The Mediation of Revelation


Thomas F. Torrance, "The Mediation of Revelation," in The Mediation of Christ (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1983), 11-33


Torrance, Thomas F. "The Mediation of Revelation." In The Mediation of Christ, 11-33. Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1983

Publication life cycle / General notes

See related audio recording #1981-TFT-5a.

Discussed in the Reading Group on March 4, 2021: Video.

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Pagination and headings indicated below are taken from the later 1992 edition.

  • [Introduction], p. 1.
  • (1) The covenant partnership between God and Israel involved a running conflict between divine revelation and what St. Paul called "the carnal mind" (p. 10).
  • (2) The election of Israel by God took the form of a community of reciprocity (p. 12).
  • (3) God's revelation came to Israel in such a way that it intersected and integrated its spiritual and physical reality (p. 15).
  • (4) God's revelation of himself through the medium of Israel has provided mankind with permanent structures of thought and speech about him (p. 17).

Pagination below is taken from the later 1992 edition.

"When we adopt this kind of approach, whether in natural science or in theology, we find that progress in understanding is necessarily circular. We develop a form of inquiry in which we allow some field of reality to disclose itself to us in the complex of its internal relations or its latent structure, and thus seek to understand it in the light of its own intrinsic intelligibility or logos. As we do that we come up with a significant clue in the light of which all evidence is then re-examined and reinterpreted and found to fall into a coherent pattern of order. Thus we seek to understand something, not by schematising it to an external or alien framework of thought, but by operating with a framework of thought appropriate to it, one which it suggests to us out of its own inherent constitutive relations and which we are rationally constrained to adopt in faithful understanding and interpretation of it." (pp. 3-4)

"Looking back we can say that the Apostles and Fathers came upon a basic insight in the light of which the whole saving Event of Jesus Christ came to be understood out of its own intrinsic intelligibility and within the framework of objective meaning which it created for itself in the context of Israel. The fundamental clue with which they operated was the oneness of Jesus Christ, the Jew from Bethlehem and Nazareth, with God the Father on the one hand and with the unique fact and history of Israel among the nations on the other hand. Within that complex of interrelations they found themselves coming to grips with the essential message of the gospel embodied in Jesus in its relation to the age-old message of God that had been worked out in his covenant partnership with Israel, and discovered it was a message for the salvation of all mankind. In that mediation of God's saving revelation the startling events in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus fell into place within a divinely ordered pattern of grace and truth, and the bewildering enigma of Jesus himself became disclosed: he was incarnate Son of God and Saviour of the world." (pp. 4-5)