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SECOND Division : FORM OF REVELATION.
THIRD DIVISION: CONTENTS OF REVELATION.
60. Contents of Revelation in general,
61. Contents of Revelation with reference to Possible Sin,
Third Head : Consummation of Revelation and Religion in the Godmanhood.
.SECOND SUBDIVISION: HISTORIC RELIGION.
FIRST MAIN DIVISION.-(Continued.)
THE DOCTRINE OF GOD.-(Continued.)
TRANSITION TO THE THIRD DIVISION.
THE DOCTRINE OF GOD'S REVELATION OF HIMSELF IN A WORLD,
OR OF THE ECONOMICAL TRINITY (cf. $$ 14, 28).
NEITHER to supply a deficiency in His perfect Essence, nor on
account of a superabundance of which He is supposed not to be master, God, of His perfection and blessedness in love, sets forth as a really second object a world, which He calls out of non-existence into existence, that, loved and loving, it may be a relatively self-dependent image
of His perfect triune nature and attributes. 1. Two opposite explanations are advanced with respect to the reason of the origination of the universe. According to the first, it is meant to supply a defect in God; according to the second, it is to be explained by a superabundance in the divine Essence, for which room is wanting in the divine sphere. But neither a deficiency (Trevia) nor overflowing plenitude (Troûtos) in God can of itself explain anything.
Since God is to be conceived as all-sufficient in Himself, the world could add nothing to His perfection, because what it is it can only have from God. Further, were it meant, as pantheistic systems suppose, to supply a deficiency in God Himself, e.g. to serve as a means for generating the divine
self-consciousness, it would be a mere element in God; to a relatively self-dependent existence it could never attain, beyond a docetic form of being it could never come. Nor, lastly, would this harmonize with the perfection of God's moral nature. If by means of the world God were only seeking the perfecting of His own nature, it would be merely a seeking of Himself or His own, a course out of harmony with His love.
But were God, on the other hand, burdened with a superabundance, which on account of its infinitude He could not retain within Himself, the overflowing world would belong directly to the divine Essence, and was the Emanationists suppose—that Essence would be divided and rent asunder by separation from God, and therefore by space or the Void. In this a dualistic strain is evident, as the void would be conceived in the light of a definite eternal power beside God apart from God's action. Moreover, God would not be at harmony within Himself, because burdened with a superabundance. His power of self-comprehension or self-command would be insufficient in relation to the plenitude of His being, so that this plenitude would again have its reason in a defect, nay, God would lie at the mercy of this superabundance, be bound and fettered by it.
2. In order to avoid the supposition of passivity and deficiency in God, nay, that God's all-sufficing Essence may have nothing to do with the creation of the world, it may be said, “By no means can God be as it were internally burdened with the world, or with that which will become the world, either through πενία ο πλούτος ; else there would be danger of confounding God with the world. All, therefore, is to be referred to the purposeless, absolutely spontaneous will of God, which called forth a world without necessity of any kind.” But as an absolutely purposeless will would be mere caprice, whereas in God there is no will but one determined by the highest end-love, neither is this admissible. Moreover, springing from merum supremum arbitrium, the world would be merely contingent; no transition to it therefore could be gained in a scientific way; our knowledge of it would be but empirical. A certainty of its existence, a verification of it for us, otherwise than through the senses, were impossible. Finally, if the derivation of the world's origin from caprice were