C. Existential Theology and
1. Existential theology
3 directions in regard to the existence of God:
a. Main points [Christianity
in terms of man's subjective existence]
2. Process theology
b. Kierkegaard [the infinite
gulf between God and man]
existentialism: existence precedes essence (the existence
of the individual self is more important than the being one in the humankind)
knowledge of God impossible or incomplete
existence affirmed by the encounter with God which
is brought about by subjective faith
the Bible provides little help in the way of faith
c. Bultmann [demythologization,
gospel without myth]
infinite qualitative distinction between God (the
Wholly Other) and man; rational knowledge of God impossible
God is always the subject, not object
existential self: "To exist is to be with oneself
alone before God", by encountering with God in isolation from the group
leap of faith where God confronts a person in crisis
(as a result of anxiety about life), an arbitrary act in defiance of reason
d. Tillich [God as ground of
experience and ethics more important than doctrine
critical research into the past is unable to recover
the actual historical events of Jesus' life; concludes that we know very
little about the person, teachings or life of Christ
Faith is not centred in the historical figure of
Jesus but in the presently proclaimed Christly message.
Myths are the result of exaggerations of the writers
and historical and cultural limitations of the readers. To understand the
real message, all myths in the gospel must be dispelled.
rejects virginal birth as a myth
death on the cross must be accepted through faith
and experienced in the eucharist to be meaningful
resurrection is an unnecessary myth
second coming is not necessary as faith is to solve
meaning of present existence, not the future
Christ opens up a new existential self-understanding
not only of oneself but also of oneself in relation to God and to the world.
This is faith.
e. Evaluation: often degenerates
into a description of human existence; low opinion of the Bible; biblical
truth obscured by philosophical arguments; gospel of salvation neglected;
influence the development of death-of-God theology
God is "that which concerns us ultimately" or "the
ground of our being", different from the personal God recorded in the Bible
encounter with God is experiential and existential
religion is the ultimate concern and commitment to
Sin is estrangment from God which can be overcome
by a person having religion
message basically philosophical, not biblical
a. Main points [the
3. Death-of-God theology
b. Hartshorne [God as both cause
dynamic (always evolving) concept of reality, both
in relation to the material world and to God.
reality is not "I" as an individual who happens to
pass through time, but the series of experiences which make up the process
of my life
Human beings are called to make genuine choices.
The genuine freedom of choice is necessary for fulfilling freedom to realize
our optimum divine potential.
Each individual has a role to play in the cosmic,
creative movement of God and the world.
c. Teilhard de Chardin [evolutionary
God is an eternally becoming reality and He both
affects and is affected by the world (cause and effect).
God gives the universe a real though limited freedom
so that we can become cause and He become effect. If I reject Him, I grieve
d. Evaluation: a fresh and new
approach which sheds light on the biblical doctrine of God; but distorts
some biblical doctrines; denies that God knows the future on the ground
that it does not yet exist (God as a prisoner of time); making God dependent
upon the universe
evolution as a universal law of existence
creation as the process of evolution, sin and evil
as the inevitable imperfection that accompanies evolutionary process
redemption as the evolutionary process
human history evolving to the climax when all will
be consummated in Christ - 'the Omega point'
a. Main points [absence
of God from all aspects of mankind]
b. Altizer [God died on the
questions the reality of God
Modern world is characterized not by the absence
of the experience of God but the experience of the actual absence of God.
The secular world is all there is. Human responsibility
for our world is the major task of human beings.
Everything gets along without God and just as well
c. Hamilton [losing hope with
God is gone from the present times, history, and
To completely enter human history, God died in the
form of Jesus (self-annihilation).
To seek Christ must go through a non-religious way.
Christianity with God restricts the freedom of choice
God as the "transcendent all", a concept from eastern
d. Van Buren [a religion suitable
for modern man]
against the formalism in the church
Christianity to concentrate on Jesus, a man serving
lose hope with God, only live the present with love
e. Evaluation: complete deviation
from theism; cannot be properly described as Christianity; religion becomes
a moral way of life; indicates a breakdown of civilization as mankind approach
the point of despair
need to forget God and reestablish Christianity without
the a priori God
take Jesus as the model of mankind, as the influence
interprets the Bible through linguistic analysis