Unholy Terror

Schindler’s argument is simple: If Western intervention in Afghanistan in the 1980s created the modern mujahidin, Western intervention in the Balkans in the 1990s globalized it (Schindler, 316). While it is logically impossible to be a consistent Muslim and a consistent secularist (The Koran, Surah 9:5), post-Communist Bosnia was something close to it.[1] The Western Anglo-American elite wanted to believe that an Islamic Bosnia would be a beacon of multi-cultural European values: democracy, women’s rights, and tolerance. While the regime under Alija Izetbegovic never achieved anything similar to that, the tragic irony is that if left alone, Bosnia would have remained nominally Islam and relatively secular: something the Western elites wanted.

unholy terror

In the following essay I will advance several theses: 1) The Clinton Administration (hereafter known as the “Clintonistas”) facilitated the rise of al-Qai’da as a global network; 2) The Clintonistas established a radically Islamic state in the heart of Europe; and 3) the tragedy of the Serbo-Croat-Bosnian war demonstrates a fundamental (and ultimately fatal) dialectic within the heart of the Western mind, whether “conservative” or “liberal.”

Other authors have documented the US’s facilitating the mujahidin against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It is becoming clear that such a move proved not only disastrous but also unnecessary (Primakov, Russia and the Arabs), as the Soviet Union had already fallen economically and would soon fall politically. Granted, hindsight is 20-20 and one cannot fault the Carter Administration too much for not knowing what radical Muslims would do with advanced NATO weaponry. Unfortunately, Carter’s mistake was repeated with glee by the Clintonistas, with the ultimate effects seen in the falling of the twin towers.

Schindler gives a brief, but fine overview of recent Balkan history from the 19th century until the post-World War 2 era. He sheds helpful light on an area few Westerners understand. To understand the problems in the Balkans, one must realize that religion and nationality are never far apart, contra recent works (Glenny, The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers: 1804-1999).[2] In short, Croatia is Roman Catholic and has political affiliations with Germany. Serbia is Eastern Orthodox and looks to Russia for protection. Bosnia and Albania are Muslim and look to the Middle East for culture and religion. This much could be found in any encyclopedia. Schindler points out the obvious elephant in the room: the reason that Bosnia is Muslim is because the Ottoman Empire enslaved the Balkans and implicitly pressured many Slavs to convert.

Schindler notes that during World War 2 Croatia and parts of Bosnia joined sides with the Nazis while the Serbs (divided between the Chetniks and Tito’s Partisans) fought alongside the Allies. While he only notes it briefly, one must point out that Churchill and Co., abandoned the Chetnik monarchists to the Communists, whom the Communists subsequently executed (with Allied complicity).

Alija Itzebegovic’s Goal

Izetbegovic pulled one of the more incredible stunts in modern political history. He was able to tell Western media outlets and governments that he stood for democracy and pluralism while simultaneously ethnically-cleansing Christians, Jews, and secular Muslims from Bosnia. This makes one wonder whether the West was hypocritical or simply stupid (obviously, the answer is “both”). The result is that Western media outlets would report Serb atrocities but deliberately look the other way at Bosniak atrocities.

The U.S.-Iranian Connection

For reasons that defy common sense, the U.S. government facilitated not only the arrival of jihadist mujahidin into Bosnia, but also Iranian arms, intel networks, and soldiers into Bosnia. While other European forces had no love for the Serbs, the French and Germans were increasingly worried about the U.S. allowing armed Iranians into the heart of Europe. Indeed, as many Europeans noted, the numerous C-130s landing in Bosnia (violating the UN arms embargo) could only have been US planes or US-allowed planes.

The Srebenica “Massacre”

The one area of the war that always gets mentioned is the final Serb assault on the town of Srebenica, with the alleged slaughter of 7,000 Muslim men and boys. Several things must be noted: 1) it is acknowledged that 7,000 men of the Bosnian Muslim infantry were executed in military fashion; 2) Muslims recruit boys to fight for them;[3] 3) the town was not surrounded by the Serbs, thus allowing noncombatants to leave the city; 4) given that the city was controlled by Muslims gang leaders, many Muslims actually deserted to the Serb camp—this fact alone demonstrates how untenable the Hague narrative is: if the Serbs simply wanted to ethnically-cleanse the entire town, they would have done a better job of surrounding it and killing those leaving the city; 5) Alija Izetbegovic knew that he could never defeat the Serbian army alone and had to find a way to enlist outside help. The Clintonistas knew they couldn’t actually start attacking the Serbs without provocation. A deal was made: Izetbegovic would abandon his own people to be slaughtered, provoking international outcry and response.

