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Title:      Theology of Art
Categories:      Theology
BookID:      32
Authors:      Kevin Wall, O.P.
ISBN-10(13):      0000000032
Publisher:      Western Dominican Province
Publication date:      June 16, 2018
Number of pages:      30
Language:      Not specified
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Essay on the theology of art. 

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Title: Theology of Art Author: Kevin Wall, O.P. Published online: July 2018 Previously unpublished Rights: Copyrighted 2018. Rights are owned by Western Dominican Province. Copyright Holder has given Institution permission to provide access to the digitized work online. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. First Session: Theology of Art -- Its Nature Different theologies have different views of art. Sacramental theology, for example, for which the divine effects salvation through ablutions, anointings and rituals, tends to support it. Non-sacramental or weakly sacramental theology tends to view it as peripheral or to reject it. For it, God acts into creation but he does not act through creation. The divine causality is vertical and has no horizontal component. The divinity acts directly into the soul of the one who is saved. The body is not involved at all. To think that it is is to practice idolatry. Aquinas, a sacramental theologian par excellence for Harnack, 1 who did not approve of this, asks why God had, in his belief, used sacraments. It would seem that he should have saved the human race through the higher principles of intellect and will and not through the lower principle of body. He should have illumined the intellect and moved the will and left the body alone, as, of course, he could have done. Aquinas proposes this sense in the divine choice. It teaches us the proper attitude which we should have toward the body. We sin so often either by holding it in contempt -- as the Platonists and the Manicheans do -- or we idolize it -- as materialists do who consider it all. Sacramental salvation corrects this by making us act properly toward the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. One who is convinced that he or she has received grace through baptismal washing cannot despise water or ablutions. One who believes we grow in grace through the eating of the consecrated bread and the drinking of the consecrated wine, will never despise food or drink. But there is a danger in such sacramental salvation. We can come to believe that through it we come to bind the divine power magically. A sacramental church, therefore, such as the Roman Catholic, must continually work against superstition. One motive for the great Reformation was the feeling that this had not been done. The words of the Roman Catholic consecration of the sacramental species became for many the symbol of evil magic. The hoc est enim corpus meum became hocus pocus. The corruption of sacramental religion is therefore magical superstition. It has been argued that this is historically how it arose and that therefore its corruption back into the same is only natural. The corruption eliminates divine freedom and replaces it with human freedom. 1 Outlines pf the History of Dogma 1 This was the case of the religious practices of the Caananites with whom the Jewish people came into contact when they abandoned their nomadic life and settled down in the Holy Land. The indigenous peoples viewed their ritual religious actions as magical. By them they could bind God to the mountain top or to the graven image. They could force him in this way to intervene for their benefit. This falsified God's true nature. This God of the Old Testament reacted by first of all to purifying the ritual actions of superstition. Not that he could not be present on the mountain top or in the burning bush., but that, if he were, he would be there freely, And he would be there not because he had to be in justice, but because he wanted to be in mercy. One who acts from mercy acts freely. One who acts from mercy acts graciously. This purification of religious belief led the Jews close to the time of Christ to the opposite extreme of totally eliminating the immanence of divine power in worldly things. He became the totally other -- the disassociated. Nevertheless, something of the belief in the divine immanence in things of this world still remained. People expected Jesus to cure by mixing spittle and earth and applying it to the body. The sacramental was not entirely removed. And one could argue that this is why the movement of the faith from the Jewish milieu to the Greek was easily effected. Greek mystery religion beliefs in ablutions were not foreign entirely to Jewish beliefs. At the same time, the thrust of the correction of the magical beliefs makes it clear why Jews were so scandalized that christians belived that God was immanent in the actions of Jesus, and especially when this was carried to the extreme of believing that he himself was God. This had to seem magic carried to its ultimate extreme. Not only was God in the icon, but the icon itself was God and therefore had to be worshipped.. Now if the divinity was manifest in the humanity of Christ and if that humanity was true, then representation of the divine is not against God's will. This would justify the use of art for sacramental religious purposes and it would not imply magic. But would it then reduce art to representation of dogmatic beliefs? And is representation what art is? Before we make a theological reflection upon it, we must decide this question. For if art is not representation or if representation, although possible to art, is not of its essence, then what function will art have in the sphere of. religion. Representation might be one function, but there would then be others. This then makes the question of the philosophy of art crucial. And that philosophy must take into account the experience of the artist himself or herself and then theorize upon it. The artist feels that art is self-expression but that also art is the attaining of something through artiStic activity. Thus the artist will commonly speak of art as a means to empress himself or herself. That implies a known content which precedes the work. It also implies that this is not all. Art is not merely the communication of thiS content, although communication occurs in art. And one could argue that communication is not of its essence. The example of the late Beethoven makes this clear. The early Beethoven wants to communicate and to be praised. The late Beethoven is unconcerned. Somewhat like the progress of the mystic. In this too there is a throwing over of the concern for appreciation and the emergence of a sort of passivity and lack of care. Theology of Art Theme: Art as an instrumental cause in the service of theology. The philosophy of art establishes the sense of artistic activity as a part of the totality and unity of all human activity. The theology of art relates this specifically to human activity bearing upon the divine. When this is done from the point of view of sacramental theology, it tries to show how this relates specifically to sacramental salvation. Let me suggest three possibilities: 1) that it relates not at all; 2) that it does the same thing as the sacrament; 3) that it functions instrumentally. 