Speaking of God in the language of the imagination

My thesis in this book is that Christianity lives supremely from the imagination. My central claim is that the role of the imagination is crucial to understanding the true nature of Christianity. Unless we attempt to do full justice to the part played by the imagination, we cannot understand the Christian faith and we cannot ourselves truly believe. My argument is perhaps parallel to H.U.Von Balthasar's massive, extended and sustained advocacy of the place of beauty in the theological realm. There is, he argues, a need for spiritual perception of the form of beauty that is perfectly expressed in Jesus Christ (Von Balthasar, 1982-9, vol. 1). The present study is a sustained attempt to take the imagination or spiritual vision into account when considering Christianity, or (to put it another way) to evaluate Christianity—its scriptures, doctrines, faith and liturgy—in the light of imagination.

I set out to ask: given the imaginative provenance of the Christian faith, how can it also be true? I aim to show that Christianity is indeed true—that its revelation is real, that its central doctrines are informative, that belief in its object is well placed and that its worship is in touch with reality. So my thesis embraces four critical areas of concern: biblical revelation, Christian doctrine, religious belief and divine worship.

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