God Hidden and Revealed: A Reformed and an Eastern Orthodox Perspective
The Christian tradition widely recognizes that in some sense God is revealed, communicable, and knowable to human beings, while in another he remains hidden, transcendent, and incomprehensible to them. But in which sense? This study explores this question in detail focusing on two traditions: Reformed and Eastern Orthodox, represented by Herman Bavinck and John Meyendorff respectively. The study reflects the persuasion that by engaging in dialogue with other Christians each tradition can be enriched without denying its own distinctive features.
The first part of the study broadly introduces the approaches of the Orthodox and Reformed traditions, especially as they developed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The second part describes Bavinckâ€™s views according to the following structure: first it discerns several underlying characteristics of his dogmatics, then it discusses at length his understanding of Godâ€™s hiddenness and revelation, and, finally, it analyzes how they are interrelated in his theology. The description of Meyendorffâ€™s views in the third part follows the same structure.
In comparing Bavinckâ€™s and Meyendorffâ€™s positions, the study argues that their doctrines of God are closely related to their soteriological interests, which can be subsumed as â€ścertainty of faithâ€ť and â€ścertainty of experienceâ€ť respectively. The study further identifies similarities and differences between Bavinckâ€™s and Meyendorffâ€™s approaches and points out the causes which contribute to these differences. In the last chapter, Bavinckâ€™s and Meyendorffâ€™s views are evaluated with the use of three criteria: the preservation of Godâ€™s incomprehensibility, the reality of union with God, and the oneness of God.