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I

!
M

John D.
Zizioulas
EDI TE D BY

D O U G L A S H. K N I G H T

I
h

LECTURES IN
CHRISTIAN
DOGMATICS
A

1 6.1 d a r k

LECTURES IN
CHRISTIAN DOGMATICS

T h is p a g e in te n tio n a lly le ft b la n k

LECTURES IN
CHRISTIAN DOGMATICS

JO H N D. ZIZIOULAS
EDITED BY
D O U G LAS KNIGHT

( &l d a rk

P u b lish ed by T & T Clark

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T o m y s tu d e n ts
i n th e U n iv e rs itie s
o f E d in b u r g h ,
G lasgow ,
K in g 's C o lle g e L o n d o n
a n d T h e s s a lo n ic a .

T h is p a g e in te n tio n a lly le ft b la n k

CONTENTS

P re fa c e
In tr o d u c tio n

ix
xi

C h a p te r 1
D O C T R IN E A S T H E T E A C H IN G O F T H E C H U R C H
I.

II.

T h e C h u r c h a n d th e F o rm a tio n o f D o c trin e
1. T h e o lo g y a n d h e r m e n e u tic s
2. T h e p u r p o s e o f d o c tr in e
3. S c r ip tu r e a n d d o c tr in e
K n o w le d g e o f G o d
1. K n o w le d g e in g e n e ra l
2. K n o w le d g e th r o u g h th e S o n
3. K n o w le d g e th r o u g h P e r s o n h o o d
4. K n o w le d g e th r o u g h F a ith

1
3
5
7
9
16
22
25
33

C h a p te r 2
T H E D O C T R IN E O F G O D
I.
II.

III.
IV.

B e g in n in g s
T h e B e in g o f G o d
1. O n e a n d M a n y
2. T h a t, w hat a n d how G o d is

40
47
50
54

3. A u g u s tin e
T h e o lo g y a n d E c o n o m y
Filioque

65
69
75

C h a p te r 3
C R E A T IO N A N D SALVATION
I.
II.

T h e D o c tr in e o f C re a tio n
C r e a tio n ex nihilo

83
88

Contents

V lll

III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.

T h e S ig n ific a n c e o f th e D o c tr in e o f C re a tio n
T h e Fall
C h risto lo g y
S alv atio n
C o m m u n io n

91
98

10 1
105
115

C h a p te r 4
TH E CHURCH
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
In d e x

Id e n tity o f th e C h u rc h
G a th e r e d C h u rc h
T h e C h u rc h o f G od
T h e C h u r c h a s Im a g e o f th e F u tu re
T h e C h u r c h a n d th e C h u rc h e s
T h e C h u r c h a r o u n d th e B ish o p
S o n a n d S p irit
E sc h a to lo g y a n d H isto ry
R e c e p tio n

120
126
132
135
139
145
148
153
161
165

PREFACE

T h e p r e s e n t v o lu m e c o n ta in s m a te ria l fro m m y le c tu re s o n C h ristia n


D o g m a tic s w h ic h w e re g iv en to s tu d e n ts o f th e o lo g y in th e U n iv ersities
o f E d in b u r g h (1 9 7 0 -1 9 7 3 ), G lasgow (1 9 7 3 -1 9 8 7 ), L o n d o n (K in g s
C o lle g e 1 9 8 4 ,1 9 8 9 -1 9 9 8 ) a n d , fin a lly ,T h e ssa lo n ic a (1 9 8 4 - 1 9 9 8 ).T h e se
le c tu re s w e re ta p e - r e c o r d e d b y m y s tu d e n ts in T h e ssa lo n ic a a n d w idely
c irc u la te d . F r o m th is te x t a g r o u p o f y o u n g sc h o la rs in G re e c e to o k
th e in itia tiv e t o p r o d u c e a n E n g lish tra n s la tio n , w h ic h D o u g las K n ig h t
h a s e d ite d to p r o d u c e th e p r e s e n t v o lu m e . I a m g ra te fu l to K a te rin a
N ik o lo p o u lo u , A n n a N e v ro z id o u , T h o m a s D ritsas a n d th e ir co lle a g u e s
a t th e O u tle t f o r D o g m a tic E n q u ire s (O O D E ) w h o p r o d u c e d th e first
te x t, a n d also t o L iv iu B a rb u in L o n d o n . As to D o u g las K n ig h t, I f in d n o
w o rd s to e x p re s s m y a p p r e c ia tio n f o r th e h a r d la b o u r a n d , above all, th e
e n th u s ia s m w ith w h ic h h e h a s e d ite d th e s e le c tu re s. T h e I n tro d u c tio n
h e h a s p r o v id e d fo r th e b o o k will c e rta in ly b e o f h e lp to th e re a d e r.
T h is b o o k d o e s n o t c la im to b e a sy stem atic th eo lo g y , a n d u n lik e m y
p re v io u s b o o k s , d o e s n o t c o n ta in re fe re n c e s to o th e r a u th o rs , e x c e p t to
B iblical a n d P a tris tic so u rc e s . It is w ritte n p rim a rily f o r u n d e r g r a d u a te
s tu d e n ts , a lth o u g h I h o p e th a t o th e r th e o lo g ia n s m ay fin d it u se fu l too.
O r th o d o x th e o lo g y in o u r tim e m u st o p e ra te in a n e c u m e n ic a l c o n te x t
a n d so in d ia lo g u e w ith o t h e r C h ris tia n tra d itio n s . A n d it c a n n o t take
p la c e in a c u ltu r a l v a c u u m th a t ig n o re s c u r r e n t p h ilo so p h ic a l tre n d s,
a n d it c a n n o t sim p ly r e p e a t th e tr a d itio n s o f th e p ast. It is u n f o r tu n a te
th a t m u c h o f to d a y s O r th o d o x th e o lo g y is in fa c t n o th in g b u t h is to r y a th e o lo g ic a lly u n c o m m itte d s c h o la r c o u ld have d o n e th is k in d o f
th e o lo g y j u s t as well o r e v e n b e tte r. A lth o u g h th is k in d o f th e o lo g y
cla im s to b e fa ith fu l to th e F a th e rs a n d tr a d itio n , it is in fa c t c o n tra ry to
th e m e th o d fo llo w e d b y th e F a th e rs th em selv es. F o r th e F a th e rs w o rk e d
in c o n s ta n t d ia lo g u e w ith th e in te lle c tu a l tr e n d s o f th e ir tim e to in te r
p r e t th e C h ris tia n fa ith to th e w o rld a r o u n d th e m . T h is is p re c ise ly th e
task o f O r th o d o x th e o lo g y in o u r tim e too.

Preface

In th e le c tu r e s c o n ta in e d in th is v o lu m e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e is
a p p r o a c h e d a s a tr a d itio n th a t c o m e s to u s f ro m th e p a st b u t w h ich is
interpreted in a w ay th a t a n sw e rs th e n e e d s o f h u m a n b e in g s in o u r own
tim e, p a rtic u la rly in th e c o n te x t o f W e ste rn c u ltu r e . It is a n a tte m p t at
dogmatic hermeneutics th a t a im s to a n sw e r th is q u e s tio n : w h a t w o u ld th e
F a th e rs say to u s to d a y in re s p o n s e to o u r ow n c o n c e rn s , as th e s e a re
s h a p e d b y o u r W e ste rn c u ltu re ? In th is a tte m p t fa ith fu ln e ss to h isto ry
is p r e s u p p o s e d a n d c a re is ta k e n n o t to d e v iate fro m it. B u t th is d o e s
n o t e x h a u s t o u r p u r p o s e w h ic h is to o ffe r a n in te r p r e ta tio n r a t h e r th a n
sim p ly a r e p e titio n o f C h ris tia n d o c tr in e . In th e in s p ire d w o rd s o f the
la te F a th e r G e o rg e s Florovsky, th e m e ssa g e o f th e F a th e rs m u s t be
p h r a s e d to d a y in su c h a way as to s e c u re a n e c u m e n ic a l, a tru ly u n iv er
sal a p p e a l. T h is o b v io u sly c a n n o t b e a c h ie v e d by a n y s e n i l e r e p e titio n o f
th e P a tristic le tte r . . . serv ility is a lie n b o th to th e B ible a n d to th e
F a th e r s .. . . T h e E ast m u s t face a n d m e e t th e c h a lle n g e s o f th e W est, a n d
th e W est p e r h a p s h a s to p ay m o r e a tte n tio n to th e legacy o f th e E a s t . . .
T h e o lo g ic a l tr a d itio n m u s t b e r e in te g r a te d , n o t sim p ly s u m m e d u p a n d
a c c u m u la te d . * T h is neopatristic synthesis, as Florovsky te r m e d it, is th e
task to w h ic h O r th o d o x th e o lo g y is c a lle d today.
T h e s e le c tu r e s a r e d e d ic a te d to m y s tu d e n ts in th e U n iv ersities in
w h ic h th e y w e re given. F o r th e y a r c th e re s u lt o f c o n s ta n t a n d cre ativ e
d ia lo g u e w ith th e m o v e r th e m a n y y e a rs o f te a c h in g , f o r w h ic h I w h o le
h e a rte d ly give th a n k s a n d g lo ry to th e m e rc ifu l G o d , F a th e r, S o n a n d
H o ly S pirit.
^ M e tro p o lita n J o h n (Z izioulas) o f P e rg a m o n

* G eorge Florovsky, T h e legacy an d th e task o f O rth o d o x theology', Anglican


Theological Revieio, 31 (1949) 65-71.

INTRODUCTION

In th e s e le c tu r e s o n C h ris tia n d o g m a tic s th e c e le b ra te d O r th o d o x


th e o lo g ia n J o h n Z izio u las gives u s a c o m p re h e n s iv e in tr o d u c tio n to th e
C h ris tia n fa ith . H e show s th a t th e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f G o d is in tim a te ly
lin k e d to th e C h u r c h , th e living c o m m u n ity th a t is th e e m b o d im e n t o f
th e love a n d c o m m u n io n o f G o d . By a r tic u la tin g its fa ith as d o c trin e ,
th e C h u r c h g iv es a n a c c o u n t o f th is love f o r th e w o rld . W ith in th is c o m
m u n io n h u m a n b e in g s m ay p a rtic ip a te in t h e frie n d s h ip s h a r e d by th e
tr iu n e p e r s o n s o f F a th e r, S o n a n d H o ly S p irit.
T h e le c tu r e s c o m e in f o u r c h a p te r s , d isc u ssin g d o c trin e , G o d , th e
e c o n o m y o f G o d fo r m a n , a n d th e C h u r c h . Z izio u las n o t o n ly te lls us
w h a t th e C h u r c h te a c h e s , b u t also why, a n d w h a t d iffe re n c e it m a k es to
us. H e lays o u t p r o f o u n d a n d c o m p le x id e a s w ith g re a t sim plicity, to
sho w u s h o w C h ris tia n d o c tr in e in te g ra te s issues o f c o m m u n io n , fre e
d o m a n d p e r s o n h o o d . T h e s e le c tu re s e x p lo re th e re la tio n s h ip o f th e
in d iv id u a l C h ris tia n to o t h e r C h ristia n s, a n d s o in tr o d u c e u s to life a n d
d isc ip le sh ip in th e c o m m u n io n o f th e C h u r c h . S in c e few o t h e r th in k e rs
a r e a b le to sh o w th a t c o m m u n io n a n d f r e e d o m a r e as f u n d a m e n ta l as
th is, a m o r e lu c id a n d p r o f o u n d e x p o s itio n o f C h ristia n te a c h in g w o u ld
b e h a r d to fin d .

I. D o c t r i n e
C h ris tia n d o c tr in e , w h ic h is th e te a c h in g o f th e C h u r c h , sets o u t w hat
th e C h ris tia n c o m m u n ity says in its w o rs h ip o f G o d . T h e C h u r c h te a c h e s
us th a t C h ris t is always w ith th e H o ly S p irit, a n d th a t h e m ay be know n
o n ly w ith in th e c o m m u n ity th a t th e S p irit san ctifies f o r th e p u rp o s e .
C h ris t c a n n o t b e is o la te d o r s e p a r a te d fro m h is p e o p le , s o w e h a v e to
rece iv e C h ris t fro m th e m . T h e C h ris tia n p e o p le e x p e r ie n c e th e rea lity
o f th e n ew c o m m u n io n o p e n e d by J e s u s C h ris t a n d affirm th e tr u th o f
th e te a c h in g a b o u t th a t c o m m u n io n . T h e C h u r c h d istin g u ish e s its ow n
te a c h in g fro m all rival a c c o u n ts in o r d e r to p r o te c t this c o m m u n io n
a n d re -sta te its tr u th c le a rly f o r e a c h n ew g n ra tio n .

X ll

Introduction

L ife w ith in th e c o m m u n io n in itia te d by G o d is th e s o u rc e o f


k n o w le d g e o f G o d . C o m m u n io n is fu n d a m e n ta l to all k n o w in g , f o r
w e h av e n o r e a l k n o w le d g e o f a p e rs o n as a person u n til w e a r e in re la tio n
s h ip w ith th e m . W e m a y c o m e to k n o w th e m as th e y o p e n th e m se lv es to
us, a n d w e o p e n o u rselv es to th e m : s in c e w e d o n o t know w h a t any
re la tio n s h ip will le a d to , th is is to ta k e a risk. R e la tio n sh ip w ith G o d also
b rin g s u s in to re la tio n s h ip w ith all h is c re a tu re s : k n o w le d g e o f G o d
c a n n o t b e m e re ly s p iritu a l o r in te lle c tu a l, f o r it is m a d e p r e s e n t to us
th r o u g h all t h e m a n y p e rs o n s w h o m a k e u p th e c o m m u n io n o f th e
C h u rc h .

II. G o d
T h e d o c tr in e o f G o d sets o u t w h a t is re v e a le d to th e C h ris tia n c o m m u
nity in t h e in c a r n a tio n o f C h rist, r e c o r d e d in S c rip tu re a n d c e le b ra te d
in its w o rsh ip . W o rsh ip is sim p ly th e a c k n o w le d g e m e n t th a t G o d is
G o d a n d th a t w e a r e n o t, a n d th is a c k n o w le d g e m e n t is th e basis o f all
f u r th e r k n o w le d g e . G o d hits b r o u g h t th e C h u rc h in to b e in g fo r this
p u r p o s e , a n d h e su sta in s it as th e c o m m u n ity th a t is a b le to acknow l
e d g e h im , to g e th e r w ith all h is c re a tu r e s , a n d to d o so in fre e d o m .
W h e n w e ta lk a b o u t G o d , a n d ev en m o r e w h e n w e pray, w e re fe r
o u rse lv e s to th e F a th e r o f J e s u s C h rist. G o d is th e p a r tic u la r p e rs o n
w h o m w e m a y k n o w by t h e n a m e o f F a th e r. T h e F a th e r b e g e ts th e
S o n a n d s e n d s th e S p irit a n d th e y affirm h im as F a th e r, so h e is n e v e r
F a th e r w ith o u t th e m . T h e d iv in e p e rs o n s give to o n e a n o th e r a n d
rece iv e f r o m o n e a n o th e r , s o th is T rin ity o f p e rs o n s is th e way G o d is
w h o h e is.
T h e c o n c e p t o f th e p e rs o n e n a b le s u s to e x p lic a te th e d o c tr in e o f
G o d , a n d in p a r tic u la r to p o in t to th e fu n d a m e n ta l im p o rta n c e o f
lov e a n d o f f r e e d o m . T h e d o c tr in e o f G o d te a c h e s t h a t G o d s e c u re s all
u n ity a n d p lu ra lity , a n d th a t G o d e x te n d s b o th u n ity a n d p lu ra lity to
c r e a tio n th r o u g h m a n k in d .
W h e n t h e stress is p u t o n u n ity before p lu rality , su c h as w h e n G o d has
b e e n u n d e r s to o d o n th e b asis o f a n a lo g ie s w ith a n in d iv id u a l m in d , th e
d o c tr in e o f G o d lu rc h e s b e tw e e n tw o m is re p re s e n ta tio n s . It is p o ssib le
to m is r e p r e s e n t th e u n ity o f G o d in s u c h a w ay th a t G o d b e c o m e s an
im p e rs o n a l a n d in c o m m u n ic a tiv e m o n a d , o r it is also p o ssib le to m is
re p r e s e n t th e p e r s o n s as th r e e in d e p e n d e n t c o n sc io u sn e sse s ( g o d s ) in
o r d e r to p r o m o te c o m m u n io n ' (w h ic h is itse lf a n a b s tra c tio n ) o v e r
th e m . T h is is s o m e tim e s k n o w n as a so c ia l d o c tr in e o f th e T rinity.

Introduction

X lll

S u c h a c c o u n ts o f th e d o c tr in e ig n o re th e w ay th e p e rs o n s fre ely o r d e r
th e m se lv e s to th e F a th e r. T h e r e is a n o r d e r in G o d , in w h ic h th e F a th e r
is first a n d la st, b e c a u s e all th e p e rs o n s so o r d e r th e m selv e s to o n e
a n o th e r . T h e F a th e r is th e s in g le s o u rc e fro m w h o m th e p e rs o n s o f G o d
c o m e , a n d c o n s e q u e n tly h e is th e s in g le s o u r c e o f all th a t is. F reely th e
F a th e r loves a n d b e g e ts t h e S o n , a n d is lo v e d a n d w o rs h ip p e d by h im ,
a n d loves th e S p irit w h o p ro c e e d s fro m h im a n d g lo rifie s h im th ro u g h
th e S o n . T h e F a th e r is n e v e r w ith o u t th e S o n a n d H oly S pirit: th e ir
m u tu a l d e f e r e n c e c o n firm s th e o r d e r a n d e te r n a l u n ity th a t is th e fre e
a c t o f th e p e r s o n s o f G o d .
It is e a s ie r t o s e e h o w th e p e rs o n s o f G o d o r d e r th e m selv e s to o n e
a n o t h e r w h e n w e e x a m in e h o w G o d a c ts fo r u s. T h e S o n a n d th e S p irit
d o th e F a th e r s w o rk , a n d th e y p r e s e n t th e ir w o rk to th e F a th e r f o r his
a p p ro v a l. T h e S o n r e g a rd s u s as h is o w n b o d y a n d p r e s e n ts us to th e
F a th e r as th o u g h w e, a n d all c r e a tio n , w e re in te g r a l to him self. C h rist
raise s u s c o n tin u a lly to G o d , a n d h e will p r e s e n t u s to G o d finally a n d ,
b e c a u s e th e F a th e r re c e iv e s u s fro m h im , o u r e x is te n c e is a ffirm e d . O nly
G o d , w h o is fre e a n d d o c s n o t s e e k o u r r e c o g n itio n fo r h im se lf, can
tru ly give u s r e c o g n itio n a n d s o e s ta b lis h w h o w e a re . T h e H oly S p irit
b in d s u s to C h ris t, so th a t th e S o n s a c k n o w le d g e m e n t o f G o d b e c o m e s
o u r a c t o f a c k n o w le d g e m e n t to o ; h is w o rs h ip b c c o m c s o u r w o rsh ip , a n d
issu es in o u r tr u th f u l a p p r e c ia tio n a n d k n o w le d g e o f all G o d s c re a tio n .
It is fin ally d u e to its r e c e p tio n a n d a c k n o w le d g e m e n t by th e F a th e r
th a t a n y th in g h a s t h e id e n tity a n d e x is te n c e th a t it has.
Z izio u las sh o w s u s h o w th e C h u rc h le a r n e d h o w to avoid e x p la n a
tio n s th a t r e s tr ic te d th e f re e d o m o f G o d . T h e C h u rc h in siste d th a t it is
G o d w h o m a k e s h im s e lf k n o w n to u s: t h e t r u e G o d , th e F a th e r, h a s m a d e
h im s e lf k n o w n in th e S o n . H e in itia te d th e w h o le p la n o f o u r c re a tio n
a n d r e d e m p tio n , so w e a r e th e o u tc o m e o f h is a c t o f love, a n d in love h e
will re c o g n is e u s. B e c a u se G o d a ffirm s o u r k n o w le d g e o f h im , g a in e d
th ro u g h C h ris t a n d th e te a c h in g o f th e C h u r c h , w e d o in d e e d k n o w th e
o th e rw is e u n k n o w a b le G o d ; th e re s u lt is th a t o u r k n o w le d g e o f c re a tio n
is re lia b le a n d th e p o ssib ility o f all o u r sc ie n c e is se c u re .
I f G o d h a d n o t re v e a le d h im se lf, o u r id e n tity w o u ld b e in crisis. W e
w o u ld h a v e to c r e a te a n id e n tity o f o u r o w n , b u t w e w o u ld b e u n a b le to
d o so. W h e n w e a r c a b le to a c k n o w le d g e th a t G o d rev e als h im s e lf in
C h ris t w e h a v e n o n e e d to a sse rt o r e x a lt o u rselv es o v e r o n e a n o th e r o r
in a n y o t h e r w ay to a tte m p t to fill G o d s p la c e . O n e in fe re n c e is th a t,
th o u g h w e m a y h a v e re a l k n o w le d g e o f o th e r p e o p le , w e c a n n o t
k n o w th e m o r m a s te r th e m u tte rly , b e c a u s e th e y b e lo n g p rim a rily n o t to

XIV

Introduction

us, b u t to G o d . T h e d o c tr in e o f G o d gives u s th e tr u th o f m a n , b u t it
c a n n o t b e a b s tr a c te d fro m th e tr u th a b o u t G o d a n d tu r n e d in to a th e o ry
a b o u t m a n a lo n e . G o d is k n o w a b le o n ly to th e e x te n t h e m a k e s h im s e lf
k n o w n , a n d th is is tr u e also o f m a n , th e c r e a tu re o f G o d . T h e s e c re t o f
b e in g h u m a n , is h id d e n w ith G o d , a n d o n ly in c o m m u n io n w ith him ,
c a n w e b e h u m a n , to g e th e r w ith o t h e r h u m a n s . T h e a sse ssm e n t o f G o d
is th a t w e, a lo n g w ith r e s t o f th e w o rld , a re w o rth w a itin g for, a n d th e
e x is te n c e o f t h e C h u r c h is th e d e m o n s tr a tio n th a t th is re m a in s G o d s
g o o d j u d g m e n t . G o d is n o t th r e a te n e d by th e e x iste n c e o f a n y th in g ,
sin c e it is b y h is will th a t a n y th in g c o m e s in to e x iste n c e . H e is fre e to
lov e a n d c o n firm all h is c re a tu r e s w ith o u t lim it, a n d in love h e e x te n d s
his f re e d o m t o u s, so th a t in C h ris t w e a r c a b le to give e a c h c r e a tu r e
o u r r e c o g n itio n , a n d to say th a t all th e w o rks o f G o d , even th o se th a t
s e e m d a rk e s t to u s, a r e g o o d . T h is is th e s ig n ific a n c e o f th e C h ristia n
d o c tr in e o f G o d fo r us.
H ow ever, w h e n th e c o n tr ib u tio n o f th e C h u r c h is left o n o n e sid e, th e
W e ste rn p h ilo s o p h ic a l tr a d itio n ta k e s us in a d if fe re n t d ire c tio n . We
a ssu m e th a t o t h e r p e o p le a r c a th r e a t to u s, a n d th a t w e have to assert
o u rselv es a g a in s t th e m . F e a r ta k e s th e p la c e o f love in o u r a c c o u n t o f
th e so cial a n d n a tu r a l w o rld s. I f w e d e f in e o u r fr e e d o m w ith o u t re fe r
e n c e to lo v e, w e m a y b e lie v e th a t w e h av e to m a k e o u rse lv e s fre e by
s e p a ra tin g o u rse lv e s fro m o th e r s o n th e o n e h a n d , a n d fro m o u r
e m b o d im e n t in n a tu r e o n th e o th e r . T h e C h u r c h insists th a t love, a lo n g
w ith all fo rm s o f fello w sh ip a n d society, is e sse n tia l to a n y a c c o u n t o f
h u m a n b e in g . F re e d o m a n d c o m m u n io n a re b o th fu n d a m e n ta l. W ith
o u t a c o n c e p t o f p e r s o n , e i t h e r c o m m u n io n is g iv e n u n d u e w e ig h t o v e r
fre e d o m , o r f r e e d o m o v e r c o m m u n io n .
W h e n it is d is c ip lin e d by all C h ris tia n d o c tr in e , th e c o n c e p t o f p e rso n
d e te r m in e s t h a t c o m m u n io n a n d f r e e d o m a r e e q u a lly im p o rta n t. T h e
re s u lt is th a t w e a r c n o t te m p te d to b e lie v e th a t being is p r io r to p erso n s,
o r th a t th e q u e s tio n w h a t? is m o r e fu n d a m e n ta l th a n th e q u e s tio n w ho?
P e rs o n s a r e n o t a n a f te r th o u g h t in t h e g r e a t o r d e r o f b e in g , a n d o n ly a
p e rs o n h a s t h e f re e d o m to r e s p o n d to love w ith love.
Z izio u las sh o w s u s th a t it is n o t e n o u g h ju st to say w h a t th e C h ristia n
d o c tr in e o f G o d is, b u t w e a lso h a v e to d e m o n s tra te its u n d e rly in g
lo g ic, so w e c a n c le a rly d iffe r e n tia te it fro m all th a t it is n o t saying. O n e
im p lic a tio n o f th e d o c tr in e o f G o d is th a t, in G o d , o n e is n o t p r i o r to
m a n y , a n d u n ity is n o t p r io r to p lu rality . T h is sin g le in s ig h t h a s h u g e
ra m ific a tio n s. H u m a n f re e d o m a n d th e in d iv id u a l p e rs o n a r e j u s t as
fu n d a m e n ta l a s e x is te n c e itself. W h e n u n ity is p la c e d b e fo re p lu rality ,

Introduction

xv

in d iv id u a ls a r e s e t b e f o r e society: th e n society' m u s t c o n tr o l th e in d iv id
ual to p r e v e n t h im d e stro y in g society, a n d t h e in d iv id u a l has to a sse rt
h im s e lf a g a in s t so c ie ty to e sta b lish h is fre e d o m .
A s e c o n d r e s u lt o f th is a s s u m p tio n th a t u n ity is m o r e p rim a l th a n
p lu ra lity is t h e p o ssib ility th a t p lu ra lity will e v e n tu a lly c o lla p se b a c k in to
unity. T h e n t h e p ro fu s io n o f c r e a tu r e s a n d p e rs o n s th a t m a k e u p this
w o rld w o u ld d is a p p e a r a n d it w o u ld b e as th o u g h c r e a tio n h a d n e v e r
b e e n . H o w ev er, th e lo g ic o f th e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f G o d su g g ests
th a t d iv e rsity is n o t te m p o ra ry , a n d th a t th e u n iv e rsa l a n d co llectiv e will
n o t o v e rw h e lm th e p a rtic u la rity o f a n y sin g le en tity . A w o rld fu ll o f
p a r tic u la r th in g s a n d u n iq u e p e o p le will e n d u r e a g a in s t all th re a ts to its
e x is te n c e . P e r s o n ' is t h e c o n c e p t t h a t h o ld s to g e th e r th e s e th r e e fu n d a
m e n ta l c o n c e p ts o f being, com m union a n d freedom, a n d w h ic h estab lish es
th a t p lu ra lity is n o t s u b o r d in a te to unity.
In th e te a c h in g o f th e C h u r c h , all h u m a n p e rs o n s e x ist w ith in o n e
p e r s o n - C h ris t. T h is p a r tic u la r p e r s o n gives ro o m to a m u ltitu d e w ith
o u t lim it, a n d allow s th e m to d isc o v e r e a c h o th e r a n d t o flo u rish . S ince
C h ris t re c e iv e s h is id e n tity e n tire ly fro m t h e F a th e r h e d o c s n o t n e e d
th e r e c o g n itio n o f c r e a te d p e rs o n s f o r h im self: h e is a b le to b e th e
o t h e r , w h o c a n fre e ly a c k n o w le d g e w h a t is n o t him self, a n d give e a c h
c re a te d p e r s o n th e c o n firm a tio n th a t e sta b lish e s th e ir iden tity . H e is
a b le to b e t h e p e r s o n o f h u m a n ity b e c a u s e th e F a th e r s ac k n o w le d
g e m e n t o f h im m a k e s h im m o r e th a n h u m a n ity : h e is th e p e rs o n in
w h o m all c r e a te d p e rs o n s m a y tru ly b e p e rso n s.
G o d loves u s f o r o u rselv es. H e c a n re c e iv e u s b e c a u se it w as h e w ho
in itia te d th e p ro je c t o f c r e a tio n a n d c a lle d us in to b e in g in th e first
p la c e . H e h a s th e a u th o r ity to a c k n o w le d g e u s, a n d th a t will satisfy us
th a t w e a r e rig h tly id e n tifie d a n d o u r e x is te n c e is fin ally s e c u re d . W h en
w e c o m e to h im , w e will k n o w th a t w e exist b e c a u se h e invites us to , a n d
th a t th is is all t h e ju s tific a tio n th a t is n e e d e d .
T h e S o n o f G o d , w h o is e te rn a lly th is d iv in e p e r s o n , h a s a ssu m e d
h u m a n n a tu r e . In C h rist, h u m a n life is ra is e d to p a rtic ip a te in th e life o f
G o d , a n d to b e c o m e fre e a n d G o d -lik e, th e lik en e ss o f G o d '. O n ly w h e n
w e a r e to g e th e r w ith G o d m ay w e b e to g e th e r w ith all o th e r h u m a n
b e in g s a n d so b e p r o p e r ly h u m a n . C h ris t d o e s n o t d e s ire to b e know n
a p a r t fro m h is body, th a t is, a p a r t fro m u s. B eca u se th e F a th e r receives
h im to g e th e r w ith th is body, m a d e u p o f all w h o m th e S p irit h a s u n ite d
to C h rist, th e w h o le h u m a n r a c e is o n e , in re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d . T h e
C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f G o d b rin g s w ith it th e m o s t s o p h is tic a te d a n d fu n
d a m e n ta lly p o sitiv e te a c h in g a b o u t m an .

XVI

Introduction

T he Economy

Z izio u las b rin g s th e d o c trin e s o f c re a tio n a n d in c a rn a tio n to g e th e r


u n d e r th e h e a d in g o f th e w o rk , o r e c o n o m y , o f G o d f o r m a n . H is
d isc u ssio n o f G o d s c o m in g to m a n b rin g s d ra m a tic n e w c la rity to th e
d o c trin e s o f sa lv a tio n a n d c r e a tio n , a n d to th e re la tio n s h ip o f m a n to
th e n a tu r a l w o rld .
S in c e it is n o t th e s o u rc e o f its o w n life, c re a tio n h a s n o m e a n s o f
s u s ta in in g itself. I t c a m e fro m n o t h in g a n d re m a in s liab le to dissolve
b a c k in to it. A ll c r e a te d th in g s , le ft to th e m se lv e s, te n d to b re a k a p a rt
a n d d rift to w a rd s iso la tio n , d isso lu tio n a n d e v e n tu a l d e a th . A w are of his
v u ln erab ility , m a n is fe a rfu l, a n d fe a r m a k e s h im a m ise r)' to h im s e lf a n d
a t e r r o r to h is fellow c re a tu r e s . 1 l e n e e d s to b e lib e ra te d b o th fro m th e
c o n fin e s o f n a t u r e a n d fro m th e fe a r w h ic h d riv e s h im to d e v o u r his fel
low m e n .
I f th e w o rld is to live, d e a t h m u s t b e o v e rc o m e . B ut o n ly a re la tio n
s h ip o f love, fre e ly w illed o n b o th sid es, c a n o v e rc o m e th e c o n s tra in ts on
o u r life, in c lu d in g th e u ltim a te lim it th a t is d e a th . C re a te d b e in g s a re
safe f r o m d e a t h as lo n g as th e y a r c in c o m m u n io n w ith th e life th a t,
b e in g u n c r e a te d , h a s n o lim it. M an is m a d e f o r re la tio n s h ip w ith G od,
w ho always in t e n d e d to b e w ith m a n , a n d i n te n d e d th a t m a n sh o u ld
kno w th is a n d b e g la d o f it. F ro m th e first, G o d m e a n t to b e in c a rn a te
f o r m a n : h a d h e n o t fa lle n , m a n w o u ld h av e b e e n tra n s fo rm e d in c re
m e n ta lly in to C h ris t, th a t is, man-with-God.
M a n w as g iv e n th e f r e e d o m o f G o d to d e c id e freely, a n d o n b e h a lf
o f all c r e a tio n , f o r p a rtic ip a tio n in th e c o m m u n io n a n d life o f G od.
B ec a u se all c r e a tio n m a k e s u p h is body, m a te ria lity p a rtic ip a te s in m a n s
d e c isio n . M a n u n ite s c r e a te d m a te ria lity to th e c o m m u n io n o f G o d
th a t o v e rc o m e s all lim its a n d s o se c u re s c r e a tio n s c o n tin u e d life. C h rist
is th e o n e w h o is a b le to e s ta b lis h a n d s u s ta in re la tio n s h ip w ith all
m e n , a n d b rin g s e a c h in to re la tio n s h ip w ith all o th e r s , a n d u n ite s w ith in
h im s e lf all c r e a tio n to G o d . H e is th e tr u th o f m a n a n d c re a tio n , sus
ta in e d th r o u g h all lim its by th e in v in cib le c o m m u n io n o f G od.
A lth o u g h C h r is t is t h e w h o le re a lity o f h u m a n b e in g , h e d o c s n o t
fo rc e h im s e lf u p o n u s, b u t a p p e a rs a m o n g s t us as o n e p e rs o n a m o n g st
o th e rs , a n d s o as s o m e o n e w e c a n re je c t o r a c c e p t as w e like. W e can
w ith h o ld o u r a c k n o w le d g e m e n t o f h im or, in fa ith , w e c a n re c o g n ise
h im fo r w h o h e is. W h e n w c c o n c e d e C h ris t his o th e rn e s s , a n d acknow l
e d g e th a t h e s h a r e s th e f r e e d o m o f G o d , th is o p e n s th e possibility th a t
w e u n d e r s ta n d th a t all p e rs o n s a r c d if f e r e n t fro m u s , n o t our c re a tu re s

Introduction

XVI1

b u t c re a tu r e s o f God. A s w e c o n c e d e th e o th e r n e s s a n d fre e d o m o f every


h u m a n b e in g 'w e g a in o u r o w n tru e fre e d o m .

T he Church

In t h e f o u rth p a r t o f th e s e le c tu re s Z izioulas tu rn s to th e C h u rc h . T h e
C h u r c h is t h e c o m m u n io n a n d love o f G o d tru ly p r e s e n t to us, a n d
fro m it all h u m a n fello w sh ip a n d so c ie ty flow. By b rin g in g us in to his
fello w sh ip , G o d e n a b le s u s to p ass b e y o n d th e lim its g iv en by o u r cre a tu re lin e s s a n d e n t e r fello w sh ip w ith o n e a n o th e r . S in c e this c o m m u n io n
c a n n e v e r b e e x h a u s te d , th e C h u r c h c a n n o t b e d iv id e d , c o m p r e h e n d e d
o r t h r e a t e n e d b y a n y c r e a te d th in g . In s p e llin g o u t th is c o m m u n io n
Z izio u las d e a ls w ith d is c ip le sh ip , sa n c tific a tio n , th e g a th e r e d c o m m u
nity, th e E u c h a ris t, esc h a to lo g y , o r d e r a n d h ie ra rc h y , s c rip tu re a n d
w o rs h ip a n d re la tio n s betwre c n c h u r c h e s . H e show s us a g a in th a t p lu ra l
ity is as fu n d a m e n ta l as u n ity : th e c o m p le m e n ta rity o f d istin c tio n a n d
u n ity is d e v e lo p e d th r o u g h ev ery p a rt o f h is a c c o u n t, w h ic h h e se ts o u t
to g e th e r w ith h is a c c o u n t o f C h ris t a n d t h e H oly S p irit.
T h r o u g h c e n tu r ie s o f d e b a te , th e C h u r c h d e v e lo p e d a th e o lo g y o f
th e g a th e r e d c o m m u n ity a n d o f th e g ro w th o f th e in d iv id u a l C h ristia n .
T h r o u g h d isci p lc s h ip , e a c h o f u s p u rifie d o f o u r a g g re ssio n a n d tu r n e d
o u tw a rd s to w a rd s o th e r s , so th e C h ris tia n is tra n s fo rm e d fro m o n e
d e g r e e o f C h rist-lik e n e ss to a n o th e r , f r o m p a rtia l t o w h o le a n d p e rfe c t,
a n d s o m a d e a c a th o lic p e rso n .
L e ft to o u rse lv e s, h ow ever, w e s e p a ra te o u rselv es fro m o n e a n o th e r
a n d a tte m p t t o e sta b lish o u r o w n rival k in g d o m s a n d so d iv id e th e w orld
b e tw e e n u s, s o th a t c a c h p a r t h o ld s o u t a g a in s t all o th e rs . N o n e o f u s is
a b le to le t o t h e r p e o p le b e tru ly d if f e r e n t fro m h im self; o u r in a d e q u a te
love m e a n s a fa ilu re o f o th e rn e s s . O u r p a rtia l k in g d o m s a r e p re m is e d
o n th e e x c lu s io n o f so m e , a n d th u s o u r k in g d o m s a r c n o t th e k in g d o m
o f God. W ith o u t th e C h u r c h , th e w 'orld a tte m p ts to close d o w n o f th e
o th e r n e s s o f o th e r s ; in p a r tic u la r it a tte m p ts to s u b o rn th e C h u r c h a n d
to r e d u c e th e d iffe re n c e b e tw e e n C h u rc h a n d w o rld . B ut b e c a u se it is
th e a c t o f G o d , th e C h u r c h will n e v e r b e a ssim ila te d , th e d istin c tio n
b e tw e e n C h u r c h a n d w o rld will r e m a in , a n d th e C h u r c h will c o n tin u e
to b a ffle th e u n r e c o n c ile d w orld.
T h e C h u r c h , w h ic h is a sin g le assem b ly m a d e u p o f all C h ris ts
p e o p le , is th e e m b o d im e n t o f t h e re n e w a l a n d re d e m p tio n o f c re a tio n .
It in c lu d e s th o s e w h o , f o r u s, a r e in th e p a st o r in th e f u tu r e . E a c h local
g a th e r in g o f C h r is ts p e o p le is th a t c o m p le te assem bly, d iffid e n tly m ak-

XVI11

Introduction

in g p r e s e n t to u s w h a t will o n ly b e fin ally c o m p le te at th e fu lfilm e n t o f


all a g es. B u t it will b e o u r f u tu r e o n ly b e c a u s e w e d e s ire th a t it b e s o a n d
a r e re a d y to re c c iv c a n d love all w h o m C h ris t h a s in s to re fo r us.
W ith in f in ite p ow er, C h ris t su sta in s h is b o d y s o th a t it resists all
c o n tr a r y v o ices, a n d re m a in s u n ifie d , a n d w ith in fin ite p a tie n c e h e calls
all h u m a n ity i n t o re c o n c ilia tio n in th is b o d y so th a t n o p a r t is a n y lo n g e r
a t w a r w ith a n y o th e r. T h e u n ity a n d o r d e r o f th is assem b ly c a n b e se e n
in th e way t h a t its m e m b e rs o r d e r th em selv es to o n e a n o t h e r in love.
T h e fello w sh ip o f G o d c re a te s in th e E u c h a ris t th a t m u tu a l d e fe re n c e
th a t b rin g s d o w n th e w alls b e tw e e n c re a tu r e s a n d in itia te s re c o n c ilia
tio n a n d g o o d o r d e r w ith in h u m a n h istory. A s all k in g d o m s a n d all tim es
a r c re c o n c ile d in t h e b o d y o f C h rist, w e will c e ase to a ssert ourselves
a g a in st all o th e rs , a n d th e w o rld will n o lo n g b e a p la c e o f w a n in g
ca m p s: th e c o m m u n io n o f G o d w h ic h is in h e a v e n ' will b e c o m e th e
tr u t h o n e a r t h .

T h e So n a n d t h e S p i r i t

T h e H o ly S p irit g lo rifie s C h ris t a n d is always w ith h im . T h e S p irit


g lo rifie s h im b o t h by d is tin g u is h in g C h ris t fro m all o th e rs , a n d by u n it
in g all o th e r s t o h im as m e m b e rs o f h is body. C h rist c a n n o t b e iso la te d
o r s e p a r a te d f r o m th e w h o le p e o p le o f G o d , w h o m h e re g a rd s as his
ow n glory, s o w e c a n n o t k n o w je s u s C h ris t (th e o n e ) w ith o u t s im u lta n e
ously a c k n o w le d g in g h is c o m m u n ity (th e m a n y ). H e c a n n o t b e know n
as C h ris t o u ts id e th a t b o d y w h ic h th e H o ly S p irit sa n ctifies, o r a p a rt
fro m its sa in ts a n d te a c h e rs w h o m th e H o ly S p irit h a s p re s s e d in to o u r
service. W e c a n k n o w C h ris t o n ly th r o u g h t h e life o f th e C h u rc h , its w or
sh ip , s a c r a m e n ts , tra d itio n , g ifts a n d offices.
T h e S p irit s itu a te s u s in C h ris t. T h e sa m e S p irit w h o m ak e s C h rist
indiv isib le a n d u n a s s a ila b le also m a k e s e a c h o f us in d iv isib le in h im .
C h ris t is th e p e r s o n , w h ic h is to say, th e f u n d a m e n ta l u n it, in w hom
w e m ay b e c o m e p e rs o n s w h o c a n n e v e r b e b r o k e n in to a n y s m a lle r
c o n s titu e n ts . C h r is t a n d t h e S p irit to g e th e r a r c re s p o n s ib le n o t o n ly for
o u r unity, b u t a lso f o r all th e d is tin c tio n s th a t m ak e s u s d if fe re n t fro m
o n e a n o th e r . H e d iffe re n tia te s us fro m o n e a n o th e r, e sta b lish in g us
as u n iq u e a n d ir r e p la c e a b le p a rtic u la rs , so e a c h h u m a n b e in g will
b e c o m e c a th o lic , a n o in te d w ith th e w h o le p lu ra lity o f C h rist. C h rist
m ak e s h is p e o p le o n e in d iv isib le w h o le , a n d th e C h u rc h is th is fu tu r e
w h o le , m a k in g its e lf p r e s e n t to u s in tim e. G o d s e n d s u s in s ta lm e n ts o f
this w h o le w h ic h m a k e it p u b lic ly p r e s e n t w ith in th e w o rld , in th e form
o f th e g a th e r e d c o m m u n io n o f th is p e o p le . G o d d o e s n o t le t th e w o rld

Introduction

X IX

c o m e to r e s t u n til it c o m e s to g e th e r in to th e k in g d o m o f G o d . T h e king
d o m o f G o d in te r r u p ts th e w o rld s c la im to b e self-su fficien t o r c o m
p le te , a n d t h e E u c h a ris t is th e fo rm th a t th is in te r r u p tio n tak es. T h e
E u c h a ris t p r e v e n ts th e p a rts , o f w h ic h th e p r e s e n t w o rld is m a d e u p ,
fro m p r e m a tu r e ly d e te r m in in g th e m se lv e s ag a in st th e m u c h la rg e r
w h o le th a t is p r o m is e d a n d th e r e f o r e still to co m e.
J e s u s C h ris t c o m e s to u s a c c o m p a n ie d by th e e n tir e c o m p a n y o f his
p e o p le : w e c a n n o t h av e h im w ith o u t re c e iv in g th e m to o . C h ris t h a s an
u n b re a k a b le p e rs o n -to -p e rs o n re la tio n s h ip w ith e a c h m e m b e r o f this
c o m p a n y , so th a t, th r o u g h h im , e a c h o f u s is re la te d to all o f this
vast assem bly. T h e C h ris tia n p e o p le a r r a n g e th e m se lv es a r o u n d th e
a p o stle s a n d a ll th e ir su c c e sso rs, w h o as w itnesses o f th e re s u rre c tio n ,
a r e th e m se lv e s g a th e r e d a r o u n d C h rist. T h e way th e C h u rc h sta tio n s
itse lf a r o u n d th e s e w itn esses m a k e s th e C h u rc h a n im a g e th a t will n o t
c h a n g e u n til C h ris t, w h o is its o rig in a l, r e tu r n s . T h e k in g d o m o f G o d is
th e g o o d - o r d e r in g o f all th in g s a r o u n d C h rist, a n d th e C h u rc h is its
p u b lic im ag e.
G o d in te n d s th a t w e b e fre e a n d h is im ita tio n to fre e d o m is w h a t th e
fu tu r e is. I f t h e f u tu r e w e re fix ed o r n ecessary , it w o u ld n o t b e fu tu re , b u t
sim p ly m o r e o f th e p re s e n t. N o f u tu r e c a n b e fo iste d o n us. W e can
o n ly b e sa id t o b e b e in g s w ith a f u tu r e if w e b e c o m e , a n d re m a in , free:
w e m u s t b e w illin g c o n tr ib u to r s to it, f o r o u r id e n tity will n o t b e d e c id e d
w ith o u t o u r c o lla b o ra tio n . T h e f u tu r e is th e in v ita tio n C h ris t issues to
u s to s h a r e life w ith h im a n d w ith all h is p e o p le . If G o d w e re a u n iv er
sally m a n ife s t a n d in e s c a p a b le fact it w o u ld m a k e fre e d o m im p o ssib le.
S o G o d w ith h o ld s h is glory, so th a t th a t it is mystery, re v e a le d a n d know n
o n ly in faith . In th is fa ith w e lo o k fo r t h e re s u rr e c tio n th a t will m a k e his
body, a n d h is glory, c o m p le te .
B ut it is n o t e n o u g h th a t C h ris t gives u s o u r iden tity , b u t w e m u s t also
take it u p . O u r id e n tity b e c o m e s tru ly o u r s as w e love h im a n d love his
p e o p le as o u r ow n. C h ris t d o e s n o t r e g a r d h im s e lf as c o m p le te w ith o u t
us, so h e w aits f o r us; th e sa in ts a n d w h o le c o m m u n io n wait f o r us with
h im , a n d so w c m u s t a lso w ait fo r c a c h o th e r. O u r lives a r c th e re fo r e
p a r t o f a p ro c e s s a n d a h isto ry , e n a b le d b y th e H o ly S p irit w h ic h , b e c a u se
w e m u s t all p a rtic ip a te in it, u n fo ld s th r o u g h tim e. W a itin g f o r o th e r
p e o p le is w h a t tim e is.
In th e p ra y e rs o f th e E u c h a ris t w e ask G o d to give us all w h o m w e a re
w a itin g for, a lo n g w ith all th e g ra c e to re c e iv e th e m , a n d so m a k e this
b o d y c o m p le te . W c m o u r n f o r th o s e w h o a r c n o t yet p re s e n t, fo r th e ir
a b s e n c e m e a n s th a t w e a re n o t y et p r e s e n t as w e w a n t to b e . T h e w h o le
C h rist, a n d o u r o w n v ery b e in g , is w a itin g f o r th e m . C h ris t calls us a n d

XX

Introduction

liste n s f o r u s, a n d re g a rd le s s o f h o w lo n g it takes, w aits f o r e a c h p a rtic u


la r p e r s o n to h e a r a n d a n sw e r in fre e d o m . H o w e v e r d e e p w e h a v e b e e n
b u r ie d , h e h e a r s us, a n d c a n u n c o v e r a n d re s to re u s. H e is a b le to w rest
us o u t o f o n e a n o t h e r s g ra s p , tell u s a p a r t fro m all o th e r p e r s o n s a n d
c o n firm w h o w e a re . A s c re a tu r e s , w e a r e d iv isible by tim e a n d s o lo c a te d
by it, so w e p re s e n tly s e e th e b o d y o f C h ris t s tru n g o u t a cro ss tim e ,
like s tra g g le rs in a race, its u n ity h id d e n fro m us. B u t tim e c a n n o t
u ltim a te ly d iv id e th is b o d y : th o u g h e v e n ts c h a fe away, th e y will n e v e r
p re v a il a g a in s t it, b u t o n ly serv e to p u rify th is b o d y u n til it is finally
re v e a le d as e te r n a l a n d in d iv isib le. B e c a u se it is th e c o m m u n io n o f G od,
th e C h u rc h w ill s ta n d fo re v e r: n o w th e m u tu a l love o f its m e m b e rs
d e m o n s tra te s its u n d e f e a te d g o o d o r d e r a t every E u ch arist.
T h e r e s u r r e c tio n will b rin g u s fa c e to fa c e w ith all m e n . T h e re s u rre c
tio n th a t ra is e s u s to G o d will also ra ise to th e m , a n d th e m to us, so that
w e w ill re c e iv e C h ris t to g e th e r w ith all w h o m h e b rin g s w ith h im . H e
n o w s e n d s u s a ll th e s e p e o p le a h e a d o f h im to us, so w e m a y rece iv e him
by le a r n in g to re c e iv e th e m .
O u i r e s u r r e c tio n , im p e rc e p tib ly u n d e m a y s in c e o u r b a p tism , c o n
sists in m e e tin g th e s e sa in ts w h o a lre a d y m a k e u p th e g lo rifie d b o d y o f
J e s u s C h rist. T h e E u c h a ris t, w h ic h is th e u n io n o f G o d w ith m a n ta k in g
p la c e b e fo re u s , is g a th e r in g u s to g e th e r a n d m a k in g us fully p r e s e n t
a n d a v ailab le to o n e a n o t h e r a t last.

E u c h a r ist

In e a c h p la c e th a t it m e e ts, th e C h u rc h is th e e v id e n c e th a t C h rist
is d ra w in g all m e n to h im self, b r in g in g e a c h in to c o n n e c tio n w ith all.
T h is f u tu r e a n d fin a l assem b ly m a k e s itself p r e s e n t to th e p re s e n t
w o rld in th is h id d e n f o r m o f th e C h u r c h . In th e E u c h a ris t e a c h
c h u r c h in te r c e d e s f o r its ow n locality, sp e a k in g o n its b e h a lf to
G o d . E a c h C h ris tia n p ray s f o r th o s e m e m b e rs o f his ow n fa m ily a n d
society, p ast a n d p r e s e n t, a n d th r o u g h th e s e p ra y e rs th e y b e c o m e p re s
e n t in th is assem b ly : in C h ris t w c a r e th e p re s e n c e o f p e rs o n s o th e r th a n
ourselves.
T h e C h u r c h p a rtic ip a te s in th e m a n y n e ss o f C h rist, a n d p a sse s his
p lu ra lity o n to th e w o rld . T h e w h o le C h u rc h re ce iv es th e diversity o f th e
p e o p le o f C h r is t fro m e a c h o f th e m a n y lo c a l c h u rc h e s . T h e w h o le
C h u r c h p a sse s o n th e h o lin e ss o f C h ris t to e a c h lo c a l c h u r c h , s o that
C h ris ts in d iv isib le u n ity is p r e s e n t in e a c h p a rt o f th e w o rld , to re c o n
cile a n d d ra w it in to h is body. T h e C h u r c h s u p p lie s th e w o rld s im u lta n e
ously w ith b o t h u n ity a n d p lu ra lity , id e n tity a n d d iffe re n c e . W ith o u t th e

Introduction

xxi

C h u r c h , p r e s e n t in e v e r)' p a rt o f th e w o rld a n d m a k in g ever)' p a r t o f th e


w o rld p r e s e n t in its p ra y e rs , b o th th e u n ity a n d diversity o f th e w o rld ,
a n d s o its v ery e x is te n c e , w o u ld b e in d o u b t.
C h ris ts p e o p le e m b o d y c re a tio n . E ach o f th e b o d ie s w h ich m a k e us
visible a n d p r e s e n t to o n e a n o th e r , c o n s titu te d o f all th e v e g e ta b le a n d
a n im a l b o d ie s w e c o n s u m e , is its e lf a g a th e r in g o f th e m a te ria l e le m e n ts
o f c re a tio n . E a c h o f u s e m b o d ie s a p a r tic u la r p a r t o f th e e a rth , so
c r e a tio n e x ists w ith in th e body, o r as th e body, o f e a c h m e m b e r o f
C h ris ts assem bly. C re a tio n lives in a n d th r o u g h u s , j u s t as m u c h as w c
live in it. In C h r is t w e a r e th e p e r s o n o f c r e a tio n , th e in d iv isib le u n ity
th a t p re s e rv e s c re a tio n im m u n e fro m tim e a n d d e a th . In th e E u c h a rist,
m a te ria l c r a tio n is a b le to s in g th e p ra ise s o f G o d a n d so p a rtic ip a te
th ro u g h u s in th e f re e d o m o f G o d .
S in c e C h ris t c lo th e s h im s e lf w ith h is p e o p le , in h im all p e rs o n s
a n d all m a te r ia l c r e a tio n a r e fo re v e r p r e s e n t w ith G o d . In h is liturgy'
to G o d a n d se rv ic e to m a n , C h ris t u n ite s all c re a tio n w ith G o d . T h is
w ork o f b r in g in g th e s e m a n y in to o n e , is w h a t is g o in g o n in th e g re a t
c u c h a ris tic p r a y e r o f o ffe rin g , th e anaphora. F o r th e b e n e f it o f th e w o rld ,
th e sa in ts w h o a r e a sse m b le d b e h in d C h ris t p a rtic ip a te p u b lic ly in his
office o f ra is in g a n d e m b o d y in g th e w o rld to G o d . As C h rist a n d his
b o d y s p e a k f o r it a n d p r e s e n t it to G o d , c r e a tio n s divisions d isa p p e a r,
th e r e is re c o n c ilia tio n b e tw e e n th e so cial a n d th e n a tu ra l w o rld s, a n d so
w e a r e a b le to live w ith , r a th e r th a n a g a in s t, th e o r d e r o f c re a tio n . .As th e
E u c h a ris t is t h e re c o n c ilia tio n o f m in d a n d body, in te lle c t a n d m a te ria l
ity, s o th e C h u r c h is th e u n io n o f n a t u r e in h u m a n ity a n d n a tu r e , a n d
fre e d o m c o m e to c re a tio n .

C a t h o l ic it y

C o m m u n io n involves p e rs o n s w h o a r e d if fe re n t fro m o n e a n o th e r.
T h e p r e s e r v a tio n o f th e d istin c tiv e n e ss a n d o th e rn e s s o f e a c h o f th e se
p e rs o n s r e q u ir e s o r d e r a n d a u th o rity . T h e d istin c tio n s in c o r p o ra te d
a n d a ffirm e d w ith in th e b o d y o f C h ris t a r c p r o te c te d by offices w ithin
th e C h u r c h . C h ris t sa n c tifie s sp e c ific o ffic e -h o ld e rs in th e b o d y in
o r d e r to se rv e u s a n d d o u s g o o d : th e y e n s u r e th a t w e d o n o t fo rm in to
n a rro w e r, less to le r a n t g ro u p s ; th e ir d is c ip lin e e n a b le s u s to a c c e p t th e
o r d e r in g o f th e w h o le c a th o lic b o d y w ith in w h ic h all d iffe re n c e s a re
e s ta b lis h e d a n d e n a b le d to flo u rish . J u s t as th e w h o le C h u rc h is u n d e r
th e d isc ip lin e g iv e n b y C h ris t, e a c h c o n g re g a tio n is u n d e r th e d isc ip lin e
o f th e w h o le C h u r c h , w o rld w id e a n d o f all g e n e ra tio n s . T h u s th e re is n o
g a p b e tw e e n th e lo c a l a n d u n iv e rsa l c h u r c h e s , o r b e tw e e n th e p e o p le

X X II

Introduction

a n d th e in s titu tio n s o f th e C h u rc h : all m u s t d e m o n s tra te th e sim p le


tr u t h th a t w e a r e o r d e r e d to o n e a n o th e r , a n d m a d e finally d is tin c t fro m
o n e a n o th e r , i n C h rist.
J u s t as n o d is c ip le is u n d e r h is o w n a u th o rity , n o c h u r c h c a n o rd a in
its o w n le a d e rs , b u t m u s t re c e iv e th e m fro m th e w h o le C h u rc h . C o m
m u n io n c o n sists in re c e iv in g a p o stle s, to g e th e r w ith t h e i r te a c h in g
a n d th e ir d is c ip lin e , fro m o t h e r p a rts o f th e C h u rc h , a n d in s e n d in g
th e m to o t h e r p a r ts o f th e c h u r c h . By g iv in g a n d ta k in g in th is way, e a c h
c h u r c h ex ists in r e la tio n s h ip s w ith o t h e r c h u r c h e s a n d is p a r t o f th e
w h o le c a th o lic body. E a c h o f th e s e a p o stle s re p r e s e n ts th e o v e rsig h t o f
th e w h o le C h u r c h f o r th is p a r tic u la r c h u r c h ; e a c h o v e rse e r b rin g s to
e a c h c h u r c h t h e d e p o s it o f fa ith fo u n d g o o d by th e lo n g h isto ric a l e x p e
rie n c e o f th e C h u rc h as a w h o le. E a c h c o m m u n ity m u s t rec eiv e this
o v e rs e e r a n d h is d isc ip lin e willingly, as a gift fro m th e w h o le body.
T h r o u g h m u tu a l s u b o r d in a tio n in love wre re ce iv e th e s h a p in g o f th e
w h o le C h ris t a s it c o m e s to u s fro m th e w h o le C h u rc h .
E a c h c h u r c h p a rtic ip a te s in th e o n e c a th o lic C h u r c h by s e n d in g
a n d re c e iv in g a p o stle s. A n y c o m m u n ity th a t d o c s n o t re ce iv e th e s e
a p o stle s a n d t h e i r gifts fro m th e r e s t o f th e C h u rc h will b e h e ld to g e th e r
by a s p irit o f n a tio n , class o r a g e -g ro u p , o r by a m e re ly in te lle c tu a l,
a e s th e tic o r s e n tim e n ta l sp irit. It will fo rtify its e lf a g a in st o th e r p arts,
a n d so r e p r e s e n t o n ly th e d iv isio n o f th e b o d y a n d th e falsificatio n o f
th e g o sp el.
W e c a n n o t t u r n aw ay fro m o t h e r c h u r c h e s w ith o u t s h u ttin g ourselves
o f f fro m C h ris t a n d fro m o u r owrn f u tu r e in his body. T h u s e v e ry e v e n t
o f e c u m e n is m , lik e ev ery E u c h a ris t, is a n e v e n t o f j u d g m e n t a n d re p e n
ta n c e , a n d o f fo rg iv e n e ss a n d re c o n c ilia tio n , in w h ic h w e a r e j o i n e d to
th o s e w e h a v e s h u n n e d . Eve 1 7 c h u r c h m u s t h u m b ly o ffe r its fa ith to
every o th e r , s u b m it its e lf to th e q u e s tio n in g o f e v e r)' o th e r c h u r c h , a n d
a tte m p t to le a r n fro m th e m all. T h e o n e C h u rc h exists as e a c h c h u rc h
gives a n d re c e iv e s th e in s tr u c tio n a n d o v e rsig h t o f ever)* o th e r.
T h e C h u r c h is c o n s titu te d by th e w h o le C h ris tia n p e o p le , g a th e r e d
a r o u n d th e ir b is h o p s , a n d th e ir a g r e e m e n t d e m o n s tra te s th a t th e o n e
a n d th e m a n y a r e o n e C h u rc h . T h e C h u r c h is th e c a th o lic body: all
o th e r c o m m u n itie s a r e p a rtia l, a n d so n o t y e t th e w h o le tr u th . O u r way
in to th is tru ly u n iv e rsa l c o m m u n io n is th r o u g h th e c ro ss o f C h rist w'hich
re m o v e d all fa lse u n iv ersals fro m us. W e m a y n o w k n o w C h rist o n ly
to g e th e r w ith e v e ry s in g le o n e o f th o s e w h o m h e b rin g s w ith h im . W h e n
C h ris t is all in all, //w ill b e all in all.
J o h n Z izio u las, M e tro p o lita n b is h o p o f P e rg a m o n , has le d m an y
o f th e e x c h a n g e s b e tw e e n E a s te rn a n d W e stern c h u rc h e s . H e believes

Introduction

X X lll

all e c u m e n ic a l e ffo rts a r e m u tu a lly e n ric h in g , a n d h e e x p re sse s his


g r a titu d e to th e W e ste rn c h u r c h e s f o r th e m . S o m e E a s te rn c h u rc h e s
a r c w ary o f W e s te rn in f lu e n c e a n d c ritic a l o f th o se in v o lv e d in such
e c u m e n is m . B u t B ish o p J o h n tells us, ev ery a c t o f e c u m e n is m m u s t be
b a s e d in t h e t r u t h a n d th u s h e a r th e j u d g m e n t o f G o d w ith re p e n ta n c e
a n d in t h e h o p e o f re c o n c ilia tio n . T h e w h o le C h u r c h e a g e rly looks
fo rw a rd to its r e d e m p tio n a n d th e fu lfilm e n t of all th in g s in C h rist, so
it m u s t b e t h e p r a y e r o f th e c h u r c h e s th a t th e y m ay be O n e . T h e se
le c tu re s r e p r e s e n t a n u n riv a lle d o p p o r tu n ity to le a rn th e fa ith o f th e
w'hole u n d iv id e d C h u r c h , w 'hich is th e e m b o d im e n t o f th e love o f
G o d f o r us.

T h is p a g e in te n tio n a lly le ft b la n k

C hapter 1

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Church

I. T

he

C h u r c h a n d t h e Fo r m a t io n o f D o c t r in e

T h e o lo g y s ta rts in t h e w o rs h ip o f G o d a n d in th e C h u r c h s e x p e rie n c e
o f c o m m u n io n w ith G o d . O u r e x p e r ie n c e o f th is c o m m u n io n involves
a w h o le r a n g e o f re la tio n s h ip s , s o th e o lo g y is n o t sim p ly a b o u t a reli
g io u s, m o ra l o r p sy ch o lo g ical e x p e r ie n c e , b u t a b o u t o u r w h o le e x p e ri
e n c e o f life in th is c o m m u n io n . T h e o lo g y to u c h e s o n life, d e a th a n d o u r
very b e in g , a n d sh o w s h o w o u r p e rs o n a l id e n tity is c o n s titu te d th ro u g h
re la tio n s h ip s , a n d so th r o u g h love a n d fre e d o m . W h a t m a k e s m a n dif
f e r e n t fro m a n y o t h e r c r e a tu r e ? C a n h u m a n s b e tru ly fre e ? D o th e y w ant
to b e fre e ? C a n h u m a n s b e fre e to love?
T h e o lo g y is c o n c e r n e d w ith life a n d survival, a n d th e r e f o r e w ith
salv atio n . T h e C h u rc h a r tic u la te s its th eo lo g y , n o t sim p ly to a d d to o u r
k n o w ic d g c o f G o d o r th e w o rld , b u t s o t h a t w e m ay g a in th e life W'hich
c a n n e v e r b e b r o u g h t to a n e n d . C h ris tia n d o c tr in e tells u s th a t th e r e is
re d e m p tio n f o r u s a n d f o r th e w o rld , a n d e a c h p a r tic u la r d o c tr in e a rti
c u la te s s o m e a s p e c t o f th is r e d e m p tio n . W e h a v e to e n q u ir e how' e a c h
d o c tr in e c o n tr ib u te s to k n o w le d g e o f o u r sa lv atio n . R a th e r th a n isolat
in g e a c h d o c tr in e , w e h av e to set e a c h d o c trin e o u t in th e c o n te x t o f
all o t h e r d o c tr in e s . T h e o lo g y seek s a liv in g c o m p r e h e n s io n o f th e
C h ris tia n fa ith , o f o u r p la c e in th e w o rld a n d re la tio n s h ip w ith o n e
a n o th e r . It d o e s n o t j u s t w a n t to p re s e rv e th e s ta te m e n ts o f th e C h u rc h
as th e y w e re o rig in a lly m a d e , b u t a lso to p ro v id e th e b e s t c o n te m p o r a r y
e x p re ss io n o f t h e te a c h in g o f th e C h u rc h .
C h ris tia n th e o lo g y sets o u t th e te a c h in g o f th e C h u r c h . T h e w o rsh ip
o f G o d , t h e E u c h a ris t a n d b a p tis m w e re th e im m e d ia te o rig in s o f
C h ris tia n te a c h in g , w 'hich to o k a v a rie ty o f fo rm s e v e n in th e S c rip tu re s.
T h e Newr T e s ta m e n t show s u s h o w th e fa ith was c o n fe sse d by th e first

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

C h ris tia n c o m m u n itie s . T h e C h risto lo g y w h ic h gave s h a p e to th e te a c h


in g o f (h e A p o stle P au l c a n b e s e e n in th e C h ris t h y m n o f th e le tte r to
th e P h ilip p ia n s (2.5-11). M an y c o n s id e r th e G o sp el o f J o h n to b e a
e u c h a ris tie a n d litu rg ic a l te x t, b e c a u s e its p r o lo g u e a t le a st is c o m p rise d
o f litu rg ic a l m a te ria l u s e d in w o rsh ip . T h e le tte rs o f P e te r p ro b a b ly also
hav e a litu rg ic a l c o n te x t: t h e first le tte r re s e m b le s a b a p tism a l liturgy.
T h e sa m e is t r u e o f th e e u c h a ris tie re fe re n c e s o f th e first c e n tu rie s,
w h ic h r e p r e s e n t fo rm s o f litu rg ic a l th e o lo g y o f th e b is h o p s w h o le d th e
E u c h a ris t, a n d w h o w e re in itia lly fre e to im p ro v ise as th e y le d th e w or
s h ip o f th e ir c o n g re g a tio n s , as c a n b e s e e n fro m th e Didache a n d J u s tin
M artyr.
B a p tism , a n d th e c a te c h isin g th a t p r e p a re s c a n d id a te s fo r it, was
a n o t h e r c o n te x t f o r th eo lo g y . A ll th e e a rlie s t c re e d s o rig in a te d in b a p
tism , a n d th e first C o u n c il o f N ic a e a u s e d th e b a p tism a l c re e d s o f th e
local c h u r c h e s as th e basis o f its c re e d . A n o th e r c o n te x t w as g iv e n by th e
n e e d to r e s p o n d to th e rival a lte rn a tiv e a c c o u n ts o f th e fa ith th a t w e re
o ffe re d by o t h e r te a c h e rs o u ts id e th e C h u r c h . T h is fo rm p r o m o te d
th e d e v e lo p m e n t fro m b a p tism a l c o n fe ssio n s to a b r o a d e r ra n g e o f
c re e d s , in o r d e r to c o n f r o n t G n o stic ism , A ria n ism a n d o th e r d e v ia tio n s
fro m th e fa ith o f t h e C h u r c h . T h is was th e b a c k g ro u n d o f th e o lo g ic a l
w rite rs s u c h a s Irc n a c u s , A th a n a s iu s , C yril o f A le x a n d ria a n d M axim us
th e C o n fe sso r w h o w ro te b e c a u s e th e y w e re a sk e d to r e s p o n d to o p p o s
in g views o f t h e g o sp e l, r a t h e r th a n b e c a u s e th e y s e t o u t to c o m p o se
c o m p re h e n s iv e s ta te m e n ts o f th e faith .
O r ig e n in t h e th ir d c e n tu r y w as th e first to o ffe r a c o m p re h e n s iv e
p r e s e n ta tio n o f th e C h ris tia n fa ith , s e ttin g o u t a system atic a rr a n g e m e n t
o f t h e d o c tr in e o f th e C h u r c h in h is O n P rin c ip le s . S a in t J o h n o f
D a m a sc u s d id th e s a m e , five c e n tu r ie s later, in T h e E x p o sitio n o f th e
O r th o d o x F a ith , w h ile th e S u m m a T h e o lo g ic a o f T h o m a s A q u in a s
re p r e s e n ts t h e h ig h p o in t o f th e s u b je c ts d e v e lo p m e n t in th e m ediaeval
p e r io d . N o n e th e le s s , th e r e is n o p a r tic u la r re a s o n w hy C h ristia n th e o
logy s h o u ld b e p r e s e n te d as a system .
T h e o lo g y a lso o r ig in a te d in th e c o u n c ils o f th e C h u rc h . C o u n c ils
w e re c a lle d in o r d e r to r e s p o n d to d e v ia tio n s fro m th e fa ith o f th e
C h u r c h , a n d as o n e c o u n c il fo llo w e d a n o th e r , fa ith w as e x p re sse d
by in c re a s in g ly d e ta ile d s ta te m e n ts g iv en in c re e d s a n d c a n o n s.
T h e o lo g y a lso h a d its o rig in in th e r e fle c tio n o f C h ris tia n s o n th e ir
ow n lives, a n d p a rtic u la rly r e fle c tio n o n t h e lives o f th e m o n k s. T h e se
a r e e x p re s s e d in th e sayings o f t h e D e s e rt F a th e rs r e c o r d e d , for
e x a m p le , in th e w o rk s o f S a in t J o h n C lim a c u s (six th c e n tu ry ) , M axim us
th e C o n fe s s o r (se v e n th c e n tu r y ) , S im e o n th e N ew T h e o lo g ia n (te n th

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

c e n tu ry ) G re g o ry P a la m a s ( f o u r te e n th c e n tu ry ) a n d th o se sp iritu a l
F a th e rs w e k n o w as th e H esychasts.
T h e s e v a rio u s l m e n ts o f liturgy, b a p tism , th e n e e d to r e s p o n d to
d is to rtio n s o f t h e fa ith , c o u n c ils a n d fin ally th e ascetic e x p e rie n c e o f th e
C h ris tia n life, m e a n th a t C h ris tia n th e o lo g y is th e e x p re ssio n o f th e
e x p e r ie n c e o f th e liv in g C h u r c h , r a th e r th a n o f in te lle c tu a l p e rc e p tio n
o r th e lo g ical a r r a n g e m e n t o f p ro p o s itio n s . T h e o lo g y a ffirm s tru th s
w h ic h c o m e , n o t fro m th e in te lle c t a lo n e , b u t fro m th e w h o le re la tio n
s h ip o f m a n w ith G od.
1. Theology a n d H erm eneutics
T h e task o f re -sta tin g S c rip tu re a n d C h ristia n d o c tr in e is te r m e d
h e r m e n e u tic s '. A ll th e o lo g y is a m a tte r o f h e rm e n e u tic s , th a t is, o f
d e c id in g h o w to re c e iv e a n d re -sta te th e te a c h in g o f S c rip tu re f o r th e
C h u r c h a n d t h e w o rld . S c rip tu re is s ile n t u n til it is r e a d a n d in te r p r e te d
to th e w o rld , s o w e c o u ld say th a t all C h ris tia n te a c h in g is sim p ly in te r
p r e ta tio n o f S c rip tu r e . C h ris tia n d o c tr in e w o u ld b e n o m o re th a n
a n a r c h a e o lo g ic a l a rte fa c t u n til t h e C h u rc h g o e s o n to in te r p r e t a n d
re-sta te it f o r t h e w orld.
T h e r e a r e tw o a sp e c ts to th e in te r p r e ta tio n o f S c rip tu re a n d d o c trin e .
O n e is th e a tte m p t fa ith fu lly to u n d e r s ta n d th e c o n te x t in w hich
S c rip tu re a n d th e te a c h in g o f th e C h u rc h w as first e x p re sse d . G o o d
h isto ric a l s c h o la rs h ip will p r e s e n t th e h isto ric a l reality w ith o u t a n a c h ro
nism . It asks a c e r ta in r a n g e o f q u e s tio n s: w h a t c h a lle n g e s d id th e
C h u rc h f a c e i n e a c h p e rio d ? H o w d id it d o so? W h a t w ritte n a n d oral
tra d itio n s , S c r ip tu r e o r d o c tr in a l, w e re a v ailab le to it? E a c h c o u n c il u se d
th e tr a d itio n s it h a d in h e r ite d . W h a t v o c a b u la ry a n d c o n c e p tu a lity
w e re a v a ila b le w ith in th e in te lle c tu a l a n d c u ltu ra l e n v iro n m e n t o f
e a c h p e rio d ? T o ta k e o n e e x a m p le , by tra c in g th e d e c isio n s th a t le d th e
fo u r th c e n tu r y C h u rc h to a d o p t th e te r m h o m o o u s io n - u n k n o w n to
th e N ew T e sta m e n t - w e le a r n s o m e th in g a b o u t th e logic o f th e revela
tio n th a t t h e C h u r c h in te n d e d its te a c h in g to m a n ifest.
A ll b ib lic a l in te r p r e ta tio n r e q u ir e s g o o d h isto ric a l sc h o la rsh ip .
A ny a c c o u n t o f a d o c tr in e is o p e n to c h a lle n g e u n til w e o ffe r so m e
d e s c rip tio n o f th e o rig in a l h isto ric a l s e ttin g w ith in w h ic h it e m e rg e d .
W h a t w as th e re la tio n s h ip to C h ris tia n w o rs h ip a n d d isc ip lc sh ip o f e a c h
d o c trin e ? H o w d id m a rty rd o m re la te to C h ris tia n life a n d w o rsh ip w ithin
th e N ew T e s ta m e n t, f o r in sta n c e ? W h a t ro le d id ic o n s a n d a p o p h a tic ism
p la y in w o rs h ip f o r th e S e v e n th E c u m e n ic a l C o u n cil. In th e s a m e way,
w e n e e d to id e n tify th e issu es th a t b r o u g h t a b o u t th e d r a ftin g o f a d o c
trin e . W e h a v e to d e c id e w h ic h te x tu a l a n d p h ilo s o p h ic a l s o u rc e s th e

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

F a th e rs u s e d , a n d w h a t e x p e r ie n c e o f w o rsh ip a n d th e C h ris tia n life any


p a r tic u la r d o c tr in e r e p r e s e n te d .
W c h a v e to e x a m in e th e te rm in o lo g y a n d c o n c e p tu a lity o f th a t p e rio d
o f h istory. T h e F a th e rs o f th e C h u r c h d id n o t re m a in fixed to th e le tte r
o f th e N ew T e s ta m e n t. A lth o u g h it d o e s n o t c h a n g e in e sse n tia ls, th e
w o rs h ip a n d life o f th e C h u rc h v a rie s in fo rm a n d e m p h a s is so , for
e x a m p le , in s o m e p e rio d s th e C h u r c h e x p e rie n c e s p u b lic m a rty rd o m s,
w hile in o th e r s w o rsh ip a n d s p iritu a lity ta k e a m o re in te r io r fo rm . We
c a n s e c t h e in f lu e n c e o f m o n a s tic ism o n th e w o rsh ip o f th e C h u rc h
th ro u g h o b s e rv a n c e o f th e c a n o n ic a l h o u rs , a n d th e n g ra d u a l d ise n
g a g e m e n t f r o m th is in th e tw e n tie th c e n tu ry . T h e s e sh ifts in th e e x p e ri
e n c e o f w o rs h ip a n d th e a sc e tic life h a v e c o n s e q u e n c e s f o r th e C h u r c h s
in te r p r e ta tio n o f d o c trin e .
B u t in te r p r e ta tio n o f S c rip tu re a n d d o c tr in e also r e q u ir e s th a t we
in te r p r e t o u r o w n s itu a tio n . T h is m e a n s th a t w e m u s t analyse c o n te m p o
ra ry in te lle c tu a l m o v e m e n ts , a n d th e c h a lle n g e s th ro w n u p by e c o
n o m ic , te c h n o lo g ic a l, e c o lo g ic a l a n d o t h e r c h a n g e s. B u t th eo lo g ic al
in te r p r e ta tio n o f d o c tr in e d e m a n d s th a t its re la tio n s h ip to o th e r c u r
r e n ts o f th o u g h t, a n d th u s to p h ilo so p h y , m u s t b e e sta b lish e d too.
A th e o lo g ia n m u s t b e fa m ilia r w ith th e in te lle c tu a l c lim a te o f his o r h e r
ow n tim e. B u t h e o r s h e m u s t also b e a p h ilo s o p h e r in th e se n se o f b e in g
a tru ly e n q u ir in g m in d , a n d in th e w id e r s e n se o f b e in g se n sitiv e to th e
d e e p e s t n e e d s o f h u m a n b ein g s. T h e th e o lo g ia n m u s t a lso b e fa m ilia r
w ith th e litu rg ic a l e x p e r ie n c e a n d t h e life o f th e C h u rc h , in c lu d in g th e
in s titu tio n a l f o r m s e s ta b lis h e d b y th e c a n o n s o f th e C h u rc h . P e rh a p s n o
in d iv id u a l c a n b e e x p e r t at all o f th e se , b u t w h o e v e r a s p ire s to b e a th e o
lo g ia n m u s t b e aw are o f e a c h o f th e s e d isc ip lin es. T h e o lo g y re q u ire s
e x p e rtis e a t a r a n g e o f d isc ip lin e s , a c c o m p a n ie d by a m o ra l sensitivity
a n d in te lle c tu a l curiosity.
W c h a v e s a id th a t th e o lo g y is first w o rs h ip o f G o d a n d th a t th e
f u n d a m e n ta l lo g ic o f th e o lo g y is g iv en in th e e v e n t o f b a p tism a n d
e u c h a ris tie w o rsh ip . T h e C r e e d sets o u t t h e c o n fe ssio n a l s tru c tu re
w h ic h c o r r e s p o n d s to th e re la tio n s h ip w ith C h rist th a t G o d h a s p ro
v id e d f o r o u r sa lv a tio n . P ro b le m s s ta r t to o c c u r w h e n th e a rra n g e m e n t
o f th e in d iv id u a l d o c tr in e s o f G o d , C h risto lo g y , salv atio n a n d s o o n ,
d o c s n o t r e la te to th e lo g ic o f p u b lic c o n fe ssio n r e p r e s e n te d by th e
C re e d . T h e s tr u c tu r e o f a n y w o rk o f th e o lo g y h a s to b e fle x ib le e n o u g h
to allow all th e r e la tio n s h ip s b e tw e e n e a c h d o c tr in e to e m e rg e . F o r
e x a m p le , th e c h a p te r o n t h e tr iu n e d o c tr in e o f G o d m u s t estab lish
c o n n e c tio n s to th e C h u r c h , th e s a c ra m e n ts a n d th e e s c h a to n . W e c a n
n o t e x a m in e e a c h d o c tr in e in iso la tio n fro m th e w h o le to w h ich it

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

b e lo n g s, 01* w e w o u ld b e r e p r o d u c in g th e in d iv id u a lisin g a p p r o a c h to
d o g m a tic s o f t h e S ch o lastics a n d ra tio n a lists.
T h e n w e m u s t s e t o u t t h e s ig n ific a n c e o f a d o c trin e f o r th e p e rio d in
w h ic h it e m e r g e d . W h a t p ro b le m s w e re m e t by th o se w h o first gave
e x p re ss io n to th e n e w d o c tr in e a n d w h a t c o n c e p tu a l m e a n s w e re avai
lable to th e m to m e e t th e s e n e w c h a lle n g e s? C h ris tia n th e o lo g y m u st
always s e t o u t a p la u s ib le a c c o u n t o f th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f e a c h d o c trin e ,
so w e n e e d a s e t o f p rin c ip le s by w h ic h w e c a n in te r p r e t d o c trin e as a
w h o le . W e h a v e to ask h o w C h ris t w as w o rs h ip p e d a n d e n c o u n te r e d
w ith in th e C h u r c h . T h e n w e h av e to re la te th e te a c h in g o f th e C h u rc h
t o th e p r o b le m s fa c e d by e a c h h is to ric a l p e r io d , a n d by m a k in g explicit
th e r e la tio n s h ip s b e tw e e n e a c h C h ris tia n d o c trin e a n d th e h u m a n
s e a rc h f o r lo v e , fre e d o m , a n d th e h o p e o f o v e rc o m in g d e a th , w e have to
re la te o u r d o c tr in e to th e d e e p e s t p ro b le m s o f o u r ow n c o n te m p o ra rie s .
T h o u g h th is is th e j o b o f th e o lo g ic a l e th ic s , th e o lo g ia n s m u s t a t le a st
o ffe r th e p rin c ip le s b y w h ic h e th ic ists c a n ta ck le th is task. F in ally w e
m u st esta b lish th e re la tio n s h ip o f d o c tr in e to th e w id e r c o n te m p o ra ry
issue o f k n o w le d g e , p a rtic u la rly a s it is p o se d by p h ilo s o p h y a n d th e
n a tu r a l sc ie n c e s.
2. T h e P urpose o f Doctrine
C h ris tia n d o c tr in e is th e te a c h in g o f th e C h u rc h . D o c tr in e sim ply
m e a n s w h a t is ta u g h t', fro m th e L a tin doceo, to te a c h . Dogma, th e w ord
u s e d b y th e G r e e k F a th e rs , c o m e s fro m dokein, s e e m in g o r b e lie v in g ,
d e riv e d o rig in a lly fro m th a t w h ic h w as g o o d o r rig h t. S o d o g m a is re la te d
t o b e lie f, c o n s e n s u s , fa ith , p rin c ip le s a n d a w ide ra n g e o f sim ila r m e a n
ings. S o P la to re fe rs to m a k in g u s e o f t h e m a n y dogmas a n d w o rd s'
(Sophist 2 5 6 C ). F ro m th is o rig in a l se n se o f p e rs o n a l o p in io n th e te rm
was u s e d o f v a rio u s views o f th e p h ilo s o p h ic a l sc h o o ls, so w h e n P lu ta rc h
ta lk e d o f t h e dogmas a b o u t th e s o u l ( Ethica 14B) h e m e a n t th e w ide
ra n g e o f te a c h in g s o ffe re d b y a n c ie n t p h ilo s o p h y o n th is su b je c t.
T h is te rm w as a lso e m p lo y e d to signify th e d e c isio n s o r d e c re e s th a t
b o r e th e a u th o r ity o f th e s ta te , a n d s o it m e a n t s o m e th in g a u th o rita tiv e .
In P la to s L a w s f o r e x a m p le w e r e a d o f th e city dogma ( Laws 6 4 4 D ), a n d
in th e G o sp e l o f L u k e *a d e c r e e {dogma) was issu ed by C a e sa r A u g u stu s
to c o n d u c t a c e n s u s o f t h e p o p u la tio n (L u k e 2 .1 ). In th e O ld T esta
m e n t a n d J u d a is m , it h a d a leg al o r m a n d a to r y se n se . T h e A p o stle Paul
says th a t C h ris t h a s c a n c e lle d th e w ritte n dogmas th a t w e re a g a in s t y o u '
(C o lo ssian s 2 .1 4 ) a n d t h a t C h ris t h as a b o lis h e d th e e n m ity in his Body,
by a b o lis h in g th e dogma o f th e law o f th e c o m m a n d m e n ts (E p h e sia n s
2 .1 5 ). F o r L u k e , d o g m a h as a p o sitiv e se n se : As th e y p a sse d th r o u g h th e

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

cities, th e y d e liv e re d to th e m th e d e c re e s ( dogmas) a p p ro v e d by th e


a p o stle s a n d t h e e ld e r s ' (A cts 1 6 .4 ). S o d o g m a c a m e to r e f e r to a u th o r
itative d e c is io n s a b o u t th e fa ith , re c e iv e d by th e C h u rc h a n d lin k e d to
th e p re s e n c e a n d th e in s p ir a tio n o f th e H o ly S p irit. F o r e x a m p le , in a
conciliai* le tte r q u o te d in A cts, th e A p o stle s w ro te, It s e e m e d g o o d to
th e H o ly S p irit a n d to u s (A cts 15.28).
T h e d o g m a o r te a c h in g o f th e C h u r c h re la te s to w o rsh ip r a th e r th a n
to p re a c h in g . W e s e e th is in S a in t B asils s ta te m e n t th a t D o g m a a n d
p ro c la m a tio n (kerygma) a r c tw o d is tin c t th in g s: d o c tr in e w e confess
w ith o u t a r g u m e n t, b u t o u r p r e a c h in g w e m a k e k n o w n to all th e wro r ld
(O n the Holy Spirit 2 7 .6 5 ). Basil m e a n s th a t d o c trin e s a r e w hat th e
w o rs h ip p in g c o m m u n ity ' o f t h e C h u rc h h a s to le a rn , a n d h o n o u r in
sile n c e , w h e re a s k e ry g m a ex ists in o r d e r th a t it c a n p ro c la im th e tru th
to th o s e o u ts id e th e C h u r c h , w h ic h d o e s o f c o u rs e involve a rg u in g w ith
th e m a b o u t w h a t is tr u e . T h e c o m m u n ity o f t h e C h u r c h a n d its w o rsh ip
is th e c o n te x t th a t gives d o c tr in e its a u th o rity .
T h e F a th e rs ta k e it f o r g r a n te d th a t d o g m a is o n ly f o r th o se w ithin
th e C h u rc h . G re g o ry o f Nyssa said , L e t u s r e a s o n w ith in o u r ow n
b o r d e r s ' (A g a in st E u n o m in s 1 0 .4 ), by w h ic h h e m e a n s w ith in th e H oly
L a n d , r a t h e r th a n in E g y p t, th a t is, w ith in th e C h u rc h r a t h e r th a n o n
th e fo re ig n te r r ito r y o f p h ilo so p h y . T h e a u th o r ity o f a d o c tr in e d o c s n o t
c o m e fro m a s im p le o b e d ie n c e to re a s o n , th o u g h it c e rta in ly d o e s n o t
c o m e fro m a n y re fu sa l o f re a s o n . T h e re a s o n it p o in ts to w a rd s is th a t
re n e w e d r e a s o n th a t c o rr e s p o n d s to th e r e la tio n s h ip s e m b o d ie d w ithin
th e c o m m u n ity o f th e C h u rc h .
D o g m a is t h e d o c tr in e th a t, th r o u g h its c o u n c ils, th e C h u rc h confesses
as th e tr u th t h a t b rin g s salv atio n f o r e v e ry h u m a n b e in g . T h is tru th
b rin g s u s in to p a r tic u la r r e la tio n s h ip s w ith o n e a n o th e r , a n d it b rin g s
th e C h u rc h in to a p a r tic u la r r e la tio n s h ip w ith G o d a n d w ith th e w orld.
T h e C h u rc h c x p c c ts th a t th r o u g h th e ir o w n e x p e r ie n c e its m e m b e rs
will re c o g n is e th e tr u th o f th is te a c h in g , a n d th e r e f o r e its a u th o rity
to o . T h e p r e a c h in g o f th e C h u r c h is a d d re s s e d to th e w id e r w o rld . W h e n
p e o p le b e c o m e C h ristia n s a n d m e m b e rs o f th e C h u rc h , th e y will have
e x p e r ie n c e d th e tr u th fo r th em selv es a n d s o th e y will c o n fe ss th a t w h a t
th e C h u r c h h a s ta u g h t is tru e .
T h e p r e a c h in g , a n d te a c h in g , o f C h ris tia n s b e c o m e s d o c trin e w h en
it is c o n f ir m e d by th e C h u r c h . S in c e th e C h u r c h is a living body, it m ay
set o u t n e w s ta te m e n ts o f its te a c h in g f o r e a c h g e n e ra tio n . T h e H oly
S p irit a c te d n o t o n ly in its e a rlie s t p e rio d , b u t h e acts th r o u g h every
p e r io d o f th e C h u r c h , n o w as m u c h as in w h a t w e r e fe r to as th e P atristic
p e r io d . F o r th is re a s o n th e r e is n o u p p e r lim it to th e n u m b e r o f d o g m a s

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

th e C h u rc h c a n affirm in its h istory. Il c a n m a k e w h a te v e r s ta te m e n ts


a r e r e q u ir e d t o p re s e rv e th e fa ith fu ln e s s o f th e C h u r c h in e a c h ag e . T h e
H o ly S p irit e n a b le s C h u rc h c o u n c ils to m a k e , a n d th e w h o le C h u rc h to
a c k n o w le d g e , th e s e re -s ta te m e n ts o f th e C h u r c h s te a c h in g . T h e te a c h
in g o f a p a r tic u la r s p iritu a l t e a c h e r o r a c a d e m ic th e o lo g ia n c a n o n ly
b e c o m e b in d in g w h e n it h a s b e e n c o n f ir m e d by th e w h o le C h u rc h , le d
by its c o u n c ils.
3. Scripture a n d Doctrine
It is th e task o f th e C h u r c h to ju d g e h o w to u n d e rs ta n d th e te a c h in g
it h a s r e c e iv e d in S c rip tu re a n d d o c tr in e a n d set it o u t in e a c h
n e w s itu a tio n . F ro m th e R e fo rm a tio n o n , W estern th e o lo g ia n s ask ed
w h e th e r d iv in e re v e la tio n h a s o n e s o u rc e o r tw o. P ro te sta n ts re je c te d
th e a u th o r ity o f th e tr a d itio n o f t h e C h u r c h a n d in tr o d u c e d th e p rin c i
p le o f sola scriptura , S c rip tu re o n its o w n , w ith o u t th e e x p e rie n c e o f
all p re v io u s g e n e r a tio n s o f th e C h u rc h in e x p o u n d in g th a t S c rip tu re . In
O r th o d o x th e o lo g y , th e p r o b le m a rriv e d w ith th e so -called O r t h o d o x
C o n fe s s io n s o f th e s e v e n te e n th c e n tu ry , w h ic h w e re s h a p e d by th e
e n c o u n te r w ith R o m a n C a th o lic ism in th e c a se o f th e c o n fe ssio n o f
P e te r M ogilas (1 5 9 7 -1 6 4 7 ) a n d w ith C alv in ism in th e case o f th e co n fe s
sio n o f C yril L u c a ris (1 5 7 2 -1 6 3 7 ). T h e W est te n d s to r e g a rd S c rip tu re
a n d d o c tr in e a s tw o d is tin c t s o u rc e s a n d trie s to a r b itra te b e tw e e n w hat
it u n d e r s ta n d s as th e ir rival claim s. I f w e u n d e r s ta n d th a t th e c o n tin u ity
o f th e a p o s to lic tr a d itio n is t h e w o rk o f th e H oly S p irit, th e r e is n o p ro b
le m a tic re la tio n s h ip b e tw e e n tr a d itio n a n d S c rip tu re , f o r e a c h serves
th e o th e r.
T h e r e a r c tw o re a s o n s w hy W e ste rn c h u r c h e s saw th e re la tio n s h ip o f
S c rip tu re a n d d o c tr in e as a p ro b le m . T h e W est te n d e d to r e g a r d revela
tio n as p rim a rily r a tio n a l o r in te lle c tu a l, a n d th e S c rip tu re s a n d th e
C h u rc h s im p ly as a r e p o s ito ry o f tr u th s , a v ailab le as in d iv id u a l u n its o f
in e r t in f o r m a tio n . In th e O r th o d o x tra d itio n , how ever. S c rip tu re a n d
th e C h u r c h a r e r e g a r d e d as th e te s tim o n ie s o f th o se p r o p h e ts a n d
a p o stle s w h o h a v e e x p e r ie n c e d t h e tr u th o f C h rist. B u t tr u t h is n o t a
m a tte r o f o b je c tiv e , lo g ic a l p ro p o s a ls , b u t o f p e rs o n a l re la tio n s h ip s
b e tw e e n G o d , m a n a n d th e w o rld . W e d o n o t c o m e to know tru th
sim p ly th r o u g h in te lle c tu a l a s s e n t to t h e p ro p o s itio n th a t G o d is
triu n e . It is o n ly w h e n w e a r e d ra w n in to th e life of G o d , w h ic h is triu n e ,
a n d th r o u g h it re c e iv e o u r e n tir e e x is te n c e a n d id e n tity , th a t w e have
re a l k n o w le d g e . T h e n w e m a y re a lis e th a t th e C h u r c h s trin ita ria n
d o c tr in e o f G o d fa ith fu lly a r tic u la te s th e tr u th o f o u r e x p e r ie n c e in this
c o m m u n io n t h a t is th e C h u r c h . T h r o u g h s u c h living e x p e r ie n c e , every

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

m e m b e r o f t h e C h u r c h e x p e rie n c e s th e c o m m u n io n o f G o d a n d is a b le
t o affirm th a t t h e d o c tr in e o f th e T rin ity is th e tr u th o f th a t reality. T h e
re v e la tio n o f G o d is a n e v e n t in w h ic h m a n c o m e s to e x p e r ie n c e , a n d
s h a r e in , th e life o f G o d a n d o f h is fello w -m an a n d th e w o rld , a n d this
re v e la tio n b rin g s n e w lig h t a n d s e n s e to all life. T h e S c rip tu re th a t b rin g s
th is re v e la tio n is c o m p l t , a n d th is re v e la tio n m a k e s se n se o f ev ery p a rt
o f th e c a n o n o f S c rip tu re .
T h e re v e la tio n o f th e o n e tr u e G o d is th e p e r s o n o f C h rist g iv en to us.
R ev e la tio n is o f c o u rs e always p e rs o n a l, fo r G o d re v e a le d h im s e lf to
A b ra h a m , M oses, th e A p o stles, th e F a th e rs a n d so o n . C o n se q u e n tly , w e
h a v e n o new re v e la tio n a n d n o addition to th e re v e la tio n o f J e s u s C h rist
given in S c r ip tu r e . T h o u g h it is p e rs o n a l, th is re v e la tio n ta k e s a variety
o f fo rm s . T h e e p ip h a n ie s o f th e O ld T e s ta m e n t, su c h as th e e v e n t o f
M o u n t S in ai i n th e B o o k o f E x o d u s , re v e a l C h rist. In th e N ew T e sta m e n t,
re v e la tio n o f G o d h a s ta k e n a n u n r e p e a ta b le fo rm . W ith J e s u s C h rist, w e
a r e allo w e d n o t o n ly to s e e a n d h e a r G o d , b u t to a c tu a lly to u c h a n d feel
h im a n d r e la te to h im physically. It is n o t m e re ly c o m m u n io n o f th e
m in d o r t h e h e a r t, b u t a c o m m u n io n o f v isio n , h e a r in g a n d to u c h , w ith
h im w h o m 0111 h a n d s h av e t o u c h e d (1 J o h n 1.1). N o th in g is s u p e r io r
to th e re v e la tio n o f C h ris t, f o r w h o e v e r h a s s e e n m e , h a s s e e n th e
F a th e r (J o h n 14.9). T h e F a th e rs in siste d th a t th is c o m m u n io n was
final a n d c o m p le te . T h e N ew T e s ta m e n t is th e r e c o r d o f th e e x p e rie n c e
o f th o s e w h o h a d th is p h y sical c o m m u n io n w ith G o d . It sets th e ir
e x p e r ie n c e a b o v e O ld T e s ta m e n t a p p e a r a n c e s o f G o d , a n d ab o v e w h a t
e v e r re v e la tio n s h av e b e e n g iv en to th e C h u r c h s in c e th e tim e o f th e
A postles.
T h e in c a r n a tio n h a s g iv en u s a fu lle r re v e la tio n th a n th a t r e p r e s e n te d
by th e O ld T e s ta m e n t. T h e C h u r c h a ttr ib u te d th is s u p e r io r ity to th e
phy sical a n d ta n g ib le re la tio n s h ip C h ris t s h a re d w ith th e d iscip les,
a n d u n d e r s ta n d s t h e E u c h a ris t a n d s a c ra m e n ts as th e c o n tin u a tio n
o f th is fully p h y sic a l fo rm o f c o m m u n io n . Ig n a tiu s, C yril o f J e ru s a le m
a n d C yril o f A le x a n d ria in siste d t h a t th o s e w h o w o rth ily p a rtic ip a te in
th e d iv in e E u c h a r is t see G o d b e tte r th a n M oses d id . S a in t M axim us
s u m m e d u p S a in t Ir e n a e u s te a c h in g a b o u t th e ir re la tio n s h ip s w ith the
p h r a s e th e O ld T e s ta m e n t is th e sh ad o w , th e N ew T e s ta m e n t is th e
im a g e , th e th in g s to c o m e a r e th e t r u t h (Scholia on D ionysius' Ecclesiasti
cal Hierarchy 3 .3 .2 ).
T h e e n tir e life o f th e C h u rc h lives fro m th e re v e la tio n o f G o d in th e
h isto ric a l e v e n t o f C h ris t r e c o r d e d f o r u s by th e S c rip tu re s. T h e N ew
T e s ta m e n t is t h e fu n d a m e n ta l d o c tr in e , o r d o g m a , o f w h ic h all o th e r
fo rm s o f re v e la tio n , th e O ld T e s ta m e n t a n d all s u b s e q u e n t te a c h in g o f

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

th e C h u r c h , a r e r e n d itio n s . A f u r th e r re v e la tio n c o u ld o n ly b e an
e n tire ly d if f e r e n t re v e la tio n , a n d d iffe re n t re lig io n , a lto g e th e r. S o to
su m u p w h a t w c h a v e sa id s o far, th e N ew T e s ta m e n t a n d all su b s e q u e n t
C h ris tia n d o c tr in e sim p ly p o in t to th e p e r s o n a n d e v e n t o f Jesus C h rist.
T h e te a c h in g o f th e C h u r c h , ta k e n to g e th e r w ith th e w h o le c a n o n o f
S c rip tu re , e n a b le s u s to e x p e r ie n c e th is n e w re la tio n s h ip b e tw e e n G od,
m a n k in d a n d th e w orld.
T h e d iv in e E u c h a ris t is th e c o m p le te re v e la tio n o f h im w h o m o u r
h a n d s h av e to u c h e d a n d d ire c t c o m m u n io n w ith G o d in p e rs o n a l a n d
ta n g ib le fo rm . E v er)' re v e la tio n o f G o d , in w h a te v e r fo rm it co m es,
m a n ife s ts C h ris t. All re v e la tio n s a r e a p p e a r a n c e s o f C h rist, a n d th u s
o f th e u n c r e a t e d lig h t w h ic h s h in e s fro m th e h isto ric a l b o d y o f J e su s
C h rist. A s J o h n o f D a m ascu s a n d T h e o d o r e th e S tu d ite in sisted , it is th e
in c a rn a tio n o f C h rist th a t m a k e s th e ic o n s re v e la tio n s o f C h rist.
T o r e tu r n t o th e re la tio n s h ip o f S c rip tu re a n d d o c trin e , w'c c a n see
th a t all d o c tr in e e sse n tia lly re c a lls th e e v e n t o f C h rist. It rev e als th a t w e
h a v e b e e n b r o u g h t in to a liv in g re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d a n d so w ith all
tr u th . J e s u s C h r is t is th e w 'holc k n o w le d g e o f G o d , F a th e r, S o n a n d H oly
S p irit a n d th is is th e re a s o n why, in th e c o u rs e o f se ttin g o u t th e tr u th o f
C h rist, th e C o u n c il o f N ic a e a s e t o u t a n e n tir e th e o lo g y o f th e Trinity.
A ll s u b s e q u e n t e c u m e n ic a l c o u n c ils wrc r e c o n c e r n e d to e lu c id a te C h rist
as th e tr u th o f G o d , a n d th u s th e tr u th o f o u r sa lv atio n , e v e n w 'hen it
m ay se e m th a t th e y w e re c o n c e r n e d w ith issues n o t d ire c tly c o n n e c te d
to C hristolog). T h e e x p e r ie n c e o f th e A p o stles, r e c o r d e d in th e Ncwr
T e s ta m e n t, is t h e d o c tr in e w h ic h all s u b s e q u e n t te a c h in g h a s to se t o u t.
D o c trin e o n ly e v e r re s ta te s th e e x p e r ie n c e o f th e A p o stle s a n d re sto re s
th e c la rity o f th e ir w itn ess to C h rist. T h e c o n tin u ity o f d o c tr in e is
s u s ta in e d b y t h e d o g m a s s e t o u t b y th e e c u m e n ic a l c o u n c ils o f th e
C h u r c h ; th e s e d o g m a s a r e th e m se lv e s ic o n s o f C h rist, p a in te d by e a c h
n e w g e n e r a tio n , e a c h w ith all t h e m e a n s th a t it h a s a t its d isp o sal. T h is
c o n tin u ity is b o t h e x te rn a l, b e c a u s e it re p re s e n ts a fidelity to all p re c e d
in g tr a d itio n all th e way b a c k to th e p e r io d in w h ic h S c rip tu re w as
w ritte n , a n d it is in te rn a l, b e c a u s e it p re s e rv e s o u r living re la tio n s h ip o f
G o d w ith h u m a n k in d a n d th e w o rld , fu lfille d a n d re v e a le d in C h rist.

