body

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

body
embodiment
“Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960, 97-150, at 132 (in his embodiment (lichamelijkheid), man functions as subject, and not as object, in all of the modal aspects.
flesh II, 494

“Kuyper’s Wetenschapsleer,” p. 204

mantle of functions “Het tijdsprobleem en zijn antinomieën,” pp. 4, 5

“Kuyper’s Wetenschapsleer,” p. 204

‘Versetzung’ Baader’s idea of displacement into a temporal embodiment

A body can be temporal or supratemporal. Dooyeweerd does not speculate about our supratemporal body, although he does refer to medieval discussions regarding whether angels have a body.

Our temporal body is the complete “mantle” of temporal functions, or what Dooyeweerd calls the ‘functiemantel.’ Our acts take place from out of our supratemporal center, but they are expressed in our body and in temporal reality. When he speaks of our ‘nature,’ Dooyeweerd sometimes has in mind this full temporal reality, the entire body or mantle of functions. Our ‘nature’ is that in which our central selfhood expresses itself. It is only because of this expression from our supratemporal heart that we can experience time:

Wanneer wij in het diepste concentratiepunt van ons bestaan den tijd niet to boven gingen, dan zou ook ons bewustjijn noodzekelijk in den tijd opgaan, en daarmede de mogelijkheid der religieuze zelf-concentratie ontberen. Het zou geen tijdsprobleem kennen, want tot wezenlijk probleem wordt de tijd eerst, wanneer, wij distantie tegenover hem kunnen nemen in het boven-tijdeliljke, dat wij in het diepst van ons wezen ervaren. Slechts omdat de eeuw (het aevum) in ‘s menschen hart gelegd is, terwijl hij met geheel zijn functiemantel in den tijd besloten is, kan hij ook wezenlijk tijdsbesef hebben.(“Het tijdsprobleem en zijn antinomieën,” Philosophia Reformata,vol IV, 1939, 1-2)

[If we did not transcend time in the deepest concentration point of our existence, then our consciousness would necessarily be swallowed up in time, and we would thereby miss the possibility of religious self-concentration. We would know no problem of time, for time only becomes a real problem whenever we can take distance from it in the supratemporal, which we experience in the deepest part of our being. Man can have a real sense of time only because eternity (the aevum) is set in his heart, while he with his whole mantle of functions is enclosed in time.]

In his embodiment (lichaamelijkheid), man functions as subject, and not as object, in all of the modal aspects.(“Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij “A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia Reformata 25 (1960, 97-150, at 132). But man’s selfhood can never be identified with his embodiment. The body is the “temple” of God’s Spirit, but not the center and the radix of our humanity, which is created according to God’s image.(p. 133).

According to Dooyeweerd’s view of creation, we were first created as an undifferentiated supratemporal unity. Thereafter there was a forming of us, and a placing within or a fitting within temporal reality. Dooyeweerd speaks of two kinds of generation: a spiritual and a bodily generation:

Wij zijn geestelijk zaad van Adam, zoals wij naar het tijdelijk vleesch zijn van zijn vleesch en bloed van zijn bloed, want er is tweeërlei lijn van generatie; er is een geestelijk lijn en er is een lichamelijke lijn en dan zijn wij naar den blode uit Adam gesproden. (Dooyeweerd: “Calvijn als Bouwer” in Polemios2/22 Aug. 23/1947, in Folder Miscellaneous Articles, 1940-50, archives, ICS).

Dooyeweerd’s position regarding the nature of our temporal “body” is set out in his “32 Propositions of Anthropology” ((De leer van den mensch in de W.D.W., Corr. Bladen 5 (1942). Our “body” is an “enkaptic” intertwining of four individuality structures:

1. the physico-chemical structure (inorganic)
2. the biotic structure (vegetative)
3. the psychic or instinctual feeling structure
4. the act structure. Our acts come forth from our center, but these acts function within the enkaptically structured whole of the human body.

But these structures are only of the temporal bodily form, and not of the supratemporal selfhood:

The human body is man himself in the structural whole of his temporal appearance (NC II, 89)

Dooyeweerd says that the Biblical dichotomy of soul and body is not to be found in the temporal, but in the nonduality [twee (-een)heid] of the supratemporal religious center or the root (the ‘heart’ or ‘soul’) and the whole mantle of temporal functions (the ‘body’):

Juist daarom zoekt de W. d. W. de schriftuurlijke dichotomie van ziel en lichaam niet in het tijdelijke maar in de twee (-een)heid van het boven-tijdelijk religieuze centrum of den wortel (het “hart” of de “ziel”) en den geheelen tijdelijken functie-mantel (het “lichaam”). (“Kuyper’s Wetenschapsleer,” Philosophia Reformata (1939), 204).

[Just because of this, the Philosophy of the Law-Idea seeks the biblical dichotomy of soul and body not in the temporal, but in the nonduality of the supratemporal religious center or root (the “heart” or the “soul”) and the whole temporal mantle of functions (the “body.”]

