Word

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.)

Word I, II, 493, 495

NC II, 561 (divine Word-revelation came to us in the temporal garb of human language)

Dooyeweerd does not limit the meaning of Word revelation to Scripture (NC II, 307).

Steen says that for Dooyeweerd, the Word of God is a driving power (drijfkracht, kracht, dunamis, a power) that pulls our selfhood from its temporal absolutizations towards our true Origin. There is a divine drawing (‘trahere’) away from temporal diversity (Steen 76).

Dooyeweerd says,

In the Word-revelation God addresses the human race in its religious root, and man has only to listen faithfully. (NC II, 307).

The Bible was given because of our apostasy from this Word-revelation.

God’s Word teaches us only by working within us. This work is possible only through God’s Spirit. And this work causes a radical revolution in the religious root of our existence.

Slechts Gods Geest kan ons de radicale zin van de Woord-openbaring onthullen, die ons in afgrondelijke diepten tegelijk de waarachtige God en ons zelvenontdekt. Gods Woord leert ons wanneer het in reddened zin werkt. En waar het in reddened zin werkt, brengt het onafwendbaar de radicale omwentelling in de wortel van ons van God afgevallen bestaan.” (Vernieuwing en Bezinning 11)

[Only God’s Spirit can disclose to us the radical meaning of the Word revelation, which in abysmal depths discloses to us simultaneously the true God and our selves. God’s Word teaches us whenever it works in a redemptive sense. And where it works in this redemptive sense, it inevitably brings the radical revolution in the root of our existence which had fallen away from God.] (my translation; the translation in Roots 12 obscures the meaning).

Dooyeweerd says that there is always a strct correlation between the termpoal form of the Word of God and its eternal content “tijdelijke gestalte en eeuwige inhoud van het Woord Gods.” Anti-revouitionaire Staatkunde, II (1935), 336-339; 364; referred to in Steen, 225).

For Baader, God’s central action occurs above time; this is the central action of the Word. This central action is linked with His original supratemporal work (Zeit 39, ft. 20).

Das ursprüngliche zeitliche Werk des Urmenschen war, all Strahlen dieser zentralen Aktion (des Wortes) nach und nach in seinem Wesen zu vereinigen und also das Wort in sich Mensch werden zu lassen. Ein Menschwerdung, welche, wie man weiß, Gott selbst übernahm, nachdem der Mensch sie vernachlässigte (Zeit, 39 ft. 20; Werke II, 89)

[The original temporal work of original Man was to gradually unite within its being all rays of this central action (of the Word), and therefore to let the Word become human in itself. A becoming human which, as we know, God Himself undertook, after humans neglected it.]

This view of God’s Word as acting in a Central way is familiar in Dooyeweerd and in neo-Calvinism generally.

For example, Kuyper says that there must be a Word of God, one coherent utterance of His Divine thought. Not in that anthropomorphic sense in which we men string word to word, but, in such a sense as becomes the Eternal One, who is not subject to a succession of moments, in the rich and full unity of the conception. Abraham Kuyper: Principles of Sacred Theology (Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1980), 476

Baader says that the Word produces rays [Strahlen] within temporal reality. The original human task was to return those rays into their unity. See spark.

For Baader, the Divine Word is the principle of all true evolution (Zwiespalt 52). Dooyeweerd also says that man was called to existence [aanzijn] by the Word of God, but this aanzijn could only be worked out within temporal reality.

It is also interesting to compare this view of the centrality of the Word to the Hindu view of the primacy of the word or ‘vac.’ J.L. Mehta has written about Aurobindo’s view of Scripture. He says that for Aurobindo, the myths and rites recorded in the Vedas are above all symbols (in the Jungian sense). Authority attaches not to Scripture, but to the yogic process. But for Aurobindo, the yogic process itself relies on a textual tradition, a ‘Sruti,’ an ‘order of words’, a pre-existent given tradition of language, images, myths and concepts. There are key-words that open out its linguistic space within which experience is then ordered and comprehended. It is in this sense that the word, thevac is primary. The word comes first, but the process culminates in the experience of samadhi.

This reading of Aurobindo is consistent with the use made by Abhishiktananda of Aurobindo’s ideas. It is also consistent with the Yogic Model of the relation between our experience and our concepts.

Aurobindo also influenced Abhishiktananda in his view of Scripture.

Notes revised May 6/06; Dec 24/16

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