Hans Urs von Balthasar - Glaubhaft ist nur Liebe

Glaubhaft ist nur Liebe Love Alone is Credible

In this programmatic volume, Hans Urs von Balthasar asks what is specifically Christian about Christianity. What is the logos that lends Christian teaching its necessity? According to Balthasar, the Patristic Age, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance located this logos within the realm of the cosmos, whereas modernity shifted its locus to man himself. “But neither the world as a whole nor man in particular can provide the measure for what God wishes to say to man in Christ; God’s Word is unconditionally theo-logical, or, better, theo-pragmatic: what God wishes to say to man is a deed on his behalf, a deed that interprets itself before man and for his sake (and only therefore to him and in him). What we intend to say about this deed in this book is that it is credible only as love — specifically, as God’s own love, the manifestation of which is the glory of God.” (From the author’s Preface)

1.   The Cosmological Reduction
2.   The Anthropological Reduction
3.   The Third Way of Love
4.   The Failures of Love
5.   Love Must Be Perceived
6.   Love as Revelation
7.   Love as Justification and Faith
8.   Love as Deed
9.   Love as Form
10.   Love as the Light of the World

The majesty of absolute love, which is the most fundamental phenomenon of revelation, is the source of any authority human mediators may possess. The original authority is possessed neither by the Bible (as the written “Word of God”) nor by the kerygma (as the living proclamation of the “Word of God”) nor by ecclesial office (as official representation of the “Word of God”): all three are “merely” word, and thus not yet flesh. The Old Testament too, as “Word,” is merely advancing toward ultimate authority. The sole authority is the Son, who interprets the Father in the Holy Spirit as divine Love. For it is only here, at the source of revelation, that authority (or majesty) and love can — and necessarily do — coincide. All that the demand for obedient faith to revelation can do is thus prepare man to perceive the manifestation of God’s love and to give it its due. Divine Love can appear in such an over-whelming way that its glorious majesty throws one to the ground; it shines out as the last word and leaves one no choice but to respond in the mode of pure, blind obedience. Nevertheless, both the word and the response acquire their meaning only through a gift from the eternal Person to the finite person, a gift that includes the ability to respond as a finite creature to the infinite, and whose heart and essence is love.

From “The Third Way of Love”