cross

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.)

cross I, 71(meditation on)
II, 494, 495NC I, 106
NC II, 563

Dooyeweerd mentions the cross of Christ in a few places.

How does the cross relate to the Christian Ground-Motive of creation, fall and redemption? Dooyeweerd usually sees redemption in terms of Christ as the New Root. Man was intended to be the supratemporal root of temporal reality. When Man fell, temporal reality fell with him. To preserve temporal reality from falling into nothingness, a New Root was required. This was done by Christ, in whom we now participate.

Dooyeweerd’s view of the incarnation is therefore very different than the juridical view put forward by Anselm in his Cur Deus Homo. Christ’s incarnation is not so much to take our punishment as to effect a new ontical relationship. It is not so much a substitutionary atonement as a substitutionary incarnation.

Because the substitution of Christ as the New Root occurs in the supratemporal or religious horizon, Dooyeweerd tends to depreciate the historical temporal events in Christ’s life and death. There is also the sense that redemption has occurred in the supratemporal and that it is now only being worked out in the temporal. There is also a confidence in the efficacy of redemption in that nothing of the created world will be lost in Christ (NC I, 101).

Dooyeweerd speaks of the importance of meditation or concentration on the cross of Christ as a symbol of the coincidence of meaning in the supratemporal fullness of meaning (I, 71; NC I, 106). This use of the image of the cross to express coincidence of meaning, the intersection of the vertical and the horizontal, is also one that is used by C.G. Jung. Jung uses the cross as a symbol of wholeness, and as the intersection of four elements of a mandala.

Dooyeweerd does make some references to the cross that may reflect a more traditional theology: “cross as stumbling-block” (II, 494) and “Him who overcame death on the cross (II, 495; NC II, 563). But even these references are more with respect to the overcoming of our temporal limitations.

A late letter shows that he continued to think of the Cross in terms of the necessity of coming to terms with the boundaries and limits of our thinking. Prof. Dr. JJ. Duyvené de Wit of Bloemfontein, South Africa. De Wit had written to Dooyeweerd about creation science and evolution. Dooyeweerd says in a letter Feb. 11, 1964:

Ik dacht dat van te voren voor lezers en hoorders dit duidelijk moest zijn: òf er een genetsiche lijn loopt van een eencellig wezen via meercellige organismen tot de eerste mens, daar kunnen we geen ja èn geen nee op zeggen. Het antwoord op de vraag “how God geschapen heeft” ligt buiten onze menselijk-creatuurlijke wetenschappelijke mogelijkheden. En wie hièr ja òf ook nee gaat zeggen, meent als mens naast God, wat dan meestal neerkomt op: op de plaats van de Schepper, te kunnen gaan staan.

[I thought that it should be clear at the outset for readers and listeners: whether there is a genetic line that runs from a one-celled being via multi-celled organisms to the first man–about this we can say neither yes nor no. The answer to the question “how God has created” lies outside our human-creaturely scientific possibilities. And whoever says yes or no to this pretends to stand as human next to God, which usually is the same as to stand in place of the Creator.]

and

Wanneer we tegen hen die een “macroëvolutie” met behulp van de “mechanismen der microëvolutie”, mutaties e.d. die we vandaag kunnen waarnemen, opwerpen: Mijne heren, op deze manier wordt de “genenpot’ alleen maar minder en kan nooit méér worden dan is dat wetenschappelijk van groot belang maar bewijst niet en kàn niet bewijzen dat er geen macroëvolutie heeft plaats gehad.

[Whenever we try to oppose “macroevolution” with the help of the “mechanisms of microevolution,” such as mutations and so on that we can observe today, we may say, “Gentlemen, in this way the “gene pool” can only grow smaller and can never become greater.” That is of great importance scientifically, but it does not prove, and cannot prove that there has been no macroevolution.]

Whether we say that science can show that there is a phylogenetic relation from the first cell to man, or whether we deny such a relation–both arguments will lead to a falsification of science, to speculative philosophy and to false prophecy. Dooyeweerd says that it is hard for a scientific person to acknowledge that he stands here before a boundary (grens). Remarkably, Dooyeweerd places this boundary question in the context of the cross of Golgotha:

Aan het Kruis van Golgotha heeft onze Heiland Zèlf het “Mijn God, Mijn God, waaròm?” uitgeroepen vóór Hij de Geest gaf met het “In Uwe handen beveel ik Mijn Geest”. Maar dan staan we ook bij het Kruis dat de Joden een ergernis en de Grieken een dwaasheid was.

[On the Cross of Golgotha, our Saviour HImself called out “My God, My God, why?” before He gave up the Spirit with “In your hands I commend My Spirit.” But then we stand by the Cross which was a hindrance to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks.

Dooyeweerd says that Teilhard de Chardin, who as a Christian wants to say that there is evolution from alpha to Omega, does not want to accept a bit of that hindrance of the Cross. Dooyeweerd says that his philosophy of the WdW and the principle of “Sovereignty in its own sphere” show the special sciences their place, but that it also shows the boundaries for the special sciences. He does not think that Jan Lever’s view of creation science has seen this, because Lever is too concerned about the supposed static nature of the irreducible modalities.

Revised Sept. 12/05; Dec 24/16

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