A Criticism Of Nature As Vacuole For Grace

Steven A. Long

in Natura Pura

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780823231058
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237012 | DOI:

Series: Moral Philosophy and Moral Theology

A Criticism Of Nature As             Vacuole For Grace

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Hans Urs von Balthasar is without doubt one of the most fertile and theologically powerful Catholic minds of the past hundred years. With respect to the relation of nature and grace, however, this chapter argues that his famed work The Theology of Karl Barth is deeply flawed; that it exhibits an erroneous understanding of “concrete nature” seemingly derived from, and certainly cognate with, the work of Henri de Lubac. It also provides anew a basis for appreciation of the masterful insight of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose actual doctrine on these points is nuanced, profound, and illuminating. The chapter cites critical passages regarding nature and grace offered by Balthasar in The Theology of Karl Barth that articulate the path to the conclusion that nature is merely a residual or limit concept bereft of significant ontological density and intelligibility in its own right.

Keywords: Hans Urs von Balthasar; Henri de Lubac; nature; grace; theology; God; Thomas Aquinas; ontological density; intelligibility

Chapter.  22665 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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