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Ferdinand Christian Baur.

Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 online

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tion of external nature spoken of by the apostle, Eom. viii. 19 sq.
Nature is to be set free fix)m the vanity and finiteness to which
she has been made subject, and to be raised to the state of liberty
which is the glory of the sons of God. Thus external nature also
is one day to wear the likeness of that unshadowed Christian con-
sciousness which is at one with itself and God, and is absolved
from every limitation. The other occurrence which the apostle
expects from the future is the conversion of the Jews. The blind-
ness of a part of the Jews, he says, Eom. xL 25, will last only till
the fulness of the Gentiles be come in to the Christian body. Then
all Israel will be saved. If this is to happen only after the con-



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Chap. VI.] CHRISTIANITY AS A NEW PBINCIPLE. 227

version of all the Gentiles, then it must be at the end, just before
the Parousia, and the general resurrectioa And the apostle ex-
pected that he himself would live to see the Parousia! What
mighty events did he compress into the immediate future ! But
he has not given his reasons for these two expectations, nor did
he make definite doctrines of them.



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SEVENTH CHAPTER.

FAITH, LOVE, AND HOPE, AS THE THREE MOMENTA OF CHRISTIAN
CONSCIOUSNESS.

The process of the world's history is thus divided into two great
periods, with Adam at the head of the first and Christ at the head
of the second. The first comes to an end in the present world ;
the second has its beginning here, but stretches into the infinite
beyond of the world to come. The Christian consciousness is
similarly divided between the two elements of the past and of
the future. It goes back in Adam to the past, and follows the
whole process of the history that lies between Adam and Christ ;
and in Christ it directs its view to the most distant future, reaches
out to the consummation of all things, and finds its rest in the
result that lies behind that consummation, in God who has then
become all in all. As directed to the past, the Christian con-
sciousness is Christian faith; as directed to the future, it is
Christian hope. Christian faith must of necessity be directed to
the past. It is indeed the living present consciousness of Christ's
dwelling in us through his spirit ; yet the proper object of faith
is something that has happened, that is past, and in this instance
it is the death of Christ upon the cross. AU the different
momenta of Christian faith are centred in the cross. And it is
impossible to understand these momenta except by tracing them
backwards, and going up through the series, sin, death, law, to
Adam, with whom the series originated. Christian faith is essen-
tially historical ; what is immediate in it has yet been mediated
by past events, and has its roots in the past. Faith, therefore,
goes back to the past. It does not, however, take its stand at any



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Chap. VIL] FAITH, LOVE, AND HOPE. 229

one point of the past, it is under the necessity of going back to the
beginning ; from the beginning it is led forward again from stage
to stage, from, the past to the present, from the present to the
future. Thus faith stands in the present as an element of con-
sciousness, but lives in the past This attitude of the mind
towards the past comes out very distinctly in the view that every-
thing in the past has reference to us, and happened principally for
our sake. In the history of the Old Testament, in the fortunes and
vicissitudes of the ancient people, the apostle finds a multitude of
types of the various aspects of Christianity. He says, 1 Cor. x. 6,
after mQutioiung a number of occurrences from the Old Testament,
ravTa tuttoi rjfuv e^evrfiriaav, that we Should not lust sifter evil
things, nor be idolaters, etc. AU this happened to them as a type^
and had reference to the future. The past thus contains a picture
of the future, and does not find the object which it serves save in
that futura Hence it is written for our admonition, ew ov9 ra
jeKf) r&v al<0voi>p Kan^PTT^cev, on whom the end of the world's
history is advancing, on whom the last eventful time is just about
to break, in which that history shall reach its end and consumma-
tion. The whole interest of the world's history is concentrated in
the rekrf r&p auovtov; here every event is solemn and important ;
to this period all past events have been converging ; this period
all past events have been prefiguring. Thus the past is consulted
for an, explanation of the present. But not only so : the present
itself points us forward ; it also is to reach a fulfilment in the
future. The chief interest of the Christian consciousness is in;
the future, and thus faith, including as it does all the momenta of
the Christian consciousness, yet admitting of different aspects and
expressions, comes to be hope or longing. In thinking of the
future, the faith which justifies assumes the character of hope.
In the spirit, the apostle says. Gal. v. 5, that is, in our Christian
consciousness, we look through faith for righteousness or justifica-
tion as the object of our hope {eKirh BiKaioavvrj^ as 2 Cor. i 22,
dppa/Stov rov irvevfuiTo^, the irvevfia as appa^oav), we expect that
that SiKauHTvvrf, which is the object of our hope, wiU be realized.



