S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
living acts in time in covenantal union with his Bride, fallen Man while remaining fully fallen may find an
unquenchable optimism fully in time, inexhaustibly available for his appropriation.
This optimism, Catholic optimism, covenantal optimism, is free. No iron necessity will ever force Man to
appropriate it, yet as complete surprise completely intelligible, it is perennially available to him -- almost as if
Man were perennially tempted to hear the Good News, but never forced.
In Mr. Minsky's (and Ecclesiastes's) Real World, enslaved in Cause and Chance, it doesn't really make
sense to do science: all you're going to find out is that you are enslaved in Cause and Chance -- but you
already knew that. Why should the details matter? To the contrary, at the heart of modern scientific inquiry is
a crazy optimism, a confidence that time means something, that reality is not insane -- in short, that reality is,
deep down, a wonderful surprise, inexhaustibly intelligible. No optimism at all, of course, let alone the
ridiculous optimism seemingly demanded by scientific inquiry, is available within any dehistoricized
cosmology. The sole font of Man's occasional ability to overcome his fear and be present in time to a
"concretely present knowable unknown," is the Eucharistic Event.
It would seem that the existence of grace, not the enslavement of the cosmos into Cause and Chance, is
the real prior assumption of all scientists. 'Modern scientific' men sometimes claim that the Church is a leech
on the back of unbelievers -- of necessity the only men who can do science. To the contrary, modern science
is a "leech" on the Eucharistic Event! Fr. Jaki has had much to say in his career regarding the ridiculous
optimism regarding reality which slowly, over centuries, seeped into Christian men as they stood around the
altar of the One Sacrifice.
They ate his Body and drank his Blood, and they became not leeches, but men, men free enough, fearless
enough, to refuse the time-less, whatever the cost to themselves. In their world and no other 'modern science'
came to be, for only in a world of men at least partly washed in his Blood could the world at last be really
interesting -- a good surprise, inexhaustibly intelligible.
Heaven itself is boring in all dehistoricized cosmologies. A world in which surprise can not exist is no
fertile ground for science as modern man understands it.
Science's continued existence is not any less dependent on the Eucharist than was its birth. Indeed, as this
book has shown, modern men, New Class men, are precariously in danger of losing their nerve, their
optimism. Absent the Eucharistic presence of the Christ, reality as Man can find it is Mr. Minsky's and
Ecclesiastes's Real World, and no other. It is not beyond the capacity of 'modern scientific men' to freely build
a world like so many others men have built, in which real science is simply not possible.
In all those dehistoricized worlds, "freedom of the human will" is a necessary fiction, despair a given, real
surprise unimaginable. Of course, in a world in which 'freedom' is only a necessary fiction, 'responsibility' is
also. When all is "vanity," all is power, and a man may be as vain as he can get away with. In such a world,
no man can say that the emperor has no clothes. When all is "vanity," then appearing ridiculous, being wrong,
making real mistakes, as well as actual sin, become luxuries only the poor can afford.
However, science thrives only in worlds in which men can always make real mistakes, serious mistakes --
and admit that they have. It can not be done in a world in which too many men consider that only power is
real. Nor can it be done in a world that lacks basic optimism, in which too many of the brightest and bravest
see that they are enslaved in Cause and Chance, and thus lose their nerve, are slowly eaten alive by doubt and
fear. Nor can it be done in a world that is ultimately divided into the convenient and the inconvenient, or one
in which too many men -- whatever their learning -- are idiots or devils.
A world in which "freedom of the human will," and thus, genuine responsibility, are necessary fictions, is
also a world in which real surprise and true creativity are also logically impossible. No time-less explanation
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.