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above and distinct from our own ego, is therefore the start-
ing-point of all religion and of all knowledge of God. If
we were not created after God's image, this manifestation
would affect us strangely and cause us fear; but since in
virtue of our creation there is an affinity between our own
ego and that other Ego revealing itself to us, the manifesta-
tion of that mighty Ego affects us pleasantly, it fascinates
and satisfies us with a feeling of infinite rest. It appeals to
us. And as all revelation finds its completion only in this,
this appeal becomes at length a speaking to us. There is
fellowship between that peace-bringing Being, that reveals
itself to us, and our own ego. He is the heavenly Friend,
who does not merely reveal himself as a silent presence, but
who, asking for our word in prayer, addresses us in the high-
est utterances of spirit, i.e. in the transparent word, and
only in thus speaking to us becomes our God, unto whom
goes out the worship of our hearts. In this way only does
man Jcnoiv his God; not with a knowledge of Him or con-
cerning Him, but in such a way that with the deepest utter-



268 § 60. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill

ance of tlie soul lie knmvs his God personally ; not yet "witli
the full vision, but with something already of the seeing
of face to face lost by sin, and only to be perfected in the
full unfolding of our nature. Thus there is a revelation
of God about us and within us, and the latter culminates in
the personal knowledge of the living God, as a God who
dwells among and associates with us, and allows us to asso-
ciate with Him. He who understands it differently from
this separates Revelation from religion, and degrades it to an
intellectualistic communication of certain facts or statutes.
For the fact must not be abandoned that religion germinates
only when it attains unto that which is written of Enoch,
viz. that he tvalked with God. Neither knowledge nor pious
feeling by themselves can ever be called religion. Only|
when your God and you have met each other and associate I
and walk together, does religion live in your heart.

But even this does not fully construe the conception of
innate theology/. The distinction between the seed of re-
ligion and faith, both of which are increated in our human
nature, explains how from the side of God a revelation takes
place in us, and how our ego is disposed to observe this
revelation in us, but this by itself does not give us any
theology yet, i.e. knowledge of God. Even though revela-
tion in us on the one hand, and the working of our faith on
the other hand, have so far advanced that at length we have
perceived God in us and consequently knoiv God, we have
as yet no knowledge of God, and hence no theology. I
may know a number of persons in the world whom I have
met, whose existence has been discovered to me, and of
whom I have received general impressions, while yet I
have no knowledge of them. That I may have knowledge
of him whom I have met, the logical action must first take
place. When I have met some one and thus know him, I
inquire about him, or seek an interview with him, that
I may obtain knowledge of his person. And such is the
case here. Though God works and manifests Himself in
our being, and though I have the power of faith to per-
ceive this inworking and this manifestation, this produces



Chap. I] THE FRUIT OF REVELATION 2G9

nothing in me beyond perceptions, impressions and feelings ;
while I am left to the mysticism of my emotions. If from
this mysticism I want to advance to knowledge^ and transform
revelation into theology, the logical action must enter in
between ; perception must pass over into thought ; impression
must sublimate itself into a conception; and thus the seed
of religion must unfold the flower-bud in the word; viz. the
word of adoration. Hence this logical action also was in-
cluded in innate theology ; simply because otherwise it could
have been no theologg. This, however, should not be taken in
the sense that Adam was created with some sort of a cate-
chism in his head ; for logical action presumes subjective
action of the human mind. If, therefore, we should speak
Avith entire accuracy, we should say that there was no incre-
ated theology in Adam, but that he was so created, that, in
his awakening to self-consciousness, he arrived of necessity
at this original theology from the data that were present in
him. In a literal sense respiration was not increated in
Adam, for the first inhalation only came when the creation
was completed, while before the creation was ended he could
not draw breath. Breathing is an action of the person
which comes only when the person exists. Since all the
conditions for breathing are given in our nature, and every
person born in this nature breathes of himself and from
necessity, no one hesitates to acknowledge that respiration
is inborn with us all. It were mere prudery, therefore, to
object to the expression of innate or concreate theology ; for
though theology is the result of a logical action in the sub-
ject, wdth Adam this logical action took place immediately
and from necessity ; and it was by this alone that the
receiving of an oral revelation was already possible in para-
dise. For it is plain that the entire representation which
the Scripture gives us of the intercourse with God in
paradise, of the fall and subsequent promise, becomes un-
intelligible and falls away, if we assume in Adam exclu-
sively the sense of the eternal, and deny him all conscious
knowledge of God.