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230 LIFE AND fVOBK OF PAUL. [Part IIL

Though justification belongs to the present as being Trvevfuiri and
6#c irloTefo^f yet as ekiri^; SiKauxrvvrj^ it is placed in the future*
The divine act of justification is only accomplished in the blessed-
ness of the future ; this is a part of ScxacovirOac, thus faith may
come to be more occupied with the future than with the present,
and then it will be hope. The Christian's whole thought, and
desire, and effort is occupied with the future ; he is drawn to it
by all the ties by which he is bound to Christ. He knows — for
the apostle's words, 2 Cor. iv. 14, may be understood of Christians
as Christians — " that he who raised up the Lord Jesus from the dead
will raise up us also by Jesus. For this cause we do not weary,
but though our outward man perish, yet our inward man is
renewed day by day. For our transitory light affictions procure
for us a transcendently exalted and eternal glory, while we look
not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen,
for the visible is temporal, but the invisible is etemaL" The
visible present is a vanishing momentum of the future which is
as yet invisible ; if the two be held side by side it cannot but
appear that the sufierings of the present time are of no account
whatever in comparison with the glory which the future will
make manifest in us. The Christian cannot but long for this
glory, the thought of which engrosses him ; his whole mind and
soul are possessed with longing, and he even imputes his own
mood to outward physical nature and thinks that it sympathizes
with his yearning. " For expectant nature waits for the manifesta-
tion of the sons of God, for the catastrophe at which they shall
appear in their glory as the sons and heirs of God. For nature
was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but for the sake of him
who subjected her ; the hope being reserved to her, that she also
should be freed from the bondage of corruption to the freedom
which is the glory of the sons of God. For we know that all
nature groans with us, and is in travail from of old till now : and
not only she, but we also, who have the firstfruits of the spirit,
we also groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the
redemption of our body. For we have been saved for hope (our



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Chap. VIL] FAITH, LOVE, AND HOPE. 231

salvation is only the object of hope) : but a hope which is visible
is no hope : for what a man sees he can no longer be hoping for.
But if we hope for what we see not, then we wait for it with
patience," Eom. viii 18-25. Thus eyerything is summed up in
hope : the deepest feeling of the Christian's heart is yearning, — the
patient waiting for what is yet to come. Even the spirit, which
the Christian has already received, and in which the blessiugs of
the gospel are already consciously his, even the spirit is only an
airapxHi only the sacred initiation, only the pledge of something
higher which has yet to come, of this namely : that the mortal
shall be swallowed up of life, 2 Cor. v. 5. This being so, the
apostle proceeds : — '* I have always good courage, and look beyond
the present to the future. I know that so long as I am in the
body I am absent from the Lord, for we walk in faith not by
sight, but I have good courage and wish rather to go forth out of
the body and to be at home with the Lord," w. 6-8. By force of
yearning after the Lord and reaching forth towards him beyond
the present to the future, the present and the future come to
appear to the apostle to lie quite close together. Everything
seemed to be pressing on to the close, all existing relations and
arrangements were uncertain, and on the brink of being dissolved,
1 Cor. vii 29. The future world was already beginning to appear,
he believed that he himself was to live to see the appearance of the
Lord when he should come again and close the world's history by
his arrival, 1 Cor xv. 52.

Thus the Christian lives only in the future ; the present has no
interest except as pointing to the future ; so little does it weigh in
itself, that if the present has been filled with a hope in Christ
which is not to have its fulfilment in the future, then Christians
are of all men most miserable ; that if there be no resurrection of
the dead, then those are right who say : Let us eat and drink, for
to-morrow we die, 1 Cor. xv. 19, 32. The consciousness of the
Christian has nothing in itself to hold on to, if it do not go out
beyond the present The consciousness of atonement and unity
with God is indeed such a blessed thing that there is no greater



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232 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

happiness for a man than to be by his holy life a temple of the
indwelling God ; and yet here it is as if it were not so, as if all
this blessedness and holiness of soul were nothing in itself, and
were of value only in the light of the future. There could be no
stronger expression of the Christian's dependence on the world to
come.

