The reduction of revelation to inner experience or enlightenment reflects a hyper-immanence that places God under our control.  However, Barth’s emphasis on God’s transcendence justified Bonhoeffer’s complaint that, in this view, God is never truly “have-able.”  In His revelation, the God who cannot be possessed makes Himself our richest treasure.  The One who cannot be mastered makes Himself the servant of our redemption.  The One who is high and exalted makes Himself lowly and the greatest sufferer of human injustice and hatred who ever lived.  Yet, wonder of wonders, even in loving us in this way, God remains transcendent, incomprehensible, and hidden.  Revelation is accommodated discourse, even “baby talk,” in which God “must descend far beneath His loftiness,” as Calvin puts it.  Not even in revelation, according to Calvin, does the believer “attain to [God’s] exalted state,” but one does receive truth “accommodated to our capacity so that we may understand it.”  “Better to limp along this path,” Calvin cautioned, “than to dash will all speed outside it.”

From: The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way by Michael Horton (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), p. 129.


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