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root. But since an entirely different way of knowledge is
disclosed to us by wisdom and its allied common sense,
which, independent of scientific investigation, has a start-
ing-point of its own, this intuitive knowledge, founded on
fixed perceptions given with our consciousness itself, offers
a saving counterpoise to Scepticism. For now we have a
certain insight, and on the ground of this insight a relative
certainty, which has no connection with the discursive con-
flict between truth and falsehood, and which, being constantly
confirmed in the fiery test of practical application in dail}'
life, gives us a starting-point by which the conviction main-
tains itself in us that we are able to grasp the truth of
things. And since this wisdom and common sense determine
those very issues and principles of life, against which scepti-
cism directs its most critical and important attacks, we find

124 § 45. WISDOM [Div. II

in this plienomenon, so mysterious in itself, a saving strength
which enables the human mind to effect its escape from the
clutches of Scepticism. This wisdom can never supersede
discursive thought, nor can it take the place of empiricism,
but it has the general universal tendency to exclude follies
from the processes of discursive thought, and in empirical
investigation to promote the accuracy of our tact.

In answer to the objection that it is ditlicult to harmonize
this interpretation of "wisdom" with the conception of cro(f>ia
in our word "philosophy" ((^iXoao^ia)^ we observe that for
a just criticism of this apparent objection we must go back
to the original conception of " wisdom " as held by the
Greeks, and to the most ancient meaning of the combination
of 4>ikdv with this word. As for " wisdom," we refer first
of all to the noteworthy sentence of Heraclitus: aoc^Crj aXi]-
6ea \€<yecv koI Trotelv Kara <pvaiv eTratovTa^, i.e. " Wisdom con-
sists in knowing how to speak the truth, and how to live
according to nature," in which the last words especially
indicate that " wisdom " is taken as ripening from a natural
instinct, while the verb "to live" (jroLelv) exhibits its prac-
tical character. With Thales only it was thought that
" wisdom " also bore a somewhat theoretical character. See
Plutarch's Life of Solon, 3, 9: "And, on the whole, it is
likely that the conception of wisdom was at that time carried
further by Solon alone, in speculation, than its significance in
common use ; but in the case of others the name ' wisdom '
arose from its use in civil affairs." What Xenophon narrates
concerning Socrates leads to the same conclusion. See Xen.
Mem. III. 9, 4: "(Socrates) did not separate (i.e. distin-
guish between) wisdom and prudence," even in this sense
tliat " Those who do not act rightly he considered neither
wise nor prudent." Undoubtedly with Plato it is already
"A possession of the truth in contemplation" (p. 414, 5),
and with Aristotle, " The science of things divine and
human": but this is not the original conception. With the
oldest philosophers we do not find the mention of a phi-
losophy which is the result of investigation. Their philoso-
phy is rather an exposition of their insight into the relation

Chap. II] § 40. FAITH 125

of things, ill the ehiboratioii of which they deal more freely
with tlieir phantasy than Avith empiricism. Even in the
word " theory " this ancient meaning of the wisdom-concep-
tion is still active. Etymologically, "theoria" refers to
intuition, and as such it has nothing in common with the
idea whicli we attach to the theoretical.

§ 46. Faith

Even more effectually than by "wisdom" Scepticism is
counteracted by "faith" {Trian^). Faith in this connection
is taken formally, and hence considered quite apart from all
content. By " faith " here, then, we do not mean the " faith
in Christ Jesus " in its saving efficacy for the sinner, nor yet
the "faith in God" which is fundamental to all relio-ion,
l>ut that formal function of the life of our soul which is
fundamental to every fact in our human consciousness.
The common antithesis between "faith and knowledo-e "
places the content obtained by faith in contrast to the con-
tent obtained by knowledge. Thus we face two dissimilar
magnitudes, which are susceptible neither of comparison nor
of amalgamation. We encounter iron and clay, as Daniel
pictures it; elements which refuse to intermingle. To take a
position with reference also to this antithesis, it is necessary
that we go back to the formal function of faith, and inves-
tigate whether this function does or does not exhibit an
universal character. For if it does, this universal function
of faith must also influence that particular function by
which the scientific result is obtained, and the extent is
traceable to which the function of faith is able to exert
itself, as well as tlie point where its working stops. We
purposely consider this function of faith, next to wisdom,
as a similar reaction against Scepticism. All Scepticism
originates from the impression that our certainty depends
upon the result of our scientific research. Since, however,
this result constantly appears to be governed by subjective
influences, and is affected by the conflict between truth
and falsehood which is the result of sin, there is no defence
against Scepticism except in the subject itself. The defence

