“This alone –– note, God’s Word alone –– is the answer that possesses genuine transcendence and thus has the power to solve the riddle of immanence…We must give this answer, but this very answer we cannot give.”
In his essay “The Word of God as the Task of Theology,” Karl Barth attempts to put forth the task of the theologian. The task that is both the theologians plight and promise. This task, the theologians plight and promise, is both the necessary and impossible task of speaking of God––the question of God.  For Barth, the question of God arises from human existence. This question comes to be from the human realization that her entire life stands in the shadow of death. Thus, this question that gives rise to the theologians task, the question of God, is the negativity of human existence. “For [she herself], the human, is the question. Therefore the answer must be the question.” It is out of this negativity of human existence that, for Barth, both the question and answer of the task of theology surfaces. However, this task is an impossibility, according to Barth. The answer to this question, to the “human riddle”, is the Word of God; it is the event of God doing something new. It is the event that cannot be comprehended; it can only be revealed as the impossible becomes possible, as God becomes human. Nevertheless, this question, which rises up in the need of the human, moves one to “ought” to speak of God. However, this ought does not imply can. For Barth, “to speak of God would mean to speak that word which can only come from God [herself]: the Word, God becomes [human].” It is only as God reveals Godself that the Word may be spoken. Where God enters into the negativity of our existence with Her fullness, it is only there that speaking of God may occur. We humans cannot speak of God, but because God has become human, we may speak of God. However, we are to do so in a way where the answer is never dissolved into the question, nor vice versa; rather we are to speak “along this narrow ridge” of answer and question, of ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Thus we are to speak of the Word of God, “the living truth”, in awareness of the “unavoidable absence of this living truth” in all our sayings. The task of the theologian is to say that which cannot be said, to speak of God. And in faith, the “plight is also the promise”. For in faith, “it might be possible that the Word –– the Word of God that we will never speak –– has taken our weakness and perversion, so that our word becomes capable of the Word of God precisely in its weakness and perversion.” The question is the answer because we have faith that in the negativity of our existence, God, in God’s fullness, will speak the Word of God.
 Barth, Karl. Word of God and Theology: “The Word of God as the Task of Theology, 1922,” 185-186.
 “Our plight is also our promise.” Ibid., 196
 Ibid., 195.
 Ibid., 177-8.
 Ibid., 179.
 For Barth, this question comes out of humanity’s cry for salvation. “The human does not cry for solutions, but for salvation; not for something human again, but for God as the Savior of his humanity.” Ibid., 179.
 Ibid., 184.
 “…even in the precise moment of the divine calling and equipping, we still cannot speak of God.” Ibid., 185.
 Ibid., 185.
 Ibid., 190.
 Ibid., 191.
 Ibid., 194.
 Ibid., 197.