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.