Chapter One

Barth's Doctrine of the Trinity


Our purpose in this first chapter is to present Barth's doctrine of the Trinity. We begin our study of economic and political life with the doctrine of the Trinity for two major reasons. First, and most importantly, our fundamental question on how the state should act in economic affairs has its basis in the relation of creation and reconciliation, and this in turn has its basis in God's inner triune life. The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of our study. All our results will be derived from the doctrine of the Trinity, and therefore, we begin there. Secondly, Barth did not address the issue of political responsibility for economic life in the manner we have proposed. We shall derive results not directly envisioned by Barth. If we wish to remain true to the essence of his theology, we cannot simply proof-text his works but must grasp the essential intelligibility of the whole of his thought. Barth's theology is quite complex, but two doctrines stand at the heart of his theological enterprise--his Christology and his doctrine of the Trinity. These two doctrines are related in varied and intricate ways, but we may summarize their relation by saying that God reveals himself only in Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ he always reveals himself as triune. That God reveals himself only in Jesus Christ refers to the well known fact that Barth's theology is a Christocentric theology, and it entails a rejection of natural theology. All Barth's theological doctrines, including his anthropology, have their basis and content in God's revelation in Jesus Christ. From this it follows that the content of his doctrine of the Trinity has its basis in Jesus Christ as well, and we shall observe this as we proceed. In revealing himself in Jesus Christ, however, God always reveals himself as triune. Barth discerns God's triune nature by passing from God in his acts, the content of his acts being Jesus Christ, to God in himself. This is a movement from below to above and it results in a doctrine of the Trinity. This implies that God in himself, immanent Trinity, is as he is in his acts, economic Trinity. Once Barth has arrived at a doctrine of the Trinity, he then works from above to below. The structure of the Church Dogmatics, its one doctrine of election followed by God's three-fold acts of creation, reconciliation, and redemption, is reflective of the Triune relations. We shall observe that the structure of Barth's thought, its inter-related intelligibility, the manifold ways in which various doctrines are ordered and related, has its basis in God's triune nature. Structurally, the doctrine of the Trinity is at the apex, and the direction is downward, in that every other doctrine is connected from above to the dynamic inner triune relations of the God who is One in Three.(1) Barth expresses it at one point as follows: "Only by proceeding downwards from the triune existence of God can we understand how God stands before us, how in His revelation He gives Himself to be known and is known by us."(2) Therefore, if we are to extend Barth's thought, we must understand his doctrine of the Trinity and its significance for the whole of his thought, and that will be the primary task of this first chapter.

The intelligiblity of Barth's thought can be grasped from another direction as well. His thought can be understood as the result of his methodology, which in turn reflects his theological epistemology. Matters of epistemology and methodology belong, in Barth's view, to dogmatic prolegomena. The task of prolegomena is to "give an explicit account of the particular way of knowledge taken in dogmatics, or, as we might also say, of the particular point from which we are to look, think, and judge in dogmatics."(3) Unlike virtually any other theologian, Barth placed his doctrine of the Trinity in the prolegomena of his dogmatics.(4) He did this for a variety of reasons. Chief among them was his belief that his theology required an epistemology and a method based on a doctrine of the Trinity. Once the path to knowledge had been established through a doctrine of the Trinity, he felt that he was on safe methodological and epistemological grounds in developing his subsequent doctrines. All of these subsequent doctrines reflect the fact that God reveals himself only in Jesus Christ, and that he does so in a triune manner. Furthermore, Barth arrived at the belief that a doctrine of the Trinity was crucial for epistemology and methodology through his encounter with the prevailing theological perspectives of his day, which was liberalism. Initially, he accepted the liberal theological program. He then rejected this theological perspective, but he was not able to initiate his own theological program until he had derived a suitable epistemology. This was precipitated by his reading of Anselm. The evolution of his thought can be viewed as a wrestling with the character of revelation, the epistemology of revelation, and the outcome of this struggle was a doctrine of the Trinity which itself reflected the major turning points of this thought.

In light of the foregoing, the order for this chapter is as follows. First, we shall begin by recapitulating the major conceptual turning points of Barth's thought as these lead at once to his doctrine of the Trinity. Then we shall present his doctrine of the Trinity. As we do so, we shall demonstrate how Barth moves from God in his revelation to God in himself, and then from above to below. Since we are interested in how the Triune God acts in the world, and how God relates economic and political life, we must be able to follow Barth as he moves from God in himself to God in his actions in life. This requires an introduction to his doctrine of analogy. As God acts in the world his actions take a three-in-one form analogous to the inner-triune relations. Barth places the oneness first, and the unity of all God's actions hinges upon his choice of Jesus Christ and with him the whole of humanity. Therefore, Barth's doctrine of election is prior to creation and reconciliation. We must speak of election prior to speaking of creation and reconciliation in order to discern the fundamental unity and goal of these acts, and therefore the goal of acting politically in economic affairs. Without an emphasis on God's oneness and his one goal, election, creation, and reconciliation fall apart, and the state's political life will not have the correct relation to economic affairs. Finally, and this is important for our economic analysis of the final chapter, we shall observe that Barth's doctrine of the Trinity is bound up with the character of God's acts as taking a social and historical form. As God acts he acts as a social being, as Three-in-One, and his actions create history. History and social life are important categories for us, they are the primary concepts for our thesis that economic life has its basis in social history. Therefore, in this first chapter, we shall present aspects of Barth's understanding of history, God's social nature, and their relation to Trinity.

Barth's Encounter with Kant: Liberalism, Its Rejection, and Anselm

Our task in this section is to present the major turning points of Barth's theological development as they lead at once to his doctrine of the Trinity. We shall restrict ourselves to conceptual developments. Political and social events were very important in transforming Barth's theological world, and his triune perspective was intimately connected with his politics. We will mention a few instances of this, but if we want to address the matter conceptually, we may best do so by investigating how Barth came to terms with Kant. Kant, in Barth's view, set the agenda for nineteenth century theology.(5) Kant established certain theological and conceptual alternatives, and theology's differing choices within these diverse alternatives gave rise to the differing streams of nineteenth century theology. Kant was, in Barth's words, the "dictator"(6) of nineteenth century theology, in that the differing choices were made within the limits he had proposed. Barth, born in 1886, inherited nineteenth century theology. He could advance theologically only by wrestling with, modifying, or overcoming that tradition (Schleiermacher above all), and this entailed his coming to terms with Kant.(7) Barth encountered Kant in three stages: an acceptance of Kant and the major theological adaptation to Kant, liberal theology; then a rejection of liberal theology, but not a rejection of Kant; and finally Kant was overcome through the influence of Anselm. We will begin by presenting aspects of Barth's understanding of Kant as this will help us to understand aspects of his doctrine of the Trinity. Much of this discussion is taken from Barth's book on nineteenth century theology.

Kant set the agenda for nineteenth century theology by demanding that God be treated as a noumenon. Noumena, in contrast to phenomena, are beyond cognition--the categories of thought, such as location in space and time, do not apply to them. God, being a noumenon, cannot be conceived; He is beyond conception, and the language ordinarily applied to phenomena does not apply to Him.(8) Several consequences follow at once from this. First, Kant rejected the cosmological proof of the existence of God. One cannot pass from the world known under the categories of space and time to God, and thereby analogously know God by means of spatial/temporal concepts. Secondly, one cannot go from God to the world. God cannot be conceived as a being who reveals Himself in the world, or acts in it. Events in the world are recognized and conceived by the categories of the understanding, and these categories do not apply to God. Barth quotes Kant at this point, "'For if God really spoke to man, he would never be able to know that it was in fact God who was speaking to him. It is an utterly impossible demand that man should grasp the Infinite One by means of his senses, distinguish him from sensory beings, and perceive him thereby.'"(9)

Barth was raised in the Reformed tradition, and Scripture played a central role in his Christian formation. Scripture describes God as one who speaks to people and acts concretely in the world at specific times and places. According to Kant, the concrete, specific language, the language of the Bible, cannot be considered as descriptive of God since Scripture uses language employing the categories of the understanding which cannot apply to God. This language, and its associated theological ideas, belong to an outer core of accidental, historical facts. This outer core surrounds an inner core of theological statements that one can derive from reason. Although Kant rejected the cosmological proof of the existence of God, he did hold to a moral "proof" in that he believed in God as the presupposition of moral norms and acts, and this God was thought to be common to all historical religions as their inner core. Historical religions, however, including the religion of Scripture, added an historical accretion to this inner core composed of statements describing God as one who speaks and acts within space and time. This outer core could not be accepted philosophically, and was valid only for those who accepted its tenets because they lived within the stream of their religion's historical influence.(10) Therefore, neither in Himself nor in His acts, can God be conceived as One who takes responsibility for others in economic affairs, responsibility being understood as acting specifically in definite times and places. Nor can the biblical revelation be understood as revealing an active, responsible God, unless one fails to appreciate the fact that the Infinite cannot be known by the finite understanding. There is no conceivable linkage between God and humanity which entails such concepts as responsibility, service, and active love, where these terms denote specific concrete action. We must now consider how theology responded to Kant, and how that shaped Barth's early theological development.


Schleiermacher, the father of liberal theology, was the first great theologian to reckon with Kant. In Barth's view, Schleiermacher modified Kant but accepted Kant's presuppositions. Schleiermacher maintained that all language, including theological statements, must utilize the categories of the understanding--language is inevitably spatial and temporal. Since, however, God is a noumenon, He cannot be the object of thought or linguistically described. Therefore theological statements do not properly refer to God, but, for Schleiermacher, they refer directly only to the human feeling of absolute dependence. The variety of theological statements originates in the variations of the feeling of absolute dependence. The feeling of absolute dependence is an element of human consciousness. It is the feeling that all being hangs upon some "Whence" which cannot be experienced or known directly. It is not, however, logically necessary to make the feeling of absolute dependence the locus for theological statements as did Schleiermacher. One could choose, rather, highly esteemed aspects of reality, such as the German culture, the unconscious, or the Kingdom of "God" in history. In Barth's view, the essential aspect of liberal theology is that it makes the object of theological statements an element of the created world.(11) Initially, Barth accepted Schleiermacher's program and the essentials of liberal theology. For example, while Barth was a young pastor in Safenvil, he virtually equated the kingdom of God with the workers' struggle for social and economic justice.(12) Barth was eventually to abandon his initial liberalism. He came to believe that it was fatal, both for theology and for the Church's role in society, to open the door to considering theological language as description of a mundane reality apart from God's act in space and time. If theology, or any religious conception, was ultimately a description of a worldly reality, and not of God who may reveal himself in a worldly event, but only concretely in space and time and according to his freedom, then theology and the Church tacitly accepted that reality in place of God as the object of religious knowing and devotion. Such a procedure is, in Barth's view, heresy.(13) Barth advances this critique throughout the Church Dogmatics, and the resolution of the matter is what Barth believes separates his theological enterprise from his liberal opponents. Consider the following statement:
We regard this modernist faith as also Christian to the extent that the being of the Church implies in fact a determination of human reality. But we cannot regard it as Christian to the extent that it interprets the possibility of this reality as a human possibility, to the extent that it fails to recognize that this determination of human reality derives and is to be considered only from outside all human possibili ties, i.e. from the acting God Himself, . . . (14)
The idea that theological statements refer to a human reality had, in Barth's view, disastrous consequences, not only for theology, but for the whole life of the Church and ultimately for society as well. We will examine some of the theological consequences at the appropriate points. The disastrous social consequences followed from the fact that the Church, influenced by liberal theology, was no longer able to exercise a prophetic role within society. When theology tacitly identified society, or the leading spirits of the society, with God, it lost its prophetic voice because it was no longer able to conceive of a God who could stand in radical judgment against society, even against its highest and best expressions. The awareness of this fact came home to Barth during World War One.

The Epistle to the Romans and the Break with Liberalism

With the advent of World War One Barth was horrified to discover that his liberal mentors failed to oppose the Kaiser's war policy. At that time he felt utterly bereft, and "a whole world of exegesis, ethics, dogmatics, and preaching, which I had hitherto held to be essentially trustworthy, was shaken to the foundations, and with it, all the writings of the German theologians."(15) Barth began to see a direct connection between liberal theology and the capitulation of the liberal theologians whose theology, given its anthropological basis, prevented them from discerning a Word of God contrary to that given by their nation and culture.(16) The devastations of World War One, and the need to find a prophetic point of view, convinced Barth that theology must free itself from its cultural and anthropological presuppositions, since human reality, given its grim martial visage, could in no way reflect or mirror the reality of God. As these reflection were taking place, Barth, partly because of the necessity of preaching each Sunday, became aware of what he then called "the strange new world of the Bible." Barth's study of Scripture led him to believe that the theme of Scripture was not the evolution of the human spirit, or culture, or human progress, but rather God' thoughts and actions.(17) Nevertheless, Barth was not able to formulate any effective conception of an "act of God" since he still held his Kantian presuppositions. Nor had he really broken out of the liberal school of biblical exegesis. As early as 1914 he had recognized that "The 'history of religion' school had shown that supernatural factors such as revelation and miracle cannot be established historically, with the consequence that 'God disappeared out of history' and both faith and dogmatics, insofar as they tried to base themselves on anything historical, lost their object."(18) As these reflections were taking place he encountered the Blumhardt's. The Blumhardts, father and son, after witnessing a miracle of exorcism, began a ministry of healing which eventually opened out on the eschatological hope that God would heal not only individuals, but the whole of society as well. The nub of their hope was concrete acts of God in which God acted upon the world at specific times and places to effect His salvation. These experiences with their eschatological expectation of God's action fortified Barth's growing conviction that the Church and theology must concern itself positively with God, His actions, and revelation. After a few false starts Barth formulated his nascent theological ideas in his epoch-making 1922 edition of The Epistle to the Romans. Barth's Romerbrief ushered in a new theological era, catapulted Barth into the theological limelight, and secured him a post teaching theology. He remained a professor of theology for the rest of his life.

The basic idea of Barth's Epistle to the Romans is quite simple: God in no way can be known by virtue of created realities, nor can He be identified with any of them. He is totally inaccessible, remote, and ultimately indescribable. The key principle of his exegesis of Romans was "limited to a recognition of what Kierkegaard called the 'infinite qualitative distinction' between time and eternity, and to my regarding this as possessing negative as well as positive significance: 'God is in heaven and thou art on earth.'"(19)

It is obvious that Barth's view of God as portrayed in his Epistle to the Romans resembled Kant's understanding of God as a noumena. In fact, the 1922 edition of the Romerbrief was preceded by a deeper reading of Kant.(20) Since Kant had not been overcome, Barth still could not get away from understanding God as a noumenon. If God could be considered only as a noumenon, and if he could not be identified or analogously known through any worldly reality, then, in actual content, nothing could be known concerning God at all. The result was an extreme sense of God's transcendence, and the use of a dialectical method in an attempt to express the inexpressable. An example of his dialectical approach is the statement, perhaps the most quoted from the Romerbrief, that "In the resurrection the new world of the Holy Spirit touches the old world of the flesh, but touches it as a tangent touches a circle, that is without touching it."(21) Fundamentally and basically the Epistle to the Romans was flawed; it failed to do justice to the Incarnation because Barth had no way of formulating how God could act specifically in a particular time and place. Barth was later to say of it:
Then, in face of the prevailing historism and psychologism which had ceased to be aware at all of any revelation other than an inner mundane one within common time, the book had a definite antiseptic task and significance. Readers of it today will not fail to appreciate that in it Jn. 1:14 does not have justice done to it.(22)
Nevertheless, one basic theme emerged in Barth's Epistle to the Romans, a theme which is fundamental to the whole of Barth's mature theology--the belief that God is absolutely transcendent.(23) He possesses complete noetic and ontic freedom in the sense that, apart from his own act within space and time, he is not analogous to any created reality, nor can He be grasped or known by any created reality by its own power. In the words of the mature Barth:
But behind this noetic absoluteness of God there stands decisively his ontic. This is decisive because in God's revelation it is really a question of His ontic absoluteness, from which His noetic absoluteness inevitably follows. God's freedom in relation to all that is not God signifies that He is distinct from everything, that He is self- sufficient and independent in relation to it, and that He is so in a peculiar and pre-eminent fashion--as no created thing confronts any other.(24)
Barth was, however, to modify his understanding of God's transcendence; in fact, he was to deepen it, before he was to reach his final theological construction. We must turn now to that modification.

