Original Research - Special Collection: James Alfred Loader Dedication

Gaan na die mier, kyk na sy weë en word wys: Metafoor of paradigma?

Johan Buitendag
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a1976 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.1976 | © 2013 Johan Buitendag | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 April 2013 | Published: 22 July 2013

About the author(s)

Johan Buitendag, Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Go to the ant, consider her ways, and be wise. Metaphor or paradigm? This article takes as its point of departure two citations. The one is from Marshall and Zohar’s contention that the wave-particle dualism is more than a metaphor and the other is from Clayton claiming that indeterminacy was not merely a temporary epistemic problem, but reflected an inherent indeterminacy of the physical world itself. What does it mean if it is not a mere way of speaking? The author of this article departs from the premise that the task of systematic theology is the endeavour to understand reality and that this is a collective enterprise together with other sciences as well. A constructive empiricism could indeed lead to an understanding of reality where reality is more than merely idealistically conceived. Truth is therefore to be replaced with a pragmatic, but value-laden concept of understanding or comprehension. This has the effect that both epistemology and ontology have to be revisited and subsequently panentheism too. The argument finds its niche in Old Testament wisdom literature and Proverbs 6:6 forms the lens of reference. The late South African ethologist Eugène Marais’s epic work, The Soul of the Ant, is applied to illustrate such a proposed epistemic community.

Keywords

Understanding of reality; panentheism; epistemology; ontology; constructive empiricism; creation theology

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