1. Everything Remains As It Was This is the equivalent of the Chalcedonian Christology which held Christ to be truly human against the belief that his humanity had been transformed into divinity, as in the Docetic belief that Christ only appeared to suffer since, as divine, he could not really suffer. The same conception shows up again in that strain of late medieval theology which reduced grace to moral causality, not physical. Luther picked this up in his doctrine of extrinsic imputation. God's forgiveness produces no physical alteration or transformation. It leaves everything as it is, just as does Incarnation for Christ. "Ontologically" we remain in our sins. But God overlooks them. We are therefore "saved" not by an intrinsic ontological transformation but by an extrinsic moral acceptance. Chalcedbn, of course, also defines that Christ is truly divine and therefore that he has two natures which are neither separated nor confused. It offers no theory about how this could be but simply affirms, as a necessary dogma of the faith, that it is so and that anyone who denies it is not a member of the church community. One consequence of this view of grace is to reject any role for the "natural" in salvation. Human activity in no way contributes to it. Natural theology is therefore strongly rejected, as in Barth. Grace- does not perfect reason but leaves it alone. Human reason is essentially agnostic.. Whatever else /ftkleology may be, it is certainly in no sense a metaphysics of grace. Paralleling this view of the relation of natural human reason to grace is the view of the relationship of art to grace. The Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox veneration for icons is suspect. That images should relate to grace seems somewhat pagan and superstitious. As a consequence, in Protestant christianity, art has functioned differently from the way in which it has functioned in strongly sacramental chriStianity. Barth would not stand for stained glass windows in the Reformed church just as he would not stand for natural theology in Protestant theology. In this, he was consistent. 2.. Grace as Transformative The older tradition, east and west, has been to see grace not as a purely extrinsic moral acceptance, but an intrinsic transformation. This occurred early in the east and received its profoundest development in the west through Augustine and later, through Aquinas. Thus, in the east it was natural to think of being graced as being made divine. Theopoeisis. In the west, this was divinizationa Aquinas gives the metaphysical reason for this. God's forgiveness is not like human forgiveness. God's forgiveness is creative. It Makes to be what it ,041/4serts to be. Human forgiveness produces not ontological alteratian. It supposes and does not create the good which it intends. If, therefore, humanly speaking, God changes from viewing us with anger because of our sins and comes to view us with love, something real happens to us. The situation is not the same as Incarnation. Grace is something real in us. And this new reality may appropriately be called divinization. The graced soul is thus able to perform what the ungraced soul cannnot. The graced soul, being like God, is co-creator with him and therefore has responsibility with him for the things of creation- The strong language of christian saints and mystics simply reflects this way of viewing things and is therefore embarrassing for someone who does not share the same view. We will see this when we read Jahn of the Cross. By grace I am God- But God is Trinity. Therefore, by grace I am Trinity. But, in the Trinity, the Father and the Son breathe the Spirit. Therefore I, within myself, breathe the Spirit. Protestant discomfort with_c such language is mirrored in a general suspicion of the mystical although there is always a hint of nostalgia for it. This same view of grace as transformative applies to Christ but not to his Incarnation. That leaves everything as it waS. He is truly man. But as graced beyond this, he is also transformed and far beyond any other human being. This transformation provides him with all of the perfections which provide him with the means for carrying out the purpose of the incarnation, such as with "capital" grace which orders him to the perfecting of the churCh community. Acaditional theology, which asserts this, manifests, in doing so, the tranSfor- Ative effect of grace upon reaSon. In the light of this, it will not do simply to say that this is not stated in so many words in scripture and therefore has no equal status with the content of revelation explicitly given in scripture. That statement itself simply mirrors the conviction that grace is not transformative. This is more important than the fact that it masks this important faith conviction by using rhetoric. The rhetoric appeals to the veneration which every christian must have for the scriptures. But it conceals the rejection of the notion of grace as ontological transformation which the long tradition of the church east and west sustains. In doing this, it rejects equal veneration for tradition and the attendant conviction of the transformation of reason. What tradition, venerates is not untransformed reason - this would be idolatry - but transformed reason. And what it asserts in this is the conviction that reason can be and is transformed. The sequence is rather is transformed and therefore can be transformed. The scholastics summed this up in the axiom: ab esse ad posse valet illatio (the illation from factual existence to possible existence is valid). Feuerbach was sensitive to this in the strong terms in which he rejected the common modern opposition between piety and scholasticism. Stholasticism was piety conceptualized. Harnack was just as strong. They are two sides of a coin. That is a very Catholic conviction. 3. Art as Instrumental Cause This then leaves us with the problem of deciding what it is that transformed reason can do. We have just argued that this is what is at work in the theology of the capital grace of Christ, according to a very ancient Catholic conception. Thus, reason, which of itself-could come to no such conclusion -- i.e. could not know this to be the case -- when elevated by grace reaches this insight which is itself transformed into dogma through the act of the community in conciliar session. The notion, which alone articulates this situation, is that of instrumental causality -- one of the great notions of scholastic thought with strong foundations in the classical. An instrumental cause does more than it naturally can -- as much as the principle cause can. This notion, applied to christian art, not only integrates it into salvation but indicates its enormous function there. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that sacramental salvation leaves both philosophy and art as they are. It does not transform them nor destroy them. Artistic activity remains what it naturally is. As all human activity, it still aims aims at the goal of self-possession, and as a special such activity, it aims at this in a in a special way. But just as metaphysics can be related to this so as to establish theological knowledge, so art can also be related to it so as to establish a theological aesthetics. Om% This would share in one quality of the end which is that of rest in the 3 totally satisfying content. The aesthetic activity has the quality of rest but not that of vision nor that of volition. This remark depends upon an analysis of the intellect/will union in the divinity -- how these two can be the same and why they split in the creature. The problem then is to detide what the significance of the split is -- what is the unity divided and what each portion of the division shares. Then there must be the further analysis of the division which occurs in the passage to the material and the special effect of this upon the human which combines both. It is this combination which affects human knowledge and human volition. Sense works with intellect for human understanding. Passion works with will for human volition. Thus human intellection is a combination of sense and intellect. And human volition is a combination of passion and volition itself. And art is an extension of making. So its understanding requires the understanding of the nature of making and its function within the full range of human activity. There is that activity which is purely immanent and has no external effect, as such, and there is that activity which does have an external effect. 0.11Ne activity which is internal is either internal to the will or the intellect, -r internal to the subject as such. This latter is exemplified in the movement of the hands. The action begins and ends within the same subject but not in the same capacity of the subject. 4 Chapter One: The Scientific Character of the Theology of Art In the classical way of proceeding, the first step is to determine the nature and methodology of any projected scientific treatment. One must first know where one wants to get before starting out and one must have as precise as possible an idea of how to get there. This is simply to know beforehand the end and the means. In the endeavor to obtain a scientific knowledge of art from a theological point of view, by which I mean a critical or thoroughly thought out knowledge, the end is obviously art known in this particular way. Art is therefore its subject and at least a relative end is reached when a finite series of conceptualizations are predicated of this. The hope is that these are the fundamental ones and that they follow their natural order in the realm of conceptualization. If this is so, then it yields at least the essential insight into the subject and this implicitly contains all the rest. But in order to determine this subject more precisely, it is necessary to qualify it. For the same subject may be treated under different aspects and these aspects are its qualifications. As such they yield different intelligibilities. The subject in this discussion will be, by the choice of the author, art qua viewed theologically in so far as this is the Trinitarian theology of christian revelational theology. This being so, the concern of the discussion will be to determine what, in the opinion of the author, can be said of art so viewed. This qualification in fact makes Trinity the principle of predication in the discussion or, as classical theology would have it, makes Trinity the formal subject. This means that the discussion is concerned with TA 1, 2 the intelligibility of art qua related to the Trinity. In this sense it is activity of the human person with some relation to be determined in detail to Trinity. And in the supposition of classical Trinitarian theology that this relation is ultimately that of possessing the Trinity in knowledge and love, the theology of art, so understood, is a critical reflection upon the relation of art to that possession or vision and enjoyment. From this point of view, christian art is, in its beginning and in its progress, mediating activity whose sense is that goal. Christian art is as it were an attempt to seize upon the goal or at least to make those moves whose sense is such seizure. Or if it cannot be a seizure upon, at least the sort of activity whose natural consequence is the possession of the goal by divine gift. For it may be that although the sense of the mediating activity is to seize upon the goal, its power is not adequate to this. It can then do everything short of the goal except seize upon it. The goal itself - gracious God - consummates the movement. In a way, this simply repeats the Aristotelian dictum that human happiness cannot be the result of chance nor of human activity but must be the gift of the gods. To some, this may seem a strange way of proceeding or one not liable to yield interesting results or even results of any real significance. But these are judgments which proceed from an entirely different point of view from the one which this discussion assumes. And it is not to the purpose of the discussion to argue the validity of the points of view but to show the consequences of this particular point of view. For those who want some justification for it, nevertheless, aside from the justification of the christian Trinitarian interpretation of reality, TA 1, 3 let it suffice for me to remark that this teleological procedure is formally akin to that of Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason when he argues that without the Ideals of Pure Reason, thought will never occur. In a classical vein I generalize this to say that without the final end, nothing other than God will be. There will be no other subject nor will there be any action of any such subject. To carry the point somewhat further, Kant sees in the dynamism of thought a movement toward the Ideals and he sees through critical reflection that the Ideals are the presupposition of this movement. Contrary to pure Baconian induction, there can be no blind movement without a goal and this goal must function to actualize each particular phase of the movement. It must be immanent within each such phase and each such phase must point to it. This relation is in fact the immanence. Fichte, Schelling and Hegel simply carried this idea further. And the current theologies of hope do much the same. The sense of the present discussion then is to determine the significance of art in so far as it shares in the stipulated end and mediates it. One could say that this is an eschatological interpretation of christian art. What the last thing is fully, art is partially. In so far as the Last Things traditionally refer to what precedes vision - judgment and approbation or condemnation - then it is more to the point to judge christian art in the light of the consequent state - the new order of things resultant upon the judgment. Judgment here is taken as akin to Aristotle's notion of the gods bestowing or withholding happiness so that it remains essentially both in the beginning and at the end, a gift, that is to say a manifestation of divine freedom rather than of natural necessity. TA 1, 4 This is not to deny movement to the end - evolution in the popular conceptualization of the day - but it is to say that the movement, which