Romans 7:14-25 in the Theological Anthropology of Karl Barth

In Romans 7:14-25, according to Barth (both in his Epistle to the Romans and Church Dogmatics II.2, IV.2, IV.3.1, IV.4), Paul describes his past, present, and future existence. Paul portrays a situation as real after the episode on the road to Damascus as before it. The man of Romans 7:7-25, in Barth’s view, is the religious man of human possibilities: he can never be what he is and he is not what he ought to be. He is a man who does not will libero arbitro, but servo arbitro. Freedom and bondage clash in one and the same man: his freedom as a new man in Jesus and in the Holy Spirit, and his bondage as an old man, outside Jesus, in and for himself, in the flesh, in his past which is still present. In such a man there is no mediation or synthesis, but only antithesis of conflict; he is thrust into a dualism which contradicts itself.

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