The latest in the Feser vs Hart brewhaha
#1
Edward Feser has written another response to David Bentley Hart over at public discourse.

Here is the link if anyone is interested http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/05/15027/

There is also an ongoing conversation about the above article over at Feser's blog which can be found here http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/05/....html#more

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#2
Why every article by Hart is behind the pay wall? This is getting tiresome. I guess he's the only in-house writer at FT worthy paying what would amount to a cup of coffee, a snack a ride on the bus and a candy.

Some people were speculating what Feser meant by Heaven, if it just meant the place where the soul of saints are right now or the place where the redeemed will be after the resurrection. Apparently he means the latter, which is chilling. In his first article he argues that nothing without intellect can exist in Heaven, now he admits the possibility of it, but says that this will only mean our bodies. I don't want to criticize or anything, lest this is actually what God has in mind (I'd be eternally thankful just to be there, I wouldn't dream of criticizing the décor), but this is very strange to say the least. I mean, why all these animals then?
This is a trend I'm noticing with Feser. Alright, he might be a good legislator and logician, but in the end something is missing. Like in that thread about Feser vs. von Hildebrand views on sexual mores, Feser completely lacks the sense of mystery.
Am I being too irrational or superstitious?
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#3
(05-24-2015, 12:15 AM)Renatus Frater Wrote: Some people were speculating what Feser meant by Heaven, if it just meant the place where the soul of saints are right now or the place where the redeemed will be after the resurrection. Apparently he means the latter, which is chilling.

Its very clear that Ed Feser considers, that when we die our intellects go to Heaven, in line with the scholastic tradition. This is a radically impoverished condition, compared to what we are now, but we'll be joined to the beatific vision which surpasses any natural joy possible to an unimaginable degree. He also argues that your pooch won't be in Heaven (for some reason those who argue that animals are in Heaven, never argue about bees, worms and maggots), because basically there's no way for God to recreate that particular pooch as its soul is bound up entirely with its body. When its body dies, its soul is annihilated, made to nothing.

We'll go to Heaven as souls, and in the Resurrection we'll be reunited with our bodies. As for what else happens Ed Feser doesn't go into that. God could in principle recreate animals, He just couldn't recreate your old pooch. That particular creature is gone. And the question remains why he'd create anything at all anymore as people have been invited into the beatific vision, which surpasses any joy.

That's not to say that Scholastics thought that there'd be no more motion in Heaven, though that was possible. St. Aquinas speculates that sometimes saints would move, and do things with their new powers to demonstrate and show the wisdom and glory of God.
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#4
Quote:That's not to say that Scholastics thought that there'd be no more motion in Heaven, though that was possible. St. Aquinas speculates that sometimes saints would move, and do things with their new powers to demonstrate and show the wisdom and glory of God.

This is the part that scares me whenever I read about Heaven and the Beatific Vision. I am not denying that this is true, but rather my humanity kicking in.

I just couldn't imagine (at least not in a human level) how there could be no motion in Heaven. I mean I know that in Heaven as we obtain the Beatific vision that nothing else matters as we are in the Glory of God in its fullness. However I could not imagine not moving at all or for that reason conversation in Heaven. Of course I don't mean vulgar and vain conversation but I don't see how we couldn't converse at all, even if simply talking about the majesty of God.

Another question I have in regards to Heaven is in regards to our relationship to those whom we have known and love here on earth. I couldn't imagine not being able to speak or being able to do innocent things with them in Heaven. Of coarse once again this isn't to say that the nature of these relationships wouldn't be different, for they would be perfected in Heaven.
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#5
Oh I'm definitely also in the school of people who will say that in Heaven saints will move. Here's what St. Aquinas, taught on it, and remember he considered Heaven to be timeless... but apparently not static. That just seems part of our humanity somehow, but we have to be careful to distinguish our animal nature which is lower than our human nature.

Personally I think we'll probably be more active in Heaven than on Earth, but that its not our movements and relationships that brings us the real joy, that'll be the beatific vision, which is constantly and unchangingly present.

Note St. Aquinas presents all the objections to his opinion before he answers them.

"Article 2. Whether the saints will never use their agility for the purpose of movement?

Objection 1. It would seem that the saints will never use their agility for the purpose of movement. For, according to the Philosopher (Phys. iii, 2), "movement is the act of the imperfect." But there will be no imperfection in glorified bodies. Neither therefore will there be any movement.

Objection 2. Further, all movement is on account of some need, because whatever is in motion is moved for the sake of obtaining some end. But glorified bodies will have no need, since as Augustine says (De Spiritu et Anima, lxiii [Cf. 70, 2, ad 1], "all thou willest will be there, and nothing that thou willest not." Therefore they will not move.

