9 juni 2014

#262. Karl har ordet…

”Revelation engenders the Scripture which attests it: as the commission or burden laid on the prophets and apostles, as the object which introduces itself in distinction from them, as both the judge and the guarantor of the truth of what they say, and as the event of inspiration in which they become the speakers and writers of the Word of God. Because revelation engenders the Bible that attests it, because Jesus Christ has called the Old and New Testaments into existence, because Holy Scripture is the record of a unique hearing of a unique call and a unique obedience to a unique command therefore it could become the Canon, and again and again it can become the ’living’ Canon, the publisher of revelation, the summons and command of God, God’s Word to us.

If in the prophets and apostles the Church has a concrete counterpart by which it is reminded of God’s past revelation, set in expectation of future revelation, and thus summoned to proclamation and empowered for it, this takes place because it really has in them the publishers of past revelation. But the prophets and apostles did not appoint themselves the publishers of revelation, nor are they ever this intrinsically or as a matter of course. What makes them this is the occurrence of God’s revelation itself apart from their own existence. The occurrence, and so we must call this thing that happened to them: Deus dixit [God said]. What has engendered Scripture and what Scripture for its part attests has happened truly and definitively, once and once-for-all.

We have already discussed in outline what it was that happened: God was with us, with us His enemies, with us who were visited and smitten by His wrath. God was with us as in all the reality and fulness with what He does what He does. He was with us as one of us. His Word became flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood. His glory was seen here in the depths of our situation, and the full depths of our situation were disclosed for the first time when illumined then and there by the Lord’s glory, when in His Word He came down to the lowest parts of the earth (Eph. 49), in order that there and in that way He might rob death of its power and bring life and immortality to light (2 Tim. 110). This happened, and this is what the Old Testament as a word of prophecy and the New Testament as a word of fulfillment both proclaim as having happened, as having happened conclusively, totally, and sufficiently.

This makes the biblical witnesses remarkable figures like John who cannot be brought under any morphology of genius. This is why it its true of them, though in different ways: ’The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up' (Ps. 699). This is why, although they seek no authority, even with their fallible human word they can continually claim and enjoy the most unheard-of authority. This came upon them, and through them it constantly seeks to come afresh upon the Church and to be cried aloud as absolutely the most urgent thing that any age and any man in any age and any man in any respect can and must hear: This ’God with us’ has happened. It has happened in human history and as part of human history. Yet it has not happened as other parts of this history usually happens. It does not need to be continued or completed. It does not point beyond itself or merely strive after a distant goal. It is incapable of any exegesis or of even the slightest addition or subtraction. Its form cannot be changed. It has happened as self-moved being in the stream of becoming. It has happened as completed event, fulfilled time, in the sea of incomplete and changeable and self-changing.”

  • Barth, Karl, 2009: Church Dogmatics; I.1 The Doctrine of the Word of God. New York: T&T Clark. (Utg på tyska av Theologischer Verlag Zürich, 1932-1938.) S 112-113; KD S 115-116.

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