When John connects the Word in John 1 to the words of creation in Genesis 1, John Behr sees the completion of the project of God—the creation of the human being. The perfection of the human being happens not as we might expect but in the Passion of Christ which includes not just the cross but the entire scope of the gospel story.
To reach his conclusion, Behr joins the horizons of history, reception history (later interpretation), and phenomenology (specifically, of Michel Henry). While he may not explicitly state it, Behr throughout synthesizes the various horizons to make a case for the revelation of Jesus, the Word of God, at the cross. And through his life-giving flesh offered at the cross, we become sons of God, living human beings.
Does he succeed in making his case? In many ways, he does since his goal partly means accurately reporting early Christian interpretation of John (Ignatius, Ireneaus, and so on). However, his interpretation of the Gospel of John is less persuasive. By saying this, I do not mean his entire interpretive project misses the mark (John does portray Christ as the paschal lamb who perfects humanity in the passion). Yet I find a number of his interpretations to be historically improbable. [Read more…] about The Perfection of the Human Being (review of John Behr’s John the Theologian & His Pachal Gospel)