A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Wieman Quote

I found this interesting quote from Henry Nelson Wieman, in a collection of essays in the second volume of the Library of Living Theologians.
It is claimed that God is free to make himself known to whom he will and in the way he chooses without regard to the limitations of the human mind in those who receive this gift of knowledge direct from God.

Theologians who understand God's freedom in this manner claim to have received knowledge of God in this way: namely, in a way beyond the power of the human mind to know. But notice what this means.

It means that people who claim to have this kind of knowledge of God are not so much claiming the freedom of God; they are claiming for themselves the freedom to know beyond the power of the human mind.

It is not God they are exalting so much as themselves. An individual or fellowship claiming to be the recipient of God's grace in such wise as to know what human methods of inquiry cannot know, is claiming to be as God.

6 Comments:

At 5:00 PM , Anonymous Maiden said...

I love the quote. But holy cow! What a curmudgeonly expression on W's face! Positively frightening!

:)

 
At 11:35 AM , Anonymous DJ Black Adam said...

Hmmmm. Not quite sure that I can completly agree with the following:

"It means that people who claim to have this kind of knowledge of God are not so much claiming the freedom of God; they are claiming for themselves the freedom to know beyond the power of the human mind."

That would depend on who the person is who is stating that this knowledge. Scripture is clear that the human mind is not the source of spiritual wisdom.

 
At 12:13 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

Maiden
Yeh, that isn't the best pic but I've already posted the one of him reading to some children and the one where he is staring off reflectively. Those are the only three I ever run into *heh*

DJ
The human mind is not the source of spiritual wisdom true...but for it to be received by the human mind it has to be fitted for it. If we claim access to that which is beyond what our mind can receive given the finitude, the condition of being human, than we're claiming something that Wieman is criticizing.

 
At 11:37 AM , Anonymous DJ Black Adam said...

Hello Dwight:

Again, I have to disagree with Wieman here. Only the re-born spirit of man can receive things from the Spirit of God, Apostle Paul is quite clear in that regard. Our minds often cannot comprehend what God reveals to us, though we may apprehend a portion of it. Looking at the examples of Prophets Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Enoch, etc. or looking at the Apostle John, there are things that are revealed that go beyond what our human mind can conceive or know.

Of course I am not saying that people today are given insights that should be scripture or added to scripture, but God does reveal things to his people by His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, which is the Holy Ghost. These things are beyond our carnal abilities to know, our minds do not limit God and are not the measure of God.

 
At 12:10 PM , Blogger Dwight said...

The mind is not the measure of of God. But it is the measure of what we can know about God. But God is certainly more than what we can know. Which you note when you mention the partiality we have. If we've claimed to escape that, to go beyond this, we run into the danger that Wieman is highlighting here.

If we qualify that and say that those who have become transformed by God can be more open and sensitive to God and God's doings in the world, I'd agree. Whether one is more open to God doesn't broach the question of whether we've escaped the limits of being human though.

 
At 3:18 PM , Anonymous DJ Black Adam said...

Dwight:

You added: "Whether one is more open to God doesn't broach the question of whether we've escaped the limits of being human though."

Now that I do agree with, and it does clarify a bit to me the overall position.

 

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