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The Meaning and understanding of words and language of the rational nature of man in the Church, contrasted with that of the world


by Hieromonk Haralampos (Skordakis)

(Delivered at the Clergy Synaxis, October 4, 1995)

Perhaps everyone has had the experience of speaking to someone and being misunderstood or not understood. What one understands is not what the other understands even though a common language is shared. The mistake in meaning could be attributed to the language since everyone understands a word in the light of his own experience. Different experiences will shade a spectrum of meanings for the same word, graduating from different subjective nuances to a quite different definition. In addition, some concepts signified by the words may be beyond the capacity of the other or completely outside his experience. A blind man would not understand a description of color; nor could a man really know what ice is if he had lived in the tropics and never seen any.

Obviously, there must be a common capability of perception and a common experience to form a language for communication. Humanity in general has certain physical capabilities and limits of perception: seeing only a portion of the spectrum and hearing only a small range of sound waves. A similar physical perception of the material data is a foundation for mutual understanding. Two people see a reddish spheroid hanging on a tree. An animal reaction of recognition would be “good-tasty, want, eat.” A man sees an apple. A yellowish spheroid hanging from another tree: the animal again would see a “good, tasty, want, eat,” but a man would see a pear; and so would any other man who learned the same language.

Language reports perceived datum. Otherwise the reaction of the animal and the man would be the same. The word “apple” implies a particular tree which produces apples, which are different from pears or other fruit. It implies a group of people which agrees to call this fruit and none other, an apple. It implies that anyone else will be able to recognize this fruit and apply the name of “apple” to it and to none other, or he will be in error. From a reddish spheroid hanging on a tree, we progressed from a simple brute reaction through the abstracting power of language to a different level of understanding. An animal perceives and reacts or ignores; a man perceives and names. The animal is subject, and everything else is object; man is also subject, but along with object there is the abstract concept.

The animal perceives and reacts or ignores. The only reference is to itself and its own memory. There appears to be a certain common understanding among some social animals, or even between species, but this has been determined to be the perception or reactions of other animals to danger, aggression, food, etc.; it has been found that animals have acute perception of very subtle cues or signs which signal the above reactions. These are signals, not a language.

Man, however, not only reacts to stimuli like the animals, but he is trained for years to be inducted into a community. No other animal is so helpless and non-viable for such a long period of time as is man. He must learn his physical capabilities, how to acquire attention and food, how to interact with others — all of which are observations of and reactions to his physical environment — as does every animal. Beyond these actions, however, he learns to name and eventually learns a language. He is taught to relate sound first and later letters to a material object. After the first infantile naming of mother, father, and food, he progresses to other things, e.g., “table,” which means to the child an article of furniture in the dining room, made of wood and having four legs supporting a rectangular flat surface. Imagine the confusion when the child sees a pedestal supporting a large round surface which is also called “table.” Then he might experience end-tables, wall tables, coffee tables, etc. In order to understand how all these can be called “table,” he is forced to perceive and understand and abstract the common factors which these disparate articles possess under the name “table.” In short, he is abstracting, forming a concept. He is learning of an immaterial, intellectual reality expressed in his culture’s language. Learning the language, he is taught to abstract, to form concepts, to affirm a non-material, conceptual reality. Although we do not affirm a platonic realm of ideas, yet this is a consensual reality existing in the individual’s mind yet broader than he, existing before him and continuing on after him.

The capability of abstracting and forming concepts is in the individual, but language is the expression of this capability in community. Perhaps if there were no community to supply training in naming and communication, the capability would atrophy in the individual. The stories of feral children are a case in point, although, to my knowledge, there are no properly authenticated cases.

The importance of the culture or the community can be illustrated if we should isolate in an oasis in the Sahara a tribesman of Borneo and a tribal Eskimo. In relation to each other, they would be like animals, only able to communicate very basic needs by gesture and sound since they would have no words in common. Both would be in an environment outside their experience, and would have difficulty in communicating discoveries about their environment without a language in common. Perhaps in time a language of sorts, between the two, might develop, but it is doubtful.

In Genesis 1:26, 27, we read “And God said, Let us make man in our image* and after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every creeping thing that creepeth on the earth. So God created man, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” St. John Chrysostom in his homilies on Genesis maintains that the granting of the dominion over the earth and every animal immediately after the creation of man in the image of God indicates that the image is identified with man’s rule and control over this world.

