The Scale of Perfection, Book 2, Part 1 – Chapter 1

dohpeterchina's picture

SECTION I: That a Man is the Image of God after the Soul and not after the Body; and how he is restored and reformed thereto that was misshapen by Sin
SECTION II: That Jews and Pagans and also false Christians are not reformed effectually through the virtue of the Passion through their own Faults

These are chapters 1 to 3 of The Scale of Perfection – Book 2 in Middle English:
This chapitle scheweth that a man is seid the image of God aftir the soule and not aftir the bodi.
Hou it nedide to mankynde that oonli thorugh the passioun of oure Lord it schulde be restorid and reformed that was forsaken bi the first synne.
That Jewes and paynymes and also fals Cristene men are not reformed effectuali thorugh vertu of this passioun for here owen defaute.

jnwarren's picture

Re: Impedimenta

    Sin is that which impedes the love of God from being manifest to us. It is an objective reality, not a mere construct of theological
    erudition. We Christian mystics experience God directly and intimately,
    and struggle against sin in ourselves in order that we might draw closer
    to God.

I feel like I am treading on thin ground here, because it would be too difficult to dispute dogmatics, so I will merely point out that your assertion is founded upon a priori methods, which cannot be refuted and thus, are inadmissible in any respectable field or discipline, such as science. Just because an idea "works" does not mean it is right.

    You on the other hand are enchanted with the prophets of the zeitgeist.
    These poor souls have long since separated themselves from even a
    slight rapprochement to God. Why do you even bother to entertain the
    thoughts of Christian mystics? There is a great chasm between us and
    atheistic secularism, a chasm which extends from this world to the next.

I'd hardly say enchanted. If anything, I would agree with Marx and Wittgenstein that the idiosyncratic and metaphysical misuse of language present in religious discourse keeps it in the lofty realm "above the world", where it is impervious to attack based on its a priori acceptance by its religious advocates. I will agree here with Marx, who writes that "The philosophers would only have to dissolve their language into the ordinary language, from which it is abstracted, to recognize it as the distorted language of the actual world, and to realize that neither thoughts nor language in themselves form a realm of their own, that they are only manifestations of actual life."

    Feuerbach said if God didn’t exist, we’d invent Him anyway, and we
    did. This thought was enumerated and foisted upon Europe by Marx. They
    argued that the concept of God fulfills a basic need of mankind for a
    psychological mechanism to ward off fear in a hostile environment that
    often presents circumstances that eradicate us. These prophets are
    people who have blocked their own natures and inadequacies such that
    they have created an artificial gestalt replete with synthetic analogs
    in place of reality. They have attacked their own mother nature within
    and have killed her. As an old Indian wise man once said to me, the
    city folks are strange... They put up a barrier within behind which
    they construct their own artificial world so they can ignore the real
    world. They have so distanced themselves from the Source of reality,
    that they are mentally blind to truth.

Again, see my above quotation of Marx.

    “The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every
    impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their
    wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them, because
    God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his
    invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be
    understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no
    excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God
    or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and
    their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they
    became fools.”

This is a classic example of a misuse of language. The words "divinity" & "piety" are empty of meaning.

    The prophets of the zeitgeist such as Feuerbach and Marx cannot handle
    an all powerful, all knowing, righteous God who is appalled by our
    sinful ways of perversion and self indulgence that run against His
    natural law. They cannot handle a God who manifests Himself as self
    sacrificial, and whose invitation to us to come close can result in the
    further invitation to mount the cross with Him.

What is your empirical evidence for this? Again, this results from a perversion and misuse of language, the same thing that has plagued philosophers and theologians for 2,400 years without ever coming any closer to real answers.

    As noted by Scott Hahn, if God did exist, we’d invent atheism anyway,
    and we did. For many of us, we cannot handle the real true and
    objective God. We’d rather believe in a Santa Clause god, or a fuzzy
    teddy bear god that affirms all our perversions, or no god rather than
    believe in the righteous Reality that is. We mystics prefer to face Our
    Lord with a mental nakedness shrift of all biases and nonsense. We face
    Him with nothing left, nada, so He can fill us with Himself. Sin is the
    stumbling block to our success.

Ideas which are equally absurd! Again: ideas do not exist in a vacuum. They are the mental reflection and distillation of prevailing material conditions, which determine what form they take. For instance, we cannot imagine traveling to Alpha Centauri today; we now know that lightning is not the result of Zeus's fury; we are aware that the sun does not eject from Nut's vulva each day; we understand that the heavens are not composed of fixed "celestial spheres" that are the home of the Gods. In every successive stage of development, the means and resources (both technological and social, as well as political and economic) advance beyond what was previously available. This regards both thought and praxis. Argues Stanford: "...[I]n the historical progression from Aristotelian to Cartesian to Newtonian to contemporary mechanical theories, the evidence available at the time each earlier theory was accepted offered equally strong support to each of the (then-unimagined) later alternatives. The same pattern would seem to obtain in the historical progression from elemental to early corpuscularian chemistry to Stahl's phlogiston theory to Lavoisier's oxygen chemistry to Daltonian atomic and contemporary physical chemistry; from various versions of preformationism to epigenetic theories of embryology; from the caloric theory of heat to later and ultimately contemporary thermodynamic theories; from effluvial theories of electricity and magnetism to theories of the electromagnetic ether and contemporary electromagnetism; from humoral imbalance to miasmatic to contagion and ultimately germ theories of disease; from 18th Century corpuscular theories of light to 19th Century wave theories to contemporary quantum mechanical conception; from Hippocrates's pangenesis to Darwin's blending theory of inheritance (and his own 'gemmule' version of pangenesis) to Wiesmann's germ-plasm theory and Mendelian and contemporary molecular genetics; from Cuvier's theory of functionally integrated and necessarily static biological species or Lamarck's autogenesis to Darwinian evolutionary theory; and so on in a seemingly endless array of theories, the evidence for which ultimately turned out to support one or more unimagined competitors just as well. Thus, the history of scientific enquiry offers a straightforward inductive rationale for thinking that there are alternatives to our best theories equally well-confirmed by the evidence, even when we are unable to conceive of them at the time." [Stanford (2001), p.9.]

It is arrogant and childish for anyone to believe they have an absolute "key" to "reality", since what we know to exist and hold to be true changes and develops over time according to the level of productive forces reached at any given stage. This is not an a priori assertion-- a measure of the "Zeitgeist"--but has been and continues to be empirically validated time and time again. Therefore all absolutist and dogmatic theories are essentially hostages to time! To appeal to expectations based on past experiences is not adequate criterion, because, as David Hume pointed out 400 years ago, we are always faced with what is known in philosophy as the problem of induction, and one should not be surprised when future contingencies dash those expectations. This is the same error in reasoning that led to the massive failure of the Hegelian "system", which ideally serves best as fuel for Hume's fire!