language

Beyond Literal Truth and Mere Metaphor

Question: 
Is there a middle path between seeing process theology as literal truth and mere metaphor?
Publication Month: 
September 2012
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

This question rightly points to the wide range of positions of process thinkers. In an earlier generation Charles Hartshorne sometimes said that some key terms apply literally to God and only metaphorically to human beings! An example is “knows.” When we say that God “knows,” we speak literally. When we say that we “know,” we do not. That is because the idea of knowing is such that what is known cannot be otherwise than as it is known. Human “knowing” does not guarantee that reality is as we “know” it. Only God’s “knowing” can do that.

Christianity & Culture

Question: 
Is Christianity a cultural-linguistic system or a socio-historical movement?
Publication Month: 
October 1998
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

This question is for October and November 1998.

Dr. Cobb's Response

In recent decades there has been a great emphasis on language. We speak of the "linguistic turn" in philosophy. Some who stress the importance of language give the impression that reality consists in nothing else.

Can We Be Confident of Progress?

Question: 
Must everyone always call God “God”?
Publication Month: 
January 2009
Author - First Name: 
John B.
Author - Last Name: 
Cobb, Jr.

Of course, the answer is “No.” It is obvious that those who speak German will say “Gott,” and those who speak French will say “Dieu.” In the Hebrew Old Testament, the word is “El.” In the Greek New Testament, it is “Theos.” It is equally obvious that in Arabic, the word is “Allah,” although there are those who seem to dispute that.

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