126 § 46. FAITH [Div. II

against Scepticism which the subject provides, can prove no
benefit to our science, except it is evident that this defence
bears no individual-subjective character ; but that in its
real significance it belongs to the subject as such, and may
therefore be called subjective in a general and communal
sense. And faith exhibits this character.

In the explanation of this two difficulties present them-
selves, which we must not allow to overshadow us. The
first difficulty is, that faith is a conception which has been
introduced into our common speech, especially from the New
Testament, and has received thereby a religious, and in a
more restricted sense a soteriological, stamp. Thus under-
stood, this conception has no place in our Erkenntniss-theo-
rie, and the appearance is given that faith bears no universal
character at all. The second difficulty is, that profane
literature almost never uses the conception of faith tech-
nically, and hence attaches no definite meaning to it. The
old philosophy, for instance, never deals with faith as with
a special function of the soul. It appears, however, as if
Pythagoras attached something more to this conception and
that he classified it, as we learn in Tlieol. Aritlim. X., p. 60,
how the Pythagoreans "in their mystical explanations called
it (i.e. irCarL^^ at one time the Avorld ; at another, the heavens ;
still again, the universe ; then again, fate and eternity ; and,
yet again, might, faith, necessity "; yet this appears to be the
case in a very superficial sense only, since of this Trto-ri? at
once this more exact explanation is given in Theol. Arithm.,
p. 61: " The number Ten indeed is called belief (or faith),
since according to Philolaos by (the number) Ten, and its
parts, which have to do primarily with realities, we have a
clear idea of Belief." It may not be denied that Philolaos
saw that in some instances faith stands on a line with avdyKj)
(necessity) ; but he makes no mention of a general applica-
tion of this conception.

Neither of these two difficulties, however, should prevent
us from making a more general application of this conception.
Not the difficulty derived from the Holy Scriptures, since
Heb. x'i. 1 anticipates our wish to restore faith to its more

Chap. II] § 46. FAITH 127

ereneral meuninef. There we read that faith is "the assur-
aiice (yTvoaraa-L'i^ of things hoped for, the proving (e\e7;3^o?)
of things not seen." Thus faith is here taken neither in
an exclusively religious sense, much less in a soteriological
significance, but very generally as an " assurance " and " prov-
ing " of objects which escape our perception, either because
they do not yet exist (ra iXTri^o/xeva'), or because they do
not show themselves (ra /Jbrj ^XeTro/xeva'). Far from exclud-
ing, therefore, a more general interpretation, the Scripture
itself calls our attention to it. And as for the backwardness
of profane literature in defining this conception more exactly,
the above-quoted saying of the Pythagoreans shows that the
idea of taking up faith as a link in a demonstration was not
entirely foreign to the ancients ; and this appears stronger
still from what Plutarch writes (Mor. 756, 5), " that in di-
vine things no demonstration (aTro'Setfi?) is to be obtained,"
and that it is not needed, " For the traditional and ancient
faith is sufficient ; than which it is not possible to express
nor discover a clearer proof ; but this is, in itself, a sort of
underlying common foundation and support for piety," —
words Avhich, although limited to the domain of religion, and
rather used in connection with tradition, nevertheless betray
a definite agreement with the teaching of Heb. xi. 1, and
place faith as the ground of certainty over against " assur-

