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question as to the relation of damnation or eternal death to original sin. Both Evangelical Confessions teach that original sin of itself renders liable to damnation. But, on the other side, the Formula of Concord says, that every one perishes by his own fault (sua culpa perit), as in fact only on the supposition of the personal, spontaneous fault of the individual does his damnation seem possible. An unsolved problem is therefore left here. But the full and serious penal desert of original sin per se, up to the point of damnation, must needs find its clearest decision in the question whether all men and nations (even children) who die non-Christians, are eternally damned for original sin. Those words of the Augsburg Confession do not contemplate the possibility of redemption beyond the grave, the terminus gratiæ for all thus seeming to be concluded with this earthly life even in relation to those who have not heard, and therefore have not rejected, the Gospel. Luther, indeed, in his private writings, will not deny salvation to children dying unbaptized, but cherishes the hope that God has purposes of good concerning them. But the Confessions leave open the possibility of any one, nay, of entire masses, being actually and eternally damned on account of original sin alone, without the intervention of a free personal act involving responsibility; whereas Adam himself, despite his actual sin in a state of innocence, was still capable of redemption But this would come into collision with the universality of God's gracious will, to which the Lutheran Church otherwise holds fast, as well as with the stress which it lays upon the non-resistance of the will in relation to the appropriation of salvation and the doctrine of predestination.
Observation. For these reasons, respectable theologians, even in the 17th century, teach that original sin alone is not adæquata causa damnationis.
6. The necessity of further development in the Evangelical 1 Conf. Aug. ii. : Vitium originis is vere peccatum damnans et afferens nunc quoque mortem æternam his qui non renascuntur per baptismum et Sp. S. F. C. 642. 19: Hoc malum hereditarium est proprie et vere tale, propter quod homo filius iræ et damnationis habeatur, nisi Christo miseratur. And similarly, Heidelb. Cat. Qu. 8, 10; Belg. 15 : Sufficit ad generis humani damnationem (so according to Augustine).
2 H. C. 818. 78,
Doctrine is made specially clear by what the Confessions teach respecting the relation of actual to inherent sin. In opposition to the Romish errors, behind actual sin inherency is acknowledged; but peccatum actuale is too little considered in its gravity and distinction from originale. In matters, indeed, of civil justice, recourse is apparently had in relation to crimes to another causality than original sin, sins of this kind being described as avoidable by every man, although not always and everywhere, and consequently derived from the remains of freedom. But if man possesses in his liberum arbitrium a second causality of possible moral evil, it would follow by logical sequence, as well as by the teaching of experience, that as the nature was depraved by Adam's free act of sin, so this is done in increasing degree by the abuse of the remnant of freedom. But, on the other hand, the Formula of Concord makes all actual sins arise out of original sin,' which it calls principium et caput omnium peccatorum. In describing men as truncus and lapis in a spiritual respect, it seems to regard original sin as a rigid, immoveable, everywhere identical quantity (Grösse), on which view we do not see how degrees of guilt, and of still increasing corruption, are to retain their place. And as the conception of all actual sins as mere fruits of original sin, must needs come into collision with the still surviving remnants of freedom, and imperil all responsibility of individual persons in the stricter sense, so still greater difficulties arise therefrom when attention is directed to the sphere of grace and damnation. For if all sins were fruits, physically necessary consequences, of original sin, then the sin of unbelief, which rejects the Gospel and exposes to damnation, must be the effect of original sin, and as the latter is in all, in all. They, therefore, who are saved, despite the fact of original sin urging them to the sin of unbelief, could only be those in whom divine Omnipotence irresistibly overcomes unbelief; and they who are damned, only those who are irresistibly led to unbelief in virtue of original sin, without, like the
1 Apology, 64. 23 ; C. A. xviii.
? F. C. 640 a, 5, cf. 2 : Original sin is radix et scaturigo, from which omnis generis actualia peccata promanant ; 577. 21 : Originale p. etiam scaturigo est omnium aliorum actualium peccatorum, ut sunt pravæ cogitationes, prava col. loqnia, prave et scelerate facta ; and similarly the Belg. Conf. 15: Malum hereditarium oinne peccatorum genus producit.
first class, experiencing an irresistible counteracting influence on the part of grace.
We should thus arrive at a twofold decretum, a decretum absolutum Electionis in respect of the one class, Reprobationis in respect of the other, and should also adopt a sort of irrestibility of gratia, which would have a necessarily magical character. But the Formula of Concord, on the other hand, rejects this view. In the section de æterna Predestinatione et Electione, the attempt is condemned to regard a decretum Reprobationis, even in the sense of a prætermission of the one class and a non-supplying of the indispensable means to faith, as a cause of the damnation of the wicked. There, recourse is also had to the resistibilitas gratice, in order not to reduce grace to a physical process. There the universality of God's gracious counsel is taught, that counsel being represented as only frustrated in its execution by the fault of
But it is inconsistent with this to make all actual sins, even unbelief, issue from original sin as its adequate necessitating ground.
