward the bottom and soon you discover that no matter how hard and fast you swim downward, the pool keeps getting deeper. The bottom will always be out of reach.

Good stuff. To many modern (ie, fundamentalist … both  “conservative-fundamentalist” and “revisionist-fundamentalist) ears, this will be unpalatable. But to those who love the patristic tradition, it is profoundly correct (albeit stated in a contemporary manner).

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Hey Matt,
Have you read Amos Funkenstein’s Theology and the Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century? The foundationalism of ‘modern’ theology you mention here is of a piece with the development of the idea of what Funkenstein calls the ‘transparency of God’ that includes Scotus but is definitely not solely traceable to him. This is a really helpful phrase, because what it highlights is the difference between St. Thomas saying that there are ‘truths of above reason’ and Suarez or Robert Boyle saying the same thing. In the case of the latter, they are saying that although God is mystery, once some feature of the mystery is revealed, it then becomes perfectly penetrable by the intellect (I will also note that Aidan Nichols says the same thing about Garrigou-Lagrange’s apologetic!), whereas for St. Thomas, even what is revealed is known only in a creaturely way (i.e. theologia nostra or theologia ectypa).

Jonathan,

Yes, and thanks!!

And I wd just add that our knowledge of creation and created things like trees also does not work according to “transparency.”

On Scotus: yes, not solely traceable to him. He is rightly the whipping boy of many, but I’m learning that the genealogy is complicated.

Like the saying goes: “A truth that is alive is a truth that is ‘growing'”. However some people call that “revisionist”.

Collins,

I suppose that some ppl do call that “revisionist.” And they are wrong to do so.

However, that does not imply that there are forms of actual revisionism which are pernicious and in need of critique!

Agreed.

Rather than ‘revisionism’, I prefer to speak of ‘ressourcement’. But to show my cards, I actually think Bell is mostly just a revisionist. In other words, I think he’s pretty far afield of Scripture in the tradition.

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