Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Barth I.2 §14.1

Barth and time.  In this section, I believe that Barth has ceased to speak human.  I believe he ceased to speak German or English a long time ago, and now he has ceased to speak the human language.

That is not to say there were not some sections that I could understand, but I felt lost on the whole.

Perhaps this is because I have been so preoccupied with other things.  I am 4 days behind on this post as I am now returning from a visit to my future place of employment, Chowan University.  Trying to sell my house and looking for another, planning to officiate my Sister's wedding this Sunday, as well as all of the other matters of import in my life are crowding in, but I really want to try and keep up with Barth.

So, here is what I make of this section.  Revelation means "God had time for us." That is, God's revelation is an historical event that takes place in time.  But, lest you think that makes God's revelation somehow graspable as an object in time, think again because God's time is of course unlike any time you have ever experienced: it is real time while ours is just a vague imitation (did this strike anyone else as "platonic"?).

There are three types of time for Barth: time created by God at the creation of the world (he does not expand on this nor explain it), our fallen time in which we have past present and future, and "fulfilled time" which is the time of revelation, the time of Jesus Christ, the inbreaking of a fulfilled time, of the Kingdom of God upon humanity in the event of revelation.  This fulfilled time limits and determines our fallen time (not quite sure what this means).  Yet, fulfilled time does not fully subsume our fallen time.  Our time goes on.  Yet, fulfilled time announces the end of our time, it let's us know that we do not even really understand what time is.

I see here the "already/not yet of Paul, or the fact that the Kingdom of God is at hand, breaking in, but fully arrived, has not fully replace this aeon.

Here was a particularly perplexing quote in which Barth tries to explain this fulfilled time.

"And so it is a present that is not a present without also being a genuine perfect; and a perfect and a future, the mean of which constitutes a genuine, indestructible present.  Yet it is not any present, hopelessly collapsing into a 'not yet' or a 'no longer' like every other present in our time." (CD I.2 §14.1 p52).

So, can anyone help me to understand what is fulfilled time is?

Here were some quotes I found powerful, even though I was not quite sure how to incorporate them into Barth's larger argument.

"His genuine time takes the place of the problematic, improper time we know and have. It replaces it in that, amid the years and ages of this time of ours, the time of Jesus Christ takes the place of our time, coming to us as a glad message presented to us as a promise, and to be seized and lived in by us." (CD I.2 §14.1 p 55).

"It is really not laid upon us to take everything in the Bible as true in globo, but it is laid upon us to listen to its testimony when we actually hear it." (CD I.2 §14.1 p65).

"When revelation takes place, it never does so by means of our insight and skill, but in the freedom of God to be free for us and to free us from ourselves." (CD I.2 §14.1 p65).

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