Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Barth on Evil

Since several who are also reading up on Barth right now have already posted, I felt compelled by the peer pressure to toss in my two cents. Ok, so that's not exactly the case but I thought I would pass on a quote or two that particularly stood out. I've been reading John Webster's introduction Barth: Outstanding Christian Thinkers (recommended by Barth fan Ben Myers on the reading list on his blog) and am just about finished (I know, I know... finally I've finished something other than Driscoll and Clancy). The book is pictured at the right and despite the fact that the latest cover makes it look like a kid's book, it's been a good read. Don't misunderstand me, I don't claim to understand all that Webster's saying (let alone what Barth says) but it has served as a helpful intro in view of my lacuna with reference to neo-orthodoxy. Regardless of what you may think of Barth, he definitely has some great things to say at times. I liken Barth to a Glock pistol. For the non-shooters out there, glocks are double-action only and have a 5.5lb trigger pull. The result is that most people shoot them and either love them or hate them; there's no in between. Likewise with Barth (at least for me so far)...you read something he's said and either love it or hate it. Granted, on occasion, there may be an additional category (i.e. you just don't plain understand it), but I think the comparison fits. Anyway, Barth seems to be the only person I'm aware of that places a greater emphasis on Freedom and Sovereignty that Scott Logan (perhaps there's a connection there somewhere :-0) and I find it quite refreshing. I thought the following words on the problem of evil were excellent:

"From the act of atonement that has taken place in Jesus Christ, it is clear that in evil we do not have to do with a reality and power which have escaped the will and work of God, let alone with something that is sovereign and superior in relation to it. Whatever evil is, God is it's Lord."
- (IV/1 p. 408 as cited in Webster,
Barth, p. 125)

I LOVE IT!!! however, you want to define evil, metaphysically or ontologically or however else you want of speak of it...whatever else you want to say about the the nature and existence of evil in this world -- it does not, cannot escape the dominion of Jesus. God IS it's Lord!


robertlhall said...

Awesome!! I really feel that the problem of evil is best answered in the cross. Thanks Nate

smlogan said...

that is such a sweet quote...
sorry to hear that he trumped me on sovereignty and freedom; i am shamed and silenced.

i'm enjoying busch's work, and certainly feel that barth has been given everything but a fair read by fundamentalists. there are some points of contention for sure, but that is the case with almost any author - and barth is no different. but, much of what he has to say is soundly orthodox.
and a blessing at that...
wouldn't you agree?

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