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The Mystery of the Supernatural (Milestones in Catholic Theology) Paperback – May 1, 1998
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Original Language: French
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The most compelling part of De Lubac's argument is its rootedness in reality, in the anthropology of man as he is. I think this might be De Lubac's greatest contribution. Both explicitly and implicitly throughout the book he makes the case that in examining the question of man's natural desire and the object of that desire, one must look to man as he really is, not as he could have been, but as he exists. I saw some correspondence here between De Lubac and Msgr. Luigi Giussani's The Religious Sense, which speaks of man's desire for the infinite.
At the same time as he talks of man's natural desire or openness to the infinite, for supernatural beatitude, De Lubac maintains the gratuity of grace. That we have been made this way does not mean that God is required to fulfill our desire. I probably am making a hash of the book -- I know just enough to make myself sound stupid -- but I think it is worth the hard read.
For example, for me, de Lubac pricks me on a weak spot. In conversations with atheists who play the "God is evil for sending good atheists to Hell" I tend to counter with the observation that Hell - per St. Thomas Aquinas and Dante - for the virtuous pagans might be a place of natural human contentment. So, God is not so mean and unfair, after all.
This certainly answers the "God is mean and unfair" objection, but it opens up a new can of worms. If human beings can be perfectly content with a natural end, an end that human beings would find perfectly satisfactory to their natural desires, then who cares that they do not know God? So, they are not caused to suffer because of God's plan, which seems fair since they are good people.
But as a Christian do we really want to say that it is possible to be really content without God, that the separation from God will not cause suffering of any kind, simply because man's final end is to be with God? De Lubac points out:
//It is said that a universe might have existed in which man, though without necessarily excluding any other desire, would have his rational ambitions limited to some lower, purely human beatitude. Certainly I do not deny it.Read more ›
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