“No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked” (Neal, 2011)

The Christian answer to violence is that violence must be met with love. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:44). And Paul instructs the Christians in Rome to “never avenge yourself, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.’ No, ‘if your enemies are hungry feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:19-21).
But the truth of the matter is that we find it difficult to love our enemy. It is highly unlikely that any of us would have invited bin Laden in for dinner if he had showed up at our door.

Be Who You Are: Karl Barth’s Ethics of Creation (Neal, 2010)

Barth grounds the goodness of creation not in its own independent reality, but in the goodness of Jesus Christ, who, as Barth works out in CD II.2, is the concrete form of the command of God and fulfillment of the covenant between God and humanity. By grounding the goodness of creation in Jesus Christ, Barth makes both the ontological goodness of creation itself and the noetic basis of that goodness dependent on this Christological determination. As a result, scholars have suggested that Barth’s theology really has no proper doctrine of creation at all, i.e. that Barth’s doctrine of creation is simply Christology in disguise.
This dissertation argues that while Barth’s Christological determination of creation is central to Barth’s work, it is not the case that Barth absorbs creation into Christology, i.e. nature into grace, leaving creation without any meaningful ontology of its own. Rather, this dissertation demonstrates that Barth’s ontology of creation is covenantal in structure, but not equivalent to Christology. Furthermore, this dissertation shows that this covenantal structure of creation is specifically ordered so that the creature may realize her goal as God’s covenant partner.