Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Chapter 10


            In Chapter 10, Pannenberg will deal with the deity of Jesus Christ. He will discuss the special humanity of Jesus based on what we are to say of his deity. He begins by offering a summary of what he will say in this chapter. In these compact and dense sentences, properly understood, you have what Pannenberg wants to say here. He says he wants to discover the contours of the divine sonship of Jesus in his human reality. The human history of Jesus is the revelation of his eternal sonship. The human relation of Jesus to God the Father reflects his deity and illumines the eternal being of God. To look at the deity of Jesus from the perspective of the Trinity, the Son, in becoming human, is not adding something alien to his deity. The human life of Jesus is the self-created medium of his self-actualization through the fact of the self-distinction from the Father. In this way, the Son fulfills his eternal sonship. He does so by leaving the sphere of deity by becoming a human being. In doing so, he also fulfills our human destiny as creatures and delivers humanity from the confusion of sin.

            In Section 1, Pannenberg discusses reasons for maintaining the unity of Jesus with God. For the man Jesus, the Father was present. He let the Spirit guide him. However, the relation of Jesus to the Father is the primary way in which we will discover whether he partakes in deity as the Son of the Father. This will make his approach have a slightly different emphasis from Moltmann and his Spirit-Christology in The Way of Jesus Christ.

            In subsection (a) of Section 1, Pannenberg discusses the relationship of Jesus to the Father in his public ministry.  I would urge the reader of this portion to become familiar with the parables and sayings of Jesus. What Pannenberg offers is a solid summary of much of biblical scholarship. He specifically refers to Joachim Jeremias, Norman Perrin, and E. P. Sanders. His primary point here is the unique way in which Jesus made the rule of God the dominant theme of his life. His point will be that the central thought of Jesus was the imminence of the divine rule. The eleventh benediction in the Jewish eighteen benedictions summarize this hope of the rule of God: “Restore our judges as of yore, and our counselors as in the beginning, and remove from us grief and sighing. Reign Thou over us, O Lord, alone in loving-kindness and mercy, and establish our innocence by the judgment.” In addition, the Qaddish prayer summarizes this hope:

Exalted and hallowed be His great Name.

Throughout the world which He has created according to His Will. May He establish His kingship, bring forth His redemption and hasten the coming of His Moshiach.

In your lifetime and in your days and in the lifetime of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon, and say, Amen.

May His great Name be blessed forever and to all eternity. Blessed and praised, glorified, exalted and extolled, honored, adored and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He.

Beyond all the blessings, hymns, praises and consolations that are uttered in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and a good life for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He Who makes peace in His heavens, may He make peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

 

The difference between John the Baptist and Jesus is that the Baptist focused on the immanence of judgment, while Jesus focused on the coming of divine rule, meaning the focus was salvation. For people who responded to this message, the rule of God was already present and at work. His ministry focused upon the call that we should commit ourselves totally to the rule of God that he declared to be imminent. The basis for this priority was the first of the Ten Commandments, in which the covenant people ought to have no other gods before the Lord (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 6:4-5). Those who open themselves to this summons already experience the coming of the rule of God. For Jesus, such participation in salvation is a demonstration of the love of God that seeks the lost and sees the goodness of the Creator. Forgiving love has reached its goal in joy (Luke 15). Accepting the message means one is no longer an outcast, for one shares in the rule of God. Such participation includes the remission of sins and overcoming what separates us from God. The table fellowship with Jesus is a strong sign of that participation. The work of Jesus shows the nearness of the rule of God by demonstrating the love of God. One who responds to his summons allows the movement of the love of God to become part of one’s life, the aim of this love being the world as a whole. We have fellowship with God and participate in divine rule only as we share in the movement of divine love. Jesus expounds the will of God as the love of God and neighbor. As Pannenberg goes through the parables of Jesus, he makes it clear that Jesus claimed unheard of authority for his own person. He knew he was in agreement with God and was the mediator of the inbreaking of the rule and forgiving love of God. He opposed freely the tradition embodied in the Torah, trusting that he was in harmony with the will of God. For that reason, it ought not to surprise us that he caused offense to devout Jews.

