1. The problem of Lessing’s ditch, which had hung over much of modern philosophical theology, (“that contingent historical truths can never become a demonstration of eternal truths of reason, also that the transition whereby one will build an eternal truth on historical reports is a leap”*) is utterly critiqued, dismantled, and refashioned by Barth. Historical truth is posed not as a possible demonstration of eternal truth, but rather as an actual demonstration of the inaccessibility of eternal truth based upon historical knowledge. The "leap" from historical knowledge to eternal truth is thus not taken, but rather the KRISIS of God's faithfulness is posed against the meaninglessness of history as an inbreaking of eternal truth into history.
a. “As Christ, Jesus is the plane which lies beyond our comprehension. The plane which is known to us, He intersects vertically, from above. Within history, Jesus as the Christ can be understood only as Problem or Myth. As the Christ, He brings the world of the Father. But we who stand in this concrete world know nothing, and are incapable of knowing anything, of that other world.” (29-30)
b. “There is no fragment or epoch of history which can be pronounced divine. The whole history of the Church and of all religion takes place in this world. What is called the ‘history of our salvation’ is not an event in the midst of other events, but is nothing less than the KRISIS of all history.” (57)
c. For Barth, history is not a basis for eternal truth; rather it teaches the basic inability and unwillingness of humanity to attain this truth (85-86). Those who have the (historical, empirical) law have it as "the impression of divine revelation left behind... a burnt-out crater disclosing the place where God has spoken... a dry canal." (65) "No road to the eternal meaning of the created world has ever existed, save the road of negation. This is the lesson of history." (87) As such, and only as such, "history itself bears witness to resurrection, the concrete world to its non-concrete presupposition, and human life to the paradox of faith which is its inalienable foundation." (116)
2. The death of the sinner with Christ reveals the positive basis upon which God's negation of human sin stands. Righteousness is an impossibility for the "old man", so that the sinner's recognition of sin must come from outside (198). In dying with Christ, the sinner faces the negation of sin in faith and from the resurrection. This new identity in Christ offers a radical critique of those conceptions of subjectivity which constrain or determine the possibility of human knowledge and understanding (Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Kierkegaard), the coherence of historical meaning (Troeltsch), or the terms upon which God encounters the creature (Schleiermacher, Feuerbach, Kierkegaard). The resurrection is the "centre from which the KRISIS proceeds" and the "standard of impossibility by which visible human possibilities are measured." (203)
a. "By faith the primal reality of human existence in God enters our horizon… We believe that Christ died in our place, and that therefore we died with him. We believe in our identity with the invisible new man who stands on the other side of the Cross. We believe in that eternal existence of ours which is grounded upon the knowledge of death, upon the resurrection, upon God. We believe that we shall also live with him." (201-202)
b. "The reality of this life of lusts is not surprising. What is surprising is that I should authorize a definition, in terms of such lusts, of what I am under grace; that, failing to recognize the relativity of this life, I should obey it and ascribe to it transcendent reality, that- employing a metaphysical term- I should 'hypostatize' it, transmute it, dedicate it, and pronounce it to be holy and religious." (210)
c. "under grace, we cannot admit or allow grace and sin to be two alternative possibilities or necessities, each with its own rights and properties. For this reason, the Gospel of Christ is a shattering disturbance, an assault which brings everything into question. For this reason, nothing is so meaningless as the attempt to construct a religion out of the Gospel, and to set it as one human possibility in the midst of others. Since Schleiermacher, this attempt has been undertaken more consciously than ever before in Protestant theology- and it is the betrayal of Christ." (225)
*Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments, vol. 1, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 93.