Beginning with God

In the Beginning“In the beginning God…”

I wanted these words, the first words in the Bible, to be the first words of this blog. The Bible simply assumes the existence and reality of God.
God is.

God is front and centre, the foremost reality and the ground of all reality. God, according to Scripture, is the beginning and the end, our origin and our goal. Our entire existence occurs within the sphere of God’s life, activity and presence. We come from God and are moving toward God. Our lives are God-created and God-drenched – “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). We are never out of God’s presence or beyond the scope of his love – no matter who we are.

Who is this God? What is God like? Twentieth-century theologian Karl Barth writes:

“God is he who in his Son Jesus Christ loves all his children, in his children all people, and in all people his whole creation. God’s being is his loving. He is all that he is as the One who loves. All his perfections are the perfections of his love. … In the Gospel of Israel’s Messiah and his fulfilment of the Law, of the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us, of Him who died for our sins and rose again for our justification – in this Gospel the love of God is the first word. If then, as is proper, we are to be told by the Gospel who and what God is, we must allow this primary word to be spoken to us – that God is love.”
(Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics II/1: 351).

Welcome to this blog – I hope you enjoy what you find here, and will join the conversation.

11 thoughts on “Beginning with God

  1. What a wonderful way to start, Michael. I had a smile on my face when I realised you’d started a blog and my smile got even bigger when I finished reading your post. God is… Amen!!!

    Look forward to more of what you have to say.

    Bless you.

    And love from Malawi to you both in Aus.


  2. Hi Ben – wow, first comment!
    Must have been a reasonable time in Malawi.
    Now if I can just figure out how to get a photo here…
    Love to Sam and the girls!

  3. Congrats on starting the blog Michael – I’m toying with the same idea myself. Thanks for your post – an excellent start and great to be reminded of the depth, greatness and vastness of God’s love! Blessings!!

  4. Great to read your blog…I am sure your blog will be a blessing to many.
    I will follow with interest.
    Good to hear from you too Ben…

  5. Hey, thanks everyone! I am glad you dropped by. Feel free to join in whenever, especially if there is push-back, questions, etc.
    Peter – not sure that was what I intended – certainly the weight of the two is vastly different!

  6. I certainly enjoyed the first one Michael.

    Not being familiar with Barth’s works, I’m left wondering whether the somewhat awkward language and style in the quote is Barth’s usual or natural mode for specific reason (eg to make us work hard and think), or whether it’s a result of translating formal German into English?

  7. Hi Andrew – welcome! A bit of both, I think.

    Barth writes in typical formal academic German of the early twentieth century with extra long and convoluted sentences. That it is in translation both helps and hinders. We are a step removed from the quite lively original, but the translation also makes the sentences more manageable for English readers. He is difficult to read most of the time, but also very rewarding for those who persevere.

  8. congratulations on starting the blog mike and wonderful start to the blog…is it possible to argue that neo-orthodoxy is heresy–this is what a fundy mate of mind said…I think Karl Barth is great…is it even worth arguing with people like this?

  9. Hi Tim – welcome, and thanks!

    I guess it is possible to argue just about anything. Barth a heretic? Some people may like to think so: those who measure others according to their narrow standard of doctrinal orthodoxy, who perhaps even judge whether one is a Christian or not according to the so-called purity of their doctrine, as though we were saved by doctrine instead of Jesus. I wonder what they mean by “heretic”? Someone outside the bounds of Christian faith, beyond the pale of God’s love, destined for eternal fire? Or someone who has deviated from orthodoxy – and if so, which version of orthodoxy? Certainly we don’t have to agree with Barth about everything he said, or even mostly. But it is foolish to simply write him off with a sound-byte slogan.

    It may be worth questioning people like this to find out just what they mean, and how much of Barth they have actually read…

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