Thursday, 17 February 2011

God conceals Himself in revealing Himself

And, according to Barth, God does this concealing in revealing as he assumes the form of the humanitas Christi.

Some of the most thrilling passages in Church Dogmatics are found in the small print sections. Barth produced these to allow for more technical discussions, allowing the dogmatic presentation itself to stand apart so that non-theologians could read it in a connected way.

On pages 322,323 of the old T&T Clark edition that I am reading, Barth writes about how the humanity of Christ contains one of the hardest problems of Christology. Is the humanity of Christ as such revelation? Barth hints that God's reconciling action is the being of God in Christ. So, for example, His resurrection is not an operation proper to Christ's humanity.

Revealing was not ascribed to Christ's existence in the form of a man as such: "...Jesus did not become revelation to all who met Him but only to a few." This has to be understood as part of Barth's overall understanding of revelation. Any doubts about Barth's view on the humanity of Christ can probably be connected to doubts about his view of revelation.

Thursday, 10 February 2011


"Revelation in the Bible means the self-unveiling, imparted to men, of the God who by nature cannot be unveiled to men. ...inscrutability, hiddenness, is of the very essence of Him who is called God in the Bible. ...this God by his grace, i.e., by His self-unveiling, says to everyone to whom it is imparted that of himself he could not do what is there done to him and for him. It is thus of the very nature of this God to be inscrutable to man. In saying this we naturally mean that in His revealed nature He is thus inscrutable. It is the Deus revelatus who is the Deus absconditus, the God to whom there is no path nor bridge, concerning whom we could not say nor have to say a single word if He did not of His own initiative meet us as the Deus revelatus." CD I.1,p320,321

Monday, 7 February 2011

We are being enriched

"Church Dogmatics is clearly a monumental work in which the place of Scripture in the church and in theology receives most careful attention from Barth. ... Anyone who reads this material is bound to be enriched."

Roger Nicole, in an essay called 'The Neo-Orthodox Reduction'.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Christ as the primary theme

I sense that paragraph 8 is where things start to heat up. Volume 1 is all about revelation. Barth makes this comment: "God reveals Himself as the Lord; in this statement we have summed up our understanding of the form and content of the biblical revelation." CD I.1,p314

And, further on the same page:

"Historically considered and stated the three questions answered in the Bible, that of revealer, revelation, and being revealed, do not have the same importance. The true theme of the biblical witness is the second of the concepts, God's action in His revelation, revelation in answer to the question what God does, and therefore the predicate in our statement. Within this theme the two other questions, materially no less important, are answered. Similarly the doctrine of the Trinity, when considered historically in its origin and development, is not equally interested in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Here too the theme is primarily the second person of the Trinity, God the Son, the deity of Christ."