What is Fundamental Theology?

Episode 2 October 03, 2023 00:59:01
What is Fundamental Theology?
Catholic Theology Show
What is Fundamental Theology?

Oct 03 2023 | 00:59:01


Show Notes

How does Theology clarify God’s voice in revelation? Today, Dr. Dauphinais converses with Fr. Guy Mansini, Benedictine priest and Max Seckler Chair of Theology at Ave Maria University. Fr. Mansini discusses how the complicated relationship between faith and philosophy maintains the clarity and simplicity of theology. In his book, Fundamental Theology, Fr. Mansini expounds upon the voice of God, how man hears it, and how it influences his beliefs.



View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Tradition, scripture and dogma are all, as it were, at one, removed to the fundamental speech of God, which occurs in the deeds and words that make up the history of salvation. And just so, at the end of God's dealing with Israel and then subsequently the Church through Christ and the mission of the Holy Spirit, we get to say, I think I know who God God is. [00:00:33] Speaker B: Welcome to the Catholic Theology Show presented by Ave Maria University. This podcast is sponsored in part by Annunciation Circle, a community that supports the mission of Ave Maria University through their monthly donations of $10 or more. If you'd like to support this podcast and the mission of Ave Maria University, I encourage you to visit avemaria.edu join for more information. I'm your host, Michael Doffiney, and today we are joined by Father Guy Mancini, benedictine theologian and professor of theology at Ave Maria University. Welcome to the show, Father. [00:01:08] Speaker A: Thank you, Michael. [00:01:10] Speaker B: So today we are here to talk about your recent book on fundamental theology, which you published with Catholic University America Press as part of, really, a textbook series, books that could be used for theological education and instruction in seminaries and graduate schools of theology, maybe even undergraduates. So we'd like just to step back a little bit and kind of ask a little bit about what is fundamental. Maybe, you know, for those who aren't familiar with it. I thought I would begin with this line from John Paul II in fetus at Razio. He says this with its specific character as a discipline charged with giving an account of the faith. As one Peter 315 says, the concern of fundamental theology will be to justify and expound the relationship between faith and philosophical thought. Now, for some people, that might be enough. If John Paul II said it, it must be right? But I think a lot of people, maybe sometimes you priests, seminarians, I think pious Catholics or maybe even those outside the Church kind of wonder, why does the Church kind of try to stick together faith and philosophical thought? Perhaps maybe people would kind of have this attitude that wouldn't it be easier? I mean, doesn't Jesus simply want us to pray, to love our neighbor, to love God with all our heart, strength, soul and mind, right? And so why make the Christian faith so complicated by doing fundamental theology, by incorporating philosophical thought into the exposition of faith? Mightn't it not be easier if we simply kind of let the faith be simple, kind of a heartfelt, pious love and adoration for God and his presence in the Eucharist, in Jesus Christ? Why kind of complicate the faith with fundamental theology? [00:03:18] Speaker A: Well, it looks maybe from the outside as if it's complicating the faith. But I think the answer to that question is that we want simple possession and deliverance of the Gospel message. We want prayer to be simple, and we want our obedience to the commandment to love God and to love our neighbor. That certainly, on the surface, sounds like a very simple program. The trouble is that I think it's hard to be simple. And with regard just to the message, say, of the Gospel, there is a lot of noise in the what the cultural, philosophical, ideological space in which the gospel is to be proclaimed. There's a lot of noise, and it's a more difficult proposition than we realize to make sure we're not repeating some of the noise or mixing up the noise and the gospel together. So the complications of theology are, I think, in the service of ensuring that we maintain the simplicity of the gospel message and the simplicity of the kind of gospel guidance of our moral life. That's how I think of it anyway. The complication is in the service of making sure that the lines are clean and that we're just putting our hands and putting our mouths to the word of the gospel and to nothing else. [00:05:01] Speaker B: That's so well put. It reminds me a little bit too, I think, in Mere Christianity, c. S. Lewis mentions that his last book, his last series of talks that he gave at the BBC, he ended up talking a lot about the creed and theology. And he said that people would say, well, why are you kind of sticking theology into these talks? And he said, well, these days, if people don't have good ideas about God, they have bad ideas about God, usually worn out ideas about God. And I think the same thing if we don't consider and make sure that we have good philosophical understandings yes, we often have very bad philosophical understandings. [00:05:41] Speaker A: That's quite true. [00:05:42] Speaker B: And that's always been true. And it's probably especially true in our age. We tend to maybe picture, think God. We think of God as another being in the universe, as a being in the universe who should be doing things differently. We think about our happiness as fundamentally physical and material happiness. We don't really understand that our happiness is really found in communion with God. So anyway, so all these different elements, I think, are really important, which is why we need to think very carefully. And I thought it might be fun to go back to that line that