We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Naturally Human, Supernaturally God

Deification in Pre-Concilliar Catholicism

by Adam G. Cooper

Publication Year: 2014

Naturally Human, Supernaturally God focuses upon a theological subject matter whose provenance not only spans both periods of the twentieth century, but the whole history of Christianity. It seeks to open a small window upon an odd case of theological convergence between three of the most diverse yet important theologians of the pre-Conciliar period, each of whom played a vital role in the Second Vatican Council—Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P., Karl Rahner S.J., and Henri de Lubac S.J. It is widely acknowledged that the differences between these three figures, and the traditions subsequently associated with them, sometimes run so deep as to defy resolution. Yet, this book will argue they were strangely united in a shared conviction: today’s Church urgently needs to renew its acquaintance with an ancient Christian theme, namely, the doctrine of deification. Only in a self-transcending, supernaturally-wrought participation in the life of God do human beings reach their proper fulfillment. These three theologians are significant figures in the modern recovery of the doctrine of deification, receiving its official adumbration in the Christocentric and Trinitarian anthropological vision outlined in Vatican II’s Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et Spes. This book tells the story of that recovery and the contribution these rather different theologians played, adding an oft-neglected stream to the contemporary discussion of this important topic.

Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.3 KB)


pdf iconDownload PDF (122.0 KB)
pp. v-vi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (104.3 KB)
pp. vii-viii

Many kind and generous people have assisted me in the writing of this book. My thanks go first of all to the John Paul II Institute in Melbourne and the Archdiocese of Melbourne for granting me time for research and for underwriting it with generous funding. Alexandra Diriart, José Granados...


pdf iconDownload PDF (103.8 KB)
pp. ix

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (137.4 KB)
pp. 1-8

This book had its beginnings in a personal quest to understand better the key doctrinal trends characterizing the Catholic theological landscape in the decades leading up to the Second Vatican Council. It is published here as the culmination of a lengthy and satisfying, even if occasionally arduous...

read more

1. Setting the Scene

pdf iconDownload PDF (161.6 KB)
pp. 9-22

Before studying our three theologians and the way deification features in their works, a brief outline of the immediate history of deification in modern Catholic thought will be helpful. This chapter serves as a kind of summary index, rather than an in-depth history. It offers snapshots that indicate the...

read more

2. Entering the Fray

pdf iconDownload PDF (175.2 KB)
pp. 23-38

With the broad historical and theological background of chapter 1 in place, it is now time to introduce one by one the three figures whose theology of deification constitutes the subject of this book, and whose respective theological approaches have become representative of three quite distinct schools or...

Part I: Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange

pdf iconDownload PDF (21.6 KB)
pp. 39-40

read more

3. Deification and the Person of Christ

pdf iconDownload PDF (181.6 KB)
pp. 41-58

The Christian doctrine of deification has always depended crucially on its root and foundation in christology.1 Incarnation and deification are two sides of a single soteriological coin, structural corollaries one of the other. Early patristic formulations posit human participation in the divine nature as a gratuitous...

read more

4. Deification and the Divine Indwelling

pdf iconDownload PDF (168.9 KB)
pp. 59-74

Although today we generally do not hesitate to speak of such matters as mysticism, spiritual experience, and personal union with God, there was a period lasting almost three hundred years in French Catholic history when such language was felt to be only marginally Christian and even doctrinally...

read more

5. Deification and Divine Causality

pdf iconDownload PDF (190.9 KB)
pp. 75-94

In an essay published in 2004, Bruce D. Marshall took up criticisms by a number of modern Orthodox theologians directed at alleged failures on the part of western theology in general and of Thomas Aquinas in particular to give adequate expression to the mysteries expressed by the patristic doctrine...

Part II: Karl Rahner

pdf iconDownload PDF (21.6 KB)
pp. 95-96

read more

6. Deification and Transcendental Experience

pdf iconDownload PDF (183.8 KB)
pp. 97-114

It is no exaggeration to say that the motif of deification stands right at the very heart of Karl Rahner’s entire theological project. Rahner’s representative article in the multivolume Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche on the central scholastic category of sanctifying grace amounts essentially to an attempted recovery...

read more

7. Deification and Cosmic Christology

pdf iconDownload PDF (175.6 KB)
pp. 115-130

It has become increasingly common for theologians from across a broad range of Christian traditions to acknowledge the truly cosmic character and profoundly universal scope of the new creation established in Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God become human. In a recent work by Australian theologian...

read more

8. Deification and Ordinary Life

pdf iconDownload PDF (183.4 KB)
pp. 131-148

Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange was well into his thirties when he published his first essay. So was Henri de Lubac. Karl Rahner was only twenty-two. Admittedly, it was just a simple piece of pious reflection, brief and unpretentious, devotional rather than academic. It asks what the heart of the...

Part III: Henri de Lubac

pdf iconDownload PDF (21.6 KB)
pp. 149-150

read more

9. Deification and the Supernatural

pdf iconDownload PDF (179.8 KB)
pp. 151-168

It is impossible to offer an adequate analysis of de Lubac’s contribution to the theology of deification in the pre-Conciliar period without attending to his famous Surnaturel (1946), a work that is almost universally acknowledged to have precipitated a theological revolution. In it de Lubac demolished the...

read more

10. Deification and Ecclesial Concorporation

pdf iconDownload PDF (207.4 KB)
pp. 169-192

In the opening chapters I remarked that Henri de Lubac’s first book, written at the age of forty-two, was >Catholicism: The Social Aspects of Dogma. As the subtitle suggests, Catholicism elucidates the constitutively social and communal aspects of Christianity. Despite the fact that de Lubac himself prized the...

read more

11. Deification and Assimilation to God

pdf iconDownload PDF (207.8 KB)
pp. 193-216

In their explorations of the meaning of theosis or the gift that enables human beings to become koinonoi in the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), the early Fathers of the church had recourse to two main ideas, expressed in two key terms. The first idea was expressed in the term μέθεξις, understood in the sense of...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (163.6 KB)
pp. 217-230

The doctrine of deification consists essentially in the proposition that humanity is made for God. By nature and calling, human beings are properly ordered to loving union with God the Father through a gracious adoption constituted by the Holy Spirit in the crucified and risen flesh of Jesus Christ the incarnate...


pdf iconDownload PDF (171.4 KB)
pp. 231-254

Index of Names

pdf iconDownload PDF (105.2 KB)
pp. 255-256

Index of Subjects

pdf iconDownload PDF (107.2 KB)
pp. 257-259

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (17.9 MB)

E-ISBN-13: 9781451484267
E-ISBN-10: 1451484267
Print-ISBN-13: 9781451472028
Print-ISBN-10: 1451472021

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2014