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dc.contributor.authorKelso, Adelia Dorothyen
dc.date.accessioned2018-05-22T12:43:21Z
dc.date.available2018-05-22T12:43:21Z
dc.date.issued1993en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1842/30340
dc.description.abstracten
dc.description.abstractWe have seen that Calvin begins his Institutes with the knowledge of God the Creator as distinct from the knowledge of God the Redeemer. He gains his understanding of the knowledge of God from areas such as the sensus divinitatis and the natural world, and his doctrine of providence from a general understanding of scripture. He does not, however, use the knowledge of God revealed in Christ to formulate his doctrine of providence.en
dc.description.abstractCalvin also, despite all his attempts to keep it out, allowed his philosophical and humanist education to colour his doctrine of providence, and used his notion of accommodation to divide God into God in himself and God revealed in Jesus Christ. It is clear that Calvin was no Stoic philosopher, not simply because he fought their influence on Christianity but because he never accepted their pantheism. His understanding of God's transcendence and the Trinity are far from Stoicism. God could never be confused with nature. What is evident, however, is that the humanistic understanding of God is so similar to Calvin's as to make one wonder Just how much of Stoicism Calvin unknowingly included in his own theology. He definitely protested against Stoicism. But could he have protested too much? In damning the tide of Stoicism, Calvin allowed it to influence him sufficiently that it provided a kind of soil which would incline him to prefer or have an interest in certain biblical themes to the exclusion of other themes which might have moderated the overall shape of his doctrine of providence. In all these ways, despite his best instincts, Calvin ended up with a God whose real self is hidden behind a revealed God, thus, the revealed God can never show us who the real God is. Calvin has left himself open to the charge of there being two wills in God, the real God hidden behind the revealed. Not only does this not do justice to the revelation in Christ but it also cannot cope with human freedom, the modern era and all its problems.en
dc.description.abstractKarl Barth stands in the Reformed tradition and thus maintains the sovereignty of God, as does Calvin. Yet, Barth is as postCopernican and post-Enlightenment as Gilkey. He, too, lived with wars, pogroms, and the threat of nuclear annihilation and diseases. He, too, had to come to grips with the fact that humanity, in the 20th century, is fractured by constant and consistent change. He was all too aware of the modern human experience of a world moving too fast and losing all sense of grounding and control.en
dc.description.abstractBecause Barth sees the same world that Gilkey does, he is in a better position to answer Gilkey than Calvin. While standing firmly within the Reformed tradition, Barth is also post-Copernican and postEnlightenment, and thus has a doctrine of providence which reforms Calvin. He fundamentally agrees with Calvin on the ultimacy of the sovereignty of God, and that no human understanding of God's providence can stem from a human experience of history, from any modern historical consciousness, nor from an experience of change. As Reformed theologians, Barth and Calvin agree that the heart of the Reformed understanding of providence rests upon its conviction that God is sovereign over human affairs and world occurrence generally, guiding and controlling the unfolding of events in such a way as to bring them to ends which suit his purposes. The providence of God is just that, the providence of God. It stems from and can only be defined by God.en
dc.description.abstractWhile agreeing with Calvin on the sovereignty of God, Barth is, nevertheless, in a decidedly better position to answer Gilkey than Calvin, and as a result reforms Calvin's doctrine of divine providence. Barth discusses the doctrine of providence with a postEnlightenment understanding of the human questions concerning history and human existence. Earth's argument concerns the questions, Who is this God whose providence we are discussing? What is the nature of this God? What is the shape of this God's interaction with the cosmos and perhaps more practically, how do we find out about this God? He sees God's revelation in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — the one, unique in kind, revelation of God through whom alone humanity gains this knowledge.en
dc.description.abstractIt has been said that Barth is both child and critic of the Enlightenment, and it might equally be said that Barth is both child and critic of the Reformation. But for Barth the decision was not to decide between the two as if God and modernity were locked in a pitched battle. Far from Gilkey's conception of the Reformed understanding of God versus modernity, Barth maintains a fundamentally different beginning and reference point from which to construct his model of the Christian faith, and so is equal to the task of reforming the Reformation faith while firmly standing in the modern era. While Calvin reformed the church of the 16th century, Barth reforms Calvin. In so doing, he speaks to modern people.en
dc.description.abstractBarth has shown that Reformed theology must return to its roots, to Jesus Christ, in order to make sense of this world in this century. In response to Calvin, Barth will not capitulate to divine sovereignty at the expense of human freedom. In response to Gilkey, Barth will not capitulate to human freedom at the expense of divine sovereignty. To capitulate in either direction is to refuse to live within the tension of being a human being created by God. To capitulate to divine sovereignty at the expense of human freedom renders human beings puppets and makes a mockery of their God-given autonomy, their self-government in the midst of relationship. To capitulate to human freedom at the expense of divine sovereignty is to render God superfluous, to knit God in an image to suit ourselves. Again, it is to refuse to live within the tension, the autonomous relationship.en
dc.description.abstractAutonomy, if defined by God and God's own internal relationship, no longer means separation and standing alone. Autonomy exists in relationship. Note that relationship does not mean suffocation or smothering. In God we see none of that. But autonomy in relationship means the complete honouring of the other, such that the other can and does stand as an individual, but never abandoned or disregarded. While indeed, autonomy does mean "self-governing", self-governing", as seen in the Trinity, does not mean three separate gods who stand alone as islands. Autonomy, self-governing, as seen in the Trinity, is a standing-alongside-of, a genuine respect of oneself and the other. It is integrity. The Father respects the Son and Holy Spirit, the Son respects the Father and Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit respects the Father and Son. We see this especially in the Holy Spirit. For on that cross, while the Father was experiencing the death of his son and the Son experiencing death itself, the Holy Spirit knew the pain and anguish of them both and yet honoured their respective decisions. In the interpenetration within the Trinity the Holy Spirit knew the pain of the Father and Son, yet rather than rescue either, chose to stand alongside both. In the relationship of love existing in the Godhead, the Holy Spirit knew the love of Father for Son, Son for Father, and the love of God for humankind such that Father and Son would endure death on behalf of humanity.en
dc.description.abstractIs the doctrine of providence credible today? Yes. God is alongside us. God creates and respects our autonomy in the midst of relationship and God's power is given to us in our weakness. To be sure, this is a different definition of providence than Calvin gave. Providence is found on the cross of Christ, where God does not intervene in our human, muscle-bound notion of power. Providence is no longer power raised to the highest human degree but is rather a relationship found in the midst of the lost, the least and the last.en
dc.description.abstractCredible? Yes, because providence is not a way of ruling our life-situation but a way of living in situations we do not rule. It sees the broken, human and blood-stained face of reality clearly. The providence of God does not shrink from human reality but dives into it, walking alongside us wherever we walk.en
dc.description.abstractCredible? Yes, not because providence gives answers but because it stands alongside us in our questions. Providence hears, understands and respects our questions. Providence never takes them away from us. Providence will not take our humanity from us.en
dc.description.abstractCredible? Yes, and not in a way which takes our integrity from us. We are created to walk alongside each other as God walks alongside us, not making each other's decisions but being each other's fellow travellers. Truly Reformed. Truly modern.en
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.relation.isreferencedbyAlready catalogueden
dc.subjectAnnexe Thesis Digitisation Project 2018 Block 19en
dc.titleGod alongside us: Karl Barth's reform of John Calvin's theological method and the doctrine of divine providenceen
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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