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Ferdinand Christian Baur.

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thought and imagination could not but turn from the truly exist-
ent to the non-existent, the vain, the empty shadow. Their con-
sciousness being no longer enlightened by the true idea of God, fell
into an obscurity which not only debarred them from seeing the
true, but caused them to set the false in the place of the true.
Wanting the true knowledge of God they wanted also the absolute



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206 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part IIL

principle of truth ; they could place the standard of truth nowhere
but in themselves, and so they came to regard their own thoughts
and imaginations as the highest wisdom. ^aa-Kovre^ elvai ao<f)oi
e/jLtopdvOtfo-av, says the apostle, Eom. L 22, obviously with reference
to the Hellenic philosophy or cultura He saw in this philosophy
a knowledge that was nothing more than subjective, devoid of all
objective truth, sprung from the turbid source of human egoismu
For, of course, heathenism could not be simply the negation of the
true idea of God ; it necessarily set up something else to take the
name and honour of the absolute, in place of the true Absolute
whom it denied. Though the absolute contents of the idea of God
had vanished from consciousness, yet there remained behind the
formal postulate that there must be something absolute. Hence
heathenism is not merely a turning away from the true Absolute,
but the perversion of it to its opposite ; it is the falsehood that that
which is essentially finite and transitory is the absolute itself.
This is the character of the heathen idol-worship, in which the
Bo^a which properly belongs to the absolute God alone is trans-
ferred to finite beings, and the latter are substituted, as a spurious
likeness, for the former. Heathenism, as the apostle apprehends
it, is the theoretical confusion of the finite with the absolute, the
identification of the true, the real, which is the nature of none but
God himself, with the untrue, the unreal, the lie, — the placing of
the creature on the level of the Creator. As the radical error of
heathenism is an unnatural transposition of the true natural order
of the universe, so its practical outcome in the moral life of man
could be nothing but a perversion of the natural relations.
Heathenism and Judaism both fall under the common term
d/jLaprla ; the diflference between them is the difiference between
sin and vice : vice diflfering from sin in this, that it is not merely
the transgression of a specific injunction, which may have reference
to a merely outward act, but an inward immorality, a degradation,
disgrace, the pollution of the man's nature. This is what the
apostle means in the words, Eom. i 24, irapeSa/cev avrov^ 6 Oeo^ . . .
eU aKaOapacav (verse 26 : €t9 iraOrj aTifila^;) tou aTifia^ea'Ocu ra



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO JUDAISM. 207



aoDfiara axnSiv ev eavToh. In enumerating the heathen vices, the
apostle gives precedence to those, as most characteristic of heathen-
ism, in which the unnatural perversion of the order of nature
appears most clearly, verses 26, 27. He deduces this practical per-
version from that theoretical perversion of the consciousness which
all heathenism exhibited, verse 28. And as they did not like to
retain God in their knowledge, Grod gave them over to a reprobate
mind, so that they did what is not convenient. The moral self-
debasement into which they sank was the natural, and in so far
divinely ordained, consequence of the inadequate relation which
their religious consciousness sustained to the idea of Grod. This
view of heathenism followed of necessity from the idea with which
the apostle started, and which is the comer-stone of his whole
thinking on the subject, that it is an apostasy from the true idea of
God, which arises out of a moral aversion of the will from him.

Striking and profound as the apostle's description and explana-
tion of heathenism are, yet to trace it altogether to moral per-
versity is only half the truth. There is another and an equally
essential consideration to be added, namely, that this moral deflec-
tion could never have gone so far if the consciousness of God had
been clearer and deeper to begin with. When all the elements are
considered which go to make up the conception of the heathen
religion, this must not be forgotten, that the consciousness of God
originally present in it was not so deep and clear as elsewhere, that
it laboured from the beginning under this radical defect, and stood
in a position from which it had yet to develop itself, by working
itself clear of the natural element with which it was entangled.
At Eom. i. 19 sq., where he is concerned with a moral estimate of
heathenism, the apostle devotes himself chiefly to the first of these
two sides ; but the other was not necessarily excluded, since he
distinguishes different stages and periods of the religious develop-
ment of mankind. We saw from Gal. iii 19 sq., iv. 1 sq,, that he
regarded Judaism from this point of view, and so we might expect
that he would look at heathenism in the same way. Accordingly
we find that in that section of the Galatian Epistle he expressly



