Discerning Humanity in Christ


Christopher G. Woznicki, “Discerning Humanity in Christ: The Promise of Christology for Developing T. F. Torrance's Theological Anthropology.” (PhD dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2020)


Christopher G. Woznicki, “Discerning Humanity in Christ: The Promise of Christology for Developing T. F. Torrance's Theological Anthropology.” PhD dissertation. Fuller Theological Seminary, 2020


The Scottish Reformed theologian, Thomas Forsyth Torrance (1913–2007), once claimed that no topic in theology is more relevant for our contemporary world than theological anthropology. Despite this claim, T. F. Torrance’s literary corpus lacks a sustained focus on the topic. Those who would agree with Torrance’s claim regarding the relevance of theological anthropology for our day and those who see the prospects and promise of Torrance’s theology in general are left wondering: What might Torrance have said about humanity had he devoted more attention to developing the topic? In this dissertation I argue for the promise of Christology for developing Torrance’s underdeveloped theological anthropology.

My argument for the need to develop Torrance’s theological anthropology should not be taken to imply that Torrance did not have a theological anthropology; Torrance has one major work and several occasional works on the subject. Given his sparse writings on the topic I suggest that Christology is the key to further developing his thoughts on the subject. I demonstrate the promise of Christology for developing Torrance’s theological anthropology by applying the insights of Christological anthropology — roughly the approach to theological anthropology in which Christology warrants important claims about what it means to be human. I make a cumulative argument for the claim that Christology holds promise for developing Torrance’s theological anthropology.

In making a cumulative argument for the promise of Christology for developing Torrance’s theological anthropology I select several key topics in his theological anthropology and demonstrate that each one of these topics can be further developed in light of Christ. My cumulative argument proceeds in two parts. In part one I examine Torrance’s anthropological method. In part two I turn my attention to five topics in theological anthropology — the metaphysics of human nature, the imago Dei, personhood, human vocation, and human destiny — developing Torrance’s writings on these topics; thus, demonstrating the promise of Christology for developing his theological anthropology. Having demonstrated the promise of this approach I suggest other areas where Torrance’s anthropology might be further developed in light of Christology and bring attention to the strengths and weaknesses of his theological anthropology. I conclude by making the claim that Christology not only holds promise for the task of developing Torrance’s insights on humanity but that Christology also holds promise for developing a constructive account of humanity.