Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Holy Means Morally Whole: According to the Elementary Level

In the end, I suppose everything is in one sense elementary. If I was asked to give one of the most important arguments for the idea that holy means whole, I would have to include the argument from the elementary level of language. Holy is not on that level, but whole is certainly near to the elementary level.

There are generally four levels ranging from the elementary up to the advanced level for communication or language development. The level that the majority of us clearly complete is that of the elementary level.

Mortimer J. Adler lists four levels when it comes to reading as a part of communication or language development. He lists:

1) elementary reading
2) inspectional reading
3) analytical reading
4) comparative reading

When it comes to the mastery of vocabulary, whole most likely falls into the inspectional reading level and holy into the comparative reading level. But I think what is interesting is what word would be below both of them at the elementary level.

If you agree with the idea of levels like Adler, then you might see the levels of vocabulary in the Bible as follows:

1) elementary - body (ex. human being) and members (head, arms, legs, trunk, etc.)
2) inspectional - whole (ex. uncarved stone) and parts (lost no pieces by not shaping)
3) analytical - self and heart, soul, strength, mind
4) comparative - holy and righteous, true, loving, good

If you agree with the stance that it means to be set apart or separate, you would follow one of two patterns:

1) elementary - this and not that
2) inspectional - God and not man
3) analytical - sinless and sinful
4) comparative - set apart from the ordinary things (ex. that, man, sinful, etc.) (like taboo items)

1) elementary - and and but
2) inspectional - connection
3) analytical - relationships
4) comparative - set apart toward (and - connection ) or set apart from (but - disconnection)

My greatest problem at the elementary level is that these later two patterns don't fit with the importance attached to holy as God's greatest character trait. Let me show you why.

Holy, if it is parallel to whole at the inspecitional level of language, matches up with the greatest aspect in that pattern:

Whole, made up of -
Part 1 Amounts
Part 2 Relationships
Part 3 Actions
Part 4 Things

Holy as set apart though either ends up contrasting things like the elementary level of specifying this and not that or it specifies on an elementary level "and" as in a connection like "mommy and daddy" or "but" as in a disconnection like between "mommy, but not daddy." Neither idea tells us about his whole person, like a personal name at an elementary level.

I think on an elementary level the set of: body and members makes a great case for being the greatest, because the body exceeds the value of any one member. How can it be, in the case of set apart that is only a member, that it could exceed the value of the body?

It makes no biblical sense according to Jesus, who says we ought to sacrifice a limb to save the body. It also makes no elementary sense. To quote Holmes: "It is elementary my dear Watson."

In Christ,


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Holy Means Whole_According to John Howe (1670)

"This may be said to be a transcendental attribute, that, as it were, runs through the rest, and casts luster upon them. It is an attribute of attributes."

Howe partly argues for his from the statement "the beauty of holiness" (Psalm 110:3). He was apparently well known in Reformed or Presbyterian circles.

In Christ,