Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4F

Summary of text [comment] page 22

[Since this is the age of refusal and usurpation, allow me to re-iterate a definition of religion that fits this era.

Religion may be defined according two criteria:

One, religion views the individual and the world according to the intersecting nested forms with parallel (originally exclusive and interpellating) nested forms on the vertical moral religious axis.  In doing so, “religion3” brings “the world2” into relation with “the potential of the individual1“.

Two, religion holds a nested relation to sovereign as actuality.  This means that there are two types of religion: Suprasovereign religions put the sovereign into context.  Infrasovereign religions are situated by the sovereign.

In nested form:

suprasovereign religion3(sovereign2( infrasovereign religion1))]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4E

Summary of text [comment] page 22

[What about today?  Let me paint a bold picture.

The French Revolution’s liberation of the empty Bastille compares to the apostle’s discovery of Christ’s empty tomb as infrasovereign compares to suprasovereign religion.

Consider: What did each take from their respective empty space?

The apostles took the news – or suspicion – of the Risen Christ.

The French mob took unguarded armaments.

Christianity lets sovereign power descend from heaven.

The French Revolution seized sovereign power in an uprising.

The relation between the person and the Risen Christ is beyond any symbolic order.  In Lacanian terms, the Risen Christ is a buttonhole.  Any button that apparently fits the buttonhole yields a symbolic order, then a social construction, that then finds itself slipping from the buttonhole and in need of renewal.  There is no solution to Christ.  Christ is the solution.  Jesus is the object that brings us all into relation.  A host of buttons (organizations) can be held by the buttonhole (of Christ’s interpellation).

In contrast, three “organizational objects”, defined the symbolic order in the French Revolution: freedom (from the king), fraternity (of the mob) and equality (of expropriated properties).

But those objects were not enough.  Sovereign power was necessary to make the citizens subject to thinkpro-object. The armaments in the Bastille were needed to bring down the king, the nobles, the priests, the shop-keepers … okay … anyone who the mob did not like.  Guns were needed to achieve “equality”.  To resist was to “be against freedom, fraternity and equality”.  To resist was to thinkroyal_noble_churchy_greedy.  To resist was to be declared thinkbourgouise. Even if you just happened to be in the wrong place, you could get branded, with decapitating consequences.

Oh, if you think that belongs to history and not to 2013, see Ann Coulter’s well-researched book Mugged.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4D3

Summary of text [comment] page 22

[When a religioninfrasovereign grasps sovereign power, the society becomes closed, parnoid and stifling. The reigning symbolic order (thinkpro-object) occupies the hollow of thinkdivine.

Sovereigninfrareligion converts by the sword.  To question is to feel the sharp point of accusation.  You are against the “object that brings us all into organization under sovereign power”.  Your conscience is against the “object”.]

In Schoonenberg’s words: “Israel’s ‘No’ to the God of grace takes shape the very first time in the positive effort to “be like unto God” (Gen 3:5); to dispose autonomously, in magic and idolatry, of God’s free gifts, of what properly belongs to God, of God himself.”


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4D2

Summary of text [comment] page 22

[Religionsuprasovereign interpellates the thinkgroups. Thinkdivine calls to people open to conversion, people who are capable of abandoning their thinkgroup.  People can see when a thinkgroup denies the consequences of its actions.  People sense the Real (lawessential).

The call of religionsuprasovereign can lead to conflict with sovereigninfrareligion.

Some religionsinfrasovereign refuse thinkdivine on the basis of some “object that they hold dear”.   The object serves to elevate the (infra)sovereign thinkgroup and demonize its perceived opponents.  The object inspires the movement to grasp sovereign power.  In doing so, the movement usurps precisely “what the supra-sovereign religion would guide” and places an object (an organizational goal) in the place of God (the relation that call everyone).

I call this usurpation: thinkpro-object.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4D1

Summary of text [comment] page 22

The “No of sin” shows itself in two forms: refusal and usurpation.  Each form includes the other.

[Here, I see Schoonenberg pointing to the nature of infrasovereign religions from a suprasovereign perspective.

The suprasovereign religion exists despite the exercise of sovereign power. It interpellates a great diversity of institutions.  These institutions are religious and capable of seeking sovereign power, but most do not even contemplate that objective. The religioninfrasovereigns that grasp for sovereign power may have been originally interpellated into existence by religionsuprasovereign. Or they may have not.

Thinkdivine interpellates in more social dimensions than thinkinfrasovereign_religions.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4C

Summary of text [comment] pages 21 & 22

Sins directly oppose the grace of God and stand against the theological virtues of hope and love.

Sins against the supernatural virtues take the form of an offense against religion or against other moral virtues.

[To me, the first sentence sounds like thinkgroup(sin(consciencelacking)) in an exclusive yet interpellating relation to thinkdivine(virtue as faith, hope & love(consciencefree)).

The second sentence sounds like thinkgroup splitting into “a thinkpro-object” and “a thinkanti-object that is projected onto others”.  This is the stance of an infrasovereign religion as it grasps sovereign power.  This is the stance of a sovereigninfra religion.

A sovereigninfra religion meets the description of “a sin against the supernatural virtues”.  It is an offense against the suprasovereign religion.  Only a suprasovereign religion offers thinkdivine and consciencefree.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4B

Summary of text [comment] page 21

Schoonenberg argues: The whole of creation is assumed with God in the covenant of grace.  That is, the covenant of grace is natural.

So when one sins in the sphere of natural relations, this sin is ultimately assumed in the dialogue between “God who bestows” and “man who receives” grace.

Sin always possesses a supernatural character.

[This is consistent with the way that the natural philosophical axis intersects with the moral religious axis in the realm of actuality.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.4A

Summary of text [comment] page 20

Section 1.4 summarizes Schoonenberg’s description of “sin”.  Here are some initial points:

Sin belongs to the moral order.

The moral order is where ‘man realizes ‘himself’ as a person in action and utterance.

Sin is a negative reaction, a refusal and resistance.

Sin is a “No of the person” who shuts ‘himself’ off and hardens ‘himself’ (when openness and self-giving is expected).

Sin is a “No to God”.

[The previous blogs demonstrated that elements and features of the intersecting nested forms associate to these points.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.3P

Summary of text [comment] page 19

Schoonenberg did not mention the word “intentionality”.

[ He assumed that intentionality existed.

The Scholastics were very interested in intentionality.

Semiotics opens a way to appreciate intentionality and existence.

My association for the human is:

Intentionality : specified conscience and trained disposition in a particular situation; very similar to both “soul” and “heart”.

John N. Deely wrote a whole book on this subject: Intentionality and Semiotics: A Story of Mutual Fecundation.  2007. University of Scranton Press:Distribution Center Chicago.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.3O

Summary of text [comment] page 19

[Perhaps I was a little off target in the previous blogs.  Who knows? I return to Schoonenberg’s text.]

Schoonenberg wrote that the Church discovered that the heart, the center of the person, accounts for the free decision for which ‘man’ is responsible.  What makes a ‘man’ good or bad before God?  Not the qualities that can be noticed or measured, nor the consequences of his actions.  It is the response of the free person which takes shape in these actions.  To be sure, the outer and objective structure of his activity is important. But the deepest value lies in the response of the heart.

It is here that the person expresses ‘himself’ as such.

[To me, this description of the “soul” calls to mind the dual concepts of consciencespecified1 and dispositions1 that are habituated by our virtuous or sinful actions. This description of the “heart” calls to mind the entire intersecting nested form.]