            In subsection (b) of Section 1, Pannenberg discusses the unity of Jesus with the Father as a point of contention in his history. Jesus treated with caution any attempt to identify him with the concepts of Jewish eschatological expectation. He did not view himself as the Messiah. He thought of the Son of Man as the future heavenly judge. As he puts it, like prophetic and apocalyptic visions in the Jewish tradition, the work of Jesus aimed at future verification of his claim to authority and confirmation of his message.[1] He also thinks it doubtful that Jesus viewed himself as the suffering servant described in Isaiah 53. Yet, his message of the immanence of divine rule unavoidably brought his person into play, as the previous subsection has shown. If he was the mediator of divine rule, the suspicion of his arrogance naturally arose. The ambivalence that surrounds his coming helps us understand the rejection and offense he encountered. Pannenberg points to the charge of blasphemy in Mark 2:7 and to a blessing upon those who did not take offense in him in Luke 7:23. Jesus, aware of the ambivalence of his message, tried to stop people from magnifying his person. The appearance of Jesus needed divine confirmation in light of the controversy. His claim for the coming of divine rule made divine confirmation more pressing. He did not have that divine confirmation during the course of his earthly ministry. This means his message is not self-authenticating. Moltmann was among those who thought Pannenberg depreciates the central significance of the crucifixion for the Christian understanding of his person and work. However, Moltmann will say that the confirmation still awaits the resurrection of the dead, contrasting the language of facts in the crucifixion and the language of promise in the resurrection.[2] In fact, any claim to authority in his earthly ministry led to rejection as a deceiver and finally to his crucifixion. The passion of Jesus is an expression of the faithfulness of Jesus to his Father. The message of Jesus was in conflict with the Jewish tradition as it developed in the post-exilic period. It was inevitable for the Jew who was loyal to the Torah. What undid Jesus with Jewish leaders was the Torah.[3] He also points to the prophetic threat against the temple, based upon Jeremiah 7:11-14 and 26:6, the intimation of its destruction in Mark 13:2, along with the accompanying symbolic action.  All of this was likely the immediate occasion of his arrest, as the Mark account suggests. He makes it clear that the trial involved both Jewish and Roman appearances, a matter of some debate among scholars. He points to the denial of Peter as evidence of this, although whether a formal hearing occurred is not so clear historically. He thinks Jewish leaders acted in good faith regarding Jesus, whom they believed was a deceiver, seducing the people into apostasy from the God of Israel. Deuteronomy 13:5-6 urges the death of the prophet when he urges disloyalty to the Lord. Of course, in spite of Matthew 27:25, he rejects the notion of the guilt of the Jewish people as a whole. Jesus saw the destruction of the Temple as due to the failure to return to God in answer to his summons. Of course, the church saw the fulfillment of this judgment in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Yet, Jesus looked forward to the rule of God and salvation, and therefore the restoration of Israel. The resurrection of Jesus expresses the faithfulness of God to the election of Israel. The cross means the end of the Torah, but not the end of the election of Israel. His point throughout is that the message has a direct link to the crucifixion.

            In subsection (c) of Section 1, Pannenberg discusses the justification of Jesus by the Father in his resurrection. In The Crucified God (Chapter 5), Moltmann discusses eschatology and history. He agrees with the Pannenberg on many points on the significance of the resurrection. He will part company in two areas. One is that the historical Jesus ends with the crucifixion, and the resurrection begins eschatology and therefore the end of history and the historical. Therefore, any notion of the resurrection being historical is out of the question. In Chapter 5 of The Way of Jesus Christ Moltmann will say that the character of the eschatological event of the resurrection makes it impossible for him to consider it historical. Pannenberg will agree that historical proof is out of the question. Resurrection for Moltmann is the language of promise, while resurrection for Pannenberg has a this-world, historical, and factual element within it, a proleptic appearance of the promise. The power of God shown in the resurrection of Jesus is a power displayed in this world, and therefore, will have this-world consequences. If the resurrection of Jesus is the appearance of the future of God and the destiny of humanity in our world and history, then it opens the door for a discussion of the destiny of humanity and human history. In the philosophical world, this would mean a discussion of universal history. Yet, for Moltmann, this unredeemed world is not capable of giving evidence of the creation, not even when we reflect upon the resurrection of Jesus. The history of suffering, evil, and injustice does not allow for proleptic appearance of the new creation, even in the resurrection of Jesus. The two theologians have a real difference here.

