Thursday, July 20, 2006

'My Theology': I believe, therefore I differentiate

I believe, therefore I differentiate. Faith is an act of original differentiation. Through an act of original differentiation, God created other, creaturely being, and within this created reality he created wholesome distinctions between heaven and earth, day and night, water and land, man and woman, etc. Similarly, faith which trusts in God knows itself bound to original differentiation. It differentiates first and foremost between God and world, between creator and creature, in order to bring out their proper relation of an unsurpassable nearness. ...

Those who believe have found in God and in God alone the origin and goal of their being, the supporting foundation of their existence. They know themselves to be eternally secure in his creative love, and in it alone. They know themselves to be justified by God’s grace, and by it alone. They know Jesus Christ as the way and the truth and the life, and he alone. When it is a matter of the truth of their idea of God and of their salvation, they listen to the Holy Scriptures, and to them alone. The believer knows faith and faith alone as that creative passivity, in which being able to take is more blessed than being able to give. But to say alone and only is already to be involved in differentiating in a fundamental way that which may in no way be mixed. Sin is known as the presumptuousness of wanting to be like God, and its destructive compulsion as the need to want to be like God. The believer knows that God became human to differentiate savingly and definitively between God and humanity. ‘We should be human and not God. That is the summa.’ The believer exists in distinction. In this way he or she safeguards life’s wealth of relations. Whoever differentiates has more from life.

—Eberhard Jüngel, Theological Essays II, 12-13


Lawrence said...

This is very good, particularly the concluding sentences. In fact, one is tempted to strengthen the sentiment: life’s wealth of relations is not merely safeguarded by the maintenance of distinction, relationship cannot exist without distinction. But this always needs to be balanced by the Maximian point that distinction (diaphora) must never be allowed to decompose into division (diaresis). So the believer exists in distinction but only insofar as he or she also exists in communion.

D.W. Congdon said...

Great point. I suppose a similar thing could be said of the Trinity, though without making any analogical comparisons between God's being and our being.