Objection 3. Further, according to the Philosopher (De Coelo et Mundo ii), "that which shares the Divine goodness without movement shares it more excellently than that which shares it with movement." Now the glorified body shares the Divine goodness more excellently than any other body. Since then certain bodies, like the heavenly bodies, will remain altogether without movement, it seems that much more will human bodies remain so.

Objection 4. Further, Augustine says (De Vera Relig. xii) that the soul being established in God will in consequence establish its body. Now the soul will be so established in God, that in no way will it move away from Him. Therefore in the body there will be no movement caused by the soul.

Objection 5. Further, the more noble a body is, the more noble a place is due to it: wherefore Christ's body which is the most exalted of all has the highest place of all, according to Hebrews 7:26, "Made higher than the heavens," where a gloss [Gloss on Hebrews 1:3: "On the right hand of the majesty"] says, "in place and dignity." And again each glorified body will, in like manner, have a place befitting it according to the measure of its dignity. Now a fitting place is one of the conditions pertaining to glory. Since then after the resurrection the glory of the saints will never vary, neither by increase nor by decrease, because they will then have reached the final term of all, it would seem that their bodies will never leave the place assigned to them, and consequently will not be moved.

On the contrary, It is written (Isaiah 40:31): "They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint"; and (Wisdom 3:7): "(The just) shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds." Therefore there will be some movement in glorified bodies.

I answer that, It is necessary to suppose that the glorified bodies are moved sometimes, since even Christ's body was moved in His ascension, and likewise the bodies of the saints, which will arise from the earth, will ascend to the empyrean [The empyrean was the highest of the concentric spheres or heavens, and was identified by Christian writers with the abode of God. Cf. I, 56, 3]. But even after they have climbed the heavens, it is likely that they will sometimes move according as it pleases them; so that by actually putting into practice that which is in their power, they may show forth the excellence of Divine wisdom, and that furthermore their vision may be refreshed by the beauty of the variety of creatures, in which God's wisdom will shine forth with great evidence: for sense can only perceive that which is present, although glorified bodies can perceive from a greater distance than non-glorified bodies. And yet movement will nowise diminish their happiness which consists in seeing God, for He will be everywhere present to them; thus Gregory says of the angels (Hom. xxxiv in Evang.) that "wherever they are sent their course lies in God."

Reply to Objection 1. Local movement changes nothing that is intrinsic to a thing, but only that which is without namely place. Hence that which is moved locally is perfect as to those things which are within (Phys. viii, 7), although it has an imperfection as to place, because while it is in one place it is in potentiality with regard to another place, since it cannot be in several places at the same time, for this belongs to God alone. But this defect is not inconsistent with the perfection of glory, as neither is the defect whereby a creature is formed from nothing. Hence such like defects will remain in glorified bodies.

Reply to Objection 2. A person is said to need a thing in two ways, namely absolutely and relatively. One needs absolutely that without which one cannot retain one's being or one's perfection: and thus movement in glorified bodies will not be on account of a need, because their happiness will suffice them for all such things. But we need a thing relatively when without it some end we have in view cannot be obtained by us, or not so well, or not in some particular way. It is thus that movement will be in the blessed on account of need, for they will be unable to show forth their motive power practically, unless they be in motion, since nothing prevents a need of this kind being in glorified bodies.

Reply to Objection 3. This argument would prove if the glorified body were unable even without movement to share the Divine goodness much more perfectly than the heavenly bodies, which is untrue. Hence glorified bodies will be moved, not in order to gain a perfect participation in the Divine goodness (since they have this through glory), but in order to show the soul's power. On the other hand, the movement of the heavenly bodies could not show their power, except the power they have in moving lower bodies to generation and corruption, which is not becoming to that state. Hence the argument does not prove.

Reply to Objection 4. Local movement takes nothing away from the stability of the soul that is established in God, since it does not affect that which is intrinsic to a thing, as stated above (ad 1).

Reply to Objection 5. The fitting place assigned to each glorified body according to the degree of its dignity belongs to the accidental reward. Nor does it follow that this reward is diminished whenever the body is outside its place; because that place pertains to reward, not as actually containing the body located therein (since nothing flows therefrom into the glorified body, but rather does it receive splendor therefrom), but as being due to merits. Wherefore, though out of that place, they will still continue to rejoice in it."
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#6
I am drawn to both positions, motion and non-motion, for different reasons, but both reasons are sentimental.  ???
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#7
Good ole Ed does another pretty good job of defending Faith and Reason against various Fundamentalist and/or Rationalist views.