Adam names the animals in Genesis 2:19,20. “And God formed yet further out of the earth every beast of the field and every fowl of the air; and He brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to all the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field.” According to St. John Chrysostom this is further proof of the dominion over the earth delivered to man by God in Paradise.

We cannot clearly understand what the naming of the animals signifies in respect to God’s image in us, what it contributes to our being rational creatures, nor will we speculate; however, we can be sure that human languages are an expression of the fallen image. The tale of the Tower of Babel makes it evident, for the diverse languages divide both in word and thought, being an imperfect means of communication and of representing reality.

Language, then, is an element of our humanity, of our “coats of skin.” Fallen as we are, it yet raises us above a brute animal condition. It connects a person to an intellectual reality, an estate, and a continuity beyond individual limits. In speaking, willy-nilly, a man refers to a reality greater than himself and outside himself in order to communicate with his fellow man.

How language both forms and is an expression of our being rational is a question for which philosophers and scientists have been seeking the answer as much as their seeking for the cause and origin of the universe, for an understanding of reality, and for a definition of existence. It is not surprising that their search has not been particularly successful, when even a satisfactory definition of intelligence is wanting.

The records of ancient and primitive man exhibit a universal desire to learn about the world — its origin and mechanisms of operation. Every culture has legends of the world’s phenomena, all which form the religious foundation of a culture. These myths are a delivered tradition, a remembered knowledge describing the ancestral gods and heroes, ancient wisdom giving the reason for natural phenomena and cultural institutions.

These ancient cultures were successful in meeting the challenge of their environment. Many attained proficiency in crafts, technology, and the sciences: witness the Egyptians in engineering, geometry, and algebra, and the Chaldeans in astronomy, even though their world philosophy and reasoning was mythic, i.e., creation and all natural phenomena had a supernatural origin and cause.

Greek philosophy had a different starting point. It also wished to find the foundation of all being, but sought it in the unformed matter of the material universe without any particular reference to supernatural causes. These philosophers were anthropocentric rationalists in their methods; for them, man was the measure of all things, and they gave an absolute value to reason and man’s intellectual powers. They believed that the basic material causes of nature and the laws of nature could be discovered empirically through logical observation and experimentation, and be established by demonstration. Although they were materialists, they recognized a soul different and separate from the body.

Of course, these few general traits above might receive more or less emphasis in individual philosophers. One axiom, however, held by all was that matter and the universe always existed and are eternal. If there were any gods, they belonged intrinsically to this universe, for there was nothing, not even a concept of anything, transcending it. A Christian perspective would consider that they deified matter and the universe.

Greek philosophy, as it developed, became a revolutionary method of discovering the origin and cause of creation and the operation of nature. Instead of seeking enlightenment from ancient wisdom, man investigated everything, subjecting all to the inquiry and criteria of his reason, and then forming theories in order to answer the perennial questions of our existence and to explain the phenomena of nature. The spread of this method was rapid, not only because it increased the field of knowledge, both theoretical and applied, but also because it liberated man from the chains of rigid tradition, mythic thinking, and supernatural governance by making the mind and reason of man the arbiter of truth. Before times, cultural change would only take place if one god conquered the other, i.e., the religion and myths, and even the language of the conqueror would supplant those of the conquered. Might makes right with a wholesale communal change. Greek philosophy, however, delivered power to the individual to form his personal beliefs. Furthermore, since these beliefs and principles were supposedly discovered by and founded upon reason — supposedly a universal constant and criterion — they could be demonstrated to everyone repeatedly in order to convince others to form a rational, human community of common belief.

This liberation and empowering of the human mind flatters man’s pride and cultivates his egotism. He supplants the heroic exemplars of the mythic frame of mind with himself, becoming to himself, and perhaps culturally, god-like. If others should adopt this belief that they can, in and by themselves, discern the truths of existence and determine their own behavior, then the disassociation and the fissioning of the common culture begins with a resultant isolation of individuals and an intellectual anarchy. A historical case in point is the Protestant Reformation, where the personal authority of each reformer secured a following, but later, especially with the rise of more democratic societies — which rise was also motivated by the same spirit — it became apparent that there was no reason why another man’s personal authority should be more trustworthy than one’s own.

