Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hard Grace

This blog has very quickly descended into a venue for me to post snippets of the essays I'm currently working on. "Hasn't it always been that," you say? Like Arsene Wenger, I refuse to comment on speculation.

Since Barth is playing a role in both of my essays at the moment, I'm reading more Barth than I can quote. One of those essays has to do with the relationship between philosophy and theology (which I've made more concrete by examining the hypothetical relationship between Iris Murdoch's philosophical ethics and Karl Barth's theological ethics). Here is what a Barthian must conclude:

The Christian is not distinguished from the non-Christian, nor the theologian from the philosopher, because she has received a grace which the other has not received. The difference between the two, rather, is that one has been awakened to see the grace that encompasses the world, whereas the other remains blind to it. Yet the grace exists for both, and it affects even those who cannot name it.

Barth puts this in other, better, and more succinct terms:

The fact that God is gracious to us does not mean that He becomes soft, but that He remains absolutely hard, that there is no escaping His sovereignty and therefore His purpose for man.

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