Thursday, 23 November 2006

Where is God's body?

“[I]t is tempting to say that the space occupied by the bread and cup, and by the space-occupying aspects of the church’s sacraments and sacramental life generally, is God’s pad in his creation.... Saying this would redefine heaven christologically: heaven would exist only in that the Incarnation occurs, only in that God incarnationally occupies space in his creation. It would become conceptually impossible to describe the Creator’s presence to his creatures without reference to Jesus Christ.”

—Robert W. Jenson, “You Wonder Where the Body Went,” in Essays in Theology of Culture (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), p. 221.

3 Comments:

kim fabricius said...

Is this a trick question? For an answer I'd say either cherchez la Femme, or call Columbo.

LeRon Shults said...

For Jenson, a "body" is the place where a person confronts and is confronted, so with that definition, this becomes a really important question, and leads naturally to the doctrine of the incarnation.

However, Jenson, like so many other contemporary theologians has not always attended carefully to the ways in which the very concepts of space, matter, time and person itself have been altered in contemporary philosophy and science after Einstein's relativity theory and quantum mechanics.

It seems to me that future reconstruction of doctrines like the incarnation, the eucharist, and the parousia will have to face the challenges and opportunities in these conceptual shifts.

Ben Myers said...

Thanks, LeRon -- that's an excellent point.

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