Reader's Guide to Tillich's Systematic Theology

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Reader's Guide Entry Page
Volume 1, Introduction
Volume 1, Part I: Reason and Revelation
Volume 1, Part II: Being and God
Volume 2, Part III: Existence and the Christ
Volume 3, Part IV: Life and the Spirit
Volume 3, Part V: History and the Kingdom of God

Part IV: Life and the Spirit

IV.Introduction [3-7]

IV.I: Life, Its Ambiguities, and the Quest for Unambiguous Life [11-110]

IV.I.A: The Multidimensional Unity of Life [11-30]
  IV.I.A.1: Life: Essence and Existence [11-12]
  IV.I.A.2: The Case against “Levels” [12-15]
  IV.I.A.3: Dimensions, Realms, Degrees [15-17]
  IV.I.A.4: The Dimensions of Life and Their Relations [17-30]
    IV.I.A.4.a): The Dimensions in the Inorganic and Organic Realms [17-21]
    IV.I.A.4.b): The Meaning of Spirit as a Dimension of Life [21-25]
    IV.I.A.4.c): The Dimension of Spirit in Its Relation to the Preceding Dimensions [25-28]
    IV.I.A.4.d): Norms and Values in the Dimension of Spirit [28-30]

IV.I.B: The Self-Actualization of Life and Its Ambiguities [30-107]
  IV.I.B.Fundamental Consideration: The Basic Functions of Life and the Nature of Their Ambiguity [30-32]
  IV.I.B.1: The Self-integration of Life and Its Ambiguities [32-50]
    IV.I.B.1.a): Individualization and Centeredness [32-34]
    IV.I.B.1.b): Self-integration and Disintegration in General: Health and Disease [34-38]
    IV.I.B.1.c): The Self-integration of Life in the Dimension of Spirit: Morality, or the Constitution of the Personal Self [38-41]
    IV.I.B.1.d): The Ambiguities of Personal Self-integration: The Possible, the Real, and the Ambiguity of Sacrifice [41-44]
    IV.I.B.1.e): The Ambiguities of the Moral Law: The Moral Imperative, the Moral Norms, the Moral Motivation [44-50]
  IV.I.B.2: The Self-creativity of Life and Its Ambiguities [50-86]
    IV.I.B.2.a): Dynamics and Growth [50-51]
    IV.I.B.2.b): Self-creativity and Destruction outside the Dimension of Spirit: Life and Death [51-57]
    IV.I.B.2.c): The Self-creativity of Life under the Dimension of Spirit: Culture [57-68]
      IV.I.B.2.c).(1): The Basic Functions of Culture: Language and the Technical Act [57-62]
      IV.I.B.2.c).(2): The Functions of “Theoria”: The Cognitive and the Aesthetic Acts [62-65]
      IV.I.B.2.c).(3): The Functions of “Praxis”: The Personal and the Communal Acts [65-68]
    IV.I.B.2.d): The Ambiguities of the Cultural Act: The Creation and the De`struction of Meaning [68-84]
      IV.I.B.2.d).(1): The Ambiguities in the Linguistic, Cognitive, and Aesthetic Self-creation of Life [68-72]
      IV.I.B.2.d).(2): The Ambiguities of Technical and Personal Transformation [72-77]
      IV.I.B.2.d).(3): The Ambiguities of Communal Transformation [77-84]
    IV.I.B.2.e): The Ambiguity of Humanism [84-86]
  IV.I.B.3: The Self-transcendence of Life and Its Ambiguities [86-106]
    IV.I.B.3.a): Freedom and Finitude [86-87]
    IV.I.B.3.b): The Self- transcendence and Profanization in General: The Greatness of Life and Its Ambiguities [88-92]
    IV.I.B.3.c): The Great and the Tragic [92-94]
    IV.I.B.3.d): Religion in Relation to Morality and Culture [94-98]
    IV.I.B.3.e): The Ambiguities of Religion [98-106]
      IV.I.B.3.e).(1): The Holy and the Secular (Profane) [98-102]
      IV.I.B.3.e).(2): The Divine and the Demonic [102-106]

IV.I.C: The Quest for Unambiguous Life and the Symbols of Its Anticipation [107-110]

IV.II: The Spiritual Presence [111-161]

IV.II.A: The Manifestation of the Spiritual Presence in the Spirit of Man [111-138]
  IV.II.A.1: The Character of the Manifestation of the Divine Spirit in the Human Spirit [111-128]
    IV.II.A.1.a): The Human Spirit and the Divine Spirit in Principle [111-114]
    IV.II.A.1.b): Structure and Ecstasy [114-120]
    IV.II.A.1.c): The Media of the Spiritual Presence [120-128]
      IV.II.A.1.c).(1): Sacramental Encounters and the Sacraments [120-124]
      IV.II.A.1.c).(2): Word and Sacrament [124-125]
      IV.II.A.1.c).(3): The Problem of the “Inner Word” [125-128]
  IV.II.A.2: The Content of the Manifestation of the Divine Spirit in the Human Spirit: Faith and Love [129-138]
    IV.II.A.2.a): The Transcendent Union and the Participation in it [129-130]
    IV.II.A.2.b): The Spiritual Presence Manifest as Faith [130-134]
    IV.II.A.2.c): The Spiritual Presence Manifest as Love [134-138]

IV.II.B: The Manifestation of the Spiritual Presence in Historical Mankind [138-161]
  IV.II.B.1: Spirit and New Being: Ambiguity and Fragment [138-141]
  IV.II.B.2: The Spiritual Presence and the Anticipation of the New Being in the Religions [141-144]
  IV.II.B.3: The Spiritual Presence in Jesus as the Christ: Spirit Christology [144-149]
  IV.II.B.4: The Spiritual Presence and the New Being in the Spiritual Community [149-161]
    IV.II.B.4.a): The New Being in Jesus as the Christ and in the Spiritual Community [149-152]
    IV.II.B.4.b): The Spiritual Community in Its Latent and in Its Manifest Stages [152-155]
    IV.II.B.4.c): The Marks of the Spiritual Community [155-157]
    IV.II.B.4.d): The Spiritual Community and the Unity of Religion, Culture, and Morality [157-161]

IV.III: The Divine Spirit and the Ambiguities of Life [162-282]

IV.III.A: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Religion [162-245]
  IV.III.A.1: The Spiritual Community, the Church, and the Churches [162-172]
    IV.III.A.1.a): The Ontological Character of the Spiritual Community [162-165]
    IV.III.A.1.b): The Paradox of the Churches [165-172]
  IV.III.A.2: The Life of the Churches and the Struggle against the Ambiguities of Religion [172-216]
    IV.III.A.2.a): Faith and Live in the Life of the Churches [172-182]
      IV.III.A.2.a).(1): The Spiritual Community and the Churches as Communities of Faith [172-177]
      IV.III.A.2.a).(1): The Spiritual Community and the Churches as Communities of Love [177-182]
    IV.III.A.2.b): The Functions of the Churches, Their Ambiguities, and the Spiritual Community [182-216]
      IV.III.A.2.b).(1): The General Character of the Functions of the Churches and the Spiritual Presence [182-188]
      IV.III.A.2.b).(2): The Constitutive Functions of the Churches [188-193]
      IV.III.A.2.b).(3): The Expanding Functions of the Churches [193-196]
      IV.III.A.2.b).(4): The Constructing Functions of the Churches [196-212]
        IV.III.A.2.b).(4).(a): The Aesthetic Function in the Church [196-201]
        IV.III.A.2.b).(4).(b): The Cognitive Function in the Church [201-204]
        IV.III.A.2.b).(4).(c): The Communal Functions in the Church [204-209]
        IV.III.A.2.b).(4).(d): The Personal Functions in the Church [209-212]
      IV.III.A.2.b).(5): The Relating Functions of the Churches [212-216]
  IV.III.A.3: The Individual in the Church and the Spiritual Presence [217-243]
    IV.III.A.3.a): The Entering of the Individual into a Church and the Experience of Conversion [217-220]
    IV.III.A.3.b): The Individual within the Church and the Experience of the New Being [221-243]
      IV.III.A.3.b).(1): The Experience of the New Being as Creation (Regeneration) [221-223]
      IV.III.A.3.b).(2): The Experience of the New Being as Paradox (Justification) [223-228]
      IV.III.A.3.b).(3): The Experience of the New Being as Process (Sanctification) [228-243]
        IV.III.A.3.b).(3).(a): Contrasting Types in the Description of the Process [228-231]
        IV.III.A.3.b).(3).(b): Four Principles Determining the New Being as Process [231-237]
        IV.III.A.3.b).(3).(c): Images of Perfection [237-243]
  IV.III.A.4: The Conquest of Religion by the Spiritual Presence and the Protestant Principle [243-245]

IV.III.B: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Culture [245-265]
  IV.III.B.1: Religion and Culture in the Light of the Spiritual Presence [245-249]
  IV.III.B.2: Humanism and the Idea of Theonomy [249-252]
  IV.III.B.3: Theonomous Manifestations of the Spiritual Presence [252-265]
    IV.III.B.3.a): Theonomy: Truth and Expressiveness [252-258]
    IV.III.B.3.b): Theonomy: Purpose and Humanity [258-262]
    IV.III.B.3.c): Theonomy: Power and Justice [262-265]

IV.III.C: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Morality [266-275]
  IV.III.C.1: Religion and Morality in the Light of the Spiritual Presence: Theonomous Morality [266-268]
  IV.III.C.2: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Personal Self-integration [268-271]
  IV.III.C.3: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of the Moral Law [271-275]

IV.III.D: The Healing Power of the Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Life in General [275-282]
  IV.III.D.1: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Life in General [275-277]
  IV.III.D.2: Healing, Salvation, and the Spiritual Presence [277-282]

IV.IV: The Trinitarian Symbols [283-294]

IV.IV.A: The Motives of the Trinitarian Symbolism [283-286]

IV.IV.B: The Trinitarian Dogma [286-291]

IV.IV.C: Reopening the Trinitarian Problem [291-294]

IV.Introduction [3-7]

Summary:

[3] Although criticized for employing the systematic-constructive form in Volumes I and II, that form served important purposes: first, it required genuine consistency; second, it served as an instrument for discovering relations between symbols and concepts; third, it led to a conception of theology in its wholeness, as a Gestalt. [4] Systems have served as the rhythm for Christian thought through the centuries. The Systematic Theology uses philosophical and psychological concepts, and references sociological and scientific theories, versus traditional biblical quotations and ordinary biblical language or reliance on the customary historical-critical biblical method. This is done intentionally, to try to speak understandably to the large group of educated people “for whom traditional language has become irrelevant.” This risks losing the substance of the Christian message. Nonetheless, the three volumes of the Systematic Theology were written out of the conviction that “the event of which Christianity was born has central significance for all mankind.” [5] This required interpreting the symbols of faith through the expressions of culture. Human beings are always confronted, often with existential urgency, by questions about their relation to nature and the universe. The lack of an answer can become a stumbling block for a person’s entire religious life. Thus the Systematic Theology ventured to enter the field of a philosophy of life from a theological point of view, fully aware of the cognitive risks involved. [7] Protestant theology needs a positive revision of its whole tradition. This can be done only through systematic construction.

Definitions:

  • None

Questions:

  • In this Introduction, Tillich defends the systematic method while conceding that every system is transitory and none final. Has that influenced the fate of Tillich’s System?
  • Tillich expressly intends to revolutionize Protestant theology by changing its language and incorporating non-traditional language and concepts to reach his contemporary audience. In your opinion, has he achieved that objective through Volumes I and II of the Systematic Theology?
  • Tillich developed his system over a period of time ranging from the 1920’s – early 1960’s, relying to a great extent on then available scientific, sociological, psychological and cultural knowledge and experience. Can you identify any significant developments in those areas since the early 1960’s which substantially affects an essential building block of Tillich’s Systematic Theology? Does it strengthen or weaken the System?

Changes in German:

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IV.I: Life, Its Ambiguities, and the Quest for Unambiguous Life [11-110]

IV.I.A: The Multidimensional Unity of Life [11-30]

IV.I.A.1: Life: Essence and Existence [11-12]

Summary:

[11] The polarity of life and death has always colored the word “life,” presupposing life refers to a special group of existing things, i.e., “living beings.” “Living beings” are also “dying beings,” and exhibit special characteristics under the predominance of the organic. This generic concept of life is the pattern after which the ontological concept of life has been formed, i.e., life as the “actuality of being.” This concept of life unites two main qualifications of being [12] which underlie this whole system: the essential and the existential. The universal concept of life encompasses all essences with the potentiality to become actual. The ontological concept of life liberates the word from bondage to the organic realm to include stars, rocks, etc., as well as organic beings. Life becomes a basic term that can be used within the theological system only if interpreted in existential terms. This ontological concept of life requires essentialist and existentialist considerations. Essentialist consideration deals with the unity and diversity of life in its essential nature, the multidimensional unity of life.” Only by understanding this unity, and the relations of the realms and dimensions of life can the existential ambiguities of all life processes be analyzed correctly, and express the quest for unambiguous or eternal life adequately.