The start of apostolic proclamation and the history of the church is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, a reality backed by the appearances of Jesus to the disciples and to Saul. The faith of Christians would be vain without it (I Corinthians 14:17). God raised the Crucified from the dead, linking Easter faith to the earthly history of Jesus. As a work of God, it cancels the rejection of Jesus by the representatives of the people of God. God justified the Crucified through the life-giving Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead. The Easter event sheds new light on the earthly ministry of Jesus, disclosing its meaning in terms of his relation to God. In this, he agrees with Barth in the 2nd edition of Romans, p. 195, CD, III.2, 44aff, esp. 445, IV.1 304ff, III.2, 455, IV.2, 118ff, esp. 131ff, and IV.1 313. This means that we need to explore the type of event it was.[4] He will refer to Old Testament and apocalyptic texts here. First, the language of the resurrection is that of metaphor, even if a real event was in view. Second, the idea of rising from the dead to eternal life has its roots in Jewish eschatological hope. Arising out of the exile, the idea is a response to the problems of theodicy. Moltmann also stresses this connection.[5] It was a transition to the new eschatological life. Third, eschatological expectation of a resurrection from the dead provided linguistic expression and a conceptual framework for the Christian Easter message. God had raised the Lord to new eschatological life. Therefore, he had not come back to his former earthly life (Lazarus), nor was he ghost. Ancient stories included resuscitation of the corpse or the ghost, neither of which is true here.[6] Fourth, the relation to the Jewish idea of eschatological resurrection to life was profoundly altered by the linking of this idea to the reality of Jesus encountered in the Easter appearances. It means the justification and confirmation of the earthly mission of Jesus and his person. In contrast to Moltmann, he does not see the scheme of exaltation as an alternative by which to explain the Easter appearances alongside resurrection and rapture.[7] Early Christianity saw the resurrection of Jesus, in contrast to general Jewish expectation, as the beginning of the end-time events. This end-time event was the resurrection of those related to Jesus by faith. Finally, the Christian message of the resurrection of Jesus needs the event of an eschatological resurrection of the dead. This truth suggests a view of reality that rests on the anticipating of a fulfillment of human life and history that has not yet taken place. This means the Easter message remains contested as long as the resurrection of the dead is in the future. He wants to remind us of the proleptic structure of the Easter message, which is quite appropriate to the situation. The resurrection of Jesus is an anticipation of eschatological salvation. He agrees with Moltmann that for the Easter witnesses, Easter was not a fixed and finished event of the past, but a future event that in its ambivalent historical form underlay a universal and world-changing hope. Fifth, the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus as the hope of salvation for the human race beyond the confines of the Jewish tradition presupposes the possibility of maintaining with sufficient plausibility the universal validity of Jewish expectation of an eschatological resurrection of the dead. He thinks the anthropological argument for a hope after death that includes our corporeality has gained in importance for the Easter message. To expand on this notion, he ponders as to whether the apocalyptic conceptual world is still binding. For him, clearly, if we exclude it from the realm of possibility in our modern and secular setting, then one must also exclude faith in Christ. His point is that the reason the man Jesus is the ultimate and universal revelation of God is incomprehensible apart from apocalyptic expectation. Christology becomes mythology. For him, then, we need an anthropology in which human beings come to fulfillment beyond this finite life. If hope has any meaning, it relates to that which is beyond death. If death is the end, then all hope for a coming fulfillment of existence is foolish. The art of living would be to eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. His point is that hope involves openness that goes beyond every finite situation. If so, it involves the unity of all individuals in the resurrection of the dead. He admits that this idea demands a systematic anthropology, which he initially presented in brief form in What is Man? Of course, he completes this project in Anthropology from a Theological Perspective.[8] Sixth, decisive for confidence in the facticity of the resurrection of Jesus as the Christian message proclaims it are the primitive Christian testimonies to the appearances of the risen Lord to his disciples along with the discovery of the empty tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem.[9] The primary list of appearances is in I Corinthians 15:3-8, whereas the fact of the empty tomb could receive various interpretations and has significance only connection with the appearances. He notes that the empty tomb is likely a local Jerusalem tradition and an original part of the passion story. The reference in I Corinthians 15:4 to the burial of Jesus at least hint at the empty tomb. Moltmann points out that the message of the resurrection could not have survived a single hour had some someone produced the body.[10] The empty tomb resists the idea that they were hallucinations and disallowing any superficial spiritualizing of the Easter message. It leaves room for the thought of a changing of the earthly corporeality of Jesus into the eschatological reality of a new life. The discovery of the empty tomb, while open to a variety of interpretations, is a discovery independent of the appearances. As we will see, the accounts of the appearances themselves leave one open historically to vision or hallucination, but the empty tomb keeps modifying that interpretation. One difficulty is the nature of the appearances. To make the point clear, he regards as good historical foundation the assumption that a number of members of the early Christian community experienced appearances of the resurrected Lord.[11] He will make it clear that the Easter appearances may have involved an extraordinary vision, rather than an event visible to everyone. Another difficulty is the relation between the appearance of Paul and the list of appearances. He will stress that for Paul, the appearance had a close connection to the man Jesus, it was a spiritual body, the appearance was from heaven, it involved light, and it involved a voice.[12] He notes that the resurrection and ascension of Jesus form a single event in Philippians 2:9. Of course, the disciples, in their acceptance of Paul, saw sufficient agreement between his experience of the risen Lord and their own. A third difficulty is the relation of the list of appearances in Paul to the appearances recorded in the Gospels. He thinks that J. E. Alsup has shown that the appearance stories in the Gospels may have more historical value than he thought when he wrote his study in Christology, Jesus – God and Man. These stories may offer visionary experiences. Some might be hallucinations. He thinks that behind a reconstructed form of the appearance to Paul is an indication of the original behind the Gospel accounts. He thinks, in agreement with Moltmann,[13] that we must begin with the fact that the Easter appearances formed the starting point for the preaching of the resurrected Crucified One. The appearances explain the faith of the disciples. Seventh, the thesis that Jesus rose implies a claim to historicity. The point here is that any event in the past implies a historical claim and exposes itself to testing. Such an event does not have to be like other known events, as Moltmann agrees.[14] Theological interest here is overcoming death by the new eschatological life that has actually taken place in this world history of ours. Here, Moltmann misses the point when he writes that those who call the resurrection historical in the same sense as the cross overlook the new creation. The difference lies in the quality of the event, not in its character as an historical event.[15] Further, even if one asserts historicity, it does not mean that the assertion is beyond dispute. To say something is historical does not mean historically provable. It means that an event actually took place.[16] All Christians must realize that people will contest the facticity of the resurrection right up to the eschatological consummation of the world. He can agree with Moltmann when he writes of the belief in the resurrection that it remains a hope until verified by the eschatological resurrection of all the dead, so that its language is that of promise and the hope established thereby. However, Pannenberg thinks Moltmann makes too little of the finished nature of the resurrection of Jesus, which Paul stresses in I Corinthians 15:12ff. The reality that broke in with the resurrection of Jesus is not yet complete, and so the event is always debatable. Yet, we still maintain that it has already happened, and the fact that the new life has come makes Christian hope a well-grounded hope.[17] Finally, our judgment regarding historicity will depend upon our understanding of reality. Historical reconstruction has an orientation toward a common-sense view of reality. However, the biblical concept of reality as a field of divine action, including its eschatological consummation, formed and forms a challenge to the secular culture of this time. Christian theology has no reason to shrink from the challenge that its assertion of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus raises for secular history.

