An evangelical doctrine of God is concerned with not only the unfolding of the logic of God’s free grace but also the antecedent conditions whereby God is said to be gracious. In this article I demonstrate the extent to which for Karl Barth grace demands a “backward reference,” indeed the immanent processions of the Son and Spirit as the basis for their missions. Accordingly, I advance the notion that the question of antecedence—the “whence”—represents not simply a formal but rather a material concern, a concern which the Reformed appreciate. I unfold this contention with respect some New Testament texts and in relation to two doctrines, namely the doctrine of the divine attributes and that of the hypostatic union.
Piotr MalyszTrinity Freedom and Love: An Engagement with the Theology of Eberhard Jüngel (London: T&T Clark2012) 203. Malysz argues mistakenly in my view that Barth’s conception of divine freedom is too formal and that the solution is to think independence in the light of the intersubjective reality of the love of God something which comes at the expense of any notion of the economy’s backward reference. So Malysz: “The issue here is whether the cross in its historical actuality truly is the event of God’s self-determination.” See 157.
See also John Webster“Life in and of Himself: Reflections on God’s Aseity,” in Engaging The Doctrine of God: Contemporary Protestant Perspectivesed. Bruce L. McCormack (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic 2008).