John Paul II spoke about on First Peter, and he says this one Peter 315 always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence. And so this is that idea, really, of apologetics, right? To give an account, to give a defense that there's a reason for our hope. And I think this is something that, again, is somewhat kind of counterintuitive. We often think of faith as just trusting in God, as surrendering ourselves, surrendering our intellect to God. And it is. And yet there's a reason for it, right? Faith is beyond reason. But it's also an act of reason. So could you say a little bit about that relationship between faith and reason and how it is that we can give an account for our hope? [00:07:12] Speaker A: Well, I think reason, considering human life, what human life is and what we may hope for, I think reason runs up into sort of insoluble, unanswerable problems. And what are these problems? Well, I think there are two main problems. The one main problem is the wreck of human death and how we're to think about that, how we are to approach that in our lives. Because it's always in the back of our minds if every human being who has come of age, it's always in the back of our minds that we are approaching our death. And what does that mean then for thinking on the other side of death? Whether there is something to be thought there. And in any case, how we are to live with this knowledge that we are, as heidegger says, unto death. Always at every moment. It's always there in our consciousness. That's one problem. And the second problem is the dealing with our past. So when we think about death, we're thinking towards the future. But in every human life past a certain age there are things that we regret that we wish we had not done. Some of these things are small, but some of these things are large. I think most human beings have something large in their life that they regret that they did. So the problem of how to, as it were, make up for what we have done that we wish we had not done, is a very grim, serious problem. And philosophy reason has no I don't think reason has anything to tell us about that. Just as reason doesn't really have anything to tell us about what the nature of our existence will be if we have an existence on the other side of death. So those two kind of central concerns that every man and woman faces reason is not sufficient. It asks the good questions about both of those things. Plato asks the good questions about both of those issues, but there is no real answer. He trots out this, that or the other myth every once in a while. But he himself is quite aware that it is a myth. He says, well, we could think about it in this way. Are we thinking about something that's certain or not? No, but this is as best we can do. But the gospel claims to have a sure answer for both of those problems that afflict every human being how we are to think of our future unto death and how we are to think of a past, whether our past is redeemable or not. [00:10:29] Speaker B: Yeah. The last line of the Apology for Plato socrates says I go to die, you go to live. Which of us goes to the better is known only to the God, whereas that's much different. So within the Christian faith then, and the way you structure the book part, you have it in eight chapters with two parts. Part one is basically God speaks. [00:10:49] Speaker A: Yes. [00:10:49] Speaker B: Part two is man hears. So that's the basic structure. So maybe you could talk a little bit about then you talked about the Christian answer. What does it mean to say that God speaks? Right. In many ways, it seems as though God doesn't speak to us as another being within creatures, the way that another human being would speak to us. So would you say a little bit about how God's speech is both something complicated and yet also something trustworthy? [00:11:19] Speaker A: Yes. That question is, I think, the fundamental question of fundamental theology. What is revelation? And is it really true when we say God speaks to us? Is that a metaphor or is that true? Are we saying something true? And I think since the 18th century, then, Christianity in the west has divided sharply over just that issue. And the one answer is that's a metaphor? God does not really speak. All the things that look like in the Bible that God is speaking. All the appeals to God's word, whether his incarnate word in Christ or the word that he delivers to the people of Israel through a prophet, or the word that the Holy Spirit delivers to the apostles in the New Testament, helping them, formulate them, all of that is metaphor. The words really are always our own words. We're reacting to our consciousness that God is close to us and is concerned for us, but he doesn't really talk. He doesn't really speak. [00:12:43] Speaker B: And maybe for listeners or viewers that are maybe not as familiar with the history of philosophy and different things like that, it is interesting, I think you talk about the 18th century that the first rupture doesn't occur with the rejection of God's existence per se. I mean, some do. Hume famously, among others. But what happens is many philosophers or theologians in different ways, like Kant, in different ways, Schleiermacher, all these different figures begin saying not so much that God doesn't exist, but that God can't, that and that's new. [00:13:21] Speaker A: That's what happens. [00:13:22] Speaker B: And so you end up kind of maybe what we call sometimes is called deism in the idea of, like, God exists, he creates the world, but then the world kind of runs on its own. He steps away and lets God can't be a providential father interacting and speaking into history. And that really is the kind of first wedge, or at least a massive wedge that's kind of bound up in the Enlightenment, both philosophy and theology. And so I think that's really what partly John Paul II is trying to