Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Promise

Because Jesus lives, rules and will judge as the particular person he is, the outcome of history will be different than could otherwise have expectedalso with respect to its having any outcome at all. We must ask, in all deliberate naivete. How different? What does the gospel promise?

The whole of Christian theology can be understood as the attempt to answer this question. A systematic theology's proposal will therefore not emerge only in a final section thematically devoted to it. This work's offering became explicit within the first few chapters: the gospel's promises inclusion in the triune community by virtue of union with Christ and just so in a perfected human community.

That is, the gospel promises what this work has described in various connections and called deification, following the example of the fathers. So Basil the Great: the final result of the Spirit's work in us is "endless joy in the presence of God, becoming like God, and... becoming God." We should note the dialectics of Basil's vision: we will simultaneously be with God and so other than he, like God in sanctity and righteousness, and personally identified with God. Or let us again quote Martin Luther, to dispel any suspicion that interpretation of salvation as deification may be an Eastern peculiarity: "Our shame is great, that we were the devil's children. But the honor is much greater, that we are children of God. For what greater fame and pride could we have... than to be called the children of the Highest and to have all he is, and has?"

Robert Jenson
Systematic Theology, Volume 2: The Works of God

No comments: