Thursday, December 22, 2005

Küng and the deity of Jesus

I've been reading in various places that Küng has denied or at least questioned the divinity of Christ.

For example, the Encyclopaedia Britannica claims: "Küng's prolific writings questioned such traditional church doctrine as … the divinity of Christ"

But is this so? In his Existiert Gott? he writes: "Gerade die orthodoxe Trinitätslehre hat nie Gott und Jesus einfach identifiziert; gerade sie hielt am Realunterschied von Gott und Jesus fest" (744) - but this is, of course, not the same as denying Christ's divinity! A few pages later he adds that in the Pauline tradition, Christ is understood as the "bild Gottes, als das Ja Gottes" (748). And in John, Christ is known: "nicht nur als Wort Gottes, sondern indirekt als Gott gleich, ja als Herr und Gott" (749). He then goes on to affirm the "God from God" text of the Nicene Creed, qualifying himself only to say that he is not speaking of a "Zwei-Götter-Lehre" (749).

That sounds pretty orthodox to me! Am I missing anything?


At 12/22/2005 3:44 AM, Blogger Ben Myers said...

Yes, I think you're right -- it's really a (deliberate?) misreading to say that he "denies the divinity" of Christ. In his massive early tome on The Incarnation of God (my favourite of his books), he already made his essential christological conceptions quite clear, and there's not even a hint here of any "denial" of Christ's divinity.

Certainly like most modern thinkers he doesn't conceive of christology along the lines of an antiquated "substance" ontology -- but if this amounted to a denial of Christ's deity, then the whole of modern theology would have to stand condemned!


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