Language itself decides the case. Speech without Ian-



270 § 60. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill

guage is inconceiyable, and lie who in contradiction to the
Scriptures declares that the first man could utter at most a
few vague sounds, but was not in possession of language,
wholly denies thereby the Christian doctrine of creation and
the fall, and consequently of the Salvation in Christ. If, on
the other hand the original man, to speak with Heraclitus,
possessed a language by c/)uo-i9,i the very possession of that
language assumes a logical action which is immediate, regu-
lar and pure equally with our respiration. And if from
the nature of the case this logical action was originally
limited with reference to its content to what man perceived
in himself, and, in his inner perceptions, the perception of
God stood majestically in the foreground, it is evident that
the first natural action of the human consciousness could
have been no other than the necessary translating into
knowledge of God of the inner sensibilities and perception
effected in him by God Himself. And on this ground w^e
hold that innate or concreate theology presumes three fac-
tors : (1) the inworking and manifestation of God Himself
in Adam's inner being ; (2) faith, by which the subject
perceives and grasps this inworking and manifestation ; and
(3) the logical action, by which of himself and of necessity
he reduces this content in his heart to knoivledge of God, in
the form of thought and word.

From this it does not follow that one of these three fac-
tors should fall outside of Revelation. With none of these
three factors do we overstep the boundary of creation,
and all creation as such belongs to the domain of revelation.
This does not need to be shown of the first factor. The
action of God in our being is of itself revelation. But this
same thing is true also of the second factor : faith. For
what is faith but the sympathetic drawing of the image
(Abbild) to the original (Urbild) ; and what is there
revealed in this faith but that God has created us after

1 In opposition to the conventional theory of Deraocritus, Heraclitus
taught that language was produced in us by the impressions received from
the objects in or around us. So Democritus taught a language by ^^crts, he
by <pv<ns.



Chap. I] THE FRUIT OF EEVELATION 271

Himself, for Himself, and to Himself? And concerning
the third factor, viz. the knowledge which is the result of the
logical action, what expresses itself in this but the reflective
(abbildliche) working in us of that Logos, which is in God
and itself is God? The whole man, therefore, in his exist-
ence, in his relation to God, in his communion with, and
his knowledge of, God, is originally but one rich revelation
of God to man. At a later period revelation may also come
to him from without ; but it begins by being in him, as an
immediate result of his creation.

This innate or connate theology was destined to be en-
riched by acquired (acquisita) theology. Not in the sense of
addition, as though this increated knowledge would gradu-
ally increase by such and such a per cent. Innate theology
was rather a completed whole by itself. It constituted all
that knowledge of God, which was to be obtained from the
immediate communion of God with the individual soul. It
completed that knowledge of God, whose principium lies in
the mystery of the emotions. But since the creation did not
consist of that single soul but of a human race, and of a
cosmos as the basis of this entire human race, a revelation of
God was also necessary in that cosmos and in that organic
unit of humanity ; and since the individual soul stands in
organic relation to humanity and to the cosmos, its knowl-
edge of God had to include both these other spheres of
revelation. Even though you conceive a development apart
from sin, acquired theology would of itself have been
joined to innate theology, as soon as man entered into con-
scious relation to the cosmos and humanity as an organic
unit. Not for the sake of filling out what was incomplete,
but of enriching the knowledge complete in itself with the
revelation in both these other spheres. Thus, for instance,
to enlarge upon this with a single word, the idea of God's
Omnipotence, Wisdom, etc., would never have entered into
the consciousness of the soul from the cosmos nor from
the universal human life. These ideas lie in innate the-
ology, and are given in the idea of Grod as such. Neverthe-
less the significance and tendency of these ideas are only



