Barth, Torrance, and Knowledge of God

Theologians, Inc.

Barth and Torrance put a lot of effort into attacking a priori knowledge of God and establishing knowledge of God grounded in Christian experience as the dominant form of knowing God – basically, kataphatic instead of apophatic, positive over negative. Apophatic theology is seen as a form of knowledge of God grounded not in God’s self-revelation but in our conceptual schemes – we cannot say what God is, only what He is not. Torrance and Barth didn’t like this (Barth sides with Barlaam in the ‘Dogmatics’).

A big motivation here was the (in)famous point of contact – which Barth and Torrance denied quite vehemently. True knowledge of God doesn’t arise out of our own abstract speculations about God apart from His revelation – it only comes about as a result of His revelation. God not only gives knowledge of Himself out of Himself, He creates the condition necessary for knowledge…

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