from the point of view of nature and therefore of science, proceeds with necessity, from the point of view of God, it proceeds with pure freedom. Evolutional necessity is, from this point of view, simply natural necessity inverted. That is a theme which has come to the fore again and again in the great philosophies. Necessity and freedom are but two sides of one and the same coin. The ineluctable push of past into the present into the future is the inverse of the free drawing of the past and present into the future. This free drawing of the present into the future - which the artist experiences as the pushing into the future and the acting toward the future as if to seize it - has an aesthetic Last Things and a termination of the aesthetic in ultimate vision and love. Or rather one should say that it has the same penultimate and ultimate ends in which art, morality and thought become the same. And just short of this there is the ultimate human activity in which art, morality and thought are still separated and in which the human person is still an actor toward the end. That is the last activity before death. The sense of the thrust of one's life at that point is toward the vision and the love or it is not. And, under the regime of grace, that still lies within the power of a human being. But conjunction to the ultimate term does not. THEOLOGY OF ART The reference to the extra-aesthetic content - to that which lies beyond - is, as I have argued in my book on the philosophy of art, an addition to the aesthetic whole. As such it is not essential to that whole but this does not mean that it is not essential to the intention of the artist. I have also argued that this reference or relationship terminates in the same ultimate goal as does the referentiality of moral action or of speculative reason. This suggests that this referentiality may have an immediate term as well as a final term and that this need not be the same for the three movements. But one could ask whether or not there is a "final" immediate as there must be a final ultimate. If there is, then it is the naturally immediately "given" or "presented" - as in the case of physical science which immediately terminates in the sensibly given objects of nature. One could maintain, by analogy, that the aesthetic whole is that immediately given and that its ultimate referentiality is to self-possession. If this is so, then the aesthetic whole is to art as the physically given to physical science. But, to correct what is said above, that is not extra-aesthetic but intra-aesthetic. And it is not imposed by nature and seen through the parts which follow from nature but chosen by aesthetic insight and determining through this choice what I. What is contained in the work of art 2. Methodology by which this is got in 3. But is this theology of art? If so, Trinity is the subject. 4. And how does the religious experience fit into this? 5. The definition of theology of art or philosophy of art through the last goal toward which it moves a. self-possession b. beatific vision 6. The shift to the situation seen from the point of view of God The last things Coalescence of creatures operating (heavenly praise) CHAPTER ONE THE ARTISTIC EXPRESSION OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE Supposing as given what I have said about the relation of meaning MEANING THROUGH to the essentially aesthetic, it follows that religious experience can only DOUBLE FUNCTION PARTS OF ART be incorporated into a work of art if that which points to it has a double WORK MEANING = RELATION SIMILARITY ANALOGY METAPHOR function, namely one of being a part of the work of art and one of being also referential. Let us suppose also that the referential relation is that of similarity whereas the aesthetic relation is that of part to whole and of whole to part. In the first case, the similarity can obviously be that of the representa- tional. The representation is an icon of the represented. It is an image, a likeness. This suggests that the full range of the referential is the full range of similarity. Since this moves from direct similarity to the extreme of the purely relational analogical unity, that cannot be true. The character of the relational is such that it cannot be as it is in itself, encapsulated in the sensible, as it would have to be in order to enter into a work of art. Therefore the analogy of proper proportionality cannot be directly contained in the work of art. This means that something short of it must be. That analogical entity short of the analogy of proper proportionality is the analogy of improper proportionality, as it is classically called or a relational entity taken as relational but as in one of the analogates. This is the metaphor. And therefore to the extent that the metaphorical can be encapsulated in the sensible, to this extent meaning can be encapsulated in the work of art. 1, 2 • /mokk The metaphor is a similitude but it seems, not a representation. Thus one would have to distinguish here between representation and metaphor. METAPHOR AND REPRESENTATION Representation is also similitude but directly so. Metaphor is similitude but through relation. Thus in the relationality which is representation, there are only two terms. The proportion is direct. But in the relationality which is the metaphor, the similarity is through the relationality itself. There are thus four terms in it. And the terms of the relation of similiarity are themselves relationalities. As an example of this there is the Homeric clichg - as the rays of the sun are to the cloud through which they pass at dawn, so the fingers are to the hand. In this sort of relational structure, the four terms cannot be directly compared - rays, clouds, fingers, hands - but only indirectly through the relationality. This is similar to the idea which Eudoxus used in his solution to the problem of the irrational numbers. The difference would be that whereas in their case one relational term of the relation of similarity is purely fictitious, in the case of the meaphor, all of the terms are real. But it is important to stress here that what specifies the metaphor as opposed to analogy of proper proportionality is the fact that the relation of similarity is taken as in the lower term, or at least in one of the terms and not as in itself. This term is sometimes lower, as whenone speaks of the courage of the lion or of the anger of God. But it is as in the higher term when one applies "anthropomorphisms" to irrational animals. Thus in representation, in art, the meaning is through direct similitude, as in a portrait painting. But it is also through indirect similitude as in the metaphor in poetry. 