Karl Barth on revelation 4

Barth continues 4

There is a divine ‘No’

Although God is always near us, we choose to be far from Him.


But God only, God Himself, He is the Answer. And so, the boundary which bars us in and which, nevertheless, points beyond itself, can since the creation of the world be clearly seen through the things that are ‘made by God. By calm, veritable, unprejudiced religious contemplation the divine No’ can be established and apprehended. 1f we do not ourselves hinder it; nothing can prevent our being translated into a most wholesome krisis by that which may be known of God. And indeed, we stand already in this krisis if we would but see clearly. And what is clearly seen to be indisputable reality is the invisibility of God, which is precisely and in strict agreement with the gospel of the resurrection—His everlasting power and divinity.


And what does this mean but that we can know nothing of God, that we are not God, that the Lord is to be feared? Herein lies His pre-eminence over all gods; and here is that which marks Him out as God, as Creator, and as Redeemer

(1.16). And so, through all history there runs the line of intersection between time and eternity, between the present and the future world (i. 4). Long ago it was proclaimed (i. 2; always it was visible. The wrath of God needed not to be revealed to those who stood already under His judgement, for they could have known and loved the Judge. So that, when they fail to see and fail to hear, they are without excuse. Having eyes to see and ears to hear they are doing what they are doing. Inexcusable is their godlessness, for the clearly seen works of God speak of His everlasting power and they have already risen up in protest

against the service of the ‘No-God”, by which God is ranged in the midst of the natural and ‘spiritual and other forces of this world.


Inexcusable also is their unrighteousness, for the clearly seen facts bear witness to the everlasting divinity of God and have already risen up in protest against the arrogance of religion, by which men, speaking of God from the welter of their experiences, mean in fact themselves. We have, therefore, encased the truth of God and evoked His wrath. But this was not because no alternative was open to us. God is not far from each one of us: for in him we live,

and move, and have our being (Acts xvii. 27, 28).

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