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208 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL, [Part in.

comprehends heathenism and Judaism in one term which places
them both at the same subordinate stage in the development of
religion. There can be no doubt that this is the force of the ex-
pression used, GaL iv. 3, 9, ra aToc'^ela rov Koafiov. The (rrocyeta
Tov Koa/Mov are not the elements as the ultimate principles of the
world in a physical sense, but the elements as beginnings of instruc-
tion, appropriate for those who are still vrfmoi, still in the age of child-
hood. The <rro^')(ela must certainly include the law : and as the
vTfjTLOL for whom the aroiyua are designed have already been placed
(iv. 1) in the category of bondsmen, the apostle is here character-
izing the relation to the crroiyeia as a relation of bondage. Yet
the point of view from which the law is regarded in the expression
crroi'x.^la is different from that where it is called a iraiZaycirlo<;.
There is at any rate something more than mere discipline and pun-
ishment ; here the law is not merely for this negative purpose, but
also for the positive end of instruction. The vrpno^ is to be in-
structed, as befits his age, in the first elements. As for the words
TOV Koafiov, the writer is treating of the periods of religious develop-
ment, and KoafjM^ can only signify cosmic or religious history. The
primary elements in which the vrpno<; is instructed are the elements
and beginnings of the world itself at the very beginning of its his-
tory, when it was in a state still rude and imperfect, and the forms
it had assumed were hard and severe. It is true that the law is
the first and most important of these croi/xeLa rov Koafiov ; but
that is only in so far as it is regarded generally under the aspect
of a religious development which still bears the features of a rude
beginning. Thus it is probable that the apostle meant to include
in the crro^^eta rov Koafiov both Judaism and heathenism. In verse
9, however, there can be no doubt that this is so. Here he is ad-
dressing Gentile Christians whom Jews were seeking to influence
in the direction of Judaism. He calls their leaning towards
Judaism a return to those <rroi)(€ui, weak and beggarly elements,
as he terms them, because there is nothing in them from which a
strong spiritual life could be evolved. Where God is not yet
known as a spirit, where religion is occupied with nothing but



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO JUDAISM. 209

the material, sensual, carnal (for this is the idea of the aroi'xela),
there all is dead and empty, there is no true vital principle, the
religion is void of spiritual contents. These two religions are at
the most elementary stage of religion ; they are occupied with the
material, not with the spiritual ; they place the essence of reKgion
in things which belong entirely to the region of the physical life.
The oToi'xeia are thus the first beginnings, the elements of religion,
and the word conveys further the impression that this elementary
religion is occupied with nothing higher than the elements, prin-
ciples, and substances of the outward physical life. Judaism con-
tained many of those purely natural elements : it also was bound
to the natural, the material, as to days, months, fixed times ; thus it
also was a nature-religion, based upon those physical aroix^la, the
natural being invested as such with religious significance. The
oToi'xela, then, the elements of religion^ of which the apostle speaks

^ The meaning generally given to arotxem, elements of religion, or beginnings
of religions knowledge, is asserted by Neander to be inadmissible, because Paul
would then be indicating by it a common conception, applicable to a certain
extent to heathenism and Judaism equally (PI. and Tr. i 465). ** But how," he
says, *' could this agree with the views of Paul, who regarded Judaism as indeed
a subordinate and preparatory stage of religion, but yet as one founded on a
divine revelation ; who saw in heathenism, on the other hand, that is, in idolatry,
of which he is speaking here, not a subordinate stage of religion, but a thing
entirely foreign to ^e nature of religion, a suppression, brought about by sin, of
the original knowledge of God?" He proposes, instead, the following interpreta-
tion : the entanglement of religion in sensuous forms, that is, her state of servi-
tude under the elements of the world, is what is conmion to Judaism and
heathenism. But we must ask if this be not as much as the other a common
conception, applicable to a certain extent to Judaism and heathenism equally ?
What difference is there logicaUy between the one interpretation and the other ?
And what difficulty is there in supposing that Paul placed heathenism on one side
on the same level with Judaism, and on another side beneath it ? [In his Neutest.
Theol., 171, Baur adheres only to one side of the above interpretation of (rrotxcia
Tov Koa-fiov (on the meaning of the term in the Epistle to the Colossians, vide p.
30). He says there that the aroix^la tov K6<Tfiov are physical elements and sub-
stances as the basis of the heathen nature-religion, that is, the constellations :
that in many things, in its symbols and ceremonies, its feasts, and its sumptuary
laws, and in many other ordinances, such as circumcision, Judaism had the same
physical character ; that the radical ideas of both, the principle of the religious
consciousness in both, were so much bound up in the natural, the material, the
sensuous, as to place man before God in no higher relation than that of bondage :





