Barth: Ever Learning, Never Understanding?
This is an excerpt from my journal, which I kept while studying for a class on Karl Barth. It does not represent my finished thoughts on Barth. Please read my later posts on Barthianism, and especially my paper « The Gospel According to Barth » for my finished thoughts on the topic. If you have an objection or answer to my thoughts here, I would be hugely grateful for your input!
How can « the kingdom » the open to children if even mostlay-people are unable to engage in the costly art of « dogmatics, » those whodoengaged can do so only by reading all of Barth, and even Barth was only provisionally successful at finding any real information about God, his requirements of humanity, the mechanisms of salvation, and our eternal destiny!
I used to believe that we simply read the Bible, applied to our lives and live it. However, Bart would have us believe that the solution is:
1) Exegesis, exegesis, exegesis…
2) …in the context of the whole tradition of the church…
3) …in dialogue with culture…
4) …continually starting again at the beginning.
No wonder he saw dogmatics as an « impossible possibility. » This approach leaves no time for anything but endless study, which produces no real results. (2 Tim. 3:7).
At the end of the day, is Barth really any closer to understanding God then at teen in awe, staring at the heavens and saying, « Wow! »?