Note on Barth

I’m reading the CD II.1, specifically the section on ‘The Being of God in Freedom’. Some things that pop out to me: Barth refuses to discuss God in the abstract. When turning to ask about what God’s divinity and essence are, he comes back to the question, Who is God? There simply is no abstract discussion about God or anything about God – to know anything about God, you must know Who God is.

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2 thoughts on “Note on Barth

  1. Kevin Davis March 21, 2014 / 11:34 pm

    I am currently finishing II.1 with a Barth reading group (mostly Pres pastors here in Charlotte), and we have finished the perfections of the divine love and now almost finished with the perfections of the divine freedom. His rejection of “abstract” perfect-being theology is motivated by his commitment to God defining himself, defining his own perfections. The majority tradition allowed aspects of God’s being to be pre-defined by our own conception of what these perfections must be like. Based upon his many citations, these theologians moved rather seamlessly from an “assumed” understanding of what, for example, “omnipotence” must be like and then to the biblical material.

    I have read rather broadly across all four volumes of the CD, and the material in II.1 is easily some of my favorite. Nothing surpasses IV.1 in terms of ridiculous brilliance, but II.1 is fundamental to understanding everything else (even more important that I.1 or I.2).

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    • whitefrozen March 22, 2014 / 7:31 am

      Yeah, the sections in II.1 on God’s being, freedom, love and attributes easily constitute some of the best dogmatic theology ever written. IV.1 comes close, though. Those two sections are IMO the real core of Barth – not that the other sections are unimportant (I.1 and I.2 are very important) but those two are “it”.

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