The goal of Christian virtue ethics: from ontological foundation and covenant relationship to the Kingdom of God
Vorster, J.M. (Koos)
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This article examined what constitutes Christian virtue ethics and its goal of highest human good. Christian virtue is a reality that is ontologically rooted in the grace of God through the atonement of Christ to envision the final good of creation. This view is drawn on the tripartite division of faith, hope and love as well as Paul Tillich’s ontological focus on the acclaimed quality of the virtue of love in relation to, and unity with, the virtues of power and justice as the ultimate reality in the divine ground for human existence. Christian believers must reunite the virtues which are received from God and by which Christians transformed in reality as new beings in the pursuit of the supreme goodness. Michael Horton’s covenantal model revealed a human being’s encounter with God, not only meeting, but recognising a stranger (a genuine ‘otherness’) under a covenant that was initiated by the grace of God with an awareness of his presence that was always immanent. A covenantal approach is used to describe the divine ‘presence’ and ‘absence’ as ethical and relational in getting the right conception and direction for our purpose from God. It also deals with the question of how our moral life is related to God and fellow humans toward the final goodness which is the highest good of the Kingdom of God. This article concluded with the coming rule of God’s imminent Kingdom as the true ultimate end of human beings and the eschatological fulfilment of humanity in goodness. The emphasis of the eschatological ethics lays on the theocentric futurity of the Kingdom directing Christians to the goal of the ultimate ideal and shaping the present existence of a Christian life.
- Faculty of Theology