And is it then the case that the Christian has nothing in him-
self now, and irrespective of what the future is to bring, that can
lift him up absolutely above the limitations of his existence ? Is
the infiniteness of the Christian consciousness a thing yet to be
attained, and not already present ? To this we answer, that where
faith is as yet nothing more than hope, and the spirit works only
as the dirafyxrj, there love comes in as a new element. The
apostle describes the nature of love in the classical passage, 1 Cor.
xiii. ; without it, he says, the most distinguished spiritual gifts are
nothing worth, since it is love alone that teaches how to use them
weU, so that they are really serviceable. Of the highest practical
virtues it is the same, the utmost devotion and self-sacrifice are
worthless if they do not proceed from love. He goes on to
describe love and invest it with every possible distinction as the
moral quality by means of which man becomes free from every
selfish feeling, lives not for himself, but only for others, and has no
ends but such as are lofty and universal. Thus it is love which
gives the Christian consciousness and life its absolute value.
Even faith is nothing without love, though love again is simply
faith actively operative. In comparison with faith and hope, then,
the apostle distinctly calls love the greatest, since she is what she
is immediately and absolutely, and therefore always remains what
she is. She is greater than hope, for when the fulfilment comes
hope ceases to exist ; and she is greater than faith, for faith does
not reach its object immediately, but mediately, it is not a
irepiirarelv Bia etBov^, Our present knowledge is obscure and dim,
not a seeing face to face. This knowing in part has to give place
to perfect knowledge, this mediate and reflected knowledge to the
immediate and direct. Even faith as a form of knowledge will



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Chap. VII.] FAITH, LOVE, AND HOPE. 233

cease to be when it rises into sight. Thus love is the greatest of
the three momenta of the Christian consciousness ; it remains what
it is, it has absolute value even in the present Now if love have
absolute value in herself, if it be possible for the Christian even
now to be filled with a love which leaves everything that is
particular, egoistic, and limited, behind, and is her own reward
instead of having to expect her reward in the future world, — if this
be so, then is it not quite untrue to say that if there be no
resurrection of the dead there is nothing better to be done than
to eat and drink, since this life makes an end of all, and it is aU
the same whether a man lives so or so ? If love be in herself of
absolute value, then she is so without the resurrection, and all the
more the more she is without any ulterior interest to inspire her.
But the reason of her having this absolute value is that the
principle of the Christian consciousness from which she also
springs, faith with all that makes up its living contents, has
absolute value in itself. Faith, love, and hope, are the three
momenta of the Christian consciousness, the three essential forms
in which it finds expression ; but while to faith and hope that
infinity of the subject which Christianity promises is reserved for
the transcendent hereafter, and is unattained here, love possesses
that infinity here and now as her own immanent virtue. ir/<rrt9 Be
ar/dinj^ €V€pyovfi€urj is ttcotl^ in possession of those absolute con-
tents, which to 7r/<rT49 as expressed in cXtt*? were still imattained
and only to be expected from the future world. Love, therefore^
or faith in the form of love, is a greater thing than hope. What
faith is theoretically love realizes, a consciousness that is free
within itself, and absolved from all limits and barriers. Thus the
three momenta in which the apostle while at the highest stage of
his contemplation sums up the whole contents of his Christian
consciousness coincide with that principle, as we sought to
apprehend and to develop it at the outset of our discussion.



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EIGHTH CHAPTER

SPECIAL DISCUSSION OF CERTAIN SUBORDINATE DOGMATIC QUESTIONS.

In the preceding chapters we have been considering the Pauline
doctrine as a connected and organic system, in which one idea rose
logically out of the other, till the whole stood before us. We have
still to consider some questions which may serve to throw light on
individual points of the apostle's system, though they do not
materially affect its main positions. The question of greatest import-
ance under this head is, how the apostle conceived of the higher
nature of Christ. His doctrine of Christ is not indeed a key to his
system ; that system can be quite well examined and described
even before this question is discussed ; yet we must of course devote
some attention to it, and we may dispose of several other points at
the same time.

