Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Barth on anthropology

self understanding...can only be the understanding of the man who hears and believes the Word of God... And by this Word and judgment of God we do not mean a revealed theory of supernatural origin and content about man, but the address and and claim of God concretely attested to him, the viva vox evangelii which comes to him, the Gospel of the Lord who in his place became a servant, who humbled himself for him. The one who hears the viva vox of the gospel is the only man who sees and understands this matter. He is the one who is instructed concerning himself
Barth 'church dogamatics 4.1 pp479.

What I love about this from Barth is that there is no working out of the nature of humanity and it's sinfulness prior to the narrative of gods redemption in christ. Understanding the truth of our condition is not some abstract theory, but living in response to what God has done. We simply cant expect people to grasp truly the idea of sin until they are grasped by God who has redeemed them from it.


Mike Bull said...

I think we assume to much and too little about the ancients. We assume that men had an innate sense of good and evil, and also that the world was ignorant of the Laws of God before Christ. See "Did Plato Read Moses."


Mike W said...

hi mike, sorry I might have misrepresented Barth a bit here with the use of the word 'prior'. He is having a go at the idea that someone could 'fully' grasp the extent of the sinfulness of humanity (and the extent of God's grace to that sinful humanity) outside of the call of the gospel on that persons life. Sin isn't something you can abstractly posit without involving yourself, and Barth will go on to say that only the one who has been grasped by Christ and his redemption is open to understanding the depths of sinfulness.

Fair point though, one of the questions that keeps coming up whenever the christological stuff is pushed hard is...hmm hows about that Israel