Fundamental Queries for Constructing a theology of imago Dei (上帝形象的神學):
- 1. Do we have a nature in the philosophical term?
Paraphrase: Aren’t we right to say that our egos are the potentiality of the genes of our biological makeup? (Atomists and Materialists: Yes.) Or are we given in in our context—viz. we are our language, our society, our natural and social relations and so on; our individuality is the construct of the collectivity of the inhabited and observed universe that narrates us? (Post-structrualists: Yes.)
- 2. Is צֶ֫לֶם / εἰκών (image) best understood as a mode that has to be universally discovered/recovered in humanity, or must we appropriate in life the concept mythologically, namely, in a way that the locus of its realization can only be dated back to the Omega point (cf. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin) in the eschatological terms and in light of the Derridean différence?
Paraphrase: does “the image of God” still have a [pragmatic/ethical] meaning for this lifetime if we refuse to relate the concept to the consummation of the universe? (Richard B. Hays: No. Teilhard de Chardin: No. Jacques Derrida: No. Non-realists: Yes.)
- 3. Do the εὐαγγελία ἀγαθὸί (good news) have substance? Or it is merely an ideological form (or conceptual norm) unto which we handily apply [cultural, linguistic, or contextual] substances available to us? ([to the latter question] Idealists: Yes. Essentialists: No.)
- Paraphrase: can we outline the ideal man transformed by the gospel by virtue (a person who will act in certain way under certain circumstance)? Or must we stop at where the apostle Paul is at in his analogical appropriation of the Greco-Roman ethics (viz. Galatians 5:22-23a ὁ δὲ καρπὸς τοῦ πνεύματός ἐστιν ἀγάπη χαρὰ εἰρήνη, μακροθυμία χρηστότης ἀγαθωσύνη, πίστις, πραΰτης ἐγκράτεια· But what do they look like, I mean, with substance? Figure that out in your own context!)? *** »But the fruit of the Spirit is blove, joy, peace, patience, ckindness, goodness, faithfulness umility, self control. »
- 4. Does the Logos of God have an essence in eternity apart from the 33 solar years when He is elected to adopt a human body with all its potentiality of the genes of the body’s biological makeup (provided the rough dualistic way of theologizing and let alone the complexity involved in speaking the socio-cultural contextual constructive aspects of the Son of Man)? (Calvinists: Yes. Karl Barth: No.)
- Paraphrase: What can we speak of “Christ as the Man”? How are we going to understand it?
- 5. Should my girl friend love me because of who I really am in the sense of all the vices and virtues of my pure EGO (understood in the Freudian term if you want to)? Or should she love me because of all the chances (according the Aristotelian concept of “luck” in the human politics) and the gifts (in the sense of Jean-Luc Marion’s des donnés) that has shaped me over time and has actualized the unique Self in me in the unique way, as it is now, among all the possibilities, and in this actual universe out all of the possible universes —the totality of all of these we call « grace », and the Buddhists and Chinese alike would like to call it 緣 (yuan)?
Paraphrase: of course she should not love me because of the generic “image of God” in me. Everyone has that, and that does not encourage her to love everyone in the way she loves me. She must have loved me for a REASON! But what is it? Is that 緣 (yuan) or something in relation to it? How do we delineate the ontology, ethics, or phenomenology of 緣 (yuan) or this mystery of relation- whatever it should be called?