“Freedom for Life”
Barth, Karl. “Freedom for Life,” Pages 364–65 in Church Dogmatics: The Doctrine of Creation. Edited by Rev. Prof. G. W. Bromiley and Rev. Prof. T. F. Torrance. Vol. 3, part 4. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1961.
Barth is the only towering theologian who has engaged with Mary Baker Eddy’s theology, but his critique on Christian Science lacks depth. His sole reference to Christian Science appears in a portion of his essay, “Freedom for Life.” The passage includes Barth’s theological treatment of sickness, where he argues that while sickness is no illusion, man is still greater than his physical nature. Without fully resolving the tension he sees in the reality of sickness and the inability of doctors to restore the “strength to be as man” (361), Barth denounces Eddy’s claim to the restoration of health through the allness of God. God is indeed the basis of all reality, he argues, but He loves a reality which is different from Himself, a creation dependent on Him but not “merely a reflection” (364), as Eddy claims. Some of Barth’s arguments appear to originate from either secondary sources or his own presumptions because they contradict Eddy’s specific teachings. He maintains, for example, that Eddy thought Jesus “disappear[ed] from our level of consciousness” (365), whereas she teaches that sin and sickness (not Jesus) disappear. He claims that Eddy did not understand Jesus’s actual death on the cross, whereas she emphasizes the efficacy and sacrifice of his actual crucifixion.
ISBN-13 (Softcover): 978-0567050793
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