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Ferdinand Christian Baur.

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can become visible, through the creation of the world and all that
God has been doing since then, through all God's works in nature.
But then this is brought about only through the instrumentality
of thought : ra dopara . . . voovfieva xaOoparcu : it is only through
thought that it comes to presentation. This knowledge of God
through the works of nature is not immediate but mediate ; nature
may be made the subject of thought and contemplation, and, from
the operations that are visible there, we may infer an invisible
cause. The apostle thus indicates that the conclusion from efifect
to cause is the natural way to the knowledge of God. That which
is known of God in this way is his power, and in general the
divinity of his nature. Whether OeioTqs be understood specially
of the goodness of God as a further element in his nature, and
difierent from his power, or, more accurately, of the sum of his
divine attributes in general, in any case the apostle places the
power of God before all his other attributes. It is the property by



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Chap. VIII.] DISCUSSION OF CERTAIN QUESTIONS. 239

which God calls the non-existent to exist (ra firi ovra ®9 ovra
KoXel, Eom. iv. 17). By his omnipotence God created the world;
and Christianity, as a spiritual creation, is also to be referred to his
omnipotence. The same God at whose command light shone out
of darkness has also, as the apostle says (2 Cor. iv. 6) (here he is
speaking of himself personally, but what he says is true of all
Christians), shined into our hearts, to give us a clear knowledge of
the glory of God as it appears on the face of Jesus Christ. Chris-
tianity is a creation of light, as the first appearance of the world
was ; as creator of the world God called the non-existent into
existence, and that important event on which Christianity depends,
the resurrection of Jesus, is a similar act of his omnipotence (the
Apostle places the ^awiroielv tov9 i/€/c/)ou9 in the same category with
the KoKeiv ra firj ovra ©9 ovra, Rom. iv. 1 7). Thus while the general
conception which the Christian consciousness entertains of God is
that he is the Father of Jesus Christ, this conception is further
defined in this way : that God is he who raised up Jesus from the
dead (Eom. iv. 24, 25, 2 Cor. iv. 14). The reason for the omni-
potence of God occupying so large a place in the Christian con-
sciousness of him is, that it is essential to be assured that he
Sui/aT09 earc xal woifjircu what he has promised (Eom. iv. 21). Next
to his omnipotence, however, is his love : for his love is the first
and highest cause to which the whole work of redemption which
he ordained and set in motion, is to be referred (Eom. v. 8, viii 38,
2 Cor. xiii 13). But his love cannot have its way without satis-
faction being done to his justice : for his justice is the attribute
through which that relation between God and man which is ade-
quate to the idea of God must be accomplished. Thus Christianity
and the scheme of salvation which it declares is itself a revelation
of God's justice (Eom. i 17). When his justice has been satisfied
then his love appears in the forgiveness of sins as grace, and, where
grace prevails, the wrath of God, his retributive justice, has no
longer any part to play.

3. The doctrine of Christ

Our consideration of the Pauline doctrine has not as yet carried



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240 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part IIL

us beyond the idea of the /cvpio<;, the risen and glorified Lord. All
that that doctrine involves in regard to the person of Christ is that
Christianity could not have inaugurated the new epoch, which
dates from the resurrection of Christ, and reaches its full accom-
plishment at the end of the world, if Christ did not possess in the
higher dignity to which he has ascended the principle of that new
life which is to prevail when death has been subdued. But the
higher dignity which Christ attained after his resurrection suggests
to us very naturally that we should direct our view backwards and
inquire, what is Christ ? What was he before he entered on his
human existence ? He was sent as the Son of God : he entered
as the Son of God, at the time which God had fore-ordained, into
the history of humanity and of the world (Eom. viii 3, GaL iv. 4).
This, however, indicates nothing more than his exalted office as
Messiah. These expressions do not inform us whether he was the
son of God before he was sent, or became the son of God by being
sent. We have therefore to lock for something more than this wo?
&eov, and to inquire how much is implied in his pre-existence.
This question has been frequently discussed of jtai;e,^ yet the apostle's
position on this subject has never yet been accurately determined.
It is clear on the one side that a pre-existence such as that of the
Johannine Logos-doctrine cannot be traced in our apostle's writings ;
yet on the other side, it is equally clear that we cannot believe
him to have regarded Christ's personality as originating only in his
human existence. We have to define what the view is that is
situated between these two extremes.