Definitions:

  • Ontological Concept of Life: “The actuality of being.” A concept of life that “unites the two main qualifications of being which underlie this whole system; … the essential and the existential.” [11-12]
  • Essential and Existential Distinction: Akin to the “Aristotelian distinction between dynamis and energia, between potentiality and actuality.” [12]
  • Universal Concept of Life: The concept of life that liberates it “from its bondage to the organic realm and elevates it to the level of a basic term that can be used within the theological system only if interpreted in existential terms.” [12]
  • Essentialist: “Deals with the unity and diversity of life in its essential nature. It describes what [Tillich] ventures to call “the multidimensional unity of life.” [12]
  • Multidimensional Unity of Life: An “essentialist” consideration of life that “deals with the unity and diversity of life in its essential nature.” [12]

Questions:

  • The essential character of something is an essence that remains itself/unchanged, regardless of what happens to it as actualized. It remains itself. Tillich notes as an example, “a tree remains a tree,” despite the structures of existence (growth, death, etc.). What does this mean for objects that undergo growth, visible change, and reproduction?
  • Can you think of any thing that does transform in its essence once actualized and subject to growth, distortion and death? Is a caterpillar still a caterpillar in its essence, once it becomes a butterfly? Or was it always a butterfly in its essence, even when first actualized as a caterpillar?
  • Does the foregoing have implications for human growth and change?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.A.2: The Case against “Levels” [12-15]

Summary:

[12] Human beings require uniting principles to deal with the encountered manifoldness (diversity) of beings. [13] Organizing things in pyramidal hierarchies, consisting of largely independent levels, is a universally used approach. The term “level,” as used in hierarchical structures, is a metaphor to categorize things and imply equality among all objects at a particular level. Hierarchical thinking allows little or no organic movement between levels. Such hierarchical thinking has dominated philosophical thought and social structures for centuries. [14]

The metaphor of levels is demonstrably inadequate when relations between levels are at issue, as demonstrated by considering three different combinations of relations among levels. First, the relation of the organic to the inorganic levels of nature presents the recurrent problem of explaining biological processes in purely scientific terms (with math and physics), or implying a teleological theory to explain and differentiate one from the other. Second, the relation of the organic to the spirit is often expressed as the relation between body and mind. Formulated as a relation between levels, it either reduces mental activity to a purely organic process or empowers mental activities to interfere with biological and psychological processes. Last is the relation between religion and culture. Formulated as a relation between levels in a hierarchy, it inevitably elevates religion over culture, often leading to violent conflict as religion asserts itself in culture and culture pushes back asserting independence from religious control.

[15] The ultimate failure, and danger, of levels as metaphor, is demonstrated in the relation between God and humanity/world when conceived of as a relation between divine and human levels, in a hierarchical order. When one attempts to demythologize religious language by rooting out the supranaturalism that takes these images/levels literally, the enormity of the superstitious consequences following from this kind of supranaturalism sufficiently demonstrates the danger which the metaphor level poses in theological thought.

Definitions:

  • Pyramidal Hierarchy: “A pyramid of levels following each other in vertical direction according to their power of being and their grade of value. This imagery of rulers (archoi) in the term “hierarchy” gives to the higher levels a higher quality but a smaller quantity of exemplars. The top is monarchic, whether the monarch is a priest, an emperor, a god, or the God of monotheism.” [13]
  • Level: “A metaphor which emphasizes the equality of all objects belonging to a particular level. They are ‘leveled,’ that is, brought to a common plane and kept on it. There is no organic movement from one to the other; the higher is not implicit in the lower, and the lower is not implicit in the higher.” [13]

Questions:

  • Regarding the relation of organic and inorganic, conceived as different hierarchical levels, how does that metaphor lead to importing or creating a teleological theory to explain the relation?
  • Regarding the relation of body and mind, conceived as different hierarchical levels, why does the possibility that mental processes (the mind) interfere with bodily functions cause biologists and psychologists to react against “the establishment of a soul as a separate substance exercising a particular causality?”
  • How does supranaturalism underlie the conception of the divine and the human as levels?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.A.3: Dimensions, Realms, Degrees [15-17]

Summary:

[15] The metaphor of level must be replaced by a more inclusive metaphor – dimension – and its correlative concepts such as “realm” and “grade.” Unlike levels, dimensions do not exclude or interfere with each other, and as a metaphor dimension more accurately represents the unity of life above its conflicts. [16] Every dimension of life, for e.g. the inorganic, contains the potential for actualization of all other dimensions of life, under the right circumstances. The actualization of one dimension is always dependent on some prior actualization of potentiality in another dimension of life. The actualization of potential in one realm of life, leads to another realm necessarily containing more actualization of potentiality than that from which it came. This is evidenced in the evolution of humanity from inorganic material and stardust. [17] There is a necessary gradation of value from one realm to the next, with humanity on top, because humanity includes the actualized potentialities of all other dimensions. However, to say that human beings are the highest dimension from the point of view of valuation, does not mean humanity is perfect.

Definitions:

  • Dimension as Metaphor: “The metaphor ‘dimension,’ [like ‘level’] is also taken from the spatial sphere, but it describes the difference of the realms of being in such a way that there cannot be mutual interference. … [T]he replacement of the metaphor ‘level’ by the metaphor ‘dimension’ represents an encounter with reality in which the unity of life is seen above its conflicts.” [15]
  • Realm: “A section of life in which a particular dimension is predominant. … A realm is a section of reality in which a special dimension determines the character of every individual belonging to it, whether it is an atom or a man.” [16]

Questions:

  • Why is it necessary to Tillich’s theology to replace the metaphors of hierarchy and level of existence with the metaphors of dimension and realm?
  • Human beings are the “highest grade from the point of view of valuation” in Tillich’s construction of the unity of reality based on evolutionary theory. Do you agree?
  • If verticality and quantitative evaluation are applied to the metaphors of dimension and realm, why don’t the “new” metaphors collapse into the metaphors of hierarchy and level?
  • If all realms of life contain within them unlimited potentiality awaiting the right circumstances for actualization, can it be said that humanity is the apex of the actualization of life’s potential, or might there be further, unimagined, realms awaiting the proper opportunity to become actual? If so, what might those realms/dimensions be?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.A.4: The Dimensions of Life and Their Relations [17-30]
IV.I.A.4.a): The Dimensions in the Inorganic and Organic Realms [17-21]

Summary:

[17] What establishes a dimension of life as a dimension? The criteria are flexible and the potential number of dimensions is unlimited. A dimension may be identified when the phenomenological description of an encountered reality shows unique categorical and other structure. There are several dimensions of life that may be distinguished. [18] Discussing them in a theological system shows the multidimensional unity of life, and the source and consequences of the ambiguities of all life processes. Justification for the establishment of a dimension is best seen in the modification of time, space, causality and substance under its predominance. Although these categories change their character according to the predominating dimension, they remain universally valid categories for everything that exists.

The dimension of the inorganic may or may not constitute one realm, yet it is phenomenologically different from the realms determined by other dimensions. A theology of the inorganic is historically lacking. [19] Traditionally the inorganic was identified with matter, and the problem of matter led to a reductionist, non-scientific ontological theory called materialism or reductionist naturalism. In the inorganic dimension, potentialities are actualized in things subject to physical analysis, or that which can be measured in spatial-temporal-causal relations. The inorganic has a preferred position as the first condition for the actualization of every dimension. Without the inorganic, all realms of being would dissolve.

The centrality in philosophy of the dimension of the organic [20] led linguistically to the identification organic life with the meaning of life itself. “Organic life,” however, more obviously than in the inorganic realm, embraces several dimensions. Hence the vegetable and animal realms constitute separate dimensions. Within the animal dimension appears another dimension, of those with self-awareness of life. The organic dimension is characterized by self-related, self-preserving, self-increasing and self-continuing Gestalten (“living wholes”).

The theological problem arising from differences between the inorganic and organic realms is connected with the theory of evolution. Some theologians argue for a divine intervention in creation of the first cell, or first organic object. Biology rejects such supranatural causation. In addition to the first-cell problem, the problem of the source of the species of organic life is more serious. Two points of view conflict in this matter. Aristotelians emphasize the eternity of the species as dynamis, or potentiality. The evolutionist emphasizes the conditions for their appearance, their energia. But there is no true conflict. The organic is present in the inorganic; its actualization dependent on conditions described by biology and biochemistry. The same transition occurred from animal life to self-awareness. Self-awareness is present in every dimension, but can be actualized only in the dimension of animal being. [21] Further, under the proper conditions, the dimension of personal-communal, or “spirit,” actualizes out of the dimension of self-awareness. This latter actualization has happened only in human beings. It is not known whether it may have happened elsewhere in the universe.

Definitions:

  • Phenomenological Description: “One which points to a reality as it is given, before one goes to a theoretical explanation or derivation.” [17]
  • Multidimensional Unity of Life: The discussion of dimensions “in the context of a Theological System… to show concretely the source and the consequences of the ambiguities of all life processes.” [18]
  • Establishment of Dimension: “The particular character of a dimension which justifies its establishment as a dimension can best be seen in the modification of time, space, causality and substance, under its predominance.” [18]
  • Inorganic Dimension: “Those things in time and space which are subject to physical analysis, or which can be measured in spatial-temporal-causal relations.” [19]
  • Reductionist Naturalism or Materialism: The “non-scientific ontological theory” in which “the whole of reality is reduced to inorganic processes” and “which identifies matter with inorganic matter. Materialism, in this definition, is an ontology of death.” [19]
  • Life: “linguistically, …organic life [which] actually embraces several dimensions.” [20]
  • Organic Dimension: “Characterized by self-related, self-preserving, self-increasing, and self continuing Gestalten. [20]
  • Gestalten: “Living wholes.” [20]
  • Dimension of Inner Awareness: The “psychological realm.” “Potentially, self-awareness is present in every dimension; actually, it can only appear under the dimension of the animal being, …most obviously in the higher animals.” [20 – 21]
  • Dimension of Personal-Communal, or Spirit: “Under special conditions the dimension of inner awareness… actualizes within itself another dimension, that of personal-communal, or ‘spirit.’ Within reach of the present human experience, this has happened only in man. The question of whether it has happened anywhere else in the universe cannot yet be answered positively or negatively.” [21]

Questions:

  • What is a “Theology of the Inorganic?” Why is it important?
  • How does the evolutionist/biologist answer the problems of the “first cell,” and the “source of the species of organic life?” Are their answers complete and thoroughly compelling, even by scientific standards?
  • Do you think that life capable of actualizing the “personal-communal or spirit” exists elsewhere in the Universe? How might Tillich reconcile that fact with his fundamental proposition underlying the three volumes of the Systematic Theology, that “the event of which Christianity was born has central significance for all mankind?” [5] Could one assume Tillich uses the term ‘mankind’ to stand for the highest dimension of organic life, i.e. life capable of personal-communal and spirit actualization, whether human or not? [Ref. to ST, II, 95. 96]

Changes in German:

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IV.I.A.4.b): The Meaning of Spirit as a Dimension of Life [21-25]

Summary:

[21] The word “spirit” used as a dimension of life raises important problems of terminology. In English, “Spirit” and “Spiritual” are used only for the divine Spirit and its effects, thus, always capitalized. But “spirit” with a small “s” has lost its meaning and should be reinstated. In Semitic and Indo-Germanic languages, the root of the words designating spirit means “breath.” Spirit was associated with the power of animation, as the power of life. [22] Subsequently, spirit and body were separated and spirit became associated with “mind,” which connoted “intellect.” The element of “power” in spirit disappeared. Understanding the term spirit as a dimension of life is possible, and theologically necessary. Without rescuing spirit, Spirit cannot be properly understood. However, the adjective “spiritual” is lost beyond hope.

The semantic confusion darkening the word spirit has certain identifiable causes. For instance, speaking of the “spirit of a nation,” or the “spirit of a law,” points to their essential character as expressed in their manifestations. In its original sense, by contrast, spirit is the power of self-expression itself. [23] The word spirit also suffers from being co-opted in phrases like “spiritual world” which implies a separate, potential, realm of ideas or essences (Plato), rather than an actualized dimension of life. Lastly, the term “spirits” connotes essences existing in a realm apart from the dimension of life. Fortunately, the word “spirited” preserves the original element of power in the meaning of spirit.

Since the dimension of spirit appears only in human beings, [24] it is desirable to relate the term spirit to other terms used in the “doctrine of man,” namely, “soul” (psyche), “mind” (nous), “reason” (logos). “Soul” has suffered a fate similar to spirit largely through the rejection of the soul as an “immortal substance” by Hume and Kant. Reason as logos is the form structuring every expression of the spirit. Technical reason is one of the potentialities of spirit in the cognitive sphere. It is the tool for the scientific analysis and technical control of reality.

