Reader's Guide to Schleiermacher's Christian Faith

Summary and Commentary from Frank Cross

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George Cross, The Theology of Schleiermacher

II. THE ANTITHESIS IN THE RELIGIOUS SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS (62-169)

I. FIRST SIDE OF THE ANTITHESIS: UNFOLDING OF THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN (65-84)

If it be attempted to set forth a doctrine of sin in and for itself, such a doctrine could not form a consistent whole with that, already exhibited, of the religious consciousness in general. First, as man's own act it would appear contradictory to the tendency to the development of the God-consciousness as a living impulse in man, and inconsistent with the original perfection of human nature. Second, since in the state of sin a man exists in his place within the world-whole, then sin, as not proceeding from the divine causality, would destroy the unity and integrity of Nature, because it would be an entity existing in opposition to the divine omnipotence. Third, if it be referred to the divine causality, then, that attribute which represents the divine causality in relation to sin must be out of harmony with other divine attributes, and so the unity of the divine nature would be destroyed. Finally, if sin has developed in man on occasion of receiving impressions from the world, the perfection of the world in relation to man is destroyed. If, therefore, we are to avoid both the Manichaean and Pelagian heresies, which in opposite ways denied the reference of sin to the divine causality, the Christian consciousness must be viewed in its unity, and sin must be considered only in reference to redemption, and only so can it have a place in dogmatics.

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