Tag Archives: Augustine

Happy New Year — Does Even God Know the Future?

Happy New Year! Does God know the future? Physicist, theologian, and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne thinks He might not. In the following short video excerpt of a longer interview for Closer to the Truth, Polkinghorne talks about the classical Christian view held by Augustine and Aquinas, and then offers his alternative point of view.

While we’re at it, why not listen to Polkinghorne define “time” for a different interview with Closer to the Truth? Here he also touches on theology and God’s knowledge of the future:

Augustine’s view of culture and the temporal destiny of civilizations

In his book The Micah Mandate, George Grant wrote:

“According to Augustine, culture is not a reflection of a people’s race, ethnicity, folklore, politics, language, or heritage. Rather, it is an outworking of a people’s creed. In other words, culture is the temporal manifestation of a people’s faith. If a culture begins to change, it is not because of fads, fashions, or the passing of time; it is because of a shift in worldview — it is because of a change of faith. …

“The reason he spent so much of his life and ministry critiquiting the pagan philosophies of the world and exposing the aberrant theologies of the church was that Augustine understood only too well that those things matter not only in the realm of eternity determining the spiritual destiny of masses of humanity, but in the realm of the here and now determining the temporal destiny of whole civilizations.” (emphasis added)

I would guess that Grant presupposes that the “outworking of a people’s creed” would happen within the ethnicity, language, heritage, etc., that are common to a particular people group. What Grant seems to be saying is various “fads and fashions” (media and symbols and expressions) are not the ends within themselves, but an expression of profound, basic assumptions about the universe, its origin, and what it means to be human.

Everything explained by love

“There is no room in the conception of a Christian praxis for self-sufficiency. This already implicates us in a different construal of ‘freedom’ than that operating in notions of the liberal secular subject. In fact, what characterizes this Christian agent is the surrender, the sacrifice, noted by Paul, such that he or she is bound by what Augustine called a vinculum caritatis – a bond of love. De Lubac clarifies the operation of this love within the Christian, when he writes: ‘The relationship between man and God can never be conceived as being fundamentally governed by any natural law, or any necessity of any kind interior or exterior. In the gift of himself that God wills to make, everything is explained – in so far as it can be explained – by love, everything, hence including the consequent ‘desire’ in our nature, in whatever way we understand that desire.’”

Graham Ward, in Liturgy, Time, and the Politics of Redemption (2006), edited by Randi Rashkover and C.C. Pecknold

This book is available at http://www.eerdmans.com/shop/product.asp?p_key=9780802830524