The original intellectual excitement of this innovative method of thought and inquiry foundered in a multitude of rival teachers and schools, each claiming possession of the truth. This fact, and the cultural inertia of the surrounding society, often resulted in philosophers becoming figures of fun on account of their great pretensions, e.g., Aristophanes’ comedy The Clouds. Nonetheless, philosophers furthered the development of language, arts, and sciences because they gave demonstrably better answers to man’s fundamental curiosity about the world and its origin than did the ancient myths. The culture resulting from this new way of thinking — Hellenistic culture — freed man from a blind and superstitious acceptance of myth and stressed the need for demonstrable truth. Its spread in the Pax Romana helped create a cosmopolitan society with a new mythos of inquiry and objectivity. However, by the time of Christ, the strength and authority of this mythos had declined; yet its decline, as much as its inception, provided a preparation for the preaching of the Gospel to the nations.

The Apostles preached personal freedom from the darkness of the past and the chains of sin and the fear of death, a freedom which anyone could receive anywhere, if he believed on Christ and was baptized into His flock. Each man must take his destiny in his own hands, must determine whether the Gospel is true before he commits himself. The truth of the preaching was demonstrated not only from the Apostles’ eye-witness, not only from the martyrs who witness with their blood to the truth, but also by actual, individual experience: “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 33:8). St. Paul states of his preaching, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Cor. 2:4,5). Again he says, “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance” (I Thess. 1:5).

Society, with its main cultural exemplars, the Philosophers recognized swiftly that Christianity promoted a new belief, a different world view, and gave new answers to the eternal questions. They opposed it, often attacking it vehemently, because it would invalidate their intellectual autonomy and authority; for everything the Church believed violated their fundamental axioms and laws and so was incomprehensible to them. Their whole pattern of thinking was antithetical to that of the Apostles. The Church’s pattern of belief, its faith and doctrine, had to be accepted as a whole or rejected as a whole, because, according to the patterns of belief and axioms of Hellenistic culture, the Church’s beliefs were impossible by definition. For example, creation ex nihilo had never crossed the philosophers’ mind; original chaos was unformed matter. There existed no void which did not contain matter. When St. Paul spoke of the resurrection of the body, they quickly hurried him off because everyone knew that the spirit was the essential man while the body was dross. Their basic premise was that this universe was the all; it was literally unthinkable to them that there could be something outside the all, something transcendent. Their methodology, their rationalism, could not conceive the transcendent yet immanent God of the Christians; it was by definition logically impossible in their system.

Philosophy or Hellenistic culture and Christianity are logically incompatible or incommensurable systems, in that logical statements in one are not logical or reasonable in the other. They are analogous in that they have the same object of reference — creation — but they cannot be reduced one to the other. Christianity can accommodate some of the concerns and methods of Philosophy as a special case of knowledge. This is the First Degree of Knowledge as defined by Abba Isaac (Homilies LII and LIII), i.e., the cultivation of the arts and sciences of this material world according to the limits of our physical capabilities and senses. The comprehensively rationalistic premises of philosophy, however, can only denominate Christianity as a delusion.

As we have said, the advantages philosophy procured were evident enough so that it retained some cultural luster in the ancient world. Even if the various schools disputed endlessly, there was no other course for intellectual attainment. The only other road before Christianity appeared was the mystery religions which attempted to supply an emotional and intuitive foundation lacking in the rationalist philosophy. This attempt for the revival of the security of the mythic frame of mind, this search for ancient super-rational wisdom was doomed because its underpinnings were too congruent with those of philosophy — for example they accepted the material universe as the all — and also because their great variety offered differing myths with the crudest materialistic details of belief as truth which often contradicted those of other religions. They thought in imagery, but the variety of visualizations called for a rationalization since they could not all be right. Was the earth and the universe the body of the Great Mother, or did it spring from the blood of the bull slain by Mithras? The account of the creation at the ancient sanctuary of Thoth at Hermopolis differed completely from that at the sanctuary of Ptah at Memphis. In Egypt, political sovereignty subjugated all the other gods to Amon-Re of Thebes, whose creation myth became supreme with his cult. A cosmopolitan society could not help but observe these contradictions, which eroded confidence in them as purveyors of authoritative fact. Only philosophy could span all these differences and was intellectually inclusive so that it had no serious challenger until Christianity.