By this time there should surely be little doubt among inter-
preters that Christ is not called Gt)d at Eom. ix. 5. When we
consider how absolute the idea of God is to the apostle, how
powerfully the absoluteness of God had taken possession of his
mind, and how distinctly and consistently he represents the rela-

* Cf. my Greachichte von der Lehre der Dreieinigkeit u.8.w., 1 ThL p. 81.
ZeUer, XJeber einige Fragen in Betreff der neutestamentlichen Theologie, TheoL
Jahrb. 1842, p. 51 9q, KOstlin, der Lehrb. des Evangeliums und der Briefe Joh.
and die verwandten neutest. Lehrb. 1843, p. 290 8q, TheoL Jahrb. 1845, p. 89 «g.



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OHAt». VIIL] DISCUSSION OF CERTAIN QUESTIONS. 241

tion of Christ to God as one of subordinjttioii, we cannot possibly
believe that in this one passage he meant to describe Christ as the
absolute God exalted above alL The Pauline mode of thought on
such subjects recognises the limits of the monotheism of Judaism,
and such an expression would be simply inconsistent with that
monotheism. Nor is there any reason why these doxological
phrases should be token in a different sense from the other doxo-
logics which occur in the apostle's writings. Why should they
not be a doxology referring to God ? For this is what the context
requires. It is said that the preceding to Kara adpKa leads us to
expect some higher predicate to be ascribed to Christ But that is '
not the case : the apostle's intention here is not, as Bom. i. 3, to
expound his conception of Christ in all its elements, and to indi-
cate that in him which is more than the aap^. If this were his
intention, it is certainly carried out in a very different way from
what we find in Eom. i 3, — ^indeed in a very peculiar and inex-
plicable way. What he is sajdng here is simply that one of the
great advantages by which the Israelites are distinguished, is that
Christ appeared among them, and as a descendant of their fathers,
that Christ, in fact, belongs first of all to them. He feared, how-
ever, to allow too much to the particularism of the Jews, and so he
had to modify what he had said of Christ's descent by adding that
this applied only to the natural extraction of the Messiah ; that it
was only Kara adpKa. And this did not require to be balanced
by another opposite predicate any more than the 76i/o/^€]/o9 etc
fpwanc6<; of GaL iv. 4. Here then we have a passage in which the
apostle sums up all the benefits and advantages conferred on the
Israelites by God : and the climax of all these is said to be that
the Messiah appeared among them, and as the descendant of their
fathers ; and what is more natural than that, when he arrived at
that climax, he should give utterance to his feelings of thanks and
adoration ? In doing so he uses the words eU tou9 cuSivwi, as if
to indicate that proofs like these of the divine favour, which the
Israelites had enjoyed, could never be obliterated, nor cease at any
future time to be a ground of gratitude and praise. De Wette

Q



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242 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part III.

thinks it unnatural that God should be spoken of as the Being who
is all in all, as if purposely to overshadow Christ : yet it cannot be
alleged that there is no sufficient reason for thus subordinating
Christ to God, and for this doxology in which God is praised.
The passage, if properly understood, proves exactly the opposite of
what is commonly deduced from it ; it proves, namely, how little
it consisted with the apostle's ideas to place Christ on an equality
with God. and to give him the name of God.

The passage 1 Cor. viii. 6 affords much more plausible grounds
for the assertion that the apostle ascribed divine pre-existence to
Christ. That this is the force of the words Bt ov ra irama koI
'qfieU Sl ain-ov, is argued on the foUowiiig grounds : — 1. That it is
implied in the analogy of these words with the preceding ef ov ra
Trdvra, and that the expression used of Grod, Eom. xi. 36, is pre-
cisely identical 2. That it is implied in the collocation of wavra
and ^/LceZ?, the latter being understood most naturally of the whole
body of Christians, and the former of the totality of things existing.
3. That the context requires it. The reason given here why
Christians need not scruple to eat meat ofiPered to idols is the
same as that given x. 25 sq,, viz., that the meat which is dedi-
cated to idols belongs in fact to the God of the Christians. This is
what is meant by the words e| ov r. tt. Now what is said here
of Christ must be meant to have the same force as what was said
before of God, and the conclusion is : You are at liberty to eat
what the heathens have presented to their masters, for this also
belongs to your master, Christ, since it, with all existing things, was
made by him.^ In spite of all this, I still fail to see that this is the
correct interpretation of the passaga As for the last of the three
points, the words do not bear the meaning that is put into them ; there
is no such immediate reference to the flesh offered to idols. What
the apostle means is just this, that the etSoyka as such have no reality,
for though there be many so-called gods, higher and lower {Oeoc and
Kvpiot)y yet they are no true existences. Christians only have the
one God, the Father, from whom all things are, and to whom the
1 Zeller, op. ctt. p. 57.



