Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

itself in negativing substitution in man's place. And so far as human freedom operates, it is supposed to exclude divine activity. In both respects no unity of the divine and human life-that fundamental Christian idea-is obtained, but at most an alternation between the two.

But even Protestant theology has in the course of its history shown an affinity with both errors. On the one side the older dominant Lutheran theology' says: “The first man possessed original righteousness not merely in a seminal but developed form. The first human pair had an inspiration of love, to which were added a high measure of illumination respecting divine and natural things, and a natural immortality.” But the attitude here assumed is in opposition to the possibility left open in the Apology, nor does it agree with the narrative in Genesis, which denies to man at first knowledge of good and evil, whence it follows that his love was still unconscious, and as a necessary consequence did not bear an ethical character in the strict sense. Just so the N. T.2 forbids the supposition of the idea of man having been realized at the first moment. Else even the Fall would have been an impossibility, whereas according to the narrative at least probation was necessary, which of itself implies progress. An inspiration of love is certainly just as possible in the beginning as in the age of Redemption; but from this it does not follow that man has nothing to do in order to the formation of his moral character, or that love “cannot properly be willed, but only given.” There is a third case, a willing by man of the divine gift of love along with the possibility of not willing it. Only by prescinding the latter evil possibility, can conscious love and the positive willing of goodness as such be established. But on the other side many speak as if freedom had to acquire its moral worth for man solely from its own resources, and apart from everything previously given it. If the aberration just instanced leans to a species of moral magic, this second view shares in the error of a false independence of man in relation to God, since he is supposed to be absolutely his own creator, so to speak, in a moral respect. In opposition to this the right ground is taken by those who remind us that the soul is never a mere tabula rasa, that there is in it a world of the unconscious. If in our knowledge there is already inherent no innate relation to what is rational and good, a relation that is an original dowry of our nature and not our own work,—then knowledge of truth and goodness as such is absolutely out of the question, and we remain in the circle of subjective or arbitrary opinions, if not banished to the sphere of external, positive enactments. The same conclusion is reached on the side of will. If formal freedom has no intrinsic, essential relation to goodness and truth, if it finds itself just as much in contradiction as in harmony with goodness, then the good and divine stands in an attitude to man so external, that it can never become really his, nay, in that case formal freedom can only decide in favour of the good from caprice, i.e. in an unethical way. We affirm, therefore, that the idea of man on the side of knowledge and volition includes an essential relation to the rational and good, and for this very reason to God in himself. In order to the possibility of the moral, a pre-moral is necessary

1 With it Philippi substantially agrees, Glaubenslehre, II. 350 f.

21 Cor. xv. 45. DORNER.- CHRIST. Doct. II.

But certain as it is that man's freedom is in essential connection with the morally necessary ideal, man being thus potentially the image of the ethical God, and certain as it is that this image is not to be discovered in mere formal, empty power of choice, since, on the contrary, the free can only be created in order to the morally necessary, yet the same ethical character requires that the means by which the morally necessary and the essential elements of man's nature are to become reality in his will, shall not act in a magical way, or simply through exclusively divine, creative activity; and it is therefore an inevitable logical necessity for Protestantism to decide for the second of the alternatives left open in the Apology.

The actual constitution of the first man must not be so conceived as to imply that he was spared all labour and the conquest of the world, intellectual and real, just as little as he was spared spontaneous moral effort.

In the same way in reference to natural immortality only a posse non mori can be affirmed of him, namely, provided his spiritual energy was of such quality and so increased that the necessity of death, inherent in the body alone, remained in abeyance ($ 39, 4).

For the rest, it is of no dogmatic importance how high the prerogatives of the first man are placed, provided only two limits are observed,-1. That God is not made the author of evil; 2. That man is not precluded from a course of ethical development by a too-much or too little. Both are observed by regarding the first man as created with a pure, innocent nature, with a natural bias to good or a natural love for God. Beside this, there was present in him, along with consciousness of self and the world, a natural bias to self and the world. These qualities cannot be in antagonism to each other. As they came from the Creator's hand, they existed in immediate, good, though still not perfect and indissoluble, unity. On the other hand, this unity needed to be ratified by the will, by a good use of freedom. Actual living relation to God, because depending upon the use made of freedom, cannot be perfect in the beginning, but must be the outcome of several divine acts. Even after the Fall the divine image remains still man's destination, although its fulfilment has been interrupted, nay, deflected into a by-path, by the Fall. But in this image as a destination is included the religious relation as the cardinal point, seeing that it is from it that the force proceeds by which the several aspects of man's nature are to be brought to unity and completion. Self-consciousness and world-consciousness can only find their completion in Godconsciousness, self and the world only subsisting in their true reality in connection with God. On the other hand, selfconsciousness and world-consciousness are the essential means for realizing God-consciousness. It is often, indeed, supposed that the two former are a limit to God-consciousness, or that were the latter stronger the former would be weaker. But without self-consciousness the subject would lose God-consciousness, and without world-consciousness he would sink into the condition of a brute. Rather the same Ego, that is conscious of itself and the world, may at the same moment be conscious of God and of dependence on Him, which very dependence is itself a characteristic of the Ego and of the world. Conversely, when we know God as He is, in Him we know also a willing and conceiving of the world and ourselves, so that in Him we may apprehend ourselves and know ourselves, as the apostle says, as known of Him. And thus the postulate is well founded, that the soul animating all the conscious moments of human life is consciousness of God.

