讀書筆記:認識神

近日讀到幾篇與「認識神」有關的文字,摘錄如下

  1. 摘錄自何頓(Michael Horton)著,麥種編輯部譯,《基督徒的信仰》(麥種,編輯中),第一章

往後我們會再三回到神的本質與能量之間這東方教會神學所提出的重要區別。正如我會更全面地論證的,西方神學跟隨奧古斯丁和阿奎那(Thomas Aquinas),不承認這區別,堅稱:我們現在不能看見神的本質,唯一的原因在於我們身體的形式。雖然東方和西方一樣易受柏拉圖主義影響,前者對本質和能量的區分,是更全面考慮到創造主和受造物之間的差別,並常常提防在西方教會神秘主義中明顯的泛神傾向。

在這方面,改教家們反映出東方教會所強調的,即神在祂本質方面不能被人測透,在祂能量方面屈尊俯就的自我啟示。正如我們只因太陽光線使身體變得溫暖,才能認識太陽;我們只有按著神對我們的作為,而不是按祂自己之所是,才能認識祂。 雖然中世紀的神學系統對神的本質作了冗長的處理,但當加爾文討論三一論的時候只是匆匆的對神的靈性和無限廣大性做了必要的斷言,他說:「企圖發現神是甚麼的人,都是瘋狂的。」 「神是甚麼?提出這問題的人只是在玩弄無用的猜測……。簡單來說,認識一位與我們無關的神有甚麼用呢?」「神的本質當受人敬拜,而非探究。」

We will return several times to this crucial distinction of Eastern theology between God’s essence and energies. As I will argue more fully, Western theology — following Augustine and Aquinas — did not recognize this distinction and insisted that the only reason we do not behold God in his essence at present is our bodily form. Although the East was as susceptible as the West to the influences of Platonism, its essence-energies distinction reckoned more fully with the Creator-creature difference and often guarded against the pantheistic tendencies evident in Western mysticism.

In this respect, the Reformers reflect the East’s emphasis on God’s incomprehensibility (in his essence) and God’s self-revealing condescension (in his energies). As we know the sun only as we are warmed by its rays, we know God only in his activity toward us, not as he is in himself. While medieval systems contained lengthy treatments of the divine essence, Calvin moves quickly through a necessary affirmation of God’s spirituality and immensity to discuss the Trinity. “They are mad who seek to discover what God is,” he says. “What is God? Men who pose this question are merely toying with idle speculations. . . . What help is it, in short, to know a God with whom we have nothing to do? . . . The essence of God is rather to be adored than inquired into.”

——Michael Horton, The Christian Faith, p. 52

the-christian-faith (1)

2. 摘錄自巴刻著,《認識神》

如果再次回到詩篇一一九篇,你將會發現:詩人想要獲得與神有關的知識,這不是理論性的關注,而是實踐性的。他最高的渴慕是要認識並享受神自己,他珍視關乎神的知識,只是作為達到此一目的的途徑。他想要曉得神的真理,是為要叫他的心可以回應它,他的生命可以被塑造成它的樣式。留意開篇幾節的重點:「行為完全、遵行耶和華律法的,這人便為有福! 遵守祂的法度、一心尋求祂的,這人便為有福!⋯⋯但願我行事堅定,得以遵守你的律例。」

詩人關注在聖經教導和神學方面的真理與正統,但它們本身不是最終的目的,而是作為通往最終目的——生命與敬虔——的途徑。他想要理解神的真理,但他的終極關注是認識並服事這位偉大的神。

這也應該是我們的態度。我們研究神的目標必須是更認識神自己。我們的關注必須是擴大我們的熟悉度,但不只是熟悉神屬性的教義,更要熟悉這位永活的神——它們是祂的屬性。正如祂是我們研究的主體,也是研究過程中的幫助者,祂自己也同樣必須是研究的目的。在研究神時,我們必須被帶領到神這裡。啟示的賜下正是為了這個目的,我們也必須把它用在這個用途上。

[I]f you look back to Psalm 119 again, you will see that the psalmist’s concern to get knowledge about God was not a theoretical but a practical concern. His supreme desire was to know and enjoy God himself, and he valued knowledge about God simply as a means to this end. He wanted to understand God’s truth in order that his heart might respond to it and his life be conformed to it. Observe the emphasis of the opening verses: “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the LORD. Blessed are they who keep his statues and seek him with all their heart …. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!” (vv.1-2, 5).

The psalmist was interested in truth and orthodoxy, in biblical teaching and theology, not as ends in themselves, but as means to the further ends of life and godliness. His ultimate concern was with the knowledge and service of the great God whose truth he sought to understand.

And this must be our attitude too. Our aim in studying the Godhead must be to know God himself better. Our concern must be to enlarge our acquaintance, not simply with the doctrine of God’s attributes, but with the living God whose attributes they are. As he is the subject of our study, and our helper in it, so he must himself be the end of it. We must seek, in studying God, to be led to God. It was for this purpose that revelation was given, and it is to this use that we must put it.

J. I. Packer, Knowing God: 20th Anniversary Edition (IVP, 1993), pp. 22-23.

3. 摘錄自《傅瑞姆短篇作品:第二集》

當然,學術研究有時阻礙了個人親自的認識。如果一個人整天在谷歌上搜尋一個朋友,或在圖書館挖掘與那人有關的事實,卻從來不跟那位朋友談話,或花時間與那人同處,那可能影響彼此關係的親身性質。在與神的關係上也是類似。對於神的學術知識並非受禁止的,但是它不足以維持與神的活潑有力的關係。還必須有敬拜、禱告、信靠、悔改、和信心——一起歡喜快樂。

Of course, the discipline sometimes gets in the way of personal knowledge. If a person spends all day Googling a friend or digging up facts about him in a library, and never talks to the friend or spends time with him, that can affect the personal quality of the relationship. The same can be said similarly with God. Academic knowledge of God is not forbidden, but it is not sufficient to sustain a vital relationship with God. There must also be worship, prayer, trust, repentance, and faith, rejoicing together.

“The Academic Captivity of Theology,” in John Frame’s Selected Shorter Writings: Volume 2 (P&R, 2015), 64.

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