Your suggestion regarding simplicity is well taken. The apostle Paul also indicated that speech not easily understood is akin to enunciating or articulating in the air (ESESQE GAR EIS AERA LALOUNTES). On the other hand, I recall reading about Etienne Gilson (pictured left) being moved to tears by a speech that Martin Heidegger gave. But since I don't want old ladies to be perplexed nor French guys to be extremely moved (VALDE COMMOTUS)--I'll simplify my presentation. :-)Blosser:
Perhaps Gilson was moved to tears because of Heidegger's unutterably turgid teutonic unintelligibility.Foster:
I don't want to suggest that "metaphors" such as the divine title "Father" are strictly arbitrary. Nevertheless, like Justin the Martyr (right) and Minucius Felix, I believe such terms aptly delineate God's functions but not what God is in Godself. We evidently derive terms like "Father" or "King" from both general and special revelation. Justin writes:Blosser:"But to the Father of all, who is unbegotten, there is no name given. For by whatever name He be called, He has as His elder the person who gives Him the name. But these words Father, and God, and Creator, and Lord, and Master, are not names, but appellations derived from His good deeds and functions" (2 Apology 6).
My friend, for the life of my I cannon understand how you can stomach using "words" (I use the term lightly) like "Godself." The only people besides you whom I know who use that "word" (and others like it) are dissident Catholics under the influence of prevailing "PC" and Femi-Nazi ideologies. Whatever your rationale, it has all the appearance IMHO of something analogous to trying to Christianize the profession of prostitution.Foster:
I'm not sure what your point with Justin is beyond the obvious fact that "God" as usually understood in English is not proper name. Orthodox Jews, of course, believe that God does have a proper name, which they won't pronounce, and therefore won't even write out the English word "God" but only "G-d," since they take it to symbolically stand in the place of His holy name, YHWH, to which they refer with the word "Ha-Shem" ("the name"). I don't know what they'd say about Justin's comments. They might simply say God names Himself.
But why not simply refer to God as He refers to Himself in His inscripturated Word? Why try to finesse that?
Minucius Felix reasons:Blosser:"If I were to call Him [i.e. God] Father, you would judge Him to be earthly; if a King, you would suspect Him to be carnal; if a Lord, you will certainly understand Him to he mortal. Take away the additions of names, and you will behold His glory" (Octavius 18).
All of these make good points, of course, but should hardly be seen as decisive reasons for denying that God is Father, King, Lord, etc., for He reveals Himself to be all those. But I know you'd agree in some sense, and I'm not making any really contrarian point.Foster:
A modern voice [Piet Schoonenberg] states:Blosser:"All our thinking moves from the world to God, and can never move in the opposite direction."I tend to agree, with qualifications, of course.
Ditto. Just as Thomas would.Foster:
Max Black's notion of "associated commonplaces" could well explain why some metaphors are more fitting than others. The account given by Kevin Vanhoozer (pictured right) of speech-act theory might also explain why the Christian deity is generally addressed as "Father" rather than mother or why Christ is the "Lamb" rather than the "Piggy" of God. I know you're familiar with Saussure's distinction between LANGUE and PAROLE or John Searle's distinction between brute facts, institutional facts and constitutive rules. Vanhoozer presses these distinctions into service when he develops his own take on illocution and perlocution. See Is There a Meaning in This Text? (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, Publishing Company, 1998).