Feeds:
Articole
Comentarii

Archive for the ‘Valentin Teodorescu’ Category

The Four Loves (Harcourt)

Continuare de aici.

Articol de Valentin Teodorescu

5) Charity (agape)

5.1 The insufficiency of the natural loves

As we saw until now, natural loves are not self-sufficient. Something else – which Lewis consider to be the whole Christian life in one particular relation – must „come to help of the mere feeling if the feeling is to be kept sweet”.

He considers that the natural loves are similar to a garden. A garden „will not fence and weed itself, nor prune its own trees, nor roll and cut its own lawns”. It will remain a garden, as distinct from a wilderness, only if someone does these things to it. When God planted the garden of our nature and caused the flowering, fruiting loves to grow there, He set our wills to „dress” them. Compared with the loves, our will is dry and cold. And until God’s grace comes down, like the rain and the sunshine, we shall use this tool (the will) to little purpose. But its laborious- and largely negative – services are indispensable.

Until now we saw that the loves prove that they are unworthy to take the place of God, by the fact that they cannot even remain themselves and do what they promise without God’s help: Affection can be distorted „when it becomes a need-love that demands affection in turn, as a right, and thus producing hatred”; Or when, in „living for others”, makes their lives unbearable. Friendship can be distorted when the shared interest is evil; or produces arrogance and isolation when the group becomes an „inner ring”. Eros is like Love Himself, in a reflected form; and therefore more liable than the other loves to corruption, to becoming a sort of religion; the god Eros dies or becomes a demon unless he obeys God.[1]

The conclusion is that, even for their own sake, the loves must submit to God if they are to remain the things they want to be: Affection needs a real disinterested charity for the other if it wants to avoid becoming obsessive. Friendship needs to have charity also as a guarantee that the shared interest will not become egoist and evil, and that it will not produce arrogance and isolation, hurting and neglecting the others. Eros needs charity if he wants to keep his promises, especially when the selfishness appear, or when one or both partners become, at least in some respects, unattractive or unworthy of love. (mai mult…)

Read Full Post »

The Four Loves (Harcourt)

Titlul original: The Four Loves
Autor: C.S. Lewis
Localitate: New York
Editura: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Anul apariţiei: 1991
Nr. de pagini: 156
ISBN: 9780151329168

Articol de Valentin Teodorescu

Introduction

C.S.Lewis starts The Four Loves confessing that when he first tried to write this book, he had a wrong image (or rather a very simplistic image) of the subject.

It seems that the-view he had then is common among Christians; before I read his book I had the same image too: the idea that the only true love is the love that gives, because the love of God is a Giving love (a Gift-love by definition). For that reason – in that perspective – we really love just in so far as our love resembles that Love which is God. In that respect, when we tell to our beloved: „I need you, I cannot live without you”, we do not really love him (or her). The real love is that love which says: I do not need you, I can live without you; in fact, exactly because I can live without you, and I am a complete person, perfectly fulfilled in my relationship with God, I can enter in a love relations hip. The goal in that relationship will be not to find my fulfillment, not to receive something (I am already fulfilled by God), but to give, to make the other happy.

This image is not bad (in fact the final arguments of C.S.Lewis are very close to these ideas), but it is not perfectly good because it is not complete. The reality of love is more complex – says Lewis. It is difficult, in his opinion to affirm that the Need-Love is not a real love, firstly because our love for God is – more than everything – a Need-Love. We come to God utterly aware that our whole being is one vast need, crying out for Him when we need forgiveness or support in our tribulations, or many other things.[1]  On the other side, even in our daily situations, it is difficult, for example, to affirm that a child’s love for his mother, which is more than anything else a Need-love, is not a real love.

Thus, understanding the complexity of the situation, Lewis begins to analyze more deeply five kinds of loves: Loves for Sub-Human, Affection, Friendship, Eros and Charity (Agape). In this essay, my interest will be especially focused on the last two kinds of love, Eros and Charity. But I will present also shortly the first three kinds of love, in the measure in which to understand them is absolutely necessary for a better comprehension of the last two loves.

As we will see, Charity (Agape) still remains the most important love; but the other four loves will be also accepted as true loves. In that way God’s Creation (in the area of affections) will be honored and redeemed.

