“Predestination means that from all eternity God has determined upon man’s acquittal at His own cost”- Karl Barth


“The exchange which took place on Golgotha, when God chose as His throne the malefactor’s cross, when the Son of God bore what the son of man ought to have borne, took place once and for all in fulfilment of God’s eternal will, and it can never be reversed. There is no condemnation—literally none—for those that are in Christ Jesus. For this reason faith in the divine predestination as such and per se means faith in the non-rejection of man, or disbelief in his rejection. Man is not rejected. In God’s eternal purpose it is God Himself who is rejected in His Son. The self-giving of God consists, the giving and sending of His Son is fulfilled, in the fact that He is rejected in order that we might not be rejected. Predestination means that from all eternity God has determined upon man’s acquittal at His own cost. It means that God has ordained that in the place of the one acquitted He Himself should be perishing and abandoned and rejected—the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. There is, then, no background, no decretum absolutum (absolute decreee), no mystery of the divine good-pleasure, in which predestination might just as well be man’s rejection. On the contary, when we look into the innermost recesses of the divine good-pleasure, predestination is the non-rejection of man. It is so because it is the rejection of the Son of God. It is so because it is indeed a foreordination of the necessary revelation of divine wrath—but a revelation whose reality was God’s own suffering in Jesus Christ. Only if we are unbelieving or disobedient or unthankful in face of what is ordained for us, only if we misunderstand completely the divine predestination, can we think of this revelation as something which has to do with our own suffering. If in face of the divine predestination we are believing and obedient and thankful, if we have a right understanding of its mystery, we shall never find there the decreed rejection either of ourselves or of any other men. This is not because we did not deserve rejection, but because God did not will it, because God willed the rejection of His Son in our stead”.

Barth, Karl ; Bromiley, Geoffrey William ; Torrance, Thomas F.: Church Dogmatics, Volume II: The Doctrine of God (The Eternal Will of God in the Election of Jesus Christ), Part 2. Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark, 2004, S. 167

“The mystery of this passion, of the torture, crucifixion and death of this one Jew which took place at that place and time at the hands of the Romans, is to be found in the person and mission of the One who suffered there and was crucified and died. His person: it is the eternal God Himself who has given Himself in His Son to be man, and as man to take upon Himself this human passion. His mission: it is the Judge who in this passion takes the place of those who ought to be judged, who in this passion allows Himself to be judged in their place. It is not, therefore, merely that God rules in and over this human occurrence simply as Creator and Lord. He does this, but He does more. He gives Himself to be the humanly acting and suffering person in this occurrence. He Himself is the Subject who in His own freedom becomes in this event the object acting or acted upon in it. It is not simply the humiliation and dishonouring of a creature, of a noble and relatively innocent man that we find here. The problem posed is not that of a theodicy: How can God will this or permit this in the world which He has created good? It is a matter of the humiliation and dishonouring of God Himself, of the question which makes any question of a theodicy a complete anticlimax; the question whether in willing to let this happen to Him He has not renounced and lost Himself as God, whether in capitulating to the folly and wickedness of His creature He has not abdicated from His deity (as did the Japanese Emperor in 1945), whether He can really die and be dead? And it is a matter of the answer to this question: that in this humiliation God is supremely God, that in this death He is supremely alive, that He has maintained and revealed His deity in the passion of this man as His eternal Son. Moreover, this human passion does not have just a significance and effect in its historical situation within humanity and the world. On the contrary, there is fulfilled in it the mission, the task, and the work of the Son of God: the reconciliation of the world with God. There takes place here the redemptive judgment of God on all men. To fulfil this judgment He took the place of all men, He took their place as sinners. In this passion there is legally reestablished the covenant between God and man, broken by man but kept by God. On that one day of suffering of that One there took place the comprehensive turning in the history of all creation—with all that this involves”.

From The Judge judged in our place

Barth, Karl ; Bromiley, Geoffrey William ; Torrance, Thomas F.: Church Dogmatics, Volume IV: The Doctrine of Reconciliation, Part 1. Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark, 2004, S. 246

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