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principium of division, i.e. from the human consciousness
in relation to its total object ; and this agrees entirely with
the division of the faculties, which is the outcome of the
increated law of life itself and of its practical needs. And


since theology directs itself to the "knowledge of God,"
it cannot be subordinated, but must be coordinated, and
because of its independent object, its independent princlp-
ium, and its independent method, it claims our homage as
an independent organ in the organism of science.

§ 95. The Boundary of Theology in the Organism of Science

Theology is not isolated in the organism of science. It is
united with it in an organic way. From this it follows that
communication between it and the other four great scientific
complexes is not prevented from any one side. Communi-
cation, avenues of approach, and points of union extend to
all sides. This, however, does not imply that there are no
boundaries between theology and the other four coordinates ;
but as in every other non-mechanical domain, these boun-
daries here must be measured from the centrum, and not in
the periphery. When a centre and the length of a ray are
given, the boundary is fixed for the entire surrounding, even
though this is not entirely marked out and thus is not dis-
cernible outwardly.

This centre here is the revealed ectypal self-knowledge of
God. Since, however, it is the revealed and ectypal self-
knowledge of God, it is not limited to abstract knowledge of
God, taken as an isolated object of thought. The fact that it
is ectypal expresses, indeed, a relation of this self-knowledge
to man, and that it is revealed assumes logically a dealing
with the data, condition and means in which and by which
this revelation takes place. The knowledge which God has
of Himself includes also the knowledge of His counsel, work
and will, and the relation in which He has placed man to
Himself, outside of as well as under sin. Since this ectypal
knowledge of God is revealed, not in the abstract sense to
satisfy our desire for knowledge, but very concretely, as one
of the means by which this all-excelling work of re-creation
is accomplished, a process is effected by this ectypal knowl-
edge of God, namely the Christian Church, by which, even
as a tree by its fruit, this knowledge of God is more par-
ticularly known. And so far as in this way the light of


this ectypal knowledge of God shines out, and its working is
observable, the boundaries of theology extend, or what was
called its " compass," including, of course, what we must do
in order, in our time also, to let the working of the knowledge
of God have free course. As soon, however, as the influence
which has been exerted by this knowledge of God outside
the sphere created by itself is considered, theology provides
contributions (Lehnsatze) for other sciences, but operates it-
self no longer. Then it concerns the application of its results
to other objects, and no longer the product of what is to be
applied. As the theologian applies results furnished by logic,
but is thereby no creator of logic himself, so the jurist, philol-
ogist, medicus and naturalist must deal with the results of
theology without themselves being thereby theologians.

So far, on the other hand, as the jurist, the medicus, etc.,
finds data in revelation which bear not on the way of the
knowledge of God, but immediately on his department, he
must determine for himself what influence one and another
shall exert upon his own investigation. Now we speak of
course of the jurist, the philologist, etc., as he should be,
i.e. as standing within the pale of palingenesis, and as a
Christian bending his knee before the majesty of the Lord
and of His Revelation ; not being limited by Revelation, but
enriched and enlarged by it, seeing what otherwise he would
not see, knowing what otherwise would be hidden from
him. We do not advocate, therefore, a certain subserviency
of the other sciences to theology as the queen of sciences.
There can never be a question of such a relation of mis-
tress and servant, in a scientific sense, among the sciences.
He who investigates may render no obedience to any but
the irresistible impulse of his own conviction. Even where
material (Lehnsatze) is borrowed by other sciences from
theology, it occurs by no other authority than that by
which theology in turn borrows material from other sci-
ences, i.e. under the conviction that by similar investiga-
tions one would reach like results. The conflicts which arise
from this are therefore no conflicts between theology and
the other sciences, but conflicts which the jurist, the physi-