Definitions:

  • Spirit as a Dimension of Life: “The power of life, …the power of animation itself.” The word “spirit” designates “the particularly human dimension of life.” [21]
  • Spiritual: An “adjective …lost beyond hope.” [22]
  • Spirited: “The word is used as a translation of Plato’s thymoeides, as describing that function of the soul which lies between rationality and sensuality and corresponds to the virtue of courage and to the social group of the aristocracy of the sword. …This concept… is nearest to the genuine conception of spirit.” [23]
  • Soul: The word “is alive in biblical, liturgical, and poetic language, but it has lost its usefulness for a strict theological understanding of man, his spirit, and its relation to the divine Spirit.” [24]
  • Mind: The word “expresses the consciousness of a living being in relation to its surroundings and to itself. …It is structurally determined by reason (logos).” [24]
  • Reason: Fully discussed in Part One of the Systematic Theology, “Reason and Revelation.” In relation to the concept of spirit: reason as logos, is the principle of form by which every expression of spirit is structured: “reason in the sense of technical reason or reasoning, is one of the potentialities of man’s spirit in the cognitive sphere.” [24]

Questions:

  • How does a proper understanding of “spirit” (with a small “s”) rescue “Spirit” (with a capital “S”) from distortion and misunderstanding?
  • In Tillich’s view, do you have a spirit, or, do you have spirit? What is the difference?
  • Why does Tillich posit that the words “spiritual” and “soul” are beyond rescue as useful terms in a strict theological understanding of human beings? Do you agree?
  • Tillich analyzes the semantic problems with the word “spirit” based on past use of the word and its many derivations/manifestations, contemporaneously with, and prior to, the writing of Volume III (late 1950’s and early 1960’s). Have changes occurred in the common usage of the term “spirit” since then which either further distort the word’s meaning, or help rescue its meaning as posited by Tillich?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.A.4.c): The Dimension of Spirit in Its Relation to the Preceding Dimensions [25-28]

Summary:

[25] Two questions now arise: first, what is the relation of the dimension of spirit to the psychological and biological dimensions, and second, what of the dimension that follows spirit in order of conditioning, namely, the historical dimension? The latter will be fully discussed in the last part of the system. The appearance of a new dimension is dependent on a constellation of conditions and depends on the actualization of the potential from the constellation of conditions. This considers the dynamics of life, or the historical dimension, in an anticipatory way. This last and all-embracing dimension comes to full actualization only in human beings, in whom as “bearer[s] of the spirit,” conditions for it are present. But the historical dimension is manifest in all realms of life. It is the universal character of actual being, the highest ontological rank. [26] Being itself, is the negation of absolute non-being, it is the affirmation that there is anything at all.

Actualization of a dimension is an historical event that happens over an extended period of time. It is the result of struggle. Struggle between dimensions goes on within every human being as a lasting problem for the dimension of the spirit. [27] Only a totally centered self can make the leap from the psychological realm to the realm of the spirit.

The moral act is the centered self-actualizing itself [28] as a personal self by transcending the elements present in the psychological center. The complex of acts involved has the character of freedom, in the sense of a total reaction of a centered self, which deliberates and decides. According to the ontological polarity of freedom and destiny, destiny is the psychological material that enters into the moral act, and freedom is the act of deliberating and deciding. Thus, the dualistic contrasting of the spirit with the psychological, and the dissolution of the spirit into the psychological, is refuted. Multidimensional unity denies dualism as well as psychologistic (or biologistic) monism.

Definitions:

  • Psychological Dimension: “The dimension of inner awareness.” [25]
  • Historical Dimension: “The universal character of actual being which …has led to the elevation of the category of becoming to the highest ontological rank.”
  • Category of Becoming: “Includes and overcomes relative non-being.” [25]
  • Category of Being: “The negation of absolute non-being; it is the affirmation that there is anything at all.” [26]
  • Personal Center: “Not identical with any one of the psychological contents, [nor an] …element added to them. …It is their psychological center, but transformed into the dimension of the spirit.” The personal center is “the bearer of the spirit.” [27]
  • Totally Centered Self: “One that is free.” [27]

Questions:

  • Is there a difference in how a dimension is created or arises, and how a realm is created or arises?
  • Compare and contrast the description of spirit by Nietzsche as “life which cuts into life itself” with Tillich’s statement that “Life lives on life.”
  • Actualization of a new dimension is an historical event, but one which takes place over time. This view clearly reflects the understanding of evolutionary theory in the late 1950’s – early 1960’s. Has that evolutionary view changed? What of the theory that evolutionary changes are made in one-time, sudden, leaps to an advanced being? What effect would such a view of evolution have on Tillich’s elevation of being itself over becoming, or on other parts of the System?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.A.4.d): Norms and Values in the Dimension of Spirit [28-30]

Summary:

[28]Freedom, as the way spirit acts upon psychological material, is possible only because spirit subjects itself to norms. There are three main sources for these norms: pragmatic, value-theoretical, and ontological.  Ontological is decisive and implicit within the other two. According to the pragmatic derivation of norms, life is its own criterion and the [29] norms of life do not originate outside of life. Pragmatism is limited insofar as it cannot demonstrate how a particular expression of life becomes a norm for life as a whole. Whenever applied, the pragmatic method selects criteria which themselves must be measured by ever higher criteria, and so on in an endless digression. That leads ultimately to the replacement of the pragmatic method altogether with an ontological principle.

This situation is recognized by the value-theory of norms which has high standing in present philosophical thought and great influence in non-philosophical and even popular thought. Its great merit is it establishes the validity of norms without depending on heteronomous theology or metaphysical absolutism. But value-theory does not explain why such values should control life, or their relevance to the processes of the spirit in which they are supposed to be valid, or their relation of obligation to being? Not surprisingly, value-theory easily falls back on ontological theory.

Pragmatism affirms that the criteria for life in the dimension of spirit are implicit in life itself. But life is ambiguous, uniting essential and existential elements. Norms in the life of spirit are derived from the essential and potential in humanity. The essential nature of being, the logos-determined structure of reality, is the “heaven of values” to which value theory points. We can know this “heaven” and the essential nature of humanity and world, only through its ambiguous manifestations in the mixture which is life. [30] These manifestations reveal and conceal. There is no straight and certain way to the norms of action in the dimension of spirit. Application of a norm to a concrete situation in the realm of the spirit is a venture and a risk, requiring courage and acceptance of the possibility of failure. This is also true of life in its creative functions in the dimensions of spirit, morality culture and religion.

Definitions:

  • Pragmatic Morality/Norms: “Life is its own criterion. Pragmatism does not transcend life in order to judge life.” [28]
  • Value-Theoretical Morality/Norms: “Establish the validity of norms without taking refuge in either heteronomous theology or that kind of metaphysics the breakdown of which has produced the value theory.” [29]

Questions:

  • How does the pragmatic approach to norms ultimately devolve into an ontological approach to norms?
  • Tillich states that value-theory does not rely on heteronomous religion or metaphysical absolutism to posit norms. But what is the “stuff,” or the material for the norms that value-theory posits?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B: The Self-Actualization of Life and Its Ambiguities [30-107]

IV.I.B.Fundamental Consideration: The Basic Functions of Life and the Nature of Their Ambiguity [30-32]

Summary:

[30] Potential life is actualized through three functions of life: self-identity/integration, self-alteration/creation, and return to oneself/transcendence. Self-integration is the movement in which centeredness is actualized in life. Use of “self” indicates that it is life itself that drives toward centeredness, not anything outside life. Self-integration has a circular movement of life from a center outward, and return to that center.

The function of producing new centers belongs to self-creation. [31] Life drives toward the new by transcending every individual center. This is the “principle of growth.” Self-creation has an horizontal movement from one center to a new center. “Creation” is one of the great symbol-words describing the relation of God to the universe. Life is not self-creative in the absolute sense; it presupposes the creative ground out of which it comes.

The third direction for actualization of potential, represented by verticality, is the self-transcending function. By this function life drives beyond its finite life. Life is both in itself and above itself, a situation manifest by self-transcendence. The elevation of life above life, expressed in the phrase: “driving toward the sublime,” is apt. “Sublime,” “sublimation,” “sublimity,” point to a “going beyond limits” toward “the great, the solemn, the high.”

To recap: within the process of the actualization of the potential which is called life, are three distinct functions, each with a controlling principle, and each dependent on a basic polarity of being: (1) self-integration, [32] under the principle of centeredness, dependent on the polarity of individualization and participation; (2) self creation, under the principle of growth, dependent on the polarity of dynamics and form; and (3) self-transcendence, under the principle of sublimity, dependent on the polarity of freedom and destiny. These three functions of life unite elements of self-identity with elements of self-alteration. That unity is threatened by existential estrangement, which drives life in one or another direction, countering the functions of life. Self-integration is countered by disintegration, self-creation is countered by destruction, and self-transcendence is countered by profanization. Every function and life process is subject to the ambiguity caused by existential estrangement resulting in a constant struggle between positive and negative elements. Life at every moment is ambiguous. In the Systematic Theology the functions of life are discussed as actualized within the ambiguities of existential estrangement, not as they are in their essential nature separate from existential distortion. Life is neither essential nor existential; it is ambiguous.

Definitions:

  • Life: “The actualization of potential being.” [30]

Questions:

  • Tillich states that life is not “self-creative in the absolute sense.” What does that mean? If it means that life did not create itself out of life, what are the alternatives? Does this imply a hidden supranaturalism?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.1: The Self-integration of Life and Its Ambiguities [32-50]
IV.I.B.1.a): Individualization and Centeredness [32-34]

Summary:

[32] Centeredness is a quality of the individualization pole of the first of the polarities in the structure of being: individualization and participation. Centeredness is expressed in the function of self-integration. A center is an indivisible point. Although it cannot be divided, it can be destroyed. Only humans fully have the qualities of centeredness and individualization. But they are qualities of everything that is, whether limited or fully developed. [33] Since individualization is an ontological pole, it has universal significance, as does centeredness. Centeredness exists under the control of all dimensions of being. Its process is circular and involves outgoing and returning to the center. The center always has a periphery which metaphorically consists of some amount of surrounding “space.” Non-metaphorically, the periphery unites a manifoldness of elements. This corresponds to participation. Individualization separates; participation leads to communion with the world and eros toward it. The process of self-integration moves from the center out into the manifoldness of life [periphery], returning to the center in a cycle that ends only at death.

Integration implies the possibility of disintegration. Disintegration can occur in two directions. It may be an inability to overcome a limited, stabilized and immovable centeredness that has a static center and no life process of out-going and return. It approaches the death of mere self-identity. Or it may be an inability to return to the center after outward-going participation in manifoldness disperses centeredness, threatening loss of center entirely. This approaches the death of mere self-alteration. The function of self-integration is mixed ambiguously in every life process with disintegration.

Definitions:

  • Centeredness: “Term …derived from the geometric circle and metaphorically applied to the structure of being in which an effect exercised on one part has consequences for all other parts, directly or indirectly.” [33]
  • Disintegration: “Failure to reach or to preserve self-integration.” [33]

Questions:

  • Give an example of a person experiencing disintegration as the inability to overcome static centeredness. What is that person’s life like?
  • Give an example of a person experiencing disintegration as the result of becoming overwhelmed by outward-going participation in manifoldness. What is that person’s life like?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.1.b): Self-integration and Disintegration in General: Health and Disease [34-38]

Summary:

[34] Centeredness is a universal phenomenon extant in both the micro- and macro- cosmic dimensions of the inorganic realm. It gives to every star as well as to every atom and crystal a kind of individuality. They cannot be divided, they can only be crushed. A completely un-centered realm would be chaos. On the other hand, individual centeredness in these dimensions is the beginning of creation. The process of self-integration is counter-acted by forces of disintegration. These include: repulsion and attraction, concentration and expansion, fusion and splitting. The unquantifiable dynamic character of the inorganic realm arises from the constant struggle between integrating and disintegrating forces. Every situation is a compromise. Like every other dimension, the inorganic belongs to life.

[35] Nonetheless, self-integration and disintegration, in continuous struggle, is most manifest in the organic dimension. Every living being is sharply centered; it reacts as a whole. Its life is a process of going out and returning to itself as long as it lives. It assimilates elements of the encountered reality into itself, or rejects them if assimilation is impossible. The process of self-integration is constitutive for life, but ambiguously mixed at every moment with forces of disintegration. Disease may be understood as an organism’s inability to eject strange elements it has not assimilated, or as the consequence of a self-restriction of the centered whole preventing the organism from risking self-alteration to obtain necessities for life. Disease represents life in disintegration.

In the realm of the organic, distinctions are made between higher and lower forms of life. This has theological implications because of the wide symbolic use made [36] of all forms of organic life. Humans are the highest beings, not in terms of perfection, but because of the definiteness of a person’s center and the amount of content united by it. These criteria decide that the animal dimension is above the vegetative, that inner awareness surpasses the biological, and is surpassed by the dimension of the spirit. Humans, in contrast to all other beings, have not only an environment, but a world – the structured unity of all possible content.

The decisive step for self-integration is the appearance of self-awareness somewhere in the animal realm. Without awareness there is only presence. With awareness, past and future open to remembrance and anticipation. [37] The center of being under the dimension of self-awareness is the psychological self. “Self” in this case is the point to which all contents of awareness are related, insofar as “I” am aware of them.

The psychological self cannot be observed directly because it is submerged in the biological and spiritual dimensions of self. [38] Both self-alteration and the indifference to stimuli preventing self-alteration, lead to derangement. The ambiguities of psychic self-integration occur between these poles.