272 § 60. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill

clearly seen " since the creation of the world, being perceived
through the things that are made." And as to the acquired
theology which comes to the individual soul from its relation
to the organic unity of humanity, it is evident at once that
the Divine is too potent and overwhelming to reveal itself
in one human soul. Only in the combination of the whole
race of man does this revelation reach its creaturely com-
pleteness. Which could not be so if one man were merely a
repetition of another, but which leads to that completeness
since every individual is a specific variation. Herein also
lies tlie ground for the social character of all religion. The
knowledge of God is a common possession, all the riches of
which can only be enjoyed in the communion of our race.
Not, indeed, as if even outside of religion man is a social
being, so that of necessity his religion also is of a social char-
acter, for this would reverse the case ; but because humanit}^
is adapted to reveal God, and from that revelation to attain
unto His knowledge, does one complement another, and only
by the organic unity, and by the individual in communion
with that unity, can the knowledge of God be obtained in a
completer and clearer sense.

For this reason reference was made not merely to our
nature, and to the relation we sustain to one another, but
also to the process or course run of necessity by human devel-
opment. Without sin Adam would not have remained what
he was, but he and his race would have developed them-
selves into a higher condition. The process as known in
reality may be dominated by sin, but even with a sinless
existence there would have been a process of develop-
ment; and this element must be reckoned with in theologia
acquisita. Of course we cannot enter into the particulars of
a supposed possibility cut off by sin. This were to lose
ourselves in fiction. But in general it may be affirmed,
(1) that even without sin human existence would have been
a successive existence in time, and consequently an exist-
ence in the form of a process; (2) that the entire human
race was not in existence at once, but could only come suc-
cessively to life; and (3), as is seen from the paradise narra-



Chap. 1] THE FRUIT OF REVELATION 273

tive itself, the study of the cosmos would have borne a
successive character. Hence in this process there would
have been progress, and not simple repetition. Difference
of relation to the Eternal Being would have resulted from
difference of conditions. The relations among these sev-
eral conditions would have been organic. Hence in this
process of human development there would of itself have
appeared a process of development of the knowledge of God.
Yea, this process itself, as histor}^ foreordained and ruled by
God from step to step, would in turn have become a revela-
tion sui generis. In this development of the human race
the logical consciousness in man would likewise have ob-
tained a development of its own. Thus parallel to the
process of history there would have run a history of man
as a logical being. In proportion as revelation enriched
itself, the instrument would thus have become more potent by
which man transmuted the treasures of this revelation into
Theology. We do not say that this would have taken place
in the form of our present science. In our human existence
everything is so intimately connected, that the modification
which our entire existence experienced by sin and by sin-
restraining grace, both "common" and "particular," im-
presses its stamp upon our science also. Abstraction, which
at present is absolutely indispensable to our science, would
certainly not have exercised so strong an influence without
sin as it does now. But in whatever form common human
consciousness might have developed itself without sin.
Theology, i.e. the knowledge of God, would have occupied
a sphere of its own in the world of thought, and would by no
means have been restricted to the secret reverie of individuals
upon the sensations of their inmost soul. All revelation
proceeds from the Logos (John i. 1-8), and therefore cannot
rest content as long as it is not grasped and reflected back
by the logical consciousness of individuals and of the Avhole
of humanity, i.e. by the "logos in humanity." In this Avay
knowledge of God Avould have proceeded immediately from
revelation, and in virtue of the organic relation and develop-
ment of our race this knowledge of God eo ipso would have



274 § 60. ECTYP^NX THEOLOGY [Div. Ill

assumed a scientific form, even if b}' another effort of the mind
than that from which at present the science of Theology is
born. Theology as a science would then have proceeded
immediately and of necessity from Theology as the personal
and universal knowledge of God, and it would never have
entered the mind of any one to understand by the name of
Theology anything but that God-knowledge itself. Scien-
tific Theology also would rigorously have maintained its
character as knowledge of God. The three above-mentioned
factors — revelation, faith and the logical action — are and
ever will be with acquired Theology also, which develoj)S
of itself into scientific Theology, the three constituent ele-
ments of ectypal Theology. Without revelation nothing is
known; without /aiY/i there is no apprehension nor appropria-
tion of that revelation ; and without the logical action, that
which has been perceived cannot be transmuted into subjec-
tive knowledge of God.

