Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
November 18th, 2015 by Joel Watts

Pannenberg on the embrace of Creatures by God the Creator

If God is Creator, what does this mean for His Creatures?

Detail - Glory of the New Born Christ in prese...

Detail – Glory of the New Born Christ in presence of God Father and the Holy Spirit (Annakirche, Vienna) Adam and Eva are represented bellow Jesus-Christ Ceiling painting made by Daniel Gran (1694-1757). Post-processing: perspective and fade correction. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Talk about the means and ends of the divine action, then, simply expresses the relations between finite events and beings as God himself wills them, though naturally from the standpoint of their reference to a future that transcends their finitude. We will have to support and expound this more fully later Here we may simply state that the temporal order in which creaturely things and events stand as such enables us to describe their relation to the divine action in terms of a plan (Isa. 5:19, etc.) — a plan that God himself follows in the process of history. If the destiny of all creaturely occurrence and existence is oriented to fellowship with God himself, then this idea takes the conceptual form of a plan of salvation. At this point the relation of the outward divine action to a goal acquires the form of trinitarian mediation inasmuch as the fellowship of creatures with their Creator is to be thought of as participation in the fellowship of the Son with the Father through the Spirit. The saving decree or plan (Eph. 2:9ff.) that lies behind the course that the history of creation follows and into which all events are integrated can thus be proclaimed as already manifest in Jesus Christ, in his obedience to being sent by the Father. In this context we may also say that though God is independent in himself, yet with the act of creation and in the course of the history of his creatures he makes himself dependent on creaturely conditions for the manifestation of his Son in the relation of Jesus to the Father. It is not as though God were referred to different means for the accomplishing of his ends. The point is that this is the actual way in which a multiplicity of creatures will be brought into the eternal blessedness of the fellowship of the Son with the Father. For God’s action no creature is merely a means. By the ordering of its existence to the kairos of the manifestation of the Son, each creature has a part in the saving purpose of the Father.1

Pannenberg goes on to say that God’s nature not only embraces the Creation of the World, but because of this, the themes of reconciliation, redemption, and consummation.

To read more on Pannenberg and Creation, see this post by George Plasterer.

  1. Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

3 Responses to “Pannenberg on the embrace of Creatures by God the Creator”
  1. I guess I’d prefer that the artist didn’t use a sheet. It reminds me of Acts 10:10and he became hungry, and desired to eat: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance; 11and he beholdeth the heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending, as it were a great sheet, let down by four corners upon the earth: 12wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts and creeping things of the earth and birds of the heaven. 13And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill and eat.

    Which ends up, just being creepy. (Again, speaking of Visions, and related to Jewish visions, at that!)

  2. Actually, I never heard of Wolfhart Pannenberg before. I was excited that some of his books might be worth reading. After a quick check, I was disappointed that he supposedly supports Frank Tipler’s Omega Point Theory, at least according to Wiki. It’s been a long time since I looked at Frank Tipler’s stuff. But at the time, I thought that he was alittle crazy. A case of using higher math and hand waving, to draw some rather dubious conclusions. But maybe l’m wrong. But I don’t think “it computes” properly.

  3. George Plasterer says

    Thank you for the reference, Joel. It has been a joy to consider Pannenberg, through his writings, as a theological mentor, but the more I read him, a biblical and spiritual one as well. To Gary, I would not rely too much on the Wikipedia article. Although Wikipedia can be helpful, it is not too helpful here. He engages many philosophers of science. Yes, Tipler is one, but hardly even the most important.

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