Revista Studii Teologice


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Teodiceea hristocentrică la Părintele Dumitru Stăniloae

Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae’s Christological theodicy

Autor(i): Nicolae DRĂGUŞIN

The present study explores Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae’s proposed „solution” to the problem of evil. It starts from the Christological character of his works and, more specifically, Christ’s resurrection lying at the core of this Christology. Therefore Fr. Stăniloae’s approach to the matter of evil is essentially Christological. His tenet is that the close relationship between death on the Cross and the resurrection on the third day of the incarnate God provide a key to the problem of evil. Thus, Fr. Stăniloae’s works may be read as a Christological theodicy, too. All definitions given to theodicy share the topic and the query, which means that theodicy merges faith and the re-sults of reasoning. In other words, theodicy expresses an interest in both theology (religious truth) and philosophy (rational truth). The topic denotes a postulate of divinity as a primary reality, while the query, conversely, starts from the phenomeno-logy of evil in order to arrive at the notion of divinity. This is why a balanced stance must be achieved. Considering theodicy from a Christological perspective strikes such a balance as Christology predicates the simultaneity and fullness of the natural (hu-man) order and the super-natural (divine) one, both united in one person.
The study defends this tenet by following three lines of reasoning. The first one („Western theodicy”) reviews the main developments of Western theodicy. Ac-cording to Paul Ricoeur, in this context there are five „discourse levels” in the matter of evil. The first level is that of the myth, centered on the question „Why?”. The second level is that of wisdom, whose question is „Why me?”. The third level is that of „gnosis and anti-gnostic gnosis”, which raises questions concerning the origins of evil. The fourth level is that of theodicy proper. Finally, the fifth level is Karl Barth’s „«disjoint» dialectics”. Passage from one level to the next occurred gradually, most often by means of criticism. As criticism presupposes a method, this succession entai-led progress and accumulation, so that previous elements were passed down.
The Western theological-philosopical models of the problem of evil outlined above influenced Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae for both methodological and personal rea-sons, because during his academic education he found the West in full effervescence of the „«disjoint» dialectics”, as Ricoeur terms it. Thus the present study reaches its second part: „From Barth to Stăniloae. The Eastern view on the problem of evil”. This part focuses on the perception of evil acording to the Eastern Christian tradition. Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae therefore positions himself at the intersection between the theolo-gy of Karl Barth and that of St. Gregory Palamas, the climax of Orthodox Christian doctrine (also discovered in the West). In Karl Barth’s theology, Fr. Dumitru Stăni-loae found not only an encapsulation of Western theology, but also Soren Kierkega-ard’s exitentialist criticism of the philosophy of absolute idealism. All these intellectual „legacies” are at work in Jesus Christ or the restoration of man, published at Sibiu in 1943 (republished at Bucharest, in 1993). This book reflects its author’s theological maturity. Fr. Stăniloae wrote two other books on our Saviour: The Evangelic Image of Jesus Christ (Sibiu, 1991) and Jesus Christ, Light of the World (Bucharest, 1993). His entire theology is centered around these three Christology books. Moreo-ver, his musings on evil are subsumed under his Trinitarian and Christological theo-logy, addressing the relationships among the Persons of the Holy Trinity and the doctrine on Jesus Christ, our Creator and Saviour.
These musings are the object of the third part of the present study. We note (as a key to the synthetic character of the Christological theodicy) that the approach to the problem of evil is /is not a dialectic one. At the core of Fr. Stăniloae’s Christo-logical approach lies the indissoluble bond between Cross and Resurrection: the for-mer prepares the latter, while the latter (as fulfillment of the divine-human existen-ce) contains the former. The Cross, as an expression of death, and the resurrection are opposites. Since they led to the Ascension, hence to transfiguration through the Holy Spirit on the Pentecost, they may be deemed as part of a dialectic scheme. The death-resurrection relationship differs from a thesis-antithesis relationship because „their unity is succession, as well as simultaneity” („the presence of one within the other”). In other words, „although they are opposed, they succeed each other and are mutually contained” in a sort of „mutual interiority of opposites”. The paradoxical relationship between the death on the Cross and the Resurrection is best reflected in his first Christological contribution (1943), while his second one (1993) dwells on the light imparted by theosis, as a result of the Resurrection.

Pagini: 149-168