respond to in talking about fundamental theology is that idea that God can speak not just that he exists, but that he can speak. [00:14:05] Speaker A: Yes. To return to the original question about the simplicity of the gospel. See to maintain our purchase on the simple truth that God has addressed us, has spoken to us and continues to speak to us now through the church, through the maintenance of the gospel in time that the church is devoted to that's the simplicity of just that statement that God speaks requires a considerable depending on who you're speaking to, of course. But if you're speaking to the academy, if you're speaking to what Schleiermacher called the educated despisers of Christianity, then to speak to those people, that is, to speak to the culture at large, then the message, in order to purchase the simplicity of the truth that God speaks, then we have all sorts of work to do. With regard to especially, I would say well, especially Kant. I mean, things there there are things before Kant that need to be addressed also as to the nature of man. I think. Would that begin with descartes? Yes, to defense. But it's true, for 1800 years, the the purchase of the Church on the fact that God speaks to us and speech mediated to us in various ways. But a true speech, that happy confidence, as it were, was shattered in the 18th century in the west. [00:15:46] Speaker B: I think one thing that's interesting is if we step back a little bit and we think about God's speech, god does speak to us through words. So the words and deeds, as Dave Verbum speaks about the document from the Second Vatican Council are very important. But we also begin to see, like God's speech does something. God's in Genesis. His speech, his logos, his word shapes all of creation. Yes, God speaks. And it is so we learn that everything that exists is somehow kind of shaped, spoken, ordered by God. And then God is in relationship with that creation that he has spoken into being. And so then revelation creates a new relationship. And so I think before we get lost in the kind of particulars, it's helpful just to step back and realize, what does God do when he speaks to Israel? He makes Israel his own his own people. They form a covenantal relationship, just like when we say, speak the vows of marriage or speak the vows of the priesthood. Well, with other things being done, we become married, we become priests. So in a certain sense, what God is doing, he is really through his words, he's adopting us as his children. He's creating a nuptial marriage relationship with the Church. He is calling us his friends. So God speaking has a purpose first to create and then secondly, to recreate in this covenantal relationship. And I think that's something in which we can kind of rest in when we recognize that's the purpose of God speaking is to actually affect and accomplish a new relationship with Him in the world. [00:17:35] Speaker A: Yes, there's nothing more personal there's no more personal interaction between human beings than the address looking somebody in the eye and saying what you think to be the truth. Whether you're talking about the truth of the universe or the truth of one another or the truth of your relation, there's nothing more personal than that direct address of one person to another. And that's what the word of Revelation is. It's the most personal thing that God can do to us is to, as it were, look us in the eye and speak. Yes. And then that changes us. Just as our speech within the world, we change one another by what we say to one another and how that word is received, much more so with the word of Revelation. [00:18:29] Speaker B: So as we continue the first part of your book, you go through Scripture, tradition, I think you go through tradition, then Scripture and then faith and dogma. [00:18:39] Speaker A: The way Dave Erbham does it says that tradition is a reality prior to the Scriptures themselves. And so I follow the lead. [00:18:51] Speaker B: And partly, maybe for listeners or viewers who might be surprised by that, is the idea that the tradition is really the apostolic handing on. Yes, Tradicio means to hand on. paradosis in the Greek means to hand on. And Paul says this in one Corinthians eleven about the Eucharist and one Corinthians 15 about the teaching of the resurrection of Jesus. And he says, Right, what I received, I handed on to you. So the idea is that before Paul even writes down the Scriptures, he is already receiving and handing on the apostolic faith. And so that's kind of the heart of the tradition. But what would you say, maybe just in general, a big picture? How is it that God speaks to us through tradition, Scripture and dogma? [00:19:38] Speaker A: Well, Tradition, Scripture and dogma are all, as it were, at one remove to the fundamental speech of God, which, as the Constitution on Divine Revelation says, occurs in the deeds and words that make up the history of salvation. So there's the engagement of the covenantal engagement of God with Israel sealed at Sinai, and then the subsequent history of that relationship, which is composed of many actions of kings and prophets and the people themselves and priests and god's response to that. And God the Lord. Taking an initiative through a prophet and setting things aright or setting out a new path for the well, there's a pattern then, of just as you know it's. Just as in a human life, if you want to know what somebody is like? If you want to know what Harry Truman is like, why, then you get David McCullough's biography and you read Truman's life. And there's a remarkable, consistent pattern of how Truman handled himself, whether he was a senator from the Midwest or whether he was the President of the United States. There's a remarkable consistency of character there that McCullough shows us in Truman's biography. So that at the end of the biography we can say, I think I know