(There is in reality only one fundamental dichotomy [principieele caesuur], that between the whole temporal existence and its supratemporal religious root, a dichotomy that comes into effect in the temporal death of man. (“The Problem of Time in the Philosophy of the Law-Idea,” Part II Philosophia Reformata 1940, 216)

We transcend time in the center of our existence at the same time [tegelijk] as we are enclosed within time. Dooyeweerd says this in many other places. For example,

Ons Archimedisch punt, dat ons zelfbewustzijn (de crux van alle humanistische kennistheorie!) bepaalt, doet ons de tijdelijke werkelijkheid zien als een uiterst gedifferentieerde zin-breking van de religieuze zin-volheid van onzen kosmos door het prisma van den kosmischen tijd, welken tijd wij in den religieuzen wortel van ons zelfbewustzijn, in boventijdelijke zelf-heid transcendeeren, doch waarin wij met al onze tijdelijke bewustzijns- en andere kosmische functies tevens immanent verkeeren (Crisis, 93).

[Our Archimedean point, which determines our self-consciousness (the crux of all humanistic epistemology!), allows us to see temporal reality as an extremely differentiated meaning-refraction of the religious fullness of meaning of our cosmos by the prism of cosmic time. This time is transcended in the religious root of our self-consciousness, in our supratemporal self-hood. Yet at the same time we move immanently within this time with all our temporal consciousness- and other cosmic functions.]

and

Het zelfbewustzijn draagt noodzakelijk tegelijk een den tijd transcendeerend en den tijd immanent karakter. De diepere identiteit, welke in de zelf-heidbeleefd wordt, is een trans-functioneele, het is een zich een-en dezelfde weten in en boven alle kosmisch-tijdelijke zinfuncties en het zich zijn tijdelijke zinfuncties als eigen weten. (Crisis, 97).

[Self-consciousness necessarily carries with it at the same time a character of transcending time and a character immanent within time. The deeper identity, which is experienced in the self-hood, is a trans-functional one, it is a knowing oneself as one and the same in and above all cosmic-temporal meaning functions and it is a knowing of one’s temporal functions as one’s own.]

At death, all of the individuality structures that make up our body are dissolved. All functions of cosmic time are gone. Our total temporal existence is “laid down at death.” The temporal body which we put off at death is the entire “mantle of temporal functions” [functiemantel]. (“Het tijdsprobleem en zijn antinomieën op het immanentie-standpunt,” Philosophia Reformata (1939), 4-5). Our temporal body disintegrates at death because it loses its connection to to our supratemporal center, the integral religious root. But our supratemporal center continues in the afterlife. From Dooyeweerd’s view that the need to express ourselves is given at creation, I believe it is reasonable to infer that we receive a new body or nature in the afterlife. This seems to be confirmed by his statement,

Hiermede is allerminst de belijdenis van de ìwederopstanding des vleesches en de principieele identiteit von den functiemantel na de opstanding prijsgegeven (“Kuyper’s Wetenschapsleer,” Philosophia Reformata (1939) 193-232, p. 204 ft. 13).

[By this we have not at all given up the confession of the resurrection of the flesh and the identity in principle of the mantle of functions after the resurrection.]

In his first response to the curators of the Vrije Universiteit (April 27, 1937), in response to Hepp’s complaints, Dooyeweerd wrote that the WdW makes a radical break with immanence philosophy in its idea that it understands that our whole temporal human existence proceeds from out of the religious root, the heart. And the fall consisted in the falling away of the heart from its Creator. That is the cause of spiritual death [geestelijken dood]. This spiritual death cannot be confused with bodily [lichamelijken] death nor with eternal [eeuwigen dood]. He says that the acknowledgement of the spiritual death as the consequence of the fall is so central to the WdW that if it is denied, no single part of the WdW can be understood. (Verburg 212).

Franz von Baader uses a very similar expression to that of “mantle of temporal funcitons.” See his article Elementarbegriffe, 25 ft.). Baader says that since the fall we are both within and out of cosmic time. Our heart is supratemporal, but our functions are temporal. We are ‘Versetzt’ or displaced beings. He says that we were destined before the Fall to be in the region above time, or at the center of the “temporal mantle” [zeitliche Hülle], but now we are in the periphery. Baader uses the French expression ‘cette envelope temporelle’to translate the term [zeitliche Hülle] or “temporal mantle.”

Baader was opposed to any pietistic spiritualizing that tried to flee the body. He said that this was a kind of self-castration. We require embodiment. Even God has a’ nature’ in which He expresses himself.

Kuyper expressed appreciation for Baader’s emphasis on embodiment, and Baader’s opposition to spiritualizing. Dooyeweerd was also opposed to spiritualizing tendencies.

Notes revised Jan 29/08; Dec 23/16

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