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Premium An Entirely Different ‘Theodicy’. Karl Barth’s Interpretation of Human Suffering in the Context of his Doctrine of das Nichtige ☆
Wüthrich Matthias D.
Publication year2021
Publication title
international journal of systematic theology
Resource typeJournals
Abstract Barth responds to the modern lack of language for talking of evil by developing the concept of das Nichtige ( CD III/3, §50). ‘ Das Nichtige ’ – for which ‘nothingness’ is an insufficient translation – encompasses not only sin, but also the demonic dimension of evil, as well as physical suffering and death, without reducing it to a harmartiocentric perspective. Compared with traditional concepts, this leads to an almost unbearable incrimination on the idea of God. But it is only in this incrimination that the importance Barth places on the self‐justification of God in Jesus Christ is made visible. Barth's Christological ‘theodicy’ provokes critical questions: for instance, whether his view that, ultimately, God alone can judge which suffering in our life is truly evil really takes our experiences seriously. But his ‘theodicy’ is, in any case, a valid alternative to the free will defense. Barth's concept of das Nichtige is still well worth considering, especially in times of pandemics and natural disasters.
Subject(s)archaeology , artificial intelligence , computer science , context (archaeology) , doctrine , epistemology , history , interpretation (philosophy) , linguistics , natural law , nothing , perspective (graphical) , philosophy , theodicy , theology
SCImago Journal Rank0.149

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