Karl Rahner on God

  • James J. Bacik


Karl Rahner, one of the most important theologians in the history of the Catholic Church, developed his doctrine of God through philosophical and theological reflection on the theistic faith conviction he received from his Catholic family and training as a Jesuit priest. His early philosophical works, influenced by Kant and Heidegger, developed a metaphysical anthropology that views human beings as essentially oriented to being as a whole and a philosophy of religion based on human receptivity to a potential divine word heard in history. In moving to theology, Rahner rejected a sharp distinction between faith and reason, claiming instead that faith is the highest achievement of reason. His vast theological corpus portrays God as the holy mystery, who is the source of the dynamism of the human spirit and as the goal of human transcendence. We relate to God not the highest being among other beings, but as the horizon that makes all knowing and loving possible.


Human Existence Human Spirit Philosophical Anthropology Transcendental Philosophy Christian Doctrine 
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Works by Karl Rahner

  1. 1961–1976. Theological investigations, vols. 1–23. vol. 1–6 published in Baltimore by Helicon; vol. 7–10 in New York by Herder and Herder; and vol. 11–14 in New York by Seabury; vol. 15–23 in New York by Crossroads. Abbr. TI.Google Scholar
  2. 1968. Spirit in the world. Trans. William Dych. New York: Herder and Herder, Abbr. Spirit. Google Scholar
  3. 1969a. Hearers of the word. Trans. Michael Richards with a Preface by J.B. Metz. New York: Herder and Herder, Abbr. Hearers. Joseph Donceel’s translation of Rahner’s first edition appears in A Rahner Reader, ed. Gerald A. McCool, 2–65. New York: Seabury, 1975, Abbr. Rahner Reader. Google Scholar
  4. 1969b. The concept of existential philosophy in Heidegger. Trans. Andrew Tallon. Philosophy Today 13: 126–137. Abbr. Heidegger. Google Scholar
  5. 1978. Foundations of Christian faith: An introduction to the idea of Christianity. Trans. William V. Dych. New York: Seabury, Abbr. Foundations.Google Scholar
  6. 1979a. The doctrine of the spiritual senses in the middle-ages. In TI, vol. 16, 104–134. Abbr. Middle Ages. Google Scholar
  7. 1979b. The spiritual senses according to Origen. In TI, vol. 16, 81–103. Abbr. Origen.Google Scholar

Other Authors

  1. Bacik, J. 1980. Apologetics and the eclipse of mystery. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Abbr. Apologetics. Google Scholar
  2. Maréchal, Joseph. 1970. A Maréchal reader. Ed. and Trans. Joseph Donceel. New York: Herder and Herder. Abbr. Maréchal. Google Scholar
  3. McCool, G.A. 1975. A Rahner reader. New York: Seabury. Abbr. Rahner Reader. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Languages, Literature and the Social SciencesUniversity of ToledoToledoUSA

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