Balthasar on Subjective Transformative Appropriation

“God, who condescends graciously to his creature, does not want to lay hold of him and fulfill him in an external manner, but rather in the most intimate way possible. Historical revelation in the Son aims at a transformative subjective appropriation; its goal is the revelation of the Holy Spirit of freedom and adoption within the human spirit. The Church Fathers already insisted that all objective redemption would be useless if it were not relived subjectively as a dying and rising with Christ in the Holy Spirit; this truth echoes over and over throughout the Middle Ages … and the Baroque period.

Wird Christus tausendmal zu Bethlehem goboren
Und nicht in dir, du bleibst doch ewiglich verloren…
Daz Kreuz zu Golgotha kann dich nicht von dem
Wo es nicht auch in dir wird aufgericht’, erlösen


[1] “If Christ were born a thousand times in Bethlehem, but not in you, you would remain lost forever…The Cross on Golgotha cannot redeem you from evil if it is not raised up also in you” (Angelus Silesius: Cherubinischer Wandersmann, 1:61; cf. 5:160; 2:81; 5:325). As found in Balthasar, Love Alone is Credible, p. 42.

2 thoughts on “Balthasar on Subjective Transformative Appropriation”

  1. Beautiful quote, C – perhaps something a reply to the first comment on the post before this one.

  2. i’m delighted whenever i meet a kindred spirit

    so, let me add an ‘antidoron’ (in my own clumsy translation):

    “…so, the fulfilment of our image according to the divine nature [through the fulfilment of the commantment of love] bestows on man Spirit’s partcipation [1 Cor 15:49]” (Kyrill of Alexandria)


    “God’s will is the material and the substance of all creatures” (gregory of Nyssa)

    peace with you!

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