Simple Faith and Hard Going

We will call him Hard Going for want of a better name. As he wandered the streets of life, who does he meet but Simple Faith. Now, as you would expect, Hard Going was examining the ramifications of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy! and asking himself what it all means in the context of theoretical thought and practical living. Fortunately for him, Simple Faith was willing to listen to Hard Going’s ramblings although he was greatly puzzled by a lot of Hard Going’s sayings. But that didn’t stop him being quite frank and making very relevant remarks about Hard Going’s religious ideas.

Clan Donald Trust Gardens
A view in the Clan Donald Trust gardens, Sleat, Skye

SF: I notice you talk a lot about ‘meaning’ and ‘meaning-sides’ and what not, but what about Christ? What use is philosophy if Christ isn’t even named in it?
HG: That’s where you’re totally wrong. Christ is central to Dooyeweerd’s philosophy, at least as this man Troost is telling it.
SF: What do you mean central?
HG: He follows the Biblical teaching that everything is in and through Christ. He is reality if you like. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. Troost says, for example: ‘In the supra-temporal or full-temporal sphere, in what Scripture calls the “the order of Melchizedek,” all historical points of time with their past, present and future are one in Christ.”
SF: You’ve lost me! What on earth is ‘supra-temporal’ and the ‘full-temporal sphere’?
HG: It’s difficult to explain, but I’ll try. ‘supra-temporal’ doesn’t mean ‘beyond’ time, it’s what the Bible calls ‘the fullness of time’ so it has nothing to do with clock time. It’s sometimes referred to as ‘primordial time’ – ‘a time which is not a moment long ago but which remains in force in the present and at all times.’

In the Clan Donald Trust gardens

SF: So Christ is everywhere.
HG: Of course, because it was in and through Him that everything including time was made. In the beginning was the Word … And talking of time, Dooyeweerd would say that time is reality. Everything we experience is temporal and happens through the prism of time.
SF: Why prism?
HG: It’s an analogy Dooyeweerd uses when he talks about temporal reality. A white light strikes a prism and diffuses into all the colours of the rainbow. There is unity and diversity. The colours symbolize the 15 aspects. They are all under their own laws which have their origin in the Creator, and yet they are a unity.
SF: Aspects? What are the aspects?
HG: The aspects are how we experience reality, how reality is structured. What we call things or objects have 4 aspects, the numerical, spatial, kinematic and physical. Plants have the biotic aspect in addition and animals have the sensitive or psychical aspect.
SF: So man is just an animal and he has 6 aspects.


Another view in the gardens

HG: Not at all, I didn’t say that. Man has another 9 aspects; creation works through him, as it were. For example, there’s the logical-analytical aspect, or the power to identify differences, and the lingual aspect or using symbol as we do with language to express meaning.
SF: But what has all this got to do with faith? I suppose that’s an aspect as well.
HG: You’re right, faith is the aspect that allows you to see how all the aspects hang together and how they relate to Christ.
SF: I don’t need philosophy for that.
HG: You’re quite right.
SF: So why bother with all this Dooyeweerd rubbish then?
HG: True, people like you don’t don’t have to bother with philosophy. But remember philosophy is ultimately responsible for a lot of the unbelief that’s around. Dooyeweerd understood better than anyone how philosophy moulded these beliefs going right back to the Greeks …
SF: But wait, hasn’t God spoken to us in the Bible? Is that not enough?
HG: Of course, the message of salvation is very clear and it is enough (Dooyeweerd would agree with that) but we have to engage with contemporary western thought and show where it has gone wrong.
SF: And you can do that! Why don’t you give up. Who do you think you are?
HG: I can’t do it, I’m not that silly. But Dooyeweerd has already done it. That’s why I’m excited about his philosophy. It shows so clearly what the modern idols are.

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