And while there is much that is superb in thefourth volume, so that Torrance even says it is “the most powerful work onthe doctrine of atoning reconciliation ever written,”
Torrance’s observa-tion at least shows that it is important to see
II/1 and II/2 together asexpressing Barth’s understanding of the doctrine of God.
I. Barth’s Later Position on the Divine Freedom
Let me begin my analysis by observing that in the years just before hisdeath in 1968 and thus long after he had written
II/2, Barth was askedabout his depiction of the divine freedom in
I/1 as recorded in GeorgeHunsinger’s summary of the second of two collections of nearly 1,000pages of recorded interviews and conversations with Barth.
An interviewerwondered if Barth would “still endorse what he had written back in 1932in the first volume of his dogmatics,” namely, that
God would not be any the less God if he had created no world and no human being. Theexistence of the world and our existence are in no sense necessary to God’s essential being, noteven as the object of his love […] God is not at all lonely even without the world and us. His lovehas its object in himself.
Barth replied: “‘Splendid, isn’t it!’ (p. 286)”. According to Hunsinger,Barth distinguished the doctrines of reconciliation, election and the Trinity“by ranking them”.
Election, he stated, was always election to reconciliation – that is, to justification, sanctifi-cation, and vocation. Therefore, everything in the doctrine of reconciliation was but an explica-tion of the doctrine of election. In turn, the doctrine of election was grounded in somethingbeyond itself. ‘And behind the doctrine of election stands the doctrine of the Trinity. That is theorder. The doctrine of the Trinity, election and then sanctification, etc.’ (p. 293).
Paul D. Molnar200
Dogmatics […] That second volume of
surely ranks with Athanasius,
, St. Thomas,
, and Calvin,
,as a supremely great work of Christian Theology.”
(see above, n. 4), 133.
(see above, n. 4), 133.
1964–1968, ed.Eberhard Busch (Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1997)cited in George
Conversational Theology: The Wit and Wisdom of Karl Barth
,published at the
Center for Barth Studies
, http://www.ptsem.edu/grow/barth/Conversational%20Theology.htm, 7.
See also Barth’s important statement that “the true and living God is gracious. He transcendsHimself. He discloses Himself.
He does this first in Himself, and then and on this basis to manin His eternal election and its temporal and historical fulfilment
, 4 vols. in 13 pts. (hereafter:
and referred to in text). Vol. IV, pt. 3, First Half:
TheDoctrine of Reconciliation
, transl. by G. W.
, ed. by T. F.
T. & T. Clark, 1976), 81, emphasis mine. This statement clearly underscores the order
mention-ed here in this interview.
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