TH 110 HP1
5 October 2017
The Coming God as Perfection of Humanity
Hans Urs von Balthasar was a Swiss theologian. His writings observe the human being from a theological point of view and our search for God. In his writing titled “The Coming God as Perfection of Humanity”, he speaks in detail of the human existence, our desire for freedom, and our demand for the divine. In this particular reading, he mentions many Christian thinkers who influence the concept of Christian involvement.
This reading is rather interesting as many points of human existence are made. He starts his writing asking the question; “Where does the human become complete? Where does humanity with its freedom cease being an open question mark?” The choice of freedom is not particularly a topic we give much thought to, as we have generally always been free. He mentions our liberty must be given up to fulfill our plans for a better future, which we must have plans for since the future of humanity is important in creating perfection. Contrary to this, he writes that our nature will be “denied and destroyed” if we surrender ourselves to the plan of building this better future. The meaning of human existence is partially completed by our independence. Balthasar mentions that we are on the constant search for someone to love who will value our freedom and worth, but we heal gradually and unfaithfully after their death, which shows man as a contradiction. In a relationship, neither person has control over the other’s liberty, instead we must open ourselves to God. We want this infinite, but we can’t make a claim on him. Essentially, the individual cannot fulfill entire freedom, whereas the eternal God can.
Additionally, Balthasar writes, borrowing the ideas of Thomas Aquinas, that “The human being is also aware, however, that when the question of the ultimate meaning of its freedom arises, the laws of its natural being go into abeyance, and another principle takes precedence.” Imposing that our nature and humanity are two different things and that nature has replaced humanity with resources allowing us to complete our purposes. The world is not eternal nor perfect. There is also the idea from Henri de Lubac that God created humans “in a state of ‘pure nature’ and in this state have been able to attain by nature a final and satisfying end within this world”. To a large extent, humans have a desire to reach the absolute infinite in which God provided us with all the necessities to reach, but how exactly we get there is seen as “a mere chance epiphenomenon”. God comes down to our level, but we can’t manipulate him.
In the text, it is mentioned the Christian involvement, specifically from Christian thinkers,...