The Barth-Brunner Debate

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  • Created on: 03-03-22 16:24
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  • The Barth- Brunner Debate
    • Barth
      • rejected liberal Protestantism. Neo-orthodoxy - rejecting natural theology and a revival of reformed theology.
        • 'Church Dogmatics'
      • NEIN!
        • to Brunner
      • human nature is completely corrupted by the Fall
        • there are no points of contact in nature which would allow humans to know God
        • only God can reveal himself to sinful man
      • disagrees with Calvin
        • the formal self cannot inform the material self of God's existence
          • the material self has no ability to know anything about God since the Fall. the spiritual self cannot inform the material self
            • accuses Brunner of not sufficiently taking the corruption of the material self into account
        • No points of contact
          • nature, conscience and guilt do not provide points of contact
            • conscience and guilt are only experienced after experiencing God's grace
              • Brunner wrongly considered these points of contact, but they're the result of God's mercy and grace
        • Order of Creation
          • although we can perceive order in nature, it is not the basis for morality or salvation
          • divine laws are entirely different from natural laws
          • the order we see in creation is only after it has been revealed to us through faith and in the Bible
    • Brunner
      • supported neo-orthodoxy but agreed with Aquinas that God can partially be known through creation
        • 'Natural Theology' 1946
      • God's revelation in nature is a point of contact that enables humans to become aware of God's commands and our sinful state
        • this is not sufficient to achieve redemption, which is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ
      • natural theology
        • imago dei: the image of God is humans was only corrupted in a physical and emotional way after the fall. The spiritual form is uncorrupted
          • the material image is almost completely sinful and corrupt
        • general revelation: God communicates through nature which reflects his nature. As humans are sinful, we can only know he exists through this. It's a point of contact, no more
        • conscience and the experience of guilt make us aware of God's law
        • true knowledge: through grace and renewal of the material self, true knowledge of God is only available to those who have faith in Christ
          • this knowledge 'far surpasses' general knowledge of God's revelation in nature
    • Tensions in Calvin's Theory
      • if humans are in a state of sin, how can they know and be prompted to be open to God's grace
      • we do not ask for grace, God chooses to let himself be known in this way


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