You loved me before the foundation of the world: An examination of Karl Rahner's doctrine of Trinity and comparison to that of Hans Urs von Balthasar

Jordan Matthew Miller, Fordham University

Abstract

This dissertation examines the doctrine of Trinity as it appears in the works of Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar, arguing in defense of Balthasar's position, while also in agreement with much of Rahner's position. Through an exposition and analysis of the major writings of both authors on Trinity, the dissertation focuses on the central divergence between them - namely, whether the Trinity is an eternal communion of three divine persons sharing mutual love (Balthasar), or whether this is a heretical distortion, and the Trinity should instead be understood as God's capacity for self-communication to the human being (Rahner). Rahner maintains that the personal distinction of Jesus from the Father must be grounded in his humanity, insisting that the oneness of the divine will precludes a distinction of conscious subjectivities. Yet, with Balthasar, it is argued that the one divine will is fundamentally trinitarian, in such a way as to allow for a true distinction of persons and a love between them, made visible in the cross and Resurrection. The distinction of the man Jesus from God is grounded in the eternal distinction of Father and Son in the Spirit, without thereby dissolving Jesus' true humanity. The Trinity must be understood not primarily as a capacity within God for self-communication to creatures, but as an eternal love which is fully actual with or without creatures. The love between God and creatures is a participation in this original, divine love.^

Subject Area

Religion, General|Theology

Recommended Citation

Miller, Jordan Matthew, "You loved me before the foundation of the world: An examination of Karl Rahner's doctrine of Trinity and comparison to that of Hans Urs von Balthasar" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3630170.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3630170

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