Anglican Essentials: Going Deeper–A Contemporary Perspective

A tale of two pictures

These two pictures (from the Powerpoint slides for the class) show the contrast between the mythos of the modern Immanent Frame and that of the Christian view of Reality. The pictures describe two quite different “tastes in universes” described by C. S. Lewis on the previous page. Of course, there is only one Universe (speculations about a “multiverse” are irrelevant, since such a thing would just be the one thing there is), and we are answerable to what truly is. If one inhabits one of these pictures, it is hard to see the other as plausible, since they make entirely different truth claims which exclude the other view.

Only the Christian view (which we share in many aspects with other theists) offers a basis for real and meaningful hope for individuals and society. It can only commend itself through love and its rational power to make sense of all things. It is infused with real beauty, truth, and goodness. The entirely immanent world of modernity is imminently nonsensical in the end, failing to account even for its own being.

Both pictures are consistent with a cosmos with a developmental order (that is, an evolutionary one) spanning a long time. Neither Augustine or Thomas Aquinas would differ on this, although both would differ strongly with the grounding metaphysics of the modern immanent mythos.

A modern mythos of Reality: All things are immanent. The Cosmos is taken as a given, a simple fact. We do not try to understand its mystery. Human being are an accident of a meaningless process. God is irrelevant, excluded from the public sphere of institutions and cognitive significance, allowed only in private preference. We use technology to control and manipulate the world and others to our wishes and power. Knowledge and morality are separated.
In the classic Christian mythos, the immanent unfolds within an enfolding Transcendence (God) of an entirely different order. The story of Israel and Jesus shows us that goodness, truth, beauty, and love are foundational aspects of Reality, not just things we make up out of our subjective minds. Human beings are intended image bearers of God. Meaning is centered on the fact (“et homo factus est”) of Christ, a unique event of intersection of the Transcendent and the immanent revealing God as a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All places and times in the universe are infused with the glory of God, to those who have the eyes to see. Jesus frees sinful human beings from their bondage to sin and evil and makes it possible for them to participate in the life of the Trinity as adopted sons and daughters.

[Use the page numbers at the bottom to navigate back and forth between pages for this class. Use this link to return to the Introduction page for all 4 classes.]