The Dialectic Breaks Down Neo-Liberalism

Part of my thesis is that the Bosnian war of 1993-1995 (and the Kosovar War of 1999) destroys the way the Beltway Regime (along with the media puppets) views the world. The Clintonistas wanted to see a multi-cultural, tolerant but largely Islamic center in the heart of Europe. The problem is that Izetbegovic acted just like a good, Koranic Muslim. He promised tolerance to the West and marginalized those inside his country who did not share his Islamic vision. Therefore, the neo-liberals are presented with a dilemma: on one hand there is dynamic of multi-cultural, yet fully Koranic Islam (which has been demonstrated to collapse simply into radical Islam) and nationalism on the other hand (e.g., by nationalism I mean local and ethnically geographic communities deciding their own fates). Yet, both of these options are unacceptable for the neo-liberals. The only way the neo-liberal paradigm can function is by forcibly asserting its own narrative. Therefore, the neo-liberal paradigm is reduced to violence.

The Dialectic Breaks Down Neo-Conservatism

The contrasts are more stark in this case. Neocons do not want to identify with neo-liberal paradigms, yet I maintain they ultimately do. Neo-conservatives hate Islam (or only when Islam threatens Israel), thus it seems counter-intuitive that neo-conservatives would back radically Islamic leaders like Hashim Thaci and Alija Izetbegovic, men whose regimes openly state their enemies are Jews and Christians, and who openly state they will kill Jews and Christians. But the problem is deeper for neocons: they cannot oppose Islam in this case because identifying with the Serbs would identify them with a non-communist, yet fully nationalist Russia (Huntingdon, Clash of Civilizations).

Therefore, the neo-conservative paradigm is forced to choose between radical Islam on one hand and a Serbo-Russian identification on the other hand. Both choices are anathema to the neo-conservatives, but given that foreign interventionism is in the essence of the neo-conservative paradigm, a choice has to be made. But any choice that is made will contradict (and ultimately deconstruct) one of the (stated) tenets of neo-conservatism (anti-Islamic, anti-Russian). Therefore, the neo-conservative must choose between the deconstruction of his paradigm or opt out for the violence option. Of course, it goes without saying that neo-conservatism is reduced to violence. The only way the neo-conservative can escape the dialectic is to acknowledge another premise: as evil as radical Islam is, Russia is worse. The American involvement in the Balkans, therefore, must be seen as a miniature war against Russia (Norris, Collision Course: Nato, Russia, and Kosovo).[4]

Final Thoughts on the Book

Schindler’s book deserves widest possible dissemination. He openly exposes the Clintonistas as criminals who are in cohorts with the most odious criminals in the world. There are a few lapses in Schindler’s reading, though. He mentions that Slobodan Milosevic wanted to create a “Greater Serbia.” Perhaps Milosevic stated as much, but even as Schindler’s own reading demonstrates, Milosevic did a poor job of creating a “Greater Serbia.” Indeed, if such were his goal would he not have aided Karadvic and Mladic more? It’s irrelevant that the two leaders were at odds with Belgrade. Both sides would have certainly realized that a combined effort would have easily and quickly won the war—yet this effort never came.

Schindler’s proposal for defeating radical Islam is commendable, but ultimately flawed. It is simply a continuation of the “War on Terror.” To be fair to Schindler, it’s different from the neo-con/neo-lib definition of the War on Terror. Schindler identifies the enemy as a consistently Koranic Islam. However, Schindler’s proposal for “more intel, more arms” against the Muslims will not work. Until the West regains its Christian moral vision, and decides to not cast another vote of “no-confidence” in itself, arms will never defeat Islam.

Practically, this means recognizing that Europe’s cultural and moral roots can never be divorced from the Christian vision (Trifkovic, Defeating Jihad). Europe is faced with two practical options: Nihilism or the Nazarene. Corollaries to this vision: recognize Russia and Serbia as fighting the same enemy (and obviously, to stop funding jihadists in the Balkans, Cyprus, and Chechnya), put a moratorium on immigration from the Middle East, and place the leaders of the Hague on trial for treason against the European and American people.

