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Karl Barth
ICT Unit 6
Bible Studies
Undergraduate 1

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Intellectual Background
Schooled in Liberal Protestant Theology (modernist)

WWI - Christian nations fighting each other, overtly supported by his teachers. The destruction of the 'March to Progress'. Rejection of C19 theology ("no longer held any future").

Inspired by
- Kierkegaard (Christianity as counter-cultural, non-apologetic, confronts the self?

- Overbeck (Atheist, claimed that the church had abandoned the eschatological care of the gospels)
Barth and C19 theology
Schleiermacher to von Harnack

Barth thought that there was an inherent error in trying to apply modern philosophy to theology.

Like C19 Theologians: Man at center of theological worldview.

Unlike C19 Theologians: Rejects focus on apologetics (translating theology into a secular language - turns theology into anthropology. Cannot begin with introversion).
Barth's early theology
Commentary on 'Epistle to the Romans'

God is wholly other; inconceivable.

Thus no natural knowledge of God (natural theology).

No 'analogia entis' - analogy of being. ALL RELIGION IS THUS IDOLATRY. We cannot get from the world to God. All knowledge of God must come from Him.

Faith as response to Word of God - God breaks into the world. Revelation.

God's Word is judgement: a critique of human endeavours. Dialectical: both "no" (forbidding some actions) and "yes" (human life is central to the world). 20th Century Church is especially idolatrous - human desires at center of worldview (WWI endorsement).
Barth's later theology

Goettingen Dogmatics

The spirit enables the church to see the Father in the Son

The Spirit leads people to Christ, who leads people to the Father

The Father sends the Son, who bestows the spirit

Jesus Christ = Word of God = Scripture (typological representation of Christ)

Proclamation about scripture = proclamation about god

Barmen Declaration (against alignment of church with a political movement - Nazism). Replacement with Analogia Fidei -only faith leads to God, comes from God. NOT POLITICS We can only move back to God after God approaches us.

How do we know what God wants? Subjective - we must decide for ourselves as well as following the church on some things.

No logical way to God (no philosophical proofs etc) -'Fides Quarens Intellectum' - commentary on Anselm.
God, freedom and mankind
No analogy between experience and God - wholly other.

God is for humanity (pro-us).

God is truly free - to understand freedom, we must go back to Him. God is freedom, wills to be triune etc.

God creates freely (not out of caprice/for fun, not accidentally, not out of necessity). Out of Love. World is dependent of God's freedom.

God wills to love mankind/be mankind's God. MAN IS CREATURE AND (JUNIOR) PARTNER.

Human freedom is a gift, a participation in God. In the Image of God.

Freedom allows us to be for God (accept or reject).
Evangelical ethics -born out of the Gospel. The primary directive is to do God's will.

why should we follow God's will? Because God is for us - it's in our interests

Freedom that comes from God is the freedom to be for God - ethical, for our own good.

Ethics = a guide for action. Only God can instruct us as to how to live our life. No-one but God can tell us how to live. The church merely guides - God = private, ethics = private
Christocentric (knowledge of God through Christ)

God wants to enter into a covenant with us - Christ as embodiment (man and god united). God creates in order for there to be Christ. Christ = covenant.

"If creation was the external basis of the covenant, the latter was the internal basis of the former" - creation exists for the redemption in Christ, redemption exists for the benefit of creation.

GOD CREATES IN ORDER TO FORM A COVENANT WITH CREATION, WHICH IS FOR THE BENEFIT OF CREATION - John 1:1-5 ("All things came into being through him, an without him not one came into being")
Adam and Eve
Adam as a 'type' of Christ (Pauline)

Adan permits Christ, who then redeems Adam (fulfills the purpose of the world by him)

Typographical, allegorical exegesis of Genesis

Catholic perspective: Mary as second Eve?
Creation fulfilled in Christ
Why continue the universe after Christ?

To live Christ is to love the world. Christ existed for the world- it matters to God.

Why have children? Because Christ continues in the church (his body).

Children are gifts, teach that creation should be received as a gift (maybe even to extent that God arrives again in every child/gift)
Holy Spirit
Spirit arrives when Christ ascends, leads us to see creation in christ

Christ and Spirit are "two hands" that fulfill creation
Barth's legacy
End of liberal Theology (theology accommodating to world)?

Antifoundationalism - no basis for Christianity outside of faith. Anything else is a misrepresentation of God (postmodern)

No common ground between worldviews - wholly subjective view of world, always in a process of conception/discovery, never the beginning. NO FIRST PRINCIPALS (Postmodern)

To have faith is to live the story of Christ. Story must be entered, requires power of holy spirit to do so. No argument for it. A metanarrative?
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