Jungel’s God’s Being is in Becoming

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Last night I had a chance to read this solid work by Jungel. It does a great job of laying out Barth’s theological ontology. I wanted to highlight three quotes that really stood out to me. I’m excited about finally reading his God as Mystery of the World next year.

“The understanding of double predestination is the ground for the unity of Christology and soteriology, and of the doctrines of justification and sanctification in Barth’s doctrine of reconciliation. For our context is it important that Barth thinks immediately of double predestination in concrete terms, as ‘act of divine life in the Spirit.’ The fact that Jesus Christ is this double predestination means that God’s self-giving is ‘a gift…made to man’ on the basis of a divine self-renunciation, which is ‘God’s hazarding of His Godhead and power and status’. Praedstinatio gemina [double predestination] is praedestinatio dialectica [dialectical predestination]. In Jesus Christ God ordained life for man, but death in himself. The dialectic, however, is not sealed up as a paradox but broke up teleologically: ‘God wills to lose in order that man may gain.’” (God’s Being is in Becoming, 92-3).

“But he categorically rejects that we must draw from this the consequence of contradiction through which God come into conflict with himself. For Barth this consequence is blasphemy. However, his rejection of this consequence does not lead to any toning down of is discussion of God’s suffering, but, conversely, to a critique of the traditional metaphysical concept of God, according to which God cannot suffer without falling into conflict with his being. In this critique, Barth’s opposition to every kind of natural theology received its most pointed statement. No concept of God arrived at independent of this reality of Jesus Christ may decide what is possible and impossible for God. Rather, we are to say from what God as man in Jesus Christ is, does and suffers: God can do this” (God’s Being is in Becoming, 99).

“In this obedience God suffers, in that in Jesus Christ he exists as man. And in this obedience God abandons himself to death. Passion and death are not a metaphysical piece of misfortune which overtook the Son of God who became man. God chose this ‘fate’…And so God as God has declared himself identical with the crucified Jesus. Therefore one must not exclude from this suffering the Father who gave his Son over to suffer death. ‘It is not at all the case that God has no part in the suffering of Jesus Christ even in His mode of being as the Father’ [quote from Barth CD IV/2, 357]” (God’s Being is in Becoming, 101-2).

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