Friday, May 11, 2018

Xavier Zubiri, Christianity, trans. Joaquin Redondo (Part 1 of 2)

I return to the blog in order to pay a debt. Joaquin Redondo made many of the rare English translations of Zubiri's works, and he kindly put them onto the web for the benefit of everyone. Mr. Redondo passed away in 2009, and he sounds as if he was quite a remarkable Renaissance man -- an engineer, fencer and Catholic philosopher. His obituary can be found at the following link:!/Obituary His website,, housed his translations, but the domain expired after his passing. Many of the links survive on the Wayback Machine, but the deep links are hard to find there (I found some from 2004). The copyright notice (2001-2008, Joaquin Redondo) states that "Permission to republish in any form is hereby granted, provided this source is acknowledged," and I have noted this where I have quoted the translations on this blog. In the interest of giving the whole works a more permanent home, I will spend some time republishing them here. Here is Joaquin Redondo's translation of Christianity by Xavier Zubiri. (NOTE: I found that a couple of these have finally been released on Kindle! Please consider purchasing those to support the translators. I will keep up the ones that have not been republished.) --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri --------------- Translator and Editor Introductions (1-13) --------------- CHRISTIANITY (Outside back cover) With this volume the trilogy about The Theological Problem of Man (El problema teologal del hombre) comes to a close, after the first volume Man and God (El hombre y Dios) was published by Alianza Editorial in 1983, and the second, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones) in 1993. It encompasses one of the greatest efforts in our century to analyze the problem of God. On past ages the attempt was made to access God through ways we consider impractical today. One was proper to natural Theology, which considered possible to prove the existence of God starting from sensible experience, having recourse to the order of the universe or the principle of causality. Those were called the cosmological proofs, today hardly justifiable. As an alternative to them, modern rationalism designed Theodicy, based on the ontological argument. This way also does not seem viable at all. Apparently reason seems to have no capacity to access God directly, neither through analytical judgments nor synthetic ones. Man is unable to reach God unless He makes Himself present. From this follows that God will be found, not so much through reason, but by way of experience. This is the great topic of Xavier Zubiri (1898-1983), the experience of God. That experience is individual, social, and historical. All human experience is experience of God. The first volume of the trilogy deals with this. In the second, Zubiri analyzes the experience of God in the history of religions. And in this third one, Christianity (Cristianismo), he attempts to identify and define the Christian experience, which for him consists in the greatest manifestation of God possible: the Incarnation. In the Christian mystery God becomes man, and man becomes God: this is the experience of deiformity and deification. A most singular effort to deal with the problem of God at the level of XX century philosophy. {5} Xavier Zubiri The Theological Problem of Man: Christianity Translated by Joaquín A. Redondo, M.E., M.A. (Phil.) and critically reviewed by Dr. Thomas B. Fowler, Jr., Sc.D. (From the Spanish edition of El problema teologal del hombre: Cristianismo, Alianza Editorial, Fundación Xavier Zubiri, Madrid, Spain, 1997) (Numbers in braces “{ }” refer to the pagination of the above Spanish edition, 1997) TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION In this third volume of his trilogy on God Zubiri applies his philosophical point of view to clarify how a Catholic can truly philosophize given the intellectual problem of Christ. It is a question of the reality of Christ within the reality of things in the widest meaning of the term. A fundamental outline could be constructed in the following manner. About two thousand years ago a man appeared in Palestine, a Roman client State, that proclaimed he was the Son of God, the God of Abraham, the Patriarchs, Moses, and the prophets. He acted as an Incarnate God. He lived as a human-divine real person. How can we understand this divine-human reality? Simply by considering that every reality and particularly human reality has a transcendent fundamental dimension towards God. In Christ God has elevated this human dimension to an intimate union with the divinity. The human personeity has been united to the Person of the Son of God from his conception. This is more than an enigma it is a mystery. Christ is not just issuing human opinions like any other human, but living and issuing truths He knows as God and presenting them in the context of an actual human life progressing right in front of His Apostles and disciples. Christ is teaching His Apostles how to live in the presence of God just as He is doing. He is progressively molding the divine truths actually present in His reality into the structure of their personalities, just as He is doing with His own divine-human reality where his acting “I” is the “I” of the Word of God. The Apostles and disciples surrendered to Christ through a loving faith in Him, with obedience out of love that includes loving others “in” Christ. Personeity is fundamented on the deiformation, which all creatures manifest as the result of a procession of the life of the Trinity ad extra, particularly the human. The procession of the life of the Trinity ad intra consists of the three divine Persons. What Christ did was to show His Apostles and disciples how to mold the human created personeity into a personality like His own that is a deification of His human deiformity that requires living like any other human but doing things extremely well. What Christ lived and taught cannot be changed. The teaching of Christ was absolute; He acted as the divinity He is and said “my words will never pass away” (Lk 21:33). As history moves on these eternal teachings will be presented under the guidance of the Spirit of Truth that will teach the Magisterium how to preserve the deposit of faith intact and manifest it with greater light, as conditions require it. A light that will never be fully adequate to express the full reality of the teachings at one time, but will be rekindled to shine more fully when darknesses appear in history that attempt to diminish or remove that original human-divine light of Christ. Zubiri finishes with a masterful exposition of the non-transforming evolution of dogma making the truth of the deposit of faith in the Church an ever-growing manifestation of the same original manifestation of Christ as the mercy and love of God. The Church cannot allow any distortions or misinterpretations of the deposit of faith given by Christ to the Magisterium, which is an expression of the love and mercy of the Father through Christ as Son, in the Spirit of Truth. As St. John of the Cross said in no. 59, of his Dichos de luz y amor (Sayings of light and love), “A la tarde te examinarán en el amor. Aprende a amar como Dios quiere ser amado y deja tu condición” (At sunset you will be examined on love. Learn to love God as He wishes to be loved, and never mind your present condition or the limitations you think you have). The use of transliterations will continue as was indicated in the previous Introductions. My grateful thanks again to Dr. Thomas B. Fowler, Jr., Sc.D., President of The Zubiri Foundation of North America for his valuable suggestions. {9} EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION This new volume of unpublished texts will fill a void in the publication of the writings of Xavier Zubiri. For Zubiri, Christianity represents “the supreme theological experience”, and Christian theology constituted, according to the very testimony of the philosopher, “one of the most intimate strains” of his own personal reality. However, except for a study on Greek patristics, which appeared in Naturaleza, Historia, Dios (“Nature, History, God”, tr. by Thomas B. Fowler, Jr., 1984), and a 1981 article on the Eucharist (included as an appendix in this book), the greater part of Zubiri’s reflections about theological subjects were only accessible to a small group of his disciples. From this moment on it will be possible for all those interested to have direct access to the fundamental texts of Zubiri about theological subjects. However, a few words of caution may be useful in order to guide the reader. In the first place, we must point out that we are facing the reflections of a philosopher. This is not the place to resolve the question, more complex than it may appear at first sight, of the philosophical or theological standing of these texts. However, it is obvious that a complete comprehension of this volume of unpublished texts presupposes a sufficient understanding of the philosophy of Zubiri. {10} Theologians will not be surprised about this. Great theological systems have also made extended use of philosophy. What is original to Zubiri, who undoubtedly considered himself a philosopher and not a theologian, is the fact that he carried out, at least initially, an application of his own philosophy to theological problems. For that reason, the reading of these unpublished texts will be particularly profitable for those theologians that may first be willing to familiarize themselves with the fundamental concepts of the philosophy of Zubiri. The second warning ties in with the first. The philosophy of Zubiri was subject to a process of evolution and radicalization that only finished with the death of the philosopher. This means that the date of the texts we shall present here is relevant for their adequate comprehension. That is why we have made an effort to always inform the reader about the origin of each one of the texts. The fundamental issues of Christianity are not presented the same way in the seminar of 1967, and in the seminar of 1971. Important differences can also be detected between the conceptiveness of the Eucharist in the seminar of 1971, and the one that appears in the article of 1981 mentioned above. With respect to the totality of his work, there is a general agreement among the interpreters of Zubiri in considering his trilogy Inteligencia Sentiente, 1981-1983 (“Sentient Intelligence”, tr. by Dr. Thomas B. Fowler, Jr., 1999), as the key for reading all his previous works. Similarly, the writings of Zubiri on Christianity should be interpreted not only from this trilogy, but also from his last reflections on theological problems contained in the 1981 article. This brings us to a third warning about the selection and condition of the texts. Zubiri systematically approached several theological problems in the seminar of 1967, entitled {11} Reflexiones filosóficas sobre algunos problemas de teología (“Philosophical reflections about some theological problems”). He returned to the same subjects in the third part of the 1971 seminar, entitled El problema teologal del hombre: Dios, religión, Cristianismo (“The theological problem of man: God, religion, Christianity”). Both texts have a similar structure, which eliminated any doubts about preferring the most recent one. Because of this, the typed script for the conferences of 1971, slightly revised by Zubiri, constitutes the outline of the present volume of unpublished texts. As a prelude to these lessons we have chosen the last part of the 1968 seminar on El hombre y el problema de Dios (“Man and the problem of God”), which was duly revised more completely by the philosopher. The introduction to El logos teologal (“The theological logos”), the appendix on La evolución del dogma (“The evolution of dogma”), and the Conclusión general (“General conclusion”) are type-written texts by Zubiri himself. Finally, the appendix on the Eucharist was published while the philosopher was still alive. In order to accurately evaluate each of the texts it is important to take account not only of its date, but also the level of elaboration, which the author was able to provide in each case. The fourth warning refers to the degree of intervention by the editor of this volume. Concerning the texts, which were type-written by Zubiri himself, the intervention has been practically nil, limited to the correction of some errata of Zubiri or to the insertion of some bibliographical notes. The transcription of the oral seminars needed a greater editorial elaboration in order to transfer from the oral to the written style. However, the oral style of Zubiri was, in general, enormously technical and precise, so that the labor of the editor is more limited than might be thought of at first, and it was never necessary to interpret the philosopher or alter his style or vocabulary. Similarly, the fundamental structure of the volume, since it is the one that belongs to the 1971 seminar, entirely proceeds from Zubiri. The editor only had to decide about the insertion of complementary texts. However, {12} this insertion has not presented too many difficulties, since it follows the general scheme, which Zubiri was using to explain the problema teologal del hombre (“theological problem of man”). For this reason we can say that we are faced with a volume, which proceeds entirely from Zubiri, and not from a mere editorial compilation. In the fifth place, we should warn that the present volume presents the third and last part of what Zubiri called el problema teologal del hombre (“the theological problem of man”). The first part corresponds to what was published posthumously in El hombre y Dios (“Man and God”), where Zubiri faces the problem of the reality of God and the access of man to Him. The second part has been gathered in El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones (“The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions”), where Zubiri studies the unfolding of the problem of God in the religious experience of humanity. The third part, which now appears in this publication, concludes what we may call the trilogía teologal (“theological trilogy”) of Zubiri. Now that the three volumes have been published, we have chosen to recover what would have been for Zubiri the original title for them El problema teologal del hombre (“The Theological Problem of man”), not only for this volume, but also for future editions of the other two. Naturally, all this means that a correct interpretation of the present volume requires an assimilation of the two preceding ones. Finally, some formal warnings. Frequently we have maintained the original graphic presentation of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek expressions, since this is the one Zubiri used when making hand notations on his seminars. However, in some of his type-written texts, and in his later publications, Zubiri used to transcribe. Because of this, we have chosen to accept both criteria. The textual quotations from the Bible are presented translated into Spanish, always using the translation {13} or the paraphrase by Zubiri whenever possible. We only offer in its original language the words that have some systematic value for the philosopher. In the case of Hebrew and Aramaic terms, we offer a simple transcription right after them in order to facilitate their reading. Some terms frequently used, like Yahweh, always appear transcribed. Biblical references have also been introduced for those texts where Zubiri had not indicated any. The quotations from the Magisterium of the Catholic Church have been presented with the initials “DS”, which refer, as is usual in theological texts, to the paragraphs of the compendium by H. Denzinger and A. Schönmetzer, Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum (Barcelona, 1975). Lastly, we should point out that the footnotes are the responsibility of the editor unless indicated otherwise. My appreciation to all those who have contributed to the edition of this text, especially to Andrés Torre Queiruga and Xavier Pikaza, who revised the first draft in 1993. Also to Francisco José Ruiz, Gabino Uríbarri, and Roberto Valdés for their careful review of the final text we present here. Antonio González San Salvador, December, 1996 --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri -------------------------------------- Introduction (15-21) --------------- {15} INTRODUCTION THE THEOLOGICAL LOGOS The title of these pages immediately suggests the idea of a dialog between man and Christianity1. Since it is presupposed that the dialog is based on our present situation, the attempt to carry it forward must begin by sharpening the actual terms of the dialog. Only then we shall be able to discern the outline of the way to handle it. This shall also determine the type of its development. The beginning of our enterprise, therefore, consists in clarifying two points from the outset. § 1. The terms of the dialog: present day man and Christianity. § 2. The character of the dialog: the theological problem. {16} § 1 THE TERMS OF THE DIALOG: PRESENT DAY MAN AND CHRISTIANITY Clearly, as I was saying, it is a case of the situation of present day man, a situation that Christianity has to confront with whatever constitutes its own essential reason for being. Since a dialog is only possible if it starts from a single point, if not of coincidence at least of convergence, it will be necessary to clarify in broad strokes what our situation is, what the formal essence of Christianity is, and where that point is located for the possible convergence or coincidence between the two terms. It is not as obvious as it may appear at first sight. Present day man, we are told, is immersed in technology, in an incredibly powerful technology that seems to place no limits to the domination of nature by man. Instead of being a mere outcropping of nature, present day man increasingly has the impression of having appropriated it, of being its lord and master. To this trait we could add many others. For example, anthropology (in the widest sense of the term) is discovering not only the origins of man, but also the strata and the most profound tendencies of his being. Human conviviality, on the other hand, is acquiring characteristics, not only more just and equitable, but from mere coexistence it is transforming itself into radical conviviality. The description could and should be enlarged further. Fundamentally, it consists in a complete change of the position of man in the universe, and in the so-called structures of life, both individual and social. With {17} all his limitations and difficulties, it is him, man himself, who makes what man is. His efforts may be and usually are painful. Yet man, we are told, has no other support but himself. That is why he rebels against the idea of a supreme being who in an extrinsic and gratuitous way may have created the world and mankind. The present-day man is an atheist, where atheism above all means an attitude against what has been received, against that particular idea of supreme being. It is with this man, we are told, that Christianity has to establish a dialog. And the dialog is joined along a very precise line of Christianity. The point would be to demonstrate that, despite its enormous development, the life of man, after all is said and done, shows deep cracks; not only limitations and difficulties, but fissures that neither science nor politics nor society can heal. Furthermore, failure may happen at any moment. Every second man is capable of emptying himself and getting lost. Thus, we are told, Christianity would have to confront this man of today. First, to make him discover the existence of this aspect of his situation, a situation, which ultimately would be something derived from moral evil, from sin, i.e., man has need for salvation. And, in the second place, Christianity, not only teaches this necessity, but also offers him the possibility of achieving that salvation. Christianity would present itself, primarily and formally, as a religion of salvation. Every dialog, I was saying, presupposes a point of coincidence. And the point of coincidence between present day man and Christianity would then be the indigence of life. But reflection asserts itself: Is this the proper way to present the problem? What has just been said is not false. However, from my perspective, it lacks ultimate radicality not only on what refers to present day man, but also on what concerns Christianity. {18} Is it true that the primary and radical fracture of man is due to the flaws and deceptions of his life? Undoubtedly, the man of today is in good measure an atheist. But his atheism, Is it primarily an “atheism-against”? I do not think so. The number of persons is ever growing who do not feel they are against anyone, remain serenely based, and dwell on their own lives. Without moving against anything or anyone their life is lived on itself, with difficulties, with failures, but also with real and actual achievements. This is the most radical form of atheism, the “a-theist” life. The description of modern man given above, therefore, is not quite in keeping with reality. On the other hand, Is it true that Christianity is primarily and formally a religion of salvation? That Christianity is a religion of salvation cannot even be argued: the words “savior” (sotér) and “salvation” (sotería) do appear in the pages of the New Testament. And on this is based a great part of Christian thought today in its reaction against a speculative theology. But the question for me is different: Is Christianity primarily and formally a religion of salvation? Because if it were not, salvation would not be the constitutive moment of Christianity, but a moment posterior to it. In the symbol of Nicea we are told that the Word came down from heaven “for us men and for our salvation” (DS 125). One could then think that “for us men” is something “anterior” to “for our salvation”. Christianity is formally, in a Pauline expression, a mórphosis (cf. Rom 2:20), a divine conformation of the whole man, according to my interpretation, a deiformity. Christianity is salvation only because it is deiformation. This is one of the points in which modern theology appears insufficient to me. Christianity primarily addresses the whole being of man and not {19} his falling into sin, and much less the failures of his life. Christianity is not the cement that repairs the fissures of his life. Christianity, from my point of view, will tell modern man that his life is the way it is precisely because the being of man is deiform; and it is that way, not in its failures, but primarily and principally in its own achievements. Consequently, one thing is clear. The point of coincidence between present day man and Christianity is not the indigence of life, but its fullness. When life rests more upon itself, it is then formally more in God and with God. Christian deiformation is the positive fundament of a plenary life resting upon itself. And this convergence, between the situation of present day man as fullness of life and Christianity as deiformation, is, from my point of view that, which drives the dialog2. {20} § 2 THE CHARACTER OF THE DIALOG: THE THEOLOGICAL PROBLEM OF MAN We are dealing with an intellective reflection about the situation we indicated above. It is not simply a question of the ways through which man may reach God, but of the conceptualization of the problem itself. Evidently, the ways anyone may devise to reach God are infinitely varied and, of course, none as complex as the one we are trying to develop here. I am not suggesting, not even remotely, that intellection may be the primary way to reach God. What happens is that an intellective dimension is never excluded from that way3. The purpose of these pages is not to “move”, but at least to try to know intellectively, to reach an intellective comprehension of the problem. The task is to find a lógos, an intellection, of what lógos is for present day man. It is, therefore, a “theo-logical” intellection. The form of the dialog will depend on the characteristic of the logos itself. What kind of logos is it? It has had different characteristics throughout history. I. The logos that reveals The term lógos appears in the New Testament, but does not occupy a central position in it. It is only found in the first {21} two pages of the gospel of St. John. Perhaps other hands have had something to do here, besides the ones of the apostle, other inspired hands, perhaps belonging to St. Luke, which might be important for a vision of the unity of the New Testament writings, since St. Luke was a disciple of St. Paul4. Regardless of the historical origin for the use of the term lógos (whether in relation to Wisdom, or with respect to the Alexandrian thought of Philo, etc.), what is designated by it is a personal title of Christ in his characteristic as revealer of the Father. As such, from the beginning He was in God and was God. This logos is what gives the Christian what St. Paul calls his mórphosis, his conformation in the knowledge of truth (mórphosis tes gnóseos kai tes aletheías, Rom 2:20), in contradistinction to ancient Israel whose mórphosis was based on the Law. In the Law, knowledge does not mean science, but knowledge acquired through an intimate dealing with something. The unity thus appears between the logos as personal attribute of Christ, and the mórphosis of man. As personally existent in Christ, and as conforming the knowledge and truth in man, the logos is not a theologic knowledge, i.e, a knowledge about revelation, but is the revelation itself. This is the logos that reveals. ________________ 1 This text on the theological logos was written by Zubiri as an introduction to the whole seminar of 1971 covering The theological problem of man: God, religion, Christianity (“El problema teologal del hombre: Dios, religión, Cristianismo”). This seminar included, in its two first parts, the subjects approached in Man and God (“El hombre y Dios”, Madrid, 1984), and The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (“El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones”, Madrid, 1993). 2 Of this mórphosis it has to give a lógos (note by X. Zubiri). 3 It is not a belief that is spontaneous; modulate this: from belief as a firm way the intellection itself starts (note by X. Zubiri). 4 According to a tradition found in St. Irenæus of Lyon, Adversos hæreses, vol. 3, ch. 1, in J.-P. Migne, Patrologiæ cursus completus, series græca, vol. 7, Paris, 1857, col. 845. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri -------------------------------------- Introduction (21-35) --------------- {21} (cont’d) II. The theologic logos This logos is going to be addressed by the Church in order to attempt being known intellectively by the human logos. The knowledge of St. Paul then becomes an intellective knowing: that is the “theologic” logos. This intellection has developed in different directions. {22} A) First of all, in that modest way, which consists in preaching the logos that reveals: that is the kerygmatic logos. Actually, kérygma is that primary form of preaching, which consists in proclamation. Many passages of the New Testament have kerygmatic characteristics, which differ from others that have liturgical, catechetical, etc., characteristics. All these passages contain teachings, in one form or another, and therefore, strictly speaking belong to the logos that reveals. That is why we here take the expression kérygma in the sense of proclamation of Christianity beyond the New Testament itself. That proclamation soon acquires the function of propagation. It is the base for the missionary activity essential to Christianity, which is shared by only a few other religions such as Buddhism, Manichaeism, Islam, etc. Most religions are not missionary. Later, mostly because of political and social reasons, propagation became propaganda. Then the logos changes from being truth into being social power. That is what has given us today, for example, the sociological hypertrophy of Christian thought, as if the Church were a “society” and not a “communion” of persons, something quite different1. Be that as it may, in its triple function of proclamation, propagation, and propaganda, the kerygmatic logos is the first form of the theologic logos in history. B) Within this kerygmatic logos another form of logos has been gestating, with its roots already in St. Paul. When confronting the many charismatics of his own times, St. Paul does not repudiate them in toto, but demands that no personal illumination be placed above any point of faith. Beliefs constitute a whole and each one has to be taken with its respectivity towards the rest: the logos has to be “ana-logical”. That is the analogy {23} of faith (katá ten analogían tes písteos, Rom 12:6). Here analogy refers to faith insofar as a belief. In time, this “analogical” unity acquired an objective or real sense: the unity of the revealed as such. At this point the analogy of faith turns into what St. Irenæus (II century) later called the “body of truth” (sóma tes aletheías). To show it is the purpose of his book ’Epídeixis toú apostolikoú kerýgmatos (A Showing Forth of the Apostolic Preaching). It is an ’epídeixis, a showing forth (Sp. mostración) or an ostensive or epideitic logos. This is the second form of the theologic logos. Some phrases of his book clearly describe this new type of logos. Quoting a passage from Isaiah, and translating it poorly, he writes: “If you do not believe you will not understand”2 (cf. Is 7:9). The Hebrew uses the concept ’æmæt, which means truth, but in the sense of fidelity, firmness, stability, and must be translated, therefore, “if you do not believe you will not have firmness”. And this truth and its presumed comprehension is what is essential for St. Irenæus: “truth is what drives the acquisition of the faith, because faith is founded upon what is truly the being of things... Since the enterprise of our salvation depends on faith, it is just and necessary that we make the greatest effort to take care and defend it in order to reach the true intellection about things”3. It is quite clear there is progress from a merely preaching logos to a logos, which seeks to penetrate into the intellection of the being of things through faith. And conversely, a logos, which seeks an intellection about faith by means of the truth about the being of things. This intimate unity between faith and the being of things is the typical characteristic of the ostensive or epideitic logos. {24} C) This logos achieves intellection in a way that is merely a showing forth: showing forth that things are this way. But the unity of faith with the being of things, inexorably led to something more than a manifestation: it led to unraveling the internal structure of what is shown forth, i.e., to “understand” as much as possible. And to understand, even in the case of mysteries, is always nothing but “conceptualizing”. Thus, concepts are the mental organs, which force whatever is conceptualized to show its own structure from itself, i.e., to make us see from itself the internal necessity of that in which it consists. This task is what in an etymological sense must be called “de-monstration”, apódeixis. The showing forth logos or the ostensive one has become the conceptive logos: this is the demonstrative logos or the apodictic one. With it, theologic knowing will turn into a science. That is the third form of the theologic logos: the scientific logos. After the kerygmatic logos, and the manifested logos, now the scientific logos. In it, the body of truth is going to acquire a very precise characteristic, namely, that it is a system. Obviously, the concepts, which the scientific logos is going to use are human; but are only used with reference to God, sub ratione deitatis. And, since in the logos is expressed the conceptualization of what the being of things is, the result is that whatever characteristic these concepts may have, that will be the characteristic of the logos, and therefore, of the theologic science. 1) The being of things was the permanent topic of Greek philosophy. That is why the body of truth acquired its first scientific or systematic conceptualization utilizing the concepts through which Greek philosophy understood what the being of things is. Because of this, the organ of the ratio deitatis was Greek metaphysics. With that, the demonstrative or scientific logos acquired the characteristic of a speculative logos and theology became speculative theology. Without entering into chronological precisions, this theology acquired its first systematic elaboration with the treatise On {25} Principles (Perí archón) by Origen (III century), and in some of the writings of St. Augustine, like his De Trinitate (IV century). In the XI century there appeared, with St. Anselm, the creation of scholastic theology culminating in the XIII century with St. Thomas: it was a theology founded on the idea of ón, of ens, of being. 2) The being of things we are considering here may have a different dimension: not “being” in the Greek sense, but what “things” (in the widest sense of the term) are in the deposit of faith. Then, concepts are the form according to which the faith has been thinking about revelation and the dogmas. Ultimately, it is the being of truth in a tradition (be it patristic, conciliar, theologic, etc.). The Greek concepts themselves appear here as moments of a tradition. The ratio deitatis is then the tradition. The scientific logos is no longer speculative logos; it is historical logos. This was the great creation of Petavius in the XVII century: his Theologica Dogmata. It begins with the following words: “Magnum equidem ac labore inmensum atque copia sed longe pulcherrimum opus subtilem, quae aliquot abhinc orta saeculis jam sola paene scholas occupavit, a quibus et scholasticae proprium sibi nomen ascivit; verum elegantiorem et uberiorem alteram, quae ad eruditae vetustatis expressa speciem, hoc est a dialecticorum dumetis liberioris ad campi revocata spatia, solam ad usum cultumque sui, nativam et domesticam copiam ostentat”4. {26} In opposition, therefore, to speculative theology, he managed to create a historical theology, which is a mixture of what later was called, on the one hand, positive theology, and on the other, the history of dogma. It should be understood that what is intended here is to appropriate the historical only as a method, as a way to fundament the truth, previously admitted, of revelation, dogmas, and the whole of Christian thought. Consequently, although it is true that the methodical characteristic of this scientific logos is not speculative, however, all its concepts are, basically, the same as those of speculative theology. 3) The being of things may yet be taken in another different dimension, which is neither metaphysical nor tradition: that would be the form according to which “things” present themselves and function within the vital context of the ancient Semite. In order to understand them it will be necessary to “interpret” the sense of the biblical text: to understand is now to interpret. Then, the scientific logos is no longer a speculative logos or an historical logos: it is an hermeneutic logos or an exegetic logos. To achieve it, one must appeal to multiple disciplines different from philosophy: archeology, ancient history, philology, history of religions, etc. That was the great creation of biblical science in the XIX century. The ratio deitatis is not the exclusive domain of Greek metaphysics. With this, a new repertory has been achieved, not only of methods, but more importantly, of concepts with which to build theologic science. Instead of asking Greek metaphysics for its concepts, the biblical text itself is asked for the concepts with which its authors expounded their teachings. Thought is no longer expressed in Greek categories, but in biblical categories5 . This is biblical theology. Speculative theology gave way to historical theology; now historical theology is retraced to {27} biblical theology. This is a different conceptualization of the “body of truth”. Today we are especially sensitive to this difference. The New Testament, we are told, is not concerned, for example, with the ontology of Christ, but with His function as revealer of the Father. Certainly this does not invalidate the problem of the reality of Christ, such as it was as an object for the Council of Chalcedon (two natures, one person), but actually the New Testament perspective would be functional6 not ontological. In addition, we are told, the New Testament does not formulate an ontology about the consecrated bread as the Council of Trent did (substance, species), but its perspective would also be formally functional. The same thing occurs with the doctrine of St. Paul, etc. In conclusion, we can say we have a scientific theology logos, which assumes three different forms: speculative logos, historical logos, and hermeneutic logos. They lead to three theologic sciences, not only different, but de facto separated, perhaps even in opposition: speculative theology, historical theology, and biblical theology. D) At this point, the idea of such a scientific logos makes us stop and proceed with some important reflections. Above all, reflections about each of the “three” theologies. No matter how different they may be they fall under a common coverage. It could not be otherwise since we are dealing with one theologic logos. This overarching perspective reveals some problematic characteristics in each one of the theologies, when viewed from the point of view of the others. Additionally, however, and this is most important, the overarching presents to us the most radical and profound problem concerning what the common root of the three theologies is. {28} 1) Primarily, then, the problematic characteristic of each of the three theologies. a) Historical theology and biblical theology clearly establish that speculative theology is not formally dependent on any particular metaphysics. Greek metaphysics is nothing but one mode, among other possible ones, to understand revelation. It may even contribute a series of terms and concepts with which to formulate the dogmas. But these concepts do not form part of the dogma; dogma is only that which in them and with them is “meant to be said”. That is the essential point. Therefore, with other concepts belonging to another metaphysics one could express the same thing that is meant to be said, i.e., the same dogma, and ultimately, the same theology. Historical theology is the proof in vivo that in fact this has been the case. However, that does not end the matter here. The fact that there may not be a particular metaphysics at the base of theology, Does this mean that scientific theology can exist with no metaphysics at all, i.e., that speculative theology is merely supererogatory? Because it is one thing that the same dogmatic and theologic truths may be thought with different metaphysical systems, but quite another that they may be thought without any. As we shall immediately see, biblical theology is not (because it cannot be) a theology without metaphysics. Then, what certainly is essential for the scientific theology logos is a kind of internal dynamism, if not towards a metaphysics, indeed towards the metaphysical as such. In that case, the lack of solidarity of scientific theology with a particular metaphysics is not a negative note, but an eminently positive characteristic: it consists in opening before us the ambit of several possible metaphysics, towards which that dynamism asks to be taken for the intellection of only one revelation. b) Biblical theology, seen from the other two theologies, displays something essential. In the first place, that biblical concepts {29} as such are not formally in solidarity with revelation. On this point, the mentality of the ancient Semite stands with respect to revelation in the same condition as a metaphysical system. Revelation expresses itself in Semitic concepts as it might have expressed itself in concepts of other mentalities. Biblical theology has no prerogative at all in this respect: it is a moment of the history of revelation just the same as the metaphysical-theologic systems. Furthermore, within the biblical text itself, the concepts and mentalities, which underlie it are many. The biblical texts not only differentiate themselves, as is commonly stated, by their literary style, but also by their mental or intellectual style; a distinction, which current hermeneutics does not make. From this perspective, biblical theology is a first chapter of historical theology. But there is something even more serious. The fact that the Semitic mentality and the concepts with which it is molded constitute, at any elementary level, but always really and truly, a metaphysics, which is at the very root of biblical thought. And as such, one among the several possible metaphysics to express what is “meant to be said”. But, on the other hand, it is here where the particular value of biblical theology resides. What speculative theology “means to say” is that which is already “known” as revealed. But what biblical theology “means to say” is “what it is that has been revealed”. Consequently, given that all biblical theology is articulated in speculative theology, all speculative theology is essentially “turned to” and “riding on” biblical theology, i.e., on a hermeneutic, and on an exegesis. And this is essential because it does not refer only to the biblical text. Not only the biblical text, but every dogmatic definition is formulated in an historical context. Therefore, not only Sacred Scripture, but all dogmas need to be historically interpreted. The Bible needs to be “interpreted” not for being a Bible, but for {30} being historical. That is why speculative theology is essentially turned towards the hermeneutical logos throughout the whole amplitude of history. c) Historical theology, as I indicated above, has biblical theology as its first chapter. From interpretation of the revealed text, i.e., from biblical theology, the development of the history of revelation and dogma takes place. Because of this, historical theology depends essentially on a biblical theology. But then, In what does this “development” consist? Development means, above all, that one stage is based on the previous one and follows after it. Both moments: the “based” and the “after” are essentials to history. We can express them unitarily by saying that history leads from one stage to another, that it has the structure of a “from-to”. That is history as process. But then, that is not all. Because the fact that one stage leads to another, inexorably presents the problem of the leading itself: What is this leading? It is not just the fact that a first stage may be followed by another, but that it is one stage, which “goes” into another from itself. Then, history is not simply the process, which leads from one stage to another, i.e., history is not a mere method or way, but is an intrinsic moment of the reality of the first stage: it is its intrinsic historicity7. The processability (Sp. procesualidad) of history depends on it. There is a historical process, because each stage is, in itself, and because of its own characteristics, historical, i.e., because it possesses historicity as an intrinsic moment of its own. Indeed, that is the decisive question. And it is a question essentially speculative. True, the concept of historicity has to be achieved by an examination of the historical process. But then, it is clear that although this process {31} may not involve any particular concept of historicity, however, it inexorably opens the ambit where this concept has to be made more precise. As we can see, every historical theology essentially encompasses an outline or a draft for speculative theology. The historical theology of Petavius was, above all, theology in its historical process, theology in history. But something else is needed, not only a theology that may unfold in history, but a theology that may be historical in itself as theology. It will be a theology as a science founded on an essentially historical logos. The hermeneutical logos is the logos of that which is meant-to-be-said, but in which what is meant-to-be-said is something “ongoing being said”, and can only be said through this “ongoing” being said. Here, historical theology combines, on the one side with biblical theology, and on the other with speculative theology. 2) In the end, the three theologies mutually overlap; each one is constitutively insufficient if it pretended to exclude the other two. But then something looms before our eyes, as I hinted above, which is much more important. Namely, that the three theologies are what they are, because it is the start of the march of each particular logos: speculative, historical, and hermeneutical. From this follows that the overlapping of the three theologies is nothing but the manifestation of the overlapping of the three types of logos. Only because the three lógoi overlap, the theologies founded upon them overlap. Which means that the three lógoi are not three types of different and juxtaposed lógoi, but are the structural moments of a single logos. The three theologies are not three sciences into which theology is divided, but are the moments of a single intellectual movement, they constitute something like the dialectic of a single scientific logos. Scientific theology is, therefore, “one” thing, which must encompass, in an intrinsic and formal way, an exegesis, a history, and a speculation. In other words, the scientific logos must be, at one and the same time, hermeneutic {32} logos, historical logos, and speculative logos. This is the unity for which, from my point of view, every present and future theology must strive. What kind of unity? The three lógoi in question are the scientific form of the theologic logos, i.e., of our human logos insofar as it expresses the divine revealing logos. Therefore, it is in this theologic logos as such where the unity of the scientific logos is already constituted. But then, the theologic logos is not primarily a scientific logos. The theologic logos insofar as scientific is founded on more primary forms of the theologic logos. No science, not even theology, rests on itself. The scientific logos, actually, has its own object: the system of faith. This system is the internal articulation of the body of truth, and in turn this body of truth belongs to the ostensive logos. And yet, the ostensive logos is not a mere repetition or duplicate of the original revelation; it is a showing forth logos, but in an “effort” to show. Thus, for example, when Apollinaris taught that the Word of God Incarnate was the rational soul of Christ, the Church rejected that idea not for “scientific” reasons, but simply showing that, if it were so, Incarnation would conflict with Redemption, because what was redeemed was only what was assumed, and therefore, by Christ not having a human soul, it would not have been redeemed. To have shown the unity between Incarnation and Redemption was an effort of the ostensive logos. And precisely because it is “effort” it can unfold as science. The science of revelation, insofar as science, is the unfolding of a previous effort of the logos. Only supported on this effort can the “showing” (Sp. mostración) unfold itself in its “demonstration” (Sp. demostración) proper to theologic science. In other words, by showing that revealed truth is a “body” it can {33} then be explained in the form of a “system”. Theologic science, therefore, rests upon the prior showing of the corporeity of revelation. As such, the unity of the scientific logos is founded on the unity of the prescientific ostensive logos. Thus, the unity of this ostensive logos is perceived in the mere start of the effort that constitutes it. It is not a concatenation of reasons more or less general and abstract, but the dynamism of a faith, which encompasses, and expresses the whole ambit of belief, and which when doing so, shows us the more or less precise characteristics of each of its own points. The apprehension of the totality of the ambit of faith has a determining primacy over each one of its own concrete moments. Because of this, the dynamism of this logos is special: it can only apprehend and express each point of belief by referring it to the rest. This is precisely what St. Paul called “ana-logy” (logos referred to another, in respectivity to it). The determination of each point as it functions within this analogy is what constitutes the “sense”. Sense is the characteristic of each moment of faith insofar as determined by its reference to the rest. Then, by this internal implication of analogy and sense, we can say that the ostensive logos is inscribed in, and moved by the religious sense of faith. The unity of the ostensive logos is the analogical unity of the sense of revelation. Scientific theology does nothing but conceptualize this sense. For this reason it is subservient to this sense in all its steps and moments. Upon what does this religious sense rest? Not on a vague sentimentality; it rests on the living apprehension of the logos that reveals, of revelation. The scientific logos, I was saying, rests on an ostensive logos, and is an unfolding of it; now we see that the ostensive logos in turn is resting on the revealing logos, and is an analogical determination of its sense8. Thus, {34} the scientific logos and the ostensive logos are the forms of the logos we have called “theologic”. Therefore, it is the whole theologic logos, which has its fundament and unity in the logos that reveals. We must direct our attention to this logos, then, in order to apprehend the unity of the logos of the theós. What is this unity? It is a unity essentially concrete. Concrete, above all, by reason of its content: it is the action with which Christ reveals his Father. But, in addition, it is also concrete by the form of its realization. It is not a series of propositions, but a series of live actions through which Christ transmits, from His life to the life of His immediate disciples, the truth of God and of man. The very propositions that Christ enunciated are moments of that live action. Because of that, their content, more or less conceptive, is essentially inscribed in a vital context, and therefore, possesses a live sense, which has to be vitally transferred to the rest. The logos that reveals has, by its own essence, a characteristic that at one and the same time is vital, conceptive, and historical: it is formally and intrinsically real, vital, and historical. These three characteristics are not three vicissitudes of revelation, but its intrinsic moments. And only because of this, in its live transmission, its sense is apprehended in an effort, which is as much vital as conceptive, and historical. And for the same reason the scientific logos is co-essentially vital, hermeneutic, and conceptive (speculative). Now, Is this unity of the logos that reveals a mere arbitrary chance of God? Not at all. Revelation, in the sense we have explained, is the co-living of Christ with men, and therefore, the structure of man belongs essentially, and formally to revelation, to the logos that reveals. By virtue of this, its unity remits beyond the very logos that reveals to something more radical, which I will call theological logos. Underneath the theologic logos {35} (scientific and ostensive) is the logos that reveals; and underneath the logos that reveals is the theological logos itself. ________________ 1 Add the hypertrophy of converting Christianity into a social doctrine of the Church rather than into a transformation of society (note by X. Zubiri). 2 Irenæus of Lyon, Démonstration de la prédication apostolique, ch. 3, translated from the Armenian with notes by J. Barthoulot, in R. Graffin - F. Nau, Patrologia orientalis, vol. 12, Paris, 1919, p. 758. 3 Irenæus of Lyon, ibid., ch. 3, p. 758. 4 “I embark on this certainly immense task by its amplitude and the labor it requires, but incomparably beautiful: to write down the whole of theology. Not that polemical and subtle theology, which born a few centuries ago, is the one that almost exclusively concerns the schools, by which it received the name scholastic, but another more elegant and fruitful, which in the manner of erudite antiquity, i.e., taken out of the dialectical jungle and placed on the open field, is the only one, which has original and native resources required for its use and development” (translation by X. Zubiri); the quotation is from Dogmata theologica Dionysii Petavii (ed. by J.-B. Fournials, Paris, 1865, p. 1). 5 Distinguish between exegesis and biblical theology (note by X. Zubiri). 6 Something arguable, of course (note by X. Zubiri). 7 Historicity as a moment of reality, and as a moment of knowing (note by X. Zubiri). 8 We must recognize the place for the kerymatic logos (note by X. Zubiri). -------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri -------------------------------------- Introduction (35-39) --------------- {35} (cont’d) III. The theological logos What is the theological logos? Let us proceed step by step. A) Divine revelation, I was saying, is inscribed in the co-living of Christ with men; it has, then, a fundamentally human structure. In addition, man is, above all, a personal reality because he is an intellective reality. Because of this, his acts constitute a series of occurrences in time whose ultimate characteristic consists in the fact that, in them, the person possesses itself in the figure of what we call “I”. Therefore, all acts constitutively make “sense”, the sense of being configurators of the “I”. Finally, every person co-lives with the rest, and therefore, the course of its life is constitutively a process towards the others: due to this, co-living is not the principle, but the consequence of the very condition of the human person, of what I have called historicity. Thus, the acts of each person have, in a strict and radical unity, an intellective, vital, and historical characteristic: they are the three characteristics of human reality. And with that, I refer not only to acts insofar as I have performed them, but also to the terminus expressed in them. It follows that every apprehension of a life from another is inexorably a conceptive, historical, and hermeneutical apprehension, i.e., the human logos, which proposes to understand another, unitarily has these three characteristics, precisely and formally, for being the logos of a human personal life. Because the life of the other is not apprehended as a mere “object”, but as something “co-lived” with the one who apprehends. If this were not so, {36} knowledge of the other would be nothing but mere information or a science extrinsic to the known. The logos of the one who apprehends is only possible through “co-living”. And this “co-” is then what imprints the apprehending logos with the unitary intellective, vital, and historical characteristic of the apprehended logos. B) It then follows that revelation, as a co-living of Christ with others, possesses in itself those three characteristics, and its apprehension by these “others” is a conceptive, hermeneutic, and historical logos. This logos possesses these three characteristics not because it reveals or can be apprehended, but because it is human. The logos that reveals rests on the personal human logos, and occurs in it. C) Conversely, the personal human logos is the dimension through which man insofar as human is, from himself and as a human, turned towards the theós. This is what in a topical sense I have called the theological dimension of man1. Something anterior to any revealing and theological logos. In order to demonstrate that this is no mere subtlety it will be sufficient to remember just one example. When he asks if the existence of God is a truth known by itself by the mere fact of being human, with no need for demonstration, St. Thomas, even conceding that in a vague and general way we all have some form of understanding of what we call God, however, he denies that this understanding is a knowledge of God, similar to the case of knowing that someone is coming, which is not a knowledge of Peter, even though Peter is the one coming. Therefore, for St. Thomas, as well as for those of his own time, it was only a question of knowing who is coming, because it was obvious to them that “someone was coming”. But for {37} modern man the radical question is precisely if someone is coming, i.e., if in the mere fact of being a man (I might say) there is some dimension in which it is apprehended that someone is coming. This is precisely a pre-scientific problem and concerns the theological dimension of man. The theological dimension of man is not proper to this or that aspect of man or his life, but concerns the totality of his very being. Because of this, it affects human life in its formal plenitude, and not in its fissures or cracks. D) By virtue of this, what revelation confers to man in his theological dimension is the manifestation of the theological conformation of his entire being. That is what, to my way of thinking, must be understood by the Pauline expression mórphosis, which better than deification I will call deiformity (Sp. deiformidad), because, as we shall see, only the just is deified, but every man, even the condemned one is deiformed. This noted, let us remember the phrase of St. Irenæus: “we must ceaselessly work on our deification”2. It is in this unity of the being of man insofar as man, and the deiformation conferred to every one by Christ, where the unity of the theological dimension of man consists, and therefore, it is the precise point where the dialog with modern man must be attempted. However, there is another point we must clarify. E) This theological dimension is not an elimination of the logos that reveals or of the theologic logos. The first is obvious, because what occurs in that dimension is the possibility of the revelation of Christ. This revelation adopted the characteristics mentioned above neither arbitrarily nor by a concession to accommodate men, but by the formal type of His revelation {38} as the co-living of Christ with men. The revelation is, in this respect, what Christ gives men as a reason for their being: the deiformity. That is why St. Peter exhorts everyone to “always be ready to give reason (the text says logos) for the hope in you” (1 Pt 3:15), where “hope” has the sense of “that which is awaited”, i.e., the content of the Christian religion. Therefore, it is clear that the mórphosis of St. Paul acquires the characteristic of a theologic logos. This logos, actually, does not refer to deiformity as an “object”, because of the fact that the ostensive effort and the demonstrative display, i.e., the theologic logos, by being an intellection of what man “is” in his theological dimension, manifests eo ipso that it is nothing but the intellectual reactivation of the deiformity of the human being. It is not a logos “about the” object called God and logos that reveals, but is actually the intellective mobilization of the very mórphosis, it is the logos, not of something we have, but of something we are, of our own theological dimension. Consequently, the theological dimension insofar as religious fundament of the theologic logos is what I call theological reason or, if you will, theological logos. And because it is the logos of something we are, the theologic logos founded thus on theological reason is not only not useless, but necessary, and in addition, at one and the same time, is necessarily hermeneutical, historical, and conceptive. In conclusion, by being deiformed man can possess a faith that lives as a religious sense in an effort, which encompasses his whole ambit, and deploys itself in a conceptual intellection, i.e., in a theology. Faith in the logos that reveals3, ostensible presentation of the body of its truth, and theological conceptiveness of its system are the three moments of one single mobilization of that deiformed reality, which man is. {39} Hence, precisely because of this, deiformity is the precise and formal point in which this logos is going to dialog with modern man. Therefore, the dialog should be called, and actually is “the theological problem of man”. It is not the case, from my modest point of view, of a question upon which we are going to think, but to show that what we call the theological problem is the problem of what the being of man is, constitutively. It is not a question about man on the one hand, and about God on the other, but is the intellection of man himself as intrinsic manifestation of God; therefore, it is not an anthropocentric question, but theocentric, of a theós whose manifestation is the very being of man. And thus, where God manifests Himself is in the formal fullness of life, not in its fissures. It is necessary to have the energy of lifting our eyes to God precisely when life is going well, and not only supplicate Him when it is going poorly. The form of the dialog, I was saying at the beginning, depends on the characteristic of the logos. And, as we have just seen, the primary and radical logos is the theological one. Therefore, we must discuss everything along the lines of theological reason. ________________ 1 But the theological dimension must not be confused with the theological logos, cf. infra (note by X. Zubiri). 