Monday, September 9, 2013

The Problem of Autonomy

If one surrenders oneself to Christ, how does one then gain oneself?
How is it that when one surrenders one's intellect to Christ, one does not cease to experience the thinking as our own? How is it that to be controlled by the love of God does not make one as a robot? (or if it does, then what, exactly, will be the supreme motivating force for us in heaven?).

These questions may be offered as problematic to the Determinist first, but they are no less problematic to a non-determinist Christian, so far as I can see. Even if it is by character formation that our wills become constrained, why bother continued existence once one no longer has a real choice? If there is any case where an actor can say to himself "well, then, I'll just wait and see what I do," then the question may be applied. If one says that we will always have a choice of how to act well, then this is still unsatisfactory: I don't care about such miniscule decisions! (as regards my recognizing myself as a separable being, not lost in some mass of unified consciousness or something--the length of time I take to order at restaurants notwithstanding.)

To be Christian is to affirm an answer to these questions. We are one body. The question these questions are getting at is, how are we yet many members? How does union with Christ not entail becoming lost in a kind of God-consciousness, such that there is no longer really a "me" to speak of? We believe there is an answer to these things. What is it? If the analogy of the Trinity is offered, this is no help, for it tries to explain that which we do not understand, yet believe as Christians to be the case with something else we... do not understand, yet believe as Christians to be the case.

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