We, however, may not rest content with this supposition
of a sinless development. The development is a sinful one,
and all closer insight into the nature of Theology must
therefore deal with this fact. And yQi we do not deem the
exposition superfluous of the relation which would have
arisen in the case of a sinless development. It is rather a
significant fault that in later theological studies this has
been too much neglected. We understand what darkness is
only from the antithesis of light. Pathology assumes the
knowledge of the normal body. And so too the sinful de-
velopment of our race and of its world of thought, in relation
to intervenient grace, can never be understood except we first
leave sin out of account. He only Avho has before his eyes
the straight line understands the crooked line. To note a
deviation, I must know where the right path runs. And the
negative or privative character of sin makes this also neces-
sary with the study of Theology. By the too exclusively
soteriological interpretation of Theology we have become
unaccustomed to this ; while the theologians, who avoided
this danger, weakened the fact of sin, and so lost more or
less the whole antithesis. Formerly, liowever, in the days



Chap. I] THE FRUIT OF REVELATION 275

when Theology was still taken theologically, this distinction
was rigorously maintained; and eveiy one who, as theolo-
gian, aims again at Theology in its real sense, must return
with us to this distinction.

But neither in this discussion of the Revelation of God to
the sinner, any more than in the first part of this section in
our explanation of the Revelation of God to man, will we
describe the content and form of that Revelation itself. For
so far as the form of this revelation is in order in Encyclo-
pedia, it falls to be treated in the chapter on the Princijnum
of Theology. Since now, however, we have only just begun
to develop the conception of Theology from its idea and
history, we cannot concern ourselves with that content and
form, but must confine ourselves here to its general character.



In view of this our fourth proposition reads, that the revela-
tion of God to the sinner remains the same as the revelation of
Grod to man without sin, only tvith this tivofold necessary differ-
ence, that formally the disorder in the sinner must be 7ieutral-
ized, and materially the hnoivledge of God must he extended so
as to include the hioivledge of God^s relation to the sinner.

In this connection we need not concern ourselves with the
fact that it is grace that speaks in the so-called soteriological
Revelation. This belongs properly to Dogmatics and not
to Encyclopedia. In passing, however, we suggest that
the possibility is conceivable, that after man had become a
siymer, God might have continued to reveal Himself as before.
The result of this would not have been, as is commonl}-
asserted, that the natural knowledge of God alone would
have survived; for, as will be shown later on, this natural
knowledge of God also is a fruit of grace, and more particu-
larly of ''^ common grace.'''' Imagine that all grace had been
withdrawn, so that sin would have been able to develop its
deepest energies in the sinner all at once, without anj^ check
or opposition, nothing would have remained but spiritual
darkness, and all "knowledge of God " would have turned
into its opposite. Hence to obtain a clear insight into the



276 § 60. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [D:y. Ill

modification suffered by tlie original revelation on account of
sin, we must go back to this hypothesis and put the ques-
tion, in what condition the three factors of the knowledge
of God — revelation, faith and the logical action of the
human mind — would exhibit themselves under this con-
stellation.