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210 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL, [Part III.

here, are the physical elements, which were reckoned objects of
reverence in both religions, the Jewish and the heathen, and served
in a slavish and unspiritual way.

Though this be so, yet heathenism stands far below Judaism :
for the latter consists not only in the <rroij(€la, but also in the law,
and in the promises which stand above the law. Heathenism has
indeed a law in itself, yet it is essentially different from the law ;
and in the same way it is a religion, and yet no religion, because
the conception of religion is only realized in the form of revelation.
Thus Judaism, negative as its relation to Christianity is, is yet on
the same line with Christianity in this, — ^that it is a BtaOrj/crj, a
special institution of God, through which he has entered on a
definite relation towards man. There is an old and there is a new
BiaO^KT), 2 Cor. iii 6, 14, and the two BiaO^Kai are so closely and
so essentially connected, that the new could not have come into
existence without the old. It is true that circumcision has no
religious significance for the Christian ; yet the way from heathen-
ism to Christianity does, in a certain aspect, lie through Judaism ;
it is impossible to understand the new SiaOi^/crf without being
acquainted with the old. This explains to us why when the apostle
speaks of the Old Testament in his Epistles he makes no distinc-
tion between the Judaeo-Christian and the Gentile-Christian sec-
tions of his readers ; and how, even when addressing Gentile
Christians, he does not scruple to call the members of the old dis-
pensation their fathers, 1 Cor. x. 1, thus indicating how in his view
the two dispensations formed one connected whole. This is the
essential advantage which Judaism has over heathenism, TrepiTOfiff
over oLKpo^vaTLa, Though there is no distinction between Jews
and Gentiles in their relation to Christianity, though in this respect
the two are precisely equal, yet as soon as a comparisoti is instituted
between the two, the 'louSato? is preferred to the ^'EWrjv, Rom.
i. 16. The Jew stands at a higher stage of religious consciousness,

so that in neither religion was God known as a spirit. In this he follows
Schneckenburger : was sind die (rroix* t, k. Theol. Jahrb. vii 1848, p. 445 aq. —
Editor.]



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Chap. V.] RELATION OF CHBISTIANITY TO JUDAISM. 211

or, as the apostle defines the superiority of the irepirofiri to the
axpofivoTui, Bom. iii 2, hnarevdrfcrav ra \oyia rov Seov t^
nrepvro^^ This, it is evident, does not refer to circumcision as
such, but to Judaism as the religion of the circumcised. There is
committed to Judaism something that heathenism does not possess.
There is a peculiar treasure deposited in Judaism for preservation.
God has declared himself in it in a special manner ; or, in a word,
the religion it contains is the religion of revelation. Being the
religion of revelation it is also the religion of the promise, in which
that is contained in idea, which is realized in Christianity. It is
to the Israelites that the sonship belongs, and the visible presence
of God, the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service
of God, and the promises ; to whom belong the fathers, of whom
Christ came according to the flesh ; wherefore God who is exalted
above all is to be blessed for ever, Rom. ix. 4, 5. This also is part
of that relation of identity in which Judaism stands to Christianity,
that in it everything that is distinctive and valuable in Christianity
is already contained typically, symbolically, allegorically. The
baptism of the Israelites unto Moses is a type of Christian baptism.
The food and drink with which they were supplied in the wilder-
ness is a type of the Christian supper, 1 Cor. x. 1 sq, ; the slain
paschal lamb is a type of Christ killed at the feast of Passover,
1 Cor. V. 7. Thus Judaism is related to Christianity as the type
to the antitype.



