Volume 24 - Issue 2

The Christology of Jürgen Moltmann

By Donald Macleod

Of Dr Jürgen Moltmann’s many publications only one, The Way of Jesus Christ, is specifically devoted to Christology.1 All the others, however, have significant Christological content. This is certainly true of the two other volumes of what he himself labelled his ‘systematic contributions to theology’2: The Trinity and the Kingdom of God (1980) and God in Creation (1985). But it is equally true of his earlier works: Theology of Hope (1964), The Crucified God (1972) and The Church in the Power of the Spirit (1975).3

Between the earlier and later works there are, however, clear shifts in emphasis. Moltmann himself admits that by 1980 he no longer wanted to be controversial and decided to focus instead on ‘long-term problems of theology’.4 But the changes appear to be merely changes of emphasis. There have been no retractions.

Moltmann is not an easy read. One reason for this is that all his works are involved simultaneously in several different discourses. Feminism, ecology, anti-semitism, theodicy, the peace movement and political activism are never far out of sight even when he is discussing Christology. These peripheral conversations are always fascinating, but they are also distracting, especially since the reader faces the further difficulty that Moltmann’s work does not run in the tram-lines of conventional theological debate. His Christology, for example, does not follow the contours of biblical theology, plotting the NT development, nor does it engage seriously with historical theology. In The Way of Jesus Christ Moltmann achieves the extraordinary feat of writing over 300 pages on Christology without once mentioning Chalcedon. Nor, again, does he follow the categories of systematic theology. Students who look for the classic loct (pre-existence, incarnation, unipersonality and so on) may indeed find something, but they will have to search carefully, and as they search they will be conscious of few landmarks.

This is linked to a further difficulty: verification. How does Moltmann satisfy himself that something is true? More important, how does he convince the reader that something is true? The two means of verification normally open to Christians are Scripture and tradition. Neither of these seems particularly important to Moltmann. He has a decidedly smorgasbord approach to the canon; and his respect for fathers and reformers is scant, to say the least. His real criteria lie elsewhere. In order to be true, a doctrine must offer a viable theodicy (it must shed light on Auschwitz); it must advance Jewish-Christian dialogue, bearing in mind that Jews were ‘sufferers’ and Christians ‘perpetrators’: it must meet the ecological concerns of humankind; it must give a platform for Christian political activism; and it must both illuminate and be illuminated by the preoccupations of feminism. Above all, theological statements must be validated by experience.5 Even what looks like his fundamental theological principle, crux probat omnia (‘the cross is the test of everything’) is itself accepted only because it conforms to these criteria.

But the main reason for the reader’s difficulty is that Moltmann never allows us to relax. It is as if he were determined that every sentence had to be either provocative, brilliant or questionable. Reviewers have spoken variously of ‘subtle complexity’, ‘minute complexity’ and ‘comprehensive profusion’. The argument often proceeds by way of image and suggestion rather than by way of clarification and analysis. As a result, the reader is liable to go away stimulated, yet less enlightened than he thinks.

Yet there are some ideas hammered out so relentlessly and set in so many different lights that they become for ever part of our theological baggage. Two of these are particularly important: first, Jesus as the fulfilment of the Messianic hope; second. Jesus as the crucified God.

Jesus and the messianic hope

Moltmann’s stress on eschatology was stated unmistakably in his first major publication, Theology of Hope. Christianity, he argued, is not only evangelion but epangelia: not only ‘good news’ but ‘promise’. Furthermore, evangelion itself has to be taken not primarily as good news about the past but as good news about the future. This is closely connected with Christ’s resurrection, which Moltmann discusses in the core section of Theology of Hope (Ch. III. ‘The Resurrection and the Future of Jesus Christ’). Modern reflection on this topic, he notes, has been preoccupied with the question, ‘Is it historical?’ For post-enlightenment man the answer has been. ‘No!’ Even Christians have tended to see the story of the resurrection not as a statement about an event, but as a statement about their own state of mind. Behind this lies the principle espoused by such scholars as Troeltsch: history is analogical. All historical events are basically similar and the threshold criterion by which we are to judge whether an event is historical is its agreement ‘with normal, usual, or at least variously attested happenings.’6

If we approach the gospel accounts of the resurrection armed with this criterion we shall, of course, conclude that they are un-historical. But there is an alternative way, argues Moltmann. The resurrection itself challenges and questions our whole modern understanding of what is ‘historical’. In particular, it challenges Troeltsch’s principle of analogy and sheds revolutionary new light on what is historically possible. Hence its central importance. The debate about it is no mere wrangle over a detail of the distant past. It is concerned with the nature of history itself. Christ did not simply repeat the past. Neither will Christian history merely repeat the past. The parousia will bring something new: something that has never happened before, even in Christ. The resurrection tells us that history is governed not by analogy, but by (divine) promise.

