Reader's Guide to Schleiermacher's Christian Faith

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First Part of the System of Doctrine: The Development of that Religious Self-Consciousness which is always both presupposed by and contained in every Christian Religious Affection

Third Section: The Constitution of the World which is indicated in the Religious Self-Consciousness, so far as it expresses the General Relationship between God and the World


57 The universality of the feeling of absolute dependence includes in itself the belief in an original perfection of the world.

58 The belief described is to be set forth in two doctrines, of which one deals with the perfection of the rest of the world in relation to man, the other with the perfection of man himself.

First Doctrine: The Original Perfection of the World

59 Every moment in which we confront externally given existence involves the implication that the world offers to the human spirit an abundance of stimuli to develop those conditions in which the God-consciousness can realize itself, and at the same time that in manifold degrees the world lends itself to being used by the human spirit as an instrument and means of expression.

Second Doctrine: The Original Perfection of Man

60 The predisposition to God-consciousness, as an inner impulse, includes the consciousness of a faculty of attaining, by means of the human organism, to those states of self-consciousness in which the God-consciousness can realize itself; and the impulse inseparable therefrom to express the God-consciousness includes in like manner the connexion [ed: this is the spelling in CF] of the race-consciousness with the personal consciousness; and both together form man’s original perfection.

61 Fulness [ed: this is the spelling in CF] of experience in the sphere of faith is due to the individual development, in virtue of this original perfection of human nature, of each human life brought into existence by procreation. But how, on the same presuppositions, the first men developed, history gives no account, and the hints we have on that subject cannot form a religious doctrine in our sense of the word.

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