Notes and Thoughts on the Pactum Salutis

A while ago Peter Leithart blogged on the Pactum Salutis, and I’ve been mulling jit over ever since. The Pactum Salutis (PS) doctrine turns on the idea of negotiated agreement or settlement or whatever term you prefer. The extent to which this is flattened and weakened is the extent to which the PS really stops being an actual doctrine of PS. Turretin and Owen (among others) try to turn the PS into a super duper trinitarian thing but also keep it super duper undivided by limiting the PS to the economy. Of course it pretty much isn’t ad intra at this point, and also at this point there really ceases to be any kind of ‘agreement’ between ‘legal parties’ as the PS posits. There isn’t much of a way to have your cake and eat it too here. Continue reading


‘Barren, Silent, Godless’: or, how Cormac McCarthy and Bonhoeffer Find God in a World Without God

In his essay for The Cambridge Companion to Cormac McCarthy entitled ‘The Quest for God in the Road’, Allen Josephs spends a good deal of time tracing out the textual evidence for and against the presence of God in The Road (TR). There’s no shortage of passages that suggest just such a deus absconditus (and McCarthy here goes further than mere absence: there is a sense that if God is in fact absent he has purposefully left the world alone or abandoned the world, a line of thought that is explored in the metalcore band Zao’s album The Funeral of God), but I want to suggest that TR isn’t occupied so much with the absence of God but rather with a very specific and concrete form of the presence of God. This presence-absence is a major theme in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s writings (especially his later prison writings) and there is a good deal of overlap between McCarthy and Bonhoeffer on this topic. Continue reading