Karl Barth on revelation 3

Barth Continues 3

When we turn against God we turn against our own nature…


We know that God is the Personality which we are not, and that this lack of Personality is precisely what dissolves and establishes our personality. The recognition of the absolute heteronomy under which we stand is itself an autonomous recognition; and this is precisely that which may be known of God. When we rebel, we are in rebellion not against what is foreign to us but against that which is most intimately ours, not against what is removed from us but against that which lies at our hands. Our memory of God accompanies us always as problem and as warning. He is the hidden abyss; but He is also the hidden home at the beginning and end of all our journeyings. Disloyalty to Him is disloyalty to ourselves.


For the invisible things of God are clearly seen. This we have forgotten, and we must allow it to be brought once more to our minds. Our lack of humility, our lack of recollection, our lack of fear in the presence of God, are not in our present condition inevitable, however natural they may seem to us. Plato in his ‘wisdom recognized long ago that behind the visible there lies the invisible universe which is the Origin of all concrete things. And ‘moreover, the solid good sense of the men of the world had long ago perceived that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The clear, honest eyes of the poet in the book of Job and of the Preacher Solomon had long ago rediscovered, mirrored in the world of appearance, the archetypal, unobservable, undiscoverable Majesty of God.


The speech of God can always be heard out of the whirlwind. Always it requires of us that we should perceive how unwisely we speak of that which is too high for us, too far beyond our understanding, when, in God or in complaining of Him, we plead with Him as with One who is

like unto us. The insecurity of our whole existence, the vanity and utter question ableness of all that is and of what we are, lie as in a text-book open before us. What are all those enigmatic creatures of God—a zoological garden, for example—but so many problems to which we have no answer?

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