Kataphysical inquiry, onto-relationality and elemental forms in T.F. Torrance’s doctrine of the mediation of Jesus Christ
Davis, Martin M.
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The doctrine of the mediation of Jesus Christ in the scientific theology of T.F. Torrance rests on the fundamental methodological axiom that knowledge is developed according to the nature (kata physin) of the object of scientific inquiry. To know God through the incarnate Son, who is ‘of one nature with the Father’, is to know God in strict accordance with God’s nature and hence in a theologically scientific way. In Torrance’s kataphysical method, a priori knowledge of God is excluded, for epistemology follows ontology. Because the fundamental aspects of reality are relational rather than atomistic, a scientific theological approach to the doctrine of the mediation of Jesus Christ requires that he be investigated within the nexuses of ‘beingconstituting’ interrelations, or ‘onto-relations’, which disclose his identity as incarnate Saviour of the world. Following the principle of logical simplicity, the vast and scattered array of Torrance’s thought can be reduced to a minimal number of elemental forms that succinctly describe in a unitary, non-dualist manner the onto-relations that constitute the identity of the incarnate Son. The primary elemental forms of Torrance’s doctrine of mediation are the Nicene homoousion and the Chalcedonian doctrine of the hypostatic union. Two additional elemental forms that readily arise as corollaries of the doctrine of the hypostatic union are the doctrines of incarnational redemption and the ‘vicarious humanity’ of Jesus Christ. These elemental forms provide a conceptual lens for a theologically holistic view of the mediation of Jesus Christ in the scientific theology of T.F. Torrance.
- Faculty of Theology