Intellectualism and Revelation

Intellectualism and Revelation


Human intellect and reason are very good, but they are not God, and Revelation from God must trump them every time.”

A post of Karl Barth writing got me curious about this famous theologian, since my spiritual study over the years has been mainly in God’s Word, the Bible, and I have avoided spending much time in the various theologies by which people try to understand God. I read about him in Wikipedia, and came up with this interesting information:

“From Barth’s perspective, liberalism, as understood in the sense of the 19th century … and not necessarily expressed in any particular political ideology, is the divinization of human thinking. This, to him, inevitably leads one or more philosophical concepts to become the false God, thus attempting to block the true voice of the living God.

“This, in turn, leads to the captivity of theology by human ideology. In Barth’s theology, he emphasizes again and again that human concepts of any kind, breadth or narrowness quite beside the point, can never be considered as identical to God’s revelation.

“In this aspect, Scripture is also written human language, which bears witness to the self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Scripture cannot be considered as identical to God’s self-revelation, which is properly only Jesus Christ. However, in his freedom and love, God truly reveals himself through human language and concepts, with a view toward their necessity in reaching fallen humanity.

“Thus Barth claims that Christ is truly presented in Scripture and the preaching of the church. … He opposes any attempts to closely relate theology and philosophy, although Barth consistently insists that he is not “anti-philosophical.” His approach in that respect is predominantly Christocentric.”

I believe this is a solid perspective! Conservative Christians are often accused of being anti-intellectual, and some are. But God gave us an intellect and the ability to reason, and they are good. It is just that they must be submitted to Him as we allow the Spirit of Truth to teach us. The above passage clearly places God’s revelation over human concepts, and it is written by a highly intellectual person.

Human intellect and reason are very good, but they are not God, and Revelation from God must trump them every time.

(Written and First posted on Facebook April 15, 2014).

Ray E Horton

Serving the Lord as encourager, reconciler, intercessor and prophetic teacher of God's Word, primarily in person and on Facebook, as well as writer and editor. Beyond, or as part of, the Ministry of Reconciliation that we are all called to, I am serving the Lord and His people as a minister of prayer at a local church, and encouraging the brethren locally among people I know, and worldwide on Facebook


  • Reply May 6, 2020

    Varnel Watson

    thank you bro Ray E Horton

  • Reply May 6, 2020

    Rick Slotboom

    I’ve studied both theology and philosophy. There are all kinds of interesting things in Barth, but the problem with him is that he has become too much the mirror image of what he’s reacting against, the philosophy of Kant, leaving God at unbridgeble distance, and hardly even leaving room for a transforming experience of the Spirit. God’s revelation with Barth is still defined by man, because it’s all the time something which is NOT Human. I don’t believe Gods revelation needs that kind of negation. I feel much more comfortable with a more relational and contextual approach like Amos Yong, in which God reveals himself in a way which someone can understand.

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