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…