In chps 3 and 4 of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Love Alone is Credible, Balthasar speaks of an aesthetic that speaks to us from outside ourselves. Such an aesthetic perception of beauty cannot be reduced to my imagination. Love, Balthasar, is credible in the Logos. Hear me out on this one.
One of the main points Tom Wright is now making — though he hasn’t written much of it lately — is that we do not know God and therefore recognize in Jesus that God. Instead, we come to know God because we know Jesus Christ. If Jesus is God with us, Immanuel, then God is known through Jesus. The difference between these two is radical. Balthasar is a master of the same idea in a completely different manner. His is a radical aesthetic — we know Love by knowing the Logos.
As I read him, Balthasar attacks human self-sufficiency to show that the Logos does not prove cosmic reason but instead subverts it: John allows “the incarnate Logos to interpret himself” (55). The Logos reveals himself as Love, as Glory, and as Truth.
The only authority is the Son who reveals the Father in the Holy Spirit as Love.
Love has two failures: finitude and frigidity. Humans cannot come to terms with God’s Love as Logos on their own terms; they are confronted by God’s love in the Logos and that revelation subverts our sense of love and transforms it.
Here it is: Christianity is not a “teaching” but “an action that God undertakes, the playing out of the drama that God began with mankind in the Old Covenant” (70). “The key to understanding the action lies soley in God’s presentation of himself to human beings on the stage of human nature, by virtue of the identity of the divine ‘Author’, the divine and human ‘Actor’, and the divine Spirit, who exists identically in both and who interprets the action for those whom the Actor has brought into the drama” (70).
“The scandal is here to draw his [the human] ey to the uniqueness of the love that manifests itself and, in its light, to reveal his own inchoate [potential], creaturely love quite concretely for the nonlove that it is” (73).