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God and the Dialectical Process

Selections from the book:

In Season Out of Season
an introduction to the thought of Jacques Ellul

Madeleine Garrigou-LaGrange


I became conscious, as I worked and thought, that I needed to interpret all things in a dialectical manner.

Marx is one of those that led me to this realization, but I was much more attracted at first by his economic interpretation than by the philosophical aspect of his thought. Much later I was to realize that Christianity and biblical thought are dialectical.

I want to clarify that the dialectic presupposes history. It is not enough to pose a positive factor and a negative factor (good and evil as dialectical forces). There has to be a passage of time for the two contradictory factors to come into relationship.

Mankind or nature, neither is sufficient for the foundation of a critical method, nor are they the (dialectical) counterpoint of all powerful 'Technique' (Ellul's unique definition of technology). The latter is an all encompassing whole that includes mankind and nature. For there to be a chance for change, for a dialectic, there must be a force completely outside the system. This force that the system is incapable of absorbing can only be god, a transcendent God. . . .

I do not mean to say that God will intervene directly with Technique, as at the tower of Babel, to cause it to fail. But with the help of God's biblical revelation we can find the lucidity, courage, and hope that will enable us to intervene with Technique. Without these we can only let ourselves sink into despair.

I cannot except a communist society or a technical society (Russia of 1980 or America of 2015?) because they are totally lacking in flexibility, and their is no play in their mechanism.

(paraphrasing) Ossification is not only the supreme evil, it is the evil: it is paralysis, entropy, repetition, identicalness, unity, duplication.


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