Moltmann’s forthright emphasis on the resurrection7 presents a curious contrast to his attitude to the virgin birth, which he dismisses as a legend (or set of legends) created to give mythical expression to the idea of Jesus as the divine Son. It is difficult to see why a view of history shaped by the resurrection cannot equally accommodate the virgin birth. Once we breach the principle that all historical events are analogous we surely have an epistemological framework for all the Christian miracles. If so, then the miracle of Christmas performs the same function at the beginning of Jesus’ life as the wonder of the empty tomb does at its end.8

The all-embracing emphasis on eschatology in Theology of Hope is sharply focused on Christology in The Way of Jesus Christ. Moltmann admits (xiii) that he wrestled over the choice of title. ‘Way’, he says, is evocative of three ideas: process (or progress) as applied to Jesus himself: development, as the church’s own Christological advances in a historically conditioned and limited environment; and ethics, as the gospel invites us to follow the way of Jesus.

It is the first of these ideas that dominates Moltmann’s Christology. He is concerned with the eschatological journey of Jesus. It is not, however, a solitary journey. It is a trinitarian one: the story is the story of Jesus’ dealings with the Father and Jesus’ dealings with the Spirit as, together, they redeem and renew creation.

Jesus’ Way, according to Moltmann, is in three stages: the messianic fulfilment in the Advent: the apocalyptic sufferings of Messiah at Calvary; and the messianic consummation in the final renewal of the cosmos.

The first of these, the messianic advent, is obviously pivotal. For Moltmann, the central Christological concept is messiahship. He lays down the challenge, ‘What does christology mean except messianology?’ (1) and goes on to build on the fact that the gospels understand his whole coming and ministry in the contexts of Israel’s messianic hope (28). First and foremost, then, Jesus is the one in whom OT and Jewish expectations find their fulfilment (Moltmann does not seriously consider the possibility that OT promise and Jewish expectation may have diverged radically). Hence his choice of sub-title: Christology in Messianic Dimensions.

From such a standpoint Moltmann is inevitably dismissive of the anthropological Christology which in German Liberalism ended up merely admiring ‘Rabbi Jesus’ and in British Modernism tended towards equating the human with the divine (Christ was truly God because he was truly human). He is more ambivalent towards patristic Christology. One of his central concerns, after all, is with what the Way of Jesus means for God and this inevitably requires an acceptance of trinitartanism. At the same time, he is sharply critical of both the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds on the ground that they present a static Christology focused on metaphysical concepts such as nature and substance. As a result, they have virtually nothing to say on ‘the Way’ of Jesus. They are silent on his earthly life and ministry and on his prophetic and social teaching. Even the Apostles’ Creed moves directly from ‘was born’ to ‘suffered under Pontius Pilate’, as if there was nothing in between.9

Moltmann is deeply conscious that messiahship is a Jewish concept and that any claim that Jesus is the Messiah must refer in the first instance to his being the Jewish Messiah (there is no other) and the fulfilment of Jewish hope. This raises a question of critical importance: Why does the Jew say ‘No!’ to Jesus? Moltmann cites a number of Jewish scholars (most notably Martin Buber) to provide an answer. They say, ‘Jesus has not fulfilled our hope! The world is not redeemed! And we do not see the life and work of Jesus as constituting any real caesura in human history!’10

At the heart of these objections lies a radically different view of redemption. According to Buber. ‘The redemption of the world is for us indivisibly one with the perfecting of creation’.11 Schalom Ben-Chorin speaks to the same effect: ‘The Jew is profoundly aware of the unredeemed character of the world’.12

Part of Moltmann’s answer is that Judaism has its own embarrassments. Ben-Chorin, for example, argues that the only caesura in history is the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. But this, too, says Moltmann, left the world unredeemed. Similarly, if there can be no provisional messianic presence in an unredeemed world, what room is there for the quasi-messianic presence of ‘the chosen people’?