II. K n o w l e d g e

of

God

J e s u s C h ris t is t h e re v e la tio n o f G o d , s o C h risto lo g )' is th eo lo g y . T h e


d o c tr in e th a t a r tic u la te s th is re v e la tio n o f C h ris t p re s e n ts us w ith two
f u n d a m e n ta l issu es. T h e first is th e n e e d to a c c o u n t f o r th e p e rio d o f
tim e b e tw e e n C h rist in h isto ry , a n d th e A p o sto lic e r a a n d su b s e q u e n t

10

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

h isto ric a l p e r io d s in w h ic h c h risto lo g ic a l d o c tr in e w as fo rm u la te d . W h a t


a c c o u n ts f o r he c o n tin u ity o f th e re v e la tio n o f C h r is t th ro u g h tim e?
T h e s e c o n d p ro b le m is th a t w ith in th e h isto ric a l re v e la tio n o f
C h ris t th e r e is a te n s io n b e tw e e n th e p r e s e n t a n d th e f u tu r e , th e
a lre a d y a n d t h e n o t y e t. In th e h isto ric a l C h rist a n d th e e x p e r ie n c e o f
th e first A p o stle s, G o d s re v e la tio n is a p o o r re fle c tio n as in a m ir r o r
r a t h e r th a n t h e w h o le re a lity th a t th e e s c h a to n will rev e al face to fa c e
(1 C o r in th ia n s 1 3 .1 2 ). C h ris t n o w p re s e n ts a n im ag e a n d fo re ta ste o f
th a t c o m p le te a n d d ir e c t p e r s o n a l k n o w le d g e o f G o d fo r u s, th o u g h ,
a c c o rd in g to 1 J o h n 3.2, u n til th a t k in g d o m arrives, n o p r o p h e t o r sa in t
has fu ll o r fin a l k n o w le d g e o f G o d . H o w c a n w e at tain a fo re ta s te o f
h e a v e n , th e c o m p le te k n o w le d g e o f G o d , a n d b e c o n fid e n t th a t C h ris
tian te a c h in g is th e fa ith fu l a n d a c c u ra te e x p re ssio n o f th is fo re ta ste ?
T ru ly to p o r tr a y C h ris t as th e re v e la tio n o f G o d , C h ristia n te a c h in g has to
b e fa ith fu l in tw o re sp e c ts: It h a s to p o rtra y tru th fu lly th e h isto ric a l C hrist
o f th e p a s t, a n d th e f u tu re , e sc h a to lo g ic a l C h rist a n d his k in g d o m .
C h ris tia n d o c tr in e m u st h o ld to g e th e r th e p ast, h isto rical re v e la tio n o f
C h ris t a n d th e fu tu re a d v e n t o f C h ris t in glory, a n d th is u n io n a n d tra n s
fo rm a tio n o f p a s t a n d f u tu r e is th e p a rtic u la r task o f th e H oly S pirit.
It s e e m e d p r o p e r to th e H o ly S p irit a n d to u s , c o n c lu d e d th e
c o u n c il o f th e A p o stle s in A cts 15. It is th e c o n v ic tio n o f th e C h u rc h
th a t, ju st as S c r ip tu r e is G o d - b r e a th e d (2 T im o th y 3 :1 6 ), th e te a c h in g
o f th e C h u r c h is e q u a lly th e w o rk o f th e H o ly S p irit. T h e r e a r e a n u m b e r
o f w ays in w h ic h w e c o u ld u n d e r s ta n d th is. T h e p r e s e n c e a n d a c tio n o f
th e H o ly S p irit c o u ld b e u n d e r s to o d as s o m e k in d o f m e c h a n ic a l o r
m ag ical in te r v e n tio n o f G o d . F o r th e a n c ie n t G re e k s, d iv in e in sp ira
t i o n w as in v o lu n ta ry , m a n ife s tin g itse lf th r o u g h d iv in a tio n a n d oracles,
o f te n w ith o u t th e c o n s e n t o f th e in d iv id u a l w h o w as c a u g h t u p in p ro
p h e tic r a p tu r e . B u t s u c h a n u n d e r s ta n d in g as th is w o u ld m a k e th e
a u th o r s o f th e b ib le a n d th e F a th e rs o f th e c o u n c ils th e in v o lu n ta ry
tools o f th e S p irit. A n o th e r p o ssib ility w o u ld b e to u n d e r s ta n d th e p re s
e n c e a n d th e e ffe c t o f th e S p irit in te rm s o f th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f th e
h u m a n s p ir it th r o u g h tim e , a n d th e c o n s e q u e n c e o f h u m a n ity s effo rts
to w a rd s its o w n a m e lio ra tio n . A th ir d p o ssib ility is th a t th e w o rk o f th e
H o ly S p irit is a n e v e n t o f c o m m u n io n th a t c e n tre s o n a c o m m u n ity , a n d
w h ic h h a s a h o riz o n ta l as w ell as a v e rtic a l d im e n s io n .
T h e first o f th e s e p o ssib ilities c a n b e e x c lu d e d straightaw ay. T h e H oly
S p irit is th e S p irit o f f r e e d o m , s o h e d o e s n o t fo rc e h im s e lf u p o n us.
C h ris ts re v e la tio n fully re s p e c ts th e f re e d o m o f th e p e rso n . T h e s e c o n d
p o ssib ility at le a s t fits th e s p iritu a l e x p e r ie n c e o f th e d isc ip le a n d ascetic,
f o r w ith o u t b e in g p u r if ie d fro m s in , it is n o t p o ssib le f o r a n y o n e to see

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

11

G o d , fo r w h o e v e r h a te s h is b r o t h e r c a n n o t s e e G o d ( 1 J o h n 2 .1 1 ). T h e
E u n o m ia n s c la im e d th a t sin d o e s n o t p r e s e n t a n y o b sta c le to im m e d ia te
k n o w le d g e o f G o d . S a in t G re g o ry N a z ia n z u s a rg u e d th a t th e y h a d th e re b y
c re a te d a th eo lo g y o f th e d is e m b o d ie d in te lle c t w h ich allow ed a n y o n e to
d o th e o lo g y , as th o u g h th e o lo g y w ere j u s t a n o th e r to p ic o f co n v ersa
tio n th a t w o u ld p a ss th e tim e b e tw e e n th e ra c e s a n d th e th e a tre . G re g o r)'
in siste d th a t th e o lo g y is n o t o p e n to a n y o n e , b u t o n ly to th o se w h o have
b e e n te ste d , h a v in g s p e n t th e ir life in c o n te m p la tio n (theoria) o f G o d ,
c le a n se d in so u l a n d body, o r at least u n d e r g o in g su c h a p u r ific a tio n
(First Theological Oration, Against Eunom ius, III). B u t eq u ally to isolate
sp iritu a lity f r o m all o t h e r c o n s id e ra tio n s a n d m ak e it th e so le re q u ir e
m e n t o f t h e th e o lo g ia n w o u ld b e in d iv id u alism a n d m o ra lism . W c w o u ld
b e m ista k e n t o th in k th a t G o d reveals h im s e lf to th o se in d iv id u als w ho
iso la te th e m se lv e s in o r d e r to a d v a n c e to a h ig h e r d e g re e o f spirituality.
T h e th ir d o p tio n w c c o u ld call th e ccclcsial a c tio n o f th e H oly
S p irit. W h e r e v e r h e w o rk s, th e H o ly S p irit b rin g s th e c o m m u n io n
o f C h rist. W e n e e d to r id o u rse lv e s o f th e b e lie f th a t th e H oly S p irit
acts u p o n u s as iso la te d p e rs o n s a n d leaves u s as is o la te d afte rw a rd s
as b e fo re . T h is p e r c e p tio n th a t th e S p irit ta k e s p e rs o n s away fro m c o m
m u n ity is s o w id e s p re a d th a t w e m u s t re je c t it em p h a tica lly . T h o s e w ho
d e f e n d th is v iew o v e rlo o k th e f u n d a m e n ta l d istin c tio n b e tw e e n th e
a c tio n o f th e H o ly S p irit in th e O ld T e s ta m e n t a n d in th e N ew T esta
m e n t. In th e O ld T e s ta m e n t, th e S p irit is g iven t o p a r tic u la r p e rs o n s ,
p ro p h e ts a n d k in g s, b u t n o t to th e w h o le n a tio n o f Isra e l. B ut in th e
N ew T e s ta m e n t th e M e ssia h gives th e H o ly S p irit to th e e n tir e p e o p le
o f G o d . In h is a c c o u n t o f P e n te c o s t L u k e q u o te s th e p r o p h e t Jo e l,
In th e last d ay s I sh a ll p o u r m y S p irit fo rth o n all flesh , says th e L o rd
A lm ig h ty (A cts 2 .1 7 -1 8 ).
T h e N ew T e s ta m e n t te a c h e s th a t all b a p tis e d C h ristia n s have th e
H o ly S p irit, a n d w ith h im , h is c h a ris m s a n d gifts. T h e A p o stle Paul
e x p la in s in 1 C o r in th ia n s 12 th a t b e in g a m e m b e r o f th e C h u rc h m e a n s
th e p o sse ssio n o f s o m e p a r tic u la r g ift a n d o ffice o f th e S p irit f o r th a t
C h u r c h . P au l c le a rly re je c ts th e view o f th e C o rin th ia n s th a t so m e
p e o p le m ay b e m o re s p iritu a l o r m o r e c h a ris m a tic th a n o th e r s ; h e insists
th a t e v e ry o n e h as s o m e s p iritu a l gift, e v e n if it ta k e s th e f o rm o f an
u n o s te n ta tio u s se rv ic e lik e a d m in is tra tio n . P aul re je c ts every m a n ife sta
tio n o f a s p iritu a l elitism , say in g th a t e v e n i f s o m e o n e h a s fa ith e n o u g h
to m o v e m o u n ta in s , h e will b e n o th in g if h e h a s n o love.
W h a t d o e s t h e A p o stle m e a n b y lo v e? I f w e ta k e a lo o k a t c h a p te rs
e lev e n to f o u r te e n o f th e first le tte r to th e C o rin th ia n s , w e se e th a t love
is th e c o m m u n io n c r e a te d by th e c o m m u n ity o f th e C h u r c h . L ove h e r e

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Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

d o e s n o t r e f e r to a n e m o tio n o r to g o o d w ill b u t re fe rs to th e m u tu a l
re la tio n s h ip b e tw e e n th e m e m b e rs o f th e C h u r c h , f o r it is th is m u tu a l
re la tio n s h ip t h a t m a k e s th is c o m m u n io n o n e . N o o n e says th a t th e y 'd o
n o t n e e d a n y o t h e r p a rts o f th e b o d y (1 C o rin th ia n s 12.21), fo r love
m e a n s th a t all o ffic e s a n d m in is trie s a r e e x e rc is e d in te r d e p e n d e n tly a n d
in u n io n .
T h e A p o stle re la te s th is fello w sh ip to th e H o ly S p irit. T h e p h r a s e th a t
e n d s h is s e c o n d L e tte r to th e C o rin th ia n s , th e fello w sh ip o f th e H oly
S p irit (2 C o r in th ia n s 13.13) a p p e a r s to h a v e b e e n p a r t o f th e litu rg y o f
th e first C h u rc h e s , p r io r to P aul, a n d it h a s re m a in e d p a rt o f th e divine
E u c h a ris t e v e r sin ce. W h e re v e r t h e S p irit blow s, h e b rin g s a n e n d to
in d iv id u a lism a n d elitism , a n d c re a te s a c o m m u n ity . W e c o u ld p o in t to a
m u ltitu d e o f q u o te s fro m th e F a th e rs o f th e first c e n tu rie s . G re g o ry o f
N a z ia n z u s r e fe rs to th e H o ly S p irits fo c u s o n p e rs o n a l c o n te m p la tio n
( theona) . H e says th a t th o u g h w e m ay d e s ire s o litu d e a n d p u rific a tio n o f
m in d in o r d e r to a c h ie v e c o n te m p la tio n o f G o d , this is n o t th e d ire c tio n
th e S p irit le a d s u s in . T h e S p irit b rin g s in to b e in g a c o n g re g a tio n a n d
m a k e s e a c h m e m b e r o f t h a t c o n g re g a tio n fru itfu l, so th a t e a c h , b e in g
h e lp e d b y h e lp in g o th e r s m a k e s p u b lic th e S p irits e n lig h te n m e n t
( Twelfth Oration, 4 ). T h is is w h y th e e x p e r ie n c e o f th e g a th e r e d C h u rc h
is, S a in t G re g o ry believes, g r e a te r th a n th e e x p e r ie n c e o f c o n te m p la tio n
ju st as th e sk ies a r e g r e a te r th a n a sin g le star, o r as a g a rd e n is g r e a te r
th a n a sin g le flow er, o r a n e n tir e b o d y is g r e a te r th a n a n y p a rtic u la r
p a r t o f it ( Twelfth Oration, 4 ). T h e F a th e rs tell u s th a t it is th e S p irits
c h ie f w o rk to le a d u s to w a rd s th e g a th e r e d C h u r c h , a n d n o t to w ard s an
iso la tin g in d iv id u a l e x p e rie n c e .
I t is n o t s im p ly t h e r a r e r o r m o r e c e re b ra l c h a rism a s, b u t all th e
c h a ris m a s o f t h e C h u r c h th a t b e lo n g to th e re v e la tio n o f G o d . E a c h gift
sh o u ld b e u n d e r s to o d w ith in th e s y m p h o n y m a d e u p o f all gifts. N ot
e v e ry o n e is in te lle c tu a l, o r h a s t h e a b ility to tr e a t th e sick a n d h e a l th e m ,
n o t e v e ry o n e c a n s p e a k m o r e th a n o n e la n g u a g e , o r ex c e l as a le a d e r
a n d w e c a n n o t all b e p r o p h e ts . B ut n o o n e c a n a p p r o a c h G o d by his
ow n e ffo rt, w ith o u t th e m a n y c h a ris m a tic gifts th a t th e se rv ic e o f o u r
fello w C h ris tia n s m a k e s a v ailab le to us. T h e S p irit calls to g e th e r this
co m m u n ity , a n d all th e S p irits a c ts a n d gifts se rv e th e u n ity o f th e c o m
m u n ity o f th e C h u rc h . O u r c o n c lu s io n is th a t re v e la tio n o f th e tru th
always b rin g s a b o u t c o m m u n io n , th e p a r tic u la r c o m m u n io n o f C h rist.
C h ris tia n d o c tr in e p o in ts to th is c o m m u n io n a n d te a c h e s us th a t this
c o m m u n io n is th e tr u th itself.
N o w w e h a v e c o m e to th e p a r t th a t th e C h u r c h plays in th e fo rm a tio n
o f d o c tr in e . C h r is t is th e re a lity o f a n e w re la tio n s h ip b e tw e e n G od,

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

13

m a n k in d a n d th e w o rld , a n d th e C h u r c h is th e c o m m u n ity w ith in w hich


this n e w r e la tio n s h ip is m a n ife s te d f o r th e w o rld . In th e C h u r c h , th e
e n tir e w o rld , w ith C h ris t th e n e w A d a m a t its h e a d , a c k n o w le d g e s G o d
as F a th e r. T h e n e w re la tio n s h ip e x p re s s e d b y this a c k n o w le d g e m e n t, is
th e w o rld s sa lv a tio n fro m d is s o lu tio n a n d d e a th . K n o w led g e o f th e reve
la tio n o f G o d is a n e m p iric a l re a lity w ith in th e b o d y o f th e C h u r c h ,
w h ic h e n jo y s t h e re la tio n o f th e S o n to th e F a th e r, in w h ic h th e e n tir e
w o rld is e m b o d ie d , m a k in g it th e b o d y o f C h r is t T h e re la tio n s h ip s th a t
c o n s titu te th is c o m m u n ity a n d m a k e it th is b o d y a r c th e a c tu a lisa tio n by
th e S p irit o f t h e re v e la tio n o f G o d in th e w o rld .
A ll m e m b e r s o f th e C h u r c h c o n s titu te th is c o m m u n io n th a t is th e
livin g k n o w le d g e o f G o d . It is o n ly together th a t all b a p tis e d m e m b e rs
o f th e C h u rc h c o n s titu te th e b o d y th a t re v e a ls C h rist. T h e p e o p le (loos)
c r e a te d by b a p tis m , laity a n d c le rg y to g e th e r, a r e th e re v e la tio n o f th e
S o n w h o is t h e tr u t h o f th e n ew re la tio n s h ip o f th e w o rld w ith G od.
C h rist, to g e th e r w ith h is A p o stle s, s ta n d s a t th e h e a d o f th is p e o p le .
C h ris t m a k e s h im s e lf p r e s e n t to th e C h u rc h in th e p e r s o n o f his m inis
ters. T h e y m u s t e n s u r e th a t th e c o m m u n ity p re se rv e s th e o rig in a l form
o f th e b o d y o f C h ris t, as e x p e r ie n c e d b y th e w h o le p e o p le o f G o d from
th e e a rlie st m o m e n ts to w h ic h S c rip tu re b e a r s w itness. T h is is th e p a r
tic u la r m in is try o f th e h e a d o f th e e u c h a ris tic c o m m u n ity , th e b ish o p
w h o , a c c o m p a n ie d by h is p re sb y te rs, re p r e s e n ts th e im a g e o f C h ris t sur
r o u n d e d by h is A postles. In th e E u c h a ris t, th e c o m m u n ity o f th e C h u rc h
lives a n d d isp la y s t h e C h ris t-c e n tre d re la tio n s h ip o f G o d a n d th e w orld.
T h e k n o w le d g e o f G o d is g iv en by th e new , salvific re la tio n s h ip o f G o d
to th e w o rld , m a n ife s te d in C h ris t a n d e x p e r ie n c e d as E u c h a rist. In th e
p e r s o n o f th e b is h o p , th e c o m m u n ity g a th e r e d a t th e E u c h a ris t e x p resses
its fa ith w ith o n e a c c o r d , as th e litu rg y p u ts it.
D o c trin e a c q u ir e s its a u th o r ity fro m its fa ith fu ln e ss to th e tru th o f
th e re la tio n s h ip b e tw e e n G o d a n d th e w o rld . T h is is re v e a le d its th e
c o m m u n io n o f G o d , th e w o rld a n d m a n k in d in C h rist, w h ic h is th e
c o m m u n io n e x p e r ie n c e d b y t h e A p o stle s a n d th e ir c o m m u n itie s , as
th e N ew T e s ta m e n t re c o rd s . W h e n all th e C h u rc h e s co n fess th e sa m e
fa ith , th e c a th o lic ity o f th e C h u r c h is m a d e e v id e n t th r o u g h o u t th e
w o rld . T h e b is h o p s in ev ery c o r n e r o f th e w o rld a r e o f o n e a n d th e
sa m e m in d as J e su s C h ris t, in t h e w o rd s o f S a in t Ig n a tiu s o f A n tio ch
(Letter to the Ephesians III). T h e c o u n c ils o f b is h o p s a r e th e fo rm in
w h ic h th e C h u r c h e s e x p re s s th e u n a n im ity th a t m ak e s th e m th e o n e
C h u r c h a n d b o d y o f C h rist. T h e y a r c e c u m e n ic a l b e c a u se th e y in c lu d e
all p rim a tia l b is h o p s , r e p r e s e n tin g th e w h o le w o rld ( ecumene). T h e d o c
trin e o f th e C h u r c h s e t o u t in th e d e c is io n s o f th e s e c o u n c ils e x p re sse s

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Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

th e fa ith o f t h e w h o le C h u r c h a n d fully re v e al th e k n o w le d g e o f G o d
w ith in h is re la tio n s h ip to th e w o rld th r o u g h C h rist in th e S pirit.
B e c a u se C h ris tia n d o c tr in e w itn esses to th e living tr u th it m u s t be
c o n tin u o u s ly re c e iv e d a n d tr a n s m itte d b y all th e m e m b e rs o f C h rist's
body. T h e r e a r e n o sp e c ific p r o c e d u r e s f o r th is re c e p tio n o f d o c trin e
by m e m b e rs o f th e C h u r c h , b u t th is r e c e p tio n o c c u rs in th e A m e n
giv en b y th e w h o le p e o p le o f G o d in w o rsh ip . W ith o u t th is p u b lic a n d
e u c h a ris tie a f f irm a tio n th e r e c a n n o t b e a n y liturgy, o r p r e a c h in g o r
te a c h in g . S u c h a ffirm a tio n c a n b e w ith h e ld w h e n th e r e is d is a g re e m e n t
b e tw e e n b is h o p s a n d th e laity, as it w as a t th e C o u n c il o f F lo re n c e in the
fifte e n th c e n tu ry . B u t ab o v e a ll, th is g iv in g a n d re c e iv in g in th e e n tir e
co m m u n ity , b y w h ic h d o c tr in e is d is s e m in a te d a r o u n d th e w h o le body,
is e ffe c te d th r o u g h th e e x p e r ie n c e o f th e tr u th o f th is d o c trin e , a n d
m a in ta in e d b y th e e x e rc is e o f all th e c h a rism s o f th e H oly S p irit in th e
serv ice th a t c o n s titu te s th e C h u r c h as a unity.
B ish o p s h a v e th e p a r tic u la r o ffice o f c o n v e n in g c o u n c ils, th ro u g h
w h ic h th e f a ith c a n b e le a r n e d a n d c o n fe sse d as th e c o m m o n a n d
u n a n im o u s a c k n o w le d g e m e n t o f G o d b y all th e c h u rc h e s . F o r this
re a s o n th e y h a v e to fo rm u la te th e d o c tr in e o f th e C h u rc h w hich
e x p re s s e s th e re a lity o f th e c o m m u n io n c r e a te d by th is a c k n o w le d g e
m e n t. T h u s t h e w h o le p e o p le le d b y th e ir b ish o p s p a rtic ip a te as o n e
C h u rc h in th e s h a p in g o f th e d o g m a s as liv in g tr u th s th a t re v ea l G o d as
th e F a th e r o f J e s u s C h rist, a n d th r o u g h h im , o f th e e n tir e w o rld , w ith
th e G o d -m a n , J e s u s C h ris t, a t its h e a d .
In o r d e r th a t C h ris tia n d o c tr in e re c e iv e s its p r o p e r a u th o rity , it is vital
th a t th e e u c h a r is tie c o m m u n ity f u n c tio n s p ro p e rly . T h is c o m m u n ity
m u s t in c lu d e p e o p le in all s ta tio n s o f life, e x e rc isin g all th e ch arism s.
W h e n th e e u c h a ris tie c o m m u n ity is p ro p e rly a n d c a th o lica lly co n sti
tu te d , d o c tr in e is n o t u n ila te ra lly im p o s e d fro m ab o v e by a n in stitu tio n
a c tin g w ith a m e re ly ju d ic ia l a u th o rity , a rnagisterium, b u t r a t h e r d e m o n
stra te d a n d a ffirm e d b y th e A m e n ' o f th e w h o le p e o p le . W h e n d o c trin e
is re c e iv e d in th is way a n d b e c o m e s s e c u re in th e m in d o f th e C h u rc h , it
is irre v o c a b le a n d c a n n o t b e c h a n g e d , a n d c a n th e n o n ly b e e x p e rie n c e d
a n d i n te r p r e t e d by C h ris tia n te a c h in g , w o rsh ip , d isc ip le sh ip a n d th e life
o f th e sain ts. W h a te v e r is d e c id e d b y a fully e c u m e n ic a l c o u n c il, a n d is
re c o g n is e d a n d a c k n o w le d g e d a s d o c tr in e b y th e w h o le C h u rc h , has full
a u th o r ity a n d is t h e n a dogma, w h ic h n o s u b s e q u e n t c o u n c il o r th e o lo g i
cal d e v e lo p m e n t h a s th e p o w e r to re sc in d . T h e task o f b is h o p s a n d th e o
logical te a c h e r s is o n ly to i n te r p r e t th is d o c tr in e , by fo rm u la tin g te a c h in g ,
w h ic h m ay itself e v e n tu a lly b e c o m e th e d o c tr in e o f th e C h u rc h , e x p re sse d
in t h e d e c is io n s o f s u b s e q u e n t c o u n c ils o f th e C h u rc h .

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

15

H e re w e m u s t say s o m e th in g a b o u t th e in fallib ility of th e d o c tr in e o f


th e C h u r c h . In fallib ility is n o t th e p o sse ssio n o f a n y in s titu tio n , e ith e r
c o u n c ils o r b is h o p s . I t is n o t th e p o sse ssio n o f a n y in d iv id u a l, n o m a tte r
h o w g r e a t h is o r h e r o ffice o r s p iritu a lity o r in te lle c tu a l a c h ie v e m e n t.
As in d iv id u a ls, th e s a in ts a n d F a th e rs a r e n o t in fa llib le . In fallib ility is
th e c o n s q u e n c e o f t h e fello w sh ip o f th e H o ly S p irit, w h o b rin g s a b o u t
th e w h o le n e s s o f th e C h u r c h . W ith o u t a n y re f e r e n c e to th e o th e r
c h a ris m a s a n d f u n c tio n s o f th e C h u r c h , n o in d iv id u a l is in fallib le. But
a n y in d iv id u a l c a n e x p re s s th e t r u t h o f th e C h u r c h as it h a s b e e n infalli
bly fo r m u la te d b y th e c o u n c ils o f th e b is h o p s , as lo n g h e is fa ith fu l to
this tr u th . A h y m n w riter, a n y m a rty r o r o u ts ta n d in g d isc ip le , a n d every
o r d in a r y C h ris tia n w h o lives faith fu lly a n d h u m b ly as a m e m b e r o f th e
e u c h a ris tie b o d y o f th e C h u r c h is a w itn ess to th e in fa llib le tru th .
C h ris tia n d o c tr in e c a n c la im in fallib ility only if it is faith fu l to th e
d o g m a s d e c r e e d by th e c o u n c ils. M an y th e o lo g ia n s have c o n fu s e d th e
te a c h in g o f t h e F a th e rs w ith th e d o g m a s o f th e C h u rc h . You h e a r it
sa id th a t b e c a u s e s o m e p a r tic u la r F a th e r ta u g h t a d o c trin e , t h a t it c a n
n o t b e m is ta k e n , b u t th is is n o t so. F o r th e te a c h in g o f a F a th e r to a c q u ire
re a l a u th o rity , it m u s t b e c o n f ir m e d b y th e e x p e r ie n c e o f th e sa in ts, in
th e f u r n a c e o f th e fello w sh ip o f th e H o ly S p irit' a n d m a d e explicit
in th e r u lin g o f a n e c u m e n ic a l c o u n c il. A th a n a siu s c o rre c tly a rtic u la te d
th e fa ith o f th e C h u rc h b e f o r e th e C o u n c il o f N ic a e a , b u t it w as o n ly
w h e n th e te a c h in g o f th a t c o u n c il was a ffirm e d by th e C h u rc h , that
A th a n a s iu s th e o lo g ic a l te a c h in g b e c a m e d o g m a , c o m p e llin g th e affir
m a tio n o f th e w h o le C h u rc h .
W h a t h a p p e n s in th o s e p e r io d s w h e n th e r e a r e n o e c u m e n ic a l c o u n
cils, a n d n o tr u ly e c u m e n ic a l d o g m a c a n b e given? A t su c h tim e s th e
C h u rc h c o n tin u e s to live a n d co n fe ss th e tru th o f G o d s re v e la tio n ,
th ro u g h th e w h o le r a n g e o f liv ed e x p e r ie n c e a n d C h ris tia n c o n fe ssio n ,
th r o u g h t h e te a c h e r s g iv en to it. T h e C h u rc h h a s its F a th e rs in every
g e n e r a tio n , o f c o u rse : th e F a th e rs d id n o t c o m e to a n e n d in th e n in th
c e n tu ry , as is o f te n a ssu m e d . T h e y in te r p r e t th e te a c h in g o f th e C h u rc h .
T h e y d o n o t p r o d u c e d o g m a s, a n d th e y d o n o t d e m a n d th a t th e
C h u rc h a c c e p t w ith o u t q u e s tio n th e ir a c c o u n t o f its te a c h in g . W h a t
w e a tte m p t, as s tu d e n ts a n d te a c h e rs , is sim ply fa ith fu l in te rp re ta tio n
o f th e te a c h in g th a t h a s b e e n p a sse d d o w n to us. W c d o n o t m a k e
a n y s tr o n g e r claim s: it w o u ld b e a fo o lish te a c h e r w h o e x p e c ts his own
in te r p r e ta tio n to b e dogma, th a t fully a n d validly e x p re sse s th e te a c h in g
o f t h e c a th o lic C h u rc h . E a c h o n e o f u s is, as a n in d iv id u a l, c a p a b le o f
e rrin g , so w e m u s t le a r n h u m ility a n d listen to o n e a n o th e r s views, fo r
w ith o u t h u m ility w e risk s e ttin g o u rse lv e s u p as ju d g e s o f th e C h u rc h .

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Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

T h e tr u th is r e v e a le d a n d s e c u re d , a n d in th is se n se b e c o m e s in fallib le,
o n ly as w e s u b m it to th e c o m m u n io n o f th e H oly S p irit a n d a r e in c o rp o
ra te d in to t h e b o d y o f th e C h u r c h . G o d is n o t k n o w n o u ts id e th e
c o m m u n io n o f th e S p irit a n d th e lo v e c r e a te d by h im , as w e will se e as
w e tu r n to e x a m in e th e issu es o f k n o w le d g e a n d faith .
1. Knowledge i n General
H o w c a n w e k n o w G o d ? Is k n o w le d g e o f G o d in n a te , as th e o rie s o f
n a tu ra l re v e la tio n m a in ta in ? A re w e b o r n w ith so m e k n o w le d g e o f G o d
w h ic h w e c a n th e n b u ild u p o n ? O r d o e s o u r k n o w le d g e o f G o d c o m e
th ro u g h d ir e c t re v e la tio n ? Is it p o ssib le to g a in a n y k n o w le d g e o f G o d
fro m n a tu r e , o r fro m h u m a n n a tu re ? C o n tra s tin g views o f th e possibility
o f k n o w le d g e o f G o d d e v e lo p e d o n th e W e ste rn side of th e C h u rc h , in
th e rival a c c o u n ts o f R o m a n C a th o lic a n d P ro te s ta n t th eo lo g y . But
th e o lo g y d o c s n o t n e e d to u n d e r s ta n d t h e o rig in o f o u r k n o w le d g e o f
G o d in e ith e r o f th e s e tw o ways. B e fo re w e e x a m in e p a tristic view s o f
th e k n o w le d g e o f G o d , w e m u s t c o n s id e r th e q u e s tio n o f k n o w le d g e
m o r e g en erally .
W h a t is k n o w le d g e ? S in c e w e a r e n o t j u s t th e o lo g ia n s, o r scientists
a n d a c a d e m ic s , w e c a n s ta rt by ta k in g a m o re everyday a n d c o m m o n
se n se a p p r o a c h to k n o w le d g e , b y lo o k in g a t h o w w e k n o w a n y th in g .
W h e n w e say t h a t w e k n o w s o m e th in g , s u c h as th e ta b le in th e ro o m in
w h ic h w e f in d o u rse lv e s, it m e a n s th a t w e o r ie n t o u rse lv e s to it in a p a r
ticu la rw a y : w e re la te it to o u rse lv e s. A risto tle in tr o d u c e d th is id e a , w hich
b e c a m e fa m ilia r to th e tr a d itio n as A ris to tle s 'th is th in g ( todeti). W h e n
w e id e n tify s o m e th in g by p o in tin g to it, sa y in g this, r a th e r th a n that, we
a r c say in g t h a t w e k n o w a n d re c o g n is e it. K n o w led g e is id e n tific a tio n :
w h e n its id e n tity is lo st to us, w e h av e n o k n o w le d g e o f th a t o b je c t. H ow
d o w e id e n tify o b je c ts? A g ain th is is n o t a n issue o f th e o lo g y b u t j u s t o f
c p is tc m o lo g y g e n e ra lly . H o w d o w e k n o w th a t th is is a ta b le ? W h a t m a k es
us id e n tify it in th is way? F irst, w e re c o g n is e it by a p ro c e ss o f n e g a tio n
o r e x c lu s io n , b y ru lin g o u t all th e th in g s th a t it is n o t. W e say th a t it is A,
a n d n o t B. T o d e f in e A , w e e x c lu d c all o t h e r e n titie s , so w h e n w e say
th is o n e , w e m e a n n o n e o f th e o t h e r o b je c ts o r possibilities.
A s e c o n d f a c to r in th e a c t o f k n o w in g is th a t w e a r e o b lig e d to d e f in e
th is o b je c t in o r d e r to e x c lu d e o t h e r o b jc c ts. T h e ety m o lo g y o f th e w o rd
d e f in e r e la te s to b o u n d a r ie s w h ic h w e p la c e a r o u n d th is o b je c t to
s e p a ra te it f r o m all o th e rs . T h e th ir d a c tio n , c o n s e q u e n t o n th e
s e c o n d , is t h a t w e d e s c r ib e it by r e f e r r in g to its p ro p e rtie s . In th e case
o f o u r ta b le , wre m ig h t d e s c rib e it b y its s h a p e , given by sp a ce a n d tim e.
If it lo ses th is s h a p e it w o u ld n o lo n g e r b e a ta b le , b u t s o m e th in g else,

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

17

like a p ile o f w o o d . I f th e r e w e re n o sp a c e , w e w o u ld b e u n a b le to iso la te


a n d d e s c rib e th is ta b le o n th e b asis o f its fo rm . T h is ta b le h e r e w o u ld be
o n e w ith th a t ta b ic o v e r th e r e , a b s o r b e d in to it, a n d w c w o u ld b e u n a b le
to tell o n e ta b le a p a r t f r o m a n o th e r , in w h ic h case th e id e n tity o f this
ta b le w o u ld b e lo st in a c o n fu s io n o f all o t h e r ob jects. W ith o u t sp ac e
a n d tim e w e w o u ld h a v e n o k n o w le d g e o f th is tab le.
A s A ris to tle p o in te d o u t, d e s c rip tio n gives o b je c ts th o se a ttrib u te s
w e j u d g e th e y h av e. W h e n w e say th a t th is ta b le is s q u a r e w e have b e g u n
to a c q u ire k n o w le d g e o f it. B u t w h e re d id th e c o n c e p t o f s q u a r e c o m e
fro m ? P la to b e lie v e d th a t o u r c o n c e p ts a r e d ra w n fro m a n u n c h a n g in g
w o rld o f id e a s a n d th a t w e a p p ly th e ir n a m e s to o u r o b je c ts. A risto tle
sa id th a t s q u a re n e s s is a n a ttr ib u te p o ssessed by th e o b je c t itself, so it
re sid e s w ith in th e ta b le in s o m e se n se . B u t th is ta b le is n o t th e o n ly
s q u a re th in g : if it w ere, w e c o u ld n o t call it sq u a re , f o r a n a ttrib u te
m u s t b e h e ld in c o m m o n b y a n u m b e r o f o t h e r o b je c ts. T h e c o n c e p t o f
s q u a r e is n o t a p p lic a b le o n ly to th is ta b le , b u t to a vast v a rie ty o f o th e r
th in g s too.
W c d e s c r ib e th e o b je c t by re fe r r in g to its v a rio u s a ttrib u te s : it h a s a
p a r tic u la r c o lo u r. T h e m o r e a ttrib u te s w e a d d , th e m o re w e k n o w o f
th e o b je c t, a n d th e m o r e w e a r e a b le to re la te to it a n d m a k e use o f it.
Its u s e fu ln e ss t o u s allow s u s to d e fin e it: it is a ta b le b e c a u se w e c a n w rite
o n it, le a n o n it, leav e th in g s o n it, w alk r o u n d it. T h e r e is always a la te n t
u tilita ria n o r p r a g m a tic a s p e c t to o u r k n o w le d g e , b e c a u se its a ttrib u te s
m a k e it a v ailab le to u s, e ith e r to e x p lo it in s o m e specific way, o r sim ply
b e c a u s e it h a s s o m e a e s th e tic a ttr a c tio n f o r us.
S o f a r w e h a v e sa id th a t to h av e k n o w le d g e o f s o m e th in g w e m u st
c x c lu d c it fro m o t h e r o b je c ts a n d d e s c rib e it o n th e basis o f a ttrib u te s
giv en in th e c o n te x t o f tim e a n d sp a c e . W e re la te n o t o n ly to w h a t we
se e, o f c o u rs e , b u t also to w h a t w e c a n n o t se e. I know m y fa th e r, even
th o u g h I c a n n o t sec h im b e c a u s e h e is n o lo n g e r alive. T im e , th a t
in d iv id u a te d m e fro m h im in th e first p la c e , h a s n o w s e p a ra te d m e fro m
h im a lto g e th e r. W ith o u t tim e t h e r e w o u ld have b e e n n o d istin c tio n
b e tw e e n m y f a th e r a n d m yself, a n d w ith o u t su c h d is tin c tio n o f th in g s,
I w o u ld n e v e r h av e b e e n a b le to k n o w m y f a th e r as s o m e o n e o th e r th a n
m yself. I was a b le to id e n tify h im o n ly b e c a u s e o f th e d ista n c e th a t tim e
a n d s p a c e c r e a te d b e tw e e n u s. T im e a n d sp a c e allow s u s to d istin g u ish
o n e th in g fro m a n o t h e r a n d s o e n a b le s u s to id e n tify th in g s. W e know
th e m b y d e s c r ip tio n s th a t id e n tify th e ir a ttr ib u te s a n d th e way w e e m p lo y
a n d v a lu e th e m . W e m a k e c o m p a ris o n s : th is ta b le is b ig g e r a n d b e tte r
th a n th a t o n e a n d th e s e asp e c ts a r e also p a r t o f sc ie n tific k n o w le d g e . It
is o u r e n tir e so c ia l a n d c u ltu ra l c o n te x t th a t m ak e s th is r a t h e r th a n that

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Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

a ttr ib u te o f a n o b je c t u s e fu l, a n d th u s m a k e s th e o b je c t sig n ific a n t f o r us


so w e n o tic e it in th e first p la c e .
W h ilst f o r t h e a n c ie n t G reek s, th e a ttr ib u te s o f fo rm a n d b e a u ty w e re
fu n d a m e n ta l t o k n o w le d g e , in o u r u tilita ria n W e ste rn c u ltu r e w e te n d
to p la c e th e e m p h a s is o n th e u tility o f k n o w le d g e , so a e s th e tic s a n d
th e o r e tic a l s c ie n c e s a r c c o n s id e r e d to b e o f less sig n ific a n c e . I f w h e n
y o u d isc o v e r s o m e th in g n e w y o u a re n o t a b le to d e m o n s tr a te its u se fu l
n ess, y o u r r e s e a r c h is r e g a r d e d as o f less v a lu e , e v e n as less scientific.
W h y s h o u ld w e ta lk a b o u t th e b e a u ty o r fittin g n e ss, o f a rt, o r o f G od?
W h a t c a n th e y c o n tr ib u te to a n a tio n a l e c o n o m y ? H u m a n itie s d e p a rt
m e n ts a r e u n d e r th r e a t b e c a u s e f u n d s g o to d e p a r tm e n ts th a t d e m o n
stra te m e a s u r a b le e c o n o m ic b e n e fit. B u t h o w is su c h b e n e fit to be
m e a s u re d ? W e c a n m e a s u re it o n ly th r o u g h th e p ra c tic e s o f k n o w led g e
by w h ic h w e a r e a b le to d e fin e a n d d e sc rib e it. K n o w le d g e is given by th e
p ra c tic e s o f ju d g m e n t a n d e v a lu a tio n p r o m o te d by th e h u m a n itie s , so
w ith o u t th e s e p ra c tic e s w e will h a v e little id e a o f w h a t is u se fu l o r w o rth
d isc o v e rin g . W ith o u t c o n s id e ra tio n s o f v a lu e th e re is u ltim a te ly n o
k n o w le d g e a t all. Finally, sin c e relativity, a n d m o re rec en tly , q u a n tu m
th eo ry , w e h a v e h a d a c h a n g e in th e p e r c e p tio n th a t th e re s e a rc h e r,
th e know er, m u s t d is ta n c e h im s e lf f r o m th e o b je c t o f his kno w led g e.
C o n te m p o r a r y n a tu r a l sc ie n c e s u n d e r s ta n d th a t th e r e s e a r c h e r is
inv o lv ed in t h e p ro c e sse s b y w h ic h h e c o m e s to knoAv h is o b je c t, so
th e e x p e r im e n te r m ay a ffe c t h is o w n re su lts. K n o w led g e is la rg e ly o r
p e r h a p s e v e n e n tire ly a n in te r a c tio n w ith a c o m p le x e n v iro n m e n t.
S o w e h a v e v e ry b rie fly s k e tc h e d th e issu es th a t re la te to sc ie n c e a n d
in d e e d to k n o w le d g e o f a n y k in d .
W e h av e d e s c rib e d w h a t is in v o lv ed in k n o w le d g e o f a n o b je c t. B ut
if w e ap p ly th is to th e k n o w le d g e o f G o d w e w ill e n tire ly fail to gain
a n y k n o w le d g e . W hy is th is? First, w h e n w e a p p ly th e m e th o d o f e x c lu sio n
(A is n o t B ), in o r d e r to k n o w A w e m u s t p re s u p p o s e th a t th e r e is so m e
th in g else a r o u n d , w h ic h w e h av e to e x c lu d e . So w e a re o b lig e d to a c ce p t
th a t s o m e th in g ex ists a lo n g w ith G o d , e v e n if th a t s o m e th in g is ju s t
n o t h in g . B u t w h e n w e say th a t G o d c re a te s s o m e th in g o u t o f
n o th in g , w h a t is th a t n o t h in g , b e sid e s h im self? F o r s o m e , like T h o m a s
A q u in a s a n d K arl B a rth , n o th in g n e s s s e e m s to h a v e so m e sh ad o w
e x is te n c e t h a t G o d re je c te d a n d re m o v e d by b rin g in g th e w o rld in to
b e in g in its p la c e . O n th is basis, s o m e th in g is e x c lu d e d in o r d e r to
m a k e a first s te p to w a rd s k n o w le d g e o f G o d . W e w o u ld h a v e to su p p o se
th a t th e r e is s o m e th in g th a t is n o t G o d , w h ic h exists in p a ra lle l w ith
G o d , in o r d e r to say a n y th in g a b o u t G o d . B u t is it p o ssib le to re la te G o d
to s o m e th in g o t h e r th a n G o d w ith o u t f o r f e itin g th e very c o n c e p t o f

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

19

G od ? F o r G o d to b e G o d , w e m ay n o t a ssu m e h is c o -e x iste n c e w ith


a n y th in g e lse, s o w e c a n n o t ta k e a first s te p to w a rd s k n o w le d g e o f him
by d is tin g u is h in g G o d fro m w h a te v e r h e is n o t.
D e s c rip tio n , th e s e c o n d e le m e n t w e m e n tio n e d , re la te s to o u r loca
tio n in s p a c e a n d tim e . A ny d e s c rip tio n o f G o d w o u ld p la c e h im in tim e
a n d sp a c e . B lit tim e a n d sp a c e p re s u p p o s e a b e g in n in g a n d it is o n ly
c re a tu r e s w h o h a v e a b e g in n in g . T h e y a r e g iv en th e ir b o u n d a rie s a n d
s e p a r a te d by t h e d is ta n c e g iv en b y sp a c e . T im e a n d sp a c e c a n n o t be
a p p lie d to G o d a n d s o w e a r c u n a b le to p r o d u c e a d e s c rip tio n o f h im .
T h e F a th e rs c a lle d G o d in d e s c rib a b le , w 'hich m e a n s th a t it is n o t possi
b le to a sc rib e b o u n d a r ie s o r lim its f o r h im . S o it a p p e a rs th a t it is sim ply
n o t p o ssib le t o say a n y th in g a b o u t G o d .
T h is b rin g s u s to a p e r e n n ia l d isc u ssio n a b o u t th e a ttr ib u te s o f
G o d . M ed iev al th e o lo g y ta u g h t th a t w e m ay k now G o d by his a ttrib u te s ,
b e c a u s e w e c a n say th a t G o d is g o o d , alm ighty, o m n is c ie n t a n d so
o n . B u t w e k n o w a n o b je c t b y its a ttr ib u te s b e c a u se w e ta k e th o se
a ttrib u te s f r o m o u r e x p e r ie n c e o f o t h e r o b je c ts. We d o n o t fin d th e
a ttrib u te s s im p ly a n d so lely w ith in th e o b jc c t w e in v e stig a te. I f w e w e re
to in v e n t s o m e w o rd n o t f o u n d in a n y la n g u a g e , a n d th e n d e s c rib e this
ta b le by th a t w o rd , a n d say t h a t th e a ttr ib u te n a m e d by th is in v e n te d
w o rd ex ists o n ly in th is ta b le , w e w o u ld n o t b e o ffe rin g a n y d e sc rip tio n
o f it th a t w o u ld allo w o th e r s to id e n tify it. Im a g in e w e sh o w so m e new
in v e n tio n to s o m e o n e w h o h a d n e v e r s e e n a n y th in g like it b e fo re , a n d
w h e n h e h a s w a tc h e d it w o rk in g , ask h im to re la te it to s o m e th in g . Its
a c tio n w ill r e m in d h im o f s o m e th in g else th a t h e is fa m ilia r w ith , to
w h ic h h e c a n m a k e s o m e c o m p a ris o n , h o w e v e r f a r re m o v e d . If h e has
tru ly n e v e r s e e n a n y th in g to w h ic h it c a n b e c o m p a re d h e will b e u n a b le
to o ffe r a n y d e s c rip tio n o f it, a n d so will h a v e n o k n o w le d g e o f it. We
c o m p r e h e n d w h a t is n ew by analog) w ith th in g s th a t a r e fa m ilia r to us,
f o r all k n o w in g is a m a tte r o f m a k in g c o n n e c tio n s w ith o u r e x istin g
e x p e r ie n c e . W e id e n tify w h a t w e d o n t k n o w o n th e basis o f w h a t w e do:
k n o w le d g e is a n a lo g ic a l.
T h e a ttr ib u te s t h a t w c a llo c a te to a n o b jc c t a r e n e v e r u n iq u e to th a t
sin g le o b je c t: wre c a n n e v e r know r w h a t is tru ly u n iq u e . W e a r e a b le to
k n o w o b je c ts b e c a u s e th e y h av e c h a ra c te ris tic s in c o m m o n , s o th e re
a r e d e g re e s o f re s e m b la n c e o r k in s h ip b e tw e e n th e m . If s o m e o n e s
b o d y w as tru ly u n iq u e , w e w o u ld b e u n a b le to re la te his a n a to m y to
o u r e x p e r ie n c e o f an y o t h e r a n a to m y , a n d so w e w o u ld b e u n a b le to
p e rc e iv e h im a t all.
T h is b e in g so , w h a t c a n w e say a b o u t G o d ? F ro m w h e re c a n w e d ra w
his a ttrib u te s ? How' c a n w e say h e is g o o d , f o r e x a m p le ? W h e re w o u ld

20

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

this a ttr ib u te c o m e fro m , if n o t fro m o u r ow n e x p e rie n c e ? I know


v a rio u s p e o p le w h o a r e g o o d o r p o w e rfu l, a n d I know a b o u t G o d s
g o o d n e s s o r p o w e r b e c a u s e I d ra w th is k n o w le d g e fro m m y e x p e r ie n c e
o f o t h e r p e r s o n s g e n e ra lly . B u t i f I a tte m p t to r e a c h G o d by e x tra p o la t
in g fro m m y e x p e r ie n c e 1 a m m a k in g G o d a c re a tu re ; in d e e d , I a m m ak
in g h im m y o w n c r e a tu r e . S in c e a ttrib u te s o f g o o d n e s s o r p o w e r a r e n o t
exclu siv e to G o d , th e h u m a n r a c e is e n d le ssly a b le to s u b s titu te various
p h e n o m e n a o r a b s tra c tio n s fo r G o d . I f G o d is like th e s e o t h e r p h e n o m
e n a o r lik e o t h e r p e rs o n s wre know r, w h y n o t re p la c e h im w'ith th e m ? W hy
sh o u ld I re v e r e G o d a n d n o t r e v e re a th u n d e r s to r m , if b o th o f th e m a re
p o w e rfu l?
W c c a n s e c th is in t h e ease o f o u r n o tio n o f G o d as F a th e r, w h ic h is
w h e re th e p r o b le m o f a n th r o p o m o r p h is m m o st fre q u e n tly a p p e a rs.
We te a c h c h ild r e n to r e f e r to G o d as O u r F a th e r. In w h a t s e n s e d o
they, o r w c, u n d e r s ta n d th is? It m u s t b e o n th e basis o f th o se c h ild r e n s
e x p e r ie n c e o f fa th e rs . T h e y id e n tify th e ir f a th e r w ith c e rta in a ttrib u te s:
h e c a n d o th in g s th a t th e y c a n n o t, p e rh a p s , su c h as p r o te c tin g o r
p ro v id in g fo r th e m , a n d th r o u g h th e s e a ttrib u te s th e c h ild rec eiv e s an
id e a o f G o d . W h e n a d o le s c e n c e , a n d w ith it th e d e sire f o r fre e d o m ,
a rriv e s c h ild r e n h a v e to fre e th e m se lv e s fro m s u b o r d in a tio n to th e ir
p a r e n ts . T h e y o u n g p e r s o n c a n o n ly t u r n in to a n a d u lt by sh a k in g o ff
so m e o f th e s e re c e iv e d id e a s a n d u n d e r g o in g a re v o lu tio n a g ain st
a u th o r ity a n d d e p e n d e n c e , a n d in th is re v o lu tio n , th e c h ild h o o d id e a
o f G o d h a s to d isa p p e a r.
T h is e v e n t o f d isb e lie f in G o d is th e sa m e w h e th e r view ed o n a p e r
so n a l level, o r o n th e level o f a so c ie ty o r c iv ilisatio n . In th o se m o m e n ts
o f c u ltu ra l tr a n s itio n w h e re a u th o r ity is c o n tra s te d w ith fre e d o m , th e
id e a o f G o d is d is c a rd e d . It h a s to b e p u t asid e b e c a u se w e c a m e to
knowr G o d o n th e basis o f e x p e rie n c e s a n d a ttrib u te s th a t w e a c q u ire d
fro m o u r ow n fam ily a n d w id e r re la tio n sh ip s.
W e c a n n o t give G o d th e a ttr ib u te s f o u n d in o th e r o b je c ts. D a n g e r
follow s in e v ita b ly fro m k n o w le d g e a tta in e d by e x tra p o la tio n f ro m fam i
lia r o b jc c ts a n d fro m n o tio n s a b s tra c te d fro m th e m . T h e k n o w led g e
o f G o d is b o u n d u p w ith th e re s u lts th a t this k n o w le d g e offers, a n d
su c h k n o w le d g e will u ltim a te ly b e re je c te d . H ow m an y p e o p le lose th e ir
fa ith in G o d b e c a u s e h e d o e s n o t a n sw e r th e ir p ra y ers! J u s t as I c h o o se
to re je c t a n d ig n o r e th is ta b le if it is o f n o u se to m e , I will ev e n tu a lly
re je c t G o d a n d ig n o r e h im as o f n o u se to m e . A n d th e w o rd ig n o r e
d o c s n o t s im p ly m e a n th a t I k n o w th a t h e d o e s n o t exist, b u t th a t, sin c e
h e m a k e s n o d if f e r e n c e to m e o n e way o r th e o th e r, h e d o e s n o t exist
f o r me. I d o n o t k n o w h im b e c a u s e I d e c id e I d o n o t n e e d to k n o w him .

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

21

I d o n o t c o n d e s c e n d to k n o w h im , th a t is to c o n c e d e h im a n y acknow
le d g e m e n t, s o m y ig n o r a n c e o f h im is d e lib e ra te . You c a n se e w hat
k in d o f d a n g e r th e k n o w le d g e o f G o d - c p istc m o lo g y - c o n ta in s , w h en
it is b a se d o n th e a ttrib u te s o f G o d . It le a d s to a th e is m , b e c a u se by
d e fin itio n , G o d c a n n o t b e fitte d in to a n y o f th e m o u ld s th a t w e have
availab le to u s o r in a n y w ay b e m a d e u s e fu l to us. If th is w e re n o t th e
case, th e n a t a n y g iv en m o m e n t, j u s t as I p u s h a b u tto n to s ta r t u p a
m a c h in e , I c o u ld likew ise p u s h t h e p ra y e r b u tto n a n d w ait f o r th e an sw er
to c o m e . T h is w o u ld d e m o te G o d to th e statu s o f a n o b jc c t a n d , a n d
w o rse still, d e m o te m e to th e s ta tu s o f s o m e o n e b o u n d to su c h an
ob ject.
W e c a n n o t s p e a k o f G o d s a ttr ib u te s a n d th e n a tta in k n o w le d g e b ase d
sim p ly o n th e s e a ttrib u te s . W e c a n n o t r e s o rt to a n y c a te g o ris a tio n th a t
in c lu d e s p la c e a n d tim e , b e c a u se tim e a n d s p a c e c a m e in to b e in g a t c re
a tio n a n d d o n o t ap p ly to G o d . S o h o w c a n w e c o m e to k n o w G od?
Is th e r e a n y th in g th a t w e c a n fin d in o u r o w n e x p e rie n c e th a t c a n p o in t
us o n th e way? Is it p o ssib le to k n o w s o m e th in g , w ith o u t g o in g th ro u g h
th is p ro c e ss o f o b je c tific a tio n a n d th e n e x c lu sio n o f a ttrib u te s ? E ith e r
w e c a n n o t k n o w G o d , o r w e give u p try in g to d e sc rib e G o d o n th e basis
o f o u r e x p e r ie n c e a n d say sim p ly th a t, th o u g h w e know G o d , w e c a n n o t
d e s c rib e h im .
T h e s e tw o o p tio n s h a v e b e e n d isc o v e re d m a n y tim e s o v e r th e c e n tu
rie s, a n d th e y a r e v ery m u c h o n o ffe r today. T h e re s p o n s e w e call n e g a
tive th e o lo g y in sists th a t w e c a n n o t say a n y th in g a b o u t G o d . O u r silen c e
a b o u t h im m u s t b e a b s o lu te , f o r w h a te v e r k n o w le d g e w e h av e, w e a re
u n a b le to p u t in to w o rd s. T h e o t h e r re s p o n s e is a f o r m o f m ysticism
th a t allow s a c e r ta in e x p re s s io n o f G o d , th a t involves e x p e rie n c e a n d
e m o tio n w h ic h , in its m o s t e x tre m e fo rm , o b lite ra te s th e d istin c tio n
b e tw e e n th e o n e w h o k n o w s a n d th e o n e w h o is k n o w n . T h r o u g h th e
c e n tu rie s , C h ris tia n s h a v e e x p e r im e n te d w ith b o th n e g a tiv e th e o lo g y
a n d m ysticism . I n T h e M ystical T h eo lo g y o f th e E a ste rn C h u r c h
V la d im ir L osskv (1 9 0 3 -5 8 ) trie s to o f f e r a c o m b in a tio n o f th e two.
If n e g a tiv e th e o lo g y , w h ic h in sists th a t w e d o n o t k n o w G o d by n a tu r e ,
is th e w ay fo rw a rd , w h a t c a n w e say a b o u t G od? It is easy to say w hat
G o d is n o t , o r to say th a t w e c a n n o t say a n y th in g a b o u t G o d . W h a t can
w e say a ffirm a tiv e ly a b o u t G od?
N eg ativ e th e o lo g y a p p e a rs as th e p r o b le m o f o p p o s itio n b etw ee n
G o d a n d th e w o rld . In o r d e r to k n o w G o d , y o u m u s t g o b e y o n d th e
w o rld a n d le a v e it b e h in d y o u . N e o -p la to n ism re p r e s e n ts th is p rin c ip le
o f b e y o n d t h e e s s e n c e . In th e h a n d s o f th e six th -c e n tu ry th e o lo g ia n
D io n y siu s th e A re o p a g ite , its m e th o d was to a tta c h th e p re fix h y p e r

22

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

(o v e r o r b e y o n d ) to ev ery c o n c e p t. W h a te v e r w e say a b o u t th e w o rld , w e


m u st u se h y p e r 1 w h e n w e r e f e r to G o d . So, f o r e x a m p le , to say th a t G o d
is g o o d , w h ic h is o f c o u rs c b a se d in o u r e x p e rie n c e o f th e g o o d n e s s o f
o th e r p e o p le , w e w o u ld h a v e to say th a t G o d is more-than-good, o r beyondg o o d n e ss. By th is w e d o n o t m e a n th a t G o d is g o o d to th e m ax im u m
d e g r e e b u t th a t h e su rp a sse s g o o d n e s s en tirely . In th e sa m e w ay w e say
th a t G o d is n o t b e in g b u t b e y o n d b e in g (hypei-ousios). D io n y siu s w ants
us to u n d e r s ta n d t h a t all o u r c a te g o rie s r e p r e s e n t th e p ro je c tio n o f o u r
w o rld ly e x p e r ie n c e o n t o G o d a n d so w c m u s t b e ta k e n b e y o n d th e m .
B ut d e s p ite a ll this r h e to ric a l e ffo rt, w e c a n n o t d efin itiv ely pass b e y o n d
o u rse lv e s to G o d .
2. Knowledge T h ro u g h th e Son
N ow w e m u st s e e w h a t k n o w le d g e o f G o d is o ffe re d in th e te a c h in g o f
th e C h u r c h . T o f in d o u t h o w th e F a th e rs a p p r o a c h e d th e k n o w le d g e o f
G o d w e m u s t e x a m in e a little p a tristic h istory.
In th e m id d le o f th e s e c o n d c e n tu ry , J u s tin b e g a n to use th e c o n c e p t
o f th e L o g o s t o s e t o u t th e view th a t th e h u m a n m in d is th e in s tr u m e n t
o f u n d e r s ta n d in g . O r ig e n (f. 185-254) a n d th e n E vagrius P o n tic u s
(345-399) e x p a n d e d th is in to a n e p iste m o lo g y in w h ic h th e m in d
p u rifie d itse lf o f all th a t w as av ailab le to o u r p o w e rs o f p e r c e p tio n , w hich
fitte d w ell w ith E v a g riu s view th a t th e c a llin g o f th e m o n k is to rid h im
se lf o f all w o rld lin e ss. A c c o rd in g to th is view, th e r e is a d ir e c t re la tio n
s h ip b e tw e e n G o d a n d th e h u m a n m in d , so th e m in d is th e lin k b etw e en
G o d a n d m a n , a n d th e m e a n s o f o u r k n o w le d g e of G od.
O n e d a n g e r o f th is d o c tr in e is th a t it e x c lu d e s fro m o u r k n o w le d g e
o f G o d e v e ry th in g p e rc e iv e d b y th e h u m a n sen ses. T h o u g h th is m ay
se e m o b v io u s, it d o e s n o t easily a g r e e w ith th e c o n fe ssio n th a t C h rist
has b e c o m e p e r c e p tib le to h u m a n sen ses, a n d th a t th e se n se s to o a re
th e r e f o r e th e m e a n s o f k n o w le d g e o f G o d . T h e h u m a n m in d a p p e a rs
to b e a b le to p e rc e iv e G o d d irectly, w ith o u t any in te r a c tio n w ith th e
m a te ria l w o rld , a n d s o b e c o m e s th e p o in t o f c o n ta c t b e tw e e n m a n
a n d G o d . S o m e o f O r ig c n s fo llo w ers d e v e lo p e d th is d o c tr in e in to an
e n tir e th e o lo g y . I t w as c o r r e c te d h o w e v e r by a n o th e r m o n k , M akarius
th e E g y p tian (c.3 0 0 -3 9 0 ) a n d e v e n tu a lly c o n d e m n e d by th e C o u n c il
o f C o n s ta n tin o p le (5 5 3 ). M a k a riu s in tr o d u c e d a n o th e r faculty, th e
h e a r t, in to th e d isc u ssio n . R a th e r th a n th e m in d , th e h e a r t was the
s o u rc e o f o u r k n o w le d g e o f G o d . B e c a u se th e classical view o f m a n
u n d e r s to o d th e h e a r t as th e s o u rc e o f th e e m o tio n s , M a k a riu s wras n o t
always u n d e r s to o d , b u t in f a c t h e w as n o t m a k in g a d is tin c tio n b etw e en
m in d a n d e m o tio n .

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

23

In th e th e o lo g y o f Isra e l th e h e a r t w as th e fac u lty o f c o g n itio n


b e c a u s e it w as th e in s tr u m e n t o f o b e d ie n c e . T h e h e a r t re p re s e n ts m a n 's
o b c d ic n c c a n d so it k n o w s G o d as G o d , s in c e th e p u r e in h e a r t sh a ll sec
G o d (M a tth e w 5 .9 ). T h e h e a r t is th e p la c e o f fre e d o m , w h e re w e say
yes' o r n o ' to o n e a n o t h e r a n d t o G o d . T h e o b e d ie n t h e a r t d o e s G o d s
w ill. S o k n o w le d g e o f G o d is n o t a n issu e sim p ly o f in te lle c t o r o f e m o
tio n b u t o f o b e d ie n c e . F o r th o s e f o r m e d b y th e G re e k w orldview a n d
c o m in g to te r m s w ith th e te a c h in g o f S c rip tu re th is was n o t o b v io u s. F o r
G re e k s, k n o w le d g e h a d to p o in t to w a rd s th e id e n tity a n d e x is te n c e o f
s o m e th in g . A n o b je c t m u s t b e m u c h m o r e th a n a m o ra l su m m o n s, to
w h ic h I r e s p o n d w ith a y es o r n o . T h r o u g h o b e d ie n c e w e acknow l
e d g e th a t s o m e o n e tru ly exists, so fo r M a k a riu s th e r e w as a n o n to lo g ic a l
a sp e c t to th is k n o w le d g e .
T h e b r e a k th r o u g h c a m e w ith S a in t M ax im u s th e C o n fe s s o r (5 8 0 6 6 2 ). M a x im u s w as o n e o f th e g r e a t, p e r h a p s th e g re a te s t, th e o lo g ia n s
o f t h a t tim e , b e c a u s e o f th e b o ld n e s s w ith w 'hich h e re c o n c e iv e d all th e
m a jo r th e o lo g ic a l issues. H e u s e d M ak arian id e a s to c o r r e c t E v ag riu s, so
th a t th e th e o lo g ic a l tr a d itio n o f O r ig e n w as p u rg e d o f its m o r e d e tr i
m e n ta l a sp e c ts. T h is d id n o t r e q u ir e a n y aggressive c o n fro n ta tio n :
d o c tr in a l b r e a k th r o u g h s s e e m to c o m e w ith o u t a n y g re a t fu ry in th e
P atristic p e r io d . A lth o u g h O r ig e n h a d h u g e a u th o rity , A th a n a siu s, th e
C a p p a d o c ia n s a n d ab o v e all M a x im u s a m e n d e d h im radically, b u t n o n e
o f th e m f o u n d a n y n e e d to m o u n t g r e a t c a m p a ig n s a g a in st his
theology'.
T h e first c h a n g e th a t M a x im u s m a d e was to r e d e fin e th e te rm L o g o s.
T o M a x im u s, C h r is t is t h e L o g o s o f G o d . It is th r o u g h th e L o g o s th a t we
c o m e to k n o w G o d , a n d all b e in g s h a v e th e ir logoi a n d re a s o n w ith in th e
o n e L o g o s a n d W o rd o f G o d . T h e b r e a k th r o u g h c a m e w h en M axim us
p e rc e iv e d th is L o g o s o f G o d as th is person, th e S o n w ith w h o m G o d th e
F a th e r h a s a re la tio n s h ip o f love.
O n ly C h ris t, th e L o g o s o f G o d , c a n k n o w G o d . O n ly th e L o g o s is
in a n e te r n a l lo v in g re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d w h ic h actu ally reveals, dis
closes a n d m a k e s k n o w n th e id e n tity o f G o d as th is p e rs o n , th e F ath er.
As th e G o sp e l o f M atthew ' p u ts it, n o -o n e know s th e S on e x c e p t the
F ath er, a n d n o o n e know s th e F a th e r e x c e p t th e S o n , a n d a n y o n e to
w h o m th e S o n c h o o s e s to reveal h i m (1 1 .2 7 ). M ax im u s insists th a t th e
S o n k n o w s th e F a th e r b e c a u s e o f th e re la tio n s h ip o f love th a t exists
e te rn a lly b e tw e e n th e m . In th is re la tio n s h ip th e F a th e r is re c o g n is e d
a n d re v e a le d b y t h e S o n , w h o says, Y ou e x ist as m y F a th e r. W ith in this
re la tio n s h ip o f S o n a n d F a th e r, G o d re v e a ls h im self, a n d is acknow l
e d g e d , as tr u th . A th a n a siu s m a d e th e s a m e o b se rv a tio n in a r g u m e n t

24

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

w ith th e A iia n s : h e sa id th a t th e S o n w as fo re v e r w ith th e F ath er, a n d


th a t it w as im p o ssib le fo r th e F a th e r to e x ist w ith o u t h is S on b e c a u se th e
S o n is th e im a g e a n d tr u th o f th e F a th e r, a n d im a g e a n d tr u th a r c u n ite d
in h im (A g a in st the A rians I, 2 0 -2 1 ).
T h is was a sig n ific a n t e p iste m o lo g ic a l m ove. T h e F a th e r know s
h im s e lf as h e re c o g n is e s th e S o n as h is ow n im ag e. You c a n n o t re co g
nise y o u rs e lf i n is o la tio n fro m a n o t h e r p e r s o n . Y ou n e e d a re la tio n s h ip
to re fle c t b a c k to y o u w h o y o u a re . T h e S o n is th e m ir r o r o f th e F a th e r,
w h ic h is w h a t A th a n a s iu s m e a n t b y c a llin g th e S o n th e im a g e a n d tr u th
o f G o d . T h is is th e c o n c e p tio n th a t p o w e re d th e th e o lo g y o f M axim us
th e C o n fe sso r. A re la tio n s h ip o f p e rs o n s , a n d th e r e f o r e o f love, reveals
th e tr u th , a n d m a k e s k n o w n w'hat c o u ld n o t b e k n o w n in a n y o th e r way.
G o d is k n o w n th r o u g h th e L o g o s b e c a u s e th e L o g o s is his S o n . T h e
F a th e rs h a d g iv e n u p all th e e a r lie r te a c h in g o f O r ig e n a n d E vagrius
th a t th e m in d is t h e so le c o n d u it o r v e h ic le o f k n o w le d g e . T h e L ogos is
a p e rs o n , w h o loves a n d is lo v ed , a n d th r o u g h th is lo v in g re la tio n sh ip ,
h e re c o g n is e s a n d re la te s d ire c tly to th e p e r s o n w h o is his o th e r. T h e r e
is e te r n a l k n o w le d g e o f G o d b e c a u s e G o d is e te rn a lly re c o g n is e d a n d
k n o w n b y th e S o n . It is n o t th e c re a tio n o f th e wro rld th a t m ak e s G od
k n o w n . H e is k n o w n in h is S o n in th e love th a t exists b e tw e e n th e S o n
a n d th e F a th e r.
L e t u s g o b a c k to th e th e o lo g ic a l im p lic a tio n s of th is ep iste m o lo g ic a l
re v o lu tio n . T h is to p ic w as d isc u sse d a g a in in th e f o u r te e n th c e n tu r y byS a in t G re g o ry P a la m a s (1 2 9 6 -1 3 5 9 ), th o u g h w ith a n e p iste m o lo g y q u ite
d iff e r e n t fro m O r ig e n s. S in c e O rig e n is m h a d lo n g r e c e d e d , th e F a th e rs
w e re f r e e to in v o lv e th e m in d in e p is te m o lo g y a g a in . T h e m in d c a n n o t
a c q u ire k n o w le d g e o n its o w n , w ith o u t th e w h o le p e rs o n , s o th e h e a r t
a n d m in d w e re u n d e r s to o d as a unity. T h e h e a r t know s, a n d th e m in d
loves, a n d b e c a u s e it loves it is also a b le to know . T h is m e e tin g o f h e a r t
a n d m in d w as r e f e r r e d to as th e d e s c e n t o f th e m in d in to th e h e a r t.
H a v in g e s ta b lis h e d th a t th e L o g o s by wrh ic h G o d is e te rn a lly
re c o g n is e d , is th e S o n , M ax im u s to o k a n o t h e r ste p . We to o m ay gain
k n o w le d g e o f G o d th r o u g h t h e S o n , a n d o n ly th r o u g h h im . M axim us
a g r e e d w ith M ak ariu s th a t th e h e a r t w as th e s o u rc e o f h u m a n
k n o w le d g e . N o tru e k n o w le d g e o f G o d c o m e s th r o u g h th e m in d o r th e
h e a r t, b y e i t h e r in te lle c tu a l o r s p iritu a l e x e rc ise s. T h e S o n , w h o is his
tru e o th e r, a n d w h o is lo v ed by th e F a th e r, knowrs a n d loves th e F a th e r
a n d a c c e p ts h is id e n tity a n d h is b e in g fro m h im . T h e o n ly tr u e revela
tio n a n d k n o w le d g e o f G o d is lo c a te d in th e loving re la tio n s h ip o f th e
F a th e r a n d t h e S o n , a n d G o d rev eals h im se lf th r o u g h th is re la tio n s h ip
o f love. W e m a y c o m e to k n o w G o d in C h rist.

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

25

S o h o w d o e s love re la te to k n o w led g e? W e have lo o k e d at th e way in


w hich w e k n o w o b je c ts a n d w e h a v e said th a t n o n e o f th o se a p p ro a c h e s
c o u ld b e a p p lie d to k n o w led g e o f G o d b e c a u s e all th e c o n d itio n s by w hich
G o d c o u ld b e k n o w n as a n o b je c t w o u ld d ire c tly a b ro g a te th e m e a n in g o f
G o d . W e f o u n d th a t th e r e is a n o th e r way th a t is lin k e d d ire c tly to o u r
e x p e rie n c e , a n d o f c o u rs e it h a s to b e lin k e d to o u r e x p e rie n c e if it is to
b e c o m e k n o w le d g e f o r us. T h is way re la te s to th e c o m m u n io n o f th e Son
w ho, lo v ed a n d k n o w n by th e F ath er, know s a n d loves G o d .
W e h a v e s a id th a t w e c a n n o t sim p ly r e p e a t th e th e o lo g y o f th e F a th e rs
w o rd f o r w o rd . W e m ay u s e th e ir term in o lo g y , b u t w e m u s t a lso d o the
c o n c e p tu a l w o rk th a t is r e q u ir e d in o r d e r to in te r p r e t th e m a n d be
fa ith fu l to t h e i r m e a n in g . I f w e a r c to le a r n fro m th e m , so th a t th e ir
th e o lo g y is allo w e d to c h a lle n g e th e way w e u n d e r s ta n d ou rselv es, w e
h a v e to ta k e t h e v o c a b u la ry a n d c o n c e p tu a lity o f o u r o w n a g e a n d use
th e m to i n t e r p r e t th e F a th e rs ' th e o lo g y faithfully. T h e n th e th e o lo g y o f
th e F a th e rs w ill c h a n g e o u r c o n c e p tu a lity a n d in flu e n c e th e way w e
th in k a b o u t o u rse lv e s. T h is r e q u ir e s th a t w e re la te o u r ow n e x p e rie n c e
to P a tristic th e o lo g y , b r in g in g o n e in to th e lig h t o f th e o th e r. All know l
e d g e th a t is tru ly o u r s m u s t re la te in s o m e w ay to o u r e x p e rie n c e . W h a t
e x p e r ie n c e c a n w e a p p ly to G o d w ith o u t e n c o u n te r in g all th e p ro b le m s
th a t w e o b s e r v e d w ith k n o w le d g e o f o b jects? I t is th e e x p e rie n c e w e
k n o w as personal relationship.
3. Knowledge T hrough Personhood
In o r d e r to m a k e c le a r th e c o n n e c tio n b e tw e e n k n o w le d g e a n d r e la tio n
s h ip w e h av e t o e x a m in e th e F a th e rs ' d isco v ery o f th e c o n c e p t o f person.
A p e rs o n is id e n tifia b le o n ly w ith in a re la tio n s h ip w ith a n o t h e r p e rso n .
T h e r e is n o p e r s o n o u ts id e re la tio n s h ip w ith o th e r p e rs o n s , so o n e
p e r s o n is n o p e r s o n a t a ll. N o p e r s o n c a n b e s u b s titu te d by a n o t h e r o r
b e a b s o r b e d in to a n o th e r . W e m a y k n o w th in g s th r o u g h th e ir a ttrib u te s ,
b u t th is is n o t h o w w e k n o w p e rs o n s . W e c a n n o t s u b m e rg e p e rs o n s in to
a ttrib u te s a n d classes.
W e c o u ld e v e n say th a t w e k n o w p e rs o n s in sp ite o f th e ir a ttrib u te s.
T h e p e r s o n y o u k n o w m ay b e in all s o rts o f m o ra l tr o u b le , b u t b e c a u se
you lo v e h im a n d r e g a r d h im as u n iq u e y o u d o n o t allow h is d e fic ie n c ie s
to d e f in e y o u r r e la tio n s h ip . I f it is o n ly b e c a u se o f th e ir g o o d n e ss
th a t y o u re la te to a p e rs o n , y o u a r e n o t r e la tin g to th e m as a person. If w e
likew ise id e n tify G o d b y h is g o o d n e ss , w e a r e id e n tify in g h im n o t as a
p e r s o n b u t as t h e s o rt o f o b jc c t w h ic h , w h e n it p ro v es to b e n o t q u ite as
w e e x p e c te d , w e lo se fa ith in , w ith th e re s u lt th a t th e re la tio n s h ip c o m e s
to an en d .

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Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

E a c h p e r s o n affe c ts o u r o w n life a n d v ery e x is te n c e irre p lac eab ly .


We e x ist in r e la tio n s h ip to h im a n d th is re la tio n s h ip affec ts o u r very
e x is te n c e . I f th is p e r s o n w e re to d is a p p e a r, in so m e m e a s u re w e c c asc to
b e o u rse lv e s. S in c e o n e p e r s o n a c q u ire s h is id e n tity th r o u g h his o r h e r
re la tio n s h ip w ith a n o t h e r p e r s o n , th e d is a p p e a ra n c e o r d e a th o f th a t
p e rs o n affects h im o r h e r o n to lo g ically .
In te rm s o f th eo lo g y , th is m e a n s th a t if th e S on c e a se d to ex ist, th e
F a th e r w o u ld n o t exist e ith e r. I f t h e F a th e r d id n o t ex ist, n e ith e r w o u ld
th e S o n . T h e i r re la tio n s h ip is m u tu a lly c o n stitu tiv e , e a c h o f th e p a rtie s
in th is r e la tio n s h ip d e p e n d in g o n th e o th e r. N ow w e m u s t lo o k a t th e
p a r tic u la r s ig n ific a n c e th is h a s f o r th e o lo g ic a l k n o w le d g e . T h is p e rs o n a l
re la tio n s h ip o f C h ris t a n d th e F a th e r is g iv e n in C h ris t to u s, so w c a re
e n a b le d to re c o g n is e G o d b e c a u s e w e a r e m a d e so n s, w ho c a n a d d re ss
G o d as Fat/in'. In te a c h in g th e m to p ra y O u r F a th e r C h rist gave this
p riv ile g e to h is d iscip les, a n d w e a r c b r o u g h t w ith in th is re la tio n s h ip
so w e c a n a lso a d d re s s G o d as F a th e r. T h e r e is n o o n e b u t th e S o n w ho
c a n e te rn a lly a d d r e s s G o d as F a th e r, th e r e f o r e o n ly th e S o n c a n b rin g us
in to re la tio n s h ip w ith h im se lf, so wrc b e c o m e so n s o f th e F a th e r a n d
th e re b y a b le t o k n o w G o d as h e is, as G o d th e F a th e r. T h e C h ristia n
a p p r o a c h to G o d as F a th e r o rig in a te s exclusively fro m th is re la tio n s h ip
o f th e S o n to th e F a th e r, a n d th e r ig h t th a t th e S o n bestow s o n u s to
a d d re s s G o d a s F a th e r w ith h im .
T h e c o n c e p t o f th e p a te r n ity o f G o d w as c o m m o n in th e a n c ie n t
w o rld . T o th e G re e k s, Z e u s was th e f a th e r o f g o d s a n d m e n . B u t in th e
b ib le o n ly th e S o n h a s th e r ig h t to a d d re s s G o d as F ath er. C h rist a lo n e
is a b le to re v e a l th a t th e F a th e r is th e id e n tity o f G o d . K n o w led g e o f G o d
m e a n s th e a c k n o w le d g e m e n t th a t G o d is th e F a th e r. T h is re la tio n s h ip
th a t G o d h a s e te r n a lly w ith h is S o n is th e re la tio n s h ip th a t is p a sse d on
to us. W e d o n o t th e r e f o r e c o m e to k n o w G o d by c o m p ilin g a d o s s ie r o f
his c h a ra c te ris tic s , in th e way th a t s o m e d o g m a tic s system s d o . T h a t G o d
is F a th e r is th e w h o le t r u t h o f G o d , s o a tr u e u n d e r s ta n d in g o f G o d is
o n ly p o ssib le w ith in th e id e n tity o f th e S o n o f G o d . I f w e a r e fa m ilia r
w ith C h ris tia n d o c tr in e , w c m a y e v e n give th is o u r in te lle c tu a l assent.
B ut re a lly to k n o w th is is to re c o g n is e a n d a c k n o w le d g e G o d as F ath er,
w h ic h is th e p re ro g a tiv e o f th e S o n . A s o n k n ow s his ow n f a th e r in q u ite
a d if f e r e n t w ay th a n h e k n o w s a n y o n e c ls c s fa th e r. P e rso n a l k n o w led g e
exists o n ly w ith in r e la tio n s h ip s th a t a r e u n iq u e a n d irre p la c e a b le .
W h a t is it th a t d is tin g u is h e s k n o w le d g e o f a p e r s o n fro m k n o w le d g e
o f a th in g ? F r e e d o m is o n e o f th e b asic e le m e n ts th a t d istin g u ish e s
p e rs o n s fro m th in g s. A th in g c a n n o t b e k n o w n freely. W h e n a th in g is
k n o w n to m e it h a s n o f r e e d o m ; in d e e d , n e ith e r th e o b je c t n o r th e

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

27

su b je c t w h o k n o w s it c a n b e fre e . W e a r e n o t fre e to ig n o r e w h a t is
d ire c tly in f r o n t o f u s, b e c a u se th e o b je c t im p o se s itse lf o n us, m a k in g
o u r k n o w le d g e th e f u n c tio n o f necessity. C h ris tia n a p o lo g e tic s a tte m p ts
to p ro v e th e e x is te n c e o f G o d , so w e h av e n o c h o ic e b u t to a c c e p t it.
If w e in te n d t o c o n v in c e s o m e o n e th a t G o d exists by a logic th a t th e y
c a n n o t e v a d e , th e y c a n o n ly b e c o m p e lle d to c o n c e d e th e ir acknow ie d g e m e n t, a n d th is kno w 'led g e w o u ld e ra d ic a te th e ir fre e d o m .
O n th is b asis, G o d w o u ld b e c o m e a n in v o lu n ta ry o b je c t, to h im se lf
a n d to us. W h e n G o d is r e g a r d e d as s u p r e m e b e in g o r h ig h e r p o w e r,
this is th e a c k n o w le d g e m e n t th a t a n im a ls, d e m o n s o r id o la te rs a re
a b le to m a k e o f h im . T h e y u n d e r s ta n d h im in this way b e c a u se th e y a re
o b lig e d to d o s o b y c o n sc io u sn e ss o f th e ir ow n w eak n ess b e fo r e th e
all-p o w erfu l b e in g th a t th e y c a n n o t c o n tr o l. B ut w h a t d o e s it m e a n to
kno w s o m e th in g , o r r a t h e r som eone, freely?
S a in t M a x im u s (A m biguum 9 ) a s k e d in w h a t w ay d o c s G o d k n o w
thin g s? W h a t f o r m o f a c k n o w le d g e m e n t d o e s h e give th e w'orld? D oes
h e k n o w it as a sc ie n tist know s th e laws o f n a tu re ? M ax im u s re p lie s that
G o d d o c s n o t know ' th e w o rld a c c o r d in g to its n a tu r e , f o r th is w o u ld
m e a n th a t w h a t h e k n o w s h e has to know , a n d c a n n o t avoid k n o w in g it.
S u c h a c o n c e p tio n o f k n o w le d g e d o e s n o t fit G o d , f o r it is n o t by n a tu r e
th a t G o d k n o w s th in g s. H e k n o w s th in g s b e c a u se th e y a r c th e c re a tu re s
o f h is envn w ill. By w illin g th e m , h e c r e a te d th e m . T h e n a tu r e o f th in g s
is n o t th e c o n d itio n o f G o d s k n o w le d g e o f th e m , f o r e v e ry th in g th a t is,
is th e p r o d u c t o f h is will. As a re s u lt, wrc m ay also k n o w a p e rs o n n o t
b e c a u s e wre h a v e to a c k n o w le d g e h is p re s e n c e a n d e x is te n c e b u t b e c a u se
w e fre e ly id e n tify h im as th e o n e w e fre e ly love. T h e o b je c t o f love can
o n ly b e a p e r s o n . I t is n o t clue to th e ir n a tu r e th a t y o u k n o w th is p e rso n ,
a n d p e r h a p s n o t d u e e v e n to th e ir p re s e n c e w ith y o u , b u t b e c a u se , like
y o u , th e y a r e fre e e ith e r to re fu s e y o u a n d w ith h o ld th e m se lv e s from
y o u , o r to r e t u r n y o u r love a n d e n t e r re la tio n s h ip w ith you.
H e re w e h a v e to m a k e a n e ffo rt o f th e im a g in a tio n to se e how d iffer
e n t a p e r s o n is fro m a th in g . Im a g in e y o u a r e in love w ith s o m e o n e , a n d
y o u h a v e n o t s e e n th e m fo r w h a t s e e m s lik e a v e ry lo n g tim e . Say y o u
h a v e a r r a n g e d to m e e t th e m a t a c af, b u t w h e n you arriv e a t th e caf
c a n c a n n o t s e e th e m . You sc a n th e c ro w d a n d it is full o f frie n d s, b u t th e
o n e p e r s o n y o u w a n t to s e c is n o t th e r e . You a r c o b liv io u s o f all th e
o th e r s w h o c a ll y o u to j o i n th e m b e c a u s e a t th a t m o m e n t th e a b se n c e o f
th e p e rs o n y o u love fills th e e n tir e caf. By th e ir physical absence, they
d e te r m in e t h e w ay y o u e x p e r ie n c e all th e o th e r s w h o a r c p r e s e n t in th e
caf. S tra n g e ly e n o u g h , th e a b s e n t p e r s o n y o u love fills th e caf w ith his
o r h e r p r e s e n c e , w h ile th o s e p r e s e n t b e c o m e a b s e n t f o r y o u . O n e s

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p e r s o n is n o t d e p e n d e n t o n o n e s p h y sical p re s e n c e . Y ou c a n b e p re s e n t
w ith in a p e r s o n a l re la tio n s h ip w ith o u t b e in g s o physically. A b se n c e can
h e lp u s to c o m e to know ' o n e a n o t h e r b e c a u s e th is m e a n s th a t o u r
k n o w le d g e o f o n e a n o th e r is n o t o v e rp o w e re d by o u r physical p re se n c e .
T h e r e is a n e le m e n t o f in v o lu n ta rin e s s a b o u t physical proxim ity.
P hysical p re s e n c e d o c s n o t e n tire ly d e te r m in e o u r k n o w le d g e o f p e r
so n s. W e h av e to g ra s p th is in o r d e r t o re a lise th a t k n o w le d g e o f G o d
d o e s n o t rely o n p h y sic a l p re s e n c e .
W e c a n re c o g n is e a p e rs o n as a person o n ly in fre e d o m , s o all th e
know le d g e w e h a v e o f p e rs o n s d e p e n d s o n w h e th e r a n d h o w th e y reveal
th em selv es. W e c a n n o t k n o w a n y o n e as a person by fo rc e , s o if so m e o n e
d o c s n o t w ish t o d iv u lg e th e ir id e n tity , w e c a n n o t k n o w th e m as p e rso n s.
W e m a y r e g a r d o n e a n o t h e r as o b je c ts o f k n o w le d g e , w ith all th e p ro p e r
ties th a t wfe o b s e rv e f r o m o n e a n o t h e r s p h y sical p re s e n c e , b u t n o o n e
c a n fin ally a n d d efin itiv ely k n o w s o m e o n e u n til th a t p e rs o n is w illin g to
m a k e th e m se lv e s k n o w n . G o d in te n d s to give h im se lf, so w e m a y acknow l
e d g e h im a n d g a in k n o w le d g e o f h im w ith o u t th r e a te n in g his fre e d o m .
P e rso n a l k n o w le d g e is th e r e f o r e always free, w h ic h m e a n s th a t it co m e s
to u s as a g ift o r a re v e la tio n . B e c a u se h e d e sire s to , G o d id e n tifie s h im
se lf to us th r o u g h o u r k n o w le d g e a n d so rev eals h im s e lf freely.
W e c a n g o a s te p f u r th e r a n d say th a t G o d d o c s n o t w a n t to b e know n
o r b e a c k n o w le d g e d b y us, u n le s s th is ta k e s p la c e in f re e d o m f o r us too.
K n o w led g e t h a t is im p o s e d o n us, in d e fia n c e o f o u r liberty, is n o t
p e rs o n -to -p e rs o n k n o w le d g e , a n d s o is n o t th e k n o w le d g e th a t G o d
w ish es f o r us. I f G o d s e x is te n c e w e re to b e p ro v e d so th a t w e b e c a m e
c o m p e lle d b y lo g ic to b e lie v e in h im , it w o u ld n o t b e G o d w h o w as th u s
b e lie v e d in a n d k n o w n . G o d d o c s n o t in te n d to b e k n o w n , a n d th e r e
fo re c a n n o t b e k n o w n , b y c o m p u lsio n . M an h a s th e c h o ic e n o t to k n o w
G o d . W e c a n tell h im th a t w e d o n o t w ish to know h im . We a r e fre e
to say th a t G o d m ay ex ist, b u t as fa r as w e a r c c o n c e r n e d , h e d o c s n o t.
W e re je c t th is p o ssib ility f o r o u rselv es. G o d w an ts us to know' th a t h e
exists fo r us, f o r me.: h e lo o k s o n ly f o r th a t a c k n o w le d g m e n t th a t c a n take
p la c e p e r s o n t o p e rs o n .
W h e n G o d rev eals h im se lf, h e d o e s so as our F a th e r. S u c h k n o w led g e
e n c o u n te r e d i n f re e d o m gives u s th e p o ssib ility o f say in g freely, Yes, you
a r e t h e r e , o r N o , I d o n t w a n t to know ' y o u . F re e d o m b o th fo r G o d
a n d f o r m a n is th e r e f o r e in trin s ic t o k n o w le d g e o f G o d . A re la tio n s h ip
b e tw e e n p e r s o n s is n o t d e te r m in e d b y n a tu r e . G o d is k n o w n to n a tu r e
o n ly in th e fo rm o f necessity: a n im a ls know ' o f G o d , as d o th e p rin c ip a li
ties a n d p o w e rs , d e m o n s b eliev e a n d a re te rr ifie d ( Ja m e s 2 .1 9 ), b u t
w h o w an ts t h a t s o rt o f k n o w led g e?

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

29

By say in g n o to G o d , a n d w ith h o ld in g a c k n o w le d g e m e n t o f h im ,
m a n d e m o n s tr a te s h is fre e d o m . I f y o u tell m e th a t you have n o tim e to
m e e t m e , e i t h e r n o w o r a t a n y tim e in th e f u tu re , y o u a r e w ith h o ld in g
re la tio n s h ip f r o m m e . I d o n o t k n o w y o u ' (M a tth e w 2 5 .1 2 ) is w hat
C h ris t w a rn e d h e will say to th o s e w h o fin ally w ith h o ld th em selv es from
h im . I f C h ris t says, I d o n t k n o w w h o y o u a r e , th e p o ssib ility o f a n y p e r
so n a l re la tio n s h ip is g o n e . S o in th e o lo g y w e a r e n o t d e a lin g sim ply w ith
k n o w le d g e , b u t w ith th e k n o w le d g e th a t o rig in a te s in th e fre e d o m o f
p e rs o n s , a n d w h ic h is th e r e f o r e p e rs o n a l k n o w le d g e , fo r o n ly th is know l
e d g e ex ists in fre e d o m .
A n o th e r f u n d a m e n ta l c o n stitu tiv e e le m e n t o f k n o w le d g e is love.
By love w c d o n o t m e a n a n e m o tio n o r a re la tio n s h ip g iv en by n a tu r e ,
f o r th e r e is a n e le m e n t o f c o m p u ls io n to all su c h re la tio n s h ip s . F o r the
a n c ie n t G re e k s fo r w h o m eros w as a fu n d a m e n ta l reality , love h e ld all
th in g s in a h a r m o n y w h ic h m a d e t h e co sm o s as a w h o le b e a u tifu l. In th e
Sym posium P la to sp e a k s o f love: in h is view e a c h g o o d th in g h a s a p o w e r
o f a ttr a c tio n , s o lo v e n e c e ssa rily d raw s u s to w ard s it. G o o d n e s s a n d
b e a u ty a r e fo rm s o f n ecessity. T h is w as so in t h e m o ra l re a lm to o , b e c a u se
th e G re e k s b e lie v e d th a t w e h a v e to lo v e s o m e o n e w h o is g o o d .
W h e re v e r th e r e is n a t u r e a n d biology, th e p o w e r o f a ttr a c tio n - w h ic h is
w h a t love is - is a t w o rk . H o w c a n w e d e m o n s tr a te th a t w e a r c fre e , a n d
n o t u tte r ly d e te r m in e d b y th e fo r c e o f n e c e ssity th a t n a tu r e re p re se n ts?
We c a n sh o w th is o n ly by b re a k in g a n d re v e rsin g th e fo r c e o f necessity.
T h is is th e g r e a t re v o lu tio n in tr o d u c e d b y th e go sp el.
In h is d isc u ssio n o f th e Symposium, Io a n n is S vkoutris, a m o d e rn
G re e k a u th o r ity o n P la to , says th a t if S a ta n a sk e d G o d w hy h e loves his
h u m a n c r e a tu r e s in s p ite o f th e ir sin fu ln e ss, G o d w o u ld b e h a r d p u t to
c o m e u p w ith a n answ er. W:h a t s o rt o f re a s o n c o u ld th e r e b e f o r su c h a
love? W h e re w o u ld y o u fin d a re a s o n to ju s tify G o d s love to w a rd s th e
m a n w h o will n o t give u p h is sin , a n d w h e re e v e ry th in g in d ic a te s th a t h e
sh o u ld b e g iv e n u p r a th e r th a n lo v ed ? It is e x a ctly this th a t d e m o n s tra te s
th a t w e love o f o u r o w n f r e e will. W e d o n o t love b e c a u se w e have to; we
love b c c a u s c w e will to d o so a n d so w e love freely. K n o w led g e th a t is
d e te r m in e d b y love is n o t c o m p e lle d b u t m o tiv a te d by fre e d o m .
W e h av e t o c o n s id e r th e love th a t is n o t d riv e n by any necessity
w h a tso e v e r, n o t e v e n th e m o st m o ra l o r s p iritu a l. G o d loves in p e rfe c t
fre e d o m , s o C h ris t re v e a ls to u s a love th a t, b e c a u se it is fre e , is q u ite
u n c o n s tr a in e d by m a n s love o f sin . I f y o u re m o v e th e love tow ards
a s in n e r fro m th e g o sp e l, th e e n tir e f re e d o m in w h ic h G o d loves d isa p
p e a rs. It is n o t d iffic u lt to love s o m e o n e w h o is g o o d o r attra c tiv e ; in
fac t, it is n a tu r a l to d o so. B u t to lo v e a s in n e r e v e n to t h e p o in t o f dying

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as a re s u lt o f lo v e f o r th a t s in n e r as C h ris t d id , m ay b e u tte rly o p p o s e d


to n a tu r e o r s e n s e , b u t it is s u re ly a n e x p re s s io n o f fre e d o m .
I h av e said t h a t p e r s o n a l k n o w le d g e is t h e fo rm th a t c o m p le te know l
e d g e tak es, a n d th a t p e rs o n a l k n o w le d g e is a fu n c tio n o f love. T h e th ird
e le m e n t th a t is c o n ta in e d in th is love is th a t th a t w e c o m e to k n o w G o d
th r o u g h a p a r tic u la r re la tio n s h ip . I f th e r e is n o love, a n d n o re la tio n
sh ip s o f love, th e r e w o u ld b e n o k n o w le d g e o f G o d to b e h a d at all.
S ev eral New T e s ta m e n t v erses m a k e th e fu n d a m e n ta l p o in t th a t, we
c a n n o t knowr u n le s s wrc love. In th e F irst L e tte r to th e C o rin th ia n s , w h e re
h e d e a ls w ith t h e issu e o f k n o w le d g e , P au l p o in ts o u t th a t m a n y p e o p le
b o a s t h o w m u c h th e y know , b u t h e says, k n o w led g e p u ffs u p , w hile love
b u ild s u p '. H e c o n tin u e s , if o n e b eliev es h e know s s o m e th in g , h e has
n e v e r k n o w n a n y th in g w h atso ev er, in th e way th a t it s h o u ld b e k n o w n ; if
o n e loves G o d , h e sh all b e k n o w n by h im (1 C o rin th ia n s 8.1-3).
H e r e th e a p o s tle lays o u t a n e n tir e e p is te m o lo g y in w h ic h love is th e
p r e s u p p o s itio n o f k n o w le d g e : T h o u g h h e b e lie v es h e know s so m e th in g ,
h e d o e s n o t k n o w a n y th in g w h a tso e v e r. O n e tru ly know s o n ly w ith in a
re la tio n s h ip o f love. In th e case o f th e k n o w le d g e o f G o d , it is G o d s love
th a t p re c e d e s o u r k n o w le d g e o f h im . H e w h o loves G o d sh a ll b e know n
by H im , o r e v e n sim ply, h e w h o loves sh a ll b e k n o w n by G o d . T h is is
r e p e a te d m o r e c le a rly in th e L e tte r to th e G a latian s, w h e re P aul says,
h av in g k n o w n G o d a n d th e n c o rre c ts th is to o r ra th e r, b e in g know n
by G o d (G a la tia n s 4 .9 ). You c a n n o t e n c o u n te r G o d u n less G o d has
a c k n o w le d g e d y o u , b e c a u s e w e c a n n o t lo v e h im u n le ss h e first loves us,
as th e F irst L e tte r o f S t J o h n (4.10) states.
G o d first k n o w s us, a n d reveals h im s e lf to us. B ut this o c c u rs only
w ith in a re la tio n s h ip o f love. I f m a n c a n n o t love, h e c a n n o t c o m e to know
G o d , f o r as J o h n a g a in tells u s, H e th a t d o e s n o t love, d o e s n o t know
G o d , f o r G o d is love (1 J o h n 4 .8 ). In J o h n th e w o rd s h e d o e s n o t love
re fe r to th e lo v e th a t is g iv en in th e sp ecific c o m m u n io n o f th e C h u rc h .
L ove fo r u s m e a n s in h a b itin g th is sp ecific set o f re la tio n sh ip s w h ich we
call th e C h u r c h . As w e sh all see, ecclesio lo g y is essential to epistem ology.
J o h n g o e s o n to e x p la in w h a t h e m e a n s b y G o d is love. G o d s love
w as m a d e a p p a re n t* b e c a u s e h e s e n t h is o n ly -b e g o tte n S o n . G o d s love
is n o t a n e m o tio n , a n d it d o e s n o t flo w fro m G o d , as th o u g h it w e re w ine
p o u r e d fro m a ju g . T h e F a th e rs w e re v e ry c a re fu l to av o id all th o se
e x p re s s io n s o f th is s o rt th a t w e re c o m m o n p la c e in th e a n c ie n t w orld.
G o d s love c o n sists o f h is b e in g th e F a th e r o f th e S o n . T h e F a th e r s love
is h is S o n , th is p e r s o n a n d th is re la tio n s h ip , w h o m th e F a th e r gave to its
so w e c a n k n o w h im . O u r k n o w le d g e is e n tire ly a f u n c tio n o f this re la
tio n s h ip , w h ic h G o d is in h im self, a n d in to w h ic h h e has b r o u g h t us.

