As Iron Sharpens Iron

An ongoing and online discussion between: an Orthodox informed Ecumaniac without a denominational home, an ordained Baptist youth pastor with an open mind, a Calvinist worship leader/seminarian with a staggering vocabulary and ability to make a point, and a cradle Catholic with a love/hate relationship to Rome.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Immanuel Kant, Ding a Sich and Scripture

There's a philosopher, Immanuel Kant, who talks about what things we can know. His main and most interesting idea is Ding an Sich or "Things in themselves." Here's an example. Place a quarter on a table. Look at it. Now turn off the light. It looks darker. Move to another place in the room. It looks bigger or smaller. Our perception of the quarter changes as we look at it from various sensory places. Kant says there is the quarter AS WE PERCIEVE IT and the quarter AS IT IS. We can know the former, but not the latter.

I think it's the same with the Bible. Even if it is infallible, inerrant, and a couple of other words which start with "in" in the original autograph, it doesn't matter. We don't know the Bible ding an sich." We know it as we percieve it.

The Church, by the way, did not have the New Testament in the beginning, yet was able to make definitive statements about the faith. This was based on the authority of the apostles. The Church continued to make definitive statements and these, collectively (including, but not limited to, Scripture) are the Tradition of the Church. They are things that the successors of the apostles, the Bishops, worked out together in councils, identifying that which was True by the power of the Holy Spirit and discarding that which was false.

Is there a solution? Not really. You say you trust in the Bible, but you don't. You're really trusting in yourself as the interpreter of the Bible. All Protestants are. I think that's incredibly dangerous! I trust in the Church. I have faith in what Jesus said, that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. They were preaching the Gospel and teaching the Christian life long before anything was written down.

You can respond or move on. I'm game for either.


Anonymous adelaide said...

Trust only placed in either The Scriptures or The Church - probably not the best approach.

Trust placed firmly in God, the Father, Christ, the Son & The Holy Spirit - our guide and counselor in all things, - this is best. . .
for the Protestant and the Catholic.

1:34 PM  
Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

One can say one trusts the Trinity, which is good, except that we then are still saying we trust ourselves to know what God is telling us. That is less than good, because we are less than good.

We all seek something we can trust through which God can reveal His will and His thought to us. When I say, "I trust the Church," I mean two things. First, the Church is the Body of Christ. Second, in humility, we submit ourselves to the entire Church rather than just our own interpretation of what the Bible says or what we THINK God says. We do it together, never on our own.

One other slight correction. I don't think I can either be properly categorized as a Protestant or a Catholic. Neither would have me.

1:44 PM  

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