Old habits are often hard to shake, so also old patterns of thinking. Not a few edu¬cated churchmen were affected by the rationalism of the time. An indication of how diffi¬cult it was for people to transcend their old ways of thinking was the continuing need for the many treatises on the incomprehensibility of God, starting from St. Dionysius the Ar¬eopagite through the Three Hierarchs and St. Gregory of Nyssa. Although these latter were extremely well educated, they had embraced an ascetic way of life after their edu¬cation to purify themselves from anything worldly. Father Michael Azkoul in his book on Augustine of Hippo and his recent book on St. Gregory of Nyssa demonstrates at length that the Fathers’ presuppositions were entirely foreign to philosophy, which they rejected and condemned, even though the terms for both were taken from the Greek lan¬guage. Anyone who applied philosophy’s methodology or seriously accepted any of its tenets went astray into heresy, “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” (II Tim. 3:5).

Such happened to the Roman Catholic Church. The poison entered through the ac¬ceptance of Augustinian teachings, which sought by imposing rationalism to form a syn¬thesis, to raise the simple faith of the Apostles to a Christian Philosophy.

Both Christianity and Philosophy have the same things in reference — the universe and man — and describe reality according to their premises. In short, they each have their own community, their own culture, which cultures form two epistemologically disjunctive systems. Each community will have its language, which expresses and is determined by the premises of its belief and experience. The languages cannot be reduced one to the other. For example, god in philosophy cannot mean a transcendent being, nor can the universe mean that which is based on nothing. Although there was some overlapping of the communities which led to some confusion, each language is really as separate and as incomprehensible one to the other as the language of the Eskimo and Borneo tribesman we mentioned earlier.

The Roman Church attempted to define and describe the truth of God, the Apostolic Faith, with the categories of philosophy. The acme of this effort was attained by Thomas Aquinas with his apotheosis of Aristotle. The consequence of these efforts was the rejection of the Apostolic Faith, as do all who fall into heresy, who do not put the “old man” to death, who are not born into the new kingdom and community of grace which is the Church, who do not put on Christ and do not have their senses renewed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. They have “provoked God with their words” (Mal. 2:17) for they retain the mind of this world, the carnal mind described by St. Paul: “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).

The Apostle clearly states that the mind of the world can never accept the things of God for they are incomprehensible to it. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. `For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?’ (Esaias 40:13) But we have the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:12-16).

Such is the Apostolic teaching: the things of the Holy Spirit must be taught with the words of the Spirit, for the words and wisdom of carnal man, of philosophy, cannot know or apprehend them; spiritual things can only be interpreted or demonstrated by spiritual things. [Note: The word “comparing” in the KJ translates the Greek “συγυρινοντες” which can mean “interpret,” “demonstrate.” So the phrase in verse 13 of the previous quotation would read, “interpreting spiritual things with spiritual”. This is how St. John Chrysostom understands it, and so is it used in the LXX. The AV often translates it so.]What St. Paul is describing to us is a language different from every other, different in meaning and in reasoning; the language of a different community which gives a different understanding, in which one must be born and nurtured in order to discern meaning; otherwise it would be incomprehensible. It is a language disjunctive from any other, incommensurable, incompatible, which cannot be reduced to another, i.e., untranslatable. The Church can speak of the world, for it discerns and comprehends it: “he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” But the world cannot discern spiritual truth because it does not have the Holy Spirit to supply meaning. “The light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5).

The Roman Catholic Church out of inertia retained some form and idea of the Church, but because of their carnal mind, it was debased into a worldly organization seeking authority. The Protestants did perceive that what they knew as the Church had abandoned Apostolic foundations; but in their desire to return, they, in reaction, deprived the Church of any authority in revelation, restricting God’s Truth to only the Scriptures; they rejected the Ark of that Spirit which gives meaning to the words of Scripture. Their ra¬tionalism, which they inherited and maintained, considered mental concepts and words as being the only true revelation, and that reason can demonstrate the truths of God. Even anti-intellectual enthusiasts, who found truth only in unrestrained emotionalism, reached their convictions through rationalistic assessment. Abandoning this false church — actually only bringing to its conclusive realization that first abandonment of the Church by the Romans — the Protestants had no community to give them the history and the references which give meaning to the “language” of the Church. The earthly institution that they named the Church was based only on a personal authority; it was only a convenient assembly, which did not mediate grace, but existed for social ends. The true Church was invisible, and it was not known who belonged. Being invisible and of no visible effect, however, is tantamount to non-existent.

