Theology of Revelation 2

This is Part 2 of our current series continuing on Karl Barth and Analogia Entis

The correspondence between creator and creature is still measured by the mediation of Christ and His infinite ability to fulfill our humanity, and stand completely outside us, while in our midst. When we talk about revelation, it has to be in and through Christ. Barth says that whatever existential restlessness we may have the theological answer has no relation to humanity’s philosophical questions.

However, if this is the case, if we must be caught up by grace to feel this restlessness in the first place, that just means that pneumatically the spirit moves in and through all creation causing questions to be raised that are brought into the fullness of revelation.

Barth rejected this because he assumed that Christ would look more like a fulfillment of some natural universal expectation instead of a surprise and shock. Yet, he’s assuming truth functions in a Kantian sense and should establish and correlate to assumed universals. He’s still working in and with the very framework he rejects. We cannot forget that the personalism of Christ necessitates that we conceive the work of the spirit as well.

When we speak of God, if Christ is truly our logos and draws us up into the inner-Trinitarian life, then our Logos, our Reason and our Imagination is none other than Christ and His Spirit. The Spirit of Creation has shown clearly to the world that there is a Creator, but this does not mean there’s some general knowledge or inclination, we don’t have to know concretely what this clear evidence is, only that it exists. We’re not told what it is, only that out of neglect the nations have been given over to idolatry.

Connecting revelation too readily to some form of knowledge might in fact undo revelation as such by ossifying our assumptions. We might not need to have a clear proof that the natural world is the evidence, we need to know only that there is some evidence that is in our world that shows us evidence of something. (I’d like to suggest in light of Hans Urs Von Balthasar that this evidence is in fact Love.)

There has to exist a relationality between creature and creator even in the infinite qualitative difference. When we think of the incarnation we see two natures united, if this is in fact the truth of things, we must think in and with this event. The analogia entis is an acceptable idea when it is Trinitarianly conceived and Christocentrically fashioned. When we see that humanity is being drawn towards the eschatological vision. Apart from implicit faith, it will not succeed and fall into the trap of being an idol factory as Barth accused it of.

We have the anticipation of Love, even if we do not have a logical anticipation of God, when we encounter God in the glory of absolute Love via the cross, is our own failure to love. We see that we have failed to truly understand what love is, but we also see that we have anticipated what true love is, and that this love can only be tied to the aesthetic term ‘Glory’ in order to properly receive its due as wholly in our midst and as wholly-other. This anticipation however, does not allow for identity with the shadow of itself without a radical conversion, a full recognition of the failures of love, and the beginning of learning what love really is after all.

It is a Love that transcends love, but one we can see and know because of its self interpretation to us. Without some prior anticipation of this love the sign would be opaque, non-sensical and absurd, as Paul rightly says people accuse the sign of the cross of being. It is foolishness unto some, but the power of God unto salvation for others.

Humanity possesses an anticipation of this, but not in an inherent faculty of reason or some rule of logical apprehension of the divine, he can anticipate this revelation only as gift, because love when it is true can only be from the outside, conceived as a gift.

Revelation in Christ is the gift we have anticipated in our experiences of love, but is fulfilled despite our meager understanding in the fullness of the meaning of Love, in the sign of the cross. Thus the gap between natural knowledge is retained without doing violence to revelation as such.

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2 thoughts on “Theology of Revelation 2

  1. Hey, Eli. Just wanted to know I’ve been reading and enjoying your wrestle with Barth! His theology always seemed such an interesting blend of orthodoxy and liberalism, such that both the liberals and fundamentalists tend to dislike him (or worse!)

    You bring some interesting and fresh criticism to him, stuff I’d never considered before. I was able to “grok” a lot before I got word/concept overload! 🙂 🙂

    Whatever we can say about the man’s theology, I’m sure you’d agree he had an amazing, courageous heart, and a heart that was in protest against the liberalization and secularization of Christianity and the church.

    I mean, look at his 1914 “Manifesto of the Ninety-Three German Intellectuals to the Civilized World,” his seminal The Epistle to the Romans where he argued that the God who is revealed in the cross of Jesus refutes all attempts to ally God with human cultures, achievements, or possessions. And then the Barmen Declaration, which—holy cow—he personally sent to Hitler!

    This man was the real deal, every bit as much as a Bonhoeffer, in my book, and though you are bringing some great criticism to weaknesses (or overcompensations) in his theological ideas, he still stands a giant among moral and spiritual midgets who has not the tenth of his courage and conviction. (I have no doubt of your admiration of the man; I just am expressing my own.)

    Great stuff. Keep of the good work.


    • Barth demands all my attention, and I have profound respect for him. He changed my worldview, it was in Barth that I discovered faith matters beyond the bounds of my soul.

      Barth is the thing that took me over the edge, and into radical orthodoxy. I’m glad you’re enjoying my work on Barth. I love wrestling with Barth, the man was a giant, spiritually, academically, and lovingly.

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