1, 3 R, RESENTATION = In a sense though one could argue that the representation is also a relational I IPHOR? whole like the metaphor. For in it, part is to part as represented part is to represented part. If we suppose then that the representation or the metaphor is relationality embedded in sensible matter with relation to something beyond it, the meant, then it is at this point that the aesthetic and the meaningful POINT OF CO- must be made to coalesce. This must therefore be accomplished through ALESCENCE AESTHETIC AND abstraction and concretion. The aesthetic parts must be seen in themselves MEANING and by relation to the aesthetic whole. The meant "parts" must also be seen in and for themselves and without relation to the aesthetic whole. The two must then be brought together. This means that such parts must be chosen for the aesthetic whole which genuinely belong to it, but also which signify something beyond. Thus the aesthetic whole as well as the aesthetic parts will then also point beyond. And through them then the mind will get to the beyond. CONVENTIONAL The reference to the meant, in the case of representation, is natural. AND NATURAL MEANING In the case of words, it is conventional. Thus this relationship can be either natural or contrived. And as contrived, it can be either public PRIVATE LANG- or private. One can give private meanings to words or coin words such UAGE that others do not see the significance. It is there but it is not public. In the case of the "theology of art" the meant content is the religious THEOLOGY OF experience. The artist needs this, outside of the aesthetic as such, ART = RELI- GIOUS EXPER- a s a point of departure. He then verbalizes it in some fashion or other. IENCE IS MEANT So John of the Cross conceptualizes the mystical experience as something which takes place in the darkness of night. The ambiance for the experience is "like a dark night". He then chooses among the many ways in which this can be said, that way which also is in itself, sound for sound, pleasing independently of the meaning. 1, 4 THUS METHODOLOGY This is like the case of the visual artist who starts from a scene of nature or who poses a model. He or she then strives to find among all of the strokes of brush which resemble the "meant" object, those which, in themselves, and even without this resemblance form an aesthetic whole. BUT IS THIS THEOLOGY OF ART TWO APPROACHES: PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGIOUS ART AND THEOLOGY ORT BOTH THEOLOG- ICAL IN CLASS- ICAL SENSE But this analysis of the situation brings up the question: in what sense is it a theology of art? These reflections seem to be phenomenological and philosophical. They tell, from the point of view of phenomenological analysis and metaphysics, what is at play. In the present context, they seem to be the result of a natural theodicy, as one understands the term today rather than of a distinct revelational theology. This is a legitimate question and it suggests that there might be two approaches to the "theology of art" - the one being metaphysical and, in the classical sense, therefore, theological - the sense which we have adopted in the metaphysical underpinnings of the philosophy of art - and the other, strictly revelational theology so-called. If one were to do the latter, as I conceive of it, then the Trinitarian being of God would be the point of departure, of reference and of judgment. Whereas in the reflections on art grounded in natural theology, the Trinitarian idea would not come into play. We have here then at least two distinct approaches: the one, natural theology (very much in the sense in which Heidegger understood classical metaphysics as theology) from which one determines or pretends to determine the ultimate significance of artistic work; and revelational theology, which tries to see that same work from the specifically divine point of view to the extent to which this is shared by faith. Thus what we have said up to now could be said by any philosopher of similar basic convictions. It is a statement of what the artist is doing from the metaphysical point of view when he or she gets at the THEOLOGY OF ART MUST HAVE TRINITY AS SUBJECT NOT NATURE OF MAKING AND NATURAL END OF MAKING 1, 5 religious experience through the medium of the aesthetic. If what we had said had Trinity as the formal subject of insight, then the result would have been different. PHILOSOPHY OF One difference would be an insight into the nature of aesthetic ART WITH RELI- GIOUS EXPERI- activity in the realm of getting at the religious experience based upon ENCE AS "MEANT" what is known of God from natural reason. This knowledge tells us that AND WITH SELF- POSSESSION AS END ANN human beings are imitations of God and imitations of pure spirit. They therefore of necessity of nature aim at a pre-established natural end which is self-possession. The representation of the "meant" through the medium of the aesthetic has then to be judged and can only be judged in the light of that. Thus from that point of view, the representation of the religious would have a mediating role to play with respect to coming to full knowledge of self. Of course, there is the problem in this point of view, that the religious experience, so represented may be held to transcend the natural BUT CAN THIS and therefore not to come under its judgment. And it might be held that APPLY TO RELI- GIOUS EXPERIENCEthe coming into possession of self, a.though valid, mmt only be a part WHICH TRANSCENDS NATURAL? of the whole truth. And it is interesting to add to this that, if the ultimate "reason" QUESTION: IS SELF-POSSESS- ION BEATIFYING SINCE STILL QUESTION for the existence of anything other than God is to be found in the divine free will and that such an existence does not therefore follow necessity of nature, nor in the paradigm of definition and demonstrated conclusion, but of choice and in the paradigm of choser and chosen, then even natural selfpossession would not be terminally satisfying since it would still leave the insight into the choice - the insight into God choosing - out of view. 1, 6 T NATURAL REST IN What is thus left out of view here is the ultimate question - why Sh-F-POSSESSION BUT NOT BEATITUDE do I exist? This can only be answered by insight into the divine choice, granted that my being or my existence is the consequence of choice without necessity. And since the "without necessity" is, as I assume, limitless, this choice is the most generous. There is nothing of gain for the choser in it. THUS DEFINI- Thus I am led to conceive of myself, theologically, as a being TION HUMAN PER- SON who by nature seeks self-possession which then leaves the question of why in my mind. But I am like an instrument which can be brought to the why but cannot by nature compel an answer. AND OF ALL IN- From that point of view, no intellectual creature is closed off. TELLECTUAL BEINGS All such creatures are beings who can, by divine gratuity, be raised to the level of being able to see why but who, by nature, cannot demand this elevation. AND DEFINI- My strictly revelational theological approach to this then must TION GRACED INTELLECTUAL be that the why is to be given and that everything short of the why is BEING with relationship to the why because of the divine choice. SHARED IN FAITH This "why" is given in an imperfect way in the faith now in Jesus Christ. But it will be given fully in vision. THUS ART IN Art has therefore to be judged by these two goals, the one natural TWO CONTEXTS and the other supernatural. AND NATURE, Nature, in this conception, functions as an instrument and can THEOLOGICALLY IS INSTRUMENT reach no higher than an instrument. But as an instrument, it has an opening. The self-possession which grace gives in the ultimate then is a self-consciousness of the divinized human nature in which the potentiality of the instrumentality of that nature is realized. 