Is it clear how things are with us–you and me? It seems to me that we are like a whale (do you know Melville’s remarkable book Moby Dick? You ought to have a high regard for it because of its animal mythology!) and an elephant meeting with boundless astonishment on some oceanic shore. It is all for nothing that the one sends his spout of water high in the air. It is all for nothing that the other moves its trunk now in friendship and now in threat. They do not have a common key to what each would obviously like to say to the other in its own speech and in terms of its own element. A riddle of creation whose solution in the eschaton I like to depict as Bonhoeffer does by point toward the “I restore all things of the Christmas hymn.

–Karl Barth, Basel, December 24, 1952, Karl Barth/Rudolf Bultmann Letters/1922-1966.