cist, medicus, and philologist faces, each in his own domain,
in the same way in which the theologian faces these in his.
All these conflicts arise from the fact that re-creation has be-
gun, indeed, potentially, but can be completed with the parou-
sia alone. If re-creation were completed now, every conflict
of this nature would be inconceivable. Since now it is not
finished, either in ourselves or in the cosmos, of necessity
we have to deal with natural and supernatural data. Both
these reflect themselves in our consciousness, and this gives
rise to the conflict in our consciousness ; which conflict is
ended only in so far as we succeed in tracing the real con-
nection between these two series of data. And this is by no
means accomplished by ignoring any data that present them-
selves to us, from both series, or from either of the two.
This might give us an ostrich wisdom but no human science.
In no particular should the naturalist, for instance, be im-
peded. With the aid of all possible means at his command,
he must prosecute his observations, and formulate what he
has observed. If, on the other hand, he undertakes to con-
struct a system from his discoveries, or commits himself
to hypotheses by which to interpret his observations, the
leaving out of account of the factor of Revelation is equiva-
lent to the work of one who, in the biography of his hero,
ignores his correspondence or autobiography. Whatever ap-
plies, therefore, to the origin and end of things cannot be
determined by the laws he has discovered, since every law,
when carried logically to its extreme in this matter of origin
and end, leads ad absurdum, and involves us in antinomies
that cannot be solved. If a law is to apply to a kingdom,
it is assumed that this kingdom has being. Neither is he
able, with his discovered law, to react against the possibility
of re-creation. Since he knows, while he himself is affected
by palingenesis, that (in order to realize the re-creation) a
higher law in God is bound to modify the operation of the
law which dominates the natural life. If he does not ac-
knowledge this, he denies in principle the very possibility
of re-creation, is without the photismos, and is unable to draw
any conclusion. If, on the other hand, standing himself at


tlie view-point of palingenesis, he prosecutes his studies,
nothing binds him but his own conviction, and he must
try to overcome, if possible, the conflicts that are sure to
present themselves. In this, however, he will not always
succeed, because the want of the necessary data renders this
impossible. And neither can the claim be made that the solu-
tion found by him shall be at once accepted by every one
else. Even in the scientific circles of Law, History and Phi-
losoph}'-, which do not reckon with palingenesis, differences
of tendency and insight prevail, from which definite schools
form themselves, which arise only presently to go down
again. All this is but owing to the limitation of our power
to know, to the paucity of data at our command, and to the
usual impossibility of verification. The slow progress made
in this direction is chiefly to be attributed to the fact that
theolog^ians have studied the above-mentioned conflicts almost
exclusively, and that the Christians who have devoted them-
selves to these studies have for the most part been dualisti-
cally constituted, being heathen with the head and Christian
at heart. And real advances will be made only when men
who are themselves heart and soul alive to the efficacy of
regeneration, at the same time devote all their powers of
thought to these natural and historical studies, and so face
these very conflicts.

The theologian also is familiar with these conflicts in
his domain, occasioned by the incongruity which so often
appears between natural and revealed theolog3^ The theo-
logian also is concerned with re-creation, and in the very
idea of re-creation lies the antithesis between that which is
to undergo the re-creative act and that which is established
as outcome of that act. Hence there is always a duality :
(1) the old data, which are present in what shall be regen-
erated, and (2) the neio data, which shall constitute the
regeneration. The Scripture, therefore, does not hesitate
to speak of the " old man " and of the " new man " (Col.
iii. 10), by which to indicate what present data must be
removed (aTre/cSuo-acr^ai), and what data, brought in from
without, must appear (evZva-acrOai). By that which must


