Monday, July 7, 2008

Christ and Proper Functioning: Past Notes

More past notes. You'll be able to see the beginnings of a self-formation view (see some of my other blogs on this) take shape here as well as me toying with various connections with morality and God.


No one goes to Hell for not being a Christian. Everyone is headed there anyways - because we are human. Christians are merely those who have opted for the way out.

To be a Christian - to follow Christ, to have Christ as Lord, to love, to be conformed to Christ, to glorify God. It is to function properly - how were designed by God to be. How were we designed to be? To glorify Him and live with Him and one another in perfect joy by loving God and one another perfectly. To live according to design is to live as God wants and thus also being as God wants; we are in His kingdom and have Christ as Lord. As Lord, he tells us and shows us how to love - and so we follow him. He is the perfect example and therefore we try to conform to him. Lord -> glorify -> love -> conform -> follow. Following is the first step in making Christ Lord. We follow to conform and in doing so love and thus glorify God, who is in this way Lord over our lives. All the ways of describing the goal of Christian life are linked.

There must be a sense in which ultimate freedom includes not being able to do certain things the one who is less free can do. This connects with the fact that we can have a hand in building our own character.

He is a good thief = he is successful at doing thief-like things - he functions well as a thief. He is a good person = he functions well as a person - performs functions of personhood. This is a good action = conforms to the standards = is the action of a perfectly good person. Bad = fails a standard of goodness. - He is a bad thief. Evil = bad person/bad action + ?
What does it mean to function well as a person? If we try to figure this out on our own, we can try to give an ethical imperative to try to capture this, like the utilitarians or Kantians. But these will always fail in some case or other. Why, after all, is conforming to utility functioning well? Why is this what it means to perform the functions? Kantianism fares better, but it still cannot cope with actual life. Is morality conventional? Is being good a conforming to our own constructed standards? The Christian answer is that being good is being as God designed us. Pleasure, pain, partiality, impartiality, value and valuelessness all find their fit in the Christian view of goodness. What does it mean to say that God is good? Obviously, He is good by definition. All He does is good, for what higher standard must He conform to than His own? This shows that all accusations against God are unfounded - it is to mistake the Creator for part of His creation.

What are signs of improper functioning of humans? Pain, for one. Improper functioning causes unpleasantness. We are averse to improper functioning. No matter how drawn to it, we still function improperly and thereby experience unpleasantness in some area, some lack of perfect peace and joy. This obviously, however, does not make utility a mark of goodness - pleasure and pain, rather, are consequences of moral life rather than its nature. We know things are meant to be different. All of this coincides with the divine command theory of ethics yet diverges in so far as ethical life is in our nature from God rather than imposed on it bey God - real ethics is an ethics of character rather than rule-following. Ethics does need God, but not for the lame reason that moral law requires a law giver. Ethics needs God because humans and their life need a Creator. Law is a formalization of a way of living - it is a formal descriptions of the way things are done by perfect people. Law is to be followed not because it is law but because it is the way one lives if one is perfect. This is perfect law - God's law. Human law, falling short, is obviously not the same kind of thing.

In Adam, therefore -> No proper function - cannot enter into God's reign. Christ's death and resurrection paid for all sins. In Christ, therefore -> cost of improper function paid - free to enter into God's reign, freed from sin. In Adam, are considered as him and are in fact as him. In Christ, are considered as him and are made to be as him - Christ paid our way into the kingdom of God and proper functioning. Christ triumphed over sin, death, all the powers, and Satan. How? The weakness of the world.

That our proper function is a certain way is part of the background of our lives and how we think - especially how we think morally, no matter how confused we may otherwise be or become.

As free I shape my decisions, my character, myself, my future - I build for myself a future destiny of what I will be for all eternity. Adam and Eve were flawless but not perfect or complete. To bring out this original flawlessness we might call it by perfection and simply say they lacked completion or the fulfillment of what they were. To live perfectly would have been to grow into completion. The incomplete may sin or not - they are on the path of building themselves. The complete may not- they have completed the project of becoming what they are. So my free will expresses itself in perfection through the possibility of falling into sin, while my free will expresses itself in completion through the impossibility (in the resurrection). Some, however, will end their time of making with something which is not what they are but a mockery of it - something which cannot of its own free will go into completion because it has wrought itself fully but as a marred, malfunctioning shadow of what it could have been. Such are those who do not find themselves in the kingdom.

Components of Internal Autonomous Freedom: Freedom of the Will, Self-determination of character, Rationality (full?), Autonomy.

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