2 Irenæus of Lyon, Démonstration de la prédication apostolique, ch. 3, in R. Graffin and F. Nau, Patrologia orientalis, vol. 12, op. cit., p. 758. 3 The kerygmatic logos is missing (note by X. Zubiri). --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ---------------------------------------- Chapter 1 (41-54) --------------- {41} CHAPTER 1 THE ACCESS TO GOD IN CHRIST1 It is necessary to begin by remembering something I have explained somewhere else, but is relevant in a certain way to the subject of this book2. The fact that God is always manifest to man, and, therefore, is a reality accessible to man. Man has a real and effective access to God in every hypothesis, and in every moment. Of course, this does not have a merely concessive characteristic. The manifestation of God in all religions has a strict and positive characteristic. They all are real and effective ways through which man really and effectively finds God. God, therefore, is always manifest, and is always accessible. What happens is that this manifestation of God is multiform, because of the multiple conditions and ways in which humanity (in its historical, and individual situations) is always receiving this manifestation of God. In this great multiformity of historical and individual situations a great difference is involved {42} through the concrete way, which the manifestation of God is going to have in the spirit of man. Obviously, one might tend to think that these differences are inscribed in what we may call the duties, which man has to fulfill in accordance to various religions, or even within the elevation, which religious feelings produce in man. All that is very important, but quite secondary. Religions do not distinguish each other precisely by the sentiments they inspire. There is no doubt there is, for example in the Hittite people or in the Assyro-Babylonian world, a great similarity (if not an identity) of sentiments with Israel. It is well known that many Psalms of Israel are adoptions, often literal, from the texts of these peoples3. Sentiments are not what distinguishes religions, but strictly and formally the concrete idea they have about God. An idea, which has its start from a strict manifestation of God, but modulated in a different way in accordance with the individual and historical situations. Hence, this multiformity is inscribed in the single and unique manifestation with which God is manifest to every open essence4, to every man, by virtue of being fontanally and personally present in the depth of him. From this point of view, of course, every multiformity is covered. Although it is certain that, from the point of view of the historical and individual ways, the manifestation of God acquires this multiformity, however, from the point of view of God who manifests Himself, there is no such multiformity. There is only one manifestation. {43} There may be degrees of manifestation. That is another question. But the manifestation as such is unitary and uniform from the point of view of God. Consequently, man finds himself facing this anticipated and ambivalent situation. On the one hand he accesses God really and effectively in the structure of His manifestation, but on the other, has to discern these different forms, and therefore, has to make a choice, an optative surrender, a personal adhesion founded on a reasonable motive, which is what constitutes faith. This reasonable motive can have diverse characteristics throughout the length of history. We are going to pay attention to one, precisely, the characteristic of truth. But also adding that this access has to be a real and effective access. It is not the case of a speculation about God. It is the case of man being able to have access in accordance with the concept of access, which I have elaborated upon on a previous occasion5: the access to God really and effectively ultimate, possibilitating, and impelling for the life of man. The opposite would be to make of God what many ancient religions have, a deus otiosus, or to do that to which the last phase of Judaism tended, even at the time of Christ, to place Yahweh in such remote transcendence, that even His name was not even mentioned. With things like these, perhaps man has come close to losing Him. Therefore, it is the question of a way of truth, which may translate itself effectively into the real and effective possession of God. Putting the question this way, from the point of view of the truth of the idea of God, there are a few things we must recall. So far, there are conceptions of God whose inadmissibility is not founded precisely in motives of personal option, {44} but in motives of strict rational characteristics. For example, all the polytheisms. The merely rational proof that God is a unique and unitary reality eliminates a radice all polytheisms. Of course, this does not mean that it may eliminate a radice all the intermediaries between God and the world, something completely different. Monotheism, above all in the ancient religions, is perfectly compatible with the fact that there may be lesser intermediary entities between God and the world. We are precisely dealing with the fact that the reality of God may be represented by a single supreme and sovereign being. In the second place, even within all the possible monotheist conceptions, by reason of pure rational considerations, we can eliminate all conceptions, which are not personalist. Actually, all conceptions that may appeal to a first cause, which as such, were not to have an intelligent and volitional characteristic can be rationally eliminated. The reality essentially existing belongs to itself essentially in the form of intelligence and in the form of will6. Thus, after these observations of a purely rational order, there exists a sufficient margin within which an option has to operate. An option through which man surrenders to one way rather than another, because of a credibility motive. And in this case that motive of credibility can only mean one thing: the very exposition of the truth to which one accedes in a personal way, and gives one’s own personal adhesion. That truth is for me, and for many of my readers the personal adhesion one offers to the religion of Christ. In Christ is how really and effectively, by a choice, man believes he really finds God. After all, no credibility motive is superior than being exposed to {45} that to which one offers one’s own adhesion. All the reasonings one might elaborate with respect to a truth of this order are always practically worthless. They may help to eliminate difficulties. But, in the end, no one offers his own personal adhesion to a person except for the intrinsic exposition of the qualities of the person to whom one offers one’s own adhesion. Nevertheless, this presents two essential points, which need clarification. § 1. What is understood by the reality of Christ in which man finds God, and what is understood by finding God? § 2. How does man really and effectively find in Christ the real and positive promotion of his own individual and historical life? {46} § 1 GOD IN CHRIST In order to clarify the reality of the encounter of man with the reality of Christ it will be useful to appeal to a text of St. Paul, where for the first time in the history of Christianity the problem of His internal credibility has been presented (cf. 1 Cor 1:22-23). St. Paul tells us: “the Jews ask for signs (semeía aitoúsin), and the Greek search for wisdom (sofían zetoúsin). But we preach Christ crucified, a scandal (skándalon) for the Jews, for the pagans madness (morían); but for those called to the faith in Christ, Jews as well as Greek, Christ is the very power of God (theoú dýnamis), and His wisdom”. It is curious that St. Paul feels obligated, at the beginning of his apostolic activity, to confront this matter. By just reading it we realize that it is the first time, and the first way of dealing with it that the problem of credibility crosses the mind of this apostle. To adequately explain this text it will be necessary to consider five points in succession. In the first place, it is a problem of credibility. Clearly, some ask for signs; the others search for wisdom. In the second place, he tells us that the Christ he preaches is a scandal to the Jews. This is the second point we must clarify: Why and in what measure, and in what sense is it a scandal? In the third place, he says it is madness for the Greeks. Why and in what sense is it madness for the Greeks? In the fourth place, What is the reality of this Christ, which is a {47} scandal for some and madness for others? What is that “power of God”, that theoú dýnamis? And, in fifth place, In what does it consist for the reality of Christ to be precisely a crucified reality? A) The problem of credibility. It was necessary to underline (something not usually done) that this is the first time the problem of credibility is considered. Indeed, according to St. Paul, the Jews ask for semeía, i.e., something, which may lead to personal adhesion: certain signs by virtue of which one can adhere personally to the one offering the signs. The sign was the motive for credibility to the Jew. The history of Israel is full of signs. The crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus was one of the signs; the manna in the desert another, etc. Prescinding now from the historical problem of these signs, they were signs, which operated partly by their own weight, through “imposition”. They actually impose all by themselves. Because of this even when He was still alive the Jews asked Him for a theophany: “come down from the cross and we shall believe in you” (cf. Mt 27:40). If this had happened, the sign would have been stunning and unquestionable. But what is certain is that Christ, who had already rejected the idea as a messianic temptation at the beginning of His public ministry, rejected it also, reportedly, from the cross. He did not wish the sign to have this characteristic of imposition. He wanted the sign to have a completely different character, the characteristic of a moral invitation towards a personal adhesion to Him. That is the reason why St. Paul finds himself in the predicament of having to explain what a sign is, as a motive for credibility, in order to precisely preach Christ among the Jews. But there are also the Greeks. And about the Greeks he does not say they “ask” (aitoúsin), but that they “search” (zetoúsin). They search for {48} wisdom (sophía). This is a term, which had a long tradition in Greece, and that finally, in the time of St. Paul, mainly in the hands of Stoicism, had acquired precisely the characteristic of a rational knowledge founded on the noús, in which the universal Law, which rules the universe in an absolute way is discovered and contemplated: its lógos. It is a doctrine “founded on reason”. However, the divine reason that Christianity tries to find in the world does not resemble the reason that Stoicism had proclaimed as an immanent law to the world, which consequently had a characteristic more or less pantheistic for the Stoic. Facing this, St. Paul refuses these signs and that wisdom. He tells us that he does not preach anything but Christ crucified. For the moment let us put aside the question of His being crucified: he preaches nothing but Christ. Neither signs nor wisdom? Fundamentally, it is a different thing. It is “another” kind of sign, and “another” kind of wisdom. That is the issue. The case of a different set of signs, giving scandal to the Jews. That is the second question. B) The scandal for the Jews. St. Paul tells us that the figure of Christ he preaches is a scandal for the Jews. Etymologically skándalon used to mean a kind of trap to capture an animal; later it meant something, which is repulsive, and in this case a conduct that is harmful, and repels the one contemplating it. Hence, in this sense, the scandal points to a situation of personal contact. In the end, the Jews have seen in religion (like the whole oriental world, which has had the ingenuity of religion) a personal concretion: the contact from person to person, which continues throughout the whole of history. It is not a question of abstract reasons that the understanding may be able to perceive, and convinced by them, may be able to reach or accept certain opinions. No, it is a question of the strength of {49} personal attraction, through contact from one to another, because of friendship, beneficence, etc. Let us consider the first step in the history of Israel, precisely in its remote beginning with Abraham. Indeed, Abraham, facing a famine, retreats to the mountains north of Haran until he has an inspiration from God, which indicates to him the way to the promised land. And in the faith of the ancients this God accompanies the family on the way to that land. Clearly, this experience, in a certain way salvific from the side of God, continues to be multiplied throughout the length of the history of Israel. Another fundamental experience is the one it has with Moses in the Horeb, which determines the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Here it is not precisely the case of a friendly God; it is the case of an enemy God, which is going to confront the gods of the others, etc. This continues throughout the history of Israel until the time of Christ7. Obviously, it would be a serious historical error to think that the successive concatenation of events, such as reported in the Old Testament, has the claim to be a kind of historical chronicle of what has happened to the people of Israel. That would be completely false. The exegesis cannot limit itself to make some theological and speculative commentaries, as valuable as they might be, but must do something much more difficult: the rigorously literal and historical exegesis, with all the elements to interpret what the text says, with the reservation of afterwards building upon it what was meant to be said from the religious point of view. Be that as it may, history, taken in the actual sense of the term, is not always identical to the {50} historical form, which is narrated in the Old Testament. This is quite evident. Probably the twelve tribes were never in Egypt, and never left Egypt. The twelve tribes were constituted much later during the occupation of the land of Canaan. Probably, the ancients (and among them Moses) were never able to distinguish the providential order from the miraculous one, and believed that a provisional circumstance, which allowed a few groups to cross the Red Sea over almost dry ground, constituted a prodigy, which as time went by has grown into the famous image of the two walls of water full of fishes, with Israel passing through the middle of them. Probably this never happened that way in history. However, Must we then say this history is false? It is, if one has the concept of history we have just indicated. It is not, if what one understands and has had in mind is what Scripture has had in mind, not so much to narrate the details as a chronicle of the events, but to narrate the sense, which events have in the ethnologic and religious history of Israel. Both points of view do not contradict each other. On the contrary, they complement each other. It is true that the mentality of the peoples weaves their religious sense with certain literary types and forms, which would make it an error on our part to take them literally as historical realities. Conversely, it could not be denied that without a base of historical reality the sense of that history of Israel would be left hanging on thin air, and would become pure fiction. It is neither one nor the other. Of course, these factors would continue to imply each other. And in that cycle is precisely where that personal characteristic is constituted, from which the Jews asked for signs when they had Christ in front of them. The Bible gives us faith as it is in history, and without history there would be no faith. That is the hermeneutical problem “history-faith”, on which I cannot delve here any further. {51} The case of the history of Christ makes no exception to what I have just said. The literary and historical composition of the Gospels is enormously complex. Many hypotheses and tons of paper have been invested on this question. Naturally, with all the literary styles that may be accepted, with all the profound differences that exist between a narrative that has a catechetical destination, another having a missionary destination, and another that might have a kerygmatic destination, there is no doubt that the figure of Christ as prophet (in the sense of preacher) derogated, and changed the law of Israel. As a thaumaturgist he performed some wonders. And as a teacher who teaches mankind, there is no doubt His figure is a rigorously real historical figure in the sense I have just described. Certainly the Gospels do not provide a chronicle, but only the theological sense that the narrative of the life of Christ has. They are an exposition of some of the actions of Christ as seen from the faith following Pentecost. It would be chimerical to try to separate point by point what there is of theological sense, and what there is of historical chronicle. But there is no doubt that one factor neither annuls nor can annul the other. Therefore, that is precisely what the Jew had in mind when he asked for a sign. Facing this, the appeal to Christ (St. Paul says) constitutes a scandal. Why? Because Christ presents himself as Messiah. And the term “Messiah” had a history of at least two centuries in Israel. The figure of the Messiah was rather turbid. On the one hand, he was the ideal king, descendant of David. On the other, a transcendent personage: a man coming from the other world, a “Son of Man” (Dn 7:13). And it also meant something that never had much currency in Israel, but indeed was there in the book of Isaiah: the suffering and patient servant who expiates for the sins of Israel (cf. Is 42:1-9; 49:1-7; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12). {52} This complex idea of the Messiah is found in the Jewish mind in the primary appellation with which Christ presents Himself to the people of Israel. But then, this Messiah who presents Himself as such to the people of Israel who ask Him for signs, says to Israel: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights” (Mt 12:39-40). Obviously, this Christ who goes to His death in such a manner constitutes a scandal. It is the ruin of the triple concept the Jews had of the Messiah. C) Madness for the Greeks. If we now look to the other side, to the Greek side, we encounter a different situation. In Greece the history of the human spirit is completely different. It is not a history in which personal trusts cross each other. Obviously, it is not the case they did not have them; they would not have been human. But the great creation of Greece has been precisely wisdom, sophía. The Greek, from the time of the Seven Wise Men, have had a real and well founded veneration for the noús, for the power of intelligence. Oriental wisdom was a khakhmáh (Hb.), an intelligence, not the power of reason as in Greece. For the Greeks it was the case of an intelligence, which was not only theoretical, but in addition had the characteristic of a director. Indeed, with their great noús, with their intelligence and understanding, the Seven Wise Men {53} were not only able to generate the opening of the human spirit to the world of reason, but in addition they were able to direct the life of the Greek. The wise man is not only a theoretician, a speculator; the wise man is, above all, and even up to the time of Plato and Aristotle, a theorós, namely, someone who in the public games observes if the rules have been kept. This idea of wisdom led, during the time of St. Paul, to the Stoic ideal of the wise man. In this case, the theorós is someone who wishes to discover, precisely by the effort of contemplating it, what is the rational structure of the universe. Consequently, applied to the noús, to the mind of man, this directing characteristic, which the wise man has translates into what we call “reason“. The Greek called it diánoia. And this diánoia expresses itself in a lógos, in a proposition. A concatenation of propositions constitutes the demonstration. This is precisely the unfolding of absolute reason, of something, which exists absolutely: the very entity of the universe in that which is its ultimate reality. But now St. Paul says that the Greek considered this personal reality of Christ he preached to be a madness (moría). What was this madness? That the Jews were not rational? At least, the Alexandrian Jews did not show it at all. They were like any other Greeks. The scandal resided on another point. The fact is that a Greek, with his concept of reason and his concept of reality, searched for the infallible and inexorable necessity with which absolute reason perforates and structures the universe. On the other hand, facing this, What did a Jew offer, Christian or not? Precisely personal fidelities. And that is what a Greek could not tolerate. He could not admit that absolute reason might depend on some perfectly contingent events throughout history. This led them to consider the preaching of St. Paul a madness: the madness of substituting reason with history. The Greek {54} never had a sense of history. They had a sense for stories, for narrative. But what we call history today, as the interplay of actions and human individuals, never had much consideration, if any, in the mind of the Greeks. Neither the idea of person nor the idea of intrinsic historicity ever had a place within Greek reason. On the contrary, for Greek reason, that is precisely what constituted madness. Wisdom in that sense was for the Greeks something, which would render whatever the Jews might say to them into a moría: a madness. Does this mean that St. Paul, in order to preach Christ, rejects the idea of wisdom? I will say about this what I also said with respect to sign: no. The fact is that St. Paul intended to make a substitution and present a different concept of wisdom. It was not a matter of presenting something, which was neither sign nor wisdom, but another way of being a sign, and another way of being a wisdom. ________________ 1 This text comes from the 1968 seminar on Man and the problem of God (“El hombre y el problema de Dios”). 2 Zubiri refers to what was covered previously in the seminar of 1968, which became the basic content of what was posthumously published in Man and God (“El hombre y Dios”). 3 The most obvious case is the one shown between Psalm 103, and the “Hymn to the Sun” of Pharaoh Amenophis IV. 4 Zubiri has explained the concept of “open essence” in his book On Essence (“Sobre la esencia”, Madrid, 1962, pp. 499-507). 5 Again, a reference to previous conferences prior to the seminar of 1968. The concept of “access” has been exposed by Zubiri in his Man and God (“El hombre y Dios”, op. cit., pp. 179ff). 6 The basis for these affirmations has been expounded by Zubiri in his Man and God (“Man and God”, op. cit., pp. 134-178). 7 Zubiri writes on an attached file card: “The period from Abraham to Christ: 1) The religion prior to Abraham. 2) The road leading to Christ: the history of Israel. + Sign = Christ fulfills the sense of Scripture = of the history of Israel. The miracle is sign of this fulfillment through transcendence + divinity.” --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ---------------------------------------- Chapter 1 (54-64) --------------- {54} (cont’d) D) The reality of Christ. That is precisely the question we are facing: How and in what measure is the reality of Christ, which St. Paul preaches, another wisdom, and another sign? If we ponder on what we have just said, we shall find that the Israelite way, basically the way of the Orient, was a way, which went from person to person. It completely anchored its whole structure on one person, completely trustworthy, but still a person. On the other hand, the Greek way was a way of truth. Nevertheless, there was of course a supreme possibility, which consisted precisely in conceiving that truth is a personal reality, and for a certain person (the person of God) to be the absolute truth, and the absolute reality. In this case, obviously, the concept of wisdom and the concept of sign completely change their sense. And this is precisely what takes place in the reality of Christ. {55} Consequently, let us think that God is present in an inexorable and real way in the depth of all created reality, in a fontanal way, and additionally in a personal way, without identifying Himself with none of the created realities, but intrinsically belonging to them. Because reality, even though created and distinct from God to the greatest degree, is the terminal point of the divine action, separated from which, created reality would not have any reality at all. It follows that God is in the world as a kind of ocean (sit venia verbo), inside which are the things that, freely, have been created by Him. Of course, this does not mean that God is the same way in the depth of all creatures. In the depth of closed essences He is in one way, let us say, materially fontanal: matter emerges from God. In the depth of open essences, which is what humans are, taken primarily as a historical unity, God is present, but in the form of inter-personal presence. A completely different way. And, in this form of inter-personal relation, the fontanal and personal presence in the depth of each person may have quite different degrees and forms. The way this ocean involves, in one form or another, a certain presence in the spirit of the just, is not the same as the presence involved in the depth of a human spirit, which were not turned positively (for whatever reasons) towards the divinity. It would be a mode of presence completely different. And in the different degrees of justice or sanctity, the presence of God would be more or less intense in the depth of each one of those human spirits1. Let us elevate the case to the infinite, and assume that in a certain man this subjacent presence of God is so intense {56} that not only it is present, but constitutes the very reality of that in which it is present. That is the case of Christ. That is the hypostatic union. Christ is God, because in a certain aspect of Him there is an identity between His human reality, and the reality of God. And with this presence by way of identity, God, as absolute reason of the universe, acquires the figure of a personal reality in a certain man on the surface of the Earth. The reality of God is, therefore, the synthesis of the two ways: the one of absolute reason, and the one of history. Of absolute reason and history because, in the end, what is here constituting the absolute reason of the universe is one person. And the absolute reason of history, because that certain man, from a particular point and aspect of his (this is not the moment to investigate the point), is identical to the very reality of God. God is not only present in Christ, but constitutes in one form or another the very human reality of Christ. St. Paul stands facing this type of reality with its unique constitution asking, on the one hand, for personal adhesion, and on the other, posing the problem of the sign. 1) Personal adhesion, obviously, can be none other but the one Christ himself requested during His life. Christ did some things, which were quite extraordinary (I shall immediately refer to this), but He conducted himself in more or less the same way the men of His time conducted themselves, except he did it differently. It is not a question of the few extraordinary things he did, but of the things he did in a different manner. Let us not forget that in the very history of Christianity sanctity does not consist in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well, which is something altogether different. Christ asked for personal adhesion. Certainly, this man was the very reality of God, but this was not transparent to anyone, not {57} even to the apostles. Let us remember that even after the resurrection, the apostles asked Christ: “Is it now when you are going to restore the Kingdom of Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Not even the resurrection was sufficient to make them understand what Christ was going to realize on Earth. And those who were not His apostles, and before His death, undestood much less. However, he asked precisely for a personal adhesion. And a personal adhesion definitely founded on some signs. One thinks, of course, about the miracles. What were the miracles of the Gospel? Had these physical realities (so to speak) the characteristics of massive impositions? Did they produce in the human spirit a kind of inclination when facing the derogation of the laws of mechanics? Not at all. There is a passage, in the Gospel of St. Matthew, where we are told about a miracle of Christ, which has all the ingredients a sign must have: the cure of the paralytic (cf. Mt 9:2-8). Here we have all the ingredients of those signs, which constituted the miracles of Christ on Earth. a) In the first place, an essential condition: faith. Christ never pretended to draw out the personal adhesion by means of miracles thay may consist, for example, in coming down from the cross to provoke the faith. That would not have been a moral adhesion; it would have been something irremediable. This is not what Christ came to elicit. He looked precisely for a faith, which consists not only in having a previous moral disposition towards His person, but also in a disposition capable of accepting and apprehending what is of reality in the depth of the human actions of Christ. b) In the second place, this text tells us what the characteristic of the prodigy is. The prodigy of Christ took place in order to convince He had the capability to forgive sins. However, to forgive sins is precisely an exclusive attribute of God. Which means that in the end, the prodigy, {58} in this surreptitious and indirect manner, was made just to prove His divinity, but in that trivial form of forgiving sins. Christ has performed no miracles for merely physical reasons, but for a theological truth, different in each case. c) There is certainly the moment of the prodigy: the paralytic rises up and goes away with his stretcher. d) And finally, there is a fourth point: the crowds believed in Him, they glorified Him. The text clearly does not say that they believed He was God, but that they glorified God because He had given such power to human beings. Christ was a man who had an extraordinary power. There resides the essence of what a miracle is. It is an error to think that the miracles constitute, as it is commonly said, a derogation of the laws of nature. Whether they are derogated or not, is a different matter. However, Did any Israelite at the time of Christ have any idea of the laws of nature so that it could be said he perceived the derogation of the same? Does man know the totality of the laws of nature to know if they are derogated or not? It is much more apprehensible through moral reason (sit venia verbo) that a man may have a dominion over nature, which exceeds what nature can perform. It will be said that we do not know what laws are involved there. Yes, but what we definitely do know is that, regardless of whether laws are involved or not, a single word cannot make a paralytic rise, put his stretcher under his arm and walk home. Is is precisely there where the characteristic of the prodigy is. The idea of miracle is not related to nature, but to an idea of the position of man within the universe, and of what the universe is when taken in its totality. To those signs of the moral order is what St. Paul is referring. And in that case it must definitely be said that the {59} entire life of Christ was precisely a sign. The entire life of Christ was clearly the sign of His divinity, nothing else but sign. And precisely because of this, the personal adhesion of the disciples to Christ was an adhesion of faith. 2) Let us remember that a sign, which reveals a theological reality is precisely what is called a mystery (mystérion). The Latins translated it as sacramentum. In this sense, the life of Christ on Earth is a subsistent sacrament, because His human life means precisely His internal, His intrinsic divinity. Appropriately, we are now led to consider the problem of the historicity of the events of the life of Christ. Bultmann, for example, has chosen to minimize that historical reality, not because he estimates it can be totally derogated. Certainly, he believes almost everything can be derogated in the “historical” sense of the term: the presence in the Eucharist, the resurrection of Christ, etc. But at least he has had the courage to show that all these realities have a theological dimension. What happens is that a theological dimension unconnected with a historical reality is lost in a vacuum. Actually, the reality of the life of Christ is neither a set of permanent derogations of the laws of nature, nor a simple putting in motion of the stepping march of theological values. It is something different: that reality is precisely the real and effective sign with which the human life of Christ is sign of the theological reality in which He himself personally consists. That is why thirty-five years ago I wrote that Christ is the subsisting sacrament2. Indeed, the sign par excellence of His divinity was precisely the crucifixion, as we shall see. Be that as it may, it is then clear that the position of {60} St. Paul facing the problem of the credibility of Christ starts precisely from a new vision of truth and reality. From a vision of truth as person at the bottom of reality; that it is personal truth. And, conversely, a vision of an entitative absolute, which has the characteristic of person: the very subsistence of God. Then one may ask: In what does the encounter of God in the encounter with Christ, really and positively consist for the New Testament? E) The encounter with God in Christ3. How is God found in Christ? Precisely through a sign. Not even after His resurrection the apostles had a clear comprehension of the formal and personal divinity of Christ. Still, it is not enough to say: “Well, Christ was God, and therefore, to find Christ is to find God”. Because His divinity is just only indicated in the form of a sign throughout His life and actions. However, we have the right to ask if it is the case of an encounter with God, really and effectively concrete and historical, apprehensible in the life of man. We cannot limit ourselves to abstract reasonings. We must apprehend concretely in what this encounter consists, particularly since we have been clearly told that God is person (persona), and that precisely in the personality of Christ is, by way of identity, the personal reality of God. St. John constantly repeats the phrase “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). And precisely because of this, because God is love, is the reason why man encounters God in Christ, precisely {61} through the way of love. Love is not a vague sentiment here. It is a structure essentially metaphysical. Love is, in the first place, the act to give oneself (and in this case of God giving Himself) in a volitional act, which has no other interest or motive whatsoever. Love is an essentially metaphysical structure: it is the ecstatic aperture of the lover in which he gives himself really and effectively through a volitional act; but also in a pure manner, i.e., solely by pure volition. The ecstasy of pure volition, in its three absolute terms, can only be given in God. And that is why God is love, because He is really, formally, and constitutively an ecstasy of pure volition, and pure intelligence. For this reason, when God gives Himself in the form of creation, He gives Himself only in order to give Himself. For no other personal interest, or any internal or intrinsic necessity. Therefore, to encounter God in Christ is precisely to find Him through the way of love. In man, of course, every love, every effusion, is more or less conveyed by an éros, by a desire. There is nothing good or lovable for man, which in some form does not have the aspect of desirable. But precisely that desirability is nothing but the sign through which man accesses the pure effusion, in which surrendered and possessed by real truth, he really and effectively surrenders to it. And this is the way how, in that surrender and through it, man precisely encounters the infinite love of God. It is the reality of the love present in the absolute being, which God is4. This is the whole point of the crucifixion. Christ said that “no one has greater love than the one who gives his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). That is why the supreme point of love resides precisely on the crucifixion. But then, this is not merely a generic affirmation. It does not refer exclusively to the {62} unity, not even historic, of the human species. Precisely because the encounter of man with God in Christ is with all his individual characteristics, we must affirm that Christ did not die for the totality of the human species, for all men as such: even if there had been only one sinner on Earth, Christ would have done exactly the same, and would have died on the cross for him. He died for each one of us. And precisely because of this, the encounter of man with God in Christ is an encounter through a real and concrete love. This reality of God is the one that constituted madness for the Greeks, by incorporating the characteristic of being personal; and for the Jews a scandal, by incorporating the characteristic of being a death. Indeed, precisely the existence of this intrinsic unity between love, and personal truth is what constitutes at the same time, wisdom as absolute reality of God, of the Christian God, and on the other hand, the fundament, the root, and the sense of all history. Evidently, St. Paul could not make the argument Gamaliel made saying the apostles should be left alone: for if it was an endeavor of human origin it would destroy itself, and if it came from God it would continue (Acts 5:38-39). But surely he must have remembered it. Based on historical events one can observe that Christianity (excluding Christ), in any of its dimensions, has no lack of intrinsic resemblances with many of the religions encircling it, with religious movements like the gnosis, and with the mystery religions arriving from Asia. Today we cannot deny there were contacts. There were, but the contacts took on a variety of forms. The discoveries of the Dead Sea scrolls and other documents, increasingly demonstrate the great number of similarities there are between Christianity, and everything that constituted the religions, and religious movements that surrounded it. In the end, from my perspective, we should adopt no other attitude but to say that the greater the resemblance the better. {63} Because that is what Christianity is: something that resembles all religions, and therefore, is everything in them, but in a different way. Christianity is not a syncretism: it is a transcendence. The same way in which Christ made His own life in Israel, like the life of all the others, except He did it in a different way, and through that way carried all men to God, analogously, Christianity absorbs whatever is positive in all other religions in order to make a religion out of it, but in a different way. That is the concept of transcendence, completely different from that of syncretism. It has been through transcendence that twenty centuries of the history of the world have been constituted. Nothing has ever been fertile in history through syncretism. From the point of view of God this march of the history of religions is unitary. It is precisely the long and painful way, which God, in His inter-personal relationships, continues to open in the depths of the human spirit. One might think that it is at least an absurd presupposition from the side of Christianity, to pretend that in the whole of history only Christianity possesses the absolute truth. However, we are not talking about Christianity here, but about something else, we are talking about Christ. And Christ is absolute, precisely because He is the very reality of God. In the measure in which Christianity expresses the reality of God, Christianity is absolute. And this, not because Christianity may be just an opinion among others, which appropriates the characteristic of absolute, based perhaps on historical conveniences or propaganda reasons, but because of something completely different, because it is the expression of the reality of Christ, who is the intrinsic, theological, and metaphysical unity of what the personal reality of God is, and what the personal reality of man is. Christianity is founded on Christ; it is not founded on the acceptance of some mere abstract values. That is why all the other religions constitute a {64} “deformed”5 Christianity. Not because the truths of Christianity may be found deformed in them, but because none of the other religions has been, as its reason for existing in history, anything but the different ways through which mankind has been slowly, through the very action of God, prefabricating its access to God through Christ. The credibility of our option is expressed, therefore, purely and simply, in the internal and metaphysical structure of love in which God personally consists, and in which personally, through the hypostatic union, the reality of Christ consists. The man possessed by truth is in that situation through love, and surrendered by faith to truth, he is also surrendered to love. To understand this is no mere fantasy, we only have to read the words of St. Paul: “Christ is the power of God and the wisdom God; because the foolishness or madness of God is wiser than all men, and because the weakness of God is precisely more powerful than all the power of men” (1 Cor 1:25). Truly, the history of Christianity is nothing but the way in which that weakness and that apparent innocuous personal reality of a carpenter of Israel is carrying along the absolute reality of God, identified in His Person, and constituting precisely the intrinsic and fundamental truth of history and of all religions. How in addition He constitutes the promotion of life and history will be the subject of the next section. ________________ 1 Zubiri notes at the margin: “explain the concept of sanctity as presence of God”. This point is covered in X. Zubiri, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones, op. cit., pp. 344 ff). 2 Cf. X. Zubiri, Nature, History, God (Naturaleza, Historia, Dios), Madrid, 1987 (9th ed.), p. 530. 3 The encounter of God in Christ is not univocal: it may occur under different ways and modes depending on the situations, the times, etc., even though it is always the same, since Christ is hypostatically the Eternal Word (note by X. Zubiri). 4 Zubiri adds a question mark on the margin. 5 Zubiri will correct this affirmation below, in this same chapter. Concerning this concept, please refer to The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (El Problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones, op. cit., pp. 332-356). --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ---------------------------------------- Chapter 1 (65-77) --------------- {65} (cont’d) § 2 CHRIST AND MAN Inasmuch as man reaches God in Christ, it is necessary that Christ may have a direct religation not only with the physical reality of man, but also with human life. Then, this question (Christ and man) divides itself into two points, which I will consider summarily. In the first place: the position of Christ with respect to mankind. And, in the second place: the position of Christ with respect to the promotion of human life. I. Incorporation of Christ to mankind We need to remember again that man is an open essence. One of the essential moments of his substantive reality is an intelligence, which opens him to everything, and in the first place to himself, as reality. Man acts in his own life not only from the tendencies he may have and from the things he possesses, but from the point of view of his own reality. And, in the second place, that essence is open not only in this sense, but in addition, by the mere fact of being open to reality qua reality, is open to the depth of this reality, which is precisely the reality of God. Therefore, it is necessary to keep this constantly before our eyes, because if it is the case of finding God in Christ, it is not enough that Christ be God. It will be necessary that, in one form or another, this reality, which the {66} reality of Christ is, have some form of articulation with the reality, which every man is, insofar as open essence. Not only from a physical point of view, i.e., because man is that way as reality, but precisely in the way in which this substantive reality activates itself, namely, in the production and configuration of its own substantive being1, of its own I. Consequently, the totality of this problem centers in one concept only. The reality of Christ consists in the fact that actually, everything I had called in an imaginary way the ocean of the divinity where all realities float (sit venia verbo) as terminal moment of a divine free act, admits presences more or less distinct or intense. In the soul of the just there is a more radical presence, or at least a fuller one, of the divinity. If we elevate this consideration to the infinite, we shall reach a moment in which this ocean of divinity constitutes, through identity and formally, the reality of a human person. That is the case of Christ. But the human reality of Christ does not exist there purely and simply to make Him be a reality. Precisely through that identity in which the divinity of the humanity of Christ consists, something else is realized besides the pure reality of the person of Christ. What is also realized is the strict and formal incorporation of God to the course of history and human life. The concept of “incorporation” in this sense represents the prolongation or the reverse of incarnation. If incarnation is the constitution of the identity of God with man, the incorporation consists precisely in the assumption, in one form or another, of all {67} mankind to that body in which God is realized by way of identity. Let us remember that the ultimate and fontanal reality, in which the ultimate reality of the divinity consists, i.e., as personal reality residing in the depth of the whole creation, is expressed in a presence. For men it is an inter-personal presence, for no other reason except that man is personal himself. Therefore, that by virtue of which man is personal, namely his intelligence, has that presence in the form of manifestation. Thus, in Christ the incorporation is primarily a manifest presence of God to the whole of humanity. And, in second place, by virtue of this manifestation, Christ, incorporates the whole of mankind in one form or another (which will have to be explained), in His access to God. In the incorporative presence, i.e., in the incorporation of God to history, and therefore, in the objective position of Christ, that incorporation has two forms or two objective dimen- sions. One is the revelation of God to man; and the other, the incorporation of humanity to God. In the first, God is incorporated to man; in the second, man is incorporated to God. A) Revealing presence, through the word. We must address the question of the revelation of God to man, i.e., the incorporation to Christ. Man, as I have said and will continue to repeat morosely, is an open essence. Open to the very depths of his own reality, in which, through a surrender of faith, man believes he discovers God, a personal and living God. A surrender of faith founded evidently on reason, and even possibly on a reasoning, in such a way that it may allow an inter-personal presence. Therefore, if this is the case, God will be found in one form or another manifested to every man in every histo- rical situation and in every religion. {68} However, this does not exhaust completely the problem of the manifestation of God, because since there is an inter-personal presence, there remains the possibility that the reality of God, in a certain way on its own, might make itself more manifest than what was strictly demanded by mere creation itself to be manifested. Hence, in virtue of the belief that actually Christ is God, the man that has opted for this way of access to God has reason to insist on this second mode of manifestation of God. God is found manifested not only in those dimensions where He cannot but be manifested, but also in a form liberally inscribed in the inter-personal relation of each man, and of all men to God. Now, in a revelation considered this way we must take into account two different aspects, which unfortunately are often easily confused. On the one hand, there is the one who receives the revelation. On the other hand, those of us who have found out that he has received the revelation, which is a different thing. Let us not confuse the species, as we usually say. Certainly, revelation, in the sense I have just indicated, is never a “communication” of truths by dictation. Primarily and fundamentally, revelation consists in the very work of God, whose maximum is precisely in the Incarnation, in the divine reality of Christ. Therefore, the Incarnation itself is what formally constitutes the supreme and donating revelation of God to humanity. This presents no impediment to the fact that actually throughout the previous history (one may think of the prophets), there may have been glimpses, with differing characteristics, of a revelation whose free initiative resided entirely with God. But in all these cases without exception (neither with the prophets nor even with the apostles), revelation does not center primarily and formally in the communication of some truths and some propositions, but in an activity realized, in a manifestation that manifests God operating. {69} On the other hand, there is no impediment so that the live transmission of that which has constituted the revelation may be put in writing at the disposition of men. This commitment of revelation into writing gives it a character of word. We should not confuse the two dimensions of revelation, which appear to be connected. The one who receives the revelation does not receive a dictation from God. This is absurd. In virtue precisely of the metaphysical immanence of the divinity in the depths of the human spirit, whoever receives the revelation receives a special internal illumination, a criteria to judge certain realities, which sometimes may develop around the one receiving the revelation, and at others may even lead to the intellection of certain divine realities, but always through the way of illumination. For this reason the writing is always inadequate to what formally constitutes the revelation, which the one that has received it possesses. Therefore, when this revelation is communicated to others through the spoken word or the written word, certainly revelation has the characteristic of word. But let it be well understood that here “word” does not simply mean a text written as a code. It means precisely what “word” means: something addressed to someone who has the capacity to listen to it, and consequently, who “shares the life” of that word in his own voice, in the voice of conscience. Revelation would be formally inoperative, regardless of how transcendent it might be, if in one form or another it were not directed to and accepted in some dimension of man, which awakens precisely through revelation, and where revelation finds a dwelling place. Certainly it is word; but as word it is precisely a correlate of the radical voice of conscience, which I have covered in another place2. Revelation always says {70} something to what man was before receiving it. In this kind of exchange (sit venia verbo) or complexion between word and the voice of conscience, written revelation constitutes what should strictly be called the word of God. But a word of God understood not as a code, but precisely as a spirit. And besides, a spirit, which has the real and positive characteristic of being a fountain of life for all those who receive the revelation. This revelation, I was saying, has taken place numerous times throughout history. Indeed, in his first line, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us: “in multiple occasions and in many ways throughout antiquity God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, and in these recent days spoke to us through His Son” (Heb 1:12). In this brief versicle is contained the idea, which more imperfectly and in greater length I have just explained. The revelation of God is multiple throughout history. However, there is always a manifesting unity, which culminates in the manifestation of God in Christ. Nevertheless, it is necessary not to forget that man is an intrinsically historical reality. And the recipient of revelation is an intrinsic part of revelation itself. The opposite would be absurd. Which means that revelation is also intrinsically historical. Historical, not in the sense that it is called to disappear, that it has happened once and will not happen again. History is not quite the realm of the transitory, indeed, historicity is an internal and intrinsic characteristic of the reality of man. Hence, revelation is intrinsically historical, in the first place from the side of God, because formally and constitutively He has wished to manifest Himself throughout history “in many ways and in different and multiple occasions”. And, in {71} second place, because in this case history, with respect to revelation, is not an accident, which happens to revelation, or something where revelation is received, but history indeed is the very revelation in act. This means history is that which in each moment carries the content of revelation, but where something else is said: that the historical being is precisely the formal act in which revelation consists as word of God. This applies not only to revelation from the side of the one who receives the revelation, but to the entire course of the history of revelation. Because, actually, Christianity becomes more complex throughout the whole of history; new dogmas continue to be defined by the Church. But here the action of the Church is nothing but ministerial. The essential background of every dogmatic definition is Christ defining Himself. He continues to manifest Himself, not in the form of a new revelation, but at least defining His own and initial revelation throughout the length of history. Revelation is intrinsically historical. Therefore, a dogmatic definition is not a definition “of” the Church, but is made “by” the Church. It is a definition “of” Christ. That is the manifesting and permanent presence of God to humanity, through Christ, in the form of revelation, which is an incorporation of Christ to mankind in the form of revealing word. B) Mystical corporeity. But this is not the only manner in which God is actually present to humanity in reality. He is present also in another form. God is present as incorporated to humanity in the form of a revealing and subsisting truth, but in a way that is the continuation of the first, i.e., arranging it that the men to whom this revelation is {72} addressed remain incorporated to the real body of Christ himself. That is the incorporation of mankind to Christ. By virtue of the Incarnation, all men, at least in this world, are in one form or another converted into moments (St. Paul would call them members) of the body of Christ. That is the incorporation of all men to the reality of Christ. That this may be possible, is based precisely on the characteristic of open essence, which mankind possesses. Precisely by being open essence, it admits this radical possibility of being incorporated to Christ in the form of body. It is what has been called His mystical body. Let us understand it is necessary not to rush into false illusions concerning what this is all about. One might think that this is a kind of society of men with Christ. That is not the case at all. Neither the mystical body nor the communion of saints are a kind of theological society. Not at all. Because it is not the case of a societas. It is something more radical, which is only given among persons, namely and precisely, a communion. The communion of persons. This communion of persons certainly has a moral characteristic. But it has more than a moral characteristic. We are accustomed of making a moral out of the content of some duties, of some intentions, forgetting that particular characteristic, in a certain way “physical”, which morality has. Man may be moral or immoral; can be moral in one way or another. What he cannot be is to have no morality at all. Which means that regardless of the intentional order through which the moral may be acting, in some measure it has dimensions we would call “physical”. Morality, the moral entity, belongs to the physical reality of man, which is physically moral and morally physical. In this sense, which is transmoral, but includes morality, is how actually the communion of persons is realized in this world, between persons, and the communion of all persons {73} in Christ forming His mystical body. It is a “physical-moral” body. This incorporation is realized in the life of each individual, in the structure of history, and in the whole of nature. 