Anselm and the Overcoming of Kant

If one were to summarize Barth's theological development as a whole, it can be seen to take place in two movements. First, there is the move toward transcendence. In Barth's mature theology God's transcendence and hiddenness is still maintained as an aspect or mode of God. In that sense Barth still accepted Kant in that he believed that God in one mode was totally inconceivable. Secondly, Barth denied Kant by asserting that God reveals Himself in specific concrete events. God enters space and time, He is known by the categories of understanding, and finally, He is known only in this fashion. Barth called the event by which God reveals himself in space and time the Word of God. God reveals himself by His Word and only by His Word. Barth's theology, as a whole, can be understood as a theology of the Word of God in which God's transcendence is preserved as one mode of God's being. Barth' second theological move, the move toward concreteness was precipitated by Barth's reading of Anselm. The results of Barth's study of Anselm were written up in his book entitled Anselm: fides quaerens intellectum. This book is pivotal for understanding the evolution of Barth's thought, and Barth once said of it: "Most commentators have completely failed to see that this Anselm book is a vital key, if not the key, to understanding the process of thought that has impressed me more and more in my Kirchliche Dogmatik (ET Church Dogmatics) as the only one proper for theology."(25) As a result of his study of Anselm, Barth basically adopted Anselm's epistemology and with it he was able to arrive at a doctrine of the Word of God. We will now present certain features of Barth's understanding of Anselm.

According to Anselm, one begins theologizing upon the basis of an accepted Credo, which for Barth in his Reformed tradition, is Scripture. This Credo is accepted in faith. The theologian's aim is to understand the underlying intelligibility of the Credo which is then formulated in theological statements. Ultimately, however, the theologian is not seeking to understand the intelligiblity of Scripture alone, but the intelligibility of God who reveals himself in Scripture. But this is impossible, for neither Scripture nor the world in general can give knowledge of God since God in himself, according to Anselm, is utterly inaccessible. "Anselm interprets the plight of man in his failure to know God, a plight which even the believer shares, as being due to the fact that he is involved in the remoteness of God from a humanity that is sinful by inheritance. This remoteness is clearly an objective remoteness of God himself--God is absent, he dwells in light unapproachable."(26) Anselm begins with God's remoteness. Furthermore, this remoteness cannot be breached--in himself, God is unknowable. In other words, Anselm does not present a proof according to reason of the existence of God. The final lines of Barth's book on Anselm are as follows: "That Anselm's Proof for the Existence of God has repeatedly been called the 'Ontological' Proof of God, that commentators have refused to see that it is a different book altogether from the well-known teaching of Descartes and Leibniz, that anyone could seriously think that it is even remotely affected by what Kant put forward against these doctrines--all that is so much nonsense on which no more words ought to be wasted."(27) Although Anselm begins with God's remoteness, a remoteness similar to that of the Romerbrief, he does not stop there. The theologian pores over Scripture in the hope that God will reveal his very Self through the Scriptural medium. That this may occur is not, in the first instance, the Scriptural medium. That this may occur is not, in the first instance, due to any inherent power of the biblical words. The Scriptures, like any other created reality, cannot reveal God. If God does reveal his very Self it will be an act of grace. Therefore Anselm begins with prayer. Anselm prays because he knows that he cannot know God unless God takes form within the written word. "What is at stake here is not just the right way to seek God, but in addition God's presence, on which the whole grace of Christian knowledge primarily depends, the encounter with him which can never be brought about by all our searching for God however thorough it may be, although it is only to the man who seeks God with a pure heart that this encounter comes."(28) When God reveals himself he does so by taking form within the written Word. This is an event; it happens from time to time. In the moment of speaking, God reveals the Word hidden in Scripture. As the theologian hears this Word, he grasps the underlying intelligibility of Scripture and formulates it in theological statements. These statements speak of God, but not in a positivist fashion. They speak of God as glimpsed in the revelation of Himself, and God is not identical with the text in a straightforward fashion. The statements themselves are comprehensible only when they are also illumined by God as revelatory words. In this way real knowledge of God occurs, a knowledge which depends in the final analysis on God's grace. Without grace, Scripture is silent. The knowledge of God and the faith to believe it "does not come about without something new encountering us and happening to us from the outside . . . The seed to be received is the 'Word of God' that is preached and heard; and that it comes to us and that we have the rectitudo volendi to receive it, is grace."(29) In short, Anselm proposed a doctrine of revelation which depended upon God's act, an event in which God took form within the spatial and temporal experience of the believer to reveal his very Self. By adopting this epistemology Barth was able to overcome Kant and launch the final phase of his theological development.(30)

We are now in a position to present Barth's doctrine of the Trinity. In short, Barth associates God in his inconceivable transcendence with God the Father, God in the event of taking form in space and time is God the Son, and God enabling his people to experience subjectively his presence in space and time is God the Holy Spirit. Before describing these matters in greater detail, however, we shall briefly indicate the context in which Barth does theology, particularly as its relates to his theological method.

The Context of Barth's Theology

Barth is a Reformation theologian, especially influenced by Calvin and the Reformed tradition. His Credo is Scripture. His theology, first and foremost, derives from Scripture.(31) His aim, and here we are reminded of Anselm, is to express conceptually the intelligibility of the biblical revelation. The theologian's work, however, takes place in a specific context. That context is the Church in the world. This is why Barth entitles this chief theological work The Church Dogmatics. The task of the Church in the world is to follow Jesus Christ. For Barth, Jesus Christ is normatively revealed only in Scripture. Scripture is the norm of the Church. The primary work of the Church as it follows Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture is its work of proclamation.(32) Proclamation is the witness of the Church. The aim and hope of this witness is that the Holy Spirit will so enliven the Church's words and deeds that they will reveal God as known in Jesus Christ.(33) Barth describes the event in which God reveals himself through human words or other events as the Word of God. As we shall subsequently see, the Word of God is the specific event of revelation in which God directly and concretely addresses people. When God speaks, he always speaks to people in their concrete circumstances in history. Therefore, Church proclamation must not only know Christ as revealed in Scripture, but must be aware of and involved in the historical events and issues of its day. It does all of these things in the hope that God will use its witness to reveal Himself in Jesus Christ as the saving, liberating God. Theology has a more modest hope and goal. Its aim is to serve the Church in its task of proclamation. It does so by measuring the Church's proclamation against the Church's norm which is Scripture. "Dogmatics is the critical question about Dogma, i.e. about the Word of God in Church proclamation, or, concretely, about the agreement of the Church proclamation done and to be done by man with the revelation attested in Scripture."(34) Theology serves the Church by rigorously attending to the Church's norm. The theologian begins by intensely studying Scripture. Its study of Scripture is aided by past dogmatic formulations, the creeds, and by the history of the church in all times and places. Theology must also address the specific circumstances of people, the issues of their personal lives, and the broader social and economic issues of the day. This follows from the fact that the Word of God is specific, concrete, and particular,(35) and proclamation must follow the Word as directed at specific historical circumstances. Theology can carry out its task of serving proclamation only if it is involved in these matters as well. Therefore, theology possesses three norms: first, there is Scripture, then previous theological work summarized in previous creeds and confessions, and finally it must consider the actual historical situation in which the Church finds itself.(36) With respect to the third norm Barth comments: "What we understand by it is as follows: that in its testing of Church proclamation dogmatics must orientate itself to the actual situation in the light of which the message of the Church must be expressed, to its position and task in face of the special circumstances of contemporary society, i.e. to the Word of God as it is spoken by Him, and must be proclaimed by the Church in the present."(37) Given this third norm, we shall, in the final chapter, integrate our Barthian results with one aspect of contemporary life.

Barth's Doctrine of the Trinity

The character of revelation as made known in Scripture is the basis or root of Barth's doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity, however, is not explicitly taught in Scripture. The doctrine of the Trinity is the work of the Church and it emerged from an analysis of Scripture.(38) The doctrine of the Trinity arose in response to a question the Church encountered very early in its history. The Church needed to account for the distinctive nature of its God; it sought to answer the question, Who is God?(39) The Church sought to answer this question by investigating who God is as revealed in Scripture. In doing so it arrived at the doctrine of the Trinity. Barth follows what he takes to be the path of the early Church.(40) In seeking to describe the biblical God, Barth analyzes the character of those biblical events in which revelation was received by the biblical writers. Out of an analysis of that ground, the doctrine of the Trinity emerges as the character of the God who reveals Himself in the biblical fashion, and this God is seen to be triune. For Barth the Scriptural witness is prior to the trinitarian formula. The formula is an inference which is helpful to the Church in measuring its proclamation against Scripture. In analyzing the biblical character of revelation, Barth discerns what he believes to be the substance and form of the biblical concept of revelation. In his words: "God reveals Himself as the Lord; in this statement we have summed up our understanding of the form and content of the biblical revelation."(41) When Barth says that God reveals Himself as the Lord he means that God is, in his very nature, noetically and ontologically free with respect to created realities. We may now begin to lay the foundations for the doctrine of the Trinity as based upon the revelation of the God who reveals himself as the Lord.

The Basis of the Doctrine of the Trinity

According to Scripture, God reveals himself as the Lord. God's triune nature follows from God's Lordship as given in his revelation. As Lord, God is a personal Subject whose nature is one of absolute ontic and noetic freedom.(42) He is Lord of all things. As Lord he cannot be identified or known by anything outside himself, and therefore, apart from his own act, he is absolutely remote and inaccessible, completely distinct and independent from the world. He is not bound by the world in any sense, and apart from his own act, he is analogous to nothing within the world. It is this mode of God, His epistemological and ontological hiddenness, that Barth likens to God the Father. The fact that God is hidden and inaccessible is not, however, discerned by observing that the world's general realities reveal nothing of God and therefore concluding that God is mysterious or unknown. There is no general or available knowledge which reveals God's mystery or utter aloofness. The created world, for example, does not reveal God in a positive sense, nor does it reveal the nature of God's remoteness. God is utterly free with respect to the world, not bound by it so as to be known in it through his remoteness to it. God's mystery and hiddenness can be revealed only in an act of revelation in which God ceases to be remote and unknowable, and becomes knowable, palpable, and present within space and time.(43) God is the Lord of all events in space and time, and by virtue of his lordship over these events he can create and direct them, and he can take form within them. This occurs according to God's decision, and it occurs in human experience as an event. It is a specific concrete address with a beginning and an end. When this event occurs, revelation occurs, and God reveals his very Self. "Revelation in the Bible means the self-unveiling, imparted to men, of the God who by nature cannot be unveiled to men."(44) In revealing himself, two things occur. First, God reveals Himself as one who is hidden and inaccessible; he is revealed as a mystery.
It is thus of the nature of this God to be inscrutable to man. In saying this we naturally mean that in His revealed nature He is thus inscrutable. It is the Deus revelatus who is the Deus absconditus, the God to whom there is no path nor bridge, concerning whom we could not say nor have to say a single word if He did not of His own initiative meet us as Deus revelatus.(45)
In revealing himself as remote and unknown God reveals himself as the Lord, one whose essence cannot become a property of human knowing or willing. Here Barth will exegete a number of biblical passages which indicate that it is the event of revelation itself which indicates God's remoteness, his "reserve" or "concealment," or his "holiness."(46) Secondly, He reveals himself as a Subject who addresses persons as a Thou. He speaks concretely, specifically, and He requires obedience to his sovereign Word of address. In this Word of address God is again the Lord, the Lord of the one who hears his Word. In speaking His Word he becomes objectively present in the form of an event in space and time, and he may do so for he is the Lord of all events.(47) Again, Barth draws upon the biblical witness. For example, in demonstrating that God takes form as events, Barth will exegete numerous Old and New Testament passages which speak of God's being objectively present, such as God's "lovingkindness," His "Wisdom," His "right hand," and ultimately the history of Jesus Christ.(48) In doing this God does two apparently incompatible things, He reveals himself as one who by nature is hidden, unknowable and inaccessible, and simultaneously present, knowable, and specific. This act or event requires a differentiation in God. The differentiation involves God's existing in two modes. In one mode God is totally indescribable and transcendent and in another, known, present, and describable. Therefore Barth will say:
The God who reveals Himself here can reveal Himself. The very fact of revelation tells us that it is proper to Him to distinguish Himself from Himself, i.e. to be God in Himself and in concealment, and yet at the same time to be God a second time in a very different way, namely in manifestation, i.e. in the form of something He Himself is not.(49)
When Barth says "in the form of something He Himself is not," Barth refers to God's not being created realities, not even indirectly or analogously; yet God can take their spatial/temporal form and become present and knowable within them. The phrase "God a second time" means that God, in his act of revelation, is actually present, really there, present in space and time. It is emphasized that it is indeed God in the second mode. Both modes are God; the second mode is no less God than the first. Since God in his first mode--hidden, inaccessible, the Father--cannot by nature be present and knowable in space and time, it requires an act whereby God distinguishes Himself from Himself without ceasing to be God and in these two modes is both remote and unknown and yet present and known. These two modes correspond to the Father and the Son, and both are the one God.(50) We must now consider the third mode.

In becoming present and known, God always takes a specific concrete form in space and time. Every revelation of God occurs by means of a created medium, and its meaning and impact is never known or felt apart from this medium. We may think, for example, of the event of the Exodus, or of the life of Christ, as worldly events by which God revealed himself. By means of events, and only through events, God reveals of Himself and makes His presence active in the world. Furthermore, these events are given to people through the senses; they are perceived in the world as are other events. There is not, in other words, any direct mystical knowledge of God or direct sight of God that bypasses the earthly form. The positive content of who God is, or the impartation of His Word, cannot be separated from the form in which He manifests Himself. Content and form go together so that God is known only by means of the form.(51) There is nothing, however, intrinsic to the form or the event in the world that enables one to perceive or hear the Word of God conveyed in the event. God may be speaking within an event, and his Word may be ignored or never perceived. It is not the event in itself that reveals God, but God active in the event.(52) That God is present and speaking in the event can be known and experienced only subjectively through a third distinct act of God. God so acts that the hearer of the Word as it lives in the form is empowered actually to see and hear God speaking, to respond to God's address, to be taken up into encounter with God in a relationship of mutual listening, speaking, and acting. When God enters into the subjective experience of his listeners, he is distinct from himself as remote and indescribable and as objectively present and knowable within the revelatory event. Barth, once again, exegetes a number of biblical passages that refer to the presence of the Spirit within the believer, a presence which is seen to be God Himself.(53) In doing this God differentiates himself from himself a second time. This third mode is God the Holy Spirit.(54) When the Holy Spirit acts in human experience, it is always and only to reveal and enliven the specific address of God as given in the event of his taking form. This is the filioque. The Spirit reveals the Father and the Son only as revealed by the Son. "He is not to be regarded, then, as a revelation of independent content, as a new instruction, illumination and stimulation of man that goes beyond Christ, beyond the Word, but in every sense as the instruction, illumination, stimulation of man through the Word and for the Word."(55) God the Holy Spirit is distinct from God the Son, or God the Father. God's presence in a medium is distinct from His presence in the experience of those who witness the earthly form of the medium. God can be present under the conditions of space and time without his presence being known or experienced. God is the Lord of human knowing and experience, and one knows only through His Lordship, by his acting within a person's experience to make himself known. This is the third and final mode of God's triune being.

Two Trinitarian Formulas

An analysis of the biblical character of revelation discloses that the biblical God reveals himself in a specific act or word of personal address, and in this event he reveals himself as hidden and mysterious yet palpably concrete and specific, and further, he reveals himself in this fashion only by working subjectively in those he addresses. These inferences from revelation can be further extended and defined in ways that lead to the formal doctrinal statements on the Trinity. The process of inference, coordination, and definition is theological work, and its results are interlocking theological statements. Barth does this work, and he compresses his doctrine of the Trinity into two formal statements. First, God is a Unity in Trinity, with emphasis on God's being one. Secondly, God is one only in a certain way, that is, only as Trinity in Unity. In the first statement there is a slight emphasis on the oneness, in the second a slight emphasis on the threeness. Barth conflates the two statements by saying that God is Triunity.(56) The two statements comprising this one statement are a summary of many complex interactive statements, and we must now consider these two statements in further detail.

