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m+» 19041 .* Autobiographical Reflections on the Relation of Theology, Science, and Philosophy; or, You Wonder Where the Body Went I Ler Me stant wih a case. The notion of “heaven,” of God's place in his creation, has usually been deemed an essential item of Christian ‘heologicalconceptutlity. God, co be sue, i his own proper place; for himself God needs no cher place than himself. Bu i there are to be ‘creatures, God — i has usually been thought — needs «erated place cand ffom which to be among them. Had God no place of his own within his creation, he would either be sheetly absent feom ereseaee ‘0F leave no room for chem. Heaven is God's pad within his cretion, ‘The ptolemaic mapping ofthe universe seemed to accomodate heaven ‘quite nicely. The ceysaline nested spheres on which the evenly lights re according to this mapping mounted, and whose rotations account for che observed motions of those lights, divide space into discrete Pablished in Agma 6 (1994) ia ek Sade Se ERR Se ‘You Wonder Wher the Body Went shell-shaped volumes, e increasing distances from earth. I snot oaly possible to apprehend hese shells a of difeene ontological dignity, it Js inevitable that we will: the farther from eat, ehe lighter and more slorious. And then, if we ae trying to place God's heven, we can tke ‘which will have the ighese ontological dignity, 's thus ar once «place antologically diferent fom the ret of the universe, and so suited for God, and spatially related to the universe's cher places. Ii ital to understand tha there is nothing “unsophisticated or implausible about this notion of heaven, given che ‘mapping ofthe universe eha science une recently provided. "Now — if Jus is risen bodily, ie would appear chat his body muse be soma, if we suppose, as most have, that “this sche eternal erat of anybody, tha iis contained in ts place.”? Beeween the Resurrection tppearance, Jesu evidently was not walking che streets o bled up in ‘he Jerusalem caravnseris nor i e, according co Luke, so located since the appearances ceased Yet if hei risen bodily his body mast on che ‘common supposition always be romplace. And metaphysical inerpreta- ‘oa ofthe prolemaically mapped universe seemed to provide the place. ‘Again ic muse be emphasized: the conception chat the risen Jesus bodily scended wp there, £0 a region of che universe called “heaven,” chere ro have his pace uni che final transformacion of al ration, i a sophi ‘ented and successful notion, given the ptolemaie mapping of che "Thus the real problem with Copernicus was not the blow he is though to deliver to geocentric prejudice; end indeed Christian use of the peolemaic mapping di rot make che cath che center ofthe universe Jinan evaluative sense — quit che contrary. The real problem was that the universe at mapped by Copeenicus does not seem to accommodate key portions of the Chistian story: I be nis as mapped y Ceri, where caw the vsen Chris's by be, bens “coming” to m2 But now we should note: ie was apparent long, before Copernicus, sand on stiey innertheological peowods, chat there was «problem with the taitional construction, despce ite general ateactvenes. Foe i is ‘central conviction ofthe faith cha che body of Chis is present on the altar of Euchatse, IF che embodied Christ is located beyond the 1, Jo Cli, Ii f se Cringe 1530, 12 tad ‘cuter pcolegic Spite ho WEES he come to be bodily present in Ftst Luss Chacha morning? IE heen i te place just sec a ould have t trad Kom the one place to the be point another chancer ofthe Chan faith Kite ion vo war we won sow cll yey cee in shiceifesit such divine ourneying I ny cee Thomas Aguas "hhh ce tty of Ce demo come tn se seme by papi oton “Sets tga besa itor, a in he We here was “sont pres, cared bythe ay whch een scone Coatenute the undentandng of Crt Boil prcenc in Bacar Sorty Cais i nly “apiealy” penton the tele of | someting ke Ue, Where se fenpeain wes teste, swe done ) bye hed owes The fine move wo cacti there the embod Christ on the euchrnic alae a “perce The embodied Che dss oe, scoring to his ech,“ fom” te plac abo al By the promi of Gol, be tly bot in eaves the ae contay to normale tough his So Thorns Ais ai, end Slowing him the