1) Loves for the Sub-Human (mai mult…)

Read Full Post »

 the-great-divorceTitlu: The Great Divorce

Autor: C.S. Lewis
Oraș: 
San Francisco
Editură: HarperOne
Anul apariţiei: 1945 (prima ediție), 2002 (ediția folosită)
ISBN: 0-02-570550-4 (prima ediție)

Recenzie de Valentin Teodorescu

The Great Divorce is in a sense C.S. Lewis ‘retort’ to Blake’s book: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. In the ‘Preface’ to his book, C.S. Lewis rejects the modern idea that somehow ‘the reality never presents us with an absolutely unavoidable ‘either-or’; that granted skill and patience and time enough, some way of embracing both alternatives can always be found;’ and that ‘mere development or adjustment or refinement will somehow turn evil in good’.[1] On the contrary, C.S. Lewis considers that between good and evil there is a continuous opposition and that in our world ‘every road, after a few miles forks in two, each of those into two again, and at each fork you must make a decision’[2]. Not all who choose the wrong roads perish, but if they want to be rescued, they ought to being put back on the right path; that means they should go back to their error and to continue going on the correct path from that point. In that sense, between Heaven and Hell is a great separation or ‘a great divorce’. C.S. Lewis doesn’t consider, like Hegel that there is always a good and necessary negativity. On the contrary, ‘if we insist on keeping Hell (or Earth), we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell’[3].

In other words, one of the main ideas of the author is that our choices really matter, that we have a tremendous responsibility; everything in this world costs. In the chapter 9 of his book, C.S. Lewis has a dialogue with George Mac Donald, his spiritual mentor, in which it is given to us a reason why some people choose the wrong· path: ‘better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven’. Augustine said in The City of God that there are just two kind of people: some who love themselves more than everything else, and some who love God more than everything else. In the same sense, George Mac Donald, the ‘Teacher’, explains to the author that ‘there are only two kind of people in the end: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ and those whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done’.’[4]

In different ways, all the dialogues of the book describe, with only one exception, peoples who choose the path of pride and. selfishness, preferring to better reign in Hell than serve in Heaven, because they love themselves more than everything else. One of them is characterized by self-righteousness, refusing the grace of God; a liberal theologian prefers the ‘dynamic’ theological speculation in Hell to the absolute and perfect revelation of Truth in Heaven; a mother and a lover turn their natural affections in false gods instead of really loving the others, and so on; at the origin of all these attitudes which continuous devour their victims is the same sin: selfishness or pride.


[1] C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, Harper San Francisco, 2002, pg. vii.

[2] Idem, pg. viii.

[3] Idem.

[4] Idem, pg. 75.

Read Full Post »

Science and Theology

Titlu: Science and Theology. An introduction
Autor: John Polkinghorne
Editura: Fortress Press
Anul apariţiei: 1998
ISBN: 0-8006-3153-6
Preț: 25$

Recenzie de Valentin Teodorescu

Introduction

In his book Christian Theology: An Introduction, Alister McGrath affirmed that there are three main approaches to the relation between Christian theology and natural sciences today: one that affirms the continuity between science and theology (the Christian faith should be reinterpreted in terms consistent with the accepted wisdom of the age), a second one that affirms the distinctiveness of theology and science, and a third one that affirms the opposition between theology and science [1].

The position of John Polkinghorne, whose ideas I will try to evaluate in this essay, seems to be the second one (theology and science are distinct, each of them having its own sphere of competence); but he also considers that they can mutually interact, to the benefit of both.

Polknighome himself, in Science and Theology, the book to which I will especially refer, calls the first position „assimilation” the second position „consonance” considering himself a consonantist.[2]

In the present essay, I intend to show, using some examples from his book, that generally he achieved his goal: the ‘intermarriage of scientific and theological insight’ to which he refers is cogent and elegant, and any open-minded reader will find it extremely compelling.

However, in my opinion (which I admit that is corrigible), there are some cases when his proposed solution may not be in perfect agreement with what the Scripture says, or when, at least from my point of view, the supposed agreement is debatable.

My essay is divided in two parts. The first part refers to the insights that theology offers to science, and connected with that, to the possibility of a natural theology. The second part refers to the insights that science offers to theology: on the one hand to the way in which some scientific theories such as quantum mechanics, quantum cosmology and chaos theory may give insights to biblical doctrines such as Creation, Fall and God’s Attributes; on the other hand to the way in which the scientific epistemology (especially) may give insights to the doctrine of Christ. (mai mult…)

Read Full Post »

Articol de Valentin Teodorescu

 1. Lewis’ view of the afterlife, especially in the books The problem of pain and The Great Divorce

 

C.S.Lewis’ book The Great Divorce has a title which reflects very well his view about Heaven and Hell. Between Heaven and Hell there is ‘a great divorce’. ‘If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.’[1] Moreover, from an afterlife point of view, not only Heaven, but even Earth and eventually Purgatory, will be Heaven for those who are saved, and vice-versa, not only Hell, but even Earth will be Hell for those who are lost[2]. What is the rationale for such an extreme separation?