1. The conception or the essence of reKgion.

If it be asked what is the apostle's conception of religion, or what
he held to be the essential element of religion, we must, of course,
answer — Faith. This is man's part in religion ; what is to put man
in a right relation towards God is faith and what springs out of faith.
The chief proposition of the apostle's doctrine of justification, oai/^p®-
W09 €K 7r/<rr€0)9 ^i^erac, contains his definition of religion. Eeligion
is essentially faith. Faith is taken here not in its contracted, but in
its widest sense ; it is faith in that which God must have in him-
self in order to make man blessed, confidence in his omnipotence.
With regard to faith in Jesus, faith, that is, in its more specific
sense, when the apostle means to exhibit that element in it which
belongs to religion generally, he uses the expression irurrevetv hrl
rov eyelpavra Ii]<tovv tov KvpLov rjfi&v ex vexp&v (Eom. iv. 24).



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Chap. VIII.] DISCUSSION OF CERTAIN QUESTIONS. 235

And the distinguishing feature of Abraham's faith is that he be-
lieved in God as the ^axyrroiiov tow vcKpov^ xat koK&v ra fji^ oma
w oma (ver. 17). This faith, that God can bring about what seems
impossible, contains, on the one hand, an expression of absolute
dependence on God, and, on the other, an attitude of mind, in which
the standard of possibility is not taken from what actually is, which
surm^ounts the present reality, and takes account not only of the
visible, but also of the invisible. Faith here means, to abstract from
self and from one's own subjectivity, and to cast one's-self on the
objective by which the subject is determined. It is the trustful
surrender of the whole man to God. The ground of this confidence
is not only God's omnipotence, but also his love ; but first of aU it
must be his omnipotence, because if God is to be the object of con-
fidence, he must, first of aU, have the power to do what love sug-
gests. The most essential element of religion is thus, that man feel
his dependence on God, and place an unlimited trust in him.

The apostle, however, counts not only faith and confidence to be
of the essence of religion, but also a certain amount and kind of
action. He says, Eom. ii. 13, that not the hearers but the doers
of the law are just before God; the diflerence between circumcision
and uncircumcision is given up, but is replaced by that between
the observance and the non-observance of the law. For circum-
cision profits if one keeps the law, but if one be a transgressor of
the law then circumcision is made uncircumcision. If then uncir-
cumcision observes what the law pronoimces to be right and good,
then uncircumcision is counted for circumcision. And the uncir-
cumcision that is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judges him who with
the letter and with circumcision is a transgressor of the law. For
it does not matter what one is outwardly, but only what one is
inwardly in regard to the spirit with which he keeps the law (Rom.
ii 25). Compare 1 Cor. vii. 19: Circumcision is nothing and im-
circumcision is nothing; the main point is the T7j^crt9 ivroXav
Oeov, This view of the essence of religion rests on the idea that
justification by works of the law is abstractly a possible road to
attain that salvation which is religion's ultimate end. If we omit,



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236 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL, [Part III.

.what the apostle teaches further, that this road does not actually-
lead to that end, then the essence of religion must be the
doing, the observance, of the commandments of God. But works
and faith are related to each other in respect of the essence of re-
ligion as htKcuova-Oav ef epytov vofwv to iiKaiovaOai €K Tnarea)*; ;
works, as distinguished from and separate from faith cannot but
be imperfect, and can only be the essence of religion in one of its
lower stages. At a higher stage that essence is faith.

There are, however, some indications that the apostle regarded
knowledge as the highest region in which religion moves, and
placed knowing above both doing and believing.