wine sbenqune Catholic dion, Ba his are ef couse meat in rr oan enc aly presence, the whole concep fmework by whieh the ten Chis Boy tai we oterwie ated fr mason cated, "The second move de with the cama ta the mice had te ewe arial sie wera et chercen ee wondering if hi imei ws bappecing The minisy of he huh wes rede with uchaceon fo peston the ree eh shrlutssramoce ti wuld ecu “The Reformes rej the second of hee mows, for resos aot cur presen corn, This broke thee open aut in gga fam A vray of mojes mete psi ta et To west ma cppostes me formes deisel psec Late ta some of is younger flower nod desied th wana w ‘Ersandiog of bomen Tae abd och wereld by eee cncern for Cis’ sacrament bodily pene to deny ta hve i ny a le than the les 2, Thea Aqui, Sumas Thai i752. C2187 You Wonder Where the Bady Went of Jesus’ sacramental presence co wt, that i, eat ie sa “place” strictly speaking at all. Thus pete is no spacial separation needing ro be fvercome, between heaven and the eucharistic altar. Against fellow Reformers who clang tothe teaitional opinion, chy could sound like teligios skeptics: Johases Brena mocking inguied if in eis “spatial fand material heaven" of tradicional theology, Jesus cook “Titele walks” ‘wieh the angel? "Al che created univers, sid Brenz and chen Luther, is simply ome place before Goda rahe the sense in which the Field of consciousness [s one place for it and so i also forthe risen Jesus at God's rghe hnand ‘Therefore the question of Christ's bodily presence on the eu hats altars is noe op of containment io one se of paces instead of nother but one of avaipability to experience in one set of places instead of anocher "Ths the Latherans sw no theological problem in the Copernican challenge to Peolemy. Lather himself thought thae Copernicus was, as fv acientse, mad, but did not suppose thae his madness posed any theological difficulty. Other Lahecans were themselves Copernicas i feience. And the writings of Copernicus finally achieved publication Iwhen Melanchchon aranged i ita exitory politically controlled by the Lutheran movement. 0 ‘When I first learned abut all this, now many yeas ago, I was sherly delighted. The entice complex interplay berween (1) ctitgue of exab~ lished theological opinion by inner necessities of che faith, (2) change ina scientific paradigm, snd () metaphysical speculation seemed «© sme a very model of ce way in which truth comes c light. And I was ‘myself launched on two related lines of inquiry that guide me sil or in untangling one problem the old Lutherans posed st last wo ‘new ones —and that they did 20 par of what commends chem to me. ‘Ate now ths questions posed by ine theological ncestyoc by science ‘oc by philosophy? The alternative scems to me urery meaningless 3 Johannes Bren, De femal it dar starr i Chris TG 160) L291 Yo Weide Whore the Bid) Went ‘The first such peobléin: if eh€ risen Christ's body is not now located in its own ptopeeSpace aimongrother spaces, is it indeed a body? If we insist tne fe pha Gn we tha case mean by “od? eke ett again wl ow hth qucion ‘as ala harked by Calvi a areas in ch site eery BrolnF#ecaempe to anower ie and ina poses ence ested 2 ‘eatige s¢lioo| of Lutheran revisionist metaphysicians, lamentably wiped ng the Tey Yeu’ War. When ok up, hoagie about che ‘son theology els in these connections of “body inthe fe pa, thich sha the New Testament tas tnt way. Sas, How dees, the New Testament we "body"? Auge Body of slay exes wes to hand inthe nage a lest of Pel « peso’ body spy het | peson himself ina a hele i alae ro ots a 60 t0 ) Retina “osay tha Ces’ body is presenta he Bend and cup is on these cams sy the these aval ings are it aaa, ere not only tends or but allows vf intend him, nt only touches bt allows us to ouch him, no only srs but es se nei to my the by the obec the en Chas gies him oe ot bie. Bur chat at sentence is ot ed extsineyin church langue; is as princes the subjecbje langage of Geman denn Lec me thea conte with hat langage as Hegel sein the pet “Kahichop aad Horch” section ofthe Phnom es Gea ‘According to Hegel, wee srnane to be rset come bj only fel noc abo as my objet in ern T woul asso be that someones je oly ad not abject over apne hfe, Thas such esa -tsence, even wee the