I recently learned that Karl Barth, while he was married, had a decades-long romantic relationship with his personal assistant, Charlotte von Kirschbaum. She actually moved into the Barths' home in 1929, straining the family.
I'd like to know how Karl Barth justified this relationship. After a few internet searches and my own recollections of Barth's theology, the following possibilities come to mind:
- Barth did not have a sexual relationship with von Kirschbaum, and therefore did not think that he was committing adultery
- Barth, who argued that the Bible "contains" the Word of God, did not consider the prohibition of adultery in the Ten Commandments as "the Word of God" and therefore not binding
- Barth could not overcome his love for von Kirschbaum, and thus considered it acceptable.
Which of these arguments, or others that I might be missing, did Barth use? How did Barth justify his relationship with von Kirschbaum?