Thursday, December 08, 2005

"The concept of freedom as man's rightful claim and due is equally contradictory and impossible. So is the thought of man 's acquiring freedom by earning it or buying it at any price. The idea that man can conquer freedom as God's antagonist and defiantly wrench it from Him is untenable. Man has no real will power. Nor does he get it by himself. His power lies in receiving and in appropriating God's gift. The event of man's freedom is the event of his thankfulness for the gift, of his sense of responsibility as a receiver, of his loving care for what is given him. It is his reverence before the free God who accepts him as His partner without relinquishing His sovereignty. This event alone is the event of freedom."

Rules, or not
"Ethics must be understood as the attempt, scientific or otherwise, to cope with the question of good and evil in human behavior. Ethics according to our assumptions can only be evangelical ethics. The question of good and evil is never answered by man's pointing to the authoritative Word of God in terms of a set of rules. It is never discovered by man or imposed on the self and others as a code of good and evil actions, a sort of yardstick of what is good and evil. Holy Scripture defies being forced into a set of rules; it is a mistake to use it as such."

Karl Barth, "The Gift of Freedom," in The Humanity Of God.

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