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The Triumph of the Always-Heard Word: A Dogmatic Inquiry into God as Hearer

HELMER-IV, CHARLES,CHESTER (2021) The Triumph of the Always-Heard Word: A Dogmatic Inquiry into God as Hearer. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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What does it mean that God hears? The Christian tradition has emphasized God as a speaker, attending to God’s speech, word, and voice, but it has neglected the Biblical motif of God as a hearer. Yet Holy Scripture frequently testifies to God hearing, listening, and inclining God’s ear. It is the objective of this thesis to redress this neglect by reflecting dogmatically on God’s hearing. I argue that God’s hearing is a form of attention that is characterized by the loving and just nature of the triune God and that it is accomplished by the significant personal presence of God among God’s creatures. Following Karl Barth, I propose that the asymmetry of divine and human agency entails the priority of God’s hearing as antecedent to human speech, and that this antecedent prioritization is the source of human confidence in God’s hearing. I then seek to relate this understanding of God’s hearing to the doctrines of creation, anthropology, and christology. Concerning the doctrine of creation, I argue that God’s ontological alterity permits the establishment of a theological grammar whereby God’s hearing must be spoken of analogously, neither identical to nor altogether unlike creaturely hearing. God’s hearing is not merely human hearing writ large, but is positively characterized by God’s perfection and is, as such, infinitely proximate to human speech and is given as an uncompelled, gratuitous gift. Concerning anthropology, this understanding of God’s hearing is argued to entail real-world consequences for the becoming of those who are heard by God, and that especially for those heard from the “wilderness”. Concerning christology, I argue that the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension inform the character of God’s hearing, demonstrate its salvific effects, and ultimately point to the triumph of God’s hearing in Christ.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:God, Christ, Hear, Listen, Anthropology, Christology, Barth, McFadyen, Aquinas, Creator-creature
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:03 Dec 2021 09:01

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