Present in love: Rethinking barth on the divine perfections
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McFarland, I. (2017). Present in love: Rethinking barth on the divine perfections. Modern Theology, 33 (2), 243-258. https://doi.org/10.1111/moth.12313
While Karl Barth's identification of love and freedom (in that order) as the fundamental divine perfections was intended to eliminate any gap between God as revealed and God's eternal being, Barth's equation of divine freedom with decision fatally compromises this aim by reintroducing the spectre of a ‘hidden God’ behind the God revealed in Jesus. Moreover, it exacerbates a worryingly anthropomorphic model of divine action, already pronounced in older orthodox theologies, that is ill‐suited to upholding the causal integrity of the created order. Substituting presence for freedom as the foundational perfection paired with (and used to interpret) divine love maintains the benefits of Barth's relative prioritization of love while avoiding the problems that accompany the interpretation of divine freedom as decision. Specifically, it provides a model of divine action in which permission rather than decision emerges as the fundamental mode of willing whereby by God brings the world into being and sustains it in existence.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/moth.12313
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/260883