An explanatory account and examination of the doctrine of the mediation of Jesus Christ in the scientific theology of T. F. Torrance
Davis, Martin Miller
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The doctrine of the mediation of Jesus Christ in the scientific theology of T.F. Torrance rests on the fundamental scientific axiom, derived from the natural sciences, that knowledge is developed in accordance with the nature (kata physin) of the object as it is revealed in the course of scientific inquiry. As a theological realist, Torrance finds real and accurate knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. To know God through the incarnate Son, who is “of one nature with the Father” (homoousios to Patri), is to know God in strict accordance with God’s nature and hence in a theologically scientific way. Scientific theology will operate on a christological basis, for the incarnation of Jesus Christ is the “controlling centre” for the Christian doctrine of God. Torrance’s holistic theology investigates its object of inquiry within the nexus of “onto-relations,” or “being-constituting” interrelations, that disclose its identity. 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 interrelations that disclose his identity as incarnate Saviour of the world. An examination of Torrance’s doctrine of mediation reveals three specific nexuses of “onto-relations” that disclose the identity of Jesus Christ. These are his interrelations with 1) historical Israel, 2) God, and 3) humanity. In the present thesis, the vast and scattered array of Torrance’s thought on the mediation of Jesus Christ is reduced to a minimal number of basic concepts, or “elemental forms,” that arise from the nexuses of interrelations that constitute the identity of the incarnate Son. These basic, constitutive concepts of Torrance’s doctrine of the mediation of Christ are the Nicene homousion and the Chalcedonian doctrine of the hypostatic union, as well as the doctrines of incarnational redemption and the “vicarious humanity” of Jesus Christ. These elemental forms provide a basic, organising framework to examine and explain the mediation of revelation and reconciliation of Jesus Christ in the scientific theology of T.F. Torrance.
- Theology