Dostoevsky sought to portray the “person in the person.” His “higher realism,” rooted in his Christian faith, sees visible, finite reality as bearing an analogical relationship to an invisible, infinite reality. An analogical imagination recognizes that human persons are creatures, both like and radically unlike their Creator. Created in God’s image, persons are like God in their rationality, freedom, and capacity to create and love. But God is one and persons are many; God is unchanging and persons are mutable; God is infinite and persons are finite. Above all, persons are dependent as their existence is contingent upon God’s. God is not simply another being, but Being itself, the One in Whom all persons live and move and have their particular beings. Our existence as beings does not place us in the same ontological category as God. But the divine is not so utterly transcendent that our own rational conceptions of the good and true and beautiful bear no relation to God. They bear an analogical relation.
Christian faith understands God not only as Being but as Love. God is a unity of three persons bound in infinite, inter-relational, self-giving love. God’s love overflows to form creation and, in time, enters history and a particular place in the person of Christ. In Christ, the believer sees most clearly the image of God’s beauty, goodness, and truth. The infinite Word takes on creaturely flesh and finitude. But Christ’s descent into finitude and death brings forth resurrection, ascension, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As Trinity, God is both One and three differentiated persons; Christ is both God and man, “without confusion . . . without separation” (Dogmatic Definition of Chalcedon). The analogical imagination is built upon the two doctrinal beams that undergird the Christian faith: Trinity and Incarnation. Analogy recognizes the unity in our human plurality: for all our particularity and diversity, we are each persons, and, in analogy to God’s Trinitarian nature, created to be in integral relation to other persons. Analogy recognizes that human love is both like and—given our creaturely, fallen frailty--unlike the Creator’s love.
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