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very few. Moreover, this logical action does by no means
effect a clear understanding with all, but gives each the
insight suited to the peculiar susceptibility of his person,
which is entirely different with a humble day-laborer from
what it is with the scholar. But as a result so much
knowledge of God in each case is obtained as corresponds to
the clearness of each consciousness.

Next to this individual insight into the content of revela-
tion, no less attention should be paid to the logical action
which brings the content of revelation to clearness in that r/en-
eral understanding, which in turn serves and enriches personal
knowledge. The foundation for this is laid by apostolic reve-
lation, which affords us a more varied and distinguishing look
into the wisdom of Christ. This does not imply that the
apostles offered us anything that falls under the conception
of scientific Theology. He who makes this assertion totally
underestimates their authority. But in their writings the
lines are indicated along which the logical activit}' of the
so-called scientific Theology must conduct itself through all
ages. Thus they indicate what the content of revelation is.


as well as the relation in which this content as a whole
stands to the past, to the antithetical powers, and to personal
faith and practice. This apostolic knowledge is, therefore,
the complement of revelation itself, since this revelation would
be incomplete if it did not itself produce the roots from
which the understanding must develop itself. This develop-
ment can only follow when it finds its point of departure in
revelation itself. Even then this development is not left to
abstract and independent thought, but remains dependent
upon the inworking and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The
human logos, as weakened by sin, can certainly deal with the
content of this revelation, as has been the case in all ages ;
but as soon as this movement has reached out after something
more than a mere superficiality, it has become at once anti-
thetical, has placed itself in opposition to revelation, and has
sought, and still seeks, logically to destroy it. Hence the
development we referred to can only come from that circle in
which the divine illumination operates, and the logical action
of the circle outside of this can only serve to stimulate
the action of those who have been enlightened and to
make them careful of mistakes. Since in the circle of the
"enlightened" the Holy Spirit operates not merely in in-
dividuals, but also in groups and in the whole circle, it
is actually the Holy Spirit who, as "the teacher of the
Church," interprets the content of revelation, and so en-
riches and purifies the knowledge of God ; not, however, by
the suppression of logical action, but by stimulating and
by employing it as its instrument. The necessary outcome
of this is that this working is not perfect; that it propels
itself by all sorts of vibrations between truth and error; that
it only gradually obtains more firmness, and finally results
in the dogma of the Church.

But even this does not end the task of the logical action.
The understanding of Revelation must be taken up into the
general understanding, from which of itself the need arises
of giving an organic place in the unit of our knowledge to
that knowledge of God lodged in the regenerate, and which
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Church, in deadly


conflict, has formulated into dogma. Our knowledge of the
cosmos and of revelation must not merely be brought into
practical harmony for the sake of the life of faith, but in
the human consciousness as such it must also become an
organic whole, and thus Theology rise as a science : first,
in the scholastic sense, so long as it serves no other pur-
pose than the justification of the content of Theology at
the tribunal of thought; after that, polyhistorically^ Avhen
it swarms upon every sort of flower-bed that stands in less
or more relation to Theology; and finally, in the organic
sense, when it places its subjective action, as well as its
given object, in their relation to our world of thought and
the world of other objects. Thus only can that which is at
first potential knowledge unfold itself to a complete and
actual science.

But in this process, from start to finish, it is ever and
always Theology in its proper sense, i.e. the knowledge of
God divinely given, that is taken up into our consciousness,
and is reflected from our consciousness (personal as well as
general). Hence nothing is significant to Theology, because
nothing belongs to it organically, but that which interprets
this "knowledge of God" in its origin, content, significance,
working and tendency.