Sadly, Americans paid the price for the Clinton error, also. By assistinig al-Qai’da in Bosnia, the Clintonistas provided bin-Laden with a competent network from which he would later launch his strikes against the United States.

Works Cited

F. William Engdahl, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order. Baton Rouge, LA: Third Millennium Press, 2009.

Demons, The Koran. Jihadist Press.

Glenny, Misha. The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers: 1804-1999. New York: Penguin Books, 1999.

Huntingdon, Samuel. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster Papebacks, 1996.

Norris, John. Collision Course: NATO, Russia, and Kosovo. Westport, CT. Praeger Publishers, 2005

Primakov, Yevgeny. Russia and the Arabs: Behind the Scenes in the Middle East From the Cold War to the Present. New York: Basic Books, 2009.

Schindler, John. Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qai’da, and the Rise of Global Jihad. St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press, 2007.

Trifkovic, Serge. Defeating Jihad: How the War on Terror May be Won in Spite of Ourselves. Boston, MA: Regina Orthodox Press, 2006

Notes on Plotinus

In light of the recent discussions on analogia entis and such, I decided to post these notes.  I am neither agreeing nor disagreeing with Plotinus. This is just what I jotted down when I read through the Enneads last summer.

First Ennead

Dialektik

“The power of pronouncing upon things how they are and differ with others” (I.III.4).  It is combining and Dividing until one reaches perfect Intellection.

Happiness and the Soul

All living things proceed from one principle but possess life in different degrees. The Intellect contains the soul (soul is a lower part; I.IV.10).  The soul reflects and refracts–as a mirror of sorts–the higher images from the Intellect.  

Eternity is Timeless Being (I.V. 7).  

Our knowing the Transcendental allows us a standpoint for the wider survey.

Beauty isn’t symmetry but symmetry participates in Beauty.  

The Soul exists within a Hierarchy of Being

Second Ennead

By matter I don’t think Plotinus means simple corporeality.  It seems to be the chaotic substratum of flux and difference.  It is the manifestation of flux and disorder.  What accounts for unity within the flux of the cosmos?  How can matter serve the immortality of the cosmos (II.1.3)  Answer: the flux is not outgoing.  Does Plotinus mean that the flux doesn’t emanate like the higher orders of being do?

“The ground of all change must itself be changeless”

A soul, then, of the minor degree, reproduces that Divine sphere, although lacking in power. The coherence of extremes is produced by virtue of each possessing all the intermediates (II.1.6).

E1 ——-I₁——–I₂—————E2

The lower soul is moved by the higher (II.II.3)

On Necessity

Necessity is the mother of the fates. There is an agon in the soul as it relates to matter.  

Structure of the Cosmology

One

Intellectual Principle (but even here there are gradations of being, as Plotinus allows for an image of idefiniteness

World Soul

Kosmos

Each causes the lesser, which in turn is inferior.  The cosmos is an image continuously being imaged.  

Matter

Definition and description:  it is undetermined, void of shape (II.IV.2).  Matter suggests movement and differentiation.  By motion, it is a cleavage.  Matter only has real being in the intelligible realm.  Yet, how can the realm of form have matter?  Plotinus suggests that the matter there is a type of complete unity.

Epistemology problem

Likeness knows by likeness.  The indeterminate knows the indeterminate.  How can soul know matter?  The indeterminate must have some footing in the realm of form.  “In knowing matter it must have an experience, the impact of the shapeless” (II.IV.10).  

Matter = Indeterminacy = The Void = Nonbeing (?).

To clarify, matter isn’t corporeality, but the base of the identity to all that is composite. An absence is neither a quality nor a qualified entity, but the negation of a quality (II.IV.13)

Fifth Tractate: Potentiality

All potentiality has a telos.  It is a “substratum” to states.  It requires an intervention from outside itself to bring itself to actuality.  Therefore, anything that has potentiality is actually something else!

Ennead 3

 Fate

  • A cause penetrates all things
  • This cause cannot be material in origin, since matter = disorder
  • All things are brought to eventuation through causes. There are two kinds:
    • Originating from the soul
    • Originating from the environment

Matter and Evil

  • Conflict and destruction are inevitable (III.II.4).
  • Evil is a falling short in the good (III.II.5).

Structure of the Cosmos (B)

Heavens

Gods

Human beings

Man has come into existence because he occupies an intermediate state. The reason-principles are acts of the Universal Soul. The reason-principle has two phases: one that creates and the other that links the creations.

