The book I am blogging about is The God of Israel and Christian Theology. Here R. Kendall Soulen sees in Karl Rahner’s concept of the “supernatural existential” a way forward toward a better way of telling the Christian story.
Because neither the word “supernatural” nor the word “existential” mean what I would first think, Rahner’s idea needs some explanation.
Supernatural has to do with a mostly intra-Roman Catholic discussion of nature and grace. As I understand it, the discussion is about how that which is natural can be open to supernatural grace.
The problem Rahner poses seems to be that humans are natural creatures, intelligent mammals, but believe they have a higher (supernatural) end.
Existential does not mean the opposite of essential. It seems to mean something like a tendency or orientation. Rahner studied with Martin Heidegger in the early 1930s. Heidegger had the idea of “being toward death”…
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