who Truman was. And just so at the end of the pattern of God's dealing with Israel and then subsequently the Church through Christ and the mission of the Holy Spirit, then we get to say, I think I know who God is because of this. Because just as we reveal ourselves to one another in our morally significant action, which is not accomplished without words, of course, so also the moral, as it were, the character of God, is revealed to us through that immense, centuries long endeavor of dealing with Israel and, well, first with the patriarchs, of course. When does the story begin? The story begins with Abraham. The story begins with Adam and Eve, really, and comes to a sort of a conclusion with Christ so that there's nothing more, so to speak, that God can say to tell us how he is. That's done. As John of the Cross says, once the incarnation has happened, god has spoken His Word to us so completely and thoroughly that he has nothing more to say to us. Revelation is closed in the ordinary sense, not because the divine mind said, well, that's enough, I've said, and I'm not going to say anything more to them, the revelation as close, because God has said everything that he possibly can say to us in the incarnation of the Son. [00:22:48] Speaker B: Yeah. I think it's something that's hard for us to get at, because within our human experience, we never have that. Within human communication, we always want to say more. We feel like maybe never get the. [00:23:04] Speaker A: Job completely done, but when God speaks, he does get the job completely done. Yeah. [00:23:08] Speaker B: And so that's really at the heart of the mystery then of the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. When the Word becomes flesh, right, that then it's not just the words of Jesus, it's the Word who Jesus is. But the Word who Jesus is, is communicated to us through the words that he why. [00:23:32] Speaker A: But just know, if you want to know Truman, read McCullough's biography. If you want to know the Word that's spoken in Christ, then you read the Gospel. See, because we know who Jesus is, and therefore we know who His Father is, and we know Him as Word when we see Him interact with all the people. So to know Him, we have to see how he deals with the Pharisees and the scribes and the apostles and people who are possessed and people who are sick, and we have to see how he deals with his mother. All of that shows us then who he is. [00:24:07] Speaker B: Thomas Aquinas, when he speaks about faith, says that the act of faith does not terminate in the proposition or say, the article of the Creed, but in the reality, the reality. So by faith, then we reuse the words of the Gospels and the words of Paul, the words of Scriptures, to express a faith. But the words lead us to the Word, like the propositions lead us to the reality. And so could you just say a brief word about how it is that even though God is ever greater than our propositions, our propositions and our words and our statements are necessary? [00:24:52] Speaker A: Well, I think the final setup for this is delivered to us already, as you adverted to in the opening chapter of Genesis. That when God says, let there be light and there's light when he says, let there be the plants and the animals and let some of the plants be seed bearing and some of the plants be fruit bearing. And when he says those things, then the things are. And so the idea that God has in his mind when he says let there be, then the things that are really do manifest part of the wisdom and mind and intelligibility of God himself. And that's the presupposition then of God speaking to us within the created order, the created things of the natural order. They provide a language, a sort of a grammar then with which God can address us more directly through prophet, through apostle preeminently, through Christ. But the ability of those words then that we have in sacred scripture or those words that are sedimented in tradition that all depends, I think, on that original creative word of God. This is why if I'm not going on too long here, but this is why, I think, for Cardinal Rotzinger Benedict XVI this is why when he talks about the existence of God, he privileges the intelligibility of the world. That he likes to remember at this point the astonishment, as it were, of Werner Heisenberg, one of the main 20th century physicists who articulated the scientific shape of the world for us in the 20th century. He often at this point recalls the astonishment of Heisenberg at the very fact that the world is intelligible to the human mind. The human mind, as it were, meets a happy spousal partner when it encounters reality and then can speak the child of the encounter of human mind and intelligible reality, then is the speech that the human being here a scientist heisenberg gives. Well, that very fact then that the world is intelligible bespeaks that it comes from a mind. And at that point then in Introduction to Christianity then we're set up to wonder has the mind that speaks the intelligible world, does it have anything more to say to us? Does it have anything more to say to us? And it does about those two things that we most need news about death and the redeemability or unredeemability of our past. [00:28:13] Speaker B: Well, that's so well put, Father. We're going to take a break now and then we're going to come back and talk about kind of part two, which is first is God speaking. The second part of looking at fundamental theology will be us hearing. [00:28:27] Speaker A: Okay. [00:28:34] Speaker C: You'Re listening to the Catholic Theology Show presented by Ave Maria University and sponsored in part by Annunciation Circle through their generous donations of $10 or more per month. Annunciation Circle members directly support the mission of AMU to be a fountainhead of renewal for the church through our faculty, staff, students and