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31

T h is r e la tio n s h ip ex ists b e fo re w e d o , so w e a re n o t c o m p e lle d to in itia te


it f o r o u rselv es.
K n o w led g e o f G o d involves o u r a d m issio n in to th e re la tio n s h ip o f
love o f th e F a th e r a n d th e S o n , a re la tio n s h ip th a t w e d e s ire in fre e d o m
f o r o u rse lv e s. T h is re la tio n s h ip is fre e b e c a u s e G o d is n o t o b lig e d to love
us, b u t d o c s s o o f h is ow n v o litio n . E q u a lly w e a r c n o t o b lig e d to love
h im , b u t w e m a y e ith e r e n t e r th is re la tio n s h ip w illingly, o r w e m ay
d e c lin e it. E n try to th is re la tio n s h ip m e a n s id e n tify in g G o d in th e p e r
so n o f J e s u s C h ris t. I f w e d o n o t a c c c d c to th e re la tio n s h ip o f love th a t
exists b e tw e e n th e F a th e r a n d th e S o n , w e re m a in o u ts id e all k n o w led g e
o f G o d . T h e m a n y fo rm s o f p h ilo s o p h ic a l, m ystical a n d p a g a n know l
e d g e th a t r e m a in o p e n to u s a r c u n a b le to id e n tify G o d as h e is, w hich
is th e F a th e r o f th e S on.
N ow w e c a n say th a t lo v e is th a t p a rtic u la r re la tio n s h ip th a t w e m ay
r e f e r to as b e in g in C h ris t, w ith in w h ic h w e m a y a c k n o w le d g e G o d as
F ath er. W e b e lo n g to th e c o m m u n ity a n d th e b o d y c o n s titu te d by this
re la tio n sh ip . T h e r e is n o a p p ro a c h to G o d o u ts id e th e b o d y b r o u g h t in to
b e in g by th e S o n s a c k n o w le d g e m e n t o f G o d a n d c o n s e q u e n t k n o w led g e
o f h im . G o d is k n o w n as w h o h e is w ith in th e C h u rc h a n d th e re only.
A n y w h ere e ls e h e c o u ld n o t b e a c k n o w le d g e d as F ath er, b u t o n ly as
s o m e th in g e lse. T h e F a th e r is w h o G o d is, a n d how G o d in te n d s to receive
us a n d d o e s i n fa c t re c e iv e u s. G o d m ay b e m an y o th e r th in g s, b u t we
c a n n o t k n o w w h a t th e y a r e b e c a u s e w e c a n o n ly k n o w h im as, in his fre e
d o m , h e re c e iv e s u s a n d reveals h im self, as th e F a th e r o f J e su s C hrist.
T h e k n o w le d g e o f G o d as F a th e r involves th e re -c o n s titu tio n o f every
re la tio n s h ip b y w h ic h w e a r e c o n s titu te d . W e e x ist th ro u g h all th e re la
tio n s h ip s w e know , a n d th e m a n y m o r e w e a r c u n a w a re of. M y id e n tity
is lin k e d to all th e r e la tio n s h ip s th a t I h a v e w ith p e r s o n s a n d th in g s. All
th e s e r e la tio n s h ip s a n d o u r d ir e c tio n a n d d e s ire s u n d e r g o a re -o rd e rin g
a n d p u rific a tio n as th e y a r e b r o u g h t in to th is re la tio n s h ip w ith G od.
T h is r e p r e s e n ts a ra d ic a l p u rific a tio n , w h ic h is w h a t th e life o f th e
C h ris tia n is. T h e r e -o rd e rin g o f o u r r e la tio n s h ip s b rin g s us finally in to
b e in g , s e ttin g u s d e fin itiv e ly w ith th e re la tio n s h ip to th e p e rs o n s o f G o d
th a t will s e c u r e o u r life w ith o u t lim it.
W e h e a r d S a in t G re g o ry N a zian zu s say th a t talk a b o u t G o d is n o t
a g e n e r a l possibility, b u t o n ly fo r th o s e w h o h a v e u n d e r g o n e te stin g ,
lived in c o n te m p la tio n , a n d h a v e c le a n s e d b o d y a n d s o u l. In a n o th e r
o r a tio n S a in t G re g o ry tell u s th a t s u c h p u rific a tio n is e ssen tially a m a tte r
o f love. G o d is th e u ltim a te lig h t . . . w h ic h is c o n te m p la te d as w e
p u rity o u rse lv e s, is lo v ed as w e c o n te m p la te it, a n d w h ic h is k n o w n as w e
love it' ( O ration 4 0 .5 ).

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W e m ay c o m e to k n o w G o d o n ly as w e love h im , a n d w e a r e k n o w n by
h im o n ly as w e a r e lo v e d by h im . A scetic p u rific a tio n will n o t reveal G o d
to us, a u to m a tic a lly as it w e re , sim p ly b y r e -o rd e rin g o u r d e sire s. I t is
th ro u g h love re a lis e d in c o m m u n io n w ith in th e b o d y o f C h rist, as we
c o m e to p a r tic ip a te in th e r e la tio n s h ip s th a t m a k e u p th is body, th a t
G o d b e c o m c s k n o w n to us.
W h a t d if f e r e n c e is th e r e b e tw e e n C h ris tia n sp iritu a lity a n d o th e r
fo rm s o f sp iritu a lity ? Is th e d iffe re n c e m e re ly o n e o f fo rm , s o th a t, a p a rt
fro m t h e fact th a t w e u s e t h e n a m e o f C h rist, C h ris tia n sp iritu a lity is
o th e rw is e n o t v ery d if f e r e n t fro m th a t o f o t h e r relig io n s? If w e d o n o t
r e f e r to th e c o m m u n ity o f C h ris ts body, th e s e sp e cific re la tio n sh ip s
w ith in w h ic h w c a r e p la c e d , w e will b e q u ite u n a b le to say how C h ristia n
sp iritu a lity d iffe rs fro m ev ery o t h e r sp iritu ality . A B u d d h ist a lso cla im s to
kno w G o d b y c le a n s in g h im s e lf o f h is p assio n s. B ut f o r a C h ristia n ,
k n o w le d g e o f G o d d o c s n o t c o m e u n til w c e n te r th is sp ec ific c o m m u
n ity o f p e rs o n s w h o , b o u n d to g e th e r b y love, m a k e u p th e b o d y o f
C h ris t a n d in C h r is t k n o w G o d .
W c h a v e s a id th a t C h ris tia n te a c h in g is g iv en a n d in te rp re te d
w ith in th e C h u r c h , a n d it is m o st p a rtic u la rly given in th e e v e n t o f th e
E u c h a ris t, w h ic h is th e fu lle s t p o ssib le a c k n o w le d g e m e n t o f G o d on
e a r th . All o t h e r fo rm s o f d is c ip lc s h ip o r te a c h in g a r c p ro v isio n a l, a n d
a lth o u g h w e s h o u ld n o t m in im is e th e m , th e y all d ir e c t us to th e re la
tio n s h ip s o f lo v e in to w h ic h G o d fre e ly b rin g s u s in C h rist. I m u s t have
th e love t h a t G o d h a s fo r m y b ro th e r, o r I d o n o t k n o w G o d . I f a n y o n e
says I love G o d y et h a te s h is b ro th e r , h e is a lia r; f o r if h e d o e s n o t love
his b ro th e r , w h o m h e h a s s e e n , c a n n o t lo v e G o d w h o m h e h a s n o t s e e n
(1 J o h n 4 .2 0 ). K n o w led g e o f G o d is n o t sim ply a v e rtic a l lin e b etw ee n
m e a n d G o d , b u t it c o n n e c ts m e to all o t h e r p e rs o n s , a n d th r o u g h th e se
p e rs o n s it c o n n e c ts a n d b in d s to g e th e r th e w h o le w o rld . T h is is why h e
w h o loves n o t, d o e s n o t k n o w G o d , f o r G o d is lo v e' ( 1 J o h n 4 .8 ).
S o w e h av e said th a t k n o w le d g e is id e n tific a tio n . T h e n w e have said
th a t th e r e a r e tw o k in d s o f k n o w le d g e , o f things a n d o f persons. Things
a p p e a r b e fo re u s as g ivens, w h ic h w e id e n tify b e c a u s e th e ir n a tu r e a n d
o u r s c o m p e ls u s to. W e d istin g u ish th e m f r o m o th e r o b je c ts, a n d o n th e
basis o u r e x p e r ie n c e gives us, w e d e s c rib e th e m by th o s e c h a ra c te ristic s
th a t th e y h a v e in c o m m o n w ith o th e r o b jects. W e id e n tify th e m by th e ir
lo c a tio n w ith in n etw o rk s so th a t th e y h a v e v alu e, fu n c tio n a n d re p re s e n t
o p p o r tu n itie s th a t a r e th e r e f o r u s to take.
T h e n t h e r e is k n o w le d g e o f persons, w h ic h involves id e n tify in g
a n o t h e r b e in g in a re la tio n s h ip o f f r e e d o m a n d love. F re e d o m m e a n s
th a t w e a r e n o t c o m p e lle d to a c k n o w le d g e th e id e n tity o f th is b e in g .

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

33

W e will re c o g n is e p a r tic u la r c h a ra c te ris tic s a n d a ttr ib u te s o f c o u rs e , b u t


it is th e p e r s o n h im s e lf w h o w illingly rev eals his p r e s e n c e to us a n d
allow s u s to a c k n o w le d g e h im in fre e d o m .
W e id e n tify e a c h p e rs o n w ith in a s e t o f r e la tio n s h ip s o f c o n stitu tiv e
in te r d e p e n d e n c e . W e c o m e to k n o w h im as p a r t o f a re la tio n s h ip o f love
th a t is in te g r a l a n d n e c e s s a ry to o u r o w n e x iste n c e . W e k n o w h im , n o t
as a th in g , a n d th u s n o t b e c a u s e th is s o m e o n e im p o se s th em selv es
o n u s th r o u g h th e ir a ttr ib u te s a n d p ow er, b u t b e c a u s e th e y o p e n
th e m se lv e s u p to u s a n d w e to th e m in a fre e re la tio n s h ip o f love.
W e h a v e s a id th a t k n o w le d g e o f G o d is o ffe re d to us w ith in a loving
re la tio n s h ip o f th e F a th e r a n d th e S o n in w h ich G o d is id e n tifie d a n d
kno w n e te rn a lly , q u ite a p a r t fro m us. W e id e n tify G o d in C h rist as w e
b e c o m e p a r t o f th is e x is tin g r e la tio n s h ip . T h is k n o w le d g e is th e fu n c
tio n o f th is r e la tio n s h ip o f love, s o G o d is k n o w n w ith in th e c o m m u n ity
c o n s titu te d by th e s e re la tio n s h ip s . T h e H o ly S p irit su stain s th e re la tio n
sh ip s o f lo v e t h a t m a k e u p th e c o m m u n ity o f C h rist.
4. Knowledge T hrough Faith
We m u s t n o w tu r n to th e s u b je c t o f fa ith . W e m u s t s ta r t w ith th e m a in
e le m e n ts o f d o g m a tic s as th ey a r e f o u n d in th e C re e d . W ere w e to a d o p t
so m e o t h e r a p p r o a c h w e w o u ld b e a tte m p tin g to fo rc e C h ristia n te a c h
in g in to th e c a te g o rie s g iv en by logic. T h e C re e d is b a se d o n th e living
re la tio n s h ip c r e a te d by b a p tism , a n d s u s ta in e d by th e h o ly E u c h a ris t, by
w h ic h m a n a n d c re a tio n a r c h e ld in u n io n w ith G o d .
T h e C re e d b e g in s, I b e lie v e ... T h e re la tio n s h ip o f fa ith a n d know l
e d g e r e p r e s e n ts a p r o b le m to m a n y p e o p le b e c a u se th e y r e g a r d fa ith
a n d k n o w le d g e as o p p o s ite s , so w c m a y c ith e r believe s o m e th in g o r
w e m a y k n o w it. I f wre b e lie v e , wre h av e g iv en u p o n re a l k n o w le d g e.
A n e q u a lly c o m m o n p e r c e p tio n is t h a t w e k n o w s o m e th in g a n d th e n
w c b e lie v e it, o r th e o t h e r wray a r o u n d . J u s t as w e a sk e d w h e th e r love
c o m e s b e f o r e k n o w le d g e , o r k n o w le d g e b e fo re love, s o w e m u s t ask
w h ich , o f f a ith a n d k n o w le d g e , c o m e s first.
T h e b a p tis m a l rite o f t h e a n c ie n t C h u r c h was r e c o r d e d fo r us by
J u s tin in th e s e c o n d cen tu ry ' a n d in m o r e d e ta il by Cyril o f J e ru s a le m in
th e f o u r th c e n tu ry . In th is rite , w h e n s o m e o n e is b a p tis e d , a n a c t o f
e x o rc ism fre e s th e m fro m w h a te v e r p o w e rs h a v e h a d d o m in a n c e over
th e m . T h e n th e y a r e c a lle d to tu r n to face th e east, so a t th e m o m e n t
th e y first say b e lie v e th e ir w h o le d ir e c tio n c h a n g e s. W h e n m a n is
b o r n , h e h a s a p a r tic u la r o r ie n ta tio n a n d p e rsp e c tiv e to life, to all o th e r
c re a te d b e in g s a n d to G o d , th a t is g o v e rn e d by n a tu r e a n d d e s tin e d to
d ie . B a p tism re v e rs e s th is o r ie n ta tio n a n d re -o rie n ts th a t p e rs o n tow ards

34

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

tru e life. W e c a n n o t say I b e lie v e i f o u r d ir e c tio n re m a in s as it h a s b e e n


giv en u s by b ir th .
T h e w o rd s I b e lie v e a r e a re s p o n s e to a q u e s tio n , w h ic h m e a n s th a t
th e y a re n o t t h e a c tio n o f a n in d iv id u a l o n th e ir ow n. T h e b a p tism a l
c a n d id a te r e p lie s to th e q u e s tio n p u t to th e m by th e C h u rc h . N o o n e
c a n say I b e lie v e u n le s s as a re p ly to th is c o m m u n ity , s o n o o n e can
c o m e to fa ith -whilst lo c k e d u p a lo n e in h is ro o m . F a ith is p o ssib le o n ly
w ith in th e c o m m u n ity th a t p u ts th is q u e s tio n to us.
T h e r e is a s e c o n d e le m e n t to th is t u r n to th e e ast. T h e c a st is th e
d ire c tio n f r o m w h ic h th e C h u rc h aw aits C h ris ts c o m in g , to w ard s w hich
th e p ra y e rs o f th e e a rly C h ris tia n s w e re o ffe re d , a n d to w h ic h all th e
C h u r c h s litu rg ic a l rite s a r c e ssen tially o r ie n te d . W e tu r n to th e cast
b e c a u s e th a t is th e d ir e c tio n fro m w h ic h th e c o m p le tio n o f h is to ry a n d
tru e life will c o m e w ith th e c o m in g o f th e k in g d o m o f G o d . F a ith is
th e r e f o r e a n a b o u t- tu r n b y w h ic h w e tu r n to facc th e d ire c tio n from
w h ic h o u r tr u e life co m es.
A f u n d a m e n ta l d e fin itio n o f fa ith is g iv en in th e L e tte r to th e H ebrew s.
N o w fa ith is th e s u b s ta n c e ( hypostasis) o f th in g s h o p e d for, th e e v id e n c e
o f th in g s n o t s e e n (H e b re w s 1 1 .1 ). F a ith is th e hypostasis, w h ic h is an
o n to lo g ic a l te r m , o f th in g s n o t yet s e e n . W h e n w e say th a t fa ith is this
hypostatis, w e m e a n th a t w e b eliev e in truth, a n d th a t th r o u g h fa ith w e a re
e n a b le d to p e rc e iv e re a lity in truth.
B u t th e s e c o n d e le m e n t is th a t th is id e n tific a tio n is e sch ato lo g ica l.
It is t h e s u b s ta n c e o f th in g s hoped f o / , w h ic h w e d o n o t possess a t this
m o m e n t. It is in e x p e c ta tio n th a t w e tu r n to w a rd s th e c u lm in a tio n o f
all tim e in th e f u tu r e , a n d a c k n o w le d g e th e re ality o f th in g s th a t a r e n o t
y e t physically p r e s e n t to us. T h e s e c o n d p a rt o f th e e x p re s s io n , th e
e v id e n c e o f th in g s n o t s e e n ', c la rifie s th e first. T h e th in g s th a t w e can
see c o n v in c e u s o f th e ir e x is te n c e . T h in g s n o t s e e n a r e n o t available to
th e sc ru tin y o f all o u r sen ses, s o a lth o u g h o n ly v isio n is m e n tio n e d , all
th e se n s e s c a n b e u n d e r s to o d h e re .
W e c a n n o t claim fa ith in th o se th in g s th a t w e a lre a d y g ra s p by o u r
sen ses, o r b y t h e p ro c e sse s o f lo g ic b y w h ic h w e p e rc e iv e a c o h e r e n t
w orld th r o u g h th o s e sen ses. T h e r e is n o fa ith involved w h e n a b e in g is
a n o b je c t p e r c e p tib le to o u r se n se s, so th a t w e have n o c h o ic e b u t to be
c o n v in c e d a b o u t it. W h e r e w e a r e o b lig e d to re c o g n ise its e x iste n c e
th e r e is n o m e d ia tin g ro le f o r fa ith , s o th e c o n c e p t o f fa ith is a b o u t
fr e e d o m o n c e a g a in .
My p r e s e n c e b e fo re y o u is p e rc e iv e d by y o u r se n se s, w h ic h w e
c o n c e p tu a lis e p rim a rily in te rm s o f s ig h t. You c a n n o t say th a t you d o
n o t re c o g n is e m e , o r c a n n o t id e n tify m e , w h e n I a m s ta n d in g d ire c tly

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

35

b e fo re y o u . By b e in g h e r e b e f o r e y o u I a m im p o s in g o n y o u , so y o u have
n o c h o ic e a b o u t a c k n o w le d g in g m y p re s e n c e . F a ith h o w e v e r is w hat is
n o t im p o s e d o n u s by th e p rc s c n c e o f th in g s, o r by n a tu r e , o r by e x p e ri
e n c e o r history'. F a ith re la te s to w h a te v e r is o n its w ay to u s fro m th e
f u tu r e , w h ic h is to say, f r o m w'hat is n o t y e t visible o r p e r c e p tib le to us.
F a ith allo w s u s to m o v e b e y o n d su c h im p o s e d a n d in v o lu n ta ry
k n o w le d g e . K n o w le d g e th a t fo rc e s itself o n us m ay o ffe r us so cial a n d
p sy c h o lo g ic a l secu rity , o f c o u rs e , j u s t as w h e n fa ith is u n d e rs to o d as trust
b e tw e e n tw o p e rs o n s . A c h ild tru sts its m o th e r, b u t th is tr u s t is n o t th e
sa m e as fa ith b e c a u s e it s p rin g s fro m a v ery ta n g ib le cau se. T h e c h ild is
c e rta in o f its m o th e r s lo v e b e c a u se , fro m c o n c e p tio n h e r w o m b has
m e d ia te d t h a t lo v e, a n d a f te r b ir th t h e c h ild c o n tin u e s to e x p e r ie n c e
its m o th e r as lo v e. A c h ild know rs w h o loves it: it know s th in g s u n s e e n '
th o u g h n o n e th e le s s very well in tu ite d , s o w e c a n c o n c lu d e th a t tru s t is
n o t s a m e as faith .
F a ith is m o r e fa r-re a c h in g th a n tru st. F a ith is a so m e rsa u lt: w e la n d
fa c in g a n e w d ir e c tio n . O u r b e in g n o lo n g e r c o n sists in w h a t n a tu r e
m ak e s s c c u re a n d v e rifia b le to us. T h is fa ith is n o t s u p p o r te d by e x p e ri
e n c e o f th in g s a lre a d y know rn to us, b u t c o m e s fro m th a t a b o u t-tu rn a n d
a n e w s ta r t in a d ir e c tio n f o r w h ic h w e h a v e n o e x p e rie n c e . F aith receives
n o s u p p o r t fro m a n y th in g th a t c a n b e g ra s p e d by se n se s, lo g ic o r e ith e r
h isto ric a l o r p sy c h o lo g ic a l e x p e r ie n c e , all o f w h ic h r e p r e s e n t so m e kind
o f c o m p u ls io n .
T h is u n d e r s ta n d in g o f faith c a n b e s e e n in C h ristia n b a p tism , in
w h ic h th e b e lie v e r p la c e s th e ir s e c u rity in w h a t th e y c a n have n o c o n
firm a tio n of. A t b a p tis m th e first C h ristia n s w e re ask ed to give u p th e ir
id e n tity a n d rc c e iv c a n ew o n e , n o t b a s e d o n a n y se t o f k n o w n re la tio n
sh ip s. F a ith im p lie d a crisis b e c a u s e it in v o lved th is a b o u t-tu r n w hich
p la c e d all e x is tin g r e la tio n s h ip s u n d e r ju d g m e n t. T h e first o f th e s e a re
th e r e la tio n s h ip s o f b io lo g y a n d so o f fam ily w h ic h p ro v id e u s w ith o u r
m o s t b a s ic s e c u rity a n d id en tity . T h e c h ild is b o r n in to re la tio n s h ip s
w ith p a r e n ts a n d fam ily, a n d if th e s e r e la tio n s h ip s a r e re m o v e d it w o u ld
m e a n d is a s te r f o r t h a t c h ild . A s e c o n d s e t o f r e la tio n s h ip s th a t d e te r
m in e o u r id e n tity a r e o u r so cial a n d p o litic a l re la tio n s h ip s . O u r se cu rity
d e riv e s f r o m t h e c o m m u n ity w e b e lo n g to , w h ich v o u c h e s f o r us a n d
acts as th e g u a r a n to r o f o u r id en tity . W ith o u t th e re c o g n itio n th a t this
c o m m u n ity g iv es u s w e w o u ld h av e n o p u b lic id e n tity o r p u b lic exis
te n c e a t all. F o r th e e a rly C h ristia n s, as f o r u s today, id e n tity h a s a p u b lic
a n d civil c le m e n t. L e t u s im a g in e th a t in so m e v io le n t e v e n t y o u a rc
s trip p e d o f y o u r id e n tity : im a g in e y o u r p a s s p o rt, d riv in g lic e n c e , c re d it
c a r d a n d all o t h e r id e n tity p a p e r s w e re ta k e n fro m y o u , a n d im a g in e

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th a t w h e n y o u try to re c tify th is s itu a tio n y o u fin d th a t y o u r b a n k


a c c o u n t h a s b e e n c lo s e d a n d n a tio n a l in s u ra n c e n u m b e r w ith d raw n .
Y ou h a v e n o m e a n s o f e n te r in g e m p lo y m e n t o r a n y o th e r re la tio n s h ip
w ith th e r e s t o f society, o r o f b e in g a c k n o w le d g e d by a n y p u b lic
in s titu tio n . Y o u r civil id e n tity h a s v a n is h e d : y o u h a v e n o p u b lic
e x iste n c e .
H e r e w e a rriv e a t th e d istin c tiv e th in g a b o u t C h ris tia n faith . T h e first
C h ris tia n s w e re a s k e d to d o two th in g s a t th e ir b a p tism . Firstly, th e y said
g o o d b y e to a ll th e id e n tity a n d se c u rity th e y re c e iv e d fro m th e ir
fam ilies. T o b e b a p tis e d wras to o b e y th e w o rd s o f C h rist, if you d o n o t
fo rs a k e y o u r k in d r e d , y o u c a n n o t fo llo w m e (M a tth e w 10.37) o r in th e
e v e n s tr o n g e r w o rd s o f L u k e, if y o u d o n o t h a te y o u r ow n fam ily, you
c a n n o t fo llo w m e (L u k e 14.26). In o t h e r w 'ords, in b a p tism w e a re to rn
away fro m e v e ry b io lo g ic a l ro o t.
T h e s e c o n d th in g w h ic h was t r u e f o r t h e first C h ristia n s, th o u g h n o t
f o r us, is th a t w h e n th e y wre r e b a p tis e d as C h ristia n s th e y c e a se d to have
a n y civic id e n tity . C h ristia n s w ere n o n -p e rs o n s in th e eyes o f th e law,
u n til C o n s ta n tin e g r a n te d le g a l r e c o g n itio n to th e m fo r th e first tim e.
T h e a u th o r o f th e L e tte r to th e H ebrew 's says (1 3 .1 4 ) th a t h e r e w:e have
n o p e r m a n e n t city, th o u g h w e s e e k o n e to c o m e .' By city w e m e a n a
sta te a n d th e le g a l fram cw ro r k th a t e n a b le s t h e ru le o f lawr. W e h a v e n o
city m e a n s th a t wre C h ristia n s a r e p e r s o n s w ith o u t civic identity', f o r o u r
c itiz e n s h ip is in h e a v e n .
B a p tism m e a n s t h e loss o f o n e id e n tity a n d th e g a in o f a n o th e r th a t
is n o t a c k n o w le d g e d by th e s ta te . W e lo o k f o r th e city th a t is to c o m e ,'
o r ie n ta te d to t h e e s c h a to n , t h e k in g d o m a n d so c iety th a t is yet to c o m e ,
so w e a r c th e n a tu r a lis e d c itiz e n s o f a sta te th a t has n o t y e t e sta b lish e d
its p r e s e n c e in h istory. W e d o n o t e n jo y th e se c u rity o f a sta te o n e a rth ,
yet. T h is is in d e e d a g ia n t le a p in to a n id e n tity th a t is k n o w n a n d s e c u re d
by s o m e o n e w h o m w e a r c u n a b le to se c . O u r id e n tity is b a se d o n his
p ro m is e s a b o u t o u r fu tu re .
T h is fa ith ta k e s u s in to a s itu a tio n in w h ic h n o th in g is in o u r c o n tro l.
E v e ry th in g is a s y e t u n c o n f ir m e d biologically, historically, socially o r by
o u r owrn e x p e r ie n c e , o r b y logic. I n d e e d s u c h se c u rity d o e s n o t even
c o m e w h e n , th r o u g h fa ith , G o d rev eals h im s e lf to us a n d w e b e c o m e
c o n s c io u s o f th is n e w r e la tio n s h ip , a n d e v e n a b le to say w h a t k in d o f
re la tio n s h ip it is. F a ith c a n n o t b e b a s e d in s u c h e m p iric a l e x p e rie n c e .
F o r o fte n , d e s p ite th e a b s e n c e o f an y s u c h e v id e n c e , w h e n G o d is silent
a n d wrc h a v e n o e x p e r ie n c e o f h is p re s e n c e e v e n in pray er, w e a r c c alled
to h a v e fa ith i n h im .

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Ch urch

37

W e c o u ld th e n say th a t fa ith is th a t g ia n t le a p to w a rd s so m e o n e
w h o m w e b e lie v e loves us, n o m a tte r w h at. R eg ard le ss o f all e v id e n c e
to th e c o n tra ry , w e b e lie v e th a t h e loves u s a n d will n e v e r a b a n d o n us,
a n d w e live s im p ly o n th e b asis o f th is p ro m is e . N o th in g fo rc e s us to
a c k n o w le d g e h im , b u t w h e n o f o u r o w n will w e c o n fe ss th a t th is loving
re la tio n s h ip is th e s o u rc e o f o u r e x is te n c e , w c live fro m th e p ro m is e o f
G o d a n d n o o t h e r security. F o r th e first C h ristia n s w h o m a d e th is leap ,
this fa ith m e a n t p a r tic ip a tio n in th e c o m m u n ity o f th e f u tu r e , th e eschato lo g ic a l c o m m u n io n o f G o d .
T h e L o r d s P ra y e r tells u s th a t o u r F a th e r is in h e a v e n . In sayings
su c h as call n o - o n e o n e a r th y o u r F a th e r; y o u have o n e F a th e r a n d h e
is in h e a v e n (M a tth e w 23.9) a n d if y o u d o n o t a b a n d o n y o u r fa th e r
a n d y o u r m o t h e r (L u k e 1 4 .2 6 ), th e c o n tra s t w ith e a r t h , tells u s th a t
h e a v e n m e a n s th a t G o d is b e y o n d th e g ra s p o f o u r se n se s. O u t o f o u r
re a c h , h e c a n n o t b e c o m p e lle d o r m a n ip u la te d . In b a p tism th e
C h ristia n s a b a n d o n th e ir e a rth ly p a r e n ts a n d m a s te rs a n d th e se c u rity
th e y r e p r e s e n t, a n d p u t th e ir h o p e o n th in g s th a t th e y c a n n o t c o n tro l o r
verify. S u c h fa ith m e a n s th a t w e a r e g ro w in g in to a re la tio n s h ip th a t
c o n n e c ts u s t o G o d o u r F a th e r. B e c a u se o u r re la tio n s h ip is w ith th e
F a th e r w h o is in h e a v e n o u r life c a n also n o lo n g e r b e g ra s p e d o r
im p o s e d by biology', fam ily, so ciety a n d s o o n .
W h a t a b o u t th e h is to ric a l n a tu r e o f C h ristia n re v e la tio n ? D o we
h a v e n o h is to ric a l e v id e n c e , p ro o fs , th a t c o m p e l us to a c k n o w le d g e
G od ? T h e p a g a n s p o in t to th e p h e n o m e n a o f n a tu r e , b u t th e s e o n ly
p o in t b a c k to th e ir ow n p a g a n c o n c e p tio n s o f G o d . If n a tu r e gives n o
p r o o f o f G o d , w h a t a b o u t t h e e v id e n c e o f h isto ry ? G o d h a s n o t left h im
se lf w ith o u t w itn e sse s (A cts 14.17). T h e w itn ess s ta te m e n ts w e h a v e a rc
h isto ric a l re c o r d s . T h e O ld T e sta m e n t p o in ts to G o d s d e a lin g s w ith
his p e o p le th r o u g h h istory, sh o w in g th a t G o d m ira c u lo u sly saves
his p e o p le f r o m d isaster, a n d r e p e a te d ly asks Isra el w h e th e r th e y a re
g o in g to re m a in fa ith fu l to th e G o d w h o so o fte n in te r v e n e d to
v in d ic a te th e m . S u re ly th is is th e e v id e n c e th a t s u p p o r ts o u r faith ? Is n t
th e s u p r e m e p r o o f o f G o d th a t C h ris tia n s h a v e th e p e rs o n o f C h rist
him self, w h o s e life a n d d e a th a re h is to ric a l e v e n ts, giving o u r fa ith an
o b jectiv e basis?
All th is is t r u e , a n d y e t n o s u c h e v id e n c e a lo n e c a n b e th e basis o f
o u i' fa ith . T h a t w h ic h h a s a lre a d y b e e n g iv en to us by G o d as e v id e n c e o f
h is e x iste n c e , c a n n o t b e ig n o r e d b y fa ith , w h ic h is why th e C r e e d sets
o u t th e a c ts o f G o d in h istory. B u t t h e e v id e n c e o f his e x iste n c e th a t
G o d gives th r o u g h history', e v e n in c lu d in g th e re s u rr e c tio n o f C h rist,

38

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

c o n ta in s a n e le m e n t o f in d e te rm in a c y o r p a ra d o x . A lth o u g h th e events
th e m se lv e s a r e re a l a n d c e rta in , G o d d o e s n o t allow th e m to b e c o m e
c o n v in c in g in a n a b s o lu te se n se . I f th e a sc e n sio n h a d n o t ta k e n p la c c ,
b u t th in g s h a d c o n tin u e d ju s t as th e y w e re a f te r C h ris ts re s u rre c tio n ,
how c o u ld a n y o n e not b eliev e in G o d ? I f w e saw th e L o rd a m o n g u s as
T h o m a s saw a n d e x a m in e d h im , h o w c o u ld w e not believe? T h e n th e
p re s e n c e o f C h ris t w o u ld c o m p e l u s to believe.
B m T h o m a s , w h o is n o t p r e p a r e d to b e lie v e u n til h e h a s th e e v id e n c e
o f h is ow n h a n d s a n d eyes, re c e iv e s th e re b u k e 'B le sse d a r e th e y w ho
hav e n o t s e e n , a n d y e t h a v e b e lie v e d (J o h n 2 0 .2 9 ). C h rist looks f o r th o se
w ho b e lie v e w ith o u t a n y s u c h a s s u ra n c e o r re in fo rc e m e n t. T h e y a re
b le sse d b e c a u s e th e y b eliev e a n d k n o w in fre e d o m . T h e m o m e n t such
ta n g ib le e v id e n c e c o n v in c e s h im , T h o m a s fa ith h a s lost its fre e d o m .
O u r f r e e d o m is m a d e p o ssib le by th e a sc e n sio n o f th e L o rd , w h ic h is
fo llo w e d by t h e g ift o f th e H o ly S p irit w h o is h im s e lf fre e d o m . T h e
a sc e n s io n o p e n s a n e w e r a in w h ic h w e m a y know' C h ris t b u t by faith ,
w ith o u t c o m p u ls io n . K n o w led g e o f C h ris t c a n n o t b e c o m p e lle d .
G o d n o w a d d re s s e s o u r fre e w ill, a n d th is fre e will is a c h a ra c te ristic
o f th e S p irit a n d o f life in th e S p irit, lived b y fa ith . G o d gives us signs o f
his p r e s e n c e , b u t o f a s o r t th a t w e a r e q u ite c a p a b le o f n o t re c e iv in g if
w e h av e n o w ish to. T h e A p o stle P au l c o u ld have re fu s e d to rece iv e th e
lig h t th a t h a lte d h im o n th e w ay to D am ascus: th e p o ssib ility o f
s h ru g g in g o f f w h a t h a p p e n e d o n th a t r o a d a n d re fe rr in g to it sim p ly as
im a g in a tio n , w as o p e n to h im . O u r faith is s u p p o r te d by th e w itn essed
p re s e n c e o f G o d , b u t in a way wrh ic h m a k e s it p o ssib le fo r u s to re fu s e it,
n o t in a way th a t c lo se s d o w n o u r fre e d o m . G o d n e v e r rev e als h im s e lf in
a w ay th a t d o c s n o t allo w u s to say n o .
O fte n a n u m b e r o f th in g s a r e c o n fu s e d h e r e , p a rtic u la rly w h e n it
c o m e s to th e s a c ra m e n ts o f th e C h u r c h . T h e sa c ra m e n ts a r e in d e e d
k n o w le d g e o f G o d a n d th e sig n s in w h ic h o u r faith is ro o te d , b u t th e y d o
n o t re p la c e th e f re e d o m r e p r e s e n te d by fa ith . W h e n C h rist o ffers h im
se lf in t h e f o r m o f b r e a d a n d w ine, h e d o e s s o in su c h a way th a t w e a re
n o t o b lig e d to re c o g n is e h im th r o u g h th e m , f o r th e sa c ra m e n ts a r e th e
s u b s ta n c e o f th in g s h o p e d fo r, a n d th e c o n v ic tio n o f th in g s u n s e e n .
T h e sa m e is tr u e f o r th e g re a te s t d isc ip le s a n d sa in ts o f th e C h u rc h .
S o m e tim e s w e a r e g iv en th e im p re s s io n th a t t h e r e is a c o n s ta n t, a lm o st
o b jectiv e h o lin e s s in th e p re s e n c e o f a h o ly m a n o r w o m a n . B ut e v e n th e
m ira c le s o f s a in ts leav e a m a r g in f o r th o s e w h o w ish to d o u b t th e m .
W e c a n n o t re ly o n m ira c le s w h ic h w o u ld m a k e o u r fa ith in G o d s
p re s e n c e u n f r e e . S o G o d o ffe rs sig n s o f h is p re s e n c e a m o n g s t c r e a te d
th in g s a n d e v e n ts , w ith o u t d e stro y in g o u r f r e e d o m , a n d h e d o e s this

Doctrine as the Teaching o f the Church

39

th ro u g h h is sa in ts, w h o o f te n k n o w m o m e n ts w h e n G o d is n o t p re s e n t
f o r th e v e rific a tio n o f ta n g ib le e x p e r ie n c e . T h e lives o f sa in ts in c lu d e
w h o le p e r io d s o f G o d s a b s e n c e , th r o u g h w h ich th e sa in t re m a in s
faith fu l.
F a ith will p a ss away, f o r fa ith itse lf is n o t th e g o a l o f th e C h ristia n
e x p e rie n c e . T h e r e will c o m e a tim e w h e n th e su b sta n c e o f th in g s
u n s e e n will b e u n s e e n n o lo n g e r, b u t th e r e f o r all to see. W e will n o t
n e e d th e a s s u ra n c e o f th in g s h o p e d f o r , f o r by th e n th o se th in g s
will h av e b e c o m e reality. L o v e a lo n e will re m a in c o n s ta n t th r o u g h o u r
h is to ry a n d i n t o th e k in g d o m (1 C o r in th ia n s 13.8-13).

C h a p te r 2

The Doctrine o f God

I. B e g i n n in g s
W c h a v e d is c u s s e d t h e ro le o f k n o w le d g e a n d fa ith in C h ris tia n d o c
trin e . In th is c h a p te r , w e sh all b e g in o u r e x a m in a tio n o f th e C h ristia n
d o c tr in e o f G o d . W e m u s t o u tlin e th e h is to ric a l fra m e w o rk w ith in w h ic h
th e d o c tr in e o f G o d a p p e a r e d , b e g in n in g fro m th e b ib le , a n d g o in g on
to s e e h o w t h e d o c tr in e to o k s h a p e th r o u g h th e P a tristic p e r io d , a n d
finally lo o k in g a t th e s ig n ific a n c e o f th e d o c tr in e o f G o d f o r us.
C h ris tia n s a r c n o t th e o n ly o n e s to ta lk a b o u t G o d - ev ery relig io n
d o e s so . E v e n a th e is m talk s a b o u t G o d in o r d e r to re je c t p a r tic u la r
c o n c e p tio n s o f G o d . A th e ism m ay w ish to rejec t every n o tio n o f G o d ,
b u t it is o n ly p o ssib le to re je c t a c o n c e p tio n y o u c a n identify. It is n o t
rea lly p o ssib le f o r a n y o n e to av o id th e q u e s tio n o f G o d f o r e v e n if you
re je c t all c o n c e p tio n s o f G o d , y o u h av e to d e s c rib e w h a t it is th a t you
w ish to reject.
W e a r e g o in g to e x a m in e th e c o n c e p t o f G o d as it h a s b e e n re c e iv e d
by th e C h u r c h a n d set o u t in its te a c h in g , so w e will s ta r t by e x a m in in g
th e h is to ry o f th is d o c trin e . T h e C h ris tia n fa ith in tro d u c e s n o new
c o n c e p t o f G o d , b u t follow s th e fa ith o f Israel. C h rist b e lie v e d in th e
G o d o f Israel, s o h e s h a r e d th e s a m e fa ith in th e G o d o f A b ra h a m , o f
Isaac, o f J a c o b a n d all t h e F a th e rs o f th e O ld T e sta m e n t. B u t a lth o u g h
J e su s C h ris t a d d re s s e s th e G o d o f th e p e o p le o f Israel, in his p e r s o n a n d
te a c h in g h e a lso r e p r e s e n ts a m o d ific a tio n o f Isra e ls u n d e r s ta n d in g o f
G o d . W e m u s t d isc o v e r w h a t c h a n g e s th is c o n c e p tio n o f G o d u n d e r w e n t
as it b e c a m e f a ith in t h e p e rs o n o f C hrist.
Is ra e ls c o n c e p tio n o f G o d c o n sists in th e a b s o lu te tra n s c e n d e n c e
o f G o d . G o d e x ists p r i o r to th e w o rld , a n d w e c a n n e v e r re la te h im to

The Doctrine o f God

41

a n y th in g o f w h a t w e see in th e w o rld . T h is is e n tire ly d iffe re n t fro m


I h e th o u g h t o f th e a n c ie n t G re e k s, f o r w h o m th e c o sm o s gives us know l
e d g e o f G o d . W h e th e r th e ir G o d was a ra tio n a l, c o n n e c tiv e fo rc e , th a t
h o ld s th e w o rld to g e th e r in h a r m o n y ( c o sm o s m e a n s o r d e r a n d
b e a u ty ), o r a r e a s o n th a t a llo w e d th e m to e x p la in th e c o sm o s, f o r th e
G re e k s th e c o sm o s sh o w s u s s o m e th in g o f th e n a tu r e o f G od.
F o r Israel, th is is n o t so. You c a n n o t re a c h G o d by s tu d y in g th e cos
m os, o r tie G o d to th e e x is te n c e o f th e c o sm o s, o r r e f e r sim u lta n e o u sly
to G o d a n d t h e co sm o s as th o u g h th e r e w e re so m e n e c e ssa ry re la tio n
b e tw e e n th e m . G o d ex ists p r i o r to th e co sm o s, a n d th is is re p re s e n te d
by th e d o c tr in e o f th e c r e a tio n o f th e c o sm o s ex nihilo. A lth o u g h G o d
exists always a n d fo rev er, th e co sm o s h a s n o t always b e e n in e x iste n ce .
T h is w o u ld b e a m o st s tr a n g e id e a to th e G re e k s, f o r w h o m th e cosm os
is e te r n a l, e v e n th o u g h it is always in p ro c e s s o f c o m in g in to b e in g .
P la to g iv es u s a n a c c o u n t o f th e c re a tio n o f th e c o sm o s by th e C re a to rG o d , w h o c re a te s fro m e x is tin g id e a s a n d e le m e n ts in a n e x istin g sp ace.
T h e c o sm o s is m a d e fro m s o m e th in g th a t always h a d e x iste n c e , a n d is
given its fo rm b y a G o d w h o is in s o m e way b o u n d u p w ith its e x iste n ce .
F o r th e g o d s o f a n c ie n t G re e c e th e r e is n o tra n s c e n d e n c e in th e s tro n g
se n s e f o u n d i n th e fa ith o f Israel.
A s e c o n d a n d re la te d fa c to r fo r Is ra e l is th a t G o d is tr a n s c e n d e n t a n d
u tte rly fre e . H e is b o u n d b y n o p h y sical o r o th e r n e e d s . A n c ie n t G re e k
th in k e rs o n th e o t h e r h a n d to o k a d iffe re n t view. T ragic p o e ts s u c h as
E u rip id e s , a n d p re -S o c ra tic th in k e rs s u c h a s H e ra c litu s , a sk e d w h e th e r
th e g o d s w e re fre e to d o w h a t th e y w a n te d a n d th e ir c a te g o ric a l re p ly
was th a t th e y w e re n o t. T h e g o d s w e re b o u n d to d o w h a t w as rig h t, f o r
th e r e was a n a tu r a l a n d m o ra l law w h ic h th e g o d s w e re n o t fre e to c o n
tra v e n e . H e r a c litu s ta u g h t th a t a sin g le lo g o s s u s ta in e d th e co sm o s: if
this lo g o s fa ile d , th e e n tir e c o s m o s w o u ld v a n ish ; b u t b e c a u se th is logos
is g iv e n a n d t h e g o d s o b se rv e it, th e co sm o s d o c s n o t v a n ish . J u s tic e was
p a r t o f th is c o sm ic o rd e r. Z e u s m a r r ie d T h e m is ( J u s tic e ) to d e m o n
stra te th a t e v e n t h e c h ie f o f th e g o d s is n o t fre e to a c t a rb itrarily , a th e m e
r e ite r a te d by e v e ry G re e k tragedy.
In th e Tim aeus P la to d e s c rib e s a G o d w h o b rin g s th is w o rld in to exist
e n c e b y f o r m in g it in c o n fo rm ity w ith th e id e a s w h ic h r e p r e s e n t th e
p e r f e c tio n o f th e c o sm o s, a n d w h ic h re g u la te e v e n th e a c tio n o f G od.
T h is G o d h a d to give th e w o rld a s p h e ric a l sh a p e b e c a u s e , as P lato
e x p la in s, a s p h e r e is c lo se st to th e fo rm o f b e a u ty ; if h e h a d c r e a te d an
ugly w o rld h e w o u ld h av e tra n s g re s s e d a g a in st th e id e a s a n d th e im p e ra
tives o f ju s tic e a n d b eauty.

42

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

Is ra e l h a d q u ite a d if f e r e n t c o n c e p tio n o f G o d . T h e r e w as n o th o u g h t
th a t G o d c o u ld b e c o n s tr a in e d by g o o d n e s s o r r ig h t, f o r G o d acts e n tire ly
freely. T h e O ld T e s ta m e n t is fu ll o f e v e n ts th a t d o n o t a p p e a r r ig h t, b u t
w h ic h a re n e v e rth e le s s c o m m a n d e d b y G o d . G o d is c o n s tra in e d by n o
co sm ic p r in c ip le o f ju s tic e o r o rd e r.
F o r Isra e l G o d is p e rs o n a l. W e c o u ld say th a t G o d w as p e rso n a l in
a n c ie n t G r e e k th o u g h t, o f c o u rs e , in th a t th e g o d s a r e fo rc e s given
p e rs o n a l c h a ra c te rs . H ow ever, w h e n w e say th a t G o d is p e rs o n a l in th e
O ld T e s ta m e n t w e m e a n th a t h e is a c k n o w le d g e d w ith in re la tio n s h ip s
b e tw e e n p e rs o n s . H e is th e G o d o f A b ra h a m , Isaac a n d J a c o b . G o d can
o n ly b e u n d e r s to o d in re la tio n s h ip w ith th e s e p a r tic u la r p e rs o n s w hose
e n c o u n te r s w ith G o d m a k e u p th e history' o f Israel a n d a r c r e c o u n te d
in Isra e l's S c r ip tu r e . H e is n e v e r a faceless, s u p re m e pow er, a n d h e c a n
n o t b e u n d e r s to o d in te rm s o f a m in d , o r a p h y sic al fo r c e o r a ra tio n a l
o rig in o f e x is te n c e . T h is d o c s n o t tell u s a n y th in g a b o u t th e n a tu r e o f
G o d , b u t it d o e s tell u s th a t G o d is always re la te d to sp e cific p e rso n s.
Isra e l's G o d is in a c o n s ta n t re la tio n s h ip o f p e rs o n s a n d h e s u m m o n s
m a n to e n t e r a re la tio n s h ip th a t is p e rs o n to p e rso n .
A fte r tr a n s c e n d e n c e , fre e d o m , a n d th e p e rso n a l c h a r a c te r o f G od,
a f o u r th a s p e c t o f th e d o c tr in e o f G o d is th e h isto ric a l c h a r a c te r o f
G o d 's re v e la tio n . G o d rev eals h im s e lf a n d is re c o g n ise d th ro u g h his
in v o lv e m e n t in h isto ry , r a t h e r th a n b y o b s e rv a tio n o f n a tu r e o r th e cos
m os. G re e k s d i d n o t give u p o b se rv a tio n o f th e co sm o s o n b e c o m in g
C h ristia n s, b u t th e C h u r c h in siste d th a t th e co sm o s o n ly le a d s tow ards
G o d in th e s e n s e e x p re s s e d in th e p salm s: th e h e a v e n s d e c la re th e glory'
o f G o d , a n d t h e skies p ro c la im th e w o rk s o f H is h a n d s (P salm 19.1).
T h e co sm o s c a n tell u s o n ly th a t it was m a d e by so m e o n e o th e r th a n
itself. G o d e x ists o u ts id e th e c o sm o s, h is tra n s c e n d e n c e is d ecisiv e, so
th e r e la tio n s h ip o f th e co sm o s to G o d c o n fe s se d by th e psalm s, is a n his
to ric a l r a t h e r th a n a c o sm o lo g ic a l o b s e rv a tio n . T h e w orks o f G o d s
h a n d s a r e m a d e e v id e n t by th e h ea v e n s: th e w o rld is a c re a tio n , w h ic h is
to say a p r o je c t in itia te d by a n a g e n t. It is n o t a m a tte r o f n a tu r e ,
g o v e rn e d b y law s, s u c h as t h e p rin c ip le s o f h a rm o n y , g o o d n e s s o r ju s tic e
h o n o u r e d b y th e G reek s. T h e w o rld is n o t a p p r o a c h e d as n a tu r e o r
co sm o s, b u t a s e v e n t a n d history.
A n o th e r c h a ra c te ris tic o f th e b ib lic a l view o f G o d , w h ic h w e c o u ld
call th e h is to ric a l a s p e c t o f th e re v e la tio n o f G o d , is th a t G o d reveals
h im s e lf th r o u g h h is c o m m a n d m e n ts . F o r Isra e l, tr u th in g e n e ra l, a n d
fa ith in G o d m o r e specifically, a r e n o t a m a tte r o f th e o iy fo r th e y d o
n o t c o m e f r o m o b s e rv a tio n ( theona) o f th e co sm o s. T ru th c o m e s th ro u g h

The Doctrine o f God

43

histo ry , a n d fro m G o d s in te r a c tio n w ith th e p e o p le o f Israe l a n d th u s


th ro u g h th e ir e x p e r ie n c e a n d history. T h e y a r e given th e law th a t they
a r c to follow a n d th e y r e s p o n d by fo llo w in g it. T h e s e a r e th e fac to rs th a t
m a k e u p th e b ib lic a l u n d e r s ta n d in g o f G o d , a n d w h ic h m e a n s th a t th e
C h ris tia n G o d is th e G o d o f Israel.
N o n e th e le s s , th e r e a r e c e rta in c la im s th a t C h ris t m a k e s a b o u t h im s e lf
w h ic h rev ise I s ra e l's u n d e r s ta n d in g o f G o d a n d w h ic h a c c o u n t f o r th e
c o n flic t b e tw e e n J e s u s a n d h is c o n te m p o ra rie s . T h e A p o stle s a n d th e ir
c o m m u n itie s a c c c p tc d C h ris ts claim s, w ro te th e New* T e sta m e n t a n d
th e n e x p o u n d e d a n d in te r p r e te d it, b r in g in g in to b e in g th e g ro w in g
c o r p u s o f th e C h u r c h s d o c tr in e o f G o d . T h e r e f o r e , th e issu e f o r us is
n o t w h e th e r t h e C h u r c h w as r ig h t to a c c c p t th e cla im s o f C h rist, b u t
w h e th e r th e s e c la im s still r e p r e s e n t I s ra e ls u n d e r s ta n d in g o f G o d , a n d
th u s w h e th e r C h ris t is as h e p r e s e n te d h im se lf, th e fu lfilm e n t o f Is ra e ls
u n d e r s ta n d in g o f G od.
T h e first c la im is th a t C h ris t a d d re s s e s G o d as F a th e r a n d th a t h e is
a b le to d o s o b e c a u s e h e a lo n e is S o n . T h e c laim is n o t th a t a n y o n e can
call G o d F a t h e r , b u t th a t C h ris t d o c s so exclusively. W ith this c la im o f
u n p a r a lle lle d p e r s o n a l r e la tio n s h ip , C h rist b rin g s h im se lf in to a
re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d d if f e r e n t fro m th a t e x p e r ie n c e d by ev e ry o th e r
m e m b e r o f Is ra e l, a n d th is re p r e s e n ts a c h a n g e to Is ra e ls c o n c e p tio n
of G o d .
T h e s e c o n d c la im is th a t C h ris t is th e fin al a c t o f G o d in history. To
Israel, G o d r e v e a le d h im s e lf in h is to ric a l e v e n ts r a th e r th a n as physical
o r n a tu r a l facts. A s th e s e a c ts o f G o d w e re u n fo ld e d by th e C h u rc h
F a th e rs , th e y w e re r e la te d to th e co sm o s a n d d e v e lo p e d as th e d o c trin e
o f c re a tio n . T h o u g h th e d is tin c tio n bctw 'ccn h isto ry a n d n a tu r e is n o t
always easy to d e fin e , w e c a n m a k e s u c h a d istin c tio n a n d u se th e c o n
c e p t o f h is to r y o r n a tu r e as s e e m s m o s t a p p r o p ria te . F o r Israel th e acts
o f G o d w e re h is to ric a l e v e n ts r a th e r th a n facts o f n a tu r e . T alk a b o u t th e
giv en s o f n a t u r e in Isra e l wro u ld ra is e th e c h a r g e o f idolatry.
T o h is c o n te m p o r a r ie s C h ris t p r e s e n te d th e claim th a t h e is th e Son
o f M a n , w h ic h in th e A p o caly p tic lite r a tu r e o f th e p e r io d m e a n t th a t
h e is th e o n e w h o will fin a lly j u d g e h istory. O n ly G o d h im self c a n b rin g
h isto ric a l tim e to a n e n d , f o r Israel, f o r o n ly G o d c a n p r o n o u n c e ju d g
m e n t o n all k in g d o m s a n d all h isto ry . In th e b o o k s o f D an iel a n d E n o c h
th e j u d g m e n t o f G o d is e x e rc is e d b y th e S o n of M a n , a n d th e G ospel
tells u s th a t w h e n th e S o n o f M an c o m e s, s e a te d o n his th r o n e o f g lo ry
(M atthew ' 25.31 ), h e will give h is ju d g m e n t o n all kings a n d k in g d o m s o f
this w o rid . S in c e f o r Israel th is fin al j u d g m e n t c a n o n ly b e p a sse d by

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G o d , th e S o n o f M a n is th e p r e s e n c e o f G o d to histo ry . N o m a n c a n
p a s s ju d g m e n t o n a n y o t h e r m a n , le t a lo n e o n h u m a n h isto ry as a w hole:
o n ly G o d c a n give su c h ju d g m e n t. Is ra e l n e v e r e x p e c ts to sec G od,
f o r h e tr a n s c e n d s th e p e r c e p tio n o f h is c re a tu re s . B u t as th e S o n of
M a n , G o d c o m e s to b rin g h is j u d g m e n t to all h u m a n history. C hrist
id e n tifie d h im s e lf fro m th e first w ith th e S o n o f M a n a n d so w ith
fa ith in th e f u t u r e ju d g m e n t o f all. T h is c r e a te d a u n iq u e re la tio n s h ip
b e tw e e n th e p e r s o n o f C h ris t a n d G o d , f o r C h rist m a in ta in s th a t h e is
th e o n e w h o will j u d g e th e w h o le h isto ry o f m a n k in d . T h e p r e a c h in g o f
C h ris ts r e s u r r e c tio n sig n ifies th a t, in th e m in d o f th e first believers,
J e s u s C h r is t is id e n tifie d w ith th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l S o n o f M an, w h o is G o d
c o m e to ru le o v e r all h u m a n a u th o ritie s . T h e C h u rc h is c r e a te d by this
n e w e x p e c ta tio n th a t th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l S o n o f M an, th e re s u rre c te d
C h ris t will r e t u r n to b r in g th e ru le a n d j u d g m e n t o f G o d to all h u m a n
history.
N o n e o f th is re p r e s e n ts a crisis in th e d o c tr in e o f G o d . H ow ever, this
w a itin g f o r C h r is ts j u d g m e n t m e a n t th a t th e first C h ristia n s h a d to
e x p la in w'ho th e y w e re w a itin g fo r a n d w h y h e was m a k in g th e m wait.
It w as th e n e e d to e x p la in th e w ait th a t re s u lte d in th e w ritin g o f th e
N ew T e s ta m e n t. W h e re is C h ris t b e tw e e n h is r e s u r r e c tio n a n d his r e tu r n
as ju d g e o f all k in g d o m s, a n d w h a t is now' his re la tio n s h ip w ith G od?
T h e a n sw e r is fo u n d in th e te a c h in g o f th e a sc e n sio n . C h rist sits a t th e
rig h t h a n d o f G o d : T h e L o rd sa id to m y L o rd , Sit at m y rig h t h a n d
(P salm 110.1). T h e C h ris t w h o sits a t th e r ig h t o f th e F a th e r enjoys
th e d ig n ity th a t, in th e th e o lo g y o f Israel, b e lo n g s exclusively to G od.
First, th e r e is w o rsh ip : ev ery k n e e sh a ll b o w in h e a v e n a n d o n e a r th '
(P h ilip p ia n s 2 .1 0 ). N o m e m b e r o f Isra e l c a n k n e e l b e fo re a c re a tu re ,
a n d y et th is p e r s o n sits a t th e r ig h t h a n d o f th e o n ly G o d a n d receives
th e sa m e p ra is e . H o w is th is th e sa m e G o d w h e n C h rist rec eiv es th e so rt
o f d e v o tio n t h a t th e le a d e rs o f p a g a n e m p ir e s d e m a n d , b u t w iiich even
u n d e r to r tu r e a n d a t th e c o st o f th e ir lives, C h ristia n s w ith h o ld fro m
all o t h e r lo rd s ? O n ly G o d c a n m a k e su c h d e m a n d s as this.
T h e w ait f o r C h ris ts c o m in g a d d s a th ir d e le m e n t. W e h a v e to ask
w h e re C h ris t is now , a n d w h a t o u r re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d is in th e tim e
b e fo re h is r e t u r n . H o w s h o u ld w e s e e o u r re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d , now'
th a t C h ris t is s e a te d a t t h e r ig h t h a n d o f G o d in h eav e n ? T h e an sw e r to
this u r g e n t p ra c tic a l q u e s tio n c o m e s w ith th e o th e r H e lp e r (paraclete)
in tr o d u c e d in th e G o sp e l o f J o h n . will n o t re m a in h e r e , C h ris t h a d
said , a n d y e t I sh all n o t leav e y o u as o r p h a n s (Jo h n 14.16-18). As C h rist
is a t th e r i g h t h a n d o f G o d , th e F a th e r h a s s e n t a n o th e r h e lp e r, th e
S p irit o f tr u th .

The Doctrine o f God

45

n e w e x p e r ie n c e o f th e re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d b e g a n a f te r C h ris ts


a sc e n s io n , w ith th e a rriv a l o f th is th ir d p e r s o n , th e H oly S p irit. T h is p e r
so n v e rifie s t h e p re s e n c e o f G o d h im s e lf a n d , a n d w ith gifts a n d d e m o n
stra tio n s o f p o w e r, d o e s w h a t o n ly G o d c a n d o . T h e first d isc ip le s w ere
c o m p e lle d to f in d a p la c e f o r th e ir e x p e r ie n c e o f th e fello w sh ip o f th e
H o ly S p irit w ith in th e ir u n d e r s ta n d in g o f G o d . C h ris t now a p p e a r e d as
this fe llo w sh ip w h ic h b re a k s th r o u g h th e lim its given by n a tu r e a n d
c re a te s th e C h u r c h . T h e S p irit e n a b le s e a c h h u m a n b e in g to tra n s c e n d
h is lim its a n d g o o u t to m e e t th e o t h e r , re g a rd le s s o f th e ir n a tu ra l
d iffe re n c e s . B e fo re th e arriv al o f th e S p irit o f C h rist th e w o rld k n ew o f
n o s u c h c o m m u n ity th a t tra n s c e n d e d all th e divisions o f c re a tio n .
T h is ra ise s t h e q u e s tio n o f w h e th e r w e c a n still r e f e r to G o d as Israe l
d o e s, w ith o u t r e f e r r in g to th e S o n a n d th e S p irit. W e h a v e th e p e r s o n o f
C h ris t w h o te r m e d h im s e lf th e S o n o f G o d , a n d th e p e r s o n o f th e H oly
S p irit, w h o m a k e s C h ris t p r e s e n t to u s in h isto ry as th is fello w sh ip o f
th e C h u r c h . T h r o u g h its e x p e r ie n c e o f th is c o m m u n io n th e C h u rc h
was le d to c o n fe s s its fa ith in th e F a th e r, th e S o n , a n d th e H oly S p irit a n d
th is tr in ita r ia n fo rm e v e n tu a lly b e c a m e th e p r o p e r n a m e o f G o d for
C h ristia n s. It w as its o w n e x p e r ie n c e w h ic h c o m p e lle d th e C h u rc h to
give a n a c c o u n t o f th is e v e n t, in w h ic h th e c o n s tric tio n s o f n a tu r e a re
tr a n s c e n d e d b y t h e f re e d o m o f fello w sh ip in C h rist. Y ou m a y re je c t th e
claim C h ris t is m a k in g , a n d re m a in w ith Is ra e ls fo rm o f c o n fe ssio n , o r
you c a n a c c e p t th is tr in ita r ia n n a m e th a t co n veys th is n e w c o m m u n io n
o f all c re a tio n b r o u g h t in to b e in g by C hrist.
T h is tr in ita r ia n n a m e a p p e a r s in th e N ew T e sta m e n t, in th r e e form s,
tw o o f w h ic h a r e litu rg ic a l. T h e first c o n te x t is b a p tism , w h ic h involves
p u b lic c o n fe s s io n o f G o d as th is T rin ity o f p e rso n s. S t M a tth e w s G ospel
h a s C h ris ts in s tr u c tio n to b a p tis e in th e n a m e o f th e F a th e r, th e Son
a n d th e H o ly S p irit (M atth ew 2 8 .1 9 ). S o m e a r g u e fro m th e w itness
a c c o u n ts in t h e A cts o f th e A p o stle s th a t b a p tism w as first p e r f o r m e d in
th e n a m e o f C h r is t r a th e r th a n o f th e T rin ity a n d th a t Ju stin gives us th e
first a c c o u n t w e h a v e o f b a p tism in th e n a m e o f th e T rinity. H ow ever,
b a p tis m in t h e n a m e o f th e T rin ity is p r e s e n t in all b o o k s o f th e N ew
T e s ta m e n t, m o s t c le a rly th e le tte rs o f S a in t P a u l, a n d s o fro m b e in g a
te r m u s e d in th e c o n fe ssio n m a d e a t b a p tis m th e T rin ity b e c a m e th e
n a m e o f G od.
T h e o t h e r c o n te x t in w h ic h th e tr in ita r ia n fo rm u la a p p e a r s is th a t
o f th e E u c h a ris t. T h is u se is a lso v ery early, f o r w e f in d it a t th e e n d o f
th e S e c o n d L e tt e r to th e C o rin th ia n s in th e fa m ilia r fo rm M ay th e g ra c e
o f o u r L o rd J e s u s C h rist, a n d th e love o f G o d th e F a th e r, a n d th e
c o m m u n io n o f th e H o ly S p irit, b e w ith y o u a ll (2 C o rin th ia n s 13.13).

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S c h o la rs h a v e sh o w n th a t th is p h ra s e , w ith w h ic h P a u l e n d s his letters,


was th e o p e n i n g o f th e E u c h a ris tie litu rg y o f th e first c h u rc h e s , so
fro m t h e v e ry b e g in n in g t h e tr in ita r ia n fo rm u la h a s b e e n p a r t o f th e
E u c h a rist.
F inally, t h e r e w as a lso a b r o a d e r th e o lo g ic a l c o n te x t, f o r wre fin d
re f e r e n c e s im u lta n e o u s ly to th e F a th e r, th e S o n a n d th e H oly S p irit
in th e le tte rs o f th e A p o stle P a u l a n d th e G o sp el o f J o h n . T h u s , a th e o
log y o f th e s e t h r e e p e rs o n s d e v e lo p e d , a n d it d id s o w ith o u t co n tro v e rsy
u n til th e C h u r c h s fa ith b e g a n to m e e t th e q u e s tio n s p o se d by th e G ree k
w orld v iew in t h e s e c o n d c e n tu ry .
T h e q u e s tio n was p u t in th is way. I f w e a r e b a p tis e d in th e n a m e o f
th e F ath er, t h e S o n a n d th e H o ly S p irit, as all C h ristia n s wrc r c by th e n ,
w h a t h a d b e c o m e o f fa ith in th e o n e G o d o f th e bible? WTiat w'as th e sta
tus o f th e s e p e rs o n s ? H ow a r e th e y re la te d to G o d ? If th e th r e e
p e rs o n s a r c r e la te d to G o d ontologically, d o e s n t th is m a k e th r e e gods?
I f w e say th a t t h e p e rs o n s a r e n o t o n to lo g ic a lly re la te d to th e o n e G od,
w hy d o C h ris tia n s w o rsh ip th e m a n d a ttr ib u te to th e m a c ts th a t b e lo n g
solely to G o d , lik e th e j u d g m e n t o f h is to ry o r th e c r e a tio n o f this
n a tu r e - tr a n s c e n d in g fellow ship?
It w o u ld n o t d o to say th a t th is is sim p ly a n u n f a th o m a b le mystery.
If w e sim p ly d e c la r e d e v e ry th in g to b e u n k n o w a b le , w e w o u ld h a v e n o
th e o lo g y a t a ll. T h e r e a re m y ste rie s, o f c o u rse , b u t th e y a r e m ysteries
th a t in v ite u s t o w o n d e r. T h e y d o n o t p re v e n t th o u g h t, b u t in v ite it. T h e
F a th e rs o f th e C h u rc h w e n t to g r e a t le n g th s to show' th a t th e r e is n o
c o n tr a d ic tio n b e tw e e n m o n o th e is m a n d th e trin ita ria n G o d , in d e e d it is
o n ly th e d o c tr in e o f th e T rin ity th a t is a b le to s a fe g u a rd th e u n ity o f
G o d . W e m u s t d isc o v e r w hy th is is so.
I t to o k m a n y g e n e r a tio n s to s e ttle th e C h u r c h s a c c o u n t o f th e se
q u e s tio n s . W e c a n d iv id e th e e a rlie st a n sw e rs th a t wre r e o ffe re d in to
tw o s o rts. O n e s e t o f an sw ers r e f e r to th e L ogos a n d th e S p irit as acts
o f G o d in c r e a tio n a n d p ro v id e n c e . G o d is o n e , b u t in o r d e r to c re a te
th e c o sm o s h e a c ts as L o g o s a n d S p irit. T h e d ifficu lty w ith th is re s p o n s e
w as t h a t th e tr in ita r ia n life o f G o d p re s u p p o s e s th e e x iste n c e o f th e cos
m o s, w h ic h w o u ld m e a n th a t th e tra n s c e n d e n c e o f G o d w o u ld b e lost.
F o r th e s e c o n d -c e n tu ry A p o lo g ists th e r e was little c larity a b o u t
w h e th e r L o g o s a n d S p irit a r e d iv in e o r p a r t o f c re a tio n . T h e y always
s e e m e d to a p p e a r in r e la tio n to c re a tio n , b u t this ra ise d th e q u e s tio n o f
th e tr a n s c e n d e n c e o f G o d . T h e C h u r c h was c o m p e lle d to s e a rc h f o r
g r e a te r clarity , a t le a st w ith r e g a r d to th e L ogos. Finally, it d e c la re d
th a t th e L o g o s b e lo n g s to G o d , n o t to c re a tio n , a n d so r u le d o u t so m e
o f th e in te r p r e ta tio n s o f L o g o s th a t h a d b e e n in c irc u la tio n . G o d is

The Doctrine o f God

47

n o t tr iu n e b e c a u s e h e is C re a to r. T h e C o u n c il o f N ic a e a (325) m a d e it
c le a r th a t G o d is tr iu n e q u ite in d e p e n d e n tly o f c re a tio n .
T h e o t h e r c a te g o ry o f re s p o n s e s w c c o u ld call m o d a lis t. H e re th e
S o n , th e H o ly S p irit a n d e v e n th e F a th e r w e re r e g a r d e d as th e m o d e s by
w h ic h G o d a c te d in h istory, r a t h e r th a n as c o n c r e te b e in g s. T h is th e
ory, c h ie fly r e p r e s e n te d by S ab clliu s, b e c a m e a h u g e c h a lle n g e u n til
it w as fin a lly r e je c te d . T h e C h u rc h in siste d th a t th e s e th re e p e rs o n s a re
in p e r s o n a l r e la tio n s h ip s , e a c h o f w h ic h is d if fe re n t f ro m th e o th e rs.
T h e F a th e r sp e a k s to th e S o n , a n d th e S o n p ra y s to th e F a th e r, a n d th u s
th e y a r e tw o b e in g s . T h e C h u r c h in siste d th a t th e d iffe re n c e b e tw e e n
th e m was m o r e th a n m e re ly fu n c tio n a l, a n d it w as n o t c o n fin e d to th e
e c o n o m y o f G o d fo r m a n . T h e q u e s tio n o f h o w th r e e b e in g s a r c n o t
th re e g o d s r e m a in e d , b u t th e C h u r c h p r e f e r r e d to face th is q u e stio n
r a t h e r th a n a c c e p t S a b e lliu ss th e o r y th a t th e r e w e re t h r e e p e rs o n a l
m o d e s b e h in d w h ic h lay G o d 's sin g le b e in g .
I t w as th is c h a lle n g e th a t w as m e t by th e th e o lo g y o f th e C a p p a d o c ia n
F a th e rs , w h o m w e tu rn to n e x t. T h o u g h w e c a n a d m it th a t th e triu n e
d o c tr in e o f G o d h a s its o w n c o m p le x itie s , w e m u s t n o t give in to th e
o b s c u ra n tis m th a t d isc o u ra g e s a n y in te lle c tu a l la b o u r in th e n a m e o f a
sim p le fa ith . T h e o lo g y is n o t th e e n e m y o f C h ris tia n fa ith . I f w e e x a m in e
th e s e issu es w ith o u r m in d s w c will f in d th a t th e life a n d w o rsh ip o f G o d
b e c o m e m o r e w o n d e rfu l to u s th a n if w e a tte m p te d n o in te lle c tu a l
e n g a g e m e n t w ith th e m .

II. T h k B e i n g

of

God

T h e C h u rc h in h e r it e d t h e b a p tis m a l a n d c o n fe ssio n a l s ta te m e n t F aith


in th e F a th e r a n d th e S o n a n d th e H o ly S p irit' fro m th e C h u r c h o f
th e A p o stles. E v ery C h ris tia n m a d e th is c o n fe ssio n a t b a p tism a n d ,
th o u g h th e r e w e re d iffe re n c e s o f in te r p r e ta tio n , th e s ta te m e n t itse lf was
u n iv ersally a c c e p te d . T h e F a th e rs w h o in h e r ite d th is tr in ita ria n c o n fe s
sio n h a d to e n s u r e tw o th in g s. F irst, th e y h a d to e x c lu d e in te r p re ta tio n s
th a t w o u ld le a d to id o latry , w h ic h m e a n t a n y in te r p r e ta tio n th a t w o u ld
d ista n c e th is c o n fe s s io n fro m th e tr u th o f th e G o d o f Isra e l re v e a le d by
th e O ld T e s ta m e n t. S e c o n d , th e y h a d to sh o w th e ir c o n te m p o ra rie s th a t
th is fo rm u la w a s m e a n in g fu l a n d tr u e . T h e F a th e rs w e re alw ays c o n
c e r n e d to d e m o n s tr a te th e m e a n in g fu ln e s s o f th e C h ristia n c o n fessio n
to th e w o rld th e y lived in , f o r th e tr u th o f C h ris t c a n n e v e r b e c o m e
th e p o sse ssio n o f a n y g r o u p th a t is n o t c o n c e r n e d to give a n a c c o u n t
o f C h ris t to th e w o rld b e y o n d th e m . T h e F a th e rs e x p o u n d e d th e te a c h
in g o f th e C h u r c h in th o s e c a te g o rie s o f th o u g h t th a t b r o u g h t th e m

48

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

in to d ia lo g u e w ith c o n te m p o r a r y in te lle c tu a ls, b u t th e y also re la te d


C h ris tia n d o c tr in e to th e C h ris tia n life w ith its u n iv e rsa l a p p e a l, so
th a t o r d in a r y p e o p le c o u ld m a k e th is fa ith t h e i r ow n. W e m u s t e x a m in e
this first h isto rically , a n d th e n as it re la te s to o u r o w n situ a tio n .
T h e A p o lo g ists o f th e s e c o n d c e n tu ry m a d e th e first a tte m p ts to set
o u t th e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f G o d in te rm s o f th e L ogos. T h e y d e c id e d
th a t G o d p r o je c te d th e L o g o s, th e s e c o n d p e r s o n o f th e T rinity, in o r d e r
t o c re a te th e c o sm o s. T h e r e w as m u c h d is a g re e m e n t a b o u t w h e th e r
th e L o g o s w'as u n c r e a te d o r p a r t o f c r e a tio n . I f w c say th a t G o d became
tr iu n e o r th a t h e a c q u ir e d th e L o g o s in o r d e r to e x te rn a lis e h im s e lf
a n d c re a te a c o sm o s, w e lin k th e e x is te n c e o f th e L o g o s to th a t o f th e
co sm o s. O n e A p o lo g is t w h o p o in te d in a m o re p ro m is in g d ire c tio n was
T h e o p h ilu s o f A n tio c h (c.180). T h e o p h ilu s d is tin g u is h e d b e tw e e n the
L og o s a n d its o u tw a rd e x p re s s io n , g o in g b e y o n d J u s tin to say th a t, w hile
th e L o g o s m ay b e a p ro je c tio n o f G o d o u ts id e h im s e lf fo r th e c re a tio n
o f th e c o s m o s , n e v e rth e le s s it p re -e x iste d w ith in h im . J u s t as wre have
in te n tio n s to w h ic h w e a r e a b le to give v e rb a l e x p re s s io n , s o G o d always
h a s h is L o g o s. H a v in g d c c id c d to b r in g a c o sm o s in to b e in g , h e gave
e x te rn a l e x p re s s io n to th is L o g o s, a n d in th is w ay th e d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n
G o d a n d th e w o rld is s a fe g u a rd e d . H ow ever, th is left th e q u e s tio n o f
w h e th e r th e i n n e r lo g o s c o u ld e x ist w ith o u t v erb a l e x p re s s io n o r was
c o m p e lle d to g iv e its e lf a n o u tw a rd e x p re s s io n .
A n o th e r a tte m p t to s e t o u t th e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f G o d in te rm s
o f th e L o g o s to o k th e fo rm o f m o d a lism , f o r w h ic h th e p e rs o n s o f th e
T rin ity a r e r o le s th a t G o d ta k e s o n f o r th e sa k e o f c re a tio n . G o d p lay e d
th e ro le o f F a th e r in th e O ld T e s ta m e n t, th e S o n in th e N ew T e sta m e n t,
a n d in o u r owrn tim e th e H o ly S p irit, a d o p tin g th e s e th r e e id e n titie s to
p e r f o r m p a r tic u la r f u n c tio n s f o r u s w ith in h istory. T h is w as th e a c c o u n t
d e v e lo p e d by S ab elliu s w h o ta u g h t in R o m e a t th e b e g in n in g o f th e
th ir d c e n tu ry , a n d w h o se te a c h in g s b e c a m e w id e s p re a d in th e W est.
T h e C h u r c h r e a c te d in te n s e ly a g a in s t S a b e llian ism , p a rtic u la rly in
th e E ast, w h ic h r e g a r d e d th e W est as p a rtic u la rly v u ln e ra b le to th e
te m p ta tio n o f m o d a lis m . S c c o n d -c c n tu ry A p o lo g ists d e c la re d th a t th e
p e rs o n s o f t h e T rin ity a r e th r e e in n u m b e r . H ow ever, th e y in siste d
th a t th is d o e s n o t m e a n th a t G o d sta rts as a u n it a n d th e n su b se q u e n tly
div id es o r e x p a n d s to b e c o m e th r e e . T h e o n e d o e s n o t ta k e o n a form
e x te rn a l to itse lf , f o r th e th re e n e s s o f G o d is in trin sic to h im . In o r d e r to
d e m o n s tr a te th is , th e F a th e rs to o k th e c ru c ia l s te p o f d is tin g u is h in g
b e tw e e n a lo n e a n d o n e .
In p h ilo s o p h ic a l H e lle n is m , G o d w as u n d e r s to o d as a m o n a d , a self1
su ffic ie n t u n it . In th e re lig io n o f th e a n c ie n t G re e k s, r e p r e s e n te d in

The Doctrine o f God

49

d e m y th o lo g is e d fo rm by P lato , G o d w as sim p ly o n e . H ow ever, in th e


C h ris tia n a c c o u n t, th e o n e n e s s o f G o d c a n n o t m e a n th a t G o d is a
m o n a d . In first-c e n tu ry A le x a n d ria , P h ilo , a Je w ish th in k e r th o ro u g h ly
a t h o m e w ith G r e e k th o u g h t, o ffe re d th e in te r p r e ta tio n th a t G o d is th e
o n e w h o is tru ly a lo n e . H is c o m m e n ta ry o n th e verse t h a t sp eak s o f th e
c r a tio n o f w o m a n sh o w s w h a t h e m e a n t: I t is n o t g o o d fo r m a n to be
a lo n e ; le t u s m a k e f o r h im a h e lp e r in h is lik e n e ss (G e n e sis 2 .1 8 ). P h ilo
says th a t m a n c a n n o t b e allo w e d to b e a lo n e , b e c a u se G o d is th e only
o n e w h o is tr u ly a lo n e (m onos) (Allegorical Interpretation o f Genesis II. 1.1 ).
T h a t G o d is o n e m e a n s th a t h e is u tte rly solitary.
H ow ever, in o p p o s itio n to th is view th e C h u rc h b e lie v e d th a t a lth o u g h
G o d is o n e , h e is n o t a m o n a d . In th e C h ristia n d o c tr in e o f G o d th e
n u m b e r th r e e re p r e s e n ts p a r tic u la r b e in g s in re la tio n w ith o n e a n o th e r,
so G o d is n o t a so lita ry b e in g . T h e in siste n c e , how ever, o n su c h a d istin c
tio n b e tw e e n b e in g o n e a n d b e in g so lita ry w o u ld k e e p C h ristia n
d o c tr in e in p e r m a n e n t te n s io n w ith o t h e r p h ilo s o p h ic a l a c c o u n ts o f
G o d . W e re C h ris tia n s ta lk in g a p e c u lia r la n g u a g e o f th e ir o w n , o r
w e re th e y a b le to give a p u b lic a c c o u n t th a t w o u ld d e m o n s tr a te th e
ra tio n a lity o f th e ir claim s? T h e F a th e rs w e re n o t c o n te n t to leave any
am biguity.
F irst o f all, t h e p ro b le m s w e re ta c k le d o n th e level o f th e v o c a b u la ry
e m p lo y e d . H o w w e re th e y to c h o o s e th e te rm s by w h ic h to say th a t
G o d is th r e e p e r s o n s w h o a r e o n e , r a th e r th a n th r e e d iffe re n t asp e cts
o f a s in g le u n it? T c rtu llia n , w ritin g a t th e e n d o f th e s e c o n d ce n tu ry ,
u s e d a n e x p re s s io n w h ic h p ro v e d decisive. G o d is ' una substantia, 1res
personae. W ith s u b s ta n c e h e in d ic a te d th e u n ity o f G o d , a n d w ith
p e r s o n s h e in d ic a te d p lu rality . T c rtu llia n s c h o ic e o f te rm s w as p ic k e d
u p b y H ip p o ly tu s w h o tra n s la te d th e m f o r th e G re e k -sp e a k in g C h ris
tia n s o f th e E ast. T h e tra n s la tio n o f T e rtu llia n s te rm s r e p r e s e n te d an
im m e n s e c h a lle n g e . T h e L a tin substantia m ay b e lite ra lly tra n s la te d
in to G re e k as hypostasis'. B o th w o rd s r e f e r to w h a t is u n d e rly in g a n d
fu n d a m e n ta l a n d so d e n o t e th e u n c h a n g in g b e in g f o u n d w ith in o r
b e n e a th e a c h in d iv id u a l th in g . E v e ry th in g is b a se d o n so m e such
u n c h a n g in g b e in g , w h ic h w as te r m e d its h y p o sta sis. T h o u g h this
G re e k te r m w e n t th r o u g h m a n y sh ifts th r o u g h th e c e n tu rie s , this
basic s e n s e w as c o n s ta n t. W h e n w e say th a t a ra in b o w d o e s n o t have
a hy p o stasis, w e m e a n th a t it is a n e p h e m e r a l p h e n o m e n o n , w hile a
ta b le h a s a h y p o sta sis, b e c a u s e th e r e is s o m e th in g su b sta n tia l a n d e n d u r
in g a b o u t it.
In g e n e r a l, h y p o stasis w as u s e d to d e n o te th a t sin g le u n c h a n g in g
b e in g th a t G o d is. S o w h a t a b o u t th e p e rso n s? T h e G re e k w o rd f o r

50

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

p e r s o n , p r o s o p o n , m e a n t a s p e c t o r fa c a d e . It o rig in a lly r e f e r r e d to
th e h u m a n fa c e a n d t h e n to th e m a sk w o rn by a c to rs in th e very ritu alis
tic th e a tr e o f a n c ie n t G re c c e , w h ic h in d ic a te d th e c h a r a c te r a n a c to r
w as p lay in g . T h e risk was th a t th is te rm w o u ld c o n tin u e to su g g e st a
fa c a d e , w h ic h w o u ld m e a n th a t p e rs o n s w o u ld be fro n ts f o r th e e sse n c e
o f G o d b e h in d o r b e n e a th th e m . S o h o w d id th is te r m , ta k e n from
T e rtu llia n , c o m e to b e a c c e p te d in th e E ast? F ro m O rig e n o n w a rd s th e
Fast b e g a n to r e p la c e th e te rm p e r s o n w ith h y p o stasis, a n d so ta u g h t
th a t G o d h a d th r e e h y p o stases, th a t is to say, th r e e u n c h a n g in g , u n d e r
lyin g re a litie s. T ra n s la tio n o f h y p o stasis in to L a tin im m e d ia te ly c r e a te d
1re s s u b s ta n tia e . H ow ever, L atin s p e a k e rs w ho a lre a d y u s e d th e e x p re s
sio n *una s u b s ta n tia , c o u ld h a rd ly n o w say trc s s u b s ta n tia e . A t stake
in th is tra n s la tio n issu e w as th e u n ity a n d th e r e f o r e th e b e in g o f G od.
H o w c o u ld th e C h u r c h u se th e e x p re s s io n o n e s u b s ta n c e , w ith o u t
c r e a tin g t h e im p re s s io n th a t th e th r e e p e rs o n s o f th e T rin ity a r e m o d e s
o r fa c e s o f th e o n e G o d w ith o u t re a l b e in g , as S ab elliu s tau g h t?
1. O n e a n d M a n y
T h e s o lu tio n t o th e p r o b le m o f th e p e rs o n s a n d u n ity o f G o d c a m e in
th e f o u r th c e n tu r y w ith th e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs, a n d it c a m e th ro u g h
a ra d ic a l in n o v a tio n th a t in v o lv ed a re d e fin itio n o f te rm s. U p u n til th a t
tim e h y p o sta sis h a d m e a n t b e in g o r su b s ta n c e . T h e C a p p a d o c ia n s
m a d e a n e w d e p a r tu r e , b y d e c id in g to m a k e a d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n th e s e
tw o m e a n in g s s o th a t e s se n c e a n d h y p o stasis c o u ld n o lo n g e r b e re g a rd e d
as synonym s.
T h e C a p p a d o c ia n s n o w sa id th a t th e m e a n in g o f s u b s ta n c e a n d
n a t u r e w as th e s a m e , so b o th c o u ld b e u s e d to signify th e o n e n e s s o f
G o d . G o d is o n e n a tu r e o r o n e su b s ta n c e . F ro m th e n o n th e L a tin term
s u b s ta n tia w as r e n d e r e d in G re e k n o t by h y postasis, b u t by o u sia . We
c a n tra n s la te o u s ia c ith e r w ith s u b s ta n c e o r n a tu r e , tw o E nglish w ords
w h ic h c a n b e u s e d as sy n o n y m s h e r e . H ow ever, th e y d e c id e d th a t hypos
tasis s h o u ld b e u n d e r s to o d to m e a n th e s a m e as p e r s o n , so th e te rm
p e r s o n n o w r e f e r r e d to a d is tin c t b e in g , to s o m e o n e w h o p o ssessed
tru e a n d p a r tic u la r b e in g a n d w as n o t sim p ly th e m ode* 01 m a n ife sta
tio n o f a n o t h e r b e in g
T h is w as a re v o lu tio n a ry m o v e, th o u g h fo r so m e re a s o n it h a s re c e iv e d
a lm o s t n o m e n tio n in th e h isto ry o f p h ilo so p h y . It was p o ssib le o n ly
b e c a u s e h y p o sta sis b o r e sev eral n u a n c e s w hich a llo w e d th is d e v e lo p
m e n t, so th is c o n c e p tu a l re v o lu tio n w as n o t e n tire ly arbitrary'. T h e te rm
h y p o stasis, w 'hich h a d r e f e r r e d to w h a t w as m o st fu n d a m e n ta l a n d
u n c h a n g in g , w as n o w a sy n o n y m f o r p e r s o n , w h ic h c o n s e q u e n tly was

The Doctrine o f God

51

u n d e r s to o d as a n o n to lo g ic a l categ o ry . P e rso n n o lo n g e r d e n o te d ju s t
a re la tio n s h ip th a t a n e n tity c o u ld ta k e o n o r th e ro le th a t a n a c to r w ould
play. F o r th is r e a s o n S a in t Basil in siste d w c c a n o n ly say th a t G o d is th re e
p r o s o p a w h e n w e m a k e it c le a r th a t th e p r o s o p o n in d ic a te s a d istin c t
a n d p a r tic u la r en tity , a n d n o t a f a c e o r ro le in S a b e lliu s sense.
N o w w c m u s t tu r n to th e s ig n ific a n c e o f saying th a t G o d is o n e b e in g
o r o n e s u b s ta n c e . T h e te r m s u b s ta n c e re fe rs to w h a t is g e n e r a l, o r to
w h a t is h e ld in c o m m o n , a n d so it im p lie s th e e x is te n c e o f m o r e th a n
o n e b e in g . T h e te rm h u m a n n a t u r e , f o r in s ta n c e , in d ic a te s th a t w e a re
all o f o n e s o rt o r o n e n a tu r e , h u m a n n a tu r e , e v e n th o u g h w e a r e e a c h
in d iv id u a lly a c o m p le te h u m a n b e in g . H u m a n n a tu r e has as m an y
in sta n c e s as t h e r e a r c h u m a n b e in g s . T h e r e is a u n ity to h u m an ity 7
a n d y et th e r e a re sim u lta n e o u s ly tw o, th r e e , a th o u s a n d , a m illio n
h u m a n b e in g s , e a c h o f w h o m e x e m p lifie s h u m a n n a tu r e a n d re p re s e n ts
h u m a n ity . H ow ever, if th e r e a r c m a n y h u m a n s s h a r in g o n e h u m a n
n a tu r e , a r e th e r e m a n y g o d s s h a rin g a d iv in e n a tu re ?
T h e a n s w e r th e C a p p a d o c ia n s o f f e r e d was th a t, b e c a u se w e h u m a n s
h a v e b e e n c r e a te d , o u r n a tu r e is divisible. H u m a n b e in g s a r e n o t o n ly
d istin c t, b u t th e y a r e s e p a ra te , o w in g to th e in te r v e n tio n o f tim e a n d
sp a c e b e tw e e n th e m . T im e a n d s p a c e allo w us to be p e rc e iv e d as selfe x is te n t p e rs o n s . T h is m e a n s th a t h u m a n n a tu r e is su b je c t to m ortality:
w h e n a h u m a n is b o r n , h u m a n n a tu r e b rin g s f o r th a h u m a n e n tity w h ic h
is d iv id e d f r o m all o t h e r h u m a n e n titie s by tim e a n d sp a c e . E a c h h u m a n
p e rs o n is th e r e f o r e a s e p a ra te entity, a n d th u s w e have m a n y p e o p le .
T h e o n e n e s s o f th e h u m a n ra c e se e m s to b e a t o d d s w ith, a n d e v e n to
b e th r e a te n e d by, th e p lu ra lity o f all th e s e in d iv id u a l p e rso n s.
F o r all c r e a te d b e in g s , th e r e is a c o n flic t betwrc c n o n e n e s s a n d m any
n ess, o w in g t o th e ir e m e r g e n c e in tim e a n d sp a c e . W ith o u t sp ac e a n d
tim e e v e ry th in g is in d a n g e r o f lo s in g its id en tity . H ow ever, th e m any
n e ss o f G o d is n o t in c o n flic t w ith th e u n ity o f G o d : s in c e G o d is n o t su b
je c t to tim e o r sp a c e , th e r e is a b so lu te ly n o c o n n o ta tio n o f se p a ra te n e s s,
o r o f e x te r n a lity a n d in te m a lily f o r th e p e rs o n s o f G o d . T h e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs s a id th a t th e a n a lo g y o f o n e h u m a n n a tu r e e x e m p lifie d by
a m u ltitu d e o f d is tin c t h u m a n p e rs o n s c o u ld in d e e d b e a p p lie d to G od,
p ro v id e d th a t w e d o n o t in c lu d e tim e a n d sp ace, a n d th e re fo r e se p a ra te d n e s s a n d m o rta lity , in th e analogy. W ith th is c o n d itio n th e q u e s tio n o f
th re e d if f e r e n t g o d s d is a p p e a rs .
T h e n e x t issu e w e m u s t e x a m in e is th e re la tio n s h ip o f G o d to b e in g .
D o es th e b e in g o r t h e e s s e n c e o f G o d c o m e b e fo re th e s e th r e e
p e rso n s? D o e s G o d s ta r t as o n e a n d s u b s e q u e n tly b e c o m e m a n y ? We
c a n ask th e s a m e q u e s tio n a b o u t h u m a n ity . C o u ld it b e th a t h u m a n ity

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c o m e s first, a n d p a r tic u la r h u m a n s c a m e a lo n g la ter? T h e a n c ie n t G re e k


p h ilo s o p h e rs b e lie v e d th a t h u m a n n a tu r e , this g e n e ra l th in g in w hich
m a n y p a r tic ip a te , c o m e s first a n d is fo llo w e d by th e m o re p a rtic u la r
th in g . W e all c o m e in to e x is te n c e fro m a s in g le e sse n c e , a n d f ro m this
u n ity w e d iv e rg e in to s e p a ra te b e in g s w ith a m y riad fo rm s: o n th is basis
n a tu r e c o m e s first, a n d t h e in d iv id u a ls wrh o ex e m p lify th a t n a tu r e
a rriv e later. P la to a n d A risto tle b e lie v e d th a t n o m a tte r w h a t e a c h o n e
o f u s is as a n in d iv id u a l h u m a n b e in g , w e a re e x e m p la s o f a c o m m o n
n a tu r e . F o r P la to , w e a r c e x e m p la s o f t h e id e a l h u m a n b e in g in w hich
w e all p a r tic ip a te , w h ilst f o r A risto tle w e a r e e x e m p la s o f a n u n d e rly in g
h u m a n n a t u r e in th e fo rm o f th e h u m a n sp e c ie s fro m w h ic h we
all s p rin g . T h e sp e c ie s p re c e d e s th e in d iv id u a l, a n d so, a c c o rd in g to
A risto tle , p a r tic u la r in d iv id u a ls d is a p p e a r b u t th e sp e c ie s survives.
If th e p h ilo s o p h e r s o f a n c ie n t G re e c e a r e rig h t, n a tu r e 1 p r e c e d e s th e
p a r tic u la r p e r s o n .
H ow ever, w ith its d o c tr in e o f th e T rinity, th e C h u rc h to o k a n e n tire ly
d iff e r e n t a p p r o a c h th a t o p e n e d u p a n e w p a th f o r p h ilo so p h y . O n e sin
gle s ta te m e n t m a d e b y th e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs la id th e basis fo r an
e n tir e n e w p h ilo s o p h ic a l p ro je c t: there is no bore essence, n o n a tu r e as-such. N a tu r e ex ists o n ly in sp ecific in s ta n c e s, so w e c a n o n ly ta lk a b o u t
b e in g o r e s s e n c e o r n a tu r e w h e n th e r e a r e p a r tic u la r b e in g s. N a tu r e is
n o t m o r e f u n d a m e n ta l th a n a n y sp e c ific in s ta n c e o f t h a t n a tu r e : 'B e in g
as s u c h d o e s n o t c o m e b e f o r e p a r tic u la r beings. It m a k e s n o se n se t o say
th a t sp ecific h u m a n b e in g s s p r in g o u t o f h u m a n n a tu r e . E a c h p a rtic u la r
h u m a n b e in g is f u n d a m e n ta l f o r h u m a n n a tu r e a n d f o r h u m a n ity as a
w h o le. T h e C a p p a d o c ia n s tell u s th a t it is n o t p o ssib le to u se th e term
h u m a n n a tu r e w ith o u t in c lu d in g th is a n d th a t p a rtic u la r p e rso n already.
W e c a n n o t r e f e r to h u m a n n a tu r e w ith o u t im p ly in g th e specific perso n s.
T h e p h ilo s o p h ic a l b r e a k th r o u g h r e p r e s e n te d by th e d o c tr in e o f
th e T rin ity h a s p r o f o u n d s ig n ific a n c e f o r h u m a n ity . I f th e r e is n o essen c e
as s u c h , a n d w e c a n n o t a ssu m e th e o rig in o f th e h u m a n sp e c ie s is
a h u m a n e s se n c e , w h e th e r P la to s id e a l h u m a n , o r A risto tle s species,
w h a t is t h e o r ig in o f c a c h h u m a n b e in g ? In a le tte r to A m p h ilo c h iu s,
Basil a g re e s t h a t s in c e a 'b a r e ' h u m a n e s se n c e c a n n o t b e th e o rig in o f
h u m a n k in d , th e c h ie f o n to lo g ic a l p r e d ic a te o f a h u m a n b e in g c a n n o t
b e h is e s s e n c e (Letter 2 3 5 ). I t m u s t d e fin ite ly b e o n e p a r tic u la r b e in g ,
o n e h u m a n . T h e a n c ie n t G re e k s said th a t w e d e riv e o u r e x iste n c e , a n d
tra c e o u r g e n e a lo g y as p a r tic u la r b e in g s, f r o m a c o m m o n h u m a n n a tu re .
How'cvcr, C h ris tia n s r e s p o n d th a t wrc c a c h d ra w o u r e x is te n c e fro m a
sin g le p e r s o n , w h o m w e call 'A d a m '. T h is specific b e in g , a n d n o t
n a t u r e , is th e c a u se o f o u r b e in g .

