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This volume of God Encountered explores the human habit of balking at both death and love, especially the intimate love that accepts death as its measure. It also suggests the transformation of this habit offered us by God, with a pained love, of the kind that is in the end irresistible.
The Jewish and Christian traditions say that we neither know nor love the eternal source not only of all cosmic energy but also of the human thirst for truth and goodness: God. Yet, only by God are we inclusively known and intimately loved, from eternity. God promises to be our lasting good, to live with us forever, acknowledged by all. Thus the Great Tradition knows of a plight infinitely worse than falling victim first to mindless passion and then also to the fatal seduction of our "best judgments." Such a plight is turning from God; being addicted, with Adam and Eve, to mastery and judgment; living in fear of death. Our world is finding this "theonomous" reading of the human condition unlikely. Why? Father van Beeck offers his explanation.
Frans Jozef van Beeck, SJ, PhD, is a senior professor of theology at Loyola University, Chicago.