Ennead 4

The soul is not a quantitative object.  It is a manifestation of Logos (III.5). Much of this Ennead is a long defense of reincarnation, which I won’t cover here. The soul is the medium between Logos and creation (III.11).  

Ennead 5

Problems that are raised for Plotinus.  (Here I am following Rowan Williams’ Arius: Heresy and Tradition).  

  • Can the One have self-understanding, since he would be both subject and object–an active mind working on a passive object (Williams 199ff).  The problem here is that the Form of the one is not simply a structure, but a structuring principle.
  • Thinking and understanding involve distance and duplication.  Understanding is complex because it seeks itself in Otherness (201).
  • Therefore, apparently, when the nous knows itself, it produces multiplicity of the world of ideas, which separates itself from the one.  

Analytical Outline of Barth Bio

Realdialektik: a dialectic in real relations (McCormack 9).

Part of this book’s thesis is the overturning of Hans urs von Balthalsar’s claim that Barth rejected liberalism in favor of “analogy.” McCormack argues that Barth’s use of the en/anhypostatic distinction played a far greater role in his theology than the analogia fides.  More importantly, the anhypostatic distinction allowed  Barth to use the concept of dialektik until the very end.

So what is “dialectic?”  At its most basic level it means placing a statement in tension with its counter-statement (11).

Problems with von Balthalsar

  1. analogia fide is itself an inherently dialectical term (16).  It is grounded in the veiling/unveiling in revelation.
  2. It confuses two different categories.  The analogy of faith refers to the result of a divine act over which human beings have no control.  On the other hand, “Method” is something humans do.

McCormack rejects the “neo-Orthodox” reading of Barth (24).  

Barth as Anti-Bourgeois

The prayer “Veni creator spiritus” is the prayer of a person who possesses nothing which might be the precondition of doing theology (32).

Barth flirted with socialism simply because he saw the failure of liberal individualism.  Barth was not simply anti-capitalist. He said that socialism and capitalism were created by the modern world under situations that Jesus could not have foreseen (88).  

Barth didn’t reject private property; only private property as a means of production (Barth, “Jesus Christ and the Social Movement”).

However, the Socialist theme had receded from Barth by the first half of 1914. At the same time we see a new theme in Barth: the judgment of the wrath of God.  “That God judges evil tells us something about God himself; it is not simply abstracted from the divine being” (McCormack 94).

“Where the command to let justice flow down like waters is not heard, there a chasm opens up between God and the worship of God” (Barth, sermon, 19 Jan. 1913, Predigten 1913, 220).

Neo-Kantianism

“Thoughts without content are empty; intuitions without concepts are blind” (Kant, qtd in McCormack 43).

  • The content of our knowledge is provided by the senses (intuition).
  • The form of our knowledge is provided by thought itself.

Categories without content are formal and empty.

Kant never doubted the existence of the noumenal. However, critics like Cohen pointed out that there is nothing given to thought which is not itself the creation of thought (44).  

The most pressing problem created by the Marburg theologians was where to place religion in the three branches of thought.  

*By the time Barth studied with Hermann, the latter’s relation to Ritschlianism had become attenuated” (54).

Hermann and historical: what Hermann meant by “historical” was that the spiritual cause of historical events was hidden from view (57).

Barth would break with Hermann by insisting that the divine being was real, whole, and complete in itself apart from human knowing (67).  

Belief in a Personal God

Religious experience has the character of an encounter between two persons (I-Thou).

  • Personality and absoluteness are predicates of God which are demanded by the experience.
  • But–the application of the predicate “personality” to an Absolute Subject will dissolve the element of absoluteness (105).  Personality, however, implies growth and change through struggle.  We can’t say this of the absolute subject.
  • Barth argues that this is where liberal theology ultimately fails.

Barth’s break with liberalism is his replacing subjective experience qua experience with the knowledge of God (124-125).

DIALECTICAL THEOLOGY IN THE SHADOW OF A PROCESS ESCHATOLOGY

The Righteousness of God

diastasis: a relation in which two terms stand against each other with no possibility of synthesis.

 

The Theology of Romans I

“World remains world but God is God” (141)

The problem: how are the two histories (Real History and so-called history) related?   Barth’s point is that “salvation history” does not arise from within ordinary history and by extension, as a result of human possibility.  He is not arguing, pace Van Til, that there is a Gnostic-Platonic history that is more important than space-time history.