The Doctrine o f God

53

In G o d , to o , it is n o t d iv in e n a tu r e th a t is th e o rig in o f th e d iv in e
p e rs o n s . It is th e p e r s o n o f th e F a th e r th a t c a u s e s ' G o d to e x ist as
T rinity. H o w ev er, F a th e r h a s n o m e a n in g o u ts id e a re la tio n s h ip w ith
th e S o n a n d th e S p irit, f o r h e is th e F a th e r o f s o m e o n e . T h is p lu ra lity
a n d in te r d e p e n d e n c e o f th e p e rs o n s is th e basis o f a n e w o n to lo g y . T h e
o n e e sse n c e is n o t t h e o rig in o r c a u s e o f th e b e in g o f G o d . It is th e
p e r s o n o f th e F a th e r th a t is th e u ltim a te a g e n t, b u t s in c e F a th e r im p lies
c o m m u n io n lie c a n n o t b e u n d e r s to o d as a b e in g in iso la tio n . P e rso n a l
c o m m u n io n lie s a t th e v ery h e a r t o f d iv in e b e in g .
N o w wre a r e in a b e tte r p o s itio n to u n d e r s ta n d th e e x p re s s io n G o d is
lo v e . C h ris tia n ity d id n o t in v e n t th e n o tio n th a t G o d is love. P lato
b e lie v e d th a t G o d is love, in t h e se n se th a t love is a flow' o f th e d iv in e
n a tu r e , a flo w as in v o lu n ta ry as th e o v e rflo w in g o f a c u p o r a crater.
T h e C h u r c h r e je c te d th is c o n c e p tio n o f lo v e as in v o lu n ta ry e m o tio n o r
passio n , a n d in siste d in s te a d th a t th e p h r a s e G o d is love m e a n s th a t
G o d is c o n s titu te d by th e s e p e r s o n a l re la tio n s h ip s . G o d is c o m m u n io n :
lov e is f u n d a m e n ta l to h is b e in g , n o t a n a d d itio n to it. B eca u se it is
d ire c tly r e la te d to t h e d o c tr in e o f th e T rinity, th is p o in t h a s to b e given
a g r e a t d e a l o f c la rific atio n .
It is p e r h a p s o u r u s u a l a s s u m p tio n th a t w e e x ist first, a n d th e n th a t we
love. H ow ever, le t u s im a g in e th a t o u r e x iste n c e d e p e n d s o n o u r
re la tio n s h ip w ith th o s e w e love. O u r b e in g d eriv es fro m o u r re la tio n
s h ip w ith th o s e w h o lo v e us, a n d if th ey c e a se to love us, w e d isap p e ar.
L ov e is th is c o m m u n io n o f re la tio n s h ip s w 'hich give us o u r e x iste n ce .
O n ly love c a n c o n tin u e to s u sta in u s w 'hen all th e m a te ria l th re a d s o f life
a r e b ro k e n a n d w e a r e w ith o u t an y o t h e r s u p p o r t. If th e s e th r e a d s a re
n o t r e c o n n e c te d wrc c e a se to ex ist; d e a th is th e s n a p p in g o f th e last
th re a d . Love, o r c o m m u n io n w ith o t h e r p e rs o n s , is s tr o n g e r th a n
d e a th a n d is t h e s o u rc e o f o u r e x iste n c e . T h a t G o d is love* m e a n s th a t
G o d is t h e c o m m u n io n o f th is H o ly T rinity. G o d th e F a th e r w o u ld lose
h is id e n tity a n d b e in g if h e d id n o t h a v e th e S o n , a n d th e sa m e a p p lie s
to th e S o n a n d to th e S p irit. I f w e to o k aw ay th e c o m m u n io n o f th e
T rin ity to m a k e G o d a u n it, G o d w 'ould n o t b e c o m m u n io n a n d th e re
fo re w 'ould n o t b e love.
It is easy to a ssu m e th a t G o d is lo v e b e c a u se h e loves th e w o rld , b u t
th e w 'orld d i d n o t always ex ist. G o d d id n o t become love b e c a u se h e
loves th e w o rld , f o r th is w o u ld im p ly th a t h e b e c a m e love w h e n
th e w o rld c a m e in to e x iste n c e . B u t G o d is a b so lu te ly tra n s c e n d e n t, his
e x is te n c e is u tte r ly i n d e p e n d e n t o f th e w o rld . G o d is love in h is very
b e in g . I t is n o t h o w e v e r h im s e lf th a t h e loves, so th is is n o t self-love. T h e
F a th e r loves th e S o n a n d th e S p irit, th e S o n loves th e F a th e r a n d th e

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S p irit, t h e S p irit lo v es th e F a th e r a n d th e S o n: it is a n o th e r p e r s o n th a t
e a c h loves. It is th e p e r s o n , n o t th e n a t u r e o r e sse n c e , w h o loves, a n d
th e o n e h e lo v es is also a p e rs o n . B e c a u se d iv in e love is a m a tte r o f p e r
so n a l c o m m u n io n th is love is fre e : e a c h p e r s o n loved is f r e e to r e s p o n d
t o th is love w ith love.
O u r q u e s tio n w as w h e th e r it is th e s u b s ta n c e o r th e p e rs o n th a t
is m o s t f u n d a m e n ta l, in G o d . W e h a v e s e e n th a t, in G o d , e sse n c e a n d
p e r s o n a r e c o -fu n d a m e n ta l, n e ith e r is p r io r to th e o th e r. N e x t w e
m u s t s e c w h a t s ig n ific a n c e th is h a s fo r th e d o c tr in e o f G o d , first by
s e e in g w h a t th e C a p p a d o c ia n s m a d e o f it, th e n by lo o k in g a t th e very
d iff e r e n t a n sw e r g iv en b y A u g u stin e to th e q u e s tio n o f th e d iv in e T rin ity
a n d th e issu es th a t it h a s le ft u s w ith.
2 . T h a t, W h a t a n d I lo w God is
W e h a v e s e e n th a t, by m a k in g a d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n s u b s ta n c e a n d
p e r s o n , th e C a p p a d o c ia n s m a d e a vital d e v e lo p m e n t in th e d o c trin e
o f G o d . T h e s e tw o te rm s, s u b s ta n c e a n d p e r s o n , allow us to dist in g u ish
b e tw e e n th e v a rio u s ways in w h ic h w c u se th e w o rd b e in g . W e can
d is tin g u is h b e tw e e n say in g that G o d exists, w hat G o d is, a n d how G o d is
w ho h e is.
T h e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs d e a lt first w ith th e b a r e fact o f G o d 's
e x iste n c e . T o say th a t G o d is G o d is sim p ly to a ffirm h is e x is te n c e a n d
r u le o u t h is n o n -e x is te n c e . By a sk in g w h a t G o d is w e a r e a sk in g a b o u t
b e in g ' in g e n e r a l. W h e n r e f e r r in g to an y e x is te n t o b je c t, it is o n e
th in g to say th a t it exists, ru lin g o u t th e p o ssib ility th a t it d o e s n o t
ex ist, a n d it is a n o t h e r th in g to say w hat th is p a r tic u la r o b je c t is. F o r th e
G re e k s, th e q u e s tio n o f w hat re la te s to th e su b s ta n c e , o r ousia, o f
th e o b je c t, a n d in th e case o f G o d , it r e fe rs to th e e sse n c e o f G o d . T h e
th ir d way o f r e f e r r in g to th in g s a c c o r d in g to th e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs is
w ith th e q u e s tio n how, o r in w hat way it is w h a t it is. T h e C a p p a d o c ia n
d istin c tio n b e tw e e n w hat a n d how was q u ic k ly a d o p te d by th e C h u rc h
b e c a u s e it h e l p e d to s e t o u t th e ra tio n a lity o f its te a c h in g a b o u t G o d .
S a in t M a x im u s th e C o n fe sso r a r g u e d th a t w h a t c o rre s p o n d s to th e
r e a s o n , o r lo g o s, f o r w h ic h a th in g exists, w h ile h o w re fe rs to th e way
in w h ic h it is w h a t it is. T h e s e d is tin c tio n s will h e lp us lay o u t C h ristia n
d o c tr in e w ith r e g a r d to t h e b e in g o f G od.
F irst, th a t G o d Is. T o say that G o d exists, is m e re ly to in d ic a te his
e x is te n c e r a t h e r th a n n o n -e x is te n c e . T h e q u e s tio n o f G o d s e x iste n c e
w as s c a rc e ly e v e r a sk e d in th e a n c ie n t w o rld , so th e issue th a t is so
p re s sin g f o r u s w as n o t o n e th a t p a tris tic w rite rs h a d to e n g a g e w ith . T h e

The Doctrine o f God

55

E p ic u re a n s e x p re s s e d d o u b t a b o u t G o d s e x iste n c e , b u t th e y d id n o t
e x e rc ise a n y s ig n ific a n t in flu e n c e .
P a tristic th e o lo g y a n d s u b s e q u e n t C h ris tia n d o c tr in e uses th e v e rb to
b e w h e n r e f e r r in g to G o d . T h e n e o -p la to n ism w h ich d o m in a te d a t th e
tim e o f t h e F a th e rs s p o k e o f O n e as b e in g b e y o n d su b sta n c e , so th e
te r m o u s ia c o u ld n o t b e u s e d o f th e O n e , b u t o n ly o f w h a t derives
fro m it. S u c h n e g a tiv e th eo lo g y 'w as w id e sp re a d , a n d n o t lim ite d to n e o
p la to n ism . D io n y siu s th e A re o p a g ite u s e d th e e x p re ssio n hyper-ousios*
(ab o v e e ss e n c e ) in o r d e r to say t h a t G o d in h im s e lf is above e v e ry o n to
logical c a te g o ry . All o u r c a te g o rie s c o m e fro m o u r e x p e rie n c e o f c re a te d
reality, b u t c r e a te d re a lity c a n n o t give u s a n y k n o w le d g e o f G o d . W h e n
d e a lin g w ith t h e G re e k F a th e rs, w e r e f e r to th is as apophatic theology.
T h e d o c tr in e o f G o d d o e s in d e e d ta k e u s b e y o n d th e c o m m o n n a tu re
o f th in g s, b u t th is d o e s n o t m e a n th a t w e c a n n o t use th e c o n c e p t o f
b e in g w h e n d e a lin g w ith G o d . A p o p h a tic is m d o c s n o t m e a n th a t
w e h a v e s u rp a s s e d th e c o n c e p t o f b e in g o r g o n e b e y o n d ontology.
In a n i m p o r ta n t p assa g e in O n th e H o ly S p irit S a in t Basil says, w ith
re f e r e n c e to t h e p h ra s e o f S t J o h n s G o sp e l in th e b e g in n in g w as th e
W o rd , th a t n o m a tte r h o w w e s tre tc h o u r in te lle c t, w e c a n n o t go
b e y o n d th e w o rd w as. T h e v e rb to b e is n o t o n ly p e rm issib le in discus
sio n o f G o d , b u t it a p p lie s m o s t d ire c tly a n d u n iq u e ly to G o d , fo r G o d
is th e o n e w h o tru ly is. B e in g a p p lie s p rim a rily to G o d , so th e o lo g y
is I h e tr u e o n to lo g y . G o d is n o t b e y o n d o r a b o v e th e c o n c e p t o f b e in g ,
b u t h e is th e g e n u in e , th e tr u e , 'being'.
G o d is th e o n e w h o is a n d h e is th a t b e in g w h o m w e c a n a d d re ss
in w o rsh ip a n d th e E u c h a ris t. T h e b e g in n in g o f th e E u c h a ristie anaphora
th a t b e a r s S t J o h n C h ry so s to m s n a m e , m a k e s th e fo rm al d e c la ra tio n o f
th e C h u r c h t h a t G o d is th e re a l, th e tr u e b e in g .
I i is o n ly m e e t a n d r ig h t lo s in g p ra ise s u n to th ee, lo bless th e e , to m a g n ify th ee,
to g iv e th a n k s u n to th ee, to w o rs h ip th e e in a ll p la ce s o f th y d o m in io n . F o r th o u
a rt G o d in e ffa b le , u n k n o w a b le , in v is ib le , in c o m p r e h e n s ib le , th e sa m e T I I O U A R T
fro m e ve rlastin g .

T h e e x p re s s io n th e s a m e w as fa m ilia r e v e n in P la to s tim e , d e fin in g


b e in g as w h a t is sta b le a n d p e r m a n e n t. T o th e a n c ie n t G re e k s, d ec ay
a n d d is s o lu tio n w as t h e f u n d a m e n ta l p ro b le m , as in d e e d it is fo r all o f
us, so b e in g is w h a t is c o n s ta n t a n d im m u ta b le . O n to lo g y sim p ly r e p r e
s e n ts o u r s e a r c h f o r sta b ility a n d p e r m a n e n c e .
D ivision a n d d isso lu tio n tu r n b e in g in to n o n -b e in g . W h a te v e r
h a s e x is te n c e n o w w ill e v e n tu a lly d is a p p e a r, so all a p p e a ra n c e s will

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u ltim a te ly le t u s d o w n . E v en th o u g h w e call this riv e r th e "T h a m e s, a n d


it c a n n o t b e a n y th in g else b u t th e T h a m e s , yet, as H e ra c litu s p o in te d
o u t, w e c a n n o t c ro ss th is sa m e riv e r tw ice. B u t w h a t e n d u r in g b e in g d o c s
this riv e r h a v e if it is c o n s ta n tly c h a n g in g ? L ike th is riv e r w e a r e all
c o n s ta n tly u n d e r g o in g c h a n g e , a ffe c te d by p ro c e sse s th a t, th o u g h
slow er, m a k e u s e q u a lly s u b je c t to flux. W h a t b e in g , o r w h a t stability,
d o e s an y o n e o f u s h a v e if w e a r e all h e a d in g to w ard s d e c a y a n d e v e n
tual d e a th ? S a in t M ax im u s u ses th e c o n c e p t o f 't h e lo g o s o f n a t u r e
to r e f e r to w h a te v e r is sta b le a b o u t e v e ry b e in g , w h ich gives it its
e x is te n c e a n d reality. I f th is sta b ility is re m o v e d its e x iste n c e is th re a t
e n e d . D ecay m o c k s a n d falsifies e v e ry th in g th a t exists, tu r n in g il in to
s o m e th in g d e lu s o r y a n d fin ally n o n -e x iste n t. Even* e n tity is p e n e tr a te d
by n o n -b e in g , w h ic h is always w e a rin g aw ay a t it u n til, w h e n it h a s finally
d is a p p e a re d , it n o lo n g e r h a s a n y re a lity a t all. N o n -b e in g u ltim a te ly
re n d e rs e v e ry th in g u n re a l. B u t w c a r e h o p in g to f in d p e r m a n e n c e , a n d
w e d o fin d it, o n ly , in G o d . In th e L itu rg y o f S a in t Basil w e c o n fe ss this
sta b le a n d c o n s ta n t b e in g in th e p ra y e r, It is very m e e t, r ig h t a n d
b e fittin g th e m a je sty o f th y h o lin e ss th a t w c sh o u ld p ra ise th e e a n d
sin g u n t o th e e . . . w h o a r e fro m e v e rla stin g , in v isib le, se a rc h le ss, u n c irc u m s c rib e d , iin m u ta b le .
I t is th e r e f o r e n o t tr u e to say th a t th e r e is n o ontology in th e th e o lo g y
a n d life o f th e C h u r c h . W e d o in d e e d r e f e r to th e b e in g o f G o d , a n d
t o h is b e in g t r u e b e in g , th e b e in g w h o ac tu ally is. T h is is th e signifi
c a n c e o f t h e c o n fe s s io n th a t G o d is: w c m a y really k n o w th is. It d o c s n o t
r e p r e s e n t a n a b s e n c e o f k n o w le d g e , a n d w e d o n o t r e q u ir e a n y n eg a tiv e
th e o lo g y to c o m m u n ic a te th is. As S a in t G re g o ry N a zian zu s p o in te d o u t,
G o d is th a t w h ic h m ay n o t b e d o u b te d .
W h ile o u r k n o w le d g e th a t G o d is is c e rta in , th in g s a r e d iffe re n t
w h e n it c o m e s to w hat G o d is. T h e w h a t q u e s tio n re la te s to th e e sse n c e
o f a th in g . S a in t G regory' N a z ia n z u s m a k e s th is d is tin c tio n b etw e en
w h a t a n d t h a t in h is S e c o n d T h e o lo g ic a l O ra tio n . H e says th a t w e
c a n n o t give a n a n s w e r to th is w h a t q u e s tio n , f o r w e c a n n o t say w hat
G o d s e s s e n tia l b e in g is. W c c a n n o t k n o w w h a t G o d is, b c c a u se to know
G o d in th is s e n s e w o u ld b e to h a v e m a ste ry o f G o d - w h ich w o u ld m e a n
th a t h e w o u ld n o t b e G o d . G re g o ry g o e s o n to sh o w us how d ifficu lt
it is to k n o w w h a t a n y th in g is in its essence*. H e a rg u e s th a t if it is
d iffic u lt e n o u g h to d isc o v e r th e m y steries o f n a tu r e a n d o f m a n . b u t th e
e s s e n c e o f G o d is sim p ly b e y o n d o u r c o n c e p tio n . B u t w h a t a b o u t th e
a n g e ls w h o a r c also s p iritu a l b e in g s, o r w h a t a b o u t th e sain ts w h o have
b e e n m a d e h o ly ? G re g o ry tells u s th e y c a n n o m o r e g ra sp th e e sse n c e o f
G o d th a n w e c a n .

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All k n o w le d g e c o m e s w ith a n u n a v o id a b le m a rg in o f w o n d e r a n d
m ystery. E s s e n c e d e n o te s th a t sta b le a n d u n c h a n g in g fa c to r in a n y b e in g
w h atso ev er. B u t n o b o d y c a n k n o w th e c sse n c e o f a n y th in g , a n d so
n o b o d y k n o w s th e e s se n c e o f G o d , a p a r t fro m G o d him self.
O u r th ir d c a te g o ry re p r e s e n ts a th ir d way to r e fe r to th e b e in g o f
G o d . T h is is th e q u e s tio n o f how' s o m e th in g is, a n d th is is p e rh a p s th e
m o s t s ig n ific a n t f o r theology, b e c a u s e w e a r e a b le to le a r n in w h a t way
G o d is w h o h e is. T h e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs d is tin g u ish th r e e ways th a t
G o d is G o d t h a t c o r r e s p o n d to th e p e rs o n s o f G o d . G o d is G o d as F a th e r,
S o n a n d H o ly S p irit - th e s e p e rs o n s in d ic a te how G o d is.
A ria n s a n d E u n o m ia n s a s k e d w h e th e r th e S o n is th e e s s e n c e o f
G o d o r a n e n e r g y o f G o d . I f th e C h u rc h h a d re p lie d th a t th e S o n is
th e e s se n c e , it w o u ld n o t h a v e b e e n p o ssib le to d is tin g u ish b e tw e e n th e
S o n a n d th e F a th e r. I f th e y h a d saitl t h a t h e was a n en e rg y , th e y w o u ld
h a v e r e d u c e d t h e S o n to a c r e a tu r e . S a in t G re g o ry N az ia n z u s in siste d
th a t th e S o n is n e ith e r e s se n c e n o r en erg y , b u t a n id e n tity th a t c a n b e
d e s c rib e d o n ly in te rm s o f its r e la tio n s h ip s ( Third Theological Oration 16).
H e says th a t e s s e n c e is th a t w h ic h is se lf-su b sisten t to e a c h sin g le th in g .
It is th a t th i n g in its u n iq u e n e s s , as it is d is tin c t fro m every o th e r th in g .
A n e n e rg y ' is s h a r e d by a n u m b e r o f e n titie s ju s t as re la tio n s h ip is. T h e
e sse n c e is sclf-su b sisten t, so w h e n w e r e f e r to th e d iv in e c ssc n c c , w c can
d o s o w ith o u t r e f e r r in g to an y o t h e r e sse n c e . T h o u g h a n e sse n c e m ay b e
h e ld c o m m o n by any n u m b e r o f b e in g s , w e c a n talk a b o u t it w ith o u t
m a k in g r e f e r e n c e to a n y th in g b e y o n d it.
B u t th e p e r s o n is n o t a n e sse n c e . It d o e s n o t exist w ith o u t b e in g
re la te d to o t h e r b e in g s , a n d it c a n n o t b e u n d e r s to o d in iso la tio n from
all e lse. W h e n w e ta lk a b o u t a p e r s o n , w c c a n d o so o n ly by re fe rrin g
to o t h e r b e in g s , e v e n th o u g h e a c h p e r s o n is d is tin c t so th a t w h a t is
p a r tic u la r to th is p e r s o n is f o u n d in n o o th e r. E very p e rs o n is
u n iq u e , u n p r e c e d e n te d a n d irre p la c e a b le , e v e n th o u g h h e exists o n ly
th ro u g h r e la tio n w ith o th e rs . T h e p e r s o n is th e id e n tity b o r n o f a
re la tio n s h ip , a n d ex ists o n ly in c o m m u n io n w ith o th e r p e rso n s. T h e r e
c a n n o t b e a p e r s o n w ith o u t re la tio n s h ip to o th e r p e rso n s, so if all th e
re la tio n s h ip s w h ic h c o n s titu te a p e r s o n d isa p p e a r, s o d o e s th a t p e rso n .
We c a n n o t r e f e r to a p e r s o n w ith o u t r e la tin g th e m to s o m e th in g else.
T h e r e f o r e , F a t h e r , S o n a n d S p irit d e n o t e u n iq u e p e rso n s. Yet, if th e
F a th e r w as w ith o u t re la tio n s h ip to th e S o n , th e r e w o u ld b e n o F ather,
a n d if th e S o n w as w ith o u t re la tio n s h ip to th e F a th e r, th e r e w o u ld be
n o S on.
In th is c o m m u n io n e a c h p e r s o n h a s h is ow n p e rs o n a l fe a tu re s, w hich
c a n n o t b e tra n s fe rre d . T h e F a th e r c a n n o t im p a rt his p a te rn ity to th e S on.

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N o n e o f th e s e p e r s o n a l o r h y p o sta tic c h a ra c te ristic s, o f u n o r ig in a te ,


b e g o tte n a n d p r o c e e d in g f r o m re sp e c tiv ely o f th e F a th e r, th e S o n
a n d th e H o ly S p irit, c a n b e im p a r te d o r c o m m u n ic a te d . E ach o f th e
p e rs o n s is a u n iq u e a n d s in g u la r id en tity . I f it is r e p la c e d by s o m e th in g
else, it c e a se s to b e th a t id en tity . T h e C a p p a d o c ia n s u se d th e te rm
p a r tic u la r (id io n ) to e x p re s s this.
A t first g la n c e , th e c o n c e p t o f th e p a r tic u la r a p p e a r s to c o n flic t
w ith th a t o f r e la tio n s h ip . If w e d e f in e a p e r s o n by a re la tio n s h ip , how
c a n w e say t h a t th e p e r s o n is e n tire ly u n iq u e a n d p a rtic u la r? A n d yet, its
p a rtic u la rity s p r in g s fro m a re la tio n s h ip f o r th e re la tio n s h ip c re a te s a
p a rtic u la rity w h ic h is n o n -c o m m u n ic a b le , a n d w ith o u t b e in g in c o m
m u n io n , th is s in g u la rity c a n n o t ex ist. T h u s c a c h p e rs o n o f th e H oly
T rin ity is u n iq u e a n d irre p la c e a b le p recisely b e c a u se e a c h is in an
u n b r o k e n r e la tio n s h ip w ith th e o t h e r p e rs o n s . If th is c o m m u n io n is
se v e re d , th a t p e r s o n is lost. C o m m u n io n , th e r e f o r e , is a c o n d itio n for
th e p e r s o n , in d e e d c o m m u n io n c re a te s singularity.
W h a t p r in c ip le s d id th e F a th e rs in tr o d u c e in e m p lo y in g th e s e te rm s
in to th e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f G o d ? W e h a v e s e e n t h a t th e first p rin c ip le
in tr o d u c e d b y th e F a th e rs is w e c a n n o t k n o w th e w h a t, th a t is th e
e s s e n c e o f G o d . T h e m in d c a n n o t g ra s p this e sse n c e , a n d th o u g h
th is w as c o n c c d c d by n e o -p la to n is m to a n e x te n t, it w as also a basic
p rin c ip le o f G r e e k th o u g h t th a t w e can c o m e to know th e e sse n c e o f
b e in g s a n d th a t th e m in d c a n ac h ie v e th is, b y c o n c e iv in g th e id e a a n d
th e n b e in g le d to th e e s se n c e itself.
T o k n o w t h e b e in g o f th is ta b le , a c c o r d in g to P la to , w e lo o k f o r th e
id e a o f ta b le w ith in th is p a r tic u la r tab le. N o m a tte r how m u c h th e
tr u th o f th e ta b le su rp a sse s th is a c tu a l ta b le b e fo r e m e , o u r m in d s re a c h
b e y o n d th is a c tu a lity to th a t tr u th . T h e m o r e m y m in d is p u rifie d o f all
m ate ria lity , th e m o r e it is a b le to r e a c h th e reality, w h ich is w hat th e
fo rm is. I f w e ta k e A ris to tle s view, wTc lo o k f o r th e e sse n c e o f th e ta b le in
this m a te ria l h y p o sta sis, w ith in w h ic h th e r e a re c e rta in n a tu ra l laws th a t
m a k e it a tab le.
T h e E a s te rn F a th e rs a r c c le a r th a t th e e sse n c e , th e w hat o f G od,
c a n n o t b e c o n c e iv e d o r c o m p r e h e n d e d by th e m in d . S a in t J o h n
D a m ascu s s a id , th e D ivine is in f in ite a n d u n in te llig ib le , a n d o n ly o n e
th in g a b o u t it is in te llig ib le : its in fin ity a n d its u n in te llig ib ility (O n the
Orthodox Faith 1). W e c a n n o t c o m p r e h e n d a n e sse n c e in anyw ay.
A s e c o n d p rin c ip le , o f f e r e d b y S a in t Basil, is th a t th e e s s e n c e ( o r
w h a t) d o c s n o t ex ist w ith o u t t h e h o w . T h e r e is 110 e sse n c e o r g e n e ra l
ity w ith o u t h y p o sta sis o r p a rtic u la rity . T h e h o w q u e s tio n is as o n to lo g i
cally f u n d a m e n ta l as th e w h a t q u e s tio n : th e y b o th r e f e r to w hat we
call b e in g .

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59

H e lle n ic p h ilo s o p h y always a ttr ib u te d p rim a c y to b e in g in th e se n se


o f w hat is u n iv e rsa l. F o r th is re a s o n th e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs fo u n d
A risto tle o f m o r e u se t h a n P la to , b e c a u s e A risto tie d is tin g u is h e d b etw ee n
first a n d s e c o n d s u b sta n c e : first s u b s ta n c e r e f e r r e d to th e specific
in s ta n c e , w h ile s e c o n d re fe rs to th e sp e c ie s, a n d th u s t o w h a t was
g e n e ra l a n d u n iv e rsa l. F o r e x a m p le , first s u b s ta n c e d e n o te s G e o rg e ,
J o h n a n d B asil - th e s e p a r tic u la r p e rs o n s - w h ile s e c o n d s u b s ta n c e
d e n o te s h u m a n ity as a w h o le o r t h e h u m a n n a tu r e w h ic h th e s e th re e
h a v e in c o m m o n .
H ow ever, d iv in e e sse n c e d o e s n o t c o m e b e fo re th e p a r tic u la r h y p o
stases, th e p e r s o n s , b e c a u s e th e r e c a n n o t sim ply b e b e in g w ith o u t
h y p o sta se s, j u s t as w e c a n n o t ta lk a b o u t h u m a n k in d w ith o u t im p ly in g
specific in d iv id u a l p e o p le . T h e sa m e is tr u e o f G o d ; o n e c a n n o t talk
a b o u t th e being o G o d w ith o u t re fe r r in g to th e p e rs o n s w ho te ll us h o w
G o d is G o d . T h e d iv in e e s s e n c e d o c s n o t p re c e d e th e p e rs o n s logically,
b e c a u s e th e e s s e n c e n e v e r exists w ith o u t th e p e rso n s. T h e b e in g o f G o d
c a n n o t b e u n d e r s to o d w ith o u t th e p e rs o n s , n o r c a n th e p e rs o n s be
u n d e r s to o d e x c e p t a s th e b e in g o f G o d .
N e v e rth e le ss, th e r e is a n o r d e r a n d h ie ra rc h y to th e s e p e rs o n s , fo r
th e ir b e in g a n d e x is te n c e is a m a tte r o f cause. T h e c o n c e p t o f ag e n cy
o r c a u sa lity in th e e x is te n c e o f G o d is o n e o f th e m o st im p o r ta n t a n d
le a st re c o g n is e d a re a s o f C h ris tia n d o c tr in e , a g a in in tr o d u c e d by th e
C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs , a n d f o r v ery g o o d re a s o n .
F irst, th e issu e o f cau sa lity w as in tr o d u c e d as a re sp o n se to th e
P la to n ists, w h o b e lie v e d th a t th e p ro c e ssio n fro m o n e to a n o th e r,
p a rtic u la rly in P lo tin u s' system o f e m a n a tio n s , w as a n a tu r a l e v o lu tio n
o u tw a rd s fro m t h e O n e , in a p ro c e s s o f d e g e n e r a tio n o r d isin te g ra tio n .
T h e y b e lie v e d th a t th e O n e b e c o m e s m u ltip le in a d v e rte n tly , as it b rea k s
u p a n d lo ses its id e n tity , a n d th is is b o th a n inevitability a n d a te rrib le
m is fo rtu n e .
O n th e o t h e r h a n d , th e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs h a d to c o n f ro n t th e
claim th a t th e S o n is a c r e a tu r e , a s s e rte d m o s t p u b lic ly by E u n o m iu s o f
C yzicus (d .3 9 3 ), w h o b e lie v e d th a t th e F a th e r a n d th e e sse n c e o f G o d
a r e o n e a n d t h e sa m e th in g . G iv en th a t th e F a th e r is th e o n ly o n e w ho
is u n b e g o tte n , E u n o m iu s c o n c lu d e d th a t w h a te v e r is n o t th e F ather,
su c h as th e S o n , o rig in a te s o u ts id e th e e s se n c e o f G o d . I t was fo r this
re a s o n th a t th e C a p p a d o c ia n s m a d e a c ru c ia l d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n th e
F a th e r a n d t h e e sse n c e o r b e in g o f G o d .
T h e q u e s tio n w as a s k e d w h e th e r th e S o n is b o r n o f th e F a th e r, o r o f
th e e s s e n c e o f th e F ath er. F o llo w in g S a in t A th a n a siu s, th e C o u n c il o f
N ic a e a (3 2 5 ) d e c id e d th a t th e S o n is b o r n o f th e s u b s ta n c e o f th e
F a th e r. I f th is is so, it is th is s u b s ta n c e w h ic h is th e s o u rc e o f life, a n d

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th e S o n is b e g o tte n b y th is s u b s ta n c e . S u b s ta n c e is p ro d u c tiv e , a n d it
b e g e ts th e S o n in th e s a m e way th a t a n y o t h e r p ro d u c tiv e th in g gives
b irth to th in g s o t h e r th a n itself.
W h e n th e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs in tr o d u c e d th e c o n c e p t o f causality,
th e y d id so in o r d e r to d ism iss th e id e a th a t th e c a u se o f th is b e g e ttin g
c o u ld b e a n y th in g o t h e r th a n a p e r s o n , th e F a th e r. T h e F a th e r is th e
cau se. In th is w ay th e y d is tin g u is h e d b e tw e e n th e F a th e r a n d s u b s ta n c e .
H a d th e y n o t b e e n a b le to m a k e th is d is tin c tio n , th e y w o u ld have
re m a in e d in s a m e p o s itio n as E u n o m iu s . T h e F a th e r c a n n o t sim p ly be
id e n tifie d as s u b s ta n c e . T h e d iv in e s u b s ta n c e d o e s n o t p r o d u c e th e
trin ita ria n p e r s o n s by s o m e in e v ita b le p ro c e ss. T h e d iv in e life o rig in a te s
in th e F a th e r, w h ic h is to say in a p e rs o n , th u s th e F a th e r is th e p rin c ip a l
p e r s o n , w h ile th e p e rs o n s o f th e S o n a n d S p irit c o m e fro m th e F ath er.
A th a n a siu s was re s p o n s ib le fo r th e id e a th a t it was th e F a th e r s
s u b s ta n c e t h a t w as g e n e ra tiv e a n d b e g e ts th e S o n . T h e A rians
c h a lle n g e d h im . I f th e S o n is o f G o d s s u b s ta n c e r a t h e r th a n o f G o d s
will, s u re ly t h e S o n m u st b e S o n o u t o f necessity? A th a n a siu s re s p o n d e d
th a t e v e n th o u g h h e is n o t a f u n c tio n o f a will, h e is n o t th e S on by
n ecessity e ith e r. H is s o n s h ip is w illed by th e F a th e r a n d will always b e
d e s ir e d by th e F ath er. B u t it is n o t j u s t th a t th e S o n is w illed by th e
F a th e r. A s A th a n a s iu s says, th e F a th e r wills his ow n p e rso n . H e m e a n s
two th in g s b y th is. O n e is th a t G o d s s u b s ta n c e exists b e c a u se o f th e
F a th e r. T h e o t h e r is th a t th e b e in g o f th e F a th e r exists b e c a u s e it is
w ille d b y th e F a th e r. T h e F a th e r wills h is o w n e x is te n c e as p e rs o n , so his
ow n e x is te n c e is n o t th r u s t o n h im . A th a n a s iu s se ts o u t th e issue:
Fo r, ju s t as th e F a th e r w ille d h is o w n p e rs o n , so the p e rs o n o f th e S o n - w h o is o f
th e sam e b e in g a s the F a th e r - is n o t u n w ille d b y th e S o n . T h e S o n is w anted a n d
lo v e d b y th e F a th e r, so w c s h o u ld u n d e rs ta n d that G o d 's b e in g is v o lu n ta ry a n d
w ille d . T h e S o n is fre e ly d e s ire d b y th e Fa th e r, a n d th e S o n lo ves, w a n ts a n d h o n
o u rs th e F a th e r in the sa m e way, a n d the w ill o f the F a th e r in the S o n is o n e a n d
th e sam e , so w e ca n c o n s id e r th e S o n to b e in th e Fa th e r, a n d th e F a th e r to b e in
th e S o n . ( T h ird O ration against the A ria n s <6.)

T h a t th e S o n o f G o d is o f th e s u b s ta n c e o f th e F a th e r d o e s n o t
m e a n th a t h e is th e S o n by necessity. T h e C a p p a d o c ia n s w e n t o n to
d e v e lo p A th a n a s iu s id e a by sa y in g th a t th e F a th e r is th e c au se o f th e
S o n . S in c e th e F a th e r w illed to ex ist as th is p e rs o n , h e m u s t have w illed
th a t th e S o n e x is t as a p e rs o n to o .
H e r e w e h a v e a rriv e d a t th e lim its o f o n to lo g y . W e h a v e a sk e d w h e th e r
G o d ex ists b e c a u s e h e intends to , o r b e c a u se h e has to, a n d w e have

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f o u n d th a t h e exists b e c a u se h e in te n d s to , a n d n o t b e c a u se h e c a n n o t
d o o th e rw ise . O n th is p r in c ip le th e C a p p a d o c ia n s n a m e d th e F a th e r
th e a g e n t, o r c a u s e , w h o is re s p o n s ib le f o r th e e x iste n c e o f G o d . T h e
F a th e r is th e a g e n t o f h is ow n e x is te n c e as F a th e r a n d th e e x iste n c e o f
th e s e o t h e r p e rs o n s . E x is te n c e is th e f u n c tio n o f p e rs o n s a c tin g in
fre e d o m , a n d so is in n o w ay a f u n c tio n o f necessity.
T h e C a p p a d o c ia n s tell u s th a t th e f re e d o m o f G o d is th e fre e d o m o f
th e F a th e r. S a in t G re g o ry N a zian zu s a tta c k e d th e o ld P la to n ist c o n c e p
tio n th a t G o d is lik e a d r in k in g vessel (h a te r) w h ic h overflow s, p o u rin g
o u t g o o d n e s s a n d life, th e s o rt o f a n a lo g ) c o n c e p tu a lis e s th e n a tu ra l
o v erflo w o f a fe rtile n a tu r e , w h ic h c a n n o t b u t give b irth to n e w life
(T h ird Theological Homily: Oration 2 9 .2 ). G re g o ry in siste d th a t this
analog)* m a k e s th e F a th e r s b e g e ttin g o f th e S o n in v o lu n tary , w hich
w o u ld su g g e st th a t th e e n tir e T rin ity ex ists as a n a tu r a l a n d n e c e ssa ry
c o n s e q u e n c e o f th e e s s e n c e th a t G o d is.
T h e C re e d o f N ic a e a h a d said b e g o tte n o f th e F a th e r, th a t is, o f th e
s u b s ta n c e o f th e F a th e r. At th e C o u n c il o f C o n s ta n tin o p le (381) th e
w o rd s o f th e s u b s ta n c e o f th e F a th e r w e re re m o v e d , so th a t o u r
C re e d sim p ly says th a t th e S o n is b e g o tte n o f th e F a th e r . T h e d e b a te
th a t to o k p la c e b e tw e e n th e y e a rs 325 a n d 381 m a d e it e v id e n t th a t th e
c o n c e p t o f s u b s ta n c e c o u ld m a k e th e b e g e ttin g o f th e S o n a m a tte r o f
necessity. T h e a c c u s a tio n s m a d e b y th e A ria n s a n d E u n o m ia n s in d ic a te d
th a t th e b e g e ttin g o f th e S o n was in v o lu n ta ry a n d u n fr e e , so th e C h u rc h
m a d e th is a lte r a tio n to th e C r e e d in o r d e r to ru le o u t all se n se o f
c o m p u ls io n . T h e C o u n c il o f C o n s ta n tin o p le ru le d th a t, in o r d e r to
in te r p r e t N ic a e a c o rre c tly , th e c o n c e p t o f f re e d o m h a d to b e s e c u re d
w ith in t h e d o c tr in e o f G od.
T h e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs m a d e s o m e f u n d a m e n ta l c o n trib u tio n s to
th e d o c tr in e o f G o d . T h e first o f th e s e was to p ro v id e a m o re a p p r o p r i
a te c o n c e p tu a lity , b r o u g h t a b o u t th r o u g h a c h a n g e in term in o lo g y .
T h e y s h ifte d t h e se n se o f h y p o stasis fro m its o rig in a l sen se o f e s s e n c e ,
a n d tr a n s f e r r e d it to th e p e r s o n , m a k in g p e r s o n a fu n d a m e n ta l c a te
gory. T h e w o rd h y p o sta sis im p lie s th a t s o m e th in g o r s o m e o n e actu a lly
exists, f o r w h a te v e r h a s n o a c tu a l h y p o stasis h a s n o re a l e x iste n c e . We
G re e k s still u s e h y p o stasis in th is se n se , f o r in s ta n c e in a n e x p re ssio n
su c h as th e s e ru m o u rs a r e w ith o u t h y p o stasis, w h e n w e w a n t to say th a t
th e r e is n o tr u t h in th e m .
By c a llin g h y p o stases p e r s o n s , th e C a p p a d o c ia n s a ttr ib u te d full
o n to lo g ic a l re a lity to e a c h o f th e p e rs o n s o f G o d . T h e y re je c te d th e view
th a t th e y a r e sim p ly d iffe re n t ro le s e n a c te d by th e o n e a n d th e sa m e

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b e in g . T h e n th e C a p p a d o c ia n s a ttr ib u te d th e c au se o f G o d s e x iste n c e
t o th e F a th e r, so th e e x is te n c e o f G o d b e c a m e a m a tte r o f p e rs o n a l
fre e d o m .
T h e se n ew te rm in o lo g ic a l a n d c o n c e p tu a l to o ls allo w e d th e F a th e rs
t o e m p lo y a n a lo g ie s in w h ic h th e p e rs o n s w e re c le arly c o m p le te
b e in g s, a n d s o to stay fa ith fu l to th e tr a d itio n th e y h a d receiv ed .
S ab elliu s v ie w e d G o d as a b e in g th a t e x te n d e d in to th r e e s e p a ra te
o ffsh o o ts e a c h w ith its s e p a ra te r o le , b u t th e a ss u m p tio n was th a t this
p lu ra lity w o u ld fin ally c o n tr a c t b a c k in to th e o n e a g a in . T h e b e lie f th a t
G o d s b e in g h a s th r e e e x te n s io n s is te r m e d m o d a lis m . T h e c o n c e rn
a ro u s e d b y th e th r e a t o f m o d a lism p r o d u c e d very m ix e d re a c tio n s to
N ic a c a s r u lin g fo r th e te r m h o m o o u s io n . F o llo w in g A th a n asiu s,
N ic a e a stre sse d th a t th e S o n is b o r n o f th e e sse n c e o f th e F a th e r: the
S o n is n o t a n e x te n s io n o f th e F a th e r s e s s e n c e , b u t a c o m p le te a n d
in d e p e n d e n t en tity .
T h e C a p p a d o c ia n s in siste d th a t th e s e th re e p e rs o n s a r e in d e e d
th re e c o m p le te e n titie s . T h e y m a d e a n im p o rta n t c h a ra c te ristic a lte ra
tio n to o n e fa m ilia r analogy. In th e p h r a s e 'lig h t fro m lig h t' th e C re e d
u se s th e analog} o f lig h t to r e p r e s e n t th e u n ity o f th e F a th e r a n d th e
S o n ; j u s t as lig h t e m a n a te s ray s th a t c a n n o t b e s e p a ra te d f ro m th e ir
s o u rc e , th e S o n is in s e p a ra b ly o n e w ith th e F a th e r. T h e C a p p a d o c ia n
F a th e rs f o u n d th a t th is a n a lo g y n e e d s c la rific a tio n , b e c a u se j u s t as rays
o f lig h t c o u ld b e c o n s tr u e d as th e e x te n s io n o f th e lig h t s o u rc e , so th e
S o n c o u ld th u s b e c o n s tr u e d as t h e n e c e ssa ry o u tw o rk in g o f G od.
S o r a t h e r th a n re p e a tin g lig h t o f lig h t', th e C a p p a d o c ia n s sp o k e o f
th re e s u n s o r t h r e e to rc h e s.
W c h a v e t h r e e c o m p le te p e rs o n s . W h a t is c o m m o n to th e s e th r e e
ligh ts? T h e y h a v e a c o m m o n e n e r g y a n d s u b s ta n c e , f o r th e y e m it th e
sa m e h e a t a n d lig h t. T h e p a rtic u la rity a n d in te g rity o f e a c h p e rs o n is
as f u n d a m e n ta l as w h a t is c o m m o n to th e m a n d w h ic h gives th e m
th e ir unity.
T o r e f e r to th is re la tio n s h ip o f p e rs o n s , th e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs
e m p lo y e d a n o t h e r c o n c e p t to r e f e r to th e u n ity a n d d is tin c tio n o f
e a c h p e rs o n . T h is is th e c o n c e p t o f p e ric h o re s is . T h e th r e e p e rs o n s
in h e r e in o n e a n o th e r , so e a c h is f o u n d e n tire ly w ith in th e o th e r . E ach
p e r s o n h a s h is o w n o n to lo g ic a l in teg rity , a n d yet th e y a r c o n e . In a le tte r
a ttr ib u te d to S a in t Basil w e read :
W h a te v e r th e F a t h e r is, is a ls o fo u n d in th e S o n a n d w h ate ve r th e S o n is , is also
fo u n d in i h r F a th e r. T h e S o n is fo u n d in h is e n tire ty w ith in th e F a th e r a n d h e has
ih e F a th e r in h is e n tire ty w ith in h im . T h u s , the h yp ostasis o f th e S o n is th e im a g e

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a n d the lik e n e s s b y w h ich the F a th e r c a n b e kn o w n a n d th e h yp ostasis o f the


F a th e r is kn o w n in th e im a g e o f th e S o n . (L etter $ 8 )

T h e in te n tio n h e r e is to s e t o u t th e te a c h in g o f th e F o u rth G o sp e l
th a t W h o m s o e v e r h a s se e n m e , h as s e e n th e F a th e r, f o r I a m in th e
F a th e r a n d th e F a th e r is in m e ( J o h n 1 4 .11). In s e e in g th e S o n w e
se c th e F a th e r, f o r th e F a th e r is fu lly p r e s e n t in th e S o n . T h e d iv in e
s u b s ta n c e c a n n o t b e b ro k e n u p ; e a c h p e rs o n possesses th e w h o le
b e in g o f G o d . G o d is n o t p a r titio n e d , as S a in t G re g o ry N az ia n z u s p u ts
it. T h e d iv in e b e in g is f o u n d in fu ll in p e rs o n s w h o a r c d is tin c t f r o m o n e
a n o th e r , so e a c h p e r s o n ex ists w ith in th e o t h e r p e rs o n s . W e c o u ld call
this a m y ste ry a n d re fu se to g o a n y f u r th e r, b u t, as w ith th e w h o le
m ystery o f G o d , w e m u s t a tte m p t to s h e d lig h t o n th is too.
H o w is it p o ssib le f o r o n e p e rs o n to b e th e b e a r e r o f th e e n tir e b e in g
o f G o d ? H o w is it p o ssib le f o r a p e r s o n to e x ist w ith in a n o th e r p e rso n ,
w ith o u t lo s in g th e ir id e n tity ? I f w c p la c e h u m a n p e rs o n s w ith in
o th e r p e rs o n s , th e ir in d iv id u a lity w o u ld b e lost. C re a te d n a tu r e has
a b e g in n in g , it m o v es w ith in th e lim its o f s p a c e a n d tim e , a n d sp a c e a n d
tim e d iv id e as m u c h as th e y u n ite . H u m a n n a tu r e is c o m p o s ite , a n d it is
re-d iv id e d as e a c h n e w p e rs o n c o m e s in to e x iste n c e , so th e h u m a n
e sse n c e is b e i n g c o n sta n tly re -d iv id e d . N o sin g le p e r s o n c a n b e th e
b e a r e r o f th e e n tir e h u m a n e s s e n c e , f o r if h e w e re , a t his d e a th , all
h u m a n ity w o u ld d ie w ith h im .
W e a r e all b o r n w ith th is d iv id in g a n d d iv isible n a tu r e a n d h e n c e th e
e x is te n c e o f d e a th , a n d y et w c c a n u n d e r s ta n d h o w a sin g le p e rs o n can
b e r e g a r d e d a s th e b e a r e r o f all h u m a n ity . W h e n a n a rm y a n n o u n c e s its
ca su a ltie s, f o r e x a m p le , it says th a t th e r e w e re te n fa talities. F o r th o se o f
us w ith n o p e r s o n a l re la tio n s h ip to th e m , th e s e a r e te n in d iv id u a l d e a th s
w h ic h scarcely' to u c h u s a n d h a v e n o e ffe c t o n h u m a n n a tu r e as a w hole.
We su rv iv e th e m a n d life g o e s o n . B u t fo r th e wife a n d m o th e r o f o n e o f
th e s e s o ld ie rs, th e m a n w h o h a s g o n e n o w is n o t o n e o f te n , b u t o n e o f
o n e , th e o n e a n d only. H e re p r e s e n ts life as a w h o le , so all life has g o n e
w ith h im . T h e u n ity o f two p e o p le is so clo se, th a t e a c h re g a rd s th e o th e r
as re p re s e n ta tiv e o f h u m a n b e in g as a w h o le . W h en th e re la tio n s h ip is
p e rs o n to p e r s o n , a n d o n e p e rs o n v a n ish e s, o u r w o rld v a n ish e s w ith him
so it s e e m s th a t th is d e a th th r e a te n s th e w h o le w o rld . T h e m u r d e r o f a
sin g le p e r s o n is o f te n c a lle d a c rim e a g a in s t h u m a n ity . T h e m o r e we
r e g a r d s o m e o n e a p e rs o n , th e m o r e w e r e g a r d th e m as re p re s e n ta tiv e o f
h u m a n ity as a w h o le . S o w e c a n s e e fro m o u r ow n e x is te n c e h o w w e
c o u ld r e g a r d a ll h u m a n ity th r o u g h th e life o f a sin g le p e rs o n , as th o u g h
all th e m a n y p e r s o n s o f th e h u m a n r a c e w e re also just a sin g le b e in g .

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W ith G o d , e a c h p e r s o n o f G o d is th e e n tir e b e in g , n o t a p o rtio n o f


th e b e in g o f G o d . B u t G o d h as n o b e g in n in g a n d n o m o rtality , a n d his
b e in g is n o t d iv isib le . In G o d , t h e e x is te n c e o f th e o n e p e rs o n w ith in
th e o th e r s a c tu a lly c re a te s a p a rtic u la rity , a n in d iv id u a lity a n d an
o th e rn e s s . B e c a u s e w e a r e m a d e in th e im a g e o f G o d w e c a n se e int im a
tio n s o f th is in o u r o w n re la tio n s h ip s . B e c a u se m a n is m a d e in th e im ag e
o f G o d , w e c a n fin d a n a lo g ie s b e tw e e n G o d a n d m a n , th a t a re b a se d in
th e r e la tio n s h ip s o f th e p e rs o n s o f G o d . T h e d o c tr in e o f th e T rin ity
gives u s th e t r u t h o f o u r o w n e x iste n c e .
W ith p e r s o n , w e r e f e r to th e way o r m o d e in w h ic h e a c h p e rso n
o f G o d re c e iv e s h is e x is te n c e fro m th e o th e rs , so th a t F a th e rh o o d ,
S o n s h ip a n d p ro c e s s io n in d ic a te th e w ays in w h ich th e s e th r e e p e rso n s
exist. T h e n a m e s o f th e H o ly T rin ity d e n o t e o n to lo g ic a l p a rtic u la rity
a n d d istin c tiv e n e ss, n o t s in g le a ttrib u te s o r psy ch o lo g ical e x p e rie n c e s.
T h e F a th e r d o c s n o t c o m e in to b e in g : h e sim p ly exists as th e F a th e r,
a n d h e fre e ly b rin g s th e S o n a n d th e S p irit in to e x iste n c e a n d d o e s
n o t ex ist w ith o u t th e m . T h e S o n is n o t th e F a th e r, a n d h e is b e g o tte n .
T h e H o ly S p irit is n e ith e r F a th e r n o r S o n , a n d h e p ro c e e d s fro m th e
F a th e r. I f th e S p irit w e re also b e g o tte n o f th e F a th e r, w e w o u ld h a v e two
S o n s. A lth o u g h w e m ay n o t b e a b le to say w h a t th e d iffe re n c e b etw e en
b e g o tte n a n d 'p r o c e e d s ' is, it c le a rly in d ic a te s th a t th e H oly S p irit
is d is tin c t f r o m th e S on.
S a in t C yril o f A le x a n d ria (378-444) d e v e lo p e d th e te a c h in g o f
A th a n a s iu s a n d th e C a p p a d o c ia n s , by sh o w in g th a t th e r e is a d iffe re n c e
b e tw e e n th e te rm s u n b e g o tte n a n d F a th e r . T h e E u n o m ia n s re g a rd e d
u n b e g o tte n a n d F a th e r as sy nonym s. B u t S a in t Cyril p o in te d o u t th a t
F a th e r in d ic a te s th a t G o d h a s a S o n : G o d c a n n o t be F a th e r w ith o u t
th e S o n . U n b e g o tte n m e re ly sig n ifie s th a t th e F a th e r w as n o t b o r n o f
a n y o n e . Cyril in s is te d th a t th e p o sitiv e m e a n in g o f F a th e r is th a t h e has
a S o n . T h e F a th e r c o u ld n o t b e F a th e r if h e w as w ith o u t th e S o n . H e is
th e F a th e r e te rn a lly , f o r h e d id n o t become a F a th e r in tim e , a n d th e
c o n s e q u e n c e is th a t th e S o n is also e te rn a lly th e S o n . In th e sa m e way,
th e te r m S o n d o c s n o t j u s t tell u s th a t h e is b e g o tte n , b u t th a t h e is th e
e te r n a l S o n o f th e F a th e r.
T h e F a th e rs d id n o t a tte m p t to e x p re s s th e p e rs o n s o n th e basis o f
a ttrib u te s , b u t s u b o r d in a te d a ttr ib u te s to th e re la tio n s h ip s o f th e p e r
so n s o f G o d . W ith th e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs th e d o c tr in e o f G o d was
c o m p le te a n d th e r e w e re n o s ig n ific a n t f u r t h e r d e v e lo p m e n ts. If we
w a n t to give a fa ith fu l a c c o u n t o f th e C h ris tia n u n d e r s ta n d in g o f G o d w e
h a v e to le a r n it fro m th e s e F a th e rs o f th e C h u rc h .

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3 . A u g u s tin e
W e sh a ll n o w ta k e a lo o k a t th e o lo g ic a l d e v e lo p m e n ts in th e W est. T h e
th e o lo g ia n w h o p u t h is m a r k o n W e ste rn th o u g h t a n d th e W este rn
theology o f t h e T rin ity in p a rtic u la r w as A u g u stin e . A u g u stin e h im s e lf
w as n o t w ell k n o w n u n til th e rise o f th e F ra n k s, b u t th e re a fte r h e b e c a m e
th e s ta n d a r d - b e a re r o f th e W e ste rn C h u r c h , a n d ev e n tu a lly th e sin g le
source* f r o m w h ic h th e W est d re w its theology.
S a in t A u g u s tin e s lo n g e s t tr e a tm e n t o f th e d o c trin e o f G o d a p p e a rs
in h is D e Tnnitate. A u g u s tin e w a n te d to h e lp p e o p le to c o m e to te rm s
w ith th is v e ry c o u n te r in tu itiv e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f th e T rinity, so h e
w as m o re c o n c e r n e d to m a k e it a c cessib le th a n to b e c o m p re h e n siv e .
B ut w h e n s e a r c h in g f o r a n a lo g ie s f r o m h u m a n e x iste n c e , A u g u stin e
m a d e a d e c is io n w h ic h w as to im p a c t o n all s u b s e q u e n t theology'.
H e fo u n d h is a n a lo g y f o r th e p e rs o n s o f G o d w ith in th e sin g le h u m a n
in d iv id u a l. A u g u s tin e f o u n d all th a t h e n e e d e d to e x p lic a te th e T rin ity
w ith in th e in d iv id u a l, p r io r to a n y c o n s id e ra tio n o f th e so ciety o f o th e rs.
A u g u s tin e s in te lle c tu a l in h e r ita n c e e n c o u r a g e d h im to b e lie v e th a t
th e m o s t e s s e n tia l th in g in a p e r s o n is th e m in d . Y our m in d m a k e s you
w ho y o u a r e , s o y o u r a b ility to th in k a n d to b e c o m e a w are o f y o u rse lf
th in k in g is t h e key to u n d e r s ta n d in g y o u r e x iste n c e . Y ou m ay stu d y
y o u rs e lf in c o m p le te is o la tio n fro m w h a te v e r is a r o u n d y o u , f o r o n c e
y o u h av e o b s e r v e d y o u rs e lf th in k in g , y o u m ay b e c o n fid e n t o f y o u r
ow n e x is te n c e a t least. W ith th is d e c isio n , A u g u stin e o p e n e d th e way for
p r e o c c u p a tio n w ith o n e s in n e r self.
T h e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs b e lie v e d th a t a sin g le in d iv id u a l c o u ld
n o t p o ssib ly se rv e as a n a n a lo g y f o r G o d . S in c e G o d c a n o n ly b e id e n ti
fied th r o u g h t h e p e r s o n s o f F a th e r, S o n a n d H oly S p irit, o u r a n a lo g ie s
m u st always in v o lv e a s e t o f p a r tic u la r p e rs o n s w h o m w e c a n n a m e , such
as P e te r, J o h n a n d A ndrew .
I f th e m in d is w h a t is m o s t fu n d a m e n ta l a b o u t u s, A u g u stin e ,
in f lu e n c e d by P la to n ic th o u g h t, d e c id e d th a t th e m e m o ry is th e m ost
im p o r ta n t a s p e c t o f t h e m in d . O u r e n tir e e x is te n c e s p rin g s fro m
th e m e m o ry , a n d e v e ry th in g w e k n o w a n d th in k a b o u t, is s to r e d in sid e
us, in a n e te r n a lly e x is tin g s to r e r o o m o f tr u th . K n o w le d g e is sim ply
th e re c o lle c tio n o f th is tr u th ; th e ety m o lo g y o f tr u th ( aletheia) is u n fo r g e ttin g '. W e d isc o v e r th e tr u th at th e m o m e n t th a t k n o w le d g e ree m e rg e s fro m w ith in us. T h is m a k e s m e m o ry t h e s o u rc e o f o u r e x iste n ce .
A u g u s tin e w as c o n te n t w ith t h e tr a d itio n a l e x p re ssio n th e s o u rc e o f
divin ity a n d t h e a n c ie n t im a g e o f a s p rin g f r o m w h ic h d iv in ity flows. T h e
C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e r s fo u n d th e tra d itio n a l im a g e o f s o u rc e in su fficien t

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b e c a u s e it s u g g e s te d th a t d iv in ity is s o m e th in g th a t flow s o u t
in v o lu n tarily .
F o r A u g u s tin e , G o d is, ab o v e all e lse, m ind (O n the Trinity, b o o k s 8
a n d 9 ) . T h e m in d is th e s o u rc e o f k n o w le d g e , a n d th e L ogos, th e
s e c o n d p e r s o n o f th e T rin ity , is th e k n o w le d g e th a t th e m in d p ro d u c e s.
T h e L o g o s w as th e fo rm w h ic h G o d 's k n o w in g takes. K n o w led g e co m es
fro m m e m o ry , a n d a n activ e m in d always e x p re sse s w h a t it know s. G o d
is a n activ e m in d : h e h a s a L ogos, fro m w h ic h his k n o w le d g e co m es.
T h e k n o w le d g e th a t is th e L o g o s c o m e s fro m th e s o u rc e th a t is th e
F a th e r. B u t w h a t c o u ld th is b e k n o w le d g e o f, given th a t n o th in g exists
o th e r th a n G o d ? G o d 's k n o w le d g e m u s t b e k n o w le d g e o f h im self, a n d
his a w a re n e ss m u s t b e self-aw aren ess. T h e o b je c t o f th e k n o w le d g e o f
th e L o g o s is th e F a th e r, s o w e h a v e a self-k n o w led g e o f G o d . A n o th e r
basic p la to n ic te n e t is th a t G o d is g o o d n e s s , so th e m in d m ust be id e n ti
cal w ith th e G o o d . P la to m a in ta in e d th a t th e g o o d draw s love a n d b e a u ty
to w a rd s its e lf a n d th a t b e a u ty a n d th e g o o d aw a k en love, Eros. B u t, if
G o d is all g o o d n e s s a n ti if th e r e is n o g o o d n e s s o th e r th a n h im , w hose
love d o c s h e a ro u s e ? T h e L o g o s re c o g n ise s th e F a th e r, a n d re c o g n ise s
h im as th e G o o d , a n d th u s love o f th e G o o d is b o rn .
In A u g u s tin e s view, t h e S p irit is th is love o f th e S o n a n d th e F ather.
T h e S p irit is a th ir d fo rm o f e x is te n c e , b y w h ic h th e F a th e r loves th e Son
a n d th e S o n lo v es th e F a th e r. A u g u s tin e s te rm f o r th e S p irit is 'nexus
anions', th e b o n d o f love: love is th e p a r tic u la r a ttr ib u te o f th e S pirit.
T h e S o n is k n o w le d g e a n d h a s k n o w le d g e , w h ile th e S p irit is love a n d
h a s love. A u g u s tin e h a d f o u n d a w ay to id e n tify a specific a ttrib u te
f o r e a c h o f th e th r e e p e rs o n s . By e q u a tin g th e F a th e r w ith m em o ry , th e
S o n w ith k n o w le d g e a n d th e S p irit w ith love, h e h a d d e s c rib e d an
a ttr ib u te a n d sp e c ific f u n c tio n f o r e a c h p e rso n .
T h e G re e k F a th e rs d id n o t b e lie v e th a t w e c a n d e s c rib e th e p e rs o n s
by a ss ig n in g a n a ttr ib u te to e a c h o f th e m in th is way. T h e y d o n o t
say a n y th in g a b o u t th e a ttrib u te s o f th e S o n o r to th e S p irit, j u s t as th e y
d o n o t a tte m p t to e x p la in t h e d iffe re n c e b e tw e e n b e in g b o r n o f a n d
p r o c e e d in g f r o m . T h e S o n d iffe rs fro m th e F a th e r sim ply in th a t h e is
n o t th e F a th e r, a n d th e S p irit is n o t th e S o n a n d so o n .
T h e C a p p a d o c ia n s b e lie v e d it is c ru c ia l to b e g in w ith th e p e rs o n
o f th e F a th e r, a n d th u s w ith th e p e rs o n s o f th e T rinity. A u g u s tin e how
e v e r m a k e s th e s u b s ta n c e o f G o d p rio r, a n d r e g a rd s th e p e rs o n s as
re la tio n s w ith in th e s u b s ta n c e o f G o d . H e a ffirm s first that G o d exists,
a n d o n ly th e n t u r n s to th e q u e s tio n o f hoxu, a n d th e r e f o r e o f zuho,
G o d is. A s K arl R a h n e r show s, u n d e r h is in flu e n c e , m e d ia e v a l d o g m a tic s

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in th e W est d e d ic a te d o n e c h a p te r to th e o n e s u b s ta n c e o f G od,
a s e c o n d to t h e a ttr ib u te s o f h is s u b s ta n c e , a n d a n o th e r to th e Trinity.
W o rk s o f th e o lo g y e v e r s in c c h a v e liste d th e a ttrib u te s o f th e o n e G od.
A u g u s tin e 's d e c is io n to p r o m o te d iv in e s u b s ta n c e o v e r th e p e rs o n s o f
G o d d e m o te s th e q u e s tio n o f w h ic h G o d w e a r e r e f e r r in g to. B ut th e
q u e s tio n o f w h ic h G o d w e a r c ta lk in g a b o u t is j u s t as im p o r ta n t as th e
q u e s tio n o f t h e e x is te n c e o f G o d a t all. It is th e q u e s tio n o f h o w G o d is
th a t d e te r m in e s w h ic h G o d w e a r e ta lk in g a b o u t. T h e T rin ity is th e re
fo re p rim a ry a n d u tte rly f u n d a m e n ta l to o u r d isc u ssio n o f G od.
W e h a v e s e e n how , in h is s e a rc h f o r im ag e s th a t w o u ld ex p re ss
t h e d o c tr in e o f I h e tr iu n e G o d , A u g u stin e r e s o r te d to th e n o tio n o f
th e p c r f c c t m e ta p h y s ic a l b e in g d e s c rib e d by P la to a n d his succcssors.
W e h av e s e e n th a t th is p e r f e c t b e in g p o ssesses th re e c h a ra c te ristic s, so
allo w in g A u g u s tin e to e sta b lish a n a lo g ie s f o r th e th re e p e rs o n s o f th e
H o ly T rinity. T h e F a th e r h e e q u a te d w ith m e m o ry , th e S o n w ith
k n o w le d g e a n d th e S p irit w ith love a n d will. T h e G re e k F a th e rs d id n o t
id e n tify th e p e r s o n s o f th e T rin ity w ith p a r tic u la r c h a ra c te ristic s, b u t
b e lie v e d m e m o ry , k n o w le d g e a n d lo v e b e lo n g e d to th e p e rs o n s o f th e
T rin ity to g e th e r. G o d h a s o n e k n o w le d g e , o n e will a n d love, n o t th re e .
S o w e d o n o t h a v e o n e p e r s o n r e p r e s e n tin g k n o w le d g e , o r o n e p e rs o n
r e p r e s e n tin g lo v e, b u t lo v e a n d k n o w le d g e a r e c o m m o n to th e th r e e o f
th e m . T h e C a p p a d o c ia n s in siste d th a t, j u s t as w e c a n n o t envisage G od
th ro u g h in tr o v e r te d o b s e rv a tio n o f o n e s self, s o w e c a n n o t a c h ie v e any
im a g e o f m a n sim p ly b y in te r io r in s p e c tio n o f o n e m a n . M an is n o t
m a n b e c a u s e o f h is in te r n a l c h a ra c te ris tic s , w h e th e r w e id e n tify th e s e as
m in d , m e m o ry , ra tio n a lity o r love. In o r d e r to o b ta in a n im a g e o f
a p e r s o n , w c n e e d to h a v e a c o m m u n io n o f m o r e th a n o n e p e rso n .
In h is Confessions a n d O n the Trinity, A u g u stin e p o rtra y e d th e p e rs o n
as a th in k in g o b je c t. B o e th iu s (4 8 0 -5 2 4 ) id e n tifie s th e p e r s o n with
th e r a tio n a l in d iv id u a l. T o W e ste rn th o u g h t, th e p e rs o n m u s t possess
th e fa c u ltie s o f ra tio n a lity , a w a re n e ss a n d self-aw areness. D e scartes
(1 5 9 6 -1 6 5 0 ) a n d W e ste rn p h ilo s o p h y in g e n e r a l to o k self-co n scio u sn ess
to b e t h e a ttr ib u te th a t m a k e s u s p e rso n s . F o r th e W e ste rn p h ilo s
o p h ic a l tr a d itio n p e r s o n m e a n s s o m e o n e w ith a d e v e lo p e d se n se o f
self-co n scio u sn ess.
T h is p sy c h o lo g ic a l a p p r o a c h to th e p e rs o n gave rise to o u r c o n te m
p o r a r y p sy c h o lo g y a n d p h ilo s o p h y o f m in d w ith th e ir in te r e s t in d e te r
m in in g t h e p o i n t a t w h ic h w e first b e c o m e p e rs o n s . Is it a t c o n c e p tio n ,
o r a t s o m e p o i n t in th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f th e foetus? Is it o n ly w h e n o n e
is g ro w n u p a n d h a s a c q u ir e d c o n s c io u s n e ss o f o n e s s e lf th a t o n e

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b e c o m e s a p e r s o n ? So w h a t o f th o s e w h o have n o su c h aw areness,
o r w ho, b y illn e ss o r ag e , lo se it? In w h a t s e n se a r e th e y p e rso n s? A re
th o s e w h o h a v e n o d e v e lo p e d self-co n scio u sn ess to b e c o n s id e re d
d e fic ie n t as p e rs o n s ? T h is w h o le d isc u ssio n is g e n e r a te d by th is lin k in g
o f p e r s o n h o o d to c o n sc io u sn e ss in th e d o c tr in e o f th e Trinity.
F o r A u g u s tin e , th e p sy ch o lo g ical c a te g o rie s w h ic h give us k n o w le d g e
o f G o d also m a k e e a c h o f u s a p e r s o n , a n d w o u ld d o s o e v e n i f w e w e re
i h e o n ly o n e in e x is te n c e . S o w e h a v e s e e n th a t th e c o n c e p t o f p e r s o n is
u s e d in q u ite d if f e r e n t w ays in W e ste rn a n d E a s te rn th o u g h t. O n e s
a c c o u n t o f G o d h a s fa r-re a c h in g c o n s e q u e n c e s f o r o u r u n d e rs ta n d in g
o f m a n . B u t b e f o r e e x a m in in g th e se , w e m u s t lo o k m o re closely a t th e
d o c tr in e o f G o d .
T h e p r io r ity h e gave to b e in g m e a n t th a t A u g u s tin e id e n tifie d G od
w ith m in d a n d su b s ta n c e (O n the Trinity, b o o k 10, 4 ,1 8 ). T h e G re e k
F a th e rs , w e h a v e s e e n , in s is te d t h a t th e F a th e r is th e tr u e id e n tity o f
G o d . T h e y a r e fa ith fu l to th e w ay S c rip tu re r e fe rs to G o d , as th e G od,
a n d th e F a th e r o f o u r L o r d J e s u s C h ris t (2 C o rin th ia n s 2 .3 ). W h e n th e
F a th e r is a c k n o w le d g e d as G o d w c a r c a b le to u n d e r s ta n d w hy th e
c o n c e p t o f o n e G o d is e m b o d ie d b y th e T rinity. I f th e o n e G o d is th e
F a th e r, a r e la tio n s h ip is p re s u p p o s e d . T h e F a th e r h a s n o e x iste n c e w ith
o u t th e S o n , a n d , a lb e it d iffe re n tly , th e S p irit, so th e s e p e rs o n s a r c from
th e v ery first in c lu d e d in th e c o n c e p t o f th e o n e G o d . W h e n G o d is th e
Fat h e r, th is T rin ity o f p e rs o n s is n e c e ssa rily in c lu d e d .
A t th is p o i n t w e s h o u ld re la te o u r theo lo g y ' to th e life a n d w o rsh ip o f
th e C h u r c h b y a sk in g o n e fu n d a m e n ta l q u e s tio n . W h e n y o u w o rsh ip
G o d , w h o o r w h a t a r e y o u u ltim a te ly a d d re ssin g ? W h o o r w h a t a r e you
p ra y in g to ? A rc y o u p ra y in g to G o d in g e n e r a l, to so m e d e ity o r D ivinity
o r G o d h e a d ? O r a re y o u p ra y in g to sp e c ific p e rs o n s , to th e F ath er,
S o n a n d th e S p irit?
O r th o d o x w o rs h ip a d d re s s e s p ra y e rs to th e F a th e r as G o d him self.
T h e H o ly T rin ity c a n n o t b e d iv id e d o f c o u rse , so w h e re th e F a th e r is,
th e r e th e S o n a n d th e S p irit a r e to o . Yet w e p ra y to a sp e cific p e rso n .
M an y p ra y e rs a r c a d d re s s e d to C h ris t a n d s o m e to th e H o ly S p irit, o r to
all th r e e p e r s o n s a t o n c e . B u t th e p ra y e rs o f th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t w ere
o rig in a lly a d d r e s s e d to th e F a th e r. It is c le a r fro m th e litu rg ie s o f th e
e a rlie s t c e n tu r ie s th a t th e a n a p h o r a , th e o ffe rto ry pray er, w as always
a d d re s s e d to t h e F a th e r. T h is is still c le a r in th e L itu rg y o f S a in t Basil
w h e re , w ith o u t p r e c lu d in g th e S o n a n d th e S p irit, th e a n a p h o r a is
a d d re s s e d to th e F a th e r explicitly. W e a r c a d d re s s in g a p a rtic u la r
p e r s o n , as w e d o in th e L o r d 's p ra y e r, a n d j u s t as, in h is p ra y e rs in th e
fle sh , th e S o n a d d re s s e d th e F ath er. T o th e G re e k P a tristic tra d itio n

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G o d is u n e q u iv o c a lly th e F a th e r. In w o rsh ip , w h ich is fu n d a m e n ta lly


w h a t d e te r m in e s th eo lo g y , w e p ra y u ltim a te ly to th e F a th e r, fro m w hom
th e p e rs o n s o f t h e T rin ity c o m e a n d to w h o m th e y d ire c t t h e i r own
e x iste n c e .
T h e G re e k F a th e rs in siste d th a t m e m o ry , k n o w le d g e , will a n d love
a r c n o t in d iv id u a te d b e tw e e n t h e p e rs o n s o f G o d b u t c o m m o n to
th e m a ll. T h e y u n d e r s to o d th a t to c o n f e r in d iv id u a l psy ch o lo g ical
a tt rib u te s to t h e p e rs o n s o f G o d m ay le a d to t h e p r o je c tio n o f c re a tu re ly
c h a ra c te ris tic s o n to G o d . In th e ir a n x ie ty to av o id su c h p ro je c tio n
m a n y O r th o d o x th e o lo g ia n s h a v e ta k e n re fu g e in so-called a p o p h a tic o r
n e g a tiv e th e o lo g y w h ic h re fe rs to G o d o n ly by saying w h a t h e is n o t.
T h e y w a n t to s ta te th a t, w h e n r e f e r r in g to th e H oly T rinity, th e c o n c c p t
o f p e r s o n in 110 way re la te s to th e h u m a n p e rs o n . B ut by d o in g s o th e y
h a v e c o n c e d e d th a t th e A u g u s tin ia n c o n c e p tio n o f th e p e r s o n , as th e
c o n sc io u sn e ss o f t h e in d iv id u a l, is th e o n ly p o ssib le view o f th e p e rso n .
In view o f t h e d a n g e r o f p ro je c tio n th a t a c c o m p a n ie s this p e rso n a listic c o n c e p tio n , m a n y a r e u n d e rs ta n d a b ly c a u tio u s in sp e a k in g a b o u t
p e rs o n s , a n d s o m e b e lie v e th a t s u c h p e rs o n a lism m ak e s it b e s t to avoid
u sin g th e c o n c e p t o f th e p e r s o n a lto g e th e r in r e f e r r in g to G o d . But
r a t h e r th a n tr a n s f e r r in g h u m a n e x p e r ie n c e to G o d , a fa ith fu l th e o lo g y
will ta k e t h e m e a n in g o f p e rs o n fro m th e trin ita ria n d o c tr in e o f G o d
a n d tra n s fe r it to th e h u m a n p e rs o n . T h is is w h a t w e h a v e to d o i f w e a re
to s p e a k o f m a n as th e im a g e a n d th e lik e n e ss o f G od.
T h e d o c tr in e o f G o d is o f f u n d a m e n ta l im p o rta n c e if w e a r c to u n d e r
s ta n d w h o w e a re . H u m a n b e in g s a r e c a lle d to b e c o m e p e rs o n s in th e
im a g e a n d lik e n e ss o f th e H o ly T rinity, f o r th is is w h a t theosis is. C re a te d
n a tu r e will n e v e r tu r n in to d iv in e n a tu r e , so n o h u m a n b e in g can
b e c o m e d iv in e in h is o r h e r n a tu r e , b u t m a n c a n b e c o m e a p e rs o n in
th e im a g e a n d lik e n e ss o f th e H o ly T rinity. H e re w e c a n se e th e decisive
c o n tr ib u tio n t h a t P a tristic th e o lo g y c a n m a k e to th e w o rld . I t c a n re p la c e
th e p s y c h o lo g ic a l c o n c e p tio n o f th e p e r s o n a n d te a c h us th e m e a n in g
o f th e p e r s o n f r o m th e d o c tr in e o f th e T rinity. B ut th is r e q u ire s th a t we
rc -lc a rn th e c o n c c p t o f th e p e rs o n fro m t h e C a p p a d o c ia n F a th e rs. T h is
is th e u n iq u e ly im p o r ta n t task g iv en to C h ris tia n theology.

III. T

heology and

Economy

Now w e tu r n t o th e r e la tio n s h ip o f th e e te r n a l T rin ity a n d th e e c o n o m ic


T rinity. T h e e te r n a l o r im m a n e n t T rinity, tra d itio n a lly c a lle d th e
'th e o lo g y p r o p e r , re fe rs to h o w G o d is in him self. T h e e c o n o m ic
T rinity, tra d itio n a lly th e e c o n o m y , r e fe rs to how G o d is fo r us. T h e

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G re e k F a th e r s in siste d th a t th e e te r n a l n a tu r e o f G o d is a lto g e th e r
b e y o n d o u r c o n c e p tio n o r c o m p r e h e n s io n a n d a d d e d th a t w e m ay n o t
p a rtic ip a te in th e s u b s ta n c e ' o f G o d . S o w e c a n have n o th e o lo g y o f
G o d s n a t u r e .
B u t a lth o u g h w e c a n n o t say a n y th in g a b o u t G o d s n a tu r e w e can
sp e a k a b o u t t h e p e rs o n s o f G o d , a n d w e c a n even p a rtic ip a te in th e ir
life. T h e i r life is th e life lh a t G o d in te n d s u s to s h a re , so th a t it b e c o m e s
o u r ow n. W e s h a r e in th e re la tio n s h ip o f th e F a th e r a n d th e S o n in th e
S p irit. C h ris t h a s b r o u g h t u s th e re la tio n s h ip h e h a s w ith th e F a th e r,
d e c la r e d th a t w e n o w b e lo n g in th is r e la tio n s h ip , a n d th a t th e F a th e r
will a c k n o w le d g e u s as h is so n s. By th is e v e n t o f a d o p tio n w e e n te r th e
life o f G o d , a n d th is p a rtic ip a tio n in th e d iv in e life is tra d itio n a lly c alled
theosis. T h u s t h e life o f G o d is th e life th a t is f o r us, s o w e a r e c o n c e rn e d ,
n o t w ith th e e s s e n c e , b u t w ith t h e e te r n a l p e rs o n a l b e in g o f G od.
I t is e n tir e ly tr u e th a t w e a r c always u n a b le to possess a n d c o n tro l
G o d , a n d th is is th e in s ig h t o n w h ic h a p o p h a tic th e o lo g y insists.
T o d e s c rib e t h e b e in g o f G o d w o u ld b e to a tte m p t to c o m e u p w ith a
to ta lis in g a n d fin al d e s c rip tio n a n d th e re b y to d e fin e a n d c o n tr o l h im .
T h e r e is alw ays m u c h in te re s t in a p o p h a tic th eo lo g y , b u t th e r e is a lso a
risk to it. It is t r u e th a t w e m ay n o t talk a b o u t th e n a tu r e o f G o d . But
w e d o know t h a t G o d is F a th e r, S o n a n d H o ly S p irit. W ith r e g a rd to th e
p e rs o n s , w e h a v e th is p o sitiv e k n o w le d g e ; it is n o t m e re ly logical o r
in te lle c tu a l a ffirm a tio n , b u t a living p a r tic ip a tio n in th e p e rs o n a l re la
tio n s h ip s o f G o d . W c s p e a k a b o u t G o d by ta lk in g a b o u t h is trin ita ria n
life, r a t h e r t h a n a b o u t h is n a t u r e . T h e q u e s tio n is th e n w h e th e r th e
T rin ity re v e a ls G o d s e te r n a l e x is te n c e o r m e re ly th e re la tio n s h ip s
re v e a le d in t h e e c o n o m y o f G o d s re la tio n s h ip w ith us.
A g a in w e w ill ta k e A u g u stin e as o u r e x a m p le . A u g u s tin e ascrib es
o n e p a r tic u la r a ttr ib u te to th e S o n , th a t o f th e k n o w le d g e o f G o d . W h e n
e v e r th e S o n re v e a ls h im s e lf to u s, w h ic h is to say w ith in th e e c o n o m ic
T rinity, h e d o e s so as th is a ttr ib u te o f k n o w led g e. T h is m a k e s th e Son
th e c o g n itiv e m e a n s by w h ic h w e m ay r e a c h G o d , w h ic h w as th e p o sitio n
o f t h e L o g o s th e o lo g y o f th e s e c o n d a n d th ir d c e n tu rie s . T h e re la tio n
o f th e S o n to th e L o g o s in th e G o sp e l o f J o h n allo w ed J u s tin a n d his
c o n te m p o r a r ie s to f in d in C h ris t th e co g n itiv e m e a n s by w h ic h w e can
r e a c h G o d . J u s tin b e lie v e d th a t all a n c ie n t p h ilo s o p h e rs p a rtic ip a te d
in w h a t h e c a lle d th is s e m in a l L ogos: th e y all h a d so m e s h a re in th e
k n o w le d g e w h ic h is C h rist. T h e a ttr ib u te o f c o m m u n io n b e lo n g s to th e
H o ly S p irit w h o re v e a ls G o d to b e c o m m u n io n . T h e c ru c ia l issue is
w h e th e r th e S o n a n d H o ly S p irit h av e th e s e a ttrib u te s e te rn a lly , o r
w h e th e r th e y ta k e th e m o n in th e e c o n o m y f o r o u r sake.

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71

T h e G re e k F a th e rs a v o id e d g iv in g d e fin ite p e rs o n a l a ttrib u te s to


th e p e rs o n s o f th e H o ly T rinity. I f th e y a p p o r tio n e d a ttrib u te s to e a c h
o f th e p e rs o n s w c w o u ld h av e to say th a t w h a te v e r G o d is in his
e te r n a l b e in g w o u ld h a v e to b e tr u e o f th e e c o n o m y to o . In th is w ay w e
w o u ld t u r n t h e e c o n o m y in to a n ecessity to w h ic h G o d w as b o u n d ,
r a t h e r th a n G o d s o w n a c t m a d e in fre e d o m . If th e S o n w e re th e Logos
o r k n o w le d g e o f G o d , th is k n o w le d g e m u s t a lso p e r m e a te th e e c o n o m y
i f we a r e to h a v e an y k n o w le d g e o f G o d . H e w o u ld have b e e n b ro u g h t
in to th e e c o n o m y b y n ecessity th r o u g h th e S o n . In m ed iaev al tim es
it w as a s k e d w h e th e r a n y p e r s o n o f th e T rin ity c o u ld b e c o m e in c a rn a te .
S o m e sa id t h a t th e r e w as n o lo g ical n ecessity by w h ic h o n ly th e
S o n c o u ld b e c o m e in c a rn a te . In th e tw e n tie th c e n tu ry , K arl R a h n e r
a r g u e d th a t o n ly th e S o n c o u ld h a v e b e c o m e in c a rn a te , b e c a u se
h e a lo n e is th e L o g o s w h o is self-rev elatio n . W ith in G o d e te rn a lly , G o d
rec o g n ise s h im s e lf in th e S o n w h o is h is L o g o s. S o if G o d w an ts to m a k e
h im s e lf k n o w n to u s in th e e c o n o m y , h e h a s to u se th e L ogos w h o is th e
in s tr u m e n t o f h is k n o w le d g e o f h im se lf. T h is w o u ld m e a n th a t o n ly
th e L o g o s c o u ld b c c o m c in c a r n a te . B u t if th e in c a rn a tio n was d u e to
so m e e te r n a l p e r s o n a l a ttr ib u te o f th e L ogos, in w h a t se n se is th e in c a r
n a tio n free?
I f w e a ttr ib u te th e e c o n o m y to p a r tic u la r c h a ra c te ristic s o f th e
p e rs o n s o f t h e e te r n a l T rinity, th e e c o n o m y o f G o d b e c o m e s logically
d e te r m in e d t o s o m e d e g re e . T h e n it w o u ld have to b e th e S o n w ho
b c c a m c in c a r n a te o r th e r e c o u ld b e n o in c a rn a tio n . O n th e o th e r h a n d ,
i f w e av o id a s c rib in g th e e c o n o m y to a n y specific a ttrib u te s o f th e
p e rs o n s , p e r h a p s th e S o n is n o t th e o n ly o n e w h o c o u ld b e c o m e
in c a r n a te . W c m u s t say th a t th e S o n fre e ly sa id yes to th e F a th e r, a n d
to o k o n th is m issio n . I f w e a ttr ib u te th e in c a r n a tio n to fre e d o m , it takes
th e in c a r n a tio n o f th e S o n o u t o f th e r e a lm o f n ecessity a n d in to th e
re a lm o f fre e d o m .
W h e n it c o m e s to th e Filioque, w e will fin d th a t A u g u s tin e a n d
A q u in a s ( S u m m a TheoL la 2 a e , 4 ) u n d e r s to o d th e S o n a n d L o g o s to be
th e k n o w le d g e o f G o d , a n d th e S p irit to b e th e love o f G o d . T h e n th e
S p irits o r ig in m u s t b e e te rn a lly d e p e n d e n t o n th e S o n b e c a u se ,
A u g u s tin e b e lie v e s, w e c a n n o t love w h a t w e d o n o t know , so k n o w le d g e
m u s t b e p r io r to love (O n the Trinity 10,1). In his view, G o d c a n n o t love
h im s e lf w ith o u t p r i o r k n o w le d g e o f h im s e lf in th e S o n . T h is is th e c o n
s e q u e n c e o f h is a sso c ia tio n o f m e m o iy a n d k n o w le d g e , a n d o f th e
a ss u m p tio n th a t th e m in d c a n n o t h e lp b u t e x p re ss w h a t it know s. W h e n
w e a sc rib e p a r tic u la r a ttrib u te s to th e p e rs o n s w?e e n d u p d e fin in g
lo g ic a l n e c e ssitie s. By n o t s e ttin g o u t a ttrib u te s in th is way, th e G ree k

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F a th e rs b r o u g h t th e issu e o f f r e e d o m to b e a r o n th e q u e s tio n o f w hy th e
S o n , r a th e r th a n t h e S p irit, b e c o m e s in c a rn a te .
H e r e w c m u s t c x c rc ise s o m e c a u tio n . In th e a x io m e x p re s s e d by
R a h n e r, th e im m a n e n t T rin ity is th e e c o n o m ic T rin ity a n d vice versa.
B ut w e c a n n o t m a k e th e e c o n o m ic T rin ity a n d e te r n a l T rin ity e n tire ly
e q u iv a le n t, a n d equally, w e c a n n o t say th a t th e im m a n e n t Trinity' is o n e
th in g a n d th e e c o n o m ic T rin ity is e n tire ly a n o th e r . T h e n G o d w o u ld
se e m to b e w ith h o ld in g s o m e th in g o f h im s e lf f ro m us, o r e v e n to b e c o m e
e n tire ly u n k n o w a b le . So w h a t is th e d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n th e im m a n e n t
a n d e c o n o m ic T rinity?
T h e d iffe re n c e w e c a n identify is th a t f o r th e im m a n e n t T rinity
w e c a n n o t say a n y th in g d e fin itiv e a b o u t th e a ttrib u te s o f th e p erso n s.
H e r e th e r e m u s t b e a p r o p e r e le m e n t o f a p o p h a tic is m . In th e e c o n o m ic
T rin ity w e c a n say sp e c ific th in g s a b o u t t h e a ttr ib u te s o f th e p e rs o n s ,
b c c a u s e th e s e p e rs o n s h a v e ta k e n o n th e s e p a r tic u la r tasks a n d c h a ra c
teristics fre e ly f o r us. T h o u g h th e S o n is th e re v e la tio n o f th e F a th e r
( H e w h o h a s s e e n m e h a s s e e n th e F a th e r ) th is d o e s n o t n ecessarily
m e a n t h a t th e S o n h a s th is f u n c tio n a n d a ttr ib u te in th e e te rn a l Trinity.
If th e S p irit sig n ifie s love a n d c re a te s c o m m u n io n f o r u s, th is d o e s n o t
m e a n th is is d u e to a sp e c ific a ttr ib u te o f th e S p irit in th e e te r n a l Trinity.
T h e p e rs o n s ta k e o n th e s e a ttrib u te s fre e ly fo r o u r sak e, so th e y re la te to
th e e c o n o m y , th e way G o d is f o r us. T h e d iffe re n tia tio n o f a ttrib u te s
m u s t b e lim ite d to th e e c o n o m y . W h e n it c o m e s to th e im m a n e n t
T rinity, th e th eo lo g y p ro p e r, w c c a n n o t say th a t o n e p e rs o n is love a n d
th e o t h e r is k n o w le d g e . T h e y a r e n o t a ttrib u te s b u t th e o p e ra tio n s
o f p e rs o n s a c tin g to g e th e r in fre e d o m , a n d all th e o p e ra tio n s o f th e
e te r n a l T rin ity a r c o n e .
T h is is e q u a lly im p o r ta n t w ith r e g a r d to th e u n ity o f G o d . In th e
im m a n e n t T rin ity all a c tio n is o n e a n d e te r n a l. T h is u n ite d a c tio n is
e x p re s s e d in d if f e r e n t ways w ith in t h e e c o n o m y , so th e p e rs o n s d o n o t
all d o th e s a m e th in g , a lth o u g h th e y always a c t in u n is o n . W h e re th e
F a th e r is, t h e r e th e S o n a n d th e S p irit a re ; w h e re th e S o n is, th e re
th e F a th e r a n d th e S p irit a rc . B u t t h e S o n d o c s n o t p e r fo rm th e w ork
th a t th e F a th e r p e rfo rm s . W h a te v e r th e d if f e re n tia te d a c tio n s o f G o d
in th e e c o n o m y , th e y a r e n o t e x te n sio n s o f d iffe re n tia tio n s w ith in th e
e te r n a l T rin ity . W e ste rn th eo lo g y , how ever, h a s o fte n tu r n e d d istin c tio n s
in th e e c o n o m y in to d iffe re n tia tio n s w ith in th e e te rn a l T rinity, w hich
is o n e re a s o n w h y it b e c a m e tr a p p e d in th e Filioque.
T h e G r e e k F a th e rs d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n th eo lo g y ' a n d e c o n o m y
w as m o st c le a rly e x p re s s e d b y S a in t B asil. In 'O n the Holy Spirit', Basil
d e f e n d s a d o x o lo g y o f A le x a n d ria n o rig in w h ich h e h a d in tr o d u c e d to

The Doctrine o f God

73

th e litu rg y in h is d io c e s e . T h e d o x o lo g y Basil h a d in h e r ite d to o k th e


fo rm G lo ry t o th e F a th e r, through th e S o n , in th e H oly S p irit. Basil's
d o x o lo g y w as G lo ry to th e F a th e r, a n d to th e S o n , w ith to th e H oly
S p irit. H e r e p la c e d th e through ( th e S o n ) a n d in ( th e H o ly S p irit), w ith
'a n d th e S o n w ith th e S p irit. B asil's re a s o n w as th a t th e first, A le x a n d ria n ,
d o x o lo g y w ith its u s e o f th r o u g h th e S o n a n d in th e H o ly S p irit,
re la te s to th e e c o n o m y in w h ic h w e c o m e to k n o w G o d th r o u g h th e
S o n a n d in t h e H o ly S p irit. T h e r e is a n o r d e r a n d e v e n a h ie ra rc h y h e re ,
b e c a u s e th e S p ir it follow s th e S o n . Basil e x p la in e d th a t th e P n e u m a to m a c h ia n s ( R esisto rs o f th e S p irit), w h o r e fu s e d to a c c e p t th e divinity
o f t h e S p irit, u s e d th e d o x o lo g y w ith in th e S p irit. T h e y th o u g h t th a t
i n d e n o te d s p a c e , w h ic h s e e m e d to th e m to in d ic a te t h a t th e S p irit was
c o n ta in e d b y s p a c e , w h ic h m e a n t th a t h e w as a c re a tu re .
N ex t w e m u s t s e t o u t th e s ig n ific a n c e o f th e s e d e v e lo p m e n ts. W hat
p u rp o s e s d o c s th e d o c tr in e o f G o d have? W h a t w o u ld c h a n g e fo r us
i f G o d w e re n o t as th e C h u rc h h a s ta u g h t? L e t u s b e g in w ith th e re la
tio n s h ip b e tw e e n th e b e in g o f G o d a n d h is p e rs o n a l e x iste n ce .
W i e n a y o u n g p e rs o n says n o o n e a sk e d m e w h e th e r I w a n te d to be
b o r n ', th e y a r e ra is in g th e q u e s tio n o f fre e d o m . S in c e th e y w e re n o t
a sk e d a b o u t it, th e y s e e th e ir e x is te n c e as a n im p o sitio n o n th e m . T h is
is n o t su c h a s tr a n g e th o u g h t, f o r t h e r e is n o g r e a te r r e s tr a in t th a n
e x is te n c e itself. W e a r e fa s c in a te d b y th e m o ra l c o n c e p t o f fre e d o m :
w e b e lie v e t h a t w e m u s t h e a b le to c h o o s e b e tw e e n tw o o r m o r e o p tio n s ,
a n d w e m u s t h a v e o u r say a t ev ery s te p o f o u r life. W e u n d e r s ta n d fre e
d o m as th e a b ility to say y es o r n o . B u t th is o v e rlo o k s th e m u c h b ig g e r
c h a lle n g e to o u r f re e d o m r e p r e s e n te d by th e fa c t th a t you c a n n o t say
n o to y o u r o w n e x is te n c e , o r if y o u c o u ld , y o u w o u ld c c asc to e x ist a n d
y o u r f re e d o m w o u ld d is a p p e a r w ith you.
T h e r e is a d e g r e e o f a b s u rd ity a b o u t c h a lle n g in g o u r ow n e x iste n c e ,
o f c o u rs e . W e w a n t to ig n o re o r o v e rc o m e th e objectivity o f life, b u t
w e a r e u n a b le to d o so. B u t h o w e v e r m u c h w e m a y fin d it p a in fu l to p ro
test a g a in st t h e p h e n o m e n a f o r c e d o n u s b y life, w e m u st n o t give u p th e
h o p e o f f r e e d o m . T h e re a s o n m y f re e d o m a p p e a rs to c a n c e l its e lf o u t is
th a t m y e x is te n c e c o m e s b e f o r e m y fre e d o m . If w e sa id th e s a m e o f
G o d , w e w o u ld b e c r e a tin g a th e o lo g y in w h ic h th e b e in g c o m e s b e fo re
th e p e r s o n o f G o d w h ic h w o u ld m a k e G o d th e le a st fre e b e in g o f all.
B ut i f G o d is n o t fre e to be, h o w c a n w e h o p e to b e free} If G o d h im s e lf is
n o t fre e , all f r e e d o m is s u re ly a n illu sio n . W h a te v e r w e d o w e s h o u ld n o t
give u p o u r h o p e fo r fre e d o m .
W e e x p re s s o u r f re e d o m b y c re a tin g n e w id e n titie s f o r ourselves.
W h e n th e te e n a g e r p ro te s ts th a t h e w as n o t ask ed w h e th e r h e w a n te d

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to c o m e in to th is w o rld , h e is te a r in g h im s e lf fre e o f th e id e n tity th a t


h e re c e iv e d fro m h is fam ily a n d h is e d u c a tio n in o r d e r to d e fin e h im s e lf
o n th e b a sis o f n ew r e la tio n s h ip s th a t r e p r e s e n t n o re s tric tio n o n h im .
C o n se q u e n tly , fre e d o m , by w h ic h w e identify' o u rselv es w ith w h a t we
o u rse lv e s d e s ire , a n d in w h ic h w e e x ist f o r w h a te v e r w e d e sire , is
a b s o lu te ly fu n d a m e n ta l. W e h a v e b e e n c r e a te d to b e fre e : fre e d o m
is w h a t will fin a lly e sta b lish u s in th e lik e n e ss o f G o d . We have to know
w h e th e r th e G o d in w h o m w e b eliev e, a n d w h o se lik e n e ss w e d e s ire to
b e , is tie d to h is e x is te n c e . D o c s h e ex ist b c c a u sc h e h a s to e x ist a n d
c a n n o t b u t ex ist? T h is is w h a t is a t sta k e in theology' in th e issue o f th e
p rio rity o f th e p e r s o n s o v e r n atu re* .
G o d is fre e if it is n o t n a t u r e t h a t m a k e s h im ex ist, b u t h e h im s e lf
as a p e r s o n . G o d is fre e i f it is th e p e r s o n o f th e F a th e r w h o m akes
G o d exist. If t h e F a th e r wills to b e , t h e n G o d d o e s n o t e x ist b e c a u se h e
h a s to , b u t b e c a u s e h e is w illin g to . T h is a b s o lu te fre e d o m o f G o d is
e x p re s s e d in t h e sp e c ific way o f th e r e la tio n s h ip s o f th e T rinity. I f G od
exists b e c a u se th e F a th e r is w illing, w e c a n h o p e th a t th is f re e d o m is
n o t as im p o ssib le as it se e m s b u t m ay tu r n o u t to b e p o ssib le fo r u s too.
T h e lo g ic o f th e o lo g y th e r e f o r e , o v e rc o m e s th e illogic a n d a b su rd ity o f
th e o n ly way w e k n o w h o w to e x e rc is e o u r d e sire fo r f r e e d o m , w h ic h is
by re fu s in g a n y th in g a n d e v e ry th in g th a t w e a r c c o n f r o n te d by. B ccausc,
f o r u s, e x is te n c e is a g iv en a n d th e r e f o r e a necessary' th in g , o u r f re e d o m
is e x e rc is e d o n ly by a c c e p tin g th e e x is te n c e im p o s e d o n us o r re je c tin g
it a n d so d e n y in g o u r ow n selves. F o r u s th e r e is th e possibility, o r
te m p ta tio n , o f e x e rc is in g o u r f r e e d o m by saying n o .
S in c e h is e x is te n c e is n o t a g iv en th in g , G o d is n o t o b lig e d to c h o o se
w h e th e r to say y es o r n o to it. F o r h im , th e r e is o n ly o n e w ay to e x e r
cise fre e d o m , a n d th a t is affirm atively. W h a t is th e r e f o r h im to say 'n o
to? G o d h as I h e fr e e d o m to say yes. T h e F a th e rs f r e e d o m is e x p re sse d
by say in g y e s to th e S o n , a n d th e f re e d o m o f th e S on is e x p re sse d
in sa y in g y es to th e F ath er. T h is is th e y es a n d yes a g a in , th a t th e
A p o stle P a u l says (2 C o rin th ia n s 1.19) h a s c o m e t o us in C h rist. S ince
f o r G o d n o t h in g is g iv e n , th e r e is n o th in g w h ic h h e h a s to re fu se . F or
G o d , th e e x e rc is e o f f re e d o m d o e s n o t ta k e th e fo rm o f a c h o ic e , b u t
it is e x e rc is e d v o lu n tarily , in th e fo rm o f love, e x p re s s e d in his trin ita
ria n life. Ifw c ap p ly th is to h u m a n e x iste n c e , f re e d o m is n o t so m e tim e s
yes a n d s o m e tim e s n o , b u t o n ly e v e r y es. T h e o n ly w ay to e x e rc ise
fr e e d o m th a t d e m o n s tra te s its f r e e d o m , is in love; w h ic h is to say,
by a ffirm in g b e in g s o t h e r th a n y o u rself. O u r fre e d o m th e r e f o r e consists
in sa y in g th a t w e a c k n o w le d g e th a t th is p e r s o n exists f o r us, th a t w e
d e s ire th e m a n d in te n d th a t th e y b e c o m e p a r t o f o u r very b e in g . T h e

The Doctrine o f God

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A p o stle P au l te ll u s th a t J e s u s C h ris t w h o w as p r e a c h e d a m o n g y o u , was


n o t y es a n d n o , b u t in h im it h a s always b e e n yes (2 C o rin th ia n s
1.19). G o d s y es a n d C h ris ts y es is th e fre e d o m o f affirm a tio n ,
d e m o n s tr a te d in love.
T h is T rin ity o f p e rs o n s is th e way G o d is w ho h e is. T h e F a th e r freely
c o n s e n ts to th is S o n , wills h im a n d a c k n o w le d g e s h im as his S o n , freely.
G o d e x e rc ise s h is f r e e d o m in love a n d a ffirm a tio n w h e n th e F a th e r
b e g e ts th e S o n , a n d w h e n h e s e n d s th e H o ly S p irit. T h is o p e n s u p th e
p o ssib ility t h a t w c c a n also e x c rc ise fre e d o m , affirm atively, as love. T h is
e x e rc ise o f f r e e d o m tra n s fo rm s u s in to th e lik e n ess of G o d . T h e im ag e
o f G o d is fu lfille d in th e se lf-g o v e rn m e n t o f m a n w h o , th o u g h h e is a b le
to say n o , says y es, as G o d d o es. T h is is h o w w e m a y j o i n th o s e g re a t
lov ers o f G o d a n d o f m a n , th e h o ly s p iritu a l F a th e rs, w h o have le a rn e d
to p ass b e y o n d th e ir o w n in d iv id u a l will th r o u g h s u b m ittin g th em selv es
to a n o th e r.
T h e s e c o n s id e r a tio n s o f h u m a n f r e e d o m a re ra ise d by th e C h ristia n
d o c tr in e o f th e T rinity. 1 h o p e w e c a n s e e th a t, th o u g h w e h a v e to w restle
w ith th e s e c o n c e p tu a l c o m p le x itie s in o r d e r to se t o u t th e te a c h in g o f
th e C h u r c h , t h e s u b je c t o f theo lo g y ' is s tra ig h tfo rw a rd , f o r it is sim ply
th a t life w ith G o d w h ic h is th e fu n d a m e n ta l e x p e rie n c e o f th e C h ristia n .
T h e w h o le o u tw o rk in g o f th e d o c tr in e o f th e T rin ity is c o m p r e h e n d e d
in t h e e x p e r ie n c e o f th e o n e w h o is le a r n in g th e f re e d o m o f love th a t
b e lo n g s to G o d .

