instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Two quick thoughts

Say what you like, Kathy Shaidle is no respecter of persons:
Now, I couldn't care less, you understand. The idea that I'd be banned for life from writing fifty-dollar book reviews for some local Catholic paper really doesn't concern me. Book reviews have lousy ROI of time and energy, and if you don't know what ROI means, chances are you, well, work in Catholic publishing.
I laugh, because fifty dollars is fifty dollars more than I've ever been paid for a book review, which I don't write any more, because they have lousy ROI of time and energy. That, and I'll be posting about a book I was sent to review -- posting about the book, you understand, not reviewing it -- next.

A comment on a post at An Examined Life touches on the old "Are the Commandments good because God gave them to us, or did God give them to us because they are good?" party ice-breaker:
God's commands, on the common divine command conception, really are in danger of seeming arbitrary, because God is conceived in an excessively anthropomorphic fashion expressing his will, which is presented as radically disjoined from our nature. The solution to the problem, as I see it, is just as you've proposed here and elsewhere; God issues his 'commands' because they are good, and they are good because following them constitutes the kind of life that allows us to achieve our good.
I think this is related to something I wrote last week. The Church certainly speaks of God's commandments, but His commandments are only part of His revelation.

They are, I think you could say, God's revelation under the aspect of law. But the aspect of law neither exhausts revelation, nor defines its nature. As St. Thomas teaches, Revelation is necessary for man to know the end (viz, God) to which he is directed. So from the very nature of Revelation, it can't be arbitrary or disjointed from our nature -- and that includes the Commandments.