The reconciliation of the world in the theology of W. Pannenberg
This study interprets and appraises Pannenberg’s intertrinitarian concept of reconciliation, as it relates to the Lordship of God over the world. It is argued that within the framework of the reciprocal self-differentiation of Father, Son, and Spirit as the interpretative key to his doctrine of reconciliation, Jesus’ death is the Son’s reconciling action as a prolepsis of the coming Lordship of God. After an introduction presenting the purpose and method of study, chapter one explores the formation of his christology as a background for the subsequent inquiries. The historical and theological contexts of his christology, its significance in the history of the doctrine, and the influence of Barth and other theological and philosophical influences on its shape are concentrated. Chapters two and three establish the intertrinitarian character of Jesus’ divine sonship in relation to God’s Lordship. Jesus, by his subordination to the Father and his Lordship on the cross, anticipates the future realisation of the deity and Lordship of God, and thus is the Son. Chapter two examines the historical method, the concept of Jesus’ personal unity with God, and Jesus’ self-differentiation from the Father as the inner basis of his divine sonship. Chapter three analyses the eternal and universal sonship of Jesus, and the historical confirmation of Jesus’ divine sonship by his earthly claim to authority and his resurrection. Chapter four defines the concept of reconciliation as the action of the triune God to achieve his Lordship in universal history. After a clarification of the doctrine of reconciliation in its relationship to soteriology and christology, the intertrinitarian character of reconciliation is examined in terms of the intertrinitarian activity bringing about God’s Lordship in Universalgeschichte. Chapter five focuses on the Son’s reconciling office. The cross is argued as the active performing by the Son of his reconciling office.