Samuel macauley jackson, D. D., LL. D




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Leibnitz feet, personal Being, in whom all pos 

and Wolff. sible realities were embraced in their

highest form, and with its demonstra­

tion of God's existence, offered itself as a friend to

Christian doctrine, and was widely influential. In

so far, however, as the theologians adopted any of

its conclusions, it was with little clearness of insight

or independent thought as to the relation of these

metaphysical concepts to the Christian faith or as

to their own validity.

A new epoch in German philosophy, with which theology had and still has to reckon, came in with Kant. Confidence in the arguments by which God's existence had been proved and defined was at





God

THE NEW SCHAFF HERZOG

least shaken by his criticism, which, however, ener­getically asserted the firm foundation of moral con­sciousness, and so led up to God by a new way, in postulating the existence of a deity for the estab­lishment of the harmony required by

rz. Kant the moral consciousness between the and Fichte. moral dignity of the subjects and their happiness based upon the adaptation of nature to their ends. Fichte was led from this standpoint to a God who is not personal, but repre­sents the moral order of the universe, believing in which we are to act as duty requires, without ques 

tion as to the results.'

But for a time the most successful and apparently

the most dangerous to Christian theology was a

pantheistic philosophical conception of God which

took for its foundation the idea of an Absolute

raised above subject and object, above thinking and

being; which explained and claimed to deduce all

truth as the necessary self development of this idea.

With Schelling this pantheism is still in embryo,

and finally comes back (in his " philosophy of

revelation ") to the recognition of the divine per­

sonality, with an attempt to construct it specula­

tively. In a great piece of constructive work the

philosophy of Hegel undertook to show how this

Absolute is first pure being, identical with not­

being; bow then, in the form of externalization or

becoming other, it comes to be nature

13  Hegel. or descends to nature; and finally, in the

finite spirit, resumes itself into itself,

comes to itself, becomes self conscious, and thus now

for the first tune takes on the form of personality.

For Christian theology the special importance of this

teaching was its claim to have taken what Christian

doctrine had comprehended only in a limited way of

God, the divine Personality, the Incarnation, etc.,

and to have expressed it according to its real con­

tent and to the laws of thought.

The conservative Hegehans still maintained that God, in himself and apart from the creation of the world and the origin of human personality, was to be considered as a self conscious spirit or personality, and thus offered positive support to the Christian doctrine of God and his revelation of himself. But the Hegelian principles were more logically carried out by the opposite wing of the party, especially by David Friedrich Strauss (in his ChristlicheGlaubens­lehre Tiibingen, 1840) in the strongest antithesis to the Christian doctrine of a personal God, of Christ as the only Son of God and the God Man, and of a personal ethical relation between God and man. Some other philosophers, however, who may be classed in general under the head of the modern speculative idealism, have, in their specu­lations on the Absolute as actually present in the universe, retained a belief in the personality of God.

The realist philosopher Herba,rt, who recognized a personal God not through speculations on the Absolute and the finite, but on the basis of moral consciousness and teleology, yet defined little about him, and what he has to say on this subject never attracted much attention among theologians. The Hegelian pantheistic " absolute idealism," once widely prevalent, did not long retain its domi 

nation. Its place was taken first in many quarters, as with Strauss, by an atheistic materialism; Hegel

' had made the universal abstract into

14  Post  God, and when men abandoned their

Hegelian belief in this and in its power to pro 

Philoso  lute results, they gave up their belief pliers. in God with it. Among the post 

' Hegelian philosophers the most im 

portant for the present subject is Lotze with his de­

fense and confirmation of the idea of a personal

God, going back in the most independent way both

to Herbart and to idealism, both to Spinoza and to

Leibnitz. Christian theology can, of course, only

protest against the peculiar pantheism of Schopen­

hauer, which is reallymuch older than he, but never

before attained wide currency, and against that of

Von Hartmann. The significance for the doctrine

of God of the newer philosophical undertakings

which are characterized by an empiricist realist

tendency, and based on epistemology and criticism

is found not so much in their definite expressions

about God they do not as a rule consider him an

object of scientific expression, even when they allow

him to be a necessary object of faith as in the

impulse which they give to critical investigation of

religious belief and perception in general.

Theology, at least German theology, before

Schleiermacher showed but little understanding of

and interest in the problems regarding a proper

conception and confirmation of the doctrine of God

which had been laid before it in this development of

philosophy beginning with Kant. This is espe­

cially true of its attitude toward Kant himaelf­

and not only of the aupranaturaliats who were sus­

picious of any exaltation of the natural reason, but

also of the rationalists, who still had a superficial

devotion to the Enlightenment and to Wolffian phi­

losophy. In Schleiermacher's teaching about God,

however, the results of a devout and immediate

consciousness were combined with philosophical

postulates. In his mind the place of all the so called

proofs of the existence of God is completely sup­

plied by the recognition that the feeling of absolute

dependence involved in the devout

rg. Schleier  Christian consciousness is a universal

macher. element of life; in this consciousness

he finds the explanation of the source

of this feeling of dependence, i.e., of God, as being

Io ~e, by which the divine nature communicates

itself. For his reasoned philosophical speculation,

however, on the human spirit and universal being,

the idea of God is nothing but the idea of the abso­

lute unity of the ideal and the real, which in the

world exist as opposites. (Compare Schelling'a

philosophy of identity, unlike which, however,

Schleiermacher acknowledges the impossibility of

a speculative deduction of opposites from an original

identity; and the teaching of Spinoza, whose con­

ception o#=iGod, however, as the one substance he

does not share.) Thus God and the universe are to

him correlatives, but not identical God is unity

without plurality, the universe plurality without

unity; and this God is apprehended by man's

feeling, just as man's feeling apprehends the unity

of ideal and real.

