Waiting and Being: Creation, Grace, and Agency
Davis, Joshua Bradley
This dissertation isolates and analyzes the different historical approaches to the systematic theological problem of the union of the doctrines of creation and grace. I argue that the history of Western theology’s grappling with the problem of this unity is oriented by the unique status of the will as distinct from the intellect and desire, and ordered toward the positive, ethical affirmation of otherness. I make the case for this claim through an archaeological investigation of the Roman Catholic and Protestant paradigms for uniting these doctrines, noting how each paradigm arises out of the two conflicting impulses of Augustine’s early doctrine of creation and his mature theology of grace. I contend that it is only with a clear apprehension of the nature of the will, in distinction from intellection and desire, and an irreducible orientation toward the positive affirmation of otherness that the unity of creation and grace can be coherently thought. I further insist that the discussion of that unity must be reconstructed in light of this fact. I conclude with my own programmatic sketch for what such a reconstruction must look like.