Monday, January 7, 2013

Was Karl Barth a Universalist?

No, I didn't read nine thousand pages in a week. But, I did have a friend ask me if I thought Barth was a Universalist so I skipped ahead a few books. Here is part of the quote that got me thinking.
"As the reconciliation of the world to God, the justification and sanctification of man, is the reality, and indeed the living and present reality in Jesus Christ the true Witness of its truth, a limit is set both to the falsehood of man and also to his decay and destruction, to the disintegration of his existence under the dominion of the pseudo-reality of that image. War is declared on them and they are checked. We cannot withdraw or erase anything that we have said concerning the process of disintegration. But we cannot describe it without recalling that its course is also determined and conditioned by the reality of God and man in Jesus Christ which is not affected by but resist it."
It is somewhat difficult to avoid seeing the potential for a kind of universal salvation here, particularly in light of Barth's view on election and whatnot. Very interesting. What do you think?

And, I actually snapped the picture myself.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV/3 pg476.


  1. Barth holds to a very interesting understanding of universalism - in that both those called to glory and damnation encounter the grace of God in Jesus (efficaciously) via the Yes of Jesus on the cross. That, just as we are inheritors of the sin of Adam and by means of ourselves have chosen No, God has effectually chosen Yes in place of it so that the reality of what happened at the Cross has become not only a possibility for salvation to all, but the instrument through which salvation has been accomplished for all.

  2. I think I agree. Love your observations.