But Moltmann’s real answer is to accept the premises of the Jewish argument and then proceed to assimilate it into his Christology. Jesus has not fulfilled the hope of Israel: yet.

The ‘yet’ is crucial. Jesus has still to complete his way and finish his journey. Moltmann even suggests that he is not yet Messiah. It is something he is becoming or working his way into. Such language confuses the holding of an office with the completion of its task: Tony Blair is, presumably, Prime Minister. But Moltmann’s central contention is both true and invaluable. The fact that Christ has not completed his task does not discredit him. He is on the way to completing it and in his parousia he will give us all that the Jew ever longed for. In particular, he will give us that new creation which is central to Jewish hope. The kingdom of God will ultimately mean the transformation of the whole of reality. We have no right to interiorise it (as if it had significance only for personal religion) or to politicise it (as in the state-allied churches of Christendom). It is external, material and social, involving both a universal reign of peace and a perfected creation. Moltmann’s favourite text is 1 Corinthians 15:28: God will be all in all. Unfortunately, he never exegetes it and one hesitates to do the exegesis for him. The best provisional exegesis is the Lord’s Prayer: when the Messiah finishes his journey. God’s will will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

This central emphasis on messianic Christology is profoundly satisfying. At its edges, however, there are several questions.

One was raised by Karl Barth shortly after the publication of Theology of Hope in 1964. ‘This new systematising’, wrote Barth, ‘is almost too good to be true’.13 If anything, this is even more true of The Way of Jesus Christ, and the situation is further complicated by the fact that in Moltmann’s thought there are also parallel systems (and systems within systems). For example, behind the dominant arrangement in The Way of Jesus Christ we find a further schematisation under the heading. ‘The Three-Dimensional Person of Jesus Christ’ (149). The three dimensions are: first, his eschatological person; secondly, his theological person; and thirdly, his social person. It is difficult to assess such patterns. Does their multiplicity serve to prevent the hegemony of any single one? or does their abundance reflect a mind disposed to impose order and classification where none exist?

Barth also expressed the opinion that Moltmann’s hope is ‘finally only a principle and thus a vessel with no contents’.14 This observation was linked to the influence on Moltmann of Ernst Bloch, a Marxist exponent of the philosophy of hope (‘hope without God’). Moltmann read Bloch’s work. The Principle of Hope. in 1960 while on holiday in Switzerland and later confessed. ‘I was so fascinated that I ceased to see the beauty of the mountains’.15 Barth suspected that Moltmann simply wanted to ‘baptise’ Bloch, but Moltmann vigorously denied this: ‘I did not seek to be Bloch’s heir’.16

Moltmann could offer a strong case in his own defence, especially since he links the fulfilment of hope very closely to the parousia. Against Barth’s tendency to speak of the parousia as merely a revelation of what Christ already is. Moltmann insists that it brings in something new. He writes.

Christ’s parousia does not merely ‘unveil’ the salvific meaning of Christ’s death. It also, and much more, brings the fulfilment of the whole history of Christ, with all that it promises: for it is only with Christ’s parousia that ‘the kingdom that shall have no end’ begins … That is why this future of Christ does not bring the turn of history ‘once more’: it brings it ‘once and for all.’ ”17

More serious is the objection that Moltmann’s stress on eschatology is secured at the expense of the cross. Beneath this lies something more fundamental still: Moltmann’s passion for theodicy betrays him into being obsessed with suffering almost to the exclusion of sin. It is God who has the problem, not humanity. Why did he permit Auschwitz or Hiroshima? The sense of guilt and the classic Lutheran preoccupation with forgiveness and justification are almost entirely absent. The quest is for answers, not for forgiveness; for hope, not for acquittal.18 Even the cross is an affirmation of God’s solidarity with us in pain, rather than a divine act of atonement for sin. In fact, Christ would have come even if Adam had never sinned. As a result, Moltmann is totally dismissive of the Anselmic view of the incarnation as what he calls ‘an emergency measure … the functional presupposition for the atoning sacrifice on the cross’.19