1, 7 THE NATURAL DE- S,W TO KNOW 'I "WHY" OF EXISTENCE IN SUPERNATUR- AL CONTEXT IT NEEDS JUSTIFI- CATION JUST AS THEOLOGY DOES SO AS NOT TO SEEM HUBRIS Aok LIKE IMPER- FECT RATIO IN THEOLOGY ARTIFICIAL SYLLOGISM AND ARTIFI- CIAL MAKING TO POSSESS It is interesting that the growth in knowledge, which we naturally have or as a consequence in part of revelation, is accompanied by an intensifying the of the desire to know why? Why is there evil? Why do I exist? The very resistance to the "arbitrariness" of it all in the last analysis is indicative of the strength of the question. Thus the getting at the religious through art has something to do with the human condition in which the religious is a possible experience and an actual one. And art, from this point of view, needs a justification similar to the one which is given for theology. It is the completing of the human. It is an endeavor to consummate what God has chosen to give. Note that natural theology and natural art have no such need of justification. They are the natural overflow of the given. But the given in revelational faith, is the belief itself. And neither theology nor art must be understood as an attempt to convert this into, in the one case, the evident to natural reason, and, in the other, the grasped through active artistic efforts. The analogy here is probably fruitful. If theology is basically like empirical science in that it endeavors to extend the given data into the theoretical by insufficient reasons, so religious art must be the inverse of seizing upon by one's own initiative, but rather the imperfect reaching for or interconnecting to. It is thus the effect rather than the cause of the religious experience. Just as in theology, the faith is, as it were, artificially taken as the "conclusion" of a syllogism, so in religious art, understood in this way, the aesthetic experience is the consequence of the religious. In it, the religious experience reaches down to motivate the aesthetic. It does not dictate it, but suggests it, as theory does in science. It is an endeavor, out of love to make the religious suffuse the • human. RESISTANCE TO THE ARBI- TRARINESS OF EXISTENCE THUS ART IN NATURAL AND SUPERNATURAL CONTEXTS 1, 8 AL, LN THEOLOGY Thus it turns out that the end of aesthetic activity from the natural SO IN ART, GRACE PERFECTS NA- point of view is self-possession which leaves the mind still with the TURE = SAT- ISFIES AND question of "why" as to existence and gives it no insight into the "why" ADDS TO THIS IS THE INTERMEDIATE AND TERMINAL SITUATION #0\ LACK OF NAT- TURAL KNOW- LEDGE OF "WHY" CANNOT CAUSE UNHAPPINESS (Limbo?) THUS HAPPI- NESS BOTH NOPINRAL AND Si.,_-RNATURAL GIFT which is the divine choice and the grounding cause. And the end of aesthetic activity for graced humanity is to be a portion of the graced end which is precisely to see this "why". This means that the natural end forms part of the supernatural end just as grace in general perfects nature. Thus the factual end is a combination of self-possession and self-possession as sharing in the divinity. This addition of one to the other must occur in the mediate situation as well as at the end. Thus the graced person acts toward and in the sense of vision of God so that every action short of this end is a share in it. It is therefore a partial seizing upon the divinity and sharing in the life of the divinity. Thus, in its own way, aesthetic activity, in this sense, is a portion of an intermediate action which is s share in the divinity. Thus just as in the use of reason in theology, so in the use of reason in art, aesthetic activity mirrors the ultimate. It thus also happens that no intellectual spirit is naturally happy in the ultimate sense but this is not a lack such as to cause suffering and therefore it must be a lack which is tolerable and from which even one does not naturally seek to escape or from which one could not escape without divine intervention. That is why Aristotle maintains that happiness is a gift of the gods and not an approropriation of man. THUS SCIENCE CVERGES ON 1 GOAL BUT NOT UPON THE WHY EXCEPT INSTRUMENTALLY AND INTEGRATION BUT FIRST KNOWLEDGE HUMANS COMPARABLE TO KNOWLEDGE TOUGH IN- FLoED IDEAS OF PURE SPIRITS THE SENSIBLE WORLD SECONDARY CAUSE IN THIS = INSTRUMEN- TAL DOES NOT KNOW COSMOS AND THEN BUT PARTS AND TOm% 1, 9 Thus all of the sciences converge on this same goal. And therefore mathematics converges on it so that one has to interpret mathematics in terms of its immediate goal of conversion which is the intelligibility of the quantifed qua quantified. And that must integrate with the intelligibility of the qualified qua qualified and of the related qua related and therefore of the whole cosmos, granting the primary significance of the substantial. This study seeks to find the intelligibility of all things given (the sort of knowledge which an intellectual spirit has only through infused ideas) in their substantiality and in their operations and the intelligibility of the human person as part of that whole and in itself. The in itself is only to be reached at the end. And it is first of all the sort of self-consciousness which the pure spirit would have through knowledge from infused ideas. Thus the immediate ultimate would be that and the final ultimate, self-possession through existence in the mode of the angel, in which the presence of the body would no longer impede knowledge of self through direct presence of the intellectual soul to the intellect. Therefore crucial to this entire investigation is the understanding of human knowledge as a derivation from pure intellectual knowledge through infused ideas. In the human case, the infusion occurs through secondary causality also and with the admixture of the bodily and the spiritual. Thus there is conceptual distinction and judgment and reasoning, such as there is not in the case of pure intellectual knowledge. The movement of this human knowledge is then toward the simplicity of insight of the infused ideas of pure intellectual spirit. And it would seem that the multiplication of subjects without their consequent relations is characteristic of the human mind. It thus moves out from the substances to their relations, whereas the pure spiritual intellect knows the order and the operations and the substances all at 1, 10 THUS COSMOS AND Crucial again to this would be the analysis of the divine knowledge PRIORITIES OF D'ININE CHOICE of the cosmos and the divine choice. In that knowledge and choice, the terminal operations and relations of all things comes first - the teleology and eschatology of the created world. To this then are tailored operations, capacities for operation, and natures. And the apparently random relations are themselves the first in the divine choice. In fact, from this point of view, chance is simply the extrapolation of the divine arbitrariness. That these particular things should have such and such an order one to the other does not follow on their natures, but is a