Barth on Man’s Freedom


“Is it really so unthinkable that, when his command summons man to freedom before Him and fellowship with fellow-men, it might include a very different imperative, or this imperative in its most paradoxical formulation, to the effect that man should not will to live unconditionally, to spare his life, to preserve it from death, but that he should rather will to stake and surrender it, and perhaps be prepared to die? According to Mk. 835 he may save it in so doing, whereas he would lose it if he tried to save it. Is not the peculiarity of the freedom to existence to which man is summoned by God discernible in the fact it might also mean freedom from existence, a superior freedom as opposed to the necessity of having to live and will to live, the superior freedom of man to be able also the surrender his life, and give it back to God, for the sake of his orientation on God and solidarity with his fellow-men?” (CD III/4, 334-5).


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