alumni. To learn more, visit avemaria.edu slash join. Thank you for your continued support. And now let's get back to the show. [00:29:04] Speaker B: Welcome back to the Catholic Theology Show. I'm your host, Michael Doffiney, and today we have Father Guy Mancini, professor of Theology at Avimur University, and we're discussing fundamental theology and his recent book with Catholic University of America Press of that same title. So thanks again for being on the show today, Father. [00:29:22] Speaker A: It's a pleasure. [00:29:23] Speaker B: So as we're moving to the second part of the book, we look at how do we hear the words that God speaks? And as you were finishing up there, you were talking about kind of somehow recognizing God already. The creation itself is already a bit of a witness to God. Psalm 19 speaks of the heavens are telling the glory of God to a certain extent. If creation can't speak God on some level, then Jesus Christ, who is in creation, couldn't speak the divine word. This is kind of a Catholic sensibility, which is that creation is necessary for redemption. [00:30:09] Speaker A: Now we have to be able to recognize the speaker in another way than just by his speaking. [00:30:17] Speaker B: Yes, and it's if you go to, say, the book of Isaiah, say, especially maybe Isaiah, like 43 to 48, where Isaiah used a lot of I am statements for God, I am the first and the last. But it's often always, I am your Creator, Israel, I am your Savior. I am the One who created you. I laid the foundations of the universe, therefore I am the one who can redeem you. So the sense of creation and redemption, really the only one who can redeem us is the One who created us. So in turning to these next two chapters that I wanted to ask you a little bit about, one is called preambula fide, the preambles of faith. The truths that are knowable by reason, that help us to understand the faith more better, that predispose us to the faith, so to speak. And then the second idea is what's called in the tradition, the motives of credibility, which means the faith is somehow credible. It's believable the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. If we think about it, we would actually say, you know, it's pretty reasonable that he did. There are good grounds for believing this. Now, in part, both of these can seem a little bit at first at ODS with the nature of faith, which we often also describe as a gift, right. That faith is a supernatural act by which the mind ascends to the truth of God having been spoken and submits to God's truth, believes in trust, in surrenders to God's truth, an act of the intellect by which we come to know truth, moved by the will informed by charity. Right? And we cannot do that on our own. No amount of rational reflection will get us to believe in this kind of supernatural act of faith. So could you discuss a little bit about how faith can be both a gift and something that is really God acting in us so that we can believe in God with God's own kind of spirit? One corinthians twelve three says that right. No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. If it's merely a human rational conclusion, then it's not faith. And yet at the same time, the Church teaches in Vatican One, right, around 1871 or so, 1870, 1871, teaches in Vatican One that we can know that God exists by natural reason. We can know certain truths about God by natural reason, and we can use reason to reflect upon history and even have motives of credibility, reasons for believing in the gospel. How is that not contradictory? [00:33:13] Speaker A: It's not contradictory, I think because God in saving us and revealing and our hearing revelation as a part of that saving act, he saves us and does not kind of denature us. And therefore here it's a question of the very highest apex of the human reality, our reason and our freedom. And neither of them are smooshed out in the act of faith or the act of becoming a Christian. Both of them are respected and even enhanced. So the First Vatican Council that you just referred to is very insistent that the act of faith is free. It's free. And then a theologian wants to say yes, and its freedom is enabled by the grace of God. [00:34:16] Speaker B: Beautifully put. [00:34:17] Speaker A: And also it's an act of reason. And it's more reasonable than our ordinary acts of reason just because it's a response to the word of God, which is the standard of all reason whatsoever. So the act of faith is funny. It's sort of to use an old hackney expression in the act of faith, we punch above our weight. We get something done cognitively and freely that we would not be able to do on our own. And our cognition and our freedom become the most that they can be in that event. That's the traditional Catholic way. [00:35:15] Speaker B: Yeah. And maybe a way of just kind of like unpacking that or revisiting that would be something like, okay, we can use our reason and our will to look at the world, to consider the world, to manipulate the world, to study the world. And this is all wonderful, right? We have art, we can paint sunsets, we can build bridges. This is really a tremendous ability and capacity of the human being, the human creature. And yet if you were to throw the whole world where you were alone in the world and you put another person in there, you would long for communion with that person. Because in a way, our intellect and our freedom are not. Merely meant to interact with the physical world or the natural world, but are especially meant for communion of persons. So we would see that it would be even higher than to appreciate sunsets, to paint sunsets, to build bridges, to do all these different things, to be able to come to know and love another human being, right? To come and know and love your parents, to come and know and love a spouse, to come and know and love children from that family onto the