Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Reading Tillich 21: Acceptance

Indeed, there is nothing in man which enables God to accept him. But man must accept just this. He must accept that he is accepted; he must accept acceptance. And the question is how this is possible in spite of the guilt that makes him hostile to God. The traditional answer is "Because of Christ!". ... It means that one is drawn into the power of the New Being in Christ, which makes faith possible; that it is the state of unity between God and man, no matter how fragmentarily realized. Accepting that one is accepted is the paradox of salvation without which there would be no salvation but only despair.
Systematic Theology II, 179.
Faith, then, is about a certain way to see oneself. It is to see oneself as one is, faults and all, and realize that one has the right to exist just like that. A person that is able to do this is a person that is "drawn into the power of the New Being in Christ". There is no cause an effect here, the both are one and the same. Unity with God is not something that can be achieved separately from a person's being reconciled with oneself, all this is one and the same.

3 comments:

byron said...

Do we simply learn to accept our acceptance by God? Or rather, didn't God's acceptance involve our death and resurrection? That is, I would have thought that God refused to accept us as we were and so did something to change us: he killed us; he raised us up; he will raised us up.

Patrik said...

See, that is another way of saying the same thing, but it is IMO a problematic way of saying it, since it locates the problem in God, God's inability to accept us, as it were.

I don't think it is necessarily a "simple" thing to learn to accept oneself, because we are talking about acceptance at a very fundamental level here.

In general I think the key is to realize that our relationship with God and our relationship with ourselves is the same thing. Not that the one affects the other, but they are in fact exactly the same thing viewed from a slightly different perspective.

Is "he will raised us up" a typo or another of your very smart ways of putting things?

byron said...

oops typo.

I guess my question was trying to get at what Paul might be talking about when says that he has been crucified with Christ, and he no longer lives (Gal 2), or when he says that one died for all, and so all died (2 Cor 5), or that we have been baptised into Christ's death (Rom 6).