Karl Barth and the Latin Heresy


Thomas F. Torrance, "Karl Barth and the Latin Heresy," Scottish Journal of Theology 39 (1986): 461-482; #1986-470


Torrance, Thomas F. "Karl Barth and the Latin Heresy." Scottish Journal of Theology 39, no. 4 (1986): 461-482; #1986-470

Publication life cycle / General notes

Reprinted in Karl Barth: Biblical and Evangelical Theologian (1990), #1990-517i; and Divine Interpretation, #2017-TFT-1c.


It was a fundamental principle of the great Athanasius that to approach God through the on and call him Father is amore devout and accurate way of knowing him than to approach him only through his works by tracing them back to him as their uncreated Source. To know the Father through his Incarnate Son who is of one and the same being as God is to know him strictly in accordance with what he is in his own being and nature as Father and Son, and as Holy Spirit, which is the godly and the theologically precise way. On the other hand, to seek knowledge of God from what he has created out of nothing would be to operate only from the infinite distance of thecreature to the Creator, where we can think and speak of God only in vague, imprecise and negative terms, for what God has created out of nothing does not tell us anything about who God is or what he is like in his own being. It is through God alone that we may know God in accordance Cross with his nature. We may know God in truth only as we are given access to him as Father through Jesus Christ his Incarnate Son and in his one Spirit, an access opened to us as we are brought near to God and are reconciled to him through the Cross (Ephesians 2.14–18).

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