be removed, we are by no means to understand the structure
of our human personality ; this, indeed, must remain, since
otherwise there would be a new creation and no reo-enera-
tion. What is meant is simply that which in that structure
has been deformed by sin and has become a sinful habit. Con-
sequently, revealed theology distinguishes in man between
what is his human structure, in order that it may attach it-
self to this, and all sinful deformity, in order to exclude it.
And since natural theology does not belong to what consti-
tutes the " old man," but on the contrary to the psychical
structure of our human essence, revealed theology does by no
means exclude this natural theology, but rather postulates it,
assumes it, and joins itself to it. For this reason it was so
absurd in the last century to place this natural theology as a
second principium of Divine knowledge by the side of the
Holy Scripture, and so really to furnish two theologies : first,
a brief and vague knowledge of God from natural theology,
and after that a broad and sharply outlined knowledge of God
from Revelation. For sinful man, as he is able in his psychical
structure from himself, in connection with his observation of
the cosmos, to obtain this natural theology (Rom. i. 19, 20), is
the person in all dogma toward whom Revelation directs it-
self, to whom it is disposed, and whom it takes thus and not
otherwise. Hence our older theologians were much nearer
the truth when they applied the clear distinctions between
man in his original creation, fallen, and restored, to almost
every dogma, provided it is carefully kept in view that they
did not delineate fallen man to whom the revelation was
made after life, but took their copy from the image offered
of him by the Scripture. Neither did they do this in order
to lose themselves in abstraction, which has nothing in com-
mon with life, but to obtain certainty that they did not
fall into error in their view of fallen man. If the}^ had
gone to work empirically, and had sought from life itself to
estimate what sort of a person fallen man might be, all cer-
tainty of starting-point would have been wanting ; which is
seen sufficiently clearly from the several sorts of theories
thn t have been framed concerning it. On the contrary, they


allowed the Word of God itself to furnish them this image,
and now they knew that they had solid ground under their
feet. Sinful man was devoid of an adequate self-knowledge,
and by the light of the Word of God alone does he recognize
his true appearance. Not as if henceforth he was to take no
further account of his essential existence, but because in this
way only did he come to know what his essential existence is.
Natural Theology, therefore, is not added to the Scripture as
a second something, but is taken up in the Scripture itself,
and by the light of the Scripture alone appears in connection
with the reality of our life. Hence natural theology cannot
be explained in dogmatics, except under the category of man
in his original righteousness and man in his fall. Every
other mode of treatment leads either to rationalism, by pla-
cing reason alongside of the Scripture as a second principium,
or to mysticism, by assigning the same place to the life of the
emotions, in order presently, by logical sequence, to push the
Scriptural principium to one side and to destroy it. But if this
ends the conflict for the theologian, both formally and with re-
spect to principle, the fact is not taken away that the antithe-
sis is bound to reappear between fallen man, who is to be re-
created, and restored man, who is to be looked upon as the fruit
of this re-creation. This would not be so if this re-creation
were completed in one moment. But it is unavoidable, since
it requires sometimes a very long process by which to bring
out potential re-creation to actual completion. Hence in the
doctrines of the Covenant, of Baptism, of the Church, of
Sanctification and in Ethics this conflict reappears again and
again, and to this day theology struggles to overcome the
conflict, theoretically in her formulation of the things to be
believed (credenda), and practically in her teaching of the
things to be done (agenda).

This conflict, therefore, exists not merely between theol-
ogy and natural science, etc., but extends across the entire
domain of human knowledge and presents itself to the Chris-
tian thinker in every department. The reason is plain. Since
sin denaturalized the entire cosmic life in and about man,
re-creation comes in to restore the entire cosmos, as far as it


