Posts tagged ‘word of the week wednesday’

August 22nd, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Braneworld

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: Braneworld

Definition: The braneworld is a contemporary picture of our universe, which speculates that our visible universe may be confined to a three-dimensional volume which resides in a higher-dimensional space. This picture is motivated by superstring theory and M-theory. Brane is short for ‘membrane,’ the fundamental object of a scenario of the high-energy physics of braneworld (or brane cosmology).

July 11th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Decoherence

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: Decoherence

Definition: A loss of coherence between the angles of components in a superposition and a loss of information due to environment, which gives the appearance of a wave function collapse.

More about the term: A wave function collapse occurs when the outcome of a quantum state is determined by an observer. An observer can be a concious observer or even the interaction of particles.  Instead of a determinate state, decoherence is akin to pulling one string out from an entire knot of strings. Decoherence is a major talking point and factor in multiverse scenarios.

In 1956 Hugh Everett III published his Ph.D. dissertation titled “The Theory of the Universal Wave Function.”  In this paper Everett argued for the relative state formulation of quantum theory and a quantum philosophy, which denied wave collapse.  Initially, this interpretation was highly criticized by the physics community and when Everett visited Niels Bohr in Copenhagen in 1959 Bohr was unimpressed with Everett’s most recent development.[1]

June 20th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: A Series of Time

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: A Series of Time

Definition: Time has an actual temporal becoming to it.  There is an objective past, present, and future.

More about the word:  The special theory of relativity (STR) states that clocks in motion slow down.  This time dilation occurs with respects to the observer.  In the early 1900’s, Albert Einstein’s STR changed how physicists and philosophers viewed the previous Newtonian paradigm of absolute simultaneity.  If STR is correct, then an observer in motion will experience time at a slower rate than an observer at rest.  Perhaps, given STR, the A series of time is really illusory since the experience of time is relative to the subject (the object being the spacetime fabric).

STR may still permit an A series of time where the subject’s experience of objective becoming is supported by the object’s relation to the subject.  There are two concurrent ways this may be done:  Lorentzian simultaneity (from the physical approach) and God as the prime reality (from the metaphysical approach).  Hendrick Lorentz proposed the idea that time and length are absolute but there is no way these measurements could be made since the measuring devices are in motion.

June 13th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Kinetic Thinking

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: Kinetic Thinking

Definition: That step forward in which one allows his reason to move along with the movement of the Truth in order to acquire the mode of rationality for apprehending the Truth that moves and lives and acts upon us in history.

More about the term: The Reformation opened up the historical perspective of understanding and initiated a historical mode of thinking, due as much as anything else to the Old Testament studies.  However, the Reformation did not have the philosophical or intellectual tools with which to consolidate that insight and elaborate the change in method, and so Protestant theology soon fell back upon the old Aristotelian tools of thought.  Consequently the development of historical thinking was severely retarded.  When it did finally break out, however, it developed in two ways, each involving a fundamental error at the root, i.e. the historical thinking of the Enlightenment on the one hand and of Romanticism on the other hand.  It is this duality that is ultimately responsible for the false problem in which the Dilthey-Troeltsch-Herrmann-Bultmann line of thought is entangled in their distinction between Historie and Geschichte.

June 6th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Kerygma

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: Kerygma (pronounced care-ïgma and not kurigma)

Definition: God’s gift, the call of the Gospel, whereby a person can come out of bondage and can now become an authentic self.

More about the term: This was predominately advocated and used by Rudolph Bultmann. Kerygma is the means by which one can come back to his or herself into authenticity out from the fallen self. It allows for the transition from seeking to establish a worldly security leading to the one’s desire to live totally unto God.  The kerygma is given as a gift. It is the power to overcome inauthenticity, estrangement, and the ability to obey the Gospel call and to obey God.

May 16th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Mass Density Link Simpliciter

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: Mass Density Link Simpliciter (I know this is four words but it’s one term)

Definition: Referring to the understanding and interpretation of the ontology of the wave function in quantum mechanics. This involves what link one should use to go from wave function talk to talk of ordinary macroscopic objects.

More about the term:  Because of Einstein’s relativity the Newtonian and Laplacian models have been abandoned.  The present discussion of how God interacts with the world has shifted to quantum mechanics. There are over a dozen interpretations, which mathematically describe the quantum world. 

May 2nd, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Existential Absurdity

by Max Andrews

Word of the Week: Existential Absurdity

Definition: Absurdity is an understanding or a concept in which the individual is superfluous.

