1. The positing of two “worlds,” “natural” opposed to “divine” or “supernatural,”1 is unsustainable2 except as an “ontotheological” or perhaps more properly “onto-theo-anthropological” mode of conceptual organization or schematization. In other words, “natural” and “divine” refer to two of three such interdependent and mutually defining, yet conceptually distinguishable moments that seem to organize any discourse of or on monotheism, including the discourses of anti-monotheism and atheism, the third moment being “the human.”3
2. We can entertain as a second hypothesis or corrollary hypothesis4, that the familiar Sunday School questions – e.g., “How could a truly benevolent God allow evil to exist?” – emerge from, speaking loosely, the contradiction in conceiving this tripartite structure and attempting effectively in the same movement to collapse it again: We provisionally conceive of the divine principle or essence as unlike the human and natural principles, yet ask ourselves, “What happens if we view the divine principle as a human-like natural existent?” Or: “What if God possessed intentionality in the way that we conceive of human beings possessing intentionality, and operated within nature in the way that we conceive of natural forces acting within nature?” Such questioning ought to be self-evidently absurd, but historically and we might suspect necessarily, under the onto-theo-anthropological discursive hypothesis, it is a very human and very natural questioning. So when, for instance, asking what could be meant by omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence, we humanly-naturally wonder what a human-like natural-existent omnipotence etc. would be, but the question of, say, omnipotence makes sense, whatever sense it possibly could make, only and strictly as a question of omnipotence as divine omnipotence, omnipotence in the mode of or in relationship to the divine, or power (potency) from the perspective of the divine.
- Comment under “Sunday Morning Atheism” by Christopher Carr. [↩]
- See paragraphs 11-12 in comment under “Atheism, Paganism, and the God of Abraham” by John Wall [↩]
- This tripartitite structure of the monotheistic discourse has been to my knowledge most intensively and exhaustively explicated by Hermann Cohen and Franz Rosenszweig, as discussed elsewhere on this blog especially in relation to the unique historical context that produced them, attempting to follow and no doubt distorting Cohen’s Religion of Reason, Rosenzweig’s The Star of Redemption, and commentary by Peter Eli Gordon in Rosenzweig and Heidegger. [↩]
- Advancing the proofs will be a day- or week- or life-consuming exercise, but we’ll get to it as we can, expanding upon prior discussion or ongoing notes: Today we begin with our latest endings. [↩]