A New Doctor, Pannenberg and Reconciliation

I am excited to announce that our very own Kent Eilers is now Dr. Kent Eilers! kentKent flew over to Aberdeen for his viva and came out on the other side with an hours worth of minor corrections (mostly random footnoting stuff and accent marks). Kent finished his corrections as we watched the fifth Harry Potter in my living room, and went back to the states with Ph.D in hand. To commemorate Kent’s achievement and hear about his project, I’ve had Kent send me an abstract of his work so we can get a glimpse of where his attention has been these last three years.

“Pannenberg on God’s Reconciling Action”

In the course of [his doctrine of reconciliation] Pannenberg’s attention turns time and again both to the saving movements of the trinitarian God in history and to the “commerce and communion” generated between him and his creatures. The task and challenge of marking out these patterns of encounter so that God’s actions are found to include creatures exerts a great deal of force over Pannenberg’s formulations. The study is required therefore to consider how Pannenberg’s presentation shapes one’s understanding of specific, temporal instances of creaturely commerce and communion. Doing so reveals how Pannenberg works to demonstrate that God’s reconciling action includes human activity, how the particularity and independence of human creatures are not set aside but transformed. In short, as Pannenberg’s doctrine of reconciliation marks out God’s action in the world as the true Infinite, it issues an invitation to consider how such a God extends himself in reconciling love to his creatures so that their finite creatureliness is at every turn affirmed and found to be in the end good.

Congratulations again Kent!

(Not to take the attention off Kent at all, but I would like to add that our own James Merrick has become the youngest theologian, nay, human being, to write 100 book views. Well done indeed).

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16 thoughts on “A New Doctor, Pannenberg and Reconciliation

  1. Mucha congrats to Kent.

    I think 100 is a little unfair Kyle – he has easily racked up 250.

    Yeah we are pimps…holla

  2. Would God allowing our “creatureliness” include … God allowing us to perceive him, with some human or historical “baises” intact? That allowance being “forgiveness,” or … some deeper reconciliation? God having even a love of the merely human?

  3. Kent,

    Congratulations!!! Quite the accomplishment, and I’m sure a relief . . . enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    Out of curiosity, what was it that you led you to Pannenberg vs. someone like Barth?

  4. This is great news Kent! Congratulations and I know that your family is super proud of you as well. You are a blessing to others and I know that you will continue to faithfully serve God in all that you do!

    I do have a 2002 Portofino with your name on it if I could get your new address?!

  5. Rephrasing: if we have God embracing our “creatureliness” – which seems like a good idea offhand – still, many might object however, that this almost seems to be in “danger” of embracing not just our very human/humanistic side; but also even our “flesh”ly side. Which poses problems from a Pauline point of view especially; Paul attacking our “flesh” it seems, often. Embracing the temporal perhaps over the eternal, poses similar theoretical problems, for some.

    Any thoughts on how to parse this? If we should at all? Perhaps the most radical “solution” here, would be for God to even somehow embrace our alleged human “errors”?

    If this makes sense? If I understand your thesis?

    • Griffin,

      Not trying to answer for Kent, because I’m interested in his response as well; I would say as Gregory of Nanzanzius:

      The unassumed is the unhealed

      If He didn’t assume our fallenness (II Cor. 5:21) then what did he redeem?

      It’s not necessary to believe that if He did assume a fallen body, that he sinned . . . which I think is the fear that is driving your question.

      T. F. Torrance in his posthmously published book: Incarnation ed. Robert Walker deals with this question, if you haven’t you should check it out.

  6. A final thought on this doctor of theology thing (thank you Kyle for the generous announcement):

    “Doctors of arts, medicine, law and philosophy, can be made by the pope, the emperor, and the universities; but be quite sure that no one can make a doctor of Holy Scripture save only the Holy Spirit from heaven, as Christ says in John vi: ‘They must all be taught of God himself.’ Now the Holy Spirit does not ask after red or brown robes, or what is showy, nor whether man is young or old, lay or clerical, monastic or secular, virgin or married. Indeed, He once spoke by an ass against the prophet that rode on it. Would God we were worthy that such doctors be given us …” (Luther, WA 6, 460, 28, quoted in Barth, CDI/1, 19)

  7. Congratulations! and I am excited to read more of this someday, hopefully. I am not too familiar with Pannenberg, but every time I encounter him, I am fascinated.

  8. Congrats Kent!
    i’d love to hear more from you on how you think that Pannenberg’s project specifically informs your own theology. Blessings on your first year teaching!

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