Monday, May 09, 2011

Johnson on Barth’s Mature Analogy of Being-In-Action

The “analogy of being-in-action” language comes from page 225. But, here is a nice, tidy summary in a sentence of Barth’s position. Keith has done a great job leading his argument to this point, and you really MUST read his book if you want to understand how analogy functions in Barth – contrary to how von Balthasar saw things, along with those who have more or less followed his interpretation. I’m tempted to do a lengthy blog series just on this one chapter of Keith’s book, but I don’t want you to hear it from me – I want you to hear it from Keith. Go buy and read his book. Italics below are from Keith.

Keith L. Johnson, Karl Barth and the Analogia entis, T&T Clark Studies in Systematic Theology (London; T&T Clark, 2010).
Barth embraces an analogy of being, but his is an analogy of human being in Christ, and it takes the form of correspondence in action as the Christian finds her true being in her act of cooperating with the prophetic work of Jesus Christ in the outworking of God’s covenant of grace in history. (226)
Or again...
The human is a partner with God not because he contributes something to God's grace, as if his own action is necessary to the execution of this covenant; he is a partner because God wills that the human be an active subject as the Word of God prompts him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to act in correspondence to it by witnessing to God's reconciling act in Jesus Christ. These actions constitute a history of encounter between two distinct subjects, and these subjects stand in analogy with one another inasmuch as their actions are similar to one another in the midst of an even greater dissimilarity. It is certainly correct to say that 'being reenters the scene' here, but we must immediately clarify that this being is not the 'being' given to the human by God in God's act of creation, as it is in the Roman Catholic accounts. It is the being of Jesus Christ, who as true God and true human is the being at the center of the 'common history' between God and humanity and the mediator of their relationship.
Seriously, go read this book.

4 comments:

Bros. Jimenez said...

Is this following the same logic as Nimmo's book to some extent? In short, an actualistic ontology based on Christ not nature or Being.

W. Travis McMaken said...

I haven't looked at Keith's book for a while (had this post sitting in the pipeline), so I can't comment specifically on a dependence on Nimmo. I know Keith has read Nimmo. But I suspect that, more than anything, Keith is just reading Barth - and Barth's actualism (whether you think it amounts to an ontology or not) is hard to miss.

Bobby Grow said...

I think I'm going to have to read this book!

William Vines said...

Interesting book to read