Monday, May 4, 2015

But how did you *know* know he was a saint?

Rome has their own view of "knowing" whether a departed person is truly a saint.  Whether that holds water or not, it's not my concern here.

The East will advance the following claims:

(1) We cannot know someone's final salvation.

(2) We know that the saints are saved (otherwise, how could they hear our prayers)

How do we alleviate the above contradiction?  How does the church make/recognize a saint?

Canonization does not make anybody a saint. Canonization recognizes that someone already was, in his own lifetime, a saint....Rather, it establishes the fact, publically and for all to see, that the man is already a saint -- that is, that the holy man and God have so cooperated together at every level of the man's existence that the man has become, by grace, a god, just as God Himself is God by nature. 

Given premise (1), how does the church *know* the man is now a saint?  Presumably before he was recognized as a saint, the church couldn't be sure of his final salvation, but now they are?  How did that happen?

(3) The saint just "happened."   

This begs the question.  I suppose they could answer by saying

(4) Saints appear within the life and practice of the church.  Through the church's doxastic practices we recognize that this individual was indeed a saint.

That's a better response and it almost works.  What it boils down to is this:

(4*) He is a saint because we recognize him as such through our worship practices.

While the position is clearer now than it was at the beginning of the post, I am not sure how this really advances the argument.  We will have the problem of (1).  What changed in the situation between (1) and (4*)?  I don't see how we aren't left with the conclusion:

(5) He becomes a saint by our wishing it were so.

This is absurd, but I suppose one could bolster it with Jesus's promise that 

(5*) the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth. AND
(5**) That means we can be sure that our practice is right.

But this sentence divorced from any external, verifiable standard can prove anything and worse, it's ad hoc.  

Therefore, I challenge premise (1)

(~1) The Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God.

No comments:

Post a Comment