barth on theology

I read this and especially liked these points:

  • Theology, in light of the greatness of God, is best characterized as human “sighing” and “stammering” —regardless of its sophistication, expansiveness, or insight: “Now we have only a dim perception of him, the living God. There can be no talk of knowing him, of ‘having’ him. What awkward sighing and stammering there is, when we try to say something about him”.
  • Theology enters into God’s self-mediation to us; it is not humanity’s attempt to mediate God to us; theology is, then, a response not an initiative.
  • Theology is living and active; because its object is terrifyingly alive, theology takes on the active, ever-on-its-toes flavor of painting a bird in flight. It can never be locked down into a “system.”
  • Theology encounters a God who is wholly other; this is not the God of 19th century theological liberalism that Barth famously described as “Speaking of God by speaking of man in a really loud voice.”
  • Theology operates primarily in the mode of “describing” rather than “proving” or “defining.”
  • Theology and ethics are intimately linked, hence the descriptive task of theology should never be far from the ethical consequences for God’s people.