            In Section 2, Pannenberg will discuss the Christological development of the unity of Jesus with God.

            In subsection (a) in Section 2, Pannenberg discusses the divine sonship of Jesus and its origin in the eternity of God. In what sense is the resurrection divine confirmation and vindication as over against his human judges? First, the accusation was that Jesus made himself equal to God. Rather, he differentiated himself from God by submitting himself to the will of God. Jesus served the lordship of his Father. He gave to the Father the honor that all creation owes to God. In this submission and offering of honor, he is the Son. Second, the vindication of the Crucified also means that he was not the messianic pretender Jewish and Roman authorities judged him to be. The early church re-interpreted the title “Christ” or “Messiah” in light of the suffering obedience of the Crucified. Third, the divine confirmation extends to his earthly ministry of proclaiming the nearness of the divine rule. Easter has retroactive force. He points to Romans 1:3-4 for support. To make this clearer, he says that the resurrection is a disclosure of who he was previously. He would not have been who he was without the Easter event. In saying this, he disagrees with those who think of his baptism as a form of Messianic consecration.[18] The message of Jesus had cast a half-light on his person, the resurrection giving further light. Any significance we might attach to his baptism or even to his birth is something we do in light of Easter. To explain this further he refers to the legend of the virgin birth, the fact that any elevation of Mary rests upon legend, the legend is different in quality from the witness to the appearances and the empty tomb, and that in the New Testament the legend is not comparable in importance to the witness to the resurrection. One can explain the emergence of the legend in light of the Christological significance of Easter.[19]  Fourth, the resurrection confirms the message of Jesus in that it at least partially fulfills the intimation of the coming divine rule. Due to the resurrection and reception of the Spirit, the accent in the grounding of participation in salvation focuses on fellowship with the Lord, who was now present by the Spirit. His message of the imminence of the rule of God now became the message of reconciliation and redemption enacted in the death and resurrection of Jesus. This part of the development of Christology was a proper building upon the foundation Jesus laid. It was not a mistake. Fifth, confirmation through the resurrection means that Jesus is a disclosure of the Son, that the retroactive force of Easter includes the pre-existence of the fellowship of Father and Son. Although he appreciates Barth at this point, he thinks that Barth does not manage to define conceptually the connection between the pre-existence of the eternal Son as such and the historical filial relation of Jesus to the Father, due to his placement of the discussion within his doctrine of election. He directs us to Jewish wisdom speculation. He appreciates the study by J. D. G. Dunn, Christology in the Making (1980) at this point. This development in Christology becomes constitutive of the eternal identity of who God is. This development means that the origin of divine sonship is in the eternity of God. Yet, even this statement has its origin in Easter.