Marheineke believed it possible as a dogmatic





7 RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA God

theologian to set forth the content of the Christian faith from the standpoint of Hegelian philosophy without accepting (or even recognizing as Hegelian) the impersonal, pantheistic idea of the Absolute, and indeed without going deeply into :ti. Modern the train of thought leading up to that Tendencies. idea. Other theologians who more or less followed Schleiermacher, while they agreed with his statements about the devout consciousness, feeling, inner experience, and the like, yet avoided his philosophical definition of God. Others, again, holding to the same point of depar­ture, have striven with zealous confidence to use the main elements of the idea of God thus attained in connection with conceptual speculation and con­struction in the interests of an objective knowledge of God. Among these may be classed Rothe, Mar­tensen, Domer, and especially Frank. The point particularly aimed at by these men is the vindica­tion of the personality of God, in opposition to the pantheistic philosophy noticed above. A tendency has also appeared to recognize the very being of this God in the world of being created by him, thus giv­ing a theistic conception of God in opposition not only to the pantheistic but also to the deistic. This tendency has, on the one hand, done justice to so much truth as lies in the pantheistic concep­tion, and, on the other, by its adherence to Scrip­tural forms of expression, it has led to a more vivid realization of the divine nature in its relation to the world than prevailed among the old rationalists and supranaturalists.

The question has also arisen among theologians of the strict positive school, in consequence of the doctrine of Christ as the God Man, whether, and if so how far, it is consistent with the divine nature, as found in the Logos or the second Person of the Trinity, to speak of a Kenosis (q.v.) or self emptying, such as was supposed to have taken place in the incarnation of the Logos, bringing with it a sus­pension of his eternal consciousness. This is in direct opposition to the old orthodox teaching, according to which Christ laid aside in his humilia­tion not what affected his Godhead, but what affected his humanity, endowed with divine quali­ties by the Communicatio adiomatum (q.v.).

Biedermann, a dogmatic theologian influenced by Hegelian speculation, treats the notion of the personality of God as one to be rejected from the standpoint of scientific philosophy. It is true that he designates personality as " the adequate form of presentation for the theistic conception of God "; but he goes on to say that a theism of this kind can never attain to pure thought, and is only an unscientific conception of the content of the relig­
ious idea, adopted in a polemical spirit against those who think this out logically. As against pantheistic notions of God, however, he is willing to admit the " substantial " validity of the theistic position. He himself describes God as absolute spirit, absolute being in and by himself, and the fundamental essence of all being outside himself. Quite a different tendency of philosophic thought on the matter is met with in Lipsius. He traces the belief in God back to a practical necessity felt by the personal human spirit, and reaches the concep 

tion of God as a purpose determining intelligence and a lawgiving will, and thus as a self conscious and self determining personality. He finds our knowl­edge of God always inadequate as soon as we attempt to go on to transcendental knowledge of his inner nature, because we are forced to speak of this in metaphors borrowed from our human relations, and to carry over our notions of space and tame to where space and time are not. He declares also that the metaphysical speculations which attempt to replace these inadequate notions by a real knowl­edge of God are them Ives unable to do this, since they can not get beyond the boundary of an eternal and ever present existence underlying all existence in space and time, and are unable to define this existence in distinction from spatial and temporal existence except by purely formal logical definitions which really add nothing to our knowledge. It is really Kantian criticism which appears here, more forcibly than in previous dogmatic theology, as it reappears also in the later post Hegelian philosophy.

Ritachl, again, is reminiscent of Kant in his oppo­sition to all " metaphysical " statements about God, and in the way in which he places God for our knowl­edge in relation to our personal ethical spirit, as well as the powers which he attributes to this latter in relation to nature (cf. Kant's so called moral proof or God as the postulate of the practical reason). Through the revelation in Christ, God becomes to him to a certain extent an objective reality, and, rejecting the conception of God as the Absolute, he prefers to define him simply as love. Against this not only dogmatic theologians like Frank and Nitzach, but Kaftan also objects that love is found also in the finite sphere, and thus can not sufficiently express the essential nature of God, which differ­entiates him from the finite. Ritachl himself says, moreover, that the love which God is has the attri­bute of omnipotence, and that God is the creator of the universe, as will determining both himself and all things, while these definitions can in no way be deduced from the simple conception of love. Kaf­tan begins by the statement that God is the Abso­lute; and this signifies to him not only that God has absolute power over all that is, but also and even more that he is the absolute goal of all human en­deavor. Nitzsch employs the term " supramun­dane " to include the domination of the universe and to express at the same time not only the thought that he who conditions all things is himself uncon­ditioned, but also the moral and intellectual exal­tation of God.

The whole body, therefore, of these modern theo­logians hold fast to an objective doctrine of God with a strict scientific comprehension of terms; and they agree in displaying a characteristic which dif­ferentiates them from earlier schools of thought, though varying in degree and in logical sequence­the consciousness that the Christian doctrine of God is based not upon the operations of reason but upon the revelation of God in Christ, of which the witness is in our hearts and that it must grasp as the fundamentally essential in God and his relation to us the ethical element in him must conceive him, in a word, primarily as the sacred Love.

(J. KdamLiNt.)





God

THE NEW SCHAFF HERZOG

IV.
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