A Clean Dialectics


Dialectics is the “D” word of theology.  It summons the spectre of Barth.   Reformed theology, though, while not historically Barthian (whatever that means) has always affirmed analogical reasoning (see Bavinck).


Analogical reasoning says a thing is and is not like another thing.   This is a form of dialectics.


God is revealed in the human flesh of Jesus but in a sense he is also veiled in the flesh of Jesus.  God makes present himself in Jesus but he hides his essence in Jesus.


God is indirectly identical with the creaturely medium of his revelation, the creaturely medium being Jesus’s flesh (110).   If revelation is Self-revelation, then it involves the “whole” God, albeit his whole being is hidden in a creaturely veil.  McCormack is clear there is no impartation of divine attributes to Jesus’s flesh.


The hiddenness of God in revelation is the hiddenness of the whole God in revelation.  There is no “behind the back” of God when God reveals himself.  He doesn’t hold back.


The dialectic of veiling/unveiling is not static.  Veiling is ordered towards unveiling.  The stand together in an “ordered history” (179).

Works Cited

McCormack, Bruce.  Orthodox and Modern.


About J. B. Aitken

Interests include patristics, the role of the soul in the human person, analytic theology, Reformed Scholasticism, Medievalism, Substance Metaphysics
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2 Responses to A Clean Dialectics

  1. Cal says:

    Do you think there is fertile ground in thinking through the dialectic as a form of ‘ekstasis’ as per some readings of Gregory of Nyssa?

    What I mean is: We receive the wholeness of the Godhead in Christ, but because God is infinite the process of growing closer is infinite. But because God is truly infinite, we’re not stuck in a neo-Platonic quest of being alone seeking the Alone, but He meets us in distance.

    Could dialectics be used this way instead of being the means to negate Humanity? I’m curious if the dialectical can be used for “healing the soul”.



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