By way of recapitulation, therefore, we arrive at what
was stated in our fourth proposition, viz. that ectypal Theol-
ogy, as revealed by God Himself, is the same in all its
stages ; and that special revelation, i.e. revelation to the
sinner, is only modified to the extent that now it can also be
known what God is willing to be to the sinner. That, fur-
ther, this development of revelation goes hand in hand wdtli
an accommodation to the lost condition of the sinner, so that
now revelation does not work from within outward, but
makes its approach from the outer world to the inner life
of man, and that the logical action goes out from the central
ego of Christ, and thus only benefits the individual subject
in the personal believer. And that finally, for the sake of
the assimilation of this knowledge of God by the sinner, his
unbelief must be changed to a faith in Christ, which is only

292 §61. CONCEPTION OF [Div. Ill

possible through, at least a potential, palingenesis of his
whole being.

And thus we reach the point which renders the forming
of the conception of Theology as science, possible, and which
will be considered in the following section.

§ 61. Conception of Theology as /Science

Like every other science, the science of Theology can be
spoken of in a twofold sense, viz. either with reference to the
intellectual labor expended upon Theology, or with reference
to the results of that labor. In the latter sense. Theology as
science also remains the knoivledge of Grod ; for though its
result is not an increase of the knowledge of God, and can
only lead to a clearer insight into the revealed knowledge of
God, yet every gain in clearness of insight magnifies the
worth of that knowledge. The microscope adds nothing to
the wing of the butterfly, but enables me to obtain a richer
knowledge of that wing. And while the science of Theology
adds no new knowledge of God to the knowledge revealed
to us, scientific Theology renders my fuller assimilation of
its content possible.

Whether this scientific insight into the knowledge of God
is possible and necessary, depends upon the stage of develop-
ment which has been reached by the human consciousness.
In fact, in the sense in which we now interpret the domain
of theological studies as one organic whole, the science of
Theology has only been born in our century. Even down to
the middle of the last century, while there was a Theology, as
Dogmatics, with which other studies were connected, yet the
necessity was not felt of moulding these into one organic
whole, and still less the impulse to conjoin this unit of
Theology organically with the other sciences into one archi-
tectural whole of science. This was not accidental, but the
immediate consequence of the general spirit of the times.
This same phenomenon presented itself not only in the
domain of Theology, but in the domain of every other
science. The Encyclopedia of Theology had already made
consideiable advances, while all encyclopedical insight into


tlie psj'chical and medical sciences was still entirely wanting,
and in tlie philological and juridical sciences it had scarcely
yet begun. Impelled by its own exceptional position, as
well as by the alarming attitude the other sciences assumed
against it, Theology was the first to give itself an account
of its place and of its calling. For the greater part of the
last century, however, this attempt bore an apologetic char-
acter ; and only when, by and after Kant, the question about
the essence and the method of our knowledge, and conse-
quently of the nature of science in general, pressed itself
forcefully to the front, in our human consciousness, was there
gradually adopted the organic interpretation of Theology as
a whole and as one of the sciences in the great unit of the
sciences, which is now dominant in the Theological faculty,
and is being more widely recognized by the other faculties.
Formerly a science of Theology in that sense was 7iot neces-
sary^ because the human consciousness in general did not
feel the need of such an interpretation; neither was it pos-
sible, because the data for such a construction of Theology,
and of all the other sciences, cannot be borrowed from the
knoivledge of God, but from Logic in the higher sense.

Hence the conception, which was formed of Theology in
the academic sense, has certainly been modified. Theology,
taken in the subjective sense, was understood to be our
human insight into the revealed knowledge of God, and
this insight was graded as the subject chanced to be a lay-
man, a scholar, or more especially a theologian ; but even in
this highest sense Theology was limited to Dogmatics, gen-
erally with Ethics included. This learned insight into the
revealed knowledge of God was for the most part explained
after the scheme of Aristotle or Peter Ramus, and defended
against all objections. This study alone was called Theol-
ogy, besides which some theologians would study Church
History and other similar branches; but the relation of all
these to real Theology was merely mechanical. At present,
however, the name of Theology covers the entire realm of
these studies; there is no rest until a starting-point for
Theology has been found in the unit of science ; and, in this

294 § 61. CONCEPTION OF [Div. Ill

connection, the effort is also made to understand organicallj^
the essence of Theology itself.

