Welcome to The Karl Barth Society of Amherst, Massachusetts - a local chapter of the The Karl Barth Society of North America. This site is maintained by Chris TerryNelson. Please let me know how I can make this page a better resource for you. Email me, view my profile. You can also visit my new personal website, Disruptive Grace.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A quote from today's reading

In The Speech of God as the Mystery of God, on p. 168, Barth says the following, which made quite the impression on us tonight, and coincides nicely with what he has to say about "Secular Parables of the Truth" in CD IV/3:
"One is not to think of the secularity of the Word of God as a kind of fatal accident or an inconvenience which will some day be set aside either totally or at least in part. This secularity, this twofold indirectness, is in fact an authentic and inalienable attribute of the Word of God itself. Revelation means the incarnation of the Word of God. But incarnation means entry into this secularity. We are in this world and are through and through secular. If God did not speak to us in secular form, He would not speak to us at all. To evade the secularity of His Word is to evade Christ. Even though it dawns on us for the first time what is meant by the fact that we are flesh and therefore not God, that we have no organ or capacity for God, that we are in enmity against Him and powerless to be obedient to Him, nevertheless, what seems in the first instance an absurd obstacle that God Himself has put in the way is in fact His real way to us, and consequently a necessary way and a good way. It is not as though we could see why it can and must be so. We are not above God or ourselves. Hence the only sentence we can pronounce on the necessity and goodness of the relation in which God has set Himself to us is one that seeks to reproduce the actuality of this relation. But we have nothing else to reproduce, and therefore we must repeat the fact that just as surely as God enters into relation with us through His Word, so surely His Word must be as it is, i.e., secular, a Word spoken in twofold indirectness. It is not, then, that God was concealed from us by some unfortunate disturbance and that He revealed Himself by removing the concealment. If this were so, the attempts of man to help God by forcing his own way into the mystery would be understandable and excusable if not actually necessary. This truth is, however, that God veils HImself and that in so doing - this is why we must not try to intrude into the mystery - He unveils Himself. It is good for us that God acts as He does and it could only be fatal for us if He did not, if He were manifest to us in the way we think right, directly and without veil, without secularity or only the innocuous secularity that can be pierced by the analogia entis. It would not be love and mercy but the end of us and all things if the Word were spoken to us thus. The fact that it is spoken as it is, revealing its concealment, is a decisive indication of the truth that it has really come to us instead of our having to go to it, an attempt in which we could only fail. In its very secularity it is thus in every respect a Word of grace.


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