More on the term:  This superfluity of being is due to having no allotted place in any necessary scheme of things. Some people invent teleologies in an attempt to lend things a place in overarching schemes but it is an illusion.[1]  According to Albert Camus, man has a longing for reason.  In this world people have understood that there is “irrationality” to reality thus a “despair of true knowledge.”  There still remains a longing for reason despite the recognition of absurdity.  From this, absurdity is born.[2]Camus recognized that man needs to understand this despair and come to terms with it.  His teleology was simply to live life together with others and love one another. There are two types of absurdity: subjective and objective.

April 25th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Creatio de Novo

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Creatio de Novo

Definition:  Latin for creation [or created] afresh.

More about the term:  Progressive creationism sees the creative work of God as a combination of a series of de novo creative acts and an immanent or processive operation.  God at several points, rather widely separated in time, created de novo.  On these occasions he did not make use of previously existing life, simply modifying it.  While he might have brought into being something quite similar to an already existing creation, there were a number of changes and the product of his work was a completely new creature.  Notice that this is completely compatible with common descent evolution and intelligent design.  This isn’t Darwinism but it may be accurate to say that creatio de novo is a categorically acceptable position for theistic evolutionists.  God takes preexisting forms and adds information to that form to have a creation de novo.

For more on this please see Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology ed 2; Hugh Ross’ A Matter of Days; and Fuz Rana’s Who Was Adam?

April 18th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Nachdenken

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Nachdenken

Definition:  German– rethinking and thinking after the words [wherein God is experienced]

More about the term:  This comes into use, particularly, by Karl Barth.  Theology is rethinking the words in which God is manifest–Nachdenken.  Every such word of revelation is an encounter with God and human beings.  Emphatically, the word is Jesus and he is the ultimate place of the encounter of God and human beings.  Jesus Christ is the singular and unique self-revelation of God, the Word of God in person.  From this basic affirmation of faith Barth deduced the deity of Jesus Christ:  “revelation is the self-interpretation of this God.”

February 15th, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Hypostatic Union

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Hypostatic Union

Definition: A formulation of the relationship between Jesus’ divinity and Jesus’ humanity.

More about the term:   The hupostasis is the two natures in one Person, being Jesus Christ.  Hupo means under, and stasis refers to substance.  Though the English words “nature” and “substance” can be synonymous, meaning essence, we need to make a distinction for theological purposes.  If nature is conceived of as a substantive entity, then nature and substance would be the same, and the incarnate Christ would consist of two substances, and would be two Persons (Nestorianism).  But if “nature” is viewed as a “complex of attributes” this error is more apt to be avoided.  The single Person of the incarnate Christ retained the total complex of divine attributes and possessed all the complex of human attributes essential to a perfect human being.

Here we must remedy Apollinarius’ thought on the Logos.  Apollinarius believed that the Logos did not possess what would qualify as a human rational soul.  On the contrary, the Logos, in consistence with the Imago Dei, does possess the attributes of a human rational soul.  If the Logos does not posses the attributes, it compromises the Imago Dei and then we would not be made completely in the Image of God.

What makes a human a human? —A physical body and a rational soul.

What makes God to be God? —Divine necessity and divine attributes.

So how can He be ignorant if He is God?  How can He not sin if He is human?  Is there a polarity here?

No, once there is a rational conception of the two natures in one Being, it fits like a puzzle.  Though these questions are not all the questions there may be, they are examples of how the two natures function in a rational compatibility.  Self-consciousness may play a role.  The question is whether Christ in His own self-consciousness was aware of His deity and humanity.  The answer is that the Person was always aware in Himself to His deity and that the Person grew in self-consciousness with respect to His humanity.

Jesus is able to be sinless because although the Bible teaches that everyone has sinned (Rom. 3:23), sin is not necessary.  Recall the possibility of a world that does and does not have sin (used in the problem of evil):

There is a possible world in which all free creatures willingly and freely choose to do right.

There is a possible world in which all free creatures willingly and freely choose to do evil.

Thus, it is possible that every world God could create containing free creatures would be a world with sin and evil.

This does not mean that Jesus is created (outside of the biological human complexity that exists in the physical body).  This is in relation to Jesus as a free agent, even more so due to humans having the notion permission.[1]  The two natures exist eternally and are not created (Imago Dei).  In this logic, we can see that human righteousness is not dependent upon sin (just as we have a rational soul in our human nature, we can choose to do right without necessity of wrong). So it is possible for Jesus to be genuinely tempted (in His human nature), while still maintaining His divine nature.  Jesus’ human nature was able to feel the draw and lure of temptation but would not be able to sin because of His divine nature.  God cannot feel the draw and lure of temptation, thus it was His human nature that was tempted.  To sum this point up, righteousness is not contingent upon sin.


[1] This point disagrees with the Fifth Ecumenical Council, which affirmed diothelitism (two wills of Christ).  I would tend to believe there to be only one will, otherwise there would be a duality of two persons (Nestorianism).  There was a full human mind and intellect with a rational soul.