Saturday, June 21, 2014

Election and Trinity

That is to say, a pictorial representation of my baby girl, Trinity, and the doctrine of election. Trinity and I were "chatting" over Friday morning coffee. As is usual in our chats, I do a lot of talking about things that don't matter to her while snapping pictures, and she alternately smiles and doesn't smile as she sees fit. As I was talking with Trinity about reasons I appreciate Barth's reading of election in II, 2 I captured these pictures while articulating a comparative view of Barth's doctrine of election versus other Reformed views, etc. This is what I captured of her "reaction" to each position. Yes, this all a bit tongue in cheek. Nonetheless, I thought it vividly captured the feeling one has when understanding each position.

First, a "Barthian" reading of election, in which God is both the Electing God and the Elected Man in Jesus Christ. God elects to be fundamentally "for" humanity. Trinity likes it! This is gospel!

Second, a reaction to the "absolute decree" and double predestination common in some Reformed circles. According to this understanding, some are elect for salvation and others are elect for damnation. This so-called double predestination: that God chose some humans for salvation through Christ and others for damnation - these groups sometimes being called the "elect" and "reprobate" -  is an election made by God in His "absolute decree," a mysterious and fundamentally inscrutable decision which, though it was a decision of ultimate consequence for the individual human, is ultimately indeterminable by the individual. Trinity doesn't like this reading: