Catholics Take Notice of Keith Johnson's Work on Barth and the Analogy of Being
That said, this blogger’s response to Johnson (and Barth) is by turns puzzling and problematic:
- In terms of puzzling, we have this blogger’s insistence that RC theology is interested in denying that sin “goes ‘all the way down.’” To anyone who has read Augustine, such a claim sounds scandalous, even without considering one’s possible Protestant sensibilities.
- In terms of problematic, this blogger seems not to have paid sufficient attention to Johnson’s whole essay, and therefore does not deeply engage with Barth's position. He quotes from one of Johnson’s paragraphs, but seems not to have encountered the next – which addresses what Barth thinks about the internal constitution of the human creature, doing so in a way that keeps faith with Augustine and the Protestants on the radical effects of sin. To get more concrete, our RC blogger wants to define human nature apart from the complex of sin and reconciliation revealed and enacted in Jesus Christ. Barth, on the other hand, will hear of no such thing. Thus, Johnson (from the MT article):
"In short, in his mature theology, Barth adopts an analogical understanding of God-world relation that leads to continuity between God's act in creation and justification, but this analogy works in reverse from the Roman Catholic one: the human as created stands in continuity with the human in grace precisely because justification is the condition of the possibility of creation. This construal does, in fact, leave Barth with a type of an analogy of being, but Barth's analogy of being is substantively distinct from Przywara's version of it. That is, for Barth, 'being' itself is determined by God's free and eternal decision to enter into human history in Jesus Christ in order to reconcile sinful humans. Any talk of 'being' at all, therefore, and any talk of an 'analogy of being' between God and humans, must be based solely upon this act of reconciliation and the human's being 'in Christ' that occurs as a result of the justification of his or her sin. Barth's mature version of divine-human continuity, therefore, leaves no room for any knowledge of God apart from the knowledge of humanity's reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ." (645)It is hard to see how such an account could be accurately described with language about opposition between human nature and divine grace, or with denying continuity between fallen and re-created human being.