Jan Muis. Protestant Theological University, P.O. Box 80.105, Utrecht 3508 TC, NETHERLANDS firstname.lastname@example.org
CAN CHRISTIAN TALK ABOUT GOD BE LITERAL?
Article first published online: 7 SEP 2011
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 582–607, October 2011
How to Cite
MUIS, J. (2011), CAN CHRISTIAN TALK ABOUT GOD BE LITERAL?. Modern Theology, 27: 582–607. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0025.2011.01704.x
- Issue published online: 7 SEP 2011
- Article first published online: 7 SEP 2011
This article discusses whether Christian talk about God can be literal. First, it is argued that the meaning of a word cannot be reduced to its use, that metaphorical language is indirect in its use of words, and that the change of meaning of a word by analogical extension differs from the change of meaning by repeated metaphorical use. Next, it is shown that in Christian talk about God, God can be literally referred to by God's proper name, “YHWH,” and by words that in contexts of prayer and praise function as proper names. Then it is argued that terms for non-basic actions can be literally applied to the Christian God, and that some of God's essential properties can be literally described on the basis of his self-revealing actions.