In my earlier post Jesus Christ Very God Very Man, I struggled with Barth’s argument about completed event and completed event which are part of the mystery of God’s revelation. Barth notes, “God’s revelation in its objective reality is the incarnation of His Word, in that He, the one true eternal God, is at the same time true Man like us” (CD I.2, 172).
Barth next set forth to examine the mystery of Christmas though the dogma of Christmas in I. 2.§15.3. The Miracle of Christmas. He argues that both the Virgin conception and birth, and ‘being conceived by the Holy Spirit’ represent the miracle of Christmas. That both are a miracle cannot be denied because the normal mode of conception is through the sexual act though nowadays reproductive technologies, like in vitro fertilization (IVF) allow conception without the sexual act. ‘Being conceived by the Holy Spirit’ is a fascinating concept. Obviously ‘conceived’ does not refer to the fertilization of the ovum but the question to be asked is why should the Holy Spirit be mentioned at all? Interestingly, Barth uses this to booster his theological construct of the mystery of God (which is the theme of this section §15 ) by giving two reasons why the Holy Spirit is mentioned. Firstly, he notes that it refers “refers back the mystery of human existence of Jesus Christ to the mystery of God Himself” (199) which refers to the mystery that God himself as the Holy Spirit works amongst his creature as mediator and reconciler. Secondly, it refers to the connection the work of the Holy Spirit.
The miracle of Christmas reveals the mystery of Christmas. The miracle is the virgin birth. The mystery is that Jesus Christ Very God Very Man is conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
This is part of the Barth Synchroblog reading Karl Barth’s Dogmatics
Daniel Kirk on Mystery Christmas