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Document Details :
Title: De persoonlijkheid van God en de onpersoonlijkheid onder de mensen
Author(s): GELDHOF, Joris
Volume: 70 Issue: 3 Date: 2009
This paper addresses the difficult question how the idea of a personal God is connected with an increasing impersonal attitude and conduct among human beings. This question is difficult because it is by no means evident that, e.g., Christian believers would be more personal than non-Christians. In any case, the very idea of a ‘personal’ God has been severely criticized by various kinds of atheists and even theologians have cast doubt on the usefulness of the category of personhood when dealing with the divine. This remarkable situation is taken as a challenge for a thorough exploration of the notion of personhood. It is argued that ‘person’ differs from ‘individual’ and ‘identity’, and that, among other things, language, freedom, and the imagination are constitutive elements for being a person. The conceptual analysis eventually results in the idea that, above all, a person is a porous and a relational being. That is the reason why for Christians the model of all personality will always be the triune God, who is said to be three persons and one essence. Finally, on the basis of this finding, the author explains why Christians ought to be defenders of a genuinely personal approach to the other in all areas of private life and society.