Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6W1

Summary of text [comment] page 45

[The presence of statistical variation (which de Chardin, for all practical purposes, used to explain the necessity of natural evil) means that we have another worry.

When we will slip from the realm of actuality to possibility, will the context remain true?

Consider our prayers:

First, we may ask God to “preserve us” (and suppress the obvious consequences that, if God were to preserve me, then more and more energy would be devoted to maintaining “me” and less and less energy would be available for other trials, thereby undermining the spontaneous order).

Second, we may ask God to “design something better” (that is, to “alter the rules of the game in our favor”, and suppress the obvious consequences of biased selection in a spontaneous order).

Third, we may ask God to “deliver us from evil”.

Now, this one is in the Lord’s Prayer, so I better not dismiss it.

The phrase “deliver us from evil” is placed after a very practical list. It comes almost as an afterthought.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6V2

[Both nature (spontaneous order) and human efforts (designed order), will alter the formal elements in order to adapt to recurring (statistically frequent) instrumental failures.

Applying this to the realm of freedom and morality, (that is, the realm of virtue and sin, or perhaps, I should say, the realm of culture and designed orders) I sense that the challenge of evil (perceived as the occurrence of failure through instrumental causes or formal requirements, which are statistical) induces us to feel that we should change formal designs to prevent particular failures.

The statistical character of evil pushes us to become either control freaks, always designing a better system, or reactionaries, clinging to what works in a stubborn effort to keep everything intact.

Here, we encounter a “demand on God” that resembles the previously discussed “demand that God preserve us”.

In this demand, we fail to acknowledge that we are beings in a spontaneous order and, if God did literally preserve our homeostasis, metabolism and definition, other aspects of the spontaneous order would suffer.

In short, we ask for a cure.  We ask God to remove failure (evil) by intervention (instrumentally) or decree (formally).]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6V1

Summary of text [comment] page 45

I now return to page 45, where Schoonenberg accepts that “evil is a statistical necessity” for God’s creation and wonders whether it applies to the realm of freedom and morality, that is, to us.

[There are two types of statistical necessity.

One relates to instrumental causes.  Instrumental (dyadic) causea and effects build situations2, such as those found in de Chardin’s interscoping nested forms.  Consider the workings of homeostasis2, metabolism2, and definition2.

Statistical chances of instrumental failure account for why we slip from actuality back into possibility, through illness, poisoning and violence.

The other relates to formal requirements.  These explain our particular designs. Consider the designs of homeostasis2, metabolism2 and definition2.

Often, we slip from actuality back into possibility with respect to some level of the interscoping forms because our particular design could endure only a certain statistical range of challenges.  Each one of us exhibits a slightly different design with its corresponding vulnerabilities.

Both types of failure are familiar to us.  These statistical necessities appear in the production and maintenance of all designed forms.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6U3

[What did de Chardin see as our illusion?

We long to be above the participation.  We long to be like God.

Consider those who have arranged that they never slip back into Nothingness.  Consider Lenin and now, Chavez.  Their plasticized remains are on display for all to see.  They are preserved as demonic apparitions beneath glass facades.

Compare them to the famous Christian relics, which are preserved in equally beautiful, sublime and scary apparatuses.  The saints did not ask to be so preserved.  In a way, their admirers preserved their bodies against the wishes of the saints.

Relics are icons of a “remembering”.  They are our way of asking God to not forget this moment, or that moment, when the spontaneous order held this person of great gravity and intensity.

We cannot imagine that this moment, every moment, is God Recognizing Himself.   Even though we physically return to Nothingness, something remains.

God remains.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6U2

[But what of Nothingness?

Consider the clinging that Buddha let slip, back, into what?

Perhaps, this is what Tielhard was hoping to evoke.  Rather than taking the Buddhist perspective that all striving is illusion, which is technically correct since all arises then returns to Nothingness, Tielhard revels in the creativity and destruction – the beauty and the terror – the Mythos of the “Illusion Being Actual”.

The Logos follows.  Even Buddha did not slip back into Nothingness.

God’s spontaneous order brings us into being then lets us slip away. Yet, God does not create for Nothing.  God creates for Himself.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6U1

Summary of text [comment] page 44

[The “shame of participation”?

Yes, each one of us faces “the shame of not being beautiful forever” along with the shame of “not being alive forever”.

“To be alive” is simply more beautiful than “to be dead”.

In my shame, I want to lure God into preserving me, at cost to all others, from the ravages of slipping back into Nothingness.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6T4

[Evilphysical  and evilmetaphysical necessarily occur in the context of creation through spontaneous order, which means that failure is inevitable and success is always contingent.

So we must admit that natural evil is part of God’s creation.

At the same time, the drama and the abundance of the spontaneous orders are beautiful to behold, far more beautiful than any designed order.

Plus, without the spontaneous order, none of us would have come into existence.

Perhaps, we can parody St. Paul in saying that the abundance of beauty is greater than the shame of participation.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6T3

[Recall that

Evilphysical is that portion of the nested form:

___3(situated as evil2(event1))

This corresponds to an event that produces a negatively stressful situation or a privation of a good.

Evilmetaphysical is that portion of the nested form:

normal context3(situated as evil2(__1))

This corresponds to a limitation tested by the negatively stressful situation.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6T2

[Here, we can pause and savor the artistry of embalming Hugo Chavez, I am the Change, and placing him in a glass coffin for all to worship.

Here is the counter example to God’s creation. The spontaneous orders of Venezuelan Society were reduced by a sovereigninfra Public Cult into perverts worshipping a plastic corpse in a glass coffin.

Preservation and poverty are the signs of a dying spontaneous order.

Consider the Inca civilization, which the Chavez Cult unwittingly imitates.

Their empire was structured as the domains of kings who had conquered territory.  Each conquered territory belonged to the conquering king (even though that king may have died).  Each royal generation expanded the empire’s territory in order to support its own court, while the earlier courts continued to rule their respective lands, with the embalmed king still on his throne.]