1) In the first place, in the life of each person. If man were not an open essence, all of this could not have any reality at all. That is why it is absolutely unsatisfactory the way in which this incorporation to the mystical body has been described as an “elevation”. This is true from a certain point of view. But from a more radical point of view it could be described precisely the opposite way. Not as an elevation, but as a descent of God towards man. This makes it false to superpose stratigraphically what we might call the natural reality of man, and the supernatural reality. It is almost as if actually men had been provided with a certain nature, more or less rich or poor, and in addition, as a gift, they were destined for a transcendent destiny. Obviously anything can be said in this world, and this has a portion of truth. But it is not the radical way to conceive it. Because the radical form is precisely the opposite. If Christ has created a nature it is precisely because He had to create something that could receive what He has proposed in the first place, which is precisely to incorporate Himself to creation personally, with His internal life. Therefore, for man, the concrete form, which the incorporation to God in Christ receives is, by virtue of the structure I have just mentioned, the filiation. St. Paul tells us that we have received the Spirit of Christ, not in a spirit of servitude, but to call God “Father”, i.e., being children (cf. Rom 8:15). Of course, not through nature, but by adoption. The term is certainly juridical, and as such (I regret to say) inadequate. The law has always played games, which are somewhat {74} strange in theology and philosophy. Regardless of what adoption was in Rome or Greece, here it means purely and simply that filiation is not a forced one as in the case of Christ, which was a “natural” filiation. But nothing else. Because, indeed, it is a real filiation, much more real than an adoption would be in terms of Roman or Greek law. This intrinsic and radical unity between the open essence of man and his incorporation to the body of Christ cannot be lost sight of in this problem. The great theologians of present day Protestantism (Bultmann, Tillich, Barth) have excessively sundered the thread that unites faith with reality. Paul Tillich himself has become aware of this, and at the last hour has had to return to the defense of the rights of ontology, saying that somehow we have to answer the question of what is God by Himself, and what is man by himself3. Clearly, How can theology proceed simply in the realm of pure faith? Be that as it may, man as open essence is forming a mystical body with Christ, by virtue of the filiation, which is given to him through the real and effective assumption of the life of man to the very life of God. 2) In the second place, there is an incorporation of history to God. The incorporation of the history of humanity to God through Christ is a complex problem. We are used to consider humanity as the set of beings who are rational animals. However, this way one cannot become part of the body of Christ. Humanity does not figure in this problem as a specific abstract unity. This is obvious. Also, it does not mean a mere collection of individuals: here is one that is really son of God, the next one also, and the one over there... and in the end all of them. Not at all. It is {75} a much deeper and radical dimension. Much deeper and radical, in the first place, because of what it says about the specificity of man, about the species of man. To consider that the species is always an abstract essence is one of the topics, which from my point of view, is weighing heavily upon the intelligence in a very sad way. I have tried to justify my point of view in a very long and boring book4. The species has no other characteristic but the genetic one. And what we call specific characteristics are those by virtue of which one can identify the genetic phylum to which one particular individual essence belongs. But nothing else. In this sense, the unity of humanity is a genetic unity. In the second place, besides being genetic, the unity of humanity is a historical unity. It is a historic unity, which is making itself. Numerically, throughout the centuries, it is not socially “one”. But, at least in its overall outline, it constitutes a rigorously historical unity. Men are not born only from some parents, but by virtue of a tradition and a historic-social situation, they are constituting their own history. Therefore, the unity of the human species taken this way as the historic unity of all men, and not as a specific unity or a collectivity, is precisely the one, which is incorporated to Christ, and forms part of His mystical body. Consequently, Christ is not a mere link of history, and not even its most noble link. He is the very fundament of history. And this in two ways. a) In the first place, because from the point of view of humanity all men, historically considered, find in Him their access to God. And, therefore, it is an access to which, in one form or another, they are historically incorporated to Christ in order to be able to access God. {76} b) But in second place, Christ is not only the fundament of history in this sense, but is also a fundament of history, which is at the same time historical. He is the historical fundament of history. History, in this aspect, not only contains Christ, but has a specifically and formally Christic characteristic. Christ does not fundament history only by belonging to it, but also because Christ is happening in it throughout the whole of it. Christ is not only the fundament of history from the point of view that all manifestations of God in history are in one form or another anchored in Christ, but the whole course of history itself has its historical character founded precisely on the very corporeity of Christ. The whole of history is the body of Christ distended throughout the length of time, and over all the situations by which humanity is constituting itself. History is a Christic occurrence. And this makes that, on one hand, the whole of history from the point of view of the manifestation of God in the depth of each human conscience, and all religions, may be something, which cannot be separated at any moment from Christianity. It has been said (and I myself have previously used that expression) that all the other religions are “deformed” Christianity. The term is not quite correct, because in reality they are not deformed Christianity but deform Christianity. No one has ever proposed to deform Christianity. But it has turned out deform. All religions are deform Christianity5. {77} In the first place, God is fontanal at the bottom of reality in a personal way. In the second place, He has an inter-personal presence in the depth of history, incorporating Himself precisely to the very structure of history. And, in third place, this incorporation constitutes the texture and the very sense of history. Christ is precisely God made into history. And history is nothing but the very historicity with which Christ maintains His incorporation to humanity in a historical way. The whole of history is the body of Christ, and in His corporeity history holds all of its reality. 3) In addition to being incorporated to each individual, and to humanity in a historical way, God in some way incorporates all of nature, even the physical one, towards Himself. St. Paul says once in a passing remark that all of nature is groaning in labor pains awaiting redemption, or at least its glorification in Christ (cf. Rom 8:22). At any rate, regardless of the detail this expression may refer to, it is evident that taking nature in its dynamic development, it is properly called to be at some moment the only thing, which matter can be (but inexorably will be) with respect to the spirit, i.e., to be the expression of the incorporation of the spirit to God, through Christ. Of course, this dimension of history precisely opens the perspective of an eschatology. Christianity is certainly complete and whole, in a radical sense, in this world and in each one of us; but complete in the fullest and formal sense it will not be except in the eschatology. With respect to this, I will now say a few words. ________________ 1 Zubiri will make this more precise in his later writings saying it is not really of the substantive being, but of the being of the substantive, cf. Sentient Intelligence, Intelligence and Reality (Inteligencia sentiente, Inteligencia y realidad, Madrid, 1984, 3a. ed., p. 222); Intelligence and Logos (Inteligencia y logos, Madrid, 1982, p. 352); Man and God (El hombre y Dios, op. cit., p. 54). 2 Cf. X. Zubiri, Man and God (El hombre y Dios, op. cit., pp. 101-104); also The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones, op. cit., pp. 64-68, 301-305). 3 Cf. P. Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, Chicago, 1951. 4 Zubiri refers here to On Essence (Sobre la esencia, op. cit., pp. 220-248). 5 Zubiri notes on some file cards: “Christ fundaments history historically: founds history by happening in it, throughout the length of it. History is the mystical body of Christ distended along time. Deform Christianity: God is always revealed in all men and in all religions. This revelation is no mere unveiling, but a dynamic manifestation: it is a going towards Christ. This is the reason why in all religions and in all men there are salvific graces.” And Zubiri refers to the text published in The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones, op. cit., p. 256). --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ---------------------------------------- Chapter 1 (77-86) --------------- {77} (cont’d) II. Promotion of man If this is the real and objective (sit venia verbo) position of Christ with respect to humanity, one may then ask, precisely {78} the opposite: What does man have to do with respect to this reality? And, How does this reality intervene in the constitution of his own substantive being? That is the question; everything else would be nothing but a very interesting speculation. A) Promotion of human life. Will repeat once more that man is an open essence. And this open essence, velis nolis, has as its primary function to constitute its own substantive being, which acquires an absolute characteristic because, as I will soon point out, none of the features, which man is adding to his own substantive being is ever lost at all. Because of it this substantive being has a really absolute characteristic. Therefore, if Christ has any function to fulfill in human life is precisely in the measure in which man will constitute and configure his own substantive being. The appeal to the power of the real, and to the God that fundaments it has three dimensions. On the one hand, reality is that which is ultimate, upon which man supports himself. Reality is, in second place, possibilitating: it is the roster of possibilities that can be held in his substantive being. Reality is, finally, impelling: that which in one form or another pushes him along in order to live. Consequently, the access of man to God through Christ reassumes essentially and unitarily these three dimensions. It is necessary to affirm this most emphatically. 1) In the first place, as ultimate reality. Christ, a few hours before His crucifixion, after the Last Supper, gives thanks to His Father for having given him his apostles, and for not having lost any of those given him, except the son of perdition (cf. Jn 17:12). And He adds: “so that he may give eternal life to all” (xoén aiónion, Jn 17:2). “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you... and the one whom you {79} sent, Jesus Christ” (Jn 17:3). In other words, He presents himself precisely as that ultimateness, which must be the reference, and the support of the absolute being of man. We should notice a term here, which deserves to be interpreted correctly. The verb “to know”. What kind of knowledge? Knowledge in the Greek sense? Not at all. In knowing there are other essential dimensions. Let us recall that the one who wrote those lines was a Semite, and there he used the verb yada’, which means to know. But to know (Sp. conocer) in the sense the term has, even in Spanish, when it is said “I have met (Sp. conocido) sickness” or “I have not encountered (Sp. no he conocido) that”. It is not the case of having a theoretical knowledge, but of having a realization because of intimacy, a possession through intimacy of that which is the terminus of the knowledge. And it is the case of knowing (gignóskein) God in that sense, and not in the sense of a theologian, fortunately. “And the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ”, in other words, here Christ is presented precisely as the only way to acquire that type of knowledge, which consists in the possession of the very reality of God. 2) In the second place, Christ presents himself to us as the possibilitating reality. I will explain in what sense. Christ himself tells us in a certain way, on a previous passage under the same circumstances: “I am the vine, you are the branches” (Jn 15:5). It is the favorite example of St. John. The branches form the mystical body of Christ. And He says “because without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). This is precisely where the problem of possibilitation surfaces. Not only the problem of eternal life, which is the ultimate reality Christ brings to us, but the possibilitation of that access to eternal life through Him. 3) And, in third place, the impelling dimension. St. John constantly repeats, in the Gospel, and in his Epistles, his {80} famous phrase: “I give you a commandment” (cf. Jn 15:17; 1 Jn 2:8; 3:23; 2 Jn 1:6). It is precisely a command (entolé). This is not simply to assign a terminus, such as the eternal life, and a possibility. It is precisely to impel and to push. Certainly, to command does not mean to push blindly, and much less to impel stubbornly. The command is not a duty, and is not there to exert a force. But it is this primary impulse in which a love, which has not been merited, is received by the one who is the terminus of such love: “God is love” (Jn 4:8). Precisely to have confused both dimensions of the problem, and to have believed that what the command presupposes is a decision automatically sufficient from the side of man, of attacking it or refusing it, is what centuries later constituted the great and profound error of Pelagius, i.e., to believe that the initiative, at least in its ultimate and original moment (as semi-Pelagianism said), or the supreme and primary condition of any access by man to God through Christ, is a natural decision by man. This is completely erroneous. No man will ever be found, and cannot be found in history, reduced to his natural condition. Every man is, knowingly or not, willing it or not willing it, moved by the internal love, which constitutes the metaphysical reality of God. St. John was emphatically saying to us that God is love (agápe). And that is why the command, i.e., the impulse God gives for life is precisely the command and the impulse of love. Love, in this sense, is not a mere sentiment, but a real and effective donation, in a certain way physical, just as the donation of Christ to men is physical particularly on the cross. But it is a donation not only to others, but towards himself. Towards himself, because man is a reality that has to configure his own substantive being, and the substantive being cannot be configured (or at least it is not sufficient for configuration) with just {81} the occurrence of the real actions, which man is performing in his life. Man has (regardless of whether he wants it or not, and even if he is totally unconcerned with it) the imperative of moral effort. Man has to make himself with a certain effort. And precisely that effort is inscribed in that supreme instance, which happens to be the love with which God impels man through Christ. Impels him, in the first place, with respect to others. Love is just that, an agápe of love for our neighbor. St. John repeats this constantly. Once more I will say that this is not a sentiment of compassion, but is precisely the effusion of our being, which consists in giving oneself. And the authentic and real giving of oneself consists above all in giving to God in Christ through oneself. All the rest is mere sentimentalism, which serves no purpose at all. At best, to be able to shore oneself up, in case someone wishes to do this for sentimental reasons. However, what is essential and formal consists in the act of giving oneself in God. St. Paul puts it graphically in the first Epistle to the Corinthians: “And if I should distribute all my goods, and deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor 13:3). They are different things. And the same should be said about the effort towards moral perfection. Of course, one might say that all this is somewhat abstract. After all, man has to live his own life, and do whatever life demands of him. But then, At what moment does Christ intervene? The question surfaces easily. A question, with respect to Christ, similar to what Laplace said to Napoleon referring to God: “I have never felt the need to build a hypothesis of this type to explain celestial mechanics”. Yes, it is obvious. To ask a person why do bodies fall, and receive an answer because God commands it, is not that it is not true, but that it is not a theory of {82} gravitation. On the other hand, conversely, a theory of gravitation demands that in some way there be a volition by God with respect to the very structure of gravitation. Then, one asks: Where is the real and effective place for this access to God through Christ as impelling, possibilitating, and ultimate? One would not appeal to Christ if life were only constituted by the things man performs. In life there is another subtle ingredient, which however forms part of its content, as subtle as it may be, but happens to be precisely the sense, which life has. This is something essential. Things are not done the same way under one sense of life or another. I prescind from the case in which one would or would not do certain things in virtue of the sense life has. Be that as it may, the sense life has is the radical perimeter, which profiles the figure of my own substantive being, of my absolute being. And this sense is precisely what Christ provides. Christ provides it because life as a complete set of actions does not rest upon itself. The only thing that can rest upon itself, in the sense that it does not need any ulterior appeal but existence, is precisely the substantive being itself. Due to this fact, because life does not rest on itself, the appeal to Christ as sense of life is not, as it has been said numerous times, the opiate of the people. Even communists already say it is not true, so, I shall not insist upon this. It is not the opiate of the people, because it is not only the case that we may do or not do certain things. Unfortunately, there have been numerous appeals made to Christ to cover up human conveniences. There is no doubt about it. But, conversely, an appeal has been made often to the state of indigence to invoke certain things, which are {83} far from the spirit of poverty. When the Gospel talks about the “poor in spirit” (Mt 5:3), it is not referring only to the wealthy, it refers also to the poor. One can be poor and miserable, and have no spirit of poverty, which is an extra reason for not remaining in misery. And to lift him out of it. In the end we are all travelers. Travelers on the way to a permanent configuration of our own substantive being. Because of this, the intervention of Christ in each life is nothing but the incorporation to Him, which becomes better each time by virtue of the internal effort, riding precisely upon a sense of life, which can only be provided by Him1. To live precisely the way He lived, to give himself to others and to give himself to history. It is not the case that Christ does not make life incompatible, but that He positively demands a greater activation of life. The contrary would be a false interpretation, a static interpretation of Christianity. However, I shall repeat that life is not just a thing man is doing and passes away. What is radical and fundamental in life remains in the form of a feature man is acquiring in his substantive being. It remains there. And precisely because it remains, what we call the end of life in Christianity is not that life ends; what ends is precisely the configuration of the substantive being. Death does not formally consist in his organic life escaping from the hold of man. This would also have happened to man even without an original sin; there would have been organic death, but not as a punishment. Yet, there is something that would have existed exactly the same way under original sin, precisely the fact that life remains. One remains fixed in the figure of the {84} substantive being, which has been acquired. And this fixation is what constitutes death. Organic death removes the capacity for any further elaboration of the substantive being. Consequently, it leaves that being fixed as it is. Death, strictly speaking, is not a transition to another way of being, but is primarily and radically the fixation in the being one is, insofar as substantive being. Of course, it remains fixed in a problematic manner. Actually, man can be turned towards divinity conversively or aversively. But to die means to remain fixed in the conversive or aversive figure, which man has acquired in the course of his existence. B) Promotion of history. Nevertheless, Christ is not only a promotion of the life of the individual. He is also a promotion of the structure of history. Christ has an essential function in the historical development of humanity. One tends to glance upon history in the great libraries, and in the great museums, and believe or gather the impression that history is a kind of museum of historical forms. Particularly at the beginning of the XX century a lot was written about how the Oriental, the Egyptian, the Greek, etc., viewed life. But history is not a museum of human forms. History is something more. Also, it is not a kind of gigantic man who continues to grow throughout time, as Dilthey maintained. That is not the case. It is not a museum, and it is not a growing; it is something else. It is the system of possibilities of being man, which is being illuminated throughout time, in the interaction of man with things. Therefore, Christ demands the formation of this historical system of possibilities, but in addition demands it historically. For that reason Christ does not replace history. It goes without saying. But Christ is the possibilitation of the access to God in every historical situation, {85} and in any historical form. This access to God is not something added, but a constitutive formality of man. Consequently, that this access is made possible by Christ indicates that Christ does not belong to history extrinsically, but rather in a formal and constitutive way. Christianity does not have as a mission (regardless of what may be said) to create new forms of culture and civilization. That is absurd. All of them are perishable and just as perishable as the man who has engendered them. The mission of Christianity is something else, namely, to bring all civilizations to God, something quite different. One might think right away that history has not begun with Christ. After all, the event of Christ happened twenty centuries ago, and history began about two million years ago. Yes, but let us not forget what we mean by that small word “history”. History, as I was saying, is the system of possibilities of being man, which humanity is weaving, all men together, all along their lives, and throughout historical time. Therefore, that Christ may have appeared at a particular moment of history, relatively recent, only means that it was just kairós, the right time (we cannot be the judge of this), for the appearance of Christ. The dynamism of all the other historical situations has been a converging dynamism towards this possibility, and to take its start from it. For example, if we consider in a merely historical manner the history of Israel and Christianity taken as a whole, there is no doubt that even with all the criticisms that could and should be made, and with all the accurate precisions one must make when discovering in the religion of Israel or in Christianity itself aberrant situations (not everything that has happened in history is laudable), however, that history from Abraham to our present days represents a phenomenon of historical transcendence, historically undeniable. There is an overall progress. {86} But this history, even though woven and intermixed this way, critically centered on Christ and moved towards Him, is still not quite absolute. One always has the impression that men die, but history continues. History will finish some day. History does not stand on itself. The life of man ends with death, and history will end some day in whatever form it may take. It is a reality sub judice. And here again eschatology makes an appearance. Eschatology is not a kind of reward or punishment, in the arbitrary sense of the term, which comes after the life of the individual or the life of history. It is the result in perpetuity, and for all eternity of what man and history have decided, and have wished to be in the course of their existence. Not even heaven represents anything but the grace in act, which man has had upon earth. Likewise, hell represents nothing but the fixation on that which man has really wished to fix his will in his aversion to God. Eschatology, therefore, does not represent a system of rewards and punishments. It simply represents the supreme respect, which God grants to what He has wished to create when He has created man, precisely his liberty. God has judged that there is no greater good possible in creation than liberty. And that it is preferable that one may condemn himself freely, than not allowing it by destroying his freedom. In the reasoned option for Christ, which Christianity makes, man encounters the reality of God this way, in a form just as accessible through individual or historical life. Obviously, one may ask more concretely, What is this God? What is this incorporation to Christ? What is this internal movement of history? In order to answer these questions I will have to avail myself of the revealed text, and in addition conceptualize it theologically. ________________ 1 Zubiri writes on the margin: “metánoia”. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ---------------------------------------- Chapter 2 (87-95) --------------- {87} CHAPTER II TRINITY1 On another occasion I have shown that Christianity enters this world as a religion, i.e., as a molding of religation in the surrender of man to a divinity, to a God2. I pointed out that, in this molding Christianity offers a peculiarity, namely, that the molding and the molder are an intrinsic and formal moment of the very divinity that religion will give access to man. In such a fashion that here man not only finds in Christianity an access to God, but that God himself is the access to God. It is the divinization of the way of transcendence. That was precisely the work of Christ, the Son of God. Obviously the three great monotheisms in history (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) are not identical as religions. It is always the question for an option, and in this option of faith the Christian has chosen for the way of Christianity, and from it we are going to ask what constitutes Christianity. {88} A) The first thing that must be said as we begin the discussion is something so simple it may appear banal, but upon which we must insist a little: Christianity is the work of Christ. It may seem something quite obvious: Where is Christianity going to come from if not from Christ? However, facing the question of what His work might mean, many positions have been taken (here I am only interested in underlining two) that have been favored in our century. 1) At the beginning of the century there was a position consisting in saying that actually Christ organized a small community of disciples and apostles with the idea that the world was coming to an end. The world did not end it kept going. Christ died crucified, the small community adapted itself as best it could, and that was the history of Christianity. Clearly, it is said, that history is in continuity with the work of Christ, who would have given that type of great impulse, that great élan of history, which lengthened throughout the centuries, and the different eras would constitute Christianity. In the first place, due to a reason that affects history itself, we have to recognize that history never, in this or any other case is a movement, a kind of vital élan. And I say élan not because the designers and promoters of this idea, above all in France, admitted the idea of a vital élan. Not at all. The great representative of this interpretation of Christianity was precisely A. Loisy, who always reacted noisily when anyone asked him about the vital élan. At any rate, history is never the elongation of a wave someone releases and continues to expand with an élan throughout time, but is simply a discernment and an opening of possibilities. And the system of possibilities is not precisely the movement of a physical élan. In the second place, it cannot be admitted, regardless of how much literature is brought in, that the thesis of Loisy consists in affirming that Christianity {89} is the work of Christ. It has sometimes been indicated, quite correctly, that his position was equivalent to saying that Christianity has been formed about Christ, but not by Christ. It is not simply a thing that has resulted from what Christ did, but that Christ made Christianity. 2) In the second place, nowadays there is a completely different position, which consists in reducing to a minimum, without the name of Christ disappearing. Christianity is presented as a system of values, of moral attitudes, religious attitudes, interior life, etc., which in the end have nothing to do with the absolutely historical and concrete reality of Christ. This is, for example, the position (somewhat caricaturized) of Bultmann. Therefore, we must affirm against Loisy that Christianity is the work of Christ. Also, against Bultmann that it is a work performed by Christ, not simply an ideology and a spiritual movement proposed by Him. B) Consequently, Christianity is the work of Christ. Then we ask ourselves: how is it the work of Christ? In order to enter the subject of this chapter I shall recall two or three fundamental concepts, which have already appeared in the previous one. 1) In the first place, the work of Christ is an historical work. We may discuss not only the literary genre, but in addition the basic intellectual genre with which all the New Testament texts are written, and then subjected to a severe criticism. This presents no impediment for saying that Christianity is the historical work of Christ, really and truly performed by Christ. Anything else would be chimerical from the point of view of Christianity. 2) Christ not only performs things, I repeat, {90} but also teaches by word of mouth. In this sense, it is not only the question of a historical work, but in addition of a doctrinal work of Christ. With the peculiarity that these two dimensions are never dissociated. Even the most pedestrian moments of the history of Christ are in the end teachings. Conversely, the teachings of Christ are, in one form or another, based on truly real events of His life. Therefore, we have a historical operation and a doctrinal operation united, but not for the perfunctory constitution of a community in order to handle the problem of the idea that the world is going to end soon. United as a living religion in a community that not only has congregated around Christ, but has also lived intimately and profoundly from Him. This life, this living tradition with a historical and a doctrinal characteristic at the same time is what precisely constitutes the revelation. Christ reveals here with a revelation that does not have the characteristics of a type of truth inaccessible to our intelligence. This is a different dimension of the problem, which shall be dealt with later. So far, revelation means what He does, like the rest of the universe. In one form or another it announces what God is, that “the heavens sing the glory of God” (Ps 19:2). This is revelation, and not just a poetic movement of the spirit. And it is revelation, I repeat once more, because of what He says and what He does. However, I will now add, because of where He says it and where He does it. Actually, Christ could have done things outside the historical and local time. This was the sense of some of the Messianic temptations: “I will give you all these things if you prostrate before me and adore me” (Mt 4:9), in other words, the temptation of a theophany. But Christ faithfully accepted the condition of being a worker in Palestine. Where He said it and how he did it, namely, within an Israelite tradition, in a concrete life in Bethlehem, in Nazareth of Galilee, and afterwards {91} with a public life in Capernaum, Jerusalem, etc. This is where He says it and where He does it. Of course, the “where” has presented a problem, as we shall immediately see. 3) The work of Christ is not only historical and doctrinal in the sense of a living and revealing tradition, but it also has a third sense, disclosed and explicitly mentioned by Him. That what He had done, the sense of what He had done, and what was left to be done is placed under the charge of the Spirit of truth He was going to send, the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 16:12-15). It would be chimerical to pretend to write the history of the origins of Christianity only with what Christ did and said. At any rate, formaliter, Christianity is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is a Spirit sent by Christ, sent also by the Father (we shall immediately see what this is), who is the one that unveils the profound sense of what has to occur and above all, of what has happened. It will be enough to remember that even after the resurrection the apostles still asked Christ if “at this time are you going to restore the Kingdom of Israel” (Acts 1:6). The apostles had not understood the sense of what had happened, and much less the sense of what was going to happen. By its history, doctrine and espiration3 the work of Christ is definitely Christianity. C) With all this some primary characteristics of Christianity are firmly established, which we have previously noted in some other occasion4. 1) In the first place, the position of Christ and Christianity facing paganism can be reduced to one word: universality. With St. Paul and based on the Holy Spirit, the {92} Jerusalem council takes a position with respect to circumcision, and the presumed necessity of becoming an Israelite before being a Christian. I mention “based on the Holy Spirit” because the decision of the apostles says: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities...” (Acts 15:28). This paganism covers all the religions of the Empire, particularly the mystery religions. 2) In the second place, in Greece and in the whole Empire they encounter something different, the sophía. I understand by sophía not only epistéme. A Greek never confused epistéme (science) with wisdom. Especially at that time, because it was understood that wisdom was a wisdom for salvation, a wisdom to penetrate into the superior knowledge of this world concerning the divinity. That was precisely what forced Christianity to take a most definite attitude. Christianity was the work of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit illumines. The most natural thing would be to become an illuminist, to believe that the Holy Spirit constantly assists the intelligence of all of the faithful, and therefore, humanity is always susceptible of receiving new revelations. And not only this, because if the Holy Spirit had been sent at that time it means it had not been sent before, and consequently there existed the temptation of amputating from revelation the whole content of the Old Testament. Marcion held this last position. Facing this, naturally, the Church vindicated the whole canon of the Bible, which was not fixed definitely until Trent. Confronting illuminism it declared that revelation was closed. However, it was closed, but not exhausted. They are two different things, as I will indicate further on. In such a fashion, the work of Christ, by what He did, and by the living tradition in which His apostles and disciples continued His work became a community. As they embodied what they had received from Christ under {93} the direction and internal inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it constituted itself precisely into a religion of universality. Let us understand correctly that it is the case of a historical universality, not a universality directed to the human species, but to concrete men. Starting from the places they were at Palestine and Antioch they were going to teach the rest of mankind what Christ is and what His work is. In the second place, of course, that revelation is something complete and closed. This religion, which of necessity we must analyze, like any other religion has two great chapters. One refers to the kind of God Christianity preaches and reveals. And the second, what is the position, which from this God, Christianity is going to have before the world. This means a theology and a mundology5. We shall not enter into the divisions of mundology now, which we shall take up in due time. Let us begin by trying to find out what is God for Christianity. At this starting point we must make a few observations. Everything that ultimately concerns God, particularly everything we are going to mention in this chapter, is an absolute mystery. Here mystery does not mean there is no understanding or that it may be impenetrable. It is not a question of jumping into a dark vacuum. Mystery means, in the first place, that if men know it, it is precisely because it belongs to the arcanum of the decisions of the divine will to reveal it to men, and to having made all those things the divinity has made concerning men. Naturally, in this sense everything, even the existence of this glass of water is a mystery, in the sense that it obviously responds in one form or another to a purpose, to an arcane of God. Yes, but there is or there can be in the mystery a second dimension, which is not only a mystery because it belongs to the arcanum of the will of God, but sometimes it can be {94} a mystery because it cannot not belong to the arcane of the will of God. In this case, obviously, the mystery is absolute, not only by reason of the decision of the divine will, but because of the type of its own object. That is what concerns the question: what is God? A mystery, and also an absolute one in a double sense. In the first place, because it is a mystery due to its own object. In the second place, because that object cannot be (we shall immediately see why not) absolutely and completely perforated by the intelligence. Let us understand, in the third place, that this does not mean the mystery is obscurity. The mystery often shares that paradoxical condition of a light bulb, which spreads light around, but itself is quite dark and only the light it spreads can return and make clearer that, which initially can be presented as dark in the presumed light bulb. What God may be as mystery is, obviously, the darkest that can be given. But that mystery spreads light all around and allows that in one form or another man may be able to return with more clarity towards that very luminous bulb. This reversion is precisely what conceptiveness (Sp. conceptuación) is. Man, of course, cannot see what God is face to face (that is reserved for the next life), and neither in this world nor in the other can he have an adequate, exhaustive, and formal comprehension of what God is. Not even the human intelligence of Christ can have it because in order to do that one must be God himself. However, between a vision and an exhaustive comprehension there is something different, namely, a conceptiveness. It is the intellective way through which man, of course, does not represent God to himself, but estimates that by extending it towards God it will lead precisely to what He is. And once God is seen that vision of God will ratify in one form or another the road conceptually undertaken towards Him. {95} We then ask ourselves what is the idea that Christianity has of this God, enveloped that way in his mystery. In order not to ambulate through vagaries let us divide the question into two points: § 1. The mystery of God himself, the reality of God in revelation. § 2. The human conceptiveness of this mystery. ________________ 1 From this point on we follow the text of the third part of the seminar from 1971. 2 Cf. X. Zubiri, The Philosophical problem of the History of Religions (El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones, op. cit., pp. 233ff). 3 [Tr. note: from Sp. espiración, Zubiri neologism, the breath of truth we receive from the Holy Spirit, from Latin spirare] 4 Cf. X. Zubiri, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones, op. cit., pp. 260ff). 5 [Tr. note: From the Spanish mundo, world, mundo-logía, literally, “world-logy”] --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri -------------------------------------- Chapter 2 (96-107) --------------- {96} § 1 THE MYSTERY OF GOD IN REVELATION We shall now address the first point: In what does the very mystery of God in revelation consist? First, in the New Testament texts. In second place, in the dogmatic definitions of the Church, leaving aside the question of the nature of these definitions, a subject we shall cover in due course. I. What is God in the actual text of the New Testament? We have already pointed out when dealing with the idea of monotheism that it entered the world with one God, ‘Elohim, and friend of the family of Abraham. It reached maturity in the preaching of Christ for whom God is not simply the friend of a family, but the Father of all men1. I have also demonstrated that human intelligence, in a strictly intellective manner, can access and actually accedes to admit the reality of God2. One now asks: What is the relationship between what the human intelligence can acquire by itself and this notion about God being Father? Obviously, many answers can be given to this question. I personally give one, that actually “Father” can be understood in two senses. One sense, {97} which I will try to explain later, in which the Father is different from the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is the Father insofar as Father. Another sense is the Father as radical principle of everything real, and in addition of the very internal divine life. In this case, materially, the God reason proves is precisely the Father. In other words, the Father is the absolutely absolute reality and principle of everything real, inside God and outside God. This is the absolute radicality. Furthermore, the New Testament tells us this God has a Son and a Holy Spirit. The question now becomes more complicated. In no place of the New Testament we are told what we have been taught in the catechism, i.e., that there is only one God and three different persons. This is not what the New Testament says; if it had said it the dogma of the Trinity would not have had the complicated history it has had throughout the centuries. This position has several supports. A) In the first place, there is no text in the New Testament where the three persons are mentioned copulatively as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Except, of course, at the end of the Gospel of Matthew. There St. Matthew tells us that Jesus spoke to the disciples and told them: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Mt 28:18). And then adds: “Go, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). Here, obviously, the phrase is copulative and cannot be clearer. But it is hard to believe Christ put it in those terms for the simple reason that in Acts, as it is well known, the apostles did not baptize in the name of the Trinity, but in the name of Christ. St. Thomas considered once that it was a privilege Christ {98} had given them during His life3. But St. Thomas was not aware that in the VI, VII and VIII centuries in many places they were baptizing in the name of Christ. It seems quite difficult that they also had a privilege. Of course, the matter is simpler. After all, there is the belief that Christ is the Son of God and that He sends the Holy Spirit. Therefore, to baptize in the name of Christ does not mean that the baptism is not made in the name of the Trinity, but that the Trinitarian formula is not used, which is a different matter. Besides, it is obvious this is so. If Christ had said it, no one would have baptized except with that formula. Who would have dared to amputate a phrase of Christ in a point so important as the formula for baptism? On the other hand, it seems quite normal that one evangelist may have developed the thought of Christ and put the Trinity where Christ, as God, commanded to baptize. This text is not useful to us for our task. It is a text where the biblical exegesis is in agreement to recognize this is a case of development, fully inspired and legitimate, but a development nevertheless. B) In the second place, it is said they are three persons. The term “person” never appears in the New Testament, but only later in the history of the Church with Tertullian. The Greeks employed the term hupóstasis, which really means substance. Only further on did they manage to distinguish substance from person, calling the substance ousía and the person hupóstasis. At any rate this term did not have a formally revealing and revealed characteristic in the first centuries of Christianity. It is important to remember this because when we say today that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three persons, one {99} thinks that the person is an entity each having its own freedom, initiative, and responsibility. To say, in this sense, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three persons is a perfect heresy, this would be a tri-deism. This is absurd and monstrous. Not even remotely are they three persons. Because of this I rather prefer to use the innocuous term of three “termini”. If I continue mentioning persons it is because the use of tradition imposes itself, but person in those places means purely and simply terminus. C) In the New Testament it is never said that these three termini are one. Certainly, there are some passages in the Gospel of St. John where the three termini do not appear, but only two: the Father and the Son. It says: “as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:21-22). Naturally, there is a unity there, but it is a unity of concord. No one would even suggest that the Christians are one with Christ physically. They are two termini, not three, and it is purely and simply a unity of concord. It is the case of a concord, which will present a problem at a deeper dimension. However, be that as it may, the term hén, one, used in that text is the unity of a life, of an activity, but not the unity one wishes to express by saying there are three different persons and only one true God. Also, there is a passage in the first Epistle of St. John where we read: “So there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the blood, and the three are of one accord (eis to hén eisin)” (1 Jn 5:7-8). It does not say here that they are one, except in the text of the Vulgate, where it adds that the three are testimonium {100} dicunt in caelo, pater verbum et spiritus, et hi tres unum sunt (1 Jn 5:8). Everyone agrees that this phrase represents a marginal gloss from a commentator, which eventually slipped into the content of the text. Therefore, there is nothing here that would announce in an explicit and formal way that there is a real unity between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This does not mean that this unity may be excluded, but that it is perceived in a more or less undiscerned way, like so many things that allow precisely that the history of dogma may exist. Conversely, there would not be a history; there would simply be a treatise and a proof. In the end, the revealed text tells us that we have just one God and that this God has three termini: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, these three termini do not constitute a triplicity, but something more difficult to apprehend, the meaning of a Trinity. The very term Trinity (triás) appeared for the first time with Theophilus of Antioch towards the end of the II century, where he mentions the first three days of creation and tells us they are “images of the Trinity (triádos)”4. And in the year 675 the XI Council of Toledo precisely defined that haec est Sanctae Trinitatis relata narratio: quae non triplex, sed Trinitas (DS 528). God is not triplicity, but Trinity. Naturally, this is the content of the formally revealed text. We then ask: How has the Church understood this revelation? That is the second part of this exposition. {101} II. The dogmatic definition of what God is For this purpose it is usual to list in chronological order the heresies and errors that have appeared until the Council of Nicea in the IV century. No doubt all of it is very interesting. However, I have always thought that, without defending those errors and heresies, the essential thing is to know why those errors surfaced and what is the positive content they may carry. Erroneously and heretically there is something in them, which is not entirely to be discarded. It was necessary, of course, for the Church not to reduce the revelation of the Trinity (and it has not been) to the level of a theoretical proposition, but to make it a progressive movement revealing the Trinity in its different aspects and levels. Therefore, within its legitimate sphere, it is required that all these levels and steps be formally maintained within the scope of the Trinitarian dogma. After all, the Trinity has not been revealed to satisfy an intellectual curiosity, but to be the fundament of a religious life. From my point of view these three stages correspond to three concepts, each one of them founded on the next one, and each of the following having as a mission not only to say something, but to make the previous one possible. These are the concepts. A) In the first place what I call functionality. Revelation is not a mere cognitive communication about what God is in himself, independently of men and life. Certainly, revelation tells us what God is in himself because without that He could not fundament a religious life. But the goal of revelation is to make possible and to fundament the religious life. However, from this {102} point of view the revelation of God as He is in himself, as fundament of the religious life, involves the whole world. In such a fashion that, in this sense, the whole world in one form or another manifests, denotes, and reveals precisely what God is as He fundaments the reality of the world and the religious life in it. The world reveals God precisely by being the support of religious life and referring it to God. Revelation has the intention, in this concrete case and in all cases to tell us something about God himself, but in order to fundament the religious life. And all creation itself, the whole world, is in one form or another a revelation and a denotation of that fundament. Therefore, taken simultaneously these two characteristics are what I call the functionality. 1) It is the case that the Trinity in its first revealing phase, and in its first movement facing the human spirit consists in precisely expressing the function God has as the support and fundament of the world, the truth, and the religious life of man. The New Testament has a wealth of texts concerning this. About the Father, for example, it says He has the function of creator, provider, moral legislator, etc. The Son is attributed with the function of being a revealer, a redeemer, of interceding before the Father for us to make us sons of God, i.e., sons of the Father. And both together, the Father and the Son, have as a function to send the Holy Spirit who has the function to sanctify, illumine, assist the Church, reside in a formal and radical way in the soul of the just, etc. And this Holy Spirit, precisely in the measure it is sent by the Father and the Son, has the function of being a gift of the Father through the Son. This is the first structural moment of the revelation of a Trinitarian God: revelation as fundament and formal structure of every religious life. {103} a) This functionality, in the first place, has an individual characteristic. Man in his religious life addresses God, but to whom do we pray? On this matter the mind of most seems to be in a fog. One of them was St. Ignatius Loyola himself5. Christ taught how to pray: “Our Father...”. And this is addressed to the Father not to Christ. Obviously, the efficiency of the prayer depends on our praying with Christ. He said it: “if you ask something from the Father in my name He will grant it” (Jn 16:23). But it is precisely in union with Him. The prayer is addressed to the Father, but through the Son, and in the movement that takes us from the Son to the Father, which is the Holy Spirit. The prayer is addressed to the Father by the Son in the Holy Spirit. Although some argue that the prayer is addressed to the Father indiscriminately, i.e., to the divine essence, with the support of the famous text of St. Thomas Aquinas6, I have never been able to share that opinion. We pray to God the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. But we do not pray to the divine essence or the whole Trinity, except in that absolutely precise order. Functionality has the characteristic of making a very particular structure of the religious life possible. It is no accident that the liturgy of the Mass before the Our Father affirms: “Faithful to the recommendation of the Savior and following His divine teaching we make bold to say...”