Original Research

Karl Barth’s doctrine of creation: Convergence and divergence with African Christology

Patricia Ngwena
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6322 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6322 | © 2021 Patricia Ngwena | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 August 2020 | Published: 20 April 2021

About the author(s)

Patricia Ngwena, Department of Religion and Theology, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa


This article explores the intersection between Karl Barth’s doctrine of creation and African Christology seeking to elicit similarities as well as differences. It argues that this intersection is contested and open to different understanding and interpretation. The common goal amongst the two doctrines is that they derive from biblical teachings about creation and the creator. However, there is also divergence between the doctrines. Barth’s point of departure in his doctrine of creation maintains the Covenant of God to humanity which is not extended to all creation. African Christology’s point of departure, on the other hand, maintains that the relations between God, humanity and all life-forms are sacred because of its intrinsic value and sacramental nature. From an African perspective, creation is mutually related and interconnected to the web of life. All life forms hold intrinsic value. It is argued that African Christology implicates Barth’s Christological focus as something that reveals Barth’s doctrine of creation as anthropocentric.

Contribution: The article promotes a multi-disciplinary approach to eco-theology by exploring the intersection between Karl Barth’s doctrine of creation and an African Christological perspective on ecology. It implicates Christian anthropocentrism as a contributory factor to ecological degradation and suggests that African Christology is an important resource for developing a remedial eco-theology


Christian anthropocentrism; African Christologies; African religion; African knowledge wisdom systems; eco-theology.


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Crossref Citations

1. Reuniting Humanity and the Cosmos in Barth's Theology: Natural Disasters and The Fall
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doi: 10.46222/pharosjot.104.232