Definitions:

  • World: “The structured unity of all possible content.” [36]
  • Self-awareness: “All encounters of a being with its environment are experienced as related to the individual being that is aware of them.” [36]
  • Centered Awareness: “Implies a center which is definite, and at the same time, it implies a more embracing content than in even the most developed preconscious being.” [36]
  • Perfection: “Actualization of one’s potentialities” to the fullest extent possible. [36]
  • Psychological Self: “The center of a being under the dimension of self-awareness.” [37]
  • Self: “Must not be misunderstood as an object, the existence of which could be discussed, or as a part of a living being, but rather as the point to which all contents of awareness are related, in so far as ‘I’ am aware of them.” [37]
  • Assimilate: “To take into the centered unity an extensively or intensively overpowering number of impressions.” [37]

Questions:

  • What is Tillich’s argument that the inorganic dimension belongs to life?
  • Tillich asserts that the process of self-integration is constitutive for life. How?
  • How does a theoretical and psychological approach to disease help explain Tillich’s concepts of integration and disintegration?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.1.c): The Self-integration of Life in the Dimension of Spirit: Morality, or the Constitution of the Personal Self [38-41]

Summary:

[38] Essential centeredness is actualized through the moral act. Morality is the function of life in which the centered self constitutes itself as a person. One’s potentially personal life process becomes an actual person in the totality of his/her moral acts. This on-going, never-ending process occurs not only in the person’s environment, but in the larger world.

[39] The first presupposition of morality is that an individual can oppose every part of his/her world, including him/herself as part of it. The second presupposition follows from the first: because he/she faces a world as a totally centered self, he/she can ask questions and receive answers and commands. This possibility characterizes the dimension of the spirit and is unique because it implies freedom from the merely given (environment), and norms for determining the moral act through freedom. Every moral act is a responsible and responsive act concerning a valid command. The refusal to respond to a valid command gives way to forces of moral disintegration, and is an act against the spirit in the power of the spirit. Such acts still express moral centeredness even as they tend to dissolve the moral center. Despite the negative baggage carried by the word “moral” and its derivatives, the word should be retained and liberated from its negative connotations, as argued herein.

[40] The source of moral commands is moral norms, that is, the essential structures of encountered reality – the person in his/her self and in his/her world. How do we become aware of these commands. How do we experience them as unconditionally valid? The Kantian and Protestant answer is that we know these commands and their validity in the encounter of a person who is already and not yet a person, with another in the same condition. “Oughtness” is experienced in the ego-thou relation. Put differently, the other self serves to “check” our endless libido for a world promising endless content, and the other self checks our desire to “win the whole world.” The other self, sharing in the state of already but not yet a person, cannot be denied the claim to personhood and the requirement to be dealt with as a person. Personal life emerges only in the encounter with another person.

The self-integration of the person as person occurs in community. [41] Community is a phenomenon of life with analogies in all realms. It is implied by the polarity of individualization and participation. Self-transcendence is possible only through that ontological polarity. This is further discussed in Part V. The moral principle does not refer to the community in the way it refers to an individual. The community has no complete centeredness and no freedom related thereto. It is structurally different from the personality of a centered self. The confusion in social ethics arises from the fact that individual members of the community are “bearers of the spirit,” but the community is not because it lacks a centered self. The functions of life with respect to the community will be discussed within the context of the most embracing dimension, the historical dimension. For now, the task is to determine how a person becomes a person. In that task, considering the communal quality of the person is not the same as considering the community.

Definitions:

  • Moral Act: “The act in which man actualizes his essential centeredness. …Morality is the function of life by which the realm of the spirit comes into being. Morality is the constitutive function of spirit. A moral act, therefore, is not an act in which some divine or human law is obeyed but an act in which life integrates itself in the dimension of the spirit.” [38]
  • Total Centeredness: “The situation of having, face to face with one’s self, a world to which one, at the same time, belongs as a part.” [38]
  • World: “A structured whole of infinite potentialities and actualities.” [38]
  • Freedom: “The openness for norms of unconditional, or essential, validity. [39]
  • Ethics: “The science of morals.” [39]

Questions:

  • How can an individual oppose every part of his/her world, including him/herself as part of it?
  • Why can’t a community actualize the moral function/act of life?
  • Insofar as Tillich asserts that an individual has not only an environment, but also a world, what is the difference between the two?
  • Does this mean that each person has available to him/her the same world? Is the potentiality and possibility in one’s world (in addition to one’s environment), unique to each individual? Is there one world or many?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.1.d): The Ambiguities of Personal Self-integration: The Possible, the Real, and the Ambiguity of Sacrifice [41-44]

Summary:

[41] Under the conditions of existential estrangement, the life-creating functions of self-identity and self-alteration, are balanced by the life function of integration. Disintegration disrupts balance between those functions. Personal life is ambiguously pulled between forces of essential centeredness and existential disruption. At no moment is one or the other force exclusively dominant.

[42] Within the function of self-integration, ambiguity arises from the need to take encountered reality into one’s centered unity, without being disrupted by it. Everything is included in one’s life which belongs to him/her. One tries to increase his/her life content by going out from one’s centered unity, while preserving one’s content by returning to his/her centered unity. In so doing one encounters innumerable possibilities which if accepted result in self-alteration. This always risks the danger of disruption. Personal life processes oscillate between the possibility of self-alteration by going out, and the danger of disruption if one does so. Going out means giving up something of the present centered self for what is possible but unknown. This is the sacrificial character of all life.

We constantly sacrifice the possible for the real. For example, we sacrifice possible work, for the work we actually choose. The sacrifice of the possible for the real/chosen pervades all spheres of our existence, including our human relations, relation to limitations, economic condition, etc. [43] It carries the anxiety of losing oneself in a way leading to resignation or withdrawal from seeking the potential abundance of life.

The ambiguity of sacrifice is apparent even in the moral function of life. It is the conflict of essences within an existing self. One ethical norm can take hold of the ethical center and shake the balance of essences within the centered unity, causing disintegration in personalities with strong but narrow morality. It may lead to conflicts between the dominating and suppressed ethical norms.

Every sacrifice is a moral risk. Still the moral life constantly demands sacrifice. The ambiguity of sacrifice lies in the fact that the moral risk in sacrificing an important possibility can be equally as great as the risk in sacrificing an important reality. Ambiguity also becomes visible with the question: “what is to be sacrificed?” [44] Motives and consequences, often obscure or unknowable, ambiguously affect whether a specific sacrifice, under specific conditions of existential estrangement, will or will not lead to self-integration. No prescriptive, always morally positive, sacrifice is possible.

Definitions:

  • Integration: “The state of balance” between the poles of self-identity and self-alteration. [41]
  • Disintegration: “The disruption of this balance” between the poles of self-identity and self-alteration. [41]
  • Personal Life: “Is always the life of somebody – as in all dimensions, life is the life of some individual being according to the principle of centeredness.” [42]
  • Sacrificial Character of Life: “For the sake of my present reality, I must keep many possibilities outside of my centered self, or I must give up something of what I now am for the sake of something possible which may enlarge and strengthen my centered self. So my life oscillates between the possible and the real and requires the surrender of the one for the other.” [42]
  • Ambiguity of Sacrifice: “A decisive and all-permeating expression of the ambiguity of life in the function of self integration. It shows the human situation in the mixture of essential and existential elements and the impossibility of separating them as good and evil in an unambiguous way.” [44]

Questions:

  • In what sense is sacrifice a dimension of spirit rather than a process of spirit?
  • Tillich states: “every individual has essential potentialities which he tends to actualize.” [42] He posits that historical, social and individual conditions impact whether these are actualized in any individual. In what sense can Tillich be understood as urging the proposition that every individual is born with the same abundant possibilities, even if never actualized? Does the System require this proposition?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.1.e): The Ambiguities of the Moral Law: The Moral Imperative, the Moral Norms, the Moral Motivation [44-50]

Summary:

[44] Since morality is the constitutive function of spirit, analysis of its nature and proof of its ambiguity are decisive to understand spirit. The three functions of spirit are: morality, culture and religion, each is discussed separately for now. They can only be reunited by what transcends them, the divine Spirit or new reality. The ambiguity of moral law is manifest in three ways: the unconditional character of the moral imperative, the norms of moral action, and moral motivation. As discussed below, the concept of agape love responds to each ambiguity.

[45] Previously, the moral imperative was discussed as operative in the encounter of one person with another, in the unconditional command to acknowledge the other as a person. Yet the question of what kind of encounter provides for such experience was not answered. Innumerable non-personal encounters are potentially personal encounters that never become actual. The transition to actual encounter is fraught with ambiguity. The moral imperative demands participation with the other to make concrete the abstract notion of acknowledging the other as a person. But how? And when? With whom? These ambiguities are resolved by acceptance of, and participation in, the center of the other self in the sense of agape, i.e. “the core of love.”

[46] Agape gives concreteness to the categorical imperative, centeredness to the person, and the foundation of the life of the spirit. Agape is the ultimate norm of the moral law. The commandments of the moral law are valid because they express one’s essential nature, and put it against one’s state of existential estrangement. Agape love overcomes the ambiguous mixture of essential and existential elements that characterizes life. This solution is decisive for the question of the content of the moral law. This perspective withstands attack on one front by Kantian formalism and, on another front, by [47] ethical relativism of most types of naturalism. Every attempted “abstract” statement of moral law, or claimed “revelation” of the law, was/is conditioned by the culture in which it arises. [48] Human reception of every revelation makes it ambiguous. Reliance on one’s conscience as an alternative to reliance on moral imperatives does not guarantee moral conduct. Against these problems, agape expresses the unconditional validity of the moral imperative, and gives the ultimate norm for all ethical conduct.

The third ambiguity of moral law is resolved by agape’s function as the source of moral motivation. In every life, obedience and [49] disobedience to the law are mixed. Law can motivate partial fulfillment or drive one to resistance. Three specific attitudes towards law are identified. Firstly, the idea that the motivating power of law will produce reunion with one’s essential being. Secondly, the idea that the law’s motivating power is limited and cannot bring about full reunion with what ought to be. The third view combines a radical acceptance of the law’s validity with complete despair about its motivating power.

Definitions:

  • Moral imperative: “It represents our essential being over against our state of existential estrangement. For this reason the moral imperative is categorical, its validity not dependent on external or internal conditions; it is unambiguous.” [44]
  • Agape: The “core of love.” [45] “The principle of agape expresses the unconditional validity of the moral imperative, and it gives the ultimate norm for all ethical content, … it is the source of moral motivation.” [48] Agape is “given to man as reuniting and integrating reality, as new being and not as law.” [50]

Questions:

  • How would Kantian formalism and most types of naturalism respond to Tillich’s idea of agape in discussing the moral imperative?
  • How does the New Testament story of the “Good Samaritan” demonstrate the moral imperative that one self must “participate” in the center of the other self, and not merely acknowledge the other as a person, to meet the demands of agape?
  • In Tillich’s system, what is the categorical imperative? How does agape give concreteness to the categorical imperative?
  • How does agape solve the problems of ambiguity concerning the moral motivating power of law?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.2: The Self-creativity of Life and Its Ambiguities [50-86]
IV.I.B.2.a): Dynamics and Growth [50-51]

Summary:

[50] The second polarity in the structure of being is that of dynamics and form. Dynamics lead to growth, the way life creates itself, excluding its original creation bestowed by divine creativity. Dynamics is held in polar interdependence with form. Form makes a thing what it is. Any new form is possible only by breaking through the limits of an old form. At the moment of transition there is “chaos,” insofar as a moment exists of no-longer-form and not-yet-form. [51] At that moment of crisis there is risk that life might fall back to its starting point and resist creation, or that it may destroy itself in the attempt to reach a new form. Thus creation and chaos belong to each other. It is important to distinguish self-integration and self-creation. The former constitutes the individual in centeredness, which does not imply growth; it is subject to disintegration within the centered self, as represented by disease. Self-creation involves the dynamic impulse driving growth; it is subject to destruction that occurs only between centered unities, represented by death.

Definitions:

  • Growth: “The process by which a formed reality goes beyond itself to another form which both preserves and transforms the original. [50]
  • Form: “Makes a thing what it is.” [50]
  • Chaos: “A moment …between the old and the new form, a moment of no-longer-form and not-yet-form. [50]
  • Destruction: “The prevalence of the elements of chaos over against the pole of form in the dynamics of life. …can occur only in the encounter of centered unity with centered unity.” Destruction is represented by death. [51]
  • Self-integration: “The individual being in centeredness.” [51]
  • Self-creation: “Gives the dynamic impulse which drives life from one centered state to another under the principle of growth.” [51]
  • Disintegration: “Takes place within a centered unity, …is represented by disease.” [51]

Questions:

  • What is the difference between destruction and disintegration? Why is it important to distinguish between the two?
  • “Chaos” is a word normally carrying negative connotations. Is chaos always a negative experience? Identify a moment of “chaos” in your life that matches Tillich’s usage.

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.2.b): Self-creativity and Destruction outside the Dimension of Spirit: Life and Death [51-57]

Summary:

[52] Growth is a universal function of life, identified largely with its organic dimension. When used with respect to inorganic life, it is used metaphorically, especially when speaking of the macrocosmic and microcosmic realms. It is in the organic realm that self-creativity and destruction, growth and decay, come into their own, for that is where life and death are experienced. [53] Death is present in every life process, from beginning to end. This ambiguity of self-creation is a fundamental experience of all life. It is not limited to the growth of a living being in itself, but also to its growth in relation to other life. Life grows by suppressing, removing, or consuming other life. Life lives on life. That leads to the concept of struggle as a symptom of the ambiguity of self-creation. A life and death struggle exists in all of what we call “nature,” and because of the multidimensional unity of life, [54] a life and death struggle goes on between individuals, within an individual, and in the history of all humanity. It is a universal structure of life.

