Discover more from Джон’s Theologoumena: Another Minority Report
For the Greater Glory of God
It’s been a long time since I’ve thought or said anything new. My task has been trying to say things better. In that vein:
We are, each, everlasting images of God, who have been gifted, essentially & abundantly, a degree of freedom & knowledge that would enable us to freely & knowingly serve & love God. We thus manifest God’s glory & enjoy our creaturely beatitudes.
Our enjoyment comes from the satisfaction of our innate rational appetites for mediated encounters of the divine, wherein God’s an object of – not only our faith, but – all that’s true, beautiful & good in our experiences.
Our rational appetites for all that’s true, beautiful & good in our mediated encounters are grounded in & ordered to our intrinsic desires & hope for an immediate encounter of God as an object of our vision, beatifically.
We are gifted choices, temporally, in order that we might co-creatively self-determine – not WHETHER, but – HOW (& how much) we shall everlastingly manifest God’s glory. Those choices can vary in terms of the degrees to which one cooperates with grace to thereby grow in one’s degree of Christ-likeness.
To the extent that one’s graced cooperation varies, one’s choices will be more versus less synergistic & co-determinative; one will be more vs less Christ-like, more vs less knowledgeable of God & more vs less free in God.
To different extents, one may even choose to refuse grace & to disregard what one knows to be true, beautiful & good. The moral objects of those refusals may be venial or grave. The moral subject may be more versus less free, more vs less knowledgeable, more vs less culpable.
Any habitual refusals to cooperate with grace can obscure to various extents the degree to which one manifests Christ, but even the most vicious nature could never completely obliterate one’s image of God.
HOW (& how much) one shall everlastingly manifest God’s glory refers to – not the depths (intensity) of one’s beatific satisfaction, for all will be fully satisfied, but – the co-self-determined scope of one’s participation in divine relative perfections, which will effect both one’s breadth of theophanic expression & one’s range of intimacy.
Those different breadths & ranges refer to the number of different ways one can express & be intimate with God. They are directly analogous to the aesthetic scope of the divine economy with its multiple incarnations. The completeness of one’s beatific satisfaction is directly analogous to the immutable divine aesthetic intensity & divine intrinsic perfections.
Any logical defense of God’s permission of sin & the realities of suffering would have as its primary premise the greater glory of God, the Jesuit motto, ad maiorem Dei gloriam. The “that” of the AMDG, unavoidably, would be coupled to a skeptically theistic mysterian appeal regarding the precise “AMDG hows” for which we only have inklings, because the greater goods prepared for us have been seen by no eye, heard by no ear & conceived by no heart.
The precise nature of the greater goods realizable in our post-mortem epectasis, where we’ll know God immediately as an object of our vision, will necessarily be qualitatively different from those great goods realizable historically, where we knew God as mediated as an object of our experience, faith & hope.
We might reasonably infer that there are immeasurable & irreplaceable divine goods that are realizable only on our temporal sojourns in our lives of faith & hope. We might infer that they will, in some way, supplement, and, in some measure, enrich those goods realizable epectatically, all per some mysterious divine AMDG-metric. Although we don’t fully comprehend all of this, it is certainly partly intelligible (consider Matthews Grant’s greatly expanded inventory of plausible greater goods!).
How might we reasonably infer the absolute divine significance of those greater goods imparted by our lives of faith, hope & temporal experience?
Well, some of us believe that, constitutively, we are already fully equipped ontologically with a nature proportionate to, ergo furnished epistemically with a noetic identity adequate for, the beatific vision. So, while some were elected to receive such efficacious graces as thereby granted them beatific visions, temporally, those visions were only ever transitory. I think of Moses, St. Paul, Mary &, if HuvB was right, in some way & to some extent, even Jesus. Might there be irreplaceable riches to be gained, theophanically & beatitudinally, from their lives of faith & hope? Might their receipt of transitory divine glimpses even have required some measure of personal sacrifice of such riches on their part, a sacrifice otherwise ordered toward optimizing the global realization of those divine riches for the rest of us in the Totus Christus, thus redounding to us all & even rebounding back to them in an eternal return of their investment?
When desirous of & praying for any consolations I might receive without previous cause, i.e. purely gratuitous & efficacious graces, I often think of St Teresa. I think not only how she reminds us that “the water is for the flowers.” I think also of her stepping out of a carriage into a mud puddle and exclaiming to God: “If you have so few friends, perhaps you should consider how you treat us!”
I think of that Teresian episode and think less of that mud puddle and much more about the Baptist’s head on Salome’s platter, the thorn in Paul’s side, the stones at Stephen’s end, the arrows in Mary’s heart and the Cross of the Baby in her arms. And, all kidding aside, regarding my seeking a higher level of sanctity, my prayer switches from a request for consolations to: “Thank You, Lord, but I’m good. We’re all good! If it be your will, please, give THAT to someone else!” It’s enough to make one a quietist!
Bottomline, certain epistemic & axiological distancings are a gift, integral to our freedom & autonomy, ordered toward enhancing our divine intimacy, beatitude & theophany. AMDG!
Finally, our theo-anthropology should also necessarily include the ante- or post-mortem graced purgation of every last vestige of any vicious nature as might be parasitizing (to various extents) any of us as imagoes Dei.
Special reflection inspired by something Iain Lovejoy wrote. Below are my amendments.
1. We have free will in the individual, temporal choices that we make in our lives.
2. THE MODES of our eternal fate are ADEQUATELY determined by the individual choices we make in our lives.
3. Our eternal fate is ultimately in the hands of God, not our own individual effort.
If we can ADEQUATELY determine our individual choices and God our ultimate fate, then only THE MODES of our eternal fate, not our ultimate fate, are ORDINARILY* determined by our choices.
God can ALSO predetermine THE MODES of our eternal fate IN A MANNER NOT REPUGNANT TO OUR FREE WILL WHEN SUCH PREDETERMINED ACTIONS INFALLIBLY FOLLOW OUR FREE NATURAL INCLINATIONS.
* God attenuates (employs only exceptionally) such predeterminations in order to globally optimize our modal autonomy. For example, The Spirit’s only extraordinarily gifted, historically speaking, such efficacious graces as do impart transitory beatific visions.