matter of choice. We see this, on the other hand, from the point of view of natures. Thus the divine choice is, for example, the earthquake to which are tailored operations which bring this about, to which are tailored natures from which these operations necessarily arise (inverting the relationship of freedom to form that of necessity). And the earthquake is ordered by choice to the effects which it produces, they therefore being first chosen. Thus God chooses the death of this or that man through the earthquake. And he orders this death then (inverting again the divine order) to something else and that always to ultimate good. Note that chance in this case is a relationship chosen by God such that it could not be otherwise. God could not choose that what happens CHANCE NECESSITY NATURES OftN, THUS DEATH THROUGH EARTH- QUAKE CHANCE DUE TO by chance be reduced to natural necessity. This would be to establish IMPOSSIBILITY NATURAL CONNEC- the nature or natures underlying the earthquake as of such a sort as IN SINGULARS to having the taking of human life as their natural operation. There are therefore some operations to which no nature can be tailored. This is also because such operations cannot involve the relationship of the particular nature to this other particular nature. All such operations are necessarily general from the point of view of nature although particular Thus the co-presence such and such subjects is chance - that they be here at all and that they interact. 1, 12 • therefore in secondary causality with respect to it - not to making it be nor to making natures but with respect to movements and qualitative JALITY NOT OF NATURES changes fitting into the pattern of the pre-established order. BUT OF QUALI- TATIVE CHANGES Thus the divine causality would be persuasive with respect to human action as well as causative in every other way, and the intellectual principle would then be related to the persuasion. In this way the devil could be related to the permitted temptation of the soul or the good angel to the protection of the soul or to its encouragement to good. THUS ART MUST GROW TOWARD And returning to the analysis of the aesthetic activity, this must THIS AND BEYOND TOWARD SELF fit into the growth toward the knowledge of the divine choice and therefore THROUGH THIS AND THAT BY must relate to morality and thought through this growth, which is a convergence.Thus NATURE the sequence is from ordered cosmos with ultimate ordered operations THUS COSMOS AND ORDER AND THEN INTO NATURES FONMAN THUS NATURE TO OPERATIONS AFTER INDUC- TION INTEGRATION CONVERGENCE of the many parts of the cosmos, i.e. operations which are as parts to a whole which is "as if" they did something for it and which in themselves manifest something of the whole but cannot, as parts, equal the whole nor can the whole make another whole. From this follows the study of natures ordered to the operations. And from this follows in particular the study of physical natures which contain a principle of motion and rest with human nature in between such that all purely physical nature is for human nature and all random causality also. The essence of the human operation then within this picture is to move toward the known goal, morally, speculatively and aesthetically. And the sense of any operation here and now is that it do this and therefore that it have that level of beingness which is appropriate to it now, which means that level which is possible to it and moves toward the goal. There must also be the endeavor to show the convergence in the integration of the speculative, moral and artistic. That will provide intermediate human happiness. Ultimate graced happiness makes this goal to be the knowledge of the divine will through the beatific vision. Angel cannot know future - thus knows opertions now and natures but not future. GENERAL QUALITY OF OPERATION NATURAL BUT RELATION TO THIS OR THAT PARTICULAR, CHANCE WITH RESPECT TO NATURE AND INTENDED WITH RESPECT TO GOG T'LAST THINGS ESCHATOLOGY AND ART THE ACCIDENTAL ORDER OF ALL THINGS IN THE LAST STATE SIMILAR TO EXISTENTIAL- IST THEM OF CHOICE AS ROOT KNOWLEDGE BY IwsioN OF 0 R AND NA- TURES INVOLVEMENT 1, 11 from the point of view of God. Thus God wills the individual effect and the individual relation of causality but he tailors to it a natural operations which is general with respect to itself and to nature. It is in fact this divine choice of the chance relationship of particular to particular which brings this nature with its natural operation into existence and also the nature upon which it works. The divine choice for a particular intellectual being is thus the beatific vision and everything else which is ordered to it must then be chosen by God. That last operation therefore does not come by chance nor by the pure power of the human will but by divine gift which is simply one more gift on top of the gift of existence itself. And working back from this picture of "last things" and the relationship of the last things to God - that they all, as it were - do something for him, each some one of many things which are "as if" they could be done for him, I can establish the factual order of things and the sense of any created activity in a general way. There is in the order of those "last things" both wisdom and generosity but their specific intelligibility lies outside of created understanding unaided by grace. Thus the analysis repeats the Existentialist theme of choice making nature, but it is the divine choice and not the human. A human being cannot choose not to be nor can a human being choose to be other than he or she is. By infusion of ideas and without grace, an intellectual being would see the order and the natures tailored to it in particular and could be involved NORRE ART IN R ,CATION AND GRACE SPECULATIVE THOUGHT SEEKS TO SEIZE UPON GOD THROUGH THINKING AND IDENTIFICATION ART, THROUGH MAKING 1, 13 This being so it must be that the legitimation of religious art is the endeavor in art, as in thought, to consummate the union which God has begun through the giving of the faith and of charity. This lies within the freedom and the capacity of a human being in every action short of the goal and the fulness of that action is by way of integration of the speculative, the moral and the aesthetic. Thus the speculative action is such as to seize upon God to the extent possible in the intermediate stage. And the aesthetic action is to do the same, just as is the moral. And just as the theologian views things from the divine point of view within the limitations of the faith, so the artist makes things from the divine point of causality as if he were to make the divine life to come to fruition in his work. The achievement of the divine life is, from this point of view, through making. One could carry this further LIKE SEEING and say that it is akin to the shaping of the organ of vision by the CAPACITY MAKING ORGAN FOR VISION vision capacity or the living power, so that eventually the act of vision ARTIST SENSES comes to fruition in it. This is a concept akin to that of Process Theology. Thus the artist, on the natural order, attempts to make himself possess himself, and on the supernatural