Thursday, December 5, 2013

Starting with God

Well, it has certainly been a long time since I have blogged anything, either here or here.  Having gone back to school to pursue my Master's in Theology and Culture at Northwest University in Kirkland, WA, I have not even had much time to think, much less read Barth, much less write about him.  But going back to school itself is actually related to my desire to link Pentecostalism and Barth in my own life and ministry, and possibly in the thinking, reading, and praying of others.

All that having been said, I have been re-reading Barth's Dogmatics in Outline these days as a mental break from paper writing and Greek homework.  Today I came across this classic Barthian thought:

"The mystery of creation on the Christian interpretation is not primarily - as the fools think in their heart - the problem whether there is a God as the originator of the world; for in the Christian sense it cannot be that first of all we presuppose the reality of the world and then ask whether there is also a God.  But the first thing, the thing we begin with, is God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  And from that standpoint the great Christian problem is propounded, whether it can really be the case that God wishes to be not only for Himself, but that outside Him there is the world, that we exist alongside and outside Him?  That is a riddle." (p.53)
 Classic Barth.  No room for apologetics.  No room for the question, Is there a God?  As in all Barth's thought, the unavoidable presupposition (not conclusion!) is the triune God - Father, Son and Spirit.  Does creation exist?  Do I exist?  Do you exist?  These are valid questions, but not the question, Is there a God?  The God we meet in Christ is the Great Presupposition which we know because of revelation.  And because of this Great Presupposition, we also know that creation and we ourselves are real too.  How do we know that?  The incarnation.  "Because God has become man, the existence of creation can no longer be doubted" (p.53).

What do you think?  Is Barth's confidence in God's existence and the unquestionableness of the divine revelation overstated?  Mis-stated?  Or profoundly right on target?

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