Creation and Fall originated in lectures given by Dietrich Bonhoeffer at the University of Berlin in the winter semester of 1932–1933 during the demise of the Weimar Republic and the birth of the Third Reich. In the course of these events, Bonhoeffer called his students to focus their attention on the word of God—the word of truth in a time of turmoil.
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Delivered with passion and kerygmatic style rather than in the language of academic discourse, Creation and Fall retains the sense of immediacy, relevance, and power that first spoke to Bonhoffer’s students.
—John W. de Gruchy, Robert Selby Taylor Professor of Christian Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) a German theologian, pastor, and ecumenist, was a professor in Berlin, an uncompromising teacher in the Confessing Church, and a consistent opponent of National Socialism. Executed by Hitler at the end of World War II, his influence continues today as one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century.
“Humankind no longer lives in the beginning; instead it has lost the beginning. Now it finds itself in the middle, knowing neither the end nor the beginning, and yet knowing that it is in the middle. It knows therefore that it comes from the beginning and must move on toward the end. It sees its life as determined by these two factors, concerning which it knows only that it does not know them. The animals know nothing about the beginning and the end; they therefore know no hatred and no pride. Humankind knows itself to be totally deprived of its own self-determination, because it comes from the beginning and is moving toward the end without knowing what that means. This makes it hate the beginning and rise up in pride against it.” (Page 28)
“Because freedom is not a quality that can be uncovered; it is not a possession, something to hand, an object; nor is it a form of something to hand; instead it is a relation and nothing else. To be more precise, freedom is a relation between two persons. Being free means ‘being-free-for-the-other’, because I am bound to the other. Only by being in relation with the other am I free.” (Page 63)
“The church of Christ witnesses to the end of all things. It lives from the end, it thinks from the end, it acts from the end, it proclaims its message from the end.” (Page 21)
“If the Creator wishes to create the Creator’s own image, then the Creator must create it free. And only such an image, in its freedom, would fully praise God, would fully proclaim God’s glory as Creator.” (Page 61)
“That the Bible should speak of the beginning provokes the world, provokes us. For we cannot speak of the beginning. Where the beginning begins, there our thinking stops; there it comes to an end.” (Page 25)