The First Formula

The first statement affirms that God is Unity in Trinity. The emphasis here is on the unity of God. God is one. "The doctrine of the triunity of God, as this has been worked out and rightly maintained in the Church as an interpretation of biblical revelation regarding the question of the Subject of this revelation, does not entail--this above all must be emphasized and established--any abrogation or even questioning but rather the final and decisive confirmation of the insight that God is One."(57) In saying that God is one, Barth is ruling out the possibility that the three "persons" of the Trinity are "persons" in the modern sense of the word. There are not three personalities in God, nor are there three distinct Gods, or three differing essences within God.(58) God is one God in one essence. When God differentiates Himself from himself to take concrete form, and when by another differentiation he acts in subjective experience, each of these differentiations does not produce another God or differing essences, but the same one God in another form or way of being. It is the same one God in three repetitions. Therefore, since each repetition is the same one God, there is an equality of essence between the three "persons."
But in it we are speaking not of three divine I's, but thrice of the one divine I. The concept of the equality of essence or substance (omoousia, consubstantialitas) in the Father, Son, and Spirit is thus at every point to be understood also and primarily in the sense of identity of substance. Identity of substance implies the equality of substance of "the persons."(59)
The unity of the three divine I's is not, however, a set unity, in the sense that any three things can be taken together as a collective of one. But rather, the God who reveals himself in the mystery of revelation reveals himself as a One, of one essence. Apart from revelation, however, God either appears as an undifferentiated one above the three-fold repetitions, or as three Gods in concert. Within the mystery of revelation, in the revelatory event itself, God reveals himself as one God, and simultaneously, as the one God in three repetitions.(60) But, and here is the emphasis of the first formula, the three repetitions do not deny that God is one, but affirms it as the way in which the God who is one reveals himself. We may now consider the second formula.

The Second Formula

According to the second formula God is a Trinity in Unity with a slight emphasis on the Trinity. This means at least two things. First, there is a slight emphasis on the threeness within God. Secondly, the emphasis on the threeness does not negate God's oneness, but confirms it as the precise manner in which God is One. We will begin by returning to Barth's discussion of "person," and from there discover the characteristic way in which the modes are three.

We have already mentioned the fact that Barth rejects the term "person" in the modern sense of the word. Rather than the word "person," Barth prefers the term "mode" or "way of being" (Seinsweise) to describe the persons of the Trinity. In his view the term "person" does not convey the intent of the early Church, nor the character of the biblical revelation. The use of the term "mode" or "way of being" is distinguished from the word "person" by the fact that God is one person existing in three special modes or ways of being in the event of revelation. He is not three persons in revelation, but only one person in revelation. The term "person" refers to God's oneness. In revelation he encounters his creatures as a Subject who speaks and wills.(61) He addresses his creatures as one God, as Subject in relation to other personal subjects. These ideas may be coordinated with Barth's statement that God in revelation is the same one "I" thrice over, or that he is the one God in threefold repetition.(62) From this the equality of essences of the three modes followed since each was the same one God. But the threefold repetition cannot imply that the one personal God as repeated thrice means three personalities as given in each repetition. This would be a form of tri-theism. Nor can the fact of repetition of the same one God imply that each mode is the same. Each mode possesses an equality of essence since it is the same one God who lives and acts in each mode, but this does not imply that Father, Son, and Spirit are all equal in their relations. The distinctions in the modes refer to the differing relations between the three modes. The fact that the Father takes form in the Son as Word, refers to the eternal generation of the Son by the Father, and that the Spirit reveals God in subjective experience refers to the inner-triune procession of the Spirit. Within God, the three modes are ordered by two relations, the eternal begetting of the Son by the Father, and the procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son. These relations have their basis in revelation, in the "ways of being" of God in revelation. Apart from revelation, or apart from the differing relations, each mode conceived abstractly in isolation from the others, is identically the same, the one God. But this is not the decisive feature with respect to God's modes. The three "ways of being" or modes are distinguished by the two relations.
This answer is that the distinguishable fact of the three divine modes of being is to be understood in terms of their distinctive relations and indeed of their distinctive genetic relations to one another. Father, Son and Spirit are distinguished from one another by the fact that without inequality of essence or dignity, without increase or dimunition of diety, they stand in dissimilar relations of origin to one another.(63)
Therefore, while there is an equality of essence or substance (omoousia, consubstantialitas), there is no equality of relations by which the modes are distinguished; hence each mode is distinct, and no mode may be confused or confounded with another.(64) To blur or confuse the distinctions of the three modes is to say that God does not differentiate himself from himself in revelation, but rather, that he can be known apart from his acts of taking form or acting in subjective experience. Finally, it must be said that these theological statements are inferences from the truth and mystery of revelation. Taken singly they contradict one another at every turn. Taken together as mutually qualifying one another they help to reveal the triune God while preserving his mystery. Their intelligibility, from Barth's point of view, can be derived and maintained by holding fast the God as known in the biblical revelation. We must now investigate the idea that God's trinity in unity is the specific way of God's being one.

When Barth says that God is a trinity in unity, with a slight emphasis on the trinity, he is not removing but confirming the unity in its distinctive Christian form. God is one. Yet he is not one in singularity or isolation, nor is he just any sort of one, but he is the specific, distinct form of oneness as characterized by a unity of his threeness and only in his threeness.
In himself His unity is neither singularity nor isolation. Herewith, i. e., with the doctrine of the Trinity, we step on the soil of Chris tian monotheism . . . The concept of the revealed unity of the revealed God, then, does not exclude but rather includes a distinction (distinctio or discretio) or order (dispositio or oeconomia in the essence of God. This distinction or order is the distinction or order of the three "persons," or, as we prefer to say, the three "modes (or ways) of being" in God.(65)
In other words, God is one, but one only in the specific fashion of the inner differentiations which involve his threeness in their relations. Or, to put it another way, God, in every depth of himself, is always three modes related by two issues. God is never, in every depth of himself, an undifferentiated God but always a Trinity in Unity.(66) That God is only this way can be further delineated by seeing this view as the rejection of three basic heresies. Arianism, modalism, and subordinationism, all attempt to posit an undifferentiated God (normally described as the Father) as prior to or above the other modes of the Trinity.(67) Arius gave the Father temporal priority, there was a time when the Son did not exist, and therefore a time when God in himself was alone without the three-fold distinctions. Subordinationism claims a more or less in God, a relegation of the Son and Spirit to a lesser status, and a consequent elevation of an undifferentiated God the Father above the Son and Spirit. Modalism, holds that God's three-fold modes are not intrinsic to God's inner nature, and therefore there exists an undifferentiated God beyond the three modes and two issues. The rejection of these views is to say that God in every depth of himself is three modes related by two issues, and that God exists as God only in this manner.


We have now described the fact that God exists only as one God in three modes related by two issues. We will need to describe the two issues in greater detail. This will be particularly important for our purposes, as the relationship between economic and political life has its basis in the inner triune relations as given in the two issues. Before discussing the two issues we need to introduce a number of other concepts in order to understand better the matter of the two issues, as well as to orient ourselves to the chapters which follow. We have, at this point, described the doctrine of the Trinity as an inference from the biblical view of revelation. In doing so, Barth has moved from below to above by inferring God's inner-triune life from God as he gives himself to human understanding in revelation. We now wish to be able to go in the other direction. We need to be able to go from God in his triune nature to God in specific revelatory events. Specific Barthian doctrines have their locus in specific revelatory acts of God. Once we see how these specific acts relate to God's triune nature, we can then move from above to below, from God as Trinity to God in specific acts, such as founding the church, the incarnation, and the creation of man and woman. In this way we lay the groundwork for how the doctrine of Trinity is relevant to those other doctrines that we will eventually need in our study. We have already observed that all of Barth's doctrines are connected from above to God's triune nature. We must begin to describe how these connections are made, as this will enable us in future chapters to relate various doctrines to Trinity and to one another. By discovering how Barth moves from below to above, and then from Trinity to God in his acts, we will lay the groundwork for discovering the underlying intelligiblity of Barth's mature theology, and once there, we will be in a good position to investigate our fundamental question from a Barthian perspective. We will begin with a few observations on Barth's views on economic and immanent Trinity.

Economic and Immanent Trinity

Barth draws a distinction between economic and immanent Trinity. Economic Trinity is God in his revelation. Immanent Trinity is God in himself. With respect to economic and immanent Trinity, Barth follows the rule that God does actually give himself in his revelation, so that the knowledge of God obtained in revelation is actually knowledge of God as he is in himself.(68) This, in essence, is a rejection of modalism. God does give Himself in revelation to be known, and the triune relations revealed in revelation characterize God in every depth of Himself. For this reason Barth will speak of Father, Son, and Spirit as known in revelation, and then say that God possesses this same nature "antecendently in Himself."(69) We derived our doctrine of the Trinity from the nature of God as given in the event of revelation in which it could be seen that God is triune. As God is in his revelation, so he is in himself, with the result that God in himself is one God in three modes related by the two issues. In deriving the immanent Trinity from the economic, Barth moves from below to above. Nevertheless, once Barth has arrived at descriptions of God's triune nature, he then returns, so to speak, and uses these descriptions to describe how God is in his revelation, or even how various created realities are related to one another. This type of logic, from above to below, occurs throughout the Church Dogmatics. It is based upon a doctrine of analogy. We need to describe this type of logic, as it is important for understanding how one can go from statements on God's triune nature to statements relating realities outside God such as economic and political life. We may address this matter by describing Barth's doctrine of analogy.

Barth's Doctrine of Analogy

Perhaps the easiest access to Barth's doctrine of analogy is to contrast it with what he took to be the Roman Catholic doctrine of analogia entis.(70) Barth's first objection to the Roman view is that it advances two epistemologies. There is an epistemology associated with God the Creator based on a general concept of being, and another epistemology associated with the event of revelation as known in Christ. These two epistemologies, in Barth's view, differ. The first begins with a general notion of being which encompasses all existent realities including God. Since human beings have a knowledge of being, they are also able to know God whose being may be radically different, but not altogether different since the one word "being" encompasses both God and created things.(71) In other words, God possesses some analogy with other beings. Given this analogia entis, it is possible to carry out an analysis of being in general by which one can pass to a knowledge of God as the pre-eminent being whose character is manifest analogously in finite being. The knowledge of God gained in this fashion constitutes natural theology. The second epistemology is that God is known in the event of revelation as the triune act of the one God. According to Barth, Rome accepts and coordinates both epistemologies, and the knowledge of God that each generates. Barth claims, however, that there can be only one epistemology, the epistemology of God's triune act. Barth's argument, in the first place, is biblical. He analyzes the biblical evidence and draws the following conclusion:
Holy Scripture neither imposes the necessity nor even offers the possibility of reckoning with a knowledge of God of the prophets and apostles which is not given in and with His revelation, or bound to it; and therefore to that extent with a "Christian" natural theology. Holy Scripture does not present us with "another" task of theology, nor are we allowed to impose it upon ourselves.(72)
Secondly, his argument is theological. He argues that the two-fold knowledge of God given through two espistemologies cannot be coordinated into a knowledge of the one God. The two epistemologies inevitably issue in a two-fold partition in the depths of God. "To that extent it [Rome] certainly intends to make a provisional division or partition in regard to the knowability of God, and this will inevitably lead to a partitioning of the one God as well."(73) We may restate Barth's argument in terms of our development up to this point. The God who reveals himself in a triune manner reveals himself as the Lord. His revelation is an event, an event which begins only with God's decision to reveal himself. In that act he reveals himself as transcending human knowing (the mode of Father), yet known (the Son) and as Lord of human knowing, never known except by the further divine act of the Holy Spirit. The God who reveals himself in this fashion, in so far as known only in this way, is known as a dynamic acting free Subject who unveils himself only on his own initiative. As God is in his revelation he is in himself--within himself at every depth God is a free being in encounter in the eternal encounter of Father and Son by the Spirit. By contrast, the god of natural theology is a god who can be known apart from his own decision.(74) He is known through being in general, and not by specific concrete event of self-disclosure; and he is known by reason, and not by the specific event of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the god of natural theology is not a being in encounter, he can be known apart from the encounter, and therefore, within himself, he is not triune since he is not triune in his revelation. Within himself, such a god is the timeless, static, impassible god of natural theology. In Barth's view, there is no way to reconcile these two beings. God in every depth, and in every aspect, is the one triune God. Within the depths of God there is no static impassible god existing side by side with the dynamic triune God.(75) Rather, in every depth of God, God is always and only three modes related by two issues. The rejection of Arianism, Sabellianism, and Modalism, is the rejection of a static, immutable god, and this god cannot be united with God understood as dynamic and triune. "We reject this because it is a construct which obviously derives from an attempt to unite Yahweh with Baal, the triune God of Holy Scripture with the concept of being of Aristotelian and Stoic philosophy."(76) Consequently, Barth rejects Rome's starting point, the notion of a second epistemology based on an analogy of being.

Analogia Fidei

The fact that Barth has rejected the analogia entis does not mean that he has no doctrine of analogy.(77) The crucial difference is that the triune God is known only in his act, in the event of grace in which those whom he addresses are empowered by the Spirit to hear and speak with him in faith. When God acts and speaks, he acts and speaks according to his nature, and therefore he establishes analogies or similarities of himself in the world.(78) This in no way means that the world in some sense becomes divine. It remains the created order, totally distinct from God. But in the moment in which God speaks and acts, he creates analogies in this distinct order, and these analogies reflect his action. These analogies, however, exist only in the event of grace, in the moment when God speaks, and when his personal address is received in faith as created through the subjective work of God the Spirit.(79) Apart from this event, there is nothing in the world which corresponds to God's being. Throughout the Church Dogmatics there are innumerable examples in which Barth describes a creaturely reality and then says that it is a reflection of or analogous to a divine reality. For example, he will say that creation reflects God's purposes, that humanity is created in God's image, or that the church reflects the unity and holiness of the divine life. But none of these realities, creation, humanity, or the church, are analogous to God except in the moment of grace. Apart from grace, creation is silent, human relations do not reflect the love of Father, Son, and Spirit, and the church is divided rather than reflecting the unity of the triune modes.

Barth calls his doctrine of analogy the analogia fidei.(80) Faith, in Barth's view, is the human response to grace. Faith occurs as people are addressed by God and empowered by the Spirit to hear and speak with him. Apart from grace, the event of God's self-disclosure, there is no faith and no knowledge of God. But when God does speak, and when faith occurs, God reveals his nature in the world and creates similarities or analogies to his being. These analogies are not static enduring qualities of the world; they exist only in the moment of grace. But God does speak and reveal himself, and upon that basis Barth will then describe various realities as being analogous to God's inner triune nature. In making these descriptions Barth does not work abstractly or deductively from God's triune nature to deduce the structure of the analogous realities as created in the event of grace. The nature of these realities is described theologically through an analysis of Scripture. But once the analysis has been carried out, the fact that the doctrine describes the work of the triune God means that the matter under discussion corresponds to God's triune nature. For example, Barth will base his anthropology, or the dual nature of Christ, or the church, upon an analysis of Scripture. But once the analysis is made, he will go on to say that the human essence of encounter is analogous to the inner-divine encounter of God's triune modes, or that the unity of the church is analogous to that of God's inner-triune unity, or that the relationship between the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ corresponds to an order within the triune life. Finally, Barth uses one other term to describe his doctrine of analogy. We may recall the statement that the various modes of the Trinity are distinguished in terms of their relations. It follows that the analogous entities set up in the world by God's act will reflect God's inner-triune relations, and Barth's doctrine of analogy has also been described as an analogia relationis.(81) We will discuss the relevance of this shortly.