It is evident that this has given rise to a serious danger
of falsifying the nature of Theology. As what used to
count as the whole of Theology has been classed as a mere
part, the tendency was bound to exhibit itself to seek
the heart of Theology no longer in its principal factor,
but in its auxiliary departments; and similarly when the
articulation of Theology to the organism of science is traced,
of necessity its Nature can no longer be explained simply
from its own principle alone, but also from the general prin-
ciple of science. Both these dangers have shown themselves
and have brought their evil with them; even to such a meas-
ure that in the conceptions of Theology, as severally formed
in our times, scarcely a trace of the original significance re-
mains. This compels us to hold fast, tooth and nail, to the
original meaning ; and therefore, starting out from the idea
of Theology, we have made a transition from the idea to the
concejjtio^i of Theology, in which the conception of the knowl-
edge of God remains the principal part.

The way in which the several departments of theological
study are organically related to this knowledge of Crod can
only be shoivn when we come to consider the organism of
Theology; here, however, this organic relation is merely
assumed^ so that we do not even say which departments of
study do and which do not find a place in this organic unit.
At present we only speak of a certain group of studies which
together have announced themselves as a theological science,
and are recognized as such at the great majority of universi-
ties. This group of departments offers a scientific treat-
ment of all sorts of material, which, however widely they
may differ, must nevertheless be bound together by a com-
mon motive. This motive neither can nor may be anything
else but the idea of Theology itself, and hence must be con-
tained in the knowledge of Grod revealed to us. If for a mo-
ment, therefore, we dismiss from our thoughts the division of
departments, and thus picture to ourselves the theological
science as one ivhole, "this revealed knowledge of God," and


this alone, is its object of investigation. Tliis investiga-
tion would be superfluous if this knowledge of God were
revealed to us in a dialectic, discursive form. Then, indeed,
the human mind would be released from all necessity for
assimilating this knowledge of God. But such is not the
case. The knowledge of God is revealed to us in a veiled
form, just such as was necessary in order that it might be
valid for every age and people, for every time of life, grade
of development, and condition. Not the dialectically acute
Greek, but the mystic-symbolic man from the East, was
chosen as the instrument to reveal to us this knowledge of
God. Hence a considerable distance still separates this
knowledge of God, as it has been revealed, from the world
of the entirely clarified human consciousness, and the con-
sciousness of man has yet to perform a giant's task, before it
has appropriated the treasures of that Revelation with trans-
parent purity and has reflected it from itself.

This labor, therefore, is nevertheless not scientific labor in
its entire extent. There are lower grades in the develop-
ment of our consciousness, which, though they do not bear
the scientific stamp, are yet productive of early fruit. The
assimilation of the revealed knowledge of God by our human
consciousness has gone through all these grades. There is a
labor of thought devoted to this knowledge of God, which
has had for its exclusively practical purpose the persuasion of
him who stands afar off to confess Christ. There is a labor of
thought expended upon this Revelation with no other purpose
than to defend it against opposition and heresy. This knowl-
edge of God has been reflected upon by the human conscious-
ness in the personal application of it to one's own condition
and experience of soul. Human power of thought has entered
upon this knowledge of God in preparation for preaching
and catechizing. No less in the formulation of dogma has
human power of intellect labored in the sweat of its brow.
And all that national acumen and the spirit of a given age,
or the sense of a peculiar confession, could produce in rich
variation has been applied with indefatigable diligence
and indomitable perseverance to cause the beauty of this