The Renaissance, giving impetus to the Reformation which rejected belief in an earthly church possessing an authentic and authoritative tradition, accomplished the resurgence of Hellenistic Philosophy in its pagan fullness. Everything Christian had to be considered as bearing the taint of Medieval superstition, distasteful to cultured men dazzled by the intellectual clarity and sophistication of classical culture. The physical sci¬ences advanced in esteem because of their impressive progress which confirmed in everyone’s mind that scientific rationalism was the universal instrument of knowledge. Theology became unfashionable and was disdained since it had a tradition or Scriptures which must be accepted without demur, containing elements considered barbaric and uncivilized by the canons of Greek wisdom and culture. Descartes, ostensibly a believer, accepted only logical and intellectual proofs in the search for truth, justifying himself with the elements of philosophy filtered out of Medieval theology. Thus theology, since it was dependent on rationalism, surrendered the field to the onslaught of the revived paganism, the theologians’ weapons turning in their hands. Truth was now to be sought and confirmed by each man using the method of scientific rationalism. This method was based on the objective and empirical experiments of the physical sciences, and inductive reasoning was assumed to be applicable in all cases. The basic premises were that reality is only material and that man’s reason has an absolute power and validity. Anything which could not fit these parameters was deemed to be subjective, which each man could best resolve for himself.

Rationalism insisted that intellectual observation, analysis, and conceptualization were the only criteria for the true knowledge of reality; and reality was only objective and material, because nothing else could be subjected to rationalist investigation and the proofs of reason; anything else was either emotion or delusion. Occasionally there was some pro forma acknowledgment of a “spiritual” or “divine” realm or being, e.g., Descartes, Isaac Newton, or the adherents of Deism. But the God of the Deists existed only to fulfill the theoretical necessity for a beginning to the self-sufficient universe. This concept of God was so attenuated that it had no real relevance for anyone but became merely a figure of speech. Since the Church with its autonomous tradition was rejected and the Scriptures were doubted and despised, faith had lost both its community of belief and dogmatic content. Faith became a private affair of each man and dealt with ethics and morals instead of with the verities of existence.

As we have said, the Reformation rejected the validity of the living church traditions and clung to the Scriptures as the only pillar of the faith, the only source of revelation and authority. The Reformers believed that they could rest their confidence on unchangeable, fixed words, whose meaning would be reasonable and obvious. The passage of time, however, proved that rationalism could not produce only one incontestable interpretation of Scripture, as was demonstrated by the multitude of warring Protestants that arose almost immediately after Luther’s revolt. Furthermore, Greek studies began to examine the Scriptures with a critical eye, noting seeming inconsistencies and decrying the language and grammar as ignorant and debased in comparison with classical models. However, the most telling rationalist attack upon the Scriptures was made by Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781) who published the work of Hermann Reimarus (1691-1768), kept private because of its extreme radical nature, which was entitled An Apology or a Defense in Behalf of the Rational Worshipers of God. According to these men, Christ was a mere man, whose followers spirited away his corpse and then invented a religion. Lessing supported Reimarus’s writings with his theory that even if past miraculous events and prophecies were true, once the miracles had been performed and the prophecies fulfilled, they were no longer significant since historical events could not be demonstrated to be true, they could only be true for the people directly involved who had experienced them. Faith must be founded on reason sufficient for proof to every man and not on the contingencies and accidents of history.

This attack on the Scriptures was effective not because of any great originality or excellence of argument, but because of Lessing’s work on manuscripts of the Scriptures. His work and methodology was adopted by Griesbach, a professor of the New Testament, and later by Baur, because it was supposedly scientific. The fact that it rested on atheist premises was not problematic, inasmuch as the avowed Christians wished to be considered scientific, because they believed that reason was a viable way to discover divine truth. Biblical criticism became entrenched in the universities beginning with their formulations of the synoptic problem and theory of literary interdependence. Biblical scholars examined the Scriptures as human literary texts and were obliged to adopt a reductionist view. It is truly paradoxical that the knowledge of the Divinity that Scripture imparts — which is what has motivated mankind’s interest in them — is denied by the Higher Criticism in the name of Scripture studies. A priori scientific limitations were set which exclude the experiences recorded in the Scriptures, and the validity of the phenomena is denied; consequently, the only conclusion of such studies will be reductionist or dismissive. The Scriptures became some Near-Eastern documents of no interest to anyone outside of archaeology, history, or linguistics. Despite this logical position, thousands continued to labor at discrediting the message of the Scriptures, which is testimony to their intrinsic worth and attraction. Since academic theology has adopted this rationalist scholarship, almost all Christian educational institutions, especially those for the clergy, have been imbued with this spirit. Theological scholarship considers the Scriptures as only human documents, with no divine, miraculous, or prophetic content. Subjective man is the measure of the Scriptures’ worth and not any objective truth. All the clergy having a higher education have been influenced by this rationalism, both Protestant and Roman Catholic.

