The Prologue of the Gospel of John identifies Jesus Christ as the eternal Word or Logos of the Father, who became flesh for the salvation of the world. Yet the world that Christ saves is his world from the beginning, for he is also the Logos of creation, the one “through whom all things were made” (John 1:3). This divinely revealed claim has profound implications not only for theology but also for metaphysics, whose relation to Christian doctrine was undermined over the course of the twentieth century, such that the Christian faith has become an increasingly private affair rather than a credible account of reality and an invitation to participate more fully in it.
With Christ, the Logos of Creation, John Betz seeks to recover a Christ-centered, analogical metaphysics and to establish the indispensability of such metaphysics for Christian theology and the Christian vision of reality. In Part I, he dispels the fog of confusion about analogical metaphysics and addresses the ecumenical issues posed by Karl Barth’s famous rejection of the analogia entis. Part II demonstrates how analogical metaphysics helps to explain Christian doctrine and sheds new light on the interrelationship between individual doctrines, including Trinitarian theology, Christology and soteriology, and theological anthropology. In Part III, Betz explores how this analogical perspective can aid in resolving a number of theological disputes, including the metaphysical relationship between nature and grace and the issue of divine humility. Finally, Part IV outlines further directions toward a fully Christological metaphysics that is proportionate both to the challenges of modern theology and the reality of our life in Christ the Logos.
John R. Betz (Ph.D., University of Virginia) is associate professor of systematic theology at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to a number of articles, which have appeared in Modern Theology and other scholarly journals, he is the author of After Enlightenment: The Post-Secular Vision of J. G. Hamann (Wiley, 2009), and the translator, with David B. Hart, of Erich Przywara’s Analogia Entis: Metaphysics, Original Structure, and Universal Rhythm (Eerdmans, 2014).
“John Betz’s new book cements his stature as the leading expert on twentieth-century German philosophical theology. With immense learning, clarity of presentation, and unfailingly balanced judgment, Betz traces the conceptual and theological underpinnings of an analogical metaphysics as altogether central to the Christian faith. One stands in awe of Betz’s comprehensive and profound grasp of philosophical and theological questions and debates, from Plato and Aristotle all the way to Przywara, Barth, de Lubac, von Balthasar, and into the present. For anyone committed to an integrative view of faith and reason, Christ, the Logos of Creation will be obligatory reading and an inexhaustible font of insight.”
Duke University and Divinity School
“John Betz has written an extraordinary book on an extremely important topic. As the title suggests, Christ, the Logos of Creation: An Essay in Analogical Metaphysics, Betz wants to demonstrate that the Logos is not only the eternal Word of the Father but also the Word of creation. The Logos is the ground, pattern, goal, and the source of all being. The Logos is the beginning of all creation, and as the Logos incarnate, he is the end of all creation. Primacy belongs to the Logos alone. However, how is one to conceive and express this truth? Barth denied that analogical language was capable of doing so—metaphysics could not rightly speak of God. Betz, creatively and insightfully, with the aid of the Polish philosopher-theologian, Erich Przywara, offers a valuable and constructive way forward. Metaphysical concepts and the analogical language that expresses such metaphysics can rightly be applied to the divine Word such that he can, indeed, be proclaimed Logos of creation and redemption—and so all glory, honor, and praise belongs to him.”
Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Capuchin
Former member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission
“The work of John Betz is a gift, on the one hand to Erich Przywara, whose genius requires a unique mind and heart to be able to receive and communicate its fecund treasures, and on the other hand to us, who would otherwise have had little access to this giant of the twentieth century. But this book does more than just communicate Przywara; it develops an analogical metaphysics that is profoundly original in its own right and promises to bear fruit that will last.”
Pontifical John Paul II Institute, The Catholic University of America
“John Betz has presented us with a masterly and comprehensive argument as to why the analogy of being, updated to take account of linguistic mediation of knowledge and fully understood as including articulations of the Trinity and Incarnation, allows a mediation of current debates concerning the relation of grace to nature and faith to reason. Agree or disagree, in part or in whole, his case must now be reckoned with.”
University of Nottingham
“Betz elucidates a central riddle of Christian theology with an unmatched gift for resolving dark complexity into generative lucidity.”
School of Divinity, St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews