Grapho : Concordia Seminary Student Journal

Document Type



reason, theosis, orations, transcendent, philosophy, transcendence, revelation, theologian, deification, syllogism, incarnation

Submission Type

Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


The theologian is situated between two realities: the revelation of God and the transcendence of God. It would seem that all of theology should be a matter of reckoning with these two extremities. Without transcendence, we have no God. Without revelation we have neither starting point, nor guide, nor aim; theology becomes pointless speculation. We must know God, and yet, not know him. He must remain far beyond any language to describe or any image to depict, and yet, we must describe him. Theology lives in the middle of these, neither putting God into a box nor holding God above, out of reach. It would seem to be yet another paradox to maintain, another tension to hold in the balances. Say what can be said, so much and no more. And yet, the relationship between what is revealed of God and what is transcendent of God is in no way simple. That is in part because revelation is itself shrouded in mystery. “He came to his own and his own did not receive him” (John 1:14, NKJV). The incarnation, the light shining in the darkness, is itself the greatest mystery of human history, not a simplification of what was once transcendent. Revelation and transcendence remain inextricably bound up together. It is with a view toward this dynamic between revelation and transcendence that Gregory of Nazianzus gave his famous Five Theological Orations in the year 379 as part of the orthodox Nicene resistance in Arian-dominated Constantinople. These are some of the most important theological lectures in the history of the church, so important, in fact, that they prompted subsequent generations of the church to canonize Gregory as the “Theologian,” a title only ever given to one other father of the church, Saint John the Evangelist himself.


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Submission Cost


Submission Audience

Laity; Ministers; Scholars