The individual life process transcends itself in two directions: labor and propagation in the self-creation of life. The ambiguity of labor is that it is both a negative (the result of the “Fall”/Genesis), [55] and a positive force preventing the individual from losing his/her dynamics and becoming empty. Labor is both curse and blessing. The most conspicuous and mysterious ambiguity in the function of self-creation is propagation: i.e., sexual differentiation and reunion, particularly in the sexual union of the separate. Discussion of the ambiguity of labor and propagation, touches on the realm representing the transition from the organic to spirit – the realm of self-awareness, the psychological. [56] Every self-creative process of life that reaches awareness is a source of pleasure and every destructive process of life is a source of pain. Healthy life follows the process of self-creation and disregards both pain and pleasure for the sake of the creative act. This is “Creative eros.” It refutes the “pleasure principle.”

Healthy as well as sick life experiences the ambiguity of pain and pleasure as the experience of finding one in the other. That ambiguity anticipates the ambiguities of the life instinct and death instinct. [57] Living beings affirm and, more rarely, deny their lives. Life is ever aware of its exhaustibility. That existential awareness of finitude gives rise to the question of whether the continuation of finite existence is worth the burden. But almost always this tendency is counterbalanced by the self-affirmation of life. Hence suicidal fantasies are common, but suicide itself is rare.

Definitions:

  • Pleasure Principle: “The psychological law …according to which every life process is a pursuit of pleasure and a flight from pain.” In Tillich’s system, “the inference is thoroughly false.” [56]
  • Creative Eros: “Surrender to the object of eros.” [56]
  • Eros: “Something toward which life is driven by its inner dynamics.” [56]

Questions:

  • What does Tillich mean by the expression: “Life lives on life?”
  • How does labor prevent the “self-identity of a living individual from losing its dynamics and becoming empty?” Considering the huge spectrum of work under which people labor, is this statement always, or even mostly true? Where is the dividing line between labor as curse and labor as blessing?
  • To what extent do advances in science, evolutionary theory, physics, psychology, etc., undermine any one of the critical foundations of Tillich’s system? For example, since Tillich wrote Volume III, much has been learned about the nature of the universe, its composition and expansion. Do you agree that the “growth” of the universe is merely a metaphor? Or for that matter, do you believe that the universe/cosmos belongs to the inorganic realm?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.I.B.2.c): The Self-creativity of Life under the Dimension of Spirit: Culture [57-68]
IV.I.B.2.c).(1): The Basic Functions of Culture: Language and the Technical Act [57-62]

Summary:

[57] Language and the technical act are the basic functions of culture. Culture takes care of something, keeps it alive and makes it grow. Everything encountered can be cultivated, and thereby changed, creating something new – materially. [58] Language communicates and denotes. Communication reaches its fulfillment only when there is denotation. In language, communication becomes mutual participation in a universe of meanings. In the encounter of self with self we experience the limit which throws us back on ourselves and enables us to look at the encountered reality as a world. This is the common root of morality and culture.

Language is put at the beginning of the discussion of the self-creation of life under the dimension of spirit because it is fundamental for all cultural functions. Language in the larger sense, i.e., semantics, could [59] and should become a door to life in the dimension of spirit. Indicators of its significance include: first, language grasps the encountered reality in terms of “being at hand.” Literally, language is an object for “handling” or managing being in order to reach ends. The language of “being at hand” denotes a technical relationship to reality; it is the ordinary, often primitive and limited language, from which other language borrows. However, mythological language seems equally old, combining the technical grasp of objects with the religious experience of a quality of the encountered. Contemporary confusion between technical and mythological language is one of the most serious inhibitions for the understanding of religion.

The language of myth and the language of the ordinary technical encounter with reality, translates into two other kinds of language: the poetic and the scientific. Poetic language, like religious language, lives in symbols, but expresses another quality of humanity’s encounter with reality. Confusion between the poetic with the religious, and the technical with the poetic, is prohibitive for understanding the functions of the spirit to which both belong. Language created by the cognitive function has been confused with all other languages because it is present in them in pre-scientific form and because it gives a direct answer [60] to the question of truth. The methodological search for empirical truth and the artificial language used must be sharply distinguished from the technical, mythological and poetic encounters with reality.

Another characteristic of culture, prefigured in language, is the triad of elements in cultural creativity: subject matter, form, and substance. Subject matter consists of those objects selected out of the inexhaustible manifoldness of encountered objects. Form is the second, and decisive, element in a cultural creation. The form makes a cultural creation what it is. Form in the essence of cultural creation cannot be defined because every definition presupposes it. The substance of a cultural creation is “the soil out of which it grows.” The substance of a language gives it its particularity and expressive ability, making translation from one language to another possible only in spheres where form dominates substance (e.g., mathematics), and totally impossible where substance dominates form (e.g., poetry). The word “style” is sometimes applied to a particular qualification of the form by the substance in all other functions of humanity’s cultural life, so one may speak [61] of a style of thinking, of research, of ethics, etc. Style is a key to understanding the way in which a particular group or period encounters reality. It is also a source of conflict between the demands of form creation and substance expression.

Lower animals produce tools for limited use. Humans produce tools for unlimited use, which presupposes the conception of universals, i.e., the power of language. The power of tools is dependent on the power of language. Logos precedes everything. If one is called homo faber, one is implicitly called anthropos logikos, i.e., man who is determined by the logos and who is able to use the meaningful word. The production of tools liberates by actualizing purposes not implied in the organic processes themselves. The inner aims (tele) of organic processes are determined by process, whereas the external aims (purposes) of technical production are not determined but represent infinite possibilities. Many conflicts in our culture arise from the perversion of the relation of means [62] and ends, arising from the unlimited potential of technical possibilities. Means become ends simply because they are possible. Therein lies the ambiguity of technology.

Definitions:

  • Culture, cultura: “That which takes care of something, keeps it alive, and makes it grow.” [57]
  • Semantics: Language in the larger sense. “Language reveals the basic characteristics of man’s cultural activities and affords a useful approach to their nature and their differences.” [58]         
  • Mythological Language: Combines the “technical grasp of objects with the religious experience of a quality of the encountered that has highest significance even for daily life but transcends it in such a way that it demands another language, that of the religious symbols and their combination, the myth.” [59]
  • Subject Matter (of cultural creativity): “Out of the inexhaustible manifoldness of encountered objects, language chooses some which are of significance in the universe of means and ends or in the religious, poetic, and scientific universe of expression.” [60]
  • Form (of cultural creativity): “Form makes a cultural creation what it is – a philosophical essay, a painting, a law, a prayer. In this sense form is the essence of a cultural creation. Form is one of those concepts which cannot be defined, because every definition presupposes it.” [60]
  • Substance (of cultural creativity): “Substance is, so to speak, the soil out of which it grows. Substance cannot be intended. It is unconsciously present in a culture, a group, an individual, giving the passion and driving power to him who creates and the significance and power of meaning to his creations.” [60]

Questions:

  • Is culture best understood as a verb or a noun?
  • Discuss the problems of translating text from one language to another. Why is it easier to do in a field like math or science, than in a field like poetry?
  • How does poetry express a quality of humanity’s encounter with reality?
  • How does confusion between technical and mythological language inhibit the understanding of religion?
  • What does it mean to say that form makes a cultural creation what it is?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.I.B.2.c).(2): The Functions of “Theoria”: The Cognitive and the Aesthetic Acts [62-65]

Summary:

[62] The duality of the two basic functions of culture: word and technical act, point to a general duality in cultural self-creation of life based on the ontological polarity of individualization and participation. Every individual being receives and reacts to others, thereby changing self and other. In the realm of the organic, this is called stimulus and response. In the dimension of self-awareness it is called perception and reaction. Under the dimension of spirit it is theoria (theory) and praxis (practice).

Every particular creation of theoria is a mirror of encountered reality, a fragment of a universe of meaning, because the universe never appears in a direct vision. Language (word) moves in universals. If you say “this is a tree,” you have grasped “treehood” in an individual tree and with a fragment of the universe of meaning. This is an example of language as a cognitive expression of theoria. It also can be an example of the aesthetic sense of theoria – if Van Gogh paints an image of a tree it becomes his dynamic vision of the world. [63] By creating an image of both “treehood” and the universe as reflected in the particular mirror of the tree, he contributes to the creation of the universe.

Theoria receives reality in two ways through the aesthetic and cognitive functions, “images” and “concepts.” The distinction between the aesthetic and the cognitive was explained in connection with the description of the structure of reason (Systematic Theology, Vol. I, pp. 77-78). But that is only one element in the dynamics of life and the functions of spirit. It is a static element. Strictly speaking, ambiguities can only occur in spirit, which is life, and not in reason.

The ambiguity innate to the cognitive process arises from the basic tension [64] between what is intended, and the situation that both creates the intention and prevents its fulfillment due to estrangement between subject and object. Such estrangement is a condition for culture as the whole of creative, receiving or transforming acts. The cognitive act arises from the desire to bridge the gap between subject and object in a reunion identified by the word “truth.”

Finding truth is also an element in the aesthetic function of theoria. But the main intention of the aesthetic function is to express qualities of being which can be grasped only by artistic creativity. The result may be “beauty,” which is sometimes joined with “truth” and “good” in a triad of “highest values.” But the word “beauty” has lost power and carries some negative connotations. It is better to say that the aim of the aesthetic function is to “express.” The tension arising in the aesthetic function is between the expression and the expressed. In that regard one should speak of the “authenticity” or “unathenticity” of the expression, rather than its “truth.” Unauthenticity arises in two ways, by copying the surface and not expressing the depth, or by expressing only the artist’s subjectivity and not his/her encounter with reality. Authentic art expresses the encounter of mind with world to reveal an otherwise hidden quality of a piece of the universe.

[65] The tension in the aesthetic function of theoria is different in character from that in its cognitive function. Both are rooted in the existential estrangement of self and world, which in the cognitive function is the separation of subject and object. A real union between self and world is achieved in the aesthetic encounter, although there are degrees of depth and authenticity in that union arising from limits on both self and world. The limitation on the side of “world” is that although the artistic expression may reach one otherwise hidden quality of the universe, whereas ultimate reality transcends all qualities and is not reached. The limitation on the side of “self” is that self grasps reality in images and not with the totality of its being. As a result of limits on world and self, union in the aesthetic function has an element of unreality. It is “seeming” reality as it anticipates a reality not yet extant. The ambiguity of the aesthetic function is its oscillation between reality and unreality.

Definitions:

  • Theoria: “The act of looking at the encountered world in order to take something of it into the centered self as a meaningful, structured whole. [62]
  • Image: As used in theoria, includes “all aesthetic creations,” such as visual, literary, musical, i.e. “the whole of aesthetic creativity,” not limited to the visual. [63]
  • Concepts: As used in theoria, include “all cognitive creations. …In every defined concept numerous propositions are implicit and at the same time every structured proposition leads in a direction of new concepts which presuppose old ones.” [63]
  • Reason: “The structure of both mind and world.” [63]
  • Spirit: The “dynamic actualization [of mind and world] in personality and community.” [63]
  • Truth: “The fragmentary reunion of the knowing subject with the known object in the act of knowledge.” [64]

Questions:

  • What is theoria, as used by Tillich in this section?
  • Does Tillich value the artistic function of theoria over its cognitive function? Explain.
  • Tillich seems to devalue, or not value at all, works of art that are entirely or mostly subjective. What is the difference between a subjective work of art, and one which, as Tillich identifies it, “expresses the encounter of mind and world?” Does this imply that authentic art is only that art draws on an object in reality for its subject?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.I.B.2.c).(3): The Functions of “Praxis”: The Personal and the Communal Acts [65-68]

Summary:

[65] Praxis is the self-creation of life in the personal-communal realm. [66] It includes acts of self on self, self on others, self on groups to which self belongs, and through such groups on other groups, and thereby, indirectly, on all humanity. Under the dimension of spirit, through the functions of praxis, life creates itself in particular ways, under the whole of a “theory of culture.” The different functions of praxis employ tools (a continuation of the technical act) yet transcend production of physical tools in union with word. Some of its most important technical activities are economy, medicine, administration and education. Praxis thereby aims at growth under the dimension of spirit using means (tools) for ends (technical activities that liberate humans from bondage to the environment). These ends represent complex functions of the spirit, combining ultimate norms, scientific material, human relations, and a large accumulation of technical knowledge.

With theoria, truth and authentic expressiveness were identified as “the good,” i.e. the aims of cultural creativity. [67] Identifying “the good” under praxis is semantically difficult. Several possible words are rejected as inadequate, such as “righteous” and the Greek term “arÍte” (in Latin virtus, in English “virtue”). In answer to the question, what is “the good” of praxis, i.e. the agathon, bonum; in its essential nature, the word “humanity,” although also problematic, will serve. As used to describe the highest aims of praxis, “humanity” is used in the sense of fulfillment of one’s inner aim with respect to self and personal relations, in co-ordination with “justice” as fulfillment of the inner aim of social groups and their mutual relations.

