By its very nature divine revelation is what Karl Barth called ‘a self-contained’ novum’, for it has its reality and truth wholly and in every respect within itself, and so can be known only through itself and out of itself, on its own ground and through the power of its own self-evidence and self-authentication. It is as such that revelation proceeds from God to man, breaking sovereignly into human life and thought, calling into question what people claim to know, and directing their thinking beyond themselves altogether. It creatively evokes an entirely new mode of consciousness, in faith and understanding, conditioned by a new relation to God initiated and set up, not from man’s side at all, but from the other side of the boundary between man and God. The knowledge of God given in this way through divine revelation is not from the known to the unknown, but from the hitherto unknown to the known. It is a mystery so utterly strange and so radically different that it cannot be apprehended and substantiated except out of itself, and even then it infinitely exceeds what we are ever able to conceive or spell out. Far less may it be assimilated into man’s familiar world of meaning and be brought into line with the framework of its commonly accepted truths, for the radically new conception of God proclaimed in the Gospel calls for a complete transformation of man’s outlook in terms of a new divine order which cannot be derived from or inferred from anything conceived by man before. In point of fact it actually conflicts sharply with generally accepted beliefs and established ideas in human culture and initiates a seismic reconstruction not only of religious and intellectual belief but of the very foundations of human life and knowledge. (T. F. Torrance, “The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons,” 19)
If what Torrance is saying is true, and it is 😉 , then this is the death knell of the via negativa, negative theology, speculative theology. Christ indeed is the Alpha and Omega!
You know this is my fourth book I’ve read by Thomas Forsyth Torrance, in about six months, and this is the best of the best thus far. In fact I would go so far to say, that I place this book just under the Bible on my desk when done reading for the evening . . . seriously. If Protestants had Popes (which some functionally do, btw), my vote would be for Torrance in absentia. What a gift to the body of Christ, I wish I had been exposed to him early in my studies at school, I probably would have done my Master’s thesis on him—without a doubt. I want to highly, vehemently recommend that you all, who read here, get your hands on this book: The Christian Doctrine of God: One Being Three Persons by Thomas F. Torrance; you will not be sorry you did—in fact the only reason you might be sorry, is if you don’t get this book, and you get to heaven and realize you should’ve 🙂 . Halden originally recommended this one for me, and I’m glad he did!