§ 42.-The Essential Immortality of the Soul.

Destined for religion, man is destined for immortality.

1. Against the doctrine, that death is the consequence of sin, objections are raised.” Death, it is said, is not an absolute evil; else it would be abolished by redemption; it is a universal law of nature. We have seen ($ 39) that while man is a natural being, and thus mortal in himself, it is also part of the law of his nature to possess unlimited susceptibility to the influence of spirit, and that nature is conditioned by the law of spirit. That death is among the necessities of spirit, and is not rather an indication of passivity, of feebleness on its part, cannot be shown. Thus it is man's moral deficiency, through which the possibility of death becomes a reality. But redemption, when completed, completes also dominion over nature. Accordingly, Christianity promises conquest over death, and exhibits this conquest prototypically in the resurrection of Christ. Although, no doubt, after the appearance of sin, death may be a comparative good like every act of judgment before the final judgment, death is no good, considered apart from the fact of sin, but an evil that casts doubt on the mutual teleological relationship of soul and body, on the absolute unity of the personality. This reciprocal relation is only secure in case the death of the body does not render doubtful the existence of the soul, but on the contrary itself meets its overthrow, the sides of man's nature separated by death being thus enabled to present themselves in complete union in the consummation of the individual person. 2. This leads to the question of the IMMORTALITY OF THE

Wonder has been expressed that in the 0. T. this doctrine is kept so much in the background, or is altogether wanting.' The cause is found partly in the theocracy which is content to fix its gaze on the present life, partly in the Messianic idea, which indeed promises a glorious future in the present, but in such a form that the idea of a perfect kingdom overpowers that of personality. But that the spirit found no satisfaction in the historic theocracy, the Messianic idea shows; while the latter, we might suppose, in order to the glorious future of the kingdom of blessedness, needs the immortality of the righteous composing it, even as in later days, before Christ's advent, faith in the resurrection of the just to the Messianic kingdom assumed this shape. This explanation therefore, while containing an element of truth, is not sufficient. The reason why the doctrine of immortality is kept in the background must lie deeper. Examined more closely, the doctrine is not altogether wanting. But immortality is conceived as a mere unending form of life, emptied of everything making it worth living, as continuance in a shadowy form of existence, in Sheol. And before Christ's advent, this could not be otherwise. The rich fulness of the divine life being still wanting to man before Christ's coming, while still the economy of the 0. T. partly satisfied, partly awakened higher needs than the heathen world in general knows, all that is left to the righteous, when earthly satisfaction fails, is a form of life, unending indeed, but still awful from its vague emptiness, and this is the essential part in the idea of Sheol. In all this, then, we still confess the poverty of preChristian days. In contrast with this condition, Christ is celebrated in the N. T. and the earliest Fathers in a special sense as introducing the fulness of the new, eternal life, and holding in His hand the keys of death and hell, a power including jurisdiction over the path to Hades.

SOUL,

11 Cor. xv. 21, 55 ff.; Rom. v. 12, viii. 10; Gen. iii.

OCT. Man in Pelt's Mitarbeiten, 1838, 2; on the other side, Reich, Die Auferstehung des Herrn als Heilsthatsache, 1845 ; Krabbe, Die Lehre von Sünde und Tod, 1836.

Ecclesiastical Doctrine, with Holy Scripture, maintains man's immortality in the shape of a restoration of the individual even to corporeal existence through the resurrection, and that in a glorified pneumatic form.

3. As to the DOGMATIC PROOF of immortality, we have first of all to examine the evidences adduced on its behalf.

The Among other nations especially has the idea of immortality assumed various forms. Cf. Spiess, Entwicklungsgeschichte der Lehre vom Zustand nach dem Tod, 1877.

« PredošláPokračovať »