Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another implication of the Incarnation

Artist: Caravaggio

Here's something the great theologian, Karl Barth, said:
“This much is certain, that we have no theological right to set any sort of limits to the loving-kindness of God which has appeared in Jesus Christ. Our theological duty is to see and understand it as being still greater than we had seen before.”
I would submit that this is one reason it is important to experience Christmas in a fresh way each year. Even though we may know the old story very well indeed, we have the opportunity to see and understand in a greater way every time we celebrate this great Feast of the Incarnation.


  1. Funny, I guess the language of "theological rights" and "theological duties" just sounds really strange to me. Somehow I don't think that kind of language would have resonated with Jesus either, anymore than did the language of the laws of God. I actually doubt if Jesus said any such thing as is recorded in the "jot and tittle" passage, Matt 5:18. He would have been playing the politician if he did because nothing else that he did or said supports that pericope.

  2. I suppose the quote appealed to me because many people today do, indeed, claim the right to put limits on God's loving-kindness. Barth is objecting to this, as I understand what he's saying here. By "duty", I think he's saying that it is a Christian imperative to view God's compassion and loving-kindness as limitless and to keep growing beyond the ways in which our own capacity for seeing this is limited.

  3. By the way, being a fan of nativities, I'm enjoying the various paintings of nativities you're posting. Maybe you should offer yourself as a consultant to the Post Office, which seems to be pretty well stuck in one era.

  4. "Maybe you should offer yourself as a consultant to the Post Office..."

    That gave me a little laugh! :-)


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