Moltmann finds that the rationale of the incarnation is not in sin, but in creation. At one level, it is the perfected self-communication of the triune God to his world.20 At another, it is a step taken ‘for the sake of perfecting creation’.21 This is linked to some dubious exegesis of the reference in Genesis 1:26–27 to humans being made in the image of God. Moltmann takes this as a promise: in Christ ‘we have the fulfilment of the promise made to man that he will be “the image of the invisible God” ’. It follows from this, according to Moltmann, that Christ is the true man and ‘it is therefore in union with him that believers discover the truth of human existence’.22 In other words, even if humankind had never fallen Christ would still have become incarnate in order that we should have a clear idea of what was meant by being in the image of God. Such reasoning has only a tenuous link with the biblical text and falls completely apart if the image was a fact of history rather than a part of eschatology (that is, if humankind at his point of origin was made in the image of God). Besides, such a demonstration of the image would have been absolutely useless for all the generations before the incarnation. They would have had no inkling of what was meant by the image of God.

As an appendix to this we should note Moltmann’s assumption that on the Anselmic view Christ becomes redundant after the cross: once creation has been redeemed the God-man is no longer needed.23 But this is not a natural consequence of the Anselmic view. The soteriological work of Christ continues between the resurrection and the parousia; and even after the parousia Christ continues as the Last Adam, the head of creation and the first-born among many. He will function for ever as the pastor of his people (Rev. 7:17); and he is the designated leader of humanity in its stewardship of the ages (Heb. 2:9).

The Crucified God

The second outstanding idea in Moltmann’s Christology is the divine suffering involved in the life of Christ and particularly in his cross. This is usually associated with what will probably remain his magnum opus. The Crucified God, but it also figures prominently in The Trinity and the Kingdom of God (Ch. II. ‘The Passion of God’) and in The Way of Jesus Christ (Ch. IV. ‘The Apocalyptic Sufferings of Christ’).

The Crucified God was published in 1972. ‘I wrote it’, said Moltmann later, ‘with my lifeblood.’24 More than any other of his works it reflects his personal vision of the theological task: ‘For me theology springs from a divine passion—it is the open wound of God in one’s own life and in the tormented men, women and children of this world’.25 Like the earlier work. Theology of Hope, it sees the whole of theology from a focal point: ‘For me the cross of Christ became the “foundation and critique of Christian theology’ ”.26 In particular, Moltmann wished to change from what he saw as the traditional preoccupation with what the cross meant for Jesus to what he saw as a revolutionary preoccupation with what it means for God: ‘Does an impassible God keep silent in heaven untouched by the suffering and death of his child on Golgotha, or does God himself suffer these pains and this death?’27 At the same time. Moltmann remained committed to his quest for a theodicy. ‘The Crucified God’, he wrote, ‘was also my attempt to find an answer for a life in Germany after Auschwitz’.28

At the heart of The Crucified God lies an emphatic rejection of the idea of divine impassibility (here Moltmann acknowledges his debt to British thinkers such as J.K. Mozley, G.A. Studdart Kennedy and C.E. Rolt, as well as to Kazoh Kitamori, Miguel de Unamuno and, of course, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who once wrote in his prison cell, ‘Only the suffering God can help’). Moltmann defines his position carefully. God cannot suffer unwillingly or helplessly. Neither can he suffer because of any deficiency in his being. Nor, again, can he ever be a mere victim, helplessly assailed. But he can suffer actively, argues Moltmann. He can go towards suffering and accept it. He can suffer in love. This does not bespeak any deficiency in his being. On the contrary, it is possible only because of ‘the fullness of his being, i.e. his love.’29 He is affected by human actions and sufferings not because he is afflicted by some neurosis but because ‘he is interested in his creation, his people and his right.’30

To some extent Moltmann can appeal (and does appeal) to the prophets in support of his denial of impassibility. He writes, for example. ‘At the heart of the prophetic proclamation there stands the certainty that God is interested in the world to the point of suffering.’31 But his real appeal is to the cross. He invokes Luther’s principle, crux probat omnia (‘the cross is the test of everything’) and argues that the simplistic idea that God cannot suffer is exploded at Calvary. The cross is not merely something which happens to Christ. It happens between him and his Father. Moltmann is careful to reject Patripassianism. It is not the Father who was crucified, dead and buried. The suffering of the Father, he insists, was different from that of the Son. But it was no less real. What Abraham did not do to Isaac. God did to his own Son. He gave him up. He abandoned him. He cast him out. He delivered him to an accursed death. In doing so, the Father himself ‘suffers the death of the Son in the infinite grief of love’.32 Having said that, Moltmann instantly warns against understanding the Father’s suffering in theopaschitic terms. The cross is not the death of God. God did not die. He did not cease to exist or cease to function. We must speak not of the death of God but of death in God.33 More precisely, we must speak in trinitarian terms: ‘The Son suffers dying, the Father suffers the death of the Son … The Fatherlessness of the Son is matched by the Sonlessness of the Father’.34 What they share is that each surrenders. The Son surrenders himself to forsakenness. The Father surrenders his Son. Most deeply separated in the forsakenness, they are most inwardly one in surrendering.

