Admittedly, the previous post only presented the "bare bones" of Divine Will teaching, in a fairly abstract way. If I were to stop there, one might gain the impression that the Gift of living in the Divine Will was not essentially Christian, or that our relationship with Christ appeared in Divine Will teaching only as an accidental afterthought, if at all.
But nothing could be further than the truth. Apart from revelation, there can be no knowledge of God's inner life. But the Divine Will is the very "heart" of God's inner life. Therefore there can be no true knowledge of the Divine Will apart from revelation. Now there is no more perfect revelation than the revelation that comes to us in the person of Christ. Therefore the explicit revelation that makes up the content of Divine Will teaching cannot be something added externally to the revelation that comes to us in the person of Christ.
If it turned out that Divine Will teaching claimed to add something externally to the revelation that comes to us in the person of Christ, then we would have to reject Divine Will teaching as false.
The correct understanding of Divine Will teaching (assuming it to be true) must be as follows, then. Divine Will teaching simply unpacks the Gift which is already given in the person and life of Jesus. It is an unfolding of what is enfolded in person and life of Jesus. In other words, Divine Will teaching merely makes explicit what is implicitly given and presented in Christ.
One might raise two questions here. First, is it even necessary to “unpack” the Gift—to “unfold” or “make explicit” God’s revelation in Christ? Second, is this even a legitimate exercise? In response to these questions, one need only consider that the Council of Nicea (325 AD) and the Council of Constantinople (381 AD) were necessary to define the doctrine of the Trinity and defend this truth against heresy. But the doctrine of the Trinity did not arrive as a novelty.* It was not treated as some new truth to be added to the revelation that was already completed in Christ, already received by the Church, and already written down in the Bible. Rather, the doctrine of the Trinity—that God is three distinct persons subsisting in one being—was the fruit of the early Church’s fidelity to revelation and tradition (both oral and written).
The doctrine of the Trinity provides us with certain parameters for receiving the Gift of revelation. Christians should understand the Gospel and appropriate the Christian message within these parameters. Against Arianism, Christians are to affirm that Jesus Christ is true God. Against the pneumatomacheans (literally, the “killers of the Spirit”), they are to affirm that the Holy Spirit is true God. Against tritheism, they are to affirm that the persons are consubstantial (one in being), not three gods. Against modalism, they are to affirm that there are three distinct persons in God; the Father, Son and Spirit are not just three “aspects” or “roles” of one and the same person.
None of this is an external addition to the Gospel. The doctrine of the Trinity simply protects the Gospel from false interpretation, and in the process brings out more clearly what is already there in the Gospel, if only implicitly and pre-theoretically. The Gospel is already Trinitarian in substance, even though the “Trinity” is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible (the first appearance of the term trinitas is attributed to Tertullian, who died around 240 AD).
The same principles apply when we turn to the Christological controversies. At the Council of Chalcedon (451) it was determined that Jesus has two natures. By virtue of his divine nature, Jesus is true God, consubstantial with the Father (and the Holy Spirit). By virtue of his human nature, Jesus is true man, consubstantial with us. But these two natures are not mixed together to make some strange third entity. Nor is one nature swallowed up or dissolved into the other. Rather, both natures remain fully integral in the hypostatic union. Yet the two natures are not divided or separated from each other either. Nor are there two persons, one for each of the natures. Rather, Jesus Christ is one person with two natures.
The dogmatic definition of the Council of Chalcedon can be found here. My point is that this definition is not an external addition to the Gospel either. The doctrine in question—in short, that Christ is one person with two natures—simply protects the Gospel from false interpretation, and in the process brings out more clearly what is already there is the Gospel, if only implicitly and pre-theoretically.
Now anyone who accepts (a) the doctrine of the Trinity or (b) the Chalcedonian definition has to concede that it is legitimate and necessary to “unpack” the Gift of revelation, at least in some circumstances. If the same person is consistent, he will also concede that it is possible (at least in principle) that Divine Will teaching is a legitimate and necessary “unpacking” of the Gift of revelation.
But let me push this one step further. The same person should also accept that there might be, in the future, another Ecumenical Council in which certain tenets of Divine Will teaching are clarified and ratified.
References still need to be added to this entry.
I am a cradle Catholic, husband, and father of three girls. My wife and I have long been convinced of the truth of the "new and divine holiness" as revealed to the Italian mystic, Luisa Piccarreta (1865-1947). I began reading Luisa's writings in the early 2000s. I hold a PhD in philosophy and specialise in metaphysics as applied to theological topics (Trinity, creation, grace and freedom).