Predestination is prominent in Barth’s thought. To Barth, “election” is the sum heart of the gospel. Barth “responds” to John Calvin by turning Calvin’s pre-destination into salvation for “all” mankind. This is not universal salvation. For Barth, election is the greatest gift to the good news of the Gospel. Calvin understands election and pre-destination as a mystery in God whereby some are elected to salvation and some are elected to damnation. As Calvin puts this doctrine in the hiddeness of God, he works against his usual theological practice of placing doctrine on God’s revelation and God’s manifestation of His will in Jesus. Here, Barth points out that we must only reflect on God in His revelation and not, what is not revealed. Barth’s “double-predestination” has two parts. As Jesus is the Revelation of God, He is the Choosing God and the Choosing Man. He is actively choosing and passively chosen. Secondly, we know who is “elect” because in Christ, man is Chosen for salvation and God in Christ Chooses Himself for damnation. Jesus is elected to rejection at the cross and is the Human Being for human beings that is accepted or saved. In this way, Barth believes that Jesus transforms election and predestination or double-predestination from a division of the saved and lost into a division between human and divine which God overcomes in the resurrection and ascension.
The “tensions” that arise consist of an accusation that Barth is teaching “Universalism” and “Christo Monism.” It can look like Barth is trying to say that all are saved by Jesus’ taking sin on the cross upon Himself and taking on the condemnation. Rather, Barth rejects this position. He is not saying that everyone in general is saved but that one by one there is no one who is not saved. This keeps the threat of loss but also keeps the reality that the threat is overcome.
The charge of Christo Monism arises from Barth’s Christocentrism. For Barth, everything is defined by Jesus Christ. He was not supporting Christo Monism. Barth brings all doctrinal headings in and under Jesus Christ. Barth’s view was influenced by his fight against anthropocentrism that the liberals supported and the ecclesiocentrism that the Roman Catholics supported. Both of these give over to looking away from Jesus for revelation or redemptive work.