Tensions in the natures of humanity and justice arise, as they do in the self-creation of life under the dimension of spirit, [68] from the infinite gap between subject and object under the conditions of existential estrangement. In theoria that gap is between the knowing subject and the object to be known – and between the expressing subject and the object to be expressed. In praxis, the gap lies between the existing human subject and the object for which he/she strives – and the gap between existing social order and the state of universal justice toward which it strives. The practical gap between subject – object has the same consequences as the theoretical gap; the subject – object scheme is not only the epistemological problem, it is also the ethical problem.

Every cultural act is the act of a centered self, subject to all the tensions and ambiguities of culture, and based on the moral self-integration of that self in community. One participates in the culture’s movement, growth, and possible destruction, simply by using tools and language, thereby being culturally creative. Therefore everyone is subject to the ambiguities of culture, subjectively and objectively. No one is separate from historical destiny.

Definitions:

  • Praxis: “The whole of cultural acts of centered personalities who as members of social groups act upon each other and themselves. Praxis in this sense is the self-creation of life in the personal-communal realm.” [65] “Praxis is action aiming at growth under the dimension of spirit.” [66]
  • The Good: “The agathon the bonum; and the good must be defined as the essential nature of a thing and the fulfillment of the potentialities implied in it.” [67]
  • Humanity: As used with praxis: “the fulfillment of man’s inner aim with respect to himself and his personal relations, in coordination with justice as the fulfillment of the inner aim of social groups and their mutual relations.” [67]
  • Justice: “It corresponds to truth in the sphere of theoria. Justice is the aim of all cultural actions which are directed toward the transformation of society. The word can also be applied to the individual, in so far as he behaves in a just way.” [67]

Questions:

  • What does it mean to say praxis “employs tools?” What kind of tools?
  • What is the ultimate aim – “the good” – of praxis?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.I.B.2.d): The Ambiguities of the Cultural Act: The Creation and the Destruction of Meaning [68-84]
IV.I.B.2.d).(1): The Ambiguities in the Linguistic, Cognitive, and Aesthetic Self-creation of Life [68-72]

Summary:

[68] In the linguistic function, word is the bearer of meaning. Language therefore is the first result of the self-creation of life under the dimension of spirit. Language has a special relation to the functions of theoria – cognition and expression – as the technical act, and in turn, a special relation to the functions of praxis. [69] Word liberates humanity from bondage to the environment. All life in previous dimensions remains in bondage to its environment. Word’s meaning-creating power depends on how the mind encounters reality, as expressed in language. This continuous activity of the self-creation of life produces a “universe of meaning.” Logic and semantics deal scientifically with the structures and norms through which this universe is created.

When an object is grasped by the mind through language, a gap opens between the object itself and the meaning created by word. This is the inherent ambiguity of language. In transforming reality into meaning it separates mind and reality. Ambiguity arises in: the poverty of what is grasped and transformed; differences between linguistic structures which defeat universality of meaning; the indefiniteness and uncommunicative character of the mind; unlimited freedom of language when limitations are rejected; manipulative use of language for purposes not based in reality; and perversion of language through distortion, hiding and contradiction. These processes are present in all speech.

[70] Semantic analysis fights avoidable ambiguities but only fragmentarily succeeds. The pervasive ambiguity of word makes understandable the move to unite word with power in a creator, and in the historical personality of the Christ, and also as an ecstatic self-manifestation in the Spirit. Through these symbols, word not only grasps encountered reality, it is itself reality and beyond the subject – object gap.

In the cognitive function, the ambiguities of self-creation of life are similarly rooted in the subject – object split. First, there is the “ambiguity of observation,” wherein the observer wants to regard the phenomenon (object) as it “really” is, i.e. independent of the observer. But that is impossible because the observed changes in being observed, it is an “encountered object.” Second, there is the “ambiguity of abstraction.” Cognition seeks the essence of an object or process by abstraction from the many particulars in which the essence is present. Necessarily, the process of abstraction involves interpretation, selection and omission. Every concept is an abstraction. [71] Third, there is the “ambiguity of truth as a whole.” Every word used to describe an object itself requires definition, and those defining words also then require definition, and so on, ad infinitum. Finally, there is the “ambiguity of argumentation” in the cognitive function. A chain of arguments is used to conceptualize the structure of things, but hidden assumptions, unnoticed by the cognitive subject, invariably play a determining role.

In the Aesthetic act of self-creation, [72] the unambiguous is sought through images and artistic intuition and in the belief a reunion of theoria and reality is possible. But the aesthetic image is as ambiguous as the cognitive function and grasping word. In the aesthetic function, the gap between expression and that which is expressed represents the split between acts of theoria and encountered reality. The resulting ambiguity is seen in conflicts of stylistic elements, which characterize every work of art and indirectly every aesthetic encounter with reality. These elements are: the naturalistic, the idealistic, and the expressionistic. Most classical art is strongly determined by an idealism that anticipates fulfillment of what things are essentially, but that cannot be found in an actual encounter. Theologically speaking, that is eschatological. This “ambiguity of stylistic idealism” arises from the sentimentality and dishonesty employed to beautify and correct an encountered reality and conform it to an essential ideal. This has marred religious art of the last hundred years.

Definitions:

  • Meaning: “Presupposes a self-awareness of life which has trans-psychological validity. Something universally valid is intended in every meaningful sentence, even if the subject spoken about is particular and transitory. Cultures live in such meanings.” [69]
  • Naturalism (in the aesthetic function): “The artistic impulse to present the object as ordinarily known or scientifically sharpened or drastically exaggerated.” [72]
  • Idealism (in the aesthetic function): “The contrary [to naturalism] artistic impulse, that of going beyond ordinarily encountered reality in the direction of what things essentially are and therefore ought to be.” [72]
  • Expression (in the aesthetic function): See, “Changes in German” notes, below.

Questions:

  • Tillich posits that in transforming reality into meaning, through language, the mind and the reality/object observed are separated. In what sense are they separated? Does this imply that a greater cohesion between self/mind and object exists prior to transforming the object’s reality into language? How might that be consistent and/or inconsistent with Tillich’s System at this stage?
  • Give an example of the process of abstraction?
  • How might semantic analysis fight the ambiguities inherent in language?

Changes in German:

  •  [72]-7 This section explicates the “naturalistic and “idealistic” style-elements but the treatment of the “expressionistic” element is omitted—a discovery that was enormously frustrating to PT. The following is probably Prof. Durwood Foster’s translation of the 31 lines which did appear in the German version of ST (pp. 90-91) corresponding to the missing section.
          The third style-element is the expressionistic. The word expressionism points in this context to the artistic impulse (which has been determinative in most periods of human history) to break through everyday reality instead of imitating it or anticipating its essential completion, as the naturalistic or the idealistic style-element does. Expressionism uses pieces of everyday reality in order to create a framework of meaning that indeed is mediated through that reality but points beyond it. This is the reason why great religious art is conditioned by the expressionistic style-element, even though it also, and often in the first place, appears in styles which have produced no or at least no important works of religious art. This is true, for example, in the development of painting in Europe and America since 1900. When we speak of the expressionistic element, we want to avoid confusion with the expressionistic style of a certain period of German painting. At the same time there comes to expression in the concept “expressionistic element” what we have said about the aesthetic function in general, namely, that it is the expressive creation of culture. However, even here the ambiguity of all cultural creation is not avoided. It consists in the fact that the power of the expressive annuls the object in its naturally given existence as well as in its possibilities of fulfillment and that what is expressed stands, so to speak, in an empty space. Since, however, an empty space cannot maintain itself either in nature or in the spirit, it is frequently filled with the pure subjectivity of the artist or of the viewer. The picture that no longer has any criterion, either in empirical reality or in a valid norm, becomes the picture of a finally meaningless subjectivity. That is the ambiguity of the expressionistic element in the different styles of art.

V.I.B.2.d).(2): The Ambiguities of Technical and Personal Transformation [72-77]

Summary:

[72] In theoria, all ambiguities depend on the cleavage between self and object. [73] In the functions of praxis the opposite happens: the object to be transformed causes the ambiguous character of cultural self-creation. The liberating power of word is linked to the technical act, i.e., in the production of tools as tools. Making tools requires knowledge of the inner structure of the materials used and their behavior under anticipated conditions. Therefore the tools which liberate persons from the bondage of environment, subject them to the rules of their making. This leads to three ambiguities in all technical production: first, the “ambiguity of freedom and imitation;” second, the “ambiguity of means and ends;” and third, the “ambiguity of self and thing.”

The ambiguity of freedom and limitation in technical production reveals the tension between unlimited creativity and its potentially destructive consequences. The ambiguity of means and ends asks: “what is served by limitless technical freedom?” Insofar as the answer is the basic needs of physical existence, the ambiguity is hidden, though not absent because [74] it is not possible to know with assurance what needs are basic. Even if one knew with certainty what a basic need was, the problem persists and comes into the open with the generation of new needs, engendered to be satisfied in a dynamic economy. Technical possibility leads to production of means as an end in itself. The ambiguity inherent in such production of means is responsible for the emptiness of contemporary life.

The same holds for the ambiguity of self and thing. A technical product is a thing; natural objects are not things. But, objects produced by the technical act, are things, even if the material used was a natural object. Humans can transform natural objects into things, such as making trees into wood. In doing so, the natural object’s structures and relations are destroyed. In so doing, the person making the object is also transformed, becoming a thing among things by losing his/her self in objects with which there is no communication. This is quantitative. Like other ambiguities, it leads to a quest for unambiguous relations, that is, a quest for the “Kingdom of God.”

[75] There are both personal and communal ambiguities in praxis. In the realm of personal self-creation of life, we distinguish between the personal in itself, and the personal in relation. In both cases, the aim of the cultural act is the actualization of the self’s potentialities, i.e., humanity. The general ambiguity of the personal self-creation of life is the relation of the one who determines and the one who is determined. Semantically speaking, the term “self-determination” points to the ambiguity of identity and non-identity. The determining subject, under the conditions of existential estrangement, is separated from what essentially is. Self-determination into fulfilled humanity is impossible, but it is also necessary. A self determined completely from outside would become a “thing.” This is the ambiguity of self-determination, the dignity and despair of every responsible personality, responsible in the sense of responding to the “silent voice” of one’s essential being.

In the ambiguity of good will, self-determination must make the will good, in order to will the good. The good will must create the good will, and so on, ad infinitum. Unlike self-determination, other-determination depends on actions of one person upon another. It happens unintentionally in every act of personal participation and intentionality. In those relations an ambiguity appears. [76] Tying to enhance a subject, as subject, makes it an object. Another ambiguity of personal growth arises in the guiding activity, in the sense of one person helping the growth of another.

The ambiguity of participation is present in the extremes of self-seclusion and self-surrender. [77] Every act of participation includes an element of holding back the self, and giving of the self. Emotional participation is also subject to the ambiguities of self-seclusion and self-surrender. Emotional oscillation between participation and seclusion, typical of romantic love, involves the ambiguity of trying to enter another’s secret being, and chaotic self-surrender.

In summary, profound ambiguities are effective in every act of emotional participation. Together with cognitive ambiguities, inexhaustible creative-destructive situations arise in the relation of person to person.

Definitions:

  • Things: “Objects which are nothing but objects, which have no element of subjectivity.” [74]
  • Humanity: “Humanity is attained by self-determination and other-determination in mutual dependence. Man strives for his own humanity and tries to help others reach humanity, an act which expresses his own humanity.” [75]

Questions:

  • Things may be both organic and inorganic. What are the defining characteristics of a “thing?”
  • To what extent can you identify areas where Tillich himself is unaware of the ambiguities he describes, in formulating his Systematic Theology?
  • How can tools which liberate persons from the bondage of their environment, subject them to the rules of their [the tools’] making? Can you think of an example?
  • How can self-determination make the will good?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.I.B.2.d).(3): The Ambiguities of Communal Transformation [77-84]

Summary:

[78] A social group has no centered self and is therefore different from an individual. A group is not a personal unity and is not responsible for the acts forced upon it against the majority will, or through the authority of a part. The life of a social group belongs under the historical dimension (discussed in Part V), which unites the other dimensions and adds to them a future direction. For now we deal only with the ambiguities following from the principle of justice, without entering a discussion of justice in the historical dimension.

The nature and development of social groups is a matter for sociology and historiography. The normative question here is: what are social groups intended to be by their essential nature, and what ambiguities appear in their actual processes of self-creation? The ambiguities of the social group arise in their growth toward justice.

Social organisms are distinct from organizational forms. Families, friendship groups, vocational communities, tribal and national groups, etc., grow naturally within the self-creation of life. But as parts of cultural creativity, they are at the same time objects of organizing activity. They are never one without the other. They are distinguished from “flocks” in the organic-psychological dimension. In a flock, or a grove of trees, the more powerful impose their [79] potentialities into actualization against the natural resistance of others. In a human group the relation of members is ordered by rules traditionally, conventionally or legally fixed, which seek to express some form of justice. According to the polarity of dynamics and form, a social group requires form for being, and that form is determined by the group’s understanding of justice.

The ambiguities of justice appear wherever justice is demanded and actualized. The first ambiguity in the actualization of justice is that of “inclusiveness and exclusion.” Social cohesion in a group involves inclusion of some and exclusion of others. [80] Justice does not require unambiguous acceptance of those who would disturb or destroy group cohesion, but it certainly does not permit their unambiguous rejection.

