For Jürgen Moltmann, theological anthropology must be liberating. It should take a stand against dehumanizing images and concepts of human life and point out ways to “true humanity.” In his view, a theologian can develop such a liberating anthropology only if he speaks explicitly from the perspective of God’s kingdom as conceived in the Bible and the Christian tradition and if he speaks to and in his context, as one who experiences contemporary sufferings and hopes. But how? This book analyzes the development of Moltmann’s theology in the light of this quest for a liberating view on human life. It examines the anthropological concerns in the different stages of his theological enterprise: his post-war Trümmertheologie, the “loose theological threads” of the 1950s, his theology of hope and promise in the 1960s, his theology of the cross, human rights and play in the 1970s and his ecological and “charismatic” theology of the 1980s and 1990s. Moltmann’s theological thinking has taken place consciously at the intersection of personal experiences, historical challenges, biblical testimony and the fundamentals of the Christian tradition. Analyzing his quest for a liberating anthropology in a chronological way, this study therefore gives an impression of the frictions and fault lines of Christian anthropology in the context of the societal changes during the second half of the twentieth century. A concluding chapter discusses some of the problems accentuated in the course of this analysis and evaluates some valuable leads for a Christian anthropology today.
Classical theism, the dominant tradition in Christian theology, has stressed the metaphysical concept of God, i.e., God's ontological transcendence and independence from the world. In this century, however, this concept of God has increasingly met with criticism. On the basis of the Bible and new philosophical considerations, it is argued that a relational concept of God better answers the fundamental concerns of the Christian faith. In this book the author investigates the questions of whether one can conceive of God apart from the metaphysical attributes and whether reflection on the biblical depiction of God leads necessarily to a relational concept of God. The author explores the questions by examining the relational concepts of God found in two contemporary German theologians, Jürgen Moltmann and Wolfhart Pannenberg, and uses the divine attribute of immutability as a focus for the discussion. He argues that the relational concept of God presupposes another metaphysical conception of God, which raises problems as serious as those in classical theism, and that the Bible itself, because of its nature as a narrative text, is ambiguous in many respects as far as God is concerned. A truly Christian doctrine of God must take both the metaphysical and relational aspects of God into account.