4. Karl Barth on Rom. 5:12-21
Does Barth have a contribution to make to this ongoing debate within evangelicalism? I propose that the answer is yes, but he enters the debate by first rejecting both sides. I will clarify Barth’s relation to the topic of universalism in the following ways: (1) first, I will discuss the ways in which Barth rejects both sides in the evangelical debate; (2) second, I will briefly note how Barth affirms both sides; and (3) third, I will suggest ways in which Barth’s interpretation of Rom. 5:12-21 furthers the conversation about universalism. In what follows, I focus my attention on the early Barth of Romans II (first published in 1922) as the basis for my conversation between Barth and evangelicals.
37. ET: Karl Barth, The Epistle to the Romans, trans. Edwyn C. Hoskyns (London: Oxford University Press, 1933); hereafter Romans.
38. Certainly, Barth’s more mature theology in the Church Dogmatics presents a much more christocentric account of salvation, which is equally universal in scope. See CD IV/1, 512-13 for a brief discussion of Rom. 5:12-21. For a reading of Rom. 5:12-21 which takes these later christological insights into full consideration, see Karl Barth, Christ and Adam: Man and Humanity in Romans 5, trans. T. A. Smail (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1956).