Trinity/Election and the Doctrine of Antecedence

In his new book Reading Barth With Charity, George Hunsinger gives us a rather succinct summary of the Trinity-Election debate within Barth scholarship. I appreciate how (in the particular paragraph in mind) he frames the debate within two doctrines: the doctrine of antecedence & the doctrine of subsequence.

In short, whereas the traditionalists uphold Barth’s doctrine of antecedence, the revisionists want to flip it over into a doctrine of subsequence. For the revisionists, God’s trinitarian being is subsequent to God’s relationship to the world. Election has the logical and ontological priority, apart from which the Trinity is merely potential or at least indeterminate. For the traditionalists, on the other hand, God’s being in relation to the world is grounded in God’s being and for himself. The Trinity is always logically and ontologically antecedent. This, then is the disputed question: Is God’s eternal trinitarian being – for the later Barth – subsequent or antecedent to election? (10)


Published by cwoznicki

Chris Woznicki is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. He works as the regional training associate for the Los Angeles region of Young Life.

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