IV. Fiu o q u e
T h e F ilio q u e - a n d fro m th e S o n - is a c la u se in s e rte d in to th e C r e e d
by th e W e s te rn C h u r c h . It d e c la re s th a t th e H o ly S p irit p ro c e e d s n o t
o n ly fro m th e F a th e r, b u t also fro m th e S on.
T h e r e a r c tw o a sp e c ts to th e Filioque. T h e first is th e c a n o n ic a l, w hich
re la te s to th e w ay th e d o c tr in e w as a d v a n c e d in th e c o u rs e o f th e
C h u r c h s h isto ry , a n d th e s e c o n d is th e issu e o f th e tr u th w h ic h m e a n s
th a t w c n e e d to in v e stig a te w h e th e r th is d o c trin e h a s a p la c c in th e
C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f G o d . T o c o m p r e h e n d w h a t is a t sta k e th e o lo g i
cally, w e will a g a in c o m p a r e th e theo lo g y ' o f A u g u s tin e a n ti th e C a p p a
d o c ia n s , fo r th e W est u s e d A u g u stin e to d e f e n d th e Filioque, w h ile th e
E a s te rn O r th o d o x u s e d th e C a p p a d o c ia n s to re je c t it.
Let u s s t a r t w ith th e c a n o n ic a l issu e a n d th e h is to iy o f th is clause.
T h e id e a th a t th e S p irit p r o c e e d s fro m th e S o n as w ell as th e F a th e r
e x iste d in th e W est ev en in th e f o u r th c e n tu ry . W e f in d it in A m b ro se
in a fo rm th a t c r e a te d n o th e o lo g ic a l p ro b le m s. M axim us ( Letter to

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M arinas) in th e s e v e n th c e n tu ry f o u n d th a t this te r m Filioque was


e m p lo y e d in R o m e , b u t in a way th a t w as e n tire ly o rth o d o x . S o n o
th e o lo g ic a l c o n tro v e rs y w as a tta c h e d to th is p h ra s e b e fo re th e se v en th
c e n tu ry , a n d t h e n it was f o r re a s o n s o f p o litic s th a t th e te r m b e c a m e th e
fo cu s o f co n tro v e rsy .
T h e Filioque w as first in s e r te d in to th e C re e d in six th -c e n tu ry S p ain ,
a t th e C o u n c il o f T o le d o . K ing R e q u a re rd o s , new ly c o n v e rte d from
A ria n ism to t h e o r th o d o x fa ith , was lo o k in g fo r ways t o re in fo rc e th e
divin ity o f th e S o n a g a in s t th e A ria n p o s itio n . H e f o u n d th e m e a n s o f
d o in g th is in t h e Filioque, a n d p e r s u a d e d th e c o u n c il to in s e r t th e p h ra s e
in to (h e C re e d , in o r d e r to s tr e n g th e n th e c o n fe ssio n th a t th e S on
is e q u a l to th e F a th e r. S o far, th in g s w e re m o re o r less in n o c u o u s .
T h e rise o f th e F ra n k s u n d e r C h a rle m a g n e c re a te d a n e w political
clim a te . C h a r le m a g n e w a n te d to e sta b lish h im s e lf a t th e h e a d o f new
R o m a n e m p ir e . O f c o u rs e , th e B y z a n tin e e m p e r o r r e g a r d e d C o n s
ta n tin o p le as th e c o n tin u a tio n o f R o m e , a n d h im s e lf as th e le a d e r o f
th e R o m a n e m p ir e . I n te n d in g to la u n c h a m ilita ry c a m p a ig n against
B y z a n tiu m , C h a r le m a g n e a d o p te d t h e Filioque a n d d e c la r e d th e
B y zan tin es h e r e tic s in o r d e r to give h is tr o o p s a c a u se to rally to. T h is
b o rro w e d th e o lo g ic a l te r m b e c a m e th e fo c u s o f a p o litic a l stru g g le
b e tw e e n th e W e ste rn a n d E a s te rn e n d s o f th e M e d ite r ra n e a n .
C h a r le m a g n e w as also r e g a r d e d as a th r e a t in R o m e itself. P o p e L eo
111 o p p o s e d th e in tr o d u c tio n o f th e Filioque to th e C re e d a n d s o f o u n d
h im s e lf o n t h e s a m e sid e as t h e B yzantines. L e o h a d th e C re e d , w ith o u t
th e Filioque, in s c rib e d o n tw o p la q u e s a n d p la c e d in S a in t P e te r s
Basilica. L a te r th e s e p la q u e s w e re ta k e n d o w n , o f c o u rse . In a th e o lo g i
cal c o n f c r c n c e in R o m e o n th e C o u n c il o f C o n s ta n tin o p le in 1982, a
R o m a n C a th o lic th e o lo g ia n , F a th e r Yves C o u g a r, su g g e ste d th a t th e se
p la q u e s o f th e C re e d w ith o u t th e Filioque s h o u ld b e r e s to r e d to th e ir
o rig in a l p r o m in e n t p o s itio n , th o u g h n o su c h a c tio n h a s y e t b e e n tak en .
U p u n til th a t tim e , th e Filioque h a d b e e n a p u re ly F ra n k ish cau se. But
R o m e s a d v a n c e s in B u lg a ria h a d c r e a te d g ro w in g a n ta g o n is m w ith
C o n s ta n tin o p le . In th e y e a r 1014, it w as a g r e e d th a t th e c o r o n a tio n o f
e m p e r o r F re d e ric k IV ta k e p la c e in R o m e o n th e c o n d itio n th a t th e Fil
ioque was in c lu d e d in th e C re e d . F o r re a s o n s o f p o litic a l e x p e d ie n c y
R o m e c o n c c d c d to th is d e m a n d , th e Filioque b e c a m e p a r t o f th e C re e d
in R o m e a n d th e W e ste rn C h u rc h h a s d e f e n d e d it e v e r sin c e . In 1054,
th e y e a r o f t h e sc h ism b e tw e e n R o m e a n d C o n s ta n tin o p le , th e P o p e s
a n a th e m a , d e p o s ite d by Lm b c r to in th e C h u rc h o f H a g ia S o p h ia , m a d e
th e c h a r g e th a t, fa r fro m b e in g a W e s te rn in tr o d u c tio n , it h a d b e e n th e
E a s te rn e rs w h o h a d re m o v e d th e Filioque f r o m th e C re ed !

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In s u b s e q u e n t c e n tu rie s . W e s te rn e rs c o n tin u e d to level th is c h a rg e


a g a in st t h e E a s te rn C h u r c h , so t h e tr u th o f its in s e rtio n o f Filioque was
fo rg o tte n in t h e W est. T h e fig h t f o r th e ju s tific a tio n o f th e Filioque was
n o w u n d e r way. T h e W est d re w a rg u m e n ts fro m A u g u s tin e , d e v e lo p e d
w ith t h e a id o f T h o m a s A q u in a s, f o r r e g a r d in g th o s e w h o d id n o t a cc ep t
th e Filioque as h e re tic s , a n d a n e q u a lly re c a lc itra n t an-Filioque th e o lo g y
d e v e lo p e d in t h e E ast, e a c h sid e th ro w in g th e c h a rg e o f h e re sy in p o le m
ics th a t e n d u r e d o v e r c e n tu rie s .
A s a th e o lo g ic a l issu e t h e Filioque c a m e to th e fo re in th e tw e n tie th
cen tu ry ' as R u ssia n m ig r s in F ra n c e b r o u g h t th e theology' o f Slavo
p h ile s to th e W est. T h e c h ie f re p re s e n ta tiv e o f th is th e o lo g y , V la d im ir
Lossky, b r o u g h t th e Filioque b a c k in to th e c e n tr e o f d e b a te a n d th is has
serv e d to r e n e w th e co n tro v ersy . W h e n wre ask a b o u t th e d iffe re n c e s
b e tw e e n E ast a n d W est, t h e Filioque is u su ally th e first a n sw e r g iv en . T h e
c a n o n ic a l issu e re m a in s a p ro b le m . D o c s a n y o n e C h u rc h have th e
rig h t to in s e rt a new w o rd in g in th e C re e d ? T h e C re e d w as p ro d u c e d by
a n e c u m e n ic a l c o u n c il, th a t is a c o u n c il o f th e w h o le C h u rc h . N o p a rt
o f t h e C h u r c h c a n m a k e a u n ila te ra l a lte r a tio n to th e C h u r c h s te a c h
in g , w ith o u t t h e c o n s e n t o f th e w h o le C h u r c h . W e will c o m e b a c k to this
issue.
H a v in g e x a m in e d th e h isto ry w e m u s t n o w tu r n to th e o lo g ic a l issues
a r o u n d th e Filioque. T h e o lo g ic a l ju s tific a tio n o f th e Filioque b e g a n fro m
A u g u s tin e s p o s itio n th a t, in th e T rinity, as th e L o g o s, th e S o n r e p r e
se n ts th e k n o w le d g e o f G o d , w h ile th e S p irit is th e love o f G o d . As
k n o w le d g e c o m e s b e f o r e love, th e r e a s o n in g wre n t, th e S o n c o m e s b e fo re
th e S p irit. O n th is b asis A u g u s tin e a ttr ib u te d p rio rity to th e S o n o v e r th e
S p irit, a n d m a d e th e S o n a s o u rc e o f th e S p irit a lo n g sid e th e F a th e r.
A s e c o n d ju s tif ic a tio n g iv en f o r th e Filioque was th a t, a c c o r d in g to
A u g u stin e , t h e s u b s ta n c e is p r i o r to th e p e r s o n s o f G o d . O n e G o d
m e a n s th e e s s e n c e w ith in w 'hich t h r e e re la tio n s h ip s sub sist, th e F a th e r
(m e m o ry ), th e S o n (k n o w le d g e ) a n d th e S p irit (lo v e). B u t, m edieval
S ch o lastic th e o lo g ia n s w o u ld a r g u e , r e la tio n s h ip s th a t a r e c o m p le te
m u s t b e r e c ip ro c a l, so r e la tio n s h ip s m u s t c o m e in p a irs. T h e S p irit m u st
o rig in a te , n o t fro m o n e p e r s o n , b u t fro m a re la tio n s h ip o f tw o p e rso n s.
G iv en th a t t h e S o n is th e o n ly o t h e r p e r s o n , th e Filioque is r e q u ire d .
T h e R e fo rm a tio n b r o u g h t a d if f e r e n t a p p ro a c h . P ro te s ta n ts c o n
d e m n e d as m e ta p h y sic s a n y theo lo g y ' th a t sp ea k s o f th e b e in g o f G od,
in sis tin g th a t w e k n o w G o d so lely th r o u g h h is w orks in history' a n d th e r e
fo re th r o u g h t h e e c o n o m y . T h e h is to ric a l a c ts o f G o d a r e th e so le so u rc e
f o r th eo lo g y ; T h e i r claim w as th a t s in c e th e H o ly T rin ity a p p e a rs in histo ry in th e e c o n o m y b e c a u s e th e F a th e r s e n d s h is S o n , a n d th e S o n

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s e n d s th e S p irit, th e S p irit is th e r e f o r e g iv en to us by th e S o n . G iven th a t


e v e ry th in g w e k n o w a n d c a n say a b o u t G o d is d e p e n d e n t o n w h a t h a p
p e n s in th e e c o n o m y w c h av e to c o n c e d e th a t th e S p irit is also d e p e n
d e n t o n th e S o n , n o t o n th e F a th e r a lo n e . T h e o u tc o m e w as th a t
P ro te s ta n ts f o u n d c o n tin u in g g r o u n d s to s u p p o r t th e Filioque.
P ro te s ta n ts f o u n d th em selv es in th e s a m e c o n fu s io n as th o se fo u rth c e n tu ry th e o lo g ia n s w h o w e re u n a b le to d is tin g u ish b e tw e e n th e two
so rts o f p ro c e s s io n , p r o c e e d in g f r o m a n d se n t by. P ro c e e d in g fro m '
re la te s to th e e te r n a l re la tio n s h ip o f F a th e r, S o n a n d S p irit. T h e S p irit
proceeds e te r n a lly a n d d ire c tly fro m th e F a th e r. B u t in th e e c o n o m y the
S o n sends th e e te r n a l S p irit to us; th e S o n gives us th e S p irit. T h e Son
c lea rly h as s o m e th in g to d o w ith th e a p p e a r a n c e o f th e H o ly S p irit in
th e eco n o m y .
T h e G re e k -s p e a k in g E a st h a d u s e d p r o c e e d in g f r o m ' ( )
o n ly w ith in t h e im m a n e n t a n d e te r n a l T rinity. B ut L a tin d id n o t m a k e it
easy to d is tin g u is h b e tw e e n th e tw o. F ro m th e f o u r th c e n tu r y th e G ree k
Ekporeuetai ( p r o c e e d in g f ro m ) a n d pempetai ( s e n t by) w e re tra n s la te d
in to L a tin s im p ly as p r o c c d c r c . F ro m th e very b e g in n in g , th e W est
u s e d Filioque o f b o th th e o lo g y a n d e c o n o m y a n d fro m th is c a m e th e
m u tu a l in c o m p r e h e n s io n th a t d ro v e th e co n tro v ersy . W h e n saying
th a t th e S p irit o rig in a te s fro m th e F a th e r a n d th e S o n , a r e w e re fe rr in g
sim p ly to th e e c o n o m y , w h e re th e S p irit is in d e e d g iv en by th e S o n , o r is
this b e in g p r o je c te d b a c k in to th e e te r n a l b e in g o f G od?
A s e c o n d a r e a o f d ifficu lty lies in th e a n a lo g ie s A u g u s tin e u s e d to
d e s c rib e th e T rinity. T o say th a t th e F a th e r is m e m o ry , th e S on is know l
e d g e a n d th e S p irit is love, is to p ro je c t o n to G o d fro m th e e co n o m y .
In th e view o f th e G re e k F a th e rs s u c h a r g u m e n ts give n o s u p p o r t to
th e Filioque. T h e o n ly th in g w e c a n say a b o u t th e F a th e r, th e S on a n d th e
S p irit is th a t th e F a th e r is U n b e g o tte n a n d th a t h e is th e F a th e r o f th e
S on ; th e S o n is b e g o tte n a n d is th e S o n o f th e F a th e r; a n d th e S p irit
p ro c e e d s f r o m ' th e F a th e r a n d th a t h e is th e S p irit, n o t th e S o n . T h e se
c h a ra c te ris tic s , w h ic h d e riv e fro m th e very b e in g o f th e s e p e rs o n s , tell us
how th e y a r e a n d th u s who th e y a rc . W c c a n n o t say a n y th in g a b o u t th e
o th e r c h a ra c te ris tic s th a t b e lo n g to e a c h o f th e p e rso n s.
W e h av e s e e n th a t th e E a st d id n o t s e t th e n a tu r e o f G o d b e f o re o r
ab o v e th e p e rs o n s . I f th e F a th e r is G o d , to m a k e th e S on eq u ally th e
s o u rc e o f th e H o ly S p irit w o u ld b e to a c k n o w le d g e tw o o n to lo g ic a l o ri
g in s in th e T rinity, a n d th u s tw o G o d s. T h e o n e n e s s o f G o d is s e c u r e d by
th e F a th e r: h e is t h e o n ly s o u rc e a n d c a u se , fro m w h o m G o d 's e n tir e life
a n d b e in g c o m e s. T h e F a th e r s e c u re s th e u n ity o f G o d . T h e a b so lu te
so v e re ig n ty o f G o d is s a fe g u a r d e d by th e so le p r in c ip le ( monorchia) o f

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th e F a th e r. T h e Filioque w o u ld th e n r e p r e s e n t th e in tr o d u c tio n o f a
s e c o n d s o u r c e ( arch) b e s id e th e F ath er.
H o w c a n t h r e e p e rs o n s n o t b e th r e e s e p a ra te G ods? T h e a n sw e r is
th a t th e S o n a n d th e S p irit c o m e fro m th e F a th e r a n d o r ie n t th em selv es
e n tire ly to h im . H e is th e s o u r c e o f th e ir b e in g a n d th u s o f th e e x iste n c e
o f th e T rin ity . T h e so v e re ig n ty o f th e F a th e r s e c u re s th e u n ity a n d
o n e n e s s o f G o d . I f th e S o n is a s e c o n d p rin c ip le a lo n g s id e th e F ather,
th e s o v e re ig n ly o f th e F a th e r w o u ld b e g o n e a n d w e w o u ld h a v e two
G ods.
W e h av e a s im ila r d ifficu lty w h e n w e im a g in e th a t k n o w le d g e co m e s
b e fo re love. H e r e w e n e e d to r e m e m b e r w h a t w e sa id a b o u t k n o w led g e
o f p e rs o n s a n d k n o w le d g e o f th in g s. In o r d e r to k n o w s o m e o n e , I n e e d
to b e in s o m e s o rt o f re la tio n s h ip w ith th e m , a n d e v e ry re la tio n s h ip is
in fo rm e d to s o m e d e g r e e b y love. A u g u s tin e s a r g u m e n t th a t k n o w le d g e
c o m e s b e fo re love is u n f o u n d e d . T h is m e a n s th a t if w e a r e m a in ta in in g
th a t th e S o n is k n o w le d g e a n d th e S p irit is love, th e S p irit c a n n o t b e
s u b s e q u e n t t o t h e S o n . K n o w led g e is in trin sica lly r e la te d to love a n d
c o m m u n io n , b e c a u s e w e k n o w p e rs o n s o n ly to th e d e g r e e t h a t w e a rc
in c o m m u n io n w ith th e m , w h ic h is to say, w e love th e m .
Is th e r e a n y d e g r e e to w h ic h w e a c c e p t t h e Filioque? U n d e r s to o d in
th e r ig h t way, w e m a y in d e e d a c c e p t t h e Filioque. T h e first c o n s id e ra tio n
is to b e c le a r a b o u t th e d iffe re n c e b e tw e e n p r o c e e d in g f r o m a n d
s e n t by a n d s o m a in ta in th e d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n th e e te r n a l a n d th e
e c o n o m ic T rin ity . It is fin e to say th a t th e S p irit d e p e n d s o n th e S o n in
th e e c o n o m y , b u t it is a n e n tire ly d if f e r e n t th in g to m a in ta in th a t this
re la te s to th e e te r n a l life o f G o d . W e c a n n o t ta lk a b o u t a n y Filioque in
th e e te r n a l T rin ity b e c a m e th e F a th e r is t h e so le c a u se o f th e S pirit.
N o n e th e le s s , th e G re e k F a th e rs m a k e a d is tin c tio n th a t allow s a ro le f o r
th e S o n in t h e e te r n a l p ro c e ss io n o f th e H o ly S p irit.
In T h a t There are not Three Gods', S a in t G re g o ry o f N yssa says:
W e d o n o t d e n y th e d iffe re n c e betw een H im (th e F a th e r ), w h o exists as (h e causer,
a n d h e w h o is fr o m th is causer.

W e m a y g e t a b e tte r id e a o f h o w th e p e rs o n s a r e d is tin c t by a g re e in g
th a t th e r e is a d if f e r e n c e b e tw e e n a cau se, a n d w h a t it cau ses. T h e d iffe r
e n c e b e tw e e n th e F a th e r a n d th e S o n a n d S p irit, is th a t th e F a th e r is th e
c au se w h ile th e S o n a n d th e S p irit a re c a u s e d by h im . T h e c au se is
a p e rs o n , a n a g e n t w h o fre e ly in itia te s. T h e d istin c tio n b e tw e e n th e
c au se a n d w h a t h e c a u se s is a ll-im p o rta n t. G re g o ry c o n tin u e s :
A s fo r that w h ic h is ca u se d (th e S o n ) , w e re c o g n is e a fu r th e r d iffe re n c e .
T h e S o n c o m e s im m e d ia te ly a n d d ire c tly fr o m th e C a u s e , w h e reas th e S p irit

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co m e s th ro u g h the o n e w h o co m e s d ire c tly fr o m the C a u se , that is , th ro u g h the


m e d ia tio n o f th e S o n .

T h e m e d ia tio n o f th e S o n in th e p ro c e ssio n o f th e S p irit sa fe g u a rd s


th e fact th a t t h e S o n is th e o n ly -b e g o tte n , th a t is, th a t h e is th e o n ly S on
a n d th e S p irit is n o t a n o t h e r S o n b e s id e h im . T h e m e d ia tio n o f th e
S o n d o e s n o t c h a n g e th e f a c t th a t th e S p irit h a s a d ir e c t re la tio n s h ip
w ith th e F a th e r. G re g o ry insists th a t it is th is m e d ia to iy ro le o f th e Son
in th e p ro c e s s io n o f th e S p irit th a t p re s e rv e s th e im m e d ia te re la tio n s h ip
o f th e S p irit t o th e F a th e r. A s lo n g as w e a r e c le a r th a t th e S o n is n o t th e
c a u se , o t h e r ro le s fo r th e S o n in th e p ro c e s s io n o f th e S p irit a re
ad m issib le.
S o w e h a v e s e e n th a t O r th o d o x theo lo g y ' m a k es so m e c a re fu l d istin c
tio n s b e tw e e n th e d o c tr in e o f t h e e te r n a l G o d a n d th e e c o n o m y o f G o d
f o r m a n in c r e a tio n a n d h isto iy .
W ith in th e e te r n a l G o d , h ow ever, th e S p irit d o e s n o t p r o c e e d fro m
th e S o n . In th e im m a n e n t T rin ity w c h av e r e la tio n s h ip s th a t a r c e n tire ly
o n to lo g ic a l, s o th e o n ly c a u se o r a g e n t m u s t b e th e F a th e r. P ro c e e d in g
f ro m (ekporeuetai) re la te s to th e S p irits o n to lo g ic a l d e p e n d e n c e o n th e
F a th e r w ith in th e e te r n a l T rinity. T o ta lk a b o u t a s e c o n d c a u se o r a g e n t
w o u ld b e to in tr o d u c e a s e c o n d G o d .
In th e e c o n o m y , it is r ig h t to say th a t th e S p irit d e p e n d s o n th e S o n ,
is s e n t by t h e S o n a n d g iv e n b y h im to th e C h u rc h . W h e n d e a lin g w ith
th e econom y', w e a r e n o t d e a lin g w ith th e e te rn a l re la tio n s h ip s o f th e
p e rs o n s o f t h e T rin ity in th e m se lv e s, b u t o n ly th o se r e la tio n s h ip s th a t
re la te to th e a c ts o f G o d f o r u s, a n d so to th e S o n s a c tio n o f s e n d in g th e
S p irit. S o w ith in th e e c o n o m y th e te rm Filioque, by th e F a th e r a n d the
Son, c a n n o t b e fa u lte d .
W e h a v e s e e n th a t in p a r t t h e Filioque c o n tro v e rsy w as c a u s e d by th e
c o n fu s io n in t h e W est a b o u t tw o te rm s, o n e o f w h ic h r e fe rs to th e im m a
n e n t T rin ity a n d o n e to th e e c o n o m ic T rinity. F o r th e E ast, this d istin c
tio n is im p e ra tiv e ; if w e m a k e th is d is tin c tio n , w e a r e a b le to a c c e p t th a t
th e Filioque is t r u e in th e economy.
B u t as th e W est d e f in e d it, th e Filioque re la te s e q u a lly to th e e te rn a l
a n d th e e c o n o m ic T rinity. C a n th e Filioque n o t b e a p p lie d a t all t o th e
e te r n a l T rin ity ? L e t u s ta k e a lo o k a t th e issu e as it w as e n c o u n te r e d by
p a tris tic theology'. In th e s e v e n th c e n tu ry , as w o rd was g e ttin g a r o u n d
th a t t h e Filioque w as b e in g u s e d in th e W est, S a in t M ax im u s w as a sk e d for
h is o p in io n o n th is m a tte r. H e re p lie d th a t h e h a d lo o k e d in to it, a n d
f o u n d th a t t h e L a tin -sp e a k in g R o m a n s d id n o t h a v e re sp e c tiv e w o rd s f o r
e x p re ss in g t h e tw o n o tio n s o f proceeding from a n d sent out by (ekporeuetai

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a n d pempetai), so th e y u s e d o n ly o n e w o rd , proceeds a n d th is gave rise to


c o n fu sio n . In th e sa m e le tte r to M a rin u s, S a in t M ax im u s n o tic e d th a t
R o m a n C h ris tia n s r e f e r r e d to S a in t C yril o f A le x a n d ria , w h o se w ritings
s e e m e d to g iv e t h e Filioque s o m e s u p p o r t in th e e te r n a l T rinity. T h e o d o r e tu s o f C y rrh u s r e s p o n d e d by say in g th a t if Cyril w as ta lk in g a b o u t th e
c co n o m y , all w as w ell; if n o t, C yril w as in e rro r.
Cyril d id n o t c o n iin e w h a t h e sa id a b o u t th e Filioque to th e eco n o m y ,
b u t m a d e in f e r e n c e s f o r th e e te r n a l T rinity. H e d id n o t u se th e te rm
p ro c e e d s f r o m , b u t h e d id say th a t t h e S p irit is e te r n a lly m a n ife ste d
by th e S o n also . G iv en th a t th e e s s e n c e is c o m m o n to all th r e e p e rs o n s ,
th e S o n c a n b e sa id to m a n ife s t th e S p irit in th e b e in g o f G o d . But,
in th e p e r s o n a l re la tio n s h ip o f S p irit to t h e o th e r tw o p e rso n s, th e r e can
b e n o Filioque, b e c a u s e th e p e r s o n o f th e F a th e r a lo n e is th e c au se o f
th e T rinity. At first g la n c e , th is a p p e a r s a m b ig u o u s , b u t as w e h a v e seen ,
S a in t G re g o ry o f Nyssa p o in te d o u t th a t a c a u se is o n e th in g , a n d wrhoe v e r is from th a t c a u se is a n o th e r.
O n ly w h e n p e r s o n is th e c a u se a n d th e o t h e r is from th a t c a u se , c a n we
p e rc e iv e th a t o n e p e r s o n is d is tin c t fro m a n o th e r. G re g o ry says th a t th e
o n ly way to d is tin g u is h b e tw e e n th e p e rs o n s of th e T rin ity is by this
c o n c e p t o f a g e n c y o r c a u se . H e c o n tin u e s:
W ich re g a rd to the p e rso n w h o is from the C a u se , w e h a v e in th e re a n o th e r d istin c
tio n , w h e re a s w ith re g a rd to th e C a u s e , it is c le a r that it is o n ly th e Father. W h e n
r e f e rr in g to 'fro m the c a u s e ', w c c a n re c o g n ise a fu r th e r d iffe re n c e : o n e o f th e two
o rig in a te s w ith o u t m e d ia tio n fro m the first, w h ile th e o th e r o rig in a te s w ith the
m e d ia tio n o f th e o n e w h o o rig in a te s d ire c tly fr o m th e C a u se . (7 o Ablabius: ' T h a t
T h eir A re N ot T hree Gods')

T h e d if f e r e n c e b e tw e e n th e S o n a n d th e S p irit is th a t th e S o n c o m e s
d ire c tly fro m th e F a th e r, w h ile th e S p irit c o m e s th r o u g h th e m e d ia tio n
o f t h e S o n . G r e g o iy e x p la in s th a t w ith th is m e d ia tio n o f th e S on
T h e a ttrib u te o f b e in g o n ly-b e g o tte n a b id e s w ith o u t d o u b t in th e S o n , a n d the
m e d ia tio n o f th e S o n . w h ile it g u a rd s h is a ttrib u te o f b e in g o n ly -b e g o tte n , does not
sh u t o u t the S p ir it fr o m h is re la tio n b y w ay o f n a tu re to th e Father.

T h is m e d ia tio n d o c s n o t re m o v e th e d ir e c t a n d im m e d ia te re la tio n
s h ip o f th e S p irit w ith th e F a th e r, b u t w e h av e to identify' this m e d ia tio n
so th a t w e d o n o t see th e S p irit as a s e c o n d S o n . T h is d o e s lo o k like a
k in d o f Filioque in th e e te r n a l G o d . N e v e rth e le ss, th e c a u se o f th e H oly
S p irit is always th e F a th e r for, th o u g h th e S o n m e d ia te s, h e is n o se c o n d
cau se. T h e s e n u a n c e s m a in ta in th e ru le o f fa ith th a t th e F a th e r a lo n e is
th e cau sc.

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In h is l e tt e r to M a rin u s, S a in t M ax im u s sa id h e d isc u sse d th e issue


w ith C h ris tia n s in R o m e a n d c o n c lu d e d th a t th e y d id n o t m e a n th a t th e
S o n is th e c a u s e , so M ax im u s said th a t th e r e w as n o h e re sy involved.
T h a t w as h o w th e s itu a tio n w as le ft in th e s e v e n th c e n tu ry . In la te r c e n
tu rie s as th e Filioque was u se d by th e W est as a slo g a n a im e d a t th e Byzan
tin e s, th e issu e b e c a m e p o la ris e d . T h e W e s te rn e rs w e re n o lo n g e r re a d y
to c o n c e d e t h a t th e S o n is n o t a cau se, w ith th e F a th e r, o f th e p ro c e ssio n
o f th e H o ly S p irit a n d th e ir re fu sa l e v e n tu a lly tu r n e d in to d e fia n c e .
T h e C o u n c il o f F lo re n c e (1 4 3 8 -3 9 ) a tte m p te d to h e a l th e division o f
th e C h u rc h o n th is issue. I f th e tw o sid e s h a d b e e n w illin g to a d o p t th e
te rm th r o u g h th e S o n r a th e r th a n fro m th e S o n , th a t m ig h t have
b e e n a b asis f o r a g r e e m e n t. T h r o u g h th e S o n w o u ld h a v e in d ic a te d
th e m e d ia tio n o f th e S o n th a t G re g o ry o f N yssa w as lo o k in g for. But
n e i t h e r sid e w as w illin g to m a k e a n y d ecisiv e th e o lo g ic a l ste p . T h e W est
h a d a lre a d y sta b ilis e d its o w n p o sitio n w ith th e e x p re ssio n fro m th e
F a th e r a n d th e S o n , a n d w as n o t w illin g to r e tr a c t it o r re p la c e it w ith
through th e S o n .
I b eliev e t h a t th e Filioque is a m a tte r th a t th e C h u rc h e s o f E ast a n d
W est c a n reso lv e. F re sh a tte m p ts a r e n o w u n d e r way, a n d it will b e very
in te r e s tin g to s e e w h a t p ro g re s s th e y m ak e. All w e have to d o is avoid
a n y th in g th a t o b s c u r e s th e p r in c ip le th a t, w ith in th e T rinity, th e F a th e r
a lo n e is c a u se a n d a g e n t. W e c a n all m a k e o u r case f o r o u r u n d e r s ta n d
in g o f t h e p la c e o f th e Filioque in th e d o c tr in e o f G o d , j u s t as th e C h u rc h
d id in th e a g e o f M axim us.

C h a p te r 3

Creation and Salvation

I. T h e D o c t r i n e

of

C r e a t io n

T h e d o c tr in e o f c re a tio n c a n b e f o u n d in t h e C re e d o f th e C h u r c h fro m
th e e a r lie s t tim e s . T h e first a rtic le states: *1 b eliev e in o n e C o d , F a th e r
A lm ighty, C r e a to r o f h e a v e n a n d e a r th , o f all th in g s visible a n d invisi
b le .' H isto rically , th e r e f e r e n c e to c r e a tio n is a n a d d itio n to th e first
C re e d , w h ic h w as first a c o n fe ssio n o f fa ith in th e th r e e p e rs o n s o f
F a th e r, S o n a n d H o ly S p irit. R e fe re n c e to c r e a tio n w as a d d e d b e c a u se
th e C h u r c h h a d to sh o w h o w th e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f c r e a tio n was dis
tin c t fro m o t h e r views o f th e c o sm o s. As u su a l, w c n o t o n ly h a v e to say
h o w th e d o c tr in e c a m e to b e a rtic u la te d , b u t a lso w h a t its sig n ific a n c e is
f o r u s today.
T o e x a m in e th e d e v e lo p m e n t o f th e d o c tr in e w ith in th e e a rly C h u rc h ,
w e n e e d to g iv e s o m e a c c o u n t o f th e rival th e o rie s o f c r e a tio n in th a t
p e r io d . G n o stic ism w as th e first th e o ry in b r o a d c irc u la tio n to w h ic h th e
C h u r c h h a d t o re s p o n d . G n o stic ism b e g a n fro m th e p re m is e th a t th e
w o rld w e k n o w is f r a u g h t w ith evil, w h ic h re fle c te d th e w id e s p re a d pes
sim ism o f th e tim e. T h e q u e s tio n a s k e d w as w h e th e r, i f th e w o rld is full
o f evil, it re a lly c o u ld h a v e b e e n G o d w h o c r e a te d it. C o n c e r n e d to p r e
serv e G o d s p u rity a n d tra n s c e n d e n c e , G n o sticism d e n ie d th a t G o d was
d ire c tly r e s p o n s ib le fo r th e c re a tio n o f th is w o rld . In ste a d , th e w o rld was
th e c r e a tio n o f a n o t h e r b e in g , w h ic h it c a lle d n o t G o d b u t sim p ly th e
C r e a to r , th e low est o f th e e o n s th a t m a d e u p a lo n g h ie ra rc h y th a t
s e p a ra te d G o d fro m th e w o rld . T h e C h u r c h d e c la re d th a t th e very
o p p o s ite w as tr u e : it w as G o d h im s e lf w h o h a d c r e a te d th e w o rld . T h e
C h u rc h d e c la r e d in its c r e e d th a t th e o n e G o d , th e F a th e r A lm ighty, was
C r e a to r o f all th in g s visible a n d in v isib le. T h e F a th e r, G o d h im se lf, is
th e C re a to r. T h e C h u rc h r e s p o n d e d to G n o sticism by saying th a t th e
re la tio n s h ip th a t G o d h a s w ith th e w o rld is d ir e c t a n d im m e d ia te .

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G n o stic ism iso la te d G o d fro m th e w o rld . I f th e C h u r c h h a d c o n c e d e d


th a t G o d h a d h a d n o in v o lv e m e n t in (h e c re a tio n o f th e w o rld this w o u ld
p u t G o d 's o m n ip o te n c e in d o u b t. It w o u ld also h a v e c a st d o u b t o v e r th e
love o f G o d , b e c a u s e it w o u ld m e a n th a t G o d h a s n o p e rs o n a l re la tio n
s h ip w ith (h e w o rld . T h e n th e r e w o u ld b e th e issue o f w h e th e r th e w orld
w o u ld e v e r b e rid o f evil, o r w h e th e r evil w as a n in s e p a ra b le p a r t o f
c re a tio n . H o w ev er, sin c e th e C h u rc h u p h e ld th e view th a t G o d H im se lf
c r e a te d (h e w o rld , i( in siste d th a t evil is th e r e f o r e n o t p a r t o f c re a tio n 's
tr u e n a tu r e . T o G n o stic ism s q u e s tio n a b o u t h o w evil a p p e a r e d in th e
w o rld , th e C h u r c h sa id th a t evil w as o n e o u tc o m e o f th e fre e d o m
giv en to m a n . T h e w o rld is n o t in trin sic a lly evil. G o d h a s a n im m e d ia te
c o n c e r n fo r it a n d h a s th e p o w e r to c o m c to c r e a tio n s a id : G o d is
A lm ighty, as th e C re e d p u ts it, w ith p o w e r a n d a u th o rity o v e r all th in g s.
G o d c re a te s s o m e ih in g o u ts id e h im s e lf a n d su sta in s (h e w o rld in its
re la tio n s h ip w ith h im self.
T h e n e x t q u e s tio n was w h e th e r th e w o rld c a n b e p e rc e iv e d as an
e x te n s io n o f G o d , o r as s o m e th in g w h ic h G o d sim ply f o r m e d a n d
s h a p e d . T h is th e o r y o r ig in a te d w ith P la to , a lth o u g h it h a d u n d e r g o n e
c o n s id e ra b le d e v e lo p m e n t, p rin c ip a lly a t th e h a n d s of P h ilo , by th e tim e
tha( (h e c r e e d w as b e in g f o r m u la te d . P la to d e d ic a te d a d ia lo g u e , (he
T im a e u s , to t h e issu e o f c re a tio n . P la to w as h im s e lf re s p o n d in g to th e
view th a t th e w o rld was n o t c r e a te d b y a n y o n e b u t was sim p ly a ra n d o m
o c c u r r e n c e , e i t h e r in th e s e n s e o f b e in g a fu n c tio n o f c h a n c e as th e
E p ic u re a n s u n d e r s to o d it, o r in th e s e n s e th a t G o d is id e n tifie d w ith
th e laws o f n a tu r e . G o d wro u ld th e n b e th e lo g ic a l a n d co h e siv e fo rc e
c o n ta in e d w ith in n a tu r e . P la to b e lie v e d th a t th e w o rld was c r e a te d by
s o m e o n e w h o m h e n a m e d F a th e r . In T h e Laws h e se t o u t severe
p e n a ltie s f o r a th e is ts , by w h ic h h e h a d in m in d th o se p h ilo s o p h e rs o f
n a tu r e w h o w e re h is c o n te m p o ra rie s . B e c a u se P lato in siste d th a t th e
w o rld w as c r e a te d by G o d , C h ristia n s c a m e to r e g a rd h im as a b elie v er
a m o n g s t th e p a g a n s a n d a th e o lo g ia n b e fo re C h rist.
H ow ever, ( h e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f c re a tio n is very d if f e r e n t fro m
th e a c c o u n t o f th e w 'orld p r e s e n te d b y t h e T im a e u s . A lth o u g h h e
c la im e d th a t t h e wro rld w as c r e a te d by G o d , w h a t P la to m e a n t wras th a t
G o d c r e a te d in th e s e n s e th a t a n a r tis t c re a te s. H e h a s id e a s a n d , w ith
th e m a te ria ls a v a ila b le to h im , h e p o rtra y s th e fo rm h e h a s in m in d . T h e
T im a e u s p o r tr a y e d G o d , w h o m P la to r e f e r r e d to as M in d [Nous), as
ta k in g e x is tin g m a tte r a n d id e a s a n d th e n s itu a te d th e w o rld in th e void
as th o u g h o n a k in d o f canvas, a n d g iv in g th e w o rld all th e b e a u ty
a n d h a r m o n y th a t b e lo n g s to it. T h u s th e G o d o f th e T im a e u s c re a te s
o u t o f e le m e n ts a lre a d y in e x is te n c e . P la to b e lie v e d th a t th is ex p la in s

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why, th o u g h n o t p e r f e c t, th is w o rld is th e b e s t th a t c o u ld have b e e n


m a d e o f th e m a te ria l. T h e laws o f s p a c e a n d m a tte r resist th e C r e a to r s
e ffo rts to c o n f o r m th e m c o m p le te ly to t h e p e r f e c t fo rm s. P e rfe c tio n
re m a in e d w ith th e id e a s, in th e re a lm ab o v e c re a tio n .
P la to a n d t h e a n c ie n t G re e k s r e g a r d e d th e w o rld as fu n d a m e n ta lly
g o o d b u t th e y d id a ssu m e th a t a te n d e n c y to evil c o u ld b e a ttrib u te d
to m a tte r. T h e m o r e w e d e s c e n d to w a rd s m a tte r, th e m o re w e d ista n c e
o u rse lv e s f r o m t h e p e r f e c tio n th a t th e a rtist C r e a to r was a im in g for.
In th e first c e n tu ry , P h ilo a tte m p te d to sy n th esise P la to s in sig h ts w ith
th e c o sm o lo g y o f th e S c rip tu re s o f Israel. P h ilo re a lis e d th a t th e r e
w ere p r o b le m s w ith P la to s a c c o u n t b e c a u s e it a s s u m e d t h a t G o d was
c o n f r o n te d b y th e e x is te n c e o f m a tte r as by a g iv en . W h o c r e a te d
m a tte r? P h ilo to o k th e s te p o f d e c la rin g m a tte r to b e a c r e a tio n of G od,
in th is way s e c u r in g G o d s in d e p e n d e n c e o f it. B u t th e r e w as a lso th e
p ro b le m o f id e a s. F o r P la to , id e a s a lso j u s t e x iste d , so G o d f o u n d th e m
re a d y -m a d e . P h ilo s s o lu tio n was to tu r n th e id e a s in to th e th o u g h ts o f
G o d . T h e id e a s w e re n o t ab o v e G o d b u t w ith in h im .
T h e a n c ie n t G re e k s lo n g e d to g e t b e y o n d th e c h a n g e s a n d d ec ay o f
this w o rld a n d so th e y a ttr ib u te d stab ility to th e re a lm o f id eas, w h ich
re p r e s e n ts th e tr u th a n d th e u n ity ab o v e all th is c h a o s. T h e o b je c ts we
see m a y c h a n g e to o slow ly f o r u s to p e rc e iv e , b u t th e y c h a n g e n o n e th e
less a n d o n e d a y th e y will e x ist n o m o re . So, fo r e x a m p le , th e ta b le w e
see b e f o r e u s is in p ro c e ss o f decay. W e a r e o n ly a b le to r e f e r to it as a
ta b le b c c a u s c s o m e w h e re ab o v e th e r e is th e tr u e a n d u n c h a n g in g tab le,
fro m w h ic h all th e ta b le s w e s e e s o u rc e th e ir e x iste n c e . I f th is c o n s ta n t
a n d id e a l ta b le is n o t re a l, n o ta b le c a n tru ly ex ist. T h e id e a s a r e th e
s o u rc e o f all t h a t w c e x p e r ie n c e a n d th e y s e c u re th e id e n tity a n d tru th
o f all th e fra g m e n ta ry ' th in g s th a t w e c a n n a m e . E very entity' exists
b e c a u s e o f its c o n n e c tio n to its id e a , its ra tio n a lity o r logos. A c c o rd in g to
P lato , G o d f o u n d th e id e a s a n d m a d e u s e o f th e m , so th e id e a s o f th in g s
w e re in d e p e n d e n t o f G o d . In th e T im a e u s th e C r e a to r d id w h a te v e r
th e id e a s d ir e c te d h im to ; th e y d ic ta te d t h e f o r m o f c re a tio n , a lth o u g h
m a tte r p r e v e n te d c r e a tio n fro m a c h ie v in g a p e rf e c t c o rr e s p o n d e n c e
w ith th e ideas.
P h ilo re a lis e d th a t th e s e th e o rie s w e re n o t s u ite d to th e f re e d o m o f
G o d , so h e m o d if ie d P la to n ism by tr a n s f e r r in g th e s e id e a s in to th e m in d
of G o d . H e d e c id e d th a t th e e n tir e w o rld , in clu siv e o f all th e id eas, a n d
th e p u rp o s e s o f th in g s, h a d its e x is te n c e a n d stability w ith in th e m in d
(Nous) o f G o d . In th is way P h ilo b e lie v e d th a t h e h a d solved th e p ro b
le m o f G o d 's f r e e d o m w ith re s p e c t to th e id eas. In fa ct, h e h a d c r e a te d
a n o t h e r p r o b le m .

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T h e n e o -p la to n is t w o rld v iew o f th e s e c o n d a n d th ir d c e n tu rie s


r e g a r d e d th e w o rld as a n e m a n a tio n o f G o d o r a n e x p re s s io n o f th e
th o u g h ts o f G o d in th e m u ltip lic ity o f th e w o rld . O rig e n also lin k e d th e
logoi o f b e in g s w ith in G o d to th e w o rld o f c r e a te d b e in g s. T h e a n c ie n t
G re e k s h a d b e lie v e d th a t t h e w o rld was e te r n a l, as w e re th e logoi, w hich
w e re th e s o u r c e o f e a c h th in g th a t c a m e in to e x is te n c e a n d gave th a t
th in g its s h a p e a n d p u rp o s e . T h e id e a l fo rm fro m w hich th e w o rld c a m e
was u n d e r s to o d to b e e te rn a l.
O r ig e n b e lie v e d th a t th e r e w e re tw o a sp e c ts to c re a tio n . O n e form
was e te r n a l c r e a tio n , w h e re G o d e te rn a lly th o u g h t o f th is w o rld , a n d his
th o u g h ts w e re th e n t h e ra tio n a lity (logoi) o f th o se b e in g s, w h ic h c o m e
to g e th e r in t h e o n e L o g o s, w h o is th e S o n . W ith th e L o g o s o f all bein g s,
w ith th e o n e L o g o s , G o d c r e a te d t h e w o rld a t th e level o f etern ity . T h e n
o v e r tim e a s e c o n d s ta g e o c c u r r e d in w h ic h a s u b o rd in a te c r e a tio n , th e
m a te ria l w o rld th a t w c e x p e r ie n c e , c a m e in to b e in g , th is s e c o n d
c re a tio n r e p r e s e n tin g a fa llin g aw ay fro m th e p e r f e c tio n o f th e first. T h e
sou ls w ere c r e a te d in th e o rig in a l e te r n a l c re a tio n , s o O rig e n c o n sid
e r e d th e s o u ls to b e e te r n a l a n d lin k e d th e m w ith th e in c o rp o re a l
spirits, th e a n g e ls, a n d w ith th e ideas. H ow ever, a d e te r io r a tio n a n d
d e c lin e to o k p la c e w h e n th e so u ls in th is in c o rp o re a l, id e a l c re a tio n
to o k o n m a te ria lity a n d flesh . T h e m a te ria lity o f th e w o rld re p re s e n ts a
fall. T h e s p ir itu a l w o rld o f a n g e ls a n d so u ls is e te r n a l, th e m a te ria l w orld
is p e ris h a b le ; t h e s p iritu a l is s u p e rio r, th e m a te ria l w o rld inferio r.
O r ig c n s d o c tr in e o f c r e a tio n b rin g s w ith it a w h o le spirituality.
C re a tio n n e e d e d to b e p u r g e d o f its m ateriality . T h e m a te ria l b o d y is
th e p ris o n o f th e so u l, s o s o u ls h av e to b e re le a s e d fro m th e body.
S alv atio n w as th u s a r e tu r n to th e in itia l s ta te in w h ic h so u ls a n d spirits
w e re d e v o id o f c o r r u p tio n a n d m a tte r. M an c a n o n ly a p p r o a c h G o d
w h e n h e h as rid h im s e lf o f all m a tte r a n d b e c o m e as in c o rp o re a l as
th e an g els.
W e saw th a t a lth o u g h P h ilo h a d trie d to f r e e G o d fro m c re a tio n , h e
h a d ac tu a lly c o n f in e d h im to it. P h ilo m a d e th e w o rld n ecessarily p re s e n t
to G o d , e v e r-p re s e n t w ith in h im in th e fo rm o f th e logoi, th e th o u g h ts
o f G o d . I f G o d c re a te s e te rn a lly , b e s id e o r w ith in G o d th e re is so m e
th in g else, a s e c o n d s e lf o f G o d , w h ic h d e te r m in e s G o d s e x iste n c e . T h e
re s u lt is sim p ly th a t G o d c a n n o t b e im a g in e d w ith o u t th e w o rld . It is
im p o ssib le to s p e a k o f G o d w ith o u t s p e a k in g o f th e w o rld a t th e sam e
tim e. It is im p o s s ib le f o r G o d to exist, w ith o u t th e w o rld e x istin g
a lo n g w ith h im . T h is is n o t v e ry d if f e r e n t fro m th e th e o ry o f th e w o rld
o f id e a s o f P la to s e te r n a l c r e a tio n . In th e ir d if f e r e n t ways P la to a n d
O rig e n h a d c o n f in e d th e f re e d o m o f G o d . W h a t w as n e e d e d w as a way

Creation a n d Salvation

87

to sh o w th a t G o d s re la tio n s h ip to c re a tio n is n o t b in d in g o n G o d . T h e
e x is te n c e o f t h e w o rld h a d to b e u n d e r s to o d as th e r e s u lt o f his ow n
freely-w illed d c is io n to c re a te . T h is w as w h a t th e F a th e rs e x p re sse d
by th e ir o p p o s itio n to P lato . T o d is tin g u is h th e te a c h in g o f th e C h u rc h
fro m th a t o f th e g n o stic s, it is n o t e n o u g h sim p ly to say th a t th e w o rld is
th e c re a tio n o f G o d . W e m u s t g o o n to say th a t it is c r e a te d ex nihilo,
fro m n o th in g .
T h e id e a o f th e w o rld b e in g c r e a te d fro m n o th in g was d e v e lo p e d
by Ir e n a e u s a n d T h c o p h ilo s o f A n tio c h . In h is l e t t e r to A utolykos (2.4),
T h e o p h ilo s says th a t G o d c r e a te d w h a t h e w a n te d o u t o f n o th in g a n d
so c r e a te d it as h e w ish e d it to b e . W e h av e sa id th a t if id e a s w e re th o u g h ts
in t h e m in d ( nous) o f G o d , th e w o rld w o u ld always have e x is te d in
G o d s th o u g h ts . I f th e th o u g h ts o f G o d a r e e te r n a l, a n d th e w o rld exists
as th e th o u g h ts o f G o d , th is m a k e s th e w o rld e te r n a l too.
T o th is S a in t M ax im u s in t h e s e v e n th c e n tu ry gave a c o m p re h e n s iv e
re p ly ( A d T lia la s s iu m 6 0 ). G o d h a d e te rn a lly w illed th e w o rld a n d
f o r G o d , n o tio n s o f b e f o r e a n d a f te r h av e n o sig n ific a n c e . H owever,
to h a v e w illed it e te rn a lly d o c s n o t m e a n th a t G o d in sta n tly b r o u g h t it
in to e x is te n c e . W e s h o u ld d is tin g u is h b e tw e e n w ill a n d e x is te n c e :
G o d m ay h a v e w illed th e e x is te n c e o f th e w o rld e te rn a lly , b u t w h e n th e
w o rld wras c r e a te d , th a t a c t o f c re a tio n was n o n e c e ssa ry e x te n s io n o f
G o d s e te r n a l will. T h is e te r n a l will d id n o t m ak e c re a tio n in ev itab le.
T h e L o g o s th r o u g h w 'hom G o d c r e a te d th e w o rld is th e L o g o s w ith
w h o m G o d h a s th e e te r n a l lo v in g re la tio n s h ip o f F a th e r to S o n . T h e
e x is te n c e o f th e w o rld wras n o t a n e c e s s a ry o u tc o m e o f this love o f
F a th e r f o r S o n , e v e n if th e w ill to c re a te th e wro r ld w as e te rn a l. M a x im u s
d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n G o d s will a n d its re a lisa tio n m e a n s th a t wrc d o n o t
h a v e to c o n c lu d e th a t th e w o rld h a d s o m e e te rn a l e x is te n c e in th e
th o u g h ts o f G o d .
M ax im u s in s is te d th a t, b e c a u s e it w as th e o u tc o m e o f G o d s w ill, th e
w o rld w*as n o t e te r n a l. T o e sta b lish th is, M ax im u s m a d e b o ld u se o f th e
c o n c e p t o f th e L o g o s, w ith all its v ery a m b ig u o u s history. T h e r e is a re la
tio n s h ip o f lo v e b e tw e e n G o d a n d h is W o rd , th e F a th e r a n d his S o n , a n d
th e w o rld is c r e a te d in a n d th r o u g h th is W o rd . T h e re la tio n s h ip b e tw e e n
G o d a n d th e w o rld is n o w fre e ly w illed. G o d s will is e te rn a l, b u t th is
d o c s n o t m e a n th a t G o d s th o u g h t is in s ta n tly e x te n d e d . M ax im u s re fers
to th e logoi as th e wills o f G o d , n o t th e thoughts o f G o d . G o d ex e rc ise s his
will in d e c id in g to c r e a te th e w o rld a t th e tim e o f his c h o o sin g .
T h is is a re v o lu tio n . It p re v e n ts u s fro m im a g in in g th a t e x is te n c e is an
e x te n s io n o f th e th o u g h ts o f G o d . A will m ay b e re a lis e d o r it m ay n o t.
T h is is th e f u n d a m e n ta l d iffe re n c e b e tw e e n a th o u g h t, w h ic h is re a lise d

88

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in b e in g th o u g h t, a n d a w ill, w h ic h , p re c ise ly b e c a u se it is a w ill, is n o t


th e
n e c e s s a ry
consequence
of
a
th o u g h t.
E ven
a
will
th a t is re a lis e d is n o t re a lis e d b y necessity.
By r e la tin g th e logoi, th e re a s o n s f o r th in g s, to wills, M a x im u s m a n
a g e d to s e p a r a te c r e a tio n fro m necessity. C re a tio n is b r o u g h t in to b e in g
b e c a u s e G o d h a s w ille d it, n o t b c c a u s c h e h a s th o u g h t it. B cca u sc it
c o m e s fro m a fre e d e c is io n it is n o t a m a tte r o f necessity.
T h e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f c re a tio n b e g a n in re s p o n s e to G n o sticism
a n d P la to n ism . T o G n o stic ism , th e C h u rc h r e s p o n d e d by lin k in g th e
C r e a to r to t h e F a th e r to stre ss th e d ir e c t in v o lv e m e n t o f G o d in c re a
tio n . T h e C h u r c h r e s p o n d e d to P la to n is m w ith th e e x p re ssio n c re a tio n
fro m n il m e a n in g fro m n o e x istin g m a te ria l o r id eas. It r e s p o n d e d to
m id d le P la to n is m a n d n e o -p la to n ism by s ta tin g th a t th e w o rld d id n o t
e te rn a lly e x ist a s a th o u g h t o f th e m in d (rums) o f G o d , b u t th a t its exist
e n c e w as th e r e s u lt o f th e will o f G o d . B c c a u sc th is w ill w as r e la te d to th e
S o n o f G o d , t h e L o g o s, c r e a tio n to o k p la c e a n d th e w o rld b e c a m e a real
e n tity th r o u g h a re la tio n s h ip o f love, w ith o u t e v e r c o n s titu tin g a n e ce s
sity fo r G od.
S a in t A th a n a s iu s ta u g h t th a t th e S o n ex ists fro m th e s u b s ta n c e o f
th e F a th e r, w h ile th e e x is te n c e o f t h e w o rld is o w ed to th e F a th e rs will.
M a x im u s g av e a p h ilo s o p h ic a l a c c o u n t o f w h a t h a d u n til th e n b e e n
m e re ly a n in tu itio n . T h in g s e x ist b e c a u s e G o d wills th a t th e y do.

II. C r a i i o n e x ni/i/lo
C h ris tia n d o c tr in e is fo r m u la te d in re s p o n s e to th e c h a lle n g e s o th e r
w orldview s m a k e to th e te a c h in g o f th e C h u rc h . T h e d o c tr in e o f
c r e a tio n w as t h e re s p o n s e th e C h u r c h m a d e to th e P la to n is t a c c o u n t o f
c re a tio n . L e t u s review w h at th e C h u rc h m e a n t by c r e a tio n ex nihtlo,
fro m n o th in g .
T h e first th in g th is d o c tr in e tells u s is th a t th e w o rld is n o t e te rn a l.
If it was e te r n a l it w o u ld n o t n e e d to b e c re a te d . I f it w e re n o t c re a te d
fro m n o th in g , th is w o u ld m e a n th a t it w as c r c a tc d fro m s o m e th in g
th a t h a d s o m e o t h e r e x is te n c e . I f th is s o m e th in g h a d a lre a d y b e e n in
e x is te n c e it m u s t h a v e d o n e s o p r i o r to th e c r e a tio n o f th e w o rld , in
w h ic h case th is s o m e th in g c o u ld n o t b e w ith in th e lim its o f tim e o r tru ly
created. I t w o u ld h av e to b e a n e te r n a l c re a tio n w h ic h w o u ld m a k e th e
w o rld n e c e ssa rily e te r n a l, as O r ig e n b e lie v e d , a n d a n c ie n t G re e k s h a d
b e lie v e d lo n g b e fo re h im .
B u t th e C h ris tia n C h u rc h re je c te d th e s e id eas. It ta u g h t th a t th e
w o rld is n o t e te r n a l, b u t th a t th e r e was a tim e w h e n it w as n o t ( H v

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OUK ) . I f th e w o rld was n o t , h a d n o e x iste n c e , w h a t w as th e re?


G o d was th e r e . T h e r e w as n o th in g o t h e r th a n G o d . T h is is th e first
c o n s e q u e n c e o f th e te r m ex nihilo.
A s e c o n d c o n s e q u e n c e is th a t if th e w o rld w as c r e a te d fro m n o th in g ,
it is a lso p o ssib le th a t it will r e tu r n to n o th in g . I f s o m e th in g is n o t
e te r n a l, it c a n n o t live e te rn a lly . T h e w o rld always exists in so m e re la tio n
to th is n o th i n g , re m a in s e x p o s e d to it a n d liab le to re v e rt to n o th in g .
A th a n a siu s says in O n I n c a r n a tio n th a t th e n a tu r e o f every c r e a tu re
h a s w ith in it th is n o th in g n e s s th a t c a n b rin g a b o u t its o w n te rm in a tio n .
S in c e n o t h i n g e te r n a l c a n b e c re a te d , c r e a tio n m u st b e m o rta l a n d its
ow n d is s o lu tio n is la te n t e v ery w h ere w ith in i t
I f th e w o rld c a m e o u t o f n o w h e re a n d is d e s tin e d to d is a p p e a r back
in to n o th in g n e s s a g a in , w h a t re a l e x is te n c e d o e s it have? C an th is d isa p
p e a r a n c e a n d d e a th b e av o id ed ? If G o d c r e a te d a w o rld o u t o f n o th in g ,
th a t w o rld is lia b le to r e t u r n to n o th in g . B u t G o d d id n o t m a k e th e w o rld
w ith th e in te n tio n th a t it w o u ld d isa p p e a r, b u t th a t it sh o u ld h a v e life. Its
ow n n a tu r e d o e s n o t e n a b le th e w o rld to survive. W h e n G o d c re a te d th e
w o rld f o r life a n d w id i th e in te n tio n th a t it w o u ld tr a n s c e n d n o th in g
n ess, h e d id n o t give its n a tu r e th e m e a n s to s e c u re its im m o rtality . T h a t
w o u ld h av e r e n d e r e d th e w o rld e te r n a l, w h ic h w o u ld m e a n th a t it was
n o lo n g e r c r e a tio n , b u t im m o rta l a n d th u s a g o d in its ow n rig h t. If G o d
h a d g iv en c r e a tio n th e p o w e r to e n s u r e its ow n survival, th o u g h it b e g a n
in n o th in g , th e w o rld w o u ld b e a b le to b e c o m e e te rn a l by n a tu r e . T h is
w o u ld m e a n t h a t G o d w o u ld h a v e c r e a te d a n o th e r , e te rn a l, god.
O n th e o n e h a n d w e h a v e G o d , w h o is alive in h im s e lf etern ally .
O n th e o t h e r w e h a v e a w o rld th a t is w ith o u t its ow n m e a n s o f life, a n d
so w ith o u t e te rn ity . N o th in g w ith in it c a n e n a b le its p e r m a n e n t survival.
T h e p ro c e sse s o f o u r d is s o lu tio n a n d d e a th b e g in a t th e m o m e n t w e a re
b o m . All th e laws o f life a n d n a tu r e a r e a lso law s o f d e a th . Life a n d
d e a th r u n in p a ra lle l. T h e o n ly way th a t s o m e th in g c r e a te d c a n tra n
sc e n d d e a th a n d d e te r io r a tio n is to re m a in in c o n s ta n t c o m m u n io n
w ith th e e te r n a l G o d . G o d a n d th e w o rld h av e to b e in c o m m u n io n , a n d
th e m e a n s c h o s e n f o r th is c o m m u n io n is m a n k in d .
C o m m u n io n w ith G o d is th e p u r p o s e o f m a n s c re a tio n . W hy d id
G o d c h o o s e m a n r a t h e r th a n a n y o t h e r b e in g f o r th is c o m m u n io n ?
S in c e h is b o d y is m a d e u p o f all m a te ria l e le m e n ts , m a n is lin k e d to
all c re a tio n , a n d all c re a tio n h as a s h a r e in m a n . B e ca u se o f th e b o n d
r e p r e s e n te d b y m a n s body, th e e n tir e c r e a te d w o rld c a n c o m e in to
c o m m u n io n w ith G o d a n d re c e iv e life fro m th a t c o m m u n io n . I f G o d
h a d c h o s e n in c o r p o r e a l p o w ers, a n g e ls, th e r e w o u ld have b e e n n o p la c e
in th is c o m m u n io n f o r th e m a te ria l w orld.

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M an w as c r e a te d a t th e e n d o f all c re a tio n so th a t h e w o u ld b r in g all


th a t is c r e a te d to th e u n c r e a te d G o d a n d u n ite th e m in p e r m a n e n t re la
tio n s h ip . W h e n th e c r c a tc d w o rld is in re la tio n s h ip w ith th e u n c r e a te d ,
e te r n a l G o d , its life " i l l n o t c o m e to a n e n d ; this re la tio n s h ip will n o t
allo w it to d ie . T h e c r e a tio n o f m a n gives c r e a tio n its m e a n in g . In O n
th e in c a r n a tio n o f th e W ord*, A th a n a s iu s sh o w e d th a t G o d c h o se this
fo rm o f in c a r n a tio n f o r th e L o g o s so th e w o rld w o u ld always o v e rc o m e
n o th in g n e s s a n d h av e life w ith o u t e n d . M an is th e o n ly c r e a tu r e w ho
b o th in c lu d e s t h e m a te ria l w o rld a n d a lso c x c c c d s it. A n g e ls h a v e n o
lin k to th e m a te ria lity o f c re a tio n . W e s h a r e c r e a tio n s m o rtality : since
d e a th is tr a n s m itte d by o u r o w n b o d ie s w e d ie j u s t as every o th e r living
c r e a tu r e d o c s , a n d so w e s h a r e in th e c r e a te d w o rld 's e x p e r ie n c e o f
d e a th .
M an was c r e a te d to u n ite all n a tu r e to G o d , b u t m a n r e fu s e d to
a c c c p t th a t th is w as h is p u rp o s e . H e d c c id c d n o t to follow th is p la n , b u t
to m a k e a n o t h e r in w h ic h h e w o u ld b e c o m e G o d h im se lf. A d a m b elie v ed
th a t b y b e c o m in g G o d , th e w o rld w o u ld b e a b le to s u r m o u n t th e n o th
in g n e ss a n d liv e o n w ith o u t lim it, a n d th a t h e w o u ld live fo re v e r too.
T h is is w h a t w e k n o w as th e F a ir. A d a m h a d b e e n g iv en fr e e d o m a n d
w ith it th e a b ility to say n o . S o A d a m sa id n o sim p ly b e c a u se h e c o u ld ,
a n d th is w as t h e way in w h ic h A d a m e x e rc is e d his fre e d o m .
T h e d o c tr in e o f c r e a tio n b rin g s th e q u e s tio n o f w hy m a n has
fre e d o m . W h y d id G o d n o t m a k e th in g s in s u c h a way th a t th is p ro je c t
c o u ld n o t fail? P e rh a p s w c c a n n o t a s k G o d w hy h e d id th in g s o n e way
r a th e r th a n a n o th e r , b u t w e c a n re c o g n is e wh a t w o u ld have h a p p e n e d
if G o d h a d d o n e th in g s d iffe re n tly . I f m a n h a d b e e n c r e a te d w ith o u t
th e f re e d o m t o c h o o s e o r re fu s e , th is u n io n w o u ld have ta k e n p la c e
b e c a u s e th e w o rld w o u ld h a v e b e e n u n a b le to avoid it. B u t G o d d id
n o t in te n d f o r th e w o rld a re la tio n s h ip th a t m a d e fre e d o m im p o ssib le.
H e m a d e th e w o rld a n e n tity u tte rly d is tin c t fro m h im se lf, n o t so th a t
it c o u ld f u n c tio n as a m e c h a n is m d riv e n by its owrn necessity, b u t so
th a t it w o u ld h a v e its o w n re a l in d e p e n d e n c e a n d fu n c tio n o f its ow n
fre e w ill, j u s t a s G o d d o cs.
G o d d id n o t in te n d a w o rld th a t h a d n o will to exist. I t is n o a c t o f love
t o fo rc e a r e la tio n s h ip o n s o m e o n e w h o d o e s n o t w a n t th a t re la tio n sh ip .
G o d d e s ire d t o c re a te a w o rld th a t w o u ld w a n t to ex ist, a n d th is is th e
re a s o n w hy h e gave m a n th e f r e e d o m to say yes o r n o to th is p ro je c t.
T h e fa c t th a t m a n c h o s e n o , a n d c o n tin u e s to c h o o s e n o even
w h e n h e is fu lly a w a re th a t it will le a d to h is d e a th , tells us th a t G o d d id
n o t w a n t a w o rld th a t w o u ld ex ist w ith o u t fre e d o m . T h e w o rld h a s the

Creation a n d Salvation

91

fre e d o m to d e c id e a g a in st its o w n life. So it s e e m e d th a t A d a m s c h o ic e


was n o t to ta k e u p th is re la tio n s h ip a n d s o to tu r n d o w n life.
T h e w o rld w as allo w e d to ex ist, w ith o u t a n y f u r th e r in te rv e n tio n by
G o d . B u t it is im p o r ta n t to re a lis e th a t if c re a tio n h a d b e e n a b a n d o n e d
to th e fo rm o f f r e e d o m th a t A d am c h o s e th a t th e w o rld w o u ld c o m e to
a n e n d . A d a m s c h o ic e w as r e s p e c te d by G o d , b u t G o d n e v e r c e a se d to
w o rk to h e lp th e w o rld to live, a n d th is is w h e re th e d o c trin e s of provi
d e n c e a n d sa lv a tio n c o m e in . G o d d e a ls w ith th e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f
A d a m 's c h o ic e , s o th a t t h e w h o le w o rld will n o t u n ra v e l as a re s u lt o f it.

III. T h e S i g n i f i c a n c e

of th e

D o c t r in e o f C r e a t io n

We h a v e lo o k e d a t tw o a p p r o a c h e s to th e d o c trin e o f c re a tio n . W e have


s e e n th a t th e g n o stic view iso la te d G o d fro m th e w o rld , b u t w h e n th e
g n o stic view is re v e rs e d , th e w o rld is t u r n e d in to a n e te r n a l c r e a tio n o f
G o d . I f c r e a tio n is a n e m a n a tio n o f h im it w o u ld m e a n th a t G o d
c re a te s b e c a u s e h e c a n n o t n o t c re a te .
T h e C h u r c h w as d e te r m in e d to re m o v e all se n se o f n ecessity fro m
th e d o c tr in e o f c re a tio n , a n d it d id so b y in sistin g th a t th e wro rld was
c re a te d f r o m n o th in g . C re a tio n is n o t a n e x te n s io n o f G o d a n d it was
n o t c r e a te d e i t h e r fro m e x is tin g m a tte r o r fro m id e a s w ith a n e te rn a l
e x is te n c e in th e m in d o f G o d . T h e w 'orld h a d n o fo rm o f p re v io u s
e x is te n c e w h a tso e v e r, n o t e v e n as th e th o u g h ts o f G o d . T h e w o rld c o u ld
j u s t as easily n o t h a v e c o m c in to b e in g . T h e fact th a t it d o c s ex ist, is th e
re s u lt o f G o d s g o o d a n d fre e will.
T h e id e a th a t th e w o rld m ig h t n e v e r h av e c o m e in to e x is te n c e was
in c o m p r e h e n s ib le to th e a n c ie n t G reek s. In th e ir view', if th e w o rld d id
n o t ex ist, s o m e th in g else m u s t h av e e x iste d in its p lace, a n d th is so m e
th in g m u st h av e h a d s o m e r e la tio n to G o d . T h e r e a r e th e r e f o r e tw o ways
o f ta lk in g a b o u t w h a t e x is te n c e c re a tio n has. In o n e , c re a tio n m u s t always
h a v e e x iste d , n o m a tte r wrh a t. In th e o th e r, c re a tio n h a d n o e x iste n c e o f
its ow n, so it o w es its e x is te n c e to a will th a t w as e n tire ly fre e . E v ery th in g
t h a t ex ists b c c a u s c it is c a llc d in to c x is tc n c c b y will, th e F a th e rs r e fe rre d
to as c r e a te d . T h e y c a lle d th e o n e wrh o always ex iste d , n o m a tte r w h at,
a n d w h o d o e s n o t ow e h is e x is te n c e to a n y o t h e r w ill, th e U n c r e a te d .
E v e ry th in g th a t ex ists is e ith e r c r c a tc d o r u n c re a te d . T h e r e is n o
in te r m e d ia te categ o ry . S o m e th in g e ith e r exists b e c a u se so m e o n e
w illed it to ex ist, w h ich m e a n s th a t it c o u ld also c e a se to b e w illed , a n d
as a c o n s c q u c n c c it w o u ld c e a se to exist. O r s o m e th in g exists b c c a u sc
it w illed its e lf to exist. T h e u n c r e a te d is th a t w h ich exists b e c a u se it

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d e c id e s f o r its e lf to d o so . It d o e s n o t e x ist b e c a u s e n a tu r e m ak e s it d o
so, o r b e c a u s e s o m e o n e else d e c id e s th a t it s h o u ld d o so. We exist
b e c a u s e s o m e o n e o t h e r th a n o u rselv es h a s d c c id c d th a t w c s h o u ld exist:
o u r e x is te n c e is th e o u tc o m e o f th e ir w ill, n o t o u r o w n . B ut G o d d o e s
n o t exist b e c a u s e s o m e o n e o r s o m e th in g else o b lig e s h im to d o so.
In o u r c a se e x is te n c e is fo rc e d o n u s. I t is easy to a ssu m e th a t if it is n e c
essary f o r us, e x is te n c e m u s t b e n e c e ssa ry f o r th e o n e w h o h a s b r o u g h t
us in to e x is te n c e , b u t w e c a n n o t in f e r o n e f r o m th e o th e r. B ecause we
re c e iv e d it, f r o m G o d w h o p r e c e d e d u s, e x is te n c e is a given fo r us. B ut
G o d ex ists freely , h e d id n o t re c e iv e h is e x is te n c e fro m a n y o n e , th e re
b e in g n o o n e b e f o r e h im . T h e s e tw o c a te g o rie s o f th e c r e a te d a n d th e
u n c r e a te d e n a b le u s to s e t o u t th e d o c tr in e o f c re a tio n .
W e sa id t h a t th e a n c ie n t G re e k s b elie v e d th a t th e w o rld w as e te rn a l.
T h e y m a d e n o ra d ic a l d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n c r e a te d a n d u n c re a te d .
W h e n th e y ta lk e d a b o u t th e c r e a tio n o f a th in g , th e y m e a n t o n ly th a t it
u s e d to ex ist in a fo rm d if f e r e n t fro m its p r e s e n t fo rm . A n a n c ie n t
G re e k c o u ld a c c e p t th a t th is ta b le h a d a b e g in n in g , a n d th a t so m e o n e
m a d e it, b u t b e f o r e th is ta b le h a d t h e fo rm w e se c today, it e x is te d in
so m e o t h e r fo rm . T h e r e w as th e tim b e r, a n d b e f o re it w as tim b e r, it was
a tre e , a n d b e f o r e it was a tre e , it was a s e e d , a n d all th e o th e r in p u ts o f
s u n , w a te r an cl m in e ra ls . It is p a r t o f a tr a n s m u ta tio n o f e le m e n ts w ith
o u t b e g in n in g o r e n d .
B u t it is th e C h u r c h s d o c tr in e th a t b e fo re c re a tio n th e r e was
a b s o lu te ly n o th in g : n o e x is te n t th in g h a d a n y p re v io u s e x iste n c e . T h is
view c o n f o u n d s o u r o w n fa m ilia r lo g ic so it a p p e a rs very s tr a n g e to us.
H o w c a n w h a t e x ists now' h a v e h a d n o p re v io u s e x is te n c e a t all? T h is is
a d iffic u lt th o u g h t e v e n fo r c o n te m p o r a r y s c ie n c e , th o u g h c o n te m p o
ra ry co sm o lo g y , w ith its B ig B a n g th e o r ie s o f th e o rig in o f th e un iv erse,
n o lo n g e r f in d s it u n th in k a b le th a t th e r e w as in d e e d n o th in g b e fo re
th e u n iv e rse .
T h e u n iv e rs e m u s t n o t in a n y w:ay b e view'ed as a n e x te n s io n o f G o d
him self. O u r w o rld is c r e a te d b e c a u s e s o m e o n e wills it to ex ist, s o its
e x is te n c e is n o t free. G o d , th e u n c r e a te d , is n o t th e re s u lt o f any
o th e r w ill, so h e ex ists freely, so lely b e c a u s e h e wills to d o so. T h e n e ce s
sity o f e x is te n c e is a f u n c tio n o f t h e a c tu a l e v e n t o f e x is te n c e a n d o f th e
fa c t th a t s o m e th in g e x ists a t th is m o m e n t. B u t it is n o t n e c e ssa ry th a t
a n y th in g e x ists a t all.
S in c e w h a t is c r e a te d h as c o m e o u t o f n o th in g , n o th in g n e s s will
always b e lu r k in g b e h in d it. I f th e c r e a te d w o rld c o u ld j u s t as easily
n o t exist, w h a t p re v e n ts it fro m d is a p p e a rin g rig h t now? I t is o n ly
th e g o o d w ill o f G o d th a t k e e p s it in e x is te n c e . W h at is c r e a te d h a s a

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d e p e n d e n t e x is te n c e a n d m u s t r e m a in in re la tio n s h ip w ith th e u n c re
a te d if it is to survive. I f th e re la tio n s h ip is se v e re d , th e w o rld r e tu r n s to
n o th in g n e s s . W h a te v e r is c r e a te d lives u n d e r th e p e r m a n e n t th r e a t o f
n o n -e x is te n c e . W h e n it sev ers its b o n d w ith th e u n c r e a te d , tu rn s tow ards
its e lf a n d se e k s to d ra w its p o w e rs o f survival fro m its o w n self, it is
d e c e iv e d a n d its d is s o lu tio n b eg in s.
W e c a n p e r h a p s im a g in e a b o n d b e tw e e n th e c r e a te d a n d th e u n c re
a te d w h ic h c o u ld n e v e r b e s e v e re d in a n y way. G o d c o u ld have c r e a te d
a w o rld w ith n o d e s ire fo r a n y re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d , b u t th is w o u ld
m e a n th a t its re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d w o u ld b e o n e o f necessity, n o t
o f fre e d o m . T h is w o u ld m e a n th a t G o d h a d c r e a te d a n o th e r G o d 1,
o n e th a t w o u ld live e te rn a lly b e c a u s e it w o u ld h a v e a n e te rn a l a n d
n e c e s s a ry re la tio n s h ip w ith th e u n c r e a te d . B u t to ta lk a b o u t G o d c re a t
in g a n o t h e r G od* w h o d id n o t s ta r t o u t as a G o d m ak e s n o se n se . T h e
e te rn ity o f th is G o d w o u ld h a v e b e e n c r e a te d by tim e , s in c e h e first was
n o t e te r n a l, a n d t h e n wras e te r n a l a f te r all. T h e w o rd G o d w o u ld ap p ly
b o th to a b e in g th a t ex ists w ith o u t h a v in g b e in g c r e a te d by so m e o n e
else, a n d to a b e in g th a t w as c r e a te d by s o m e o n e else. T h e n w e w o u ld
n e e d a n o t h e r w o rd to d e s c rib e th a t b e in g wrh o is G o d w ith o u t h a v in g
b e e n c r e a te d b y s o m e o n e else.
W h e n w e a c c e p t t h a t th is c re a tio n w as c r e a te d by s o m e o n e a n d th a t
th a t s o m e o n e in fa c t ex ists, w e n e e d to f in d tw o d if f e r e n t w o rd s to
d e s c rib e th e s e tw o th in g s. W e c a n n o t r e f e r to th e c r e a te d b e in g as g o d ,
a n d th e u n c r e a t e d also G o d . W e c a n n o t say t h a t a c r e a te d th in g is
m a d e e te r n a l b y G o d : w h a t is c r e a te d d o e s n o t h a v e etern ity , so it is
c u t o f f fro m G o d , it w o u ld re la p se in to n o n -b e in g . O n ly a n u n b ro k e n
re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d su sta in s th e w o rld a n d p re v e n ts it fro m re v e rtin g
b a c k to n o th in g . B u t in th is re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d th a t allow s it to
e n d u r e , c r e a tio n m u s t also h av e fre e d o m . T h e d o c tr in e o f c re a tio n is
n o t o n ly a b o u t th e w o rld , b u t also a b o u t fre e d o m , a n d th e r e f o r e a b o u t
th e ro le o f m a n w ith in th e w o rld . W e m u s t e x a m in e th e p o ssib ility o f
b e in g s w ith in c r e a tio n th a t a r e free.
T h e re la tio n s h ip w ith th e u n c r e a te d G o d m u st b e a v o lu n ta ry , freely
w ille d r e la tio n s h ip . A re la tio n s h ip th a t w as n e c e ssa ry w o u ld tu r n c re
a tio n in to a s e c o n d God*. B u t if th is re la tio n s h ip is to b e fre ely w illed,
th e r e m u s t b e fre e b e in g s in c re a tio n . F o r its c o n tin u e d e x iste n c e th e
c re a te d w o rld n e e d s b e in g s w h o c a n affirm th e ir re la tio n s h ip w ith G od
in fre e d o m . C re a tio n d o e s n o t c o n sist o f m a te ria l c r e a tu r e s only. T h e
d o c tr in e o f c r e a tio n r e fe rs to tw o so rts o f c r e a tu r e th a t a r c fre e , th o se
w ith , a n d th o s e w ith o u t, a m a te ria l body. T h o s e w h o p o sse ss a m a te ria l
h y p o stasis a re o u rselv es, w h ile th o s e w ith o u t m a te ria l hypostasis a re

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th o s e in c o r p o r e a l b e in g s w e k n o w as a n g e ls, w h o e x ist in b lessed n e ss


th a t th e y re c e iv e th r o u g h th e ir re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d . T h e y a r e c re a
tu re s , a n d s u b je c t to th e s a m e c o n d itio n s as m a te ria l b o d ie s. T o b e su b
j e c t to d e a th is n o t a c o n s e q u e n c e o f m ateriality , f o r it is o u r c re a te d n e ss ,
n o t o u r m a te ria lity , w h ic h m a k e s u s s u b je c t to d e a th . J u s t as it is n o t evil,
m a te ria lity is n o t th e c a m e o f d e a th . It is b e c a u se th e y h a d a b e g in n in g ,
a n d c a m e o u t o f n o th in g , th a t d e a th is always a possibility f o r c re a tu re s.
S o fa r w e h a v e sa id th a t th e p u r p o s e f o r w h ic h fre e b e in g s w ere
b r o u g h t in to e x is te n c e w as to u n ite t h e c r e a te d w ith th e u n c re a te d , will
ing ly a n d freely. T h e c r e a te d c a n n o t b e u n ite d w ith th e u n c r e a te d by
fo rc e b u t w ith o u t th is u n io n , c r e a tio n will e v en tu a lly d isa p p e a r. It is th e
v o c a tio n o f f r e e b e in g s to allowr c r e a tio n to survive. All c r e a tio n h a n g s
o n th e ir e x e rc is e o f f r e e d o m o n its b e h a lf. I f th e y d o so in th e m a n n e r
th a t b rin g s t h e c r e a te d in to re la tio n s h ip a n d u n io n w ith th e u n c re a te d ,
all t h a t is c r e a te d will live. I f th e y e x e rc is e th e ir fre e d o m in a n y o th e r
way, c a ta s tr o p h e th re a te n s . T h o u g h fre e , th e a n g e ls c a n n o t fulfil this
ro le b e c a u s e th e y d o n o t h av e o u r m a te ria lity a n d so c a n n o t b rin g th e
m a te ria l c r e a tio n in to re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d . B u t b e c a u se h e h a s a body,
m a n p a rtic ip a te s in th e m a te ria lity o f c re a tio n a n d so h e is a b le to b rin g
a b o u t th is r e la tio n s h ip o f th e c r e a te d w ith th e u n c re a te d . O n ly th ro u g h
m a n c a n c r e a tio n survive.
I t s h o u ld b e c le a r n o w w h y all c re a tio n g r o a n s a n d su ffe rs (R o m a n s
8 .22) as it lo o k s fo rw a rd to m a n s re c o n c ilia tio n w ith th e u n c re a te d .
C re a tio n n e e d s b e in g s w h o c a n tu r n fre e ly to w ard s G o d , a c c e p t th e ir
e x is te n c e f r o m h im a n d e n t e r re la tio n s h ip w ith h im . T h is im m e n se
m issio n b e lo n g s to m a n .
M an a p p e a r s fo r th e first tim e a t th e e n d o f c re a tio n . T h is is a fu n d a
m e n ta l d if f e r e n c e b e tw e e n C h ris tia n ity a n d th e p h ilo s o p h ic a l a n d g n o s
tic sy stem s o f th e p e r io d w h e n th e C h ris tia n d o c tr in e o f c re a tio n was
b e in g a rtic u la te d . G n o stic system s b e g in w ith th e c re a tio n o f m a n a n d
e n d w ith th e c r e a tio n o f m a tte r a n d o t h e r in fe rio r b e in g s, b e lie v in g
th a t c r e a tio n b e g a n w ith h ig h e r b e in g s a n d th a t all s u b s e q u e n t m ove
m e n t r e p r e s e n t d e te r io r a tio n in to in f e r io r a n d m o re m a te ria l form s
o f b e in g .
B ut in th e b ib lic a l view' w e fin d n o s u c h c o n te m p t f o r th e m a te ria l
w o rld . T h e a p p e a r a n c e o f m a n a t t h e e n d o f c re a tio n in d ic a te s th a t m a n
is th e h ig h e s t o f all c re a tu r e s a n d th a t G o d in te n d e d th e m a te ria l w o rld
f o r h im . H e is th e c r e a tu r e w h o is to b r in g th e e n tir e m a te ria l w o rld in to
c o m m u n io n w ith G o d . T h e p o s itio n o f m a n a t th e e n d o f c re a tio n also
p o in ts to h is e x e rc ise o f f r e e d o m o n b e h a lf o f th e m a te ria l w orld.
B ec a u se h e is c r e a te d w ith f r e e d o m , m a n m ay se t h im s e lf f o r th e w orld

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o r a g a in st it. H e c a n e ith e r re c e iv e it as g o o d , o r h e c a n d e c id e th a t h e
d o e s n o t w an t to re c e iv e it a t all. M an is th e c ro w n in g g lo ry o f c re a tio n ,
as s o m e o f th e F a th e rs p u t it: e n d o w e d w ith th e fre e d o m th a t n o o th e r
c r e a tu r e p o ssesses, h e c a n ru le o v e r th e e n tir e m a te ria l w o rld a n d
use it in w h a te v e r way h e d e sire s. M an is c r e a te d to fulfil th e d e stin y
o f th e c r e a te d w o rld , a n d h e d o c s th is b o th by giving his c o n s e n t on
b e h a lf o f c r e a tio n a n d b y th e a u th o r ity h e h as to m a k e u se of c re a tio n .
D o m in io n o v e r th e e a r th m e a n s h e is m a d e re sp o n sib le f o r it.
W c h a v e s p o k e n a b o u t th e m issio n o f m a n in c r e a tio n a n d h ig h
lig h te d th e d if f e r e n c e b e tw e e n m a n a n d th e re s t o f th e c r e a te d o rd e r.
N ow w e ta k e u p th e c o n c e p t o f th e im a g e , f o r m a n w as c r e a te d in th e
im a g e a n d lik e n e ss o f G o d (G e n e sis 1.26). T h o u g h th e y d isp lay a r a n g e
o f views, th e F a th e rs o fte n su g g e st th a t in th e im a g e e x p re sse s th e p e r
fe c t sta te o f m a n a t th e b e g in n in g o f c re a tio n , th e way h e was c r e a te d by
G o d , w h ile in th e lik e n e ss r e fe rs to t h e s ta te th a t m a n will a c h ie v e at
th e e n d o f tim e , w h e n h e fin a lly lo o k s u p o n G o d fa c e to face a n d th e
c o m m u n io n o f c r e a te d a n d u n c r e a te d is c o m p le te . T h e n , in th e eschato n , m a n will a lso b e lik e n e ss o f G o d , fo r h e will b e fre e , like G o d .
S o m e F a th e rs c o n s id e r e d th a t m a n is a lre a d y th e im a g e of G o d a n d
u n d e r s to o d lik e n e ss to r e f e r to th e e n d o f tim es, w hile f o r o th e r s
im a g e re fe rs to th e ra tio n a lity o f m a n . G re g o ry o f N yssa u s e d it to r e fe r
to th e h u m a n c a p a c ity o f s e lf-g o v e rn m e n t T h e d iffe re n c e is n o t h u g ely
sig n ific a n t b e c a u s e th o s e F a th e rs w h o re la te th e im a g e to th e logos a n d
ra tio n a lity o f m a n u n d e r s ta n d th a t th e logos o f m a n is h is fre e d o m , w hich
is w h a t s e lf-g o v e rn m e n t is. S o w e fairly r e p r e s e n t th e P a tristic tra d itio n
as a w h o le w h e n w e s e e th e e le m e n t o f f r e e d o m o r se lf-g o v e rn m e n t as
th e d iffe re n c e b e tw e e n m a n a n d th e r e s t o f t h e m a te ria l c re a tio n .
W e m u s t s e e w h a t c o n s titu te s th is f re e d o m of m a n , a n d h o w it serves
c re a tio n . F r e e d o m is th e p r o s p e c t o p e n to c re a tu re s . W h e n th e y have
fre e d o m , th e y will b e lik e G o d . O u r e x is te n c e is n o t fre e , b e c a u se f o r us
e x is te n c e is a g iv en fact. T h is is th e s u p r e m e c h a lle n g e th a t c re a tu re s
a r e fa c e d w ith . W e e x ist necessarily. B u t th e im a g e m e a n s th a t w e may
h a v e o u r c x is tc n c c , n o t b c c a u s c w e a r e o b lig e d to by th e ways th in g s a re ,
b u t b e c a u s e w e a r e a b le to re c e iv e it f o r o u rse lv e s w illingly a n d freely.
M a n s f r e e d o m c a n b e e x e rc is e d in tw o ways. It c a n b e e x e rc is e d n e g
atively, w h e n m a n d e c id e s to d e sp ise c re a tio n a n d d is d a in its C rea to r.
M an c a n say th a t h e d o e s n o t a c k n o w le d g e G o d as C re a to r, a n d th a t he
d o e s n o t c o n s id e r th is c re a tio n to b e a n y c o n c e rn o f his. B u t eq u a lly
th e r e is th e p o ssib ility th a t m a n will n o t re je c t c re a tio n .
M a n will o f c o u rs e w ish to c r e a te h is o w n w 'orld, a n a lo g o u s to th e
way th a t G o d c re a te s . T h is im p u ls e o f m a n is th e o n ly d e te r m in a n t

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d iffe re n c e b e tw e e n h im a n d ev ery o t h e r a n im a l. W e c a n n o t ta lk a b o u t
th e d o c tr in e o f c re a tio n w ith o u t s o m e r e f e r e n c e to b io lo g y a n d evolu
tio n . D a rw in 's a c c o u n t o f e v o lu tio n p re v a ils in b io lo g ). H is th e o ry
c a u s e d p a n ic a m o n g th e o lo g ia n s o f th e n in e te e n th c e n tu ry , b e c a u se u p
u n til th a t tim e , a n d e v e n to th is d a y f o r m a n y p e o p le , w h a t d istin g u ish e d
m a n fro m all o t h e r a n im a ls was h is ra tio n a lity a n d sclf-aw arcncss. I n The
Origin o f Species, D a rw in v ery c o n v in c in g ly d e m o n s tr a te d th a t th e se
c h a ra c te ris tic s a r e f o u n d in o t h e r a n im a ls to o . O th e r a n im a ls possess
th e m to a le ss e r d e g re e , b u t th is m e a n s th a t th e d iff re n c e b e tw e e n m a n
a n d th e o t h e r a n im a ls is a d iffe re n c e o f d e g re e . D arw in d e m o n s tra te d
th a t a n im a ls h av e c o n sc io u sn e ss, a r e a b le to ach iev e so m e level o f
o rg a n is a tio n , h a v e th e ir ow n so c ie tie s a n d e v e n u se in s tru m e n ts . D arw in
h a s u s o b lig e d to review th e w h o le q u e s tio n o f w h a t m ak e s m a n d istin c t
fro m all o t h e r a n im als.
W h ile m a n y c o n tin u e to s e e t h e d iffe re n c e as o n e o f ra tio n a lity , c o n
te m p o ra ry a n th r o p o lo g y h a s n o w d e s c rib e d th e d iffe re n c e in a way th a t
r e n d e r s D a rw in s th e o ry e n tire ly in n o c u o u s to th eo lo g y . T h e d iffe re n c e
b e tw e e n m a n a n d all o t h e r a n im a ls is fre e d o m . A n a n im a l m a y h a v e th e
ability to a d a p t to its e n v ir o n m e n t, b u t it d o e s n o t se t o u t to re -c re a te its
ow n e n v ir o n m e n t. A n a n im a l c a n n o t c r e a te a w o rld o f its ow n: th is is
o n ly a p o ssib ility a n d a te m p ta tio n fo r m a n . You a n d y o u r c a t se e th e
sa m e tre e . A s a b o ta n is t y o u c a n an a ly se th a t tre e a n d c o n s tr u c t a n e n tir e
sc ie n c e o f e c o lo g y th a t d e s c rib e s it ex haustively, a n d y o u r k n o w le d g e o f
th a t tre e will still b e j u s t o f a d iffe re n t d e g r e e , n o t o f a d iff e r e n t k in d ,
fro m th a t o f y o u r cat.
B u t w h e n y o u d e c id e to d ra w a tre e a n d so to m a k e y o u r ow n tre e o r
a w o rld o f tr e e s th a t is all y o u r o w n c re a tio n , y o u a r c d o in g s o m e th in g
th a t m a k e s y o u u tte rly d iffe re n t fro m a n y a n im a l. A n a n im a l c a n n o t be
a n a rtist. T o re je c t th e e x is tin g w o rld a n d c re a te a w o rld o f its ow n,
w h ic h will b e a r its p e rs o n a l sta m p , is a c h a ra c te ristic o n ly o f m a n , a n d it
c a n b e o b s e n e d fro m m a n s v ery first steps.
C o n te m p o r a r y p sy ch o lo g y o b se rv e s th a t w h e n a n in fa n t ta k e s any
raw m a te ria l in to its h a n d s , h e it will s h a p e it a n d p u t his ow n s ta m p on
it. In th is way h e show s th a t h e d o e s n o t h av e to a d m it th a t th e w o rld is
sim p ly s o m e th in g th a t h e h a s to a d ju s t to , w h e th e r h e w an ts to o r n o t.
H e w a n ts to m a k e a w o rld o f h is ow n. A r t c rc a te s n e w w o rld s, a n d so
a r t is th e p ra c tic e o f m a n s fre e d o m . T h e r e is a te n s io n b e tw e e n m a n s
fr e e d o m a n d h is c r e a te d sta tu s: m a n c a n n o t c r e a te f r o m n o th in g , b u t
is o b lig e d to re ly o n g iv en im a g e s a n d m a te rials. T h is is w hy p ro p e rly
c re a tiv e a rt, p a rtic u la rly c o n te m p o r a r y a rt, strives fo r a u to n o m y a n d
a tte m p ts to b r e a k u p th e fo rm s it in h e rits . M ic h a e la n g e lo c o m p la in e d

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th a t h is g r e a te s t o b sta c le was th e m a rb le w h ic h c a m e b e tw e e n him


a n d h is a rt-w o rk . P icasso a n d o t h e r c o n te m p o ra ry a rtists r e b e l a g a in st
all in h e r ite d fo rm s b c c a u s c th e y h i n d e r th e ir fre e d o m . T o r e p r e s e n t th e
ta b le as it is, is n o t a w o rk o f c re a tiv e a rt, b u t sim ply to p r o d u c e a re p lic a
o f t h e o b je c t. A r t is n o t a b o u t c o p y in g th e g iven w o rld , a n d n e ith e r is it
a b o u t e x tr a c tin g a sp irit, o r m e a n in g , o r e sse n tia l b e a u ty fro m n a tu r e , as
th e R o m a n tic s b e lie v e d . S u c h c o n c e p tio n s a r e n o t a b o u t fre e d o m o r
creativity. A rt b e a rs a restlessn ess th a t is d ir e c te d to w a rd s fin d in g a
g r e a te r f r e e d o m by b r e a k in g u p fo rm s to f in d th e n e w th in g th e a rtist
d e sire s, s o m e th in g s o d e e p ly p e r s o n a l th a t n o o n e e lse c a n re c o g n is e it.
H e c re a te s s o m e th in g w h ic h h e m ay e v e n call a tab le, b u t w h ich looks
n o th in g like a ta b le to th e r e s t o f u s, a n d th is m a k es a r t d iffic u lt a n d
so m e tim e s e v e n r e p e lla n t.
I h o p e w e h a v e e s ta b lis h e d th a t C h ris tia n d o c tr in e is lin k e d to m a n s
s e a rc h f o r f r e e d o m a n d th a t f re e d o m is a c e n tr a l c o n c e rn o f th e d o c
trin e o f c r e a tio n . I t p o in ts to w a rd s a c r e a tu re w h o , th o u g h w ithin
G o d s g iv e n w o rld , h a s n o wish to a c c e p t it o r p re s e rv e it as it is d e liv e re d
to h im , b u t w ish e s to p u t h is o w n s ta m p o n it. M a n b e g in s by d e n y in g
th e w o rld h e fin d s h im s e lf in . T o d e m o n s tr a te h is fre e d o m m a n can
e ith e r d e fa c e th e w o rld u n til p e r h a p s h e e v e n tu a lly d e stro y s it, o r h e can
ta k e it a n d a ffirm it o f h is ow n fre e w ill. T h o u g h t h e r e a r e m a n y d e g re e s
o f re s p o n s e , m a n lives in th e s p a c e b e tw e e n th e s e tw o p o ssib ilities. M an
m u s t n e v e r s u r r e n d e r h is fre e d o m , f o r th e m o m e n t h e is te m p te d to d o
so, h e d e m o te s h im s e lf to th e s ta tu s o f a n a n im a l, a n d c r e a tio n s h o p e
o f p a r tic ip a tin g in f r e e d o m a n d life th r o u g h h im is lost.
H e r e lies a p ro b le m . I f M a n s f r e e d o m is e x e rc is e d a n d re sp e c te d ,
c r e a tio n is in d a n g e r. It is p a rtic u la rly c ru c ia l to say th is, n o w th a t
w e re a lly h a v e b e c o m e a th r e a t to o u r n a tu r a l e n v iro n m e n t as a w hole.
T h e in v ita tio n to s u b d u e th e e a r th h a s a llo w e d us to m a k e a rec k less
u se o f th e e n v ir o n m e n t. W h y h av e w e b e e n e n tr u s te d w ith th is d a n g e r
o u s fre e d o m ? T h e a n sw e r is th a t f r e e d o m is th e o n e m e a n s by w hich
c r e a tio n c a n b e in c o m m u n io n w ith G o d a n d live o n .
F re e d o m is n e v e r sim p ly p o sitiv e fre e d o m . F ro m th e m o m e n t it
w as given, it a lso m e a n s th a t m a n h a s th e f r e e d o m to b r in g th e w o rld
t o a n e n d . F o r G o d th e r e is o n ly p o sitiv e f r e e d o m . G o d d o e s n o t
w a n t t h e d e s tr u c tio n o f t h e w o rld . O u r w h o le p ro b le m stem s from
th e reality' o f b e in g c re a te d , a n d th e d iffe re n c e b e tw e e n th e c r e a te d a n d
th e u n c r e a te d .
In th e a c t o f c re a tio n , G o d d id n o t h a v e to d e a l w ith a given situ a tio n .
W h a te v e r h e h a d vas th e re s u lt o f h is w ill. G o d a ffirm e d w h a t h e m ad e :
h e g av e it h is y e s . F o r G o d n o is n o t th e e x e rc ise o f fre e d o m . T h e r e is

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n o c h o ic e o f y es or n o f o r G o d , b e c a u s e th e r e is n o given to w hich
G o d m ig h t say n o . T h e r e is o n ly a p o ssib ility o f saying n o w h e n th e re
is s o m e th in g t o say n o ' to , a s itu a tio n c r e a tc d by s o m e o n e e lse. T h e
fr e e d o m G o d h a s g iv en to h is c r e a tu r e ta k e s th e f o rm o f a c h o ic e b e tw e e n
yes a n d n o a n d th e f r e e d o m o f th e c r e a tu r e c o n sists in h is b e in g a h le
to d c c id c b e tw e e n y es a n d n o ' in e a c h s itu a tio n . T h e Law given a t th e
m o m e n t o f m a n s c r e a tio n in th e G a rd e n o f E d e n , in th e im a g e o f th e
tre e , was th e m e a n s b y w h ic h m a n c o u ld e x e rc ise h is fre e d o m . G o d d id
n o t p ro v id e th e Law in o r d e r to ta k e f re e d o m aw ay fro m m a n b u t p re
cisely in o r d e r to give h im th is fre e d o m . F re e d o m is th e law, th a t is th e
in v ita tio n a n d c o m m a n d , th a t G o d gives m a n . N ow w e m u s t e x a m in e
how th is f r e e d o m w as e x e rc is e d in m a n s d e c isio n a g a in s t th e w o rld a n d
a g a in st G o d , a s w e tu r n to th e d o c tr in e o f th e fall o f m an .

