Friday, May 23, 2008

Karl Barth: Hoping that Hell will be Empty

For there is no good reason why we should forbid ourselves, or be forbidden, openness to the possibility that in the reality of God and man in Jesus Christ there is contained much more than we might expect and therefore the supremely unexpected withdrawal of that final threat…If we are certainly forbidden to count on this as though we had a claim to it…we are surely commanded the more definitely to hope and pray for it…to hope and pray cautiously and yet distinctly that, in spite of everything which may seem quite conclusively to proclaim the opposite, his compassion should not fail and that in accordance with his mercy which is “new every morning,” He “will not cast off forever” (Lam 3:22)
- Karl Barth CD, IV/3, pp.477-78

What do you think of Barth's assertion?


Erica said...

I slid over to your blog from Silas' and was thinking about your Barth quote. If you haven't looked at it, you might be interested in Schillebeeckx's comments about hell (claiming that "there is no future for evil" based on the asymmetry of good and evil) in his Church book, especially p.136-139. His presentation is one of the more theologically intuitive (and simple) ones I've run across. I'd be interested to know what you think of his comments.

Kyle A. Roberts said...


I haven't seen that yet, but I'll have to check that out soon. I plan to post a blog on this question/issue soon.

The Confessor said...

I love it.
It opens us to the possibility of a lavish, scandalous grace.

If God in Christ undeservedly takes punishment onto God's self--a scandalous act of injustice for the sake of redemption--then why should we declare God unable to undeservedly and entirely undo the power of condemnation, sin and death?

It would be a scandalous act of injustice for the sake of redemption in keeping with the spirit of what we claim about the cross.

Silas said...

von Balthasar makes it clear (and Ratzinger surprising affirms this) that the hope for apokatastasis is a belief in the radicality of divine love and the sheer sufficiency of divine sacrifice. Involved in he hope for universal restoration is a deep respect and embrace of covenantal logic and the willingness to suggest that if hell is populated, it will be so wiht only yourself and Jesus as the inhabitants. What does it mean that this current eschatological age is a perduring Holy Saturday?