The rationalists that vitiated the Scriptures aggrandized credit for their empirical, materialistic methodology because of the advances this method accomplished in the physical sciences. Indeed, in the academic world, it is the only valid way to knowledge and everything is judged by it. In this century, however, particle physics, quantum mechanics, and astronomy have undermined the premise that everything can be known and defined. Classical, i.e., Newtonian physics, believed in discrete matter, mathematical certainty, static definitions, the absoluteness of time and space, and that the phenomena of earth must correspond to phenomena everywhere.

In the new physics, Einstein proved that matter and energy are different states of the same reality and can be transformed to the other, and that time is not a constant. There can be no simple, objective, experimental truth, for the experimenter interacts with the experiment, the observer affects the observed, and the reverse. Reality is determined by dynamic properties, not static ones, and cannot be visualized. In classic physics, the state of an object at a specific time and place can be determined, but in quantum physics it cannot be determined. The new particle physics cannot be reduced to or translated into classical physics for their definitions and premises are different. For example, classical physics cannot deal with the fact that yardsticks will have to be different lengths or that clocks will measure time differently at different velocities. Light, depending on how it is observed, behaves either as a particle or a wave; in classical physics it is an anomaly outside the theoretical pattern or framework. Essential identification or description is accomplished in classical physics by denoting length, width, height, weight, density, color, volume, all the traditional properties that can be described and visualized. In nuclear physics, a particle has only the properties of mass, electrical charge, life-time, and spin. The former can be visualized, but we are not to visualize the latter because error will re¬sult. Assertions logical in one system are not logical or applicable in the other. For example, if we can imagine that a language is developed which deals only with the cells of a man’s body, their communications, concerns, and level of understanding, the assertion in our language: “The man has a wife” could not be made in the language of cells, even though we are speaking of the same man.

In any case, the hegemony of the old rationalism is now seriously eroded by science since physical anomalies have forced them to reconsider former axioms. Their reasoning is forced to acknowledge limitations — because their understanding of reality is breaking down. In penetrating the atom to find the basic particles of matter, the definition of physical properties has to be abandoned because a property cannot be explained by using that same property in the definition, e.g., redness is made up of particles having red hue or radiating in the red color wavelength. This is a tautology at best, certainly no explanation, and contravenes the principle that while in general each member of a class of events may be explained by any other member, the totality of the class cannot be explained by any member of the class. What requires explanation cannot itself figure in the explanation. All picturable properties of objects cannot be explained by reference to anything which itself possesses these properties. Therefore, to find an explanation of the funda¬mental particle, classical physics defined the atom with the properties of position, shape, motion, impenetrability, homogeneity, and sphericity. The new microphysics which, as we said, describes the elementary particle of the atom with mass, electrical charge, life-time, and spin, in order to find an explanation of these particles, will have to propound a theory, a pattern of thinking in which there is a particle having no mass, electrical charge, lifetime, and spin. Thinking rationalistically, we seem to conclude that matter is nothing; certainly it is indescribable. Here we reach the limitations of our conceptualizations when our reasoning defines matter as nothing, but, to paraphrase Galileo, it still is there.

Although rationalism still reigns in the academic world, especially in theological studies, many have successfully challenged the historio-critical method with all its off-spring: form criticism, redaction-criticism, etc., not only on religious grounds but on their methodology. Included below is an excerpt, pages 122-137, from an article by D. A. Carson entitled “Redaction Criticism,” in the book Scripture and Truth, (ed. D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1992). It includes a list of criticisms of redaction criticism, which are useful, and a short critique of the analysis of two Biblical passages by critics, which gives us also a concrete example of this way of thinking.

[* The only exact image of God the Father is Christ, the Word of God Who became man. God does not have any other images outside of Christ. A common human being is not an image of God. Only Jesus Christ the God-man is the image of God. With the exception of Christ in His human nature, nothing in the created world is an image of God. Adam was fashioned in the image of Christ. Strictly speaking, man is not an image of God the Father, but he is an image of Christ.—Protopresbyter John Romanides ]