IV. T h e Fa l l
It was th e f r e e d o m o f m a n th a t m a d e th e fall p o ssib le. W ith o u t this
fre e d o m t h e r e w o u ld b e n o sin a n d n o evil. M a n c a n sin , a n im a ls c a n
n o t, f o r it is th e e x e rc is e o f f r e e d o m r a th e r th a n th e a c t itself th a t m akes
s o m e th in g sin fu l.
M an h a s t h e f re e d o m w h ic h e v e ry o t h e r c r e a te d b e in g in th e m a te ria l
w o rld lacks, a n d h e e x e rc ise s it b y a c c e p tin g o r re je c tin g e a c h given
e v e n t o r s itu a tio n . In o r d e r to c o n tin u e in e x iste n c e , a n d o v e rc o m e his
lim its a n d th e e v e n tu a l d isso lu tio n t h a t th e y b r in g , th e c r e a tu re h a s to
b e in re la tio n s h ip w ith th e u n c r e a te d G o d . A lth o u g h h e w as c re a te d to
b r in g th e c r e a te d in to u n io n w ith th e u n c re a te d , m a n d e c id e d to
e x e rc ise h is f r e e d o m b y say in g n o to th is re la tio n s h ip , a n d se ttin g
o u t to u n ite t h e c re a te d , n o t to th e u n c r e a te d , b u t to him self. A dam
s u c c u m b e d t o th e te m p ta tio n to d e c la r e h im s e lf G o d a n d set o u t to
r e d ir e c t c r e a tio n fro m th e u n c r e a te d G o d to h is o w n , c r e a te d self. In
d e c id in g th a t e v e ry th in g s h o u ld r e f e r to h im , h is fall was also th e fall o f
c re a tio n .
R e la te d to G o d , c r a tio n w o u ld h av e life w ith o u t lim it. B u t m a n
tu r n e d c r e a tio n fro m G o d to h im self. T h e first c o n s e q u e n c e w as th a t
m a n c a m e to b e lie v e th a t h e c o u ld r u le c r e a tio n as th o u g h h e h a d
c r e a te d it h im s e lf. H e s e t n a tu r e a g a in s t h im s e lf a n d c re a te d a c o n flic t
a n d b e c a u s e m a n w as n o lo n g e r in h a r m o n y w ith it, n a tu r e b e c a m e
a c a u se o f m ise ry to h im . P e rso n s w e re s e t a g a in s t n a tu r e , so m a n c o u ld
survive in th is w o rld o n ly b y s tru g g lin g a g a in st it.
A s e c o n d c o n s e q u e n c e w as th a t m a n a ttr ib u te d n a tu r e w ith th e
c h a ra c te ris tic s th a t b e lo n g to G o d . S in c e c o n flic t w ith n a tu r e m a d e

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m a n re a lise h o w m u c h w 'eaker h e is, h e b e g a n to b eliev e h im s e lf to be


in f e r io r to n a t u re . O v e ra w e d b y th e m , h e b e g a n to d iv in ise th e fo rc e s o f
n a tu r e a n d t h e n to p la c a tc th e m , s o th a t id o la try b e c a m c a n o th e r c o n
s e q u e n c e o f m a n s fall. In h is c o n flic t w ith it h e r e g a r d e d n a tu re as a
g o d , o r in d e e d as m a n y g o d s. W h e n h e fe a r e d th e th u n d e r s to r m th a t h e
k n e w w as b e y o n d h is c o n tro l, m a n d e ifie d t h e sto rm a n d e x c h a n g e d
th e C r e a to r f o r th e c r e a tu r e s (R o m a n s 1.23). T h e d e ific a tio n o f
c r e a tio n is a tra g e d y fo r m a n k in d a n d fo r n a tu r e to o . N a tu re relie s o n
m a n d ir e c tin g h im s e lf to G o d , b c c a u s e it is o n ly th ro u g h m a n th a t
n a tu r e c a n c o m e in to c o m m u n io n w ith G o d a n d s o p re se rv e its
e x is te n c e . B ut w h e n m a n to o k G o d s p la c e a n d tu r n e d h im s e lf to n a tu re ,
all c r a tio n b e c a m e v ictim to m a n s d e lu s io n . M an a n d c r a tio n have
to g e th e r b e c o m e c o n f in e d to a life d e te r m in e d by th e laws o f n a tu re .
T h o u g h b io lo g ic a l life s e e m s to p o in t to w a rd s life w ith o u t lim it, it o n ly
ta k e s th e m in t h e d ir e c tio n o f e v e n tu a l d isso lu tio n .
A m o n g o u r ev ery d ay a s s u m p tio n s is th e b e lie f th a t d e a th takes
p la c e at th e e n d o f life. W e say th a t s o m e o n e d ie d a g e d eighty, as th o u g h
d e a th s u d d e n ly m a d e its a p p c a r a n c c in h is eighty-first year. In reality
h o w e v e r m a n b e g in s to d ie th e m o m e n t h e is b o r n . B iology sees
d e a th as a p ro c e s s th a t b e g in s a t b ir th , a n d lin ks a g e in g to re p r o d u c tio n .
T h e m y stery o f life a n d p h e n o m e n o n o f d e a th a r c b o u n d to g e th e r,
f o r life b e a rs d e a th w ith in itself. T h e p h y sical p ro c e sse s a r e finally
all-sig n ifican t: th e o rg a n is m a g es, b u t b e c a u s e w e c a n n o t b rin g ourselves
to th in k c le a rly a b o u t d e a th , w e give o n ly in te lle c tu a l a s s e n t to th is fact.
T h e tr u th o f life is th a t th in g s a r e b e y o n d o u r c o n tr o l. W e a r e c o n fin e d
w ith in th is c o u n te r f e it life a n d filte r o u t th e vastness o f th e G odd e te r m in e d d im e n s io n s o f reality. T h e fall o f m a n th r e a te n s to b rin g
a b o u t a n e n d to m a n . W ith o u t th e re la tio n s h ip w ith th e u n c o n f in e d a n d
u n lim ite d life f o u n d in re la tio n s h ip w ith th e u n c re a te d , n a tu r e lost
to u c h w ith th e tr u th o f life. M a n is u n d e r th e im p re ssio n th a t h e is in
p o sse ssio n o f life , b u t w h a t h e calls life is in fa c t n o m o r e th a n a p ro cess
o f d isso lu tio n . D e a th m a s q u e ra d e s as life: its c la im to b e life is a trag ic
c o n s c q u c n c c o f th e fall.
T h e G o sp e l p o in ts to re a l life. W h e n th e b ib le talks a b o u t e te r n a l life,
it d o e s n o t m e a n s o m e life o t h e r th a n o u r p r e s e n t o n e , b u t sim ply th e
re a lity o f life. T h e re a lity o f life is s p ir itu a l, b e c a u se it is given by th e
H o ly S p irit. T h is life d o e s n o t d ie a n d d o e s n o t s h a r e in th e d e c e p tio n
o f th a t life th a t le a d s to d e a th . R eal life c a n n o t b e b r o u g h t to a n e n d
by d e a th a n d w ill n e v e r p ro v e false. R eal life s p rin g s fro m th e re s u rre c
tio n , wrh ic h is to say fro m C h ris t w h o h im s e lf tra n s c e n d s biological
d e a th . T h is d o e s n o t m e a n th a t w e a re try in g to ig n o re b io lo g ic a l d e a th

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o r to s u b s titu te s o m e o t h e r life f o r it. O n th e c o n tra ry , th e a fte rlife , as


it is c a lle d , is t h e tr u th a n d fu lln e s s o f w h ic h th e life w e p re s e n tly
e x p e r ie n c e is j u s t a p a rt. T h is c o u n te r f e it life w ith w h ic h w e a r c p re s
e n tly c o n te n t, a n d w h ic h c a rrie s d e a th w ith in it, is th e o u tc o m e o f th e
fall. Ii is a p o o r , evil a n d in to le r a b le fo rm o f life. T h e C h ristia n view is
th a t d e a th is n e v e r g o o d ; it is always a n o u tra g e .
T h e g o sp e l is th e b r e a c h in g a n d b r e a k in g o f d e a th . T h e re s u rre c tio n
is th e p ro m is e th a t th e c o n fu s io n o f re a l life by false life will c o m e to an
e n d a n d b e e n tir e ly s u c c c c d c d b y th e life t h a t is re a l. T h e false life to
w h ic h w e a re s u b je c t will b e re m o v e d , to leav e o n ly th e rea lity a n d tru th
o f life. W h a t is tr u e a n d re a l c a n n e v e r b e d e lim ite d , o r b ro k e n o ff o r
b r o u g h t to a n e n d , n o r w ill w e e v e r r u n o u t o f it. L ife th a t is re a l is n o t
fin ite, b u t u n lim ite d a n d e te rn a l.
T h e N ew T e s ta m e n t u n d e r s ta n d s e te rn ity sim ply as life, w ith o u t
d e a th o r a n y o t h e r in te r r u p tio n . W h e n t h e life w c a lre a d y e x p e r ie n c e
n o w in a f r a g m e n ta r y way is re n e w e d b y G o d s o th a t it c o n tin u e s w ith o u t
lim it, life will b e e te r n a l. T im e , h is to ry a n d th e w h o le c o u rs e o f th e
m a te ria l w o rld a r c p o sitiv e a sp c c ts o f c r a tio n , a n d e te rn ity is tim e ,
re d e e m e d f o r u s b y G o d . It is P la to n ism th a t sets e te rn ity a n d tim e
in o p p o s itio n , a n d r e g a rd s tim e as a m is fo rtu n e . It asse rts th a t w e a re
tr a p p e d in tim e , a n d m u s t b e re le a s e d fro m it, a n d m o v e u p to a n o th e r,
tim eless, level ab o v e. M a n y C h ris tia n s th in k in te rm s th a t a r e m o re
P la to n ist th a n C h ris tia n . W h e n p e o p le c o m m is e ra te w ith o n e a n o th e r
y o u h e a r th e m say, H a s h e p a s s e d away? C o n s id e r h im blessed , sin c e h e
h a s le ft fro m th is p o o r w o rld o f tim e a n d g o n e to e te rn ity . S u c h ideas
a r e n o t C h ris tia n . O u r h o p e in th e r e s u r r e c tio n a n tic ip a te s th a t d e a th
will b e b r o k e n , a n d th a t life will s u ffe r n o f u r th e r in te r r u p tio n o r th re a t.
W e m u s t rid o u rs e lv e s o f th is c o n c e p t th a t tim e is a m is fo rtu n e , a n d
g ra s p th e t r u t h , w h ic h is th a t re a l life, w h ic h is w hat e te rn ity is, is e n tire ly
u n m ix e d w ith d e a th .
T h e r e is n o t h i n g b e h in d th e c r e a te d w o rld . S in c e th e w o rld is n o t
sim p ly o n e la rg e th in g , b u t a vast p ro fu s io n o f w o n d e rfu l en titie s,
n o th in g n e s s fills th e s p a c c b e tw e e n e a c h o f th e s e e n titie s. B etw een
A a n d B is s p a c e a n d tim e, a n d it is th is th a t gives A a n d B th e ir in d i
vid u ality a n d p a rtic u la rity . S p a c e a n d tim e b o th c o n n e c t th e m a n d se p a
ra te th e m : th e sp a c c b e tw e e n u s b o th m a k e s us s e p a ra te b e in g s a n d it
d iv id e s u s a n d m a k e s u s s u b je c t to d is s o lu tio n . A a n d B a r e c o m p o site s,
m a d e u p o f s m a lle r e le m e n ts , s o w h e n t h e i r d is so lu tio n re a c h e s a
c e rta in p o in t t h e r e is n o m o r e c o n n e c tio n o r c o m m u n ic a tio n b etw e en
th e m . O n e f o r m o f s e p a r a tio n is w h e n A a n d B lose to u c h w ith e a c h
o th e r a n d t h e i r re la tio n s h ip e n d s. T h e o t h e r is w h en th e w h o le p e rs o n

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o f A d is in te g ra te s in to h is c o m p o s ite e le m e n ts, th e unit}' th a t tim e a n d


sp a c e gave h is h o d y is d isso lv ed , a n d h e c e a se s to exist.
T im e a n d s p a c e sim u lta n e o u s ly c o m p o s e a n d c o n s titu te b e in g s,
a n d d e c o m p o s e th e m a n d d e -c o n s titu te th e m . T h e life th a t w e know' is
a m ix tu re o f life a n d d e a th , a n d a p ro c e ss o f c o m p o s itio n a n d d isso lu
tio n . W h e n o u r c o m p o s ite w o rld b re a k s u p in to its c o n stitu tiv e e le m e n ts
w e will d is a p p e a r a g a in : d e a th is th is d is in te g ra tio n . A ll b e in g s a re
v u ln e ra b le to th e n o th in g n e s s f r o m w h ic h th e y c a m e a n d w h ic h is p re s
e n t in th e m . c o n tra s t, th e r e a l life th a t c o m e s fro m th e H oly S p irit
is e n tire ly f r e e o f n o th in g n e s s , a n d is u n a ssa ila b le to th e fo rc e s o f
d isso lu tio n .
W h e n h e r e fu s e d re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d , m a n w as le ft q u ite helplessly
e x p o s e d to t h e p ro c e sse s o f d isso lu tio n . M an w as d e c e iv e d , a n d h e
c o n tin u e s to b e d e c e iv e d , in to b e lie v in g th a t h e is alive w h e n th e p ro
cesses o f d is s o lu tio n a r c w o rk in g aw ay w ith in h im a n d will s o o n m a k e
a n e n d o f h im . M a n is te m p te d to b e lie v e th a t, given m o r e tim e o r m o re
re s o u rc e , h e c o u ld e sta b lish h im s e lf m o r e p e rm a n e n tly . But w e w o u ld
b e m ista k e n i f wrc th in k th a t e te r n ity c a n b e s e c u re d th ro u g h th e
p ro c e s s e s o f h isto ry , th a t g iv en j u s t a little m o re tim e w e c o u ld re ac h
e te rn ity a n d p e r m a n e n c e . W e c a n b eliev e th is o n ly by b e in g b lin d to
th e p ro c e sse s o f d e a th , a n d ig n o r in g th e fact th a t all b e in g s w e a r o u t
a n d p ass away. S o m e try to d e a l w ith th e p r o b le m by tra n s fe rrin g th e
q u e s tio n fro m th e survival o f th e in d iv id u a l to survival o f h u m a n ity
as a w h o le . C h ris tia n d o g m a tic s h o w e v e r m u st ta k e th e th r e a t to o u r
e x is te n c e v e ry seriously. It m u s t in sist th a t th e d e a th o f every sin g le
p e r s o n , e v e n o f e v e ry s in g le en tity , is a n o u tra g e , a n d say c le arly th a t
c r e a tio n h a s b e c o m e c a p tiv e to d e a th .

V. C h r i s t o l o g y

C re a tio n c a m e fro m n o th in g , a n d sin c e it is p e r m e a te d Avith th e forces


o f d isso lu tio n , it alw ays faces th e p r o s p e c t o f re v e rtin g b a c k to n o th in g .
B ut as lo n g as th e y a r c in c o m m u n io n w ith w h a t is n o t c rc a tc d , c re a te d
b e in g s a r e safe fro m all s u c h fo rces. M a n was c r e a te d to p ro v id e this
c o m m u n io n . H e was to b e th e m e d ia to r b e tw e e n th e m a te ria l w o rld
a n d G o d , a n d so h e wras c r c a tc d a t th e e n d o f c re a tio n , w h e n ev ery th in g
else w as readyr f o r h im . T h is p riv ile g e was g iven to m a n r a t h e r th a n to
a n y o t h e r f r e e a n d r a tio n a l b e in g b e c a u s e as a m a te ria l b e in g , m a n is
a b le to u n ite c r e a te d m a te ria lity w ith th e u n c r e a te d , a n d so to se c u re
th e c o n tin u e d life o f th e m a te iia l c re a tio n . If m a n is to e n d u r e , all
c r e a tio n m u s t e n d u r e , f o r m a n c a n n o t live w ith o u t c re a tio n . I f m a n is to

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survive d e a th , all c r e a tio n h a s to b e tra n s f o rm e d so th a t n o p a r t o f it


su c c u m b s to d e a th .
T h e r e a r e tw o p o ssib le m is c o n c c p tio n s h e re . O n e is th e b e lie f
th a t d e a th e n t e r e d th e w o rld as th e p u n is h m e n t f o r d is o b e d ie n c e a n d
th e fall, w h ic h is to say th a t G o d in tr o d u c e d it to c r e a tio n a n d im p o se d
it o n m a n . W e h av e s e e n th a t d e a th h as always b e e n th e n a tu r a l c o n d i
tio n o f c r e a te d b e in g s, a n d s in c e all th a t is fin ite h a s a n e n d , d e a th is
in e v ita b le f o r c r e a tio n - u n le ss m a n e x e rc ise s h is f re e d o m positively,
f o r c r a tio n a n d h im se lf. I f m a n d o c s so, th e life o f c r e a tio n is su sta in e d
en d le ssly th r o u g h in fin ite c o m m u n io n w ith th e in fin ite G o d . T h e fall
is th e te rm w e give to m a n s re fu sa l to e x e rc ise his fr e e d o m in th is posi
tive way; th e c o n s c q u c n c c o f h is re fu sa l is th a t th e d e a th o f c r a tio n , a n d
o f m a n , r e m a in s in e v ita b le . D e a th is a c o ro lla ry o f fin itu d e , a n d so is
u n iv ersal f o r a ll c r e a te d th in g s; w h e n w e c o n c e d e th e tr u th o f th is w e ar e
a b le to c o n ic in to c o n v e rs a tio n w ith biology, w h ic h u n d e r s ta n d s th a t
d e a th is a u n iv e rs a l n a tu r a l p h e n o m e n o n .
A s e c o n d m is c o n c e p tio n is th a t im m o rta lity r e la te s c h ie fly to t h e soul.
A ccordingly, w h e n d e a th is a b o lis h e d a t t h e e n d o f tim e , it is th o u g h t
th a t p e o p le 's so u ls will live o n , a n d th o u g h th e b o d ie s o f th e s e souls
m ig h t live o n to o , th e re st o f th e w o rld w o u ld d ie . B ut th is view is
m ista k e n to o . D e a th is a b io lo g ic a l p h e n o m e n o n , w h ic h if it is to be
tra n s c e n d e d a t all, m u s t b e tr a n s c e n d e d b y c re a tio n as a w h o le . T h e
re fu sa l o f m a n to h o s t th e m e e tin g o f c re a te d n e s s w ith th e u n c r e a te d
G o d , m a k e s tl ic c o n tin u a tio n a n d r e d e m p tio n o f c r a tio n im p o ssib le.
T h e sa lv a tio n o f th e w o rld m u s t b e salv atio n fro m d e a th . L e t us sta rt
w ith s o m e g e n e r a l o b se rv a tio n s. W h e n w e d ia g n o s e a sick p e r s o n we
id e n tify th e ir d ise a se . T h e d ise a se h e r e is d e a th , so a e u r e fo r d e a th is
w h a t w e a r e lo o k in g for. S alv atio n h a s o f te n b e e n se t o u t in m o ra l a n d
ju d ic ia l te rm s, in w h ic h d e a th h a s b e e n c a u s e d by m a n s a c t o f d iso b e d i
e n c e . B u t it w as n o t o u r d is o b e d ie n c e th a t c a u se d th is evil; it j u s t m a d e
its c u r e im p o ssib le . T h e p r o b le m c a n n o t b e p u t rig h t sim p ly by o u r o b e
d ie n c e . A th a n a s iu s p o in te d o u t th a t if th e p r o b le m c o u ld b e solved sim
ply b y fo rg iv in g A d a m h is sin , G o d c o u ld h ave d o n e so. A d a m c o u ld
hav e r e p e n te d , a n d in d e e d h e d id w e e p a n d r e g r e t w h a t h e h a d d o n e .
G o d c o u ld h a v e fo rg iv e n h im , a n d a ll w o u ld h a v e b e e n w ell. But
A th a n a s iu s s h o w e d th a t th e h e a r t o f th e p ro b le m w as n o t o b e d ie n c e o r
d is o b e d ie n c e , b e c a u s e th is was n o t a m o ra l b u t a n o n to lo g ic a l p ro b le m .
W h a t was r e q u ir e d was f o r th e L o g o s to c o m e to m a n , a n d in d e e d to
b c c o m c m a n , so th a t all th a t h a s b e e n c r e a te d c a n b e u n ite d to th e
u n c r e a te d . F o r d e a th to b e o v e rc o m e , th e c re a te d h a s to c o m e in to
re la tio n s h ip w ith th e u n c r e a te d , a n d s o u rc e its life fro m it.

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S alv atio n in v o lv es a re la tio n s h ip b e tw e e n p e rso n s. M an a lo n e was


giv en th e p riv ile g e o f b e in g th is b o d ily a n d m a te ria l u n io n o f c re a tio n
w ith C re a to r. M a n s m a te ria l b o d y a n d e n tir e psy ch o -so m atic b e in g have
to p a rtic ip a te in th is u n io n , so th a t all c re a tio n to w h ich w e a r e lin k e d is
a b le to p a r tic ip a te in it to o . F o r th e w o rld to b e saved, m a n h a s to
m e d ia te b e tw e e n c re a tio n a n d G o d . N o o t h e r b e in g c o u ld d o th is, a n d
it c o u ld n o t b e d o n e b y G o d sim p ly say in g fro m a d is ta n c e Be saved!
T h e lo g ic d e m a n d e d th a t G o d b e c o m e o n e o f us. T h e in e v ita b le d isso lu
tio n o f c r e a tio n c o u ld n o t h av e b e e n a v e rte d e v e n if, a f te r h is fall, m a n
h a d b e e n sa v e d a n d th e r e a f te r n o t fa lle n a g a in . T h e in c a rn a tio n is
n o t sim p ly a r e s p o n s e to th e fall. M ax im u s m a k e s it very c le a r th a t th e
in c a r n a tio n w o u ld h av e ta k e n p la c e , e v e n if m a n h a d n o t fa lle n . I t was
in c o n c e iv a b le th a t th is w o rld c o u ld e n d u r e w h e n n o th in g n e s s a n d
d is s o lu tio n a r e in h e r e n t to it. O n ly w h e n this m a te ria l c r e a tu r e w ho
u n ite s in h im s e lf t h e m a te ria l c re a tio n to t h e u n c r e a te d G o d c a n th e
u n c r e a te d p a ss life u n in te r r u p te d ly to th e c re a te d . T h e m e d ia tio n o f
m a n is th u s th e c e n tr a l r e q u ir e m e n t f o r th e salv atio n o f c re a tio n .
A s e c o n d fa c to r is th e fact t h a t m a n o n h is ow n is n o t c a p a b le o f tra n
s c e n d in g d e a th . T r a n s c e n d e n c e o f d e a th c a n n o t b e a c h ie v e d by any
c r e a tu r e , a n d e v e n less so w h e n m a n fell a n d b e c a m e a p r is o n e r o f th e
c o u n te r f e it life , w h ic h is life p e r m e a te d by d e a th . F ro m th e m o m e n t
th a t m a n b e c a m e tr a p p e d in th is cycle o f life a n d d e a th , it w as im possi
b le f o r h im to fre e h im se lf. So th e u n c r e a te d G o d to o k th e initiative.
T h e r e a rc tw o e le m e n ts t h a t ta k e u s to th e m y stery o f th e in c a rn a tio n
o f C h rist. T h e first is th e in itia tiv e ta k e n by G o d , a n d th e s e c o n d is
th e n e e d f o r a u n io n r a t h e r th a n a m e r e su b m issio n o r forgiveness,
b e tw e e n t h e c r e a tu r e a n d h is L o rd . C h ris t fulfils th e tw o re q u ire m e n ts .
T h e W o rd b e c a m e a h u m a n b e in g , f o r C h ris t m u s t b e h u m a n r a th e r
th a n a n a n g e l o r a n y o t h e r c re a tu re . C h ris t is G o d , a n d b e c a u se h e is
G o d h e is n o t e n ta n g le d in th is v icio u s c irc le o f life a n d d e a th him self.
T h e in c a r n a tio n o f th e W o rd is th e salv atio n o f th e w o rld , a n d even*
c r e a tu r e in it, fro m d e a th .
T h e W o rd b e c o m e s in c a r n a te as t h a t c r e a tu r e w h o se b e in g a n d
id e n tity a r e p r im a rily d e te r m in e d b y h is re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d , r a th e r
th a n by h is re la tio n s h ip w ith a n y o t h e r c re a tu re . T h e s e c o n d c o n d itio n ,
a c o n s e q u e n c c o f th e first, is th a t th is S a v io u r is n o t c o n c e iv e d in th e
way th a t e v e ry o t h e r h u m a n c r e a tu r e is c o n c e iv e d . T h e d o c trin e o f
th e n o n -b io lo g ic a l c o n c e p tio n o f C h r is t b y th e H oly S p irit a n d th e
V irg in M ary is e sse n tia l to th e C h ris tia n fa ith . If C h rist h a d b e e n b o rn
in th e sa m e b io lo g ic a l m a n n e r th a t w e a r e , h e w o u ld h a v e b e e n c o n
fin e d w ith in t h e s a m e cycles o f c o u n te r f e it life-in -d eath th a t we are,

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a n d h e c o u ld n o t h a v e b e e n th e s o lu tio n to o u r p ro b le m . T h e ro le o f
th e H o ly S p irit in C h ris ts c o n c e p tio n is th e r e fo re e sse n tia l. O n ly th e
u n c r e a tc d S p irit c o u ld ta k e th is in itiativ e; th is e v e n t c o u ld b e fre e
b e c a u s e it was n o t b o u n d b y a n y o f th e lim its th a t c re a tio n re p re s e n ts ,
b e c a u s e th e S o n is n o t c re a te d . It h a d to b e fre e b o th o n th e p a r t o f th e
W o rd w h o b e c a m e flesh, a n d fre e o n t h e p a r t o f c r e a te d h u m a n ity in
th e p e r s o n o f th e V irgin.
G o d h a d g iv e n A d a m th e f r e e d o m to in a u g u r a te th e salv atio n o f th e
w o rld b u t, in h is fre e d o m , A d a m d id n o t d o so. N o n e th e le ss, it w o u ld
h a v e b e e n u n th in k a b le f o r G o d to tak e m a n s f re e d o m away by in te rv e n
in g a n d c o m p e llin g h im to d o so. M an d i d n o t w a n t to p re se rv e th e
w o rld , b u t G o d d id n o t th e r e f o r e d e c id e to p re s e rv e th e w o rld , a n d m a n
him self, d e s p ite m a n . T h e f r e e d o m o f m a n h a d to b e sa fe g u a rd e d by
th e fo rm th a t in c a r n a tio n to o k . T h e c o m p le te a n d p r o p e r e x p re ssio n o f
h u m a n f r e e d o m c a m e a t last in th e u n f o r c e d yes given by th e V irgin
M ary to G o d s call to c a n y th r o u g h th is m y stery o f C h rist. M a iy co u ld
h a v e re fu s e d t o ta k e p a rt in su c h a p la n th a t u tte rly c o n flic ts w ith o u r
se lf-d ire c te d lo g ic , b u t h e r re p ly w as n o t n o , b u t y e s. H e r c o n s e n t
w as th e f r e e c o n s e n t o f h u m a n k in d to th e in itiativ e o f G o d .
A d a m su rv iv es in th e p e r s o n o f C h ris t a n d , in C h rist, A d a m is free.
C h ris t h a s n o w b e c o m e th e h u m a n , A d a m , w h o se c rc a tu re ly life is n o
lo n g e r c o n s titu te d so lely b y h is b io lo g y a n d th u s by necessity. T h o u g h
A d a m still la b o u rs , h e is n e v e rth e le s s a fre e b e in g n o w b e c a u se h e
o rig in a te s in th is freely-w illed h u m a n c o n s e n t. T h a t C h rist is b o r n in
this m a n n e r is th e c o n d itio n b y w h ic h all th a t w e have sa id so far
a b o u t th e p e r s o n a l re la tio n s h ip b e tw e e n G o d a n d th e w o rld h o ld s
tru e . T h e in c a r n a tio n o f C h ris t is d if f e r e n t fro m all th e v a rio u s o th e r
in c a r n a tio n s a n d r e b irth s o f g o d s o b s e rv e d in o t h e r re lig io n s. All such
b irth s a n d th e o g o n ie s r e p r e s e n t n a tu r a l p h e n o m e n a a n d n a tu ra l
laws, a n d a r e t h e f u n c tio n o f necessity, r a th e r th a n o f a fre e , p e rs o n a l
c o n s e n t o n th e p a rt o f h u m a n k in d .
C h ris t is n o t b o r n th e p r o d u c t o f n a tu r a l laws, f o r th is w o u ld have
sig n ifie d c o n fo rm ity to th e n c c c ssa ry laws o f n a tu r e w h ic h involve d e a th .
T h is w 'ould h a v e b e e n a re v e rsio n fro m th e in itia l f re e d o m w hich
G o d b e s to w e d o n h u m a n ity , to th e life u n d e r c o m p u ls io n b r o u g h t
a b o u t b y th e w ith h o ld in g o f A d a m 's c o n s e n t. All th a t G o d in te n d e d
h a d b e e n b r o u g h t to n o th in g as a re s u lt o f A d a m s e x e rc ise o f fre e d o m .
B u t th e f r e e d o m re c e iv e d in th e c o n s e n t o f th e V irg in p e rm e a te s th e
e n tir e m y ste ry o f C h ris t a n d o f o u r salv atio n . T h is fre e d o m is s e e n in
C h ris ts in c a r n a tio n fro m c o n c e p tio n a n d b irth to re s u rre c tio n a n d all
th a t h a p p e n s a f te r it. T h is f r e e d o m th a t M ary e x e rc is e d in re c e iv in g

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105

th e in c a r n a te S o n in h e r b o d y is h o n o u r e d in every p h a s e o f th e m ystery
o f o u r salv atio n .

V I. S a i .v a t i o n
W e h a v e lo o k e d a t th e re la tio n s h ip o f t h e d o c trin e s o f th e in c a rn a tio n
a n d c re a tio n . G o d c r e a te d th e w o rld so it w o u ld p a rtic ip a te in his
ow n g lo rio u s life. T o b rin g th e w o rld in to a living re la tio n s h ip w ith
h im , G o d g a v e m a n G o d s o w n f re e d o m a n d se lf-g o v e rn m e n t, a n d
m a d e h im a lin k b e tw e e n G o d a n d th e m a te ria l w o rld w h ic h h a s n o self1
g o v e rn m e n t a n d th e r e f o r e n o f r e e d o m o f its ow n. M an was th e p o in t
th r o u g h w h ic h all n a tu r e w as to p a rtic ip a te in G o d s self-g o v ern m e n t
a n d life.
B u t in h is fre e d o m , m a n d e c id e d to re la te th e w o rld to h im se lf
in s te a d o f G o d . By h is d c isio n to d irc c t n a tu r e to h im self, m a n
c o n f in e d h im s e lf a n d n a tu r e w ith in th e laws th a t g o v e rn c re a tio n . S ince
it c a m e fro m n o t h i n g a n d n o th in g n e s s p e r m e a te s it, th e b e in g o f every
c r c a tu r c is alw ays b e in g w o rn away. M a n w as u n a b le to o v c rc o m c th e
c o n s tra in ts to w h ic h all c re a tu r e s a r e su b je c t. I t is a n e x tra o rd in a ry
m ystery th a t b y his p o ssessio n o f th is G o d -g iven fre e d o m , m a n w as a b le
to h a lt G o d 's p la n .
G o d d id n o t in te n d th is h o ld -u p , b u t h e d id n o t ig n o re it e ith e r.
T h o u g h h is p la n h a d sta lle d , G o d s in te n tio n r e m a in e d u n a lte re d .
It to o k a n e w c o u r s e to re la te to th e c h a n g c d situ a tio n . T h is is th e logic
S a in t A th a n a s iu s sets o u t in h is O n th e I n c a rn a tio n o f th e W o rd .
W e w o u ld s lill b e ta lk in g a b o u t th e in c a r n a tio n e v e n w ith o u t A d a m s
fall, b u t A d a m s fall d e te r m in e d th e fo rm th a t th e in c a rn a tio n h a d
to tak e. H a d h e n o t fa lle n , A d a m w o u ld e v en tu a lly have b ro u g h t all
c re a tio n in to th is u n io n w ith G o d th r o u g h h is ow n p e rs o n . T h is u n io n
w o u ld h a v e e n a b le d th e o v e rc o m in g o f th e b o u n d a r ie s o f a c re a te d
b e in g , r e p r e s e n te d b y d e a th : C h risto lo g y w o u ld sim p ly have m e a n t
th e tra n s fo rm a tio n o f m a n in to C h rist. By e x e rc is in g h is lib e rty a ffirm a
tively, as C h ris t, m a n w o u ld h av e m a d e th e e x iste n c e o f th e w o rld
n o lo n g e r s u b je c t to th e c o n s tra in ts o f a c r e a te d entity, d e c a y a n d d e a th .
T h is C h ris t w o u ld h av e e x is te d in tim e a n d sp a c e , as S a in t M axim us
assu re s us.
B u t it w as n o lo n g e r p o ssib le f o r th is u n io n b e tw e e n th e c r e a te d
a n d th e u n c r e a te d to b e a tta in e d th r o u g h m a n , w ith o u t it p a ssin g
th r o u g h t h e d is s o lu tio n a n d d e a th in to w h ic h m a n h a d fa lle n . A d a m s
fa ilu re o b lig e d G o d to r e a c h th is e n d b y a n o th e r m e a n s, th a t w hich
in v o lv e d C h r is t c o m in g in to th e b ro k e n c o n d itio n o f m a n , s o th e

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in c a r n a tio n ta k e s th e fo rm o f th is p a s s io n w h ic h C h rist suffers. G o d


n e v e r s u s p e n d e d h is re s p e c t fo r m a n s f r e e d o m . H e c h o s e th e V irgin
Maryr to s p e a k f o r all m a n k in d , a n d b y g iv in g h e r a s s e n t to it in c o m p le te
fre e d o m , M an* m a d e p o ssib le f o r C h ris t to c o m e by this new c o u rs e th a t
in v o lv e d ta k in g o n o u r b ro k e n c o n d itio n . O n ly M arys free ly given yes,
w h ic h a ff ir m e d a n d d e m o n s tr a te d th e f re e d o m o f m a n k in d , o p e n e d
this n e w w ay b y w h ic h C h ris t c o u ld c o m e to c re a tio n a n d c re a tio n c o u ld
c o m e to G o d .
T h is e n t r a n c e o f G o d in to th e w o rld , th e p n tr a tio n o f th e u n c r e
a te d in to c r e a tio n to u n ite th e tw o, w as p e r f o r m e d by o n e p e rs o n o f
th e T rinity. By e n te r in g c r e a tio n , th e S o n c r e a te d a b rid g e b e tw e e n
c re a tio n a n d G o d . T h e p e rs o n s o f th e T rin ity a r e n o t s e p a ra te d from
o n e a n o th e r , s o th r o u g h th e a c tio n o f o n e , th e e n tir e T rin ity p a rtic i
p a te s in th e e v e n t o f C h rist. E a c h p e r s o n u n d e rta k e s a p a r tic u la r role:
th e S o n e n te r s t h e fa lle n re a lity o f th e c r e a te d w o rld , ta k in g o n its d ec ay
a n d p a in , a n d its s o rro w a n d d e a th . B u t th e S o n d id th is b e c a u s e th e
F a th e r, in h is m e rc y , m a d e th is initiative.
W c c a n o n ly u n d e r s ta n d t h e in c a r n a tio n o f C h ris t by re f e r e n c e to
th e F a th e r a n d to th e S p irit. It is th e F a th e r w:h o in itia te s th e in c a rn a
tio n . Ii was t h e e r r o r o f e a r lie r g e n e r a tio n s o f C h ris tia n d o g m a tic s
to s e p a r a te C h iis to lo g y first fro m th e d o c tr in e o f G o d a n d th e n from
th e d o c tr in e o f th e S p irit. I t is th e F a th e r fro m w h o se will all th in g s
c o m e . As th e v ery e x is te n c e o f G o d c o m e s fro m th e goodw ill o f th e
F a th e r, s o th e w h o le e c o n o m y a n d w o rk o f C h ris t also c o m e fro m th e
will o f th e F a th e r. T h e F a th e r in te n d s th a t th is in c a r n a tio n s h o u ld take
p la c e ; th e S o n asse n ts t o th e F a th e r s will a n d e n te r s th e fa lle n reality
o f th e c r e a tu r e . In love th e F a th e r in itia te s a n d p a rtic ip a te s in this
e v e n t, w h ile th e S o n asse n ts a n d acts. T ire H oly S p irit c a rrie s th is p la n
th r o u g h , s u p p o r tin g th e S o n th r o u g h th e p a in o f th is e x c h a n g e a n d
u n io n , in w h ic h th e S o n ta k e s o n th e fa lle n sta te o f c re a tio n . T h e H oly
S p irit sta n d s w ith C h ris t in all th e d e c is io n s by w h ic h h e a ffirm s his
f re e d o m , a n d h e lib e ra te s th e S o n fro m th e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f h is giving
o f h im s e lf to us. T h e S p irit, w h o su sta in s all fre e d o m , e n s u re s th a t
C h ris ts d e c is io n s a r e fre e . W h e re v e r th e S p irit is, th e c o n s tric tio n s o f
n a tu r e a r e o v e rc o m e , a n d so w e a r e lib e r a te d f r o m all th a t c o n fin e s us.
T h o u g h h e is w ith C h ris t t h r o u g h o u t h is e x iste n c e , th e H oly S p irit is
m o s t c h a ra c te ris tic a lly p r e s e n t a t th o s e m o m e n ts in w h ic h th e p ro g re ss
o f G o d s p la n f o r th e salv atio n o f th e w o rld is d e c id e d .
T h e S p irit is p r e s e n t a t e v e ry o n e o f th e c ritic a l p o in ts th a t d e te r m in e
th e c o u rs e o f th e in c a rn a tio n . H e is p r e s e n t a t th e V irg in M arys yes
a n d th e c o n c e p tio n o f th e S o n o f G o d b y th e h o ly M o th e r o f G o d . T h e

Creation a n d Salvation

107

H o ly V irg in c o n c e iv e s th r o u g h th e H o ly S p irit. I f it w e re m e re ly a
m a tte r o f d iv in e in te r v e n tio n th e L o g o s c o u ld h a v e in h a b ite d th e holy
V irg in o n h is ow n a n d th e r e w o u ld h a v e b e e n n o n e e d fo r th e S pirit.
B u t th e V irg in c o n c e iv e d by the Holy Spirit, w h ic h m e a n s th a t th e r e was
n o in tr u s io n in to th e c r e a te d b y th e u n c r e a te d , s o w h a t to o k p la c e d id
so in fre e d o m . A n y d ir e c t in te r v e n tio n by th e u n c r e a te d w o u ld n e ce s
sarily o v e rc o m e th e c re a te d , f o r w h e re v e r o n e fo rc e is m u c h g re a te r
th a n a n o th e r , th e le sse r will b e o v e rw h e lm e d . But th e p re s e n c e o f th e
H o ly S p irit p re v e n ts t h e le s s e r fo rc e o f th e c r e a tu r e fro m b e in g c ru s h e d
by th e g r e a te r fo r c e o f G o d . T h e H o ly S p irit n e v e r m a k e s th e c r e a tu re
aw a re o f h is p r e s e n c e , so th e c r e a tu r e is n o t o v e ra w ed , b u t sim ply
aw a re th a t all o t h e r p re s s u re s a r e ta k e n off, so th a t th e y a r c a b le to m a k e
a d e c isio n t h a t is e n tire ly fre e . In th e p re s e n c e o f th e S p irit, the
V irg in M ary is a b le to d e c id e in c o m p le te fre e d o m , a n d th u s th e
in c a r n a tio n o f C h ris t ta k e s p la c e in tr u e c rc a tu rc ly fre e d o m . T h e S p irit
e n s u re s th a t w*hat is c r e a te d is n o t c ru s h e d by th e p re s e n c e o f w h a t is
u n c re a te d .
T h e c o n tr ib u tio n o f t h e H o ly S p irit is th e r e f o r e to allow e a c h
a g e n t to a c t a s a p e r s o n , u n c o n s tr a in e d b y all lim its a n d p re ssu re s. T h e
H o ly S p irit f r e e s C h ris t fro m th e c o n fin e s o f history' a n d is w ith C h rist
a t ev ery c ritic a l j u n c t u r e . H e a c c o m p a n ie s C h rist in th e c o n flic t w ith
S a ta n in th e d e s e r t so th a t, wrh e n h is p r e p a r a tio n a n d te s tin g a re
c o m p le te , C h r is t is a b le t o say yes fre e ly to G o d as a h u m a n , a n d s o to
a c t o n b e h a l f o f all h u m a n s . F ro m w ith in th e m , C h ris t is a b le to
s u r m o u n t th e b o u n d s o f b io lo g y a n d h isto ry , a n d a c t in fre e d o m . As th e
title C h ris t te lls us, J e s u s is a n o in te d by th e S p irit a n d a c c o m p a n ie d by
h im always.
T h e S p irit is p r e s e n t a t G e th s e m a n e , w h e re th e a ll-im p o rta n t d e c i
sio n to d r in k d o w n th e c u p , d e s p ite all its h o rro r, is ta k e n . T h e S pirit
e n a b le s t h e L o r d s fre e d e c is io n to g o to th e cross, a n d th e S p irit raises
C h ris t fro m t h e c o n fin e s o f d e a th . T h e re s u r r e c tio n a n d d e fe a t o f d e a th
is th e S p irits act in tr a n s c e n d in g all lim its, a n d all d is so lu tio n a n d
d e a th . T h o u g h C h ris tia n d o g m a tic s h a v e n o t always b e e n v e ry c le a r
a b o u t th is, th e B ib le tells u s th a t it was th e S p irit w h o ra ise d J e su s
fro m th e d e a d (R o m a n s 8 .1 1 ). J u s t lik e th e c o n c e p tio n a n d b irth ,
a n d t h e m in istry , p a ssio n a n d re s u r r e c tio n o f C h rist ta k e p la c e by th e
H o ly S p irit.
W hy is it t h e H o ly S p irit w h o ra ise s C h ris t f ro m th e d e a d ? C h rist
is G o d , so d e a t h c o u ld n e v e r h a v e h e ld h im , so w'hy is th e r e this
n e e d f o r th e S p irit? T h e H o ly S p irit m a k e s th e w h o le in c a rn a tio n an
e x p re ss io n o f th e f r e e d o m in w h ic h , b e c a u se o f C h rist, m a n now

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p a rtic ip a te s . T h e S p irit w h o lib e ra te s all th a t is c re a te d fro m tria ls a n d


fro m d e te r io r a tio n a n d d e a th , h a s in C h ris t p a sse d in to h u m a n ity . O n c e
d is s o lu tio n a n d d e a th a r c tr a n s c e n d e d in C h rist, th e H oly S p irit m a k es
C h ris t th a t b o d y w ith in w h ic h all m a n k in d b e g in s to e x p e r ie n c e
fr e e d o m fro m d e a th . T h e S p irit m a k e s C h rist's re s u r r e c tio n th e lib ra
tio n fro m d e a th , n o t ju s t fo r J e s u s b u t fo r all h u m a n ity . F o r C h ris ts
re s u r r e c tio n w o u ld m a k e n o s e n s e w ith o u t o u r re s u rre c tio n (1 C o rin th i
a n s 15.13-20).
T h e H o ly S p irit h a s m a d e C h ris t t h e u n iv e rsa l b e in g in w h o m th e
b o u n d a r ie s o f th e c r e a te d a r e tra n s c e n d e d . C h rist ceases to b e an
in d iv id u a l a n d h a s b e c o m e th e tr u th o f h u m a n e x is te n c e , s o his life
h a s u n iv e rs a l rc a c h . H e h a s b ro k e n o u t o f th e n a tu re - d e te rm in e d
c o n s tra in ts t h a t m a k e h im m e re ly o n e p e rs o n , s e p a ra te d by n a tu r e fro m
all o t h e r p e rs o n s . As C h ris t to o k o n th e fa te o f c r e a tio n , c r e a tio n is
ta k in g o n t h e fate o f C h ris t, b e in g lib e r a te d fro m its c o n fin e s a n d
r e d e e m e d . C re a tio n is n o lo n g e r a fo rm o f e n fo rc e d c o n fin e m e n t fo r
h u m a n ity s o e a c h p e r s o n c a n re c e iv e ev ery o th e r c r e a tu r e in c o m p le te
fre e d o m .
C h ris t h a s b r o k e n th r o u g h th e s e b o u n d a r ie s f o r c r e a te d m a n k in d ,
n o t as o n e p e r s o n a lo n e , b u t in th e H o ly S p irit, f o r all. T h e H oly S pirit
m a k e s C h ris t the Christ by m a k in g h im in clu sive o f all h u m a n ity , in d e e d
o f all c r e a tio n . T h e H o ly S p irit g o e s o n to m a k e C h rist th e s o u rc e o f
th e s p iritu a l g ifts so th a t to g e th e r m a n k in d is n o lo n g e r h e ld w ithin
th o s e c o n fin e s b u t is fre e to re c c iv c t h e fu ll d im e n s io n s o f th e p e rso n
o f C h rist. T h e ro le o f th e H o ly S p irit, th o u g h a ll-im p o rta n t, h a s b e e n so
u n d e r e s tim a te d th a t w e c o u ld e v e n say th a t it has b e e n su p p re s s e d . T h e
in c a r n a tio n r e q u ir e s th e w h o le d o c tr in e o f G o d . T rin ity b e g in s w ith th e
goo d w ill o f t h e F a th e r, c o n tin u e s w ith th e S o n ta k in g o n th e fa te o f
fa lle n c r e a tio n a n d e n d s w ith C h ris t g a th e r in g us a n d all c r e a tio n u p
by th e H o ly S p irit. T h e H o ly S p irit always a c ts through C h rist, b c c a u se
C h ris t is th e p o in t w h e re all m a n k in d a n d all c re a tio n a r e g a th e re d
u p a n d b r o u g h t in to liv in g c o m m u n io n w ith G o d o n w h o m th e r e a re
n o c o n fin e s. T h e in c a r n a tio n is th e r e f o r e n o t j u s t a b o u t C h ris ts
receiving th e H o ly S p irit, b u t also a b o u t C h ris t g iv in g th e H o ly S p irit to
all m a n k in d , as w e sh a ll s e e as w h e n w e c o m e to th e su b je c t o f
ecclcsiology.
S alv atio n is th e u n io n o f th e c r e a te d w ith th e u n c re a te d . T h is u n io n
is n o t m e c h a n ic a l o r m ag ical; th e r e is n o sy n th esis o f th e s e tw o n a tu re s ,
as th o u g h a q u a n tity o f d iv in e n a tu r e a d d e d to a q u an tity ' o f h u m a n
n a tu r e b rin g s a b o u t th e a d m issio n o f m a n to th e c o m m u n io n o f G od.
T h e ro le o f t h e F a th e r a n d o f th e H o ly S p irit a r e c ru c ia l in th is u n io n .

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T h e m y stery o f C h ris t b e g in s w ith th e F a th e r a n d e n d s w ith th e


F a th e r, b e c a u s e th e S o n a n d H o ly S p irit o b e y th e F a th e r in b rin g in g
a b o u t th e w h o le re a lity o f th e u n io n b e tw e e n th e c r e a te d a n d th e
u n c r e a te d . C o n s id e r e d as a w h o le, th e in c a r n a tio n is a m o v e m e n t
fro m th e F a th e r b a c k to th e F a th e r, th r o u g h C h ris t in th e H oly S pirit.
C hristolog)* te n d s to b e d is c u s s e d o n ly in te rm s o f n a tu re s , d iv in e a n d
h u m a n , b u t C h risto lo g y is always a m a tte r o f r e la tio n s h ip s o f p e rs o n s
a c tin g in fre e d o m .
T h e S o n o f G o d to o k o n th e fa lle n n a tu r e o f m a n . T h is ra ise s th e
h u g e issu e o f h o w it is p o ssib le f o r th e im p assive G o d to b e c o m e su b je c t
to th e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f t h e fa ll. H o w s h o u ld w e u n d e r s ta n d th e involve
m e n t o f G o d in th e s u ffe rin g , se lf-e m p ty in g a n d e v e n d e a th o f C hrist?
T h e S o n , o n e p e r s o n o f th e T rinity, e m p tie s h im s e lf o f glory. H is re la
tio n s h ip w ith t h e F a th e r a n d S p irit is n o t b r o k e n , b u t h e a lo n e u n d e r
ta k e s th e fa te o f t h e c re a te d , m a k in g it h is o w n fate. T h is is u n iq u e ly his
ac t, f o r e a c h o f th e p e rs o n s o f th e T rin ity is a c o m p le te a n d fre e -a ctin g
b e in g . A s a p e r s o n c o m p le te in h im s e lf th e S on free ly a c c e p te d f o r h im
se lf th e fate o f th e w o rld in its fa lle n fo rm a n d w o rk e d th r o u g h this
w o rld in o r d e r to c a rry th r o u g h th e p la n o f G o d th e F a th e r. F re ely th e
S o n to o k o n all th e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f e n te r in g th e fallen re ality o f th e
w o rld s e x is te n c e a n d , e q u a lly freely, th e H o ly S p irit w o rk e d w ith h im so
th a t all th r e e p e r s o n s p a rtic ip a te d , e a c h in h is o w n way.
C re a tio n h a d b e c o m e tr a p p e d w ith in its o w n b o u n d a rie s , a n d was
b o u n d fo r d is s o lu tio n a n d d e a th . B u t as th e W o rd b e c a m e flesh , b e c o m
in g a s in g le h u m a n b e in g , a n d ta k in g o n th e c o n s tra in ts o f fle sh , h e to o
b e c a m e s u b je c t to h u n g e r a n d th irs t, to tire d n e ss, a n d so h e su ffe red ,
u n til ev en th is life w as finally ta k e n aw ay fro m h im . All his s u ffe rin g was
e n tire ly re a l. F o r th e w h o le a n c ie n t w o rld it w as a n e sta b lish e d p rin c ip le
th a t G o d is im p assiv e a n d c a n n o t s u ffe r p a in o r d e a th . B u t th e C h u rc h
d ism isse d th e te m p ta tio n to r e g a r d C h ris ts su ffe rin g s as a m a tte r o f
m e r e a p p e a r a n c e s , th a t is to say, o f illu sio n o r p re te n c e , r e g a r d in g such
a d o c e tic C h ris to lo g y as a n ev a sio n o f t h e tr u th . H o w e v e r d iffic u lt a n d
c o u n te r in tu itiv e it w as to say th a t it w as tru ly G o d w h o su ffe re d all th o se
th in g s, th e C h u r c h n e v e rth e le ss in siste d th a t th e S o n o f G o d was fully
in v o lv e d in th is sorrow , s u ffe rin g a n d d e a th .
S in c e t h e C h u r c h w as c le a r th a t th e p a in a n d a n g u is h o f th e S o n w e re
re a l it h a d to re c o n c ile th e m w ith th e im passivity o f G o d . T w en tieth c e n tu ry C h risto lo g ) w as in c lin e d t o r e a d b a c k in to th e e te rn a l life a n d
b e in g o f G o d w h a t w e s e e in th e e c o n o m y o f G o d fo r us. It d e c id e d th a t
th e p a ssio n w as d ire c tly re la te d to th e n a tu r e o f G o d a n d th a t o n a c c o u n t
o f h is love G o d su ffe rs as s o o n as h e se e s m a n k in d s u ffe rin g a n d even

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th a t h e is e te r n a lly fa m ilia r w ith sorrow . H is love f o r m a n k in d m e a n s


th a t th e cro ss is a p a r t o f h is e te r n a l e x is te n c e a n d th a t th e re is n o
in trin sic c o n flic t b e tw e e n th e c ro ss a n d th e n a tu r e a n d b e in g o f G od.
B ut th e F a th e rs o f th e C h u rc h to o k q u ite a d if fe re n t view.
T h e F a th e rs in s is te d th a t s u c h a n u n d e r s ta n d in g c a n n o t fit w ith
G o d b e c a u s e in h is e te r n a l e x is te n c e h e is n o t b o u n d by th e c o n stra in ts
o f c r e a tu r e h o o d . G o d is fre e o f th e lim ita tio n s e x p e r ie n c e d by all
c r e a te d th in g s: th is is w h a t it m e a n s to b e u n c re a te d . I f th e c o n c e p t o f
p a ssio n in d ic a te s a c h a ra c te ris tic o f d iv in e n a tu r e , th is is c o m p le te ly
in a p p r o p r ia te h e re .
T h e C h u r c h te a c h e s u s th a t all th a t h a p p e n e d to C h rist, in c lu d in g
th e p a in , s o r r o w a n d d e a th th a t h e u n d e r w e n t, m u s t b e u n d e r s to o d as
a n e x tre m e a n d in c o m p r e h e n s ib le a c t o f fre e d o m a n d love. T h is
p a ssio n is C h r is ts a c tio n , a n d a m o s t d y n a m ic a n d active w ork. W e sta n d
b e fo re th e m y ste ry o f th e in c a r n a tio n a n d w o n d e r how G o d c o u ld a c t in
this way to b e c o m e passive to all th a t m a n c o u ld in flic t o n h im . We
c a n n o t e x p la in h o w C h ris t c o u ld suffer, b u t m u s t say th a t it is th e love o f
G o d th a t h a s b r o u g h t th is a b o u t a n d so w c c a n o n ly e x p re ss o u r th a n k
fu ln ess. I t is e x tre m e ly im p o r ta n t th e r e f o r e f o r us to b e c le a r th a t C h rist
d o e s n o t s u ffe r b e c a u se s u ffe rin g is p a r t o f h is d iv in e n a tu r e , b u t th a t h e
su ffe rs despite h is d iv in e n a tu r e . H e d o e s so b e c a u se h e d e c id e s to d o so,
n o t b e c a u s e h is n a tu r e c o m p e ls h im . H e free ly d e c id e d to u n d e rg o
th e s e th in g s f o r o u r sak e, a n d a t e a c h m o m e n t o f his m in istry d e m o n
stra te d h is w illin g e n g a g e m e n t in ta k in g o n all th a t b e lo n g e d to his
in c a r n a tio n a m o n g h u m a n k in d .
S o m e th e o lo g ia n s stress th e se lf-e m p ty in g (kenosis) in v o lv e d in th e
in c a r n a tio n a n d su g g e st th a t in s u ffe rin g th e s e th in g s fo r o u r sake,
C h ris t gave u p h is divinity. B u t h is d iv in ity is sim p ly p e r s o n a l re la tio n
s h ip w ith th e F a th e r, a n d th e re la tio n s h ip o f th e S o n w ith th e F a th e r is
in n o way a lte r e d by th e in c a rn a tio n . H is n a tu r e , w h ic h is th e n a tu re
h e h a s w ith t h e F a th e r, a n d w h ich is c o m m o n to th e m b o th , exists
w ith o u t in te r r u p tio n . H e s u ffe re d b e c a u s e h e to o k h u m a n n a tu r e
a n d r e m a in e d o b e d ie n t to its c o n fin e s. In C h rist w e have th e w h o le
fu lln e ss o f G o d : n o th in g o f h is d iv in ity re c e d e d o r was w ith d ra w n in th e
in c a r n a tio n . H e w as c o m p le te ly h u m a n a n d c o m p le te ly G o d . W e have
to affirm th is, b u t b e y o n d a c e rta in p o i n t w c c a n o ffe r n o f u r th e r e x p la
n a tio n s . W e c a n e x p la in it o n ly in te rm s o f th e lib e rty of G o d w h o is fre e
to e x e rc ise h is p o w e r a n d h is love a n d to e x e rc ise it in th e f o r m o f
w eak n ess. T h u s th e C o u n c il o f C h a lc c d o n (4 5 1 ) s ta te d th a t in C h rist
w e a c k n o w le d g e c o m p le te d iv in ity a n d c o m p le te h u m a n ity , n o th in g
m issin g in e i t h e r re sp e c t.

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T h a t C o u n c il w e n t o n to say th a t th e u n io n o f th e d iv in ity a n d
h u m a n ity is c o m p le te , so C h ris ts d iv in e a n d h u m a n n a tu r e s a r e u n ite d
indiv isib ly T h is u n io n in v o lv ed n o m ix tu re o r sy n th esis o f th e two
n a tu re s ; t h e r e w as n o c o n fu s io n so th e s e n a tu r e s c o u ld always b e
d is tin g u is h e d , o n e f r o m th e o th e r , d is tin c t, as th e C o u n c il p u t it. We
h a v e tw o n a tu r e s , d iv in e a n d h u m a n , j o i n e d in se p a ra b ly w h ile re m a in
in g d is tin c t. T h e th ir d p o in t th a t th e C o u n c il m a d e w as th a t th e u n io n
o f th e s e tw o n a tu r e s to o k p la c e in th e person o f th e S o n o f G o d . T h e r e
w as n o c r a tio n o f a new , h u m a n p e rs o n : w e d o n o t h a v e tw o p e rso n s
b u t th e o n e p e r s o n o f C h rist. T h e u n io n o f th e tw o n a tu re s is p e rso n a l
b e c a u s e it is a p e r s o n w h o is th is u n io n , th e sp ec ific p e rs o n o f th e
S o n o f th e T rinity. T h e c ru c ia l p o in t is th a t w c a r c n o t u ltim a te ly d e a lin g
w ith n a tu r e s , b u t w ith p e rs o n s as th e fo c u s o f unity.
T h e C h u r c h s in s is te n c e o n th e s in g u la rity o f th e p e r s o n o f C h rist
c o n tr a s te d w ith a p o s itio n a d v a n c e d b y N e s to riu s. N c sto riu s w a n te d to
p re se rv e th e h u m a n ity o f C h ris t in fu ll. H e w as a fra id th a t i f w e d o n o t
say th a t th e p e r s o n o f C h ris t is h u m a n th e h u m a n ity o f C h rist w o u ld be
d im in is h e d . T h e C h u r c h a t C h a lc c d o n to o k th e p o sitio n th a t w c a r c n o t
d e a lin g w ith a h u m a n p e r s o n b u t sim p ly w ith o n e sin g le p e rs o n , a n d th a t
this p e r s o n is d iv in e . D o e s th is d e m o te th e h u m a n ity o f C h rist? W e said
th a t C h ris t is fu lly G o d a n d fully h u m a n , so su re ly it is rig h t to say th a t
h is p e r s o n is a h u m a n p e rso n ?
A p e r s o n is a n id e n tity f o r m e d th r o u g h a r e la tio n s h ip . W e a r e p e r
so n s b c c a u sc o u r d is tin c t id e n tity is g iv e n b y o u r v a rio u s re la tio n sh ip s,
b io lo g ic a l r e la tio n s h ip s w ith o u r p a r e n ts , n a tu r a l re la tio n s h ip s w ith
o u r e n v ir o n m e n t, a n d a vast c o m p le x o f o th e r social a n d p o litical
re la tio n s h ip s . All th e s e m a k e u s th e p e rs o n w c a rc . B u t c a c h p a rtic u la r
p e r s o n also s u b s ta n tia te s th e s e r e la tio n s h ip s a n d m ak e s th e m his ow n.
All w e say a n d d o in th e c o u rs e o f a life tim e su b tly d e te r m in e s th e envi
ro n m e n t w h ic h sh a p e s us. E a c h o f u s is e n a b le d by th e c o m m u n ity
a m o n g w h ic h h e w as b o r n a n d b r o u g h t u p , b u t e q u a lly th ro u g h all his
life h e a d d s s o m e th in g to th a t c o m m u n ity , by w h ich h e a lte rs slightly
w h a t th o s e w h o c o m c a f te r h im a r c a b le to d o . W e re c e iv e o u r p e rs o n h o o d fro m t h e w h o le vast c o m m u n ity ' a r o u n d us, a n d by p a rtic ip a tin g
in th a t c o m m u n ity , w e c o n tr ib u te to it a n d in so m e u n tra c e a b ly sm all
w ay c h a n g e it to o . S o th o u g h w e re c e iv e o u r p e rs o n h o o d fro m th e c o m
m u n ity , th e c o m m u n ity a lso re c e iv e s its iden tity' fro m u s, so th e p e rs o n
h a s a p a r t in d e te r m in in g th e c o m m u n ity th a t d e te rm in e s h im .
E a c h p e r s o n c a n a ssu m e m a n y re la tio n s h ip s a n d to so m e d e g re e
a rb itr a te betw re e n th e m . WTe c a n d e c id e w h ich re la tio n s h ip is m o st
im p o r ta n t a n d e v e n w h ic h is u ltim a te f o r us. O n ly o n e re la tio n s h ip by

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d e fin itio n c a n fin ally b e th e m o s t s ig n ific a n t a n d decisive f o r us, a n d


this is th e re la tio n s h ip th a t m a k e s m e m y self r a th e r th a n s o m e o n e else.
If, fo r e x a m p le , I d e c id e th a t m y re la tio n s h ip w ith m y p a r e n ts is th e
d e fin itiv e o n e , th e n all o f m y o t h e r n a tu r a l, social re la tio n s h ip s will be
m e d ia te d th r o u g h th is re la tio n s h ip w ith m y p a re n ts . O n e d e cisiv e re la
tio n s h ip m a k e s m e w h o I a m a n d is th e c r ite rio n fo r all o th e r re la tio n
sh ip s th a t c o n tr ib u te to m y to ta l id entity.
I f I d o n o t d e s ir e to m a k e th e p e r s o n a l re la tio n s h ip w ith m y p a re n ts
th e d e c isiv e e le m e n t fo r m y p e rs o n a l id en tity , I f in d o th e r s t o w hom
I tr a n s f e r m y a ffe c tio n . A n d th is is s o m e th in g th a t in d e e d o c c u rs as
w e grow : th e c h ild g ra d u a lly tra n s fe rs its d ecisive re la tio n s h ip fro m its
m o th e r a n d fa m ily to o th e rs , so its p e rs o n a l id e n tity is n o t lo n g e r given
e n tire ly b y its fam ily, b u t also by a m u c h w id e r c irc le o f re la tio n sh ip s.
If w e re la te o u r id e n tity u n d u ly to w h a t w e w ear, o r w h a t w e e a t o r th e
c a r w e d riv e , th e s e th in g s will c o m e to d e te r m in e o u r e n tir e identity.
O u r p e r s o n a l identity' is a m a tte r o f re la tio n s h ip s . W h e n you a r e in
love w ith s o m e o n e , th is re la tio n s h ip is d ecisive fo r th e way in w h ich
y o u s e e th e w o rld a n d all o t h e r r e la tio n s h ip s a t th a t tim e . So th e n re la
tio n s h ip s g iv e u s o u r iden tity ' a n d m a k e us p e rs o n s . O n e o f th e se
re la tio n s h ip s will e v e n tu a lly d e te r m in e a n d in c o rp o ra te all th e o th e r
re la tio n s h ip s . N o w w h a t m a k e s C h ris t a p e rs o n is th e re la tio n s h ip
th ro u g h w h ic h all h is o t h e r r e la tio n s h ip s p ass a n d by w hich th e y a re
d e te r m in e d . W h a t fin ally d e te r m in e s th e id e n tity o f C h rist, is his
re la tio n s h ip w ith th e F ather.
In th e in c a r n a tio n , C h ris t to o k o n o t h e r re la tio n s h ip s . H e h a d a re la
tio n s h ip w ith h is m o th e r, Mary, w ith h is p e o p le , te a c h e rs a n d disciples
a n d w ith th e n a tu r a l a n d so cial e n v ir o n m e n t o f Israel. H e a te a n d to o k
h is p la c e in th e e c o n o m y a n d ecology' o f th e la n d o f Israel a n d h a d re la
tio n s h ip s w ith th e e n tir e p e o p le o f Israel a n d all th o se o th e r s th a t s h a re d
th a t la n d . H e ta k e s o n all th a t is c o m m o n to h u m a n ity a n d n o th in g
th a t is c r e a te d is f o r e ig n to h im . A ll th e s e r e la tio n s h ip s b e lo n g to his
p e rs o n a l id e n tity , a n d th e y a r e all j u d g e d by th e decisive re la tio n s h ip
th a t C h ris t h a s w ith t h e F a th e r. W h e n w e e x p la in w h a t th e C h u rc h
F a th e rs a c h ie v e d by th e ir s ta te m e n t a t C h a lc e d o n , w e h a v e to sh o w the
sig n ific a n c e o f th e ir s ta te m e n t th a t C h ris t is o n e p e rs o n w ith two n a tu re s.
H is d iv in e a n d h u m a n n a tu r e s , a lo n g w ith all th e re la tio n s h ip s w ith th e
c re a te d o r d e r , c o m e w ith in th e o n e re la tio n s h ip w ith th e F a th e r th a t
d e te r m in e s C h r is ts id en tity . T h u s , d e s p ite th e new r e la tio n s h ip s th a t h e
ta k e s o n in h is in c a rn a tio n , h e is, a n d re m a in s , th e S o n o f th e F ath er.
In o u r c a s e th e c e n tr e o f o u r id e n tity sh ifts as w e ta k e o n n e w
re la tio n s h ip s . T h e T c h a n g e s , w h e n th e y o u c h a n g e s . W h e n so m e o n e

Creation a n d Salvation

113

w e lo v e d ies, w e will e v e n tu a lly h a v e to fin d s o m e o th e r love to re p la c e


it. I f th a t lo v e is n o t r e p la c e d th r o u g h o t h e r re la tio n s h ip s it will
b c c o m c im p o ssib le fo r u s to c o n n e c t to o th e rs , to su sta in o u r o th e r re la
tio n s h ip s a n d o u r id e n tity will b e e n d a n g e r e d . As lo n g as all o u r re la
tio n s h ip s a r e fo c u s e d th r o u g h th e love o f s o m e o n e w h o is n o lo n g e r
alive, all o u r r e la tio n s h ip s a n d o u r e n tir e id e n tity a r e th re a te n e d .
W h a t s h o u ld w e say a b o u t th e id e n tity o f C h rist a n d a b o u t his
ow n u n d e r s ta n d in g o f h is id e n tity ? W h e n C h ris t says T , w h a t d o e s h e
m e a n ? W h e re d o c s h e g e t h is c o n sc io u sn e ss o f h im s e lf fro m ? T h e r e
w as a lo n g d isc u ssio n , c h ie fly in R o m a n C a th o lic th e o lo g ic a l circles,
o f w h e th e r C h r is t h a d tw o k in d s o f c o n sc io u sn e ss, a d iv in e c o n sc io u s
n e ss a n d a h u m a n o n e . B u t w e m u s t r e m e m b e r th a t it is im p o ssib le to
b e c o n sc io u s, to b e a self, w ith o u t a re la tio n s h ip . I a m m e b e c a u se I am
re la te d to m y b ro th e r , m y n e p h e w , m y n e ig h b o u r, m y e m p lo y e r o r
w h o ev er. W e always a r c w h a t w c a r c as w e r e la te to so m e o n e w h o is n o t
ou rselv es. You c a n n o t say me*, in th e c o m p le te a b se n c e o f a n y y o u .
A fte r m a n y c e n tu r ie s , s o m e tw e n tie th -c e n tu ry p h ilo s o p h e rs at least have
m a d e th e d isc o v e ry th a t th e r e is n o T w ith o u t a y o u .
C h ris t d ra w s h is c o n sc io u sn e ss o f h im s e lf fro m h is re la tio n s h ip
w ith th e F a th e r. T h is is w hy th e p e r s o n o f C h rist has o n ly this sin g le selfc o n sc io u s n e s s , w h ic h is d e te r m in e d b y th is sin g le re la tio n s h ip . I f h e
h a d d ra w n h is id e n tity e q u a lly p rim a rily fro m M ar)', C h rist w o u ld have
tw o se lf-c o n sc io u sn e sse s, a n d th u s b e e n tw o eq u a lly fu n d a m e n ta l sets
o f r e la tio n s h ip s a n d s o w o u ld h a v e b e e n tw o p e rs o n s . T h e n N e s to riu s
p o s itio n w o u ld h a v e b e e n valid: w e w o u ld h ave h a d o n e h u m a n w ith
tw o p e rs o n s : o n e re la tio n s h ip fro m h e r e , a n d a n o th e r re la tio n s h ip
fro m t h e r e - e q u a lly g iv in g h im h is id en tity . Two re la tio n s h ip s c a n n o t
e q u a lly d e te r m in e a n id e n tity : o n ly o n e re la tio n s h ip c a n b e u ltim a te ly
d e te rm in a tiv e .
T h e tr u th o f th is c a n b e s e e n in ic o n o g ra p h y . In W e ste rn p o rtra its o f
C h ris t a n d t h e V irg in M ary, C h ris t is p o rtra y e d as a b a b y a lo n e w ith
h is m o th e r. T h e m a te r n a l re la tio n s h ip gives th e id e n tity o f th e baby.
B ut in a B y z a n tin e ico n , th e p a in te r w a n ts to sh o w us th a t th e c h ild is
G o d , so th e b a b y is n o t d e fin e d b y th e V irg in . A lth o u g h th e re la tio n s h ip
w ith h is m o t h e r is r e a l e n o u g h , h is id e n tity c o m e s f ro m a n o th e r re la
tio n s h ip , th e r e la tio n s h ip h e h as w ith th e F ath er.
W h a t is it t h a t d e c id e s o u r p e r s o n a l id e n titie s? T h e y a r e d e te r m in e d
by th e a ttitu d e s w e ta k e th r o u g h th e c o u r s e o f o u r lives. I f th e F a th e r
w e re to ask t h e S o n to g o th e C ro ss a n d th e h o ly M o th e r b e g g e d
h im , as ev ery m o th e r w o u ld , n o t to g o , th e S o n w o u ld r e s p o n d by
o b e y in g o n e o f th e m . O r if h e h a d d e c id e d a t G e th s e m a n e to follow

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h is o w n w ill a n d n o t th e will o f th e F a th e r, h e w o u ld n o t have g o n e to


th e cro ss. H a d h e n o t g o n e to th e cro ss, th e p e rs o n o f J e s u s w ould
b e d e f in e d b y h is re la tio n s h ip e ith e r to h im s e lf (self-love) o r to his
m o th e r a n d p e r h a p s to th e re st o f h u m a n k in d , b u t n o t b y h is r e la tio n
s h ip to th e F a th e r.
O u r p e r s o n a l id e n tity is b e in g c o n s ta n tly d e te r m in e d th r o u g h how
w e r e s p o n d a n d e n t e r re la tio n s h ip s . T h e o n e w h o finally d e te rm in e s
o u r p e rs o n a l id e n tity is th e o n e to w h o m w e o ffe r o u r e x iste n c e . T h e
sa in ts a n d m a rty rs a r e w itn esses to th is. A m a rty r e x p e rie n c e s c o m m u
n io n w ith G o d , theosis, b e c a u s e a t th a t m o m e n t in w h ic h h is life is tak en
fro m h im , h e is re la te d sin g le -m in d e d ly to C h rist, so all o th e r re la tio n
sh ip s a r c s u b o r d in a te d to th is o n e . T h e m a rty rs m a d e th e re la tio n s h ip
w ith G o d t h e re la tio n s h ip th a t d e te r m in e d th e ir iden tity , j u s t as
C h ris t h a d , a n d so G o d sees th e p e r s o n o f his S o n in th e m . T h e y d id
w h a t th e S o n d i d , a n d w e re a c k n o w le d g e d b y G o d as so n s, a n d s o th e y
w e re a b le to a c k n o w le d g e G o d as F a th e r, a n d a tta in theosis, se a lin g
th e ir lives f o r ete rn ity .
C h rist, h o w ev er, d id n o t attain th e o sis by tra n s fe rr in g h is a lle g ia n c e
fro m h u m a n r e la tio n s h ip s to re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d . T h e re la tio n s h ip
w ith th e F a th e r was first: h e sim p ly c o n tin u e d to a c k n o w le d g e th e F a th e r
as d e te r m in a tiv e o f h is id en tity . C h ris t d o c s n o t a c q u ire a n id e n tity
from a c r e a te d b e in g , th o u g h th e c r e a te d e le m e n t is e m b o d ie d w ithin his
id en tity . H e d o e s n o t allo w h is o w n will o r in te re s ts to b e c o m e th e s o u rc e
o f h is o w n id e n tity . In th is h e w as u tte rly u n lik e A d am w h o p u t h im s e lf
in G o d 's p la c e a n d d e te r m in e d h is iden tity ' fro m his ow n self.
C h ris t s u b o r d in a te d all o t h e r r e la tio n s h ip s to his re la tio n s h ip w ith
th e F a th e r, a n d , b e in g th u s in c lu d e d w ith in th is re la tio n s h ip , all th e s e
o th e r r e la tio n s h ip s w e re lib e r a te d fro m th e re stric tio n s to w h ic h th e y
w e re su b je c t. T h e y a r e all set fre e a n d a r e in c lu d e d w ith in his body, as
part o f h is id e n tity .
S o it is vital th a t w e re s p e c t th e d e c isio n o f th e C o u n c il o f C h a lc e d o n
th a t C h ris ts p e r s o n is o n e , th e p e rs o n o f th e S o n o f th e F a th e r. O nly
w ith in th e S o n is m a n k in d b r o u g h t in to all r e la tio n s h ip s th a t a re
m a d e p o s s ib le w h e n G o d is G o d . I f a s e p a ra te h u m a n p e rs o n is a ttri
b u te d to C h ris t, th e d e fin itio n o f m a n w o u ld b e re s tric te d to m a n a n d
re m a in g o v e rn e d b y h is b io lo g ic a l lim ita tio n s.
By a c c e p tin g o n e p e r s o n , th e d iv in e p e r s o n o f th e S o n , w e allow
m a n k in d in f in ite p o ssib ilitie s, so th is is n o t a re d u c tiv e view b u t a very
h ig h view o f m a n . W c n o t o n ly h a v e n o d e m o tio n o f m a n k in d b u t th e
ra is in g o f m a n k in d to life in th e H o ly S p irit, in f r e e re la tio n s h ip w ith
all h u m a n ity a n d w ith all c re a tio n . T h e te a c h in g o f th e C h u r c h at

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C h a lc e d o n se ts o u t th e m e a n in g o f th e p e rs o n a n d so d e m o n s tra te s
th a t f r e e d o m is fu n d a m e n ta l to h u m a n b e in g s a n d to c r e a tio n as a
w h o le.

V II. C o m m u n io n
W e h a v e b e e n a sk in g h o w C h ris t c a n b e p e r f e c t a n d a t th e sa m e tim e
e x p e r ie n c e s u ffe rin g ? H o w c a n h e b e G o d w h o is im passive a n d C h rist
w h o su ffe rs a ll th a t w c in flic t o n h im ? T h is is th e q u e s tio n ask ed
a b o u t th e C h ris to lo g v o f t h e C o u n c il o f C h a lc e d o n . W e h a v e se e n th a t a
p e r s o n is n o t c o n f in e d to , o r e x h a u s te d by, o n e n a tu r e . W e a r e n o t
d e f in e d j u s t b y h u m a n n a tu r e , b u t sin c c w c a r c a n im a ls, by a n a n im a l
n a tu r e to o . W e a r e c o n s titu te d b y th e w h o le e c o lo g y o f th e living w orld,
o f p la n t life its e lf c o n s titu te d by all th e n o n -liv in g m a te ria lity o f th e
m in e ra ls th a t m a k e u p o u r m a te ria l b o d ie s. W c s h a re th e w h o le r a n g e o f
n a tu r e s o f w h ic h c r e a tio n is m a d e u p .
I f w e sa id th a t, b e c a u s e C h ris t p o ssesses a p e r f e c t h u m a n n a tu r e , h e
m u s t n e c e ssa rily p o ssess a h u m a n p e r s o n , w c w o u ld b e s u b o rd in a tin g
th e p e rs o n , C h ris t, to a n a t u r e - h u m a n n a tu r e . O f c o u rse , th e r e c a n b e
n o n a tu r e t h a t d o e s n o t ex ist in s o m e sp e c ific p e r s o n . N a tu re is r e p r e
s e n te d b y p e rs o n s , b u t a p e rs o n c a n r e p r e s e n t m o r e th a n o n e n a tu re .
N a tu r e d o e s n o t d e te r m in e th e p e rs o n , b u t e a c h p e rs o n lives w ith in a
set o f re la tio n s h ip s .
T h e S o n o f G o d , w h o is e te rn a lly th is d iv in e p e rs o n a n d a n in sta n c e
o f th e d iv in e n a tu r e , n o w a ssu m e s a n d r e p r e s e n ts h u m a n n a tu r e too.
H u m a n n a t u r e is n o t d im in is h e d b y th is , b u t is e le v a te d to th e vastly
g r e a te r s ta tu s o f life w ith th e p e rs o n s o f G o d . T h e h u m a n b e in g is raised
to p a rtic ip a te i n th e life o f G o d , a n d to d e v e lo p th e lik en e ss o f G o d a n d
so b e c o m e G o d -lik e . H u m a n n a tu r e h a s n o in d e p e n d e n t d e fin itio n o f
its o w n , f o r a n y s u c h d e fin itio n w o u ld p re v e n t it fro m th is p a rtic ip a tio n
in th e life o f G o d ( theosis). In all th is w e a r e sim ply saying th a t w ith o u t
G o d , th e r e is n o c r e a tu r e c a lle d m a n . M a n ex ists tru ly in u n b ro k e n re la
tio n s h ip w ith G o d . W c th e r e f o r e h av e h e r e a n e x tre m e ly h ig h view o f
th e h u m a n c a llin g . W e a r e n o t d e m o tin g m a n : th is is a n a n th ro p o lo g ic a l
m a x im a lism , n o t m in im a lism . T h e tr u e d e fin itio n o f m a n is th e c re a
tu r e w h o p a r tic ip a te s fre e ly in th e life o f G o d - n o t a c r e a tu r e w'ho lives
fro m s o m e r e s o u r c e s o f h is ow n.
D iv in e n a t u r e d id n o t b e c o m e h u m a n n a tu r e , as a re su lt o f th e
h y p o sta tic u n io n . E a c h o f t h e tw o n a tu r e s r e ta in e d its n a tu r a l c h a ra
cteristics, b u t, w h e n th e twro n a tu r e s c a m e to g e th e r in th e sa m e p e rso n ,
w ith o u t u n d e r g o in g an y c h a n g e o r c e a sin g to b e w h a t th e y a re , e a c h

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n a tu r e a s s u m e d th e c h a ra c te ris tic s o f th e o th e r: th is is te r m e d th e
c o m m u n ic a tio n o f a ttr ib u te s , o r th e w o n d e rfu l e x c h a n g e .
T h e u n io n in th e o n e p e rs o n o f C h ris t b rin g s th is e x c h a n g e o f
a ttr ib u te s a b o u t. W h a te v e r C h ris t d id , b e c a m e th e re a lity o f his h u m a n
ity to o . E v e ry th in g h e d id as a h u m a n was e q u a lly a d iv in e ac t, b u t th e
d iv in e nature w as n o t t h e a g e n t h e r e . I t w as th is person w h o a c te d ; th e s e
w e re all th e a c ts o f th e S o n . I f n a tu r e s w e re to im p a rt th e ir p a r tic u la r
characteristics to e a c h o th e r , th o s e c h a ra c te ris tic s o r a ttrib u te s w o u ld
also b e s h a r e d by th e o t h e r p e rs o n s o f th e T rinity, th e F a th e r a n d th e
S p irit w h o a r e o n e n a tu r e w ith th e S o n . I f it wre r e th e n a tu r e s th a t
w e re u n ite d a n d e x c h a n g e d w e w o u ld b e a b le to m a k e n o d istin c tio n
b e tw e e n w 'hat th e S o n d id a n d w h a t th e F a th e r d id . S o w c m u s t b e c le a r
th a t it is n o t t h e F a th e r o r th e S p irit w h o b e c a m e in c a rn a te . T h e d eifica
tio n ( theosis) o f h u m a n n a tu r e , w h ic h is to say o f h u m a n ity in g e n e ra l, is
not a ttr ib u te d to m a n s u n io n w ith 'G o d ' in g e n e ra l, b u t o n ly b e c a u se
m a n b e c o m e s u n ite d w ith th e S o n . In o t h e r w o rd s, theosis is u n io n in
Christ. All h u m a n ity e x ists in C h rist.
C h ris t is ahvays in re la tio n s h ip w ith all o th e r h u m a n s , a n d th u s
to h u m a n ity a n d h u m a n n a tu r e in g e n e ra l. H e is n e v e r a n in d iv id u al
in iso la tio n w h o s u b s e q u e n tly c o m e s in to a variety o f re la tio n s h ip s . H e
c a n n o t b e k n o w n a p a r t fro m h is body, th e c o m m u n io n o f th o s e m a d e
h o ly in h im , s o th e r e is n o C h ris t w ith o u t h is C h u rc h . H e is th e h e a d
th a t su sta in s h is body. C h ris t d o e s n o t s ta n d a t a d is ta n c e f ro m th e
C h u r c h , so w c c a n n o t c o n tra s t it w ith h im , b u t h e is th e C h u r c h s
tru e id en tity ; a n d th e s o u rc e fro m w h ic h it c o m e s. T h e C h u rc h is th e re
fo re n o th in g o t h e r th a n th e k in g d o m o f G o d in w h ic h C h ris t reig n s.
T h e C h u rc h is h o ly b c c a u s c O n e is holy, O n e is th e L o rd , J e s u s C h ris t.
D e sp ite all t h e sin fu ln e ss o f its m e m b e rs , th e C h u r c h re m a in s holy
b e c a u s e C h r is t is its p e r s o n 1 a n d its id entity.
A n o th e r c o n s e q u c n c c is th a t w h o e v e r is b ro u g h t in to re la tio n s h ip
w ith G o d c o m e s sim u lta n e o u s ly in to re la tio n s h ip w ith all h u m a n ity . T h e
t r u e f o r m o f h u m a n ity a n d th e re a lity o f h u m a n n a tu r e is f o u n d in re la
tio n s h ip w ith C h ris t. H u m a n ity in C h ris t is th e tru e , a n d u ltim a te ly th e
o n ly h u m a n ity . T h e r e is n o p a r tic ip a tio n in th e c o m m u n io n o f G o d
o u ts id e th e C h u r c h , b e c a u s e th e r e is n o C h u r c h w ith o u t C h rist a n d n o
C h ris t w ith o u t h is C h u r c h . M an u ltim a te ly exists o n ly w ith in C h rist.
C h ris t is th e w h o le te rrito ry ' w ith in w h ic h e a c h h u m a n b e in g c a n be
d istin c tly h im s e lf o r h e rse lf, a n d c a n re c e iv e a n d give th e ir o th e rn e s s
a m o n g all o t h e r c r e a te d p e rso n s . C h ris t is th e tr u t h o f m a n , his g a th e r
in g a n d r e d e m p tio n . C h risto lo g y th e r e f o r e in ev itab ly takes u s to c o m
m u n io n a n d ecclesio lo g y , a n d C h risto lo g y is always a c c o m p a n ie d by

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ecclesiology. T h e n o lio n o f C h ris t w ith o u t th e C h u rc h is in c o n c e iv


a b le , a n ti o u r u n d e r s ta n d in g o f th e C h u r c h m u s t b e s h a p e d by all th e
C hristolog)* w c h av e d isc u sse d . T h e C h u r c h is n o in te rim a rr a n g e m e n t
th a t is in te n d e d to h o ld g o o d ju st b e tw e e n th e re s u rre c tio n a n d th e e n d
o f tim e. T h e C h u r c h re fe rs to a C h ris t-c e n te re d reality, th e b o d y o f
C h rist, w h ic h ex ists e v e n a f te r t h e re s u r r e c tio n a n d will c o n tin u e to
ex ist, forever.
T h e d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n th e p e rs o n s o f G o d is o f im m e n s e signifi
c a n c e fo r th e o lo g y . E a c h o f th e p e rs o n s h a s h is ow n ro le in th e e c o n o m y
a n d in th e E u c h a ris t. T h e S o n p re s e n ts e v e ry th in g to th e F a th e r, w hile
th e F a th e r re c e iv e s a n d a c c e p ts th e o ffe rin g th a t th e S o n m ak es. It was
th e F a th e r w h o in a u g u r a te d th e e n tir e p la n o f th e c c o n o m y , so th e
w h o le e c o n o m y o f o u r c r e a tio n a n d r e d e m p tio n h is a c t o f love. T h e
e c o n o m y b e g a n w ith th e g o o d p le a s u r e o f th e F a th e r a n d h e will
rece iv e it a g a in . W ith th e H o ly S p irit t h e S o n c a rrie s th e F a th e r s will
fo rw a rd , a n d w h e n it is c o m p le te h e will r e tu r n all c re a tio n to th e F ath er.
T h e S o n p r e s e n ts u s to th e F a th e r to g e th e r w ith all c r e a tio n as h is ow n
body. T h e E u c h a r is t is th is p re s e n ta tio n a n d o ffe rin g o f th e b o d y o f
C h ris t to th e F a th e r ; th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l a n d final o ffe rin g is th a t re tu r n
to th e F ath er.
T h e b o d y o f C h ris t is b r o u g h t in to b e in g fo r us o n e a r th in th e
E u c h a ris t. I t is C h ris t w h o p ray s a n d w o rsh ip s in th e E u c h a rist. T h e
p ra y e r o f th e A n a p h o r a th a t b e g in s w ith th e w o rd s L et us th a n k
th e L o r d is a d d re s s e d to th e F a th e r. In t h e D ivine L itu rg y o f Basil th e
G re a t, it is c le a r th a t it is th e F a th e r w h o re c e iv e s th e p ra y e r o f o fferin g .
T h e L itu rg y o f S a in t J o h n C h ry so sto m u n d e r w e n t c h a n g e s in its
o ffe rto ry p ra y e r a f te r th e f o u r th c e n tu ry , w ith th e a d d itio n of: T h o u
(th e F a th e r ) , a n d T h v O n ly -b e g o tte n S o n , a n d T h y H o ly S p irit. T h e
w h o le T rin ity is n a m e d , s o th e p r ie s t s h o u ld n o t tu r n to th e ic o n o f
C h ris t w h e n u tte r in g th e w o rd s L e t u s th a n k th e L o r d . T h e w ords
L e t u s th a n k th e L o r d w h ic h s ta r t th e E u c h a rist re c e iv e th e re sp o n se :
W o rth y a n ti j u s t ' a n d fro m th e n o n th e w o rd s a r e a d d re s s e d to th e
F a th e r. It is C h r is t w h o is p ra y in g in th e E u c h a rist, a n d th e w o rsh ip p in g
C h u rc h s ta n d s in th e p e r s o n o f C h rist.
C h ris t, th e h e a d o f th e C h u r c h , p ray s a n d p r e s e n ts th e w hole
c c o n o m y o f c r e a tio n to th e F a th e r, a n d th e C h u rc h is p a r t o f th e Son
as h e p ra y s to th e F a th e r. T h e S o n le a d s u s b e fo re th e th r o n e o f G o d ,
w h e re G o d a c c e p ts u s as m e m b e rs o f h is S o n , a n d th is way w e a re
j o in e d to G o d . T h is m e a n s th a t in th e O ffe rto ry (Anaphora) p ra y e r th e
C h u rc h h a s n o s e p a ra te id e n tity o f its ow n. W h e n th e p rie st sin g s H oly
gifts f o r h o ly p e o p l e , th e p e o p le r e s p o n d w ith One is H o ly ', by w hich

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th e y m e a n th a t th o s e w h o a re g o in g to p a rtic ip a te in this holy c o m m u


n io n a r e holy, o r a r e to b e c o m e holy, n o t b e c a u s e o f th e ir p e rso n a l
h o lin e ss b u t b e c a u s e o f t h e h o lin e s s o f C h rist. As w c a c k n o w le d g e th a t
th e S o n is o n e w ith th e F a th e r, a n d h o ly as th e F a th e r is holy, w e
o u rse lv e s a r e b e in g m a d e h o ly th r o u g h h im a n d b e in g m a d e so n s o f
G o d . In C h r is t w e will b e o n e w ith G o d , a n d h o ly as h e is holy.
T h e o n e w h o is d o in g th e o ffe rin g in th e E u c h a ris t, th e b is h o p in th e
a n c ie n t C h u r c h a n d , in h is a b s e n c e , th e p rie s t, is a n im a g e o f C h rist
w ith in th a t litu rg ic a l assem bly. H e b rin g s th e e n tir e C h u r c h in to o n e
body, s u m m in g u p a n d re c a p itu la tin g all c r e a tio n in th is body, w h ic h h e
th e n p re s e n ts to th e F a th e r. T h o u g h th e b is h o p is m a k in g th e o ffe rin g
in th e E u c h a ris t, in p ra y e r b e fo re th e O ffe rto ry h e d c c la rc s f o r it is
y o u , O C h ris t, o u r G o d , w h o o ffe r a n d a r e o ffe re d , w h o receive a n d a re
re c e iv e d (L itu rg y o f S a in t J o h n C h ry so sto m ). T h o u g h th e p e o p le see
o n ly th e b is h o p , h e d c c la rc s th a t it is C h ris t w h o is m a k in g th e o fferin g .
C h rist, in th e H o ly S p irit, m a k e s th e b is h o p his ow n visible fo rm for
th e sak e o f th e c o n g re g a tio n . T h e b is h o p w h o p re s id e s at th is E u c h a rist
m a k e s v isib le f o r u s t h e in v isib le C h rist, e v e n w h ile h e is fully c o n sc io u s
th a t h e h im s e lf is n o t C h rist. T h is d ia le c tic a l re la tio n s h ip b etw ee n
C h ris t a n d h is ic o n , th e b is h o p , is in trin s ic to th e E u c h a ris t in w h ic h th e
w h o le p e o p le a r c b e in g m a d e o n e w ith C h rist.
T h e r e is n o d is ta n c e b e tw e e n C h ris t a n d h is b o d y in th e E u ch arist.
All p ra y e rs p r e s u p p o s e th e unity, o r e v e n id en tity , o f th e C h u rc h w ith
C h rist, a n d a r c a d d re s s e d to th e F a th e r o r to all d iv in e p e rs o n s to g e th e r.
T h is u n ity o f h e a d a n d b o d y g e n e r a te s a d ia lo g u e b e tw e e n C h rist
to g e th e r w ith h is b o d y a n d th e F a th e r. T h e r e w as a d e b a te in th e tw elfth
c e n tu ry , le d b y N ic h o la o s o f M c th o n i, a b o u t w h e th e r C h rist o ffe rs th e
d iv in e E u c h a ris t to th e F a th e r b u t d o e s n o t h im s e lf receive it. T h e
a n sw e r th e C h u r c h gave was th a t C h ris t b o th o ffe rs th e d iv in e E u c h a rist
a n d re c e iv e s i t to o . T h e F a th e r a c c c p ts th e E u c h a ris t in th e p re s e n c e o f
th e S o n a n d t h e S p irit, s o th e H o ly T rin ity as a w h o le is involved in
th e E u c h a ris tic ev en t.
C h ris t is v isib le f o r u s th e r e f o r e o n ly as t h e C h u rc h , a n d th e C h u rc h
c a n n o t b e s e e n w ith o u t C h rist. T h e F a th e r a c c e p ts th e b o d y w h ic h C h rist
o ffe rs d u r in g th e E u c h a ris t. T h e S o n o ffe rs th is body, as h e is u n ite d
w ith o u r h u m a n ity , a n d to g e th e r w ith th e F a th e r h e a c c c p ts it. T h e
C h u r c h h a s n o o t h e r id e n tity th a n C h rist. T h is m e a n s th a t w h a te v e r
c o m e s in to t h e C h u rc h in th e E u c h a ris t b e c o m e s ecclesialised, r e n d e r e d
C h u r c h , a s it re la te s to t h e F a th e r in C h ris t in th e d iv in e E u c h a rist. By
C h u r c h ' w e m e a n th a t all c r e a tio n is b r o u g h t in to re la tio n s h ip w ith
G o d th r o u g h th e h u m a n b e in g . S o w h a te v e r a p e rs o n b rin g s as his

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o ffe rin g , e v e n if sim p ly h is o w n p h y sical p re s e n c e , h e b rin g s th e w h o le


c r e a te d w o rld a lo n g w ith h im . H e tak es it w ith th e b re a d a n d w in e, a n d
w ith w h a te v e r o t h e r o ffe rin g s th e r e a rc , a n d th e s e a r e all C k r is t- e d th a t
is r e d e e m e d in to th e b o d y o f C h rist. In th e E u c h a ris t th e s e offerin g s,
a lo n g w ith th o s e w h o o ffe r th e m , a r e sa n c tifie d , s o th e y a r e n o lo n g e r
c o n s titu e n ts t h a t w e c a n in v estig ate sociologically, e c o n o m ic a lly o r
legally, b e c a u s e th e y a re n o lo n g e r s u b je c t to th e p rin c ip le s th a t
g o v e rn c r e a te d n a tu r e . T h e y a r e a c c e p te d , sa n c tifie d , b e c o m e h o ly a n d
in th is way c o m e to s h a r e in th e re la tio n s h ip o f F a th e r a n d S o n in th e
S p irit.
T h e e x p re s s io n O n e is h o ly ' m e a n s th a t t h e e n tir e assem bly, to g e th e r
w ith its b is h o p a n d its o ffe rin g , is h o ly a n d in d iv isib le. T h e d iv in e
E u c h a ris t u n ite s all th e s e in th e p e rs o n o f th e S o n . A ll th e c re a te d e le
m e n ts a n d p e r s o n s b r o u g h t in to th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t a r e b r o u g h t in to
th a t n e w re a lity a n d a r c n o lo n g e r c o n s titu te d by a n y o th e r social o r
c re a te d reality. All c r e a te d re a lity is b r o u g h t in to d ir e c t re la tio n s h ip
w ith G o d f r o m w h o m a n d th r o u g h w h o m il takes its life a n d will always
r e tu r n th a n k s g iv in g a n d p ra is e to h im . T h e h u m a n c r e a tu r e will freely
p a rtic ip a te in th e life o f th e p e rs o n s o f G o d a n d so all c re a tio n will
b e sav ed in a n d th r o u g h m a n in C h rist.

C h a p te r 4

The Church

I. T h e I d e n t i t y o f t h e C h u r c h

N ow w c m u s t t u r n o u r a tte n tio n to th e C h u r c h . T h e r e is n o u n d is p u te d
d e fin itio n o f t h e C h u r c h , a n d m a n y o f th e d e fin itio n s o n o ffe r c o u ld
e q u a lly b e a p p lie d t o o t h e r in stitu tio n s . S in c e th e C h u r c h is a n o rg a
n ise d c o m m u n ity , m a n y o f its c h a ra c te ris tic s a r c n o t v e ry d if fe re n t fro m
th o s e o f o t h e r o rg a n is a tio n s th a t h a v e c o m e a n d g o n e in th e c o u rs e o f
history. W h a t is it th a t m a k e s th e C h u r c h d is tin c t fro m a n y o th e r
in stitu tio n ?
In its R o m a n C a th o lic a n d P ro te s ta n t fo rm s, th e C h u r c h w as u n d e r
sto o d as a n a s s o c ia tio n (societas) w ith its o w n o rg a n is a tio n . A lth o u g h it
h a s b e e n d o m i n a n t fo r c e n tu rie s , th is view o f th e C h u r c h is b e g in n in g
to d isa p p e a r, ju s t as th e id e a th a t society* m e a n s a n a tio n w ith a u n ifie d
c u ltu r e is also r e c e d in g . T h is is n o t sim p ly b e c a u se th e fo rm ta k e n by
th e C h u r c h v a rie s fro m o n e c o u n try to a n o t h e r b u t also b e c a u s e n a tio n a l
c u ltu re s a r e b e in g d isso lv ed by n ew so cial a n d e c o n o m ic fo rces.
F o r th e P r o te s ta n t C h u rc h e s , th e re la tio n s h ip o f C h u r c h a n d society,
w h ic h d e te r m in e s th e p u b lic a s p e c t o f th e C h u rc h , g e n e ra lly a p p e a r s in
te rm s th a t r e la te to th e issu e o f s e c u la ris a tio n . T h e re la tio n s h ip o f th e
C h u r c h to so c ie ty is n o t w ell d e f in e d , b u t it is n o t very d if fe re n t f ro m th e
re la tio n s h ip t h a t a n y o t h e r c u ltu ra l o r g a n is a tio n h a s w ith so cicty as a
w h o le . P r o te s ta n t C h u rc h e s h av e b e e n p ro fo u n d ly a ffe c te d by c h a n g in g
view s o f society, so w e c a n id e n tify c o m m u n ita ria n a n d lib e ra l fo rm s o f
C h u r c h , e a c h d e n o m in a tio n w ith its o w n d e fin itio n o f th e re la tio n s h ip
o f C h u r c h a n d society. W h e re th e e m p h a s is is o n d o c trin e , as in th e
L u th e r a n a n d C alv in ist C h u rc h e s , it was f o rm u la te d to c r e a te th e ir ow n
p a r tic u la r d e n o m in a tio n a l id en tity . P ro te s ta n t C h u rc h e s in p a rtic u la r
a r e e x p o s e d t o p re v a ilin g s e c u la r tre n d s , so th e ir e th ic s a r e d e s c rib e d in

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te rm s o f r ig h ts a n d f re e d o m s n o t v e ry d is tin c t fro m th o se h e ld by th e
p o p u la tio n as a w hole.
T h e p r e s s u re s d e te r m in in g W e s te rn c c c le sio lo g y have le ft th e ir
m a r k o n O r th o d o x y to o . W h e n W e ste rn d e n o m in a tio n s a p p e a r e d in
th e s e v e n te e n th c e n tu ry , th e O r th o d o x w e re a sk e d w h ich o f th e m th e y
re c o g n is e d , s o th e y d e s c rib e d th e te a c h in g o f th e O r th o d o x C h u rc h e s
by r e f e r e n c e t o th e s e d e n o m in a tio n s . In try in g to d istin g u ish th e m
selves fro m th e s e W e ste rn C h u rc h e s , th e O r th o d o x b o rro w e d a rg u
m e n ts fro m th e R o m a n C a th o lic s in o r d e r to re p ly to th e P ro te sta n ts
a n d vice versa. H ow ever, to fin d a tru ly O r th o d o x a c c o u n t o f th e id e n tity
o f t h e C h u r c h w e h av e to e x a m in e its e a rly h istory. T h e C h u r c h sp rin g s
fro m th e r e la tio n s h ip o f m a n a n d th e w o rld w ith G o d , e x p e rie n c e d by
th e C h ris tia n c o m m u n ity t h r o u g h o u t th e c e n tu rie s.
T h e O r th o d o x ta k e th e ir a c c o u n t o f th e C h u r c h fro m tw o so u rces.
T h e first o f th e s e is th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t, th e litu rg ic a l e x p e rie n c e th a t
all C h ristia n s s h a r e . T h e s e c o n d is th e e x p e r ie n c e o f th e C h ris tia n life
a n d th e a sc e tic tra d itio n o f th e C h u r c h . R o m a n C a th o lic a n d P ro te s ta n t
ccclcsio lo g y s e e m s to b e in f o r m e d p rim a rily by th e issu e o f m ission.
W h e n a n O r th o d o x C h ris tia n says th a t h e is g o in g to C h u rc h , h e d o e s
n o t m e a n th a t h e is g o in g to h e a r th e g o s p e l o f C h rist b e in g p r e a c h e d
as th o u g h fo r th e first tim e . H e m e a n s th a t h e is g o in g to w o rs h ip G o d
in th e c o m m u n ity o f th e fa ith fu l a n d p a rtic u la rly to p a rtic ip a te in th e
d iv in e E u c h a ris t. T h e C h u r c h is id e n tifie d basically by its p a rtic ip a tio n
in th e w o rs h ip o f G od.
H ow ever, u n d e r th e in flu e n c e o f th o s e c o n te m p o r a ry C h ristia n
m o v e m e n ts a n d o rg a n is a tio n s th a t e m p h a s is e m issio n a n d p r e a c h in g , a
m o r e in d iv id u a l p ie ty h a s c o m e to a ffe c t O r th o d o x u n d e r s ta n d in g o f
th e liturgy. S o m e o f th e c le rg y p r o m o te p r e a c h in g o v e r w o rsh ip , to th e
n e g le c t o f th e E u c h a ris t, w h ic h f u n d a m e n ta lly c h a n g e s th e o r ie n ta tio n
o f th e C h u r c h . M an y clergy' n o w re a d , r a th e r th a n c h a n t, th e g o sp e l in
th e d iv in e litu rg y , in th e b e lie f th a t th is m a k e s it m o re a ccessib le to th e
laity. T h e e n th u s ia s m f o r access a n d m issio n h as u n d e r m in e d o u r u n d e r
s ta n d in g o f th e litu rg y as p a r tic ip a tio n in th e m y stery o f c o m m u n io n
w ith G od.
In O r th o d o x theology', th e C h u r c h is n o t c o n s titu te d by th e task o f
ev a n g e lisa tio n o r m issio n , th a t is, by its d e s ire to m a k e its fa ith c o m p re
h e n s ib le to o u ts id e rs . T h e d iv in e litu rg y d o e s n o t a tte m p t to e x p la in
th e fa ith : th o u g h th e r e a r e m a n y a c c o u n ts o f th e fa ith , n o n e o f th e m
is c e n tr a l to t h e life o f th e C h u r c h . A t t h e c e n tr e , is th e e u c h a ristie
w o rsh ip , a n d h e r e th e o n ly e x p lic it a rtic u la tio n o f th e fa ith is th e c re e d ,
w h ic h w e s h a r e w ith all o t h e r C h u rc h e s a n d d e n o m in a tio n s . A t th e very

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b e g in n in g o f th e C h u r c h s h istory, th e r e w as w o rsh ip a n d th e d iv in e
E u c h a rist. In ih e N ew T e sta m e n t a n d e a rly F a th e rs , su c h as S a in t
Ig n a tiu s o f A n tio c h , S a in t Ir e n a e u s o f L y o n s a n d J u s tin M artyr, w c see
th e o rig in o f th e C h u rc h in th e c e le b ra tio n of th e h o ly E u c h a rist. T h e r e
fo re , it is p rim a rily th e d iv in e litu rg y th a t gives th e O r th o d o x tra d itio n
its d istin c tiv e view o f th e C h u r c h . M o n a stic ism re p r e s e n ts a n o th e r
a c c o u n t o f t h e C h u r c h . I will e x a m in e th e s e tw o a p p r o a c h e s to th e id e n
tity o f th e C h u r c h , t h e e u c h a ris tie a n d litu rg ic a l o n o n e h a n d , a n d th e
asc c tic a n d m o n a s tic o n th e o th e r, in o r d e r to p ic k o u t so m e th e o lo g ic a l
p rin c ip le s .
M o n a stic ism w as d e e p ly in flu e n c e d by O r ig e n , w h o a lo n g w ith
C le m e n t a n d o t h e r A le x a n d ria n th e o lo g ia n s o f th e p e rio d , w as to so m e
e x te n t in f o r m e d b y th e th o u g h t o f P lato . F o r P la to th e id e n tity o fevery
b e in g is f o u n d in th a t b e in g s o rig in a l idea a n d its m a te ria l fo rm was an
in c o m p le te if n o t a n u n f o r tu n a te e m b o d im e n t o f t h a t id e a . A th in g is
n o t w h a t is it b e c a u s e o f its p r e s e n t, m a te ria l, c o rru p tib le a n d in c o n
sta n t s ta te , b u t o n ly b e c a u s e o f its r e la tio n to its id e a th a t re m a in s c o n
sta n t. W c c a n o n ly id e n tify a th in g to th e e x te n t it c o n tin u e s to re fle c t its
u n c h a n g in g a rc h e ty p e . In th e view o f th e th e o lo g ia n s o f A le x a n d ria , th e
id e n tity o f t h e C h u r c h is g iv en by th e sa m e tim e le ss re a lm o f ideas,
w h ic h is itse lf g iv e n b y th e L o g o s o f G o d , w h ic h c o n ta in s th e ra tio n a lity
(log o s) o f all b e in g s . T h e C h u r c h is tr u e to its id e n tity w h e n its m e m
b e rs a r e b r o u g h t to g e th e r by p a r tic ip a tio n in this o rig in a l u n iv ersal
L ogos.
A le x a n d r ia n th e o lo g ia n s r e s p o n d e d to th e q u e s tio n o f th e b e in g ' o f
th e C h u r c h w ith a n a c c o u n t o f th e u n io n o f th e e te r n a l so u ls w ith th e
e te r n a l L o g o s. A lth o u g h O r ig c n 's c o n c e p t o f th e im m o rta lity o f souls,
w hich w as r e je c te d b y th e C o u n c il o f C o n s ta n tin o p le (5 5 3 ), w as n o t a
decisiv e in f lu e n c e o n m o n a stic ism , th e u n io n o f th e so u l w ith th e
L o g o s, a n o t h e r esse n tia l e le m e n t o f A le x a n d ria n tr a d itio n , d id play a
sig n ific a n t r o le in asceticism . It w as a s s u m e d th a t m a te ria lity o b stru c ts
th e u n io n o f t h e s o u l w ith th e L ogos. T h e m in d ( nous) h a d to b e c le a n se d
o f all th a t is w o rld ly so it m a y r e tu r n to th e s u p r e m e L o g o s from
w h ic h all s o u ls c o m e . T h e m o n a s te ry w as u n d e r s to o d as a k in d o f
re h a b ilita tio n c e n tr e , in w h ic h th e so u ls w e re s tr ip p e d o f all p a ssio n
a n d o t h e r im p e d im e n ts to th is c o m m u n io n , so th a t th e y c o u ld r e tu r n to
th e ir p ris tin e state.
F ro m th e f o u r t h c e n tu ry , th is e m p h a s is o n p u rific a tio n b e g a n to
im p a c t o n t h e C h u r c h . H o ly c o m m u n io n c a m e to b e r e g a r d e d as a
m e a n s o f c a rry in g o n th is stru g g le w ith th e passions. T h e s p r e a d o f
m o n a stic ism m a d e s e n s e w ith in th is A le x a n d ria n , o r u ltim a te ly P lato n ist,

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view o f th e w o rld in w h ic h all th a t w as m a te ria l a n d ta n g ib le w as b eliev e d


to b e a c o r r u p tio n o f th e s u p e r io r in te llig ib le w o rld . As th e in flu e n c e o f
th is th e o lo g y o f self-p u rific a tio n grew , th e sig n ific an c e o f th e liturgy
d im in ish e d .
B u t is th e p u rific a tio n o f th e in d iv id u a l re ally th e f u n d a m e n ta l
p u rp o s e o f th e C h u rc h ? Is m a n b e in g c a llc d o u t o f th is m a te ria l w o rld
a n d in to a w o rld o f b e in g s w ith o u t m a te ria l b o d ies? Is th e in c a rn a te
L o g o s sim p ly a m e a n s o f a c c e ssin g th e d is e m b o d ie d L ogos? Is th e
C h u rc h a c o lle c tio n o f m in d s p u rifie d o f all b o d ilin css? T h e F a th e rs
w re stle d w ith th e s e q u e s tio n s , a n d th e y c o n tin u e to b e a sk e d today.
H ow ever, th e C h u r c h s e ttle d o n q u ite a d if f e re n t view o f th e b o d y a n d
m ateriality . I t d e c id e d th a t in th e C h u r c h w e a r c b e in g b r o u g h t to g e th e r
as th e r e c a p itu la tio n o f th e w o rld , b o d y a n d sp irit, in th e incarnate, m a te
rially e m b o d ie d L ogos. A lth o u g h O r ig e n 's views w e re n o lo n g e r d o m i
n a n t, th e y h a v e n e v e r e n tire ly d is a p p e a re d . T h e in d iv id u a l c h a rism a tic
h o ly m a n , p u r if ie d o f all p a ssio n a n d se lfh o o d , is a n im p o rta n t fig u re
f o r th e C h u r c h in o u r a g e as m u c h as a n y o th e r , a n d th e h y m n s a n d
d e v o tio n a l lite r a tu r e o f th e C h u rc h still su g g est th a t in d iv id u a l p u rific a
tio n is w h a t th e C h u rc h is e sse n tia lly a b o u t.
H ow ever, w h e n w e lo o k at th e E u c h a ris t, w e se e th a t it is C h rist, th e
in c a r n a te W o rd , w h o is th e m o d e l o f m a n . C h ris t has ta k e n all m a te ria l
n a tu r e in to h is h u m a n n a tu r e , a n d th is m a k e s th e e v e n t of th e E u c h a rist,
a n d is th e s o u r c e o f th e C h u rc h a n d o f all w h o a r e m a d e h o ly w ith in it.
It w as th e a c h ie v e m e n t o f S a in t M a x im u s th e C o n fe s s o r (5 8 0 -6 6 2 ) to
in te g r a te th e b e s t in sig h ts o f a sceticism in to th e e u c h a ristic th e o lo g y o f
th e C h u rc h .
A s a m o n k , M a x im u s w as w ell a c q u a in te d w ith th e view s o f O rig c n
a n d th e P la to n is t tra d itio n s th a t u n d e r la y th e m . H is u se o f P la to s c o n
c e p tu a lity in h is th e o lo g y m a d e it easy f o r s c h o la rs to a lig n M axim us with
O rig c n a n d o t h e r p la to n isin g F a th e rs . In h is C o sm ic L itu rg y (tra n s
la te d by B ria n E. D aley, S.J., S a n F ran cisco : Ig n a tiu s P re ss 2003) H a n s
U rs v o n B a lth a sa r in itially id e n tifie d O r ig e n is t e le m e n ts ev e ry w h ere in
M a x im u s th o u g h t, b u t h e w as c o r r e c tc d b y P o ly c arp S h e rw o o d , a n d
v o n B a lth a sa r s u b s e q u e n tly re c tifie d h is ow n a c c o u n t. S h e rw o o d show ed
th a t M a x im u s h a d g o n e th r o u g h a n O r ig e n is t crisis a f te r w hich
M ax im u s h a d d rastically re v ise d O rig c n . M ax im u s h a d a n ex ten siv e
k n o w le d g e o f O rig e n a n d n e o -p la to n is m , as d id m o st o f th e E a ste rn
m o n k s, b u t b e c a u s e h e c o n f o r m e d h is th e o lo g y to th e lived e x p e rie n c e
o f th e C h u r c h , lie c a m e d o w n o n th e sid e o f a e u c h a ris tic ecclesiology.
A n e x tr a o r d in a r ily c re a tiv e in te lle c t allo w ed M a x im u s to ach ie v e a
truly m a je stic sy n th e sis o f th e s e tw o a p p ro a c h e s . H e in siste d th a t it is th e

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E u c h a ris t th a t m o st f u n d a m e n ta lly e x p re sse s th e id e n tity o f th e C h u rc h .


F o r h im t h e tr u t h o f th e ecclesio lo g y o f in d iv id u a l p u rific a tio n lies in
th e tr a n s f o r m a tio n a n d th e p r e s e n ta tio n in C h rist o f th e e n tir e ta n g ib le
a n d in te llig ib le w o rld , a n d o f all h u m a n re la tio n s h ip s . T h e r e m u s t b e a
p ro c e s s o f p u rific a tio n by w h ic h all n e g a tiv e o r w orldly e le m e n ts a re
d riv e n o u t, b u t th e p u rific a tio n its e lf is n o t th e u ltim a te p u r p o s e o f th e
C h u r c h . By liftin g it a n d o ffe rin g it to G o d , th e E u c h a ris t tra n sfo rm s
all c re a tio n . T h e C h u rc h is th e p la c e in w h ich th is p u rific a tio n takes
p la c e , b u t r a t h e r th a n p r o d u c in g in c o r p o r e a l a n g e ls, it b rin g s a b o u t th e
salv atio n o f th is m a te ria l w o rld b y g iv in g it e te r n a l c o m m u n io n w ith
G o d . T h e p ro c e s s o f p u rific a tio n m u s t b e u n d e r s to o d as p a r t o f th e
c u c h a ris tic tr a n s f o r m a tio n o f th e w o rld , n o t as re je c tin g o r d e v a lu in g
th e m a te ria l an cl b o d ily c re a tio n . T h o u g h a t o n e tim e o r a n o th e r e a c h
o f th e s e tw o a s p e c ts h a s b e e n g iv en g r e a te r e m p h a sis, th e C h u r c h has
always h e ld to M a x im u s synthesis.
P ro b le m s b e g in w h e n th e o lo g ia n s m a k e o n e a s p e c t b e a r to o m u c h
w eig h t. U n b a la n c e d s ta te m e n ts c a n b e f o u n d in S aint M a x im u s him self,
so s o m e h a v e s e e n h im as a g r e a t e x p o n e n t o f th e theology' o f selfp u rific a tio n . A m o n g la te r F a th e rs , S a in t G re g o ry P a la m a s in p a r tic u la r
was p r o m o te d as a s ta n d a r d - b e a re r o f O r th o d o x y a n d re p re s e n ta tiv e o f
th e th e o lo g y o f se lf-p u rific a tio n . S o m e s c h o la rs b eliev e th a t th e r e w as a
te n s io n b e tw e e n th o s e th e o lo g ia n s w h o s tre sse d in d iv id u a l sp iritu ality ,
th e H e sy c h a sts, a n d o th e r , e u c h a ris tie , th e o lo g ia n s o f th e fo u rte e n th
ce n tu ry , s u c h as S a in t N ic h o la s C ab asilas o f T h e ssa lo n ik i (f.1 3 2 3 .1391). S a in t G re g o iy P a la m a s h a s b e e n c o m m o n ly p o r tra y e d as re p re
se n ta tiv e o f th e ecclesio lo g y in w h ic h th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t is less
im p o r ta n t th a n in d iv id u a l sp iritu a lity . N o n e th e le ss, I believe th a t, ta k e n
to g e th e r, h is tre a tise s, d o c tr in a l essays a n d s e rm o n s show th a t P alam a s is
in a g r e e m e n t w ith M ax im u s in r e g a r d in g th e E u c h a ris t as c e n tra l. We
a r e still w a itin g f o r s tu d ie s th a t will sh o w u s w h e re th e o th e r sig n ific a n t
re p re s e n ta tiv e s o f th e P a tristic tr a d itio n , in p a r tic u la r S a in t S im e o n th e
New T h e o lo g ia n , s ta n d o n th is issue.
O n e a r e a in w h ic h th e te n s io n b e tw e e n th e th e o lo g y o f selfp u rific a tio n h a s v ied w ith e u c h a ris tie ecclesio lo g y h a s b e e n in th e re la
tio n s h ip o f th e b is h o p a n d th e m o n a s tic c o m m u n itie s . It is th e b ish o p ,
p re s id in g a t t h e d iv in e E u c h a ris t, w h o is t h e h e a d o f th e C h u rc h , s o th e
b is h o p re p r e s e n ts th is e u c h a ris tie ecclesiology' o f th e e n tir e g a th e re d
co m m u n ity . T h e m o n k , o n th e o t h e r h a n d , te n d s to r e p r e s e n t th e
asc e tic se lf-p u rific a tio n o f th e in d iv id u a l, e v e n th o u g h w e s h o u ld se e th e
m o n a s tic c o m m u n itie s as e sse n tia l to th e h o lin e ss o f th e w h o le C h u rc h .

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N e v e rth e le ss, th e r e is always a te n s io n b e tw e e n th e e u c h a ristie a n d


m o n a s tic e c c le sio lo g ie s. In th e n in th c e n tu ry , c o u n c ils b r o u g h t th e
m o n a s te rie s u n d e r th e a u th o r ity o f th e lo cal b is h o p a n d d c c id c d th a t
m o n k s s h o u ld n o t e x c e e d th e ir office.
In o u r day; s p iritu a l e litism a n d in d iv id u a lism a r e a very obvious
p ro b le m fo r t h e C h u r c h . T h is s p iritu a lity c o m c s in th e fo rm o f m o n a sti
cism f o r O rth o d o x y , w h ilst in th e W est it takes th e fo rm o f a n a m o r
p h o u s in te r e s t in th e S p irit a n d sp iritu a lity , w h ic h m ak e s little r e f e re n c e
to th e C h u r c h o r its te a c h in g . T h o u g h it b e g a n as a d e p a r tu r e from
th e w o rld , t h e sp iritu a lity o f th e in d iv id u a l a scetic h a s n o w s p re a d
ev e ry w h e re. S p iritu a l fa th e rs fro m m o n a s te rie s w a n t to b rin g th e ir
asc c tic sp iritu a lity to th e lives o f p e o p le w h o a r c m a r r ie d a n d b rin g in g
u p fam ilies. T h e n o tio n o f o b e d ie n c e as a n ascetic id e a l th a t a m o n k
u n d e r ta k e s f r o m th e m o m e n t o f h is to n s u r e , b e fo re G o d a n d p e o p le ,
p ro m is in g to u p h o ld it, h a s c o m c o u t o f t h e m o n a ste ry t o s h a p e th e
C h ris tia n life. W e s e e lay p e o p le s tru g g lin g to b e c o m e s p iritu a l disciples
w ith o u t ta k in g th e vows o f m o n k s, w h ile o n th e o t h e r h a n d , th o se
w h o h av e v o w e d o b e d ic n c c a n d life lo n g r e tr e a t in a m o n a ste ry , a r e so o n
b a c k o u t a g a in a n d try in g to t u r n o r d in a r y C h ris tia n s in to follow ers o f
so m e p a r tic u la r s p iritu a l p a th . C h ris tia n s a r e p u z z le d a b o u t w h o th e y
s h o u ld o b e y a n d n e e d g u id a n c e th r o u g h a r a n g e o f d e c isio n s th a t th e y
n e v e r u s e d to fa c e . T h e r e f o r e , it is im p o r ta n t to c u t th r o u g h so m e of th e
c o n fu sio n . T h is c a n n o t b e a c h ie v e d by in te lle c tu a l w o rk a lo n e , o f c o u rse ,
b u t it d o c s r e q u ir e th a t w e f in d th e p r o p e r b a la n c e b e tw e e n th e E u c h a
rist a n d th e s e a r c h f o r p e r s o n a l h o lin e ss, so th a t th e h o lin e ss o f in d iv id
uals se rv e s t h e w h o le g a th e r e d C h u rc h .
C h ris tia n s h a v e a re la tio n s h ip o f d ire c t a n d p e rs o n a l fam iliarity
w ith th e C h u r c h a n d th e sain ts. T h e re la tio n s h ip is p e rs o n a l a n d involves
o u r e n tir e b e in g , n o t m e re ly o u r m in d s o r fee lin g s. Yet w h en so m e o n e
lig h ts a c a n d lc o r m a k e s a n o ffe rin g , y o u will o fte n h e a r so m e o n e
re m a r k th a t s u c h a n a c tio n is m e a n in g le s s if th a t p e r s o n is n o t th in k in g
th e r ig h t s e t o f th o u g h ts o r e x p e r ie n c in g th e rig h t se t o f feelings.
H ow ever, w e m u s t b e c le a r th a t it is n o t o u r th o u g h ts o r fe e lin g s th a t
m a k e a n y th in g w h a t it is: w h a t is s ig n ific a n t is th a t w e h a v e le ft h o m e
a n d c o m e to C h u r c h to b e w ith th e sain ts. T h e litu rg y is sim p ly th e re a li
sa tio n o f o u r re la tio n s h ip to G o d , th e w h o le c o m m u n io n o f his saints
a n d th e e n tir e w o rld . Its p u r p o s e is n o t sim ply to g ra sp s o m e th in g
in te lle c tu a lly o r e m o tio n a lly o r a rriv e a t s o m e p a r tic u la r sta te o f m in d .
W h e n th e c o n g r e g a tio n sig n s th e m se lv e s w ith th e C ross e a c h tim e a
sa in t is m e n tio n e d , th is sh o w s th a t, ev en if th e y a r e n o t th in k in g th e

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rig h t th o u g h ts o r e x p e r ie n c in g th e r ig h t e m o tio n s , th e y e n jo y a living


re la tio n s h ip w ith th a t s a in t sim p ly by b e in g th e r e to g e th e r w ith th e
o th e r m e m b e r s o f th e co m m u n ity .

II. G a t h e r e d C h u r c h
T h e C h u r c h is th e p e o p le o f G o d a sse m b le d to g e th e r, b e in g o f th e
sa m e m in d , h a v in g t h e s o m e love, b e in g in fu ll a c c o r d a n d o f o n e m in d
(P h ilip p ia n s 2 .2 ). T h e e n tir e w o rld is r e p r e s e n te d in th is p e o p le , u n ite d
in th e p e r s o n o f C h ris t in th e H o ly S p irit. T h is is n o t o n ly th e tr u th o f
th e C h u r c h , it is also th e f u tu r e o f th e w o rld . In th e m e a n w h ile , th e
C h u r c h h a s t o stru g g le to re m a in tr u e , to k e e p itse lf d is tin c t fro m all
c o m p e tin g in flu e n c e s a n d id e n titie s , a n d th e n to allow th e re st o f th e
w o rld to m o v e to w a rd s th is tr u th a n d fu tu re .
T h e o rig in o f th e C h u rc h is in G o d s e le c tio n o f A b ra h a m a n d th e
s u b s e q u e n t f o r m a tio n o f th e p e o p le o f Isra el as th e p e o p le o f G od.
A lth o u g h C le m e n t o f A le x a n d ria a n d O rig e n sp o k e o f th e p r
e x is te n c e o f t h e C h u rc h b e fo re th e c re a tio n o f th e w o rld , S c rip tu re tells
us th a t th e c a ll o f A b ra h a m is th e o rig in o f th e p e o p le o f G o d . Israel
was c r e a te d f r o m th e s e e d o f A b ra h a m f o r th e sp ec ific p u r p o s e that
all n a tio n s sh a ll b e b le sse d in y o u (G e n e sis 12.3). T h is n a tio n is th e
s o u rc e o f th e M essiah a n d h is e sc h a to lo g ic a l c o m m u n ity ; th e first
C h ristia n s u n d e r s to o d th is call th a t c r e a te d th e n a tio n o f Isra e l as th e
o rig in o f th e C h u r c h , th e n ew Israel*. T h e n c a m e th e I n c a rn a tio n . Yet
th e in c a r n a tio n o f th e S o n o f G o d d id n o t as yet in c lu d e y o u , m e o r
a n y o n e else w h o w o u ld s u b se q u e n tly b e b r o u g h t in to re la tio n s h ip
w ith C h rist, so t h e in c a r n a tio n o f C h ris t a lo n e is n o t th e final re a lisa tio n
o f th e C h u r c h . T h e C h u rc h is n o t sim p ly th e sin g le b o d y o f C h rist, as
th o u g h C h r is t w e re a n in d iv id u a l w h o e x te n d s in to etern ity . A b o d y o f
C h ris t t h a t c o n sists o f th e in c a r n a tio n o f th e S o n w ith o u t a su b s e q u e n t
P e n te c o s t, a n d w ith o u t o u r p e rs o n a l in c a rn a tio n , w o u ld n o t b e th e
C h u rc h .
T h o u g h th e in c a r n a tio n m a y a t first sig h t p r e s e n t its e lf a s an
iso la te d e v e n t, th e in c a r n a tio n h a s to b e u n d e r s to o d as th e in c a rn a tio n
o f a c o m m u n ity . T h e in c a r n a te C h ris t tak es th e fo rm o f th e c o m m u n ity
th a t is t h e C h u r c h . W h e n th e A p o stle P a u l d iscu sses th e B ody o f C h rist
in 1 C o r in th ia n s 12, h e says th a t th e m e m b e rs o f th e B ody o f C h rist a re
G o d 's p e o p le , a n d th e b o d y o f C h ris t ex ists b e c a u se th e H oly S pirit
calls th e s e m e m b e r s to g e th e r. T h e m e m b e rs o f th e B ody o f C h rist a rc
n o t m e re ly t h e p h y sic a l lim b s th a t w e re c ru c ifie d , o r e v e n th e lim bs
th a t w e re r e s u r r e c te d . T h e m e m b e rs a re th e m any j o in e d to g e th e r in

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th e one to b e c o m e a sin g le w h o le, so th e B ody o f C h rist is th e m an y


a c tu a l m e m b e r s w h o m a k e u p th e C h u rc h .
T h e C h u r c h lives in h isto ry , b u t its tr u e id e n tity is to b e fo u n d in th e
fu tu re . T h e first C h ris tia n c o m m u n itie s h a d a se n se o f e x p e c ta tio n o f
th e rise n C h ris t. T h e y lo o k e d fo rw a rd to th e c lim ax o f history, a n d in
th e e x p re s s io n 'C o m e , L o r d (m aran atha) (1 C o rin th ia n s 16.22), th e ir
a n tic ip a tio n b e c a m e p a r t o f th e ir litu rg ie s. T h e C h u rc h p re s e rv e d
a s tr o n g e s c h a to lo g ic a l s e n s e th r o u g h its h y m n s, v e stm e n ts a n d th e
ic o n o g ra p h y o f t h e sain ts, all o f w h ic h se rv e d to m a k e it c le a r th a t
th e k in g d o m is im m in e n tly p r e s e n t to u s in th e liturgy.
W h e n th e litu rg y is allo w e d to k e e p th is a n tic ip a tio n o f th e k in g d o m
p r e s e n t to t h e w o rld , th is e sc h a to lo g ic a l d im e n s io n has a p u b lic o u t
w o rk in g . T h e C h u rc h is tr a n s c e n d e n t o f s e c u la r in stitu tio n s, so it d o e s
n o t c o m p e te w ith th e m . As a sig n o f th e lim its a n d tra n s ie n c e o f all
in stitu tio n s , th e C h u rc h p re v e n ts e v e ry w o rld ly claim fro m b e c o m in g
to ta lita ria n . R a th e r th a n in v o lv in g its e lf in social w o rk , a n d a d o p tin g
th e a d m in is tra tiv e system s o f s e c u la r in stitu tio n s o f social w elfare , th e
a n c ie n t C h u r c h e n c o u r a g e d u n f o r c e d p e rs o n -to -p e rso n charity. L ove
c a n n o t b e tu r n e d in to a n in s titu tio n . T h is is n o t to say th a t th e C h u rc h
c o u ld e v e r b e in a c tiv e in th e w o rld : w h e n s o m e o n e is h u n g ry , y o u sh a re
fo o d w ith h im . T h e m o re o f y o u r e sc h a to lo g ic a l identity' y o u c a rry w ith
y o u , th e m o r e y o u will love a n d c o m e to th e a id o f wrh o e v e r n e e d s y o u r
h e lp , w h a te v e r it co sts you. Yet t h e C h u r c h c a n live in th e w o rld w ith o u t
b e c o m in g a b s o r b e d in to o rg a n is e d so cial o u tr e a c h o r in to politics, j u s t
as it c a n w ith o u t r e tr e a tin g in to q u ie tism . Its a c tio n is p e rso n a l, r a th e r
th a n in s titu tio n a l, a n d th e sa m e is tru e o f m issio n ary w o rk a n d eveiy
o th e r fo rm o f o u tr e a c h . T o d a y o rg a n is e d so cial w ork is th e re sp o n sib ility
o f th e S ta te a n d is u su ally p e r f o r m e d b e tte r by it. I f its c h a rity b e c o m e s
m a n a g e d a n d a d m in is te r e d , th e C h u rc h will b e d riv e n by se c u la r im p e ra
tives a n d c e a se to love, fo r love m u s t always b e free. F o r th is re a so n , social
a c tio n o r activ ism c a n n o t d e fin e th e C h u rc h . So th o u g h th e C h u rc h
serv es th e m issio n f o r w h ich it h as b e e n se n t to ev ery c o r n e r o f th e wro rld ,
m issio n d o c s n o t c o n s titu te th e basis o f th e id e n tity o f th e C h u rc h .
T h e C h u r c h is p rim a rily a fo re ta s te o f th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l assem b ly o f
th e L o rd , m a d e p r e s e n t in th e w o rld . T h e re s u r re c tio n o f C h ris t a n d
P e n te c o s t m a k e s th e C h u r c h a n d its w o rsh ip th e p r e s e n c e o f th e fu tu re .
P e o p le g o to C h u rc h b e c a u s e th e y w a n t to g ra sp s o m e th in g o f this
elusiv e f u tu r e , a n d th is in d e fin a b le f u tu r e e le m e n t c a n b e f o u n d in n o
o th e r in s titu tio n .
C h ris tia n e c c le sio lo g y evolved fro m th e e x p e c ta tio n s o f th e p e o p le
o f Israel th a t th e s c a tte r e d p e o p le o f G o d w o u ld b e c a lle d to g e th e r

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a r o u n d th e M e ssia h o n th e la st d a y . T h is S o n o f G o d , w h o w as also
r e f e r r e d to as th e S o n o f M a n ' in th e B o o k o f D a n ie l a n d o t h e r a p o c a
lyp tic lite r a tu r e , w o u ld ta k e all th e sin s o f th e w o rld o n h im s e lf a n d
b r in g th e k in g d o m o f G o d in h isto ry . C h ris t c o n firm e d th e s e e x p e c ta
tio n s in h is te a c h in g a n d m inistry, u sin g th e s e tw o title s o f th e M essiah
w h o w o u ld r e u n ite th e w h o le p e o p le o f G o d . T h e G o sp e l o f J o h n tells
us th a t th e S o n o f M an w o u ld b r in g th e m a n y in to h im self, g iv in g his
ow n b o d y f o r th e ir s u s te n a n c e a n d u n ite th e m in his e sc h a to lo g ic a l
assem bly. T h e A p o stle P a u l says th a t all w h o b e liev e in C h ris t a n d w ho
th ro u g h b a p tis m a n d th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t b e c a m e in c o r p o r a te d in his
B od y w o u ld b e m e m b e rs o f th e p e o p le o f G o d .
F ro m th e r e s u r r e c tio n o f C h rist, a n d ev en m o re a fte r P c n te c o s t, th e
C h u r c h d e c la r e d th a t th e 'la st d ay s w e re m a k in g th em selv e s fe lt in his
tory, w h e re v e r th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t a sse m b le d th e s c a tte re d p e o p le o f
G o d to g e th e r, in c o r p o r a tin g th e m a n y in to th e o n e C h rist. T h e C h u rc h
is b u ilt o n th is h isto ric a l e x p e r ie n c e o f th o s e w h o , fro m b e in g sc a tte re d
a n d o p p o s e d to o n e a n o th e r , w e re b r o u g h t to g e th e r, re c o n c ile d a n d
u n ite d in th e p e rs o n o f C h rist. F o r t h e A p o stles J o h n a n d P au l, a n d for
S a in t Ig n a tiu s o f A n tio c h , th is assem b ly o f G o d s p e o p le in o n e p la c e
a n d w ith o n e m in d is th e fo u n d a tio n o f all ecclesiology.
A t th e tim e o f th e A p o stle P au l, th e c o m m u n ity w as loosely s tru c tu r e d
in to th o s e w h o le d th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t, a n d th e p e o p le as a w h o le w ho
re c e iv e d th e E u c h a ris t w ith th e ir A m e n . S a in t Ig n a tiu s d istin g u ish e d
b e tw e e n th e episkopos, o n e w h o h e a d s th e assem bly, a n d th e p re sb y te rs
o r p rie s ts w h o a c c o m p a n y h im , a n d th e d e a c o n s , w h o lin k th e p e o p le to
th e s e m in is te rs . As th e o ffic ia tin g c le rg y a sse m b le a r o u n d th e b ish o p
th e y a r c a n im a g e o f th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l assem b ly o f G o d s p e o p le , a n d
this gives th e C h u r c h its fo rm a n d s tr u c tu r e . T h e b is h o p is th e c e n tr e
a r o u n d w h o m th e p e o p le o f G o d u n ite . In t h e w o rd s o f Ig n a tiu s, W h e re
th e b is h o p is, th e r e le t th e p e o p le g a th e r, j u s t as w h e re v e r C h rist is,
th e r e is th e catholic (ie th e w h o le ) C h u r c h ' { le tte r to the Sm ym aeans, 8 ).
J u s t as all G o d s p e o p le a r e b r o u g h t to g e th e r a r o u n d C h rist, th e c o m
m u n ity o f t h e C h u r c h g a th e r a r o u n d th e b ish o p .
T h is b is h o p is s u r r o u n d e d b y th e c o lle g e o f th e p re sb y te rs w ho
to g e th e r r e p r e s e n t th e A p o stle s. In th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l assem bly, th e
A p o stle s will b e th e ju d g e s o f th e trib e s o f Israel. In th e last days, you
will b e s e a te d o n tw elve th r o n e s , ju d g i n g th e tw elve trib e s o f Is ra e l
(M atth ew 1 9 .2 8 ). A t th e c o m p le tio n o f all tim e , C h ris t w ill r e tu r n ,
a c c o m p a n ie d by t h e tw elve w h o r e p r e s e n t th is e sc h a to lo g ic a l assem bly
w h ic h will j u d g e first Isra e l a n d th e n th e w o rld . T h e A p o stle s a re
r e p r e s e n te d b y th e p re s b y te rs w h o s ta n d o n e ith e r sid e o f th e b ish o p .

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T h e b is h o p , s u r r o u n d e d by ih e p re sb y te rs, acts as j u d g e o f th e C h u rc h
a n d th e w o rld a n d so r e p r e s e n ts th e F a th e r to us, o c c u p y in g , as Ig n a tiu s
tells us, th e p la c e o f G o d ( i e r to the M aguesians 6 .1 ).
T h is ty p o lo g ic a l ecclesio lo g y gives u s a fo re ta s te o f th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l
reality. T h e re a lity o f th e C h u rc h c o m e s to it fro m th e e s c h a to n , so th e
id e n tity o f th e C h u rc h is n o t lim ite d to its c r e a te d history. T h e C h u rc h
receiv es its id en tity ' fro m th a t w h ic h is t o c o m e , so th a t th e C h u rc h is
a b le to m a k e th e f u tu r e p re s e n t to th e w o rld now . T h is f u tu r e m akes
its e lf p r e s e n t w h e n e v e r th e d iv in e litu rg y is p e rf o rm e d . T h e E u c h a ris t
r e q u ir e s th e p h y sic a l p re s e n c e o f a fig u re w h o re p re s e n ts C h rist,
s u r r o u n d e d b y h is A p o stles, to s ta n d b e fo re us as w e will finally sta n d
b e fo re th e F a th e r. T h e p e o p le g a th e r e d by th a t E u c h a rist a r e a n instal
m e n t o f th a t fin a l assem bly. T h is is th e a c c o u n t o f th e C h u r c h th a t h a d
b e e n e s ta b lis h e d by th e s e c o n d c e n tu ry .
H ow ever, t h e c la rity o f th is view o f th e C h u r c h d id n o t last. W ith th e
C h ris tia n G n o s tic is m th a t a p p e a r e d a t th e b e g in n in g o f th e th ir d
c e n tu ry in A le x a n d ria , th is e sc h a to lo g ic a l a c c o u n t o f th e C h u r c h b e g a n
to give w ay t o a n o t h e r ecclesiology7. F o r C le m e n t o f A le x a n d ria a n d
O rig e n , its re p re s e n ta tiv e s , it is n o t th e f u tu r e fu lfilm e n t b u t th e o rig i
nal e x is te n c e o f th e C h u r c h th a t is sig n ific a n t . T h e y r e g a r d e d th e o rig i
nal s ta te o f th in g s as p e rfe c tio n , a n d e v e ry th in g s u b s e q u e n t to th is as a
fa llin g away, w h ic h m e a n t th a t th e f u tu r e h a d to b e a r e tu r n to th a t first
sta te o f p e r f e c tio n . In th e ecclesio lo g y o f O r ig e n a n d C le m e n t, th e g a th
e rin g , t h e s tr u c tu r e a n d o ffices o f th e C h u rc h in th e litu rg y a r c o f sec
o n d a r y o r e v e n o f n o im p o rta n c e . F o r th e m th e o rig in a l p e r f e c tio n o f
th e C h u rc h is d e m o n s tr a te d by th e lo g o s o f th e w o rld as a w h o le . T h e
logoi o f all s e p a r a te b e in g s will u n ite a g a in w ith in th e o n e L o g o s o f G o d
th a t e x iste d b e f o r e th e c r e a tio n o f th e wro rld . In th is a c c o u n t th e e u c h a
ristic g a th e r in g a n d u n ity o f th e C h u r c h m a k e s n o c o n stitu tiv e c o n trib u
tio n to b r in g in g all th in g s to g e th e r in th e o n e e te r n a l L ogos.
T h e lo g o s , r a t h e r th a n th e litu rg y a n d th e offices o f th e g a th e r e d
C h u r c h , b e c a m e sig n ific a n t, a n d n o t in a m e re ly ju d ic ia l se n se . T h e
specific o ffic e s th a t gave th e C h u r c h its p u b lic s tr u c tu r e w o u ld h a v e n o
ro le b e c a u s e o n ly th e u n io n o f th e so u l o r th e m in d w ith th e e te rn a l
a n d p re - e te r n a l L o g o s is o f a n y sig n ific a n c e . S alvation n o lo n g e r m e a n s
th e h o p e o f a n e w w o rld , w ith a n e w c o m m u n ity ' a n d s tru c tu re , f o r as
w e h a v e s e e n , salv atio n in th e A le x a n d ria n a c c o u n t involves p u rify in g
th e so u l so t h a t it m ay b e r e - u n ite d w ith th e L o g o s w h o is b e fo re all
society' a n d b e f o r e th e c r e a te d a n d m a te ria l w o rld . C o n seq u en tly ,
p u rific a tio n m e a n s re m o v in g o u rse lv e s fro m society, c le a n s in g ourselves
o f m a te ria l th in g s , a n d b e c o m in g u n ite d to th e O n e w h o c a m e b e fo re

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th e c re a tio n o f th e m a te ria l w o rld . P e r f e c tio n will ta k e th e fo rm o f a


re v e rsio n . T h is a c c o u n t sees n o s ig n ific a n c e in th e C h u r c h as a g a th e re d
a n d o r d e r e d c o m m u n ity im a g in g th e f u tu r e k in g d o m .
U n d e r C y p ria n a n d o t h e r C h u r c h F a th e rs, Ig n a tiu s ecclesio lo g y
c o n tin u e d to d e v e lo p , so th e tw o e c c le sio lo g ie s p ro g re s s e d in p arallel,
a n d e v e n in te r a c te d co n stru ctiv ely . H ow ever, as o fte n as th e y m o v e d
to w a rd s a d e g r e e o f in te g r a tio n , te n s io n s w o u ld re -m e rg e a n d th e y
w o u ld d iv e rg e a g a in . W h ic h is th e rig h t a c c o u n t o f th e C h u rc h ? W h e re
d o c s th e tr u e id e n tity/ o f th e C h u rc h b e c o m e visible? Is it in th e m o n a stery, in th e c e ll o f th e in d iv id u a l w h o re m o v e s h im se lf fro m society in
o r d e r to fre e h im s e lf o f all p a ssio n s by re m o v in g h im s e lf fro m th e w o rld
a n d m a tte r? O r is it in th e c o m m u n ity o f all d is p a ra te p e rs o n s g a th e re d
to g e th e r by t h e E u c h a rist? T h is w as th e q u e s tio n th a t c a m e u p re p e a t
edly th r o u g h th e h isto ry o f th e C h u rc h .
T h e C h u r c h h a s th e re s o u rc e s to a n sw e r th is q u e s tio n , b u t th e re a d i
n e ss o f a n y g e n e r a tio n to re c e iv e th e s e an sw ers is a n o th e r m a tte r. T h e
p ro b le m r e p r e s e n te d by th is d ic h o to m y is at h e a r t a s p iritu a l o n e . T h a t
th e C h u rc h o ffe rs th e ra p y f o r o u r p a ssio n s is b e y o n d a n y d o u b t, b u t
th e r e is n o m o r e d iffic u lt th in g th a n to give u p o u r p assio n s a n d finally
leav e th e m b e h in d . As s o o n as a n y o n e b e g in s to b eliev e th a t h e h a s h a d
so m e su c c e ss in th is s p iritu a l s tru g g le , p r id e c o m e s c re e p in g b a c k ag ain ,
a n d th e n w e a r e te m p te d to d e sp ise th e C h u r c h a n d u n d e r m in e its
m in isters.
I f w e tru ly h a v e s o m e c o n tr o l o v e r o u r p assio n s, o u r p rid e will be
b r o u g h t u n d e r c o n tr o l to o , a n d w e will n o t b e te m p te d to sit in ju d g
m e n t o n th e g a th e r e d C h u rc h o r its m in iste rs. T h e p e rs o n w ho has
le a r n e d to c o n tr o l h is p a ssio n s will r e g a r d th e b is h o p w ith re s p e c t, a n d
g la d ly re c e iv e th e te a c h in g a n d in s tr u c tio n o f th e ir b ish o p . T h o s e w ho
h a v e n o t a c h ie v e d s u c h se lf-c o n tro l will o f c o u rse ask w h a t a u th o rity
b is h o p s a n d p rie s ts have. I f w e d o n o t e x e rc ise th e p r o p e r c o n tro l over
o u i p a ssio n s, esp ecially self-love a n d p rid e , w e will c o m e to believe
th a t th e sp iritu a lity o f th e b is h o p is n o g r e a te r th a n o u r o w n , a n d th u s
u n d e r m in e h is a u th o r ity o v e r t h e C h u r c h . T h o s e w h o g o th is w ay te n d
to m a k e th e ir o w n s p iritu a l d isc ip le s a n d g a th e r th e ir ow n co m m u n ity ,
c ritic isin g th e in s titu tio n a l C h u r c h a n d c r e a tin g a c o n tra d ic tio n b etw e en
in s titu tio n a n d c h a rism a .
T h e re lig io u s in d iv id u a lism o f s u c h a n ecclesio lo g y c o n s titu te s a
se rio u s p r o b le m . It allow s u s to b e lie v e th a t w e a r e n o t in n e e d o f th e
in s titu tio n a l c o m m u n ity o f th e C h u r c h . T h is n o tio n o f salv atio n is w ith
o u t love, so r a t h e r th a n b r in g in g u s to w a rd s o n e a n o th e r , it le a d s us
away f r o m o n e a n o th e r . T h o u g h it talks a b o u t o v e rc o m in g passions,
it allow s o u r p a ssio n s to se rv e o u r o w n elitism .

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In itself, th is e c c le sio lo g y o f p e r s o n a l s p iritu a lity o r p ie ty is n o t


a b s e n t f r o m t h e tra d itio n o f th e O r th o d o x C h u rc h . B ut th e m a in so u rc e
o f O r th o d o x c c c lc sio lo g y is to b e f o u n d in t h e c u c h a ris tic c o m m u n io n ,
h e a d e d by th e b is h o p , w h o u n ite s it in o n e b o d y a n d lifts u p its o ffe rin g s
to G o d , a n d w ith it th e d aily n e e d s a n d h o p e s o f m a n k in d a n d all
c r a tio n . All th e s e a r c b r o u g h t to g e th e r as a fo re ta ste a n d im a g e o f th e
e sc h a to lo g ic a l k in g d o m o f G o d .
T h e re la tio n s o f th e b is h o p s a n d th e s e o t h e r in d iv id u a listic s p iritu a l
a n d c h a ris m a tic le a d e rs is a p e r e n n ia l p ro b le m . W e m u s t c o n c lu d e th a t
th e tr u e e c c le sio lo g y is th e o n e th a t re la te s to th e s tr u c tu r e o f th e e u c h a
ristie c o m m u n ity w h ic h p o rtra y s th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l assem b ly th a t is
c a lle d in to b e in g by C h rist. S o it w o u ld b e a m ista k e to lo o k f o r th e
e sse n c e o f t h e C h u rc h e ith e r in in d iv id u a l sp iritu a lity o r th ro u g h th e
c o sm o lo g ic a l a p p r o a c h th a t re la te s th e C h u r c h to th e b e g in n in g , r a th e r
th a n to th e f u tu r e re c a p itu la tio n o f h u m a n h istory. P e rh a p s it is n o c o in
c id e n c e th a t O r ig e n , a n d to a le sse r e x te n t C le m e n t, finally d iv e rg e d
fro m th e fa ith o f th e C h u rc h .
S a in t M a x im u s th e C o n fe s s o r o ffe rs u s th e p r o p e r s o lu tio n . M ax im u s
s u c c e e d e d in c o m b in in g th e tw o tr e n d s b y in te g ra tin g th e co sm o lo g ical
a p p r o a c h , w h ic h re fe rs c r e a tio n to its o rig in s, in to th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l
a p p r o a c h , w h ic h lo o k s fo rw a rd to t h e f u tu r e k in g d o m o f G o d . M axim us
to o k th e c o sm o lo g y o f O r ig e n a n d m a d e it e sc h a to lo g ic a l, tra n s fe rrin g
its r e f e r e n c e f r o m th e b e g in n in g to th e e n d , s o d e th r o n in g P lato . H e
tu r n s u s a r o u n d fro m th e p a st to th e f u tu r e so th a t th e csc h a to lo g ic a l
c o m m u n ity b e c a m e th e c e n tr e o f e c c le sio lo g y a g a in . W h e n c o sm o lo g y
is re c o n c ile d w ith esc h a to lo g v , w e g e t th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l c o m m u n ity
in th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t a n d th e b o d y o f t h e C h u rc h . T h is sin g le c s c h a to
log ical c o m m u n ity in c o r p o r a te s th e lo g o s o f b e in g s, th e w o rld , as
re a litie s th a t c o m e to u s fro m th e f u tu re . T h e e v e n ts o f th e e n d w hich
th e C h u rc h p o rtra y s a r c n o t a b o u t th is p e o p le only, b u t a b o u t c r a tio n
as a w h o le . J u s t as e a c h C h ris tia n re p r e s e n ts in his ow n b o d y th e g a th e r
in g a n d r e d e m p tio n o f m a te ria l c re a tio n , s o th e w h o le C h u rc h
is th e a s s e m b lin g o f all c r e a tio n in C h rist, w h o is h im s e lf th e fin a l tru th
o f all th in g s. T h is e c c le sio lo g y gives u s a n a c c o u n t o f m a n k in d in w hich
th e n e w A d a m r e c a p itu la te s all th in g s, a n d so it o v e rc o m e s th e d ic h o t
o m y o f in d iv id u a l a n d c u c h a ris tic ccclesio lo g ies.
W e h a v e s e e n h o w tw o a c c o u n ts o f ecclesio lo g y so m e tim e s c o m p e te d
a n d a t o t h e r tim e s c o m b in e d to m a k e a ro b u s t sin g le ecclesiology. We
h a v e s e e n th a t S a in t M ax im u s b r o u g h t t h e tw o s tre a m s to g e th e r to showr
th a t th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t c re a te s th e C h u rc h as th e fo re ta s te o f th e
e s c h a to n . T h o u g h h e is c o n c e r n e d w ith o u r s p iritu a l life a n d p u rific a
tio n , S a in t M a x im u s is c o n f id e n t th a t th e L o gos h a s ta k e n o u r flesh so

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h e c a n e n a b le us, w ith all o u r m a te ria lity , to ta k e o u r p la c e w ith in him


in th e c o m m u n io n o f G od.

III. T h e C h u r c h o f G o d
W e m u s t n o w t u r n fro m h isto ry to e x a m in e th e issues th is d o u b le
a p p r o a c h c re a te s f o r ecclesiology. L e t u s s ta r t by s e ttin g ecclesio lo g y
in to its b r o a d e r th e o lo g ic a l fra m e w o rk . Few will d e n y th a t th e division
o f e c c le sio lo g y fro m th e o lo g y a n d its re le g a tio n to a s e p a ra te c h a p te r
o f d o g m a tic s h a s n o t b e e n a h e lp fu l d e v e lo p m e n t. W e c a n n o t discuss
ecclesio lo g y i n is o la tio n fro m th eo lo g y , b e c a u se th e C h u rc h is a rea lity
th a t s p rin g s f r o m G o d h im self. T h e C h u rc h is th e o u tc o m e o f th e
F a th e r s will, a will h e s h a re s w ith th e S o n a n d th e H oly S p irit, a n d w hich
is re a lis e d th r o u g h th e e c o n o m y in w h ic h e a c h o f th e p e r s o n s o f G o d is
engaged.
W h a t is th e d is tin c t c o n tr ib u tio n o f e a c h m e m b e r o f th e T rin ity in th e
re a lisa tio n o f t h e C h u rc h ? E v ery e v e n t o f th e e c o n o m y b e g in s fro m th e
F a th e r a n d r e tu r n s to th e F a th e r. T h e F a th e r wills a n d b rin g s ev ery th in g
to its b e g in n in g , a n d it w as b y h is g o o d p le a s u re th a t th e c o m m u n io n
o f G o d s h o u ld e x te n d in to c r e a tio n th r o u g h th e C h u r c h . T h e F a th e r
in te n d e d th e w o rld to c o m e in to e te r n a l c o m m u n io n w ith G o d , th e
c re a te d w ith th e u n c r e a te d , a n d so re c e iv e tr u e life.
T h e F a th e r in itia te d , a n d th e S o n a n d th e H oly S p irit a c c e p te d
a n d re a lis e d th e F a th e r s g o o d w ill. T h e s e d is tin c t acts o b lig e us to dis
tin g u ish b e tw e e n th e d iv in e p e rs o n s , a n d to o b serv e th a t a c e rta in
m o v e m e n t ta k e s p la c e in th e H oly T rinity. T h e life o f th e T rin ity is n o t
static, b u t a s th e p e rs o n s re la te in love to o n e a n o th e r so th e ir will is
o r d e r e d b y r e f e r e n c e to o n e a n o t h e r so th a t th e T rin ity h a s its own
in trin s ic o r d e r . T h e F a th e r in itia te s, a n d th e S o n a n d th e S p irit e x e c u te
th e in itia tiv e o f th e F a th e r in th e eco n o m y .
T h e p a r tic u la r ro le o f th e S o n is to c a rry o u t fre e ly th e F a th e r s g o o d
p le a s u r e a n d b e c o m e th e p e r s o n in w h o m th is u n io n o f c r e a te d a n d
u n c r e a te d is re a lis e d . T h e salv atio n o f c r e a tio n will ta k e p la c e in th e
S o n , a n d t h e n b e p r e s e n te d to th e F a th e r b y th e S o n . T h e H oly S p irit
has h is o w n c o n tr ib u tio n to th is p la n . H e m a k es th e in c o r p o r a tio n o f
c re a tio n in t h e S o n p o ssib le by e n a b lin g c re a tio n to o p e n to its in c o rp o
ra tio n in th e S o n . Its n a tu r a l lim ita tio n s m e a n th a t, le ft to itself, c re a tio n
c a n n o t s u s ta in a n y re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d , w hile th e fall p u ts a f u r th e r
b a r r ie r to c r e a tio n s o p e n n e s s . H ow ever, th r o u g h in te r v e n tio n o f th e
S p irit th is o p e n n e s s b e c o m e s p o ssib le a n d th u s th e in c o r p o r a tio n o f
c r e a tio n in th e S o n c a n b e a c c o m p lis h e d as th e w o rk o f all th re e p e r
so n s o f th e T rin ity , F a th e r, S o n a n d H o ly S pirit.

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T h e C h u r c h is b r o u g h t in to b e in g w ith in th is tr iu n e 'e c o n o m y in
w h ic h I h e F a th e r in itia te s, th e S o n u n d e r ta k e s to in c o r p o ra te c re a tio n
a n d b r in g it t o t h e F a th e r, a n d th e H o ly S p irit lib e ra te s th e w o rld from
th e lim ita tio n s o f its c re a te d n e s s . T h r o u g h h is in c a rn a tio n th e Son
is th e c e n tr e o f th is e v e n t, so th e C h u r c h is d e s c rib e d as th e B ody o f
C h rist, r a th e r th a n as th e b o d y o f t h e F a th e r o r o f th e H o ly S p irit. T h e
d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n th e activ ities o f th e p e rs o n s is c ru c ia l. It is th e in itia
tive o f th e F a th e r th a t c r e a tio n s h o u ld b e e m b o d ie d a n d u n ite d in th e
S o n th a t e x p la in s w hy th is in c o r p o r a tio n b e c a m e reality. T h e F a th e r
c re a te d th e w o rld in o r d e r th a t it b e c o m e th e C h u r c h , a n d so m a d e th e
p lu ra lity g iv e n in th e C h u r c h th e w h o le p u r p o s e o f c re a tio n . H owever,
in o r d e r th a t t h e r e c o u ld b e th is in c o r p o r a tio n o f c r e a tio n in th e Son
a n d th e a rriv a l o f th e C h u r c h , m a n k in d s fre e c o n s e n t h a d to b e se c u re d .
M a n k in d is a b le to r e p r e s e n t c re a tio n b e c a u se h e is th e o n e fre e b e in g
w ith in m a te r ia l c re a tio n w h o is a b le to give c o n s e n t so th a t c r e a tio n can
b e b r o u g h t i n t o re la tio n s h ip w ith G o d in fre e d o m . F o r th is re a so n
M arys fre e y e s to th e in c a rn a tio n o f th e S o n is c ru c ia l to th e e c o n o m y
o f o u r salv atio n .
W e saw th a t, r a t h e r th a n re p r e s e n tin g c r e a tio n a n d b rin g in g it
in to th is u n io n w ith G o d , m a n k in d fre e ly d e c id e d to r e f e r c re a tio n to
itse lf a n d so m a k e d e a th p a r t o f its p re d ic a m e n t. H e d e ifie d h im s e lf
a n d d e ifie d n a tu r e , a n d c o n s e q u e n tly h e a n d n a tu r e fell in to a closed
re la tio n s h ip t h a t c o n d e m n e d th e m b o th . G o d s h o p e f o r th e co n v e rsio n
o f th e w o rld in to th e C h u rc h s tu m b le d o n m a n s fre e d e n ia l, s o Gocl
th e n h a d to f in d a n o t h e r way to b r in g th e w o rld in to th is re la tio n s h ip
w h ic h w o u ld e n s u r e its survival. T h is o t h e r way was th e in c a rn a tio n
o f th e S o n in th e n o w fa lle n c r e a tio n , s o m e th in g w h ic h re q u ir e d th e
S o n , m a n k in d , a n d all c r e a tio n to p ass th r o u g h d e a th a n d e m e rg e fro m
it in o r d e r to r e a c h th a t u n io n .
A lth o u g h th e C h u rc h a n d t h e w h o le c c o n o m y now to o k a p a th th a t
p a s s e d th r o u g h th e cro ss, th e e n d o f th a t p a th re m a in e d as it h a d
b e e n f r o m t h e b e g in n in g , th e u n io n o f th e c r e a te d w ith th e u n c r e a te d
G o d . T h e C h u r c h g o e s th r o u g h th e cro ss a n d trav e ls o n u n til all th e
d isc ip lin e o f th e c ro ss is tra n s f o r m e d in to th e a ttrib u te s o f th e e s c h a to n ,
th e r e s u r r e c tio n .
T h is is w h e re c c c le sio lo g ic al d iffe re n c e s a r c cru c ia l. F o r W estern
th e o lo g ia n s , t h e p assag e th r o u g h th e cro ss gives th e C h u r c h th e w o u n d s
w h ic h evil a n d h isto ry d e a l o u t t o th e B ody o f C h rist. M any s to p a t this
p o in t a n d a s s e rt th a t th e C h u rc h is fin ally s c a r r e d by th e cross a n d
th e r e f o r e b y evil, th u s W e ste rn th e o lo g ia n s a r e in c lin e d to b e g in w ith
h is to ry a n d t o e n d u p w ith evil, th u s e v e n a ttr ib u tin g it w ith so m e
u ltim a te o n to lo g ic a l statu s. M u c h o f t h e m u sic , a r t a n d lite r a tu r e

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in fo rm e d b y th is th e o lo g y is p r e o c c u p ie d b y th e c ro ss a n d su ffe rin g ,
a n d n e v e r m o v e s o n to th e k in g d o m o f G od.
T h e re s u lt is a n e c c le sio lo g y th a t s to p s w ith C alvary a n d th e cru c ifix
io n . It c o n c e iv e s o f th e C h u r c h as th e b o d y o f th e o n e sacrificed ,
a n d w h o m in is te rs to th e w o rld th r o u g h h is su ffe rin g . A lth o u g h this
ecclesio lo g y is o fte n su ccessfu l in e lic itin g a n e m o tio n a l re s p o n s e , it
in c a rc e ra te s t h e C h u rc h w ith in th e w o rld , w ith th e re s u lt th a t th e
C h u r c h s activ ity in th e w o rld b e c o m e s im p o r ta n t to th e e x c lu sio n o f
all else. W h a t c a n th e C h u rc h b e in th e facc o f evil a n d h u m a n suffer
ing ? W h a t c o n s o la tio n a n d re c o m p e n s e c a n it offer, a n d how m u c h
m u s t it m in is te r to m a n k in d to e a se th is s u ffe rin g ? T h u s th e C h u r c h is
m o tiv a te d b y th e d e s ire to reliev e th is e n d le s s p a in a n d n e e d , so it is
d riv e n b y so c ia l a n d e th ic a l c o n c e rn s . By id e n tify in g itself exclusively
w ith th o s e w h o s u ffe r it m a k e s itse lf p o w e rle ss to h e lp th e m by o ffe rin g
th e m th e t r u t h o f th e r e d e m p tio n o f c r e a tio n th a t c o m e s w ith an
e sc h a to lo g ic a l p e rsp e c tiv e .
T h e S o n is c ru c ifie d , a n d th e e v e n t o f th e c ro ss a n d its s u ffe rin g
is tr a n s f e r r e d in to th e e te r n a l life o f th e tr iu n e G o d . T h is th e o lo g y
w as a d v o c a te d by s o m e L u th e ra n s , th o u g h th e s a m e se n tim e n ta lity can
be o b s e rv e d i n th o s e R u ssian th e o lo g ia n s w h o also se e th e life o f th e
e te r n a l as b o u n d to s u ffe rin g a n d th e cro ss. T h e sa c ra m e n ts a n d in
p a r tic u la r th e E u c h a ris t a r e u n d e r s to o d as th e p e rp e tu a l p re s e n c e o f
C h ris ts d e a th . E v en in m a n y O r th o d o x C h u rc h e s today, th e c ru c ifix is
now s e t a t th e c e n tr e o f th e E u c h a ris t, a tr e n d w h ic h p re v e n ts us from
re c e iv in g th e tr u t h o f th e C h u r c h s litu rg ic a l e x p e rie n c e . T h e tr u th o f
th e E u c h a ris t is th a t it d o e s n o t ta k e u s to C alvary in o r d e r to leave us
th e r e , b u t b rin g s u s th r o u g h it a n d b e y o n d to th e c o m m u n io n o f th e
sa in ts a n d th e g lo ry o f th e k in g d o m o f G o d . T h is g lo ry is m a d e risib le to
us by th e ic o n s , v e stm e n ts, a n d th e c h a n tin g o f th e psalm s, all o f w hich
p o in t to tr a n s c e n d e n c e o f th e cross. O u r u n d e r s ta n d in g o f th e C h u rc h
m u s t s ta rt f r o m F a th e r s g o o d will, w h ic h h a s b r o u g h t a b o u t th e w h o le
e c o n o m y o f G o d f o r m a n a n d th e u n ity o f th e c r e a te d w ith th e u n c re
a te d w h ic h is th e t r u e p u rp o s e o f c re a tio n .
T h e C h u r c h is th e fo re ta s te a n d re a lis a tio n o f th e k in g d o m o f G od,
so t h e s p iritu a l a n d a sc e tic life by w h ic h w e p a rtic ip a te in s u ffe rin g
a n d th e c ro ss d o n o t r e p r e s e n t th e u ltim a te p u r p o s e o f th e C h u rc h . T h e
asc e tic life is p a r t o f th e C h u r c h , a n d th e C h ristia n w h o b e a rs th e m ark s
o f h is p a r tic ip a tio n in th e c ro ss o f C h ris t o n his p e rs o n is a ssu re d ly
a p a r t o f th e life o f th e C h u r c h . H ow ever, w h e n w e p u t o n th e g o ld
v e stm e n ts o f th e e u c h a ris tic litu rg y , w e a r e lo o k in g fo rw a rd to th e
k in g d o m o f G o d . T h e C h u r c h is c o n s titu te d by th e re s u r r e c tio n a n d so

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h a s tra v e lle d p a s t th e c ro ss a n d b r o k e n th r o u g h in to th a t n e w c re a tio n


w h ic h is filled w ith t h e u n c r e a te d lig h t o f G o d .
T h e e x p e r ie n c e o f t h e re s u r r e c tio n a n d n e w c r e a tio n c a n b e f o u n d in
e a c h in d iv id u a l w h o ra d ia te s sanctity, b u t th is e x p e r ie n c e c a n n o t sim ply
b e re la te d to in d iv id u a ls. It is th e C h u r c h th a t re fle c ts th e tra n sfo rm a
tio n o f th e e n tir e m a te ria l w o rld a n d w ith it all h u m a n so cie ty a n d
co m m u n ity . W e h av e th e C h u r c h o n ly w h e n w e h a v e a c o m m u n ity . T h e
C h ris tia n w h o h o p e s to ra d ia te s a n c tity m ust become Church s o h e can
p a rtic ip a te in t h e c o m m u n ity o f th e e n d o f tim es.
W e h a v e c o m e to th e c o n c lu s io n th a t it is th e g o o d will o f th e F a th e r
th a t th e e n tir e m a te ria l w o rld s h o u ld b e c o m e th e C h u r c h , th e b o d y o f
th e S o n in th e H o ly S p irit. T h e F a th e r d o c s n o t d e s ire m a n k in d only, o r
o n ly a c e rta in n u m b e r fro m a m o n g m a n k in d , b u t all c re a tio n . H ow ever,
b e c a u s e o f m a n s fall, th e in c o r p o r a tio n o f th e w o rld in th e S o n m u st
pass th r o u g h t h e cro ss, a n d th r o u g h th e costly c x p c ric n c c o f th e disci
p le a n d th e a sc e tic , th r o u g h a p r o f o u n d a n d c o n s u m in g stru g g le
a g a in st evil fin a lly to g a in th e victory. T h e C h ristia n g o e s th r o u g h th e
n a rro w g a te a n d a lo n g th e n a rro w p a th s e t o u t by th e F a th e r s g o o d will,
b u t h is d e s tin a tio n lies b e y o n d th a t g a te , at th e e n d o f th a t p a th , in th e
k in g d o m . T h e k in g d o m is b e in g re a lis e d in th e C h u r c h , a n d th e C h u rc h
is b e in g fu lfille d , b y its p ro g re s s a lo n g th is n a rro w p a th . T h e C h u rc h
th a t fo c u se s o n h isto ry a n d o n C alv ary will c o m e to a h a lt b e fo re it
re a c h e s th e e n d o f th a t p a th . T h e o v e rc o m in g o f evil a n d d e f e a t o f th e
devil is n o t o u r fin al d e s tin a tio n . A h e a lth y c c c lcsio lo g y will le a d us on
b e y o n d th e s tru g g le w ith evil a n d in to th e lig h t, to g a in in th e d iv in e
E u c h a ris t o u r first e x p e r ie n c e o f th e k in g d o m o f G o d . In th is e x p e ri
e n c e , a c o m m u n ity o f p e o p le p o rtra y s t h e f u tu r e o f th e w o rld , in w hich
b o th so c ie ty a n d all m a te ria l c re a tio n o v e rc o m e c o rr u p tio n . S uch
a n e c c le sio lo g y will h av e p ro fo u n d ly p o sitive c o n s e q u e n c e s fo r th e
C h ris tia n life, th e o r g a n is a tio n o f th e C h u r c h , th e s a c ra m e n ts, a n d for
every a s p e c t o f t h e C h u r c h s w itn ess to th e w orld.

IV. T h e C h u r c h a s I m a g e o f t h e F u t u r e

T h e C h u r c h is r o o te d in th e b e in g a n d life o f th e H oly T rinity. G o d s


p u r p o s e in c r e a tin g th e w o rld is th a t it a tta in c o m m u n io n w ith h im a n d
s h a r e h is life. T h e C h u r c h is th e f u tu r e o f th e wro r ld in th is c o m m u n io n ,
so wre m u st lo o k f o r th e o rig in s o f ecclesio lo g y a n d its d e s tin a tio n in
etern ity .
W e h a v e s a id th a t th e H o ly T rin ity is th e c o m m u n io n in w hich
th e C h u r c h p a r tic ip a te s a n d th a t th e F a th e r loves a n d wills that

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c r e a tio n c o m e in to c o m m u n io n w ith G o d . It is th e F a th e r w h o in te n d s
this a n d to w h o m w e m u s t a ttr ib u te all th a t follow s. T h e S o n u n d e rta k e s
to c a n y o u t a n d p e rs o n a lly s u b s ta n tia te th is u n io n o f th e c r e a te d to th e
u n c r e a te d . T h e H o ly S p irit e n a b le s th e tra n s c e n d e n c e o f th e lim ita tio n s
b e tw e e n th e c r e a te d a n d th e u n c r e a te d . H e is th e S p irit o f c o m m u n io n ,
o f p o w e r a n d o f life, w h o te a rs d o w n th e b a rrie rs th a t s e p a r a te beings;
h e e n a b le s c r e a tio n to s u r m o u n t th e p h y sical im p o ssib ility o f c o m m u
n io n o f c r e a te d a n d u n c re a te d . T h e th r e e p e rs o n s a c t a n d a r e p re s e n t
in t h e C h u r c h , a n d so th e C h u r c h is t h e p r o d u c t o f th e ir u n ity , b u t it is
th e S o n w h o is th e m e d ia tio n o f c r e a te d a n d u n c r e a te d , a n d f o r this
re a s o n th e C h u r c h is c a lle d th e B o d y o f C h rist.
T h e C h u r c h is th e im a g e o r ic o n ' o f th e k in g d o m o f G o d . In th e
C h u r c h all th in g s a r e b r o u g h t to g e th e r, in c lu d e d a n d r e c a p itu la te d so
th e y w ill c o n tin u e in life fo rev er. T h e C h u r c h d e p ic ts th e e n d tim e in
history. I c h o o s e t h e te r m d e p ic t in o r d e r to av o id so m e o f th e p r o b
le m s th a t th e w o r d id e n tify w o u ld c a u s e us. T h e C h u rc h in h is to ry is
c lea rly n o t id e n tic a l w ith th e k in g d o m o f G o d . T h e tra u m a o f h isto ry
m e a n s th a t a lo n g w ith th e r e s t o f th e w o rld , C h ristia n s stru g g le w ith
evil, a n d th e w ay o f th e c ro ss is th is s tru g g le . T h e C h u r c h is n o t th e
society o f th o s e w h o h a v e o v e rc o m e evil b u t o f th o s e w h o a r e stru g g lin g
a g a in s t evil. T h e h o ly C h u r c h is fu ll o f s in n e rs, b e in g m a d e holy. T h e r e
fo re , w e m u s t say th a t th e k in g d o m o f G o d is depicted in th e C h u rc h . T h is
ic o n o lo g ic a l o n to lo g y is key.
T h e C h u r c h is p re s e n tly o n ly a d e p ic tio n o f th e e n d tim es, n o t th e
e n d tim e s th e m se lv e s. H ow ever, w e n e e d to clarify th is d is tin c tio n . T h e
re la tio n o f a p h o to g r a p h a n d its o b je c t is d e p e n d e n t o n th e im agi
n a tio n o f th o s e w h o lo o k a t th e p h o to : th e re s e m b la n c e th e y see co m e s
fro m th e ir a b ility to f in d lik e n e sse s. T h e p h o to g r a p h h a s n o o n to lo g ic a l
c o n tin u ity w ith th a t p e rs o n : it is n o t a c o lla g e o f item s b e lo n g in g to
h im , a n d if w c d is p o se d o f th is p h o to g r a p h th is w o u ld n o t h u r t th e
p e r s o n p o r tr a y e d in it.
H ow ever, a n ic o n d o e s h a v e a n o n to lo g ic a l s h a r e in th e o rig in a l, so
w c h o n o u r t h e ic o n b c c a u s c w e h o n o u r th e s a in t w h o se im a g e it is.
T h e r e is a n o n to lo g ic a l c o n tin u ity b e tw e e n th e sa in t a n d th e ir im age,
e v e n th o u g h t h e r e is n o c o n tin u ity o f m a te ria l b e tw e e n th e m . T h e h o n
o u r g iv e n o n a n ic o n p asses to th e o rig in a l , in th e w o rd s o f S a in t Basil
th e G reat.
T h e d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n im a g e a n d tr u th th a t M axim us uses to ex p ress
th is ic o n o lo g ic a l o n to lo g y c o m e s fro m th e d is tin c tio n th a t th e L e tte r
to th e H e b re w s m a k e s b e tw e e n s h a d o w a n d re a lity (H e b re w s 10.1).
M ax im u s says th a t th e s h a d o w r e fe rs to th e O ld T e s ta m e n t, w h ile th e

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N ew T e s ta m e n t gives u s th e im a g e , b u t th e re a lity itself, C h rist a n d his


k in g d o m , is s till to c o m e (Scholia on D ionysius' Ecclesiastical Hierarchy
3 .3 .2 ). T h e reality, w h ic h is w h a t th e e s c h a to n is, c o n tin u a lly p ro je c ts
itself in to o u r h is to ry to re v e a l its e lf to us.
T h e e s c h a to n p ro je c ts a n im a g e o f its e lf b ack w ard s to c re a te th e
c x p c r ic n c c o f t h e A p o stle s w h ic h t h e n c o n s titu te s th e re a litie s o f th e
N ew T e s ta m e n t. T h e N ew T e s ta m e n t is th e im a g e o f th e e sc h a to n ,
th e tr u th , a n d p o ssesses s o m e th in g o f it. T h e N ew T e s ta m e n t is th e p re s
e n t im a g e o f f u tu r e th in g s. T h is d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n im a g e a n d th e tru th
allow s u s to ta lk a b o u t th e h o lin e ss o f th e C h u rc h , a n d e v e n th e h o lin e ss
o f C h ristia n s, e v e n w h ile C h ris tia n s a r e slill s tru g g lin g w ith sin . C h ris
tia n s a lre a d y p a r tic ip a te in th e tr u th , a n d th is tr u th " i l l b e c o m e th e
w h o le tr u th a b o u t th e m . T h e C h u r c h is n o t sim p ly w h a t it is now , b u t
w h a t it will b e . Its id e n tity is g iv en to u s in e a r th e n vessels'. T h e C h u rc h
is mystery. T h e te r m m y ste ry in d ic a te s th a t th e C h u rc h is re v e a le d ,
a n d th u s n o c o m p le te d e fin itio n o f it is p o ssib le. A lth o u g h th e C h u rc h
c o m e s to us, i t c o m e s f r o m th e p la c e th a t w e c a n n o t access, so w e a re
u n a b le to ta k e fin al p o ssessio n o f it.
T h e C h u r c h c a n tru ly b e k n o w n b u t, b e c a u se it is s o u rc e d f ro m C h rist
a n d h is k in g d o m , it is in e x h a u s tib le , a n d c a n n o t b e k n o w n ex h au stiv ely
a n d finally. T h e id e n tity o f th e C h u r c h h a s to b e se t o u t by e x a m in in g
th e m y ste rie s a n d s a c ra m e n ts th a t m a k e th e C h u rc h p re s e n t w ith in o u r
h isto ric a l e x p e r ie n c e . T h e s a c ra m e n ts a r e im a g e s o f th e tr u th a rriv in g
fro m th e e n d tim e s so th a t th e y b e c o m e th e e x p e r ie n c e d rea lity o f th e
C h u r c h . T h e s a c ra m e n ts tra n s fo rm s in n e r s in to sain ts so C h u rc h is n o t
o n ly r e v e a le d 111 th e m b u t c o n s titu te d by th e m . A s a c ra m e n t e n a b le s th e
C h ris tia n fre e ly to ta k e th e ir p la c c in th e c o m p le te re a lity in w h ic h all
c re a tu r e s will s h a r e . T h e s a c ra m e n ts w itn e ss to th e in d iv isib le a n d in e x
h a u s tib le m y ste ry o f C h rist, a n d c a n n o t th e r e f o r e b e r e g a r d e d as an
in d iv id u al to p ic , b u t r a t h e r as th e h c r m c n c u tic by w h ic h w c can
a p p r o a c h e c c le sio lo g y as a w hole.
T h e d iv in e E u c h a r is t is th e re v e la tio n o f th e k in g d o m o f G o d a n d so
q u ite sim p ly t h e re v e la tio n o f u ltim a te reality. T h e E u c h a ris t rev e als this
re a lity w h ic h is f u tu r e to u s in th e fo rm o f th e p re s e n t. T h e o rig in s
o f th is ic o n o lo g ic a l o n to lo g y a r e f o u n d in th e p r o p h e tic b o o k s o f
S c rip tu re , in t h e a p o c a ly p se s o r re v e la tio n s o f h e a v e n th a t w c se e in
Isa ia h , D a n ie l a n d th e B o o k o f R e v e la tio n . T h e p r o p h e t se e s th e c o m
p le tio n o f all tim e e n te r in g o u r still p a rtia l h isto ry a n d giving ju d g m e n t
o n it b e fo re t h e w h o le assem b ly o f h e a v e n a n d e a rth .
In th e fo rm o f th e E u c h a ris t all c re a tu r e s a r e b r o u g h t to g e th e r a n d
r e c a p itu la te d i n C h rist. T h e E u c h a ris t m a n ife sts a n d s u b s ta n tia te s w ithin

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lim e th e id e n tity o f th is assem b ly in th e fo rm o f th e C h u rc h . W h e n w e


w a n t to s p e a k o f th e a c tu a l liv e d e x p e r ie n c e o f th e C h u r c h w e have to
s ta rt fro m t h e E u c h a ris t, f o r th is is w h e re th e C h u r c h a p p e a rs . T h e
E u c h a ris t is t h e f r e e c o m in g to g e th e r o f all p a rts in to th e ir p r o p e r
re la tio n s h ip s a n d so in to th e g o o d o r d e r o f th e w h o le in w h ich e a c h
c r e a tu r e is lib e r a te d f r o m th e lim its g iv e n b y its ow n n a tu r e . T h is lib e ra
tio n is th e e te r n a l will o f th e F a th e r w h ic h th e S o n h a s s u b s ta n tia te d a n d
w h ic h th e S p irit n o w m a k e s p o ssib le f o r u s to sh a re .
T h e s a c ra m e n ts t h a t w e r e g a r d as s e p a r a te to d a y all to o k p la c e in th e
c o n te x t o f th e E u c h a ris t o f th e a n c ie n t C h u r c h , as is still c le a r fro m th e
litu rg ic a l s tr u c tu r e in w h ic h th e s e s a c ra m e n ts a p p e a r. T h is is th e case
f o r e x a m p le w ith b a p tism .
A s lo n g as th e o lo g y h a s b e e n d o m in a te d by S ch o lasticism , it has
te n d e d to d iv id e th e in d iv isib le m y stery o f th e C h u r c h in to s e p a ra te
sa c ra m e n ts w h ic h c a n b e e n u m e r a te d . T h o u g h th e n u m b e r se v e n was
fo rm a lise d in t h e tw elfth c e n tu r y it h a d g o n e th r o u g h a se rie s o f flu c tu a
tion s: in o n e p e r io d th e f u n e r a l serv ice, a n d e v e n th e to n s u re o f a m o n k ,
w e re r e g a r d e d as s a c ra m e n ts. In th e sc h o la stic u n d e r s ta n d in g th e
E u c h a ris t is ju s t o n e p a r tic u la r s a c ra m e n t, th e o n e th a t p e rp e tu a te s
C h ris ts p a ssio n th r o u g h h isto ry . T h is d iv isio n in to s e p a r a te sa c ra m e n ts
s h o u ld n o t p re v e n t u s fro m u n d e r s ta n d in g all sa c ra m e n ts as asp e cts o f
th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t. W e m u s t le a r n to s e e th e E u c h a ris t as th e fo c u s o f
all s a c ra m e n ta l life in th e C h u rc h .
I f w e w a n t t o se e t h e u n ity a n d g o o d o r d e r o f th e C h u r c h , w c sh o u ld
lo o k f o r it in th e s tru c tu r e o f th e E u c h a ris t. T h e r e w e will fin d it exactly
as it w as s h a p e d in t h e a n c ie n t C h u r c h , v e rifie d by th e C h u rc h as a w hole,
a n d a r tic u la te d by th e c a n o n s given by th e c o u n c ils. T h e k in g d o m o f
G o d is w ell o r d e r e d , a n d th e c a n o n ic a l s tru c tu r e o f th e C h u rc h is a m a n
ife sta tio n o f th is g o o d o r d e r , n o t sim p ly a n a c c o m m o d a tio n to th o se
c o n tin g e n t o rg a n is a tio n a l r e q u ir e m e n ts b y w h ich th e C h u rc h re la te s to
th e w o rld . T h e r e f o r e , w e c a n n o t say th a t s o m e c a n o n s a r e e sse n tia l a n d
d o g m a tic w h ile o th e r s a r e m e re ly c o n tin g e n t a n d ad m in istra tiv e . All th e
c a n o n s a r e ec c le sio lo g ic ally a n d o n to lo g ic a lly sig n ific an t.
T h e re a l d a n g e r o f a lte r in g th e im a g e o f th e C h u rc h is th a t, r a th e r
th a n a n im a g e o f th e c o m p le tio n o f h isto ry by th e k in g d o m o f G od,
it b e c o m e s a p ic tu r e o f h e ll. T h o s e d is to rtio n s o f its te a c h in g th a t
th e C h u r c h r e fe rs to as h e re s y a r e n o t lim ite d to d o g m a tic fo rm u
latio n s, b u t a ls o in c lu d e litu rg ic a l a n d c a n o n ic a l m a tte rs: th e y a r e th e
re s u lt o f in tr o d u c in g im a g e ry th a t d o c s n o t c o m e fro m th e e sc h a to n .
T h o s e im a g e s th a t d o n o t c o m e fro m th e k in g d o m o f G o d , c o m e from
th a t o t h e r k in g d o m w h ic h lo v es d is o r d e r a n d h a te s a n d o p p o se s th e
k in g d o m o f G o d . F o r e x a m p le , if w e w e re to p e r fo rm a e u c h a ristic

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serv ice f o r w h ite p e o p le b u t n o t b lack p e o p le , o r f o r m e n b u t n o t


w o m e n , o r f o r th e e d u c a te d b u t n o t th e illite ra te , o r th e ric h b u t n o t th e
p o o r, o r j u s t f o r s tu d e n ts , o r j u s t f o r law yers o r a n y o th e r g ro u p , th e n
th a t serv ice w o u ld b e th e v e ry o p p o s ite o f th e E u c h a rist. E very tim e we
se g re g a te o u rs e lv e s fro m o u r n e ig h b o u r th r o u g h c rite ria o f th is k in d ,
w c re c e iv e a fo re ta s te o f h e ll. T h e C h u rc h c a n v e ry easily b e tu r n e d in to
th e im a g e o f h e ll w ith o u t e v e n n o tic in g th a t th is h a s h a p p e n e d .

V. T h e C h u r c h

and th e

Churches

S o fa r 1 h a v e ta lk e d a b o u t th e id e n tity o f th e C h u rc h . N ow w e m u s t say
s o m e th in g a b o u t th e fo rm o f th e C h u rc h . T h e fo rm o f th e C h u rc h
re la te s d ire c tly to th e C h u r c h s v ery b e in g , f o r th e re c a n b e n o g a p
b e tw e e n w hat th e C h u r c h is a n d how th e C h u r c h is. T h e way th e C h u rc h
is s tr u c tu r e d a n d a rra y e d is d e te r m in e d b y w h a t th e C h u rc h is, fo r th e
C h u rc h m u s t b e tru ly its e lf ev en in its o u tw a rd fo rm .
O u r first p r in c ip le is t h a t th e C h u r c h is th e m ystery o f G o d 's d e a lin g s
w ith m a n . T h e C h u rc h is th e p u r p o s e a n d c u lm in a tio n o f th e w h o le
w o rk o f G o d f o r m a n a n d th e re c a p itu la tio n o f all c re a tio n . It is th e
fo rm in w h ic h th e love o f G o d is p r e s e n t to th e w o rld , a n d s o m an ifests
th e w o rld s o w n o rig in s to it. T h e F a th e r in itia te s th e w h o le e c o n o m y
of G o d f o r m a n a n d b rin g s th e C h u r c h in to e x iste n c e . Jesus C h rist, th e
S o n o f G o d , p ro v id e s th e b o d y th a t is th e lite ral e m b o d im e n t o f th e
c o m m u n io n a n d lo v e o f G o d , w h ile th e H o ly S p irit e n a b le s th e c o m m u
n io n o f t h e c r e a te d w ith th e u n c r e a te d so th is b o d y c a n e n a b le th e
c o m m u n io n o f e v e ry b e in g w ith ev ery o th e r.
T h e C h u r c h h a s its b asis in t h e trin ita ria n life o f G o d , th a t is to
say, in th e g r a c e o f o u r L o rd J e s u s C h rist, th e love o f G o d a n d th e
fello w sh ip o f t h e H o ly S p irit (2 C o r in th ia n s 1 3 .1 4 ). G ra c e m e a n s that
J e s u s C h ris t is th e g ift o f G o d , w h ile th e H o ly S p irit e n a b le s us to c x c c c d
th e lim its o f o u r c re a tu re ly b e in g a n d e n t e r th a t c o m m u n io n w ith G o d
w h ic h is G o d s love. B ein g s m u s t h av e b o u n d a rie s so th a t th e y c a n be
a c k n o w le d g e d as d is tin c t, b u t th e y m u s t s u r m o u n t th e s e b o u n d a rie s
in o r d e r to c o m e in to c o m m u n io n w ith o n e a n o th e r a n d so live as a
society. C r e a tu r e s m u s t b e a b le to d is tin g u ish th em selv e s f ro m G o d
w h o is th e s o u r c e o f th e ir c o m m u n io n . T h e H o ly S p irit e n a b le s b o th
this d e m a r c a tio n a n d its tra n s c e n d e n c e a n d so m a k e s all c o m m u n ity
p o ssib le . W e h a v e to b e a r in m in d th is tr in ita r ia n a c c o u n t o f th e C h u rc h
as w e c o n s id e r its fo rm a n d s tru c tu re .
O u r s e c o n d b asic e c c le sio lo g ic al p rin c ip le is th a t th e C h u r c h arises
fro m th e k in g d o m o f G o d . T h e C h u r c h s b e in g d o e s n o t c o m e fro m
w ith in th e h is to r y in w h ic h t h e C h u rc h p re s e n tly exists, b u t fro m th a t

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w hich is to b e re v e a le d . T h e re a l id e n tity o f th e C h u r c h is th e c o m m u
n ity o f th e f u tu r e , so th e s tr u c tu r e o f th e C h u rc h m u s t reveal th e eschato n o u t o f w h ic h th e C h u r c h c o m e s. T h e th ir d basic ecclesio lo g ical
p rin c ip le is t h a t in h is to ry th e C h u rc h is a n im a g e o f th e k in g d o m o f
G o d , c r e a te d b y th e k in g d o m itself. It p o rtra y s th e k in g d o m th a t p r e
vails a g a in s t a ll o t h e r k in g d o m s. B e c a u se it re p re s e n ts G o d s ju d g m e n t
o f h isto ry , th e C h u r c h h o ld s o u t a g a in st all se c u la r, h isto ric a l realities,
a n d a g a in s t th e c u r r e n t o f h isto ry itself. T h e C h u rc h fits n o p a rtic u la r
social fo rm s, it c a n n o t b e r e p r e s e n te d by a p o litic a l p a rty o r b e a b s o rb e d
in to th e s ta te . T h e C h u rc h re m a in s a s tr a n g e r in th e w o rld , always at
o d d s w ith it, w h ile it lo o k s fo rw a rd to th e fu lfilm e n t o f tim e. T h e C h u rc h
c a n n o t b e c o n t e n t to b e id e n tifie d w'ith th e p a rtia l h isto ric a l rea litie s
o r p a rtia l a n d a n ta g o n is tic c o m m u n itie s o f th is w o rld . O u r final ecclesi
o lo g ic a l p r in c ip le is th a t th e C h u r c h s u b s ta n tia te s th e fu lfilm e n t o f tim e
th r o u g h th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t. W ith th e s e b asic ec c le sio lo g ic a l p re m ise s,
w e c a n nowrs e e h o w th e f u n c tio n o f th e C h u rc h is s tr u c tu r e d , a sse m b le d
a n ti o rg a n is e d .
F irst o f all, le t u s ta k e a lo o k a t th e C h u rc h as a w h o le . T h e L o rd
f o u n d e d o n e sin g le C h u r c h w h ic h w e id e n tify as th e B ody o f C h rist.
T h is o n e C h u r c h is e x p re s s e d a n d re a lise d in a sin g le c o m m u n ity w h ic h
n ec e ssa rily a p p e a r s in th e w o rld as m a n y c o m m u n itie s o r C h u rc h e s . It is
f o r th e sak e o f th e w o rld th a t th is e u c h a ris tic c o m m u n ity exists in m an y
p la c e s. W h e re v e r th e fa ith fu l a sse m b le , th e c o m p le te B ody o f C h ris t is
p re s e n t, a n d th e w 'holc w o rk o f G o d fo r m a n is m a d e k n o w n a n d th e
k in g d o m re v e a le d . T h e o n e C h u rc h th e r e f o re consists o f m a n y local
C h u rc h e s , e a c h o f w h ic h is th e im a g e o f th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l co m m u n ity .
F ro m its v e ry e a rlie s t tim e s th e C h u rc h was c a lle d th e c a th o lic
C h u r c h , b y w h ic h th e F a th e rs m e a n t th a t e a c h local C h u rc h re p re s e n ts
th e w h o le e u c h a r is tic assem b ly a n d t h e re c a p itu la tio n o f all th in g s,
in e a c h p a r tic u la r place.
T h e C h u r c h c o n sists o f m a n y c a th o lic C h u rc h e s . In his a tte m p ts to
d e fe a t th e D o n a tis ts , A u g u stin e e m p h a s is e d th e u n iv ersality o f th e
C h u rc h a g a in s t th e p a rtic u la ris m s o f th e D o n a tist c o m m u n itie s , so th a t
a f te r h im , th e te rm c a th o lic b e g a n to r e f e r to th e o n e w o rld w id e
C h u r c h . T h e C h u r c h in th e W est w as c o n s titu te d as a sin g le o rg a n isa
tio n , w ith a s in g le h e a d in th e b is h o p o f R o m e . In th e E ast by c o n tra s t,
th e C h u rc h w-as n o t r e g a r d e d as a sin g le o r g a n is a tio n w ith a u n iv ersal
r e a c h th a t r e q u i r e d a s in g le f ig u re h e a d . It is c h iefly this u n d e rs ta n d in g
o f th e C h u r c h as t h e im a g e o f th e e n d tim es, re a lis e d in th e d iv in e
E u c h a ris t, th a t d iffe re n tia te s th e E ast f r o m th e W est. W e r e g a rd every
assem b ly th a t p e r f o r m s th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t as th e p re s e n c e o f th e

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w h o le C h u r c h , f o r th e p r e s e n c e o f th e w h o le C h rist in th e E u c h a rist
takes p r e c e d e n c e o v e r all c o n s id e ra tio n s o f h isto ry o r d ista n c e . C h rist
is n o t d iv id e d b y g e o g ra p h y , fo r h e u n ite s all p la c c s in him self. T h e
E u c h a ris t is c e le b r a te d in c itie s s e p a r a te d by d is ta n c e , b u t th is d o e s n o t
m a k e th e m tw o E u c h a ris ts , so th e s e tw o e u c h a ris tie assem b lies d o n o t
n e e d th e e x tr in s ic fo rm o f a u n ita r y a d m in is tr a tio n to b rid g e th e dis
ta n c e b e tw e e n th e m . T h e E u c h a ris t p ro v id e s th e C h u rc h w ith unity,
f o r u n ity is w h a t th e E u c h a ris t is. E a c h o f th e C h u rc h e s th a t c e le b ra te
th e E u c h a ris t h a s th e w h o le p re s c n c c o f C h rist, in d e e d c a c h o f th e m is
th e w h o le p re s e n c e o f C h rist, f o r th a t p la c e . E a c h p la c e in w h ic h th e
E u c h a ris t is c e le b r a te d , p a rtic ip a te s in th e f u tu r e u n ity o f all tim e a n d
p lacc. W c d o n o t th e r e f o r e s e c in d iv id u a l C h u rc h c s as fra c tio n s o f
C h rist, f o r e v e ry C h u r c h is th e in d iv isib le p re s e n c e o f C h rist th a t u n ite s
a n d r e c a p itu la te s all th in g s.
W c tu r n n o w to th e a c c o u n t o f th e C h u rc h given by W estern theology.
W e h av e se e n t h a t W e ste rn th eo lo g y c h a ra c te ristic a lly a ttrib u te s p rio rity
to being, m a k in g p a r tic u la r re a litie s less im p o rta n t th a n w h a t is g e n e ra l
a n d u n iv e rsa l. T h e C h u rc h is o n e , b u t th is in d iv isib le C h u rc h is m a d e
u p o f m a n y C h u rc h e s . S o w h ic h c o m e s first, th e p a r tic u la r C h u rc h e s
th a t g a t h e r in e a c h p a r tic u la r p la c e , o r th e u n iv ersal C h u rc h ? W estern
th e o lo g y h a s ta k e n th e view th a t it is th e o n e u n iv e rsa l C h u rc h w hich
c o m e s first, a n d th a t e a c h in d iv id u a l C h u r c h is c o n s e q u e n t o n it.
It d e fin e s c a th o lic as w o rld w id e , a n d a ttr ib u te s th e w o rld w id e C h u rc h
w ith a s tr u c tu r e th a t is i n d e p e n d e n t o f all local C h u rc h e s . T h e o n e
C h u r c h s ta n d s o v e r all th e m a n y C h u rc h e s , a n d th e p a p a c y o v e r all
o th e r b ish o p s . J u s t as th is th e o lo g y gives p rio rity to th e e s s e n c e o v e r
th e p e rs o n s , W e s te rn e c c le sio lo g y gives p r e c e d e n c e to th e w orldw ide,
'e c u m e n ic a l' C h u r c h o v e r th e m any, a c tu a l C h u rc h e s . K arl R a h n e r a n d
J o s e p h R a tz in g e r u se d th e s ta n d a r d d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n e sse n c e a n d
e x is te n c e to a s s e rt th is: R a h n e r s u b s e q u e n tly p o in te d o u t th a t th e o n e
C h u rc h c a n n o t ex ist w ith o u t lo c a l C h u rc h e s . N o n e th e le s s th e single
w o rld w id e C h u r c h w as a s s u m e d to b e p r io r to th e local C h u rc h e s . T h is
w as g iv en e x p re s s io n b y th e F irst V a tic a n C o u n c il (1870) w ith th e ru lin g
th a t th e P o p e is in fa llib le , a n d th a t all o t h e r b is h o p s m u s t b e o b e d ie n t
to h im . T h is is n o t sim p ly a ju d ic ia l m a tte r, b u t a c o n s e q u e n c e o f p la c in g
e sse n c e b e f o r e e x is te n c e , t h e o n e b e fo re t h e m any.
T h e S e c o n d V a tic a n C o u n c il in tr o d u c e d a n e w ecclesiology, a n n o u n c
in g th a t e a c h lo c a l C h u rc h is th e w h o le C h u r c h in e a c h th a t p la c e . E ach
local C h u r c h is c a th o lic a n d c o m p le te in itself, u n d e r its b ish o p . O r th o
d o x th e o lo g ia n s h a d c le a rly h a d so m e in flu e n c e o n R o m a n C a th o lic
ecclesiology. H o w ev er, th e new ly a c k n o w le d g e d ca th o lic ity o f th e local

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C h u r c h w as i n c o n flic t w ith th e o ld e r view th a t c ath o lic ity m e a n t th e


u n ity o f th e w h o le C h u r c h (ecumene) ab o v e all p a rtic u la r C h u rc h e s.
V atican II d i d n o t fo rm a lly o v e r tu r n V atican I b u t sim p ly a sse rte d
th a t th e n e w ecclesiology' w as fu lly in k e e p in g w ith th a t o f th e p re v io u s
c o u n c il. H o w ev er, fa r fro m b e in g c o m p le m e n ta ry ', th e d e c isio n s o f
th e s e tw o c o u n c ils se e m to b e c o n tra d ic to ry , so R o m a n C a th o lic ccclcsiolo g y h as to c la rify this. Its c o n c e ssio n s to th e O r th o d o x C h u rc h e s have
o p e n e d n ew p o ssib ilitie s b u t th e y h av e a lso p u t R o m a n C a th o lic ecclesi
o lo g y in a d ile m m a . It m u s t e i t h e r m o v e to w a rd s c o n c e d in g th e c a th o lic
ity o f e a c h lo c a l C h u r c h , o r it c a n ig n o r e o t h e r C h u rc h e s a n d c o n tin u e
to in sist th a t t h e a u th o r ity o f th e P o p e p re v a ils o v e r th e local b ish o p s, in
w h ic h case V a tic a n I will c o n tin u e to r e p r e s e n t th e re a l logic o f R o m a n
C a th o lic ecclesiology.
I f w e d o n o t w a n t to u n d e r s ta n d c a th o lic in th e se n se o f a sin g le
w o rld w id e C h u r c h u n ite d by a sin g le o rg a n is a tio n , W'hat is th e re la tio n
s h ip b e tw e e n th e p a r tic u la r C h u rc h e s? How c a n w e fin d th e rig h t
b a la n c e b e tw e e n a n ecclesio lo g y th a t sh o w s th e fu lln e ss a n d ca th o lic ity
o f e a c h lo c a l C h u r c h , a n d a n ecclesio lo g y th a t u n d e r s ta n d s ca th o lic ity
o n ly as u n iv ersality ?
E a c h lo cal C h u rc h is f u n d a m e n ta lly re la te d to e v e iy o th e r. T h is
u n ity c o n sists in th e c o u n c ils o f th e C h u rc h w h ic h e x p re ss th e te a c h in g
of all th e C h u r c h e s th a t to g e th e r c o n s titu te th e o n e C h u rc h w orldw ide.
T h e b a la n c e b e tw e e n th e C h u rc h e s a n d th e c o u n c ils is n o t easy to get
rig h t, fo r th e c o u n c il m u s t n o t b e allowre d to b e c o m e a n a u to n o m o u s
in s titu tio n s u s p e n d e d o v e r all C h u rc h e s to g e th e r.
In th e W est th e id e a th a t c o u n c ils e x p re ss th e s u p re m e a u th o r ity o f
th e C h u rc h h a s b e e n te r m e d c o n c ilia ris m . B o th b e fo re a n d a fte r p a p a l
in fallib ility w as m a d e a n e x p lic it d o c tr in e b y th e F irst V atican C o u n c il
in 1870, W e ste rn C a th o lic s a r g u e d f o r c o u n c ils a n d h o p e d to establish
lim its to p a p a l a u th o rity . It is a c o m m o n a s s u m p tio n th a t th e O r th o d o x
h a v e c o u n c ils i n th e sa m e way th a t R o m a n C a th o lic s h a v e th e P o p e , b u t
th e c o u n c il d o e s n o t s ta n d ab o v e th e lo cal C h u rc h e s in th is way. N o
c o u n c il is a llo w e d to in te r v e n e in t h e in te r n a l issues o f a local C h u rc h .
In th e th ir d c e n tu r y S a in t C y p ria n s e t d o w n th e p rin c ip le th a t every
b is h o p is to le a d h is owrn d io c e s e , o r d a in w h o m e v e r h e w ish es, a n d be
re s p o n sib le d ire c tly to G o d . Howcvcr, ig n o ra n c e o f c c c lcsio lo g y h a s p r o
d u c e d m a n y a n o m a lie s , s o w e o fte n h e a r d e m a n d s f o r a c o u n c il to in te r
v e n e in issu es o f a lo cal C h u r c h . O r th o d o x ecclesio lo g y p ro v id e s n o
ju s tific a tio n f o r s u c h in te r v e n tio n b e c a u s e th is w 'ould c re a te a sin g le
u n iv e rsa l a u th o r ity o v e r all C h u rc h e s .