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Chap. VIIL] DISCUSSION OF CERTAIN QUESTIONS. 243

Christian has to refer all things ; and the one Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom all things are, and through whom Christians also
are. Thus if the formal distinction drawn in heathenism between
Oeol and xvpLoi be a correct one, yet only in Christianity are there
a 0€o<; and a Kvpco^ who answer to the distinction. In this passage
also we have to observe that Christ is not himself called God ; be
is placed beside the one God as Kvpio^, as a subordinate being,
corresponding to those beings of lower rank whom the heathens
worshipped in addition to the beings they called gods, and who
stood in a more familiar relation to men than the gods did. What
does this show with regard to the pre-existence of Christ ? If the
distinction between the 5eo9 and tcvpio<; be a clear and well-defined
distinction, then it is very improbable that the apostle ascribed to
Christ as Kvpio^ the highest prerogative of deity, the creation of
the world. K everything were created by him, then, of course, he
would be not only xvpio^ but 0€O9. The Logos is ©eo?, just because
aU things were made by him. The only conclusion open to us in
interpreting this passage is therefore that between the creation (ef
airrov ra iravra) and the consummation (rjfieh el? auTov)^ the apostle
interpolates what is attributed to Christ, in the words kclI ef? . . .
Zv airrov, that is, the government and preservation of inanimate
beings. Ta irdvra will then be all that is continually coming to
pass throughout the course of time ; all things that come to pass in
whatever way come to pass through Christ ; and we also are what
we are through him.^

This rendering of the iravra attributed to Christ is certaiuly
quite consistent with his character as Kvpio^ ; yet if we reflect upon
the sense in which the apostle uses the particle ha of Christ in
other passages, we shall see that this rendering of irdvra ascribes
too much to him. 2 Cor. v. 17, 18, he says that at the standpoint
of the Christian consciousness all things are become new, ra he
irdvra ck rov Oeov rov KaraWd^avro^ iJ/aS? eavrw Sea ^Ivjaov
Xpurrov. Here also all things are of God, because God is always
the ultimate causality from which all things proceed. But these

1 Eostlin, op, cU. p. 309.



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244 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part UI.

words are obviously inclusive of the ra Trdvra Sta 'Irfaov Xpurrov.
All that Christ has done for the redemption and salvation of men is
regarded by the apostle as done by God through Christ (Sw — Eom.
i 6, iii '24, 25, v. 2, 9, 10, 11, 18, etc.) This irdvra Sia 'Ivaov
X/>*<rro5 is a part of the ra irdvra ex tow 0€ov. Thus we see that
the words 1 Cor. viii 6, cf ov ra irdura K€u rjiMl^ Bi airrov, refer not
only to the creation of the world, but also to the work of redemp-
tion in all its parts. Now is it not obvious that the words immedi-
ately following these, S*' ov ra vdvra km rifieh St' airrov, do not
cover more than the ra vdvra of 2 Cor. v. 18, and signify all
things referring to the redemption and atonement wrought by God
Oia Iffo-ov Xpiarov^

Another of the principal loci from which it is sought to show
that the pre-existence of Christ occurs in Paul's writings is 1 Cor.
X. 4. There may be a question, it is said« as to the exact sense in
which Christ is called the spiritual rock which followed the Israel-
ites in the wilderness; yet there can be no question, that he is
represented as living, and in some way active at that time. I do
not see that even this is necessarily impUed in the passage. Christ
is called a irerpa irvevfjuiri/cTf in that sense only in which it is said
of the Israelites that they to avro fip&fui irvevfuiriKov e<l>ar/ov and
TO avTo TTOfia irvevfxarbKov einov, Now the reason^ why the manna
is called a spiritual food, and the water which sprang up in the
wilderness a spiritual drink, is simply that they are invested with
a symbolical reference to the Lord's Supper. Here as elsewhere
that is called pneumatical which appears to be the higher spiritual
sense of Scripture in the light of allegorical interpretation. And
when the apostle calls Christ the Trpevfiari/CTi irerpa, that simply
means that he gave an allegorical meaning to the rock which
foUowed'the Israelites, and discovered in it a type of Christ. We
should at any rate require more evidence before we could allow
that this passage contains an assertion of Christ's pre-existence,
and of his actual working in his pre-existent state.