. It is not the case of a useless introduction, but precisely the very essence of the Our Father: we pray to the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. Functionality has an essential characteristic there. Without {104} this we could not understand the Trinitarian structure of the prayer, of the supplication of the faithful to God. b) Functionality not only has an individual characteristic; it also has a historical characteristic. Certainly, God has acted in history from the origins of monotheism. There is no doubt about that. Christ sent the Holy Spirit, even though referring to the Holy Spirit the First Council of Constantinople said “He spoke through the prophets” (DS 150). Be that as it may, it cannot be denied that in a somewhat fragmentary way the realm of the Old Testament is the realm of the Father. In the life of Christ we have the realm of the Son, and in the Church the realm of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the unity of revelation that I defended above against Marcion consists precisely in saying that revelation is one, whereby in the Holy Spirit the Son takes us to the Father in a historical way. That is the radical unity of the movement of monotheism, and the divinization of the way of transcendence. c) Not only this, but in addition functionality has a cosmic characteristic. Let us remember, actually, how St. Paul in that obscure passage tells us that the material creation is groaning for a glorious transfiguration (cf. Rom 8:19-22). At any rate, functionality in this sense corresponds and concerns, in its most elemental, most profound, and most radical stratum to the religious life, the structure of the history of revelation, and the very structure of the cosmos with respect to God. 2) Functionality is essential. First, in itself, because that is the way it is really and actually. Second, in order to be able to have an internal intellection of the very Trinity. Latin theology, which did not follow this path, but started on its own way with the Aristotelian concepts of nature and essence, understood {105} something else. It would not deny what I have called functionality, but would ultimately say with St. Thomas that it is a case of appropriations7. The three persons would act ad extra in an undivisive way, because creation is the work of the divine essence. And, naturally, if we speak about the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit it is by appropriation, attributing what is common to the three persons either to one or the other depending on the characteristics of the work in question. Because He died on the cross redemption is attributed to the Son. That is precisely the difficulty because neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit died. Still, putting aside this difficulty, which is not small, and looking at other works, for example, sanctification, it is said that the whole God sanctifies, etc. But they are not appropriations. Greek theology had the energy to see precisely in the structure of the Trinitarian mystery a triple formal functionality of the Trinity, and not simply an extrinsic appropriation. Indeed, this is the only thing that is explicitly revealed in the New Testament. Taking functionality in its second moment, i.e., as the world reveals God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit it was easy to slide towards a merely functional conception of the Trinity. If functionality were the only thing that is clearly revealed in the New Testament in an explicit way, it would provide the ground for a different perspective. In that case functionality could be seen having this enormous amplitude to cover the entire religious life of man, the entire history of revelation, and also the very structure of the cosmos. We could then say that not only does the Trinity have this functional dimension, but in addition consists precisely in that functional dimension. This is a grave error, associated with the names of Paul of Samosata, and above all Sabellius. That the Trinity is not only functional, {106} but would formally and constitutively consist in the functionality itself. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit would only be ways how a God who is just one person reveals himself functioning in the world. That single person that God is, insofar as creative we would call Father; insofar as revealing we would call Son, and as sanctifying we would call Holy Spirit. The three terms would be purely and simply three modes or ways God, as a unique person, functions in the world. That was Modalism, which also receives other names like Monarchianism and Patripassianism because in that case the one that suffered on the cross, although called Son, was only that person we also call Father, etc. According to the testimony of Theodoret, “Sabellius of Lybia...said that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are only one hupóstasis and only one person with a triple name. Sometimes called Father, sometimes called Son, and sometimes Holy Spirit. And in the Old Testament brought the Law as Father, but in the New He incarnated as Son and came to the apostles as Holy Spirit”8. The text is clear, except that the term hupóstasis appears. But it is a fact that in Greek hupóstasis is the same as substance, and the distinction between hupóstasis and substance had not been made yet. Therefore, what it means is that substantially there is only one God, and the triplicity of persons are three extrinsic relationships with respect to creation. The Church rejected this interpretation with energy. The Trinity is not constituted by the relationship between God, and the world and man, but constitutes the very characteristic of God qua God independently of any creation, i.e., even if He had not created the world. {107} Of course, this presents no obstacle to consider functionality to be an essential element in the revelation of the Trinitarian mystery, and in the action of the Trinity itself. Certainly the Trinity does not consist in functionality, but is functional. For this reason, the exposition of this concept should be the exordium of the Trinitarian theology as revelation itself was. Latin theology, in contradistinction to the Greek, has made an appendix of functionality labeling it with the name of appropriations and missions of the divine persons. From my point of view, the fact that some functions belong to the three persons does not mean they pertain to the divine “nature”, as if God in His action ad extra were not Triune. The divine essence as creative, for example, is presented as if creation were an act of a God who is certainly Triune, but that what He does has nothing to do with His Triune condition, that it is an effect of the one God. This is absurd. One case is that the three persons concern themselves with creation, and quite another that each has a specific function to accomplish inside the same. God never ceases to function as Triune in all cases. St. Thomas puts the matter as follows: “de processione creaturarum a Deo, et de omnium entium prima causa”9. Is that really and actually how creation has to be necessarily understood? ________________ 1 Cf. X. Zubiri, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions (El problema filosófico de la historia de las religiones, op. cit., pp. 208-231). 2 Cf. X. Zubiri, Man and God (Man and God, op. cit., pp. 134-164). 3 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica, III, q. 66, art. 6, ad 1. 4 Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum, Bk. II, ch. 15, in J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, Vol. 6, Paris, 1857, col. 1077. 5 “I had much devotion to the Holy Trinity and for this reason I prayed every day to each of the three Persons individually. And praying also to the Holy Trinity the thought came why make four prayers to the Trinity”, in St. Ignatius Loyola, “Autobiografía” (Autobiography), no. 28, Obras completas (Complete works), ed. I. Iparraguirre y C. de Dalmases, Madrid, 1977, p. 107. 6 “Oratio autem fit ad Deum ratione attributorum essentialium, in quibus personae non distinguuntur”, in St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentum in quartum librum Sententiarum, dist. 16, q. 4, art. 6. 7 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica, I, q. 39, art.7. 8 Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Haereticarum fabularum compendium, lib. 2, cap. 9, in J.-P. Migne (ed.), Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, t. 83, Paris, 1859, cols. 395-398. 9 Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica, I, q. 44. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 2 (107-119) --------------- {107} (cont’d) B) Functionality is, therefore, the first structural moment of the revelation of the Trinitarian mystery. Thus, since the Trinity is functional, but does not consist in functionality it forces us to take another step. In addition this step is expressed in a second concept, which I call transcendence. The error of Modalism consisted in thinking that the Trinity is a structure ad extra of the divinity. On the contrary, not only God, but {108} the Trinity itself is something ad intra at least from the divine order. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as such are prior to any creation. And, in this sense, the Trinity as such transcends the creation of the world. What is this transcendence? That is the question. 1) In the first place, the Trinity, by being prior to any creation, is prior to the time in which (as we can at least presume) creation formally consists. This is what faith naturally expresses, which will later be repeated in the First Council of Constantinople: ante omnia saecula, before all time (DS 150). 2) In the second place, this pretemporal anteriority is proper to each of the three termini and not only to one: to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. This is what is essential because precisely in the Old Testament (and here appears the fertility of the concept of transcendence) we are presented, for example, with the wisdom of God as a personified Wisdom. It is certainly not the one belonging to the Word since it is said about it that it is a creature: “Before all ages...he created me” (Sir 24:9; cf. 1:4; 24:8; Prv 8:22). It would not be possible to understand all these allusions and expositions of the Old Testament if they are not anchored in the idea of a transfunctional transcendence. It is true that this Wisdom is not formally the Son, because in addition it is not said of Wisdom that it is the case of a personification of a quality of the Father or of something different from Him. Certainly, the fourth Gospel called God a Logos, but regardless of the origin of that terminology the Logos mentioned there is the Logos that reveals God. It says it is the revealing Logos. The prologue of the Gospel of St. John says not a word about the very structure of the Trinitarian mystery, but simply affirms its transcendence, namely, that revelation and the Logos precisely come from something anterior to all time and to {109} all creation. However, let us remember that in this divine order we qualify as transcendent, there is also the idea of a Son of Man who appears in the Apocalypse of Daniel (Dn 7:13), which belongs to this order, but cannot be identified with the Trinitarian functionality. At any rate, in the personification of Wisdom, without referring expressly to the Son, there is a kind of intimation of a terminus anterior to creation. The same can be said about the Spirit. 3) These three termini that belong to the transcendent order, to the divine order anterior to time and creation, are not simply juxtaposed, but there is among them an internal structuralization. Right here is where the greatest difficulties begin. Jesus Christ himself tells us in the Gospel of St. John: “the Father is greater than I” (Jn 14:28). Theology recognized this problem quite early. Thus, the great Origen himself called the Son a déuteros theós, “second God”1. Correctly understood, not a second God juxtaposed to the Father, but a God of the second order where “order” means “fundamented” in the Father. The same must be said of the Holy Spirit. This vision that the three termini have a rank among themselves, and an internal structuralization in this transcendental order is what has produced an important difficulty, which ended in an error called “Subordinationism”. However, at this stage it is not formally an error. That Jesus Christ said “the Father is greater than I” (Jn 14:28) was a subject amply developed by the Greek apologists (Athenagoras, Tatian, Justin, etc.) up to St. Irenaeus, the first theologian. And here {110} we always find an unclear expression that the generation of the Son is a generation not quite temporal, but a generation also not quite like the very eternity of God. It is a kind of eternal duration in which God has freely created what we call the Son who has a kind of existence between the eternity of God and anterior to the temporal reality of the world. Certainly it would not be the case of a temporal generation, but of a generation in this other order, which is precisely the one I call transcendence. Of course, the idea is expressed in a clear difference these apologists make between a Logos, which they call the uttered Logos (for example, “God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light” in Gn 1:3), and a Logos in which God says to himself what He is2. That is the immanent Logos. However, all this is somewhat confusing, and St. Irenaeus himself, who never spoke in his theology about the Son except as revealer of the Father, appears more or less oscillating in his expressions about this difficult problem. Also, when speaking about the Holy Spirit, Athenagoras does not clearly establish if he is a kind of envoy different from the Father and the Son. Nevertheless, what for me appears important and clear is the second stage I call “transcendence”. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are more than the functionality we have seen in the first case, but they definitely belong to the transcendent order. This order may or may not be identified with God (that is a different matter), but at least it is a divine and transcendent order where He has a function. Athenagoras himself writes, “We know a God and his Word. And how is the union of the Son with the Father, how is the communication between the Father and the Son? What may the Spirit be? And what is the union and {111} distinction of what is united thus: of the Spirit, of the Son, and of the Father? The Father and the Son are nothing but one: the Son is in the Father, the Father is in the Son, and the unity of both is the dýnamis of the Spirit”3. One might think this is an exposition of what the Council of Nicea is going to present, but next to it we have all the difficulties I have just mentioned. In the exposition of the Trinitarian theology it is essential to consider by itself and for itself this stage of transcendence as different from functionality, and anterior to what we are going to say as a third concept. It has always been so, because functionality cannot exist except founded on transcendence, i.e., only in the measure there is a divine order that in one way or another involves these different termini, duly structured in a unitary structure with a different rank. This is essential. If not, there would be no possibility of interpreting the functionality of the three termini: of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Functionality comes from above, it is transcendent. A first class theologian and great Biblical scholar4 insists in saying (as if it were a discovery) that there is an intermediate time between the historical time of creation and the eternity of God. That there is a different time when actually the God-man was created, and therefore, that the Incarnation represents no more than a change of condition, and not the primary act with which the Word refers to creation. Naturally, he carefully points out as a good theologian that the Word thus created and incarnated before history has no human body and soul. Needless to say the Church condemned Origenism. Yet, this poses a problem, which I will address immediately {112} and must be fitted to what I call the transcendence of these termini in the divine order. Functionality is not derogated, but absorbed into transcendence. Here it was possible to repeat the same type of mistake made with functionality, namely, not to consider that the Trinity is not functionality, but to make the easy assumption that the Trinity consists only of functionality. Similarly, it is not that these aspects of transcendence I have just mentioned may not exist, but that it was possible to think the Trinity consists precisely in transcendence. That was precisely what was inadmissible: the work of Arius. If we take wisdom, for example, as a mere quality of God, the fundamentation of the Son in the Father might lead to think that the Son presents a kind of exalted participation in the wisdom of the Father. The Son would then be a kind of diminished God, a simple participation in the divinity. If we call him Word or Logos it would only be in the sense of this participation, but nothing more. The Son would be a reality produced by God. He would be founded in God only by creation. Fundamentation would be a causal effect. The Word would be transcendent to the world, but something created ex nihilo, in a creation certainly anterior to time (áchronos), but a creation in the eternal duration of God. As a creature of God the Word would be God only through grace, katá chárin. This was the theology of Arius in the IV century. Here are his own words, “God was not always Father; he existed only as God, but was not yet Father; only later did he make himself Father. The Son did not exist always because, since all things have been born from nothing and all are made and created, similarly the very Word of God was made from nothing, and there was a moment in which he did not yet exist, and did not exist before being made; on the contrary, he had a beginning through creation... Afterwards, when he wished to create us, he created one, which he {113} called Word, Wisdom, and Son to create us through him... Because although (the Word) is called God, however, is not true God, but was made partaker (of God) by grace, just as all the rest... The Word is absolutely alien and dissimilar to the nature and the properties of God the Father, and belongs to the things created and made, and is one of them”5. In this passage we find all the elements of the theology of Arius. In the first place, the idea is presented that the Word proceeds from the Father by creation. In the second place, this Word has been created before the creation of the world and of time in a kind of eternal duration. In the third place, the Word is an intermediary between God and creation. In the fourth place, the Word is God by grace (katá chárin) and not by nature (kath’ ousían). At almost the same time, something similar was happening with the Holy Spirit. There were many, called the Pneumatomachi or Macedonians, who estimated that the Holy Spirit belonged to the transcendent order as a kind of great angel revealer of God, but nothing else. In the end, the transcendence of the Trinity would certainly be a transcendence of the three termini with respect to the world, but not with respect to the whole of creation. They would be three absolutely different termini and all their physical reality would be triplicity, God plus the two intermediate realities between He and the world. The Church energetically rejected this interpretation at the Council of Nicea and the First Council of Constantinople. The Trinity is not “causation”, but “procession”. Therefore, it is a true Trinity constitutive of God as such. {114} C) Still, it would have been desirable for theology to pay attention to the concept of transcendence in and by itself as fundament of functionality. It is the point in which is inscribed, as I mentioned above, the period of the Old Testament and a good part of the Judeo-Hellenic and Hellenic mentality. But also it is an unavoidable aspect in the revelation of Christ and of the whole New Testament. Christ decided to lead his disciples towards an adhesion to his person, for the moment at least, as belonging in some of its essential dimensions to the divine world, and therefore preexistent in God. This preexistence in the divine world is precisely what the concept of transcendence expresses. And on it is founded the functionality with respect to man and the world in general. Only slowly did He take his disciples to be able to apprehend or intimate the characteristics of this transcendence. The Word and the Holy Spirit, actually, not only belong to the divine world, but their transcendence is something else, i.e., the very structure (sit venia verbo) of God as such. This is what the third concept expresses, which I shall name by the term consecrated by the Council of Nicea, with the reservation to immediately make some comments about it, the concept of consubstantiality. Functionality, transcendence and consubstantiality are the concepts, which express in a progressive manner the penetration with which man, through the revelation of Christ, has access to the divinity. Begins with functionality, reaches transcendence, and immerses itself in the very reality of God. That is the third concept, consubstantiality. Transcendence is founded on a structural order internal to God himself. With this we can understand what the Council of Nicea says, “We believe in one God, omnipotent Father, creator of things visible and invisible, and in his only Son Jesus Christ, the Son of God who was begotten (gennethénta) as only-begotten {115} by the Father, i.e., of the ousía of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten (gennethénta) and not made, consubstantial (homooúsios) to the Father” (DS 125). The formula of the Council of Nicea means that the Trinity is not an effect of a cause, neither temporal nor eternal, in the transcendent order, but a mysterious reference by God on himself. The Word is begotten, but not made or produced. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, or from the Father through the Son. It is strictly a Trinity. Each terminus is in some moment of its own really different from the other two; the three are necessarily identical in ousía. Thus, St. Athanasius, the great champion of the Council of Nicea against Arius tells us, “They (the Father and the Son) are one not in the sense that one may be divided into two parts... But they are two because the Father is Father and not Son, and in turn the Son is Son and is not Father. But the nature of both is the same; the one of the begotten is not dissimilar to the one of the progenitor, because his image and everything belonging to the Father belongs to the Son. But because of this the Son is not another God, because he is not produced extrinsically... Although the Son is another as begotten, however, he is identical (to the Father) insofar as God; and, therefore, the Son and the Father are one, because they have the same nature and because they have a single and identical divinity”6. In such fashion, consubstantiality is the characteristic and ultimate fundament of transcendence. It is the precise and formal point of the Trinitarian mystery. Because of this it is the mystery of mysteries, because it is the mystery of the very reality of God qua {116} God. Consubstantiality does not derogate transcendence, but founds it. While transcendence consists in affirming that the Word and the Spirit belong to the divine order, consubstantiality affirms the characteristic of this belonging and of this order. Conversely, in the functions we really and effectively live not only the Trinity of three transcendental termini, but we live the very reality in which God consists, we live God in his formal and intrinsic Trinitariness. Functionality is founded on transcendence and transcendence is founded on consubstantiality. This is simply the content of the Trinitarian dogma. In it is affirmed, in the first place, the real and not merely functional distinction of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the second place, their perfect numerical unity in nature is affirmed, they are consubstantial. But correctly understanding that this term, as I shall immediately explain, must not be taken in its metaphysical sense of ousía. In the third place, the Father “begets” the Son and both spire7 the Holy Spirit. They are mere “processions” and not causal productions. Precisely because of this they constitute, in the fourth place, not a triplicity, but the Trinity of one only God. However, there is an abysmal difference, not only in language, but also in the activity of conceptualization between the concepts employed at this solemn moment of the Council of Nicea, and the very content of the New Testament revelation. In the New Testament there is never a mention of ousía, with the exception of Lk 15:12-13 where it means what it meant in the common everyday language, inheritance. However, the term homooúsios never appears at all and I shall return to it immediately. Naturally, this presents several problems, which the theological mind of the most faithful will never be able to avoid. a) In the first place, that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are persons. The revealed text does not say this, and not even the Council of Nicea. The textual references are to the Father, the Son, {117} and the Holy Spirit. The profession of faith of the Council of Nicea never mentions they are persons. This fact is what generally makes theologians say, when they expound on the Council of Nicea, that the council was incomplete because it did not say what these three termini are. Instead of thinking that the purpose of the Council of Nicea was not to write a treatise in theology, but to precisely find the limits and the characteristics of the revelation from which humanity lives. The Council is incomplete with respect to the goals of a theology, but that is another question. To make a theology was never the intention of the Council of Nicea or any other Council. b) In the second place, here we find a wide use of the terms ousía and homooúsios, substance and consusbstantiality. Certainly, if Sacred Scripture has to be taken within a certain context from which it has to be interpreted, this would apply much more to the Conciliar definitions that, after all, are human in their confection and reflection. The term ousía has to be taken in the context of the Arian controversy. Arius, who was someone who knew Greek philosophy quite well, although that did not make him a good theologian, always spoke of ousía. This man with his intellectual origin in Antioch, profoundly influenced by philosophical tendencies very different from Platonism, employs the term ousía, I will not say in an Aritotelian sense, but in the end in a very similar sense as something different from accident. And then he says that in God there are different ousíai, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Confronting this, the Council of Nicea affirms there is only one. Does this mean that the Council of Nicea has canonized the concept of ousía itself? Not at all, because what ousía means is something very concrete and simple. If we ask the Council of Nicea what are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit they have to answer, God, only one thing. If we ask who is God, the answer has to be three, Father, {118} Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the only thing the Council of Nicea has said. The rest is the metaphysical overload, which has to be expressed in some way, but that literally does not form part of the decision of the Council of Nicea. c) There is a third point, still more problematic, that has to be addressed. We are told the Word is begotten and not created. What does the term begotten, gennethénta, mean here? It is not enough to say that it is defined there. The decisions of the Councils often employ expressions and concepts over which the dogmatic definition does not formally extend, and are merely used as epithets. For example, Vatican I Council wishes to define against irrationalism the possibility that human intelligence through natural reason may know God. And does it as all the other Councils except the last one, anathematizing those who deny it, si quis dixerit, Deum unum et verum, creatorem et Dominum nostrum, per ea, quae facta sunt, naturali rationis humanae lumine certo cognosci non posse: anathema sit (DS 3026). But there is no theologian who would dare to say neither then nor now, that this canon formally includes the definition that with natural reason creation can be known. Creation functions there only as an epithet. The definition fell formally and exclusively over the existence of God. Particularly since the Council wished to provide that formal exception in order to defend the theology of Duns Scotus that denies the possibility of knowing creation ex nihilo with natural reason. It is a matter of faith, but not of reason Scotus would say. Indeed, the term gennethénta, begotten, has an obvious clear characteristic. Jesus Christ on earth Son of God is gennethénta, is a genitum. That is temporal generation. Since this temporal generation starts precisely from the {119} Father and the Word it means the connection (sit venia verbo) between the Father and the Word in some way is going to make reference to this generation in time. But the question always remains, Is this connection formally a generation? Is the Word formally Son of a God who is formally Father independently of any temporal generation? Because it is patently true that only begotten, begotten, engendered, first born of all creatures, are epithets that appear all along the New Testament. That there is an eternal procession of the Word is a dogma of faith. But that this procession is formally a generation independently from any allusion to temporal generation, and not simply the analogical transposition of a temporal generation of Christ is precisely a perplexing question that must float over the Council of Nicea. As person, as ousía, and as generation opens up a wide field. Because if it is true that the Word is not formally engendered by the Father and, therefore, is not Son, then it means the Father also is not formally Father before the generation of the Son. Naturally, this brings into mind the problem of the very structure of the Trinitarian dogma independently of this generation. That is the difficulty with the text of St. Athanasius I mentioned above. But one cannot be satisfied with saying that the theology of St. Athanasius was incomplete. The Council of Nicea was not incomplete, it was perfectly complete, and it would have been sad if it had loaded with theology something, which in itself is a living problem, namely, What is the internal structure of this Trinitariness of the divine reality? This is the subject of the next section. ________________ 1 Origen, Commentaria in Evangelium Joannis, series graeca, t. 14, Paris, 1857, col. 268. 2 Cf. Athenagoras, Legatio pro christianis, cap. 10, in J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, t. 6, Paris, 1857, col. 909. 3 Idem, cap. 12, in J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, t. 6, op. cit., col. 913. 4 Zubiri probably refers here to P. Benoit, “Préexistence et Incarnation”, in Revue biblique, no. 77 (1970), pp. 5-29. 5 In the work of Arius, Thaleia, according to the quote preserved in Athanasius, Oratio prima contra arianos, caps. 5-6, in J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, t. 26, Paris, 1857, cols. 21-24. 6 Athanasius, Oratio tertia contra arianos, cap. 4, in J.-P. Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, t. 26, <.i>op. cit., cols. 328-329. However, this text does not form part of the decisions of the Council of Nicea. It is possible to have been the champion who impeded that with Arianism the entire Christianity might have been sunk, without actually being a first class theologian, as I shall immediately show (note by X. Zubiri). 7 [Tr. note: from Sp. espiran, both creating the Holy Spirit, from Latin spirare] --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 2 (120-131) --------------- {120} § 2 THE CONCEPTIVENESS OF THE MYSTERY The text of the Council of Nicea, as I was saying, has a language quite removed from the language of the revealed texts, and even from the early Apologists and Fathers of the Church. Undoubtedly. But it must be remembered that the definition of the Council of Nicea like the one from the First Council of Constantinople is inscribed in a context. And that context was the one supplied by Arius. It was Arius who carried to its greatest degree (let us express it at least symbolically) the presence and even the collision of revelation with Greek reason. He introduced into theology the concept of substance, the concept of ousía. Reality would be ousía. And naturally, Arius would say, if the Word is engendered it is because He is created. In addition, if He is created it is because He is not of the same ousía as the Father. The Council of Nicea replied in its own language, that He is of the same ousía as the Father. He is homooúsios, consubstantial to the Father. And also, He is engendered, but not produced. We should note that the definition of the Council formally refers to the not-made and not-created, not precisely to the term “generated”, already explicitly mentioned in all of the New Testament. Let us assume that this is so, that the definition of the Council of Nicea uses concepts of a certain philosophy that afterwards has not been the single dominant philosophy in theology. Consequently, the theology that follows lacks a conceptive unity (against any appearance to the contrary), and means there can be a certain leeway {121} when trying to attempt conceptualizing the Trinitarian reality in some other way. Something that has to be done with all modesty in the presence of the most radical and absolute of mysteries. To accomplish this task one might think we have to say very difficult and complicated things, particularly after perusing any of the current treatises concerning the Trinity. Obviously, there is a large dose of metaphysics, what with substance, accident, relation, procession under mode A, procession under mode B, etc. Indeed, something quite interminable. And yet, I will not say that the result may be clearer, because obviously the mystery of the Trinity can never be clear, but is it at least more immediately apprehensible? No, not really. Perhaps it may be necessary to attempt the opposite method and proceed with intellectual austerity by saying the least possible. I am not saying that now the mystery will come through any better, because the mystery never comes through. Perhaps at least in some way the mystery will become less inaccessible to our human intelligence. The problem is not a speculative dialectic about the one and the three, but of a conceptiveness of the personal life of God such as it has been revealed to us. We are going to divide this attempt into four successive steps. I. In what does the formal reality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit consist? We are given the reply that they are persons. Are they? II. In what does the processable (Sp. procesual) type of their reality consist? The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, the Son proceeds from the Father, i.e., there is a procession. In what does a procession consist? III. Not only is there procession, but in addition the processions are not random, they have an internal structure (sit venia verbo). What is the processable structure of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the structure of that processability? {122} IV. Finally, we must face the problem, which I always felt should be addressed. Ultimately, in what does the personal life of God consist? I. The formal reality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit We have all been taught that they are three different “persons”. I pointed out above that the concept of person is inadequate. Simply because everyone thinks that a person is a reality provided with intelligence, will, freedom, responsibility, etc. And in this sense to say that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three different persons is a monstrous trideism, which was always far from the mind of the Church. Since it is difficult to avoid the thought that the term “person” may have another meaning, it will not be superfluous, obviously, to appeal to other concepts. For example, it is said that what is proper to a person is to be subsistent. And it is understood that the concept of subsistence is a thing taken directly from the experience of each one of us: that I subsist in myself, etc. Then, instead of three persons it would be preferable to say (saying the same thing, but with a slightly different conceptive perspective) that they are three subsistences; that each one is a subsistent entity.1 It has always been usual for me to stop and think about this double way of being able to expound the idea of what the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit formally are. Because, if it is true that the concept of person leads to being mistaken, and to arrive at the trideist error, it is no less certain that the concept of subsistence practically leads to no understanding. What is understood by {123} subsistence? Turning the concepts around, one might consider starting from the concept of person just as those who have started from subsistence, but now in order to inquire (prescinding from the Trinity) in what the being of a person consists. Perhaps we shall encounter a concept not susceptible to the equivocations that the term “person” has in our present language, but one not so metaphysically distilled as the concept of subsistence. As I have insisted in my seminars and written works, man, an intelligent and volitional reality, is an essence open to his own reality, to his own characteristic of reality. Because of this, the properties belonging to man are there not only de suyo as a substantive reality (being real consists in having them de suyo), but in addition, precisely because he has an intellective characteristic, he is open to his own reality. Consequently, man not only has properties that are “de suyo”, but they are also formally and reduplicatingly “his”. Man is a person precisely in the measure in which he is “his-own”. Relatively “his-own” because man is not an infinite being. And I have said that this relatively absolute reality demands the existence of an absolutely absolute reality2. Be that as it may, we now encounter that what formally constitutes the characteristic of being a person is this moment (using a somewhat forced term) of “his-ownness” (Sp. suidad). Someone is a person precisely when it has that characteristic by virtue of which we say he is his own self, that he belongs to himself, i.e., that he is a his-ownness. However, someone might object that his-ownness is not clearer than subsistence. Perhaps not, but it seems to me it is less obscure {124} than subsistence, and in addition it is the root of subsistence. I can say I am subsistent inasmuch as I am my own. Subsistence is founded on his-owness. Formally the Father and the Son are his-ownnesses (Sp. suidades). Naturally this his-ownness has a special characteristic. While in the case of man, or of any created person, his-ownness is something consequent to certain properties and characteristics that man has, in the case of God it is formally identical to that, which God is. This is not more obscure than the idea of subsistent relation in classical theology. There is an identity between his-ownness and essence, which is at the very root of the mystery. His-ownness does not add any property to reality; that is why it can be identified with it without making it a “composite”. However, it is clear that for the human mind this identity is always an identification, i.e., they are two different concepts. They are considered identified by the fact they converge in a mystery. And yet, to say that the essence is his-ownness is not the same as saying that his-ownness is essential. They are two completely different points of view. While Latin theology and even the Greek, but primarily the Latin, took its starting point from essence as the principle of the Trinity, and has attempted to see how this essence has subsistences (his-ownesses in our language), it seems to me that the case is just the opposite. It is necessary to start precisely from his-ownness and then try to see what the divine essence might be. The radical primacy belongs to his-ownness. It will not be necessary to insist too much on the following observations. First, that I am not referring here to person in the psychological sense, but in the metaphysical, an absolutely metaphysical sense. His-ownness is not a psychological characteristic, but only a metaphysical one. In second place, I point here to the abstract his-ownness in order to warn against a confusion {125} that is easily made. Theology does not make it. However, Do we make the best use of the fact we do not fall into that confusion? That is a completely different matter. Indeed, his-ownness is not the same as the whole reality that belongs to it. The two things are relatively different. I have a his-ownness by virtue of which I am the person I am, but to my person belong, precisely because of his-owness, all the real and actual characteristics that I physically possess. And in this sense, obviously, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not three different persons. That is absurd. They are not three different persons except by reason of their his-ownness, not because of the essential characteristics. We shall immediately see what this means. At any rate, we must assign to this his-ownness a metaphysical and theological priority over that which constitutes the structure of physical characteristics that compose the person. We now ask, In what does a procession consist? That is the second stage. II. In what does the processable order of their reality consist? Persons “proceed” one from the other. The Son proceeds from the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Greeks said ekpóreusis. The Latins said processio. What is to proceed? On this point Latin theology received the imprint not only of Greek metaphysics, but also of the juridical dialectics of St. Augustine. We must not forget this. Latin theology has had the idea that procession (taking it at least from finite realities, from creatures, the only place we can clearly start from) always indicates an operation, an operation that is performed. A man can do something in particular {126} and there is a procession, which is a performance he activates. Applying this to God we cannot suggest that He activates operations on Himself, because every operation is a second moment different from the one operating. But God is infinitely simple, and therefore, there is no sense talking about the activity of God as an operation. At this point theology has come out with an ingenious solution. Take the case of any human operation. Clearly, there is an activity, an act is performed, and produces something. What has been produced is founded or “proceeds from” the one that produced it. Let us now take away from this condition the action I have performed to produce it. If I am only left with the condition by virtue of which one proceeds from the other, this would be a concept of procession not per modum operantis (as classical theology puts it), but per modum operati, by reason of what has been the result of the operation. And the latter could be analogically and remotely be applied to the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God does not perform actions, but in the measure that the Son proceeds from the Father, and the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son there would be this condition of “being proceeded” (Sp. “ser procedido”). These would be processions per modum operati. However, it cannot be denied that this conception starts from a supposition that is more than debatable. In both of these cases of procession as operation, and procession as something operated, the starting point is the notion that the activity is a performed operation. Is this true philosophically? Is it necessary to admit this? Because it might turn out that the situation is quite different. That every reality by the mere fact of being real and because it is real is indeed active, not only in itself, but by itself. In that case, obviously, the activity is not an operation, and we must provide it with a name. I have decided to call it “self-giving” (Sp. “dar de sí”). Self-giving not by a subsequent activity, but precisely by being real. This self-giving is an active mode by reason of its own reality, {127} the fullness of that which constitutes the selfsame reality. Inasmuch as a reality is formally a self-giving of what it is in itself and by itself, the activity is not a moment consequent to the reality, but something formally constitutive of the reality as such. Therefore, in this sense, from my point of view, we should not exclude God from procession. Not because of the distinction between the one operating, and the one operated upon, but simply because activity is procession. This maintains the integrity of a moment which is essential for the conception of the Trinitarian life. The life of God, with all the immutability and simplicity one may wish to consider, is not the simplicity and immutability of a mathematical singularity, but is the unfathomable unity and simplicity of a real and effective activity. That is what the very divine activity is, which is not determined by the operations it “performs”, but is the infinite plenitude of the reality it formally is, insofar as active in itself and by itself. We have established that persons are formally his-ownnesses (Sp. suidades). We have also established that procession, by virtue of which some persons are founded upon others, is precisely an activity that gives of oneself as a formally constitutive moment of reality qua reality. Now, we shall posit the question: What is the processable structure of the processions and the persons in the Trinity? III. In what does the processable structure of its reality consist? Have started by saying that as physical persons taken in their integrity they are not three different persons in all their dimensions. That is obviously absurd. It would be equivalent to saying there are three gods, which could not be. What constitutes {128} the formal characteristic of the Trinity is its-ownness. Hence, to say that in God there is a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit really different means that in God there are three really different his-ownnesses. Or, if you prefer, that God is really his-own in three really different ways. Let us not pay too much attention to the term “way” (we have no other manner of speaking) because that would be to suggest a kind of internal modalism for the divine essence, which would be absurd. The terms “way” and “mode” have the inconvenience of suggesting the idea that something is a reality, and afterwards it is modulated. That is absurd, obviously. However, I shall use them in order to simplify the exposition. The three his-ownnesses in God are three radically and ultimately different his-ownnesses, except that the three are his-ownnesses in some way. Then the his-ownness is not something univocal, but is something perfectly analogous. The his-ownness of the Father is different, the his-ownness of the Son is different, the his-ownness of the Holy Spirit is different. Three different his-ownnesses qua his-ownnesses. The Father is not his-own in the same manner that the Son is, etc. And on this Trinity of his-ownnesses is what we must fix our attention in order to see in what the active processionality of the divine reality consists as such. A) Latin theology, with its idea of this terrible dialectic of the one and the three, has always started from the divine essence. And it has asked how that divine essence has three persons, that I would call his-ownnesses. I believe it would be preferable to start from something that already is an integral part of the revealed text, at least in its expression. Precisely, that the principle of the Trinity is the Father. Therefore, our point of departure should be the Father, not the essence. Hence, What is all this concerning the Father? The Father is the principle of the Trinity. In such a fashion that by not having three gods, the {129} Father is the one that constitutes the mónos of monotheism. Christian monotheism is God the Father as a single and unique principle of the whole Trinity and the world. When I tried to justify the reality of God in another place3, I was saying that this justification consists in passing from something that is relatively absolute, i.e., from each one of our human persons, to a reality absolutely absolute, which is precisely the reality of God. 1) This absolutely absolute reality is a reality that by virtue of being absolutely absolute is radically and ultimately his-own, has a his-ownness. Because of this we can and must say that He is “Father”. Of course, here it is not the case that reason may be able to prove that the his-ownness of the absolutely absolute reality consists in formally being Father, that would be an attempt to prove the Trinity rationally. But rather that materially, so to speak, the reality, which from the point of view of faith is Father, precisely has a his-ownness. The absolutely absolute reality is absolutely absolute because it has a his-ownness. Through faith we know that this his-ownness is formally paternity. 2) Yet, I indicated that the only possible way for an absolutely absolute reality to have his-ownness is by being intelligent and volitional4. I also attempted to provide the proof. From this we can deduce and it evidently follows that the absolutely absolute reality with a his-ownness of Father is necessarily intelligent and volitional. The point I wish to clearly emphasize is the fact that God, who is Father, although intelligent and volitional, is not the principle of procession, but just the opposite. In a certain way it is a result. Precisely because He is his-own, he is intelligent and volitional. He is not his-own because He is intelligent and volitional. In other words, the primacy radically belongs to the his-ownness, {130} indeed, to the “who”. And obviously, the “what” in which the Father consists is intelligence and will. Now it becomes clear why I did not wish to use the term of the Council of Nicea, the idea of homooúsios, the concept of consubstantiality. Here the philosophical concepts of substance and essence are completely irrelevant. On this problem the only thing that matters is to answer the question about the “what”, as distinguished from the answer to the question about the “who”. Who is the Father? The his-ownness of the absolutely absolute reality. And what is that absolutely absolute reality? Intelligent and volitional. This is what we call (somehow we have to call it something) the essence of God. However, let me repeat it, in this non-philosophical sense. 3) In the third place, this “what” is an open reality in two senses. In the first place, in a personal sense. The his-ownness of the Father is, qua his-ownness, open to give of himself the his-owness of the Son. The structure of this aperture is precisely the processability as such. In the second place, in an essential sense. It is intelligent and volitional. By virtue of this, it is an open essence. While the aperture of his-ownness is personal, the aperture of intelligence and will is essential. At one and the same time, both apertures constitute one only characteristic, the ecstasy. The Father is ecstatic reality. We have explained what personal aperture is. Let us now pay attention to the essential aperture. It is an open essence precisely because it has an intelligence. The intelligence is absolutely open on its own to the characteristic of reality of what the intelligence apprehends. Consequently, the intelligence leads to a special situation in the Father, by virtue of which reality (that which is the “who” the Father is) is something not possessed actually, but in an open manner. This actual reality qua reality (actuality of the reality that is the very essence of the Father) is arché kai pegé, principle and fountain (we shall soon see why) of the Son and the Trinitarian life. Nevertheless, what we are concerned with at this moment is to say that this reality is a reality, which definitely is absolutely his-own in the sense that it is fountain and principle of itself. ________________ 1 Zubiri refers here to the position of K. Rahner, in “Der dreifaltige Gott als transzendenter Urgrund der Heilsgeschichte”, Mysterium Salutis, vol. 2, Einsiedeln, 1967, pp. 317-40. 2 Cf. X. Zubiri, El hombre y Dios (Man and God), op. cit., pp. 134-164. 3 Cf. X. Zubiri, El hombre y Dios (Man and God), op. cit., pp. 134-164. 4 Cf. ibid., pp. 168-171. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 2 (131-138) --------------- {131} (cont’d) B) Therefore, what is proper to intelligence is precisely that in it, whatever is known intellectually merely acquires an actuality. Nothing more. Everything else, the formation of representations, etc., is a supremely problematic conceptiveness of the intelligence. What I am saying is also problematic, however, one is not obliged to follow just one way in problematism. I choose this one, which to me seems the most simple. What is intellectually understood qua intellectually understood, is the pure actuality of the real. That there may be representations, that these representations may be a principium quod, a principium quo... is all a very complex metaphysical erudition. Here we do not need a verbum mentis at all. It will be enough to know that facing intelligence, that which is understood intellectually, by that very fact, does not acquire another property different than that which it is, but rather that purely and simply it has been actualized. 1) This actualization is what to my way of understanding confers to the reality known intellectually its characteristic of truth. Truth is primarily the actuality of the real in the intelligence, purely and simply in it. For that reason it is precisely the real truth. Hence, as this actuality, at least formally in itself, is not identical with reality (there are realities, which are not actual in any intelligence), it turns out that de suyo the truth is not the same as the reality. But when there is truth, when there is actualization, then what is proper to intelligence is precisely to have real truth. As I was saying, the first thing is that the his-ownness of the Father constitutes the intelligent and volitive reality. And by virtue of this, now {132} (and here is the mystery) there is a second his-ownness, the his-ownness of truth. That which for us is purely an aspect of intellection, in a mysterious manner is, in God, a real and proper his-ownness, different than the his-ownness of the Father, by virtue of which his reality is fully absolutely absolute. But this other one is a different his-ownness, the his-ownness of truth qua truth. The Son, St. Irenæus said, is the divine “definition” of the Father1. 2) Because of this, there is an intrinsic implication between this actual real truth and that, which has constituted the reality of the Father. Indeed, in this second dimension, qua true, this truth would not be true if it were not realized in and by the actuality of that reality that acquires its truth and actuality in the intellective act. In other words, the actuality of the truth numerically involves the same reality than the reality of what is actualized in it. Obviously, that in which the Son is realized is numerically identical to that which constitutes the reality of the Father. Therefore, they are consubstantial. Thus, consubstantiality is not principle of procession, but in a certain way the result of it. Because there is his-ownness of a real truth, there is de facto a consubstantiality, a “coessentiality”. It is not the result of a communication in the order of a processability, but is the inexorable condition of every real truth, provided that the real truth be given (and here is the mystery) a really different characteristic of his-ownness. As substantive reality, the one of the Son is numerically identical to the one of the Father. But as his-ownness, i.e., as actuality in his-ownness, the Father and the Son really are different. This may be a postulate, as it is in all theologies. In order to say, for example, with the Aristotelian philosophy, that there is a verbum mentis and that the verbum mentis is the same subsistent nature of the Father, we need an act of faith. No doubt about it. No one would attempt to “naturally” deduce from the {133} verbum mentis the subsisting reality of the Son in consubstantiality with the Father. This would require to admit the revealed fact that there is a second terminus, with its proper his-ownness, which classical philosophy would denominate subsistence. But even assuming we have to admit this as a revealed datum, I insist that to what the revealed fact formally refers, to my way of thinking, is the his-ownness, the characteristic of “its own” of the truth. Something much more primary and radical than something that is just really and actually true. In such a fashion that the “what” of that truth is in a certain way the precipitate in which truth realizes itself as pure intellective actuality. In other words: the Father gives of himself a second his-ownness really distinct from his own. And this second his-ownness is a his-ownness of truth. By virtue of this, the “what” of this second his-ownness is numerically identical to the “what” of the first: they are consusbstantial. What is radical is that the Father gives of himself a second his-ownness and this second his-ownness (the truth) is realized in the same essence than the one in which the his-ownness of the Father is realized. That the Father may give of himself this second his-ownness qua his-ownness is the mystery. To my way of thinking this procession is not founded in the essence of the Father, but is directly and formally a procession from person (Father) to person (Son). 