            In subsection (b) of Section 2, Pannenberg discusses the self-distinction of Jesus from the Father as the inner basis of his divine sonship. The point he wants to make here is that Jesus subjected himself to the claim of the coming divine rule. He subordinated his person to the lordship of the God he proclaimed. In this subordination, he is the Son of the Father. He will point to Philippians 2:8 for support. He thinks of this as the reason for the indirectness regarding the person of Jesus we find in the synoptic gospels. The accusation of arrogantly alleging equality with God led to his death. Death exposed his finitude. It was a punishment for the sinner. The light of the resurrection revealed that he had not deserved the death of the sinner. He suffered in our place as sinners. He suffered a fate he did not deserve. Sinners deserved this death. To clarify, no one else had to die in the rejection in which Jesus died. His death meant his exclusion from community with God. One bound with Jesus no longer dies alone and dies in hope of the life of resurrection from the dead. Therefore, the death of Jesus has vicarious significance for humanity. They have a hope beyond death.[20] The resurrection reversed the charges against Jesus and confirmed his mission. In agreement with Barth in CD IV.1, 129-30, 177-84, the self-emptying of the Son is the activation of his deity. In contrast, he does not think Barth makes this as clear in CD IV.1 [59.1] or in IV.2, 36ff. To clarify, he thinks that we who are “below” should attempt here below to make this path of God apparent from its end in the historical life of Jesus.[21] The end of his earthly path in obedience to the Father is the revelation of his deity. He will disagree with the kenosis theology, that of self-emptying of deity in the Incarnation, because God must be “in Christ” if Christ is to be significant for salvation. The point of self-emptying and self-humbling of the Son is primarily an expression of the self-giving of the Son to the Father in an obedience that serves the glorifying of God and the coming of the rule of God. The way of the Son is also an expression of the love of God for us. God draws near to us in the self-distinction of the Son from the Father. The kenosis of the Son serves the drawing of the Father. Kenosis is an expression of the divine love, for we attain to our salvation in the closeness of God to us and in our participation in divine life.

            In subsection (c) of Section 2, Pannenberg discusses the theological question of whether we are to think of two natures in one person. Moltmann in The Way of Jesus Christ and Robert W. Jensen in Volume 1 of his Systematic Theology will also want to move away from this traditional formulation. He has shown that the development of early Christian Christology is an unfolding of the significance of the person ad history of Jesus in light of the Easter event. He finds this true of the development of titles like Son of Man, Messiah, Kyrios, Savior, Servant of the Lord, and Prophet. He looks to Romans 1:3-4 in the twofold evaluation of Jesus as “after the flesh” and “after the spirit.” This idea contrasted his earthly path to the cross with his exaltation by resurrection. A fateful change takes place as the birth of Jesus became constitutive for the notion of the union of deity and humanity instead of the Easter event. The issue is in the doctrine of the two natures derives from the statements of the Council of Chalcedon (451). The council refers to Christ as “perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood.” He is “truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body; consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood.” The council goes on to state that the faithful are to acknowledge Christ “in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably.” It also clarifies, “the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person (prosopon) and one Subsistence (hypostasis), not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son.” All of this assumes an anthropology closed in upon itself or oriented only to itself. Thus, if Incarnation is to happen, it would have to look something like a new creature that is “two natures” but “one person.” However, suppose we start with an anthropology in which humanity is open to the world, which is the anthropology for which Pannenberg (Moltmann and Rahner as well) is arguing. Such an anthropology would propose openness to God as well. In fact, a proper understanding of creation in the image of God would suggest that humanity has an orientation toward fellowship with God, regardless of how confused and sinful humanity becomes. In this case, Incarnation means the fulfillment and completion of the intention of God at creation the creation of humanity. Of course, Pannenberg will again refer to his Anthropology in Theological Perspective to remind us that humanity already has a special relation to God. Humanity already has openness to God that is the condition for the possibility of Incarnation as the union of the Son with an individual human life. The Son or Logos is not alien to human nature (John 1:11). The event of Incarnation is no alien thing. Alienation from God makes the Incarnation appear as an alien invasion. We cannot fulfill our destiny in our strength. The Spirit of God enables us to accept our finitude, so that the relation of the Son to the Father can take shape in it. A human being has fellowship with God in distinction from God and in humble and obedient acceptance of this distinction. We find the process of this history complete in the human reality of Jesus. In that way, he was and is both true human being and true God. However, the statement of Chalcedon is misunderstood and misleading. He will again point us to the retroactive power of Easter as clarifying the way the divine-human unity occurs in Jesus.[22] The identity of the man Jesus is in being the Son of his heavenly Father, a fact that integrates the features of his earthly existence into a unity. However, he cannot have been aware of it from the outset. Pannenberg finds it enough that the human life of Jesus as a whole was lived to and from his heavenly Father. The history of Jesus led him deeper into this identity of his person as the Son of the Father.

