Sometimes, and all too rarely, a theologian can soar in writing. I have been working my way, very slowly, through Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology: Volume I, The Doctrine of God, and savoring passages like this one:
This is what we mean by compatibilism in theology. The One Light that enlightens all creatures is truly here, truly shining in the night, truly hovering over the chaos, over the manger and its little, hidden King; truly illumining the search for truth in all sciences, living up all struggles for compassion and mercy, shining down each dark corridor, in prisons and workhouses and death camps, pouring gracious Light on every death, every restless search for rest. God is there; before us, [God] is there.
What faith sees in this Christian compatibilism is the Relatio: the tie between creature and Creator that just is the dependence of all things on God. Augustine says this best: “I spoke to all the things that are about me, all that can be admitted by the door of the senses, and I said, ‘Since you are not my God, tell me about him. Tell me something of my God.’ Clear and loud they answered, ‘God is he who made us.’ I asked these questions simply by gazing at these things, and their beauty was all the answer they have.”
God is communicated, as Life, as Power, to creatures, and that Communication is spiritual Light. The faithful see this world bathed in light–our opened eyes take in an illuminated world–and in that earthly light, we see Light. The Uncreated Light veils itself within our creaturely light, and by faith, we believers affirm its lovely Presence. (428)
This is the stuff and root of poetry. This is what happens of a morning when I look at the frost on the field out my window. This is why, when I’m tempted to despair, I realize I am yet a captive to the God of Israel and of Jesus Christ, lost in wonder, love, and praise. Thanks, Katherine.