Friday, 10 June 2011 two times and worlds

This is part of Barth's exposition of the command to love God and love our neighbour...

"The connexion and the difference between the two commandments are plain when we remember that the children of God, the Church, now live, as it were, in the space between the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and in the time of the forbearance of God and their own watching and waiting. In effect they live in two times and worlds. And in both of these their one undivided existence is claimed absolutely by God, subjected to His command and engaged to obedience. There can be no question of any other Lord but God claiming our love, or of any other object but God wanting to be loved. But the love of the children of God corresponds to their twofold existence in two times and worlds. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ have taken place. On this basis they are already members and participants of the new world created by Him, by faith in the manifestation of the Son of God in and with the human nature which He has adopted, in and with the flesh which He has united to His deity and glorified by His power. Represented by Him, peccatores iusti, in His person they are already assembled before the throne of God, citizens of His everlasting kingdom, participators in eternal life. They are in Christ; and it is in the totality of this their hidden being, which is none other than their actual human and creaturely existence here and now, that in the way described they are put under the commandment to love God, to seek after the One who has first sought and found them. But by virtue of the coming but not yet visible lordship of Jesus Christ, in faith in His coming, comforting themselves with the promise of the forgiveness of sins, given in the Word made flesh for all flesh, they always stand in need of the comfort and warning of this promise, because although the former time and world are past they still lie, indeed are, behind them. They have to wait and watch for their Lord as iusti peccatores. They have to serve Him in the relationships, connexions and orderings of a reality which has, of course, been overthrown and superseded by His resurrection, but not yet visibly abolished and replaced by His second coming, in the space between the times, where it doth not yet appear what they shall be. They "walk" in the light in face of darkness, and in this visible pilgrimage in all its hope and peril, which is simply the totality of their actual human and creaturely activity here and now, God had placed them under the commandment to love their neighbour." CD vol. I.2, pp.408,409

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