However, it seems to me that he sometimes gets so bogged in his logic that some rather pragmatic considerations get overlooked.

No babies in Heaven? Does he assume that all babies that die are instantaneously transformed into fully developed adults at their death? If so at which stage of adulthood are they transformed into? 20 year olds, 30, 40, 50? If so does it also work in reverse? Would a senile 90 year old be returned to some stage of their youth?

I will contend that a senile 90 year old will be a revered sage in Heaven with their damaged or worn out brains restored to perfect functionality.

Babies? Why can't a not fully developed human be perfectly happy? Who has not seen a well-contented baby gurgling and laughing even in a state of natural happiness?

No one can "see" God in all His perfection and splendour because there's too much of Him. The infinite cannot be contained (fully perceived) by anything finite. To each according to his capacity.

It reminds me of the story of a great philosopher, Mme. Martin, teaching another great philosopher, her daughter, Therese, who asked "How can it be just that someone who spends their whole life loving and serving God gets the same eternal reward as a sinner who converts in his last breath"? Mme. Martin replied "Take a bucket and a thimble and fill them both with water. Which is more full?"

Movement, in the Thomistic sense, is often synonymous with "change" and is not restricted to physical displacement.
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#8
(05-24-2015, 01:22 AM)Leonhard Wrote:
(05-24-2015, 12:15 AM)Renatus Frater Wrote: Some people were speculating what Feser meant by Heaven, if it just meant the place where the soul of saints are right now or the place where the redeemed will be after the resurrection. Apparently he means the latter, which is chilling.

Its very clear that Ed Feser considers, that when we die our intellects go to Heaven, in line with the scholastic tradition. This is a radically impoverished condition, compared to what we are now, but we'll be joined to the beatific vision which surpasses any natural joy possible to an unimaginable degree. He also argues that your pooch won't be in Heaven (for some reason those who argue that animals are in Heaven, never argue about bees, worms and maggots), because basically there's no way for God to recreate that particular pooch as its soul is bound up entirely with its body. When its body dies, its soul is annihilated, made to nothing.

We'll go to Heaven as souls, and in the Resurrection we'll be reunited with our bodies. As for what else happens Ed Feser doesn't go into that. God could in principle recreate animals, He just couldn't recreate your old pooch. That particular creature is gone. And the question remains why he'd create anything at all anymore as people have been invited into the beatific vision, which surpasses any joy.

That's not to say that Scholastics thought that there'd be no more motion in Heaven, though that was possible. St. Aquinas speculates that sometimes saints would move, and do things with their new powers to demonstrate and show the wisdom and glory of God.

Right, but I'm not saying that the individual animals will be in Heaven, but I strongly suspect the species will be there. Notice that God doesn't annihilate His creation (He doesn't even annihilate the damned). And nobody is claiming that without animals Heaven will be unpleasant, but to delight in animals in no way follows that one is detracting from the beatific vision. Rather, I'd assume the consequence of the beatific vision is a rightly ordered relation with creation—think of how the saints love us.

The question “why would he create anything at all” after the resurrection (notice He wouldn't need to create, as everything is already created and He delights in His creation, and a creation that is eagerly awaiting the revelation of the sons of God, as St. Paul informs us) is a perfect example of what I mean in my last paragraph. Its not that Feser or you get anything wrong, but its more like stuff is missing. If we are to abuse the analogia entis I'd say Feser (and you maybe) sees God as modern, minimalist or even brutalist, while I (and DBH) see Him more like the baroque or gothic.

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#9
I'll skip creating another topic and just tack on yet another blog post by Feser. http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2015/05/....html#more

It appears to me that at this point Feser and Hart will simply have to agree to disagree. That said I think that if the two ever sat down face to face much of the disagreement would fall away and they would find that underneath their differences in style and opinion lay more elemental similarities, as rivals often do when the smoke clears.

Also more importantly, in reading the comment section several people who apparently know Hart well mentioned his recent and ongoing health problems. So you might want to spare some prayers for him and his family.
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#10
(05-24-2015, 09:29 AM)Renatus Frater Wrote: The question “why would he create anything at all” after the resurrection (notice He wouldn't need to create, as everything is already created and He delights in His creation, and a creation that is eagerly awaiting the revelation of the sons of God, as St. Paul informs us) is a perfect example of what I mean in my last paragraph. Its not that Feser or you get anything wrong, but its more like stuff is missing. If we are to abuse the analogia entis I'd say Feser (and you maybe) sees God as modern, minimalist or even brutalist, while I (and DBH) see Him more like the baroque or gothic.
Plois ixploin. What could "after the Resurrection" possibly mean to an omnipotent, omniscient Being?
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