In light of Barth's doctrine of immanent and economic Trinity, we have seen how Barth will move from God in his revelation to God in Himself. In light of his doctrine of analogy, he will pass from God in himself to realities within the world as formed in the event of grace. These movements are theological movements. They have no independent existence, but are movements which help to explicate the underlying theological intelligibility of Scripture. All of these operations take place within the context of the biblical revelation as interpreted by the church as it lives in the world. Since the God of the biblical revelation is triune, all doctrines based upon Scripture possess a triune structure as reflecting God's triune nature. To understand further the nature of this triune structure, however, we must advance another Barthian doctrine, his doctrine of appropriation.


God exists only in the three persons related by two issues. Since God exists only in this manner, it follows that the full triune God is present in each of God's acts. It is this characteristic that gives rise to Barth's doctrine of appropriation. "No attribute, no act of God is not in the same way the attribute or act of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit."(82) This is summarized by the phrase opera trinitatis ad extra sunt indivisa.(83) Although the full triune God is present in each of his acts, it is sometimes biblically appropriate and theologically illuminating to associate triune clusters of God's acts, or even creaturely realities, with the three modes of God. For example (and this is important for our purposes), Barth respectively associates Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with God's action in creation, reconciliation, and redemption.(84) In making this or any other appropriation several criteria must be fulfilled.(85) First, the triad appropriated to the Trinity must by analogous to the inner-triune relations. In other words, Barth believes that the relations between creation, reconciliation, and redemption, correspond to the inner-triune relations of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Secondly, the appropriation is not exclusive. It must be remembered that God is present in all his acts, and therefore, appropriating creation under God the Father must never exclude the fact that the Son and Spirit are present and active in creation, just as the Father is present and active in reconciliation and redemption. Finally, the appropriation must be biblical. Barth's doctrine of appropriation is important for a number of reasons. First, it provides a way of distinguishing and relating various divine acts and/or created realities. For example, Barth makes a distinction between creation and reconciliation, and bases the distinction in God's triune life. Creation is the history of God's acts in creating the world and the world as created, reconciliation is the history of God's acts in reconciling the world and the history of the man Jesus as the manifestation of those acts in the creaturely sphere. The history of Jesus is not a continuation of creation; he is distinct from creation and this has its genesis in the distinction between Father and Son. It stems from the fact that Barth appropriates creation to the mode of God as Father, reconciliation to the Son, and since Father and Son are distinct, creation and reconciliation must be distinct as well. In Barth's words: "And now in light of what has been said about creation and reconciliation we can add that the divine sonship of Jesus also results from the fact that creation (the content of His revelation of the Father) and reconciliation (the content of His self-revelation) are completely different from one another in their significance for us and yet are also completely related to one another in their origin."(86) On the other hand, having distinguished between God's acts and/or various created realities, Barth will then relate that which he has so distinguished. Creation is related to reconciliation since there is a relation between Father and Son within the triune life. All God's actions are indivisible, and therefore no one act occurs apart from the others; all are acts of the God who is one but only one in being triune. In this fashion Barth is able to distinguish and relate all of the realities under discussion, and all the theological doctrines descriptive of these realities. By appropriating a given reality under a particular mode he emphasizes a pronounced feature of that reality, and then relates it to other realities appropriated under differing modes with different emphases. For example, God's providential care of the world, appropriated under God the Father, is distinct from but related to the prophetic history of Jesus Christ seen under God the Son; or Jesus' first parousia known under the Son is distinct from but related to his final parousia appropriated under the Spirit; or economic life appropriated under the Father is distinct from but related to political life appropriated under the Son. The relatedness follows from the fact that God is one; the distinctions follow from the fact that his oneness always occurs in a triune form. Even created realities reveal this unity and diversity since God in his acts creates analogies of Himself.

Analogia Relationis

We may approach the matter from a slightly different perspective. Although Barth scarcely uses the term, he makes frequent use of an analogia relationis. Since each mode of God is the same one God, the primary manner in which the persons of the Trinity are distinguished is through their mutual relations as given in the two issues. If God in the event of revelation creates analogies of himself, then all three persons must be analogously represented and related by the two issues since God exists only in this manner. Therefore every event of grace creates a triad related by two relations and is therefore an analogia relationis. The most important example of this for our purposes is God's three primary acts of creation, reconciliation, and redemption appropriated to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.(87) As we shall see, each of these acts forms histories involving created realities. These three primary histories are inner-related in accordance with the inner-triune relations. We will describe this in greater detail in a subsequent section. For now, however, we may observe that God becomes present only in the event of taking form in the Son as revealed subjectively by the spirit. Prior and subsequent to this event the created world exists. But apart from this event, reconciliation and redemption do not exist since reconciliation is the Word of grace as revealed in Jesus Christ. Therefore, apart from the Word, creation, reconciliation, and redemption do not exist together, with the result that no analogia relationis among creation, reconciliation, and redemption can occur. For this reason Barth will say that there is no revelation of God the Creator in creation. God the Creator is known only in Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ by the Spirit. God cannot be known in creation alone, but only in creation, reconciliation, and redemption together since every revelation of God must be triune.(88) In this event of grace, however, the three histories of creation, reconciliation, and redemption are all present together, and in that moment they form relations analogous to the inner-triune relations. But, apart from grace, the world as created by God the Creator shows no analogy to God since it does not coexist with reconciliation and redemption.

We may consider the matter from a slightly different perspective. Since God exists always and only as three ways of being related by two issues it follows that every revelation of the one God entails God's presence in all three modes. Or, none of God's modes can be known apart from the other two. Each is known in and with the others. "Just as in revelation, according to the biblical witness, the one God may be known only in the Three and the Three only as the one God, so none of the Three may be known without the other Two but each of the Three only with the other Two."(89) From this it will follow that God's actions in creation, for example, must be known in and with his actions in reconciliation and redemption, or his actions in reconciliation must be known in conjunction with his actions in creation or redemption. This will be important for us, in that one of our major tasks will be to coordinate God's economic work in reconciliation with God's economic actions in creation. In other words, what we could call the "economics of Jesus" cannot be separated from what we know of God and economic life from God's work in creation and redemption. In this way we will arrive at a trinitarian understanding of God's economic actions.

The Two Issues

Our next step is to investigate Barth's doctrine of the two issues. Barth works this out in connection with creation, reconciliation, and redemption as appropriated to Father, Son, and Spirit. The two issues form relations among the three modes, and these relations correspond analogously to relations among creation, reconciliation, and redemption. Our interest is economic and political life, and we are particularly interested in how they may be related. Their relation depends upon the relation between creation and reconciliation, which in turn reflects the inner triune relations. Therefore, we will, as does Barth, work out the matter of the two issues within the divine life in conjunction with the relations among creation, reconciliation, and redemption. We begin with the first issue--the eternal begetting of the Son by the Father. We will first focus upon the Father as the one who eternally begets, and then upon the Son as eternally begotten.

The Begetting of the Son

We may begin with the statement that according to the Scripture Jesus is the revelation of God, and therefore the revelation of God the Father. In revealing the Father, Barth begins by noting that Jesus reveals the Father as someone other than himself. The Son points beyond himself, and in doing so he reveals God the Father as his father over against himself as the Son.(90) Furthermore, Barth notes that those scriptural passages which speak of God the Father associate the Father with God's wrath and the end of human existence. Although each mode of the Trinity is present in each of God's actions, God's wrath and judgment, his sentence of death as seen in Good Friday, is appropriated to God the Father.(91) The first mode of the Trinity is characterized by hiddenness, concealment, and the Son reveals the Father as concealed in the end of human life. But God the Father is not known at the end of existence in any general way, as if, for example, one could analyze the "horizon" at the limits of life. Rather, God is concretely known in Jesus Christ as the one who leads humanity through death to life as revealed in the crucifixion and resurrection. The purpose of the Father's judgment of death upon the human race is new life, the eternal life of the kingdom. As God the Father exercises this authority, it can be seen that the Father of Jesus Christ is the Lord of life and death. He is the Lord of all existence and therefore the Creator and giver of all life.
The real Lord of our existence must be the Lord over both life and death. And this is precisely God the Father as we find him attested in Scripture as the One revealed in Jesus. But the Lord of existence is the Creator. For if God is the Lord of existence in the full sense of the term, this means that our existence is sustained by Him and by Him alone above the abyss of non-existence.(92)
As God is in revelation, so he is in himself. Within himself, God the Father, understood as the first mode of God's inner-triune life, is God the Creator.(93) Theologically, this has several implications. Within the divine life, God the Father is the origin or author of the other modes of his being. He is pure origin within God, and ad extra God the Father is the Creator of all things. This statement, on God's work ad extra holds only by appropriation. God is one, and each mode is present in the other two (perichoresis), so that the Son and the Spirit are present in creation as well. But having said this, the unity of God does not destroy the appropriation. The appropriation is a theological construction, but it does lead to understanding. To move beyond the appropriation of Creator to God the Father, to discard it, is to obscure the matter and to violate the theological intelligibility of the biblical revelation.
It is quite out of the question, therefore, that the appropriation of especially God the Father for creation, or of creation for the Father, should be merely a provisional view which can be transcended and which will dissolve and disappear in a higher gnosis of the one God. In no sense does God's unity mean the dissolution of His triunity.(94)
Biblically and theologically, subject to the requisite caveats, creation belongs by appropriation to God the Father. He is the pure origin, not only within the divine life, but to all existence outside God. We may now investigate the eternal begetting of the Son more completely as we investigate its object, the Son.

Although the Son differs from the Father, and in that distinction reveals the Father, there is another element within the biblical revelation that speaks of the unity of the Son with the Father.(95) When Scripture speaks of the unity of Jesus Christ with the Father, it does not mean the deification of a man (Ebionite Christology), nor the revelation of a particulary illuminating set of ideas (Docetism). Ideas and people are created realities. They are not God, nor can they become God. In and of themselves they cannot reveal God, since God alone makes himself known. But God took form in Jesus Christ and in him revealed himself. Jesus Christ, without ceasing to be the specific man Jesus, is also God, for only God can reveal God.(96) As God, He is the revelation of God the Word, or the second mode of the Trinity, the Son. In his mode as the Son, God took form in the man Jesus, and there he worked and spoke as God. He entered into a world at enmity with himself, a sinful world perishing under the wrath of God the Father. In this world he spoke a new word, and he established a new creation. This new work is reconciliation. Jesus Christ as the Son reconciles the world to God. He forgives humanity and restores the broken fellowship between God and humanity and among peoples. This new work follows God's original work of creation and judgment, and this is reflected structurally with the Church Dogmatics in that Barth's doctrine of reconciliation follows his doctrine of creation.(97) Reconciliation follows God's creation and judgment and is related to that prior work, but it cannot be reduced to that prior work. It is an incomparably new work, related to but utterly distinct from the work of God the Father and not the continuation of God's prior work of creation.
We must say, then, that the Reconciler is not the Creator, and that as the Reconciler He follows the Creator, that He accomplishes, as it were, a second divine act--not an act which we can deduce from the first, whose sequence from the first we can survey and see to be necessary, but still a second act which for all its newness and inconceivability is related to the first. God reconciles us to Himself, comes to us, speaks to us,--this follows on, and, we must also say, it follows from the fact that He is first the Creator.(98)
As God is in his revelation, so he is in himself. Within God, the Son is distinct from and yet related to the Father. He is eternally begotten by the Father who is the origin of all. There is a first in God, and then a second, since there is a Creator and Reconciler in God's acts ad extra. The fact that the Son in reconciliation follows the Father, or that the Creator is first, and the Son is second, implies a form of subordination of the Son with respect to the Father. This subordination, however, and here we may recall that the modes are distinguished by their relations, does not apply to the modes themselves. Each mode is God of equal essence or substance with the others, but each is differentiated from the others through their unequal relations. Nevertheless, on the basis of their relations, there is a Thence and then a Thither, an origin and one begotten within God.

Barth further explicates the inner-triune order, as well as the distinctions and unity of the inner triune modes, through an analysis of the second article of the Symb. Nicaeno-Constantinopolitanum creed.(99) We have already covered many of the ideas presented in this analysis. The central issue is that the Son is distinct from but related to the Father while being equal in essence. The phrases, "only begotten Son of God," "begotten of the Father before all time," "light of light, very God of very God, begotten not made," "of one substance (or essence) with the Father" and even "through whom all things were made," all refer to the fact, among other things, that the Son is truly God and of equal essence with the Father. At the same time, the phrases utilizing the relational word "begotten", as well as the phrase "light of light, very God of very God," refer to the distinctiveness and relatedness of the Son to the Father. For example, "light of light" and "very God of very God" imply distinctions, indicated in the word "of," between light and light, and God and God. These distinctions, however, are between light and light or God and God, implying that the objects distinguished are both God, and that the Son and the Father are both God. Of particular relevance to our interest is the phrase "the only-begotten of the Father," and again the statement "through whom all things were made." In the present context, the word "begotten," referring to inner-triune relations, had its revelatory basis in that reconciliation is subsequent to creation. "To this order of creation and reconciliation there corresponds christologically the order of the Father and Son or Father and Word."(100) In this sense creation, appropriated to the Father, appears to have prior significance to reconciliation appropriated to the Son. This order is qualified in that Jesus Christ is the "only-begotten" Son, with an emphasis on the word "only." All other acts in which God brings forth, and we may especially think of creation, have their basis in Jesus Christ as the only one who is begotten, since, within God, the Son is the only one begotten of God. Jesus Christ is the basis of creation, the one "through whom all things were made." This, of course, follows by the mutual indwelling, the fact that each mode is present and active in every other mode (perichoresis). But something more is being said at this point. God the Son is prior to creation. He was "begotten not made" and "begotten of the Father before all time." These phrases not only indicate that the Son was prior to creation, but they sharply differentiate the Son from creation. The creation is a creature; it was made; it did not eternally pre-exist with God. The eternal begetting of the Son is not a creaturely begetting, though it is a form of coming forth from the Father.(101) Nevertheless, as the first of God's relational acts, it is the prototype of all future relational acts, including God the Father's creation of the world. Therefore, creation, though appropriated to God the Father, has its basis in God the Son since the begetting of the Son is prior to the making of creation. In terms of order, Barth will therefore place God's eternal choice and establishment of Jesus Christ, or his doctrine of election, prior to his doctrine of creation.(102) We will discuss the matter in due course, but for now, we may say that although God the Father is first in terms of pure origin, his first originating act is the Son and his choice of the Son (election), and not the creation of the world which occurs subsequently. Furthermore, by saying that the world was made through him, the creed gives Jesus Christ a place with God the Father in creating the world, and further, ascribes creative power to him as he comes in reconciliation. Jesus Christ comes with the power of the creator since the reconciliation that occurs in Jesus Christ is a new creation. Reconci liation is resurrection; it follows upon Good Friday, as the bringing into life of a humanity that had lost the life originally given it by God the Father. As a result of the foregoing, Barth will intimately relate creation and reconciliation, or creation and revelation: "As creation is creatio ex nihilo, so reconciliation is the raising from the dead. As we owe life to God the Creator, so we owe eternal life to God the Reconciler." Or again, "Creation and revelation are not two truths which are to be held alongside one another and compared to one another and set in relation to one another. They are the one reality of Jesus Christ as the Revealer with the power of the Creator."(103)

Our thesis is that economic life has its basis in social historical life. We demonstrate our thesis by beginning with the doctrine of the Trinity. The crux of our argument is that the Father begets only the Son, so that all his actions, including his economic activities in relation to nature, have their basis in the Son. Secondly, God is social in himself, and therefore, his revelation in the Son takes a social form (this will be shown in the fourth chapter). Since the life of the Son takes a social form, and since economic life has its basis in the Son, economic life has its basis in a social context. Our argument proceeds from above to below, beginning with Trinity and ending with social historical life. This line of reasoning is valid from a Barthian perspective if Barth understands the inner-triune relations to be the basis and norm of the human relations. Barth affirms this. The fact that the word "begetting" takes its origin from the creaturely act of begetting children does not imply that the divine mystery is limited or contained within the creaturely concept. By grace the concept points to the mystery and reality of God's inner life, and by grace and faith it is then perceived that the divine life in its modes and mutual relations is the source of creaturely relations as they occur in grace. Speaking of the concept "begotten," Barth comments:
It is not true that in some hidden depth of His essence God is something other than Father and Son. It is not true that these names are just freely chosen and in the last analysis meaningless symbols whose original and proper non-symbolic content lies in that creaturely reality. On the contrary, it is in God that the father-son relation, like all creaturely relations, has its original and proper reality. The mystery of begetting is originally and properly a divine and not a creaturely mystery. Perhaps one ought even to say that it is the divine mystery.(104)
Therefore, our procedure is a valid one. Having said this, however, it is to be remembered Barth does not reason deductively from God in himself to analogies of God in the world. Rather, the biblical revelation, theologically investigated and oriented, is the basis of Barth's theological work and social activity. We may now discuss the second issue.

