Thursday, July 12, 2007


I know posts have been extremely sparse here over the last several months... I appreciate those of you who poke your heads in on occasion, as well as those who feel moved to offer a thought or two. Rest assured that vulgarity and spam aside, comments are not moderated... I feel that if you take the time to offer a thought, I'm happy to give you the space. Nor does disagreement (even strong disagreement) concern me... I'd hate for someone to think that I ignored/deleted a comment because I didn't like the conclusions or consequences of the comment.


Alan Phipps said...

"I'd hate for someone to think that I ignored/deleted a comment because I didn't like the conclusions or consequences of the comment."

Oh, I've been there man!

Jim said...


Anonymous said...

You mean... like what has happened to me on Bill Cork's website over and over and over again?

Here's my latest comment (which was subsequently deleted) on Bill's post concerning satisfaction and temporal punishment..

The first paragraph in quotes is from Bill.

"But Hebrews says nothing about punishment. It talks about a father’s discipline of his children; it talks about bearing the current strife joyfully–it talks about them sharing in the sufferings of Christ."

That's exactly what punishment is! It's the redemptive chastening that a Father administers to his sons, so that their character may be molded. Punishment, rightly administered, is always redemptive - it has for its ultimate purpose the maturation of the son (Heb 12:5-6).

All of the Catholic doctrine surrounding justification, sanctification, satisfaction, et cetera is centered upon our becoming sons in the Son and maturing into the image of the Son.

Before we are sons, there is no redemptive punishment - there is only wrath. That is why no satisfaction/punishment/chastisement is necessary when baptism is administered. Baptism is the rebirth, the birth from above, the new creation, by which we become sons.

Once we have become sons, the punishment God administers is not that of a legal transaction wherein God desires a piece of our flesh for every sin committed... no, no, no... the punishment and subsequent satisfaction that meets that punishment is a redemptive action that metaphysically causes us to grow in our sonship and out of that sin that is intrinsically opposed to our sonship.

Post-baptismal temporal punishment is a very positive reality, not the doom and gloom version that is so often posed as a misrepresentation of the reality.

Liken it to the punishment you administer to your children when they disobey you. You don't punish them because your family is a court of law, and you desire retributive justice. Not at all! You punish them in order to discipline them. Likewise, the presbyter - who is our spiritual father - administers a penance so that we may take action as mature sons in our own metaphysical discipline. It's a proactive approach that doesn't wait for God to do his thing - it's to be borne out of a filial fear that wishes to please our father, like a child who gives himself his own discipline because he is contrite and realizes his sin.

Well, in the supernatural order, we're not talking about a mere social maturation such as on the natural level. Nor are we talking about an extrinsic, legality that must be met in justice. We're talking about a supernatural, metaphysical maturation wherein the punishment actually affects the very image within us, which must be conformed to the image of God's son (Romans 8:29), so that we will be presented perfect in Christ (Col 1:28).

Without the underlying paradigm of divine sonship, you will not and cannot understand temporal punishment. Instead, it will become some sort of a terrifying and "sad picture of Christ."

Unknown said...

As it turns out, Carson, the same thing happens to me. A number of my comments make it onto Bill's blog, but a good number don't. Here's my own example from yesterday, to the Analogy of Being post:

Returning to the issues you raise in your post, Bill, you quote CCC 43 ("Admittedly, in speaking about God like this, our language is using human modes of expression; nevertheless it really does attain to God himself …."), and then state, "Catholicism looks for similarities between man and God (the analogical), while Protestantism emphasizes the dissimilarities (the dialectical)."

What strikes me is that the portion of CCC 43 which you omitted with the ellipsis contradicts the statement you offer as a summary. CCC 43 goes on to read, "we must recall that 'between Creator and creature no similitude can be expressed without implying an even greater dissimilitude'; and that 'concerning God, we cannot grasp what he is, but only what he is not, and how other beings stand in relation to him.'"

We exist. God exists. There is thus *some* commonality between man and God, in at least that way. But God's mode of existence is so different from our own (He *is* existence, we obviously are not) that the commonality in modes of being is not univocal, but can only be analogical. In other words, the analogia entis serves to demonstrate more the *difference* between God and man than the similarities. As CCC 43 states, our God-language expresses more dissimilarity than similarity. Rather than reducing God, analogical language ensures His transcendence without removing Him completely from His creation (a la deism).

Unknown said...

Having seen that my comment didn't make the cut, I asked Bill today what was problematic about it, noting that I was surprised that he was pursuing our tangential line of discussion but ignoring my comment directly related to his original post.

No reply whatsoever. None. That's obviously Bill's prerogative, but it gives the impression that he doesn't want to address my comment because he doesn't have a response. This may not be the case, but that's the impression it fosters.

Bill, should you read this, rest assured that your comments will go unmoderated here, and that if you ask me a polite, simple question as I did you, it will be answered.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be some sort of a psychological block or a defensive wall being raised up.

Unknown said...

I don't think it's *being* raised... I think it was raised a long time ago. Bill has always had a pretty tight rein on comments, which -- as I noted above -- is obviously his prerogative, but unfortunate for the impression that it gives.

But then, if Bill is fine with giving that impression, so be it.

Unknown said...

Another comment of mine that didn't make the Bill Cork cut, to the same thread as above:

As indicated in the context of my comment, Scotus broke from the prior tradition (including Thomas) in his introduction of the concept of univocal being with regard to God and man. This is common knowledge in the field, and many contemporary scholars, both Catholic and otherwise ( e.g. the Anglicans of the Radical Orthodoxy school) see this as a crucial moment in the history of philosophy and theology, insofar as it relates to the Reformation and by extension modernity in general. And despite your assertion to the contrary, Luther's inheritance of this concept from Scotus via Ockham, Biel et al. was determinative for his concept of the interaction of divine & human freedom. Obviously there were many holy & brilliant scholars in the medieval Franciscan tradition, and they developed many important insights, none of which is denied by recognizing that some concepts from that tradition have had negative repercussions.

Alan Phipps said...

I want to thank you, dear Gentlemen, for posting your deleted comments here, and for your patience. My own comments have about a 1 in 20 chance of being posted.

It's unfortunate, though, because I believe all of this makes for a very interesting and fruitful discussion, one that is begging in earnest to see the light of day. But, as you pointed out, Chris, it is Bill's blog, and it's his prerogative. He wants to lay out his points and objections, which I can respect.

What I cannot respect, however, are disingenuous portrayals of Catholic teaching. That disappoints me considerably.