The “Good Power – Divine and Human” Consultation took place at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture in association with the Yale Divinity School, October 5 and 6, 2007.
We live in a cultural climate suspicious of power. Theologians too have seemed stuck with a profound ambivalence toward power. Over the last five decades, theologians have increasingly voiced critiques of power – critiques of prevalent concepts of divine power (in particular of omniscience) as well as of the ways in which humans use appeals to divine power to underwrite misuse of human power.
At the same time, along with many others, theologians have stressed the importance of empowerment. It is obvious that human life will wither rather than flourish without the possession and exercise of power. Moreover, those who have been on the receiving end of power's misuse must exert power not just to live and flourish, but to free themselves from dominance.
It is essential to overcome this cultural and theological ambivalence about power and to find ways to embrace and foster “good power.” A key theological challenge is to conceptualize God's power and human creaturely power in such a way that it is clear that both are good and that God's power, rightly understood, grounds rather than subverts good human power.
Martin Hailer, John Hare, Catherine Keller, David Kelsey, Kathryn Tanner, Miroslav Volf, Nicholas Wolterstorff.
The papers presented at this consultation are listed and available for download in the Resource Center.