Saturday 27 October 2007

Is God imprisoned in history?

Our friend Halden has just posted the latest instalment of his superb series on “radical trinitarianism.” The post is very relevant to the fascinating conversations we’ve been having here about Paul Molnar’s new book.

Halden speaks of “the primal revelation of God in and as the tortured, murdered, and resurrected Christ.” And he observes that “this event of cross and resurrection is the eternal God precisely as God-for-us and God-with-us” – in other words, the being of God is “constitutively manifested in the cross and resurrection of Christ.”

But does such an understanding imprison God within the world’s history? Halden provides a compelling answer to this question: “As Balthasar saw with perhaps more clarity than anyone in recent theology, the radical kenosis of the Triune God in the death and resurrection of Christ and the Pentecostal dispersal of the Spirit does not imprison the Trinity in the world’s fate, but rather lifts the world up into the embrace of the immanent Triune Life.”

This is a first-rate post which deserves a careful reading.


Anonymous said...

Ben, I was reading this post and wondering if you could discuss the distinction between you and Molnar's disagreement on whether or not the resurrection "contitutes" God. It seems to me the NT speaks more in terms of "manifesting" God in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Perhaps you could illucidate the disagreement.

Anonymous said...

Though not a professional theologian C.S. Lewis mused that God somehow eternally relates to infirmity. But for him the idea was based on a bad rendering of a passage in John's Revelation. That "slain before the foundations of the earth" passage. But I've always found the idea powerful that because God's character is revealed in his actions that his character and even his being is ultimately that of a suffering messiah.

Anonymous said...

I think the error being made by Halden and Ben is that they take the resurrection as revealing "the triune God" or "God" when for Paul it reveals the identity of Jesus as the "Son" when he was ensarkos. It shows he was not the failed Son of David but the Son of God. Stated crudely, the resurrection clarifies an "episode" in the life of the Son (the incarnation).

Paul is quite comfortable speaking in temporal terms of the decision of the Son to "descend". His earthly life is not the the constitution of his eternal relationship. It is something that happened "when the moment was right".

The Son takes on "flesh" (goes from riches to poverty then back to glory), but should not be measured by it because he in fact is Spirit and that was made clear at the resurrection when he took leave of that flesh (ascended back to glory). For Paul minimally, the Son may have some enigmatic body, but he is forever asarkos.


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