Spring 1965

Page 79

Thomas ]. Motherwa'Y . .'i.f. "

Supernatural Existential A critical evaluation of recent theological attempt• to probe the reiDtionship belween nature and grace.

One of the most intriguing problems of modern theology is the question of the relation between the natural and the supernatural in man. The latter has usually been conceived as something added to nature, something which comes to man from outside him. And the question is asked how does this supernature fit into nature? Do they dovetail nicely, or is there not a sort of hiatus to be bridged over? To this question many theologians, even up to the recent past, have thought it suf¡ licient to answer that there is in man's nature an obediential potency for the supernatural. By this they mean that nature is "obedient" to God in receiving grace and, apart from man's free decision, does not of itself offer any resistance to grace, "has no repugnance" for it. Other theologians, not content with this negative sort of solution, have found in our intellectual nature a positive tendency towards the supernatural in the concrete, a natural desire of the highest and most perfect supernatural entity, the intuitive vision of God. Because of this natural "appetite" or "desire" no real hiatus exists between nature and super¡ nature; rather it makes the dovetailing or grafting process one 79


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