Biblical Faith and Natural Theology: The Gifford Lectures by James Barr

By James Barr

Do humans find out about God simply by being people? Or do they wish particular divine counsel, throughout the Bible and the church? traditional theology was once lengthy approved as a uncomplicated factor in all theology, yet within the 20th century it was once rejected via very important theologians, particularly Karl Barth. His perspectives denied all average theology and put better emphasis at the Bible. yet what if the Bible itself makes use of, relies on, and helps average theology? Professor Barr right here pursues those questions in the Bible itself and in the heritage of rules, previous and more moderen; and he appears to be like at their implications for faith and theology within the future.

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Extra info for Biblical Faith and Natural Theology: The Gifford Lectures for 1991: Delivered in the University of Edinburgh (Clarendon Paperbacks)

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What Paul does focus on, as an aspect of Greek culture, is something else: namely, the presence of idolatry. This was the first thing that he saw in Athens, that the city was κατείδωλος, full of idols, and this made him furious. In the Areopagus speech he comes back to this: God, he says, does not live in temples made by human beings, he is not like gold or silver or images that they have fashioned. In making this attack on idolatry, Paul does not quote the Law of Moses which prohibited it. And I think there is a reason for this.

Now it is not to be pretended that this passage is typical of the normal New Testament approach: it is not. e. all humans, are his offspring; also the idea that, though repentance is now demanded, faults of earlier times are to be overlooked. The passage, then, is highly individual. 41 Its shape and construction, the course and strategy of the argument, cannot possibly be provided with an explanation along the accepted Barthian lines. And there is no better evidence of this 40 H. ’ Contrast Barth, who maintains that, as Luke sees it, ‘Paul proclaims on the Areopagus the crucified Christ in what is basically the same manner as he proclaimed him always and everywhere’ (KD ii/1.

In the passage already quoted we saw Barth insisting that ‘church and salvation are founded on the Word of God alone, on God's revelation in Jesus Christ, as it is attested in the Scriptures’, and taking it as obvious that this implied the denial of all natural 30 Thus, to give only one example, the two volumes of essays edited by Sykes include no essay on the question of natural theology, and mention the matter very little. 31 But if the Bible accepted or implied natural theology this argument falls to pieces: the Word of God, as attested in the scriptures, must then include natural theology as part of revelation, or as the background to it, or as an implication of it or mode through which it is communicated.

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