Hmm. How about Adam?
To paraphrase Rahner, this is a dynamic transcendentality which doesn't merely exist but takes place. Thus, the God <--> man encounter is an event; this event not only requires history to play out, but ultimately is what we call history.
This is an important consideration if we are to exercise due diligence and examine Christianity all the way down to the foundations, because "something historical" -- since it is relative and fleeting -- "seems by definition incapable of making absolute claims of any kind" (ibid.).
Furthermore, "if the whole history of creation is already borne by God's self-communication in this very creation, then there does not seem to be anything else which can take place on God's part" (ibid.).
You know, I created this endlessly fascinating cosmos, I brought you into existence from nothing, I gave you a mind and a conscience and women and grog. What else do you want from me? Immortality?
Well, now that you mention it...
Clearly, history itself is the history of transcendentality, which is why animals have no history. Rather, they have only genes. Which is what evolutionary psychologists and sociobiologists would like us to believe about man.
But in reality, man's discovery of evolution is a part of, and embedded in, his prior transcendentality.
To put it in plain english, our transcendence contains Darwinism. The converse is impossible and quite literally unthinkable, for if we are contained by Darwinism, there is no conceivable exit from that closed løøp, nor would we have any understanding whatsoever of what contains Darwinism, i.e. Spirit. As Petey says, if Truth doesn't exist, man could never know it.
The bottom line is that "wherever we really find a being of absolute transcendence... there we find a man with freedom, with self-determination, and with an immediate boundary with absolute mystery," with O. If you know about O, then you're a man. And if you don't know, or have forgotten or denied O, then you've only sawed off the branch that connects you to reality. Nice work, assoul.
It reminds me a little of being an American citizen. America is the only nation defined by a transcendental ideal, so we don't care if you're black, white, male, female, rich, poor, whatever. If you believe the ideal, then you're in: congratulations, you've exited the wilderness of nature. Let us be the first to welcome you to your bewilderness adventure in history!
(Suffice it to say we're speaking of the ideal here, not the primitive rebarbarization of the reactionary left.)
This is such an important point, because it again goes to the whole project of the left, which cuts at the very root of what man is. It goes lightyears beyond the noisy buzz of politics, all the way down to ʘntology, and beyond!
But at any rate, wherever this transcendentality is absent, "what we call 'man' in a philosophical and Christian and theological sense did not exist, however similar this being may have been in other respects."
Thus, if you're an animal who penetrates into the transcendent -- and so long as you can afford the $1.50 initiation fee -- then we don't care if you have a tusk, a tail, a trunk, or a tree for a house, you're a Raccoon, so you're in. Of course, thus far only a Homo sapiens with a public school diploma fulfills the criteria, but you never know.
To paraphorize G.C. Lichtenberg, the cosmos is a mirror. Therefore, when an ape looks in, no apostle looks out. In fact, trolls who are on the threshold of consciousness will dimly recognize that the same holds true of these posts: when a such a prehuman looks in, no Raccoon looks out. Your inane comments can only confirm this deeper truth.
So, we have a history. And so too does God. We call it "salvation history." Salvation history is the chronicle -- chronos meaning time -- of the ahistorical object (or subject) as it relates to time and history. From our side, it manifests in encounters with the self-revealing God; you could even say that history as such is a necessary artifact of God-consciousness.
In this way -- and only in this way -- history becomes the cure for the problems created by history. At the same time, man attempts to cure the problems created by man in history, but it seems that the only final solution is for God himself to "become the problem," i.e., to incarnate.
Of the latter, Rahner writes that "Not until the full and unsurpassable event of the historical self-objectification of God's self-communication to the world in Jesus Christ do we have an event which... fundamentally and absolutely precludes any historical corruption or any distorted interpretation in the further history of categorical revelation and of false religion."
Theoretically, of course. Man is still free to mess things up.
A housekeeping gnote: our next topic of discussion will be the writings of Luigi Giussani, beginning with The Religious Sense. I mention this because there may be some of you out there who want to participate in a readalong on the cosmic bus. This is one of those rare books which I wanted to reread immediately, which is what I'm now doing, so I probably won't begin posting on it until some time next week.