The second ambiguity of justice is that of “competition and equality.” Between individuals and groups, inequality in the power of being is not a matter of static differences but of dynamic decisions. Under the dimension of the spirit, these are judged by the principle of justice and the element of equality in it. The question is: “In what respect does justice include equality?” One unambiguous answer is that every person is equal to every [81] other person insofar as he/she is a person. Equality is unambiguous up to this point. However, every concrete application of the principle of equality is ambiguous.

The ambiguities of competition give rise to inequality in the encounters between people, in societal stratification, and in political self-creation of life. Even in the unambiguous recognition of a person as person, justice may be denied by failure to correctly acknowledge the power of being in a person or group. Ambiguities may arise from the unjust use of power or imposition of unjust conditions of life, etc. In short, unambiguous justice is a figment of utopian imagination.

The third ambiguity in the self-actualization of a social group is the “ambiguity of leadership.” [82] Leadership’s essence is neither the domination by the stronger nor mass-management. Rather, leadership is the social analogy to centeredness. Leadership derives from the personal centeredness of an individual member of the group. Ambiguity exists because the leader represents not only the power of justice of the group, but also his/her power of being. “Authority” is a term carrying more fundamental meaning than leadership, and also more conspicuous ambiguities. Authority is the ability to start and augment something. Authorities result from the “division of experience” in all realms of cultural life. [83] They are necessary because of every individual’s finite range of knowledge and ability. When leadership in the sense of authority is frozen into authority bound to a particular social position, ambiguity starts. Persons with less knowledge and ability end up exerting authority over some who have more knowledge and experience, distorting the genuine meaning of authority and transforming actual authority into established authority. Ambiguity arises from both the rejection of authority undercutting the social structure of life, and surrendering to authority that destroys the basis of authority.

The fourth ambiguity of justice is the “ambiguity of legal form.” The legal form in the civil and criminal laws of government, gives rise to both justice and injustice. This arises from an external cause: the relation between the legal form and the legalizing, interpreting and executing powers, allowing ambiguities of leadership to influence the character of the legal form subjectively. [84] And it also arises from an internal cause: the ambiguity of the legal form is its abstract character and the need to apply it to unique concrete situations.

Definitions:

  • Leadership: “A structure which starts rather early in the organic realm and which is effective under the dimension of inner awareness, of the spirit, and of history.” [81-81]
  • Authority: “Denotes the ability to start and to augment (augere, auctor) something. … There are authorities in all realms of cultural life. They result from the ‘division of experience’ and are necessary because of every individual’s finite range of knowledge and ability.” [82-83]

Questions:

  • Identify some of the “terrifying relapses … of demonic destruction of justice” in the 1900’s or other historical period. Is the use of “demonic” by Tillich metaphorical? Is it sensational or warranted?
  • What does the phrase “power of being” mean?  Can one’s power of being increase or decrease? How?
  • What is the difference between the social and organizational forms of community?
  • What is “justice?” Is it subjective to each group/person, or does it have a categorical definition?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.I.B.2.e): The Ambiguity of Humanism [84-86]

Summary:

[84] Culture creates meaning by actualizing the potential in the “bearer of the spirit” – the human person. This responds to the question: “What is the ultimate aim of the cultural self-creation of life?” Or put otherwise: “What is the meaning of the creation of a universe of meaning?” The answer has two sides: macrocosmic and microcosmic. The macrocosmic answer is that the universe of meaning fulfills the potentialities of the universe of being. [85] The microcosmic answer is that the individual person is the point of, and instrument for, the actualization of a universe of meaning. Since spirit and individuals are bound together, this is the only opportunity for the universe to reach up to an anticipatory and fragmentary fulfillment. This is the root of the humanistic idea, and the justification of humanism.

Humanism is broader than humanity. Humanity, like justice, is a concept subordinated to humanism, which designates the intrinsic aim of all cultural humanity, i.e., actualization of the potentialities of an individual as the bearer of spirit. Humanism’s ambiguities cannot be hidden. They are based on the fact that humanism disregards the self-transcending function of life and absolutizes the self-creative function. Religion is not necessarily ignored. But it is subsumed under human potentiality and treated as a cultural creation. In so doing, humanism does deny self-transcendence of life and the innermost character of religion.

Humanism is closely connected with the ambiguity of education, applicable to both the personal and communal realms. Education, as defined by unqualified humanism, would lead into the actualization of all human potentialities. [86] But that has to be qualified due to the infinite distance between individuals and the species. Therefore education, in the humanistic view, is the actualization of those human potentialities that are possible in terms of the historical destiny of the particular individual. Yet, this same qualification is fatal for the humanist ideal because it claims to give the final answer to the educational and general cultural question. Human finitude makes it impossible for any person to fulfill the humanist ideal since decisive human potentialities will always remain unrealized. Worse, the human condition excludes the vast majority from the higher grades of cultural form and educational depth. The intrinsic exclusiveness of the humanist ideal prevents it from being the final aim of human culture. Only self-transcending humanism can answer the question of the meaning of culture and the aim of education. Without self-transcendence, humanism becomes a law falling under the ambiguities of the law. Humanism leads to the issue of culture transcending itself.

Definitions:

  • Humanity: “The fulfillment of the personal life as personal and … coordinated … with justice and, in the larger view which includes all functions of the spirit, with truth and expressiveness.” [85]
  • Humanism: “Embraces these principles [of humanity] and relates them to the actualization of man’s cultural potentialities.” [85]
  • Education: “Leading out from something – that is, from the state of ‘rudeness,’ as the word ‘e-rudition’ indicates.” [85]

Questions:

  • In Tillich’s macrocosmic answer to the meaning of the creation of the universe, the universe of meaning is the fulfillment of the universe of being. What does this mean?
  • Does the universe have its own potentiality as an inorganic or organic entity?
  • If humanism becomes self-transcending, is it still humanism?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.3: The Self-transcendence of Life and Its Ambiguities [86-106]
IV.I.B.3.a): Freedom and Finitude [86-87]

Summary:

[86] The polarity of freedom and destiny creates the possibility of life’s transcending itself. Striving in the vertical direction is striving toward ultimate and infinite being. The vertical transcends the circular and horizontal movements of self-identity and self-alteration. [87] It is the self-transcendence of life, which can be approached only in terms of the inner self-transcendence of things in human consciousness. The question is: “How does self-transcendence manifest itself?” In human consciousness, the relation of everything finite to the infinite becomes conscious. The self-transcendence of life is countered by profanization. Neither transcendence nor profanization can be described empirically, but only through the mirror of human consciousness. This is the tension between the affirmation and denial of the holiness of life. “Profane” means resisting self-transcendence. Profane better expresses the contrast to the holy than the word secular. It is used for its function of expressing resistance against self-transcendence under all dimensions of life.

Life transcends itself ambiguously, because profanizaion is present in every act of self-transcendence. This ambiguity is most conspicuous in the religious realm, manifest under all dimensions.

Definitions:

  • Profane: “Resisting self-transcendence, that is, remaining before the door of the temple, standing outside the holy.” [87]

Questions:

  • How does the polarity of freedom and destiny create the possibility and reality of life’s transcending itself?
  • How do Paul’s word’s from Romans 8:19-22 [the longing of all creation for the liberation from the “subjection to futility,” (R.S.V.) and the “shackles of morality,” (N.E.B.) express the aim of self-transcendence of life under all dimensions?
  • Relate Aristotle’s doctrine of eros towards the “unmoved mover” to the function of the self-transcendence of life.

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.3.b): The Self- transcendence and Profanization in General: The Greatness of Life and Its Ambiguities [88-92]

Summary:

[88] The “greatness of life” is qualitative, not quantitative. It shows a power of being and meaning that represents ultimate being and meaning. The classic example is the Greek hero who aspires to the divine and suffers tragically when he/she trespasses the limits of finitude. Greek tragic myths reveal the risk of striving for greatness and the willingness of ambiguous heroic figures to endure tragedy as the cost. Only smallness, the fear of greatness, conflicts with the greatness and dignity of life.

Where the holy is, the profane also exists. Life in the organic realm is both great and small, hiding its potential holiness and manifesting only its finitude. [89] In religious language, it is “dust and ashes,” or “fuel for the final burning of the cosmos.” Life under the inorganic is nothing but the materials out of which things are made. Some philosophers see the whole physical universe as a large thing. The universe belongs to life’s ambiguity in that both the holy and the profane are always present in its structures.

An example in the inorganic sphere is technical structures which as mere things are open to distortion, dismemberment, and the ugliness of dirt and waste. Technical things may also manifest a sublime adequacy to their purpose. In this fashion, things, as mere things, may nonetheless transcend themselves toward greatness.

Self-transcendence as greatness implies dignity. One element of dignity is inviolability, a valid element of all reality, giving dignity to the inorganic and the personal. This inviolability lies in the unconditional demand of a person to be acknowledged as a person. Violating another, violates the violator and destroys him/her morally.

The dignity of inorganic elements was shown in polytheism by [90] having the elements represented by gods. Humans encountered the sublimity of life, its greatness and dignity, in ambiguous union with its profanization, smallness and desecration. The ambiguity of the polytheistic gods parallels the ambiguities of the self-transcendence of life. Polytheistic symbolism expresses the self-transcendence of life under all dimensions against an abstract monotheism.

The foregoing anticipates the analysis of religion and its ambiguities. One remaining question concerns how the technical use of the inorganic undermines its greatness and dignity. From the point of view of the material itself, a created section of reality pressed into a tool loses its identity. In the process of intensification of the potentialities of inorganic materials through the technical act, humanity may unbalance small and large parts of the universe. [91] Examples of this abound, such as the production of wastelands and the poisoning of the atmosphere. In such cases, sublimation of matter includes its profanization. Such ambiguity lies behind myth-creating humanity’s anxiety about overstepping its limits.

What is true in the inorganic realm is immediately apparent in the organic realm and its several dimensions. The inviolability of living beings is expressed in the protection accorded them in many religions, polytheistic mythologies and the actual participation of individuals in the life of plants and animals. This universal human experience does not require extended comment; but the ambiguities implied in it call for a full discussion; they anticipate ambiguities in the dimensions of spirit and history.

Radical profanization of organisms arises when they become food for other organisms. This is implied in the law of life living on life. Humans ceased to be food items but remained labor items. Some animals became inviolate from use for food, while others continue to be consumed. In this arises the ambiguity between the dignity of life and the actual violation of life.

Self-transcendence has the character of intentionality, awareness of one’s self as a way of being beyond one’s self. The subject-element in all life becomes a subject, [92] the object-element becomes an object – something that is thrown opposite the subject (ob-jectum). Self-awareness is a mark of greatness, surpassing all preceding dimensions. The polarity of pleasure and pain expresses this situation. Pleasure is an awareness of self as bearer of creative eros. Pain is an awareness of self made into an object, deprived of self-determination. Humans experience pain if their dignity as subject is violated. They suffer shame. In this sense, pain deprives the sublime center of self-awareness of its greatness and dignity.

Definitions:

  • Greatness: “Includes the qualitative vastness of the universe in time and space.” [88]
  • Mystery: “The infinity of questions with which every answer confronts the human mind.” [88]
  • Reality: “Every bit of reality is inexhaustible and points to the ultimate mystery of being itself which transcends the endless series of scientific questions and answers.” [88]
  • Greatness of the Universe: “Lies in its power of resisting ever threatening chaos, of which the myths, including the Biblical stories, manifest a keen awareness.” [88]
  • Pleasure: “The awareness of one’s self as …the bearer of creative eros. [92]
  • Pain: “The awareness of one’s self made into an object deprived of self-determination.” [92]

Questions:

  • What is “smallness” in the sense of the fear of reaching beyond one’s finitude? What impact does this have on self-transcendence and the greatness and dignity of life?
  • Stories of Greek heroes present classical examples of what happens when humanity trespasses the limits of finitude. This is summed up in the word “tragedy.” How is this related to Tillich’s prior discussion of “hubris?”
  • How does violating another violate the violator?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.3.c): The Great and the Tragic [92-94]

Summary:

[92] The self-transcendence of life reveals itself as the greatness of life. Under the conditions of existence, it leads to the ambiguity of the great and the tragic. Only the great can experience tragedy. [93] Such greatness and tragedy, embodied by Greek myth, was somewhat democratized in Athenian society, wherein every citizen was asked to participate in the performance of the tragedies. Thus some greatness was imputed to every member of the society. Such greatness, and dignity is affirmed under all dimensions of life. In relation to other beings, all beings affirm their greatness and dignity without being aware of it. In doing so, each brings upon its self the reaction of logos-determined laws pushing back against any thing that trespasses the limits given it. This is the tragic explanation of suffering in nature.

Notwithstanding natural analogies, consciousness of the tragic, and of pure tragedy, is possible only under the dimension of the spirit. The tragic is a universally valid concept, describing the universality of the self’s estrangement and its inescapable character, which is nevertheless a matter of responsibility. The word “hubris” was used to describe one element of the self’s estrangement, the other is the element of “concupiscence.” In Part III of the Systematic Theology, hubris and concupiscence were merely negative elements. In this part, dealing with life processes, they appear in their ambiguity – hubris ambiguously united with greatness, and concupiscence with eros. As used here, hubris is not pride, it is the self-elevation of the great beyond the limits of its finitude. The result is self-destruction and the destruction of others.

