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Faith as Participation in God

Faith is participation in God himself. Certainly faith does not force itself into a position between God and God. It is the essence of faith to let God be who he is. But if faith does participate in God himself, without penetrating God in such a way that it forces itself between God and God, then God’s being must be thought as a being which allows that it be participated in, that is, a being which turns outward what it is inwardly. This happens in the word and only in the word of God. For it is part and parcel of the essence of the word to allow participation in the being of the one who speaks by bringing that being to turn itself to someone else. In the word, the being of the speaker expresses itself. From an anthropological viewpoint it is often true that in the word often more of the being of the speaker is expressed than this person knows or wants – and ontological fact from which psychoanalysis, for example, derives its whole existence. In a theological regard, the word is not to be looked on as involuntary or even traitorous expression. The Johannine identification of the logos with God himself (John 1:1) says instead that God in the word expresses his most inward being without reservation. He turns himself outward, without holding back any part of himself. He gives himself entirely in the word which he alone speaks. In this sense it is true “that God alone comes through the word alone” [Ebeling]. If God makes participation in himself possible through his word, then this gift of participation is an event of the divine being itself. The explicit cognition of this gift of participation, the thinking of what faith is, implies then the possibility of thinking of God as he really is, in and of himself. It is a part of the truth of faith that God is to be thought as he is, based on his self-disclosure.

-Eberhard Jungel, God as the Mystery of the World, 176-177.

2 Comments

  1. D.W. Congdon wrote:

    Beautiful quote. Have you read Bruce McCormack’s essay, “Participation in God, Yes, Deification, No”? If not, I’ll send it to you. He explicates Barth and Jüngel on participation.

    Saturday, October 21, 2006 at 1:14 am | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    You’ve already sent it to me and I’ve read it, though I think I need to give it a closer reading. I still need to think through the langauge of deification. My initial reaction to it is that it is at best misleading, but there may be some nuance in the greek patristic tradition that I still need to grapple with here.

    Saturday, October 21, 2006 at 2:06 am | Permalink

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