Participation in the self-knowledge of God : the nature and means of our knowledge of God in the theology of T.F. Torrance
This thesis argues that for Professor Torrance the nature of our knowledge of God is an actual participation on our part in the self-knowing of the Holy Trinity. This participation takes place through our sharing in or partaking of the incarnate and ascended Son's communion with and knowing of the Father by the Holy Spirit and through the earthly means of Scripture, Sacrament and Church. The axis of Torrance's thought here is the way he understands the mediatorial work of Christ and particularly the way he envisages our knowledge of God to have been fulfilled in Him. There are three main factors which shape this conception, namely his discussion of the mediation between God and the human race in Israel, the doctrine of God as Holy Trinity and the incarnation of the son within the Triune relation and within Israel. In Jesus Christ the movement to restore fallen creation to communion with God begun in Israel is accomplished. In Him all alientation between God and His fallen creatures is removed and positive communion and knowing between them is fulfilled and fulfilled for us. Moreover, what is fulfilled for us in Christ is not only human knowledge of and communion with God but the very communion and mutual knowing of the Holy Trinity in our human existence. The movement to restore fallen creation to communion with God is not only 'fulfilled' in Christ but is 'filled' with His incarnate Sonship, His communion with and knowing of the Father. On the ground of what the incarnate Son has accomplished for us the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the church and the Spirit in turn establishes a living, intimate and cognitive relation between Christ and us. In effecting this relation the Spirit uses the earthly means of Scripture, Sacrament and Church as a dynamic complex through which He utters, reveals and communicates the living Son Himself to us and lifts us up to partake of Him and His life, knowing and communion with the Father. Although earthly means are used our knowing and communion are not simply with these realities but with the ever living Reality of Jesus Christ in His relation with the Father. The nature and means of our knowledge of God, for Torrance, is a participation in the self-knowing of the Holy Trinity 'through the Son' and 'in the Spirit'.