Here then, just where he seems most decisively eclipsed, God is most clearly revealed. Precisely where the Father and the Son are separated we see the divine story as one which is essentially trinitarian: ‘If the cross of Christ is understood as a divine event, i.e. as an event between Jesus and his God and Father, it is necessary to speak in trinitarian terms of the Son and the Father and the Spirit … The form of the crucified Christ is the Trinity’.35 No doubt Moltmann is striving, as usual, to make his language as striking and innovative as possible. But, clarified and analysed, it seems fully consonant with what B.B. Warfield wrote eighty years ago: the revelation of the trinity ‘was made not in word but in deed. It was made in the incarnation of God the Son, and the outpouring of God the Holy Spirit … the revelation of the Trinity was incidental to, and the inevitable effect of, the accomplishment of redemption.’36

But the cross revolutionises (‘modifies’, to use Warfield’s word) our concept of God not only to the extent of defining him as triune but also to the extent of shattering the idea of divine impassibility. Many Christians have difficulty with this, but it seems to me that Moltmann’s central concern (what the cross meant for God the Father) accords fully with the perspectives of the NT itself. There, the key-texts (Jn 3:16. Rom. 5:8; 8:32. 1 Jn 4:9f.) see Calvary not merely, or even primarily, as an action of God the Son but as an action of God the Father. It is first and foremost a demonstration of his love. However important the priesthood of the Son, the priesthood of the Father is primary. It is the cost to him, as the one who gave up his Son, that is stressed.

Moltmann espouses the dialectical (as opposed to the analogical) principle in his approach to the knowledge of God. Being is revealed not in its like but in its opposite. Love, for example, is revealed only in hatred and unity only in conflict. Similarly God is revealed only in his opposite. The god-ness of God appears only in the paradox of divine abandonment on Calvary. There is truth in this to the extent that the concept of God which emerges from Calvary is counter-intuitive. Our personal sensus deitatis does not expect divine kenosis or divine passibility. That is why such an idea is a scandalon. But this is no reason to reject the principle of analogy. Indeed, it is analogy which offers the best framework for the defence of passibility. Wecould not sacrifice our own children without pain. Abraham could not sacrifice Isaac without pain. If we are made in God’s image (which we undoubtedly are, although Moltmann views this as only a hope) we can extrapolate from what Calvary would have cost ourselves to what it cost God: all the more so because the NT language of the cross deliberately echoes Abraham’s experience. In the accounts of both the Baptism and the Transfiguration Jesus, like Isaac, is ‘my Son, whom I love’ (Mt. 3:17; 17:5). If the sacrifice cost God nothing, if he surrendered his Son impassively and unmovedly, he is utterly different from us and we are not in his image. If there was for him no pain and no cost, if Calvary was a mere blip on the impersonal screen of the Unmoved Mover, we are not in his image. It is not merely that we cannot attain to such Stoicism: we deplore and abhor it. It would mean that he is not love and that Fatherhood and Sonship are optional, meaningless metaphors.37

What Moltmann does not do justice to, however, is the anomalousness of the divine pain. ‘The self-sacrifice of love’, he writes, ‘is God’s eternal nature’.38 This gives the divine pain a degree of inevitability and normality which does not do justice to the perspectives of grace or to the discretionary nature of mercy. Nor does it take proper account of the reasons behind our instinctive aversion to the idea of divine passibility. Our instinct is that it is inconceivable that ‘the blessed God’ should suffer stress, disturbance or commotion. It is unthinkable that a frown should cross his face or a furrow wrinkle his brow. We know that in a normal universe God would be impassible. But the universe is not normal. It has been disrupted by sin; and sin is anomia (1 John), Once that anomia enters history it carries a thousand other anomalies in its train. It involves the whole creation in suffering. It involves God in the alien, distasteful work of condemnation. It involves God in pain.

