Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Proposition Regarding Propositions

            One could possibly be inclined to think of reality and truth as primarily propositional (please note especially the word primarily). Would this not be the position of theologians who believe propositional truth is the highest form of truth and that the Bible presents truth primarily as proposition? How does this position square with God as ultimate reality and ultimate truth? How does one protect the personhood of God from disappearing? Is God a mere proposition? God is the “I am.” That is a proposition – a proposition, however, nestled in the midst of a story! As proposition, the statement told Moses (and company) something regarding the reality of the person of God. The thought that God is (only, or primarily, or even slightly) a proposition is obviously preposterous. And if (or rather, since) reality is ultimately and foundationally God himself, then neither is reality a mere proposition. The same applies for truth; truth is not essentially, predominantly or exclusively propositional. Note that I am not saying reality and truth do not have a propositional element; of course they do. I am, however, arguing that truth (as well as reality and God) is not fundamentally or only propositional. When Jesus declares, “I am the way, the truth, and the life...” he is not claiming to be a mere conveyor of propositional truth claims; rather he is saying as R. Bultmann (1985) tells us, “So truth…is God’s very reality revealing itself – occurring! – in Jesus.” (p. 2,19). The difference is no small detail. And no small part of the story.

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