pene the sen Chri, would env me ‘Why do we ned the ewcarticBea! aap? Why muse Chris be prsne cour "bly"? Now we have an aower: becuse 2 diem Boaied praene of Christ would be enaving rhe dan bending You sce where we cn ge, moving relecvely with and tmong Cope sca and Luther nd modern exes of Paul and German poe tnd not worying about boundeesbeeween spore deen rs oFecuh 1. sot even clea that our underanding ofthe physical onivese sboald ot beefed by such a cevisednacon of “bay Sine oper disouse about che worlds alway accompanied by ilerent {a207 You Wonder Where the Bady Went lscourse, hat acempesto sate the “erults of slence but in language ‘hat does aot have mathematic a ice only grammar. This dscouse is ‘often called “popular presenation” oe something ofthe sre, yet sien- ‘ets themselves donot infact gee along without it. Indeed itis bec ing increasingly evident that the courte of resarch islf is heavily deermined by problems and opportunities that arisen "popula" eans- lation, Transitions from one "scientific paradigm” 10 another ofen do ‘ot occur in the language whote sole grammar is mathematics, but in this parscientifie discourse. Te happens chat che atcermpt co transcribe che eesules of relativistic snd. quantum-mechanicl refiecions ia parascienific discourse have rendered the very concept of body, once che most obvious of concep, ‘mysterious, The incerplay of Christian doctrine, philosophy, and scien- ‘fe paradigm jus traced offers che allowing lighteaing ofthe myscery what bodies cally ae, is arwilailitier cat enable fd. Le seems t0 ‘me that bach none might be suggestive also co more strictly physical researh, = "The second problem: can theology do altogether without heaven? If all chings areas immediate ro God's presnce as Brenz seems 10 52, ‘must noe God indeed simply engos all, leaving no oom for erenares ‘that ae other chan he? Catholic theology has acused Lutheran cology ‘of pentheiam, and so long a8 ao answer i atempeed to che question about heaven, there is justice in che accusation. If heaven isnot the ‘outermost shell-space ofthe univer, if there is 0 place up therefor lie walks, what ii? I anyplace of anyehing? fone is convinced that Luter and Brenz wer onthe sight ine, but {is aleo concerned to find a place to be heaven, and is prepared to be speculatively brazen, i ie cempeing to say that the space occupied by the bread and cup, and by che space-occupying aspects of che churehs sacraments and sscramentl life generally, is God's pad in his creation Twill noe here argue that one should say this. But let me at least suggest some of what might fllow from saying i Saying this would redefine heaven christlogically: heaven would exist only in that the Incarnation occurs, only ia chat God incaratonlly ‘eccupes spice in his creation, Ie would become snapeualy impossible to describe the Creator's presence this cestures without reference ro Jesus Christ, Someone who made thie move would be commied ro ‘ne side fan ld theological divide: Uiram Cias ves i bm non Cand a Behe “Xo: Wonder Where she Boy Weis pecanrit? “Would-be hafe come i humanicy had ot sinned?" Someone who madfthe gested move would be commited to sy Yes Heth gd be commiQeed wo astpning foundational sts within eapigaio the exsene ofthe G-mee ass been done By Abas, che Pancisans, Lathes, dhe supealapearian Calvinist nd RA. Dach Te woud alo fllow tha te arc was constitive fr the caity of tation: if no church then no big bang. Someone who made dis Toore would indeed find iment loong a the univee vey dif feenly can maderiseWeology bas made us do, But fe Protas the mote wrenching alerton would doubles be in chee perception ‘of eh church incl When we come together andthe lucy begins, where are we? If the space occpied by the sacramental element b heaven, chen the space the elements define sound themselves the gue of beaven — jst as Orthodox chology of couse, bas alway sid And now se where Later, Copernic, aod Hegel hve gocen is ‘ewer chem! Ww hve often wondered why che two theological eros for whom I have developed the greatest affection — Jonathan Edwards and Keel Barth — should both be from a different theological eaiion than my own, Teis, think, because both ae euthles in efsing to be confined within ‘or proecred by a special epistemological “compartment” called "theol- ox” ‘So— to take a second interesting case — Edwards pondered a cent notion ofthe physics of his time, the notion of an atom, of «geometti- cally divisible yee physically indivisible uni of matte. What can a ‘count forthe face thae the smaller uniesinco which it geometcically ‘could be divided cannot in fact appear? The explanation, he supposed, must be the operation ofa binding force cht cannot be overcome, that is, an “infinite” force. Whereupon Edwards was of end running about Gort and his relation to creautes. For what col an infinite force be bbuc God himself? Are noe then atoms simply particular manifestations of God's infinite wil? From a multitade of such staring points, Ed- wards evencualy creed a filly developed sltemnatve tothe mechanistic [asad ‘You Wonder Wher the Body West incegpretation of Neweon, of which everyone llr atomism was an ineegel past "The ease of Edwards is not merely an illustration, Bawards lived though the great moment ofthe Ealightenment, and was himself one ‘of is mose imaginative and determined practioner. And ic ithe fct that modernity did not take the puch Edwards opened to it, which has ‘compartmentalizel out eeflectve lives "The “mechanistic” ineerpeeation of Newtonian physics does noe ecessily follow fom any of ies methods or theories, but fom the ‘dominance ofa partculat root metaphor in thei “popular” tanstip- tion, Ie i the “popola”trascripcion chat is culturally decisive, also for Sciencsts themselves, When in the clue ie came o seem self-evident that what “science eels us” is "how he universe-machine works,” and ‘when the practical succes ofthe new science had given ic overwhelming {piste ological clou, Chistian discourse about Go and humans fous itself the inhabitant of an epistemological ghetto, as ic had never before been, For the Christan God is wholy unfit found or rule a machine- ‘cretion, addicted ashe ise foling around Wich monkey wrenches, co ‘whet the machine metaphor can only construe as “intervention,” as Fixing what aint broke. Aad the Christian human is equally uaficeed ‘inhabit such a univer, expecting as helshe does tobe ever and again ‘ebocn from new src Tor two centuries, we have in consequence supposed ha Christian talk of God and human destiny mas be epstemologicaly disconnected fiom scientific talk and that since wha seience does is describe reais, Christan tale of God and human destiny cannot describe reais, ‘whatever eee it may then be permiced co do. Entice generations and Schools of theologians and philosophers have thereupon devoted theit ‘acer to inventing some epistemological function for theology. But ‘whether Christian discourse is then taken to be a “higher” discourse than science of a “lower” one, whether i i taken as “expressive” o¢ evocative” or just a a elljuseifying “language game,” the disaster is the same, In miy judgment, here is sothing atthe bss of the eaire fgoay but uncritical acceptance of —tobooe, neinsially implasible Aiinetaphpsical rot metaphor . ‘Dol then say that “Em?” and “The Son proceeds fom the Father ‘work jas the same way? I do not chink I do. But Ido say hie instr {scither "Enme or “The Son proceeds from the Pather” sa insofar ta231 et sen Wer Were the Body Wend as cithe has any pci pasting other han il hey depend foe this purchase co thei sition ia one total humen cogaitive die cout, which as leas internal eisemelogialboandace. To pat Ae fom ‘ehe se will make che poine most oflensively plain: it ‘cis docs ot belong co the same discoume as does theology, then sien play of ioe. "ldo ay tat no subregion of human discourse can be normative paradigm of anyother, noe because dey ares diserete but Beas thir tal bounties ce obese il-defied. And I do say — and this “Yet me he most intresting and ibersing pint — that wheze one, any occasion, ge into the enerpise i tcly and ghey a mater of echeaveatcvenn, My fee growa-up job was teaching intodscton to philosophy 00 Monday, Wednesdsy, and Friday and ineodacion to theology 0a “Tuesday, Thursday, and Sacurday I real spending mich time eying to disconer che gent Iwas supposed to she ach evening but Saturday. The given up. My recommendation is chat we all shuld C224)