Monday, March 05, 2007

Getting Serious with Siris: IC

Finally, on to Siris' IIIB, to which I shall respond here. I am pretty confident about my reply to Siris' IIIA, but rather less confident about what to say in reponse to his IIIB, as it seems I have misunderstood the direction of his criticism. Nevertheless, I think I can speak to what he is saying.

Let me briefly summarize the substance of Siris' critique in his IIIB. He claims that a conservative Anglican should object to my argument and my various defenses of it, saying
assuming that one can directly move from the Christ-Body to the Christ-member relation without equivocation is the fallacy of division.

For the conservative could point out that

a fallacy of division occurs when the attempt is made to move from property of the whole to property of the part without a bridge principle, i.e., a warrant for doing so. This is so even when the inference is accidentally correct.

I take it he wants to see some support for premise (4) of my argument for blessing same-sex unions, namely that Scripture's canonical narrative calls for marriage here below to be modeled after an eschatological relation between Christ and each of the individual members of the Church. Point being, I suppose, that I have not shown why the relevant properties will transfer; the properties I keep offering up are relatively trivial and in the end not persuasive. In particular, he says my reasoning so far

doesn't give, or even suggest a Biblical grounding for the claim that the same relation on which marriage is modeled is a relation obtaining between Christ and males.

Here is the core concern, I think, at somewhat greater length:

This commonality of having a common source domain for metaphorical purposes, however, is not enough to remove suspicion of equivocation, which requires that the terms be of the same kind, in this case that the R obtaining between males is the R on which marriage should be modeled. That's one R; if there are really two different meanings given to R, the argument is simply equivocal and fails. [For] [t]he conservative Anglican will point out that the R on which marriage should be modeled is a relation between Christ and the Church; and that the R obtaining between males is a relation between Christ and the individual. Thus the argument equivocates and should be rejected.

I think it is pretty clear Siris' conservative Anglican would be looking for justification in transferring the application of what we might call a common relevant type. That is, why think the eschatological Christ/Church relation is of the same relevant type as the eschatological relations between Christ and Church members? Presumably the property type whose application is in question is something like being suitable to model marriage here below.

Thus, the conservative Anglican is pictured as asking to be shown that the eschatlogical relation R between Christ and the Church on which marriage should be modelled is of the same relevant type as the eschatological relation between Christ and each individual member of the Church, i.e. that both are suitable for modelling marriage here below. What do they have in common that would make both of them fall under that type?

That does not seem unreasonable of the conservative Anglican to ask; I am happy to comply. I presume there is some group G of properties, X, Y,...Z that justify the Christ/Church relation modelling marriage. What is in G? Here would be good candidiates:

unifying the related items,
perfecting at least one related item,
bringing conformity of the related items throough mutual charity,
bringing a kind of perichoretic interpenetration to the related items;

and there are probably other members of G. However, the Christ/Church member relation also instantiates the properties of G, including the candidates listed above. That is, at the eschaton, Christ and each Church member are related such that they are unified, at least one of them is perfected, they are conformed through mutual charity, and they enjoy a perichoresis like but inferior to that of the persons of the Trinity. Instantiating the properties of G, the Christ/Church member relation is suitable to model marriage here below. That is, instantiating the properties of G justifies the application of the property type suitable to model marriage here below to each relation between Christ and an individual Church member.

I would hasten to add, though strictly speaking the point is superfluous, that the Christ/Church relation instantiates members of G only if the Christ/Church member relations instantiate members of G. That is to say, the fact that Christ and the Church are unified at the eschaton derives from the fact Christ and each member of the Church are unified.


At 8:43 PM, Blogger *Christopher said...

What of consecrated celibacy within a community (it's always within a community even if hermitic)? It seems to me that this also falls under the category of eschatological Sign, even Marriage, as Eugene Rogers might argue. Our traditions are replete with the erotic and spousal language of mystics, some married, most celibate.

Again the ideal seems to me the Christic pattern regardless of one's state in life, and at the same time that patter brings all states of life up short.

At 9:39 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

True, ultimately each member is destined at the eschaton to a one on one relationship with Christ--though within the communion of saints constitutuing the Church.

It seems to me the eschatological relation could model mystic ecstasy as well as hermetic ascesis as well as marriage, just as one and the same cardboard cut-out of some structures to be built could model height, length, and depth, or else maybe shape, color and relation to other buildings in the construction complex.

The richness of the final union with Christ overflows our efforts to discretely conceptualize it from our experience and thought here below; we as yet see through a glass darkly. It is no surprise various Christians in the Spirit imitate that union in various ways, and no single type of imitation exhausts the possible satisfactions of our eros.

At 9:40 PM, Blogger The Anglican Scotist said...

So, I guess that comes to saying you are right--the main thing is the Christic pattern.


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