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assume, respecting matter, that it is without ground and cause. Respecting God, we may and must assume, that even in Him the law of causality finds its application, seeing that He is to be contemplated as self - originating. Consequently, in Him the cause runs back into itself, this being the idea of absoluteness. But of matter it cannot be imagined that it originates itself, and the idea of absoluteness is utterly incompatible with the nature of matter, with its isolation, divisibility, mutability, passivity. And the same must hold good in case an eternal matter is assumed, moulded indeed by the conscious or unconscious Absolute, but not having therein its originating cause. We should then obtain two Absolutes, whereas it pertains to the nature of the Absolute not to be a generic conception capable of existing in plurality. A Dualism, such as would follow from the notion of an eternal matter alongside God, is fatal to the unity of reason, whether matter be conceived as obdurate and unyielding, or plastic and of such a nature as to yield to the persuasion of the world-forming God (Demiurge), and submit to be disposed in the form of a kóguos. The idea of Absoluteness is not purely apprehended, unless it include absolute self-origination, which can pertain to but one-God. Accordingly, we must abide by the position, that even matter is to be derived from God's Omnipotence, although we do not comprehend the How of its realization.
And just as little as an eternal matter can be presupposed to God's creative activity, does the form of the world precede creation. That it is to be referred to God is conceded by all who acknowledge a rational plan, a teleology, in the world, even if it be the imaginary form of an eternal matter. But may we not suppose that the world-idea is the primary form of the world, preceding as it does the actual reality, and therefore even matter? But the idea, as of matter, so of form, is rather involved in the world-idea, and while we can conceive
? Cf. SS 20, 21. It is a mere subterfuge and abdication of thought, when Eu. v. Hartinann all at once forbids inquiry into efficient and final causes on one point, and breaks out into rapturous praise of the "idealess bliss" of thinking no longer : "The true test of metaphysical talent is the ability to stand dumbfounded before the problem of causeless existence as before a Medusa's head." A problem is for the thinking power to solve, not to stand dumbfounded before.
matter without a definite form, we cannot conceive it absolutely formless, as little as we can conceive an actual form apart from matter. If, nevertheless, we choose to call the world-idea its primary form, this is no antithesis to matter, but to the actuality of the form and matter, which is merely postulated in the world-idea. Therefore the world-idea, or the ideal world in itself, is not a world in positive reality, although it is not Nothing. It lacks not merely matter, but the realization of the form outside God. Its only existence is as a world-picture in the divine Intelligence. We might then attempt to obtain a means of transition from the world-idea to the actuality of matter, on which, too, the realization of the form depends, by conceding indeed that matter like form is to be referred to God's creative causality, while supposing that the latter borrows the matter from the divine Essence, the divine Nature, as without doubt it borrows the form from the divine Intelligence. God may be supposed in His boundless fulness to form divisions or manifold concentrations of His essence, whether from a necessity of reproducing or reduplicating Himself, or that by His own volition He converts Himself into matter, which then becomes the object of His plastic activity. The first has been accepted in various forms by several theosophists, often in such adhesion to church formulæ that by the Nothing from which the world was made, they understood invisible, not yet actually separated potencies, the yet undivided, undetermined Essence of God.' In favour of this view, appeal is made to the consideration that, by deriving the material of the world from God's Essence, we better avoid the semblance of making something come from nothing. Moreover, it is alleged that by this transformation of a portion of His Essence, the divine Personality may remain untouched, supposing it to be the free power presiding over His Nature. This theory, of course, need not perforce have pantheistic consequences, and God's eternal Immutability need not be interfered with, provided the matter of creation was not part of God's proper Essence. But then it would be requisite to assume so loose a relation of the divine Essence to the divine Nature as would be inconsistent with the divine Immutability. If we glance at
"CL above, g 20, 1.
