Karl Barth

Marc Cortez is my advisor in the Th.M. program at Western Seminary. He has been influenced by Karl Barth so he urged me to at least read his Epistle to the Romans (trans. Edwyn C. Hoskyns) while doing my thesis research on said epistle. So while I have tried to avoid reading Barth out of fear of being another trendy Barthian, it is only fair that if I am going to say anything about Barth that I read something to inform my opinion. So I am reading the aforementioned book.

Barth does have some great insights which is why people like him! Thus far my favorite paragraph is this one (from p. 40):

“In the Gospel is revealed the great, universal secret of the righteousness of God which presses upon every man of every rank. In Christ the consistency of God with Himself—so grievously questioned throughout the whole world, among both Jews and Greeks—is brought to light and honoured. What men on this side resurrection name ‘God’ is most characteristically not God. Their ‘God’ does not redeem his creation, but allows free course to the unrighteousness of men; does not declare himself to be God, but is the complete affirmation of the course of the world and of men as it is. This is intolerable, for, in spite of the highest honours we offer him for his adornment, he is, in fact, ‘No-God’. The cry of revolt against such a god is nearer the truth than is the sophistry with which men attempt to justify him. Only because they have nothing better, only because they lack the courage of despair, do the generality of men on this side resurrection avoid falling into blatant atheism. But in Christ God speaks as He is, and punishes the ‘No-God’ of all these falsegoods. He affirms Himself by denying us as we are and the world as it is. In Christ God offers Himself to be known as God beyond our trespass, beyong time and things and men; to be known as the Redeemer of the prisoners, and consequently, as meaning of all that is–in fact, as the Creator. He acknowledges Himself to be our God by creating and maintaining the distance by which we are separated from Him; He displays His mercy by inaugurating His KRISIS and bringing us under judgement. He guarantees our salvation by willing to be God and to be known as God—in Christ; He justifies us by justifying Himself.” (italics mine)

Excellent. Our gods (some of them under the name of ‘Christianity’) are No-God. Our gods do not exists when compared to the God who reveals himself to us. We know “god” outside of revelation, but not God.

Yet God does not let us stay that way. God has already judged us for our idols by revealing Himself in Christ. God refuses to let His Creation be abducted by the gods.