We may therefore comprehend those points in the teaching of the Evangelical Church in reference to the sin of mankind, which stand in need of development, under the following heads :
1. What pertains to the generic life, and what to the personal life, has not been adequately distinguished, defined, and harmonized, either as regards the share of the individual in sin generally, as well as in the guilt and penal desert of sin, or as regards the relation of actual to inherent evil.
2. As concerns the divine government of the world, it has not been sufficiently shown how the Holiness and Goodness of God consist with the universal and natural diffusion of evil; and finally, how the application of the ideas of guilt and penal desert to original sin agrees with God's Justice.
But although in the points mentioned the ecclesiastical doctrine lacks completeness, and the Formula of Concord particularly is lacking in the harmonious interblending of the different elements, since it presupposes personal guilt in relation to the damnation of individuals, while, on the other hand, by its doctrine of generic sin leaving no room for such personal and avoidable guilt, still that doctrine accurately and faithfully expresses the religious consciousness so far as relates to the following propositions :
1 F. C. 808. 40 ff.
1. Nothing evil comes from God, while all good in the last resort springs from Him.
2. Where redeeming grace has not reached, there evil is supreme.
3. Although evil has its ground only in the creature, so that the creature perishes through its own fault, this does not imply that salvation and goodness are its work, or meritorious.
4. To stop at the power which evil has gained among mankind would be to leave man to misery and perdition.
C.-Dogmatic Doctrine of the Nature of Evil.
§ 76.- Review of the Possible Definitions of the Idea.—
Since evil is always contradiction to the divine, the correct
definition of the idea depends in the last resort on the true idea of God. That idea does not permit evil to be conceived merely under a physical and æsthetic aspect, merely under a juridical or subjectively moral aspect, or finally, under an exclusively religious aspect, but requires
the truth in all these standpoints to be combined. LITERATURE.—See above, $ 74, especially J. Müller and Rothe. Liebner, Kieler Allg. Monatsschr. f. Wiss. u. Lit. July 1851, p. 163 f. Martensen, Die christl. Ethik, I. ed. 3, 1878, p. 441 ff.; II. 1878, pp. 1-164. Chr. Fr. Schmid, De Peccato. Ritschl, Rechtf. u. Versöhnung, vol. iii. pp. 286-338. Kreibig, Die Versöhnungslehre auf Grund des christl. Bewusstseins, 1878, pp. 21-46 (condemns J. Müller and Ritschl). Biedermann, Christl. Dogmatik, 1869, pp. 411 ff., 594 ff., 669 ff. Schweizer, Die christl. Glaubenslehre nach protest. Grundsätzen, I. 329, $ 97, 1863. W. Vilmar, Was fasst der bibl. Begriff d. Sünde in sich und gibt es nach diesem eine Erbsünde ? Cassel, 1840. Observation.
The Christian idea of God, as treated of in the First Part, must preserve its fundamental position because of the regulative influence it exerts in reference to all the principal doctrines, securing in this way systematic coherence. In point of fact, even the objective scientific idea of evil, of which we are in search, is only possible by recurring to the idea of the absolute Good, i.e. God, whose opposite or contradiction it is. God, the primal Good, is the self-certified standard for all estimate of worth. The light reveals both what it is itself and what its opposite is, while darkness cannot illumine itself. Verum index sui et oppositi. It might doubtless seem more natural to recur to the primal state instead of to the doctrine of God, since the normal must decide what the abnormal is. But of the primal state, which still was not the absolute realization of the idea of man, we have no such immediate knowledge as of God; and since man was created in God's image, the latter refers us to God as the ultimate and surest source of scientific knowledge both of good and evil. But then, just as evil antagonizes the various definitions of the idea of God, so just as many conceptions of evil are possible. Even in its manifoldness evil has also its unity, but only through the fact that, in all its forms, it is antagonism to the good. The manifold conceptions of evil possible are therefore construable by means of the idea of the perfect Good or God, which is unfolded in the Doctrine of the Attributes. But the true or Christian idea of God comprises, first, physical definitions, and that in the character of holy Love ; for God is infinite Being, omnipotent Life, absolute Harmony and Beauty. Further, He is absolute Intelligence and Omniscience. He is also, in a negative ethical aspect, absolute Justice, in a positive aspect, holy Love and Wisdom; and in all these the absolutely perfect, blessed, and glorious Personality who is to be conceived in Trinitarian form. If, then, the fulness of the good lies in these definitions, from this standpoint it becomes possible to survey, divide, and pronounce judgment on the sphere of the possible contradiction to the good generally, as well as of the conceptions of this contradiction. The differences in the conceptions of evil have their reason in this circumstance, that they confound the good in its entirety, to which the evil is opposed, with this or that particular moment of the idea of God, which yet is not the whole, whereas the standard for judging all possible conceptions of good is given in the totality of the idea of God. Certainly those conceptions of evil, which regard it as mere appearance, do not seem to be reached by this way of derivation. But these either utterly deny the existence of evil, renouncing therefore the very problem with which we are occupied, and thus we have nothing to do with * This does not exclude the relative independence of morality and its distinction from religion, but reminds of their common root.