Journal for Christian Theological Research


For Pannenberg and Juengel the death of Christ has an integral role to play in instantiating in the life of God the critical moment necessary to their respective conceptions of truth. For Pannenberg a claim's capacity for truth lies in its ability to be disputed. Confirmation must follow if a claim is to be judged true, but even this confirmation is open to subsequent challenge. Truth is hence a historical process, only the end of which will bring about a definitive conclusion. Given this understanding of truth, the death of Christ on the cross is to be understood as a disputation to the deity of God, since the Father's lordship is dependent upon the Son, and God's lordship is not external to God's deity. In the resurrection of Jesus the Holy Spirit confirms Jesus and his claims about the Father's lordship, but the confirmation of this claim remains open to challenge by history. For Juengel, truth is approached phenomenologically, by attending to the event of interruption in our lives which occurs when we are apprehended by an external reality. Our self-continuity is interrupted, and if this interruption can be assimilated, an enhancement of our lives takes place in which new possibilities for being emerge. Considered in this light, Christ is the 'two-fold' interruption, in whom God draws closer to us than we are able to ourselves, and in whom God has allowed his own life to be interrupted by our sin and death. The Holy Spirit in the resurrection reveals that such an interruption did not end in the termination of God's existence, but that the nothingness of death is taken up into God's differentiated life.