The spirit of God and the Christian life : a constructive study of Karl Barth’s Pneumatology with special reference to his incomplete doctrine of redemption
My study centres on Karl Barth’s pneumatology with special attention to its inseparable relationship with his vision of the Christian life. Many critics say that Barth’s emphasis upon the gracious God revealed in Christ improperly undermined both the role of the Spirit and the importance of human agency. In contrast, my research will demonstrate that it is possible to read Barth as offering a robust Spirit theology, which resulted in rich reflection upon the Christian life. More specifically, my thesis will first examine Barth’s pneumatology within the context of his incomplete doctrine of redemption. I will show that his unique understanding of redemption was largely shaped by his exegesis of Paul’s Spirit theology, in which he developed central pneumatological motifs, including the Spirit’s incorporation of humanity into the intra-divine fellowship, mediation in the form of pneumatic prayer, and the shaping of moral agency. I will, then, examine these redemptive works of the Spirit within a more comprehensive context of his theology, coordinating synchronic and diachronic approaches. In particular, I will read ‘through’ and ‘across’ Barth, tracing underpinning pneumatological themes, with special focus on the three modes of the Spirit’s work in the opera ad extra – the mediation of divine and human logic in revelation, the drawing of creation into God’s self-glorification movement through beauty, and the calling of individuals through community into God’s drama of salvation. In short, unlike criticisms that Barth reduced pneumatology to the subjective possibility of revelation, my study will show that his pneumatology is mainly about our prayerful participation in God, the constitution of human agency and a new vision of the Christian life under the direction of the Spirit.