Logos As Revelation In History

We talk about theo-logy and the theo-logian. We are thereby referring to a logos about God (Greek theos). Here logos refers to "comprehension" or "understanding"; it is a task of gathering together, taking in, embracing. When I comprehend something, I take it in and embrace it. But if that is the case, then it would seem to be impossible for us to comprehend God. How are finite, human creatures to embrace, to comprehend, the unembraceable Infinite?

So we confront our first problem. Is it possible to have any logos about God? And if the answer to that question is yes, then under what conditions is such a logos possible? It is possible only on the condition that God re-veals or un-veils himself. He must strip away the veil which hides himself from us and make himself comprehensible to the finite. He, the infinite, will be comprehensible to us by virtue of his revelation and the way in which he choses to grant it to us,

As we know very well, this revelation is historical-and only historical-in nature. The only locus of revelation is history. The only locus theologicus is history, the concrete history we live each day. If we do not discover the sense and import of history, we will not be able to comprehend God's revelation to us either. God-the infinite, the Other-reveals himself to man in history. This simple statement, so summarily presented, is the whole essence of theology. It is the whole essence of the historical process as a history of liberation and a "pasch" of justice and liberation.

Let us begin our reflection here with a biblical text-specifically, with the third chapter of the book of Exodus. Moses is in the desert. He has not gone there to do penance or to acquire perfection. He has fled to the desert because he has killed an Egyptian in some way he had "discovered" the lowly Hebrew and taken a stand on his behalf, killing an Egyptian in the process. He flees from his ┬┐potential persecutors and heads for the desert.

In the desert silence reigns. In such silence one begins to learn how to "hear" the Other The desert is a vast expanse where our own words gradually are stilled. We become all ears; we are able to hear the words of the Other. Thus the desert is not an "ascesis," a process of ascending the ladder of perfection. It is rather an opening up, an expectant waiting. The person in the desert waits hopefully for the mystery that might reveal itself. To sojourn in the desert is to listen for something, to learn how to listen well. It is not a dialectic between imperfection and perfection, between impurity and purity; it is a dialectic between spoken word and hearing

So Moses is in the desert. He is in a structured totality of meaning, the totality of the desert. There he is living comfortably as a herdsman with his wife, his father-in-law, and his flocks. Of course he is not yet the prophet that he will be later on. He is a herdsman, comfortably established in his day-to-day routine and perfectly adapted to his world. Then one day, we are told, he "looked" and "saw" a "fire flaming out of a bush." I t was an object of his vision. He saw only the flame at first; he did not see the word that summoned him from the midst of the bush. Then he heard a word which he did not see. "Word" in the Hebrew language is dabar; in Greek it is translated as logos. But the Hebrew word does not denote "comprehension," as the Greek word does; rather, it denotes "revelation," as it does in john's Gospel. It is a creating, pro-creating, innovating word. This "word" calls the herdsman by name: "Moses! Moses!" First Moses saw something-the flame; then he heard someone pro-voking him, calling him forth, beyond what he saw before him.

Moses heard a voice. It said something to him. This is a basic point for us because of the situation in which we find ourselves. Comfortably established in another totality, not the totality of the desert but the totality of daily life and its hubbub, we do not hear anything. We, like Moses, are being called by name continually; but we do not hear anyone or anything. In Hebrew there is an idiom which deals with this phenomenon. A person's hearing or ears are said to be

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