Neither the etymology of Trib-rt? and the words synony-
mous with it in other languages, nor the use of these words,
prove any obstacle in the way of this general application.
Faith with the root-idea of ireCOco (to persuade), and in con-
nection with the derivatives TTicrTo?, Trta-roco, TreiroCOrjcn'^, cnret-
deco, a'TTeiOrj';^ and aireCdeia, points etymologically to an action
by which our consciousness is forced to surrender itself, and
to hold something for true, to confide in something and to
obey something. Here, then, we have nothing but a certain
power which is exercised upon our consciousness, to which it
is forced to subject itself. Upon our consciousness, which is
first unstable, uncertain, and tossed about, a check is placed
which puts an end to uncertainty. There is a restraint im-

128 § 40. FAITH [Div. II

posed on us from which we cannot escape. Or, as far as our
consciousness itself desires this stability, this " underlying
foundation and support" (^eSpa koI' ^daL^ v^ecrrcoo-a), as Plu-
tarch expressed it, or, as Heb. xi. 1 states it, this "assur-
ance " and this "proving" are offered us. Where the action
of the TTiiOeiv (persuasion) is ended, certainty is obtained.
In the middle voice weiOeadai (to be persuaded) expresses the
function of the soul by which it establishes itself in that sta-
bility. And faith therefore may express this certainty itself,
as well as the action by which I grasp it. The same root-
idea lies in p^^fH. 1p^ (amen) is that which stands fast and
does not change. The Hiphil expresses that by which this
certainty is born in us. And our believing comes from a dif-
ferent source, but it allows the self -same universal tendency.
With the Latin luhet^ allied to the Sanscrit luhh, which
means to appropriate something to oneself, and which stands
in immediate connection with the Dutch words lieven and
loven, it points to a cleaving to something, to holding fast
to something, and to being linked to it by an inner sym-
pathy. Thus in he-lieving the relation is more prominent
than in ttio-ti'; or in HJIDSI, but that relation is taken as
something not uncertain, but certain. He who cleaves to
something holds himself fast to it, leans upon and trusts in
it ; while in this believing lies the fine secondary meaning,
that this cleaving unto, this holding fast to, is accom-
plished by an inward impulse. And if the etymology of
any of these expressions does not prevent a more general
application of this word, the difficulty presented in the
accepted use of these words is equally insignificant. Not
only was this Trierriv e^civ (to have faith), a current term in
Greek, applied to every department of life, and the tendency
of ]'^^^r) almost wider still (see, for instance, Deut. xxviii. 66^
Judges xi. 20, etc.), but, what is more noteworthy, in our
Christian society the use of the word " to believe " is limited
so little to the religious and soteriological domain, that even
more than " to have faith " the term " to believe " has be-
come common property for every relation.

There is no objection, therefore, to the use of the term faith

Cum: II] § 46. FAITH 129

for that function of the soul (i/^i^x^) by which it obtains cer-
tainty directly and immediately, without the aid of discursive
demonstration. This places faith over against "demonstra-
tion " ; but not of itself over against hnoiving. This would
be so, if our knowledge and its content came to us exclu-
sively by observation and demonstration, but, as we tried to
j)rove in § 37, this is not so. To know and knoivledge, to know
and understanding^ are not the same. I krioiv all those things
the existence of which, together with some relations of this
existence, is actual fact to me. No demonstration can ever
establish with mathematical certainty the question that gov-
erns your whole life, — who it is that has begotten you ;
and yet under ordinary circumstances no one hesitates to
declare, "I know that this man is my father." For though
men may talk here of the theory of probabilities, it is not at
all to the point. A proof proves only what it proves defi-
nitely and conclusivel}^, and everything which in the end
misses this conclusive character is not obtained by your
demonstration but from elsewhere; and this other source of
certainty is the very point in question. Or rather, — for
even now we do not speak with sufficient emphasis, — this
other source, which we call faith, is the only source of cer-
tainty, equally for what you prove definitely and conclusively
by demonstration.