Nor is this pre-existence to be extracted from the passage
2 Cor. viii, 9. Accurately interpreted that passage simply aifirms



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Chap. VIIL] DISCUSSION OF CERTAIN QUESTIONS, 245

that Christ was poor (not hecame poor), although he was rich : i.e.
that he lived in poverty and low estate, though as the redeemer he
was rich enough to make us rich with the grace of the redemption
which he brought us.^ It is true that spiritual riches are not a
direct contradiction to outward poverty; but the point is just that
we ought to have the same self-sacrificing spirit as Christ had, who
was poor and lowly, though exalted so far above us in the riches of
his grace.

Thus none of these passages is enough to prove that the apostle
ascribed pre-existence to Christ, a divine glory antecedent to his
human existence. None of the predicates which he applies to
Christ refers to a previous existence : he calls him simply tcvpio^,
never 0€O9. Indeed it cannot be allowed that he could possibly
have regarded him as God. He calls him a man, not meaning
thereby that there was a human side of his nature ; he calls him
man in a way which precludes us from thinking of a higher
divine nature essentially belonging to him. Over against th^ one
man through whom sin and death entered into the world, he is the
eh avOpcoTTo^ *Iri<rov^ X/omtto?, in whom the grace of God has been
extended to many, Eom. v. 15. As by a man came death, so by
a man came the resurrection of the dead, 1 Cor. xv. 21. As Adam
was the first man and earthy, so he is the second man,, the Lord
from heaven, verse 47. What does the apostle mean by such state-
ments as these, but that Christ was essentially man, man like
Adam, only man in a higher sense ? All that is left for us to ask
is what that higher conception is which is to be connected with the
person of Christ over and above that of human nature. The apostle
calls the higher principle of the person of Christ the spiritual, the
heavenly, in him, and that not in the sense that a divine principle
different from human nature had been added to that human nature
from without ; the higher principle is the purer form of human
nature itself. As the pneumatical man, as the Lord from heaven,
Christ is, in a word, the archetypal man; and this archetypal man
does not exist merely in idea, he exhibits in a real form what man

^ KQstlin, p. 310.



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246 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part IIL

is according to the principles of his nature. Adam is the earthly,
psychical man, who has fallen imder the power of sin and death,
but Christ is the spiritual heavenly man, the man in whom the
lower side of human nature has completely given place to
the higher, the sinless man. That Christ was without sin
(jiTf 7WV9 d/iapTiav, 2 Cor. v. 21) is an essential part of his
character as distinguished from that of Adam. As sin began
to manifest its power in Adam, so the principle of death also
made its appearance in his person; Christ, on the other hand,
as he is free from sin, is also free from death : not only was he
not subject to the principle of death, he had within himself the
opposite principle of life, the life-giving spirit. Thus though
Christ had a physical nature like all other men, he yet differed
from them in this respect, that his aap^ was not affected by the
principle of sin and death, and was only a ofioi^cofia capico^ dfiap-
rla^y Eom. viii 3. This expression refers simply to the sinlessness
of his human nature. As being free from sin, he ought not to have
died ; yet he was subject to the necessity of death, not on his own
account, but in virtue of his ofiQce, in which he took upon himseK
the sins of men. But how could he die? Though descended
Kara adpKa from the fathers of his nation and from Adam, yet he
had in himself no element of death ; the principle of his nature was
the opposite of that of Adam's, was the life-giving spirit. The ex-
planation of this is, that though flesh, sin, and death are inter-de-
pendent, and proceed the one out of the other, yet the aap^ cannot
be conceived but as essentially mortal If the aap^ did not carry
in itself the element of liability to death, it could not be considered
that the death of Christ as one dying only in the 6/jLoia>fjLa aapKo^
dfiaprla^ was a true and actual death. Yet though he died truly
and actually, he died only in the flesh ; the life-giving spirit in
him, the spiritual principle which constituted his true essence, could
not be affected by death. How is it then that the apostle regards
it as an act of God's omnipotence that Christ was not subdued by
the death that had reigned since Adam, but rose again from the
dead ? Was this not a necessary consequence of his immortal.



