A Theology of Personal Being
Macquarrie (John)
Source: Peacocke & Gillett - Persons and Personality: A Contemporary Inquiry, 1987, Chapter 11
Paper - Abstract

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Editors’ Abstract1

  1. Professor John Macquarrie considers three aspects of what it is to be a human person.
    • He argues first that persons are always 'beings-on-the-way', beings in the process of change; and thus that human nature is constituted by an activity in which persons grow and, in so doing, create themselves. They thereby become both what they are and what they will be. Since we both choose and create, we have radical responsibility for what we actually make of ourselves. Macquarrie links this idea with that of transcendence, which expresses the 'going beyond' that occurs when we transform both what we are2 and the world in which we live.
    • Second, he stresses the world-involving nature of human life; for we are 'beings-in-the-world', entities that are essentially embodied. Man is an embodied spirit as the Bible teaches, and within this totality reside the distinction, limitations, and the possibilities of human existence.
    • Finally, Macquarrie like many of our contributors, stresses that we are 'being-with-others'. The dialogue between persons, in which the ‘I’ and the 'thou' mutually constitute each other, leads us to realize that any purportedly Christian view that focuses solely on the individual human being is a distortion of the biblical perspective, which emphasizes our social, interpersonal being.
  2. Macquarrie concludes by provoking us to reflect on the ethical implications of his approach, on those ethical dilemmas which we face in a shared world, as beings with responsibility for ourselves, the world, and each other.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Peacocke (Arthur) & Gillett (Grant) - Persons and Personality: Introduction".

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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