The Procession of the Spirit

God reveals himself in Jesus Christ the Word, and he grants eternal life through the reconciling work of his Son. The reality of God's saving work and presence is not, however, something that can be known and received at will. A further act of God is required, and this further act is the work of God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables people to participate in God's revelation. They are set free to hear God's Word and to respond to God in his Word. As they listen to and speak with God and one another they live as the children of God. As his children they are empowered to speak of God in ways that enable the saving event of God's revelation to become actual in the experience of other people.(105) This work of the Holy Spirit in subjective experience admits of several characteristics. First, although the Spirit works in human experience, the Spirit is not another name for the human willing, thinking, and acting that occurs in response to revelation. The biblical statements about the Spirit are statements about God and his actions, albeit about God in relationship to people. In other words, the Holy Spirit is not a creature. Secondly, the Holy Spirit is not the Father, nor is he the Son. Thirdly, the Holy Spirit reveals God as known in the Word, and never independently of that Word with the result that the Spirit is intimately related to the Father and the Son. And finally, the statements about the work of the Holy Spirit as applied to human experience have an eschatological reference known only in faith. That is, the reality of being God's children as given by the Spirit in the present age is only dimly perceived in faith, and its fullness will not be experienced until the final eschatological age.(106)

As God is in his revelation, so he is in himself. Within Himself, and here Barth follows the four statements of the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, the Spirit is the Lord, the Spirit gives life, the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is to be glorified and worshipped as the Father and the Son.(107) Each of these four statements implies that the Spirit is God and not a creature. The statement that the Spirit gives life, for example, implies that the Spirit is present and active as God in creation where life is given, and again in reconciliation in the giving of eternal life. Or again, the fact that the Spirit is worshipped and glorified as Father and Son, means that the Spirit is God. Even in worship, the highest fellowship between God and humanity, there is no blurring of the distinction between God and humanity. The Spirit is God, and only by God may one come before God.(108) Secondly, in various ways, these statements refer to the distinctiveness and relatedness of the Spirit to the other two modes. For example, Barth notes that the word for Spirit in Greek is neuter, and that this implies a distinctiveness of the Spirit with respect to the Father and the Son whose nouns are masculine. The distinctiveness is particularly apparent in the use of the word "proceeds." Proceeding is different from the begetting of the first issue, and thus indicates the distinctiveness of Spirit with respect to the Father and the Son. "Secondly, then, the qui procedit means that the divine mode of being of the Spirit is to be differentiated from that of the Son, which is denoted by genitus, and implicitly, therefore, from that of the Father as well."(109) The distinctiveness of the Spirit is intimately bound up with the Spirit's peculiar relation to the other modes. The Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. Here Barth affirms the filioque of the Western Church. The inclusion of the filioque means that the Spirit reveals God only as known in the Son and therefore denies the possibility of access to God apart from the Son. If God were accessible apart from the Son, this would imply a depth in God apart from the Son and this is a form of Arianism. Furthermore, the inclusion of the filioque points to the fact that the Spirit's act in revelation is to create fellowship between God and humanity, and within the divine life, the Spirit exists as the fellowship of the Father and the Son. The Spirit is the togetherness, or common factor, the reciprocal love, the fellowship, or act of communion between the Father and the Son.(110) Within himself God is social. By this Barth does not mean a social doctrine of the Trinity, as if each mode were an individual person, but, fellowship and mutual love do exist within God. Ad extra, this implies that the counterpart of God is not the individual, but first the community, and in that context individuals as constituted through their social relations. We shall discuss this at greater length in the next chapter, and it is significant for discerning whether God's economic commands are first issued to societies or to individuals. Without the filioque there would be no indication of the inner-divine fellowship of love, which would lead to a God of singularity and isolation in contradistinction to a God who exists only in the plurality and togetherness of the three modes. In saying that the Spirit is the reciprocal love or fellowship between Father and Son, the emphasis is that the Spirit is a mode of God and not merely a relation between two modes of God. The inner-triune relations distinguish the modes, but the modes are not relations. In other words, it is not the case that there are two modes, a Father and Son, and then a relation which includes them both which is Spirit. The Spirit is a third way of being God, and not just a relation between two ways of being God. The divine relations are not God, they are unequal, but the divine modes are all equal as God. Though the words "fellowship" and "reciprocal love" have the form of relations between Father and Son, their reference is to a mode of God and not merely a relation, between two modes. Spirit refers to a way in which God loves, both within Himself and with his creatures. In other words, it belongs to the Godness of God to establish fellowship and communion, and when the communion occurs it is God present and active as Spirit, and not just a relation between God and another subject. Speaking of the procession from the first two modes, Barth comments:
This third mode of being cannot result from the former alone, or the latter alone, or co-operation of the two, but only from their one being as God the Father and God the Son, who are not two "persons" either in themselves or in co-operation, but two modes of being of the one being of God. Thus the one Godness of the Father and Son is, or the Father and the Son in their one Godness are, the origin of the Spirit. What is between them, what unites them, is, then, no mere relation.(111)
By appropriation, Barth associates the Spirit with God's work of redemption.(112) The final reference of redemption is the eschatological age in which the presence of God revealed and effective in Jesus Christ becomes universally and definitively revealed and effective. This final age, corresponding to the distinctions within God, is separated from creation and reconciliation. A new act of God is required, as significant as creation and the giving of eternal life through the raising of the dead. We will discuss this matter more concretely in future sections, especially in conjunction with Barth's doctrine of the threefold parousia of Jesus Christ. At that time, we will note that the Spirit's work, both in the present age and in the age to come, proceeds from the Father and the Son, i.e., the Spirit reveals and works only as known in Jesus Christ who reveals the Father and the Son.

We will conclude our study of Barth's doctrine of the Trinity by raising an issue that will concern us as this paper proceeds. When we speak of acting responsibly in economic affairs, to whom do we address ourselves? Are the primary acting agents individuals, or are they nations, or some combination of the two in varied relations? Or, perhaps we may speak of the matter in this fashion: is the primary responsibility of the state to provide a context in which individuals exercise economic responsibility, or is it the responsbility of the State itself to become the primary agent in economic affairs through corporate decisions and actions? We will discuss this question as we proceed. At this point, however, we may note that within God there is a sense in which God exists in community and fellowship, and that community is God in his mode as Spirit. God acts, the substance of his action is the Son, and again, he acts in fellowship, knit together in love. He acts as Spirit. We will, in a future section, speak of the Church as a community, knit together by the Spirit with Jesus Christ as its head. This community is one, since its head is one and it is knit together with its head through the Spirit. As one, the community acts, and it may act responsibly in economic affairs. We will relate the Church to the nations, and upon that basis show in what way nations may act as one. The fact, however, that communities have ontological status, that they are not mere aggregates, has its basis in the triune God. The triune God is not three individuals who cooperate, with their cooperative action being incidental or external to their existence as individuals. That would be tri-theism. The triune God is one, but only one as knit together by Spirit as the one Word. God's action is always action in togetherness, since God exists only as one in the way of three modes related by two issues. That God acts only "in togetherness" is the basis of communities acting in togetherness. In future sections we shall show that the counterpart of the triune God is not the solitary individual, but the community as gathered, directed, and formed by Word and Spirit.

Trinity and History

We have discussed Barth's doctrine of the Trinity, including his views of analogy, as well as economic and immanent Trinity. By means of these ideas we are able to perceive how Barth moves back and forth from God in himself to God in his revelation. We now wish to point out an outstanding characteristic of God's revelation, and consequently of all Barth's theological doctrines as they have their basis in revelation. God, in Barth's view, is historical within himself, and all God's revelatory actions ad extra take an historical form. We shall present aspects of Barth's view of history. After describing Barth's doctrine of history, we shall describe one central moment in God's history with the world, that is, Barth's doctrine of election, followed by a note on Barth's ethics. Then our chapter will conclude.

The fact that God is triune implies that every revelation of himself is an event which together with other revelatory events form a history of God's revealing acts.(113) In his mode as Father, God is concealed and indescribable. Through his own inner decision he takes form, and the action of his taking form is an event. He takes form from time to time. He is not always present in his mode as Son, but only in discrete events as he chooses. When God takes form in the Son he speaks and acts, and then by a further related event he takes a third form and is heard so that his listeners respond to him. The dynamic of his absence, his becoming present as Word and act, his being heard, and then the return to silence when he has finished speaking, gives God's revelatory acts the character of events. These events have impact, they change the world. They create history and are a history.(114) As God is in his revelation, so he is within himself and vice-versa. God is historical within himself, historical in the dynamic events of relationship between the three persons of the Trinity as related by the two issues.(115) Since God is historical in himself, the events of his revelation form a history. These historical events are narrated in Scripture, and form the basis of the biblical revelation. Barth's theology derives from Scripture, and all his theological doctrines take an historical form. He uses no static categories. Creation, reconciliation, and redemption are all understood as histories. The Church exists only as an event given in the moment of God's grace, human beings exist as persons in the event of encounter, Jesus' dual natures are both histories, and the relation between the two natures is a history, ethical action takes an historical form, and more examples could be given.(116) We will follow Barth's derivation of aspects of some of these doctrines as they emerge from the biblical history, and therefore, much of our work will be concerned with Barth's understanding of the biblical history. We shall, for example, discover that taking responsibility for others in economic affairs has its basis in the biblical history of the covenant, and will itself be a history. Responsible action itself is an event, an event in which people encounter one another and come to one another's assistance in economic matters. From this it will follow that our economic analysis must also be historical, and as we shall see, emphasize how human beings relate to one another. We must specify the historical nature of God's revelation more closely so as to discern the nature of the histories it forms.

God's Speech as God's Freedom

God speaks in freedom, and the events of his free speech form a history. We may look at this from two points of view: God's inner decision to speak, and the fact that he speaks in the form of an event as history. With respect to God's inner decision to speak, God is utterly free.(117) He is the Lord, possessor of total ontic and noetic freedom. He answers prayer, and in his compassion he responds to the world's varied necessities, but only in his freedom and not by compulsion. This is not to say that God's inner decisions are erratic; they are not. They reveal God's mercy as revealed in Jesus Christ. But God's acts cannot be bound within any scientific or cosmological schema.(118) When God speaks in freedom, he speaks through events that occur at definite times and places. His address is always a specific address, to specific people in concrete circumstances. These events can be known only through the senses, they occur as observable historical events.(119) The fact that God's revelation is historical can, in Barth's view, be contrasted with the idea of myth. Myth is a description of divine and human events or realities that holds in all times or places, a description of the fixed and invariant forms or structures of the given cosmos.(120) The Word of God is not a myth. It is not bound by the fixed structures of the cosmos, but occurs as an event in accordance with God's freedom. Therefore, as an observable reality it cannot be determined or set within a fixed order. It is always miraculous since it reflects the freedom of God's decision to act.(121) It may or may not be miraculous from the point of view of a neutral observer, or from what Barth would call the historisch point of view.(122) From that point of view the event may or may not be intelligible within an ordered nexus, and may have any number of meanings which have nothing to do with God's Word. But from the point of view of faith, that is, through the subjective work of the Spirit, the Word of God and the history it creates is not perceived as a human possibility, or as the result of cosmological developments.(123) Rather, the event is the Word of the transcendent and now immanent God addressing people in their concrete circumstances.

The dynamic of God's history-creating acts can be seen from the point of view of history's central axis. God acts in and creates history through his Word and that Word is Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ the world is radically transformed, and its turning point is the crucifixion and resurrection. These two events, crucifixion and resurrection, form the center of history.(124) The crucifixion, by appropriation, reveals God the Father's judgment; it is the end of the old aeon. The resurrection, as appropriated to the Son, reveals a new creation and a new age. We have already observed these appropriations in relation to Trinity. The Father's judment on the old age entails its total dissolution. It comes to an end, and therefore the old creation cannot bring forth the new. A new act of God is required, the resurrection of the dead, the establishment of a new creation. God always brings something to an end in judgment, and creates something radically new that was not immanent within the old order. The new occurs in space and time, an event which together with all God's reconciling acts forms a new history in the midst of life. This new history cannot be grasped through a general theory of historical causality or invariant structures since these structures are abolished in the crucifixion. The new history occurs only in grace, where grace is understood as an address by God directed to people in their concrete circumstances. The new history entails judgment, repentance, forgiveness, and a new direction in life. This has one immediate consequence for our study.

Given the foregoing, we may say that we are not deriving a general theory of how social and economic life may be related. There is no general theory, no cosmological structure, in terms of which we may discover how the state may act responsibly in economic affairs. Every "invariant" cosmological structure is radically abolished by God's judgment in the crucifixion. This is not to say that the new order given in resurrection does not reflect God's original hopes for his first creation, and that there are not resemblances between the old creation prior to sin and the new order given in Jesus Christ. There are resemblances and continuities.(125) But these resemblances are due to God's grace, to the fact that he freely creates the new order to fulfill his original hopes for the first creation. The resemblances are not, however, due to the enduring power of any worldly reality. These perish under the judgment of God. Apart from grace, there are no similarities, and there are never enduring structures. Therefore, a general theory is impossible, theory understood here as an expression of how the state may act in economic affairs without reference to the mystery and concreteness of God's grace. But, having said this, we must go on to say that we are going to derive results that indicate the nature of grace as it pertains to acting responsibly in economic affairs. In other words, when God acts, he will enable the church, and the state, and persons, to act responsibly in economic affairs, and we shall discern the character of responsible action as it occurs under the power of God's action. From Barth's point of view, responsible action in obedience to God occurs through the event of the Word as discerned in the Spirit. It entails judgment, pardon, and a new direction. By contrast, in his view, a general theory does not depend upon hearing the Word of God, but rather entails the application of the theory to human affairs. In other words, the direction of economic responsibility is not a possibility within the created order, and therefore it cannot be known through the universal harmonies of capitalist economics, nor in the Marxist dialectic, but can be given and discerned only in the action of Word and Spirit. We now wish to introduce elements of the relations among the histories that will concern us.

The History of the Covenant and Related Histories

A glance at the Church Dogmatics will show that the final volumes, volumes three, four, and the projected but never started fifth, correspond to God's works of creation, reconciliation, and redemption. Volume one deals with prolegomena. Volume two deals with God, and this is followed by the three volumes on God's three major acts. The final four volumes are a treatment of the traditional theological loci--first God himself, followed by his three major acts of creation, reconciliation, and redemption.(126) These four volumes reflect the unity and diversity of God, first God himself as the one God (volume two), and then God in his three-fold acts as appropriated to Father, Son, and Spirit. These three acts, by appropriation, reflect the inner-triune relations. We shall describe aspects of these relations in the following chapters. For now, however, we wish to make several observations. First, corresponding to God's oneness, we may note that Barth places his doctrine of God prior to his discussions of creation, reconciliation, and redemption. His doctrine of God begins with God in himself, God's perfections, and then God's first act outside himself, his election of Jesus Christ and with him the whole of humanity.(127) Since, within God, the Father eternally begets the Son and only the Son, God's first act outside himself must have its basis in Jesus Christ. Election has its basis in Jesus Christ; it is the history of Jesus Christ understood from the point of view of God's one abiding purpose. God's election of Jesus Christ, and the human response made known in Jesus Christ, govern all God's action and their human responses as they occur in the histories of creation, reconciliation, and redemption. Therefore Barth places election prior to these subsequent three-fold histories. Election, as God's one abiding purpose, reveals the unity of these three histories; the histories are the way in which God works out his intent as revealed in election. God's purpose in election is fellowship with his people and among peoples. All other acts, God's acts and their human responses as given in creation, reconciliation, and redemption, aim at fellowship with God and others and therefore these other acts can be understood only from the point of view of election. The history of election in coordination with creation, reconciliation, and redemption reflects the unity and diversity of the God who is a triunity.(128) Therefore, before we begin the following chapter with the economic aspects of Barth's doctrine of creation, we must present elements of his doctrine of election as this guides the discussion of how God acts in creation, reconciliation, and redemption.

