Theological Fragments: Bultmann on God

God is what limits mankind, who makes a comedy of his care, who allows his longing to miscarry, who casts him into solitude, who sets a limit to his knowing and doing, who calls him to duty, and who gives the guilty over to torment.  And yet at the same time it is God who forces one into life and drives him into care; who puts longing and the desire for love in his heart; who gives him thought and strength for his work and who places him in the eternal struggle between willfulness and duty.  God is the enigmatic power beyond time, yet master of the temporal; beyond existence, yet at work in it.

Rudolf Bultmann, “The Crisis of Faith [1931],” Interpreting Faith for the Modern Era, ed. Roger Johnson (London: Collins, 1987), 243.

One thought on “Theological Fragments: Bultmann on God

  1. Ben

    I have an appreciation for Bultmann. Here, it seems that Bultmann’s dialectical theology surfaces. God is constantly ‘both’ ‘within’ and ‘beyond’, and the one whom limits and allows for growth, care and advancement. One of the strengths of Bultmann’s thought is his understanding of theology as a ‘science’. In his ‘New Testament’ and “Mythology”- he sets forth several reasons why theology qualifies as a science. To which I am impressed: 1) It is an objectifying procedure 2) It is objective in that it sees any of its objects as a whole and in its inner structure disinterestedly and without prejudices 3) it is rooted in a prescientific relation to its objects and develops the understanding that is given to this relation in a methodical way 4) It has its own special method depending on its particular field of objects (Bultmann, Theology as Science, 1941). However, I also enjoy Barth’s description of the dialectical process.

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