S GUIDE TO COVENANTAL THEOLOGY
Without getting too far afield, you probably do need to know that
our everyday view in the United States, that we are 'individuals' in a
'community,' is not a view that would be shared by every single one of
our fellow men at all times in history. For example, it is very clear to
most scholars that the human beings in the ancient world Homer wrote
about in the Iliad and the Odyssey did not see themselves that way. Not
only would they not have understood what we meant if we had been
able to speak to them about 'individuals' living in a 'community,' but
also, if they had grasped our meaning, they would have rejected both
concepts as ridiculous and barbaric.
People like Hector, Achilles, Penelope, and Odysseus were
probably not just like us, with the single difference that they lived a
long time ago. Most scholars think that people like the sort Homer
wrote about had ideas about who they were and what they were doing
that were very different from ours. This also means that men 3000
years from now may regard our own assumptions about 'individuals'
and 'communities' with much the same bewilderment that Achilles
We also need to remember that, in Mr. Minsky's truly modern
world, in which "freedom of the human will" is only a convenient -- if
irresistible -- fabrication, the idea that we are 'individuals' in a
'community' is very much one whose meaning will be progressively
evacuated over time, put more and more into the middle box.
So, there have actually been two problems, not just one, with our
questions regarding how Man images God. The first problem, of
course, is with our ideas of God, but the second, and equally important
problem, is with our ideas of Man.
Man's imaging of God, says Fr. Keefe, is covenantal, through and
through. The idea that this imaging is either 'individual' or 'communal'
is simply absurd to Catholicism. The only imaging possible for Man
exists in and through the New Covenant.
I'm nearly certain you're not ready for this, but it has to be said,
because Fr. Keefe says it: that means that Man's imaging of God is
nuptial. Man is neither Ones in free motion nor a Many subsumed into
a One. He is a nuptial being. Man is created in the image of God -- that
is, in the image of the New Covenant -- a nuptial relation of persons.
We do need to recall, that by the consistent faith of the Church, the
only God available to Man is in Jesus Christ. In short, Man's imaging
of God is "Through Him, With Him, and in Him," for "Through Him
all things were made." We don't image the Deus Unus -- a God apart
from the New Covenant. We image God solely in and through the New
Covenant. That means, simply, that our imaging of God is
fundamentally marital or nuptial in character -- for that is what
N.B. This is an html-ized copy of a page from the pdf file, The Knucklehead's Guide to Covenantal Theology.