Saturday, January 28, 2012

Natural theology? (Daniel Kirk/Barth)

Daniel Kirk is reading Barth, and here is what he (Kirk) has to say about natural theology. (Click here for the entire post by Kirk).
And that’s at the heart of Barth’s point: God of Israel.
In order for God to be known, God must be known as God has bound himself to a particular people and a particular act of salvation. There is no idea of “God in general,” no abstracted knowledge of what a god is like that is simply true of our God because it’s true of some hypothetical being. God is known as God truly is, and that is tied to a particular revelation.
The God whom the Psalmists know is the God of Israel, the Lord of the Exodus and of the wandering in the wilderness, the Giver of the Law, the Hope of David, His wisdom , His power, His goodness, His righteousness, originally and conclusively this God alone. (Dogmatics §26.1, p. 109)
To me, the most interesting moments in this section were Barth’s wrestling matches with the apparent biblical counter-evidence.
Why does Acts 17 not establish the viability and significance of the “point of contact” for reaching new people? Because it is when he brings in the identity of the unknown God as the one who has raised Jesus and will judge the world–i.e., what is revealed of God in Christ–that Paul is mocked and rejected. Is this really an invitation to hold onto “in roads” for the gospel where people are ignorant in their so-called “knowledge”?
There are unanswered exegetical questions, but in this section we see the genius and consistency of Barth as he demands that the revelation of God always be a true disclosing of the true God–something unavailable to fallen human beings unless it come to us by grace.
Natural theology? No. Only theology of the revelation of God in Christ.
Do you agree with Daniel Kirk?

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