Saturday, July 08, 2006

Küng, evolution, and God as Spirit

Review of Küng’s Der Anfang aller Dinge, section D, part 9.

A spiritualised God

An understanding of God as ‘up there on a throne who controls everything’ doesn’t really gel well with Küng’s suggestions so far. Indeed, he points out that such a theology cannot answer why the developmental process has led to so many evolutionary ‘dead-ends’, nor can it give an answer to the endless suffering of terrestrial life and the presence of evil in the world.

Hence, Küng advocates, against all crude anthropomorphised images of God, an understanding of God, drawn from the scriptures, as ‘Spirit’. This will, Küng argues, enable one to helpfully focus discussion in terms of God’s relation to the world in light of the evolutionary process.

‘Palpable, yet also not palpable, invisible, yet mighty, important to life like the air we breath, loaded with energy like the wind of a storm – that is the Spirit’ (175).

He spends a little time qualifying what he means by ‘spirit’, and in so doing impressively avoids the many potential exegetical pitfalls. In particular, he was clear not to buy into the peculiar tradition of German exegesis that insists on a ‘substantial’ Spirit (cf. e.g. Friedrich Wilhelm Horn’s, Das Angeld des Geistes: Studien zur paulinischen Pneumatologie (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1992).

The last post on section D shall follow tomorrow.

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