That this is not generally so understood can only be ex-
plained from the fact that, in the search after the means at
our command by which to obtain knowledge, the investi-
gation is abandoned before it is finished. The building is
examined, and its foundation, and sometimes even the piles
that are underneath, but the ground on which the lowest
points of these piles rest is not explored. Or to state it in
another way, let us say that the need is felt of a continuous
line drawn from the outermost point in the periphery of the
object to the centre of your ego; but when the ego is as
nearly reached as possible, the distance which still separates
us from it is not bridged ; we simply vault the gulf. And
this is not lawful, because it is illogical. Of necessity
a chain must fall when a single link is wanting; for the

130 § 46. FAITH [Div. II

two links wliicli it ought to connect lose their point of

This comes out at once in the self-consciousness by which
we say I. A child, in which self-consciousness has not yet
awakened, speaks of itself in the third person. There is
some thinking in the child, and a certain amount of knowl-
edge, bvit it is not yet his possession. There is a property,
but the owner is still anonymous. Meanwhile, this self-
consciousness is an impenetrable mystery to us. To say that
it originates through comparison is a vain attempt to soothe
oneself with words, for the very subject to be compared is
here in question. Neither can it be said that self-consciousness
is identical with the nature of our soul, for then it ought also
to be active in the child, and ought to stay with us under all
circumstances of life, and that sort of insanity by which one
thinks himself to be another would annul our human nature.
Self-consciousness, therefore, is an entirely unaccountable
phenomenon in the life of the soul, which reveals its activity
only at a certain age, which sometimes may slumber, and
may lose itself for years in insanity. It is a phenomenon
that stays by us in the unconscious condition of our sleep,
for in our dreams also it is ourselves who suffer anxiety and
all things move themselves about our person. Neither is
this self-consciousness an accidental something to that science
which we seek to obtain. On this self-consciousness hangs
the subject that investigates, and without that subject
no investigation is conceivable. He with whom this self-
consciousness is still wanting is, like the child, unable
to separate himself from the object, and equally unable
to draw conclusions from his inward perceptions. Thus
the starting-point actually lies in this self-consciousness,
and there must ever be a gap if this self-consciousness
be not duly considered. From this it also follows, that
without faith you miss the starting-point of all knowledge.
The expression, "you must believe in yourself," has cer-
tainly been abused in humanistic circles to weaken both the
denial of ourselves and our faith in God, but it is actually
the case that he who does not begin hy believing in himself

Chap. II] §46. FAITH 131

cannot progress a single step. Nothing but faith can ever
give you certainty in your consciousness of the existence of
your ego; and every proof to the sum^ which you might
endeavor to furnish by the exhibition of your will, or if
need be by the revelation of your ill will, etc., will have no
force of demonstration, except before all things else, on
the ground of faith, the knowledge of your ego is established
for yourself. In the cogito ergo sum the logical fault has
indeed long since been shown. The ego, which is to be
proved in the sum, is already assumed in the premise by the

But the indispensableness of faith goes much farther, and
it may safely be said that with the so-called exact sciences
there is no investigation, nor any conclusion conceivable
except in so far as the observation in the investigation and
the reasoning in the conclusion are grounded in faith. No
play is intended here on the word " faith." Faith is taken by
us in its most real sense. By faith you are sure of all those
things of which you have a firm conviction, but which con-
viction is not the outcome of observation or demonstration.
This may result from indolence by which you apply the
much easier and ever ready faith, where the more arduous
duty of observation and demonstration is demanded. But
this is the abuse of faith, which should ever be reproved.
In this abuse, however, the formal character of faith remains
inviolate. Properly used or misused, faith is and always
will be a means of becoming firmly convinced of a thing,
and of making this conviction the starting-point of conduct,
while for this conviction no empirical or demonstrative proof
is offered or found. Faith can never be anything else but
an immediate act of our consciousness, by Avhich certainty is
established in that consciousness on any point outside of
observation or demonstration. " The ground on which your
faith rests," and "the ulterior ground of your faith," are
often spoken of, but in all such expressions faith itself is not
meant, but only its content, and this does not concern us
now. Faith here is taken merely as the means or instrument
by which to possess certainty, and as such it not only needs

132 § 46. FAITH [Div. II

no demonstration, but allows none. And in that sense we
referred to it in the first place, as the certainty concern-
ing our ego in our own self-consciousness, which precedes
every act of thought or observation, and which can only
be established in us by faith, or, if you please, is not ac-
quired by us, but is a received good, of which no account
can be given.