Any theodicy which relieves this tension is ipso facto discredited. Sin is that which absolutely ought not to be: and pain in God is that which absolutely ought not to be. The Crucified God is unthinkable. Sin (anomia) makes it possible, but nothing makes it logical, far less self-evident. Moltmann is open to Anselm’s charge. Nondum considerasti quanti ponderis sit peccatum.

As Moltmann stresses:

Out of God’s passion there arises the divine sympathy. Through the incarnation God shares and understands our finitude. Through the cross, God enters our godforsaken. He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the godforsakenness. so that all the godless and the godforsaken can experience communion with him.39

Hence ‘the godforsaken and rejected man can accept himself when he comes to know the crucified God who is with him and has already accepted him’.40 (One is slightly uneasy about the idea that this applies to every godforsaken person: but this is probably taken care of by the reference to his coming to know the crucified God. Nevertheless, Moltmann’s thought shows a strong tendency towards universalism).

This point about the divine sympathy is dramatically illustrated in a passage which Moltmann quotes from Night, a book written by E. Wiesel, a survivor of Auschwitz:

The SS hanged two Jewish men and a youth in front of the whole camp. The men died quickly, but the death throes of the youth lasted for half an hour. ‘Where is God? Where is he?’ someone asked behind me. As the youth still hung in torment in the noose after a long time. I heard the man call again. ‘Where is God now?’ And I heard a voice in myself answer: ‘Where is he? He is here. He is hanging there on the gallows …41

This is the idea of God’s sympathy with the oppressed carried to its ultimate (and, I think, quite legitimate) conclusion. Moltmann writes

There cannot be any other Christian answer to the question of this torment, to speak here of a God who could not suffer would make God a demon. To speak here of an absolute God would make God an annihilating nothingness.42

Finally, Moltmann brings out with great clarity the fact that it was because of his prophetic ministry that Christ was crucified. The gospels are not interested in his sufferings from nature and fate, or in his economic sufferings as a carpenter’s son. They focus on those sufferings which he prompted by his actions. He ‘incited’ the world against himself ‘by his message and the life that he lived’.43

This is the root of Moltmann’s sympathy with Liberation Theology.44 Christians, he insists, have no right to quote Jesus as an example of mere patience and submission to fate. Even less do we have a right to use him as an excuse for our own silence. passivity and weakness in the face of social injustice.

‘Too often’, writes Moltmann, ‘peasants, Indians and black slaves have been called upon by the representatives of the dominant religion to accept their sufferings as “their cross” and not to rebel against them.’45 He pleads, instead (and in classic Liberation terminology), for an orthodoxy which is matched by orthopraxis; one which draws out the consequences of the cross for politics: ‘The church of the crucified Christ must take sides in the concrete social and political conflicts going on about it and in which it is involved, and must be prepared to join and form parties’.46

That, however, is another question, for another time.

Finally, a caveat. As deconstructionists tirelessly remind us, every writer loses control over his work once it is published. To some extent, great or small, they are at the mercy of their readers, unable to dictate a response. Moltmann is more vulnerable than most. His work has been described as an invitation to think and to rethink. The danger is that we read with our own eyes, proceed to think and rethink our own thoughts and then attribute them to Moltmann. I doubt if I have escaped that hazard: in which case I must thank him for some of my own most cherished thoughts.

1 Moltmann offers a more popular treatment in Jesus Christ for Today’s World (London: SCM Press, 1994).

2 Jurgen Moltmann. (ed.), How I Have Changed: Reflections on Thirty Years of Theology (London: SCM Press, 1997), 20.

3 Details of Moltmann’s major publications are as follows: Theology of Hope (1965, ET. London: SCM Press, 1967): The Crucified God (1972. ET of 2nd edition. London: SCM Press, 1974): The Church in the Power of the Spirit (1975. ET. London: SCM Press, 1977): The Trinity and the Kingdom of God (1980. ET. London: SCM Press, 1981): God in Creation (1985. ET. London: SCM Press, 1985): The Way of Jesus Christ (1989. ET. London: SCM Press, 1990).

