The four senses by which Scripture can be interpreted correspond to Aristotle’s four causes. The literal sense corresponds with the material cause, the moral sense with the efficient cause, the eschatological sense with the final cause, and the allegorical sense with the formal cause. When Modern scientists rejected formal and final causes, they only did so because theologians had rejected the eschatological and allegorical senses of Scripture. Modern science comes from Modern theology.
Out of Love, Christ rescued His fallen creation from the depths of sin, death, and the dominion of the Devil. The salvific power of His Love reverberates through the cosmos. It is displayed movingly in our greatest literature and its faintest echoes are even found in our shallowest teenage love songs. When correctly understood and embraced, Love transforms and uplifts us; but when misunderstood, it contributes to our damnation.
Why do Hobbits seem always to travel in pairs? “Because two Halflings make a whole,” responded a student. This answer perfectly encapsulates the closeness between Hobbit companions. Today, intimate friendships are increasingly rare, and our individualistic society reflects this through relativism, intersectionality, and partisanship. Although commonly blamed on Luther or Descartes, radical individualism is symptomatic of a disease Aristotle described two millennia earlier. The fracturing of culture results from a loss of good friendships.
In George MacDonald’s fairytale-fable The Wise Woman, a little girl is put to a test in which she must complete a list of chores in the magical cottage of the Wise Woman. This little girl never stoops to do chores in her own home, but at the Wise Woman’s, she condescends to spend a day sweeping and tidying and tending the fire. Yet these acts of obedience do not make her more virtuous; on the contrary, they stir her “to think herself Somebody”—to become more vain, more haughty, more selfish. For, as MacDonald sagely observes,
People who want to find themselves, people who want to lose themselves, and people who want to be themselves often all end up in the same places, doing the same things. The self thus seems little more than a nullifying force of needless confusion and misdirection, for no one knows whether the self is coming, going, or staying put.
“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” —Ephesians 4:15 (RSV)
The story of Judas is the story of a man who thought he was going to get away with everything. In fact, everything about Judas’s Holy Week interactions with the chief priests, Christ, and the apostles suggest that Judas intended on returning to his life with the apostles after Christ was arrested.
“Destroy this cathedral,” Jesus said to them. “Destroy it, and I will rebuild it in three days.”
“But it took epochs to build!” they protested. “It took epochs to build, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days? How?”
Who killed Jesus Christ?
Today, a great many Protestants and Orthodox Christians watched Notre Dame burn. They sadly and soberly lamentated the loss of a building at once so beautiful and yet so old. By the evening, word came that a portion of the cathedral had been saved. Here was a little relief, though I was reminded of the fire which destroyed St. Sava’s cathedral in Manhattan back in May of 2016. On the day it burned, I spoke about St.