296 § 61. CONCEPTION OF [Di\ . Ill

"knowledge of God" to glisten to its utmost in the prism
of our human thought. But all this, however excellent and
rich, is not yet what we understand by Theology as science.
Of this we can speak only when our intellect does not per-
form mere menial service for other purposes, but when in
our consciousness itself awakens the sense of its higher call-
ing, viz. to transmute the mechanic relation between itself
and its object into an organic one. Of course, this does not
imply that science should exist merely for the sake of knowl-
edge, and that in entire self-sufficiency it should lose itself
in abstractions. On the contrary, science also, as a sphere of
the Logos, is called as a creature of God to serve its Creator,
and its high and practical purpose in our behalf is, that it
should emancipate us, afford us an independent position in
the face of threatening powers, and that thus it should ad-
vance our human existence to higher estates. This, however,
can only be more fully explained when we come to consider
concretely the place of Theology in the whole organism of sci-
ence. For the forming of the conception of Theology, it is
sufficient if it is seen that the science of Theology can flour-
ish as a plant by itself only when our human consciousness
takes the reins in its own hands and becomes aware of its
sacred calling to melt the ore of this " revealed knowledge of
God " into shining gold, in order, apart from every incidental
aim, as soon as this task is done, to j^lace the fruit of its
labor at the disposal of the higher aim to which its labor es-
pecially must be directed.

But because this science engages itself with theologia,
i.e. the knowledge of God, as its object, it could not claim
the name of Theology^ if it were not included in the plan of
Revelation and in the nature of this knowledge of God that
the Logos in this higfher sense should be one of the means to
enrich our subjective insight into this ectypal knowledge of
God. For which reason we mentioned the fact, in our dis-
cussion of Revelation, that it is also the calling of the logical
activity to introduce this knowledge of God into the general
subject of re-created humanity. Christ is no doubt this gen-
eral subject in its central sense, on which account, as shown


above, "wisdom" is given in Him; but this is still entirely
different from the "understanding" of the general subject of
humanity in the general human consciousness. Only when
from the central subject (Christ) this " wisdom " has entered
into individual believers and into circles of believers of
different times is it possible that, from these individual and
social insights into the wisdom of God, a different kind of
insight can gradually be formed as "understanding," which
cannot rest until it has become adequate to the content of
the wisdom which was in the central human consciousness,
i.e. in Christ. But even if for a moment we imagine the
unattainable ideal that the content of each were adequate,
yet the nature of each would be entirely different; what was
"wisdom" in Christ as the central subject would have be-
come "understanding " and "science " in the general subject
of regenerated humanity; and it is the science of Theology
alone that can lead to "understanding" in this given sense.
As in every domain science, by the establishing of the gen-
eral human consciousness, unveils the possibility of single
persons and individual groups, broadening their insight and
clarifying it, such is also the case here. The more the sci-
ence of Theology succeeds in giving theology to the general
subject of regenerated humanity, and thus in bringing this
general subject to the knowledge of God, the more clearly
does it open the way to the churches and to believers to attain,
at least so far as the intellect is concerned, to a fuller knowl-
edge of God, and thus to a better theology. Even as science
it adds its contribution to the subjective assimilation of the
knowledge of God within its appointed sphere, and so derives
its right to claim for itself the name of Theology. Thus it
presents itself to us as a logical activity, which transfers
ectypal knowledge of God from Revelation, as " understand-
ing," into the general subject of (regenerated) humanity.

MeauAvhile this qualification of regenerated humanity
demands a fuller exj)lanation. God does not love indi-
vidual persons, but the world. His election does not aban-
don the human race to perdition, merely to save individuals,
and to unite these as atoms to an aggregate under Christ;

