About Providence, Divine Action and the Church

In this blog, Terry J. Wright posts thoughts and shares research on the Christian doctrine of providence. This doctrine testifies to God’s provision for all things through creation’s high priest, the man Christ Jesus. However, the precise meaning and manner of this provision is a perpetually open question, and this blog is a forum for discussion of the many issues relating to providence and the place of the Church within God’s action.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

An Overview of Church Dogmatics III/3, § 48

Laura vander Velden, ‘Karl Barth and the Doctrine of Providence’, Didaskalia 20 (2009), pp. 41–60

Laura vander Velden’s essay is an uncritical account of Karl Barth’s preliminary thoughts on providence as found in Church Dogmatics III/3, § 48. My main quibble is that Velden notes on a couple of occasions that Barth doesn’t address the problem of evil in his doctrine of providence, as though §§ 50–51 aren’t relevant to the matter. (Velden does offer a one-paragraph summary of § 49.) In sum, those reading § 48 for the first or second time should find this helpful supplementary material.


  1. I am almost finished on that part of CD. I do think there is a question as whether Barth can separate the problem of evil so neatly from the general question of providence. Does he not try to have his cake and eat it?

  2. Perhaps. But it seems to me that Barth's trying here to fill the doctrine of providence with positive content, which is why the problem of evil or nothingness finds itself in a later paragraph - but still part of the 'creator and creature' framework. Besides, isn't his idea of preservation about preventing creation from slipping back into chaos?