Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6AF2

[The moderns, from Descartes on, pay an odd tribute to this trait of seeing design, even when we do not – cannot, really – comprehend what we see.

Kant labeled the sensical  “phenomena” (“what we see as designed”) and the nonsensical “noumena” (“what is there in itself”).  We see design in the phenomena, conjuring instrumental causes and formal elements, but we cannot justify projecting our contextualizing intuition of design onto the noumena, beneath the appearances.

Thus, Kant’s Philosophy explains why Moderns are either functionally followers of William Paley (like modern scientists who explore phenomena and do not worry about the noumena) or dysfunctional visionaries (like modern philosophers who came up with the idea of “noumena” in the first place, thereby putting Descartes before the horse).]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6AF1

Summary of text [comment] page 45

[The premoderns – including the Scholastics  viewed the world as static, that is, designed.  Before the point where de Chardin was discussed, Man and Sin follows that perspective.

Schoonenberg did not realize that humans evolved to see design.  The reason why we evolved this trait is plain.  By seeing design, we recognized patterns and produced artifacts that increased reproductive success under our ecological, environmental and definitional conditions.  “Seeing design” was adaptive.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6AE

Summary of text [comment] page 45

I continue with 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.

[So far, blogs 1.6J through 1.6AD wrestled with pages 44 and 45.  They cover a lot of territory.  Every attempt to summarize generated a new twist.  Each new insight reveals an implication of the text.  Of course, this is the nature of the theological treatise.

Consequently, I stand in wonder at the freight that Schoonenberg tried to pack within a single paragraph, on page 45, in this section on “The Analogy between Sin and Physical (Natural) Evil”.

Schoonenberg walks the reader back, from a quote in the writings of de Chardin (on the statistical necessity of failure or evil in biological systems), to a consideration of the evil of sin.

What he cannot cover, because he does not have the tools to articulate the ideas, is that the evil of sin occurs in the cultural spontaneous orders that we live in. We interpret failure through the lens of designed order, without an intuitive sense of the way that spontaneous orders emerge and maintain themselves, without a clue that our “designs” are “beings within the cultural spontaneous order”, and, until now, with no awareness that our world is not the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6AD3

[Today’s Lebenswelt is qualitatively different than the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

The spontaneous order of our current society is composed of a multitude of institutions and organizations.  Each may be regarded as a social construction that, in itself, is a spontaneous order.  Each talks a specialized language.

In “the Lebenswelt that we evolved in”, the spontaneous order was composed of one organization, the band or village culture.

A single referential way of talking supported two symbolic orders, one obvious (sensibly iconic, indexal and symbolic) and one not obvious (nonsensically iconic, indexal and symbolic).]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6AD2

[An Archaeology of the Fall provides a key point.

During our evolution, the way we talked generated two symbolic orders, one sensical (practical) and one nonsensical (social construction).  These symbolic orders belonged to the spontaneous order of band or village life.  What we call “culture” existed as an adaptation to the spontaneous orders of ecology and environment.  Culture was adaptive.

Today, humanity is embedded in many specialized symbolic orders due to our current way of talking: speech alone talk.  Social constructions are generated by projecting referentiality into these specialized languages.

Our world is filled with a multitude of social constructions.   These social constructions compose the organizations that we contextualize as institutions.  They generate the artifacts that we attend to in our daily lives.

These organizations and artifacts participate in higher level spontaneous orders, such as the market. The market is adaptive.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6AD1

Summary of text [comment] page 45

[Let me discuss the implications of the summary that appeared in last few blogs.

Consider the nested form that was introduced:

Design3(us seeing2( the subject that we are observing1))

Can this set of nested forms interscope with the nested forms that belong to de Chardin’s description of the scandal of biological evolution?  If they do not interscope, do they intersect?]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6AC6

[Finally, I end up in familiar territory.  The criteria for failure can be manipulated.  Since our intentions are reflected in our artifacts and our social constructs, we can ignore the physical evils (challenges) of our social constructions and avoid the metaphysical evils (limitations).   We can engineer social constructs that shift the negative consequences to others in the spontaneous order.  Others suffer evil.  The elites do not.

Of course, unintended consequences occur as the entire spontaneous order adapts.

We have come full circle to the drama of religion in history.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6AC5

[Consider, for example, the so called “liberal” in America in 2014.  Here is a person who regards ‘himself’ as most tolerant yet consistently votes for an infrasovereign religion (the Public Cult of Progressivism) that is intent on seizing sovereign power in order to impose its designs (its organizational goals) upon the entire spontaneous order of society.

How counterintuitive is that?

The tolerant vote for the imposition of intolerant designs.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6AC4

[I conclude my little summary.

What we see (in the spontaneous order in which we are embedded in) inspires us to design.  We design according to our intentions. We thus contribute to an entirely new dimension of success and failure in addition to the biological foundation of natural good and evil.  In a very real sense, we know not what we do.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.6AC3

[I continue my selective summary.

Everything that I said about the spontaneous orders of biology can be extended to culture.

We see cultural spontaneous orders through the lens of design.

In the nested form format, “instrumental causes and formal elements3” put “our seeing2” into context and “our seeing2” situates “the subject that we are observing1”.

Our artifacts and organizations are built according to the dictates of instrumental causes and formal elements.  They are all designed.

At the same time, they belong to our cultural spontaneous orders.

How crazy is that?]