Secondly, in speaking of election, and of creation, reconciliation, and redemption, we are speaking of one history, with an emphasis on God's oneness, or of three histories, emphasizing God's threeness.(129) This three-in-one history encounters and overcomes another history, the history of human sin.(130) These histories, whether we think of the one history of God in opposition to human sin, or of that one history in its threeness, are not related as elements of a general temporal process, nor can they be categorized according to a general concept of time. Barth does not speak of "time" as a general concept, but of "times" differentiated and brought together in grace. Apart from grace, the histories of creation, reconciliation, and redemption do not exist together, nor are they related to God's history of election. Only in the event of grace are they one-in-three, and further, only in the event of grace does this one history encounter the history of sin and overcome it.(131) This is another way of expressing the analogia relationis, the fact that relations hold among God's major acts only in the event of grace. Our results will be derived by relating reconciliation and creation, and further, they will become historically relevant only in the event in which God encounters fallen human history. Therefore, we may, from this angle, repeat our prior conclusion, that we are not deriving a general theory, but rather, describing relations that hold only in the moment of grace, and can become effective in fallen history only within that moment.

Barth uses one other important concept with respect to history, and that is "covenant." Before we introduce Barth's doctrine of election, we wish briefly to describe elements of how covenant, election, and the other major histories are related.

Within God, Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and outside himself, God's first act is election, the choice of Jesus Christ and the whole of humanity for fellowship with himself. The fellowship between God and his creatures as realized in election, however, is closely related to Barth's concept of "covenant." The term "covenant" indicates the reality of God's personal word of address. Not all God's actions are direct words of address; his creation of the world, for example, is not a direct self-revealing word. Those events in which God directly address his creatures, however, are covenant words. They establish fellowship in that they enable human beings to respond to him and to one another. Election therefore refers to God's purpose as revealed in Jesus Christ; covenant refers to God's words of personal address. God's Word of personal address is an event, and therefore the covenant is a history. This history is described in Scripture. The covenant begins with Yahweh's covenant with Israel, and it is fulfilled in the new covenant in Jesus Christ. Covenant is the purpose of election. The covenant is prefigured in creation, comes closer to the light in the history of Israel, culminates in the history of Jesus Christ, and will reach its final goal when Christ is revealed in the eschatological age. We will describe the various ways in which covenant relates to God's acts as we proceed in our study, and it is an important concept for us. Our next step, however, is to introduce Barth's doctrine of election.


We have discussed Barth's doctrine of the Trinity and aspects of his view of history. We could at this point end this chapter and go at once to Barth's doctrine of creation. Before doing so, however, we need to present certain ideas pertinent to Barth's doctrine of election. We have already seen how God's election of Jesus Christ is the basis of God's actions outside himself. If we are to understand the basis and purpose of all God's acts we first need to understand God's purposes as revealed in election. Specifically, and this is relevant to our work in the following chapter, creation needs to be seen from the viewpoint of election and not vice-versa.(132) Therefore, we will present Barth's doctrine of election prior to our discussion of creation. This is the order followed by Barth in the Church Dogmatics. Furthermore, following his discussion of election, Barth presents aspects of his ethical thought. Both election and ethics occur in volume two as part of the doctrine of God. In Barth's view, God has chosen to bind himself to humanity in Jesus Christ, and therefore election is part of the doctrine of God. Furthermore, in electing to fellowship with humanity in his Word, God not only blesses but commands. Therefore, ethics belongs to a doctrine of God as well, and Barth places both prior to the remaining three volumes on creation, reconciliation, and redemption. Each of these three volumes contains special material on ethics related to their special content, but the basis of ethics is in the sanctification that comes to humanity through the electing God. We will end this chapter with a few observations on Barth's ethics which will indicate the ethical relevance of the material in the following chapters.

God's First Act--Election

The election of Jesus Christ and with him the whole of humanity takes place through three choices which Barth visualizes as three concentric circles.(133) First, in the inner circle, there is the choice of Jesus Christ. The choice of Jesus Christ corresponds within God to his eternally begetting the Son.(134) God's choice of Jesus Christ is specific and concrete; it is the history of God in relation to Jesus Christ as described in the gospel accounts. According to that history, God determines himself for sinful humanity, and sinful humanity for himself. By this it is meant that God and humanity relate to each other as given in Jesus Christ; all God's relations with humanity are reflections or realizations of what has already occurred in Jesus Christ. Specifically, in Jesus Christ, God set aside humanity's rejection of himself, and determined that humanity share in his glory, in the vitality of his presence. We shall describe this two-fold movement, God's humility in bearing the effects of human sin, and humanity's exaltation through God's pardon and fellowship, in chapter three. The purpose of this divine and human work as revealed in Jesus' divine/human histories is fellowship, community between God and humanity and among people. Barth expresses it as follows:
What did God elect in the election of Jesus Christ? We have said already that not only did He elect fellowship with man for Himself, but He also elected fellowship with Himself for man. By the one decree of self-giving, He decreed his own abandonment to rejection and also the wonderful exaltation and endowment of man to existence in covenant with Himself; that man should be enriched and saved and glorified in the living fellowship of the covenant.(135)
The fellowship between God and humanity has its ontological basis in Jesus Christ, and upon that basis, it occurs in the second of the two concentric circles, the community. We may notice at this point that Barth places the community prior to the individual. In the third circle God elects the individual, but only the individual as existing in the community which in turn has its basis in Jesus Christ as its head. We will find this pattern throughout Barth's theology, and therefore it is the community, acting as one that is called to act responsibly in economic affairs. In choosing the community, God's aim is that the whole of humanity enter into fellowship with himself. Barth has no doctrine of double predestination. God's choice for love and fellowship in Jesus is an election of the whole of humanity, and humanity in their togetherness. It is not God's eternal purpose that any should be rejected. Nevertheless, the reality of God's choice as manifest in Jesus Christ has not yet reached the whole of the human race, with the consequence that God's eternal Yes to the whole of humanity is reflected in two forms. First there is the community of Israel which witnesses to God's judgment and the hearing but not believing of God's election. Secondly, there is the Church which witnesses to God's grace and human believing.(136) God calls all, God chooses all, there is in reality only one community, and its two-fold form reveals the passing away of judgment and disobedience, and the coming of the new community of grace and believing.(137) There is always the eschatological hope that in the end disbelief will pass away, and the community of belief will comprise the whole of humanity. Scripture, in Barth's opinion, does not deny that hope, nor does it say that its achievement is a certainty.(138) Finally, there is the choice of the individual. Barth places the choice of the individual after the choice of the community as the mediation of God's election, and the establishment of human individuality is only assured in the midst of those social relationships that constitute community.(139) In hearing and receiving God's gracious election there is a varied human response. For some the news is accepted and believed. But concerning even those who do not believe, God's aim is that their choice is void, that even in disbelief it is God's purpose and work that each person be appointed to eternal life with God.(140) Furthermore, even those who deny God's grace, are not exempt from the election of God. God will providentially order their lives so that they aid in the accomplishment of God's purposes, and bear reluctant witness to God's mercy.(141) One of the consequences of this perspective is that there is an essential solidarity between those who profess the Christian faith and those who do not. By virtue of this solidarity Barth felt that Christians could and should participate in those social and economic movements that most nearly approximate the rule of God in human affairs.(142) All people and organizations have something to contribute to God's kingdom. Finally, we will discover that the image of concentric circles is an image that pervades the whole of Barth's theology. We will see it in a number of contexts. With respect to the state, we will find that Barth visualizes the state as a third outer circle, with Jesus being the center and the intermediary circle being Israel and the church. The fact that all individuals and social organizations contribute to God's purposes means that there are positive relations among Jesus Christ, Israel and the Church, and the state. Specifically, the state has a positive contribution to make in establishing the final eschatological Kingdom created by the Spirit.

A Note on Barth's Ethics

As God elects humanity to life and fellowship with himself and one another, he always acts to bless and save. As he acts to save and bless, he also summons his people into action. All saving acts of God entail an ethical response. The ethical response is based upon the work of Word and Spirit, in that God not only subjectively empowers people to know him, but enables them to respond in faith to his saving grace. The norm of ethics is the grace of God as revealed in Jesus Christ in Scripture and mediated in the present by further acts of God. The ethical response is the form in which human beings respond to God's saving grace, so that Barth will say that the law (the commanded human response in a particular situation), is the form of the gospel (the saving act of God in that situation).(143) Furthermore, since God's saving grace and Word addresses people in their concrete circumstances and creates history, ethics possesses an historical character. Ethics entails listening to the Word of God and active participation in history.(144) Since ethics has its basis in God's grace, in his acts, it reflects the unity and diversity of God's actions. Barth discusses general ethics in the context of his doctrine of election; and then with respect to God's major acts, special ethics correspond to the ethical response to God's grace as given in creation, reconciliation, and redemption.(145) As we proceed in future sections, we shall develop the relevant ethical material in those contexts. At each point our basis will be God's grace and command. We will discover how God and humanity as given and known in Jesus Christ took responsibility for economic life, and particulary, how this responsibility is reflected in creation and reconciliation. Upon that basis we will discover how nations and persons are called to act in economic affairs.

Final Propositions from Chapter One

1.1 God is one, and only one in the way of being three modes related by two issues, and this in every depth of himself. Each mode is God, of the same essence, yet, distinguished by their unequal relations.

1.2 The Father eternally begets the Son and only the Son, and ad extra, all God's actions have their basis in Jesus Christ. God reveals himself only by taking form in the Son as known by the Spirit. There is no natural knowledge of God.

1.3 The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is the common factor, reciprocal love, the fellowship, the communion between Father and Son. Ad extra, the Spirit creates relationships, community, and love among persons and with God. The filioque implies that the Spirit reveals God and creates community only as known in Jesus Christ.

1.4 As God is in himself, (Immanent Trinity), so he is in his actions (economic Trinity), and vice-versa. As God acts he creates analogies or correspondences of himself. These analogies hold only in the moment of grace, in the event of God taking form as Son and acting subjectively as Spirit.

1.5 God's one great act is election, and by appropriation, his election is carried out in history through Creation, Reconciliation, and Redemption, which correspond to Father, Son, and Spirit. According to (1.1) and (1.4), election, creation, reconciliation, and redemption, are distinguished and related according to the inner-triune relations.

1.6 No mode of God exists without the others, and therefore, outside himself, all God's actions as appropriated to a specific mode occur with related actions corresponding to the other two modes.

1.7 God is historical within Himself, and outside himself his actions and revelation take an historical form. Given (1.2), the one central history is the history of Jesus Christ, and given the distinctions within God, this one history is related to the histories of creation, reconciliation, and redemption as their basis, origin, and goal.

1.8 God is social within himself, social in the dynamic interaction of the three modes in the community of the Spirit. This follows from (1.3).

1.9 Ethical action has its basis in God's action. It is given through Word and Spirit, and its norm is the two-fold, human and divine, history of Jesus Christ. The law is the form of the gospel. There is no natural law, just as there is no natural theology. All depends upon the event of grace.

