8 Brilliant Karl Barth Quotes on Atonement (CD IV.1 Summarized)

Karl_Barth_DeskKarl Barth’s doctrine of reconciliation, found in volume IV.1 of his Church Dogmatics, is without a doubt one of the greatest theological works ever written on the subject. And it is personally my favorite volume from the Church Dogmatics. In this volume Barth beautifully and masterfully describes what has taken place for all mankind in Jesus Christ, the God who became man to reconcile the world to Himself.

Today I wanted to continue with my attempt of summarizing each volume of the Church Dogmatics into a collection of quotes. I’ve done this already with volumes II.2 and I.1. And as before, I have limited myself to one quote for every 100 pages. And while it certainly goes without saying that Barth here is far too complex to be simplified into eight quotes, however, I have chosen these quote to attempt to give a very broad and general overview of the volume. And hopefully, if you have not already read the volume, to encourage you to read it yourself! It is a beautiful work of theology, and I cannot recommend it more highly.

So without any more introduction, here are eight quotes to summarize CD IV.1. Enjoy!

(All page references are taken from the Hendrickson Publishers 2010 edition.)

CD IV.1 Summarized in 8 Quotes

“‘God with us’ is the centre of the Christian message—and always in such a way that it is primarily a statement about God and only then and for that reason a statement about us men.” (p. 5)

“[Jesus Christ] is the atonement as the fulfillment of the covenant.” (p. 122) “To say atonement is to say Jesus Christ.” (p.158)

“The passion of Jesus Christ is the judgement of God in which the Judge Himself was judged.” (p. 254)

“He Himself, Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, was justified by God in His resurrection from the dead. He was justified as man, and in Him as the Representative of all men all were justified.” (pp. 305-6)

(I’ve written more on this idea here: “God Justifies Himself.”)

“…We maintain the simple thesis that only when we know Jesus Christ do we really know that man is the man of sin, and what sin is, and what it means for man.” (p. 389)

(I’ve written more on this idea here: “Karl Barth’s Revolutionary Doctrine of Sin.”)

“It is as God identifies Himself with man—His participation and intervention is as direct and complete as that—it is as He becomes a man and as this man the Representative of all men, it is as He makes His own the cause of all men that justification can and does take place.” (p. 551)

“A private monadic faith is not the Christian faith.” (p. 678)

“Faith is at once the most wonderful and the simplest of things. In it a man opens his eyes and sees and accepts everything as it—objectively, really and ontologically—is. Faith is the simple discovery of the child which finds itself in the father’s house and on the mother’s lap.” (p. 748)

(See also this extended quote for Easter.)

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