“The Upward Call”: The Category of Vocation and the Oddness of Human Nature
The Christian Doctrine of Humanity
Los Angeles Theology Conference 2018: The Christian Doctrine of Humanity
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McFarland, I. (2018). “The Upward Call”: The Category of Vocation and the Oddness of Human Nature. The Christian Doctrine of Humanity https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.35105
Christians speak of human beings having their end in God. As Augustine states at the outset of the Confessions, “You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Such a claim suggests that human nature is ontologically odd, since it implies that what is “natural” to human beings is not to have a “nature,” in the sense of a clearly defined, self-contained type of being. Instead, it is characteristic of human beings that they should be-come, in the words of 2 Peter 1:4, “participants in the divine nature”—that is, that they should share in a type of being that is not natural to them—to be most fully human. Nor is this “eccen-tric” character of human nature simply a matter of the future hope of eschatological transfor-mation. It is also a feature of this-worldly human teleology, for, in contrast to other creatures for which maturation involves growing into a predictable type (acorns into oaks, foals into hors-es, and so on), human life is inherently open in that the particular end (or combination of ends)—astronaut, parent, baker, monk—that defines the unique mode of a person’s humanity, and thus the unique way they will ultimately participate in the divine nature, is not predictable.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.35105
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/287790