Ever since the Prologue to the Gospel of John, the concept of logos has been at the very centre of our Christian faith in God. Logos signifies reason, meaning, or even ‘word’– a meaning therefore that is Word, that is relationship, that is creative.

The God who is Logos guarantees the intelligibility of the world, the intelligibility of our existence, the aptitude of reason to know God1 and the reasonableness of God2, even though His understanding infinitely surpasses ours and to us may so often appear to be darkness.

The world comes from reason, and this reason is a Person, is Love-this is what our biblical faith tells us about God. Reason can speak about God; it must speak about God, or else it cuts itself short.

Included in this is the concept of creation. The world is not just maya, appearance, which we must ultimately leave behind. It is not merely the endless wheel of sufferings, from which we must try to escape. It is something positive. It is good, despite all the evil in it and despite all the sorrow, and it is good to live in it.

God, who is the Creator and declares himself in his creation, also gives direction and measure to human action. 

We are living today in a crisis of moral values (Ethos), which by now is, no longer merely an academic question about the ultimate foundations of ethical theories, but rather an entirely practical matter.

The news is getting around that moral values cannot be grounded in something else, and the consequences of this view are working themselves out. The published works on the theme of moral values are stacked high and almost toppling over, which, on the one hand, indicates the urgency of the question but, on the other hand, also suggests the prevailing perplexity.

Kolakowski, in his line of thinking, has very emphatically pointed out that deleting faith in God, however one may try to spin or turn it, ultimately deprives moral values of their grounding.

If the world and man do not come from creative intelligence, which stores within itself their measures and plots the path of human existence, then all that is left are traffic rules for human behaviour, which can be discarded or maintained according to their usefulness.

All that remains is the calculus of consequence – what is called teleological ethics or proportionalism. But who can really make a judgement beyond the consequences of the present moment? Will not a new ruling class, then, take hold of the keys to human existence and become the managers of mankind?

When dealing with a calculus of consequences, the inviolability of human dignity no longer exists, because nothing is good or bad in itself
any more. 

The problem of moral values is on the order of the day in our time, and it is an item of great urgency.

Faith in the Logos, the Word in the beginning, understands moral values as responsibility, as a response to the Word, and thus gives them their intelligibility as well as their essential orientation.


Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger April 2000 Preface Op.Cit. pp26 -27.
1 die Gottgemassheit der Vernunft.
2 die Vernunftgemassheit Gottes.

This article can be found in Mirror 0415.