Karl Barth's special ethics of parents and children in the light of his trinitarian theological anthropology
The comprehension of Karl Barth's special ethics of the parent-child relationship as contained in his Church Dogmatics, III/4, requires its being interpreted in terms of his grounding it in his christological and so trinitarian anthropology which is essentially contained in CD, III/2. The key to the inter-connection between Barth's theology and ethics lies in comprehending the character of the relations involved in his doctrine of the analogia relationis. This thesis shows and makes explicit the nature, or better, the 'grammar' of personal being-in-relationship which arises in Barth's Christology, is central to his anthropology, is founded in his doctrine of the Trinity and grounds his special ethics as illustrated in the section on 'Parents and Children'. Barth's grammar of being-in-relationship can be encapsulated in six fluid and dynamic formulae. Being-in-relationship involves a unity of persons, a differentiation between persons, an ordered correspondence of one with another, a pesonal covenantal communion, a dynamic and eschatological becoming, and an extension to include others in convenantal relations. Barth's special ethics of parents and children, while not beyond criticism, is shown to be both relevant and fruitful for further developing a theological ethics of the family, for critiquing other such contributions, and for assisting the Church of Jesus Christ to address a number of issues facing the contemporary American family.