city, the oikos to the polis. So this certain sense of then human communion becomes the highest act of our reasoning and our freedom. So if that's the case, then well, so much more with God. If we then can use our intellect and our will not only to come to know the natural and physical universe, but also the human universe, but then even the divine Creator, that would be the most perfect thing we could do. And yet somehow, because of our woundedness, of our sin, we can't, and therefore something needs to be kind of overcome in us so that we can have that filial spousal relationship with God. And in that sense, right, as you put it's, the perfection of what God calls us to now in this order of history, yes. So say more than about this idea because I think a lot of people would be, or at least in our contemporary culture, a lot of people, I think, do think that faith is just kind of a private opinion. It's a taste, it's a preference. The fact that there are good rational grounds for being a Catholic are good rational grounds for believing in God, that he has created the universe, that he has spoken, that he has founded a church right, that he sent his Son, that his Son rose from the dead. I think a lot of people would just be like, no, science doesn't tell me that. [00:38:00] Speaker A: Yes, this is one of those places, once again, where the traditional Christian Catholic understanding of faith and religion is quite at odds with a contemporary view which wants to make of religion something private. But for God, religion is not private at all. It's the most public thing imaginable. The revelation of God is public. It consists in that pattern of history, words and events detailed in both testaments. It's just like St. Paul talking to King Agrippa in the Acts of the Apostles when he tries to convert him, he tries to make a Christian out of him. And he says to him these things about Jesus of Nazareth. He says these things were not done in a corner that is shuffled away in some kind of private cubicle where they were public things open for all the world to see, the execution and passion and death of the Lord and the public witness given to his resurrection by his disciples. These things were not done in a corner. But I think there's one strand of contemporary ideological cultural life that very much wants us to think of our religion as only able to exist in a corner privately. But every impulse of the Gospel is against that because every impulse of God is against that. As I say, it's the most public thing imaginable, as it were. The credentials of this public thing are littered then throughout history in not just the miracles of our Lord, but also the very pattern of history as recorded in the Scriptures. A pattern that is a pattern. See, there's an intelligibility to it. There's a sense to it. And beholding, that pattern is one of the chief, as it were, apologetic moments for inviting somebody to become a Christian. It's a moment as old as Irenaeus does it in the demonstration of the truth of the Gospel in the second century, for God's sake. And Augustine does it on how to catechize. He does a kind of a run through. He's talking to a catechist about, well, this is how you do your job. And he does a little example of it by showing the pattern of Revelation in the Testaments. [00:40:52] Speaker B: Okay. So in part then, it's when we discover the pattern of the universe that the universe is not chaotic, that we can then reason from the created universe, the visible universe, to the invisible God. Yes, broadly speaking, we're not going to go through all of that right now. But that's the basic order. If there's intelligibility and patterns within the universe, then those patterns and intelligibility come from something higher than the universe. I think it was Einstein who said, right, the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it's comprehensible and then the same thing. Then if I look at revelation well, if I begin to see patterns of intelligibility, that what happens earlier is consonant with what happens later. [00:41:48] Speaker A: Yes. [00:41:48] Speaker B: And it's interesting that in the book of Acts, for instance, which you mentioned, this was not done in a corner, but it's often that the preaching of Paul, the preaching of Peter, they will say that even Jesus'own words to the apostles or the disciples in Emmaus, which he goes through and shows them based upon Moses and the prophets, the law and the prophets. All of Scripture why it was necessary that the Son of man should suffer. Yes, right. And rise again. Paul says the same thing in one Corinthians 15 right, that Jesus suffered accordance with the Scriptures and he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. So the suffering and death of Jesus Christ is not an accident. It is something that is at the heart of God accomplishing his plan, which he began in creation for us to be in communion with Him. And he began to communicate that our restoration of communion with God through Israel. So could you just maybe say a little bit what are some of those patterns? What are some of those things that maybe people who aren't as familiar with Scripture because it seems that in a way, one of the difficulties, I think, for the contemporary believer is that often people's sense of Scripture is that it's not a coherent story. There is no fundamental pattern, historical critical method and scholarship has kind of just shown that the Bible's kind of chaotic. So what are some maybe instances that we could consider that might help us to see some of those patterns of intelligibility within God's revelation? [00:43:34] Speaker A: Well, yes, I'll tell you what I think is the main one. But let me preface that remark by saying that part of the respect, the divine respect for the human freedom that he has created is that the Lord God does not kind of bang us over the head with