Endnotes to Chapter One

1. "Barth turns again and again to relate the doctrines he is discussing to the trinitarian discussion of God. The Trinity, he holds, is not an isolated affirmation about God, but is fundamental to all of the other aspects of the Christian faith." Claude Welch, In His Name (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1972), p. 162. Claude Welch summarizes the fundamental position of of Trinity with respect to other doctrines (p. 163), and, in turn, recognizes that the doctrine of the Trinity is itself Christologically based (pp. 169, 178, 205).
2. Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, Vol. I, part 1, 2d ed., part 2: The Doctrine of the Word of God; Vol. II, parts 1,2: The Doctrine of God; Vol. III, parts 1,2,3,4: The Doctrine of Creation; Vol. IV, parts 1,2, 3 first half, 3 second half: The Doctrine of Reconciliation; 4 Vols. (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1936-75), II, part 1: 51. Hereinafter the differing volumes and their parts of the Church Dogmatics will be cited by Roman and Arabic numerals. For example, Church Dogmatics, IV:2, refers to volume four, part 2.
3. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, p. 25.
4. Ibid., p. 300. See the section, "The Place of the Doctrine of the Trinity in Dogmatics," pp. 295-304. One of Barth's motives for placing Trinity within prolegomena is to avoid a direct correlation between God and general human experience, including political and social programs. In this connection, Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt has proposed the thesis that Barth's "concept of God was achieved through socialist-interpreted social experience and presented in relation to that experience." (Friedrich-Wilhelm Marquardt, Theologie und Sozialismus, Das Beispiel Karl Barths [Munich: Chr. Kaiser Verlag, 1972], p. 333. See also, George Hunsinger, ed. and trans., Karl Barth and Radical Politics [Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976], pp. 47, 68.) Marquardt demonstrates his thesis by examining the development of Barth's thought in relation to his political activity, and by showing that Barth's central doctrines, above all, his concepts of God and Christology, were derived from and lead to his socialist political commitment. With respect to the Church Dogmatics, however, Marquardt does not begin with prolegomena, but with section 28 of II:1 on God as the one who loves in freedom (Marquardt, Theologie und Sozialismus, p. 236). Section 28 of II:1 refers to God's inner-triune life, his perfections. Within himself, God is social in the inter-related love of Father, Son, and Spirit. Therefore, God is social in his actions, and this, in Marquardt's view, has far-reaching social and ethical implications. Marquardt describes the social implications in these words: "The freedom of God for immanence, the flexible modes of God's self-giving in the world, is complete social utopia when one does not think of it in ontological terms but left hegelian." (p. 237.) Our fundamental thesis is that economic life has its basis in social history, and the basis of our thesis is God's inner-triune life. But we cannot, as does Marquardt, draw a direct line between God and socialism, nor can they be placed in a dialectical relation. Following Barth, we begin with prolegomena, and with Barth's doctrine of the Trinity. From Barth's perspective, the first meaning of Trinity is that God and his revelation is not, to use Marquardt's words, "achieved" or "presented" in relation to any element of general human experience. Barth describes his reason for placing Trinity in the prolegomena as follows: "The basic problem with which Scripture faces us in respect of revelation is that the revelation attested in it refuses to be understood as any sort of revelation alongside which there are or may be others. In insists absolutely in being understood in its uniqueness." Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, p. 295.
5. Barth's views on Kant are well stated in his book on Protestant Theology. Karl Barth, Protestant Theology in the Nineteenth Century; Its Background and History (London: SCM Press, 1972). See the theological alternatives to Kant outlined on pp. 306-7, which indicate the major streams of nineteenth century theology.
6. Ibid., p. 306.
7. After an initial, brief, conservative theological education, Barth began theological training in Berlin where he encountered and was persuaded by the dominant liberal theology of the time. He became a liberal theologian, and was chiefly influenced by Schleiermacher, Kant, and the history of religion school of biblical interpretation. Eberhard Busch, Karl Barth, trans. John Bowden (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976), p. 40.
8. Barth, Protestant Theology, pp. 274-5.
9. Ibid., pp. 282-3. 10. Ibid., pp. 284-6.
11. Barth begins his criticism of liberalism, as well as Rome, in the opening pages of the Church Dogmatics. For his view that liberalism identifies revelation with an aspect of created reality see I:1, pp. 36-40, 61-64, 124, 195-6.
12. Hunsinger, Radical Politics, pp. 19-20. See the whole of the essay in Hunsinger entitled, "Jesus Christ and the Movement for Social Justice," pp. 19-45. This essay is a speech given by Barth while still a young pastor in Safenvil.
13. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 25-36, "The Necessity of Dogmatic Prolegomena," and especially the comments p. 34.
14. Ibid., p. 38. Barth directly links liberal theology to the German Christians' failure to hold fast against Hitler's attempt to subvert the Church. In his view the "doctrine of the German-Christians is nothing but a particulary vigorous result of the entire neo-protestant development since 1700 . . . the German-Christians affirm the German nationhood, its history and its contemporary political situation as a second source of revelation, and thereby betray themselves to be believers in 'another God.'" (Karl Barth, The German Church Conflict, trans. P. T. A. Parker [Richmond: John Knox Press, 1965], p. 16. Also note, pp. 25, 27, 41-42). See also, Arthur Cochrane, The Church's Confession Under Hitler (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1962), p. 135. There is a convergence between Juan Luis Segundo and Karl Barth at this point. Segundo discusses a number of liberal theologians, Bultmann, Robinson, Cox, Van Buren, and correlates their aversion to the concept of divine intervention with their attachment to the bourgeois social order. (Juan Luis Segundo, Our Idea of God, [Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1973], pp. 12-14, 47-49, 122-127). In his view, liberal theology is wedded to the sufficiency and dominance of its social context. Consequently, it cannot imagine an act of God as intervening to judge and transform its social world. It is created by the "modern man," one who is the product of the "great urban centers in the Anglo-Saxon industrial empire; an urbane pragmatic man molded by scientific and technological thought and bound up with the notions of progress and affluence. And as we have seen, what he cannot accept is a transcendence pictured as intervening within the boundaries of this world that he knows, uses, manipulates, and dominates." (p. 124, also pp. 14, 49, 125.) Both Barth and Segundo possess an understanding of God's act as revolutionary. From Barth's point of view, and we shall show this, God judges and redeems societies, and this includes the economic order. Similar ideas can be found in Jose Miguez Bonino, Doing Theology in a Revolutionary Situation (Philadelphia, Fortress, Press, 1970), p. 72, and Christians and Marxists: the Mutual Challenge to Revolution (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1976), p. 39.
15. Busch, Karl Barth, p. 81.
16. The war was only one of a number of complex factors that led to Barth's break with liberalism. Barth mentions three primary influences, his encounter with the Blumhardts (father and son), and his discovery of what he called "the strange new world within the Bible," together with the war.Karl Barth, The Humanity of God, trans. John Newton Thomas and Thomas Wieser (Richmond, Va.: John Knox Press, 1960), p. 40.
17. See the essay entitled "The Strange New World in the Bible." Karl Barth, The Word of God and the Word of Man, trans. Douglas Horton (New York: Harper Torchbooks, Harper and Brothers, 1956), pp. 28-50.
18. James D. Smart, The Divided Mind of Modern Theology: Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann, 1908-1933 (Philadelphia: The Westminster press, 1967), pp. 47-48. Segundo makes a similar point: "We are in fact faced with two alternatives. Either the prophets--or Christ himself--transmit an interpretation that God is sending to us; in that case the message itself is a divine intervention in history, of the same order as any in the biblical account. Or else they are transmitting their own thoughts about our existence; and in that case I accept them or not, as I choose, just as I would those of a Socrates, a Nietzsche, or a Heidegger." Segundo, Our Idea of God, p. 49.
19. Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans, trans. Edwyn C. Hoskyns (London: Oxford University Press, 1935), p. 10. See also, Busch, Karl Barth, p. 119, where Barth's second edition of the Romerbrief is described as a "radical criticism of the liberal and 'positive' theology of the previous century arguing that it had ceased to acknowledge God as God."
20. See the preface to the second edition of The Epistle to the Romans where Barth discusses the influences that led to the second edition. This included a deeper study of Kant.
21. Ibid., p. 30. 22. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:2, p. 50.
23. According to Marquardt, Barth worked out his concept of God's transcendence in the context of his socialist politics as a critique of the bourgeois social order. "Social experience determined Barth's theology so strongly that his 'logic of God' was developed from a critically conceived 'logic of (bourgeois) society.' In the context of experience of transcendence, his concept of God as the 'Wholly Other' did not directly refer to God's ontology as something beyond and aloof. Rather, it set God in connection with the Wholly Other of the new man, the new world, and the new age--in other words, with the contents of revolution." Hunsinger, Radical Politics, pp. 65-6. From the vantage point of the Church Dogmatics, God as "Wholly Other," implies that God stands in judgment over all social systems, including those founded upon a proletarian revolution, and not simply in judgment against bourgeois society.
24. Barth, Church Dogmatics, II:1, p. 311. See also, I:1, p. 352, where Barth claims that this notion of God's ontic and noetic independence is a biblical notion.
25. Busch, Karl Barth, p. 210.
26. Karl Barth, Anselm: Fides quaerens intellectum, trans. Louise Smith (New York: Harper and Row, 1962), p. 38.
27. Ibid., p. 171.
28. Ibid., p. 38, also note statement p. 48. 29. Ibid., p. 19.
30. Barth begins the Church Dogmatics with an initial volume of prolegomena. Prolegomena is concerned with dogmatics and its "particular way of knowledge." (I:1, p. 25.) Since Anselm precipitated Barth's epistemology, his influence is especially evident in the opening pages of the Church Dogmatics. See, for example, the section on Prolegomena, I:1, pp. 25-46, where he differentiates his view from that which sees revelation as a general human possibility, rather than stemming from a specific act of God, p. 41. This act is the Word of God, Jesus Christ, pp. 41-44, and that is the criterion for Dogmatics. In Sections five and six, pp. 125-247, Barth describes the nature and knowability of this Word. Here the influence of Anselm is particularly evident, in that the Word of God is a concrete event of personal address given as God takes form in space and time, primarily through proclamation in conformity with Scripture. It occurs only from time to time, in the event of God speaking, and cannot be a general philosophical and anthropological possibility.
31. For Barth, the criterion for theology is the Word of God. (Church Dogmatics I:1, p. 47.) But the "Word of God is God Himself in Holy Scripture." (I:2, p. 457.) Scripture is the written norm, it is the Credo, and it becomes the Word through the event of God's triune act.
32. Note Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, section three, pp. 47-87, where proclamation is seen as the material of dogmatics, since theology is concerned with the Church's proclamation. Also, chapter IV of I:2, pp. 743-884, speaks of proclamation as God's commission to the Church (p. 743), and Barth places this section right after the section on Scripture since the Church's proclamation follows from Scripture.
33. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 51-53.
34. Ibid., p. 248. See especially sections three, pp. 47-87, and seven, pp. 248-275.
35. Ibid., pp. 136-7, 144.
36. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:2, pp. 816, 822, and 839.
37. Ibid., p. 840. One of Barth's motives in writing the Church Dogmatics was to serve the church in its task of proclamation as it pertained to the political realm. In his view, political clarity required theological clarity, and this matter was on his mind as he began to write the Church Dogmatics in 1932 as Hitler came to power. The following remark is taken from the preface to the Church Dogmatics: "I am firmly convinced, that especially in the broad field of politics, we cannot reach the clarifications which are necessary today, and on which theology might have a word to say, as indeed it ought to have, without first reaching the comprehensive clarifications in and about theology which are our present concern." (I:1, p. xvi.)
38. Ibid., pp. 304-313, 332-33, excursus p. 313.
39. Ibid., pp. 379-380.
40. Barth follows this procedure on pp. 315-333 of Church Dogmatics, I:1. See his reasons for doing so on pp. 287-292.
41. Ibid., p. 314, also, p. 306. 42. Ibid., p. 306-7.
43. Ibid., pp. 315-324, for Barth's discussion of God's hiddenness, and especially part 2, pp. 320-324, including the excursus of pp. 322-4.
44. Ibid., p. 315. For God taking form see part one, pp. 315-320, including biblical excursus 316-319. At this point Barth is repeating, from the biblical point of view, what he discovered through reading Anselm. Aspects of the matter were also discussed in chapter one of I:1. See, for example, pp. 133-142, where Barth discusses God's Word as taking form as a personal address. Further, see part 1, pp. 165-174, on the Word of God taking form, and part 2, 174-181, where the Word of God is seen as both a veiling and unveiling, which, in regard to Trinity, Barth understands as Father and Son.
45. Ibid., p. 321. See also, Church Dogmatics, II:1, p. 3.
46. See the excursus, Barth, Church Dogmatics, I;1, pp. 322-4.
47. Barth, among other places, discusses this in Church Dogmatics, II:1, in the first two sections on "Man before God," and "God before Man." Barth begins with God as Subject who brings his listeners as hearers into his presence, and in this event God becomes an object to human knowing, p. 32.
48. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, excursus beginning p. 316.
49. Ibid., p. 316.
50. When God distinguishes Himself from Himself and becomes "different," He is yet the "same" as both modes are the same One God. From a logical point of view nothing can be different from itself while remaining the same. For Barth the events of revelation, the biblical witness, take epistemological precedence over the criterion of consistency, (Church Dogmatics, I:1, p. 9). Furthermore, God as Trinity is a mystery, and the aim of rational effort is to reveal that mystery, and not primarily the creation of a perfectly consistent schema. "But all rational wrestling with this mystery, the more serious it is, can lead only to its fresh and authentic interpretation and manifestation as a mystery." (p. 368.)
51. Ibid., pp. 133-142, 165-181, 315-320. 52. Ibid., pp. 321, 323.
53. Ibid., the excursi beginning p. 330 and p. 453.
54. Ibid., pp. 324-332, and also pp. 181-186. 55. Ibid., pp. 452-3.
56. Ibid, the two sections " Unity in Trinity," pp. 348-353, and "Trinity in Unity," pp. 353-68, and the statements, p. 368, on the conflation of the two. See also comments p. 354.
57. Ibid., p. 348.
58. Ibid. With respect to the "persons," see discussion beginning p. 350, the excursus pp. 355-358, and additional comments 358-361. In contrast to Barth, Segundo has a stronger sense of the modes of the "Trinity" as "persons" or "acting subjects." (Our Idea of God, chapter 2, pp. 57-66.) The three modes are each alike as far as their objective content or essence. Each are God, but they differ in that each mode is an acting Subject in relation to the others. As Subjects, the three persons act together, they collaborate, and they are brought together in love without confusion or blurring of their being as acting subjects (pp. 62-66). Therefore, God is a society. This view of God has its correlate in social views of labor and social ownership. In this view, work and production are understood as a common endeavor for the good of all, while undifferentiated monotheism leads to a view of society as essentially private with everyone carving out their own private personal and economic domain (pp. 66-69). These connections are significant. In our case, Barth's stronger emphasis on God's oneness, in contrast to Segundo's view, does not destroy the "social" nature of God. God's oneness, for Barth, is not undifferentiated oneness. His oneness exists only in threeness, and this threeness, ad extra, leads to a social view of human personhood and social life. The counterpart of God's triune nature is the community, and then the individual in that context. By contrast, Segundo's Trinity would lead to a view of persons as persons first, and then, by mutual love, communities. The difference is whether one starts with the unity or triunity. Theologically, Segundo's doctrine of the Trinity is the social doctrine of the Trinity. By this it is meant that each mode is a distinct acting Subject. Barth rejects the social doctrine of the Trinity as it comes too close to tri-theism. But he does not deny God's social triune nature. In both cases, however, the social nature of work and economic life flows out of their formulations, and we shall demonstrate that this is the case for Barth.
59. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, p. 351. Barth is saying that he is speaking of the divine I thrice repeated, and not that he is speaking three times in different ways of one divine I.
60. Ibid., p. 352. 61. Ibid., pp. 358-9. 62. Ibid., pp. 350-1.
63. Ibid., p. 363. 64. Ibid., p. 360. 65. Ibid., pp. 354-5.
66. Ibid., pp. 364 and 483, for a concise statement of this matter.
67. Ibid., pp. 352-3, 439, for the discussion of Arius, pp. 381-2 on subordinationism and modalism. Bonino makes a connection between European imperialism and monist or non-trinitarian views of God. Monist view of God have lead European thought to formulate social conceptions which destroy solidarity among peoples. This view is the "philosophical expression of the European ethos of conquest and domination, which is unable to 'respect' any other reality--whether a nation, a race, a culture--but can only relate to it by appropriating, dominating, and subjecting it to slavery." (Christians and Marxists, pp. 100-1.) Bonino contrasts monism with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The triune God is social, the "other" exists within God, and, ad extra, God works with his people through history and solidarity (pp. 105-8). In Bonino's view, both Marxism and liberal bourgeois theology and philosophy reflect this monistic position. Segundo draws similar conclusions: "Our falsified and inauthentic ways of dealing with our fellow men are allied to our falsifications of the idea of God. Our unjust society and our perverted idea of God are in close and terrible alliance." (Our Idea of God, pp. 7-8.) Segundo goes on to connect the heretical versions of a static God with various social and economic images which are used to structure society. (Chapter three, pp. 98-144, on modalism, and chapter four, pp. 146-177, on subordinationalism.) With respect to modalism, his primary point is that Modalism understands God as impassive, remote, inaccessible, a divine "it." This image of God leads to alienation and oppression. It allows people to treat others as an impersonal "it," or to stereotype people into predetermined social strata and tasks. This view removes God from history, from personal encounter, struggle, and responsibility for others (pp. 104, 114, 127-33). Similarly, the God of Arianism, the supreme ground of all being, functions to legitimate the status quo since its existence is derived from an analysis of being as it is, rather than existence as revealed by a God who judges the present order. The Arian God fortifies the power of the ruling elite, or for the ruled, it relieves them of the frightful struggle for liberation in history (pp. 154-8). In spite of differences in their understanding of Trinity, both Bonino and Segundo recognizes it as a central concept in understanding and transforming reality. For us, the doctrine of the Trinity is crucial, it pertains directly to our thesis, for it addresses whether or not economic life belongs to an autonomous non-historical realm, or whether it belongs to the realm of social history. If it is the latter, it exists through social relations between peoples and classes and it can be changed by social historical action. If the former, it is beyond the reach of historical action and social encounter.
68. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 333, 479.
69. Ibid., chapter headings for sections 10, 11, 12 on pp. 384, 399, 448. See also p. 416 where Barth begins a discussion of why Jesus Christ as the Word of the Father in revelation must be so antecendently in himself. See the excursus pp. 416-9, and pp. 420-2 where he gives three fatal consequences of not holding this view.
70. The first major treatment of the analogia entis in the Church Dogmatics, aside from passing references in I:1 (pp. xiii, 41, 239, 243), and the related discussion of Vestigium Trinitatis (333-347), is found in II:1, pp. 63-128, the section on "The Knowability of God." See especially the excursus beginning p. 79 where Barth specifically discusses the Roman Catholic view of analogia entis.
71. Barth, Church Dogmatics, II:1, p. 81.
72. Ibid., p. 125. Barth examines the biblical evidence for natural theology on pp. 97-125.
73. Ibid., p. 79. 74. Ibid., p. 84.
75. Segundo's discussion of natural and revealed knowledge of God is quite weak. (Our Idea of God, pp. 102-106, 139-142.) The gist of his treatment is that rational knowledge of God yields a non-historical, impersonal, remote God. Such an image of God, by itself alone, leads to personal and social degradation. However, he does not deny the results of this knowledge, and must therefore coordinate them with revealed knowledge wherein God encounters his people in history as an event of personal address. The dynamic, revealed God joins his people in history and works for their liberation in every aspect of their existence. But how are these two epistemologies and aspects of God related? Segundo accepts both by saying that the rational knowledge of God refers to God's nature, while the revealed knowledge is God in his person as Subject (pp. 105, 139-40). If, however, there is a "natural element" in God, then, ad extra, this opens the door to an aspect of created life in which humans live, act, and think apart from the Word. This realm may perhaps be coordinated with the Word, but not fully addressed by it. Barth rejects this. From our perspective, such a natural element could involve economic life, which would then lead to the separation of economic life from the Word. In that case, the norms for economic life, as well as an understanding of its essential nature, would derive from sources other than Jesus Christ. Following Barth, we shall ground economic life in the Word and only in the Word and this will imply that economic life has its basis in social history.
76. Barth, Church Dogmatics, II:1, p. 84. See also p. xiii of I:1, where Barth says the doctrine of analogia entis is, in Barth's view, the "invention of Antichrist." A forceful expression of Barth's rejection of natural theology can be found in his reply "No" to Brunner. For Barth, the battle over natural theology was the critical theological issue in the struggle against Nazism. Karl Barth and Emil Brunner, Natural Theology, comprising "Nature and Grace" by Brunner and the reply "No" by Barth, ed. Geoffrey Bromiley, trans. Peter Fraenkel (London: Centenary press, 1946). For a discussion of the political and theological context of Barth's reply to Brunner, see Cochrane, The Church's Confession under Hitler, pp. 69-73.
77. Barth's, Church Dogmatics, I:1, p. 243-4.
78. Ibid., pp. 333-47. This is Barth's discussion of "Vestigium Trinitatis." A major point of that section is that trinities are set up in the world by revelation, but one cannot deduce knowledge of the triune God from trinities that may exist in creation apart from God's revelatory act. Note pp. 339-340, and 372-3.
79. Ibid., pp. 238-244.
80. Ibid., pp. 227-247, the section entitled "The Word of God and Faith." See especially the excursus pp. 243-4.
81. See, for example, Barth's comments, Church Dogmatics, III:2, pp. 220, and pp. 323-4.
82. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 362.
83. Ibid., p. 375, 394, 442.
84. Ibid., pp. 362, 372. Note the chapter headings for the sections on Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, pp. 384, 399, 448 respectively, and especially the discussions pp. 394-8, 442-3, 474, where appropriation is discussed with respect to each of the three modes.
85. Ibid., p. 374. 86. Ibid., p. 412.
87. Barth first works out these appropriations and their relations as reflective of the inner-triune relations in the sections referring to Father, Son, and Spirit in Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 384-399, 399-448, 448-466.
88. Ibid., pp. 384-390, where Barth speaks of God's being known only in Jesus Christ and at the end of human existence.
89. Ibid., p. 370. See also pp. 295-300, 374-5, 380-81, 394, 412, 449.
90. Ibid., the excursus pp. 385-6. 91. Ibid., the excursus pp. 386-7.
92. Ibid., p. 389.
93. Ibid., in the section on "God the Father," pp. 384-98, Barth proceeds in two steps. First he discusses God the Father as known in revelation, pp. 384-390, and secondly, in the section entitled "The Eternal Father," pp. 390-98, he moves from economic to immanent Trinity so that God in himself is as he is in revelation.
94. Ibid., p. 396. 95. Ibid., the excursus, pp. 400-2.
96. Ibid., excursus, pp. 402-406, and comments page 446.
97. Creation occurs in volume three, Reconciliation is volume four of the Church Dogmatics.
98. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, p. 413. 99. Ibid., pp. 423-447.
100. Ibid., p. 413. 101. Ibid., p. 433.
102. Barth's doctrine of election occurs in II:2, while creation occurs in III:1.
103. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 413, 446.
104. Ibid., pp. 432-3. 105. Ibid., pp. 453-459.
106. Ibid., pp. 459-462 on the Spirit's being God and not a creature, pp. 451-2 on non-identity of Spirit with other two modes, pp. 452-3 on Spirit revealing God as known in the Word, and pp. 463-4 on eschatological character of the Spirit's work. Barth verifies these propositions on the basis of the biblical revelation.
107. Ibid., p. 469.
108. Ibid., p. 472 on Spirit in creation, and p. 488 on the Spirit in worship.
109. Ibid., p. 474. For use of the neuter noun, see comments pp. 469-470.
110. Ibid., comments pp. 469-70, and again pp. 480-1.
111. Ibid., pp. 486-7. 112. Ibid., p. 448.
113. The decisive difference between Barth and Segundo is their view of history, and this has significant consequences for every aspect of their theological enterprise. Segundo introduces major portions of Teilhard de Chardin's evolutionary cosmology into his theological system. He does this in a systematic fashion by relating all his theological doctrines to this evolutionary view. From Barth's perspective, Segundo's view of history has affinities with the liberal view he so vehemently rejected.
       Both Barth and Segundo relate a doctrine of the Trinity to a view of history. Segundo conceives of Father, Son, and Spirit, in terms of God before us, God with us, and God-in-us attuned to the rhythm of history. (Our Idea of God, the three sections, pp. 21-5, 25-28, 28-31.) The Son, God with us, affirms the value of history and the human work of constructing history. This work is progressive and cumulative, and goes beyond Jesus' original work in Galilee. The fact that Jesus departed and that he sent the Spirit to witness to him implies that humanity had not yet evolved to the point of understanding the fullness of his original works, and that future evolution would be needed to work out their meaning. This is the work of the Spirit within history, bringing forth the meaning of Christ. (Our Idea of God, pp. 29-30, The Liberation of Theology [Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1976], pp. 120-121.) The goal of the Spirit's work is Jesus Christ the Omega Point. The concept "Omega Point" is taken from Chardin and it represents the evolutionary unification and ascension of the universe toward its goal Jesus Christ. (Grace and the Human Condition [Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1973], pp. 82-86, The Sacraments Today [Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1973], pp. 14, 68, De la sociedad a la teologia [Buenos Aires: Carlos Lohle, 1970], pp. 155-60; Segundo also speaks of Christ at the beginning of history Evolution and Guilt [Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1974], pp. 29-30, 51.) The universe moves toward its goal through evolution in which reality is successively built into more complex structures. These new structures require previously formed levels as their threshold points. This view of history differs radically from Barth. Barth does not believe that the Kingdom cumulatively builds through evolutionary advance. Barth believes that the Kingdom is already fully given in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ works in history through events in which he is present and active. We shall address this matter in chapter four, but for now we may say he always works as repetitions of his prior earthly life and never cumulatively builds beyond that original history. By contrast, Segundo's evolutionary view leads him to emphasize the advance of the Kingdom within history. This in turn leads to the historical project, the construction of a more just, humane, and economically vital society as an ongoing and cumulative process. (Grace and the Human Condition, pp. 71-74, 200-1; Our Idea of God, pp. 30-31; Evolution and Guilt, pp. 83-84, 126-131.) From Segundo's perspective, Barth's view tends toward an occasionalist ethic rather than a systematic attempt to construct a new order. From Barth's perspective, Segundo's evolutionary view of history is another form of the liberal identification of the Kingdom with general history; it is a form of natural theology in dialectical tension with revelation. We shall discuss some of the implications of these differences as we proceed.
       Bonino's view of history is very similar to Barth's, although it is not developed to the same degree. See Jose Miguez Bonino, Christ and the Younger Churches: Theological Contributions from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, ed. and intro. George F. Vicedom (London: S.P.C.K., 1972), pp. 21-31.
114. With respect to Barth's prolegomena to the Church Dogmatics, we may note I:1, pp. 143-49, 152, 156-7, 324-332.
115. Barth, Church Dogmatics, II:1, pp. 616-640; III:1, pp. 14-15, 66; III:2, p. 437; IV:1 pp. 112, 203f, 210, 215; IV:2 pp. 344-5.
116. The historical character of these categories will be presented as we proceed.
117. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 156-160.
118. Barth, Church Dogmatics, III:3, the section entitled "The Divine Accompanying," pp. 90-154. Throughout this section, from several points of view, Barth speaks of the freedom of God's acts as not bound by various philosophical and scientific schema, or coordinated by any master concept such as "cause."
119. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 132-43, on the speech of God.
120. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 326-329; I:2, pp. 50-51; III:1, pp. 84-90; IV:1, p. 336.
121. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:2, pp. 63-5, 258; III:3, p. 64, 129-30; IV:2, pp. 147-149.
122. Barth, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 325-6; IV:2, p. 149-50.
123. See, for example, Barth's discussion of faith, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 229-247, and especially his third point, pp. 244-247.
124. The ideas of this paragraph, and their references in Barth, will be discussed in chapter three when we discuss the resurrection.
125. We shall discuss the continuity between old and new creation in chapters two and three.
126. See Barth, Church Dogmatics, the section "The Dogmatic Method," I:2, pp. 853-884, where Barth presents his reasons for the structure of the Church Dogmatics,
127. As in Aquinas, there is a great "chain of being" in Barth, beginning with the Triune God, his election of Jesus Christ, the election of all people in him in the social forms of Israel and the church, the outer form of the nations, and then an outer sphere of the created world. The links of this great chain, however, exist only in grace, and are forged through the dynamic history-making action of the triune God. In Segundo's view, Aquinas' great hierarchy is static, and it leads to a sacralization of reality in which the church, state, and all other institutions are immutable and eternally fixed. (The Community Called Church [Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1973], pp. 116-7.) The result, according to Segundo, was an encrusted conservatism in all realms. Barth's theology does not go in that direction.
128. Election is God's first act outside himself (Barth, Church Dogmatics, II:2, pp. 3, 94, 101, the excursus 106-115), and therefore it is the basis of all other acts of God and knowledge of them. Therefore, Barth places the doctrine first, before creation, see pp. 76-93, the section entitled "The Place of the Doctrine in Dogmatics."
129. History reflects the unity and trinity of God. Segundo has only one history, and does it reflect the oneness of God? Or what is the unity that brings the three persons of the Trinity together in one God? Segundo begins with the three persons and moves to the unity by virtue of the fact that each triune person loves the other. (Our Idea of God, p. 65.) By contrast, in history, he begins with one history in which the three triune persons act, and the nature of these actions provide differentiation in history. Within God, however, the threeness is first, and unity is achieved by love. With respect to history, Segundo begins with its unity and does not differentiate it clearly. Segundo's notion of God before, with, and active with us, does imply differentiations and advances in history, but it is still one history in which God and humanity live and act. Barth's view of history is three-in-one. By virtue of Barth's view of the distinctiveness and relatedness of history, as well as his doctrine of appropriation, we shall distinguish and relate economic and political life and reach a complex variety of results. It is impossible to address our fundamental question in this way from Segundo's perspective. Within his evolutionary view of one history, he has not differentiated and related economic and political life, and his divergence with Barth will lead to differing conclusions as to how economic and political life are related. We shall indicate some of these differences.
130. Barth's image of the biblical revelation in its relation to history is that of two concentric circles. Jesus Christ is at the center, followed by an inner circle of the covenant, and an outer circle of human sin which includes the history of the nations. In chapters four and five we shall show that this outer history is not a theological norm for Barth. We shall show, however, that this outer history is a partial norm for Segundo since it belongs to the one history which goes forward with the evolutionary advance. We shall take our norms for economic life from the history of Jesus Christ, and not from current developments in economic affairs. Segundo's criticism of this procedure is that this approach detaches theology and praxis from ongoing history. In response to this critique, we shall, in chapter five, develop a way of integrating theology and contemporary history that does not, however, imply that contemporary history becomes a norm over against or even in tandem with God's revelation in Jesus Christ.
       Finally, we may note that Segundo's option for one history is characteristic of liberation theologians in general. They seek to avoid a historical dualism that separates the Church from the world, or the Kingdom from contemporary affairs. Rather, "they strive to maintain the integrity of 'one single God'filled history,' as Gutierrez puts it." (Bonino, Doing Theology in a Revolutionary Situation, p. 137.) The problem with a single history is that it leaves little room for the Kingdom to stand outside of history, and thereby to judge and transform history. Bonino recognizes this difficulty and modifies the idea of one united history by holding to a double reference, present history in relation to the eschatological Kingdom. (p. 144. See discussion, pp. 132-152, and p. 164.) Barth's view is more complex. He holds to a three-in-one history which encounters the "history" of human sin, abolishes it in judgment, and recreates it through resurrection.
131. See, for example, Barth's discussion on contingent contemporaneity, Church Dogmatics, I:1, pp. 145-9, and especially the opening pages on "God's Time and our Time" pp. 45-59, of I:2. The major ideas of this paragraph are taken from this section of I:2, pp. 45-121, and Barth begins by saying that revelation cannot be understood by means of a general concept of time.
132. Barth discusses providence in the context of the doctrine of creation, Church Dogmatics, III:3, and in II:2, pp. 44-51, he gives his reasons for basing providence upon election and not vice-versa. See also III:3, pp. 8-10, and II:2, pp. 89-90, on priority of election with respect to creation.
133. See the table of contents of Church Dogmatics, II:2, p. xi, where the election of Jesus Christ, the community, and the individual, form the three section headings after an introductory section. See also the statement on p. 43.
134. This is implicit in Barth's comments, Church Dogmatics, II:2, pp. 94-95, the excursus pp. 95-99, also pp. 115-6, 175.
135. Ibid., p. 168. 136. Ibid., p. 195-205.
137. These two forms do not coincide with present day Judaism or the Church but with the two Scriptural histories associated with Jesus Christ, the prophetic and apostolic witness, which at its heart, is one witness.
138. Barth, Church Dogmatics, II:2, p. 423.
139. Ibid., pp. 306-315.
140. Ibid., p. 306, the summary on the election of the individual.
141. This is the substance of Barth's very long excursus on Judas Iscariot, Church Dogmatics, II:2, pp. 458-506. See especially the conclusion on page 501.
142. Barth and Segundo both understand election as an important concept for relating the Church and the world. In Segundo's view, humanity is one, and Christians are not distinguished by the fact that they possess God's favor and grace apart from others, but that they know that God has chosen all to be recipients of his grace and favor. (The Community Called Church, pp. 10-11, 31-32, 40-41; Grace and the Human Condition, pp. 105-108, 114.) They know the teleology of the universe, and therefore their responsibility is all the greater as they struggle to represent its evolutionary advance. (The Community Called Church, pp. 29-30, 40-43.) Since all are called, and God's grace works for all, both Barth and Segundo provide a basis for a Christian/world dialogue and common action. Because of the unity of the human race given in election, our results on economic life will apply, though in different ways, to both the church and the world, and we shall see that economic life is a responsibility that belongs to the whole of the human family.
143. Segundo's evolutionary view of history includes the idea that humanity matures, and this leads him to affirm a strong doctrine of human responsibility for the construction of history. He does not believe that humanity progresses apart from grace, but he does believe that grace produces the progressive capacity to relate to higher levels of complexity. (See his comments on Pelagius: Grace and the Human Condition, pp. 17-21, 46-50.) Segundo will even say that grace "divinizes," and that it elevates to the "superhuman." (pp. 63-64.) Grace enables people to become creative agents of change; they are enabled to direct history. The fact that Jesus departed, and sent his Spirit to work with humanity in history, implies that the task of shaping history rests with humanity. (Our Idea of God, pp. 39-40, 44-46, 54, 153-4.) This represents a real difference from Barth. The difference has its basis in the fact that Segundo sees human beings as being made relatively independent by grace, while Barth never denies humanity's total dependence upon God's grace. We shall show that, from Barth's perspective, economic vitality depends completely upon grace. Since grace does not accumulate in history, economic vitality may not increase, it may even diminish. This implies that the high levels of economic well-being among certain of the world's peoples are not guaranteed by the evolutionary advance, and that humanity as a whole may well descend to a lower level of physical vitality.
144. See Barth, Church Dogmatics, II:2, p. 509, for summary statements of Barth's ethical ideas. Both Bonino and Segundo connect non-historical forms of law with efforts to preserve a given social order. Both understand law as depending upon grace, and therefore it cannot be an eternal static reality. (Segundo, Evolution and Guilt, pp. 41-47, The Liberation of Theology, p. 122.) Bonino traces non-historical forms of law, or natural law, "to the philosophical rationalization of a mythology of the 'cosmos' which in turn sacralizes a static and stratified society. As to the contents of such natural law, it has often been noted that it reproduces some set of historical conditions--whether of the past or present." (Doing Theology in a Revolutionary Situation, p. 115. See also Bonino's discussion, Christians and Marxists, pp. 31-41, where the knowledge of the biblical God is understood in terms of action in history, especially in behalf of the oppressed.) Barth's dynamic understanding of law will lead us to conclude that the laws and institutional forms of the economic order are not eternal, but subject to social historical action.
145. Barth, Church Dogmatics, II:2, pp. 549-551.


The Rev. Robert J. Sanders, Ph.D.