Origin (Ursprung)

The fall was a fall from a relationship of immediacy to the Origin.   For Barth Ursprung can either be God or the created relation of the world to God.   The presupposition of the Fall is creation.  This allowed Barth to deny a continuum of being between God and creation.  It also fully kept Barth from being an Origenist.

Epistemology

“True knowledge of God is participatory, personal knowledge” (McCormack 159).  This sounds really close to Plato.  However, true knowledge of God can only be given by God himself.  

knowledge and immediacy:  some Germans saw the fall as a fall from direct experiencing into thinking as such.   All thinking is the thinking of an observer who stands against (gegenstand) an object.

God however, does speak to us in an immediate fashion:  he communicates to us and does not rely on objects mediated through a neo-Kantian constructivist epistemology (161).

DIALECTICAL THEOLOGY IN THE SHADOW OF CONSISTENT ESCHATOLOGY

Theology in a revolutionary age

McCormack argues that the crises evoked by Germany’s loss in WWI didn’t fundamentally change Barth’s theology.  Barth opposed the very bourgeois German liberalism that was destroyed.  Further, Barth was in Switzerland, which was neutral.  And Barth always maintained ambivalence towards culture.  It wasn’t evil but wasn’t the Kingdom of God.  

Shift to a consistent eschatology

The problem:  how can God make himself known to human beings without ceasing–at any point in the process of self-communication–to be the Subject of revelation (207)?

  • Barth wanted to avoid saying god was an “object.”

What changed in Barth’s two versions of the Romans commentary was two different eschatologies (208).

 

  • Romans I was a process eschatology.  

The Meaning of Crisis

Def. = an individual recognizes in the Cross of Christ the divine word of judgment–she is placed in crisis.  She is then judged, rejected, reprobate.  But to the extent that she understands this word of Judgment in the light of the resurrection of Christ, she knows herself to be elect.  This “crisis-moment” can happen often in hearing the preaching of the word (212).  

The “crisis” of European culture is not what Barth had in mind.

Factors Contributing to Barth’s Further Development

  1. Heinrich Barth’s Neo-Kantianism: H.Barth took Cohen’s Ursprung and projected its properties onto a real Being (219).  Descartes’ cogito was incapable of grounding itself.
    1. Classical Metaphysics: tendency to see the world of spirit by means of an analogy with the natural world.  God as ding-an-sich was merely another object alongside objects. He is not a metaphyiscal essence alongside other essences (224).
    2. Projected the Ursprung (standpoint outside of every given content)  into the realm of Idea.  It is now the presupposition of all-knowing.
    3. For Barth, God was not simply “pure Subject.”  
  2. Franz Overbeck
    1. Overbeck was heterodox but he did give Barth a de-historicized protology (230).  
    2. This forced Barth more seriously to consider eschatology and further allowed him to sharpen the Creator/creature divide.
  3. Soren Kierkegaard.  Kierkegaard did influence Barth, but to call Barth a Kierkegaardian is a bit much.
    1. Barth said he read SK in 1919, but that might have been a bit too early.  McCormack suggests Spring 1920.
    2. His reception of SK was mediated to him by Thurneysen.
    3. SK’s central aim was to safeguard the thinking individual from the sublimating tendencies of Hegel (Absolute spirit overcomes finite-infinite).  
      1. That wasn’t the question Barth faced.
      2. Barth relied more on the Platonic doctrine of anamnesis (memory).  “What occurs in the revelation-event is an awakening to an original relation long-forgotten” (McCormack 238).  Shades of Origen?

Clearing the Ground: The Theology of Romans II

Thesis:  BM argues that the gains made in Romans II are found everywhere in CD (244).

T₁ : A Person who seeks to know God will, to a large extent, determine the kind of God one arraives, if he is arrived at all (246).

  • Metaphysics, as Barth understood it, refers to the classical attempt in which a human subject observes the world around her.  Usually posits a First Cause.  Barth rejects metaphysics as an order of knowing.  It does not entail the bracketing-off of particular regions of discourse.  

T₂: If God can’t be known by metaphysical speculation, then he must be known indirectly, by means of a medium.  God is not transformed into this medium.  The  revelation is distinct from the medium (249).  

