Barth and Anselm: God, Christ and the Atonement



This article considers God, Christ and the atonement in the work of Anselm and Barth. It identifies key points of agreement regarding God's self-assigned identity and the importance of dyothelitism; it discerns a marked divergence of opinion with respect to the atonement. Anselm construes the atonement in terms of a gift that Christ offers on behalf of sinful humankind. Barth, on the other hand, presents a view of atonement that builds on his revolutionary doctrine of election. He describes the cross as an event in which sin is ‘burned up’, cancelled and overcome within the time and space of God's being.