Revelation, taken as limited to man and interpreted as the
inworking and manifestation of God in man's hidden being,
does not cease with sin; nothing can annihilate the omni-
presence of God, not even sin; nor can man's dependence as
image upon the archetype be destroyed, neither can the mys-
tical contact of the infinite and the finite in the human soul be
abolished. Thus revelation is continued in the heart of man.
That which in his hellish terror drove Judas to despair and
suicide, was but the perception of this fearful manifestation
of God in the deepest centre of his person. Only this reve-
lation, which was originally S3mipathetic, turns into its
opposite and becomes antipathetic. It becomes the revela-
tion of a God who sends out His wrath and punishes the
sinner. Even in hell the sinner continues to carry in him-
self this inworking of God's omnipresence. Because as
sinner also he remains forever man and must remain such,
he can never escape from that revelation. "If I make my
bed in hell, behold. Thou art there."

The same is true of the second factor, iriara. Faith also
belongs to human nature, consequently the sinner can never
rid himself of it ; it also turns into its opposite and becomes
unfaith (aTnaria) ; which must not be understood as a mere
want or defect of faith, but always as an active deprivation
(actuosa privatio). The energy which by nature operates
in faith remains the same, but turns itself away from God
and with all the passion at its command attaches itself to
something else. This is accounted for by the fact that reve-
lation can no longer reach its highest point in the sinner,
viz. the personal manifestation of God to the sinner. So
that it is limited to the internal operations of God in His
anger, and thus to perceptions in the subject of an awful
power that terrifies him. This perception can affect faith in



Chap. I] THE FRUIT OF REVELATION 277

two Avays: the sinner to whom God can no longer appear
personally can either attribute this inworking to some power-
ful, terrible creature, and for that reason direct his faith to
this monstrous creature itself; or, against this terrifying
power in his inmost soul he can seek protection elsewhere,
and thus centre his faith upon a creature that is sympathetic
to him. After he has become a sinner, man still continues
to seek after a something to which to cleave with his faith;
even though, in Diabolism, Satan himself became this to him.

And finally the third factor, the logical action by which
that which faith receives by revelation is raised to subjec-
tive knowledge, remains also operative in the sinner, and,
cases of idiocy and lunacy excepted, maintains itself in him.
The sinner also is impelled to reflect in his consciousness
the perceptions which by means of faith he has grasped
as real, and placed in relation to an author. Though the
stimulus of the logical activity generally operates less
strongly in the sinner, since it is the tendency of sin to
slacken all activity, yet this is by no means the case with
all individuals, and so far as faith has turned into unfaith
it can strongly stimulate this activity from sheer enmity
against God. Even then, this logical activity does not lead
to the knowledge of God, but simply to the erroneous effort
to explain the potent and terrible perceptions, actually re-
ceived in one's being by the inworking of God, in such a way
that God is denied by the intellect, and all such inworking is
either explained away or explained from the creature. That
which is written of Satan: "The devils also believe and
tremble," expresses the condition of the sinner under the per-
ception of the inworking of God in his soul; only with this
difference, that the demons, as non-somatic, cannot deceive
themselves with reference to the reality of the existence of
God, and can work no eclipse of His existence by the sub-
stitution of a creature, which is the very thing that man as
sinner can do; at least so long as he is upon earth, and
especially in connection with the restraint of sin by common
grace.

In case, therefore, that revelation had not been modified



278 § 60. ECTYPAL THEOLOGY [Div. Ill

on the part of God, by way of accommodation to the sinner,
revelation would have worked nothing in man bej'ond the
sense of the presence of a terrible power that makes him
tremble ; faith would have turned into unfaith toward God,
and would have attached itself to an antipathetic or sympa-
thetic creature; and the logical activity would have sought
an explanation of that perception, but would never have
achieved any knowledge of God. There would have been no
Theology; and nothing could have been done on the part
of the sinner to create light in this darkness. This light
could only come from the side of God.

This implies, as the facts of history show, that there was
in fact a modification introduced in the original plan of reve-
lation and of the construction from this revelation of a
knowledge of God. It was changed, but not by the addition
of something new and foreign. This would have worked
magically; it would have stood mechanically by the side of
man, and would have been incapable of assimilation. That
which is to be knowable to man and is to be known by man



Online LibraryAbraham KuyperEncyclopedia of sacred theology : its principles ... → online text (page 26 of 64)