« PredošláPokračovať »
pect of the certain accomplishment of His world-plan without injury to freedom. This view is specially countenanced by prophecy, as by Holy Scripture generally. On the other side, the impossibility of divine foreknowledge of the free, even if we are unable to conceive to ourselves its manner, is not adequately proved. Even human science supplies an approximately correct fore-calculation of circumstances and events depending on freedom. Nay, the calculation of probabilities, which is constantly growing in importance, and statistics, moral statistics included, are based on nothing else than the possibility of a comparative prevision of free events. Certainly, foreknowledge of the free were an impossibility, if volition must necessarily coincide with divine knowledge, a notion resting on the mistaken conception of God's simplicity formerly abandoned. But this Schleiermacher-like, freedom-denying assumption, Rothe himself disclaims. We thus hold that God's world-plan is not one that omits definite individuals from the highest grace, and includes, as it were, merely things in general, or His own acts, seeing that even the latter are partly conditioned by the free. The incorporation of definite human individuals into the world-plan is brought about by means of His intuitive knowledge. These individuals will form the organism, and this organism is a fact certain of accomplishment. But, of course, it cannot be said with our old Theologians, that the divine world-plan is a simple divine conception, deduced simply and solely from God. If freedom is to be retained, the world-plan can only be one of a mediated nature, made up of diverse elements, of which the portion not originating with God, though determined by Him, is still foreseen by God for the purpose of being incorporated permissively into the divine world-plan. For the rest, the importance of this controversy was previously ($ 27, 5) reduced to its true measure in God's all-comprehensive knowledge of the possible and present, as well as the security of the world-aim, and the certainty of its accomplishment, being acknowledged on both sides. Further, the supposition of the divine foreknowledge must not be held to imply that it exercises a limiting influence on the divine procedure, that, for example, through foreknowing that the offer of 'salvation will be in vain in a particular case, God, will refrain from making the offer. No one can be judged by the way in which he would have acted, if he is not actually brought into circumstances to act rightly.
1 Isa. xliii. 9; Ps. cxxxix. 16; Job xiv. 5; Matt. xi. 21; 1 John iii. 20; Heb. iv. 13.
6. Theology distinguishes providentia universalis, embracing also nature, from specialis, referring to the kingdom of rational beings, and specialissima, referring only to believers. This distinction would be erroneous, if the meaning were that Providence is less observable in one province than in another. The activity put forth by God is not indeed a merely uniform one, which may only have assumed a different appearance, or had a different result, through diversity in the world, but one taking a different form according to the end in view. While this is so done that in everything He wills the whole—the entire world-plan, He also assigns to the individual, which He wills with reference to the whole, a diverse position in the latter, and influences it accordingly. He wills Nature as a means for the sake of spirit. As to spirit, He wills it to come to the knowledge of His truth, into communion with Himself; and His activity extends to each according to the kind and degree of its receptiveness and maturity. To religion, for example, is assigned a central, to the world of industry a circumferential, importance. How far the possibility of change in God's action, a conditioning of Himself by the act of the free creation, is here implied, how also a participation in the timelife of the world without detriment to God's moral unchangeableness, was formerly investigated.
Concluding Observation. In the ideas treated of, from that of creation onwards, the divine activity defines itself with greater and greater precision. First of all, it is seen establishing real existence in general; next, establishing with the purpose of continuing the existence established, and therefore willing and imparting power in order to continuance by selfreproduction; finally, working out wise and holy aims. Thus, the three ideas, Creation, Conservation, Providence, correspond in their ascending gradation with the categories of existence, life, and spirituality, especially ethical existence; and as the antithesis of the physical and spiritual is thus already prefigured, so is also their reciprocal connection
SECOND MAIN DIVISION.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE CREATURE.
FIRST HEAD: THE DOCTRINE OF THE WORLD AS
SECOND HEAD: THE DOCTRINE OF MAN.
APPENDIX: THE DOCTRINE OF ANGELS.
THE WORLD AS NATURE.
The world is created good and perfect, not in the same
sense as God, but in the sense that as Nature it is fitted and destined, and continues to be a means in reference to the world-aim, which finds its realization
through spirit. 1. Holy Scripture says that God beheld the world He had made, and pronounced it good (Gen. i. 31). This is said before the Fall. A later passage (Gen. vi. 6) may seem to imply a change in God's judgment of the world, a repentance of God on account of sin. And no doubt, if the existence of the world were simply in unlimited contradiction to God's moral nature, sin is an absolute evil, and a state of nothingness preferable. But such a subversion of the world - plan to its deepest foundations did not ensue, even as the result of sin ; for God remained master of Himself, of His righteousness, and wisdom, and omnipotence ($ 37); and that the world in itself, certainly not in its sinful character, but through God's connection with it not absolutely broken off, was even after the Fall still good through its receptiveness for Him,-of this its preservation, its continuance, is the pledge. But certainly it cannot be preserved on account of what it is, but of what it is to be, even chastisement and punishment being a means of preserving the world, a guarding of the normal against the abnormal. But with punishment is linked promise, and with the Flood, the emblem of peace. According to more definite Christian teaching, the world still possesses goodness so far as it is receptive for Christ, and so far it is not yet cast off. Even after sin, the Logos remains in the world as the innermost
i Gen. iii. 14–19, ix. 13 ff.
principle of life and consciousness, as the world's hidden centre, which is one day to issue forth for salvation.
2. As we have not here to do with cosmological questions, we have only to speak of the relation of nature to God and to man. That God does not influence nature in a mechanical way, that it is not a mere phantom, a mere transition-stage in the divine volition and life, is evident from what has gone before. It has a pulse of life in itself, its several structures are centres of force or springs of life. Even with respect to its essence, it cannot be absolutely alien to God, but something in it must resemble Him. It bears His seal, even the life that is in it already reflecting the triune life-law. It has not in it merely the essence of the established, commanded; but whatever proceeds from God's creating mouth must carry in itself establishing, productive force. But Nature makes no reply to the Word, through which it arose. It is not dead, but speechless and blind. Only in man does awakened nature open its eyes to recognise its Maker, to reply to His voice. Nevertheless, even Nature is not precluded from a share in typically representing the elements of the divine essence,-life, harmony, and beauty, nay, even God's goodness, —and in this respect is good. No doubt it seems as if physical evil, the conflict of the animal-world within itself, death, and corruptibleness, were inconsistent with this view. It cannot, indeed, be said that enjoyment is the aim of Nature, else what is without sensation would be aimless; but still the sufferings of living creatures through each other or men, and their destruction, seem to conflict with the goodness of Nature. When the Wolffian philosophy says that the world is the best among possible worlds, this is no solution but a confession of the enigma. Others say: “Through man's sin everything is subverted in Nature. It was his to hold the reins; they fell from his hand, and now disorder and strife reign in the world.” But why does Nature suffer for man's fault ? Moreover, Palæontology indicates the presence of death and decay in nature, before man's appearance. Nor, finally, does the hope of a future state, when the groaning creation shall participate in man's redemption, solve the riddle, because this Palin
Which again may even merge into the dualistic proposition of modern Pessimism: “The world is worse than none at all."
DORNER.- CHRIST. Doct. 11.