He draws a contrast between dim and obscured seeing in a mirror,
arid seeing face to face; between his piecemeal knowledge now, and
that which was to come, the knowing perfectly as he was known
(1 Cor. xiii. 12). These last words may be understood either
generally, thus : I shall be both the subject and the object of the
knowledge of the future world, where all is clear and transparent ; or
they may be taken of the knowledge of God: my knowledge of God
will be as immediate and absolute as God's knowledge of me. In
any case the highest stage and form of religion is to the apostle that
in which it is an immediate relation of spirit to spirit ; if man's
knowledge of God be as absolute as God's knowledge of man, then
it is nothing but a knowledge identical with itself, the identity
of subject and object in pure knowledge. Of the same knowledge
,the apostle says, 1 Cor. viii 3, If any man love God, the same is
known of him. The context of the passage is not satisfied by the
interpretation Deo probatur. The apostle is speaking, verse 2, of
the yv&(Tc^ which (fyvaiol, of the yz/o)<jt9 which is disjoined from love;
and says that this is not the right knowledge, that there can be no
right yva>(Ti<; without the xadm Sel yv&vat, which nothing but love
can supply. Then he takes up the converse, verse 3, referring yv&acs
to dydin], and here he cannot mean anything but this, — that in the
true cuydirrj the true yv&ai^ is also contained. In such a man the
conception of yv&ai^ is realized through his being known by God
in loving Gt)d. This passive, being known, implies the active,



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Chap. VIII.] DISCUSSION OF CERTAIN QUESTIONS. 237

knowing: as the object of the absolute divine knowledge he is also
the subject of it, in so far as it is in him, as he, the object of it,
has it in himself Thus he is not only the object, but also the
depositary, the subject of this divine knowledge of him. Thus
religion is also knowledge — ^the highest absolute knowledge on
man's part, as on God's part God is known by man in the same
absolute way as man by God ; in this same absolute knowledge
God and man are one.

2. The doctrine of God.^

What is most remarkable in the apostle's doctrine of God is how
he seeks to remove from the idea of God everjrthing particular,
limited and finite, and to retain nothing but the pure idea of the
absolute. The final result of the whole world-process is that God
may be all in all, and this point of view is consistently adhered to
throughout Whatever subject he happens to be considering, its
reference to God is always an essential part of it ; and the more he
labours to grasp the subject in all its various aspects, and exhibit
the whole system of its parts and connexions, the more does the
whole train of thought seem to carry him at last by a natural attrac-
tion to the absolute idea of God, to find there his conclusion and
resting-place. As everything proceeds from God, so everything is
to be referred to him. The one God is the Father, ef ov ra irdvra
Koi i5a*€?9 €19 ainov (1 Cor. viii. 6), or in the more comprehensive
expression of Bom. xi 36, ef avrov KCbi Si avrov kcu 6*9 avrov ra
iravra, all things proceed from him, all things come to actuality
through him, all things have in him their final purpose. As God
in this absolute sense, he is further the Father of Jesus Christ, by
whom the whole work of redemption was ordained : ra iravra lie
rov Oeov, rov KaToKKa^avTo*; rifia^ iavr^ Bca *Irj(rov Xpicrrov
(2 Cor. V. 18). This constant reference to the one and universally
efficient causality of God, and the consequent feelings of gratitude
and wonder at God's greatness and goodness, causes the apostle to
break out in direct doxology, as in Eom. ix. 5, 2 Cor. i. 3, xi. 31.
This view of the absoluteness of the idea of God is the root of the

1 Cf. Neatest. TheoL 206 «g.



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238 LIFE AND WORK OF PA UL. [Part IIL

apostle's universalism ; he declares repeatedly that God is as much
the God of the Gentiles as of the Jews, and that in this matter there
is no respect of persons with God (Rom. ii 11, iii 29, x. 12). Chris-
tianity indeed is simply the negation of all particularism to the end
that the pure and absolute idea of God may be realized in humanity.
The barriers which divide Jews from Gentiles are removed in the
justification that is by faith, because faith is the freest way of jus-
tification, and the only way that answers to the absolute idea of God
(Rom. iii 30). But God has proved himself from the very begin-
ning to be the God of the Gentiles; he did not leave them without
a witness ; he could not do so, for it belongs to the idea of God
that he should manifest himself. To yvtooTov rod Oeov <l>av€pdv
ea-Tc €v avTol^y the apostle says (Rom. i. 19), — for God has mani-
fested it to them, for the invisible things of him are spiritually be-
held since the foundation of the world, both his eternal power and
his divinity. This sentence implies, on the one hand, that it be-
longs to the essence of God to reveal himself, and, on the other,
that his absolute nature cannot be revealed by auy revelation.
Invisible as it essentially is, it became visible so far as the invisible



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