Barth on the constancy and omnipotence of God


Is God’s life and freedom in conflict with his unchangeablness? How does the immutable One bring about genuinely new things?
Some of us at MTC recently undertook an essay (the chief cause of my lack of blogging) dealing with this tension.  I found Barth’s II.1 to be immensely helpful. Look at how he describes the constancy of God:

There neither is nor can be, nor is to be expected or even thought possible in Him, the One omnipresent being, any deviation, diminution or addition, nor any degeneration or rejuvenation, any alteration or non-identity or discontinuity. The one, omnipresent God remains the One He is. This is His constancy.

And this, says Barth, is not in conflict with God’s freedom, life or love.

But as the living God, He is not Himself subject to or capable of any alteration, and does not cease to be Himself. His life is not only the origin of all created change, but it is in itself the fullness of difference, movement, will, decision, action, degeneration and rejuvenation. But He lives it in eternal self-repetition and self-affirmation. As His inner life and His life in all that is, it will never sever itself from Him, turn against Him, or possess a form or operation alien to Him. In all its forms and operations it will be His life.

It is precisely because of God’s eternal self-constancy, self-repetition and self-affirmation that his life brings about newness and change;

His life with its very alteration and movement can, and does gloriously, consist only in His not ceasing to be Himself, to posit and will and perfect Himself in His being Himself. He does not do this of necessity but in freedom and love, or, one may say, with the necessity in virtue of which He cannot cease to be Himself, the One who loves in freedom.
CD II.1 491-492


2 Responses to “Barth on the constancy and omnipotence of God”

  1. So you would say the cross does represent something genuinely new for God?

  2. stephengardner Says:


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