3) In the whole New Testament we are told about this reality, and the Council of Nicea repeats it, that it is generated. That is the problem of generation. As I mentioned above, generation is probably not the term upon which the formal definition of the Council of Nicea descends. But it does not mean it cannot admit it. In the end, the whole New Testament would assume it. But we must reflect on something. {134} We have seen that there is a triple functionality in the human religious life. The Father has an assigned function, (to begin with He is attributed Creation, etc.), the Son another (redeemer, etc.), and the Holy Spirit another. Jesus Christ, of course, is the “Son of God”. Then, obviously, the filiation falls directly, formally, and explicitly upon the reality of Jesus Christ upon Earth, insofar as Son of God. But the truth is that “generated”, although it appears throughout the whole New Testament, however, refers only to Christ, i.e., to the incarnate Word. Now, Can we project upon the very structure of the divine reality this triple functionality, and make that the second his-ownness be a generation from the part of the Father? That is to say, Can we apply to the Word itself as such the term genitum? I would not risk an answer to that question. Of course, we would have to take the common sense term of generation, and not the philosophical one. By generation we commonly understand, as St. John Damascene says, “the production of the substance of the generated from the substance of the genitor”.2 Even so, Is generation formally the procession of the Word? If so, it could only be in an analogical sense to the temporal generation of Christ, not in a univocal sense. However, I shall leave it as an open problem because, at any rate, generation, if it is really generation (and I would not dare to say no), is not the formal and primary characteristic of procession. In the same way that that which the Father is, and the Son is, in a certain way is that in which the his-ownness of {135} the Father and the his-owness of the Son is realized, analogously, the generational characteristic simply means that that in which the “content” of the procession is realized, is precisely the trasmission or communication of an identical nature starting from the first term of the procession. And in this sense it is generation. Consequently, generation is generation because there is procession of the Word, not that there is procession of the Word because there is generation. Just as the Father is a “what” because He is a “who“, and just as the Son is the same “what” the Father is by the mere fact of being a second “who” that proceeds from the first, so also, the procession of the Son is generation because it is a filial procession and not the reverse. Just as the Son is the same “what” of the Father by being the his-ownness of the real truth of the Father, so also, the procession of the Son is purely and simply generation because it proceeds, as a different his-ownness, from a Father who is consubstantial to Him, i.e., who is consubstantial to real truth. What procession directly concerns is consubstantiality. It only concerns generation in modo obliquo. In this fashion, therefore, the Father, as his own principle reality gives of himself his real truth, and therefore, communicates to truth the his-ownness of his own nature, i.e., it is a generation. C) Nevertheless, Is this sufficient? Obviously, not. Not even in the case of man. Let us consider my real truth. I have my reality actualized. But in addition to being actual reality I also have it actualized in my intelligence. Correctly understanding that this intellection constitutes in its actuality the real and effective presence of the reality of which it is truth, i.e., an intellection of the identity of the true and of the real. Hence this, which in the case of man is nothing but an aspect of intellection, in the case of God is something different. {136} It is something different because in the case of God there is something else than what is in the case of man, namely, the sense that real truth, in one way or another, is identified with the reality that is actuality in the intelligence, but with something else added. It is not a “sense” of truth, but something different, the very Spirit of Truth: to pneúma tes aletheías, St. John calls it (Jn 16:13). And the characteristic of this Spirit of Truth consists in ratifying the identity of truth with reality. The Father as absolutely absolute reality is the his-ownness of reality as principle. Actualized in the real truth which his Son constitutes is the his-ownness of reality qua truth. And this real truth expresses through identity the radical and primary reality, the “archic” (Sp. “árquica”, fr. arché) reality that constitutes the reality of the Father. This identity is precisely the Spirit of Truth. And is, from the point of view of faith, a third his-ownness: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as his-ownness is the actuality of the identity of truth and reality. Because of this St. Bonaventure could say in another context that the Father is inchoatio Trinitatis and that the Holy Spirit is completio Trinitatis3. The Holy Spirit is the completion of the Trinity. 1) Of course, one could and should ask certain questions. The first one, And why is the procession of the Holy Spirit not a generation? For a not very simple reason, but obvious in a certain way. In order to have generation of the his-ownness, even though it may be in the most analogical and resultant sense, there has to be a communication of a reality, of a nature, even by way of identity. Only then we have a generation. However, this cannot occur with the Holy Spirit {137} because all reality is precisely already given in the real truth that constitutes the Son, and therefore, there is nothing to communicate. The only thing that can be done is to “ratify” the identity of the communicated reality with the naked truth which the starting point constitutes. Consequently, this is no generation it is a ratification. 2) But then, if this is so, we have a second question, Who is the one that originates the spiration of that third his-ownness? Obviously, the reply is clear after what we have just stated. The Spirit of Truth, which consists in the identity of truth and the first reality “proceeds” (and that is the terminus) as second processional moment of those two termini I have identified. That is precisely the provenance of the Holy Spirit of the Father through the Son. Latin theology rendered this with its famous formula, from the Father “and” the Son (Filioque). The formula has its limitations4. At any rate, the Holy Spirit is of the Father through the Son. And the Holy Spirit, consequently, has the unity of a principle of spiration, which is precisely the unitary reality, which is arché reality in the Father, and real truth in the Son. Because of that, because the “what” of God is not given to the Holy Spirit, but rather this ratification occurs upon a “what” given to the Son, is the reason why it is not generation. 3) Hence, in the same way that the his-ownness of the Father is realized inexorably as absolutely absolute reality in an intelligent and volitional “what”; in the same way that the his-ownness of the real truth is realized in a “what” that is generated by procession; the spiration of the Holy Spirit as ratification of the identity of truth in act with the first reality is not alien to that essence, to that “what”. And is not alien to such a high degree that, in a certain way, determines in it a characteristic of its own. The essence {138} in the Holy Spirit is neither communicated nor received, but determined to an essential moment of its own: the fruition of truth. The Spirit of Truth is precisely the terminus of a fruition, the terminus of love. Love, the same in the world as in God, constitutively lives from reality. The procession of the Holy Spirit is not, to my way of thinking, a procession of love; it is a procession by the Spirit of Truth. Love is inexorably the consequence of the Spirit of Truth. Just as our Maldonado5 said, the Son is Logos, but is not Son because He is Logos, rather He is Logos because He is Son, analogously, I have often thought that the Holy Spirit is certainly love, but is not Holy Spirit because He is love, rather is love because He is Holy Spirit, i.e., because He is Spirit of Truth. It is because of this —I repeat— that fruition is determined by the Spirit of Truth. Classical thology has always attempted to start from procession by way of love and has always stumbled on the phrase of St. John that “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8), which has been interpreted in a thousand ways. It is possible to think just the opposite. Indeed, the great theologian and revealer of love that St. John has been, began by calling the Holy Spirit to pneúma tes aletheías, the Spirit of Truth. In such fashion we have presented, perhaps not concepts, but through some not completely unintelligible terms what the unfathomable mystery of the Trinity is. An absolutely absolute his-ownness, the Father, who gives of himself his-ownness as actuality of his real truth (that is the Son), and ratifies in his-ownness the identity of that real truth with the principle from which it proceeds. In that ratification is what the Spirit of Truth consists, the Holy Spirit. A Spirit who is Spirit of Truth and precisely by being such is the reason for being principle of love. ________________ 1 Cf. St. Irenæus of Lyon, Adversus hæreses, bk. 4, ch. 4, no. 2, in J.-P. Migne, Patrologiæ cursus completus, series græca, vol. 7, op. cit., col. 982. 2 Zubiri here quotes P. Galtier, De SS. Trinitate in se et in nobis, Paris, 1933, p. 181, who distinguishes between the common sense and the scientific sense of the term “generation”, presenting as an example of the first from St. John Damascene, who affirms in his De Fide ortodoxa (bk. I, ch. 8) that “genesis is to produce from the substance of the genitor someone generated with the same substance”, in Patrologia cursus completus, series græca (ed. J.P. Migne), Paris, 1860, vol. 4, col. 812. 3 Cf. St. Bonaventure, Commentaria in quattuor libros sententiarum, lib. 1, dist. 12, q. 4, in his Opera omnia, t. 1, Quaracchi, 1882, p. 226. Also his Sermones de tempore, dominica III adventus, sermo II, in his Opera omnia, t. 9, Quaracchi, 1901, p.60. 4 On this problem please see X. Zubiri, Naturaleza, historia, Dios (Nature, History, God), op. cit., pp. 490-491 (note). 5 Cf. J. Maldonado, Comentarii in quattuor Evangelistas, Joan. cap. 1, vers. 1, (ed. by J. M. Raich), Maguncia, 1874, t. 2, pp. 376-381. [Tr. note: gifted Spanish Jesuit theologian of the XVI century laboring successfully in France] --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 2 (139-147) --------------- {139} IV. In what does the Trinitarian life of God consist? That is the processable structure of the divine reality insofar as it is active by itself. In an active and most profound manner from the characteristics of its activity, it gives of itself its real truth and the Spirit of Truth, in the unity of the essence. Because indeed that identity is the ratification of that in which the Father consists, and in which the truth of the Son is realized. Then, it is possible to ask, given that it exists, about that which we might call the Trinitarian life of God. While being familiar with the formula of Baptism that says “...the Father “and” the Son “and” the Holy Spirit”, we perhaps assume the “and” is copulative: God is Father “and” also Son “and” also Holy Spirit. This is absolutely incorrect. The “and” of the Trinity is not a copulative “and”. The copulation is necessary in order to avoid confusion, but what constitutes the formal structure of the Trinitarian reality of God is not the copulative characteristic of that “and”. Simply because there is a structure, an intrinsic and internal arrangement among these termini, which are only apparently copulated through the “and”. To surmise this might be so, let us reflect on what I have mentioned numerous times with respect to the human person. Man, all of us as persons, are always the same insofar as having personhood, but are never that same because of personality1. In God we would have to say He is strictly the opposite: He is always that same, but never the same. At least He is different in three ways. Still, however, He is always that same. That “same” is always completely other. Which clearly means that the “and” does not have a mere copulative characteristic. Just the opposite. In the Trinitarian processions (and this has always been recognized by classical theology) each one of the persons, {140} each one of the his-ownnesses (in the conceptual system I have dared to propose here) is constituted by an intrinsic repectivity to the other persons. There is no Father unless there is a Son. There is no Father and Son unless spiring a Holy Spirit. There is an internal respectivity, which is not consecutive, but constitutive of the very processability of the persons, of the divine his-ownnesses as such. Now, of course, to ask in what this Trinitarian life consists, is purely and simply to ask in what this Trinitarian respectivity consists, which in a certain way (here resides one of the other aspects of the mystery) unifies the Trinitarian life in God. This question can be answered, from my point of view, with three concepts or three characteristics. A) In the first place, Latin theology has been quite insistent in affirming that the first characteristic of the persons is that they begin by opposing among themselves. Is this absolutely accurate? Is it not exactly the opposite, that persons begin by implicating each other; that a person cannot exist if it is not producing the other qua person? Latin theology recognized this, insisting that the persons are relative, i.e., each one is correlative to the other. Yes, but from my point of view it is more than a correlation. Greek theology had introduced a notion, the perichóresis, the “circulation”. Now, the internal and intrinsic respectivity, which constitutes the interconnections of the Trinitarian processions, Is that a perichóresis in the Greek sense? Yes, and no. In the Greek sense, from my point of view, no. For a simple reason. Greek theology has spoken about perichóresis as a kind of circulation (said in a human way) of the essence of God from the Father to the Son, and from the Son to the Holy Spirit, and so on. {141} It is the same essence, which remains identical, but is “communicated” to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. I do not say this may not be true. What I do say is that this is not the formal characteristic of the Trinitarian respectivity. Trinitarian respectivity is not a question of perichóresis of nature, but an implication of his-ownness, i.e., of the personal characteristics of the person as such. It is precisely the internal respectivity of the his-ownnesses as such. Of the Father insofar as Father, of the Son insofar as Son, and of the Holy Spirit insofar as Holy Spirit. In other words, it is a moment of his-ownness. Undeniably, there is a circulation of nature, but it exists as a consequence of this structural unity of the persons. Inasmuch as each person implicates the others we can speak of a circulation of that which the first person is, with that which the second is, and that which the third is. The perichóresis is the circumincession, as the Latins said translating the Greeks. But they rather called it circuminsession, with which the Latins made both the concept and the term banal, because then it is not the case that a person may circulate through the others, but that one is in the other. The difference, from my point of view, is radical because it concerns the very concept of procession. From my own personal view, I think it is a processability, by virtue of which the persons implicate each other insofar as persons. God is an absolute self-giving, and gives of Himself. On the one hand, each his-ownness gives the other out of Himself; and on the other hand, the three give of themselves a unique essence. B) In the second place, it is not just an implication among these persons, but in a certain way there is a circulation from the point of view of nature. But a special and curious circulation, what I might call the interpenetration. Then, we articulate the question; if the nature is the same, in what does it consist {142} to have this alleged circulation? It is difficult to answer this if one starts from the idea of essence. That is the reason why the perichóresis, after all, has not had any effective and fruitful place in the conceptiveness of the Trinity in Latin theology. However, if we place ourselves under the perspective of his-ownness the question changes aspect. Of course, we have no other alternative but to apply human similarities to the Trinitarian cases. Instead of using the simile of circulation let us propose another. In the case of two people in love, we say that the one sees through the eyes of the other. This is just metaphorical. But let us assume it is not a metaphor, but a reality. That is precisely what the essential perichóresis is. In the Trinity there is an internal interpenetration by virtue of which that which the Father is, is precisely what the Son is. And the Father sees, in a certain way, through the intelligence of the Son, as the Son is what He is by seeing what the intelligence of the Father has actualized. There is a true interpenetration. And this interpenetration is not simply a circulation. The concept of interpenetration is supremely important. Latin theology has been in the habit of starting from the idea of the divine essence as pure act. The proof for the existence of God was based on the absolutely existing essence, the essence that is pure act. That is the way St. Thomas proceeds in his Summa theologica. But if we start from the person, from the his-ownness of the Father, then the matter is different. Because then what we would have to say is not that the essence of God may not be a pure act (He could not be otherwise), but that the purity of His act, speaking in human terms, is constituted by the Trinitarian processability of His persons. We could assume that each person is a God in a certain way complete in Himself. There is no doubt. Let us take the case of the Father. Certainly the Father is a God complete in Himself, but He is such insofar {143} as Father. And insofar as Father involves the Son and the Holy Spirit. Because if His condition of Father is eliminated He is not a complete God, He is not even God. The purity of act is mysteriously constituted by the processable Trinity in which the persons consist. God realizes Himself; He auto-realizes in pure act in and by the processable Trinity of the persons. The pure act is a characteristic that mysteriously cannot constitute the starting point of the Trinitarian theology, but rather is in a certain way (humanly speaking), the precipitate of that marvelous Trinitarian processability in which the divine his-ownness precisely consists in its three his-ownnesses. To be his-own as fontanal reality; to be his-own as actual truth; and to be his-own as identically truth and reality in the Spirit of Truth. Because it is the case that the essence is founded on the person, and not the person on the essence. The procession is formally personal. Therefore, the unity is a unity, which is in a certain way decanted in the constitution of the pure act in which the divine essence consists. C) We have something else besides this implication and this interpenetration. There is, in the third place, something that seems to me absolutely important. Namely, that the three persons, because they have this type of structure, have a unity by virtue of which they cannot be a person unless making another proceed nor can they possess one nature if it is not communicating it to another. This nature will not be a numerical one (this would be equivalent to perforating the Trinity or admitting with Cajetan2 a fourth subsistence proper to the divine nature), but consists in the personal life of God. The fact is that the term “life” can have two meanings. It can have the meaning of an act, which proceeds from nature, from the essence. And, in that case, obviously, in God there is only one life, and in addition identical in the three persons, precisely as {144} His own essence. But if we understand life from a personal point of view, then personal life is not formed by only one person. It is just the reverse. The fullness of the personal life of God is formed by several persons. And these several persons, personally different, constitute just one personal life, which is not numerically one, but does have an intrinsic unity of respectivity. That is the case of the Trinity. Mysteriously, not by a numerical unity (since they are three really distinct persons qua his-ownnesses), but due to the processable characteristic in which these persons are implicated and interpenetrated in their essence, the life of God, from the personal point of view, is a “single” life which is Trinitarially personal. There is a unity in God, which is not numerical (otherwise this would be to introduce a fourth personality or perforate the three persons), but of persons, which by their difference constitute one single Trinitarian life, which is really and actually the life of God. We are accustomed to “trichotomize” the life of God for the benefit of the Trinity of persons in which God exists. This is absolutely absurd. In God there is only one life, a purely respective unity and not numerical, as it might exist among several human persons, which in their personal differences, however, live a single type of personal life. Reversely, the personal divine life in the very Trinity is essentially lived in three different persons. In God there is “one” Trinitarian life, which has in a certain way this particular unitary structure, as a unity of respectivity. The Father is not the Son as his-ownness, nor the Son or the Father are the Holy Spirit as his-ownness, but none of the three can exist and be who He is unless making the other proceed. This is an activity, which has a unity of respectivity, and this unity of respectivity is, from my point of view, what constitutes the Trinitarian life of God. {145} The life of God is not simply the life, which emerges as the immanent action of His own nature, but is primarily and formally a Trinitarian personal life, which is based on the very divine essence in the form of a pure act. This divine life has a modal characteristic, what is usually called eternal life. But this is an equivocal term. It suggests what He is and what He will be from the “whole of eternity”. That is the unfathomable duration of God. But there is something anterior and primary. Everything God is and does possesses an eternal mode. Eternity is the modal concept of the divine life. And if He is durationally eternal, this is the result of being modally eternal. Even in those acts ad extra, which presuppose a temporal created reality, God lives those realities not from the whole of eternity, but rather eternally. I shall return to this. Precisely because this is the case we now have the possibility of turning our attention towards the starting point, towards the functionality of the Trinitarian persons. Now we can clearly understand that these three functions in the Trinity, taken as functions, are not added to each other. It is said that the Father has the function of creating, of being provident, of instituting sanctions, the Son of redeeming souls, the Holy Spirit of sanctifying the soul of the just, etc. All this is true, but it does not mean they are three disparate functions. Not at all. They are not disparate. Also, it does not mean they are merely juxtaposed. It is not the case that we have a creation, and in addition a redemption, and in addition a sanctification. They are not separable either, but indeed there is a certain union in these functions. This union is precisely the one that confers unity to the Trinitarian life in God. Nevertheless, let us not forget that the unity of these functions precisely constitutes the molding of religation in religion, and in this case, in the Christian religion. Now we can readily understand that in the end the Trinitarian life of God precisely consists in the {146} unfathomable and transcendent divinity to which the constitutive religation of the being of man is anchored as such. That is the place we must start from in order not to lose ourselves in multiple metaphysical convolutions about the Trinity. They are three his-ownnesses (understanding that each proceeds from the other), which have an internal structure by virtue of which each one cannot be present without the other. Also, they are realized in a “what”, and that “what” is not realized except to be communicated or to be ratified. Precisely in this internal and primary peocessability, which constitutes the unity of respectivity of the three his-ownesses (of the three divine persons, in common language) is where the principle is found that God is pure act. No one has said that we have to start from God as pure act in order to conceive the Trinity. We could try the opposite way. With all due modesty and aware of the limitations of a human intellection, I do consider that perhaps present theology is in dire need of unburdening the Trinity from an enormous mass of metaphysical concepts. It is necessary to view the world from this Trinity. To establish that mundology Latin theology has started from the idea that since in the divine essence there is an interpenetration of persons the divine essence is identical. The “what” is identical in the Father, in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. And since in mundology we are not dealing with something that affects the divine essence itself, but with something that is different from God (the world proceeding from God by creation), it is assumed that creation is an attribute and a characteristic of the divine essence itself. It is also assumed that the persons are certainly implicated in creation, but only because the three of them have the same essence. Creation, formally, would be an act of the essence. Which means that in the creation qua creation the divine essence would function as if it were not Triune. However, is it necessary to admit this? Because if we think that the identity of essences is the result of an implication {147} and of a processability of the Trinitarian life, then that identity is not a mere material identity of the essence among the three persons. It is a sameness in which each person has, so to speak, its personal contribution to constitute that sameness. With this, creation would not be the terminus of a pure essence, as if it were not Triune, but just the opposite. It would be the way the Trinitarian life of God makes the three persons function in the identity of one essence to produce something, which is not itself, but is the world. What is this mundology? That will be the subject of the next chapter. ________________ 1 Cf. X. Zubiri, Sentient Intelligence, Intelligence and Reality (Sentient Intelligence, Intelligence and Reality), op. cit., p. 273. 2 [Tr. note: Cardinal Thomas de Vio Cajetan (1469-1534), famous Dominican theologian] --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 3 (149-160) --------------- {149} CHAPTER 3 CREATION In the previous chapter I began to present in broad strokes the fundamental concepts that constitute the content of Christianity. First and foremost I began with the very concept of God, i.e., the Trinitarian life of God. I tried to demonstrate that God is intrinsically and formally constituted in a proceeding and processing way, i.e., proceeds to the constitution of his-ownnesses (let us not refer to persons in order to avoid a painful equivocation). God is not only three times his-own, but has three really different ways of being his-own. And these three really different ways co-exist in a unity of respectivity. In that unity of respectivity the very essence is constituted, that which the divine reality is, precisely in an intrinsic and formal unity. Of this essence and this Trinitarian life I must review two ideas. a) In the first place something quite obvious. The Father produces a second person, a second his-ownness, the Son, starting precisely from the fact that He has an intelligence and a will in which he has realized Himself as person. The priority of person over essence involves that, in this case, it necessarily has to be an intrinsically and constitutively open essence. {150} Open, in the first place and above all, to His own reality. It is important to underline this. Something similar to what happens in the case of man. That to which he is open as open essence is primarily and formally to his own reality. And man is open to the rest of the other things in the measure in which he is open to his own reality. This open essence is the one, which in its own aperture is constituting (sit venia verbo) the personal procession of the Son and the Holy Spirit. These processions constitute a Trinitarian life with a unity of respectivity purely personal, which is not a numerical unity, because that would be to admit in God four persons or to perforate the Trinity of the previous ones. b) The personal life of God is a Trinitarian life. And that Trinitarian life has a formal characteristic, which is important I emphasize now, namely, eternity. It is said eternity is something, which has no beginning or end, which is doubtlessly true. Eternity has no beginning or end. However, in order that this lack of beginning or end truly be eternity, it has to emerge and be constituted by the characteristics that constitute the manner of being of the reality which is eternal. Eternity is a modal concept, it is not a temporal concept, not even of an infinity of time. That would be quite absurd. Because of this I have always insisted in my seminars that God, instead of calling Him eternal (Sp. eterno), He should be called the eternal (Sp. eternal). Something essential, as we shall presently see. It is a modal concept of the life of God, of His manner of being. It is the eternity, something completely different from eternity understood as something with a very long duration with no termination at all. Nevertheless, this Trinitarian concept of God is not made for only speculating. It is a question of seeing in this Trinitarian structure (sit venia verbo) of God the formal anchor for the reality of the world, the reality of man, and the reality {151} of the entire religious life of man. Therefore, we have to move from what the concept God is in Christianity to what the concept of the world is, to whatever is not God. With a not too felicitous Spanish expression I called this mundology, in contradistinction to what the other was, strictly and formally speaking, a theology. And the first thing we have to say about this mundology is that the world is founded in God, i.e., that God is creator of the world. This is what has to be explained in some detail. Man really and intellectively accesses God, as I have shown elsewhere, not the Triune God, but God in general, as the one God by a way I call the way of transcendence. It starts from the world and from that world it departs to reach a transcendent terminus, which is God1. Now we have to traverse the way of transcendence not only in a different direction (which is obvious), but also with a characteristic all its own. In the same manner that the way of transcendence leads to a God transcendent to the world, analogously, the concept of creation is a concept that opens a way where the terminus is a world transcendent to God. Not only is God transcendent to the world, but the world is transcendent to God. This is what, in a somewhat vague fashion needing explanation, we call creation. Therefore, we must ask the following. § 1. What do we mean by creation? § 2. Is creation a univocal concept or are there different modes of creation from the part of God? It would seem fitting that theology should have taken account of this. {151} § 1 WHAT IS CREATION? In the previous chapter I pointed out that every reality, by the mere fact of being real and by its own characteristic of reality is active not only in itself, which is quite evident, but in addition by itself. Ostensibly the activity is not different from reality. Reality is formally, and qua reality, active by itself. Therefore, reality is formally and constitutively a “giving of itself”. In the case of God this giving of itself is eminent, mysterious, and supreme. It is the giving of Himself in the form of the Trinitarian processions. Of course, this is not what occurs in creation. But in creation there is a strict giving of itself. God gives of Himself the reality of what is not He, and that is precisely the world. What is to give of itself? At first glance it would appear that to give of itself consists in what ordinary people say (not only ordinary people, but also even the Old Testament) that God “makes” the world. Is this concept of God as maker of the world sufficient? Certainly not. God is more than the maker of the world. Because the world can be made in many ways. At any rate, the question clearly involves making the world. We shall immediately see that the Yahwist account of creation (Gn 2:4b ff.) is based precisely on the idea of making (Hb. ‘asah), “God Yahweh made” (Gn 2:4). Quite different and apparently more profound, but in the end purely chimerical, is the concept of creation held by the gnosis and all the emanations of antiquity. For them creation, the making, would be probolé, that God throws out of Himself {153} a portion of His own reality so that with it the world may be constituted. Needless to say the Church reacted vigorously against this idea of probolé, which has not survived outside Gnosticism except in certain forms more or less vague of metaphysical pantheism. Creation is not a mere making, but also it is not a probolé, an emanation. It is not an action, and it is not an emanation, but it is a rigorous creation, i.e., an action that establishes a reality transcendent to God, who is the one that performs the creative act. And as usual when someone produces something, that something did not exist previously. It is a creation ex nihilo sui, as the theologians would say. But in addition they would say ex nihilo subjecti. Because all actions, as sublime as they might be, which man performs with a creative characteristic are actions performed upon a previous subject; expressed in common language, upon previous materials. Hence, God not only performs the act of creation from Himself without probolé or without any alteration, but in addition produces something, which is not Him, an otherness, for which there is no prior reality outside the very action of God. An action, which constitutes an otherness without any alteration: that is the formal definition I would propose for creation. The creation of a world transcendent to God means that a reality (an otherness) is established without any alteration, neither from the part of the reality, which performs it (God is not a subject), nor from the part of the terminus brought forth. [And creation has two moments. In the first place, the terminus of the creative act is precisely the real, insofar as it is real. That is to say reality qua reality. And we refer to this reality as a reality other than God. Because, in the second place, this otherness is an otherness, which is not made departing from any departing point. And this action, in addition, {154} does not involve any alteration on the part of God. Hence, this otherness of the real without alteration is what we actually call a production of the real insofar as real, and that is in what creation consists.]2 However, this is what we must analyze more concretely. Because, against all appearances, creation is not an abstraction made for metaphysicians, but something supremely concrete. We have to ask two questions. I. In the first place, What is the formal characteristic, in itself, of what we call the creative act of God? II. And, in second place, let us venture into what we might call, although the term is quite fashionable these days, the structure of the creative act. I. The formal characteristic of the creative act In the first place, In what does the creative act consist in itself? Of course, since God is an absolutely absolute reality, He is not only a real thing, but is the reality in the most intrinsic and fullest sense of the term. This means that the transcendence of His terminus, the otherness he has established, is the otherness of the real insofar as real. This is what formally constitutes creation. It is precisely the establishment of the otherness of the real insofar as real, without any alteration of the reality that establishes it. This is what the common saying expresses by saying that God makes things “out of nothing”. A completely equivocal term or expression because nothing, by the fact of being nothing, does not {155} even have a “from”. What it wishes to expresses is simply that there is no prior subject, something generally well known. With creation from nothing the horizon of thought has changed completely. Until now thinking had moved in a reality that first had one form and then had another; that can make new things, but makes them by changing what they previously were. Now, on the other hand, a completely new horizon suddenly appears. From this point of view the first thing a theologian will think is that whatever the world may actually be, what has to be recognized first is that it was possible for it not to have been brought into existence3. To the horizon of motion, which constitutes Greek reason is here juxtaposed (I use the term “juxtaposed” in an external, but important manner) the horizon of nihilism, the horizon of creation and nihilism. A most serious task and full of complications. Because from the moment in which this horizon of nihilism has been established and juxtaposed to the horizon of Greek reason, which looks at things from the point of view of motion, i.e., from what they are now and were not before, it then appears that nothingness is precisely not-being. That things are precisely entities. And then that God, who makes them, is the subsisting Being. However, it seems to me that these three observations are completely false. This is what I have called the entification of reality. Reality is a reality that did not exist before, a reality {156} that is established by the reality of God, who is the absolute and full reality. This is all absolutely true. But it is a nihilum of reality, not a nihilum of being. And to have identified being with reality (the entification of reality) has been precisely the great task that has given birth (and in which it has been moving through successive stages) to the whole of western metaphysics. Reality cannot be entified neither from the part of the reality we see, finite reality, because prior to being there is reality (being is a subsequent act of the real4), nor from the part of God who is beyond being. Creation, viewed from this point of view, is something supremely concrete. And precisely because it is something supremely concrete, we must not be distracted by what is said when we refer to God as creator. We can say that God is creator and expand on the ideas I have just presented in an apparently rough and unfinished way, or it can be done with perfectly adjusted metaphysical concepts. In both cases it is necessary to formally distinguish between what is said and what is ultimately meant to be said. And what is meant to be said is exactly the same, whether it is affirmed that God has formed man from the dust of the Earth or whether it is affirmed that creation is to establish the other without alteration of the creator. What I have just said is an allusion to the Biblical account of creation. And this Biblical account is full of concepts, images, and reflections that no one would accept today. No doubt. On the other hand, what it means to say is purely and simply what can be said, is wished to be said, and is actually said by the most expert theologian. {157} The fact is that the Bible does not have one creation account, but two. That is the problem. These two Biblical accounts certainly come from two authors, and in addition they are written four or five centuries apart. The oldest one is the Yahwist account (Gn 2:4b ff.) written approximately during the time of Solomon, therefore towards the X century B.C. The first chapter of Genesis, better known, is written by the author of the so-called priestly code, written around the time of the captivity, approximately in the VI century B.C. They are evidently two sources, as it is well known. But the fact that a redactor has conflated the sources into a more or less continuous account involves, from my point of view, a more serious problem. Because the Yahwist account of creation presents God as a maker. But the source of the first chapter takes a further step, and presents God as creator. That is what we covered in the history of monotheism5. During the time of the monarchy Yahweh appears as the one only God because He is the one that has made the world facing all the astral religions, and all the gods of the surrounding empires. But only in the time of the Maccabees, as a consequence of a priestly reflection that stems from the exilic era there appears the expression oúk ex ónton epoíesen autá ho Theós (“God did not make them out of existing things“) (2 Mc 7:28). God is not simply maker, but maker in a concrete manner, from nothing. This internal evolution of the concept of God is essential to our problem. A) It will suffice to review the successive steps of these two creation accounts. Let us begin with the oldest, the Yahwist account, which presents God as maker. Maker of what? Of everything. The account begins with a temporal phrase: {158} “when Yahweh ’Elohim made the heavens and the earth...”. It is an expression that means everything; it refers to the totality of the real as known by a man of that time. “The heavens and the earth” is the most common expression to refer to everything there is. Here surfaces not only Yahweh, but Yahweh ’Elohim. This has always been a problem to exegetes. Why juxtapose here the name of ’Elohim, which is the God of the Patriarchs and later the name of God in the first chapter of the priestly code, with the name of Yahweh, which is the name of God installed by the religion of Moses, and the name par excellence of the whole Israelite religion? It has been said that it is probably a case of trying to identify the Yahwist with the Elohist traditions. Certainly, this is not the only place where this happens in the Old Testament, but it has always made me reflect. Sometimes, the idea has occurred to me, while thinking about the name of Jacob, that the case might be different. This name appears in its oldest form in cuneiform texts discovered in Mesopotamia a few years ago, as Ia-ah-qú-ub-’El, which probably means “God has protected me”. Here the term ’El appears, which has been omitted afterwards. One wonders if in Gn 2:4 we might have had originally the oldest version of the name of Yahweh, ’El-Yahweh, Yahweh is God or God is Yahweh, and that is what would have facilitated the conversion of ’El into ’Elohim, and the nominal identification of Yahweh with the ’Elohim of the Patriarchs and the priestly code. We are told this Yahweh ’Elohim is maker, using the verb ’asah, which in Hebrew means “to make” in the most common sense of the term. God is maker of everything. However, what He makes has a second moment with which the priestly text will coincide. God makes a terminus, which is not too desirable and needs further {159} interventions by God. The world, as it has appeared in a first creative act from the hands of God, is simply something not viable. The very text tells us that when such a world was created there was no grass because there was no rain (Gn 2:5). A terrible history, total drought, it is the vision a man from the steppes has of creation. Not only is there no grass, but there is no man to cultivate the fields. This leads to the inexorable necessity that after the production of something totally not viable, several distinct acts of creation must follow to make it viable. And here these acts of creation are four, concretely and in succession. 1) The first thing He makes is man, provided not with a body and soul (as it is usually mentioned), but with body and life, something quite different. Let us not confuse the species, as the medieval logicians said. 2) Afterwards, in a second act, He creates an enclosed demarcated territory. The Septuagint called it parádeisos, ’edæn the Hebrew text says (cf. Gn 2:8). This is the paradisiac state. These men imagined that what comes out of the hand of God not only is good, but in addition is paradisiac. It is the case of a purely imaginative conception. 3) This paradise is full of those things that constitute the paradise of every nomad lost in the desert, trees and water. Four rivers difficult to identify by name spring out like fountains and trees, etc. God makes man give names to these realities. The name for a primitive man is precisely the possession of the nature of things. For man to give adequate names to all these realities means more or less that he exercises dominion over all of them. 4) But this man is alone. Then come the famous dream of Adam and the creation of Eve from one of his ribs, a {160} purely symbolic thing, which has had thousands of interpretations, which we do not need to remember at this moment. In such fashion, creation is the production on the part of God of something that in the beginning is not viable, and through posterior interventions becomes viable thanks to the presence of man and thanks to the presence of humidity and the fertility of the land. Before commenting on this we need to turn to the priestly text. ________________ 1 Zubiri refers here to the first part of the 1971 seminar, the fundamental contents of which correspond to what was published in Man and God (El hombre y Dios). 2 The text between square brackets comes from another section of the same 1971 seminar. 3 Of course, this is a completely alien idea to the Greek world. However, this idea was able to absorb a good portion of Greek thought thanks to the idea of Logos expressed in the New Testament, according to which (as we shall see) creation is made by one word. And in this Logos there was precisely the possibility to introduce Greek thought, with greater or lesser fortune, within the horizon of creation. This presented a great risk, which from my point of view has constituted one of the great limitations of western metaphysics, which is to interpret reality as if it were being, i.e., to entify the reality of things and God, who is called subsisting Being (Xavier Zubiri note). 4 Later on Zubiri will refer to being as “subsequent actuality” of the real, and not as subsequent act, cf. “La dimensión histórica del ser humano” (The historical dimension of the human being), in Realitas I, Madrid, 1974, p. 16. 5 Cf. X. Zubiri, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions, op. cit., pp. 222-224. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 3 (160-174) --------------- {160} (cont’d) B) In the priestly text we are also told the same thing, “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gn 1:1). The totality appears exactly as in the Yahwist text. However, the verb used here is different. That is the question. While the Yahwist text uses the verb ’asah, “to make”, here the verb used is bara’, which may etymologically mean “to make”, except that in the Old Testament it is only applied to God exclusively. It means “to create”. This involves, of course, an evolution of the very concept of God and an evolution, above all, of what we call “creation”. It no longer is a simple making, but something else. The Yahwist text says that God, like a potter, has modeled man “from clay of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gn 2:7). On the other hand, it is not a question here of a potter who proceeds to model a figure. It is the case of something quite different. That with just one word God produces what He says. Now we have a God not only maker, but also creator. What does He create first? Alas, it is not a viable world. It is something much worse, a chaotic reality. The Biblical text says, “The Earth was chaos and confusion and darkness covering the abyss, and the spirit of God fluttered over the waters” (Gn 1:2). This idea of chaos is expressed in three {161} clear and successive concepts. In the first place, the havoc, what we call the chaos, a kind of dust in turmoil, and they call this tohu wabohu. The expression still survives in French, le tohu-bohu. In the second place, the idea of the darkness. The lack of differentiation of anything that might be a concrete and distinct reality. And in third place it says, “the spirit of God fluttered over the waters”. The ancients believed that at the base of the world there was what they called the abyss, the Babylonian Tiamat, which is the Abzu, and over this the Earth was floating. These are three important concepts. 1) In the first place, the concept of this kind of dust, the tohu-bohu, which is even etymologically, the semantic and conceptual reflection of what the Babylonian Tiamat was. The priestly code is written when the Iranian civilization is pressing over Babylon. 2) Thus, for the Iranians the great problem was precisely the light and darkness. The Iranian dualism begins here. Even Isaiah, still influenced by the priestly scribes and by the previous prophetic preaching will put in the mouth of Yahweh precisely this phrase, “I am the one who made the light and created the darkness” (Is 45:7). Facing the Iranian dualism there is a total and radical affirmation of the act and the creator, of the one only God. 3) In the third place, we are told that “the spirit of God merajæfæt upon the waters”. The verb rajaf means to move itself. Upon this movement of the verb rajaf there has been much speculation. Obviously, one cannot but recall that in the ancient cosmogonies the world has been born from a kind of great cosmic egg. Then the verb rajaf could mean the movement of an eagle flapping its wings and moving to defend its chicks and incubate reality, precisely from itself. Rajaf would mean this movement. It is not the only thing we might think. We could think that ruaj does not {162} mean precisely “spirit”, but what spirit meant for many of the ancients, that it was purely and simply the wind of God, the great storm. And here in that case the chaos would be expressed by the great storm that puts the waters in commotion and adds itself to the turmoil of the dust of the tohu-bohu, and the darkness. We can immediately recognize there is no syncretism in all of this, as I have explained somewhere else1. It is not the case of having taken a few notions from here and there. From the time of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, until the moment of the literary fixation of the first chapter of Genesis, Israel has been able to learn about all the cosmogonies that have surfaced in Mesopotamia. And what are these cosmogonies going to talk about but of heaven, earth, chaos, light, etc.? They are notions, which were commonly current, and made the rounds of the whole Mesopotamian civilization, eventually being appropriated by the author (or authors) of the priestly code. But (here is the difference) he took them, not to add them up, but just the opposite, to give them a new sense from his idea of God. It is anything but a syncretism. It is the way by which the idea of the reality of God that man has, is forced to expand into all the rich possibilities that constitute its fullness. God appears as creator of the cosmos precisely in what it has of material and earthly chaos, in what it has of darkness, and in what it has of waters. Hence, creation has to continue precisely to cease being chaotic, in order for this chaotic reality to change into something that in Greek has a precise name, the kósmos. Something organized. And here begin the days of creation, which is the first thing that is usually thought about, as if the first three versicles did not matter, when they are the ones that provide the key {163} to the whole affair. And that is precisely the cosmos, an ordering through creation. Indeed, this creative intervention to make a cosmos from the chaos is expressed in the Hebrew text with a very precise verb, the verb badal, which means to separate. The important thing is that this separation, as the creation of chaos, is owed purely and simply to one word, the word of God, dabar ’Elohim. And this word of God has a consequence, and is so efficacious that what it does is precisely what it wishes to do. In this sense it says, ki tov, “it is good” (Gn 1:4). The exposition of the seven days of creation tells us what kind of separation it is. In the first place, it is the case of a separation of the great regions that compose the cosmos. That is the work of the first three days of creation. On the first day it separates the light from the darkness. Facing the dark chaos there is an intervention of God. According to the Biblical text, “God said, be light made, and light was made” (Gn 1:3). The text says that He saw the light “was good” (Gn 1:4). It adds, “separated the light from the darkness”. Here we find the verb badal, “to separate”. One may wonder how is it possible for these ancient men to think that God has created the light before creating the stars. The fact is that these ancient men did not believe it was something that depended only on the stars. Not at all, the ancients thought that light was a reality all by itself. We have quite a direct apprehension of this at dawn when we have light and still there is no sun. From this the ancient world starts. On the second day there is a different separation. By the creation of a dome, believed to be metallic, ancient man has separated some waters above the firmament, which are the ones that will constitute the rain and the origin of the rivers, and the oceans, from the other waters, which are located precisely in the depth {164} of the abyss. This dome is precisely what in antiquity was called firmamentum, something that is firm and solid. We shall leave aside the fact that they believed this dome was resting upon four columns. This has no bearing on the case. It separates the waters of the heavens from the waters of the Earth (cf. Gn 1:60-8). On the third day we have the separation to one side of the firm land and to the other the waters of the seas. No longer the waters above the heavens and the waters under the Earth, but the waters that compose the oceans and the seas. From these the Biblical text says they were the ones that produced the first trees and the first vegetables (cf. Gn 1:9-13). It should be pointed out that for an ancient Israelite vegetables are not living beings. It is important to remember this. Certainly the land produces vegetation, and this is not alien to an Israelite. But for a Hebrew vegetables are not living beings. Here we have the constitution of three great regions. The constitution of the ethereal region, light. The constitution of the firmament with the waters that are above and below it. And the constitution of the region of lands and seas. These are the three great regions or the three great boundaries that compose the regions of the cosmos, and are the first terminus of creation. Nevertheless, creation does not completely annul the chaos of matter, nor does it completely annul the darkness. We read that God separated light from darkness, and called the darkness night and the light day (cf. Gn 1:4-5). Obviously, he has not annulled them. Neither does he annul the stormy characteristic of the waters. Then, in what can that creation consist? From my point of view, these are precisely the anti-cosmic forces and powers, which are there subjacent to creation, and are dominated by the God that has created them, but whose action is permitted {165} within the bounds set by the creating God. Some connection appears to exist between this idea of the anti-cosmic forces and the idea of St. Paul that the entire material creation groans pining for a trasfiguration (cf. Rm 8:19-22). At least, that is how I view the problem. But the creative action has not simply created the regions of the universe. Has also created the things that populate those regions. On the fourth day He has created what populates the region of light, the celestial bodies, especially the sun and the moon. That is an afirmation of supreme importance to the Israelites, engulfed in a civilization essentially of celestial bodies, and an astral religion with the divinities of the sun, the moon, the stars, of Sirius and its constellation, etc. The author of the priestly code, doing as he did with the Tiamat, and with the darkness of Iran does not reduce all this to nothingness, but reasumes it to indicate the creative and supreme characteristic of God. God has created the celestial bodies to provide us with light, and not simply to provide gods to be adored by man. On the fifth day God populates the region of the waters and the air. The region of the waters with fishes, naturally. There we find a long list, which begins with sea monsters and runs to the small fishes. Israel had memory of monsters and dragons. In other passages of the old Testament (Ps 148:7; Jb 7:12) these dragons appear, the taninim. On the other side, the birds appear populating the air (cf. Gn 1:20-23). On the sixth day there is a different separation, this one only on land. On the one hand appear the animals that walk on land. On the other (we shall see this immediately) man appears. Inasmuch for what concerns the vegetation and the animals, the author of the priestly code has kept in mind the idea of the mother-goddess, {166} Mother-Earth, that produces the fertility of life and the separation of things. Of course, he remembers what the ba’als were in Canaan and reabsorbes that notion in the idea of a transcendent and creative God. Facing all this the text tells us, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gn 1:26). Let us put aside the problems the verb presents; what concerns us now is the term sælæm, image. It must not be taken in an exaggerated transcendent sense. God has simply created man and woman (no mention of the rib here) with the direct and explicit order, “be fertile and multiply” (Gn 1:28), much earlier than the original sin, which has nothing to do with this history of the conjugal union. Here the author of the priestly text has kept in mind the two ideas that most horrified an Israelite. In the first place, hierogamy, to think that the world was born from the copulation of gods and human realities. It only appears in the Bible in an old and legendary text at the beginning of the account of the deluge (cf. Gn 6:1-4), that has no bearing on this case. The priestly text, much later than this account, rejects hierogamy. And also rejects, in second place, the religious practice that keeps alive and maintains the idea of hierogamy as reproduction and reactualization of creation. Precisely the sacred prostitution of the qedešot, the “sacred prostitutes” of the temples. C) These are the two creation accounts, quite different from each other. [Nevertheless, even with all the difference of mentalities between the Yahwist and the priestly separated by four centuries, and also between them and us, however, what they both wish to say about God in their intellectual conception of things, is absolutely identical to what the most polished system of our metaphysical concepts can or may say about {167} God. In the end, it is reduced to one single thing, the transcendence of God, expressed in three dimensions2]. 