  • The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the revelation, disclosure.
  • So, is it historical?  Well, that depends on what you mean by “historical.”  Barth wants to deny that the revelation arose out of the merely cause-and-effect, fallen human process.  The resurrection is in the world, but not of the world.  
    • historical means “subjected to time.”  “limited, relativized.  
    • Shades of Plato (251).

T₃: Intersection of fallen world and new world.  The resurrection is not conditioned by the historical process (253).  

    • tangent:  the New World touches the Old World at a single point, as a tangent upon a line.

 

  • munus triplex: “darkening and weakening of the…New testament conception.  There is no second or third something which could step forth somehow independently next to this sole, alone, and exclusive meaning of Christ” (Barth, quoted in McCormack 254).

T₄: The relation between the old moment and the new moment is established in a moment of revelation (257).

  • Any “analogy” must go from above to below, never the other way around (260).
  • There are three distinguishable moments in the revelation process: revelation itself, revelation making itself objective (veiling/unveiling in a medium), and the creating of a subject capable of receiving it (262).

EXCURSUS ON ETERNITY

Time-Eternity Dialectic: eternity is timelessness.  It is equally near to and far from every point in time.

T₅: Barth should not have been able to say that revelation and the new humanity project themselves in time, but he did (264).  

T₆:  God conceals himself in a creaturely medium, yet this is not a synthesis (269).  

  • Dialectic could be used in a number of ways and the above way is not the same as the Kierkegaardian dialectic (Kd).
  • Barth’s “dialectical method” was merely a way to bear witness on the difficulty of correct speech about God.  Barth’s so-called “turn from dialectic” should not be overinterpreted (274).  

The Problem of Ethics in Romans II

New definition of ethics: ethic of witness–witness to the divine command contained in the self-revelation in Jesus Christ (275).

  • Ethics is grounded in Christology

E₁: Ethics must concern itself first and foremost with what God has done in Christ.

  • fundamentally anti-bourgeois since it escapes from practical utilitarian concerns.

E₂: The believer should take up an attitude of fundamental distrust towards all things set on high in this world (279).

 

Church as Locus of Judgment

True radicalism understands that the crisis of God’s judgment rests on all human possibilities (284). True radicalism invites the crisis to fall upon itself.

Knowledge of God itself brings on the crisis of judgment.  “The encounter of revelation with this world leaves in its wake a negative image; a copy, an impression, like a bomb crater. Whether that impression is called the law, circumcision, or simply religion is of no consequence” (285).

The church is the locus of divine judgment, positively understood.  Judgment is a gracious act. The church is the locus of judgment because it is first the locus of revelation (286).  

Barth as Honorary Professor

Biographical chapter describing Barth’s years as a professor.  Barth was not prepared for the workload, so he dived into Calvin, the medievals, and the fathers.  His finding of Heppe saved his theology, so to speak.

McCormack/Barth suggests parallels between German liberalism and anti-semitism.  

  • “Throughout his life Barth would regard Ritschl as the prototype of the national-liberal German bourgeois in the age of Bismarck” (299).

Back to the problem of method

von Balthasar argued that analogical method replaced dialectical method.  However, McCormack points out that “while dialectic is a method, analogy is not. Analogy…is a description of the result of divine action…Talk of analogy has to do with what God does; talk of dialectic emerges here in the context of what humans do in light of the fact that they have no capacity for bringing about the Self-speaking of God” (314, 315).

The formal and material principle:  Barth collapsed these two into one principle–only God can reveal God (318).  

Gottingen Dogmatics

In many ways this is the most important chapter in the book and the most important moment in Barth’s career:  he discovered the en/anhypostatic doctrine.  

Thesis 1: This doctrine allowed Barth to replace the time-eternity dialectic with the dialectic of veiling/unveiling of Jesus Christ.

Deus Dixit

Thesis 2: The word of God is identical with God.  This is “revelation.”

  • The Scripture is not Revelation, but proceeds from Revelation.
  • Preaching is neither Revelation nor Scripture, but proceeds from both.  If you want a Filioque, there it is.  
  • The Word of God conceals himself in human words.  A relation of correspondence is established, an analogy between the Word and words (341).

Thesis 3: The Trinity as Self-Revelation and Differentiation: it is God alone and God in his entirety or it is no revelation (351).

  • Therefore, the revealing Subject is not different from the revealed Object.  The content of revelation is wholly God.
  • The Spirit of Jesus is the testimony of prophecy.

Thesis 4: God is subject of revelation in the earthly form, but God does not become the earthly form (354).  

