Ontology and the new being : the relationship between creation and redemption in the theology of Paul Tillich and A.A. van Ruler

Hodnett, Garth (2002-03)

Thesis (DTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2002

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation examines the relationship of ontology and soteriology - the classic problem of nature and grace. Paul Tillich and Arnold van Ruler have been chosen as the best representatives of the classical tradition of the reformation. It is seen that although there is a significant formal difference between the theologies of these two theologians, there is a material identity. The combination of these two perspectives, Tillich's philosophical theology with Van Ruler's more traditional Calvinistic theology, helps to shed more light on the subject. The first subject to be considered is the ontological background for understanding reality as a whole. This is discussed as the trinitarian-predestinarian-eschatological framework of ontology. Everything finds its possibility in the trinitarian being of God, its reality in the eternal decrees and its purpose in the eschatological will of God. Creation has become (morally, not ontologically) separated from God in the fall and therefore salvation is needed. Christology is a function of soteriology and is to be understood in terms of substitution. This salvation, gained in Christ, is expressed in us by the outpoured Holy Spirit according to the eschatological will of God. Pneumatology is to be related to, and distinguished from christology. We are not replaced by the Spirit, but taken into a relationship with God. This is to be understood in terms of the struggle of the Spirit with the flesh. The presence of the Spirit is kerygmatic, paradoxical, anticipatory and miraculous. There is an ambiguous and fragmentary realization of salvation in the Spirit. Proto logically and eschatologically there is an identity between culture (i.e. creation and history) and the kingdom of God. But in time and space there is a duality (not a dualism). This finds expression in the duality of church and state. The state is the kernel of culture and the church is the representative of the kingdom. The state is essentially the servant of God, and insofar as it orders life it is serving God. But it is separated from God and needs the church to call it back to its proper function. Where there is the duality of church and state in a nation, there is a theocratic situation. This leads to the Bible. That is a state where the Word is proclaimed and the state, because of its essential relationship to God, can understand this proclamation. In a theocracy there is a partial union of creation and salvation. Theocracy is a Spiritual reality. It is kerygmatic and paradoxical. It is not an ideal or an ethical system imposed on life. It has a conservative character as it stands in opposition to the demonic. As the document of God's struggle with the religious nationalism oflsrael, the Old Testament provides the paradigm for a theocracy. In this sense a christianized state is an incidental repetition - mutatis mutandis - of the nation ofIsrael. Eschatologically, the particularity of salvation is completely done away with. The incarnation and the outpouring are undone. Then there is only the triune God and the naked existence of creation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie proefskrif word ondersoek ingestel na die relasie tussen ontologie en soteriologie (respektiewelik: natuur en genade) met behulp van Paul Tillich en Arnold van Ruler as verteenwoordigers van die klassieke Reformatoriese tradisie. Dit blyk dat ten spyte van fonnele verskille tussen die teologiee van hierdie twee teolce, daar materieel groot ooreenstemming bestaan. 'n Kombinasie van Tillich se filosofiese teologie met Van Ruler se meer tradisioneel Calvinistiese benadering, werk verhelderend ten opsigte van die betrokke problematiek. Eers word die ontologiese agtergrond van die werklikheid as sodanig ondersoek. Dit word bestempel as die trinitaries-predestiaans-eskatologiese raamwerk van die ontologie. Die moontlikheid van alle bestaan rus in die trinitariese wese, die werklikheid daarvan in die ewige raad, en die doel daarvan in die eskatologiese wil van God. Die skepping het as gevolg van die val (moreel, nie ontologies nie) verwyder geraak van God en gevolglik is redding noodsaaklik. Christologie is 'n funksie van soteriologie en moet verstaan word in terme van plaasbekleding. Hierdie heil wat Christus bewerk het, kom tot gestalte in ons deur die uitstorting van die Heilige Gees in ooreenstemming met die eskatologiese wil van God. Pneumatologie staan in relasie tot christologie, maar moet terselfdertyd onderskei word van laasgenoemde. Ons word nie deur die Gees vervang nie, maar opgeneem in 'n verhouding met God. Dit moet verstaan word in terme van die stryd van die Gees teen die vlees. Die teenwoordigheid van die Gees is kerugmaties, paradoksaal, antisiperend en wonderbaar. Daar is 'n dubbelsinnige en fragmentariese realisering van die heil in die Gees. Hoewel protologies en eskatologies 'n identiteit bestaan tussen kultuur (d w s skepping en geskiedenis) en die koninkryk van God, vorm dit binne ruimte en tyd 'n dualiteit (nie dualisme nie). Dit kom tot uitdrukking in die dualiteit van kerk en staat. Die staat is die kern van die kultuur en die kerk die verteenwoordiger van die koninkryk. In wese is die staat die dienskneg van God en in soverre dit die lewe orden, staan dit in diens van God. Dit is egter vervreem van God en het die kerk nodig om dit terug te roep tot sy eintlike funksie. Waar daar 'n dualiteit bestaan van kerk en staat in 'n nasie, vind ons 'n teokratiese situasie. Dit is 'n staat met die Bybel, waar die Woord verkondig word en die staat a g v sy wesenlike verbouding tot God, die verkondiging kan verstaan. 'n Teokrasie is 'n Geestelike realiteit waarin daar reeds 'n gedeeltelike vereniging van skepping en heil plaasvind. Dit is kerugmaties en paradoksaal. Dit is nie 'n ideaal of 'n etiese sisteem wat die lewe opgele word nie. Dit het 'n konserverende karakter wat staan in opposisie tot die demoniese. Synde die dokument van God se worsteling met die religieuse nasionalisme van Israel, bied die Ou Testament die paradigma vir 'n teokrasie. In hierdie sin is die gekerstende staat 'n insidentele herhaling - mutatis mutandis - van Israel as nasie. Eskatologies verdwyn die besonderheid van die verlossing. Die inkamasie en die uitstorting van die Gees word ongedaan gemaak. Dan is daar aileen maar die drie-enige God en die naakte eksistensie.

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