8 Incredible Karl Barth Quotes

Karl BarthMy attempt today is to summarize 800 pages of Karl Barth’s monumental work of theology on the election and command of God, which comes from book two of the volume entitled “The Doctrine of God” from the Church Dogmaticsall in eight quotes. Though it certainly goes without saying, this work is far to complex and rich a work to be summarized as such. However, I present these quotes as a taste of the brilliance this volume contains, and additionally for the purpose of compiling together my favorite quotes from the book. Enjoy! (All quotes are from the Hendrickson Publishers edition, 2010)

1. “The doctrine of election is the sum of the gospel because of all words that can be said or heard it is the best: that God elects man; that God is for man too the one who loves in freedom.” (P. 3)

2. “…The simplest form of the dogma may be divided at once into the two assertions that Jesus Christ is the electing God and that He is also elected man.” (p.103)

3. “Our thesis is that God’s eternal will is the election of Jesus Christ.” (p. 146)

4. “[Man] can certainly flee from God (he does so), but he cannot escape Him… He may let go of God, but God does not let go of him” (p. 317)

5.  “The determination of the elect consists in the fact that he allows himself to be loved by God—to live as one from whom all eternity God in His incomprehensible and unmerited goodness did not will to renounce, and therefore will not renounce.” (p. 411)

6. “The command of God sets man free.” (p. 586)

7. “The mere fact that it takes place at all, that God stands before man as his Lord, that man’s existence can become his confrontation with God’s command, always means that God does not will to be without us, but, no matter who and what we may be, to be with us, that He Himself is always ‘God with us,’ Emmanuel.” (p. 735)

8. “In Jesus Christ He has chosen man from all eternity as His own, for life in His kingdom, to be a member of His people, His possession.” (p. 736)

Bonus quote: “At the beginning of all theological perception, research, and thought—and also of every theological statement—stands a quite specific amazement. Its lack in even the best theologian will threaten the heart of the entire enterprise, while even bad theologians are not a lost cause in their service and their duty, as long as they are still capable of amazement.” (Insights P. 3)

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