Storr, Isle of Skye

I continue to look at, and quote liberally from, Dr J. Glenn Friesen’s 95 Theses on Herman Dooyeweerd which explain Dooyeweerd’s philosophy. Unfortunately, I can only give brief glimpses of his philosophy, which is really simple at its heart but at the same time very subtle and difficult to explain adequately in a blog. For a much fuller treatment, I would recommend Dr Friesen’s document.

The ‘supratemporal heart’

A key concept in Dooyeweerd’s philosophy is the idea of the supratemporal. We are creatures of time but can have an awareness of God in the ‘supratemporal heart’ or the ‘supratemporal selfhood’ which is the religious root and centre of humanity. ‘Our supratemporal selfhood is the original totality, but since the fall, the totality is Christ in whom we participate.’ ((Thesis 39) Dooyeweerd identifies three realms of being (or ‘ontic levels’) ‘God’s eternity, the created supratemporal realm (the ‘aevum’), which includes our selfhood and the realm of cosmic time …’ (Thesis 40)

Crom-allt, near Storr

Another key concept of his philosophy is the ‘ground-motive.’ We have seen previously how there were different Ground-motives such as matter/form, nature/grace and nature/freedom. Dooyeweerd rejects all such dualisms. His Ground-motive is Creation/Fall/Redemption. Philosophy (and people) asks questions like, What is the origin of reality? What is the basis of its unity? Everybody has their own ground-motive – what moves them to action – although they might not even be conscious of it. A person’s supratemporal heart can be ‘directed towards God in an integral and radical way, or … directed away from God. These two directions are called the ‘religious antithesis.” (thesis 37)

Immanence philosophies

Dooyeweerd makes a sharp distinction between ‘immanence philosophies’ and his own philosophy. Immanence philosophies are those that reject the idea of the supratemporal selfhood; philosophies that are time-bound, that seek ‘totality and coherence within time.’ (Thesis 44) Such philosophies are liable to absolutize some aspect, for example, the ‘rational aspect’ and this will inevitably result in contradictions. ‘Apostasis or apostasy is falling away from our true centre and the absolutization of the temporal.’ (Thesis 46)