The motive of such a strong ‘divorce’ is the way these two groups chose. The reality of our human freedom and responsibility stays beyond this separation. Our choices on this earth matter more then we imagine. Lewis rejects the idea that there is a second chance for the people who chose on this world wrong. He considers that ‘if a million chances were likely to do good, they would be given. God, in His divine omniscience is like a master who knows, when boys and parents do not, that it is really useless to send a boy in for certain examination again’[3]. The conception of ‘second chance’ is not to be confused for Lewis with that or Purgatory, for there souls are already saved.

The Hell, in C.S. Lewis’ description is a place inhabited by the people who loved themselves more than anything else. These are the people to whom God told in the end: ‘Thy will be done’. What is very interesting and new for me in Lewis’ description of Hell is the fact that ‘in a sense, the doors of Hell are locked on inside, and the people there enjoy forever the horrible freedom they demanded, and therefore are self-enslaved’[4] That seems to me puzzling at first sight, because in the New Testament, in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, the damned there wish to come out of Hell. However, Lewis agrees with this biblical image. Probably in a sense, in his view, all the damned ghosts want to come out from that place, to be happy, but they certainly do not will even the first preliminary stages of that self abandonment through which alone the soul can reach any good: ‘better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven’[5].

This attitude of self- centeredness is common to almost all the damned personages from The Great Divorce. Whenever they have to choose between loving themselves and loving the others, they prefer themselves, even if that means their returning to Hell. Because they are so selfish, they hate the others , and for that reason the Hell is a place where people live separately: they cannot support each other. In that sense, Sartre’s well-known statement „L’Enfer c’est !’autre”, is very real here. The only torture of the people in Hell is their selfishness manifested in each one’s specific sins. In the sense, the wrong use of freedom , the sin, devours the people who submit to it. In the end they are not even persons; rather they become finally un-persons, un-men (as the grumbler lady becomes in the end only a grumble).

On the other side, Heaven is the opposite of Hell. If the people in Hell tend to become non-persons, tend to be less and less themselves, on the contrary, in Heaven people become more and more themselves. The blessed, forever submitting to obedience, become through eternity, more and more free. Their choice was to tell God: ‘Thy will be done’. They loved God more than they loved themselves. Somehow the law of heaven is the law of abandon: he that loses his soul will save it. Hence it is truly said of Heaven that ‘in heaven there is no ownership’. To its fellow-creatures, each soul, we suppose, will be eternally engaged in giving away to all the rest that which it receives. There will be in the end a kind of eternal holy game, in which every player must by all means touch the ball and then immediately pass it[6].

There will be, as in the end of the novel Perelandra, an Eternal Dance, an eternal and happy and perfect union between distincts, on the model of Holy Trinity (and together with the Holy Trinity). In opposition with Hell, which is a place of shadows, more unreal than Earth, the Heaven will be the place of the full reality. We will be there more real than we ever dreamed, in the presence of the Triune God, the perfect Reality. It will be there the beginning of the Great Story, the Morning, the end of our dream here on Earth[7].

I totally agree with C.S. Lewis vision of the afterlife. I find that it helped me to solve some of my previous difficulties very well. My only reserve regards his belief in Purgatory. I doubt that there will be such a place, because I consider that if a person really believes in Christ, then that should be demonstrated in his daily life. I doubt that in Heaven will be ‘believers’ who lived on earth in ‘joyful’ sinning. If they lived on earth in sin and were believers, then probably they suffered a lot because of that (not necessary more than the more ‘holy’ believers, but enough as to not consider that their life on earth was happy and to crave for Heaven). And maybe the fact that probably even in Heaven will be grades of reward can be helpful when we think at this problem. (mai mult…)

Read Full Post »


Titlu original: The Language of God – A Scientist Evidence for Belief
Autor: Francis S. Collins
Traducător: –
Editura: Free Press
Anul apariţiei: 2006
ISBN: 0-7432-8639-1
Preț: 10 $

   

 Recenzie de Valentin Teodorescu

– Primele două părți ale recenziei pot fi citite aici și aici

If in the area of the transitional fossils and the evolutionary mechanism dr. Collins does not seem (to us) very convincing – and some of his critics explain that evaluation by his eventual lack of close familiarity with the critical literature in this direction (due to the fact that this is not his area of specialty) -, what can we say about his arguments coming from his area of expertise, the Human Genome?

