God’s free choice
“Election” simply means “a choice.” The Christian doctrine of election involves a choice made by God. For Karl Barth, this doctrine — the decision of God before all time to be who he is for humanity — is the basic truth on which all other Christian truths are built. The doctrine of election involves two aspects, the electing God and the elected man. As the electing God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit together make a choice. The choice God makes is that the Son of God will become the elected man, Jesus of Nazareth.
The Triune God eternally elects, or chooses, in divine freedom, to be for humanity the God of grace and love. Therefore, in Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, God is both the elector and the elected. Barth wrote, “In the midst of time it happened that God became man for our good. While underlining the uniqueness of this event, we have to reflect that this was not an accident, not one historical event among others. But it is the event which God willed from eternity.”
Theologian and Barth scholar John Webster describes it this way, “God elects to be this God, God in this man, God known in and as Jesus Christ.”2 As the act of grace and love, the Son of God is elected to give of himself to become united with the Son of Man for the specific purpose to save sinful humans. This is the act of free grace where God gives “love in the deepest condescension,” that is, he reaches down to pull humans to himself (p. 10). The Son of God empties and humbles himself so that humans may be united in fellowship with God (see Philippians 2:6-8; John 17:22-24).
Cliff Spence [06/25/2015 5:29 PM]
When I teach about the Trinity I call their differences in operation positions of divine agreement. For instance, Jesus took His position as the sacrifice for sin, but this did not make Him any less than the Father or Holy Ghost.
Charles Page [06/25/2015 6:12 PM]
didn’t the Father place him in the position of sacrifice for sin and Jesus willingly submitted to this? Didn’t his baptism seal this agreement. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”
The Roman Catholic teach that Christ was the eternal son rather than an incarnational son.
John Kissinger [07/03/2015 7:45 AM]
Barth is right. Giving humans a choice is the most important election God ever did!