Archive for November, 2011

Why have you forsaken me?

…Certain Frenchmen and Almains perforce opened on the archers of prince Edward’s forces and came and fought with the men of arms hand to hand. Then the second force of the Englishmen came to succour the prince’s host … for they had as then much trouble; and they who were with the prince sent a messenger to the king, who was on a little windmill hill. Then the knight said to the king: ‘Sir, the earl of Warwick and the earl of Oxford, sir Raynold Cobham and other, such as be about the prince, your son, are fiercely fought withal and are sore handled; wherefore they desire you that you and your host will come and aid them; for if the Frenchmen increase, as they doubt they will, your son and they shall have much ado.’ Then the king said: ‘Is my son dead or hurt or on the earth felled?’ ‘No, sir,’ quoth the knight, ‘but he is closely matched; wherefore he hath need of your aid.’ ‘Well” said the king, ‘return to him and to them that sent you hither, and say to them that they send no more to me for any adventure that falleth, as long as my son is alive: and also say to them that they suffer him this day to win his spurs; [‘Que il laissent a l’enfant gaegnier ses esperons.’] for if God be pleased, I will that this journey be his and the honour thereof, and to them that be about him.’ Then the knight returned again to them and shewed the king’s words, the which greatly encouraged them.

– Froissart’s chronicle of the Battle of Crécy 1346

In the beginning was the Word

I am currently trying to unravel the meaning of John 1:10 “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”
What does it mean?

  1. Is the whole verse a reference to his pervasive Logos/Creator presence which was ignored as special revelation?
  2. Or is “in the world” a reference to his Logos/Creator presence and “knew him not” about the incarnation
  3. Or is “in the world” a reference to his incarnation as well?

I am just not sure how to judge between 1&2 . But I am leaning toward the common idea that “in the world” means the presence he already had before he came into the world as a human. This would avoid the odd tense- shift from “coming into the world” (v9) to “was in the world”. And it would also go neatly with “and the world was made by him”.

But I must confess my reasons are partly theological too. I am attracted by the idea that Christ’s presence in the world is not simply mediatorial (as if the Father could have just created the world by himself and it would have been just the same) but that it is in some mysterious way “formal” (as in the Logos as Logos/Son gives the world its form).

If that is true then all the best parts of Neoplatonism come true. I mean bits like this:

 

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

        As king fishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
            As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
            Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
        Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
        Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
            Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
            Selves – goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
        Crying What I do is me: for that I came.

        I say more: the just man justices;
            Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
        Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is–
            Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
        Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
            To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Gerard Manley Hopkins