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Human Being as Gratuity and Futurity

Previously I’ve charged David Bentley Hart with proffering a primarily protological ontology. But here he strikes a more resolute eschatological note:

“Both our being and our essence always exceed the moment of our existence, lying before us as gratuity and futurity, mediated to us only in the splendid eros and terror of our in fieri, because finite existence — far from being the dialectical labor of an original contradiction — is a pure gift, grounded in no original substance, wavering from nothinness into the openness of God’s self-outpouring infinity, persisting in a condition of absolute fragility and fortuity, impossible in itself, and so actual beyond itself. Becoming is an ecstasy, and nothing besides; it is indeed a constant tension — between what a thing is and what it is not, between its past and its future, between interior and exterior, and so on — but it is not originally a violent departure from the stability of an original essence. Our being is simply the rapture of arrival . . . creaturely becoming, in its original and ultimate truth, departs from no ground but simply hastens to an end . . .” (p. 244)

Here at least, Hart seems to posit a decidedly eschatological ontology in which our being is constituted by its apocalyptic orientation towards of God’s future. Good stuff.


  1. Lucy wrote:

    Now, will he say the same thing (or something similar) about God’s being?

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 9:07 am | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    There’s the rub…I don’t think so. That’s where Jenson is different. And that’s also where I am much more compelled by Jenson than Hart.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  3. Nate Kerr wrote:

    I would venture that he’d say that God “is” as such, analogously so.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 9:25 am | Permalink
  4. Halden wrote:

    Nate, do you mean for Hart, or in your own view?

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  5. Nate Kerr wrote:

    I mean Hart. This would most certainly not be my own view.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  6. Halden wrote:

    Care to give me hint about your own view? I’m quite interested.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 9:43 am | Permalink
  7. Nate Kerr wrote:


    I will, but I have class in 15 minutes and will be in and out of the classroom the rest of the afternoon, so probably won’t be sitting back down at the computer for any length of time until later this evening. But to begin with, I would say that to posit God’s being as analogical is problematic from the outset, in that it renders some kind of mediation of being within the Godhead necessary. Such mediation is ineluctably quasi-Arian, and it shortcircuits deification. I’ll try to be more “constructive” with my comments later. And to shoot less “from the hip,” as it were.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  8. Halden wrote:

    I will definitely look forward to this.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 10:03 am | Permalink
  9. Jennifer E Roddick wrote:

    A Human Being
    given as Gratuity is
    Not the actual body, not the Flesh, or the Body Donated.

    BUT, is the essence the heart and soul of a KIND and GIVING person with the will and love to help all those if able.
    The gift is also NOT OF A SLAVE OR SLAVERY.
    The Gratuity is NOT OWNED and IS FREE, a FREE PERSON human body.
    what is given is something they are able to do for those others. Be open a door or gain an entry to knowledge and ability. Guid the way to a goal (one of good intention) A piece of knowledge to help along the way to assist.

    Life, Future, dreams, hope, love, caring, sharing, and giving.
    BUT, without taking, harming, disabling, or destroying
    Sonetimes using, being oportunistic and using what is there to start from, step up from, etc (expecting the others to do the same.

    Friday, September 12, 2008 at 2:38 am | Permalink

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