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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 30, Issue 2, 2018

Michael Rubbelke
Pages 507-529

Reading Rahner’s Evolutionary Christology with Bonaventure

In his evolutionary Christology, Karl Rahner shares some surprising affinities with Bonaventure. Both envision human beings as microcosmic, that is, as uniquely representative of the whole of creation. Both describe creation Christocentrically, oriented in its design and goal toward the Incarnate Word. Both understand humans as radically responsible for the non-human world. These similarities point to a more foundational congruence in their Trinitarian theologies. Rahner and Bonaventure connect the Father’s personal character as fontal source of Son and Spirit to God’s unoriginated and free relation to creation. If the Word expresses the Father fully, creation expresses God in a real but incomplete way. This grounds a series of analogous relationships between created spirit and matter, human freedom and nature, as well as grace and human nature. From this perspective, Rahner’s evolutionary Christology can be seen as ecologically significant, appreciatively critical of evolution, and ultimately rooted in the Trinity.

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