Friday, 3 April 2015

ERIK VAN VERSENDAAL: The Symbolism of Love: St. Augustine on a Christological Hermeneutic of Creation

This paper will primarily reflect on the relation between Augustine's hermeneutics of the Old Testament and his metaphysics of creatures as participatory 'signs.' If beheld with the right eyes, eyes animated by worshiping love of the Creator, creatures are transparent to God precisely in their own 'density' as creatures. For Augustine, the creature is only seen in its fullness when it is recognized as a signum of its divine origin. Paradoxically, to idolatrously divorce the creature from this relation is to fail to see it for what it is. This dynamic is similar to that between the Old Testament figura and its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. It is Christ himself who effects a transfiguration of the Old Testament type, so that, in his very concreteness, the figure becomes fully manifest through his relation to Christ and, in turn, sheds his own light back on Christ. It is in this respect that Christ is the illuminating key of the Scriptures as a whole.  In view of an apparent analogy between the signum of the creature and the figura of Israel, this paper asks: in what way can the book of Scripture illuminate the book of Creation? If it is faith in Christ that opens up the intelligibility of the Old Testament as a word about Christ himself, does this same pattern characterize man's knowledge of Creation? Is it principally through Christ, then, that Creation can be read, in a way analogous to Scripture, as a communication of divine love?

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