stands related to man. It is one of the demands of truth,
therefore, that both factors of this conflict shall be exhibited
as they are. By placing a board covered with flowers across
an abyss, the abyss is not filled in. There is no need, how-
ever, that the conflict shall be overestimated. If, for instance,
the naturalist observes that the deposit of the Nile increases
annually so many millimetres, and that it is so many metres
high, his conclusion is indisputable, that, if this deposit has
been constant, the height of 12.47 metres now reached would
have required a much longer period of time than is known
to our era. But he is not able to prove that the deposit has
been constant. The required observation lies outside the
empiric domain to which he must limit his judgment. This
is not cited for the sake of proving the fact that our earth has
not existed longer than six thousand years. With reference
to this fact Scriptural teaching is by no means exegetically
sure. But for the sake of showing in a concrete instance
what we understand by an unlawful extension of the conflict.
Meanwhile, the relation between Theology and Philosophy
deserves separate mention, since the boundary which sepa-
rates these two sciences is frequently crossed from both sides.
This requires a closer analysis of the idea of philosoph}^
Philosophy embraces two things : on the one hand, the inves-
tigation into man^ s psychical existence^ and, on the other hand,
the effort to put together concentrically the entire content
of the scientific consclous7iess in organic connection, and to
explain it. Man's psychic existence leads, in turn, to a
separate investigation (1) into his psyche ('v|^f%^) as such
(psychology), and (2) into the ethical, sesthetical and logical
qualities of this psyche (ethics, aesthetics and logic). And
finally, Logic, in a broader sense, includes the investigation
into the consciousness as such, into the laws which govern
our thought, and into the ways which lead to knowledge
(^Prineipie7ileh7-e^ Logica und ErTcenntnisstheorie^. The sec-
ond task of Philosophy is of an entirely different kind ; it is
not directed to the conscious and thinking man, but it is the
effort of the thinking man himself to reflect the cosmos,
which presents itself to him as existing organically, as an


organic whole in the mirror of his consciousness. Actually,
therefore, two sciences are embraced in Philosophy which
evermore separate. Efforts have even been made to give an
independent position to the study of thinking man, under the
name of " Logic" (taken in a broader sense than now). This
plan will probably produce the farther effect of having Psy-
chology appear on a ground of its own, Avith its quality-doc-
trine in ethics and aesthetics. This will make Logic consist of
the science of thinking man, or, if you please, it will make tlie
Logos in man to be the object of investigation, and Philoso-
phy, in the narrower sense, will be the science which collects
the results of all the other sciences concentrically under a
higher unity. Thus we may have Logic as the science of
thinking (cogitare), and Philosophy as the science of being
(esse). Meanwhile, no objection can be raised against class-
ing, as yet, this entire complex of sciences under the common
name of the philosophical sciences, provided in the discussion
of the relations between theology and these sciences, the indi-
cated distinction is kept in view, and we no longer speak of
the philosophy. As for Logic, the saying that it is an aux-
iliary to the theologian reduces it by no means to the rank of a
handmaid of theology. It renders this service equally to all
the other sciences. As far as Logic is concerned, this entire
representation of the handmaid (ancilla) was simply a matter
of custom. It is, indeed, a patent fact, that in every science
man is the thinking agent, and if he shall undertake intel-
lectual pursuits in an accurate and prepared way, and in the
full consciousness of self, the knowledge and practice of the
faculty of thought are indispensable to him. A theologian
who undervalues Logic, as being little necessary to him,
simply disarms himself. This was by no means the practice
of our older theologians. They always emphasized most
strongly the study of formal logic, together with its related
arts (jexvaC^. By saying this, we do not imply that in this
field, also, no conflicts may present themselves. These are
excluded so long as one confines himself to logic in the
narrower sense, but are bound to come up as soon as "die
Principien der Erkenntniss," together with the method by


which to attain to knowledge, or included under Logic. This
appears all too painfully, indeed, from the serious effort of
naturalism to apply its method to the spiritual sciences. No
doubt, this conflict is least of all a conflict between theol-
ogy and philosophy, but one born from the differing dispo-
sitions of the thinker. If his ideal life is high, he cannot
reach the same conclusions as another person, whose mind
and tendency confine themselves entirely to the things seen
(opara). In the same way, if by regeneration thinking man
stands in vital communion with the kingdom of God, he must
see differently, and consequently judge differently, from the
one who stands outside of it. The same applies to psychology
and ethics. A Christian philosopher knows his own soul
Q^^Xn) ^nd views the ethical life differently from the phi-
losopher who stands outside of regeneration. The antithesis,
therefore, does not consist in the fact that theology offers a
Christian ethics and philosophy a neutral one. The Christian
philosopher cannot do otherwise than live Christian ethics,
and what theology gives is not a Christian, but a theological
etiiies, which will be more fully explained in the discussion of
the separate departments.