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SIXTH CHAPTER

CHEISTIANITY AS A NEW PRINCIPLE IN THE WORLD'S
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT.

The relation of Christianity to heathenism and Judaism is, as we
have seen, defined as that between the absolute religion and the
prepajBtory and subordinate forms of religion. We have here the
progress from servitude to freedom, from nonage to majority, from
the age of childhood to the age of maturity, from the flesh to the
spirit. The state left behind is one in which the divine spirit is so
little apprehended, that those dwelling in it are without any higher
guiding principle : this is heathenism, 1 Cor. xii. 2, 3 : or it is the
torturing conflict between the law and sin, beyond which Judaism
can never pass. The state now reached is a truly spiritual con-
sciousness chained with its own proper contents and at one
with itself. It is only in Christianity that man can feel himself
lifted up into the region of the spirit and of the spiritual life : it
is only here that his relation to God is that of spirit to spirit.
Christianity is essentially the religion of the spirit, and where the
spirit is there is liberty and light, the clear and unshadowed iden-
tity of the spirit with itself. Now what Christianity thus is as
the absolute religion it is only through Christ And the explana-
tion can only be found in Christ, how the transition is effected
from the first period, including heathenism and Judaism, to the
second. This of itself, of course, should warn us not to think of
a transition lying in the nature of the case and proceeding naturally
out of it. In the apostle's view Christ's entrance into the world
and into the life of humanity is a thing entirely supernatural.
Christianity comes into existence by God's sending his Son, Yet



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Chap. VL] CHRISTIANITY AS A NEW PRINCIPLE. 213

this does not prevent the apostle from regarding the appearance of
Christ and of Christianity in the light of a process developing itself
in history and advancing through various stages. In all those con-
trasts in the light of which Christianity is regarded, as that between
servitude and freedom, nonage and majority, sin and grace, death
and life, the first and the second Adam, we trace the idea of an
immanent process of development, proceeding by the conflict of
mutually reacting momenta. Supernatural though the appearance
of Christianity is, it is not entirely incomprehensible. It is to be
comprehended, in part philosophically, from the essential inward
connexion of one momentum with another, and in part historically,
from the historical conditions in which it appeared. As for the
first, Christianity is the natural outcome of the process in which
sin grows by the operation of the law into the consciousness of sin ;
for this is the necessary condition for the approach of grace. The
latter is most clearly stated by the apostle in the passage GaL
iv. 4. When the fulness of the time was come, God sent his Son,
as one y€vdfi€vov €K yvpaiKo^, yepofievov inro vo/mv, iva rov^ inro
vdfiov e^arfopofTp, iva njv viodeauiv airoXafitofiev, That is to say,
that God placed the man Jesus when he destined him to be the
Messiah, or the Son of God, in that historical crisis where the ful-
ness of the time was to ensue and the one period was to pass
over into the other. On this account he was to be essentially
man, and to enter into the world just as any other man, as one
yepofievo^ €k jvpcuko^. This expression for being bom as man does
not directly exclude a supernatural generation, but in the connexion
it certainly seems very unlikely that such an idea was entertained.
He who is bom of a woman is simply a man coming into exis-
tence in the ordinary and natural way. He is y€vdfJL€vo<; he yvvai-
IC09) and he is yevdfiepo^ viro vdfiov ; he bears the impress and
character of the crrotp^cZa rov xdarfiov. The apostle's idea seems to
be that since the transition from one period to another was to be
made in his person, it was necessary that he should represent the
first period in his own persoa As he entered at his birth into the
conditions of humanity, he stood also under the law : the law made



