Beginnings to the 1919 Commentary on Romans

What is heard in the 1919 Commentary on Romans is a passionate and vivid cry - in the form of a careful paraphrase of Paul's letter - to start all theology from the Reality of God, "complete and whole in itself apart from and prior to the knowing activity of human individuals,"6 dialectically distinct from the reality of the world: "World remains world. But God is God." That required the subordination of all worldly human possibilities - history, ideas, distinctions, and relations, including religion - to the sovereign God as sure and certain reality above them all. But how, if the object of theology was so sharply distinct from the world, was there a relation between these two realities? The answer offered was that through divine decision they coincide in God's cosmically reconciling activity present in a particular historical event where this world is made new - Jesus Christ and his Cross - in which God's reign has dawned. There the movement of God in history is actualized, in such a way as to be accessible through participatory, personal knowledge, but beyond access by historical investigation.

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