Volume 86, Issue 4, Fall 2012
Christopher M. Cullen, S.J.
The Natural Desire for God and Pure Nature
A Debate Renewed
Beginning in 1946 Henri de Lubac, S.J., sparked controversy by arguing against the Scholastic doctrine of “pure nature,” according to which God could have created man with a purely natural end rather than the supernatural end of the beatific vision. Although de Lubac’s view prevailed after his 1965 book, The Mystery of the Supernatural, the debate over the natural desire for God and pure nature has recently been renewed. This essay discusses the current state of the debate with particular attention to four recent books, a collection of essays edited by Serge-Thomas Bonino, O.P., and monographs by Lawrence Feingold, Steven A. Long, and John Milbank.