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214 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL, [Part IIL

the same claim on him that it makes on all other men. Indeed he
became the curse of the law, but not on his own account, — it was
that by dying on account of the curse and discharging the claims
of the law, he might bring in freedom from the law and make men
children of God, viol 8€ov. He himself is in a special sense the
vlo? Oeov : for in him humanity rises to the consciousness of
unity with God, in him there is for humanity the principle of its
new existence, where it is not servile, but free, not under guardian-
ship, but of full age. Thus as it belongs to human nature
that the man passes from the restrictions of infancy and youth to
the independence of maturity, from the unfree to the free, from the
servant to the son, so Christ entered into humanity as a Son at tlie
time appointed for that event, that is, when himianity had arrived
at its maturity. In this view Christianity is not merely a thing
that has been imported into humanity from without ; whatever con-
ception be formed of Christ's person, Christianity is a stage of the
religious development of the world which has proceeded from a
principle that is internal and immanent in humanity. Christianity
is reached by the progress of the spirit to the freedom of its own
self-consciousness, and humanity cannot arrive at this period till
it has traversed that of imfreedom and servitude. Christ as the
principle of this period of human development is the second
Adam over against the first This antithesis as much as the others
suggests that Christianity is one of the stages of an immanent pro-
cess of development. This antithesis contains the main ideas with
which we are concerned in this chapter.

In the period of the first Adam sin and death are the ruUng
powera Death is the wages of sin : that is, so certainly as a man
sins, so certainly does he also die. The universal reign of death
is what chiefly distinguishes the first period from the second. But
do not men die in the second period just as much as in the first ?
And if death comes because of sin and is the punishment which
sin deserves and draws after it, then how can the apostle say, as
he does. Bom. iiL 25, that God has left unpunished the sins com-
mitted before Christ ? If men died during that period, then their



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Chap. VL] CHRISTIANITY AS A NEW PRINCIPLE. 215

death paid the penalty their sins had incurred and they required
no other means of expiation. And if the death of Christ be a means
of expiation set up by God, available to all men for the forgiveness
of their sins, if sin has ceased to have such a hold on men that
nothing but their death can discharge the penalty of it, and the
power of death which reigned throughout the first period is thus
broken in the second, then those who have received into themselves
the grace bestowed in Christ and therein the justification by which
life is imparted, should not die in this latter period. But if they
do die in this period as much as in the former, then what is the
difference between the two ? Or are we to understand the long-
suffering which God manifested in the first period to have consisted
in this : that he did not suffer the human race to die out altogether,
and that the dead were always succeeded by the living ? But this
is the case in the second period as well, and we fail to see in what
sense it is true that the one period is distinguished from the other
by death being the dominating principle of the one and life of the
other. The solution of this difficulty lies in an accurate apprehen-
sion of what the apostle means by the words fo)^ and davaro^.
He uses these words in a double sense, as including both the
physical and the ethical, and neither of these two spheres is thought
of without an implicit reference to the one and original element in
which both have their common root. Death and life stand over
against each other as the first and the second Adam. In the first
Adam men die, in the second they rise to life, those namely who
believe in him. From this qualification of the statement, that only
those rise who believe in him, we see how the physical notion of
life and the ethical are interwoven. If it be said that men die in
the first Adam, the death here spoken of is first of all physical
death ; they die because sin runs its course in them and is followed
by death, the wages of sin. But this is merely the physical death
to which man is liable at any rate in virtue of his bodily constitu-
tion, and which is not necessarily the extinction of his whole ex-
istence. Why should so great importance be attached to death in
this sense ? This arises from the Jewish view of the nature and office



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216 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part IIL

of the body as an essential element of the human personality. With-
out the body man is in this view without any material basis for his
existence ; if death asserts its power over his body, then the power
of death reigns over him in his entirety ; all the privations bound
up in the idea of death are now realized in him ; there is no longer
any life for him, nor any salvation, nor any connexion with the
kingdom of God. And if death is not to be the total severance of
this connexion, if he is to look for a life worth having after death,
then he must be assured of this point first of all, that death has no
power entirely to destroy his physical life. Hence the great im-
portance which the resurrection of Jesus possesses for the Christian
consciousness. It is the positive and actual evidence of a power
of life by which death is overcome. Physical death is abolished by



Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 21 of 35)