the matter surrounding us, it is impossible to imagine that it ever existed in God in the form in which it now presents itself to us. On the contrary, it must have undergone a transforming or depotentiating process, which could not be without a disturbing effect upon the idea of God Himself, unless we suppose that the “Nature ” of God had no connection with His Essence, in which case we only exchange one difficulty for another, while importing a sort of dualism into God Himself. For the purpose, therefore, of preserving God's Immutability, it were better to have recourse to the idea of a self-reduplication of God, and say: God has a twofold mode of existence, at least, in relation to His Nature, one eternal and one mutable, the latter by His power of volition." But thereby nothing would be gained. Such a real self-reduplication would still be nothing but a production out of nothing, quite as marvellous as such production, while inferior to it in so far as this self-reduplication, if it is to explain the present constitution of matter, could not be a simple reduplication, but must necessarily be connected with a process of transformation or depotentiation. Thus we must maintain our position, that in order to God's creative action in the first instance, all that is given is Nothing, which cannot even be called a potentiality of being, inasmuch as it does not originate (setzt) but is only negatived by origination (Setzung). But the unsuccessful attempts to derive matter from God's Nature, and the impossibility of maintaining the notion of an eternal matter outside God (which is a contradictio in adjecto, because without self-origination it is not eternal, and with self-origination it would not be matter), can only confirm us in the belief that there is no escaping from the idea of creation out of nothing, unless we would deny the idea of creation altogether, and contradict the accepted idea of God. But everything creative is big with mystery. Already in us dwells the wondrous faculty of giving birth to ideal creations of imagination or thought, an image, so to speak an echo, of creative power. But in God, inasmuch as He is the fount of all existence and life, dwells the further power, in unison with His love which ever tends towards reality, to impart to His ideal creations substantive existence, and make them stand forth in independent being. This substantive, in distinction from merely ideal, existence, not identical with God, projected into existence outside Him, is the essential element in the idea of what is created, whether it be substantive matter, with all the boundless vicissitude of forms and modes of existence to which it is subject, or whether the products of creative energy be spiritual creatures. For there are spiritual substances as well. As to matter, this Proteus still teems with mysteries for human science, and it is no business of theology to determine whether materialistic or idealistic Atomists, whether the champions of a mechanical or dynamical world-theory are right, nor on its own account does it need a decision on the point, but confidently rémits fuller investigation to the physical sciences, save that it recognises and marks as impossible certain derivations of its origin and certain definitions of the relations between matter and spirit, because in contradiction with the essence of God and spirit.
1 of this turn of thought we are reminded by Schelling's cosmogony in his Philosophy of Revelation, when above the potencies, out of which our world grows, he pictures God's absolute mighty personality eternally controlling its potencies. The dissolution of its unity, its subversion (universio), is for him the condition of a world external to God. But he leaves it uncertain whether the potencies are substantive realities or attributes. The latter may certainly exist in a twofold, nay, manifold manner, but only in substances whose diversity is not explained by self-reduplication.
Observation 1.—Less demur has been made to the supposition of man's spiritual essence springing out of God, than to the derivation of matter out of God's Essence. This view may be favoured by Gen. ii. 7; Acts xvii. 28: to ydp xai yévos équér. Just so, for example, our own hymnology, not merely the mystic, is full of phrases tending in this direction. Nor, in fact, if we are right in speaking of divine self-communication, can it be denied that divine powers, a divine spirit, is communicated to the creature by God's love (2 Pet. i. 4). Only in opposition to Emanationism, even of a more refined type, not merely instead of the involuntary issuing forth of the spiritual creature from God, must we maintain that this, is not an action of God's nature alone, but of His will, but also instead of a mere volition of God's self-communication, a new will must be posited which in turn forms centres of manifold individuality, to which the communication can be made. Then, in order to avoid the above-mentioned difficulties, opposing themselves to the derivation of our matter from God's Essence, it might suggest itself to interpolate the created spirit-world, and the use or abuse of its freedom as the mediating cause of the origin of matter. But this would imply that matter in its essence is spirit,' and would thus correspond with the idealistic theory of matter, respecting which, as observed, theology refrains from expressing a judgment, with the reservation, that the specific distinction between matter and spirit, nature and spirit, remain intact, which e.g. even Leibnitz strives to maintain. Upon other difficulties of this theory, which is widely spread in certain theosophic circles, e.g. that the free spirit-world must thus have been a cocreator of nature, it is not necessary here to enter more fully.'
Observation 2.-By the primary form of the world in God, not seldom has the Son been understood, and certainly even God Himself may be called the primary type or form of the world, especially in His inner self-objectivization, or as the Son; for God creates the world through the Logos, as well as after His type or image (Col. i. 13 ff.; John i. 3 ff.). But still God as Logos is more correctly spoken of as the primary form or archetype for the future real world, not the archetypical world itself. Whereas God in Himself is not potentiality, but absolutely real, the world-idea is merely the conception of the world destined to be realized, which only becomes what it is to be in its realized state through the divine life, which fashions the comparatively formless matter, and breathes into it soul and spirit.
6. Again, after a world and world-system are reached, we must still be careful to maintain the distinction of the idea of creation from that of conservation, and not allow the former to vanish in the latter. This proposition is important, when we have regard to the different stages of concrete beings. By universal admission, the human race has not existed always, even as its dwelling-place has not existed always. On the present earth the lower structures existed first, then the higher followed in systematic gradation, each higher one finding already in existence what it presupposes and needs, especially does man find Nature. If, therefore, with the first act, by which Nature arose, we let the idea of creation drop, retaining merely that of conservation, this would be the same
1 Origen derives Yuxń from fúxos. The fallen spirits, he said, froze into souls. In a similar sense, to Napoleon's question to Goethe: What is matter? Schelling wishes the answer given : It is esprit gelé.
2 As to the above, compare the interesting, and in theological circles hitherto unnoticed, investigations respecting matter by Harms, Aug. Encycl. der Physik, Bd. 1, Einleit. pp. 299-413.