Here his arguments seem to be more powerful indeed: for example, he argues that the existence of some repetitive elements – which originated, in his opinion, in some “jumping genes”, and which could be found in the same places in the mouse’ and human’ genome – is a proof of a common ancestor between humans and mice. He affirms that, although some of these kinds of elements might be functional – and not Junk DNA sequences –, this cannot be the case with the aforementioned example, because there are, in the case of the mouse and the humans, some repetitive elements which became one-legged – losing a part of their AND sequence, and, as result, losing any possibility of functioning. In many cases, observes Collins, these one-legged elements are found in parallel positions in human and mouse genome. This seems to be a proof of their common descent, because this process can happen only during the migration of a jumping gene – when the respective process cripples this gene.

Another argument refers to some pseudogene cases (gene with one or more defects which make their original information useless). For example, the caspase-12 gene of the chimpanzee and mouse functions perfectly, but that of the humans does not: why would God insert a non-functional gene right in this place?

And last but not least, the difference between the 23 chromosomes pears of the humans and the 24 chromosomes pears of the chimpanzee seems to be the result of a fusion between two chromosomes of medium size of the chimpanzee, 2A and 2B, which resulted in the chromosome 2 of the human. The fact that those sequences are found exactly where the theory of evolution has predicted seems to confirm the idea of a Common Ancestor.

How could we answer to these real and serious challenges to the Creationist model – which clearly would suggest (at least) the truth of the “Common Ancestor” hypothesis? (mai mult…)

Read Full Post »


Titlu original: The Language of God – A Scientist Evidence for Belief
Autor: Francis S. Collins
Traducător: –
Editura: Free Press
Anul apariţiei: 2006
ISBN: 0-7432-8639-1
Preț: 10 $

   

 Recenzie de Valentin Teodorescu

Partea întâi și a treia pot fi citite aici și aici.

For example, although he admits that the Cambrian explosion might be used as an argument for a supernatural intervention, he immediately rejects it as representing an unconvincing appeal to the “God of the gaps” fallacy, and suggests – against Stephen Gould’s skepticism -, that this explosion of life might represent nothing more than a change in Earth’s condition which allowed the fossilization of a great number of species. He neglects here the fact that, for example, Precambrian strata show incredibly preserved microscopic fossils of sponge embryos (which are small and soft-bodied), and that in the Precambrian records the scientists found – beyond the old microbes which appeared more than 580 million years ago -, also the Vendian strata (approx 570 million years ago), which, at best, might contain only a very small fraction of the many new phyla that appear in Cambrian. The idea is that the Precambrian strata (and other fossil strata too) are not poorly sampled (as some evolutionists would like to believe), but rather they are truly representative of the history of life.[1]

How about the other fossil records? Collins considers that – in spite of the many unsolved enigmas -, there are good evidences that we already have the essential transition links between aquatic life and land dwelling amphibians, between reptiles and birds, between reptile and mammals, and between terrestrial mammals and whales.[2] But how convincing are these supposed transitions?

 For a long time it was said that between aquatic life and amphibians there are no true transitional fossils: the land dwelling amphibians appear suddenly in the fossil record. More recently paleontologists have found fossils that seem to show a connection between fish and tetrapods – in particular the structure of the front fins of some bony fish and the forelimbs of an early tetrapod. But even if we might admit this connection as possible, the common ancestry of all tetrapods is not yet evident: since the first amphibian fossils appear at the same time – but yet they are separated by large distances (Greenland, South America, Australia, Russia), and since – moreover -, it seems to exist an incongruence between their molecular data[3]  it would appear that the same transition has taken place simultaneously in multiple locations, a conclusion many scientists would find very improbable.[4]

How about the reptiles and birds transition? The evolutionists say that Archaeopterix is the missing link between reptiles and birds, because it has a toothed jaw like a reptile and true feathers like a modern bird. But the problem is that Archaeopterix was a true bird (and birds with toothed jaw were found also in later strata), and her supposed bird-like Dinosaur ancestors were million generations younger than her.[5] (mai mult…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d blogeri au apreciat asta: