Theology of Revelation part 4

Christianity, Theism, and the Answer of Thomism

The analogy holds true because Christ, when He is truly the center makes possible our speech about God and provides at the same time relationality and our own infinite difference from God simultaneously. This happens in the centrality of Love as our starting point. I prize the Christocentric nature of theology and think Barth rightly raises an alarm but fails to do justice to theology as such in his rejection of the analogia entis.

Of course Christians are far more than theists, and rightly should reject appropriately the desire to equate an autonomous Nature with the person of Christ. But when we rightly make the Christocentric claim we see the infinite qualitative difference between nature as fallen which in this case is what Bonhoeffer called the unnatural.

The analogy of being (analogia entis) holds true because God has claimed nature in Christ, their division in the work of Barth is almost an equal opposite dualism, nature is not synonymous with Christ, but has been claimed by him and what is True is His claim. Eschatological, Christocentric nature holds true for our analogia entis. The fialures of love are understood, the divine manifestation continually stands as a testament to us of the failures we’ve made manifest, but the event also draws us up into the genuine experience of something we’ve known, or it seems we have anticipated without being able to grasp it fully.

The world we see cannot exhaust what God wishes to say, but because we have the sacraments, because we have physical perfections already in our midst, we can know things objectively. We have been given Truth, and He descends to us, to shape the way we think and act according to the Love that once was pure gift without fulfillment. We begin with Christ’s claim about and over nature, because of the eschatological imagination we have been given as a gift.

Nature is not an autonomous wholesale rejection of revelation. Given Barth’s context I can only empathize with his radical rejections. However, liberal German theology’s lack of Thomism as well as his own only exacerbates the problem, it does not solve it.

While St. Thomas might have a weak Christological center at points, his work is not synonymous with idolatry. It only needed re-Christification after some post-Tridentine speculation led it to become the framework of various bastardizations that the nominalist Thomists had inspired. If you’ll alow me to be so bold, I’d say Barth’s work provides information towards a foundation but not a proper framework for that re-Christification.

The analogia entis was radically criticized by Karl Barth as “the invention of the Anti-Christ.” Yet what Barth fails to realize is that the Thomistic approach does not actually divide the two natures of Christ asunder but provides ample room for the communication of attributes. It provides the framework for Von Balthasar’s correction of Barth. It is Barth’s failure to understand Thomism that leads him to a wholesale rejection of both analogia entis in particular and natural theology in general. However, this as I have stated elsewhere in the series is not the proper solution at all.

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4 thoughts on “Theology of Revelation part 4

  1. Eli, you are definitely chopping wood in the woodshed with this series! I hope your flock appreciates the heavy-lifting you are doing in their behalf, as well as for your own self-articulation of these theological problems.

    It’s really interesting for me to view these Christian mind-scapes again, and I don’t mean that pejoratively or as a Zen jibe–honest! 🙂 And yet, finally, thank goodness for the “simplicity that is in Christ,” no?

    All the best,
    Steve

    • I enjoy these exercises, i see them as a sort of active meditation. I know that I’m growing in and with them, and some of my readers and friends have responded kindly.

      At the end of the day, let’s be glad that things are simple in their complexity, and complex in their simplicity, and that not everyone needs to venture this far out into the woodshed.

      I don’t hope to make this standard fare for all, but I do hope to inspire the idea that the faith is challenging on all levels, to all people. It’s simple beauty in love of God and neighbor is matched by the majestic heights and depths to which it seeks to make known the fullness of our quest.

      The academy is nothing without true disciples, this much is true. But without disciples shaped in truth, the church veers off into wild speculation and obsessions with the signs of the times.

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