"Since in Jesus Christ there became incarnate the very Son of God whose life and being are eternally grounded in the mutual relation between the Father and the Son, in the communion of love which God himself is in his Being as God, then the mediation of divine reconciliation to mankind in and through Christ means much more than the reconstituting of holy relations between man and God, though it certainly means that. Mediation of reconciliation which takes place within the Person of the Mediator himself means that men and women are savingly reconciled to God by being taken up in and through Christ to share in the inner relations of God's own life and love. It means that the eternal communion of love in God overflows through Jesus Christ into our union with Christ and gathers us up to dwell with God and in God. This is another way of saying that the Incarnation, and the reconciliation that took place within it, fall within the life of God. That is what is implied in the Pauline teaching that Christ, in whom the complete Being of God dwells, dwells in us, so that through a relation of mutual indwelling between Christ and us, we are enfolded within the infinite dimensions of the love of God. The Greek Fathers used to speak of that experience as 'theopoiesis' or 'theosis' which does not mean 'divinisation'. as it is so often supposed, but refers to the utterly staggering act of God in which he gives himself to us and adopts us into the communion of his divine life and love through Jesus Christ and in his one Spirit, yet in such a way that we are not made divine but are preserved in our humanity. That is what constitutes the sustaining inner cohesion of our cognitive union with Christ through faith and the very substance of our personal and corporate union with Christ through the Word and Sacraments, for in Christ our human relations with God, far from being allowed to remain on a merely external basis, are embraced within the Trinitarian relations of God's own Being as Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
- T.F. Torrance, The Mediation of Christ, 74-75, emphasis added.
My issues with this small excerpt are so numerous that I don't quite know where to begin. Therefore, I will outline them:
1. Setting aside Torrance's controversial reading of the Fathers and his reinterpretation of the word theosis, I am unconvinced that the adoption of which Torrance speaks preserves our humanity when this process includes "being taken up in and through Christ to share in the inner relations of God's own life and love. It means that the eternal communion of love in God overflows through Jesus Christ into our union with Christ and gathers us up to dwell with God and in God." How can the human creature share in the inner life of God Himself without becoming divine? How does this not collapse the very Creator/creature distinction which Torrance seems committed to maintain?
2. When the human creature is "being taken up in and through Christ", are we talking about Christ's humanity or divinity? Does it not make a difference?
3. I am often hesitant to read or speak about the subjective reality of revelation that occurs within the individual and made possible through the work of the Holy Spirit. This is mostly due to the fact that I have no idea what individuals mean, Torrance included, when they make statements such as the individual undergoes a "relation of mutual indwelling between Christ and us, we are enfolded within the infinite dimensions of the love of God." What necessary consequences flow from this objective and subjective reality made possible within the individual through salvation? Do I simply cognitively assent that this is truth, do I have an experience that this has actually occurred (such as Christoph Blumhardt's charismatic experiences that radically influenced Barth - the breaking in of the Kingdom of God here and now), or does it simply mean that I slowly and continually seek first the Kingdom of God through self-sacrifice? I continually wonder how the reality of these statements concerning the doctrine of adoption fleshes itself out within the life of the individual.
That seems like enough for now!