Reader's Guide to Schleiermacher's Christian Faith

Definitions of Key Terms and Questions for Aiding Understanding

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Second Part of the System of Doctrine: Explication of the Facts of the Religious Self-Consciousness, as they are determined by the Antithesis of Sin and Grace

First Aspect of the Antithesis: Explication of the Consciousness of Sin

Third Section: The Divine Attributes which relate to the Consciousness of Sin

Introduction

79 Divine attributes relating to the consciousness of sin, even if only through the fact that redemption is conditioned by sin, can only be established if at the same time we regard God as the Author of sin.

Questions

  • 79-81. How does Schleiermacher get away with claiming God as the author of sin?  Does his argument hold up to the critique of Christian theology?  Is there any other way to deal with the reality of sin and redemption than through the idea of immediate self-consciousness and the antithesis as rooted within it?

Definitions

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80 As in our self-consciousness sin and grace are opposed to each other, God cannot be thought of as the Author of sin in the same sense as that in which He is the Author of redemption. But as we never have a consciousness of grace without a consciousness of sin, we must also assert that the existence of sin alongside of grace is ordained for us by God.

Questions

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Definitions

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81 If ecclesiastical doctrine seeks to solve this antinomy by the proposition that God is not the Author of sin, but that sin is grounded in human freedom, then this must be supplemented by the statement that God has ordained that the continually imperfect triumph of the spirit should become sin to us.

Questions

  • 81.2 What exactly does Schleiermacher mean by the divine causality?  And why does he employ this now in regards to the way in which God is the author of both sin and redemption?

Definitions

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82 What has been said concerning the divine causality with regard to sin holds good also with regard to evil, in virtue of its connexion with sin.

Questions

  • 82.3 How is evil connected with the divine causality?  Can an individual be solely responsible for an evil?

Definitions

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First Doctrine: God is Holy

83 By the holiness of God we understand that divine causality through which in all corporate human life conscience is found conjoined with the need of redemption.

Questions

  • 83.1 What idea enables Schleiermacher to provide an explanation for the way in which something in human consciousness could be regarded as sin?
  • 83.2 What does God’s holiness mean for the corporate life of human beings?
  • 83.3 How does Schleiermacher conceive of the relationship between what is good and what is bad?

Definitions

  • 83.1. conscience: “the fact that all modes of activity issuing from our God-consciousness and subject to its prompting confront us as moral demands, not indeed theoretically, but asserting themselves in our self-consciousness in such a way that any deviation of our conduct from them is apprehended as a hindrance of life, and therefore as sin” (341).
  • 83.1. or, “a corresponding relation to the idea of the good” (342).

 

Second Doctrine: God is Just

84 The justice of God is that divine causality through which in the state of universal sinfulness there is ordained a connexion between evil and actual sin.

Questions

  • 84.2 How can we arrive at the idea of divine justice?
  • 84.3 What is the purpose of penalty?

Definitions

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Appendix: The Mercy of God

85 To attribute mercy to God is more appropriate to the language of preaching and poetry than to that of dogmatic theology.

Questions

  • 85 Why does Schleiermacher not include the concept of mercy in his formulation of the divine attributes as they relate to the consciousness of sin?

Definitions

  • [coming soon...]

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