Monday, March 28, 2011

Revelation as Miracle

"Theology, which is itself contingent on faith and proclamation while it is a human activity, is, Barth urges, one which is only possible at all because God has first spoken and given himself to be known: 'Theologians are people who speak about God' (GD, p. 46). But they dare (and find themselves compelled) to do so precisely and only because of this prior divine address apart from which knowledge of and speech about God is an impossibility for humans. Again, this must be seen as an a posteriori judgment: there are plenty of people who speak about 'God' and sense no presumption in doing so; but for the person who actually knows God, who has been drawn into the circle of God's presence, who has some sense of the reality to whom the word 'God' properly refers, the paradoxical impossibility and necessity of human speech about God is all too apparent."
- Trevor Hart, "Revelation" in The Cambridge Companion to Karl Barth, 41.

This week at the Anglican Writer's Block, I am assigned to write a blog entry concerning the doctrine of revelation for the current series entitled "Dogmatics in Dialogue." I must confess that the task of writing about the doctrine of revelation is quite burdensome and overwhelming especially when such a goal is coupled with the desire to write in a way that is accessible to the laity. I have been thinking about the various issues that surround the doctrine and decided that the two most pressing questions are these: what is the doctrine of revelation? and why is the doctrine of revelation essential for the dogmatic task? In attempting to answer both questions, I am continually struck by the reality that the event of revelation is truly nothing short of a miracle. The impossible reality of creaturely knowledge concerning God becoming a reality within the life of the Church is cause for worship and adoration. The event of God's full self-disclosure in the person of Jesus Christ and the continual unfolding of His self-disclosure within the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit is the essence of the Christian life. Let's see if I can communicate all of that successfully.

1 comment:

Brian Gronewoller said...

Good luck! I just taught a class last week and it was crazy to try and take some of the stuff I had read and make it accessible to "the laity". Although it was a bit difficult at first, it was a very, very helpful exercise for my own growth. I hope that it's the same for you!

Perhaps it would be helpful to note how difficult revelation (as Christ) has been to understand over the entirety of church history - especially since it breaks so many of our logical conceptualizations of God.

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