a two by four. He gives, as Pascal said in the 17th century, he gives enough indications of his desire to be in communion with us. He gives enough indications of how we can affect that in the church and in Christ, but he doesn't, as it were, push us by main force for those who seek there's enough to see. But if you're not seeking, he's not going to shout at you. And that's important to realize. Part of the last 200 years of biblical scholarship has been accomplished on antidogmatic principles. That is for the purposes of this discussion, the point of which is, as it were, to erase any pattern of intelligibility within the historical order as witnessed to by the two Testaments. So if those are the results of wisely reading the Scriptures, why then the result of that kind of reading of Scripture is not to be a Christian, is not to enter the church at all. [00:45:31] Speaker B: Yeah. So that sense in which Scripture comes from the church, for the church. Right. And Scripture is really that witness to what God has been doing in Jesus Christ. And then in the 18th and 19th centuries, you had this development of this critical approach to studying the Bible, which was we will try to study the Bible outside the church. Kind of presupposing that the creed is not true. [00:45:59] Speaker A: Yes. [00:46:00] Speaker B: Just using empirical, modern, scientific rationality. Well, of course, in a way, it's like if you read the Bible outside the church, it's not surprising that you're not going to see then the intelligibility because you've rejected the intelligibility. Because, ironically, the church itself is the ongoing promise, or it's the ongoing fulfillment of the promise that was made to Israel and to Jesus Christ when he says, I will send you my Holy Spirit. Right. So this sense in which the Bible really is the church's book and somewhat has to be read and understood within the community of the church. [00:46:44] Speaker A: Yes. And so then what is the fundamental pattern to be discerned by those who seek? Well, it's the congruence of the Testaments. The Old Testament speaks of a promised prophet who will be the like of Moses. And that prophet never quite does show up in the Old Testament, who will be the second Moses? And the Old Testament promises a son of God who will be a son more than simply the heir to the Davidic throne. And the Old Testament promises a sort of more and more obedient response to God, which also is not really verified in the Old Testament itself. And the Old Testament speaks of a kind of an enigmatic servant of God who by suffering fulfills the burden of punishment that Israel owed for its previous disobedience to the covenant. There are all these kind of figures that kind of project us toward a future that are never themselves realized in the Old Testament, the evangelists, the first Christians pretend to see, but with Christ we see, oh, he corresponds to the wisdom of God now speaking to us directly. He corresponds to the second prophet that would be fulfill the Mosaic kind of figure once again. And he most marvelously is anointed by the Holy Spirit at his baptism. And he most astonishingly steps into the shoes of the servant that Isaiah speaks about. So there's a sort of it's not a correspondence or promise fulfillment that will knock you down. If you wish to resist, you can always ask for more proof, especially with regard to matters historical. You can always ask for more, say, I think about that tomorrow. But if you're honest, like the two guys on the way to Emmaus who wonder what happened, what happened in Jerusalem the last week, they can't put it together. And when the Lord Jesus appears to them on the road to Emmaus and reviews the whole pattern of revelation, beginning with so he shows them from the Old Testament all the things that are fulfilled in Christ. So that the conclusion of which yes, was it not necessary. [00:50:01] Speaker B: That's a beautifully put. One last question, and then we'll begin to wrap up a little bit. But just you mentioned a little bit in your book and then also in another essay you wrote for another one of our books, hope and Death Christian Responses. But you mentioned that in some sense that believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ helps us to understand creation. And I think that's kind of counterintuitive for a lot of people. I think a lot of people think, well, you first begin to believe that God's a Creator, and then you believe that he comes in Jesus Christ. How is it that believing in the resurrection sometimes almost comes first in a way, and then we can believe more fully in God as Creator? [00:50:48] Speaker A: Well, as I said before, the two conundrum that we face are the mystery of death and the mystery of our perhaps unhappy past. Yes, and the resurrection answers both of those because it's the resurrection of one who dies for our sins, and therefore that looks to our past. And it's the resurrection in the flesh that then promises us a life that would be difficult for us to imagine on any other ground except that Christ himself did rise from the dead. And so at that point, then without an answer to those two conundrum, then it's very easy for us to think of the universe as absurd. Even the intelligibility that greets the empirical scientist, whether he's studying hair or dirt or the stars and you discover something, there's always something to understand. There even that can appear to be a sort of a fact that itself has no understand intelligibility then itself turns into a kind of a brute fact and it becomes difficult for us to discern a wise countenance at the origin and the end of the created order itself. But the resurrection of Christ gives us it sort of speak, restores a courage to us so that we can complete the work of our mind to discerning in the intelligibility of the world. Discerning that as a work of a mind greater than our own, it