Chapter

A New Ontology?

Paul M. Collins

in Trinitarian Theology: West and East

Published in print August 2001 | ISBN: 9780198270324
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683985 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198270324.003.0004
A New Ontology?

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The being of God in the Church Dogmatics is characterized by the concepts of act, action, activity, and event, rather than by the language of substance. It is from Karl Barth's understanding that the God of the Bible is alive that he argues that ‘Act means being, and being can only mean act’. God's intentional, self-moved act, which is known in the event of revelation, is understood to be God's interpretation of himself and thus to be the interpretation of God's being. This chapter examines the concept of God's being-in-act in the Church Dogmatics and its ontological implications. First, it looks at the move towards a ‘new’ ontology by observing that action replaces substance language in the Church Dogmatics. It then reviews the concept of actus purus and the related question of the relationship between actuality and potentiality. The chapter concludes by asking if the event of God as stated by Barth may be interpreted as an act of relationality.

Keywords: Karl Barth; God; Church Dogmatics; act; ontology; action; actus purus; actuality; potentiality; relationality

Chapter.  5220 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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