Grace is the gift that God offers humanity to react to his calling and become his anointed children. God grants supernatural Grace to people to enable them to awaken to his call through salvation. The traditional approach to theology stresses on moral and psychological aspects of human life. Studies by Neuner and Dupuis show that Grace restores humankind from his sinfulness. A new approach to theoretical study that was metaphysical oriented arose in the nineteenth century. It also includes the ecological, social, cultural, and personal transformation affected by conversion based on practical examples. Both areas of study are critical in understanding theology. The two theories focus on metaphysical aspects rather than psychology. The aim of this paper is to develop the theology of grace as it relates to theological teachings. These teachings include the freedoms and responsibilities of a human being and his dependence on God’s gracious intervention.
For example, the theology of grace can be explained under the Catechism of the Catholic church ha offers relevant aspects in promoting grace. This illustrates freedom and confidence in understanding the collaborators in the church. The freedom and responsibility of every person in theological teachings rest in two aspects. These characteristics “define the daily routines of every human being such as sleep patterns and eating habits”1. The growth in technology may be seen as “a breakthrough in promoting efficiency of human life while in reality, we do not mind the disorder it causes including environmental damage”2.
1 Jacques Dupuis, and John, Neuner. Decree on Justification in the Christian faith in the doctrinal documents of the Catholic Church. (New York: Alba House, 1996), pp. 747-65.
2 Ibid, 956
Crowe argues that human freedom bears the greatest blame for human sinfulness. In their argument, there are two likelihoods of humanity. These aspects are the supernatural control of people and the assumptions of a free and responsible man. “They differ from their predecessors who linked the responsibility of humanity to those of the supernatural being.”3 The traditional point of view held that God rather than human capacities granted the human values and limitations. They criticized this view by observing that the relationship between God and humans is a never-ending tension and supernatural intervention is an impediment to the independence of humankind. In light of his argument, a human being is both free to exercise his own interests and is responsible for his/her deeds. According to Crowe, human freedom is the foundation of all values.
The dependence of humans on God’s gracious intervention can be drawn from biblical examples. “God used his own son Jesus Christ as an example in bringing his grace to humanity. Christ’s experiences on earth help humans in making judgments on His heavenly mercy upon his people”4. In His plan, Christ takes the role of a normal human being with all the trials and sufferings, but later overcomes the challenges. In the end, “he is dignified to the highest position in God’s kingdom”5. Theology of grace identifies the scripture teachings and contradicts humankind beliefs about human sovereignties and ethics.
3 Fredrick, Crowe. Son of God, Holy Spirit, and world religions, in appropriating the Lonergan idea. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006), pp. 324-343.
4 Ibid. 578
5 John, Laporte. Thomas Aquinas: Grace for an emerging world in patience and power: Grace for the first world. (New York: Paulist Press, 1988), pp. 194-257.
Christ symbolizes an extraordinary being whose origin was divine intervention. His birth represents a standard ideal for the existence of human beings and death. This differs from Adam’s descendants whose origin was from bodily functions. Jesus underwent all the Jewish practices and customs while challenging inadequate traditions. In addition, he performed acts of mercy such as healing the sick and teaching people the grace of His Father. He was finally crucified by the same humanity he had brought salvation to. The example of Christ illustrates God’s grace upon his people. Rather than being rewarded by His Father for the afflictions he underwent, he received a death punishment. Through negative grace, God granted him contrary to what was expected.
According to theological studies, God uses negative Grace to extend his mercy upon humanity. “God’s grace to every person irrespective of their deeds illustrates his love to His people.” 6. Through salvation, the human being was brought to everlasting life through the suffering and death of Christ. His resurrection indicates how God’s judgment contradicts that of man. Both extremities show how God’s ways of grace are different from the expectations of common human beings.
The developments in personal, social, cultural, and ecological aspects are derived from the systematic growth in doctrine teachings. The church recognizes the cultural attributes of every individual and society. Development in culture represents a real transformation of the cultural values by their integration into Christianity.
6 Stephen, Duffy. The Language of Grace in the dynamics of Grace: perspectives in theological anthropology. (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1993), pp. 17-27.
According to this approach, human beings can only be united to God by the realization of their inseparability from him. Duffy asserts, “The first and fundamental dimension of culture is healthy morality, moral culture.” 7 The account of covenant history signifies a growth of a culture that God inspired upon human beings. Similarly, the Bible is a manifestation of different practices and their integration to the word of the supernatural being.
“Understanding the relationships between faith and ecology enhances the growth of our Christianity.” 8. The effects of conversions in this area of study can be based on ecological themes and shared experiences. In view of today’s unprecedented ecological crisis caused by human behavior, religious doctrines are subject to varying interpretations. The Development of ecological studies is a new sign of consciousness in human beings. In the scripture stories of creation, “nature belongs to the maker and that human being is assigned with the responsibility of its care”9.
From a social perspective, the growth in societal norms and their integration into morality can be explained in religious circles. The moral dimension of scientific research discloses the need for integration of science and ethics. Social cohesion depends more on religious teachings more than scientific conclusions. Christian teachings encourage humans to explore alternatives and seek ways that fulfill God’s will.
7 Stephen, Duffy. The Language of Grace in the dynamics of Grace: perspectives in theological anthropology. (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1993), pp. 17-27.
8 Ibid. 87
9 Ibid .95
In conclusion, the development in the theology of Grace has raised varying opinions from both the theological studies and biblical teachings. The traditional and contemporary areas of the study suggest important influences in the study of religion. The traditional perspective emphasizes moral and psychological aspects, while the modern perspective stresses the metaphysical aspect. According to the theology of grace, personal consciousness and choice are important in defining personal attributes and behavior. Various points of view have been raised in defining the responsibility of humankind. While critics argue that man controls his actions and bears consequences for his behavior, the proponents recognize the existence of a supernatural being that links eternity to nature. Through gracious intervention, human being receives eternal salvation. Thus, Grace Theology has contributed to growth in morality and the socio-cultural aspects of life.
Neuner, J. and Dupuis, J. Decree on Justification in the Christian faith in the doctrinal documents of the Catholic Church. New York: Alba House, 1996, pp. 747-65.
Crowe, E. Son of God, Holy spirit and world religions, in appropriating the lonergan idea. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006, pp. 324-343.
Laporte, J. Thomas Aquinas: Grace for an emerging world in patience and power: Grace for the first world. New York: Paulist Press, 1988, pp. 194-257.
Duffy, J. The Language of Grace in the dynamics of Grace: perspectives in theological anthropology. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1993, pp. 17-27.