order, to make himself possess the divine. Here is where the analysis of the intermediary activity reveals that the made is the immediate aesthetic whole which then reaches out through metaphor, e.g. to the meant which is ultimately self-possession but mediately, a form of self-possession and also of the possession of other things. The artist thus feels that he possesses through making the thing which is meant. And that thing points to something more and that again to something more and eventually to the possession of God. ART IS IMMED- IATELY FOR THE MADE IT IS REACHING TO THE END THROUGH MAKING NOT DOING 1, 14 ARTIST TRIES TO MAKE HIMSELF PO .ItESS GOD THUS LIKE GOD If this is so, then the christian artist essentially tries to make himself come into possession of the beatific vision. It is assimilation or coming into possession through making rather than through pure thought. And it should be clear that the most crucial analysis in this picture is that of the divine will which brings up the question of the last things and, in doing this, of the nature of natures and of order one to the other and of chance. And note that in this respect it is chance which man works with. He makes natures interact which wuld not do so without his intervention. In this he is like God who so relates natures also and intends to do so so that with respect to the natures, the causality is chance, but with respect to God, it is not. And with respect to the natures the specific form of the operations is not chance, but with respect to acting one upon the other, it is. Thus God can cause general and specific and universal orders of LAST THINGS NATURE CHANCE ARTIST WORKS WITH CHANCE NATURE DETER- particulars one to the other, but he cannot make a nature which is of MINED TO ONE OPERATION such a sort that it is naturally ordered to any other particular thing. SPECIFICALLY BUT NOT IN SINGULAR The entire inter-order of the cosmos is, from this point of view, chance. SO WITH ANGEL TO ANGEL There is no inscribed order of one particular to another. This is not the case with the infused ideas of the angel. Although there is no natural order of the angel to particular other things and therefore to causality upon them, there is infused knowledge of the chance order of such things and, when the angel thus acts upon them as a secondary cause, that order is within the angels intention. The same is true of the human agent who is using chance order of one thing to another for his own purposes. The order is chance with respect to such natures - the gasoline which explodes when caused to ignite - in which case the real order of causality is between the fire and the ignition of the gasoline and this real order is given by God but MAN USES CHANCE ORDER FOR HIS OWN PURPOSES "44 Gh—JLINE AND MATCH 1, 15 is chance with respect to the active powers of the particular things since the order to the particular lies outside of their intention (not the order to the universal, namely, to ignite). One should add to this that the interpretation of the entire picture through the Last Things should begin with the eternity of existence for the created intelligence. Not only the eternity of existence but the quality of that eternity, namely that it be possession of God through deification. This is the prime choice of God and it is by relation to the incarnation. And it is, with respect to the secondary causes involved in it or with respect to the order of being to being, pure chance, but with respect to God, choice. Thus in general, the process of the interpretation of the created world must begin with the Last Things and then work down. From the point of view of pure reason, it can only be known that these depend upon the divine volition but not what specifically this includes. In the interpretation of man in the Last Things note also the inversion of the relationship between body and soul. The soul by overflow power can control the body such that it is proportioned as this is possible for it to the vision which is constitutive of that state. We have here to disgintuish between the Death, Judgement, Glorification or Condemnation and the subsequent life of the soul. Thus the philosophy of art leads us to the termination in self- possession through infused ideas and then ? beyond to illumination or sharing of the joy of self-possession. But the theology of art leads us to possession of God through infused ideas (read here revelation) and then beyond to the community of the saints. And just as rational theology is returned with the restoration of the body, so art might then return in a parallel way so that it would become a continuing work and not just an intermediate work. There would then be art beyond possession both in the philosophy of art and in the 1, 16 theology of art. Thus matter and body continue beyond the grave. And all of material creation is made immortal with man. The difference in both cases is that of striving for and overflowing beyond. Thus we have in both cases the ultimate things and de novissimis. And there would then be continuing growth beyond the beatific vision. And the overflow, like that of God, would be most liberal, i.e. not for need as much as for joy. Note that the consequence of infused ideas in the angels is the ability to illuminate one another and to be illuminated - i.e. to cause to think more powerfully or to see better. And since nous is the cause of motion,this would also be a cause of motion. Thus just as nous plus infused knowledge allows for illumination, so nous allows for motion and this is the primary causality which the pure spirit can cause under the plan of God and as secondary cause. This occurs because through infused knowledge the pure spirit has the singular thing to be moved in knowledge and has volition. Execution is thus the limit of this sort of knowledge and therefore secondary causality and cooperation. And is there then an on-going "plan" for the material world after the last things? If there is then there is also speculation and art but no longer action for merit but as an expression of divinity achieved. There is thus then a life which is the overflow of the divine being and perfection. Thus before there is petition and afterwards praise - the Holy, Holy etc. 1, 17 And the purpose of the Lord would then be the heavenly community - the chance relationship from the point of view of natures, but intended from the point of view of God. Thus one should work back from the eternal operation to the last things to the operations leading to the last things, to the particular things chosen by God in their particular relations and order. And then one should work back to the beginnings. Something of all of this is seen in the Kantian Ideals of Pure Reason without which thought could not occur and toward which thought moves. And there is then no conflict between science and religion when the necessity of the world as science sees it is understood to be the inverse of the free choice of God and the order he puts into it. This being so, simply to extrapolate the necessity of science toward the future will not do. It must be toward the self, the world and God. I

 

 

 

 


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