I’m looking forward to diving further into the charge of “Theopanism.”  Von Balthasar makes use of this term when attempting to summarize the “ideology” of Barth’s Romans commentary.  As von Batlhasar states,

“The best way of characterizing this ideology is by describing it as a dynamic and actualist theopanism, which we define as a monism of beginning and end (protology and eschatology): God stands at the beginning and the end, surrounding a world-reality understood in dualistic and dialectical terms, ultimately overcoming it in the mathematical point of the miracle of transformation.

As we have seen, this monism of the Word of God, which invades the hostile world and is expressed in such Idealist categories as mediacy and immediacy, object and objectlessness, threatens time and again to swallow up the reality of the world.  Though the world (which does after all stand in relation to God) is certainly something and not nothing, it looks so forlorn and hopeless under this harsh glare that one might just as well wish it did not exist” (The Theology of Karl Barth, 94).

“One might just as well wish it did not exist” sounds like a line pulled directly from a Cormac McCarthy character.  Indeed, there is a connection between Barth and the desolate world of Blood Meridian, No Country for Old Men and perhaps even The Road.

Another area to explore is von Balthasar’s linking of theopanism with the Hegelian tendencies found in Barth:

“At this juncture the second, dynamic moment of the dialectic comes to our aid, which Hegel and German Idealism readied for our use: if revelation truly declares the whole world to be guilty and worthy of damnation before God, if it is that act whereby God sends his grace in Jesus Christ and restores the sinner to righteousness, then Christianity is the miracle of total reversal and transformation.  This means that the ground of all being and history is precisely this unique event, an event that could never be anticipated or derived from another principle but that itself determines and decides everything: the very movement of God from No to Yes.  This is the ‘self-movement of the truth’ to a degree that was not even given to Hegel to know!” (83).

 

Advertisements