Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The state, the consent, and the religions

Why am I spending so much time on Doran's thesis?
Or: in what way is it relevant to my paper on the Natural and the Supernatural in the Religions: Lonergan's Evolution?

Perhaps it can form a separate paper, with an identity of its own.
Certainly it is relevant to the questions I have had since 1988, about the gift of God's love, and the state of being in love with God: the suspicion that, in a very real sense, God loves us into loving him.

Habitual grace as operative - as a technical way of speaking about God plucking out the heart of stone and putting in the heart of flesh - seemed fascinating and full of promise in this direction. As Lonergan says somewhere, the heart of stone does not want to be replaced!

Also, the reversal of the priority of knowing over loving - or the major exception to Nihil amatum nisi cognitum - this also seemed promising. God stealing a march over our knowing. God loving us into loving him, "before we know what's happening" - and before even the moment of our freedom, our free response.

But, we might ask: is this kind of love - in which we are loved into loving someone - is this truly love? Is not freedom a constitutive part of loving?

On the other hand: is it not true that we are, even in our ordinary human experience, sometimes loved into loving? Not always, it is true. Sometimes people love us, and we are absolutely unmoved. But there are some cases when the love of someone overwhelms us, and we find ourselves loved into loving, and that loving is something we find ourselves in, rather than a product of our choosing. Certainly after this we can still choose to accept and confirm or to reject.

Encouraging remark of Doran's:
Before I close this paper, may I suggest that we must turn to human love to find the analogy by which we are able to reach some further understanding, albeit imperfect, of the reality of grace as we have presented it here. The positive dimensions of the analogy would be at least twofold. First, the reception of the love of another person for us changes us in such a way as to enable us to perform operations and experience states which previously were not within our capacity. I have made some initial forays into expressing this in chapter 8 of Theology and the Dialectics of History. Second (and this I still have to work out even in incipient fashion), the love of another person for us is somehow constitutive of us (without, of course, involving the indwelling of that other person in the same manner as the divine indwelling), and not in the manner of a formal cause, but in the manner of inviting us into a relation to the one who loves us, who would thus be one term of the relationship. [Essay 1:34.]
So how is all this relevant to my paper?

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