This is equally true of the starting-point of perception.
All perception takes place through the senses, whether you
allow them to act naturally, or whether you reinforce
them by a technical apparatus. The case, however, is not
that our senses perceive, for our ego perceives by means of
those senses. The sick man who lies in bed with his eyes
wide open, but whose mind is affected, perceives nothing ;
even though the images of his surroundings are reflected on
the retina of his eyes. While you sleep, many sounds
may vibrate in the air-waves of your room, but not waken
you to hear and perceive them. To stop short with the
senses is, therefore, both unscientific and superficial. The
way of knowledge certainly leads through the senses, but
it extends farther. It is also continued from the sense
through the nerves and the brain, and back of these out of
our sensorial avenues to that mysterious something which
we call our consciousness, and, in the centrum of that con-
sciousness, to what we call our ego. The students of the
so-called exact sciences, who think that their as yet un-
demonstrated, immediate knowledge of the object rests ex-
clusively upon the action of the senses, are thus entirely
mistaken, and allow themselves a leap to which they have
no right. If their ego is to obtain knowledge of the object,
they must not stop with the action of the senses, but ask
how the ego acquires certainty of the reality of the percep-
tion. By means of your senses, you receive sensations and
impressions ; but in your consciousness the result of this
consists of forms, images, shapes, and figures, which are not
dissimilar to those which loom up before your mind outside
of perception, — in imagination, in dreams, or in moments of
ecstasy. Your perception by means of your senses acquires

Chap. II] § 46. FAITH 133

value only Avlien you know that your senses gave you
movements in your sensorial nerve-life, which came fidui
a real object, and in their changes and successions are
caused by the state of this object. Actually it amounts
to this : that your ego believes in your senses. If by faith
the action of your senses is brought into the relation of
certainty with your ego, then you can depend upon per-
ception by means of your senses, but not before. And
the perception of faith and the certainty which it gives
are so forcible that, as a rule, we grasp immediately the
distinction between the products of dream, fancy and of
perception. The action of faith becomes weaker when the
condition of mind becomes abnormal, as in delirium of
fever, in moments of anxiety, in hypochondria, or sudden
insanity ; then a feeling of uncertainty overtakes us as
to what we perceive or think we perceive, which we know
nothing of in a normal condition, when faith works regu-
larly. It must be granted that wilful deception may tempt
us to take for real what exists merely in appearance, but
even these ever more or less humiliating experiences do
not hinder us from resuming immediately our normal stand
on reality, thanks to this faith. He who was deceived
by the apparition of a ghost, which he afterward discovered
to be unreal, will not be uncertain whether a runaway horse
in the street is a real phenomenon or not, but will step out
of the way of it. If, thus, it must be granted that this faith,
by which our ego believes in our senses, can become aljnor-
mal by a perplexity of our mind, and in like manner can
become the dupe of delusion, nevertheless this faith is, and
always will be, a certainty-jdelding process in our mind,
which at once resumes its dominion.

This is even so true that we actually owe all our convic-
tions of the reality of the object exclusively to faith. With-
out faith you can never go from your ego to the non-ego;
there is no other bridge to be constructed from phenomena
to noumena ,• and scientifically all the results of observation
hang in air. The line from Kant to Fichte is the only
line along which you may continue operations. It is true

134 § 46. FAITH [Div. II

that perception is susceptible of verification : the perception
of one sense by that of the other ; the perception of to-day
by that of to-morrow ; the perception of A by that of B.
But in the first place, this is no help whatever as long as
faith provides no certainty concerning a single perception.
You cannot verify x by x. And on the other hand, it is
an undoubted fact that, with the exception perhaps of some
weak-minded philosopher, every man, without thinking of
verification or applying any verification whatever, is cer-
tain everj^ moment of the day that his surroundings actually
are as they appear ; so that on the ground of this certainty
he acts and works without the least hesitation. When you
sit in your room and some one comes in and addresses you,
you do not consider it your first duty to verify this fact,
for in that very moment you are certain that this person
stands before you and sjoeaks to you ; and you deal with
this fact and act accordingly. All human intercourse is
founded on this fact, as is also all observation, and conse-
quently all scientific knowledge, which is built up on
observation ; and this fact falls away at once if faith

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