The Monstrosity of God Made Flesh
Three times over the course of thirty-eight years, Karl Barth images God as the monster Leviathan (once each in the Epistle to the Romans, Church Dogmatics II.1 and& IV.3.1). Barth’s imagination for God in monstrous form emerges from his interpretation of Romans 11:35, in which the apostle Paul quotes a line from Job 41:11, a poem about Leviathan, to describe the greatness of God. Using monster theory and a close reading of Barth, this article will discuss how God as Leviathan answers one of Barth’s primary questions—namely, how it is that Jesus saves human beings from their headlong rush into the abyss. Moving from Barth’s exegetical insights, through Barth’s soteriology, the article ends with the ethics of a God made monstrous flesh—an ethics that Barth explicitly links to the status of prisoners and all those depicted as monstrous and cast into the abyss.
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