Living in the Company of Beasts - 10.1628/ptsc-2017-0007 - Mohr Siebeck

Aminah Al-Attas Bradford

Living in the Company of Beasts

Karl Barth, the Microbiome, and the Unwitting Microbial Witness of the Divine Bearing of All Things

Volume 4 () / Issue 2, pp. 228-251 (24)

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Post-modern science on the microbiome is changing what we think it means to be human. With its challenge to biological individualism, human-microbial entanglement exposes the influence of modern science on theologians like Karl Barth, who unwittingly imports an anthropocentric, hermetic picture of the self into his theological anthropology. In Barth's theo-anthropology, Christ the creature is actualized in the eternal being of God to the exclusion of microbiological relations that constitute the very possibility of human being. Microbiology now challenges this anthropology to accommodate the reality of the human as host who bears a microcosm of microbiological creatures. With a microbial imagination, we can reconstruct Barth's doctrine of the Holy Spirit as the one whose eternal womb-like hospitality recasts Christ and humanity in light of their own corresponding hospitality to the cosmos. Jesus' microbiome becomes iconic. His web of microbial relations mirrors the mutual indwelling that we read straight up into the community of the Godhead. This microbial lens privileges Jesus as the first bearer of cosmic flesh, the proto-cosmo-tokos. In turn, we become human as we say Yes to creaturely hospitality as micro-cosmo-tokos, or 'hosts of creation.'

Aminah Al-Attas Bradford No current data available.