Schleiermacher’s Christology redux

Pannenberg ( Jesus – God and Man (scm classics) , 285 ) offers a more sympathetic summary of Schleiermacher’s Christology than I have done. He agrees that Schleiermacher’s definition of “nature” as “a limited being existing in opposition to others” doesn’t fly: It “does not meet the patristic doctrine, since its concept of nature is interchangeable with the concept of being.” This addresses also to Schleiermacher’s objection that the language of Trinitarian theology and Christology clash.

But Pannenberg thinks that Schleiermacher is on stronger ground in his objection that using nature flattens the Creator-creature distinction: “how can divine and human be so subsumed under any single concept, as if both could be mutually coordinated as more precise specifications of one and the same universal?” asks Schleiermacher.

Pannenberg thinks this question “scores a direct hit” since “one cannot speak of divine being and human being as though they were on the same plane.” While admitting that “this was not the intention of patristic Christologies,” he argues that the “two-natures doctrine is objectionable” for just this reason.

A point taken, but I wonder if any language about God can meet Pannenberg’s strictures, including his own. In formulating his objection he speaks of “divine being and human being. ” Has he treated God and creation “as though they were on the same plane”?

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