Realisme og nominalisme i soteriologien

Fredag (16. mai) diskuterte — eller heller samtala — eg litt med ein kamerat omkring forskjellige kyrkjelege/kristelege spørsmål, og vi kom etter kvart inn på forholdet mellom realisme og nominalisme i soteriologien, dvs. læra om frelsa (av gr. soteria, ‘frelse’ og logi, ‘lære.’) Eg tok opp forskjellen mellom Thomas Aquinas og William av Ockham sin posisjon i dette spørsmålet. Kameraten min siterte frå ei bok av Alister E. McGrath. Han, altså kameraten min, siterte nokre ord om William av Ockham:

Ockham’s Razor, often referred to as “the principle of parsimony.” Ockham insisted that simplicity was both a theological and a philosophical virtue. His “razor” eliminated all hypotheses which were not absolutely essential. This had major implications for his theology of justification. Earlier medieval theologians (including Thomas Aquinas) had argued that God was obliged to justify sinful humanity by means of what was called a “created habit of grace” — in other words, an intermediate supernatural entity, infused by God into the human soul, which permitted the sinner to be pronounced justified. Ockham dismissed this notion as an unnecessary irrelevance, and declared that justification was the direct acceptance of a sinner by God. There was no need for this intermediate step in the acceptance of the individual by God. What Aquinas held to take place by an intermediate entity, Ockham declared to take place directly, without any intermediate such as “created habit of grace.” The way was thus opened to the more personalist approaches to justification such as those associated with the Reformation.[1]

Kameraten min synst at den thomistiske ordbruken — om ‘infused habits of grace,’ altså noko slikt som ‘innsette nådsdyder/nådsvaner’ — var rar. Og difor vil eg no leggje litt meir ut om den her.

Det latinske ordet habitus kan omsetjast på fleire måtar. Dei mest vanlege er dyd og vane. (I katolsk tanke er dyd ein vane.) Det er ikkje snakk om at Gud puttar ein ‘ting’ i oss som gjer at vi er frelste. Det ein seier, er at Gud verkeleg rettferdiggjer oss, dvs. at Han ikkje berre erklærer oss for å vere rettferdige, utan å gjere noko verkeleg. Men det er nettopp det som er resultatet dersom ein fylgjer ein nominalistisk filosofi. For Ockham var ein nominalist. McGrath skriv at “Ockham was a vigorous defender of nominalism.”[2]

Vi kan sjå resultatet av dette mellom anna i kalvinismen, der rettferdiggjeringa berre er Gud som nærast set eit stempel i panna di der det står rettferdiggjort, sjølv om ingenting skjer innvendig. Grunnen til at ein meiner det, er — forutan nominalismen (som nekter for at det finst nokre indre natur å rettferdiggjere) — også at ein ikkje har det perspektivet ein har i Den katolske og Den ortodokse kyrkja, nemleg at frelsa er ein prosess som vert fullenda i himmelen. Difor kan ein, i desse kyrkjene, seie at det skjer noko verkeleg, men at dette skjer gradvis. Men kalvinisten, som meiner at alt skjer på eitt tidspunkt, vil difor — fordi han, som alle andre, innser at han ikkje er perfekt — seie at ingenting skjer innvendig, berre utvendig — vår framtoning for Gud.

Men er ikkje den thomistiske læra like ‘rar’? Nei, det meiner eg at den ikkje er. Og eg trur at problemet ligg i liten forståing av uttrykket ‘skapt habitus.’ Her kan Addison H. Hart vere til hjelp. Hans artikkel handlar om forskjellen mellom det austleg-ortodokse konseptet ‘uskapt nåde’ og det romersk-katolske konseptet ‘skapt nåde.’ Men eg trur at vi kan bruke den her, for å forklare kva som blir meint med at vi vert rettferdiggjort av “a “created habit of grace” — in other words, an intermediate supernatural entity, infused by God into the human soul, which permitted the sinner to be pronounced justified.” (McGrath). Addison H. Hart skriv:

The term, though, requires some explaining. “Created Grace” is also called “Habitual Grace” (from habitus—an endowment) and “Sanctifying Grace.” The central theological issue is one with which we are all familiar: How do we, who are creatures, become (as 2 Pet. 1:4 puts it) “partakers of the divine nature”? When King Charles I proclaimed from the scaffold that “a subject and a sovereign are clean different things,” he was tragically mistaken. But when we finite mortals speak of God—infinite, immortal, invisible, incomprehensible, uncreated—we are speaking of One clean different from us. Yet, we are told, it is his intention that we human creatures, through Christ, are meant to participate in the inner life of the Holy Trinity. How can such a deification of human nature be accomplished? In what terms can our human minds even grasp it? Obviously, this is a mystery to human thought. Still, some definitions and distinctions must be made, precisely to protect the mystery and revelation from real error. (…)

St. Thomas Aquinas gets to the heart of what this means when he quotes the words of an unknown ancient Christian writer (he ascribes the words—wrongly—to Boethius): “Accidentis esse est inesse”—“The being of an accident is to be-in.” To be-in what, exactly? To be in a substance obviously. And the substance in which grace ultimately is is the uncreated essence of God himself.

The Eastern Church, whether speaking of the original creation or the work of regeneration and deification in Christ, uses the time-honored language of “essence” and “energies” to make the necessary distinction between God in himself and God in his operations in the created order. Western, Latin-language theology has used the term gratia creata in its own attempt to make the same necessary distinction. The word “created” refers not to the substance of grace (which is God himself), but to that same grace as it is infused and at work in our created natures accidentally. The Thomist scholar, Timothy McDermott, is therefore surely correct in rendering, if a bit loosely, the words of the Angelic Doctor on this matter in the following way: “Strictly speaking, a supervening quality is not so much in existence itself, as a way in which something else exists; and so grace is not created, but men are created in it, established in a new existence out of nothing, without earning it.”

Det vi då ser, er at Aquinas ikkje seier at Gud skapar ein substans is eg sjølv som deretter frelser mennesket. Nei, det han seier er at Gud — gjennom sin nåde, dvs. djupast sett Han sjølv — skapar ein relasjon til oss, ein relasjon som — gradvis og heilt reelt — skapar det nye livet i oss, rettferdiggjer og heilaggjer oss. Problemet til Ockham er ikkje at han understreka at det er Gud sjølv — og ikkje ein substansiell entitet — som rettferdiggjer oss. Problemet er at han lot nominalismen gjennomsyre dette. Då fjerna han den relle rettferdiggjeringa, og ein satt — etter kvart — igjen med den kalvinistiske lære som set eit skilje mellom det vi verkeleg er og det vi er i Guds auge.

Noter & referansar:

[1] McGrath, Alister E. (2001) Christian theology : an introduction. 3rd ed. Oxford : Blackwell, s. 47

[2] Ibid

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s