Sunday, July 09, 2006

Küng and God's presence in the world

Review of Küng’s Der Anfang aller Dinge, section D, part 10.

The Endless works within the temporary

God, understood as Spirit, works in the physical laws of nature, but is not identical with these laws. He acts, rather, as the absolute in the relative, as the endless in the temporary. He doesn’t work from above, or outside, as unmoved mover, Küng claims. He works and acts from within creation: in, with and under all things, whether humans or not, directly within the suffering and random processes of life. God is himself the origin, middle and goal of the world process.

This means, God doesn’t just work ‘every now and then’ at special points, like a ‘God of the gaps’ (what Borg, btw, would dismisses as ‘supernatural theism’), but continually. And to qualify, this doesn’t mean that God is the world (pantheism), but that God is in the world, and the world in God (ineinander).*

With this theological view in mind, and following John Polkinghorne, Küng denies it is possible to link God to this or that event within the evolutionary process in the causal network. The relation is more complex than that, one that can only be grasped by faith and is not ‘pin-downable’, scientifically, to this or that point-of-contact. Therefore, it is not possible to claim, Küng reasons, that the great plan of the creation of the universe ever existed as a formal blueprint, detailed to the last issue. Rather:

‘The actual balance that we accept between coincidence and necessity, contingence and possibility, appears to me to cohere well with the Will of a patient and subtle Creator, one who is satisfied to pursue and track his goals all the while he accepts, in the process he initiated, a measure of violability and precariousness, in such a way that always distinguishes the gift of his freedom and love’

Understanding the mystery of God’s activity in and with the world is however, at the end of the day, a mystery, much like the balance between grace and works which is likewise a problem the church has never managed to resolved.

*(A discussion concerning ‘Panentheism’ shall follow soon)

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At 7/09/2006 8:36 PM, Anonymous One of Freedom said...

Can it be that finally panentheism is no longer vehemently questioned as a means of understanding God's relation to the world? I'm looking forward to the impending discussion, being quite in favour of using panentheistic frameworks to frame our understanding of the relationship between Creator and Creation.

At 7/10/2006 12:52 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Moorhead said...

I wish I had more time to read this stuff. Thanks for the post.


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