What is the Paleochristian view on monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, and atheism?
The only being who could fully comprehend the Divine would be the Divine Cosmic Mind itself. However, that doesn’t mean that we must remain completely ignorant of it. While our perspective will always remain limited and incomplete, we learn more about the nature of the Divine with every new thing we learn through reason or revelation. When it comes to the different systems of theology developed by humanity in order to comprehend the Divine, the question isn’t as simple as which is true and which false. Each is true in certain ways and false in others.
When many followers of Christianity and other religions speak of salvation, they tend to do so in overly simplistic, spiritually and psychologically unrealistic terms. Inner, spiritual transformation doesn’t come about magically and instantaneously just because you say a few words, get baptized, or join a new church, for example. It is hard work, and it involves suffering.
As Paul shows in his letters, it is akin to growing up. But while our bodies may be adult, and we may be very well educated, the same cannot always be said for our emotional and spiritual natures. The lack of emotional maturity is widespread in these times. The following article by J. Budziszewski (“Professor Theophilus”), from the Catholic Education Resource Center (originally published by Boundless Webzine in 2001), focuses on one manifestation of this: the so-called Peter Pan syndrome. It is followed by our commentary.
The following article is written by a great biblical scholar, Philip R. Davies, Professor Emeritus at the University of Sheffield, England. It was originally published on The Bible and Interpretation website in September 2009.
In the Fellowship, we appreciate the insights offered by the latest scholarly research, even when they challenge long-held beliefs and dogmas. In fact, we appreciate them especially when they do exactly that, because it reminds us that long-held opinions can be wrong. If we truly value truth, then we must truly value evidence, and we must approach that evidence with critical minds. We may not always agree with their religious-spiritual-metaphysical convictions (or lack thereof), but that doesn’t mean they can’t offer us important data in other areas.
The path to truth is difficult, and it requires sacrificing our self-importance, admitting that we can be and often are wrong. Engaging in this process is a truly spiritual activity. With that said, here is Professor Davies’s article, with some commentary below.