Saturday, 20 October 2007

Faith over the abyss

“Faith is not a ground on which we can place ourselves, not a system which we can obey, not an atmosphere in which we can breathe. Viewed from a human perspective, what was once called religion, conviction and law becomes rather the abyss, anarchy, void. But ‘the law of the faithfulness of God’ [Rom. 3:27] – which is to say, ‘the law of faith’ – is the place where only God can hold us, the place where there is nothing else but God himself, God alone.”

—Karl Barth, Der Römerbrief 1922 (Zollikon-Zürich: Evangelischer Verlag, 1940), pp. 84-85 (English edition, p. 110).

2 Comments:

Michael Aguilera said...

Thank you, Ben. Karl Barth has been instrumental in helping me understand that faith is not a possession of ours or an advantage we may have over others, but that our importance lies in our poverty. Faith as a gift is paradoxically a void - the gift to recognise our own helplesness.

Phil Sumpter said...

Learning this can be painful.

Here's a related quote from Dostoyevski:

"I am a child of doubt and unbelief. What terrible suffering it has cost me and still costs me, this longing to believe, which is so much the stronger in my soul as more arguments against it rise up within me. ... My 'hosanna' has passed thorugh the crucible of doubt." (F. Dostoyevski)

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