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Posts Tagged ‘ontology’

Section 29 is uncharacteristically short at only 54 pages long, though there is quite a bit of the small text to make up for that. Here, Barth is looking to talk about God’s “perfections” which elsewhere may be called “virtues” or “attributes”. His word choice reflects that he is again emphasizing that these characteristics are unique to God. Categorically, these are different from the attributes of anything or anyone in creation.

“God lives His perfect life in the abundance of many individual and distinct perfections. Each of these is perfect in itself and in combination with all the others. For whether it is a form of love in which God is free, or a form of freedom in which God loves, it is nothing else but God himself, His one, simple, distinctive being.” –Karl Barth (CD II.1, p.322)

Then Barth takes some time to define what God is not: creature, sin, death. He also discusses who God is as “One who is many” and “many who are One”, “Father, Son, and Spirit” who “loves in freedom”.

Most importantly, Barth zeros in on the fact that God is not only “the Lord” but “the Lord of glory”, and all glory is the “glory of the Lord”. Every bit of glory in Heaven and on Earth belongs to God. In fact, glory without God behind it is very dangerous as we shall soon see. Scripture plays an important role in making the connection: (more…)

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Section 28 begins a new chapter for Barth on “The Reality of God”. The discussion shifts from the knowledge of God (noetic or epistemological) to the being of God (ontic or ontological). Core to the nature of God’s being is His action in love and freedom. Love will point us to freedom and freedom will in turn direct us back to love.

“God is who He is in the act of His revelation. God seeks and creates fellowship between Himself and us, and therefore He loves us. But He is this loving God without us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the freedom of the Lord, who has His life from Himself.” –Karl Barth (CD II.1, p. 257)

Barth does not surprise us by starting the discussion with love and freedom. Nor is it surprising that he will end by saying that this revelation finds its focus in the person of Jesus Christ. In between, however, he will wreak havoc on some commonly held views, not only by people outside the faith, but by mainstream Christians throughout history. (more…)

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