  • The humanity of Jesus is not to be directly identified with the revelation.

The Incarnation of God

Thesis 5: The language of Self-Revelation places 5th century Christology on a modern basis (359).  

  • There is a Hegelian bent to the language, but that isn’t necessarily a problem.  I think Hegel was correct with the language of Self-positing and Self-posited.

Thesis 6: Barth’s use of anhypostasis and enhypostasis means that the human nature of Christ has its ground in the divine Logos (362).  

  • Barth replaced “unhistorical” with “pre-history.”

Thesis 7: Barth affirms the Reformed view of communicatio

  • That which acts is clearly the Person.  The nature can only act as the nature of the person.  
  • attributes and operations can only be predicated of Persons or subjects (366).  

Thesis 8: The dialectic of veiling/unveiling has now been localized in the incarnation and not simply in the Cross.

  • Barth can now speak of atonement in history, pace Van Til.

Predestination and Election

When speaking of “eternal predestination” it is important to remember that “eternal” for Barth did not mean pre-temporality.  

Professor of Dogmatics and New Testament at Munster

Here Barth begins to take Roman Catholicism and the analogia entis more seriously.  Barth saw the problem of analogia entis as unsuccessfully navigating the perils of both realism and idealism (384ff)

  • realism: valid concern that the existence of God doesn’t depend on our observation. The danger when linked with natural theology is that it reads the being of God off of the created order.
  • idealism: correctly puts great stress on the Subject-hood of God.

The rest of the chapter documents the beginning of the break-up of the dialectial theologians and Zwischen den Zeiten. Barth saw Brunner and Gogarten heading towards strong Lutheranism and existentialism.

Fides quaerens intellectum

What’s new in Barth’s book on Anselm?

Contra HuvB, Barth never gave up dialectics, even if he gave a larger voice to analogy.  If HuvB is true, then one must explain why Barth still retained the most fundamental category of his theology: the dialectic of veiling/unveiling.

However, if HuvB simply said that Barth gave up the time-eternity dialectic, that would be true.  Except Barth gave that up long ago.  That happened in 1924.

The Eternal Will of God in the Election of Jesus Christ

Thesis 1: Christocentrism is a methodological rule about the encounter with God who reveals himself in Christ.  (I think Horton reads it as an a priori principle).

  • There is no  independent doctrine of creation and providence.

Thesis 2: Barth’s doctrine of election changed by attending a lecture by Pierre Maury in June 1936.

Thesis 3:  Barth corrected his earlier treatment of election in the Gottingen Dogmatics.  There he tended to leave election as a day-to-day event, which did nothing for the assurance of the believer.

  • Now election and reprobation were firmly rooted in the rejection and election of Christ.

Thesis 4: Jesus is both the Subject and Object of Election

  • All dogmatics say Jesus is the object of election.
  • What do we mean by “subject?”  

Thesis 5:  God’s being is established in the Act of Election.

  • the Logos does not have a fully formed identity in eternity past apart from the decision to elect.
  • If he did, we would lose the doctrine of simplicity.  And there would be a god behind God.
  • Therefore, the being of God is constituted in the concrete event of election.  God is actus purus et singularis.
  • Election in divine eternity is an act of Self-determination

A Clean Dialectics

1.

Dialectics is the “D” word of theology.  It summons the spectre of Barth.   Reformed theology, though, while not historically Barthian (whatever that means) has always affirmed analogical reasoning (see Bavinck).

2.

Analogical reasoning says a thing is and is not like another thing.   This is a form of dialectics.

3.

God is revealed in the human flesh of Jesus but in a sense he is also veiled in the flesh of Jesus.  God makes present himself in Jesus but he hides his essence in Jesus.

4.

God is indirectly identical with the creaturely medium of his revelation, the creaturely medium being Jesus’s flesh (110).   If revelation is Self-revelation, then it involves the “whole” God, albeit his whole being is hidden in a creaturely veil.  McCormack is clear there is no impartation of divine attributes to Jesus’s flesh.

5.

The hiddenness of God in revelation is the hiddenness of the whole God in revelation.  There is no “behind the back” of God when God reveals himself.  He doesn’t hold back.

6.

The dialectic of veiling/unveiling is not static.  Veiling is ordered towards unveiling.  The stand together in an “ordered history” (179).

Works Cited

McCormack, Bruce.  Orthodox and Modern.