            In Section 3, Pannenberg discusses the Incarnation of the Son as the self-actualization of God in the world.  The deity of the Trinitarian God became manifest to the world through the Incarnation of the Son. The Incarnation is important as we consider the Trinitarian fellowship of the Father and Son through the Holy Spirit. The Incarnation brings creation into the fellowship of the Trinity. Some thinkers have imagined that God could be the creator, winding up creation, setting its rules of operation, and then leaving it alone. For Pannenberg, however, God would not be God or creator if God did not achieve lordship over what God has made. While the monarchy of the Father is a reality within the Trinity eternally, the rule of the Father over creation occurs through the Son and the Spirit. The independence of the natural and human world hampers recognition of the lordship of the Father over creation. The Incarnation makes the rule of God present in the lives of people, determining their lives and filling them with new and eternal content. The rule of God in the world and reconciliation between God and world are two sides of the same coin. In the Incarnation, the future of God is already present in the world, the Father entrusting to the Son this mission. The deity of the Father depends upon the success of the mission of the Son. Therefore, the Father suffers in the cross. Rejection of the Son puts the rule of the Father in question. Further, the fact that the Father “sends” the Son suggests the absence of the Father. We could also remember that creation, given its independence of operation, also displays the absence of the Father. He offers that secular culture experiences this absence at a profound level. Any reference to God is a limit to the plans and independence of human beings. The absence of the Father reached its peak in the cross. Peter Hodgson extends this notion to us. God will not rescue us from history or provide miraculous victories. Rather, God suffers silently alongside us. God may be so silent that we may not know God is there.[23] The Son suffered the fate of sinners. The absence of the Father means we will experience the consequences of our conduct.  Jesus died the death of sinners. The Son experienced divine absence more profoundly than others would. The cross becomes a sign of divine judgment, in that sinners will experience the consequence of their actions, and access to salvation, our death the price of our independence from God but also in fellowship with the Son the hope of new life. The absence of the Father in the cross is a factor in the Father becoming present for the world through the Son. The reason is that the sending of the Son is a revelation of fatherly love. In fact, the sending of the Son and Spirit is from the Father, so therefore, we may speak of a self-actualization of the Trinitarian God in the world. Although this can be a difficult topic, it is a re-visiting of the relation between the immanent and economic Trinity. He thinks “self-actualization” is a better term than the “repetition of God” as suggested by Barth in CD I.1, 299, but the two are getting at the same idea. In this broader context, we can understand the eschatological rule of the God proclaimed by Jesus. Here is the important point. The sending of the Son into the world and the fulfillment of his mission by his death is the way God chooses to actualize divine rule in the world without oppression and with respect for the independence of creatures. To do this, the Son needs the Spirit, who glorifies the Son (John 14-17). Yet, the conduct of the Son and the work of the Spirit serve to glorify the Father and enhance the irruption of the rule of God into the world. The Easter event is also the glorifying of the Son by the Spirit through the life-giving work of the Spirit. The apostolic message glorifies the Son through the Spirit. The Spirit gives knowledge of the Son, of course, but also gives a new fellowship with the Trinitarian God. The aim of this fellowship is the reconciliation of the world with God.



[1] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 58-66.
[2] (Moltmann, The Crucified God 1973, 1974), 172-3.
[3] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 251-4.
[4] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 66-114 for a more full discussion.
[5] (Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ 1990), 225.
[6] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 77.
[7] (Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ 1990), 220-1.
[8] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 82-88.
[9] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 88-106.
[10] (Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ 1990), 222.
[11] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 91.
[12] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 92-3.
[13] (Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ 1990), 217.
[14] (Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ 1990), 243ff, see note 114.
[15] (Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ 1990), 214.
[16] (Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ 1990), 215.
[17] (Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ 1990), 223, 240ff.
[18] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 137-141.
[19] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 137-50.
[20] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 263-4.
[21] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 314-5.
[22] (Pannenberg, Jesus -- God and Man 1964, 1968), 287-307.
[23] (Hodgson 1994), 264.

No comments:

Post a Comment