Simon Oliver and John Milbank on the Analogy of Being

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3 Responses to Simon Oliver and John Milbank on the Analogy of Being

  1. brian says:

    Thanks for this. The link between analogy and vertical causality is worth pondering. If anyone looked over the symposium comments on Przywara’s Analogia Entis on the syndicate network, there was a scholar casting aspersions on Radical Orthodoxy and their notions of hierarchy as somehow static. This chat, along with Adrian Pabst’s book on Metaphysics, ought to clarify that RO always locates hierarchy within the dynamic relation of the creature to God and also the creature to other creatures in God.

    Further, it seems to me that the ontological implications of vertical causality are crucial in a number of contemporary inquiries. We tend to think of our identity in terms of temporal history, as a kind of chronicle along a line of material and efficient causality. We also think in terms of our genetics as providing “starting material” and our choices as constituting our freedom and determining our being. However, vertical causality introduces elements that are not comprehended by a purely material analysis. Our being is gifted through secondary causality; our family, heritage, the culture and times in which we develop surely due contribute to our formation, but there are ingredients “from above,” “eternal roots” that fall outside any merely socio-biological genealogy. We do not simply come from “our family,” but also from “other worlds.” To black sheep like myself, this is sometimes a consoling thought and a ready solution to the puzzled brows of relations who wonder “where did you come from?”

    In my view, at another level, contemporary debates about neo-Darwinism also habitually leave out the formal considerations dependent upon a vertical causality leading to deeply flawed explanatory theories.

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  2. Robert Fortuin says:

    There’s a couple of things going on here that seem to me important to note. One is that is not merely the vertical linking of causality, but also the likeness of the divine found in the creature that builds the vertical link. Secondly is that this vertical link is grounded in being, on the level of ontology. On this account even animals and inanimate objects participate in God and are candidates for salvation, nothing creaturely is left out. This appears to be the strength of Entis in particular and analogous theologizing.in general.

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    • brian says:

      “On this account even animals and inanimate objects participate in God and are candidates for salvation, nothing creaturely is left out.”

      Anything less than this is simply not generous enough; does not begin to properly glimpse divine charity or the nature of creation, imo. This is all the sort of thing I sometimes place under the rubric of eschatological imagination.

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