Thursday, November 17, 2011

Barth's Romans.

As I was attempting to switch places in my room to read this evening, I accidentally knocked over a book. When I picked it up, I realized the book I knocked over was Barth's infamous The Epistle to the Romans. I had to read this entire book in one week about two years ago for class. I flipped through to see all the markings as this was the second book I had ever read by Mr. Barth. But I stumbled across this particular excerpt at the end of chapter two, which includes lots of underlining and two words next to it: "so beautiful." And it still is:
Consequently, His action must be exercised invisibly and in a manner wholly contrary to our expectation. God does not live by the idea of justice with which we provide Him. He is His own justice. He is not one cause among many; He is not the final solution which we propound to the problem of life. Therefore His appearance is incomprehensible and without known occasion, and His judgment is according to His own justice. And yet, there is a claim to salvation from the wrath of God: the claim IS where every claim is surrendered and broken down by God Himself: where His negation is final and His wrath unavoidable; when God is recognized as God. The claim IS where the history of the relation between God and man begins; where there is no history to record, because it only occurs, and occurs eternally. The claim IS when men dare - but even this is no recipe for blessedness but only the eternal ground of its perception - to go forth into the fresh air and to love the undiscoverable God. And this occurrence IS - in Jesus Christ.

- Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans, 76.

1 comment:

Matt Frost said...

Indeed! My wife tells me I'm bad at responding to beauty because I intellectualize it, but this is among the earliest things he got right -- that the hiddenness of God is not due to any natural obscurity, but to the fact that God's justice and blessing and salvation, faithful to promise, shows up where we do not look. I love it. God hidden by human sin, hidden in plain sight -- so hidden, as Paul says in 1 Cor, that people killed the Lord of Glory, which they would not have done if they knew. But perfectly present, perfectly true, perfectly just and perfectly saving, just the same.

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