kind. [00:52:49] Speaker B: Of really discloses right. The loving mercy of the Creator. [00:52:53] Speaker A: Yes. [00:52:54] Speaker B: Which is not something that's easily love and mercy are not visible, really in the created universe. So we see that through the resurrection. That's really beautifully to. I know you've been on our show before, but I'd like to go ahead and just ask you three questions. What's a book you're reading? [00:53:11] Speaker A: Oh, I'm reading a wonderful book by Anthony Giambrone. [00:53:17] Speaker B: It's the Dominican, right, who's the biblical. [00:53:19] Speaker A: Scholar at the Eco Biblik in Jerusalem, but he also teaches at Notre Dame and there's a German university that he spends some time at, too. The book is the Bible and the priesthood. It's just super good. So he's a biblical scholar. I suppose that would be the easiest way to describe him. But he's a Dominican and so he knows a lot of theology too. And this is a book that, so to speak, I would say, fulfills the program that Rotzinger called for exegetes and theologians to fulfill a biblically informed, systematic theology and a systematic theology that is attentive to contemporary biblical insight. So that's what I'm reading right now. It's really good. [00:54:15] Speaker B: What's maybe one practice, daily spiritual practice that helps you to kind of discover the kind, loving face of the Creator and of our Savior that you might want to share with listeners. [00:54:31] Speaker A: I always go through kind of a long list of family members and friends and colleagues and remember them expressly in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament every day. On the rubric of which remembering is this that Christ died. For all of us so that we could be so conformed to him that his father will see in us what he sees and loves in Christ. I try to collect up all the personal realities of my life and sort of put them into so that's what I do every day. That's kind of my standard. [00:55:20] Speaker B: It's great routine. Perhaps when you were a younger man and entering the seminary and different things. What was maybe one kind of theological truth that you discovered that kind of changed your life and changed your understanding of theology? [00:55:41] Speaker A: Well, it was one of the preamble, as a matter of fact, in the old seminary curriculum. We took a course called The Philosophy of man as sophomores in the seminary, and it was a philosophy of man in nature. And so what it was was a sort of reworking in modern form of Aristotle's Physics and St. Thomas's anthropology. And the guy who ran the show, who was very good, he turned out to be really good, a really good friend. I miss him so much. He worked very hard in that course to vindicate the immateriality of mind and the human soul. He did that really strong. And that course then sort of released me from any of the temptation to positivism or materialism that kind of assault somebody in the modern world. So that is a big deal for me when he got that accomplished in that course. And it's been a kind of a foundation stone for the rest of my life as a theologian. [00:57:04] Speaker B: Well, thank you for sharing that, Father Mancini. So the book we've been discussing today is Fundamental Theology by Father Guy Mancini, benedictine theologian and Max Seccler, professor of Theology at Ave Maria University. One fun fact is that Father Matthew Lamb, who was one of the founding members of the graduate program in theology at Ivymere University, wrote he passed away right around the time that this book came out, but he wrote a blurb for it. And this is what he says this well written and concise book offers a wonderful presentation of two key aspects of Catholic fundamental theology god speaking and human beings. Hearing god's communication. Father Mancini has made a significant contribution to fundamental theology. I know of no other treatment that is as clear and concise as this book. By the way, listeners of the show may get 20% off if they type in the code CT 10, CT ten at Catholic University of America Press. The book is not for every reader, but I do think it is accessible for the willing reader. And if nothing else, is always maybe a book that people might buy for their priests or their seminarian friends or graduate students in theology always like more books. And for those who have enjoyed the conversation with Father Mancini, we have another episode with Father Mancini, episode number 13 on Ecclesiology, which is the Theology of the Church. So I encourage listeners to consider that as well. Thank you very much, Father, for being on our show. [00:58:37] Speaker A: This is wonderful. [00:58:38] Speaker B: Thank you. Excellent. [00:58:41] Speaker C: Thank you so much for joining us for this podcast. If you like this episode, please rate and review it on your favorite podcast app to help others find the show. And if you want to take the next step, please consider joining our annunciation circle so we can continue to bring you more free content. We'll see you next time on The Catholic Theology Show.

Other Episodes

Episode 34

May 16, 2023 00:54:42
Episode Cover

Why Do We Need Marian Consecration?

Is devotion to Our Lady central to our relationship with Christ? Today, Dr. Michael Dauphinais sits down with Dr. Mark Miravalle, Constance Schifflin Blum...


Episode 2

September 27, 2022 00:48:41
Episode Cover

Why the Church Needs Catholic Universities

Can a university be authentically Catholic? Today, Dr. Michael Dauphinais speaks with Dr. Roger Nutt, Provost and Professor of Theology at Ave Maria University,...


Episode 48

August 22, 2023 00:56:30
Episode Cover

The Silver Chair and Seeing God | Into Narnia with C.S. Lewis

Do miracles conflict with human reason? In this fourth installment of “Into Narnia with C.S. Lewis,” Dr. Michael Dauphinais discusses The Silver Chair and ...