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I love Calvin. I love Reformed theology. Karl Barth is my favorite theologian hands down.
It doesn’t mean we have to take it hook, line, and sinker.
I love Barth not only for his honesty, depth, and focus, but also because he let us watch him develop his theology until the end of his life to the point where many theologians then and to this day consider him a major contributor to the idea of universalism.
But some Calvinists would like us to believe that there is not one good thing within us and that, essentially, we are riddled with sin rooted in a completely sinful heart. I do believe that at the core of our being there is a fissure, a disintegration, a brokenness. Self-observation alone suggests this. But does this mean that we are evil to the core?
How about a puzzle. Let’s look at that for an analogy. There’s the 1,000 piece puzzle in a box, unopened. There’s the puzzle spread out over the table top. There’s the puzzle being assembled. There’s the puzzle complete and displaying a beautiful picture. At no point is the puzzle any less a puzzle. At no point is the puzzle totally depraved. Just because a puzzle isn’t assembled doesn’t make it imperfect. It is a perfect puzzle in the box and completed on the table.
Some might argue that we are puzzles with pieces missing or damaged which would indeed make us imperfect, irreparable and incomplete. But I don’t think this is so. I think we all have all the pieces within that make us essentially perfect. Every one of us is a different puzzle. Broken? Yes. Imperfect? No. Some of us are more assembled than others. Some less. Does this make us a better puzzle than the other one? No. We are all perfect at different stages of our assembly. This analogy works for me.
It is our life’s work to assemble ourselves.
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