Thursday, February 22, 2007

Karl Barth and Scripture

My understanding of truth [and Truth] in a postmodern context came into clearer focus today with a discussion on Karl Barth and his view of revelation.

Barth contended that Truth [capital T] was from the Word of God. The Word of God functioned in three ways:

1. Revelation -- Jesus Christ is the revelation of God. Jesus is Truth [capital T]
2. The Bible -- The Bible functions as witness to the revelation of God. The Bible is the Word of God, but since it comes to us in the form of human words it can only contain words about God. It is not the direct revelation of God, it is therefore truth [small t]
3. Proclamation -- Good preaching contains proclamation about God. However, as a human construct, like the Bible, it contains truth [small t]. It is truth to us, but it is not the Truth.

Only God is Truth, but since God is beyond all our understandings, all we have access to is truth [small t]. We access Truth [God] through the Bible, and through proclamation of the Bible. However, we must keep in mind that the closest we can come is truth [small t].

In Scripture God makes Himself cognitively available to us in such a way that we can provide formulations as good as we can make them. And yet even our best formulations remain inadequate in relation to the one whom they bear witness to.

Absolute Truth is only available to God, not to us. The best we can come to is truth [small t again].

So maybe the church's fascination of Absolute Truth is a discussion that we cannot engage in. Even our best constructions and formulations of God fall frustratingly short.

So what do you think? Can we know Absolute Truth?
Is this discussion beyond us?
Should the church purposely get away from Absolute Truth statements?
How much Truth, and truth are contained in other churches, and other religions?
Interested in your thoughts

7 comments:

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Anonymous said...

The comment before mine, made a very good point about experiencing God today. And as far as Truth truth, I think the reason to state it this way is because of how preach now adays. The whole "there is one God and many gods." I honestly believe the only way to prove God exists is simply to experience it. Its not a nice answer, its not even a good answer, but You just can't prove something like this with a math problem. But I did hear on Real Radio Orlando, that a proffessor at ucf proved mathematically that vampires could not exist.

-The artist formally known as Dr. Nate

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Oops...
-the artist formally known as Dr. Nate

Nyx said...

Good post.