Monday, September 20, 2010

It is all in the name

Yesterday I read the Exodus 3 account of Moses and the burning bush. Moreover, this is when God reveals his name. It is interesting to read what Karl Barth says of the significance of the name YHWH (Yahweh).
Therefore the decisive act of revelation by which Israel is chosen as Israel and becomes the people of this God is the revelation of the name of God. It is significant enough that this revelation of the name (Ex. 3:13 f.) is in fact, in content, the refusal to give a name, for "I am that I am" can hardly mean more than that "I am He whose true name no one can utter." 
 By its very wording the revealed name is intended to recall the hiddenness even of the revealed God. But under this name, which in itself and as such pronounces His mystery, God does reveal Himself to His people, i.e., He begins, as Ex. 3 instructively shows, to have dealings with Israel through the announcing by Moses of its deliverance out of Egypt. From this standpoint one must add to the concept of the name of God that of the covenant, 
....In covenant with this people-"I will be their God and they shall be my people" (Jer. 3133) - the name of God is actualised. i.e., in the covenant with its divine promise and claim, with its record deposited in the Law, everything takes place that does take place through the name of Yahweh. ..... To have knowledge of the name of Yahweh, and to that degree knowledge of Yahweh Himself, and to participate in His revelation, is to be a partner in the covenant made by Him. Yahweh is thus God a second time in a very different way in the fact that He elects a people, makes it His people and rules it as His people.
Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 1.1 The Doctrine of the Word of God, p. 317-318

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