4 How I Have Changed, 20.

5 In Jesus Christ for Today’s World, for example, he observes (2) that ‘practice is the touchstone against which a christology’s authenticity has to be tested’. Cf. How I Have Changed. 20: ‘It should be possible to verify theological statements by one’s own experiences or by empathy with the experiences of others’. But how, then are we to ‘authenticate’ practice and experience?

6 Theology of Hope, 175.

7 He speaks more ambiguously in Jesus Christ for Today’s World (4) ‘Of course the symbols of raising and resurrection are drawn from an earlier era, when people talked in mythical pictures and images about God’s marvellous intervention in this world.’

8 Cf., Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, Vol. I. 2. 172–184.

9 Moltmann suggests that the following might be inserted at this point in the Creed:

Baptised by John the Baptist

filled with the Holy Spirit

to proclaim God’s kingdom to the poor

to heal the sick

to receive the rejected

to awaken Israel for the salvation of the nations

and to have mercy on all human beings.

(Jesus Christ for Today’s World, 3–4).

10 The Way of Jesus Christ, 28–37.

11 Cited in The Way of Jesus Christ. 28. from Martin Buber, Der Jude und sten Judentum (Cologne, 1963) 562.

12 The Way of Jesus Christ. 29. Quoted from Schalom Ben-Chorin. Die Antwort des Jona (Hamburg, 1956), 99.

13 Karl Barth. Letters 1961–1968 (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1981), 174.

14 Karl Barth, Letters 1961–1968, 218.

15 Jūrgen Moltmann, How I Have Changed, 15.

16 Jūrgen Moltmann, How I Have Changed, 16.

17 Jūrgen Moltmann, The Way of Jesus Christ, 319.

18 Cf. the comment of Ruth Page (reviewing The Trinity and the Kingdom of God). ‘Humanity seems to require perfecting in its fellowship rather than saving from its sin.’ (Scottish Journal of Theology. 1984, Vol. 37 No. 1, 98,).

19 Jūrgen Moltmann. The Trinity and the Kingdom of God, 114.

20 The Trinity and the Kingdom of God, 116.

21 The Trinity and the Kingdom of God, 116.

22 The Trinity and the Kingdom of God, 116–17.

23 The Trinity and the Kingdom of God, 115. Cf. The discussion of Calvin’s idea of Christ as the lieutenant de Dieu in The Crucified God. 257–262.

24 How I Have Changed, 18.

25 J. Moltmann et al., A Passion for God’s Reign (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 1998), p. 2.

26 How I Have Changed, 18.

27 How I Have Changed, 18.

28 Cf. Hartmut Meesmann’s remark that for Moltmann ‘theology after Auschwitz must be different from theology before the annihilation of the Jews.’ (How I Have Changed. p. 119).

29 The Crucified God, 230.

30 The Crucified God, 270.

31 The Crucified God, 271.

32 The Crucified God, 243.

33 It is probably true, however, that Moltmann flits too easily from the idea of God suffering to the idea of God dying. See D.G. Attfield’s comments in ‘Can God Be Crucified?. Scottish Journal of Theology. 1997, Vol. 30 No. 1. 49–50: ‘there is no sense in attributing an absolute ending of body and brain process to the almighty … God cannot therefore die in the sense of ceasing to be, and still be called God’.

34 The Crucified God, 243.

35 The Crucified God, 246.

36 B.B. Warfield. Biblical and Theological Studies (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company. 1952). 33. The quotation is from an article. ‘The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity’, first published in the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Chicago. 1915). Vol. V. 3012–22.

37 See The Crucified God. 230: ‘Were God incapable of suffering in any respect, and therefore in an absolute sense, then he would also be incapable of love’.

38 The Trinity and the Kingdom of God. 32.

39 The Crucified God, 276.

40 The Crucified God, 277.

41 The Crucified God, 273–274. Quoted from E. Weisel. Night (1969). 75f.

42 The Crucified God, 274.

43 The Crucified God, 51.

44 See How I Have Changed. 19. Cf. The Trinity and the Kingdom of God. 8: ‘There must be no theology of liberation without the glorification of God and no glorification of God without the liberation of the oppressed’.

45 The Crucified God. 49.

46 The Crucified God. 53.

Donald Macleod

Principal of, and Professor of Systematic Theology at, Free Church College, Edinburgh