‘From Mirror to Window:’ Balthasar’s Reflections on Theology, Science, and Creation
Drawing on Auguste Comte, Balthasar traces historical “progress” from an earlier epoch in which humanity conceived itself as “being spirit within nature” to a modern, scientific epoch that sets humanity against nature. In the first, humanity is a “mirror” of nature, in the second it is a “window.” Philosophy becomes anthropology rather than cosmology. The study of the human individual opens a window to limitless possibilities for uniting humanity but also the peril of destroying it. What science needs, suggests Balthasar, is an “integrally human” absorption of it into philosophy and theology, one that works against a strong distinction between nature and supernature, and resists the reduction of creation to utility by interpreting it with the transcendentals of truth, goodness and beauty.