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Chap. VIII.] DISCUSSION OF CERTAIN QUESTIONS. 247

spiritual, and heavenly nature? It cannot be asserted that his
resurrection was only the resurrection of his body ; for the resur-
rection is, in the apostle's view, the entrance into humanity of that
principle of life which Christ procured for it, and by which the
reign of death was broken. If Christ had not risen, this would not
import merely that his body had not been revived, while the
spiritual principle that was identical with his person still continued.
It is only through his resurrection that he has become the irvevfia
^oDonroiovv in which iravre^ ^QyoTrot/rjOrjaovTau How then can that
be regarded as an operation of the divine omnipotence, and one
extending only to Christ's body, which is simply the manifestation
of his higher spiritual nature in its superiority to the mortality of
the body ? Here we see the apostle involved in the inconsistency
which attaches unavoidably to every attempt to hold at the same
time to a theory carried out logically to its ultimate consequences,
and to the miracles of supematuralism. The whole of Christianity
depends in his estimation on the miracle of Christ's resurrection ;
yet, at the same time, we see him deducing his view of what
Christianity is essentially, as the communication of a new life-
principle, or as the stage at which man becomes conscious of the
infiniteness of his nature, from purely historical and logical con-
siderations. While holding its supernatural origin, he yet
demonstrates how it springs naturally from the opposition of the
psychical and the pneumatical, of the earthly and the heavenly,
or of Adam and Christ, that is of man on the lower, and on the
higher side of his nature, as these opposites form the successive
momenta of a process which is developed in accordance with an
immanent principle.

Christ is thus essentially man, the archetypal man in whom the
higher principle of human nature appears. Did he begin to exist
as such only when he was bom as a human individual in the per-
son of Jesus of Nazareth ? The first is not the pneumatical, as the
apostle says, 1 Cor. xv. 46, but the psychical, and the pneumati-
cal follows it; at the same time, however, both of these are
momenta of, and are included in, a unity. That the pneumatical



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248 LIFE AND WORK OF PAUL. [Part in.

comes after the psychical is true, of course, only of the development
in time. The pneumatical is not accounted for by indicating its
origin in time. And if Christ represents in himself this higher
principle of human nature, then this conception of what he is refers
us back, beyond his merely individual existence, to the general
out of which the individual proceeds. Thus we are not unprepared
to find our apostle familiar with the idea of Christ's pre-existence.
Besides the passages we have already discussed, Eom. i 4 has been
interpreted in this way, and it has been thought that the Trvevfui
drfuocvvrif; there spoken of is itself the element in which the higher
pre-existent personality of Christ consists.^ Before this can be
admitted, however, we must ask how these two things consist with
one another : firstly, that Christ is, as the apostle declares, essen-
tially man ; and secondly, that his personality is distinctively spirit :
so that the spirit existed in him, antecedently to his human exis*
tence, in the form of a human personality. We are shut up to
regard this as his conception when we remember how he calls
Christ the spiritual, heavenly man, the Lord from heaven, 1 Cor. xv.
47, the Lord of glory, 1 Cor. ii 8, the spirit, 2 Cor. iii 17, and that
not only in respect of his having been exalted and glorified through
his resurrection, but without qualification, in respect of his whole
being. Christ is, as the apostle says, 2 Cor. iii 17, to irvev/ui, the
spirit itself ; the substance of his being is spirit Now the apostle
appears to have conceived the essence of spirit to be an immaterial
light-substance ; in unfolding his conception of the spirit- which
the Lord is, he says that we all, who behold with unveiled face
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, &om one
glory to another, as could not fail to be the case, since the Lord is
the spirit. The essence of the spirit, and consequently the essence
of Christ, is thus clearness, brilliancy, Bd^a ; it finds its analogy in
the brilliant light of which the apostle speaks as shining from the
face of Moses. In this spiritual brilliance of Christ the eternal
luminous essence of God himself is reflected. The apostle speaks,
2 Cor. iv. 6, of God, the creator of light, shining into our hearts
1 Zeller, on the nv€vna dyimavvriSf Rom. L 4. Theol. Jahrb. L 486 sq.



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Chap. VIIL] DISCUSSION OF CERTAIN QUESTIONS. 249



Online LibraryFerdinand Christian BaurPaul, the apostle of Jesus Christ: his life and work, his epistles ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 24 of 35)