- Copyright page
- List of Abbreviations
- List of Contributors
- The Tasks of Theology
- Revelation and Scripture
- Jesus Christ
- The Spirit
- Sin and Evil
- Human Being
- Christian Life
- Justification, Sanctification, Vocation
- Barth and the Racial Imaginary
- Barth and Modern Moral Philosophy
- Barth and Gender
- Barth and Public Life
- Barth and Hermeneutics
- Barth and Preaching
- Barth and Environmental Theology
- Barth and Culture
- Barth and Judaism
- Barth, Religion, and the Religions
- Barth and Contemporary Protestant Theology
- Barth and Roman Catholic Theology
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter reconstructs the context and argument of Karl Barth’s innovative account of human sin and evil. For a proper understanding of the shifts in Barth’s treatment of these core themes, some ‘default positions’ are briefly sketched. The chapter next describes the implications that attend a transference of the doctrine of sin from anthropology to Christology. This shift is not only epistemic, changing the basis on which sin is recognized and understood. It is also a significant conceptual move, with sin described as a specific posture towards the grace of God, manifest in Christ. The chapter also shows how Karl Barth resists the temptation to reduce the existence of evil to a manageable deficiency of creation, while avoiding any dramatization of the experience of evil. Barth construes evil (nothingness, das Nichtige) in light of God’s creation as an election, with nothingness being that which is rejected in the divine act of creation. Rejecting a personification of evil (i.e., the devil), Barth nonetheless emphasizes the agency of evil as that against which the sovereign God battles.
Günter Thomas holds the chair of Systematic Theology, Ethics and Fundamental Theology at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. He is also Research Associate in Systematic Theology at Stellenbosch University. His fields of research are constructive theology in the twentieth century, and religion and media. He is the author of Neue Schöpfung: Theologische Untersuchungen zum ‘Leben der kommenden Welt’ (2009) and has published numerous essays on the theology of Karl Barth and on topics in Christian doctrine. He recently served as co-Principal Investigator of the Enhancing Life Project and is co-chair, with Peter Opitz, of the planning committee for the annual Karl Barth Conference in Switzerland.
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