Torrance on the Historical Jesus

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I am currently reading through Thomas F. Torrance’s work on the Incarnation, which is comprised primarily of lectures given over the course of his tenure, as compiled and edited by Robert T. Walker (who is in a rare position as an editor, he is also Torrance’s nephew). It is published by IVP-Academic.

Overall, and I am barely scratching the service of the book, Torrance is deeply respectful of the subject, speaking not just to students of the ministry, but to the lay person who has a rich love of the doctrine of the Incarnation – of course, if you do not already have the love of the Incarnation, it is quite possible that you will after reading this book.) It is lectures, as I mentioned, and hand outs given to students – sometime long before I was born.

I want to share with you a quote which struck me –

Faith would be better described then as the kind of perception appropriate to perceiving a divine act in history, an eternal act in time. So that faith is appropriate both to the true perception of historical facts, and also to the true perception of God’s action in history. Nor is it the perception of history by itself, divorced from revelation, but it is the way we are given within history to perceive God’s acts in History, and that means that faith is the obedience of our minds to the mystery of Christ, who is God and man in the historical Jesus. What is clearly of paramount importance here is the holding together of the historical and the theological in our relation to Christ.

If the two are not held together, we have broken up the given unity in Christ into the historical on the one hand, and the theological on the other, refracting it into elements which we can no longer put together again.


That fact calls into radical question the basic assumption (of both idealism and liberalism) that no fact in the time series can have absolute and decisive significance, for the Christian faith pivots upon the fact that here in time we are confronted by the eternal in union with time.

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