Sunday, July 10, 2011

The humility of God.

Some very challenging words from Barth:

"Even in the form of a servant, which if the form of His presence and action in Jesus Christ, we have to do with God Himself in His true deity. The humility in which He dwells and acts in Jesus Christ is not alien to Him, but proper to Him. His humility is a novum mysterium for us in whose favour He executes it when He makes use of His freedom for it, when He shows His love even to His enemies and His life even in death, thus revealing them in a way which is quite contrary to all our false ideas about God. But for Him this humility is no novum mysterium. it is His sovereign grace that He wills to be and is amongst us in humility, our God, God for us. But He shows us this grace, He is amongst us in humility, our God, God for us, as that which He is in Himself, in the most inward depth of His Godhead. He does not become another God. In the condescension in which He gives Himself to us in Jesus Christ He exists and speaks and acts as the One He was from all eternity and will be to all eternity. The truth and actuality of our atonement depends on this being the case. The One who reconciles the world with God is necessarily the one God Himself in His true Godhead. Otherwise the world would not be reconciled with God. Otherwise it is still the world which is not reconciled with God."

- Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, IV.1, 193.

My question is this: is speech against the humility of Christ in the cross (and ultimately speech affirming impassibility) rooted in the biblical witness or simply a theologia gloriae? Does a true theologia crucis require an affirmation that the God revealed in the cross is who God is in Himself from all eternity? If not, how can we have any confidence of God's true identity?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Jüngel and the Event of Correspondence.

This was paradigm-shifting for me:
"Very often the Protestant polemic against the so-called analogia entis also completely misses the genuinely Evangelical approach to theological thought. This does not happen because an understanding of analogy which has not been understood is being disputed, but rather because these critics are thinking much too much in the same direction as the opponent which they believe they are combating. If all that were at stake were to respect God as the Totally Other, nothing would be more appropriate than to think up the much-scorned analogia entis. But that cannot ultimately be the concern of a theology which accords with the gospel. The great Przywara did then insist, in a certain tension with the tendency of his argumentation, that the constantly new experience of still greater similarities between God and creature may not fail to take place. ... Briefly put: the gospel is to be understood as the event of correspondence."

- Eberhard Jüngel in God as the Mystery of the World, 284, 286.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Small Thoughts on God as the Mystery of the World.

I've been reading through Eberhard Jungel's God as the Mystery of the World and it makes me feel as though I am taking my first systematic theology class all over again. He takes an incredibly careful and calculated course to define his basic positions. But Jungel, in the spirit of Barth, reminds his audience of very simple yet profound and miraculous truths; namely that God can be known as an object of knowledge, but only through God's own self-revelation. Unless God reveals Himself and becomes the subject of speech about Himself, theology can have no confidence that it is responsibly speaking about God. Thus, Jungel provides a theological orientation that is entirely dependent upon revelation. However, this revelation is a continual unfolding event, which constantly produces new thought about God.

Right after these rather freeing statements, Jungel backs up a bit to say that thought about God can only be possible because God has already revealed Himself. But where? For Jungel, God has "definitely" revealed Himself in the cross of Jesus Christ. Therefore, faith is "the anthropological realization of the fact that God has revealed himself" in the crucified Christ (228). In an effort to avoid God's self-revelation as producing an exclusive epistemological outcome, Jungel is right to affirm that "revelation is, in its facticity, not primarily an occasion for knowledge, but rather an event of self-sharing in the being of the one revealing himself, an event which implies knowledge" (228).

To me, that is sheer beauty.