What is the meaning of the word 'grace'? Can Wittgenstein's maxim that the meaning of a word is its usage help explicate the claims that Christians have made about grace? When Christians use the word, they reference within language the point of contact between humanity and the divine. Terrance W. Klein suggests that grace is t an occult object but rather an insight, a moment when we perceive God to be active on our behalf. Klein examines the biblical evidence that grace begins as a recognition of God's favour, before considering Augustine as the theologian who champions history rather than nature as the place of encounter with grace. Aquinas' work on grace is also explored, retrieving the saint's thought on three seminal concepts: nature, form, and the striving intellect. Overall, Klein suggests that grace is the perception of a form, an awareness that the human person is being addressed by the world itself.
Terrance W. Klein is Associate Professor of Theology, Fordham University.