The real conflict, however, between theology and philoso-
phy begins, when philosophy is taken in the narrower sense,
as the science that investigates the principles of being, and
in virtue of these principles seeks to furnish, from all the
results of the other sciences, a concentric-organic life- and
world- view. Then we should be on our guard, lest theology
degenerate into philosophy, and philosophy capture for itself
the place of theology. This has already happened ; which
fact explains itself from the circumstance, that philosophers
for the most part have not reckoned with regeneration, and
that theologians frequently have deemed themselves able to
get along without philosophy. From the first it followed,
that besides a psychology, an ethics, an aesthetics and a logic,
philosophers also tried to furnish a doctrine of Crod, and from
tlie imperfectly interpreted data of the inborn and the ac-
quired knowledge of God, sought to construct a theology,
independently of the revealed knowledge of God. Thus they


set themselves in hostile array against theology, and in self-
defence were bent to oppose real theology, suppress it, and in
the end banish it from the arena. On the other hand, this
made theologians tend to view philosophy in the narrower
sense as a hostile phenomenon, and, since they had no real
Christian philosophy of their own, to make war against all
philosophy. Since, however, it is impossible to live even in
the Christian world without certain cosmological conceptions,
they attempted to supply this want in their dogmatics, and
thus it happened that they furnished not a simple theology
but a theology with a philosophical seasoning. To bring this
perverted relation to an end, it is necessary, on the one hand,
to recognize that philosophy has an entirely different task
to accomplish than theology, and, on the other hand, to dis-
tinguish sharply between Christian and non-Christian phi-

Philosophy has an entirely different task. Theology has
no other calling than to take up the ectypal knowledge of
God, as it is known from its source the Holy Scripture, into
the consciousness of re-created humanity and to reproduce
it. Philosophy (now always taken in the narrower sense), on
the other hand, is called to construct the human knowledge,
which has been brought to light by all the other sciences, into
one architectonic whole, and to show how this building arises
from one basis. From this it follows, that the need of philos-
ophy is a necessity (^avdyKrj} which arises out of the impulse
of the human consciousness for unity, and is therefore of equal
importance to those who stand outside, as to those who are in
the regeneration. To say that a Christian is less in need of
philosophy is only the exhibition of spiritual sloth and lack
of understanding. The more the enlightening restores har-
mony in our consciousness, the stronger must be the awak-
ening of the impulse after an unitous (einheitlich) organic
knowledge. While, on the other hand, the richer the data at
our service, the better the hope of success in this. Philoso-
phy which reckons only with natural data will always vibrate
between a pantheistic, deistic and materialistic interpretation,
and will never do more than form schools, while Christian


philosophy, whose theistic point of departure is fixed, is able
to lead to unity of interpretation within the circle of regen-
eration. But for this very reason theology will be able to go
hand in hand with a Christian philosophy. It is the task
of philosophy to arrange concentrically the results of all the
other sciences, and if non-Christian philosophy ignores the
results of theology, as though it were no science, theology
is in duty bound to enter her protest against this. If, on
the other hand, the philosopher himself is regenerate, and
is historically and ecclesiastically in union with the life of
palingenesis, then of course in his studies he includes the
results of theology, together with the results of all the
other sciences; and it is his care, architectonically to raise
such a cosmological building that of themselves the results
of theology also find their place in it.

§ 96. Self-determination of the Organism of Theology
Theological Encyclopedia includes generally the question
of the relation of theology to the Utiiversitg. As the matter
actually stands in Europe, however, this question concerns
the relation of theology to the Government. If the universi-
ties were free corporations, as formerly they were intended

Online LibraryAbraham KuyperEncyclopedia of sacred theology : its principles ... → online text (page 57 of 64)