One of my favorite aspects of O’Donovan’s thought is the way he manages to keep the two natures of Christ together in his theological ethics, yet without confusion or division.

It’s a point that plays out in various ways, not least of which is his ability to preserve the uniqueness and particularity of the Incarnation while simultaneously treating it as a pattern for human action.  While he makes the point in various books, I found his clearest and most elegant statement in one of my Christmas gifts:

“With the passion story, as with every aspect of Jesus’ life, one can look at it from either of two angles:  there is the divine character of the event, and there is the human character; it is a unique moment in God’s action for the world’s redemption, and it is a pattern for fully human existence.

No sufferings could be like those sufferings; yet all sufferings may be conformed to those sufferings.  No love can ever redeem as that love redeemed; yet all love is called to reflect the redemptive power of that love.

No one ever journeyed as Jesus journeyed, to carry the judgment of God into the holy city and to reconcile God’s people; yet all our human journeying may and can be a reliving of that journey.  Lo, your king comes to you.  Come with him!”
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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heather Trapp, Alltop Christianity. Alltop Christianity said: O’Donovan on the Uniqueness of the Word: One of my favorite aspects of O’Donovan’s thought is the way he manages… http://bit.ly/dS1ehq […]

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  2. […] Matthew Lee Anderson at Mere Orthodoxy gives a quote from The Word in Small Boats by Oliver O’Donovan, which he apparently got for Christmas.  The quote: “With the passion story, as with every aspect of Jesus’ life, one can look at it from either of two angles:  there is the divine character of the event, and there is the human character; it is a unique moment in God’s action for the world’s redemption, and it is a pattern for fully human existence. No sufferings could be like those sufferings; yet all sufferings may be conformed to those sufferings.  No love can ever redeem as that love redeemed; yet all love is called to reflect the redemptive power of that love. No one ever journeyed as Jesus journeyed, to carry the judgment of God into the holy city and to reconcile God’s people; yet all our human journeying may and can be a reliving of that journey.  Lo, your king comes to you.  Come with him!” Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Quote =]Quote-UnquoteThou Art A Sea […]

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