1) In the first place, they have in common that they refer to the totality of the real. Both begin by saying, “the heavens and the earth”. And the creation as principle of all reality is creation ex nihilo, creation oúk ex ónton (2 Mc 7:28). 2) In the second place, it is a creation beyond time. The priestly text ends by saying that “He rested on the seventh say” (Gn 2:2). This is an allusion to the sabbatical rest. Whatever may be the origin of this sabbatical rest in the priestly text, what is evidently certain, is that the division into days of the week is made in order to reach the day of sabbatical rest. Even though some present theologian or exegete may disagree with this opinion I see no sufficient reason to do so. It is the case that the seven days end with the Sabbath. Therefore, this is strictly and specifically a religious account. Israel never had a New Year celebration, as the Babylonians had, for example, with the feast of the bit-akitu. But Israel sees in creation the first act of the life of God upon the whole of reality, which is precisely to have created it. Because of this, the beginning of history in the priestly text is different than the beginning of history of the Yahwist text. In the Yahwist text history follows immediately. It is the expulsion from paradise because of the original sin. And it is a precise history. The priestly text, on the other hand, ends by saying “these are the generations of the heavens and the earth, when God created them” (Gn 2:4). Here we encounter the term toledot, “generations”. Quite appropriately the expert orientalists have translated this as “genesis”. But the term “genesis” clouds the understanding of something important I would like to {168} maintain in this case, the idea of generations, which later appears (it is an expression belonging to the priestly source) in the rest of Genesis, these are the generations of Adam (cf. Gn 5:1), of Noah (cf. Gn 10:1), of Shem (cf. Gn 11:1), of Ishmael (cf. Gn 25:12), etc. It is the case of an erudite history, which is being told by generations. And these generations are strictly such. Does this mean that for the priestly text God is the generator of the world? Certainly not. But there is no doubt that the idea of generation is the mental scheme with which the phantasmic thinking of these men has conceived causality, as I mentioned elsewhere3. That is what occurs in Gn 2:4. In a manner as rudimentary as anyone may think, but no more or less certain than ours with all our metaphysical and theological constructions of every type, what is expressed here is something supremely clear and apprehensible, the transcendence of God. The transcendence of God, whether called Yahweh or Yahweh ’Elohim (it makes no difference here), in the first place, has produced things purely and simply oúk ex ónton (2 Mc 7:28). And precisely in this type of transcendence consists what I called the transcendence of the world. Because, in second place, that reality has been produced at the start of everything, “in the beginning (bere’šit) God created the heavens and the earth” (Gn 1:1). On numerous occasions I have thought, and properly so, that there is a deliberate parallelism with that phrase when the Gospel of St. John begins, “In the beginning (en arché) was the Word” (Jn 1:1). Yes, but with a difference, while the beginning of Genesis is a beginning of time, the other arché is not a beginning of time, but the beginning of an immersion in the very eternity of God. Be that as it may, there is in Gn 1:1 that particular concept of the transcendent beginning of time. {169} Transcendent because there is no reality upon which God would have any support to produce things. Transcendent, because He is anterior to the whole time of creation, and above all (this is the positive point) transcendent, because He does it only by His word. That is the third aspect. 3) God is a dominating principle; He dominates precisely by the mere fact of His word, by His dabar (Hb.), by His lógos, without any struggle between God and any elements of the chaos, as it happens in the cosmogonies of the surrounding peoples. God does not create by any particular special action, but only by His word, “be light made, and light was made”4 (Sp.haya luz y hubo luz) (Gn 1:3). It is important to use that translation, which is the exact one, precisely to avoid the false entification of reality, that the light “be”. The concept of being does not appear there at all, “be light made, and light was made”. The rest is left to metaphysicians. For this reason the first apologists called it Logos, taking the expression from St. John. Certainly, but the lógos prophorikós, the uttered logos, quite different from the lógos endiáthetos, the immanent logos in which God says to himself what He is and constitutes His second Trinitarian procession. The idea of this creation by the word appears all along the Bible. In the Old Testament, in several Psalms (cf. Ps 33:3; 148:5; etc.). In the New Testament it appears in several passages (cf. 2 Pt 3:5), especially in the Epistle to the Romans (cf. Rm 4:17). The first chapter of the Gospel of St. John says that everything was created by the Word (cf. Jn 1:3). For the New Testament the idea of creation is built on the very Trinitarian structure of God (1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:15-20; Eph 1:4-5; Hb 1:1-8; Jn 1:1-8). The word will be a lógos prophorikós, but it is the uttered logos of something that is precisely the real truth of God, and is precisely {170} the very reality of the Son. As we shall see further on, creation is the creation of things by the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. But what the whole of reality can be is, precisely in its truth, that which constitutes the very reality of the Son, who is the Truth. And in the Holy Spirit it is the actualization of the identity of that which is true with what reality is. From creation intellectually conceived this way is how we must understand the Christian God in his relationship with the world. Certainly, the Trinitarian life we examined in the previous chapter is the most important thing we must say about God, but that which has to be said Trinitarially about God is revealed precisely to fundament our life, and consequently our knowledge of God. In the end, regardless how we approach the question, about God we do not know His reality, nor anything about what He is, except as creator. However, this requires a marginal comentary. There has always been a tendency, rather dull from my point of view (it has had twenty centuries of theological tradition), of never assigning to God any other proper attributes except intelligence and will. The rest of the attributes are relative to creation, like the immensity, to be present everywhere (if there were no parts and no space, He would not be immense and could not be everywhere), etc. But the attribution to God of other purely mental attributes, for example, the sentimensts, the passions, has been carefully guarded by saying they are only anthropomorphisms. But one can ask if it is not equally anthropomorphic to attribute to God intelligence and will, because after all the intelligence and will of God do not resemble the intelligence and will of man at all. It will be said they are analogical. The scholastics are experts on {171} these distinctions. But before we proceed to discuss what I think of that analogy, what must be noted first above all is that if God has intelligence and will it is not because men think that is the most important thing that can exist in reality. No. I have already explained why. God is an absolutely absolute reality, and therefore his-own. And nothing can be absolutely his-own if it is not precisely an open essence that possesses itself in intellection and will. The deduction of intelligence and will is made from the absolute characteristic of his-ownness and not the reverse5. Then, what can we say about those attributes called anthropomorphic? Certainly, in that case the analogy consists in saying that the same reality (the very concept of analogy) is realized in different forms. Yes, but these forms resemble the human form so little that the analogy remains quite remote. Take the subject of the sentiments and the passions. It is clearly true that one cannot think of God as a person that becomes angry, sad, and happy. We cannot also think of God as a person that makes decisions. That is absurd. God does not assume attitudes, not even decisions. That is also anthropomorphism. We slide easily over that anthropomorphic characteristic of decisions, and on the other hand, we charge against this aspect of the sentiments. Now, we may well ask whether the Biblical text contains expressions of this type. Quite at the beginning of the account of the deluge, after saying that the human species had become corrupt on Earth, God says according to the text, “for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Gn 6:7). Here the verb najam, “to repent”, appears. What is the sense of this repentance? {172} Is this the repentance of a person who changes opinion? Clearly, He does not change opinion. Let us remember that the reality of God is a simple physical reality and all the distinctions we make about Him, including intelligence and will, we make from our perspective of created humans. Naturally, by convergence, we must conceive that in some manner what we call intelligence on the one hand, or will on the other, are aspects of a most simple unfathomable reality, which is at the same time intelligence and will. Of course, we may ask if the same thing can be done with the sentiments. What in us is terminatively something we call anger or repentance can also be made to converge, by way of simplicity, into that physical act of unfathomable simplicity, which constitutes the reality of God. In that case, from my point of view, it would not be purely and simply an anthropomorphism, it would be a case for a more integral vision of what a personal life is. II. The structure of the creative act To create is formally an action of the transcendent God in the triple sense I have just indicated. However, that is creation insofar as creation from God regardless of the reality created. But one can ask, What has God wished to create? What is its real characteristic? Anticipating its justification with what will follow, I would say now that what creation provides and what God has formally wished is the molding ad extra of His own Trinitarian life. Taken absolutely and from any perspective we may wish to take. Of course, we can ask, What do trees have to do with {173} the Trinitarian life? We shall see that further on. At any rate, it is a strict molding of the Trinitarian life. Here we come across one of the marvelous interferences between Greek philosophy and Biblical revelation. The idea that all existing things have a nature, are natural, and anything else is supernatural. And, as far as we know, neither trees nor celestial bodies have anything supernatural. Presenting the issue from that point of view, it is absolutely true. But one has the right, at least, to formulate the question, Is the concept of supernatural true? Is it not perhaps that the natural is a kind of concretion of the supernatural? In that case there would not be supernaturality; the only thing that we would have is precisely the finite way of having divine life without being God. What we call nature is only the essential finitude with which Trinitarian life is realized ad extra. It is not the case that the supernatural life is something added. One can always say, I have been given a nature, and in addition I have been given something supernatural, which I have been told is gratuitously given, and if I do not want it will result in my eternal condemnation. I have not asked for any gifts. All this is irrefutable. Hence, the point of departure is the denial of the supposition that it constitutes an addition. Perhaps the case is just the opposite, that what we called nature is the finite contraction of what the Trinitarian life is. The only terminus, which adequately and really God has proposed to create ad extra. Creation would be the molding of His own Trinitarian life. In that case we would find that the Trinity as processional reality gives of itself (because reality is essentially, constitutively, and formally active), in the first place, an essence, as we have seen. The Father as absolutely absolute reality has an essence, which is the open essence, and in the personal perichóresis (circulation) of the three persons the very essence of what I call the divine essence is constituted. The “what” of God qua pure act {174} is a result of the Trinitarian life and not a principle of it. Here we have, in second place, the same situation, or at least a homologous situation. In God, as active constitutive essence, there is, in addition to the Trinitarian processions, a different procession. The procession of producing reality, i.e., his own Trinity, his own Trinitarian life ad extra, as different from God. Certainly, this Trinitarian life does not realize itself in a finite form in His own internal essence. But it is strictly and formally speaking a procession. In God not only are distinguished the intelligence, the will, and the sentiments, which converge in their simplicity, but also converge in their processional simplicity, the internal processions and the procession ad extra. It is the molding ad extra of his own Trinitarian life. In that case, the world and all the transcendence of the world precisely consist in being the transcendent precipitate of an immanent and vital procession, because the procession of creation is immanent and vital. This, instead of clarifying the question, seems to complicate it. Three questions are activated, which we shall have to answer successively. A) What is that procession ad extra from the part of God? B) What is that procession ad extra by reason of its terminus; what is the world insofar as being the result of that procession? C) And, combining these two dimensions, in what does it consist, finally, the internal and effective structure of creation? ________________ 1 Cf. X. Zubiri, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions, op. cit., pp. 170-174. 2 The text between square brackets comes from another section of the same 1971 seminar. 3 Cf. X. Zubiri, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions, pp. 126-129. 4 Challoner-Douay-Rheims Bible, John Murphy Co., Baltimore, Md., 1899. 5 Cf. X. Zubiri, Man and God, op. cit., pp 168-171. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 3 (174-187) --------------- {174} (cont’d) A) What is creation from the part of God? What creation may be from the part of God is reduced, from my point of view, to three fundamental concepts each one founded on the previous. {175} In the first place, creation has a formally processional characteristic; it is a vital act of God. Theology has denied many times the vital characteristic of the creative act. The creative act is a formally vital act, which belongs to that activity in which the reality of God as a giving of Himself consists, the processionality, the ekpóreusis. In the second place, the creative action is an ecstatic action; it places outside of God something that is not God. And in third place, it is not only ecstatic, but in that ecstasy it is possible to express an internal characteristic of the reality that God is, His own infinitude. Processionality, ecstasy, and infinitude are the three concepts, which from my point of view define the type of creative act from the part of God. What are these three moments? That is the question. I. In the first place, the vital characteristic of the creative act. It is an act that in one form or another belongs to the activity in which God consists. This activity insofar as plenary and absolute reality is formally processional. The creative act is processio, a procession. However, it is not a Trinitarian procession. That is where the question begins. 1) We considered while discussing the Trinity that the Father is the fountain, the arché, and the principle of the whole Trinitarian reality. In the end what monotheism has of mónos, in the sense of an arch-mónos or first principle, comes from the Father and not from the divine essence as Latin theology thought. But, actually, we have to take into account the personal reality; the unity of the Trinity comes precisely from the Father. In the Son we have a second his-ownness that is the real truth of what the Father is. And in the Holy Spirit we have the ratification, by way of identity, between what that truth is and what reality is. It is the Spirit of Truth. {176} This has supreme importance in our endeavor. It is true that creation proceeds from the ecstatic characteristic of the reality that God is, and from some internal qualities of infinitude that God has. However, in a certain way, what mobilizes (sit venia verbo) the divine essence to be creative is the very characteristic that this essence has, insofar as actual, in the three divine persons. That is what is distinctive. God does not create as if he were not Triune. That is absurd. The Father as principle of the Trinity is also radical and personal principle of everything that is not God himself. And in this sense the divine essence, insofar as belonging to the Father as his very his-ownness, is that to which creation has to be referred in the last instance. But only in the last instance. One friend of mine, Abbot of Silos, used to say that after his death he would present “amiable objections” to the eternal Father. I would present “amiable questions”. Because, What is it actually that an infinite essence (God) can create? The answer is that it can create an infinity of possible things, which can in one form or another emerge from what is the unfathomable richness of the divine esence. And so, the veritative actuality of all these dimensions is precisely the real truth of the Father, i.e., the person of the Son. Consequently the Father creates, but formally through the Son. It is precisely the expression of St. Paul and St. John, everything has been created by Him, by the Word (cf. 1 Co 8:6; Jn 1:3). Creation is the work of the Father through the Word. The Father has created through the Word, but that creation has to be put into action. And the action of that creation is rooted precisely in that which constitutes the pure act in which the divine reality consists, namely, the Holy Spirit itself. Creation is a kind of mobilization of the divine essence for the procession of creatures ad extra of the Father through the {177} Son in the Holy Spirit. Creation has a formally Trinitarian structure. This procession ad extra has a profound homology with what the Trinitarian processions are. When dealing with the Trinity I insisted that the constitution of the divine essence itself as a pure act is the precipitate (sit venia verbo) of the personal processions in which the Trinity as such consists. It is not a point of departure, but the precipitate of the very processional and personal life of God. In the end, God as reality, as pure act, that which answers to the question of “what” is God, is constituted as precipitate of the three “who’s”, which in a respective unity constitute the Trinitarian life of God. However, that is not the case of the world. But the world is certainly the transcendent precipitate of an immanent vital process from the part of God. Inasmuch as the Trinitarian processions are processions within the depths of God, they decant this reality, which the reality of God is. Inasmuch as there is a procession, which produces things ad extra, this Trinitarian procession decants in one form or the other the reality of things, the essence of all of them outside God. Just as in the Trinitarian processions the infinite essence of God is constituted, also that way in the creative procession the finite essence of things is constituted. In the end, it is the case that the divine essence is not what things are, but rather that the very finite essence of created things realizes ad extra, in one form or another, a procession in God. The whole problem now is to indicate what this procession is. Here is where the difficulties begin. a) In the first place, this procession is the procession of an otherness. It consists in producing a thing other than God, something that does not occur in the Trinitarian processions. If that were so, it would be {178} an absurd tritheism. The case here is that it may produce something that is not God. It is a procession of otherness, and therefore, it cannot be the very generating procession by which the Father engenders the Son, or the spiring procession by which the Holy Spirit is spired by the Father and the Son in a reversion of identity to the very reality of God. If it were so it would be an enormous pantheism. This is what Hegel thought with all his dialectic power, which also incorporated its extreme weakness and greatest error. The procession of otherness is not generating or spiring. It is something that can be called an initiating procession. A procession in which nothing is generated and nothing is spired, but a reality is initiated. In other words, creation is an initiative of God. The Biblical text itself gives us the ground to think this way. It says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gn 1:26). It is precisely the very expression of the act of initiation by God. In God, besides the two immanent processions, the generating and the spiring, there is a transcending procession, the initiating one. b) This procession is absolutely essential. It is not the case that God essentially had to create the world. What is true is that it is absolutely essential for God to have been able to create it even if He had not created it. Otherwise, He would not be God. With the same necessity or at least with the same unquestionableness that God has Trinitarian processions He also has creative capacity, with or without activating it. Creation is not only an essential procession in God, but this essential procession has a special characteristic. Clearly, God might have not created, but even if He does not it is essential to God because it is founded on the Trinitarian processions. It is a procession that is transcendent, but as act it is certainly immanent. It is an act proper to the divine life, which is founded precisely in what He is as constituted {179) by the Trinitarian processions. In other words, the procession of otherness, insofar as it is initiating is, not constitutively, but intrinsically and essentially a consequence of the very reality of God. 2) Of course, now we immediately have a second question. Creation is a procession of otherness insofar as initiating, as long as we are told in what that divine initiation consists. We should have thought of this. It is not the case that theology has not thought of many of the things I am going to mention. But one thing is to think the theology in terms of causality, and another to think it in terms of initiative. The question is more than nominal. a) In the first place, it would be absurd to think that God takes initiatives. That is absurd. God does not take initiatives at all. Neither in the order of redemption, nor in the order of justification, nor in any other order of action at all. God does not take anything, how would He? If God were to take, where would He take from? From what was not? Then, where is the divine simplicity? It is useless to follow this line of thought. Clearly, God does not take divine initiatives. God does not take initiatives. However, He does have initiatives, which is a different matter. God has initiatives; He is initiator and initiating without His initiative being taken by Him. If we eliminate what a human action has of performed action, and pay attention only to the activity by virtue of which something is initiated, this would be what in an analogous manner we would have to say about God. It is the only way we can think about God, i.e., by starting from ourselves and creation. Therefore, it is the case of an authentic divine initiative. An initiative that is initiating through that in which it consists, i.e., in being activity, in the giving of itself. God insofar as giving of Himself in this procession ad extra is precisely initiator and initiating. The divine initiative is not a taken initiative, {180} but an initiative that consists precisely in the active characteristic, which as absolutely plenary reality fits God, i.e., in His intrinsic, total, and plenary giving of Himself. God, therefore, does not take initiatives, but has initiatives in this sense, where having initiatives means to be initiator and initiating. This does nothing but constitute the first difficulty we have in this problem. b) The second and internal difficulty is much more important. Because, certainly it is essential for God to be able to create, but it is not essential at all that He create. It was absolutely possible for God not to have created the world, which means that the divine initiative is a free initiative. Then the question is what is the freedom of God? It is usual for us to see an election in liberty. Among several things that can be done I choose one. If God does not have to create necessarily, but in order to create He necessarily has to choose, the creative act would be a kind of second act in addition to those acts or that act in which the divine processions and the very reality of God consist. There never is a lack of dialectical subtleties to defend the apparently most untenable positions. Actually there have been theologians, with Cajetan at their head, that have held this opinion. Nevertheless, this is all quite chimerical from my point of view, as it is to the majority of theologians. How can it be proposed that the creative act is a second act with respect to what God is as pure act, and as primary and radical activity? It is not a second act. However, if it is not a second act the question remains that God might not have created. The question is not resolved, but now it has become more acute. Because, What does it mean that not being a second act, but being the very act in which God consists, and being the Trinitarian processions in which He subsists, God may be able not to create? It means, on the one hand, that creation {181} is not something necessary, and that since it was possible for it not to have existed, it is contingent. c) Here is where the second level of the difficulty begins. How are necessity and contingency conjoined in God? Unless we think this is a problem presented in an exaggerated “Greek” way. Because we do say “the necessity of the Trinitarian processions in God”. Obviously, the Trinitarian processions are necessary. God could not have not engendered a Son and not spired a Holy Spirit. It goes without saying. However, is this something that is formally considered as part of the concept of what we metaphysically understand by necessity? The necessity of the immanent processions in God is something that is quite above all that we call physical and metaphysical necessity from the point of view of creatures. It is a necessity of a different order, without doubt something difficult to understand conceptually, like all things pertaining to God. Let us have the courage to say that the concept of metaphysical necessity coined by the Greek dialectics and metaphysics does not subsume the necessary characteristic with which God produces his Trinitarian processions. Let us suppose that actually God proceeds to determine his Trinitarian processions, not by that kind of internal fatality in which His being might consist through a kind of immanent law, but through the overflowing characteristic of that activity in which He actually consists. Obviously this concept of necessity has nothing to do with the Greek concept of necessity. From this follows that also, analogically, the concept of contingency cannot be applied to the creative act, except negatively. Indeed, God was able of not creating the world. But all things in the world resemble each other in “not being“. Elephants resemble pianos in not being able to climb trees. The metaphysical concept of the contingency of created reality is not applicable at all to the power of not creating residing in the divine creative act. {182} The fact is that these two concepts lead us to something anterior to necessity and contingency. And for once, this most subtle commentator of St. Thomas, which Cajetan was, while dealing with a completely different matter, pointed to the notion that we needed to find an idea superior to necessity and contingency. He did not do it, but that is irrelevant because this is one of the great statements ever made in theology. Is there any doubt that we must decide to step (in the same manner we have stepped from being to the reality of God), from the necessity and contingency with which we conceive the realities of this world to something that is beyond necessity and contingency. Because actually the activity in which God consists, that internal activity of procession, is precisely effusion. It is an effusive activity. In a certain way effusive love can be irremediable without ceasing to be love, and produces the Trinitarian processions. But it can have a different characteristic because the infinite love of God places its fruition on something that is much lower than Him. Liberty consists precisely on this. The same act that on one side is effusion towards the Trinitarian processions is, on the other, freedom to create. God is a giving of Himself that is effusive. And precisely because it is effusive the act of creation is not a second act added to the act with which God loves Himself. It is the very act with which God loves Himself insofar as He places that fruition in which love consists upon a reality that is inferior to the act of effusion. The reality of God is always above that which He loves. Naturally, theologians have also said that the freedom in which the creative act consists is terminatively unnecessary. But they have not positively explained in what that terminative characteristic consists, that it is the effusive characteristic of the very divine activity. {183} The creative act is not a second act. It is purely and simply the same act of love in which He loves what He is effusively, as form of generation and spiration in the Son and the Holy Spirit. And in which He loves that which is not He in the form of an initiative quite superior to the love with which that initiative is initiating. This is precisely what we call gift, donation. The world, as creative terminus of God, is a donation in freedom, if you will, a liberal donation. This idea is going to be developed throughout the following chapters. And precisely because creation is an act of liberal donation, the attitude of man facing creation is univocally determined. It is precisely the human and anthropological correlate of donation, the oblation. The Genesis account itself tells us that God rested on the seventh day (cf. Gn 2:23). The idea of sabbatical rest is initiated, which is the first way to manifest the oblation. With this Christianity could face, for example, the second stage of the Brahmanic religion when the Brahmana say that the very essence of reality is sacrifice, sacrum facere. As a result they glanced on an essential point, but poorly understood. The oblational and oblatory characteristic reality has with man immersed in it. As initiative the act of God is free because it deposits the effusion in which it formally consists on a reality that is infinitely inferior to His own. Or at least notoriously inferior to the divine reality itself. Metaphysicians easily say that there is an infinite distance between the created being and God. That is open to discussion. The distance between an ant and God is not infinite. It is the distance measured from an ant, something quite different. At any rate, the possibility that there may be a reality different from God in which God may deposit His effusion is precisely an effusion that is above the reality. God has not created the {184} world except for the most primary, ultimate and radical reason, which is precisely to give it reality, as we shall see. And inasmuch as this reality is finite the effusion of God that produces it is above what is created. d) Many difficulties remain. It could be suggested that all this is fine, but that God was capable of not creating the world. That it may have been in an effusive manner or in any other, but that in God there is nothing but what is eternal. In that case, how is the initiating and initiatory characteristic of God conjoined with the eternal divine immutability? In the first place (I say this not for clarifying the question, but indeed to bring it into focus and aim it properly, which is the only thing we humans can do when referring to God) I would eliminate the term “eternal”. The term “eternal” means that from the whole of eternity, from the unfathomable night of time, God has wished or not wished to create the world. And if at a certain moment He has created it, He has introduced in His duration a moment to produce the creation of the world. This is completely false, as I indicated above. God is not formally eternal (Sp. eterno) in this sense. God is the eternal (Sp. eternal). Everything that takes place in Him takes place with an eternal modality. The eternity is a modal concept, humanly speaking, of what the reality of God is, and not that something has no beginning or end. If He has no beginning or end it is because He is the eternal. It is not the case that He is eternal because he has no beginning or end. God is the eternal. And the most temporal and most contingent reality of creation is lived by God eternally, which is a different matter. Thus, the creative initiative is an initiative lived in the mode of what God is, namely, eternally. For this reason, when dealing with the eternity of God we must always reason, as in all things, a posteriori. Our thought is that here we have a contingent reality, and God has known it for all {185} eternity. It all depends on what we mean “for all eternity”. The only thing we can say is that God knows it “eternally”. And since the consequence of the eternal is not to have beginning or end, in an incomprehensible manner we must say that this was always present in one form or another in the divine mind. Understanding this as a consequence of His eternality, and not the reverse, as if the eternity of God would then abolish the temporal characteristic of creation. After all, the divine intelligence needs a real object, even finite, in order to know it in its physical and real being. Nevertheless, God lives the creative initiative eternally. The creative initiative is (humanly speaking) eternally lived by God. One could ask if God, before creation is an initiative from the point of view that He might not have created the world, knew He was going to actually create it. Some eminent theologian thinks He did. My point is not that God did not know it, but that I would give a different answer, the question makes no sense. The question makes no sense because creation is not an initiative taken by God, but is merely His internal and intrinsic effusion, that in which His transcendent and eternal giving of Himself consists. Because of this the divine initiative is a true initiative, however, it is lived eternally by God. Therefore, from the part of God, creation is an immanent procession by a liberal donation that constitutes precisely the finitude of an essence in which the Trinitarian life is molded. But this is just the first of the three characteristics I was concerned with to conceptively apprehend creation. II. The second characteristic proceeds exactly from that which the divine persons mobilize in order to have creation. Putting it roughly, the divine essence that God is has to {186} mobilize His intelligence and will. Of course, from the point of view of what God is, the divine essence is already an essence open to His own characteristic of reality. And here resides that numerical identity on which the foundation of the Trinitarian life consists, the Trinitarian processions in God. It is an open essence. To be open is what we call ecstasy, to be outside oneself. The divine essence is ecstatic. That is the second characteristic, which I consider important. The divine essence as ecstatic essence is an open essence. And the open essence (leaving aside for the moment that it is open to its own Trinitarian processions, which we have already covered) is open to the initiating procession, to the creative procession. It could be remarked that this is just another way of saying what most of the theologians have said. For me that would not be an objection, just the opposite. That is the idea of the divine essence being imitable. The divine essence would be imitable in an infinite number of ways outside God, and that would constitute the terminus of that ecstatic action, and of that ecstatic characteristic of the divine essence. Beg indulgence to put this idea of being imitable in parenthesis. It is an absolutely Platonic idea inserted into theology. Not that I consider it an objection, but where does the imitation and the being imitable come from? This would be true if God were a being, but what if He is not? If God is not being, but is reality essentially real, a reality absolutely absolute? Then we would have to say that what constitutes the ecstatic characteristic of the divine essence is much more radical than a formal imitation, it is His intrinsic, metaphysical and theological fecundity. The ecstasy of the open essence of God formally consists in the fecundity of the divine essence. This open essence in which God consists is first and above all open to His own reality, the characteristic of the Trinitarian processions. But {187} in second place, in it He is open to the whole of reality, precisely because of His own fecundity. And inasmuch as this fecundity is founded on the Trinity the road is now open for what we are going to show further on, namely, that the terminus of creation consists in the molding ad extra of the very Trinitarian life. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 3 (187-199) --------------- {187} (cont’d) III. An immanent act of God, the initiating procession founded on the ecstasis of the divine essence mobilized by the Trinitarian processions of the Father, through the Son in the Holy Spirit leads to creation. But this essence would not lead to creation if this fecundity were not to have (this is the third concept) a formal radical characteristic, His own infinitude. The infinitude of the divine essence is expressed (at least for our problem) in three concepts. 1) In the first place, the concept of omnipotence. God can do whatever He wishes. Nothing is real unless through God. But right away the problem surfaces about the things God cannot do, for example, a square circle. The answer is immediate; they are contradictions. The contradictory does not exist. Quite true, it is not a being and therefore it could hardly be the terminus of a divine power. That is absolutely true. However, is that the primary and radical truth? This presupposes that the omnipotence is formally and primarily referred to being, and therefore the being expressed in a logos, the contradiction, is what denounces and that in which the characteristic of non-being consists. In the end, the whole XVI century, and the scholastic theology founded in Suárez and Leibniz will see in contradiction the radical and ultimate non-being. Will not say that contradictions can be made by God. What I dispute is that the contradiction or non-contradiction is the primary characteristic of divine reality. Because something is contradictory {188} inasmuch as it is a contra-reality, which cannot be enunciated without contradiction by a logos that may enunciate it. And where is that counter-reality? Difficult to know. Certainly, in contradictory things. And those that do not appear to us as contradictory, are they or are they not counter-real? What do we know about this? If this ignoramus has to be predicated with respect to all the realities of this world, it will have to be predicated even more with respect to everything that is counter-reality in and of itself. Omnipotence, from my point of view, primarily refers not to diction and being or contradiction and contra-being, but to reality and contra-reality. 2) In the second place, this infinitude is not only infinitude of potency (omnipotent), but in addition God is also omniscient; He knows everything. I had indicated above that in order for something to be the terminus of divine intelligence it must have reality facing the divine intelligence. That is quite clear. The theologians, particularly the expert old Thomists, would say that God knows everything that occurs in time at any given moment due to the creative decree by which He decided to create them. But is this necessarily so? When a stone falls, does God know the fall of that particular stone simply because He has decreed the law of gravitation (assuming that the law of gravitation is the formal terminus of the divine will)? Or independently of the law of gravitation that He knows is going to be accomplished in that stone, does He in addition see the stone falling? Can there be any doubt that this last thing is absolutely unquestionable? We may then ask, is it the case that the divine omniscience must wait for things to happen in order to know about them? Where is the infinitude of the divine essence? Two completely different things are confused in this question. One is the a posteriori type of intellection. The other, that divine intellection is founded on the reality of its object, this is not {189} a limitation of the divine science, but a previous condition, how can there be science if there is no object? Something also completely different is that the a posteriori may mean receptivity. That would be erroneous. The divine understanding is never receptive. But in all its acts, at least in those that refer to the things that begin and end in time, it is clearly a posteriori. God is omniscient a posteriori. And we ask where is the divine eternity? Here I will say what I said before; this a posteriori does not concern God now, but reality. God does not know now that I am talking, God knows it eternally, which is a different matter. My act is lived by God eternally. Although this may have the appearance of a dialectical game it is far from being so, as we shall see. Omnipotence is potency of reality, and omniscience is eternality of that which at least is not only possible, but is real in the form of a posteriori. 3) The divine essence is infinite in a third dimension. Because God creates a world in which things not only are produced by omnipotence and known through omniscience, but also in addition are loved for themselves in their ultimate reality. That is precisely the idea of providence. A providence that will never be able to be proved with reasoning reasons, which will also never be able to prove the omnipotence or the omniscience. But it will certainly be an easy matter to quote any number of Biblical texts in support of the providence of the Christian God. A providence that is founded precisely, from my point of view, in the fact that the reality of things outside God is, in one form or another, the finite realization of the very Trinitarian life of God. Here we have finally what to my way of thinking we should be able to say about creation from the part of God. It is a vital action, an initiating procession in the form of liberal donation, which emerges {190} precisely from the essence of God insofar as ecstatic and infinite in its three dimensions of omnipotent, omniscient, and omniprovident. B) What is creation from the part of the world? From the part of the world, as I have just pointed out, creation is that in which the initiating procession of the Trinity is realized and how it comes about. But now the question is what type of characteristic does creation have in this realization. 1) Certainly, the reality of the things of the world is different than the reality of God. That is what creation consists of, in establishing the otherness of the real qua real without alteration. But things are not only naked realities, because by the fact of being so, at least for some realities like men who have intelligence and will, they have the characteristic of being what I have called meaning-thing. For example, a cave as naked reality can be a geological phenomenon, a hollow on a mountain or a rock. From the point of view of a man that lives in it, it is a home, a meaning-thing. Of course, meaning-things do not necessarily coincide with reality-things. There are numerous real things that have never become meaning-thing for man. What is certain is that nothing is meaning-thing if it is not founded in the properties it has as reality-thing. Applied to our problem this means that the terminus of the creative act is, in first place, the naked reality of things willed by God really and effectively qua reality. God wishes things simply by reason of love for things themselves, for their own reality. But then, does this mean that reality has no meaning for God? Indeed it has. {191} The fact is that the creative effusion of God deposits its fruition in a reality, which as reality, without ceasing to be reality and precisely because of it, is infinitely lesser than the effusion that finds in it its own fruition. This excess is manifested as a kind of weight the divine reality has in and above the whole of creation. This weight is what in Hebrew is called kabod, which in Greek was translated as dóxa, and in Latin by gloria. Reality is meaning-thing precisely inasmuch as it is glory of God. Where glory does not mean that it may be a very glorious thing, but only what it may mean for a modest and humble father that his glory may be the reality of his own son and nothing more. The reality of the world qua reality is precisely that in which the glory of God formally consists. 2) As I was saying, it is impossible for anything to be meaning-thing if it does not rest on the properties things have as naked reality. The capacity the real has to be constituted into meaning (for God or men) is what I have called condition1. You cannot make a door out of lard. Clearly, the real properties of lard do not have the conditions to be converted into a door. Therefore, all reality qua reality has one condition with respect to God, precisely to be able to be His glory. And this condition by virtue of which the real qua real is precisely something that is meaning-thing in the form of glory of God, is what we call the good, goodness. Genesis tells us that God saw that light was good, that the sea was good, etc. Here “good” does not mean something moral, nor well done (how can God make {192} bad things?), but from my personal interpretation, it means what I have just pointed out. It is the condition the real has qua real to be effectively and formally kabod, glory of God. 3) Everything real that proceeds from God qua real is respective. It is what I have called in my seminars and publications the world insofar as world, something different from a cosmos2. All realities that may come from God find themselves qua realities referred to each other, at least in the divine mind, even if reality may not know it. On the other hand, that they all have to constitute a cosmos, a physical unity, is not necessary at all. God could create kósmoi that remain completely independent of each other. I have insisted that the characteristic of the world is a transcendental, a transcendental of reality. It actually transcends all particular conditions of things, and all kósmoi. One might suggest that God also belongs to reality and is not respective. Yes and no. What does it mean that He is not respective? That He may have no respectivity towards what He is not? That is not possible. We have already considered this. It may be fundamented to the greatest degree, but the procession of initiation with respect to divine fecundity is inexorably consecutive, and also inexorably inexorable in God. The world might not have been created, and in this sense God does not have an essential respectivity towards the world that he has really and effectively created. Does it mean, however, that He has no respectivity? He freely has it, and that is a different matter. But no doubt He has it. And the proof that He has it is in the act of redemption. Are we going to say that God has no respectivity to the redemptive death of Christ on the cross? The respectivity is perfectly {193} real. It may be free in the case of existences that God has created. And it may be merely consecutive in the order of the possible fecundity of the divine essence. But that respectivity, in one form or another, belongs to God qua God. However, that respectivity is not constitutive of the divine reality, but merely consecutive to it. By virtue of this, God, who produces the respectivity, formally has no actuality in it; the divine reality in itself is not respective. Therefore, God, cause of respectivity, by having no actuality in it, lacks being. God, cause of respectivity, is cause of that subsequent act of created reality that is to be. But in Himself God is beyond being. 