Ripples of power : towards a Christian theology of power with a view to inter-religious converstation

Samaila, Kurginam Nahor (2017-12-01)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Divine power is a religious belief which ascribes apparently inexplicable acts of wonder to God, affirming God’s authority, might, and abilities. It is a conviction which often relates to God’s sovereign activities in creation and human lives. Typically, the theme is associated with God’s attributes in that it describes God as omnipotent, almighty, and all-powerful. This belief is deeply entrenched not only in the Christian tradition, but also in other religious traditions. This project engages understandings of divine power, primarily in the Christian tradition. In order to understand this motif, the study engages in conversation with the theology of the two important scholars who have written on the subject of God’s power. It explores this subject by examining each of the scholar’s standpoints. Each of them approaches the subject from a different perspective arguing how they believe it should be understood. The Presbyterian systematic theologian, Daniel Migliore, argues that God’s power is understood as triune power which is defined, and described, by the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and which is demonstrated by his love. Divine power is centred in love and not in domination or coercion. The second scholar, Hans-Ruedi Weber, comes from an ecumenical theological position. He approaches divine power from the perspective of biblical theology. Weber approaches the question of power from what he calls ‘faith trajectories’. These faith trajectories or traditions include: God’s liberating acts (the Exodus tradition or Mosaic Faith); God’s royal rule (the Royal tradition); God’s empowering wisdom (the Wisdom Tradition); God’s holy presence, (the Cultic tradition); God’s vindication of the poor (the anawim tradition); and God’ renewing judgement (the Apocalyptic tradition). Each of these trajectories offers a distinctive understanding of God’s power. Towards the end of this thesis Weber’s interpretation of power, and Migliore’s approach are brought into conversation by highlighting places where they share similar interpretations and so complement each other, and where they differ. These faith trajectories serve to offer some additional material to Migliore’s interpretation of God’s power. In addition to investigating what God’s divine power means, the study also proposes that this theological theme could be an avenue for engaging in inter-religious discussion, particularly in Nigeria. It is proposed that such an approach could deepen and enrich the conversations of the different religious traditions with one another in a deeply divided country by understanding and accommodating religious similarity and the appreciation of distinctive religious and theological beliefs.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Goddelike krag is ’n godsdienstige oortuiging wat oënskynlik onverklaarbare wonderwerke aan God toeskryf en God se gesag, mag en vermoëns bekragtig. Dit is ’n oortuiging wat dikwels verband hou met God se soewereine aktiwiteite in die skepping en mense se lewens. Die tema word tipies met God se kenmerke verbind in dié sin dat dit God as alvermoënd en almagtig uitbeeld. Hierdie oortuiging is diep veranker in nie net die Christelike tradisie nie, maar ook ander godsdienstige tradisies. Hierdie projek handel oor begrippe van goddelike krag, hoofsaaklik in die Christelike tradisie. Om hierdie tema te verstaan, verken die studie die teologie van twee belangrike vakkundiges wat oor die onderwerp van God se krag geskryf het, en ondersoek elkeen se standpunte. Die twee benader die onderwerp uit verskillende hoeke en lewer elk betoë vir hoe húlle glo dit verstaan behoort te word. Die Presbiteriaanse sistematiese teoloog Daniel Migliore meen God se krag word begryp as drie-enige mag, word bepaal en beskryf deur die lewe en bediening van Jesus Christus, en blyk uit sy liefde. Goddelike krag gaan oor die liefde, en nie oor oorheersing of dwang nie. Die tweede vakkundige, Hans-Ruedi Weber, redeneer vanuit ’n ekumenies-teologiese hoek. Hy benader goddelike krag uit die oogpunt van Bybelse teologie. Weber beskou die kwessie van mag deur die lens van ‘geloofstrajekte’. Hierdie geloofstrajekte of -tradisies sluit in God se bevrydingshandelinge (die Eksodus-tradisie of Mosaïese geloof), God se koninklike bewind (die Koninklike tradisie), God se bemagtigende wysheid (die Wysheidstradisie), God se heilige teenwoordigheid (die Kultiese tradisie), God se verdediging van die armes (die anawimtradisie) en God se vernuwende oordeel (die Apokaliptiese tradisie). Elk van hierdie trajekte bied ’n unieke begrip van God se krag. Die tesis eindig met ’n vergelyking van Weber se vertolking van krag en Migliore se benadering, en lig areas uit waar hulle soortgelyke vertolkings toon en mekaar sodoende aanvul, en waar hulle verskil. Weber se geloofstrajekte bied sekere bykomende materiaal vir Migliore se vertolking van God se krag. Die studie ondersoek nie net wat God se goddelike krag beteken nie, maar doen ook aan die hand dat hierdie teologiese tema ’n manier kan wees om in intergodsdienstige gesprek te tree, veral in Nigerië. Daar word voorgestel dat so ’n benadering in ’n diep verdeelde land die verskillende tradisies se gesprekke met mekaar kan verdiep en verryk deur godsdienstige gelyksoortigheid te erken en te verstaan, en godsdienstige en teologiese eiesoortigheid te waardeer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/102756
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