About Providence, Divine Action and the Church

In this blog, Terry J. Wright posts thoughts and shares research on the Christian doctrine of providence. This doctrine testifies to God’s provision for all things through creation’s high priest, the man Christ Jesus. However, the precise meaning and manner of this provision is a perpetually open question, and this blog is a forum for discussion of the many issues relating to providence and the place of the Church within God’s action.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Remythologizing Theology [9]

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship. Cambridge Studies in Christian Doctrine (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)

I am grateful to Cambridge University Press for the review copy.

Chapter 4, part 3

In this post, I cover Remythologizing Theology pages 222–240. Let me begin with a quotation:

Both God and human persons are beings-in-communicative-act who relate, largely through speech, to others. God has unique communicative powers and, unlike the human dramatis personae, play a role that he determines for himself. (p. 239).

All the elements that Vanhoozer has been discussing in the course of Chapter 4 are present in this quotation, either explicitly or implicitly. All existing things are substances-in-relation; all existing things are beings-in-act; all beings-in-act, including berries and bricks, plankton and porcupines, self-communicate; and persons have the best capacity for self-communication. God is, of course, the paradigmatic instance of self-communication, for even before the creation of all things, the Father begets the Son and spirates the Spirit. And finally, Vanhoozer suggests that ontology itself is now reframed in terms of communicative causal interactions rather than instrumental causal relations – and this new framework for causality should open up ‘rich new possibilities’ (p. 239) for understanding God, the God–world relation, and the relationship between divine sovereignty and human freedom. It should also help us understand more fully the notion of divine impassibility, and our union with Christ and communion with the triune God.

These are lofty aspirations, of course…

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