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H ow ever, m a n y issu es a r e c o m m o n to m o re th a n o n e C h u rc h .
A b is h o p c a n o n ly m a k e a d e c is io n f o r h is C h u rc h if it will n o t affect
a n o t h e r C h u r c h . I f t h e issu e w ith in h is o w n d io c e se h a s w id e r im p lic a
tio n s it r e q u ir e s a c o u n c il w h ic h c a n t h e n m a k e th e d e c isio n f o r all th e
C h u r c h e s in v o lv e d . E v ery b is h o p h as to o r d a in , a n d th is d o e s n o t n e e d
th e m e d ia tio n o f o t h e r C h u rc h e s . H ow ever, w h a t a b o u t th e case o f
s o m e o n e w h o is e x c o m m u n ic a te d fro m h o ly c o m m u n io n in o n e C h u rc h
w h o th e n g o e s to a n o t h e r C h u r c h to re c e iv e c o m m u n io n ? T h is was
th e issu e th a t th e F ifth C a n o n o f th e C o u n c il o f N ic a e a (325) r u le d o n .
H a v in g b e e n d e n i e d c o m m u n io n by th e ir o w n C h u rc h e s , m a n y p e o p le
w ere g o in g to o t h e r C h u r c h e s to receiv e c o m m u n io n a n d c o m p la in in g
th a t th e r e a s o n s fo r th e s e e x c o m m u n ic a tio n s w e re n o t b e in g m a d e
clear. B ish o p s th e r e f o r e to o k th e d e c is io n to m e e t tw ice a year, in
L e n t a n d in t h e a u tu m n , to e x a m in e cases o f e x c lu sio n fro m c o m m u
n io n . T h e r i g h t to e x c lu d e s o m e o n e fro m c o m m u n io n w as tr a n s f e rr e d
fro m th e lo c a l C h u r c h to a c o u n c il. W h e n e v e r th e issues a r e c o m m o n ,
a c o u n c il is r e q u ir e d , th e a u th o r ity o f w h ich is lim ite d to th a t issue.
A c o u n c il c a n n o t im p o se a n y th in g o n a C h u r c h , u n le ss o th e r C h u rc h e s
a r e a ffe c te d b y th e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f its a c tio n s. T h is p r in c ip le is basic to
co n c ilia rism .
T h e o t h e r b asic ru le th a t m a in ta in s t h e b a la n c e b e tw e e n any
p a r tic u la r C h u r c h a n d th e w o rld w id e C h u rc h is th a t th e c o u n c ils th a t
d e c id e o n issu e s in c o m m o n , m u s t b e c o m p ris e d o f b ish o p s, a n d all
b is h o p s m u s t b e allo w e d to ta k e p a rt in th e m . If b is h o p s a r e e x c lu d e d
fro m a c o u n c il, th e c o u n c il b e c o m e s a n a u th o r ity th a t is im p o s e d on
th e C h u rc h e s . I f a b is h o p is e x c lu d e d fro m a c o u n c il, w h a te v e r d e c isio n s
th a t c o u n c il ta k e s w o u ld sim p ly b e im p o s e d o n th e C h u rc h le d by th e
e x c lu d e d b is h o p . W h e n its b is h o p p a rtic ip a te s in th a t c o u n c il, th a t
C h u r c h s h a re s in th e d e c is io n s ta k e n by th a t c o u n c il, s o th e y c a n n o t
b e said to b e im p o s e d o n it fro m o u ts id e . T h e C h u r c h m a in ta in e d th e
b a la n c e b e tw e e n th e lo cal a n d th e u n iv e rsa l, by m a k in g th e c o u n c il th e
m e a n s o f e x p r e s s in g th e c o n s e n s u s o f C h u rc h e s , a n d n o t allo w in g it to
b c c o m c a n a u th o r ity ab o v e th e m . As S a in t Ig n a tiu s says, b ish o p s
th r o u g h o u t th e w o rld h a v e th e m in d o f C h ris t (M ag n e sia n s 7 ). T h e y
a g r e e in C h ris t, a n d th e y c o m e to a g r e e m e n t o n e a c h issue by m e a n s o f
a c o u n c il w h ic h e x p re sse s th e ir u n ity in C h rist.
A n y c o u n c il th a t d o e s n o t in v ite o r in c lu d e all b ish o p s, is serio u sly
at fa u lt. S u c h is th e p r e s s u r e to w a rd s c e n tra lis in g a u th o rity th a t th e re
h a v e b e e n , a n d in d e e d still a r c , m a n y s u c h fa ilu re s in th e p r o p e r
e x e rc ise o f co n c ilia rity . If n a tio n a l g o v e rn m e n ts p re v e n t b is h o p s from

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trav e llin g , as t h e E c u m e n ic a l P a tria rc h h a s o fte n b e e n p re v e n te d from


tra v e llin g to th e C h u rc h e s o f h is p a tr ia r c h a te , th e r e is n o th in g th a t
a n y o n e c a n d o . H ow ever, w h e n all b ish o p s a r c a b le to b e p r e s e n t at
a c o u n c il, y et s o m e o f th e m stay away, o r so m e a r e allo w ed to d o m in a te
th e p ro c e e d in g s , c r e a tin g a n o m a lie s , t h e f o u n d a tio n s o f th e C h u r c h a re
th r e a te n e d . O f c o u rs e th e r e is always th e issue o f w h e th e r all re p r e
sen tativ es o f a ll C h u rc h e s c a n b e p r e s e n t, w ith o u t th e n u m b e r s m a k in g
th e c o u n c il unw ieldy, w h ic h is w hy th e p ra c tic e o f a lte r n a tin g w h ich
b is h o p is to p a r tic ip a te w as e s ta b lish e d . T h e a lte r n a tin g p a rtic ip a tio n
o f b ish o p s in o r d e r o f s e n io rity o f o r d in a tio n e n s u re s th a t all b ish o p s
p a rtic ip a te in th e c o u n c il a t s o m e tim e.
N atu rally , t h e id e a l s itu a tio n is th a t all b is h o p s p a rtic ip a te , w h ich is
why, as o f te n as th e C h u r c h w as a b le a n d it was ju d g e d necessary, th e
C h u r c h w o u ld c o n v e n e a n ecumenical c o u n c il, w h ich f o r this re aso n
a c q u ir e d a p re s tig e a n d a u th o r ity g r e a te r th a n th a t o f a n y local synod.
H ow ever, th e e sse n c e o f a c o u n c il, w h e th e r o r n o t it is e c u m e n ic a l, is
to e x p re s s th e u n ity a n d c o n s e n s u s o f th e C h u rc h e s .
T o s o m e it m a y s e e m as if th e C h u rc h h a s tw o h e a d s , th e P o p e for
th e C a th o lic s a n d th e E c u m e n ic a l P a tr ia r c h f o r th e O rth o d o x . H ow ever,
this is n o t h o w it is. T h e p a tr ia r c h a te s a n d a u to c e p h a lo u s C h u rc h e s
d e v e lo p e d as e x p re ssio n s o f th e c o n c ilia rity o f th e C h u rc h , n o t as
in s titu tio n s p o s itio n e d ab o v e th e C h u r c h . T h e five p a tria rc h a te s w e re
th e sy n o d s o f th e ir five re sp e c tiv e te rrito rie s , as a r e th e a u to c e p h a lo u s
C h u rc h e s , t h a t d o n o t b e lo n g to a n y o f th e p a tria rc h a te s . T h e ir sta tu s
is g o v e rn e d b y th e T h irty -F o u rth A p o sto lic C a n o n , a c c o rd in g to w hich
all b is h o p s in o n e te r r ito r y h a v e to a c k n o w le d g e a sin g le h e a d . I t w as th e
n e e d to m e e t in c o u n c ils th a t b r o u g h t th e s e p rim a c ie s in to b e in g ,
b e c a u s e it r e q u ir e s a p rim a tia l b is h o p to c o n v e n e a c o u n c il a n d take
th e ch air. T h e C a n o n g o e s o n to say th a t th e b is h o p s m u st a c t w ith th e
p rim a te , a n d h e m u s t a c t w ith th e m . T h is w as th e s p irit in w hich
th e P a tr ia r c h a te s a n d th e se lf-g o v e rn in g C h u rc h e s d e v e lo p e d , a n d th e
re s u lt is th a t w e h a v e a p r im a te a n d a s y n o d in every territo ry . If this
p a tte r n is a b u s e d , e ith e r b e c a u s e a p r im a te o r th e b is h o p s h a v e exces
sive p ow er, th is is n o t a s tru c tu ra l fa u lt b u t a m a tte r to b e p u t rig h t by
th o s e involved.
E a c h o f th e s e lo cal C h u r c h c s is le a d b y a p rim a te . If a sy n o d h a s to b e
c a lle d b e c a u s e j o i n t a c tio n is r e q u ir e d , s o m e o n e h a s to p re s id e . F o r th e
g r e a te r p a rt o f C h ris tia n h is to iy th e B ish o p o f C o n s ta n tin o p le h a s b e e n
a c k n o w le d g e d as th is p rim a te . I f t h e B ish o p o f C o n s ta n tin o p le acts
w ith in th e s p ir it o f th is C a n o n , d o in g n o th in g w ith o u t ta k in g th e o th e rs
in to a c c o u n t, a n ti th e y d o n o th in g w ith o u t ta k in g h im in to a c c o u n t, th e

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in s titu tio n r e m a in s h e a lth y a n d w e h av e n o p ro b le m . T h e P o p e has


a ssu m e d th e r ig h t to in te rv e n e in a n y lo cal C h u rc h , w ith o u t c o n su lta
tio n o f p rim a te s , a n d e v e n w h e n h e d o c s c o n s u lt th e m , th e P o p e m a k es
a fin al d e c is io n a lo n e . N o w if, o u t o f c o u rte sy o r a n y o th e r re a s o n , th e
b is h o p s m a k e th is c o n c e ssio n to t h e E c u m e n ic a l P a tria rc h as th e ir
p r im a te a n d allo w h im to o ffic ia te w h e re v e r h e w an ts, th is is th e ir ow n
d e c isio n , b u t th e r e is n o p a p a l e le m e n t to th e in s titu tio n o f th e
E c u m e n ic a l P a tr ia r c h . T h is is w h a t h as to b e sa id a b o u t th e p a rtic u la rity
a n d u n iv e rsa lity o f th e C h u rc h .

V I. T h e C h u r c h

around th e

B ish o p

L e t u s n o w ta k e a lo o k a t th e lo c a l C h u r c h . H ow c a n a C h u r c h b e o rg a n
ised o n th e b asis th a t w e h a v e set o u t? T h e s tr u c tu r e o f e a c h C h u rc h
c o m e s fro m t h e p e r f o r m a n c e o f t h e d iv in e E u c h a rist, in w h ic h th e
g o o d o r d e r o f th e C h u rc h d e p ic ts th e g o o d o r d e r o f th e e sch a to lo g ical
c o m m u n io n t h a t will b e re v e a le d at th e e n d tim es. T h e offices c a n n o t
b e a lte r e d w ith o u t d is to r tin g t h e im a g e o f th is e sc h a to lo g ic a l c o m m u
n io n . W e h a v e to d is tin g u is h b e tw e e n th e o ffices th a t c a n b e a lte re d
to r e s p o n d to h isto ric a l c o n tin g e n c ie s , a n d th a t essen tial fo rm w hich
cannot be changed.
L e t u s s ta rt w ith th e e le m e n ts w h ic h re la te to th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l c o m
m unity, a n d w h ic h r e p r e s e n t w h a t is c o n s ta n t in th e s tr u c tu r e o f th e
C h u r c h . T h e p ra y e r o f th e p r e p a r a tio n o f gifts (proskomide) says th a t
a t th e fu lfilm e n t o f tim e , as th e k in g d o m o f G o d b e g in s to b re a k in , th e
s c a tte r e d p e o p le o f G o d will a sse m b le to g e th e r w ith o n e m in d .
A C h u rc h w h o s e m e m b e rs d o n o t c o m e to g e th e r w ith o n e m in d b u t
re m a in d iv id e d a n d d is o r d e r e d , c a n n o t d e p ic t th e fu lfilm e n t o f tim e,
a n d so c a n n o t b e th e C h u r c h , f o r w h ic h th e o rd e rly a n d u n ite d assem
bly o f G o d 's p e o p le is essen tial.
T h e s e c o n d e le m e n t, w h ic h a lso c o m e s fro m th e k in g d o m o f G od,
w h ic h is to say, fro m th e c o m m u n ity m a d e c o m p le te at th e e s c h a to n , is
th a t th e c e n t r e o f th is assem b ly is C h rist. I t is n o t e n o u g h f o r G o d s
p e o p le sim p ly to a sse m b le , b u t th e y m u s t d o s o a r o u n d th e b ish o p .
T h e th ir d e le m e n t is th a t C h ris t is s u r r o u n d e d by th e tw elve A postles.
T h e y m u s t b e p r e s e n t to id e n tify th e tr u e C h rist w h o is th e fu lfilm e n t
o f h istory. T h e G o sp e ls say th a t th e r e will b e g re a t c o n fu s io n a b o u t
w ho th e re a l C h r is t is; th e r e will b e m a n y m a k in g cla im s th a t id en tify
C h ris t h e r e o r th e r e . M a n y C h ristia n s will b e m isled b e c a u se th e y will
n o t k n o w w h ic h is tru ly th e g a th e r in g p o in t a r o u n d w h ic h th e sc a tte re d
p e o p le o f G o d a r e to a sse m b le . B u t th e twelve A p o stles, as th e o n e s

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w h o a c tu a lly saw th e ris e n L o rd , will re c o g n ise C h ris t a n d b e a b le to


verify th a t th is really is th e o n e w h o ro se f r o m th e d e a d , a n d th a t h e
really is t h e o n e a p p o in te d by G o d to b e th e S on o f M a n w h o will ju d g e
th e w o rld . B e c a u se it re lie s o n th e A p o stle s to id e n tify h im , th e C h u rc h
is te r m e d a p o s to lic .
T h is w hy it is n o t e n o u g h to say th a t C h rist is o u r focal p o in t a t th e
e s c h a to n . W e also n e e d th e A p o stle s to c o r r o b o r a te th a t th is is in d e e d
J e s u s C h rist, t h e g e n u in e id e n tity o f C h rist. T h e ir p r e s e n c e a r o u n d
C h ris t is also e s s e n tia l fo r th e im a g e o f th e fu lfilm e n t o f history. T h e se
a r e th e e le m e n ts o f th e e sc h a to lo g ic a l c o m m u n ity , w ith o u t w h ic h th e re
c a n b e n o C h u r c h o r k in g d o m o f G o d .
In th e E u c h a ris t th e C h u r c h is b e c o m in g th e im a g e o f th e c o m m u
n io n o f G o d o n E a rth . In th e C h u r c h th is im a g e is b e in g re a lis e d h e r e
o n e a r th in a d v a n c e o f th e L o r d s r e tu r n . In th e d iv in e E u c h a rist , all th e
s c a tte r e d p e o p le o f G o d a sse m b le to g e th e r, w ith o n e m in d , w h o is
C h rist, th e h e a d o f th e b o d y a n d th e s u m m a tio n o f all c r e a tio n o ffe re d
to th e F a th e r. T h e b is h o p d e p ic ts C h ris t f o r us in e a c h p la c e , so th e
b is h o p is h e a d a n d fo c u s o f th e E u c h a ris t a n d w e g a th e r a r o u n d h im .
T h e b is h o p lifts all c re a tio n to th e th r o n e o f G o d , p ra y in g : W e o ffe r to
y o u th e s e g ifts fro m y o u r o w n g ifts in all a n d f o r a ll'. In th e p e rs o n o f th e
b ish o p , C h r is ts re c a p itu la tio n o f all th in g s to th e F a th e r is b r o u g h t
w ith in o u r h e a r in g .
W e sa id th a t C h ris t will n o t r e tu r n a lo n e , b u t s u r r o u n d e d by his
a p o stle s. S a in t I g n a tiu s saw th e im a g e o f th e tw elve A p o stle s in th e d iv in e
E u c h a ris t o f th e lo c a l C h u r c h , in th e p e rs o n s o f th e p re sb y te rs w h o sur
r o u n d th e b is h o p . T h e a n c ie n t C h u rc h h a d a se t o f th r o n e s , a sy n th ro n o n ', a t th e c e n tr e o f w h ic h s a t th e b is h o p , a n d a r o u n d h im sa t his
p re sb y te rs in a c le a rly e sc h a to lo g ic a l im a g e th a t re ca lls C h ris ts p ro m ise
to th e tw elve, th a t y o u sh a ll b e s e a te d o n tw elve th r o n e s , ju d g i n g th e
tw elve trib e s o f Is ra e l. T h e A p o stle s p o in t u s to w a rd s C h rist.
G a th e r e d a r o u n d th e b is h o p th e p re s b y te rs a r e th e im a g e o f th e
A p o stle s, p o in tin g u s to C h rist. T h e p re s b y te rs first ta sk th e r e f o r e was
te a c h in g , c o n v e n in g asse m b lie s, p r e a c h in g a n d c a te c h iz in g . S a in t J o h n
C h ry so sto m a n d O r ig e n h a v e le ft u s th e h o m ilie s th e y p r e a c h e d as p re s
by ters. W h ile b is h o p s g av e u s o u r litu rg ie s a n d in p a r tic u la r th e anapho
ras, th e e u c h a ris tic p ra y e rs o f o ffe rin g , p re sb y te rs ta u g h t, p r e a c h e d a n d
lo o k e d a f te r t h e a d m in is tr a tio n o f th e C h u r c h , a n d to g e th e r w ith th e
b ish o p , w e re m e m b e r s o f th e sy n o d o f th e C h u r c h in th a t p lace.
H ow ever, th is a r r a n g e m e n t d id n o t last lo n g . By th e th i r d c e n tu r y th e
C h u r c h was b e g in n in g to ta k e a d if f e r e n t c o u rse , p a rtic u la rly in th e
W est, as e v id e n c e d b y C y p ria n . T h e n o tio n o f th e b ish o p s as th e im ag e

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147

o f C h ris t c h a n g e d in fa v o u r o f th e id e a th a t th e y w e re th e im a g e o f th e
A p o stles. N ow adays a b is h o p is r e g a r d e d as a su c c e sso r to th e A postles,
so h is p r im a r y re sp o n sib ility is to te a c h . H ow ever, S a in t Ig n a tiu s says
th a t it is n o t th e b is h o p w h o d o e s th e te a c h in g a n d th a t w e sh o u ld
re s p e c t th e s ile n c e , w h ic h a c c o rd in g to h is u n d e r s ta n d in g , th e b ish o p
m a y m a in ta in f o r e v e ry th in g , a p a r t fro m th e anaphora o f th e d iv in e
E u c h a ris t, w h ic h is h is re sp o n sib ility solely.
T h e c o n te m p o r a r y view t h a t t h e p rim a ry ro le o f th e b is h o p is te a c h
in g a n d o n ly s e c o n d a rily th e E u c h a ris t, is a d e a r d iv c rg e n c c fro m th e
ea rly u n d e r s ta n d in g o f th e C h u r c h . In th e M id d le A ges, te a c h in g
b e c a m e th e b is h o p s c h ie f ro le, w h ile th e c e le b ra tin g th e litu rg y was
h a n d e d o v e r t o th e p re sb y te rs. T h u s th e p rie s t p e rfo rm s th e liturgy',
w h ile th e b is h o p is p rim a rily a m a n a g e r, w h o e x h a u sts h im s e lf in the
a d m in is tr a tio n o f th e C h u r c h . H e r e is a v ery s ig n ific a n t d iv e rg e n c e from
th e e s c h a to lo g ic a l u n d e r s ta n d in g o f th e b ish o p .
Q u ite e a rly a f o u r th e le m e n t was in tr o d u c e d in to th e C h u rc h . T h is is
th e ro le o f t h e d e a c o n as a lin k b e tw e e n th o s e w h o p re s id e a t th e E u c h a
rist a n d t h e p e o p le as w h o le . D e a c o n s a r c clergy, b u t th e y a r e n o t priests,
so th e y c a n n o t le a d th e litu rg y o r b e se a te d . T h e y g o b a c k a n d fo rth
b e tw e e n p e o p le a n d th e ir m in iste rs, b r in g in g th e gifts fro m th e p e o p le
to th e b is h o p w h o p re s id e s a t th e E u c h a ris t, p assin g o n to th e p rie sts th e
n a m e s o f th o s e w h o a r e to b e p ra y e d fo r in th e liturgy, a n d giving th e
sa n c tifie d g ifts to t h e p e o p le . T h e d e a c o n re ce iv es th e gifts th a t th e
p e o p le b rin g , a n d w h e n th e y h a v e b e e n s a n c tifie d h e d is trib u te s th e m
to th e p e o p le as th e b o d y a n d b lo o d o f C h rist. H e is th e d y n a m ic link
b e tw e e n m in is te rs a n d p e o p le th a t is c ru c ia l to th e u n ity o f th e
C h u rc h .
T h e se o ffic e s m u s t all b e p r e s e n t in o r d e r to re p r e s e n t th e e s c h a to
logical im a g e o f th e C h u r c h as th e assem b ly o f G o d 's p e o p le , g a th e r e d
a r o u n d th e b is h o p , w h o is fla n k e d by p re sb y te rs o r p rie sts, w ith th e
d e a c o n s f o r m in g th e d y n a m ic lin k b e tw e e n th e p e o p le a n d th e m in is
ters. S a in t I g n a tiu s in s is te d th a t it is f o u r o ffices, o f p e o p le , d e a c o n s ,
p re sb y te rs a n d b is h o p , w h ic h m a k e s th is assem b ly th e C h u rc h .
T h e C h u r c h h a s a v a rie ty o f f u n c tio n s a n d re la tio n s h ip s th a t a r e n o t
p ro v id e d b y th is s tr u c tu r e o f o ffices, s u c h as te a c h in g , m issio n ary w ork,
c h a rity a n d s p iritu a l d ire c tio n . H ow ever, th e s e will n o t pass o v e r in to
th e e s c h a to n . T h e r e will b e n o e v an g elists a t th e fu lfilm e n t o f tim e,
b e c a u s e th e n e e d f o r e v a n g e lism a n d c o n v e rsio n will b e over. B ishops
a n d d e a c o n s w ill g iv e way to th e o rig in a l, C h ris t w ith his a p o stles. T h e se
re a litie s a r e e ss e n tia l c o m p o n e n ts o f th e k in g d o m w h ich is m a d e u p o f
C h rist w ith h is a p o stle s a n d all th e c h ild r e n o f G o d g a th e r e d a r o u n d

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h im . T h o u g h th e r e a r c o t h e r fu n c tio n s th a t a r c e sse n tia l to u s to d ay


th e y m a k e n o d ir e c t c o n tr ib u tio n in th e p u b lic f o r m a tio n o f th e im a g e
o f th e k in g d o m o f G o d .

VTI. S o n a n d S p i r i t

N ow w e m u s t tu r n to th e re la tio n s h ip o f C h rist a n d th e H oly S p irit in


o r d e r to m a k e c le a r th e issu e o f th e o n e a n d th e m a n y in th e C h u rc h .
We h a v e to f in d a n ecclesio lo g y th a t is s h a p e d by th e r ig h t d o c tr in e o f
G o d a n d so a b le to h o ld C h risto lo g y a n d p n c u m a to lo g y in th e ir p ro p e r
re la tio n sh ip .
W e h av e s a id th a t W e ste rn th e o lo g y te n d s to e m p h a sise C h risto lo g y
a t th e e x p e n s e o f p n c u m a to lo g y . W e ste rn th e o lo g y is la rg ely c o n c e r n e d
w ith h isto ry , t h e in c a r n a tio n a n d th e life o f C h rist. T h e H o ly S p irit
h o w e v e r lib e r a te s th e S o n fro m h istory, b e c a u se th e in c a r n a te S on
to o k o n h im s e lf th e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f m a n s re fu sa l a n d fall. H e b e c a m e
a m a n , ta k in g o n th e c o n s tra in ts o f tim e a n d sp a c e , a lo n g w ith all th e
c o n s e q u e n c e s o f o u r fa lle n history, b e in g b o m at a sp ec ific m o m e n t o f
histo ry , in P a le s tin e u n d e r th e ru le o f C a e sa r A u g u stu s, a n d c ru c ifie d
u n d e r P o n tiu s Pilate.
O u r h is to ry c a rrie s d e a th w ith in it. T o ta k e th e e x a m p le o f o u r ow n
in d iv id u a l lifc-storics, th e w ay in w h ic h w e live in h isto ry a n d e x p e r ie n c e
h is to ry re la te s to th e fa c t th a t th e r e w as a tim e th a t w e d id n o t exist a n d
th e r e will c o m e a tim e w h e n w e sh a ll 110 lo n g e r ex ist. O u r h isto rical
e x is te n c e is in te rw o v e n w ith d e a th : it is a th in g o f g a p s a n d h o le s, a n d
o n e o f th e s e g a p s will tu r n o u t to b e a n e n d , a f te r w h ich life will b e over
f o r us.
T h is w as t h e life th a t t h e S o n e n t e r e d in th e in c a rn a tio n . S in c e it was
th e S o n r a t h e r th a n th e S p irit w h o e n te r e d o u r life a n d b e c a m e in c a r
n a te , it is h e r a t h e r th a n th e S p irit w h o b e a rs th e d is so lu tio n a n d d e a th
th a t a r c t h e o u tc o m e o f o u r h istory. T h e S p irit sta n d s by th e S on a n d
finally s u s ta in s h im th r o u g h all th e tr a u m a th a t co m e s w ith his involve
m e n t in fa lle n c re a tio n .
In ta k in g o n h u m a n flesh , th e S o n to o k 011 d e a th a n d su ffe re d th e
p a in o f th e c ro ss a n d d e a th . H ow ever, d e a th d id n o t su c c e e d in h o ld in g
o n to h im so h e was n o t fin ally o v e rc o m e by it. H e was ra ise d fro m th e
clcacl b y th e H o ly S p irit. T h e b ib lical w itn ess is c le a r th a t it w as th e
F a th e r w h o ra is e d th e S o n th r o u g h th e H o ly S p irit. W h a te v e r o c c u rs in
C hristo lo g y is a m a tte r o f p e rs o n s , n o t o f n a tu r e s , so th e S p irit is c ru c ia l
to all C h risto lo g y . I t is n o t e n o u g h to say th a t it was C h ris ts d iv in e n a tu r e
th a t o v e rc a m e d e a th . T h e id e a th a t it w as by h is d iv in e n a tu r e th a t C h rist

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o v e rc a m e d e a t h w as in tr o d u c e d b y P o p e L e o I in th e c o u n c il o f C h a lc e
d o n , a g a in st C y rils in sis te n c e th a t a g e n c y c a n b e a ttr ib u te d o n ly to
p e rs o n s , n o t t o n a tu re s .
W e ste rn th e o lo g y te n d s to e m p h a sise C h risto lo g y a t th e e x p e n s e o f
th e H o ly S p irit. W h e n th e W e ste rn C h u rc h e s d id ev en tu a lly d e v e lo p
a p n e u m a to lo g y , it w as n o t in te g r a te d in to its ccclesiology, so th e C h u rc h
w as r e g a r d e d a s p rim a rily a n h is to ric a l reality, to w h ic h th e S p irit b rin g s
a n a d d itio n a l a n d a lm o s t c o s m e tic e le m e n t. F o r W e ste rn th eo lo g y , th e
C h u r c h w as b u ilt solely fro m t h e m a te ria l o f history, so th is c o m m u n ity
is g iv en its f o r m b y th e p ast, a n d th e n th e H oly S p irit is allo w ed to
a n im a te it. H ow ever, t h e tr u th is th a t th e H o ly S p irit b u ild s th e C h u rc h
to g e th e r w ith th e S o n a n d is p r e s e n t a t th e fo u n d a tio n s w ith th e Son:
th e S p irit d o e s n o t a rriv e w h e n th e C h u r c h is c o m p le te .
T h e C h u r c h is th e in d iv isib le a c t o f th e tr iu n e G o d in w h ich all
th e p e rs o n s o f th e T rin ity a r c in v o lv ed so w e m u s t allow n o sen se o f
c o m p e titio n b e tw e e n th e p e rs o n s o f G o d to c r e e p in to o u r a c c o u n t o f
th e C h u rc h . T h e c h ris t o -m o n ism o f W e stern e c c lesio lo g y te n d s to
a ssu m e th a t th e C h u rc h b e g a n a t c r a tio n , o r p e rh a p s w ith th e in c a rn a
tio n , a n d th a t it w ill e n d w ith th e c o m in g o f C h rist, m a k in g th e C h u rc h
a k in d o f i n te r im m e a su re .
T h e E ast r e s p o n d e d b y o v e r-e m p h a sisin g th e ro le o f th e H oly S pirit.
In o r d e r to d e m o n s tr a te h is d iffe re n c e fro m th e W est, A lexis K h o m iak o v
d e c la r e d th a t th e C h u rc h is th e c o m m u n io n o f th e H oly S p irit, a n d
so o m itte d its f o u n d a tio n in C h ris t en tire ly . K h o m ia k o v d e c la r e d th a t
th e O r th o d o x m u s t r e g a r d th e C h u r c h as th e c o m m u n io n o f th e H oly
S p irit, a n d n o t as th e B o d y o f th e h isto ric a l C h rist. T h is im m ed ia tely
in tro d u c e s a n o p p o s itio n b e tw e e n th e S p irit a n d th e S o n , w h ic h re p re
se n ts a n in a d m is s ib le division in G o d . S ad ly w e se e th is division o fte n
e n o u g h in t h e a s s e rtio n th a t th e H o ly S p irit h a s n o th in g to d o w ith
th e tra d itio n a l in s titu tio n o f th e C h u r c h , o r t h a t th e g o sp e l c a n n o t b e
c o n f in e d w ith in in s titu tio n a l fra m e w o rk s. W e se e it in th e c o n tra st
b e tw e e n th e s u p p o s e d f r e e d o m o f c h a ris m a tic ecclesial c o m m u n itie s ,
a n d th e C h u r c h c s w ith in s titu tio n a l a p o sto lic a n d e p isc o p a l m inistry.
T h is c o n tr a s t is th e d isa s tro u s o u tc o m e o f e m p h a s is in g p n e u m a to lo g y
a t th e e x p e n s e o f C hristology.
W h e n e v e r a n e w c h a rism a tic le a d e r s ta rts a n e w a n d m o re s p iritu a l
co m m u n ity , th e y h a v e d iv id e d th e b o d y o f C h rist in to s p iritu a l a n d n o n
sp iritu a l, o r c h a ris m a tic a n d n o n -c h a ris m a tic , a n d d e c id e d th a t th e y d o
n o t n e e d h a lf o f th e b o d y o f C h rist. S u c h a d is tin c tio n b e tw e e n th e sp iri
tu a l a n d th e in s titu tio n a l C h u rc h m e a n s th e a b a n d o n m e n t o f o rd i
n a ry C h ris tia n s , if w e m ay call th e m th a t. A re n o t all C h ris tia n s m e m b e rs

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o f th e b o d y o f C h rist? H a s th e S p irit a b a n d o n e d th e m ? C h a rism a tic


le a d e r s w h o s e p a r a te th e m se lv e s f r o m th e o r d e r a n d offices o f th e
C h u r c h claim th a t b a p tis m d o c s n o t tra n s m it th e S p irit. B u t how c a n th e
S p irit n o t b e g iv e n in b a p tis m w h e n it is th e S p irit w h o b a p tise s u s, a n d
w h o gives us all th e s a c ra m e n ts b y w h ic h w e a r e to b e m a d e holy? It is
th e S p irit w h o g a th e rs u s all in C h rist.
S o m e g e n e r a tio n s la te r G e o rg e Florovsky very ju s tifia b ly c o rre c te d
K hom iakov, b u t h e d id s o e q u a lly w ith o u t n u a n c e , by in sistin g th a t e cc le
siolo g y s h o u ld b e u n d e r s to o d m e re ly as a su b -sec tio n o f C hristology.
T h e e m p h a s is r e t u r n e d to th e h isto ry o f J e s u s C h rist, a g a in c o n c e iv e d as
c o n f in e d by h is to ry as m u c h as a n y o t h e r in d iv id u a l. O th e r s like Lossky,
N issio tcs a n d B o b rin sk o y r e s p o n d e d to Florovsky by p la c in g all th e
e m p h a s is b a c k o n th e S p irit a g a in . H ow ever, ecclesiology' is n o t a m a tte r
o f e i t h e r C h ris t o r th e S p irit, b u t o f all th e p e rs o n s o f th e T rin ity in in d i
visib le unity. W h e n w e e m p h a s is e th e S p irit w c m u s t b e c le a r th a t th a t w e
a r e s p e a k in g o f th e re a lis a tio n o f th a t re c a p itu la tio n o f all th in g s in the
Son. T h e c h o ic e is n o t b e tw e e n a c h risto lo g ic a l ecclesio lo g y o n o n e h a n d
a n d a p n c u m a to lo g ic a l ccclesio lo g y o n th e o th e r, b u t b e tw e e n a c h risto monist ecclesiology' a n d a fully trinitarian e c c lesio lo g y in w h ich all th e
p e rs o n s o f G o d a r e a t w ork. T h e p r o p e r basis o f ecclesio lo g y is th e trin i
ta ria n d o c tr in e o f G o d . T h e ro le o f th e H o ly S p irit s h o u ld n e v e r le a d us
in to a n e c c le sio lo g y n o t f o u n d e d in C h rist: ecclesio lo g y c a n n o t b e Spirilc e n tr e d b e c a u s e th e C h u rc h is th e re c a p itu la tio n o f eve 1 7 th in g in Christ:
C h ris t is th e h e a d th a t th is re c a p itu la tio n re fe rs to . C h rist r e d e e m s
e a c h b e in g , a n d m a k e s ev ery c r e a tu r e p r e s e n t, b o th to th e F a th e r, a n d
t o ev ery o t h e r c re a tu re .
H a v in g e s ta b lis h e d th a t all th in g s a r c r e c a p itu la te d a n d m a d e p re s e n t
in C h ris t, w e h a v e to ask w 'h e th e r th e F a th e r a lo n e a c c e p ts th e o fferin g ,
o r w h e th e r t h e S o n re c e iv e s it to o . T h e tra d itio n tells u s th a t th e S o n
rec e iv e s it to o , w h ic h is w h y in t h e liturgy, th e p rie s t prays: Y ou a r c th e
o n e w h o o ffe rs a n d th e o n e w h o is b e in g o ffe re d ; th e o n e w ho acc ep ts
a n d th e o n e w h o is b e in g g iv e n . L itu rg ists a g re e th a t th e L itu rg y o f
S a in t Basil is o l d e r th a n t h a t o f S a in t J o h n C h ry so sto m . In th e anaphora
o f th e L itu rg y o f S a in t Basil, th e E u c h a ris t is o ffe re d to th e F a th e r
a lo n e , a n d th is c o m e s s tra ig h t fro m th e e a rlie s t tra d itio n . In th e pray er,
W o rth y a n d j u s t it is, to o ffe r so n g s to Y ou, to o ffe r p ra ise to Y ou, to
e x a lt You, to th a n k Y ou, to w o rsh ip Y ou, in e v ery p la c e o f Y our d o m in
io n , w e c a n s e e w h o y o u r e fe rs to , fro m th e w o rd s th a t follow. F o r you
a r e th e in e x p re s s ib le , th e u n im a g in a b le , th e invisible, th e in c o m p re
h e n s ib le , th e in a p p r e h e n s ib le G o d ; th e o n e w h o always is, a n d th u s is;

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y o u a n d y o u r o n ly -b e g o tte n S o n , a n d y o u r H o ly S p irit.' T h e y o u refe rs


t o t h e F a th e r.
In t h e L itu rg y o f S a in t J o h n C h ry so sto m how ever, th e anaphora is
o ffe re d to th e F a th e r a n d to th e S o n a n d to th e S p irit. M e n tio n o f th e
S o n a n d S p irit was a d d e d to av o id a n y s e n se th a t th e F a th e r w orks
w ith o u t th e m a n d so to re m o v e a n y su s p ic io n o f d iv isio n in th e p e rso n s
o f th e T rinity. W h e n th e F a th e r re c e iv e s th e o ffe rin g , th e S o n is w ith
h im : Y ou, a n d y o u r S o n , a n d y o u r H o ly S p irit.' N o n e th e le s s w(e c a n n o t
say th a t it d o e s n o t m a t te r w h e th e r wre a r c p ra y in g to th e S o n o r to th e
S p irit. W e alw ays a d d re s s sp e c ific p e rs o n s , f o r th e r e la tio n s h ip s in w hich
w e p a rtic ip a te a r e p e r s o n a l a n d th e r e f o r e n o n -tra n s fe ra b le .
So, a lo n g w ith its o v e r-a c c e n tu a tio n o f h isto ry , theology' h a s o fte n
b e e n te m p te d to sta te C h risto lo g )' a t th e e x p e n s e o f p n e u m a to lo g y , a n d
allo w th e S p irit o n ly a s e c o n d a ry a n d n o n -c o n stitu tiv e r o le . In R o m an
C a th o lic ecclesiology' th is ta k e s th e fo rm o f e m p h a s is in g th e h isto rical
su c c e ssio n a n d h is to ric a l p riv ileg es o f th e c le ric a l h ie ra rc h y . S u c h an
ecclesio lo g y g iv es th e im p re s s io n o f o n ly e v e r lo o k in g f o r th e d e fin itiv e
d e m o n s tr a tio n o f h is to ric a l su c c e ssio n b a c k to S a in t P eter, as th o u g h
p r o o f o f th is w o u ld b e d e c isiv e f o r all q u e s tio n s o f th e C h u r c h . Yet
w e m u s t say t h a t th e C h u r c h is n o t sim p ly a n o rg a n is a tio n th a t is c r e a te d
by its history, b u t th a t it is always c o n s titu te d by th e S p irit, s o s p iritu a l
a n d c h a ris m a tic e le m e n ts a r e as fu n d a m e n ta l as its history'. T h e H oly
S p irit w as p r e s e n t fro m th e v ery first to lib e ra te b e in g s f r o m c o n fin e
m e n t w ith in t h e i r o w n in d iv id u a lity a n d so c re a te th is c o m m u n io n th a t
is th e C h u rc h .
F o r P r o te s ta n t C h ristia n s, th e C h u r c h is c h iefly th e c o m m u n ity that
h e a rs C h ris ts w o rd a n d follow s h is te a c h in g . In c o m in g a f te r C h ris t in
this wray, th e C h ris tia n b o d y d o e s n o t a p p e a r to b e fully c o n n e c te d to its
h e a d . O n ly w h e n p n e u m a to lo g y is a llo w e d to b e as f o u n d a tio n a l as
C hristolog), c a n wrc s e c th a t C h ris t e m b ra c e s all o f u s w ith in h im a n d
th a t C h ris t is t h e c o m m u n ity o f w h ic h w e a r e m e m b e rs . T h e id e n tity o f
th e C h u r c h s p r in g s fro m C h rist, a n d w e c a n n o t r e f e r to it w ith o u t re fe r
rin g to him .
T h u s th e h o lin e s s o f th e C h u r c h is fu n d a m e n ta l. T h e C h u rc h draw s
its h o lin e ss f r o m C h ris t as m u c h as it d raw s its b e in g fro m h im . W h e re
d o c s th is h o lin e s s c o m e fro m ? T h e a n sw e r is given by th e d iv in e liturgy:
T h e h o ly th in g s u n to th e holy. O n e o n ly is holy. O n e o n ly is th e L o rd ,
J e s u s C h ris t, to th e g lo ry o f G o d th e F a th e r . T h e h o ly a r e th e s a in ts
th a t is, t h e m e m b e rs o f t h e c o m m u n ity - to w h o m th e sa n c tifie d gifts a rc
g iv en , a n d w h o a r e m a d e h o ly b y th o s e gifts. T h o u g h th e m e m b e rs o f

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th e c o m m u n ity a r e sin fu l, th e y a re a d d re s s e d as s a in ts b e c a u s e this is


w h a t th e y will b e in th a t k in g d o m . B e c a u se th e y a r e fully c o n sc io u s th a t
th e y a r c n o t y e t holy, th e y r e s p o n d b y say in g O n e o n ly is holy. O n e o n ly
is th e L o rd , Jesu s C h ris t.
I f th e id e n tity o f th e C h u r c h is d e riv e d f r o m th e c o m m u n ity itself,
r a th e r th a n fro m C h ris t, it w o u ld o f c o u rs e b e s c a n d a lo u s to say th a t
th e C h u rc h is holy. T h is issu e c o m e s u p re g u la rly in e c u m e n ic a l talks.
T h e first th in g th a t P ro te s ta n ts te n d to say a b o u t th e C h u r c h is th a t it is
sin fu l, as th o u g h it w e re sin th a t m o s t f u n d a m e n ta lly c o n s titu te s th e
b e in g o f th e C h u r c h .
S o m e O r th o d o x su g g e st th a t th e id e n tity o f th e C h u rc h c o m e s fro m
th e sain ts, r e g a r d e d as th a t tin y m in o rity fo rm a lly d e s ig n a te d as su ch .
T h e y b e lie v e t h a t w h e n w e say th a t th e C h u r c h is holy, wre a r e r e f e r r in g
to th e s e e x c e p tio n a lly s p iritu a l d isc ip le s, m a rk e d o u t by u n u s u a l asceti
cism . H ow ever, th is is n o t th e a n sw e r th a t w e fin d in th e liturgy'. T h e r e
w e say, T h e h o ly th in g s u n to th e h o ly , b e c a u s e th e gifts o f th e S p irit
a r e g iv en to th e sain ts. T h e y a r e n o t g iv e n to some sain ts, w h o set th e
s ta n d a r d fo r t h e r e s t o f us: C h ris t is th e o n e s ta n d a r d w e h a v e b e e n
given. W e r e s p o n d , O n e is h o ly , th a t is, C h rist is h o ly a n d n o o n e is
holy b e s id e h im . All th e s a in ts p u t to g e th e r b e f o re C h ris t a r e sin fu l, f o r
n o th in g in all c r a tio n c a n s u sta in a n y c o m p a ris o n w ith h im .
S o w h e n w e a r e a sk e d how , w ith so m u c h sin , th e C h u r c h c a n b e
r e g a r d e d as holy, w e m u s t sim p ly reply, w ith S aint J o h n C h ry so sto m , that
th e h e a d alw ays lives to give life to t h e body. C h ris t is th e h e a d a n d th e
s o u rc e o f all th a t b o d y s life a n d h o lin e ss. T h e u n io n o f th is h e a d a n d
b o d y is u tte r ly in d isso lu b le . A n y tim e we s ta r t t o m a k e a d istin c tio n
b e tw e e n th e m it s ta rts to tu r n in to a s e p a ra tio n , w h ic h is th e b e g in n in g
o f th e d e a th o f th e body.
E v e ry th in g d e p e n d s o n th e c o r r e c t re la tio n s h ip th a t w e give to
C h risto lo g y a n d p n e u m a to lo g y . In t h e m e d ia e v a l e r a it w as th o u g h t th a t
th e H o ly S p irit j u s t p lu c k e d a few' sa in ts fro m histo iy , a n d c o n c e r n e d
h im s e lf so lely w ith th e s e iso la te d cases, le a v in g th e re s t o f us to C h rist
a n d to s e c u la r h istory. P n e u m a to lo g y th u s m e a n t a p r e o c c u p a tio n w ith
sain ts, w h ile C h risto lo g y ' was a b o u t th e m a in b o d y o f th e C h u r c h in
history. H ow ever, w h e n w e b rin g p n e u m a to lo g y in to its p r o p e r r e la tio n
s h ip to C h risto lo g y , w'e n o lo n g e r h a v e to s e c th e sain ts as a sm all e lite o f
S p irit-b e a re rs. L in k e d to C h risto lo g y , p n e u m a to lo g y d o e s n o t r e f e r
m e re ly to c e r ta in in d iv id u a ls b u t to th e e n tir e body.
T h e sp e c ific q u e s tio n f o r W e ste rn theo lo g y ' th a t d e riv e s fro m th is se p
a ra tio n betwre e n C h risto lo g y a n d p n eu m ato lo g y ', is w h e th e r th e C h u rc h
is th e h isto ric a l c o m m u n ity primarily. R o m a n C a th o lic s in siste d o n th e

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h isto ric a l c o n tin u ity o f th is c o m m u n ity , w h ile P ro te s ta n ts h a v e re s p o n d e d


w ith th e n o ti o n o f th e invisible C h u r c h , th e re b y su g g e stin g th a t th e
a c tu a l h is to ric a l c o m m u n ity is n o t t h e tr u e b e in g o f th e C h u rc h .
F o r th e O r th o d o x , th e h isto ric a l re a lity o f th e C h u r c h re la te s to th e
E u c h a ris t a n d s o to th a t re a lity w h ic h c o m e s to us fro m th e e sc h a to n .
T h is e s c h a to lo g ic a l re a lity rev eals its e lf to u s by m e a n s o f sa c ra m e n ts
a n d ico n s, w h ic h m u s t b e d e s c rib e d in te rm s o f a n e sc h a to lo g ic a l a n d
ic o n o lo g ic a l o n to lo g y . T h e s e s a c ra m e n ts a n d im ag e s a r e c r e a te d as
th e H o ly S p irit d raw s u s a n d all o u r h isto ry in to re la tio n s h ip w ith th e
e n d tim e , th e re c o n c ilia tio n o f all p a rtia l k in g d o m s in th e tr u e h isto ry
o f th e k in g d o m o f G o d . T o ask w h e th e r th e tr u e C h u rc h is th e historical
o r t h e eschatological C h u rc h is to fail to g ra s p th a t th e e s c h a to n is th e
re c o n c ilia tio n a n d in te g r a tio n o f all h is to ry a n d th e r e f o r e th e tr u th o f
history. T h e e s c h a to n is th e s u m m a tio n a n d tr u th o f all tim e a n d all
k in g d o m s , a n d th u s th e e s c h a to n is th e tr u th o f th e w o rld , o f w h ic h th e
C h u rc h is th e fo re ta ste .
F o r th is r e a s o n w e m u s t n o t iso la te h isto ry f ro m esch ato lo g y . T h e
litu rg y sh o w s t h a t t h e d iv in e E u c h a ris t is b o th a h isto ric a l a n d a n e sch a
to lo g ic a l e v e n t. R e m e m b ra n c e d o e s n o t m e a n re c a llin g a n ev en t th a t
is sim p ly p a s t, a n e v e n t b o r n e aw ay fro m us by th e s tr e a m o f tim e.
I t re q u ire s a c o n c e p tu a l re v o lu tio n to g ra s p th a t th e litu rg y is b o th an
e sc h a to lo g ic a l a n d h is to ric a l e v e n t, a n d th a t it is a h isto ric a l e v e n t because
it is first th e e s c h a to lo g ic a l e v e n t in w h ic h all h isto rie s a r e c a lle d in to
b e in g a n d g a th e r e d u p in to o n e .

V III. E s c h a t o l o g y

and

H isto r y

W e h av e sa id t h a t th e litu rg y is a n e sc h a to lo g ic a l a n d h isto ric a l event.


H ow ever, h o w c a n it b e b o th at o n c e ? In th e W e ste rn in te lle c tu a l tra d i
tio n w e r e m e m b e r w h a t is p ast, n o t w h a t is still f u tu r e to us.
T h e W e s te rn tr a d itio n is c o n s titu te d by its h isto ric a l aw areness,
sin c e it a s s u m e s th a t sp e c ific h isto ric a l e v e n ts a r e w h a t is m o s t fu n d a
m e n ta lly tr u e , s o all its sc h o la rly e ffo rts a r e d ir e c te d to c a p tu r in g o r
re c o v e rin g th e tr u th o f h isto ric a l ev en ts. T h is m e a n s f o r in s ta n c e th a t
w h e n w e ask a b o u t th e a u th o r ity o f th e c o u n c ils, a n d w a n t to id e n tify
w h e re th is a u th o r ity b e g in s a n d e n d s , w e h ave to say th a t th e a u th o r ity
o f th a t c o u n c il c a n n o t b e s o u rc e d m e re ly in th e e v e n t o f th a t co u n c il,
b u t a lso o v e r th e m u c h lo n g e r e v e n t o f th e re c e p tio n a n d a c c e p ta n c e
o f th a t c o u n c il. E ach c o n c ilia i' d e c is io n is a c c e p te d in th e fu lln ess o f
th e C h u r c h a n d s o o v e r tim e. O f c o u rs e , it is n o t easy to a c c e p t su c h
a d e g r e e o f in d e te rm in a c y , f o r w e w an t to id e n tify a n u n c h a n g in g

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p rin c ip le o r in s titu tio n o r p a r tic u la r h is to ric a l m o m e n t th a t w e can


d a te . T h is p r e o c c u p a tio n w ith th e g iv e n s o f h isto ry is p a r t o f a la rg e r
y e a r n in g f o r secu rity . O b je c tiv e d a ta ta k e s t h e e le m e n t o f th e u n k n o w n ,
a n d w ith it, t h e b u r d e n o f re s p o n sib ility aw ay fro m us. It is im p o r ta n t to
se e k t h e tr u th o f e v e n ts a n ti to r e c o r d th e m in th e way th a t th e y o c c u r re d ,
b u t su c h s c h o la rs h ip is n o t o n ly h isto ric a l b u t also h isto ric ist, in th a t it
cla im s s u c h h is to r ic a l k n o w le d g e p re c ise ly by d iv o rc in g e v e n ts from
th e ir m e a n in g s .
T h e h is to ric a l e v e n t is o n e a p p r e h e n d e d by th e m in d a n d so
c o n s tr a in e d b y th e b o u n d a r ie s o f th e m in d . W h e n this is th e case, w hat
ro le is th e r e f o r th e H o ly S p irit? W e h av e a C h risto lo g y at w ork h e re ,
b c c a u s c it is u n d e r s to o d th a t w c a r c in s e a rc h o f a se rie s o f p a st ev en ts,
th e cro ss, to m b , r e s u r r e c tio n , a sc e n sio n w h ich fit in to a tim e fra m e ,
u n d e r P o n tiu s P ila te ', o n th e th ir d d a y a n d so o n .
Y et w e also h a v e to c o m e to te rm s w ith th e th o u g h t th a t th e litu rg y
also r e m e m b e r s w h a t h a s n o t y e t ta k e n p la c e . In th e p r a y e r W e o ffe r
u n to th e e in all a n d f o r a ll' o f th e L itu rg y a ttr ib u te d to St. J o h n
C h ry so sto m w c r e a d th e w ords:
R e m e m b e r in g , th e re fo re , th is c o m m a n d m e n t o f sa lv atio n , a n d a ll th ose th in g s
w h ich t a m e to pass fo r o u r sakes: th e cro ss, th e tom b , th e r e s u rre c tio n o f the
t h ir d day, the a sc e n s io n in t o h e av e n , th e s ittin g o n th e lig h t h a n d , th e com ing
a g a in a second lim e i n glory, T h in e ow n, o f th in e ow n, w e o ffe r u n to th e e in a ll a n d
fo r a ll.

T h is is th e c o m m a n d m e n t o f J e s u s to h is d isc ip le s to ta k e a n d
e a t fro m h is b o d y a n d d r in k fro m h is b lo o d , in re m e m b r a n c e o f h im .
H ow ever, it is p e r h a p s n o t easy to s e e why w e say th a t w e a r e remembering
his c o m in g a g a in in glory. H o w c a n wre r e m e m b e r a n e v e n t th a t h a s n o t
y e t ta k e n p la c e ?
W h e n w e r e f e r to r e m e m b e r in g th e f u tu r e w e p a r t ways w ith th e
m a in W e ste rn in te lle c tu a l tra d itio n . T h e C h u rc h c o n fe sse s th a t th e
H o ly S p irit b r in g s th e f u tu r e in to h isto ry . O u r k in g d o m s a r e f o u n d e d
o n o p p o s itio n to o n e a n o th e r , e a c h k in g d o m is in c o m p e titio n w ith
every o th e r. T h e p e a c e o f G o d , s u s ta in e d b y th e ru le o f G o d , b rin g s
to a n e n d th is c o n flic t b e tw e e n all p a rtia l k in g d o m s. T h e H o ly S p irit
in v a d e s th e te r r ito r y w e h o ld a g a in st all o th e r s , a n ti b rin g s us in to th e
ru le a n d th e p e a c e o f G o d , In th e s e la st days, I shall p o u r fo rth fro m My
S p irit, o n all f le s h ' (A cts 2 .1 7 ). T h e S p irit b rin g s all o th e r ru le s a n d
k in g d o m s, u n d e r th e ru le o f C h rist, b r in g in g a b o u t th e p e a c e o f C h rist
by w h ic h all th in g s a r c r e c o n c ile d a n d m a d e p e a c e fu l. C h ris t b rin g s th e
ru le a n d p e a c e o f G o d in to h istory.

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P e n te c o s t is th e fu lfilm e n t o f all tim es. T h o u g h m a n y C h ristia n s


a ssu m e th a t P e n te c o s t a n d th e H o ly S p irit illu m in a te th e m perso n ally ,
e n a b lin g th e m to g ra s p th e e v e n ts o f h isto ry a n d so to g ro w in th e
k n o w le d g e o f C h ris t, th is is o n ly a p a rtia l u n d e rs ta n d in g . T h e H oly
S p irit f r e e s u s o f all th e v a rio u s c o n fin e m e n ts th a t h o ld u s w ith in o u r
in d iv id u a l h is to rie s o r th e h is to rie s o f o u r n a tio n o r social g ro u p . T h e
S p irit d raw s u s in to th e vastly la r g e r d im e n s io n s given by th e f u tu r e , in
w h ic h w e a r e f r e e to b e fu lly p r e s e n t t o o n e a n o th e r , e a c h o f us to all
o th e r s w ith o u t lim it. T h e life th e H o ly S p irit gives u s is n o t d iv id e d , b u t
all a t o n c e , so f o r th e first tim e w e m ay live k n o w in g th a t all C h ristia n s,
p ast, p r e s e n t a n d f u tu r e a r e p r e s e n t to us, in a c o m m u n io n n o t d e lim i
te d b y sp a c e o r tim e .
W h a t w e e x p e r ie n c e in th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t is th e e n d tim es
m a k in g its e lf p r e s e n t to us now . T h e E u c h a ris t is n o t a r e p e titio n o r
c o n tin u a tio n o f th e p ast, o r j u s t o n e e v e n t a m o n g s t o th e rs , b u t it is th e
p e n e tr a tio n o f th e f u tu r e in to tim e . T h e E u c h a ris t is e n tire ly live,
a n d u tte rly n ew ; th e r e is n o e le m e n t o f th e p a st a b o u t it. T h e E u c h a rist
is th e in c a r n a tio n live, th e c ru c ifix io n live, th e re s u rre c tio n live, th e
a sc e n s io n live, th e L o r d s c o m in g a g a in a n d th e d a y o f ju d g m e n t, live.
We c a n n o t g o to it casu ally o r w ith o u t r e p e n ta n c e f o r it is th e e v e n t
in w h ic h all e v e n ts a r c la id o u t a n d e x a m in e d . N ow is th e ju d g m e n t o f
th e w o rld ( J o h n 1 2 .3 1 ). T h is n o w o f th e F o u r th G o sp el re fe rs to th e
E u c h a ris t, in w h ic h all th e s e e v e n ts r e p r e s e n t th em selv e s im m e d ia te ly to
us, w ith o u t a n y g a p s o f histo ry ' b e tw e e n th e m .
T h e w h o le fo rc e o f th e W e ste rn in te lle c tu a l tr a d itio n a tte m p ts to
s e p a ra te h is to r y a n d esc h a to lo g y a n d fit C h ris tia n d o c tr in e in to its
h isto ric is t a n d im m a n e n t m e n ta lity . E ith e r th e e n d tim e s is a s e p a ra te
c h a p te r th a t w ill ta k e p la c e a fte rw a rd s , o r it is th e c h a rism a tic e x p e ri
e n c e o f a se le c t few, s e t a p a r t fro m th e h is to ric a l co m m u n ity . H owever,
th e e s c h a to n m e a n s t h e e n d o f all s e p a ra te , d is c o n n e c te d tim es, th e
re c o n n e c tio n a n d re c o n c ilia tio n o f o u r s e p a ra te h isto rie s a n d th e arrival
o f th e ir f u t u r e a n d fu lfilm e n t. A ll th e c o n tin u ity o f o u r h isto rie s c o m e
fro m o u ts id e th e m , fro m th e e n d tim e s, so th e r e c a n n o t b e a n y final
re c k o n in g o f o u r h isto ry a p a r t f r o m th e e s c h a to n w h ic h gives it its c o h e r
e n c e a n d f u tu re .
T h e E u c h a ris t is th e c o m m u n io n o f all th in g s p e n e tr a tin g in to o u r
p re s e n tly m u tu a lly a n ta g o n is tic c o m m u n io n s . T h e fu lfille d c o m m u
n io n th a t is th e C h u r c h is b ro u g h t in to b e in g f o r us n o w by th e e n tr a n c e
o f th e f u tu r e re a lity o f c o m m u n io n in to o u r p re s e n tly d iv id e d c o m m u
n itie s. O n ly a p r o p e r ly pneum alological C h risto lo g y c a n give u s th e
ecclesio lo g y t h a t u n d e r s ta n d s th e C h u r c h as th e w itness o f th e fu tu re .

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N e x t w e m u s t c o n s id e r h o w n e g le c t o f th e ro le o f th e H o ly S p irit in
th e o lo g y h a s im p o v e ris h e d th e C h u rc h .
W h e n C h ris to lo g y p ro v id e s th e so le f o u n d a tio n o f ccclcsiology, th e
H o ly S p irit h a s o n ly a s u b sid ia ry ro le . F o r so m e it is im p o r ta n t th a t
C h ris t f o u n d e d th e in s titu tio n o f th e C h u r c h , b e c a u se it is th e in stitu
tio n s w h ic h h a v e allo w e d th e C h u rc h to p e rsist th r o u g h histo ry . F or
o th e r s th e p r im a r y re a lity is th e h is to ric a l e v e n ts o f th e in c a rn a tio n ,
re c o r d e d in t h e b ib le . B o th th e s e view s a r e b a se d o n a C h risto lo g y
w ith o u t p n e u m a to lo g y : C h ris t c o n s tru c ts th e body, w h ic h th e H oly
S p irit s u b s e q u e n tly e n te r s a n d b rin g s to life as a soul a n im a te s a body.
P ro te s ta n ts h a v e n o t h a d m u c h in te re s t in th e in s titu tio n o f th e C h u r c h ,
so m e ev en d o u b tin g w h e th e r C h ris t in te n d e d to fo u n d th e C h u r c h at
all. T h e H o ly S p irit is r e g a r d e d as th e in s p ire r, w h o assists every p e rs o n
individually, a n d t h e c o m m u n ity g e n e ra lly , to rece iv e th e w o rd o f G od.
T h e S p irit is s u b o r d in a te to C h rist, w h o e ith e r f o u n d e d th e C h u rc h , as
R o m a n C a th o lic s h a v e it, o r p ro v id e d th e w o rd w h ic h th e S p irit reveals
to us, as P ro te s ta n ts h av e it.
H ow ever, C h ris t d o c s n o t fo rm th e C h u r c h w ith o u t th e S p irit, a n d
th e S p irit d o e s n o t a rriv e la te r to fill a C h u rc h th a t is a lre a d y in exis
te n c e . T h e H o ly S p irit c o m p o s e s th e e n tir e in s titu tio n ' o f th e C h u rc h ,
as o n e V e sp e rs h y m n p u ts it a t P c n tc c o s t. T h e in s titu tio n o f th e C h u rc h
w as n o t f o u n d e d o n c e a n d f o r all a t o n e p o in t in histo ry , b u t is p e r p e tu
ally c o n s titu te d a n d r e n e w e d th r o u g h h isto ry by th e S p irit. E v e n tim e
th a t th e C h u r c h c o n g re g a te s , it b e c o m c s th e C h u r c h anew . T h e S p irit
th e r e f o r e m a k e s th e C h u r c h g a th e r a r o u n d th e S o n , giving it its basic
s tru c tu re s a n d o ffices, th e p e o p le th r o u g h b a p tism a n d c h ris m a tio n ,
a n d th e ir m in is te rs th r o u g h o r d in a tio n . T h e o r d in a tio n o f a b is h o p is a
m a n ife s ta tio n o f th e S p irits fo u n d a tio n o f th e C h u rc h , a n d a re n e w a l o f
P e n te c o s t, f o r th e g a th e r in g o f th e C h u r c h will b e re n e w e d a r o u n d him .
T h e S p irit c o n s titu te s a n d rc -c o n stitu tc s t h e C h u rc h w ith th e S o n a n d
th u s it re c e iv e s its c o n tin u ity , historically, fro m th e e sc h a to n .
T h e C h u r c h is alw ays th e c r e a tio n by th e S p irit in o n e p la c e in tim e
o f th e c o m in g e v e n ts o f th e e s c h a to n . T h e C h u rc h is th e s u m m a tio n
a n d r e c a p itu la tio n o f th e w o rld , so it is o n ly th r o u g h its c o n tin u e d
in c o r p o r a tio n in th e C h u r c h th a t th e w o rld survives. T h e b e in g o f th e
C h u rc h is th e o u tc o m c o f t h e p r e s e n t w o rk o f th e H o ly S p irit, w h o e n a c ts
th e la b o u r o f C h ris t, r e n d e r in g th e w h o le b o d y o f C h rist alive a n d p re s
e n t f o r th is s p e c ific tim e a n d p la c e . T h e p a r tic u la r C h u r c h th a t is h e r e
in th is s p e c ific p la c e is o f p rim a ry im p o rta n c e . E a c h o f th e C h u rc h c s
th a t r e p r e s e n t e a c h g e o g ra p h ic a l lo c a tio n is a fa ith fu l im ag e b e c a u se it
p o in ts to w a rd s th a t sin g le e sc h a to lo g ic a l c o m m u n ity . By e n a c tin g this

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im a g e o f th e e n d tim e s e a c h tim e w e g a th e r a t th e E u c h a rist, w e reveal


Ih e r is e n b o d y o f C h rist, in w h o m th e w h o le w o rld is h id d e n .
T h e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f th is g o v e ry d e e p . E cclesio lo g y r e q u ire s m o re
th a n f in d in g t h e rig h t b a la n c e b e tw e e n in s titu tio n a n d c h a rism a . T h e
R o m a n C a th o lic in c lin a tio n to m a k e th e C h u rc h th e in s titu tio n th a t
C h ris t c r e a te d im p o se s a n in s titu tio n ab o v e h u m a n fre e d o m , w'hile
th e P r o te s ta n t in sis te n c e o n fid e lity to w a rd s th e W o rd o f G o d in th e
b ib le im p o se s th e in s titu tio n o f th e b ib le o v e r h u m a n fre e d o m . A n
ecclesio lo g y c o n s tr u c te d p r io r to th e S p irit will always stru g g le b e c a u se
th e in s titu tio n o f th e C h u r c h a n d th e C h u r c h s h isto ry will a p p e a r as
lim its o n fre e d o m .
T h e C h u r c h is th a t c o n g re g a tio n w 'hich is c r e a te d by th e S p irit as
a p o rtra y a l o f e sc h a to lo g ic a l ev en ts, e v e ry tim e , in every p la c e a n d
w h e n e v e r th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t is p e r f o r m e d . T h e C h u rc h is f o r m e d by
th e freely -w illed g a th e r in g o f C h ristia n s. W e say, I m g o in g to C h u r c h .
T h e s tr u c tu r e , th e in s titu tio n o f th e C h u rc h is n o t s o m e th in g th a t is
im p o s e d b y s o m e o n e f o r w e o u rse lv e s c o m p o s e a n d c o n s titu te it. T h e
H o ly S p irit m a k e s u s all its f o u n d in g m e m b e rs as h e g a th e rs u s to g e th e r
as th e C h u r c h , so th e C h u rc h d o e s n o t c o m e in to e x is te n c e w ith o u t us.
In th is way, w e d o n o t h av e p ro b le m s o f c le ric a lism , o r o f th e secu larism
w h ic h is a r e a c tio n a g a in s t it. C le ric a lism re su lts fro m th e p e rc e p tio n
th a t th e in s titu tio n o f th e C h u r c h a n d its o fficiato rs, th e clergy, exist
in d e p e n d e n tly o f th e e v e n t o f th e g a th e r in g o f th e C h u rc h .
T h is b rin g s u s to th e ro le o f th e w h o le p e o p le ( laos) in th e C h u rc h .
T h e p e o p le m u s t b e p r e s e n t in o r d e r th a t th e c lerg y c e le b ra te th e
E u c h a ris t, o r e v e n e x ist as clergy. I t is th e p e o p le w h o allow (h e clergy
n o t m e re ly to p e r f o r m th is as a ritu a l, b u t re a lly to a c t w ith a u th o r ity a n d
b e effective. T h e c h a ris m a tic a c tio n a n d a u th o rity o f th e c lerg y d e p e n d s
o n th e p r e s e n c e o f th e w h o le p e o p le w h o le n d th e m th a t a u th o rity a n d
rece iv e a n d a c k n o w le d g e th e ir a c tio n . O r d in a tio n is n o s e p a ra te ritu a l
b u t ta k e s p la c e w ith in th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t, so it is th e a c t o f th e w:h o le
C h ris tia n p e o p le , f o r w e p a rtic ip a te in th e a c t by w h ich th e H oly S p irit
m a k e s th e s e m in is te rs o u r se rv a n ts. T h e r e c a n b e n o p riv a te o r clerical
litu rg ie s f o r w h ic h th e laity is n o t p re s e n t. T h e C h u rc h is c o n s titu te d by
th e p e o p le a n d p re s u p p o s e s th e ir p re s e n c e a n d w illin g n ess in o r d e r to
exist. T h e p e o p l e s A m e n is r e q u ir e d to v a lid a te th e c le rg y s w o rd s a n d
acts, a n d m a k e th e m th e w o rd s a n d acts o f th e p e o p le o f G o d . S o w h e n
th e p rie s t says P e a c e to a ll, th e re s p o n s e A n d to y o u r s p irit a ls o m u st
c o m e fro m s o m e o n e wrh o is n o t t h e p rie st: p e o p le a n d p rie st a r c in d ia
lo g u e . T h e p e o p le m u s t actively c o n firm w ith th e ir A m e n th a t th e se
p ra y e rs a r e t h e i r p rayers.

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T h e a u th o r ity o f t h e b ib le is always o n e o f th e m o st p re s s in g c o n c e rn s
f o r W e ste rn th e o lo g y . F o r R o m a n C a th o lic s, th e b ib le is in te r p r e te d
a u th e n tic a lly b y th e m in is te rs a p p o in te d b y th e M a g iste riu m , th a t
rec e iv e d its o w n a u th o r ity fro m C h ris t a n d w h ich as su c c e sso r to th e
A p o stle s, c o n tin u e s to r e p r e s e n t h im . F o r R o m a n C a th o lic s, th e w o rd o f
G o d is a u th e n tic a lly in te r p r e te d b y a p rie s t, u n d e r th e a u th o rity o f a
b is h o p , a n d fin a lly th e p o p e , in th e ir o w n in d iv id u a l a u th o rity .
T h e P r o te s ta n t a p p r o a c h is to i n te r p r e t th e W o rd o f G o d by th e W ord
o f G o d , so S c r ip tu r e is i n te r p r e te d through S c rip tu re . T h is m ak e s th e
in te r p r e ta tio n o f S c rip tu re a n a u to n o m o u s fie ld o f a c a d e m ic re se a rc h .
T h is is why, in o r d e r to b e c o m e a m in iste r, w hich essen tially m e a n s
s o m e o n e w h o e x p o u n d s th e W o rd o f G o d fo r P ro te s ta n ts , y o u m u s t be
tra in e d in h isto ric a l sc h o la rs h ip , f o r th is is th e m e a n s by w h ic h th e
a u th o r ity o f th e b ib le is e x p la in e d .
P ro te s ta n ts lo o k to th e h is to ria n s to tell th e m w h a t in a n y passage
o f S c rip tu re is e sse n tia l a n d w h a t is m e re ly c o n tin g e n t to th e p re s e n t
e x p re ss io n o f th e C h ris tia n fa ith . B iblical s c h o la rs h ip h a s to id en tify
w h ic h th in g s a r e p u re ly c u ltu ra l a n d h isto ric a l a n d n o lo n g e r d ire c tly
re le v a n t to u s today. W h e n f o r e x a m p le , P a u l tells us th a t it is w ro n g
f o r a m a n to g ro w h is h a ir lo n g , o r th a t th e w o rld c o n sists o f sky, e a rth
a n d th e u n d e r w o r ld , w e h av e to re c o g n is e th e s e as p a r t o f th e cosm olog y o f p re v io u s g e n e r a tio n s w h ic h is n o t b in d in g o n us. W e th e n set
o u t to e sta b lis h a c a n o n w ith in th e c a n o n , a n d f o r c rite r ia o n th e basis
o f w h ic h w e c a n d c c id c w h e th e r s o m e th in g in th e b ib le is a u th e n tic o r
a u th o rita tiv e f o r th e c o n te m p o r a r y C h u r c h . T h e re s u lt is th a t h isto ric a l
c ritic a l s tu d ie s tells th e C h u rc h w h at it c a n a n d c a n n o t fin d in th e b ib le.
T h e b ib le is r e - in te r r o g a te d w ith n e w c a te g o rie s a n d n e w c h a rg e s laid
a g a in st it as e a c h g e n e r a tio n d isco v ers a n e w se t o f a n x ie tie s. H ow ever,
this le a d s to a crisis in th e a u th o r ity o f th e b ib le . T h o s e w h o d e c id e n o t
to a c c e p t th e a u th o r ity o f S c rip tu re a r e th e in te lle c tu a l h e ir s o f th o se
w h o p r o c la im e d so la sc r ip t u r a . By in s is tin g o n th e b ib le only, th e y have
e n d e d u p w ith o u t th e b ib le a lto g e th e r.
T h e s e a r e t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f th e d e s ire to fit th e tr u th , a n d th e
id e n tity o f th e C h u r c h , in to fo rm s s h a p e d so lely by th e p ast, fo rm s w hich
e a c h g e n e r a tio n th e n re a c ts a g a in s t a n d s tru g g le s to e sc a p e . All th e
issu es o f a u th o rity , w h e th e r o f t h e c o u n c ils, b ish o p s, th e p o p e o r th e
b ib le a r e r e la te d to th e d e e p a s s u m p tio n th a t th e past a lo n e d e te rm in e s
th e fo rm s a n d a u th o r ity f o r th e C h u r c h .
H ow ever, t h e C h u r c h th a t te a c h e s a p ro p e rly pneumatological C h ri
stolo g y will n o t p riv ile g e th e p a st o v e r th e f u tu r e , w ith th e re s u lt th a t it
will n o t b e so p e r p le x e d by th e s e issues. It is f o r th e C h u r c h to in te r p r e t

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h e r ow n S c rip tu re s . H o w ev er, e v e n f o r O r th o d o x C h u rc h e s th e r e has


b e e n a tr e n d to w a rd s r e a d in g in n a rra tiv e o r re a list style in s te a d o f
c h a n tin g th e g o sp e l. T h e g o sp e l is o fte n n o w r e a d r a t h e r th a n c h a n te d
in th e b e lie f th a t th is will m a k e its m e a n in g ac cessib le for, it is
b e lie v e d , its h is to ric a l m e a n in g is w h a t h a s to b e g ra s p e d . T h e a ssu m p
tio n is th a t th e b ib le is lik e a n e d u c a tio n a l te x tb o o k , w h ich b rin g s to th e
su rfa c e o f t h e m in d m e m o rie s o u t o f th e p a st; so w e a r e to r e a d th e
S e rm o n o n t h e M o u n t, f o r in s ta n c e , as w e im a g in e th a t C h rist first gave
it, so w e m a y e x p e r ie n c e th e e v e n ts j u s t as th e y to o k p la c e th e n .
H ow ever, th is is a m is a p p re h e n s io n f o r it is n o t j u s t h o w th in g s h a p
p e n e d b a c k th e n , b u t th e way th in g s w ill happen th a t is sig n ific a n t. T h e
w o rd o f G o d sh o w s u s th e f u tu r e b e c a u s e it c o m c s fro m th e f u tu r e a n d
it b rin g s th e f u tu r e to us.
It is w ith in th e fra m e w o rk o f w o rsh ip a n d th e d iv in e E u c h a ris t that
w e fin d th e r e a s o n a n d m e a n in g o f t h e g o sp e l w e c h a n t. S a in t J o h n
C h ry so sto m says th a t th r o u g h c h a n tin g , th e w o rd o f G o d o p e n s a n d
in c o r p o r a te s u s. W e all e x p e r ie n c e th e d e s ire to g ra sp k n o w le d g e a n d
la n d it in o u r n e t. T h e W o rd o f G o d c a n n e v e r b e g ra sp e d : all o u r
c o n c e p ts a n d c o n c e p tu a lis in g m u s t w a it f o r th e W o rd o f G o d to g ra sp
us. It is o u r d e s ir e to ta k e c o n tr o l o f th e tr u th o f G o d w h ich is d riv in g
th e d e m a n d t o r e p la c e c h a n tin g w ith r e a d in g in o r d e r to m a k e th e
S c rip tu ra l re a d in g s in s ta n tly a n d u n iv ersally c o m p re h e n s ib le . H ow ever,
e v e n th e w o r d c o m p r e h e n s ib le is te llin g : w h o believes th a t h e can
c o m p r e h e n d o r a p p r e h e n d th e s e re a d in g s fro m th e W o rd o f G od?
T h e g o s p e l c a n n o t b e la id o p e n b y a n y sc h o la r, re g a rd le s s o f h o w
g re a t th e ir g r a s p o f th e s e te x ts as d o c u m e n ts o f history. T h e c h a n tin g o f
th e litu rg y is n o t a b o u t s o m e s c c rc t o r e x o tic mystery', b u t sim ply th e
fo rm o f k n o w le d g e th a t is b a s e d in th e c o m m u n io n o f p e rs o n s th a t is
th e C h u r c h , r a t h e r th a n sim p ly in th e in te lle c tu a l a c h ie v e m e n t o f th e
in d iv id u a l s c h o la r o r ev en o f h is to ric a l s c h o la rs h ip as a w h o le w h e n th e y
a r e n o t f o r m e d by th e life a n d w o rsh ip o f th e C h u rc h .
T h e G o sp e l is n o t j u s t a n o t h e r b o o k . I f w e stu d y th e b ib le o u ts id e th e
g a th e r e d c o n g r g a tio n , in W estern-style b ib le stu d ie s, w c will o n ly gain
w h a t P ro te s ta n ts h av e b e e n g a in e d b y th is m e th o d . W e m u st m ove
away fro m o u r p r e o c c u p a tio n w ith h e r m e n e u tic s a n d in s te a d u n d e r
s ta n d w o rd s a s s u m m o n se s, a n d as ic o n s th a t o p e n us u p to reality. T h e
b ib le sp e a k s t o u s in q u ite a d iffe re n t m a n n e r w h e n w e h e a r it r e a d in
C h u r c h th a n w h e n w e r e a d it a t h o m e . W h e n th e G o sp el e n te r s th e
C h u rc h w c m a k e th e sig n o f t h e C ro ss a n d kiss it, w e lc o m in g it as
C h ris t h im s e lf. T h e s e rm o n s h o u ld im m e d ia te ly follow th e r e a d in g o f
th e G o sp e l, a n d e x p o u n d th e te x t o f th e G o sp el w ith re f e r e n c e to th e

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litu rg y as a w h o le . T h e p r e a c h e r wrh o s u d d e n ly a p p e a rs w ith a s e rm o n in


th e m id d le o f h o ly c o m m u n io n u p s e ts th e logic o f th e liturgy. T h e ser
m o n is as m u c h a litu rg ic a l a n d s a c ra m e n ta l e v e n t as th e g o sp e l itself,
f o r to g e th e r th e y a r e th e W o rd a d d re s s in g u s fro m th e e n d o f tim e . We
c a n n o t in tr o d u c e c h a n g e s w ith o u t risk to th e im ag e o f th e e s c h a to n ,
w h ic h is w 'hat th is g a th e r in g is. T h e v e ry fa c t th a t y o u g o to C h u rc h , a n d
take y o u r p la c e in th is assem bly, m e a n s th a t y ou a r e p a r t o f this im ag e o f
th e e n d tim e s, w h ic h th e w h o le C h u rc h p re s e n ts to th e w o rld .
T h e E u c h a ris t re a lise s a n d rev eals th e C h u rc h as a community. If th e
C h ris tia n p e o p le d o n o t g a th e r, o r d o n o t p a rtic ip a te in th e w o rsh ip
o r d o n o t a ffirm th e d e c is io n s a n d te a c h in g w ith th e ir A m e n , th e
id e n tity o f th e C h u rc h is lost. T h e n w e d o in d e e d s ta rt to r e f e r to th e
c lerg y as th o u g h th e y w e re th e C h u r c h , as th e m e d ia d o ev e ry tim e th e y
say th a t th e C h u r c h h a s a n n o u n c e d , w ith all th e re s u ltin g division a n d
c o n fu s io n t h a t w e s e e a r o u n d us. W ith o u t a th e o lo g y o f C h rist a n d S pirit,
a n d h e a d a n d body, w e a r e o f c o u rs e o n ly a b le to p it c lerg y a n d p e o p le
a g a in st o n e a n o th e r , s o ev ery n ew s story' a b o u t th e C h u r c h is a b o u t th e
in d iv id u a l o p p o s in g th e h ie ra rc h y . B u t is by t h e i r b e in g g a th e r e d
to g e th e r in to o n e th a t th e p e o p le o f G o d a r e b r o u g h t in to b ein g .
P e o p le o f te n ask h o w w e s h o u ld p r e p a r e o u rselv es f o r th e d iv in e
E u c h a ris t. S h o u ld w e av o id g o in g if w e a r e a n g iy o r tire d ? L e t u s n o t
allo w th is d e e p a s s u m p tio n th a t e v e ry th in g is m e re ly c o g n itiv e o r a
m a tte r o f p sy c h o lo g y to a ffe c t o u r u n d e r s ta n d in g o f th e C h u rc h . D oes
o u r r e s e n tm e n t c h a n g e th e g ra c e o f G o d ? All th a t c o u n ts is th a t w e go.
H ow ever, w e m u s t p a tie n tly in sist th a t w h e n th e w h o le p e o p le fre ely
g a th e r a r o u n d th e b is h o p in th e E u c h a ris t, it d e m o n s tra te s th e in d isso l
u b le u n ity o f t h e b o d y o f C h rist.
W h e n o u r b ish o p s m e e t to g e th e r in sy n o d s th e y a re also p a r t o f
a la rg e r w h o le , th e fello w sh ip w h ic h is c o n s titu te d by th e H oly S pirit.
A u th o rity e m e r g e s finally fro m th a t c o m p le te e v e n t in w h ich S p irit
m ov es th r o u g h all m e m b e rs o f th e C h u rc h . A d e c isio n o r a n in te r
p r e ta tio n by b is h o p s c a n p ro v e to b e m ista k e n , j u s t as w e u n d e rs ta n d
th a t a c a d e m ic h is to ric a l s c h o la rs h ip c a n b e m ista k e n . I t is th e w h o le
C h u r c h e x p r e s s e d o v e r th e lo n g te rm , th r o u g h all its c o u n c ils a n d
th ro u g h th e w o rs h ip o f th e w h o le C h ris tia n p e o p le , w h ich gives us th e
tr u t h o f G o d .
T h e C h u r c h is t h e g a th e r in g o f G o d s p e o p le in a specific p la c e a n d
tim e, w h ic h p o rtra y s th e c o m p le te assem b ly o f all c r e a te d th in g s. It is
s u m m o n e d byr th e H o ly S p irit wrh o m a k e s th e C h u rc h n e w ev e ry tim e it
g a th e rs , a n d s o su sta in s th e c o n s ta n tly life -re n ew in g b o d y o f C h rist on
e a r th . In th is way, w e a r e n e i t h e r d e f in e d by h isto ry n o r in d e n ia l a b o u t

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it. T h e E u c h a ris t is th e in a u g u r a l e v e n t o f f r e e d o m a n d th e m o m e n t in
w h ic h e sc h a to lo g ic a l re a lity b e c o m e s th e a c tu a l p re s e n c e o f this
assem b ly b r o u g h t to g e th e r by th e H o ly S p irit. T h is is th e w o rk o f th e
H o ly S p irit, w h ic h is w hy th e in v o c a tio n (epiclesis) o f th e H o ly S p irit is
fu n d a m e n ta l. T h e gifts th a t b e a r th e b o d y a n d b lo o d o f C h rist b rin g us
in to in c r e a s in g p a r tic ip a tio n in th a t body. T h is e v e n t o f p e rso n -to p e r s o n r e la tio n s h ip tak es p la c e in th e S p irit, b e tw e e n e a c h o f us
a n d C h ris t. T h e s e e s c h a to lo g ic a l e v e n ts a r e se e n , felt a n d ta ste d in th e
g a th e r in g o f t h e C h u r c h . T h is g a th e r in g is th e e v e n t in w h ic h th e H oly
S p irit o p e n s u s to life to g e th e r in fre e d o m .

IX . R e c e p t i o n
Finally, w e m u s t r e tu r n to th e issu e o f th e m a n y C h u rc h e s a n d th e
o n e C h u r c h . T h e id e a o f re c e p tio n is d e e p ly r o o te d in th e h isto ry
a n d b e in g o f th e C h u r c h . T h e C h u r c h was b o r n o u t o f a p ro c e s s o f
re c e p tio n a n d h as g ro w n a n d e x is te d th r o u g h r e c e p tio n . F irst th e
C h u r c h receives', sh e receiv es fro m G o d th r o u g h C h rist in th e H oly
S p irit. H o w ev er, th e C h u r c h also re c e iv e s fro m th e w o rld , its histo ry , its
c u ltu r e , ev en its tra g ic a n d sin fu l e x p e rie n c e s a n d fa ilu re s, f o r it is th e
b o d y o f th e L o r d w h o ta k e s u p o n h im s e lf th e sin s o f th e w o rld . S e c o n d ,
th e C h u rc h its e lf is re c e iv e d . T h e C h u rc h as a d is tin c t c o m m u n ity
w ith in t h e w o rld ex ists in c o n s ta n t d ia lo g u e w ith w h a te v e r c o n stitu te s
th e n o n -e c c le s ia l re a lm , in a n a tte m p t to m a k e h e r s e lf a c c e p ta b le to
th e w o rld . W h a t w e u s e d to call m is s io n is b e tte r r e n d e r e d w ith th e
n o tio n o f r e c e p tio n , b e c a u se th e C h u r c h s h o u ld b e o ffe rin g its e lf to
th e w o rld r a t h e r th a n im p o s in g its e lf o n it. In th e p ro lo g u e o f th e
F o u r th G o sp e l th e S o n o f G o d is s p o k e n o f as n o t h a v in g b e e n received
by th e w o rld : h is o w n d id n o t receive h im . T h e o th e r p o in t in th e
C h u r c h s b e in g re c e iv e d is th a t e a c h C h u rc h is re c e iv e d by a n o th e r
C h u r c h . T h e m o s t im p o r ta n t a s p e c t o f r e c e p tio n , ste m s fro m th e basic
ec c le sio lo g ic a l fact th a t th e C h u r c h , a lth o u g h o n e , exists as Churches,
in th e p lu ra l, a n d th e s e C h u rc h e s e x ist as o n e C h u rc h by c o n sta n tly
re c e iv in g o n e a n o t h e r as s is te r C h u rc h e s . B ut w h a t is it th a t is b e in g
receiv ed ?
W h a t is re c e iv e d is, as w e h av e s e e n , th e love o f G o d th e F a th e r
in c a r n a te in h is o w n b e lo v e d S o n , w h o is g iv en to u s in th e H o ly S pirit.
T h e C h u rc h e x ists in o r d e r to give w h a t s h e has re c e iv e d as th e love o f
G o d fo r th e w o rld . B e c a u se th e c o n te n t o f r e c e p tio n is th is love o f G o d
f o r th e w o rld in c a r n a te in C h rist, th e A p o stle P a u l u se s th e te n u s
parelabon a n d paralabete w ith r e f e re n c e to th e person o f C h rist. H e w rites,

162

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics

as y o u h av e re c e iv e d C h ris t (C o lo ssian s 2 .6 ) a n d in H e b re w s th e v e rb
to re c e iv e is u s e d in th e se n se o f re c e iv in g th e k in g d o m (H eb rew s
12.28).
T h e C h u r c h re c e iv e d th e gospel w h ic h is th e g o o d new s o f G o d s
love to th e w o rld in C h ris t, a n d it is g iv e n in th e c o n c r e te fo rm o f th e
te a c h in g a n d o f c r e e d th a t give th e h is to ric a l facts o f th e c o m in g o f th e
c o m m u n io n o f G o d to us. T h u s , th e C h u rc h rec eiv es also th e h isto ric a l
facts, th a t J e s u s C h ris t d ie d a n d was ra is e d f ro m th e d e a d , w h ic h a re
e sse n tia l to t h e h is to ry o f th e p e o p le o f G o d . T h e C h u r c h rec eiv es in
this way a c o n fe ss io n w h ic h it o ffe rs as a tr u e s ta te m e n t o f th e a c ts o f
G o d in th e h is to ry o f m a n k in d .
W h a t is r e c e iv e d is th e r e f o r e th e p e r s o n o f th e S o n . T h e fact th a t
th e C h u rc h re c e iv e s a p e r s o n , r a th e r th a n sim p ly in fo rm a tio n ,
u n d e r lie s P a u ls u se o f h a n d o n (paralam banein) f o r th e E u c h a rist,
w h ic h th e A p o s tle tells u s (1 C o r in th ia n s 11.23) is b o th re c e iv e d a n d
h a n d e d on.
A tte m p ts t o m a in ta in th e tr u th o f th e facts o f th e g o sp e l th ro u g h
w h ic h th e lo v e o f G o d is re c e iv e d le d th e C h u rc h to d e v e lo p a te a c h in g
a u th o r ity w h ic h is re s p o n s ib le f o r p r o te c tin g th is g o sp el fro m d isto r
tio n s. T h e d e c is io n s a n d p r o n o u n c e m e n ts o f th e c o u n c ils a r e an
e sse n tia l p a rt o f t h e w h a t o f r e c e p tio n . T h e C h u rc h d o e s n o t re ce iv e a n d
p e r p e tu a te id e a s o r d o c trin e s as s u c h , b u t life a n d love, th e very life a n d
love o f G o d f o r h u m a n ity . D o g m a tic fo rm u la tio n s w h ic h have n o b e a r
in g o n th e life th a t th e C h u rc h c a n n o t c la im to b e p a r t o f th e d e p o s it o f
fa ith re c e iv e d b y th e C h u rc h .
T h e C h u r c h is itse lf also th e o b je c t o f r e c e p tio n , in tw o sen ses. T h e
C h u rc h is r e c e iv e d a n d a c c e p te d by th e w o rld . In a d d itio n , e a c h C h u rc h
rec e iv e s a n d re c o g n is e s e a c h o t h e r C h u rc h in th e c o m m u n io n o f th e
one Church, w h ic h is th e in d iv isib le b o d y o f C h rist th a t m a k e s its e lf p re s
e n t to th e w o rld in e a c h p la c e . As lo n g as t h e w o rld re je cts th e C h u r c h ,
o r th e C h u r c h e s re je c t o n e a n o th e r , th e n e e d f o r re c e p tio n c o n tin u e s.
T h e r e is n o fu ll c a th o lic ity o f th e C h u r c h in su c h a sta te o f d iv isio n . How
d o c s th is re c e p tio n ta k e places?
T h e fo rm o f re c e p tio n is th e m o s t d iffic u lt th in g to a g re e u p o n in
o u r p r e s e n t e c u m e n ic a l s itu a tio n . H ow ever, w ith th e h e lp o f so m e th e o
log ical p rin c ip le s w e c a n m a k e th e fo llo w in g p o in ts. G o d s g iv in g o f his
S o n to u s to o k a n d ta k e s p la c e , w e all c o n fe ss, in the Holy Spirit a n d th u s
in a n e v e n t o f c o m m u n io n . By g iv in g h is S o n as his ow n very love, G o d
d o c s n o t im p o s e t h e re c e p tio n o f th is g ift u p o n us. T h e S p irit is fre e
d o m , a n d r e c e p tio n o f a n y th in g th a t is th e c o n te n t (th e what) o f r e c e p
tio n c a n n o t b e im p o se d , o n a n y o n e by a n y o n e . T ru th is a u th o rita tiv e ,

The Ch urch

163

b u t it is n o t a u th o r ita r ia n , b e c a u s e it c o m e s to u s th r o u g h th is e v e n t o f
c o m m u n io n .
C o m m u n io n m e a n s community. C o m m u n io n m u s t c o m e th ro u g h
th e c o n c r e te c o m m u n itie s o f th e C h u rc h . H ow ever, n o t a n y a n d every
ecclesial c o m m u n ity is a C h u r c h . N o c o m m u n ity c a n h o ld itse lf in
iso la tio n fro m th e w h o le C h u r c h , fo r a C h u rc h is always s tr u c tu r e d in
a p a rtic u la r w ay in a n e v e n t o f c o m m u n io n . N o m a tte r how w idely
s o m e th in g is re c e iv e d in t h e C h u rc h e s , u n le ss it is re c e iv e d by o n e
C h u r c h fro m a n o th e r , a n d th is m e a n s th a t it m u s t b e re c e iv e d in th e
c o n te x t o f t h e E u c h a ris t. All c r e e d a l a n d c o n c ilia i' fo rm u la tio n s m e e t
th e ir fin a l p u r p o s e o n ly w h e n th e y b e c o m e in te g ra l p a rts o f th e e u c h a
ristie c o m m u n ity .
R e c e p tio n is n o t ju st a b o u t in d iv id u a ls, b u t a b o u t c o m m u n itie s , b e in g
in c o m m u n ic a tio n w ith e a c h o th e r. B e c a u se th e C h u rc h e s rece iv e th e
g o sp e l a n d t h e c re e d s as c o m m u n itie s , w e n e e d a p a r tic u la r m in istry
th a t e x p re s s e s a n d c o n firm s th e u n ity o f th e c o m m u n ity . T h is m in istry
o f efriscope is th e f u n c tio n o f th e b is h o p . E a c h b is h o p e n s u re s that
w h a t h is C h u r c h re c e iv e s is fa ith fu l to all p re v io u s c o m m u n itie s g o in g
b a c k to th e first a p o s to lic c o m m u n itie s , a n d th a t w h a t th a t C h u rc h
rec e iv e s s u s ta in s it in c o m m u n io n w ith all o th e r C h u rc h e s w o rld w id e,
w h ic h is a c h ie v e d th r o u g h co n ciliai' g a th e rin g s a n d d e c isio n s. T h e r e
fo re , th e o v e rs ig h t o f a b is h o p is e sse n tia l to re c e p tio n .
In th e H o ly S p irit e v e ry th in g ta k e s p la c e as a n e v e n t o f c o m m u n io n .
E veiy d e c is io n ta k e n b y a b is h o p o r b y th e b is h o p s in c o u n c il h a s to be
received by th e c o m m u n ity . T h e r e f o re , th e r e is a n e le m e n t of recip ro city :
th e c o m m u n ity c o u ld d o n o th in g w ith o u t th e b is h o p , w h o h a d to rece iv e
th e A m e n o f th e c o m m u n ity in all h e d id .
R e c e p tio n c a n n o t b e lim ite d to th e lo cal level, r a t h e r it also h a s to
b e u n iv ersal. W e n e e d a m in istry o f u n iv ersal re c e p tio n t h a t m e ets
th e s e r e q u ir e m e n ts . T h is m in is try s h o u ld b e episcopal, e x e rc is e d by th e
h e a d o f a lo c a l C h u r c h , f o r th is e n s u re s th a t u n iv e rsa l c a th o lic ity d o e s
n o t bypass o r c o n tr a d ic t th e c a th o lic ity o f t h e lo c a l C h u r c h . T h e c o n s e n
sus o f th e fa ith fu l s h o u ld b e o b ta in e d in every case o f re c e p tio n a n d
this s h o u ld g o th r o u g h th e lo cal b ish o p s a n d n o t b e d e le g a te d to
in d iv id u a ls.
S in c e d if f e r e n t p e o p le re c e iv e t h e g o sp e l a n d C h rist h im s e lf in d iffe r
e n t ways, re c e p tio n involves th e p r o p e r in c u ltu ra tio n o f th e go sp el.
T h e r e s h o u ld b e ro o m fo r f r e e d o m o f e x p re s sio n a n d variety o f c u lt ural
fo rm s in r e c e p tio n , a n d th is is w h y th e r e c e p tio n o f th e g o sp e l takes
p la c e in th e lo c a l C h u rc h . E a c h lo c a l C h u r c h rec eiv e s th e g o sp e l a n d
re-receiv es it c o n sta n tly , w ith th e b is h o p su p e rv isin g , in c o m m u n io n

164

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w ith th e fa ith fu l a n d w ith o t h e r lo cal C h u rc h e s in co n ciliai' d e c isio n s


th r o u g h a u n iv e rs a l m inistry. In th e v ery a c t o f re s p o n d in g to d o c u
m e n ts th e C h u r c h e s re c e iv e o n e a n o t h e r as C h u rc h e s . All C h u rc h e s
c o n s ta n tly n e e d to re -receiv e th e ir o w n tr a d itio n a n d th ro u g h such
e c u m e n ic a l e n c o u n te r s a n d re - o r ie n t th e m selv e s to th e o rig in a l a p o s
to lic c o m m u n ity .
Two h o p e f u l sig n s a r e e m e rg in g . T h e C h u rc h e s w h ic h h a v e always
h a d b is h o p s a r e b e g in n in g to re a lis e th a t th e o ffic e o f b is h o p m u st
b e e x e rc is e d a s e p is c o p a l o v e rs ig h t in u n ity w ith th e w h o le C h ristia n
co m m u n ity . S e c o n d , th e C h u rc h e s w h ic h have tra d itio n a lly re je c te d
e p isc o p a c y a r e b e g in n in g to s e e th e n e e d f o r su c h o v e rsig h t as an
e sse n tia l p a r t o f ccc lc sia l unity. W ith th is issue o f episcope, th e th o rn y
issu e o f th e m in is try o f th e P o p e will h a v e to b e ta c k le d s o o n e r o r later,
b u t if it is p u t in its p r o p e r th e o lo g ic a l p e rsp e c tiv e , p e rh a p s e v e n this
issue c a n b e reso lv ed .

Index

A b ra h a m
Adam

8, 4 0 , 12 6

C le m e n t o f A le x a n d r ia 1 2 9

5 2 ,9 0 -1 ,1 0 2 ,1 0 4 -5 ,1 3 1

A n a p h o ra

c o m m u n io n

1 1 7 ,1 4 6 ,1 4 7

see a ls o o f f e r in g

13 9 , 14 3 , 1 5 5 , 16 3

A p o s t le s 9 , 1 3 , 1 2 8 - 9 , 1 4 5 - 7
a s c e t ic is m

co sm o s

1 2 2 -5 , 1 3 4 -5

A t h a n a s iu s

2 9 ,4 1 -2 ,4 8

see a ls o c r e a t io n

2 3 - 4 . 5 9 - 6 0 . 8 9 -9 0 , 1 0 2 ,

C o u n c i l s o f th e C h u r c h 2 , 9 , 1 7 ,

10 5

1 3 -1 5 , 77, 1 4 2 -4 , 15 3 , 16 2

A u g u stin e 6 5 - 8 ,7 0 - 1 ,
77-8, 140

c r e a t io n 4 2 - 3 , 4 6 , 8 3 - 1 0 8 , 1 3 2 - 3
cre e d s
cro ss

B a p t is m

7 -8 , 1 1 - 1 3 , 4 5 , 5 3 , 58,

8 9 , 9 4, 10 8 , 1 1 6 - 1 8 , 1 2 5 , 1 3 5 -6 ,

2 ,3 3 -6 ,4 5 ,1 5 0

B a s il. S a in t , o f C a e s a r e a

2 ,4 ,3 3 ,6 1 .7 5 -7 ,1 2 1
1 1 0 ,1 1 4 ,1 3 4 -6

C y r i l o f A l e x a n d r ia 6 4 , 8 1 , 1 4 9
6. 5 2 , 55,

58, 6 2 ,7 2 -3

d e a th 5 3 ,5 6 .6 3 , 1 3 3 -4 , 14 8

B ib le 1 5 7 - 9 see a ls o S c r ip t u r e

D io n y s iu s , P s -A r e o p a g ite 2 1 - 2

b is h o p 2 , 1 3 - 1 4 , 1 1 8 - 1 9 , 1 2 3 - 4 ,

d o c t r in e

1 2 8 - 3 1 , 1 4 1 - 7 , 1 5 6 , 16 0 ,

1 -9 , 1 2 -1 5

d o g m a 5 -6 ,9 , 1 4 -1 5 , 13 8

1 6 3 -4
b o d y 8 6 , 8 9 ,9 3 , 1 2 3

econom y

B o d y o f C h r is t

e s c h a t o lo g y

1 3 ,3 1 -2 ,1 1 6 -1 9 .

1 2 6 -8 , 1 3 3 , 1 3 9 -4 0 , 1 4 9 -5 2 , 15 6 ,
1 6 0 -1

6 9 -7 3 , 7 7 -8 1
1 2 7 -3 1 ,1 3 7 -4 0 ,

1 4 5 -7 , 1 5 3 -7 , 1 6 0 -1
E u c h a r is t

8 -9 ,1 4 ,1 1 7 -1 9 ,1 2 2 -5 ,

1 2 8 - 3 1 , 1 3 7 - 4 1 , 1 4 6 -7 , 15 5 , 15 7
c a t h o lic it y 1 3 - 1 5 , 1 2 8 , 1 4 0 - 2 .

E u n o m iu s 5 7 , 5 9 , 6 1 , 6 4

1 6 2 -3
ca u se (a g e n c y in G o d )

5 3 . 5 9 -6 1

C h a lc e d o n , C o u n c i l o f

110 , 1 1 1 ,

1 1 2 , 1 1 4 -1 5 ,1 4 9
c h a r is m , c h a r is m a t ic

f a it h 3 3 - 9
f a ll

1 1 - 1 2 , 1 3 0 -1 ,

fre e d o m

14 9
C h r is t , J e s u s

8 6 ,9 0 ,9 8 -1 0 9

F ilio q u e 7 1 , 7 2 , 7 5 - 8 2
2 0 , 2 3 , 2 6 -9 , 38 , 6 1.

7 3 - 5 , 8 5 -6 , 9 0 -8 , 1 0 4 -9 , 1 5 7
8 -9 , 1 3 , 40 , 4 3 -5 ,

1 0 3 -1 4 , 1 1 6 - 1 8 , 1 2 6 , 1 4 8 -5 0 ,

g ift s

15 6

G n o s t ic is m

11-12.14 7.16 2
8 3 - 4 , 8 8 , 94

166
G od, th e F a th e r 23-4, 26, 31, 43, 53,
5 7 -6 1 ,6 4 , 68, 8 8 ,1 0 6 ,1 1 4 ,1 1 7
Gregory of Nazianzus 11-12, 56-7,
61
Gregory o f Nyssa 6 ,7 9 -8 2
h e a rt 36-7
heaven 36-7
hell 136
history 3 7 ,1 0 1 ,1 0 7 ,1 3 9 -4 1 ,1 4 8 -6 1
holiness 36, 118,124-5, 137,151
hypostasis 34, 49-50, 61
see also p erso n
icons 9, 113, 127, 134, 136
see also image
Ignatius, Saint 13, 122,128-30,
146-7
im age 8, 1 0 ,1 3 , 24, 64, 67, 69, 95,
118,137-9, 145-6, 160
incarnation 8, 148, 156
infallibility 1 5 -16,141-2
Jo h n Chrysostom 55,159
ju d g m e n t 18, 35, 43-4, 137, 140
kingdom of G o d 3 6 ,1 3 0 -1 , 140,
153-4, 157, 159-60
liturgy 127, 134, 146-7, 150-3
Logos 2 2 -4 ,4 6 -8 ,6 6 ,7 0 -1 ,8 6 -8 ,
95, 122-3, 129
Lossky, V ladim ir 22, 77, 150
love 23-33, 35, 53-4, 66, 71, 75, 79,
110, 112-14
Mary 1 03-7,113
m ateriality 5 8 ,9 0 ,9 4 , 101,103, 115,
122-3, 135
m em ory 65-7, 71, 159

Index
m in d 22, 24, 58, 65-8, 85, 122-3
m onasticism 122-5,130
n a tu re 27-9, 89-92, 98-9, 105, 108,
110, 115
divine n a tu re 53, 61, 70, 110-12,
115-16
h u m a n nature 51-2, 59, 63, 115
Nicaea, Council of 2, 9, 15, 59, 61-2,
143
offering 117-19, 124, 146, 150
O rigen 22-4, 86, 122-3, 131
Pentecost 11, 123-8, 155-6
person 8, 23-4, 25-9, 42, 46-51,
54-66, 62-4, 67-70, 106-7,
111-14
Philo o f Alexandria 49, 85-6
Pope 141-2, 144-5
Presbyters, Priests 128-9, 146-7
resurrection 44,99-100, 108, 117,
134-5
R om an Catholicism 7, 120-1, 142,
151-2,158
Sabellius 4 7 -8 ,5 0 -1 ,6 2
sacram ents 38, 134, 137-8, 153
Saints, Christians 15, 38-9, 125,
151-2
salvation 102-4, 105-15,124, 129
Scripture 3-10, 158-9
sin 98, 102,152, 161
space 1 6-17,51,100-1
suffering 109-10.115,134
tim e 1 7 ,5 1 ,1 0 0 ,1 5 3 -5
worship 4 4 ,4 6 ,6 8 ,1 1 7 ,1 5 9