this issue
next article in this issue

Document Details :

Title: The Limits of Linearity
Subtitle: Linear and Non-Linear Causal Thinking in Biblical Exegesis, Philosophy and Theology
Author(s): VAN WOLDE, Ellen
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 62    Issue: 4   Date: 2001   
Pages: 371-392
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.62.4.785

Abstract :
How do people create coherence? Is it this creation of coherence which makes life understandable? Is not also faith, the belief in God, grounded on such a belief that the universe is understandable, although not to us? Our coherence building is not merely an individual activity, but thoroughly influenced by our education, religion, culture, and the society we live in. These provide us with conventions of thinking and knowledge, they are the building blocks of our construction of coherence. However, sometimes they have become the fossilized ideas never to be questioned. The main question of this article is if linearity in the western tradition of causal thinking is not such a fossilized idea. Starting point is the story of the beginning in Gen. 1, because it is one of the fundamental proteins in the DNA string of the Jewish and Christian linear thinking. The aim of the article is to show how a non-linear approach to our conventions of coherence building may offer a more comprehensive view on causality, and how tales of vision in the Hebrew Bible, and especially in Genesis 1-3, support and broaden this view.