Perspectief 2022-57

2022-57 Recensie van Maria: icoon van genade 31 Gods scheppen werkt echter bevrijdend en vernieuwend: het wordt wat het niet was. In een gebroken werkelijkheid komt het erop aan niet enkel naar een oorspronkelijk ideaal ‘huwelijk’ te verwijzen, maar vooral te hopen op God’s herscheppende werk in levens van mannen en vrouwen (259-260). Unlike Huijgen’s eschatological orientation, we find another emphasis in Matt 19:3-8 and Mk 10:1-9. On the one hand, here the words of Jesus Christ about marriage call us back to the Genesis texts of 1:27 and 2:24, and hence to the law of creation (Mk 10: 6-7). “Male and female he created them” and “for this reason . . . a man will be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh.” This law grounds an inextricable nexus of permanence, male and female twoness, and sexual differentiation. These creation texts are absolutely normative for marriage, indeed, for sexual ethics. This “one-flesh” union is called a “conjugal union,” such that marriage requires sexual difference, the bodily-sexual act, as a fundamental prerequisite, indeed, as intrinsic to a one-flesh union of man and woman, which is a personal communion that is fulfilled by procreation and the rearing of children. “So, then they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark 10:8). Indeed, as American Catholic philosopher, Alexander Pruss rightly notes, “the text [Genesis 2:24] is a seminal scriptural text on the nature of human sexuality.” He adds, “They are seminal texts, ones that the biblical and postbiblical traditions take very seriously. They are, Christians should believe, true, and true in a deep way.” On the other hand, inasmuch as grace’s restoration of the creation’s fullness is not a mere recovery of the deepest foundations of created reality, in some sense those foundations are raised to a “higher level” in the eschatological consummation of God’s plan of salvation for the whole creation. The exact sense in which “the redemption by grace of created reality, the reformation of nature, is not merely a recovery, but raises the natural to a higher level than it originally occupied,” according to the late Jan Veenhof, is a hotly disputed matter, especially in Reformed and Catholic thought. I cannot treat this matter here given the limits of this article review. However, since I began this review article with Berkouwer’s thought, I will conclude with him on this matter. His reflections in his 1963 work De Wederkomst van Christus II are deeper and more to the theological point than Huijgen’s on the matter of the relation of creation and redemption.