298 § 61. CONCEPTION OF [Div. Ill

but He saves humanity^ He redeems our race, and if all of
our race are not saved, it is because they who are lost are
cut off from the tree of humanity. There is no organism
in hell, but an aggregate. In the realm of glory, on the
other hand, there is no aggregate but the "body of Christ,"
and hence an organic whole. This organic whole is no
new "body," but the original organism of humanity, as
it was created under Adam as its central unity. Tlierefore
the Scripture teaches that Christ is the second Adam, i.e.
that Christ in His way now occupies the same place in
the human race which was originally occupied by Adam.
Hence it is not something else nor something new, but it
is the original human race, it is humanity, M'hich, recon-
ciled and regenerated, is to accomplish the logical task of
taking up subjectively into its consciousness this revealed
ectypal Theology, and to reflect it from that consciousness.
Whatever a man may be, as long as he does not share the
life and thought of this regenerated humanity, he cannot
share this task. " The natural man receiveth not the things
of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually dis-
cerned" (1 Cor. ii. 14). Our consciousness is connected with
onvheing. Without palingenesis there is no adaptation of our
consciousness conceivable, which would enable it to assimi-
late or reflect ectypal Theology, and it is only by the
"enlightening," as the result of palingenesis, that our con-
sciousness receives the susceptibility for this. As in the
general subject of humanity the spirit of man (jo Trvevixa) is
the real agent, so in the general subject of humanity, or in
the body of Christ, the spirit (Trvev/ma) in this body, i.e. the
Holy Spirit, is the inner animator. And therefore the
science of Theology is a task which must be accomplished,
under the leading of the Holy Spirit, by regenerated human-
ity, and by those from among its ranks who, being partakers
of palingenesis, and enriched by "enlightening," have also
in their natural disposition those special talents which are
necessary for this intellectual task.

That the science of Theology is thereby not isolated nor


cut off from the common root of all science, can only be
explained when we consider the organism of Theolog}-.
Here we affirm that in every domain palingenesis revivifies
the original man as "a creature of God," and for no single
moment abandons what was given in the nature of man. Sin
tries to turn the excellencies of this nature into their
opposites, but this fatal effect of sin has been restrained by
common grace; and where particular grace renders this
restraint potentially complete, and at the same time poten-
tially recovers original purity, from the nature of the case
the action of the Spirit in the sphere of palingenesis remains
identical with the action of the Logos in human nature, and
joins itself to the common grace, which has called all science
into being, at every point of investigation.

The science of Theology, therefore, is nothing but a
specialization of what is given in the idea of Theology. It
is not all Theology, neither may all subjective assimilation
of ectypic knowledge of God be appropriated by it. Among
the different assimilations of this knowledge of God, Theol-
ogy as a science occupies a place of its own, which is defined
b}- its nature as an organic member in the unit of sciences.
And thus we come to this conception of Theology, viz. that it
is that science which has the revealed knowledge of God as
the object of its investigation, and raises it to " understand-
ing." Or in broader terms, the science of Theology is that
logical action of the general subject of regenerated humanity
by which, in the light of the Holy Spirit, it takes up the
revealed knowledge of God into its consciousness and from
thence reflects it. If, on the other hand, the science of The-
ology is not taken in its active sense, but as a product, then
Theology is the scientific insight of the regenerated human
consciousness into the revealed knowledge of God.

This conception diverges entirely from what the several
schools at present understand by Theology as a science ; and
this compels us, in defence of our definition, to investigate
first the several degenerations of Theology as knowledge of
God, and then the several falsifications of the conception
of Theology as science.

300 § 62. DEGENERATIONS OF [Div. Ill

§ 62. Degenerations of Theology as '''' Knoivledge of Crod^^

The idea and significance of Theology has been corrupted
in two respects : on the one hand with reference to Theol-
ogy as "knowledge of God," and on the other with reference
to Theology as "science." This section treats of the first
kind of degeneration, and the following of the falsification
of Theology as science.

With reference to the degeneration of Theology, taken in
the sense of "knowledge of God," we must begin with
Natural Theology (theologia naturalis), since only in view
of this natural knowledge of God can there be any question
of Theology with those who reject special revelation (reve-
latio specialis). It is common in our times to seek the tie
which unites the higher life of pagan nations to our own, in
religion. A general conception of religion is then placed in

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