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Acta Theologica

On-line version ISSN 2309-9089
Print version ISSN 1015-8758

Acta theol. vol.28 n.2 Bloemfontein Dec. 2008


God images, ethical effects and the responsibility of Systematic Theology



R. Venter

Prof R. Venter, Head: Department of Systematical Theology, Faculty of Theology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. e-mail:




This article registers an important shift that is occurring in contemporary theistic reflection: greater sensitivity to the function of God images, and the consequent ethical impacts. Three texts by Gunton, Johnson and McFague are discussed that exemplify this focus in an emphatic way. From this treatment the implications for Systematic Theology crystallise clearly. The rest of the article entails an exploration of the dynamics of the causal relationship between a specific God image and its corresponding effect. The ramifications for the task and responsibility of Systematic Theology are identified and in conclusion some normative guidelines are suggested.

Keywords: Systematic Theology, God images, Ethics, Colin E. Gunton, Elizabeth A. Johnson, Sallie McFague

Trefwoorde: Sistematiese Teologie, Godsbeelde, Etiek, Colin E. Gunton, Elizabeth A. Johnson, Sallie McFague



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