4) Hence, this world and this respectivity (let us now also take the cosmos) have a characteristic that is important to insist upon. That the world God has created is in fact a world I shall call “open”. I will explain what I mean by that. At first sight this may be clear, the world is forming itself, and in this sense it is open. I am not referring to that. It is not the case that the world continues to form itself. There is, from the part of God, an undeniable will to autoformation. God has willed that things continue with autoformation. This is evident, and above all, it is a fact of experience, the world continues to form itself. There is no doubt about it. I am not referring to this, but to the fact that it is an open world from the part of God himself. What do I mean by that? Let us return to the Biblical account. It was not for the sake of entertainment or a display of erudition that I discussed the exegesis of those texts and the fundamental concepts necessary to be activated in order to apprehend the texts theologically. In the two Biblical accounts, with different ways, but undoubtedly, God is producing successive creations. In the {194} Yahwist account God first makes the man, afterwards He makes the waters and the rain, then He makes the woman, etc. In the priestly account, after the creation of the chaos, He continues to successively create the world in six days. Facing this successiveness it has been said that the biblical author in a certain way has classified the realities of this world, thus showing that the creative action refers to all and each of these realities. And since he cannot say everything at the same time he says one thing after another. In the end these apparent successive creations would be terminatively successive, but from the part of God they would be a single act, the act in which He has said fiat to the world He is going to create. Nevertheless, is this the only interpretation possible? In all modesty I have always thought another interpretation is possible, that the different interventions by God are really and effectively different interventions. Therefore, the first one did not formally include what the second one was going to be, and also what the third one was going to be. Absolutely not, the divine initiatives are successive initiatives. Otherwise, it would appear that God has had only one initiative to create the world, that He said fiat, and that was all. That He has only assisted to the realization of His decree. However, what if it were not so? What if the world was something where God was placing successive initiatives? It will be remarked where is the divine immutability. Indeed, it is in the same place where the first and only initiative of the creative fiat is. Are we to assume that saying to the world fiat has exhausted the capacity of the initiative of God? Not at all. I simply think that the multiple initiatives of God in their pure multiplicity do not damage the immutability of God at all, just as the first initiative of the first and only fiat does not damage Him, according to practically all theologians. Hence, if this is so, it means that the first initiative, when {195} God said fiat, the complete world was not there with all its details. Precisely. God has reserved His initiatives in order to continue adding, initiative after initiative, the detail to the world that is actually going to come out of His hands. This is absolutely essential and important. In everything I have just said I refer to the possibilities of interpretation that Genesis leaves open, and to the world created by God taken in all its details not only material, but also human. The world considered that way is the one I call open world. If we only consider the material world, then I see no reason to admit successive creative acts in it. In that case, there is no doubt that in the first fiat was located the entire reality of the material world without any necessity of other initiatives. That is important to remember in order not to believe, as has been mentioned numerous times, that the creation of living beings demanded a new and essential intervention by God. On the other hand, as we shall see further on, the multitude of successive initiatives is essential when dealing with human life. Only if we include in the world the details of the human life can we talk about an open world. Obviously, each of these divine initiatives is eternally lived. In this sense everything is simultaneous in God. But from the point of view we are taking here, i.e., terminatively, we can certainly ask, is it formally included under initiative number three, the knowledge and initiative already taken of what is going to take place under initiative number ten? The answer is no. That is the question. Certainly, all initiatives are lived by God eternally, but formally the knowledge is not included. The world, in this sense, is a world open to the divine initiatives because God has been pleased not to take just one initiative in which all the details of the world have been exhausted. {196} This open characteristic of the divine initiatives, which terminatively transcends in the reality of the world, under my point of view qualifies this world with two stepping concepts, each one founded on the previous one. The world God has created in His first fiat, is above all and formally, the theatre of His own later initiatives. This theatre is the whole of material reality. God has not exhausted his initiatives with his first creative fiat. In the second place, the world is not only the theatre of his initiatives, but is also something else. The divine initiatives are not independent from what God initiated with the previous initiatives. The termini produced by the previous initiatives are not only theatre, but in addition are the substrate upon which are mounted the next divine initiatives. Certainly God could have made that some initiatives have nothing to do with others. In fact that is not the case. But the world is not only theatre and substratum of the divine initiatives; it is something else. Taking he whole world of the divine initiatives, this open world that is being conformed is purely and simply the theological occurrence of the very divine initiatives, i.e., of the initiating action with which God constitutes things ad extra. Certainly, God constitutes things. God does not develop in himself that would be absurd. But He develops in another, in the world. And this developing in the other is precisely the systematic and progressive concatenation, the theological concatenation of His own divine initiatives. C) The integral reality of creation If we now take at the same time what the creative action is from the part of God and what the created world is for His glory and open, we can say that in creation God appears to us {197} as the fontanal reality, as I explained somewhere else3. But this fontanal reality has a particular characteristic. God has wished (He could have made things differently) something more radical and profound than just to have realities in this world. He has wished that these realities might be the most divinely real possible, i.e., that they may be able to form themselves. It is the will to autoformation with which God has wished a world that is forming itself, and in addition is going to make that it be forming itself in good measure by different initiatives. The will to creation is a will formally autoformative. It is not a fiat in the sense that there is the world, and let the world do whatever. And it is not a fiat in which he has to be shoring each one of the steps of that world by means of His creative capacity. It is neither of these two things. It is simply the formal will that the world autoconform itself, autoform itself. And proportionately the world is not simply a copy of what the divine reality was, but is a copy precisely of what is the very existence of the divine life. Certainly, this does not authorize to say that the world has a vestige of the Trinity, as the NeoPlatonic leaning theologians believed, like St. Bonaventure. That is not the case, but it is the case that the Trinitarian characteristic of the creative action is the one that molds and has willed to mold a world effectively. A world that is not composed of independent monoliths, but is precisely an autoformation where the different divine interventions are present in good measure, as I have just pointed out. God is fontanal, and in addition forming the nature of this open world. This world is never alien to the reality and action of God. {198} Classical theology has promoted the thought that each one of the creatures must have an immediate concurrence from the divine reality to produce its effects. This starts the great divide among the Thomists, led by my paisano Báñez4 or by Molina5. They have affirmed that this concurrence that God provides to things, either is predetermining from the part of God, as Báñez and his disciples would say, or is a simultaneous concurrence as provided in accordance with a scientia media as Molina would say. In this scientia media God would foresee what a creature would do in certain circumstances and then would provide His concurrence. Of course, we may ask, why assume that the concurrence of God has to be immediate? What if it was only mediate? Modern theologians have attempted an exegesis of St. Thomas using the idea of a mediate concurrence. This endeavor appears to me more or less arguable. At any rate, the idea of mediate concurrence is perfectly acceptable6. According to the mediate concurrence there is certainly a “substratum” in reality, which in the end has to be attributed to God, not only as substance, but also in the order of its activities. But there are also the activities that substratum is going to develop precisely because it is supported in the reality of God. God, in this mediate way, makes that things make themselves and continue to make what they are. The concurrence is mediate. And it is that some realities ordered towards others is what produces this autoformation, which is in what the formally creative will of God consists for the whole of creation. Not only that there be realities, but that God has willed that realities make themselves real in the most divine manner possible, i.e., by themselves. That is why creation is a giving of itself, {199} but a giving of itself as donation of God. Not only in the order of giving reality, but also to give it in the most divine way possible. That with a primary substratum, subjacent to which God is there fontanally, things may continue to make themselves in a mediate way. Certainly, this has only been an introduction into the subject of creation. Because one would ask, is it a fact that all donations of God to creation are equal? Is the concept of divine fecundity univocal? What if it was not? Then we would have to admit that there are several ways to create and several types of creation. In what do they consist and how are they recognized? With them we now enter in a thematic way, as we can surmise, the very idea of man as created person. That is theological anthropology. We shall consider this next. ________________ 1 Cf. X. Zubiri, Estructura dinámica de la realidad (The Dynamic Structure of Reality), Madrid, 1989, pp. 228-229. 2 Cf. X. Zubiri, Sobre la esencia (On Essence), op.cit., pp. 428-432. 3 The divine fontanality already appeared in the first chapter. Zubiri has explained this concept in Man and God, op. cit., pp. 177-178. 4 [Tr. note: Fr. Domingo Báñez, O.P. (1528-1604), famous Dominican theologian, born in Castile, Spain, but to a Basque father from the province of Guipúzcoa. For this reason Zubiri, also a Basque, calls him “paisano”] 5 [Tr. note: Fr. Luis de Molina, S.J. (1535-1600), expert Jesuit theologian, born in Castile, Spain] 6 Zubiri has offered a wider presentation of his position on this matter in Sobre el sentimiento y la volición (On Sentiment and Volition), Madrid, 1992, pp. 161-177. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 3 (200-214) --------------- {200} § 2 THE MODES OF CREATION Up to this point I have been concerned with the type of creation, from the part of God and from the part of the world created by him. I had indicated that creation is an act, completely free, which consists in an initiating procession of God ad extra of what is ad intra of his Trinitarian processions. In the end creation is a giving of itself because every reality is eo ipso, insofar as real, active by itself. But it is a giving of itself towards something that is not itself. Creation, in this sense, is donation. However, this is a mere general consideration of creation. Obviously this would apply to any reality created by God. We do not know how many He might have created, but we do know something about what He has actually created. Then we have to ask, what is it that God has created concretely? And here is where we come across what I called the topic of “the modes of creation”. What do the modes of creation mean as concrete structure of the real and effective world God has willed to create and in fact has created? That is the question I am going to address now. What are these modes of creation and why do these modes involve really and effectively the concrete type of reality God has created? If we take the concept of creation negatively (to which we often tend in theology as well as in philosophy), to create is to produce from nothing. Of course, but then there are no modes of creation, except one {201} most simple action from the part of God who produces what is not He. But if we ask from a positive perspective, how does He produce it? Then we have to ask for the different modes of creation. What does this mean concretely? Is the creative action of God different in some cases? Negatively no, it is a creation from nothing. But positively? In order to answer this question we must keep in mind that every reality, terminatively considered (i.e., as terminus of divine creation), insofar as it is real, has a structure that is important for me to underline in this case. I have called it typicalness1. Something in addition to the structures that can be studied in metaphysics. A transcendental typicality, because it concerns reality qua reality. It is not simply that there are different classes of created things, this is clear. Here it is a question that metaphysically, insofar as real, and therefore transcendentally, realities have different types. And this typicalness (I had indicated before) has two termini. First, real things, and precisely by being real, are “de suyo”. Putting it simply, they just are real by themselves. Second, there are other realities, which are “de suyo”, and inasmuch as they are such, they are also “their-own”. The first I called closed essences, and the second open essences. And of course, the problem of the modes of creation is reduced to this question, What is, from the part of God, the fundament for having realities that are closed essences and realities that are open essences? This is the problem of the modes of creation. I shall repeat it once more; they are not modes of creation from the point of view of nothing. But they indeed are different modes of creation, which terminatively {202} announce the type, in a certain way different, of the very creative act. Let us examine then the following points. I. In the first place, what are the closed essences insofar as closed? II. In the second place, what are the open essences insofar as open? III. Lastly, let us reexamine the concrete problem of the very unity of creation. I. Closed essences Once more I insist that I am referring to what God really and effectively has created. Obviously, the creative act of God in any hypothesis consists in God making what He knows and wills to make. Putting it in more technical terms every creative act, in one form or another, is regulated, molded or founded (the term is really not important in this case) in what has been called a divine idea. God has the idea of what He is going to make. Of course, this divine idea is present in his mind and needs a creative fiat without which there would be no reality outside the divine mind. And what the creative fiat does is to give reality to what is in his idea. Creation in this sense is effectiveness. It really and effectively activates in the order of tangible reality that which as mere possibility is precontained in the divine idea. Hence, creation is always a giving of itself that is rooted in the intrinsic fecundity of divine reality. Then we ask if creation is effectuation of what is in an idea, in what does the characteristic of this fecundity consist? It consists precisely in that God, subsistent reality, provides subsisting reality to created essences, i.e., to essences {203} that exist by themselves. Closed essences consist in this. The closed essence is, from the part of God, the terminus of a divine idea that is effected; it is an effectuality of what was contained in the divine idea. And that effectuality falls upon some things that in one way or another are subsistent. Have said “in one way or another” because it is not the case that one is going to associate to the subject of creation everything one considers true in science. We have to be careful with this. There is no problem to consider science from the point of view of theology. Then we must say that from the point of view of closed essences God has willed to effect and give reality effectually, as subsisting by itself, to the entire range of the material world. A world which is progressively forming itself (the autoformation I mentioned above) through what we call evolution. The fecundity of the divine essence molds itself really, effectively, and concretely into what we might call will to evolution. Further above I was pointing to the possibility that in God there might be different creative initiatives. We are going to see this immediately; but with respect to what affects the material world it is not really necessary. For a long time it has been thought and argued whether there is the need for a special initiative by God for the creation of living beings. This is quite chimerical. Living beings are born, like the rest of all the other things from a first creative fiat of God. And in that first creative fiat none of the material realities is strictly and properly speaking subsistent by itself. They all are fragments of a material world that is forming itself. And only this material world taken as a whole is what rigorously speaking constitutes an authentic closed essence, i.e., a subsistent reality in itself. Let us turn now towards something more complex the open essences. {204} II. Open essences Open essences involve from the part of God himself a profound difference with respect to closed essences. Let us take the first point, the divine idea. What do we understand there by idea when God is going to create an open essence? Certainly, my reality, like that of any other, that we have stomach, brain, etc. In this it seems we share the condition of the closed essences. But the question remains, is that what is essential of an open essence? Because the essential of an open essence consists in that it is formally the molding ad extra of the very Trinitarian life of God. I put this forth as a thesis, which I will immediately develop to see up to what point it is plausible. Obviously, since this molding ad extra has to be realized in a finite form (otherwise it would be an absurd polytheism) what we call the nature of an open essence is purely and simply the moment of finitude with which the very Trinitarian life is molded ad extra. It follows that what is essential in the open essence is precisely the very Trinitarian life. Hence, this is equivalent to saying that from this point of view, a different idea has not been proposed on the part of God for the creation of open essences as was the case in the creation of celestial bodies or stones. Indeed that the idea that presides the creation of the open essences is not something different, but the very divine reality. That is precisely the idea of the open essence, something that does not occur in the world of the merely subsisting realities. This means that creation is not just effectuality as in the case of the material world. The creation of open essences is something different. So far it is what I would dare to call a projection ad extra of the very Trinitarian life. A projection that certainly is not, as Gnosticism pretended or all the emanationisms, {205} a probolé, an emanation of the divine essence. That would be absurd. But it is a projection of the life of God towards the outside. In all truthfulness, the New Testament text tells us that at least in the soul of the just, “we will come to him and make our dwelling with him” (Jn 14:23). This dwelling and this characteristic of dwelling are precisely what confer to the creation of an open essence the essential characteristic of molding and projection ad extra of the Trinitarian life. However, of what kind of dwelling? Obviously the fecundity of the divine essence, the fecundity of the act of God as creator of the open essences is not, as in the case of the material realities, the donation of a pure subsistence. It is, as I have just pointed out, the finite donation of his own life. In other words, while the fecundity in the case of the closed essence is the fecundity of a subsistent reality in an absolute way, the way God is, here it is the case of something richer and more profound. It is the case precisely of a deiformation; of making a reality ad extra that may be deiform by reason of the Trinitarian life that is going to be molded in it. How can this occur? That is precisely what we have to explain. A) In the Old Testament, where there is no idea at all about the Trinity, we are told precisely in the first chapter of Genesis, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gn 1:26). Three questions arise here. 1) In the first place, what does this “let us” mean? Certainly it is an initiative, the initiative to create open essences, to create man. We have explained that sufficiently, and we can put it aside. 2) In the second place, there is a plural here, let us...we. Who are these “we”? I shall not repeat all the discussions concerning the use of that plural. Obviously, {206} it is not a royal “we”, it makes no sense. This “we” is probably the whole divine order, understanding by divine order everything transcendent to this world. In this sense ’Elohim were also for an Israelite the souls of the dead that can rise from the earth, as the case of Samuel whose presence on earth Saul invoked (cf. 1 Sm 28:13). All these are ’Elohim. And it is possible to think this “we” of the Genesis text is precisely the whole divine order. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”. Not to the likeness of God individually, but to that global transcendent order. In all truthfulness to seek support for this interpretation is not difficult at all. It will be enough to appeal to the Psalms. Although the Latin text translates minuisti eum paulo minus ab angelis, “you have made them little less than the angels” (Ps 8:6), the Hebrew text does not say angels it says ’Elohim. As in many other cases it was an “improvement” introduced into the text of the Septuagint and the Vulgate. Consequently it is normal to think, without making violence to the text, that this plural of Gn 1:26 refers to the fact that man is going to be on earth what most resembles the reality of those things existing beyond the earth. 3) The third question is “in our image, after our likeness”. What is understood there by these two expressions “image” and “likeness”? Those who are familiar with Greek patristics are aware of all the difficulties that the difference between eikón and homoíosis produced for all the early Greek theologians. This is somewhat exaggerated because actually the similarity is nothing more than a kind of clarification or underlining of what the term image involves. Therefore, we can just pay attention to image exclusively. In what does this image of man consist with respect to this world of ’Elohim behind which is the ultimate ’Elohim, God himself? To make man as image {207} of the divine order is in the end and in a radical way to make him in one form or another similar to the very creator ’Elohim. Still, this resemblance with the creator ’Elohim is not something present directly in the text, but in an oblique way, at least in its intention. In what does this image consist? a) From my point of view, it is an image that reflects (every image reflects and produces something) precisely the type of the divine world and a fortiori, of the ’Elohim himself from a first point of view, which I would call the configuration. Man, in his integral reality has, according to the Biblical author, a configuration similar to the divine world. This configuration is what we might call the body. But it is not just the case of body; it is the case of man taken in his entire reality. However, the body has an essential function to perform a function that in this case is essential. Because in the first place created man with his own physical reality resembles, in the thought of the Biblical author, in one form or another, something belonging to ’Elohim himself. This is undeniable, it will be sufficient to review the passages in the Old Testament, mainly from the postexilic period in order confirm it. Besides this configuration in a certain way constitutive the body has an essential function in the case of man. His sóma, his body, provides the characteristic of real and effective actuality to that in which man consists. Let us not identify the body, sóma, with sárx, with the flesh. The flesh is a mode of being of the body, but the sóma sarkikón is not the only possible mode. From the point of view of the sóma what the material aspect of man confers to him is precisely to be the actuality of all the possibilities that man has in order to exist on Earth. And in this sense the body is a {208} moment of the configuration I would call definitive. It precisely defines the possibilities of man. But, in third place the human configuration has an even deeper dimension. The fact is that the sóma, in one form or another, fittingly expresses that which man is in his spirit or in his psychism. The term here is indifferent. There is no doubt about this because, on the one hand, Ezekiel himself, contemporary of the priestly code in the exilic era, says the body of Adam was incomparably beautiful (cf. Ez 31). He understands, of course with all his oriental imagery, the reality of the body as a configuration that expresses precisely what man is. Obviously, it is not the case that because he is handsome he resembles the Holy Trinity. That is not the case, but that he expresses it. Besides, let us not forget that the New Testament itself enunciates in a thematic way this other phrase, which is precisely the counterpart to the Genesis text “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” (cf. 1 Cor 6:19; 3:16). The idea of body is definitely not excluded from the image with which man has been created with respect to God insofar as the body performs a configuring function. b) Certainly, the author of Gn 1:26 has thought about something more important for him. The thing that makes the man created by God resemble the ’Elohim, and especially the creator ’Elohim is not his figure and his form; it is something deeper. That is what the text mentions next, to have dominion and own the entire universe (cf. Gn 1:28). Here man is closer to the reality of God than to the rest of creation. Man, in one form or another, participates in this dominion, which God gives him of the entire material universe, and in this sense is an even deeper image of God. And in this dimension, which is the most important for the Biblical author we have to keep in mind {209} once more that the body is not excluded. Precisely because of the body we are open to others, and with it, in the first place, we accomplish the full dominion over the cosmos. But, in second place, with it men perpetuate, engender and procreate themselves. This is not something accidental. In the fifth chapter of Genesis the Biblical author tells us that Adam engendered children “after his image” (cf. Gn 5:3). This is the essential point; the eikón (Hb sælæm) is not just the facial resemblance, but that each one is son of man. c) It was not possible, even forcing the issue, to extricate anything further from the text of Genesis, but in a theological exposition one should take one more step. Because actually this dominion is founded on a characteristic even more radical and profound. God is a being absolutely his-own and man, in the measure he has personhood, is in an ultimate and radical way an image of the absolutely absolute reality in which God consists. Through this triple concept, by configuration, by dominion, and by personhood man is really an image of the entire supramundane world and especially of the very creator ’Elohim, of God himself. B) At this level we have to ask two questions. In the first place, what is the structure of human reality. And in second place, what is the real and effective sequence of human life. I. What is the structure of human reality? Enunciated in the form of a thesis, let us remember what the Trinitarian life is. The Trinitarian life, as we have seen, consists in the Father as reality absolutely his-own, engendering His real truth, the Son. And this real truth is ratified in identity with {210} the absolutely absolute reality from which the truth of the Son proceeds, and this identification in act is precisely the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. In this unity rests precisely that unity of respectivity we call the personal Trinitarian life of God. A life lived within the unfathomable and mysterious reality of the three his-ownesses that constitute the reality of the Trinity. 1) With that in mind, instead of starting from creation trying to find ways that may lead to the Trinity we shall attempt the opposite. What God has willed primo et per se is to mold ad extra his own Trinitarian life. Then we realize that if this molding is going to take place, obviously it has to mold itself on a reality that in one form or another shares that absolute characteristic the divine reality has. Since God is an absolutely absolute reality it will have to be a personal reality that is relatively absolute, which is what constitutes the case of man, the reality of the human person. The moment of absolute existing in these two termini, in man in a relative way and in God in an absolutely absolute way is what constitutes the molding onto finitude of the very reality of God. Then we ask, how can this occur? a) In the first place, we find that the human person is relatively absolute because it has numerous limitations, that is clear. But there is a more profound metaphysical reason. While in the case of God his own essence is that which is founded on what He is in each of his three persons as his-own (God is intelligent and volitional because he is absolutely his-own), in the case of man the situation is the reverse. Man is a person precisely in the measure in which his substantive reality is intelligent and volitional. In man the person is consecutive to his substantive reality. {211} Man is his-own because de suyo he is intelligent and volitional. It is not as in the case of God who has a characteristic of being intelligent and volitional because He starts by being his-own. This intelligent and volitional reality, the substantive reality in which each man consists, is what constitutes the finite root, in its intrinsic finitude, of all man is and is going to be for the rest of his life. As fountain and principle of his life this finitude is precisely an accurate image of the first terminus which the Father is. b) Now we ask, what does this man do with his life? What this man does, as I have mentioned in another place2, in the greatest diversity of all his acts is to construct the figure of his I (Sp. Yo3). This I is that in which resides, explicitly and formally as second act, that in which the relatively absolute characteristic of his person consists. In a certain way I am absolutely I. This I expresses in second act that figure, which my substantive being is acquiring through the successive performance of my acts. The I is the substantive being of man. And this substantive being of man is precisely what reveals and primarily constitutes what really and effectively belongs to me, and what I have willed to make of myself. Insofar as real truth of my substantive reality, the I is precisely an accurate image of what we called Son in the Trinity, it is my real truth. c) Of course, this substantive being is not divorced from the substantive reality in which I consist. Just the opposite. Precisely in the I there is a reversion by way of identity from what I am as substantive being to what I am as substantive reality. And precisely in this reversion by identity is in what intimacy consists. Intimacy consists of the identity in act between the I and the substantive reality {212} from which this I, this substantive being proceeds. It is exactly the spirit of truth. The spirit of truth is just the intimacy. What I have really willed to make of myself and what I am from myself is what the truth of my own substantive reality expresses. In the Trinity this Spirit of Truth constitutes the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit as intimacy. One might say that the structure of this intimacy naturally carries with it that one deposits in one form or another an inner complacency in his own reality. It is exactly what happens to the Holy Spirit about whom we said he is love because he is Spirit of Truth, and not the opposite, as if the procession of the Holy Spirit formally consisted in being a procession out of love something not defined anywhere. In the case of man we have a similar situation. Certainly man through this intimacy deposits his internal complacency in himself. Then one asks, is this not a kind of immense metaphysical selfishness? Not quite, because selfishness consists in loving others because of me. That is not the case, to love others in me is a completely different thing. That is inexorable. Precisely because of this the phrase, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lv 19:18) does not mean a kind of copy of oneself, but that no one can love another if it is not in the framework and the context that one’s own intimacy offers. The Trinitarian life definitely has its exact image, in the case of man, in that triplicity of reality, being and intimacy. Only that, while in the case of God it is the case of three different subsistencies or his-ownesses, in the case of man it is only the case of three aspects of the same life. Man, in his substantive reality, constructs his own being to which he reverts through identity in the intimacy of his own internal life. {213} 2) Of course, we must clarify a little bit more what I have just mentioned. a) In the first place, it is not the case of searching for an image of the Trinity in man, something that would be quite appropriate. It has been the way, primarily since St. Augustine, that Latin theology has followed collaterally, but in a profound way. This is what has been called the psychological theory of the Trinity, prescinding now from the correction of calling it psychological. It is not the case of an image. In reality St. Augustine does not give one image of the Trinity in man, but three or four. What I have presented is not the case of an image of the Trinity, because it is not a question of searching in human reality for something that will remind us or refer us to the divine reality, but precisely the other way around. It is the case of starting from the Trinity as the fundament that makes the structures of man possible. Not the other way around, as if man had certain structures that in one form or another make the divine Trinity, if not intelligible, at least not unintelligible. Here it is the case of the Trinitarian fundament of this radical structure of man, substantive reality, substantive being, and identity through intimacy. b) In the second place, it is also not the case of dialectically deducing the Trinity from what I have just said. That would be something with which Hegel might be satisfied although he never thought that way. It is not the case of trying to dialectically deduce the Trinity. That is absurd because all this molding of the Trinitarian life has an intrinsic internal moment, the moment of finitude. Indeed the moment of finitude cannot be deduced, it can only be verified. Besides, how many different modes of finitude could there be in creation? What do we know about this? c) It is not the case, therefore, of an image or a dialectical deduction. Much less since here it is not the case of trying to deduce {214} the structures of the Trinity starting from human structures, but just the opposite, of seeing in man a projection ad extra of the divinity. It is not the case, as Hegel would say, of seeing how man in the end is a finitude who is going to make himself God dialectically. Quite the reverse, of opening the doors to what revelation is later going to present to us, namely, how God has become man. It is a different matter. In the end we find that human reality is relatively absolute. That for its realization it has, in second act, its substantive being and its I, which reverts through personal intimacy to its own substantive reality. Because of this personal intimacy in the end is the last moment of the molding of the Trinitarian life in man. The human person is the finite form of being like God, i.e., of having intelligence and will; and in addition living the way He lives, Trinitarially. When in the first chapter I referred to the access of God in Christ I insisted that Christ is what gives theological consistency to the human being. It is precisely there where the idea of the mystical body of Christ is formed. And this can occur because the human being is the very image of what the Son is. Of course, this does not mean that my I, my substantive reality, and my intimacy resemble the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit at all. That would be a monstrosity. I do not believe the Father has a stomach or the Son feels sleepy, etc. That is not the case. It is only the case of the structural form that as structure of life these moments of substantive reality, substantive being, and intimacy have in the life of the human person. And that function is strictly Trinitarian. ________________ 1 Cf. X. Zubiri, Sobre la esencia (On Essence), op. cit., pp. 499-507. 2 Cf. X. Zubiri, Man and God, op. cit., pp. 56-59. 3 [Tr. note: Zubiri distinguishes in Spanish between yo and Yo. Here we use “I” and “I” to keep the distinction alive since the “I” is already capitalized] --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 3 (214-224) --------------- {214} (cont’d) 3) As I said above, these three moments that in God are three his-ownnesses in man they are nothing but aspects {215} of only one finite reality. And the radical unity of these three aspects is precisely what constitutes freedom. If man had nothing but substantive reality he would not have freedom. If man were nothing but a being, an I, he would be hanging in a vacuum. Man is a freedom because he is a reality that really and effectively from his own substantive reality is going to elaborate on top of it the second act in which his substantive being consists. Because of this in the case of man freedom is, not the root of his-ownness, but precisely the molding (sit venia verbo) of what man as his own reality, as person, is a potiori. Therefore, this freedom, placed along this line of thought has three characteristics that make it to be the root of the molding of the Trinitarian life in man. In the first place, freedom thus understood is the finite participation in the sovereign and inalienable independence of the Creator. Not even God himself, except to annul human freedom, can impose on freedom anything that may be above its internal and intrinsic sovereignty. Certainly God can annul freedom. What He cannot do is to preserve it unless it is in the fullness of its independence. In the second place, not only is man independent, but free man is always making himself through a real and positive activity. Consequently, he does not simply have a characteristic more or less similar to the one God has, but in addition has a mode of realization that is divine, he is making himself through himself. Freedom is not only divine because it is a property of God, but also because it is the divine way of making oneself. And in the third place, freedom is not only a property of independence through which man is making himself, but in addition is making himself in an initiating way. Freedom initiates in its truly free act an unpredictable novelty in the rest of creation. {216} Freedom is formally initiating, and it is precisely here where the mysterious, profound, and unfathomable relationship is grounded between human freedom and the Trinitarian reality of God. Because actually human reality with all its freedom is a reality that takes initiatives. I had mentioned above that the world is a world open to divine initiatives. Therefore, human freedom in each of its free acts is the second cause through which God takes an initiative in creation. That is the structure of the open world. Because of this the creation of man as open essence is the will to deiformation of his life in freedom. It is the realm of the open world. II. In what does the real and effective sequence of human life consist? We now immediately ask in what does the sequence of this open essence consist. 1) In the first place, the open essence has a biographic sequence. The will to deiformation is, on the part of God, primarily a will to biographic deiformation. This means, on the one hand, that life is certainly a sequence that emerges from those structures we have just indicated. But these structures are not limited to being the merely theological and metaphysical framework in which human reality inscribes itself. No, God qua reality is a personal reality that is fontanally subjacent to all the realities of creation, and especially to human reality. It follows that the fontanal connections (sit venia verbo) of man in God are not limited simply to what we would call causality such as it occurs in the cosmic world. Not at all, even without appealing to theology, is there any doubt that the relationships of friendship, counsel, love, home, warmth, have influence on the human actions that is difficult to fit into the four concepts of causality, which Aristotle left us. Hence, this fontanal presence of the divine reality {217} in man is expressed in a most precise concept, the concept of cháris, gratia (grace). However, grace does not mean here the Trinitarian characteristic of man. No, the Trinitarian characteristic of man is the fundament that we may have grace, but in itself it is not a grace. It has been said many times in theology that in the case of Christ there is what we call a grace that belongs to Him, a gratia Christi. That is a more or less problematic issue that depends on the idea one has of the incarnation. But properly and absolutely speaking it is not a grace; it is precisely the formal reality of man. What happens is that just because man is what he is, he may have, and also has grace. Man not only lives in a Trinitarian God, and Trinitarially, but also lives with God. Because of this, the majority of the things man feels in his life, that in his own quiet perception thinks are emerging naturally from himself, are in their great majority the work of grace. And, of course, all without exception are formally the accurate image of the Trinitarian divinity of God. Nevertheless, this grace is a grace in liberty. Of course, whenever there is liberty we face a problem, which seems it might destroy everything we have said so far, what happens with sin? Let us begin remembering that every created will even the will of Christ is intrinsically and of itself fallible. The very will of Christ can sin like any other will. He did not sin, for other reasons; but by reason of having a created will He had the internal possibility of opening to a sin. However, a sin is not simply a moral fault; it is something much more profound. A sin is not a moral fault, but consists in a rejection of God, more or less direct, more or less aggressive, etc. One would not commit a sin if one did not know that {218} doing that particular thing one is doing something God does not approve. That is a rough definition of what a rejection is. Sin is not only a moral fault, but also a rejection. Definitely, this does not invalidate what we have said. Because the reality of a man in sin and the concrete reality of sin precisely consist in living the rejection of the very Trinitarian life. Without Trinitarian life there would be no sin. Sin is, in this personal dimension (as personal sin) the Trinitarian life lived rejecting it. Obviously this is a paradox, a paradox that has its special characteristic in the other world. It consists precisely in the reality of a condemned man who lives rejecting the Trinitarian life. This is an internal laceration, the penalty of the condemned man. It is not a penalty imposed on him from the outside, but the one he wants. Since this is so, every sin is clearly Trinitarian. And reciprocally every good act of any type is eo ipso Trinitarian. Let us not think that natural goodness is one thing and the supernatural goodness another. These scissions do not exist in human reality. There are two forms of personal sin. One is the malice of the actual voluntary act one performs. Another is the malice, in a certain way reduplicative, with which one makes someone else perform an evil act, something I have called malignity elsewhere1. The will of God is concerned over these two forms that constitute the rejection of living the Trinitarian life. Then it has been said that God has a permissive will, and that in addition to what He wills to do, called will to approval, He has a condescension through which He permits evil {219} to exist. When presented in this form it is undeniable that in God there is a permissible will as long as we question on theological and theologic grounds what that permissible will of God may be. It is not a simple matter. Above all, it is necessary to start from the idea that in God there are not two wills, a will to approval, and a will to permissiveness. Not only physically because in God everything is identical due to His simplicity. I do not refer to this. I am pointing to the fact that even taking the will as an intentional phenomenon, in God there are not two different intentions, one of approval and another of permissiveness. There is only one will in God. Then, we have four questions. a) In the first place, in what does the intentional unity of these two wills consist? Undoubtedly consists in the prosecution of some good. God would not have a permissive will if the will to approval did not will that a good exist in creation. b) In this case a second question appears. Because these two wills are not merely juxtaposed, but inasmuch as they are one, one is founded on the other. Therefore, the permissive will is founded on the will to approval. God has in a certain way the approval to permissiveness. It is not just condescension, but the approval to permissiveness. c) Then the question narrows. What is the fundament of this unity that God may have the approval to permissiveness? Simply, what He has done at the beginning of the creation of man, precisely the creation of freedom. God has created a freedom, and in the will to create a freedom is the unity of the will to approval and the will to permissiveness. God has the will to permissiveness in the same measure He has created a freedom that insofar as {220} created is intrinsically able to defect. In other words, because He has created an open essence. d) Of course, then one may ask, what is in the end the supreme good God has pursued in that unique will that mysteriously ties approval and permissiveness? It is very clear and very simple, freedom as supreme good. A great affirmation, but enormously mysterious. God has estimated that the freedom with which the condemned wills his suffering is superior to the existence of the suffering itself. This appears mysterious to us and it certainly is. The supreme good and the supreme reality of creation are precisely the freedom, which crowns the structure of an open essence. In freedom man is what God is. And in a human way, in it and through it man lives the way God lives, by Himself and from Himself. For this reason the biographic will is the will to build his substantive being, his I, divinely. It is the Word biographically molding his his-ownness in the being of man. 2) But man does not only have a biographical sequence, he also has a historical sequence. Actually man is never alone, but is always open to other men, and is so primarily and radically through his own body. The turning of man to others is above all a genetic connection, and not a particular social structure. All the social structures rely precisely on the genetic unity. Hence, men not only share life in one form or another, but in that sharing emerges that which we call a world. For example, the world of an era, the world of the Middle Ages, the modern world, the world in this restricted sense of the term. What is the world understood in such a way? It is the one in which men who share it have been depositing their preferences, their judgements, and their {221} appreciations. They have been depositing not only their good things, but also their bad ones. The world understood this way is above all a depersonalized world where whatever man has deposited has been converted into something that is just there, which weighs down over man and in one form or another can regulate his reality. It is an arché, and precisely as arché, is that to which man can have recourse, it is just tópos. The world is the topical reality of human depersonalization. The vicissitudes of this world and the men who live it are what constitute the sequence of history. Nevertheless, God is the director of history. History is not composed only of the interplay of human freedoms. That is a myth, on the part of history and on the part of man himself. History is not composed of the interplay of human freedoms because if man did not have a context in which these freedoms were to play it would be lost in a vacuum. Freedom would simply disappear. Kant said with respect to a different problem and in a different way that if doves could think, they would think that without air resistance they would be able to fly better2. That is the case, without a context freedom could not be freedom. But the context is not the lack of freedom; on the contrary, it is what makes freedom possible. The possibility of freedom in this sense is precisely what thematically I have just called context. The contextual condition of history is absolutely undeniable. Because of this each man born in a particular society, besides the abilities he has to perform and the decisions he takes as author of his own acts has the context of the life he has been given to live. {222} And God is precisely the director of this context. An author of this context not in the sense that He may command in what direction history must proceed. No, the ways of God are much more complicated and definitely much more efficacious, of course. Because in the end the interplay of freedoms is not annulled. So much so, that whatever the interplay of these freedoms may be, the goodness for which God traces the outline of the context of history will be achieved inexorably. In the physical world the interplay of merely probabilistic freedom of the elementary particles does not impede the construction of a machine or a locomotive. Analogously human freedoms, regardless how free they are, are precisely something that is in the hands of a context within which each one may go in its own direction. However, the set contextually will proceed towards the indefectible point God has willed to take it. As Isaiah says, “For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down, and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful... So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” (Is 55:10-11). In this historical context God has his initiatives. Not only the initiatives of personal grace, as in the case of human life biographically taken, but other initiatives, for example, the initiative of the Covenant (berit) in the Israelite world; or the eschatological initiative in the New Testament, etc. In the course of history there appears in a generic way what we might call the initiative of propheticalness. It was the merit of Averroes to have introduced the subject of propheticalness into speculative theology. In this historical context, God as vector of history has a will to deiformation or to historical deification. Of course, it is not the question here that the world may be Christian, but of something {223} much more simple, and much more radical. That in and through history man is accomplishing the truth of God. In its most exemplary and most diverse forms (as diverse for example as sin can be as rejection of God), the course of history, progressive if taken as a whole, conveys the sense it is making truer the true image of the Son. The fact is history as a whole is sub judice for God. We usually think of history as a great human reality. It is a myth. Man is born and does not come from history; he dies and does not remain in history. History itself was born one day, and will end in another. The sense of history is precisely to give testimony, in a certain way, of the Spirit of Truth the Son is, and because of that in the end it is the work of the Holy Spirit. This means that in the historical context besides personal sins something else appears that is not the personal sin of malignity or malice. It is a different thing, evil objectified in a topical form, what I would call wickedness. Here sin appears again as another instance that presents a problem. Evil is not only present in the malice of a will, and in the malignity of one will over another, but also in objective wickedness as one of the ingredients of the world. Have said that all this is sub iudice. In the phrase of Christ, “the ruler of this world has been condemned” (Jn 16:11). From the point of view of a Christian history is flowing in such a context that regardless of the things man may perform in it, however, history will reach its goal. Just to bring in one example, anticipating problems we shall cover further on, let us consider the redemption of humanity. Certainly, it was not positively the will of Christ or his Father that he had to die on the cross. That was imposed {224} by the Jews or those who judged Him. Would not humanity have been redeemed if the Jews had believed in Him, when not believing was imputed to them as a sin? Certainly it would have been redeemed, but in another way. They crucified him, and it was also redeemed. Regardless of the interplay of human freedoms, the objective (so to speak) that God has established for history will be fulfilled inexorably. Because of this history is the context of the judgment of truth. ________________ 1 Cf. X. Zubiri, Sobre el sentimiento y la volición (On Sentiment and Volition), op. cit., pp.277-278. 2 Cf. I. Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, B 8-9, in his Werkausgabe (ed. by W. Weischedell), Francfort, 1988 (10th ed.), p 51. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 3 (224-231) --------------- {224} (cont’d) 3) But between historical will and biographical will there lies in a certain way a subtle and difficult articulating point, the will to origination. Man has appeared on Earth at a certain time. What is from the point of view of God this originating will? Certainly, we have already seen in the Yahwist account of Genesis that this will to origination adopts the form of an elaboration, like a potter who is forming the animals from the dust of Earth, and finally man. In the priestly code He appears as a creator by his own word telling us “and God said” in successive creations. Today, of course, we think that the “let us make” (Gn 1:26) expresses, from the point of view of reality, the initiative that is unfolding in a very long cosmic process, which is precisely what we call evolution. Hominization emerges precisely as terminus of a very long process in which God is not excluded (just the opposite), but in which man is being generated in the cosmos. a) In the first place, this evolution affects not only his body, but also what is called his soul. There is no doubt about this. It will be said that there is no evolution capable of producing a free intelligence and a free will. If by evolution is understood a transformation of matter, certainly this is true. But human psychism in its highest functions, like the ones I have just mentioned, is mounted upon the poorly named {225} sensitive psychism, which is a more radical and profound stratum. However, the sensitive psychism insofar as psychism is a product of evolution. Man could not have been created through the evolution of an echinoderm. He comes from a hominid, with the proper, special, and particular psychism of that hominid from which he has been created. Man in body and soul is the product of evolution, at least taking the soul in this radical and basic sense. b) But, in addition, divine causality, in what concerns the other dimensions of the human spirit that do not proceed from transformation (for example, pure intelligence and pure will), does not consist in an external addition to evolution. Quite the contrary, the fact is that God is subjacent as fontanal reality in the depth of all material creation, and is going to commence being such in the depth of every human reality. Precisely from the depth of that material reality of a hominid, and not fallen from the sky, is how He is going to bring forth a psychism that may have qualities that could not have flourished by mere transformation. At any rate, evolution is in this sense an internal and intrinsic flourishing. And as flourishing is how the originating will of God has willed that man may exist upon Earth. A flourishing that is determined by two dimensions of the divine causality. One is the exigent dimension, without it the terminus of the transformation of a hominid could not have had the perdurable subsistence it has had for thousands of years. And in second place, it is intrinsic, because it springs forth from the very depth of reality. Hence, this in each individual means it is a divine initiative of internal flourishing. In the species it means a kind of will to groping. God is not a kind of definitional dictator, theological or cosmic, ordering that {226} man may exist, and arranging that each one of them may exist. God has provided that creation may in a certain way continue to make itself divinely. That is the divine way, by evolution. And here is precisely where God has been groping the several dimensions of evolution, in order to have them reach deiformation. But here appears again the subject of sin. Because, at any event, there is in that will to origination, and in the entity originated by it, a sin of origin. What is all this about original sin? Above all, there is no obligation to think that the whole of mankind descends from just one couple. Monogenism is an interpretation, and that is all it is, an interpretation, besides there is no obligation to affirm it. Also, it would be biologically improbable that the whole of mankind, which covers such extraordinary dimensions in the biosphere, would proceed from only one couple. That would be absolutely improbable. Humanity proceeds from several, multiple couples. Then we can assume that it proceeds at least from a unique group of couples. And in this case we would have what I would call a group monogenism. For example, Rahner, a great theologian has suggested this1. But it seems chimerical to me, who has ever suggested that the Pithecanthropus of Java and the Archanthropus of Morocco constitute a group? There would be not one group, but several groups. In other words, I do not believe there is a one couple monogenism, or even a group monogenism. At any rate, humanity, which has been sprouting by evolution and by the intrinsic and exigent action of God in many {227} points of the Earth has become involved in a mass of sin. Our question is, in what does the originating characteristic of this sin consist? Let us be aware in this problem that it is precisely by the body that human beings are open to each other and to the whole world. Men form groups and resemble God precisely by that dimension of corporeity man’s own reality has. Hence, this corporeity is not a corporeity consecutive to what man is, but it is a constitutive corporeity. Man constitutively would never be turned (in the form he has to be) towards other men if it were not because of his body. From this follows, on the one hand, that the original sin, which was certainly personal in Adam, is not personal in the rest of men. No one has been born with a sin for which he is personally responsible. That is chimerical. No one has been born with a personal sin. It will then be said that it is a kind of hereditary epidemic. It is not said that way, but in the end the immense majority of the classical expositions of original sin deal with it as if it were a sickness that man is always inheriting. No, that is completely chimerical. The original sin is not a personal sin or a natural epidemic. It is something different. In Spanish we can say it quite well, it is a preparatory stage for peccability (Sp. estadio primero de empecatamiento). Man is born with a constitutional structure, with respect to other men, prepared for peccability. Certainly, not because of each man, but because of those that naturally constituted the origin of humanity. Man is born in a situation prepared for peccability as the result of a personal rejection by those who constituted the exordium of humanity. It has left men constituted in such a way that they possess the molding or the result of this {228} rejection. The result of this rejection is not a rejection. No one has a rejection of God because of original sin. But also there is no full possession of the Trinitarian life. Then, what is it? It is precisely a Trinitarian life lived with a deprivation. Man in original sin has no act of rejection; he has a state ready for peccability, which formally consists in a privation, in the privation of the fullness of the Trinitarian life. The Genesis account (Gn 3) is completely legendary, no doubt about it. But what it is trying to say is that precisely because of that, moral evil had its beginning. Man, in one form or another, personally lost in all those who performed an act of rejection, the positive relationship with God, and he began to live and establish himself on Earth on the basis of that rejection. Everything else belongs, of course, to the literary and conceptual genre of the text of Genesis. Taken from every possible angle, in each person or in history, the question from the part of God is of a will to deiformity staged for peccability. Staged for peccability, i.e., that each man is virtually someone who has the possibility of being an anti-God. And he is so precisely by virtue of his own Trinitarian structure. As I said above, this is a stupendous and extreme paradox, precisely the reality of the condemned man. Man has the possibility of acquiring the stage ready for peccability, of being in a state of peccability, and living his Trinitarian life with respect to God rejecting it. That is the reason why the radical sin is precisely the sin of pride. III. The unity of creation God has a will to molding that is, on the one hand, will to evolution in the closed essences. And on the other, has a will to {229} biographic, historical, and original deiformation in the open essences. We then ask, where is the unity of the will to creation? Indeed, the unity of the will to creation is precisely that, to be the molding ad extra of the very Trinitarian life. Seemingly, one can think this is fine as long as the reference is only to man, but, what does the evolution of the galaxies has to do with the Trinitarian life? This “has to do” is not a matter of science, it is a question of what reality is. And, truthfully speaking, in each man his somatic aspect is never alien to his own human reality. It follows that the molding of Trinitarian life in one form or another involves the moment of the formation of a body. The body, while being perfectly material is, however, one of the ingredients (regardless of the structure that may be attributed to that set of ingredients) of the molding of the Trinitarian life in which man consists. This body, as moment of reality, forms an intrinsic part of the reality of man. It is precisely the possibility that I may be I, and in addition imposes itself on the I. All this makes that the body be, particularly the animated body, the temple of the holy Spirit. Therefore, the will of God, insofar as forming the matter of the human body, is not alien to the molding of his own Trinitarian life, and also not alien in the entire material evolution. Because, naturally, the body and the psychism have an origin, and that origin is material. Could God have created it directly? Indubitably, but He appears not to have done it that way. Be that as it may, then, the course of material evolution up to the human mind is precisely the stepping march from pure matter to freedom. Inasmuch as the material universe is the outline of {230} that stepping march, evidently, matter belongs in a radical and fundamental manner to the molding of the Trinitarian life. Also, this matter defines man, as we have seen. Therefore, the entire material cosmos in one form or another expresses man. Let us remember the cosmic meaning of the glorification and the redemption, which for St. Paul the death and resurrection of Christ have, for him the entire cosmos groans for a glorification (cf. Rm 8:19-23). An obscure text, which undoubtedly makes that matter, as cause of the body of each man, as moment that produces the apparition of the first man, and as terminus and structure of history, may participate in the molding of the Trinitarian life. This molding, therefore, is not an elevation of a pure nature to the supernatural life. This idea of the supernatural is the perfect Hellenization of Christian thought. There is no elevation of nature to the supernatural order, but precisely the opposite, what exists is a descent (sit venia verbo) of the very Trinitarian life to its conditions of finitude. What we call nature are the dimensions of finitude of the Trinitarian life molded ad extra. Pure nature is, in fact, a Hellenization of Christian thought. From the part of God, then, it is clear that the will to evolution in matter, to biography, to history, and to origination, all reveal that God has willed to create things out of nothing, but with a perfectly arranged will, towards creation as process. Creation does not have a pointlike characteristic, but rather a processable characteristic in an open world. The process starts from the reality of a substrate, created out of nothing. And that reality is going to move on processably and divinely elevating itself to forms each time more complex and richer of being by itself that which it is, in order to finish precisely in being it not ex se ipso, but a se ipso. It is a way {231} towards freedom. And the process itself, because of this, is an exact image of the Trinitarian procession ad extra. That is what deiformation is, and as such, this process continues to grow (at least in greatly elapsed times) making the entire creation richer, not only in the matter, but also in the open essences. However, all this richness is nothing but the manifestation, each time greater, fuller and more detailed of what the truth of the Son is. The truth of the Son not only as Word, but also of a Word strictly and formally in human form, the case of Christ. Of course, up to this point creation has been precisely a giving of itself of the very Trinitarian life of God. The donation can still be even greater. It can be a donation of the very reality of God. In that case the terminus of this donation would be an identity between the Trinitarian processions and the initiating procession. This identity is precisely the person of Christ. That will be the subject of the next chapter. ________________ 1 Cf. K. Rahner, “Theologisches zum Monogenismus”, in his Schriften zur Theologie, vol. 1, Einsiedeln, 1960 (4th ed.) pp. 253-322; more explicitly his article on “Evolution und Erbsünde”, in Concilium, No. 3 (1967), pp. 459-465; also see his book in collaboration with P. Overhage, Das Problem der Hominisation, Fribourg, 1961. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 4 (233-246) --------------- {233} CHAPTER 4 INCARNATION We have seen in the previous chapters that God, as absolutely absolute reality, is an absolute “giving of itself” because all reality is active in and of itself. And this giving of itself is what in an active way, although analogously conceived, must be called, and is called procession. This procession in God has different aspects. There is a procession in God himself, and by God himself, namely, the double aspect of generation and spiration. But there is something else, a procession that freely initiates something that is outside God or is not God himself, what we call the initiating procession. And yet, this initiating procession is in itself identical to the processions of generation and spiration with the only difference that its terminus is free. On the other hand, the other terminus is absolutely necessary. Precisely because of this, while giving of itself to himself in His internal reality is really and definitely a procession ad intra, a constitution of the very Trinitarian reality of God, this giving of itself, when it refers to an initiating procession, is just what we call donation. Hence, this donation can have different degrees and aspects. We have seen one, which is a donation that consists in molding the very Trinitarian life outside of God. That is the formal reason for creation. Creation, from a concrete point of view, {234} and not from what it might have been de potentia Dei absoluta (it is useless to talk about this), is really and effectively the molding ad extra of the Trinitarian life of God. But there is a second degree in which donation and the giving of itself can refer not to molding the Trinitarian life of God ad extra, but to give creation the very personal reality of God, which He gives to himself as reality. However, in this case that initiating procession, free by reason of its terminus, makes that in this terminus the Trinitarian processions be identified with the terminus of the initiating procession. And this identity is just the personal reality of Christ. This is what we have to consider in this chapter. To begin with, let us remember that as every operation ad extra (and the Incarnation, undoubtedly is an operation ad extra, since God does not incarnate inside himself) is an operation performed by the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. Therefore, here the terminus of the procession (of the Incarnation) is the Word as such. And consequently, here it is the Father who in the Holy Spirit and by the Holy Spirit gives the reality of his own Word to creation. Of course, for this he needs to give it (at least in fact it has been done that way) to a reality Trinitarially structured. In the concrete case we are studying, in a man. It follows that this man will be eo ipso the Word of God, and therefore his Son. This is the fact of Incarnation. § 1. In the first place, it will be necessary to make an exposition of this fact. What is it that really and effectively the revealed text tells us about what we call the incarnation? § 2. In the second place, what is the precision this exposition needs and has had in the course of time, so that we do not get lost among matters alien to the revealed text? § 3. And in third place, we must understand this fact theologically through concepts. {235} § 1 THE EXPOSITION OF THE FACT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT Undoubtedly, as point of departure, in all the New Testament texts, implicitly in some, explicitly in others (for example in the oldest of the Gospels), we are first told, “...Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God” (Mk 1:1). In other words, that the reality of Jesus Christ, in one form or another (we shall have to see in what form) is Son of God. Nevertheless, the expression “Son of God” is a common expression in the Old and the New Testament outside the fact of Incarnation. It is precisely because of this that it has such a central place in the whole New Testament text. I had indicated this in another place and now we need to repeat it1. For example, in the Epistle to the Galatians all the just are called “son of God” (cf. Gal 4:6-7). In the Gospel of St. Mathew Christ is called “son of God”, clearly meaning Messiah (cf. Mt 16:16; 26:63). In the Old Testament itself the whole people of Israel is called “son of God” (cf. Ex 4:22-23), especially in the central text for this point, the book of Jeremiah (cf. Jer 31:9). The Messianic king is also called “son of God”, for example in the second book of Samuel (cf. 2 Sm 7:14; cf. 1 Chr 17:13; Ps 2:7). Deuteronomy calls “son of God” to the whole of the Israelites together (cf. Dt 1:31; 8:5), etc. The New Testament does not abolish this use. On the contrary, it even uses it as a thematic support. That {236} is the issue. The fact is that supporting itself on it and realizing it in the actual life of Christ it wants to take us towards something deeper and more profound in which the divine filiation acquires an exclusive sense in the facts and life of Christ. It takes us, in the first place, slowly. And in second place, indiscernibly. It would be chimerical to think that if I had St. Peter in front of me and I could present the problem to him he would answer me immediately. Definitely not. Probably St. Peter would answer that he does not understand what I am asking him. This is obvious, how is he supposed to have an explicit knowledge of everything theology and the entire history of dogma itself is going to develop in the course of time? That is absolutely chimerical. The only thing we can be absolutely sure is that if he had the patience to listen to the explanation, and I the capacity of explaining what I wanted to ask, then yes, the answer of St. Peter would be, for example, the same the Council of Ephesus gave. That is a different matter. But this is an entirely imaginary experience. Primitive faith did not deny aspects that for us are essential in the dogma, but also did not discern them explicitly. It was an authentic and real faith, but undiscerning, about the filiation of Christ. The discernment has been the actual work, in the first place, of the New Testament itself, and in second place, of the precisions that have appeared after the Apostolic era. This is a process that, therefore, should be called a theological testimony. The revealed text is neither a biography nor a theological treatise; it is a theological witness of Christ where primarily three factors are involved. In the first place, the experience of the Holy Spirit. We discussed above what the Holy Spirit is concretely, at least in a radical and general way; it is the Spirit of Truth lived in intimacy, and therefore, the lived experience, {237} the lived tradition of the Apostles and the primitive community surrounding Christ. In the second place, the faith in the Paschal mystery. Christ resurrected. The Apostles had the faith in the Paschal mystery. And this is going to be projected, I shall immediately indicate how, in the type of redaction of the Gospel text. And in the third place, there is the hope that Christ will return in one form or another. One of the oldest liturgical texts closes the Eucharistic assembly with the expression marána thá. Depending how the cut is made it may mean two things, “our Lord comes” (from the Aramean marán áthá), or “come, Lord of ours” (in Aramean marána thá). Probably the second is the most obvious. However, in either case it is an explicit and thematic allusion to the Parousia. Of course, something lived in the community of the first Christians, in their liturgy and in the personal life of each. Consequently, this idea of the divine filiation, lived under the intimate experience of the Holy Spirit, in the Paschal faith, and with faith in the Parousía is going to be molded into the entire New Testament text. Obviously, since the New Testament texts are several it means that each one of them has a lógos, i.e., a different way of presenting and characterizing what we call, and is, the divine filiation of Christ. Therefore, strictly speaking, these different writings involve as many Christologies because each one gives a different lógos (although not incompatible to each other, that is the point) of what the person of Jesus is as Son of God. The problem is to search for a unity in that diversity, which will never be found through the dialectic of some abstract concepts, but precisely the opposite, by finding a greater depth in their point of departure, namely, in the actual life of Christ. {238} A) In this New Testament deployment (not all writings belong to the same period) there surely is a primitive and archaic form of this we call the Christology, of the lógos of Christ. I will only quote two passages that must be kept in mind. 1) The first is the one that gives us an account, in the Acts of the Apostles, of the preaching of St. Peter to the gentiles. The text tells us that St. Peter, addressing the Jews, said, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and prodigies and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you as you also know, this same, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain... Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell... This Jesus God hath raised again, whereof all we are witnesses. Being exalted therefore by the right hand of God and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit... Therefore let all the house of Israel know most certainly that God hath made both Lord (kýrios) and Christ (christós), this same Jesus, whom you have crucified”(Acts 2:22-36). 2) The other text, the beginning to the Epistle to the Romans is much briefer. I put aside the chronology with respect to the first text because that and its literary composition, which is also important, would take us away from the subject, and is not essential to our problem. The text of St. Paul tells us, referring to the Gospel of his Son, “of the seed of David, according to the flesh, horisthéntos Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of Sanctification, by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom 1:3-4). What does the term horisthéntos mean here? The term could mean “declared”, “manifested”. If it refers only to “Son of God”, insofar as eternal Word, the {239} term horisthéntos can only mean just that, “declared”, “manifested”. But that is not the Greek sense of the term. Actually, horisthéntos means “constituted”, “defined as such”. Therefore, this clearly indicates that here the expression “Son of God” does not refer formally, expressly, and exclusively to the Word of God, but to everything that in the point of departure we have called “son of God”, and involves the messianic dimension, the sanctity dimension, etc. And, of course, with respect to this we can say He is constituted. Because only after the resurrection did God constitute Him in the fullness of intercessory power and rector of history. This is what we commonly mean by the expression “seated at the right hand of the Father”. Obviously, in that case, to be constituted Son of God is not merely His messianic constitution, that would not be enough. Also, it is not just to be formally constituted as Son of God, which would not be a true constitution. The fact is that this messianic figure precisely acquires the actual fullness of the prerogatives that pertain to him as Incarnate Word. And precisely this ascending motion present in the horisthéntos, in the “constituted”, is the essential point that concerns us here. These texts represent a primitive Christology, because it is the only text where St. Paul refers to Christ as “Son of David”. In other words, he is addressing some community where this is appreciated, something that would not happen in a Roman community itself unless it incorporated some Jews in it. In these two texts there appears a series of connected motives: 1) the man descendant of David; 2) who lives testifying in his life; 3) crucified; 4) resurrected; 5) elevated to the right hand of the Father; 6) constituted as kýrios, as Lord, or at least manifested as such; 7) who is going to return (marán áthá). Therefore, all of the most complicated Christology on Earth is nothing but the exposition, the precision, and the conceptiveness of these simple {240} New Testament passages. The rest are just subtleties for the use of metaphysicians and historians. B) The unfolding of this Christology now with a certain amount of chronology in it has manifested itself precisely in the Gospels. Each one provides its own Christology, its lógos of Christ. 1) In the first place, we have the earliest Gospel, from St. Mark. The Gospel of St. Mark aims to present the revelation of God in the passion and the resurrection. It is really the Gospel par excellence; the earthly life of Christ is seen and interpreted under the light of the Paschal faith. This is the basis for that literary style (perhaps more than just a literary style) quite abundant in St. Mark, the “messianic secret” that Christ is always requesting from his disciples. Actually he wants to reach the paschal faith, but after having projected the paschal sense in the life of Christ. That is why he starts by calling Jesus “Son of God” (cf. Mk 1:1). But he is interested in demonstrating that throughout his life, that life has a sense of passing through passion and resurrection towards glorification. 2) St. Matthew depends on the Gospel of St. Mark literarily and in addition on the wide collection of writings and sayings, and multiple independent liturgical texts that existed before the literal redaction of the Gospels. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, of which we probably preserve an abbreviated version of the Aramean original, the aim is to present the lógos of Christ in a different way. He is the person that has the absolute authority on the Law, and therefore, is above the Toráh, and consequently in one form or another is next to Yahweh. What the evangelist intends is to take us to the reality of Yahweh. Of course, that is why in this Gospel there are numerous teachings usually sealed with the expression “hína plerothé to hrethén”, “in order to {241} fulfill Scripture” (cf. Mt 1:22; 2:23, etc.). Evidently, St. Matthew addresses an audience that in one form or another lives by the Law. And he wants to make the lógos, the reason for the being of Christ, something analogous to what the Law was as terminus of the Covenant (Hb. berit), of the will of Yahweh over the people of Israel. This man now, who disposes by simply one word (“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors... But I say to you...”, cf. Mt 5:21-48), with that “I” expresses in an unequivocal way what we call the divinity. Clearly, that this man is at the very level of Yahweh. It is also, at the same time, the Gospel that most profusely employs the term kýrios, Lord, which exactly translates the Hebrew Adonai, the circumlocution with which the Hebrews expressed the name of Yahweh. 3) The lógos of Christ that St. Luke presents to us is different. For St. Luke it is not the question of a somewhat atemporal life, like the one in St. Matthew, where Christ is placed confronting the Law. St. Luke, who writes quite later (and perhaps accompanied St. Paul in his travels through Asia Minor and Greece) is in a different situation. Resurrection is further back, and so are the communities more or less attached to the life of Jerusalem. Accordingly, St. Luke has to take account of time seriously, the triple time. The first is the time of the Old Testament as it actually took place. Second, the time of the Church, of the primitive community living the Parousía. And between both of these, we have the third one, the time of the real life of Christ. For St. Luke the lógos of Christ as Son of God, is precisely to be the Lord of time and the rector of history. It is not by chance that he has written the Gospel as a “prologue” to the Acts of the Apostles. 4) Finally we have the Gospel of St. John, which is founded on the testimony of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 15:26), certainly {242} belonging to the end of the first century. More time has elapsed and St. John, who is together with St. Paul the great theologian of the New Testament, has lived intimately the experience of the Holy Spirit with an intensity that the Gospel allows us to think has actually been exceptional, and in addition unique. St. John wishes to affirm not only that Jesus Christ is the lógos, the eternal Word of God, but also that he is made of flesh and bone. That is the essential point. That is the real sense of the human life of Christ ready to be lost, through certain speculations and certain ways of living the religion, in a lógos completely impersonal and ethereal, despite all his indications of divinity. C) Since we are prescinding here of the chronology, let us see how is the lógos of Christ presented in St. Paul2. He is presented in a different form, in that initial form, which the primitive Christology reproduces, as I indicated. But in addition, in the great Pauline Epistles (Romans, Corinthians, and even in the Deuteropauline Epistles), there is a theme that appears constantly. That the reason for the being of Christ is precisely to be pléroma, to be fullness (cf. Rom 15:29; 1 Co 10:26; Eph 1:23; 3:19; 4:13; Col 1:19; 2:9). To be fullness of what? The term pléroma is not from St. Paul; it comes from the Stoic philosophy. Here St. Paul refers on the one hand to the divinity of Christ, but on the other to what pléroma meant in the Stoic philosophy, namely, the totality of the universe immersed precisely in the lógos, in the universal reason. The pléroma consists in saying that in Jesus Christ resides the fullness of the Word of God, and also the fullness of creation itself. We are told four things about this pléroma. 1) In the first place, that He has a divine existence. Definitely, we are told that through him God made all the centuries of time {243} (cf. Hb 1:2). Here is mentioned what in the Old Testament had already appeared when it was said that in the beginning God created the world, the transcendence of God that appears as that beginning of time (cf. Gn 1:1). At this point we are taken to a more radical dimension, that Christ is the beginning of all time, because in the first place he is huiós, Son. In the second place he is apaúgasma, effulgence of the Father. And in third place charaktér, express imprint of the Father (cf. Hb 1:2-3). In the Epistle to the Philippians St. Paul adds a further characteristic, saying he is morphé, form (cf. Phil 2:6) of God, carefully distinguishing between morphé and eikón, image. The eikón is a personal property of the Son as such. And for St. Paul there is no doubt, the one and par excellence image of God is precisely Christ (cf. 2 Cor 4:4; Col 1:15). This is the divine preexistence of Christ because through Him God made all the time of creation. 2) In the second place, his historical existence. He took the form of a slave, morphé doúlou (cf. Phil 2:7). 3) In the third place, he has a glorious existence. He is the heir to everything (cf. Hb 1:2). 4) In the fourth place, St. Paul gives us the precise position of Christ with respect to creation. He is a lógos who completes the divine lógos. He is, in the first place, the beginning of everything, everything was created through Him (cf. 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16). He is, in the second place, the terminus of everything, everything was created for Him (cf. Col 1:16). And He is, in the third place, the fundament of everything, everything finds support in Him, everything acquires its consistency in Him (cf. Col 1:17). Because of this St. Paul reduces to one expression the position of Christ as Son of God in creation, He is “the firstborn of all creation” (cf. Col 1:15). Of course, the exegesis here has had to stop because when we say that everything has been created through Him, who is the firstborn of all creation, which one is the subject of those verbs? That is the question. Is it the eternal Word? Almost always (and I say “almost” {244} out of prudence) that has been the way it has been understood in theology. In all truthfulness the literal text indicates the subject is Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ is not the eternal Word, but the incarnated Word. In that case, what does the divine presence of Christ mean? Is it the case that he was created before coming down to this world, insofar as man? The Church firmly rejected the understanding of Origen according to which Christ, before coming to this world, in the bosom of the Father, had a human body and soul. No, Christ took the human body and soul purely and simply in the bosom of Mary. However, the exegesis of recent years thinks that actually there is a divine preexistence of the man-God, who would be a creature, but anterior to the whole creation. What does this mean? It is speculated that there is a time different from the historical, and the pure eternity of God. But the real problem is not in what does this intermediate time consist, but what is the reality Christ has in it. That is the question, and we are told nothing about it, it is left completely in suspense. At any rate, those who say this are not just subtle exegetes, but some of the great masters of the modern New Testament exegesis3. This would undoubtedly put a different perspective on the problem of Arius who thought that the Word has been created before all created time. This is what I called, when referring to the Trinity, a level of transcendence that was not co-eternal with God. Clearly, this was the error of Arius, to say that He was not co-eternal and consubstantial with God. But if Arius had come across someone that said the incarnate Word had become such in this intermediate time of the divine order before coming down to the world, his position perhaps might have been different. At any rate, these exegetes state it {245} very clearly; the incarnation in the bosom of Mary does not mean a step from the divinity to the incarnate Word, but a change of condition. From what the condition of Christ was before creation to what the condition of Christ is in the bosom of Mary. I have indicated what the problem is for those who may wish to rack their brains trying to solve it in this fashion. D) Be that as it may, the divinity of Christ is expressed in a certain dynamic way in all these logoi, in all these Christologies of the New Testament. It is expressed in a dynamic form, but is undeniable. We are told, for example, that Christ is kýrios, Lord. This is just a way of saying he is Yahweh, that he is a revealer of God, that he is the lógos that really lives in an intimate, exceptional, and unique way with the Father (being his Son), of whom he is an image. However, the Synoptic Gospels never call Christ Theós. The divinity is expressed here with that more apprehensible and accessible characteristic within the history of Israel. It is an elevation by transcendence of what the entire religion of Israel has been, and its conceptiveness of the Son of God. Elevation by transcendence. Yes, but that is the question, because this elevation by transcendence never stops moving in the dark. Certainly, Christ never mentioned in what his divine filiation consisted. When he has said he is Son of God, and that so are the rest of us (cf. Jn 10:34), he has always made a distinction. He has taught all of us to pray by saying, “This is how you are to pray: Our Father...” (cf. Mt 6:9). He never places himself inside that “our”. His relationship with the Father, his intimacy with him is different. The Father is only known by the Son, and the Son is only known by the Father (cf. Mt 11:27). Also, he told Philip during the Last Supper, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever {246} has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). In the end, this is to indicate precisely that his divine filiation is something essentially different from what divine filiation was within the entire history of Israel, and even within the messianic conception of this history. But it leaves in suspense the necessity of stating with precision what this divine filiation is. In chapter two I had indicated it. We may think (and we definitely have to think it) that this personal intimacy, which Christ lives with the Father, is elevated in a certain way to the infinite. Then, this identity, which in the rest of us will be no more (for example in St. John) than an intimate and mystical experience of the Holy Spirit with a great depth and supernatural richness, does not reach, however, the level it reached in Christ. Because as the two poles approach in intimacy it is clear they do converge precisely in the identity. And this identity is the divine filiation of Christ. It is usually said that in the New Testament Christ only appears as revealer. I would prefer to say that in the New Testament Christ appears as Truth of the Father, which is a different matter. We shall see that this observation is not a marginal one through what I will say further on. ________________ 1 Cf. X. Zubiri, The Philosophical Problem of the History of Religions, op. cit., p. 249. 2 Zubiri refers to the whole Corpus Paulinum. 3 Zubiri probably refers here to the work, already quoted, of P. Benoit, “Pre-existence et incarnation”, op. cit., pp. 5-29. --------------- CHRISTIANITY by Xavier Zubiri ------------------------------------- Chapter 4 (247-260) --------------- {247} § 2 THE PRECISION OF THE FACT IN TIME We need now, and it is not by chance that the Church has always been active in this direction, to observe how the Ecclesial community makes more precise something that needs further clarification. After all, this is something that with all its richness is included in the content of the intimate experience of Christ and the Christologies of the New Testament. In order to gain this clarity let us also prescind here from the chronological order, and let us proceed theologically in order to recognize the inexorable stepping march that the human spirit, through a theological dialectic, has initiated in order to accurately understand the divine filiation of Christ. Obviously, the starting point is always that Christ is the Son of God. There would be two possibilities. One, to take the New Testament purely and simply, that Christ is the subsistent revelation. Yes, but at the moment the theological dialectic began this was framed within a different horizon, the horizon of Greek reason. And here is where an enormous experience began within the Church. Because then the faithful do not ask whether Christ is the subsistent revelation of the Father, but something different, in what does the very reality of Christ consist? However, the Greek had a particular idea of what a perfectly defined reality was. Then the theological precision of what the reality of Christ may be ambulates into paths that were not entirely alien, but did become marginal to the intention of the New Testament. Since we start from this position then the question, “what is it to be the Son of God?”, is reduced to affirm what it is that humanity {248} contributes so that this man walking in the streets of Jerusalem may truly be the Son of God. I insist on the formulation of the problem because, from my point of view, it is the only way that allows us to clarify the sense of this great theological dialectic. With it the spirit of the Church has managed to acquire precision, and perceive more clearly the divine filiation of Christ. We should not be apprehensive that these considerations may appear to be somewhat at the margin of the New Testament. The results are dogmas of the faith. Further on I will explain what sense they have under a different perspective, and how, however, the changes of perspective leave the fundamental problem unaffected. A) Christ as manifestation of God. Therefore, in this dialectic asking what it is that humanity places in the divinity of Christ so that this man may be Son of God, the first reply was to say that what humanity places is precisely to be the very manifestation of the Word of God. Christ is Son of God because He is the earthly manifestation of the Word. But, what is this manifestation? It is what in Greek is called dokéin, dóxa, in other words it was Docetism. Christ would be purely and simply the apparition of the Word on Earth in human form. The expression dokéin appears in St. Ignatius of Antioch the first Father of the Church. And the reply of the Church was always affirmative. But it was never a speculative reply, that is the important issue. The reply of the Church was historic and vital. It was a religious reply. In the first place, Christ is the Son of David, and an apparition is not the son of anyone. This is what all the Fathers affirm. And in second place, Christ is what we all have seen, what we all have felt, and touched (cf. 1 Jn 1:1). St. John of course writes from the intimacy of the Holy Spirit, and the mystical life with the {249} Word, but dedicated, as he said, to demonstrate the physical and carnal reality of the body of Christ. For this reason, confronting Docetism, St. John and the whole tradition following him will say that Christ is Son of God alethós, “truly”, where alétheia is precisely the opposite of dokeín, “appearance”. Must repeat that this is not a speculative reply because speculatively Docetism would not be impossible, neither in the case of Christ nor of any reality. How could it be proven (what we call proof through metaphysical a priori reasons) that the world is not precisely one great spectrality of the unique reality of God? This could never be demonstrated at all. And precisely that this may be metaphysically possible is what permits, for example, to access the Vedic texts and not see in them a kind of great phantasmagory of a reason that has appealed to great aberrations for not having the light of revelation. But this is not the case here, the fact is that we have the life of Christ, son of David, son of Mary, and of whom the testimony of St. John (the preeminent mártus, “witness“) tells us that “what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands” (cf. 1 Jn 1:1). B) The unity of Jesus Christ. The foregoing brings us to the second stage of this dialectic. Under the supposition that Christ is really a man and not just an appearance we then ask, What is the Word in this alethós that humanity confers, so that this humanity may be truly real, and the aggregate be the Son of God? Then it would be obvious to say that God could not save us or live with us if He actually had not been born, had not suffered, had not walked on the streets, had not suffered from heat, etc. And all this because the Word is the one that is born, suffers, etc., humanly. The Word and the humanity would constitute a unique reality in Christ. {250} In what does this unique reality consist? It could be thought that the Word is just what animates the humanity so that this humanity might be the one that as Son of God may be born, suffers, be injured, etc. If this had been true it means the Word was performing the functions of a soul in the sóma of Christ, that was Apollinarianism. Apollinaris of Laodicea insisted that the humanity supplies (sit venia verbo) the body, and the Word would be the rational soul of the body of Christ. If they were two perfect realities (we are told), the complete man (téleios, “perfect”), and the complete divinity, there would be two sons, the Word and the son of Mary. But then, according to Apollinaris, “it is impossible that two perfect realities constitute one only reality”1. And he tells us that Christ, taking God as pneúma, with a psyché, and a sóma, is the “celestial man” of St. Paul (cf. 1 Cor 15:48-49)2. The ambiguity or, at least, the lack of discernment of the New Testament forms begins to manifest itself in the necessity for precision. Can it be understood in the way of Apollinaris of Laodicea that Jesus Christ may be the “celestial man”? The reply of the Church was, of course, in the negative. But also not because of speculative reasons, but because of vital and religious reasons. So vital and so religious that they consisted in saying: nothing was redeemed except what was assumed. If the Word had not possessed a rational soul man would not have been redeemed in his integrity; it would have been impossible. At this point appears the beginning of the stepping march of what St. Irenaeus of Lyon called sóma tes aletheías, the body of truth3. Dogmas {251} and affirmations are not independent, they constitute a unitary body, and the modification of each one of them has repercussions on the entire sóma of revealed truth. It is not the case, therefore, that the Word may be the soul of the body of Christ; something deeper is needed, the humanity of Christ is perfect, and the divinity of the Word is also perfect. That is the third answer. Then we ask how can these two complete realities constitute just one thing? C) The divine filiation. Here is where Greek reason begins to act in a really decisive and enormously problematic way with its idea of reality. The two realities, the divinity and the humanity, are complete and constitute just one divine filiation, just one Son of God. The reality here is the filiation. Then we ask in what does this single filiation consist? That is the question. We could think, and it was actually thought, that it consists in the Word assuming mankind to himself. And this assuming is something that precisely concerns the whole of mankind into the reality of Christ, and confers to him some characteristics he would not have if he were just one man, son of Mary, and descendant of David. However, this adventitious characteristic, of something literally assumed, is precisely what the Greek expresses with the word cháris. The divine filiation would be a filiation katá chárin (by grace) of the man son of Mary. This, in the Pauline terminology, would consist in saying the Christ was Son of God “by adoption”, that was Adoptionism, filiation means adoption. This way of thinking culminates in the III century with Paul of Samosata. According to him, in the first place, God has a Lógos. And this Lógos, in the second place, acted on the prophets. And finally, inspired the son of Mary in a special way. The Word gives this man the Lógos of God, i.e., the divine lights that {252} no other man has, and with that confers on him a divinity katá chárin4. The reply of the Church could not have been more to the point, the Word does not inspire the divinity, but indeed Christ is in one form or another the Word itself. The reality of Christ is divine not katá chárin, by grace, but physically (let us say it this way). It is the case of a physical unity, and not adoptive, of the Son of God. Filiation is not adoption but physical union. I mentioned above that if we had suddenly asked St. Paul or St. Peter what is understood by the divine filiation of Christ, adoptive son or physical reality, they would have replied that they did not understand the question. We are certain of one thing, that if they had understood it they would have answered as the Church did, that it was a case of a physical reality and not merely adoptive. D) The physical filiation. This brings us to the fourth stage in this dialectic, the physical unity of the Son of God. In what does the physical reality, and not merely adoptive, of the filiation consist? To this question the Church herself has replied in three successive phases. This means that no dogmatic formula is adequate to the immense reality, to the infinite reality it wishes to express. They are all in conformity with reality, but none is adequate. And the proof of this is evident since the Church has had to return to the same point in three or four consecutive councils. It is not a theory; but it is a confirmation. 1) The first step would consist in saying: the physical filiation means that the Word is the eternal Son of God, descends upon a man and dwells in him as in no other. Physical filiation would mean physical dwelling. The real and physical filiation of Christ {253} would be a real and physical presence of the fullness of the divinity in the humanity of Christ. That was the point of view of Nestorius. Nestorius came from Antioch where they were quite immersed in Aristotelian philosophy, and where (fortunately) they were quite literalist in the interpretation of Sacred Scripture, while not so fond of allegorical interpretations like the Alexandrians. In Nestorius each element, God on the one hand, and man on the other, is complete. As elements, God and humanity, each are a complete reality. And this is just what the Greek called phúsis, nature. They are two complete natures, the divine and the human. By virtue of this, each one of these physical realities has a prósopon, what today we might translate as person. Of course, that is what it meant then. But in the primitive Greek tragedy the prósopon meant the mask each player wore. Obviously, here it is not the case that these natures may have a mask, but rather that they do have a facies determined by the function, which the nature each one has is going to perform. In this case I would dare to translate prósopon by facies. There are two prósopa, one, the prósopon of the humanity, and the other, the prósopon of the divinity. Hence, each one of these two natures, with its particular prósopon, precisely by having this dwelling and this quite intimate presence on each other, can use the prósopon of the other. Human nature can make use of the facies or divine prósopon, and the divine nature can use the human prósopon. In this manner each of the natures performs, in a certain way, the function of the other. When Nestorius realized that in the Conciliar rounds of discussions this solution did not appear satisfactory he proposed a third prósopon, which he called the prósopon of union5, in which there is {254} a kind of facies common to the divine prósopon, and the human prósopon. This is what precisely allows the transference of functions that in Greek theology had a precise name, the koinonía idiomáton, the commonality or communication of properties. This would allow to say, for example, that the Word was born, that the Word died, although the eternal Word of God may not be the object of birth or death. Here is a brief passage of Nestorius where he tells us quite clearly what he is thinking about, “Incarnation must be conceived as the mutual common use of the two prósopa” (of the two facies)6. According to Nestorius, “the natures subsist in their prósopa, in their natures, and in the prósopon of union. With respect to the natural prósopon of one, the other makes use of it thanks precisely to the prósopon of union. This is how there is no more than one prósopon for the two natures”7 with two different persons, each one living in a certain way exhaustively in the bosom of the other8. This way, “the very essence of humanity uses the prósopon of the essence of divinity, but not of the essence, and the essence of divinity uses the very prósopon of humanity”9. The Church reacted swiftly against this position of Nestorius at the Council of Ephesus in the year 431. St. Cyril of Alexandria affirmed (and this was an exorbitant affirmation) that in Christ there was nothing but mía phúsis, only one nature. Also, that what really constituted his divine filiation is that the two natures constitute a hénosis phusiké, a physical union of natures. However, this appeared somewhat harsh to the Antiochian party, and properly so. Then appeal was made to a formula of compromise. We do not have any official text of the {255} decisions of the Council of Ephesus, but we do have the letter of St. Cyril to John of Antioch, which this one subscribed, but not Nestorius. In it the exorbitant affirmations of St. Cyril do not appear. We are told that “we confess that Our Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of God is perfect God and perfect man, composed of body and rational soul (...) who is consubstantial to the Father according to divinity and that he is consubstantial to us according to humanity. Because there was a union of two natures, and therefore, we confess one only Christ, one only Son and one only Lord” (DS 272). 2) We can understand that this was considered insufficient. Because dogmatic formulas just by being dogmatic, does not mean they are adequate to reality although they conform to it. The insufficiency was clear because, what does hénosis phusiké mean, that two natures may physically constitute one reality? This had an immediate sense, which consists in saying that the two natures are united in such a way that divine filiation would constitute a unity of phúsis, a unity of nature. That was indeed the beginning of the theology of Eutyches, which culminates with Severus of Antioch. It would be a case of the union of natures. Of course, Severus of Antioch has been exonerated later because with his special theological language he says nothing different from what the Council of Chalcedon said. But, be that as it may, men have to be judged historically through the way they have been understood in history, and not by what they meant to say, which is a different matter. Historically, Severus of Antioch represents the culmination of the theology of Eutyches according to which the two natures produce one only and mysterious nature in Christ, this is what was called Monophysitism. Christ (Eutyches and Severus of Antioch will tell us) does not have a nature, but {256} he is a nature. Against the whole idea of the transformation of the divine nature in the human, Severus of Antioch will tell us that “the Word does not change into something else, but does occur by being in a different way”10. This comes, of course, from some paragraphs written some time after the Council of Chalcedon. In the Council of Chalcedon (451) the Church had answered Severus of Antioch firmly rejecting this position, and pointing out that “we must recognize that one and the same Christ, Son and only-begotten of the Lord, who exists in two natures, that are unconfused, immutably, indivisibly, and inseparably united without the differences of the natures in no way abrogated, and the properties of each of the two natures remaining completely undisturbed, they do not compose, however, anything but only one person and concurring subsistence, this person not being divided into two persons, but undivided constituting just one only-begotten Son of God, the Word we call our Lord Jesus Christ” (DS 302). This was the famous formula of the Council of Chalcedon, in which we are expressly told there is only one person, who is the Word, and two natures, the divine and the human. Certainly, this formula of the Council of Chalcedon is not perfect. Of course, it is a dogma of faith, but what is the dogma of faith in it? In the first place, the Council of Chalcedon, as the one in Nicea did when it expressed the divinity of the Word against Arius, has utilized concepts from Greek philosophy, the concepts of nature and person. But then, {257} in the dogmatic formula of faith these terms cannot function philosophically. That would be absurd. To translate into a more common language what the Council of Chalcedon says, simply means to say that if I ask who Jesus Christ is, there is only one answer, the Word. And if I ask what Jesus Christ is, we have to say that He is God and man. In other words, the difference between the “what” and the “who” is the only thing that enters into the definition of the Council of Chalcedon. All the rest, in its philosophical form of what is a phúsis (a nature), and a person does not enter into the dogmatic definition of Chalcedon. Let us not say this is obvious now because today we are ready to admit all kinds of obvious things when the formulation of dogmas is blamed on Greek philosophy. When one has studied theology and they have put all that into your head as if it were of faith, one has the right to say it with a certain amount of energy. At least there are a couple of reasons in the same Council of Chalcedon that leaves the door open for other things, in the first place, “two natures”. Is it the case that these two natures are simply juxtaposed and coordinated? The Council of Chalcedon says nothing about that even though it is essential. In the second place, “natures”, is it the case that the concept of nature applied to God and man is univocal? Does God have nature in the same sense man has? Or, does man have nature in the same sense God has? In what does this duality of natures consist, regardless of how much unconfused they may be? It is a dogma of faith. But expressed philosophically in terms of the phúsis, it leaves this problem hanging in the human mind, which as such is not a theological problem, but a problem injected by Greek philosophy into the precision of the divine filiation of Christ. 3) Furthermore, we have the right to ask, in what does that mysterious (because it is) personal unity of {258} Christ consist? In what does the formal reason for being a person consist? Here, a third step was taken, precisely when it was affirmed that to be a person consists in having will, freedom, and being responsible for one’s own acts. That was Monothelitism, if Christ is only one person it means he only has one will and one freedom. The Church in the third Council of Constantinople (680-681) energetically reacted against this intellectual conception of the person, in Christ there are two wills (DS 549). Clearly, the Church has never defined what is the formal reason for being a person, neither in the case of Christ nor in the case of the Trinity. We must keep this in mind. And so, leaving aside the somber history of Honorius, the Church has defined against the Monothelites the existence of two wills in Christ. The question is what is the sense of this definition? It has been said, and reasonably, that the sense of this definition consists in that humanity in the hands of the Word is not a kind of Aristotelian substantial compound, with prime matter, substantial form, and some faculties. But rather that He is a man taken individually, with all his morality, and personal responsibility. That is the case of Christ, it is true, and it was necessary to affirm it. However, was this the last sense of the definition of the Council of Constantinople? I do not think so. One may think that there is a deeper reason, which affects not only the case of Christ, but of all human realities. It is said that freedom is what constitutes the person, but that is not true. Freedom constitutes the person if and when freedom may be my own, mine, my freedom. Now, the moment of “my” is anterior to the moment of freedom. And this is what happens in the case of Christ. The freedom of Christ is a human freedom, perfectly different from the divine freedom. In the {259} “my” is precisely where the divine person of Christ is. And of this person the Church has never given a dogmatic definition. The same problem of freedom appeared when we spoke about the persons of the Trinity. To imagine that the persons of the Trinity are three persons each having their responsibility is an enormous and heretical tritheism. Here, for the opposite reasons, it would be to affirm a kind of great Docetism to think that Christ does not have a proper personal freedom that is his very own insofar as man. In such fashion we have been present to this kind of colossal theological dialectic, which starting from the New Testament text elevates us to an apprehension a little more precise (only a little bit more) of what the divine filiation of Christ is. A filiation, which is not adoptive, but physical. A physical reality, which does not consist purely and simply in a mere dwelling, but in a true unity. In a unity, which is not a unity of nature, but a unity of person. And of a person constituted by what I have called the his-ownness (sit venia verbo), and not by the exercise of freedom. This truly colossal dialectic, which made the Church throughout all its eras place the first four ecumenical councils in a certain way close to the Gospel, in the end it is a dialectic essentially religious. All reasons that in general have been proposed against all the errors and deviations have been much more than speculative, they have been theological. They have been religious reasons. We have seen it in the case of Docetism, if Christ had not possessed a complete humanity there would have been no redemption. We have seen it in the case of Apollinarianism, if the humanity of Christ had not possessed a complete rational soul, the human spirit would not have been redeemed. The same in the case of Adoptionism, the unique {260} and exceptional position of Christ in his divine filiation would disappear. And the conception of Nestorius and the Monophysites leads us precisely to a dissolution of what has always been understood by divine filiation in the New Testament itself, not in the theological speculation. Because, for example, if it were true, as Nestorius said, that in Christ there is nothing but the presence and total dwelling of the Word in the humanity of Christ, what reason could we offer to call the Blessed Virgin “Mother of God”? Actually Nestorius himself said it; she is not mother of God, but mother of Christ. This is absolutely chimerical. If we grant a certain causality to the fiat of the Blessed Virgin in the union, in that case she is Mother of God. This of course, by communication of languages, but she is authentic Mother of God. ________________ 1 Quoted by St. Athanasius in Contra Apollinarium, Bk. 1, ch. 2, in J.-P. Migne (ed.), Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, vol. 26, op. cit., col. 1096. 2 Cf. Apollinaris of Laodicea, fragment 25, in H. Lietzmann, Apollinaris von Laodicea und seine Schule. Texte und Untersuchungen, Tübingen, 1904, p. 210. 3 Cf. Irenaeus of Lyon, Adversus haereses, Bk. 1, ch. 9, no. 4, in J.-P. Migne (ed.), Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca, vol. 7, op. cit., col. 548. 4 Cf. the fragments of Paul of Samosata published by H. de Riedmatten, Les actes du procés de Paul de Samosate. Étude sur la Christologie du IIIe au IVe siécles, Fribourg (Switzerland), 1952, pp. 136-137. 5 Cf. his Liber Heraclidis, translated from the Syriac by F. Nau, Le Livre d’Héraclide de Damas, Paris, 1910, pp. 193-194. 6 Nestorius, Liber Heraclidis, op. cit., p. 233. 7 Ibid., p. 194. 8 Cf. ibid., pp. 206-207. 9 Ibid. p. 282. 10 Zubiri quotes here the exposition of Severus of Antioch made by J. Tixeront, Histoire des dogmes dans l’antiquité chrétienne, vol. III: La Fin de l’age patristique (430-800), 4ª ed., Paris, 1919, p. 120, “Le Verbe ne se modifie pas, ne change pas: il devient autrement, mais non pas autre qu’il n’était: iln’y a pas nouveau sujet, mais nouvel état produit”. J. Tixeront refers in turn to J. Lebon, Le monophysisme séverién, Louvain, 1909, pp. 206, 209.