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Christ Conditioned Stratified Knowledge of God

Ben Myers gives a helpful summary in describing T. F. Torrance’s stratification of knowledge, he says:

Thomas F. Torrance’s model of the stratification of knowledge is one of his most striking and original contributions to theological method. Torrance’s model offers an account of the way formal theological knowledge emerges from our intutive and pre-conceptual grasp of God’s reality as it is manifest in Jesus Christ. It presents a vision of theological progression, in which our knowledge moves towards an ever more refined and more unified conceptualisation of the reality of God, while remaining closely coordinated with the concrete level of personal and experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ. According to this model, our thought rises to higher levels of theological conceptualisation only as we penetrate more deeply into the reality of Jesus Christ. From the ground level of personal experience to the highest level of theological reflection, Jesus Christ thus remains central. Through a sustained concentration on him and on his homoousial union with God, we are able to achieve a formal account of the underlying trinitarian relations immanent in God’s own eternal being, which constitute the ultimate grammar of all theological discourse. (Benjamin Myers, “The Stratification of knowledge in the thought of T. F. Torrance,” SJT 61 (1): 1-15 (2008) Printed in the United Kingdom © 2008 Scottish Journal of Theology Ltd doi: 10.1017/S003693060700381X)

Ben obviously offers further development through the course of his essay, but I think his opening paragraph serves as a nice introduction into what TFT was after in his theological method. Torrance’s offering seeks to be ‘Christ conditioned’ and christocentric, through and through; this all naturally flows from Torrance’s broader project of providing a theological science.

Anyway, I thought some might find this intriguing, and maybe provocative for further research into the methodology and thought life of T.F. Torrance.

PS. My next installment on Chandler’s and Piper’s ‘two-willed’ god is in the wings—at least by this Monday.

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