If tragedy and greatness are connected, it makes sense that people would avoid tragedy by avoiding greatness. [94] Avoidance of the measure of greatness possible for the self, causes one to become a tragic figure. The anxiety to avoid tragedy throws one into the tragic loss of self and the greatness to be a self.

The ambiguity of greatness and tragedy involves the fact that the subjects of tragedy are not aware of their circumstances. Several great tragedies involve the revelation of the tragic human predicament. The guilt of the tragic hero is that he (in Greek tragedy it is usually a male protagonist) perverts the function of self-transcendence by identifying himself with that to which self-transcendence is directed – the great itself.

Tragedy is inseparable from the ambiguity of greatness. Under the dimension of spirit, something else happens. The great reveals its dependence on its relation to the ultimate, and with that awareness the great becomes the holy. The holy stands beyond the tragic.

Definitions:

  • Hubris: “Not pride – the compulsive overcompensation of actual smallness – but the self-elevation of the great beyond the limits of its finitude.” [93]
  • Tragic: “Can be understood only on the basis of the understanding of greatness. It expresses the ambiguity of life in the function of self-transcendence, including all dimensions of life but becoming conscious only under the dominance of the dimension of spirit.” [94]
  • The Holy: “Is beyond tragedy although those who represent the holy stand with all others. under the law of greatness and its consequence, tragedy. [94]

Questions:

  • In Athens all citizens were called on to participate in the performance of tragedy. In what way did that imply that all persons possessed a divine nature and some greatness of being?
  • Why is it inherent in hubris that it destroys both the self and others?
  • Does the quest for greatness necessarily and always end in tragedy? Why or why not?
  • In what sense are several great tragedies essentially the revelation to the self of the human predicament? What is the human predicament at issue?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.3.d): Religion in Relation to Morality and Culture [94-98]

Summary:

[94] The discussion herein is restricted to religion in its basic relation to morality and culture. This will allow the highly dialectical structure of the human spirit and its functions to appear. [95] Morality, culture and religion interpenetrate each other, constituting the unity of the spirit, wherein the elements are distinguishable but not separable. Morality is essentially related to culture and religion. Culture provides the contents of morality. Religion gives morality the unconditional character of the moral imperative, the ultimate moral aim, the reunion of the separated agape, and the motivating power of grace. Culture, or the creation of a universe of meaning, is essentially related to morality and religion. The religious element in culture is the inexhaustible depth of genuine creation. It is the element of ultimacy that culture lacks in itself but to which it points. Religion, the self-transcendence of life under the dimension of spirit, is essentially related to culture and morality. Self-transcendence under the dimension of the spirit is possible only with the constitution of the moral self by the unconditional imperative. It cannot take form except within the universe of meaning created in the cultural act.

This picture of the essential relation of the three functions of the spirit is both “transhistorical remembrance” and “utopian anticipation.” It judges actual relations under the conditions of existence. Moreover, it is more than an external judge, it is actual in so far as essential and existential elements are mixed in life and since the unity of the three functions is as effective as their separation. This is the root of all ambiguities under the dimension of spirit. The three functions of life under the dimension of spirit separate in order to become actual.

[96] In the essential unity of the three functions, there is no cultural act which is not at the same time an act of moral self-integration and cultural self-creation. There is no independent religion in dreaming innocence. Life is however based on the loss of dreaming innocence, on self-estrangement of essential being and the ambiguous mixture of essential and existential elements. In the actuality of life there is separated morality with the ambiguities it implies, there is separated culture with its ambiguities, and there is separated religion with its most profound ambiguities. To these we now turn.

Life is sublime in every realm dominated by the dimension of the spirit. The self-integration of life in the moral act and the self-creativity of life in the cultural act are sublime. Within them life transcends itself in the vertical direction, the direction of the ultimate. But they are also profane. They resist self-transcendence because they are separated from their essential unity with religion and are actualized independently.

Religion must first of all be considered a quality of morality and culture, and not as an independent function. Self-transcendence of life cannot be a function of life besides other functions, otherwise it would have to be transcended itself, and so on in endless repetition. Life cannot genuinely transcend itself in one of its own functions.

[97] The existence of religion not only as a quality in morality and culture, but also as an independent reality beside them is one of the great stumbling blocks in life under the dimension of spirit. Under the definition of religion as the self-transcendence of life, there should be no religion, individual or organized, as a particular function of the spirit. As in all realms of life, self-transcendence is resisted by profanization in the realm of the spirit. Separated from religion, morality and culture become “secular.” Their greatness is contradicted by their profanity. The moral imperative becomes conditional. The ultimate moral aim is replaced by utilitarian calculations. The transcendence of the moral act is denied, and ultimately falls under the ambiguities of law.

In an analogous fashion, profanization of the cultural creation of a universe of meanings loses the substance which is received in self-transcendence – an ultimate and inexhaustible meaning. This is often discussed under the heading of the secularization of culture, leaving culture with an empty form. Religion as special function of the spirit cannot become alive without finite realities which are transcended. There is a dialectical problem in self-transcendence in that something is transcended [98] and at the same time not transcended. Concrete existence is required, otherwise there would be nothing to be transcended. Religion as the self-transcendence of life needs the religions and needs to deny them.

Definitions:

  • Morality: “The constitution of the person as a person in the encounter with other persons.” [95]
  • Culture: “Provides the contents of morality – the concrete ideals of personality and community and the changing laws of ethical wisdom …the creation of a universe of meaning in theoria and praxis.” [95]
  • Religion: “Gives to morality the unconditional character of the moral imperative, the ultimate moral aim, the reunion of the separated in agape, and the ultimate motivating power of grace. …The self-transcendence of life under the dimension of spirit, is essentially related to morality and culture.” [95]
  • Religious Element in Culture: “The inexhaustible depth of a genuine creation. One may call it substance or the ground from which culture lives. It is the element of ultimacy which culture lacks in itself but to which it points.” [95]
  • Secular: “Morality and culture in existential separation from religion become what is usually called secular. Their greatness is contradicted by their profanity.” [97]

Questions:

  • How is it that in their “essential natures,” morality, culture, and religion interpenetrate one another?
  • How is it that the self-integration of life in the moral act and the self-creativity of life in the cultural act are sublime; and yet under the ambiguity of life they are also profane?
  • Explain why religion is not an independent function, but rather a quality of the cultural and moral functions of the spirit? Why is “spirit” with a lower case “s” used in this context and not “Spirit.”
  • How is the existence of religion in the ordinary sense of the word “one of the great stumbling blocks in life under the dimension of the spirit?”

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.3.e): The Ambiguities of Religion [98-106]
IV.I.B.3.e).(1): The Holy and the Secular (Profane) [98-102]

Summary:

[98] The self-transcendence of life in religion shows a double ambiguity. The first, already mentioned, is a universal characteristic of life, the ambiguity of the great and the profane. We have seen why, in order to maintain itself as self-transcendent, life under the dimension of the spirit expresses itself in a function defined by self-transcendence, that is, religion.

This leads to the reduplication of ambiguities. Religion as the self-transcending function of life, claims to be the answer to the ambiguities of life in all other dimensions, transcending their finite tensions and conflicts. By doing so however, it falls into more profound tensions, conflicts and ambiguities. As the highest expression of the greatness and dignity of life, religion becomes holiness, at the same time Religion becomes the most radical refutation of the greatness and dignity of life; it profanizes the great and desecrates the holy. The first ambiguity of religion is that of “self-transcendence and profanization” in the religious function itself. The second ambiguity of religion is the “demonic elevation of something conditional to unconditional validity.” Religion always moves between the danger points of profanization and demonization.

Religion profaned becomes a finite object among finite objects. As a particular function of the spirit, the profanization of the holy is involved in the profanization of religion. [99] Religion’s greatness and dignity is its receptive answer to revelatory experience, this makes it holy in theoris as well as praxis. Holy, seen from the side of objects, means they are self-transcendent. Seen from the side of that to which they transcend – the holy – they are translucent. Holiness is the power of a thing to point beyond itself. Used to refer to a person, the actual participation of the person in it is possible in many degrees, from the highest to the lowest. It is not a personal quality that determines his/her degree of participation but the power of self-transcendence.

The “ambiguity of religion” is not the same as the “paradox of holiness.” The first ambiguity of religion is the presence of profanized elements in every religious act. This is true in two opposite ways: institutional and reductive. Institutional does not refer to “institutionalized” religion. Psychology reveals that there are institutions in the inner life of the individual, “ritual activities.” Attacking “organized religion” reflects deeply rooted confusion. Life is organized in all its self-actualizations; without form it could not have dynamics – this is true of the personal and communal. Honest attacks on organized religion challenge religion in its institutional form. Institutionalized religion becomes a finite reality itself – a set of prescribed activities to be performed, stated doctrines to accept, a social pressure group and political power with all the implications of power politics. [100] The content of the personal religious life is always taken from the religious life of a social group. Even the silent language of prayer is formed by tradition. In all forms of communal and personal religion, profanizing elements are effective. Conversely the most profanized forms of religion draw their power to continue from the elements of greatness and holiness within them. Life, transcending itself, at the same time remains within itself, and the first ambiguity of religion follows from this tension.

The second way the first ambiguity of religion is manifest is “reductive.” This is based on the fact that culture is the form of religion and that morality is the expression of its seriousness. This can lead to the reduction of religion to culture and morality. The symbols of such cultural creativity are creations of theoria and as such have lasting significance. But their claim to express transcendence of these principles must be discarded. The same interpretation is given to the manifestations of religion in praxis: the holy personality and the holy community are developments of personality and community, judged by principles of humanity and justice. But, their claim to transcend these principles must be rejected.

The reduction of religion is not radical. Religion is given a place in the whole of humanity’s cultural creativity and its usefulness for moral self-actualization is not denied. [101] This is a preliminary state in the process of a reductionist profanization of religion. Religion, which in principle has a home in every function of the spirit, has become homeless in all of them. Religion is explained away in the cognitive realm as derived from psychological or social sources and is considered an illusion or ideology. In the aesthetic realm, religious symbols get replaced by finite objects reflecting various naturalistic styles. Communites attempt to dissolve churches into organizations of secular life. This reductionist way of profanizing religion, reduction by annihilation, is tremendously successful.

Here also however, the ambiguity of life resists an unambiguous solution. The forces of profanization are not merely the negation of religion as a function of the spirit, but they are present in its very nature: actual religion lives in the cognitive forms from language to ontology, which are the results of cultural creativity. Religion uses the secular materials which become independent in the processes of reductive profanization. Religion can be secularized and finally dissolved into secular forms only because it has the ambiguity of self-transcendence.

When the secularization of religion is attempted, the ambiguity of religion shows its effect in the center of religious self-transcendence. The way this happens suggests the larger concept of religion as experience of the unconditional [102] both in the moral imperative and in the depth of culture. The ambiguity of radical secularism is that it cannot escape the element of self-transcendence which appears in these two experiences. A radically secular philosopher asked to give up his secularism will resist such a demand, experiencing the unconditional imperative of honesty up to total self-sacrifice. Similarly, the radically secular writer whose novel embodies his/her totality of being, feels abused and profaned when his/her novel is used merely as a form of entertainment. Reductive profanization may abolish religion as a special function, but it cannot remove religion as a quality found in all functions of the spirit – the quality of ultimate concern.

Definitions:

  • Religion: “The highest expression of the greatness and dignity of life; in it the greatness of life becomes holiness. Yet religion is also the most radical refutation of the greatness and dignity of life; in it the great becomes most profanized, the holy most desecrated.” [98]
  • Holy: As used with, e.g., holy scripture, holy acts, etc., “These predicates mean that all these realities are more than they are in their immediate appearance. They are self-transcendent, or, seen from the side of that to which they transcend – the holy – they are translucent toward it. …Holiness is not their moral or cognitive or even religious quality but their power of pointing beyond themselves.” [99]

Questions:

  • What is the difference between “organized religion” and “institutionalized religion” insofar as attacks against one or the other may be more or less legitimate?
  • How do radical secularists have vested interests in matters of ultimate concern? How does that relate to religion?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.B.3.e).(2): The Divine and the Demonic [102-106]

Summary:

[102] In religion, the ambiguity of self-transcendence appears as the ambiguity of the divine and the demonic. The symbol: “demonic” requires no justification. It is a much-used and much-abused term, used to designate antidivine forces in individual and social life. The demonic does not resist self-transcendence as does the profane, but it distorts self-transcendence by identifying a particular bearer of holiness with the holy itself. The claim of something finite to infinity or to divine greatness is the characteristic of the demonic. Demonization of the holy occurs in all religions day by day. The quest for an unambiguous life is, therefore, most radically directed against the ambiguity of the holy and the demonic in the religious realm. Tragedy is the inner ambiguity of human greatness. However, the subject does not aspire to divinity, rather he/she touches the divine sphere and is rejected by it into self-destruction. The demonic appears [103] whenever one claims divinity for the self. The main characteristic of the state of the tragic is blindness; the main trait of the state of the demonic is being split.

Religion embodies the dual concepts of unconditional concern and a realm of concrete symbols that express concrete concerns. There are abundant examples: states vesting themselves with religious dignity, cultural functions trying to control all others, individuals seeking idolization of themselves. In all such cases, distorted self-transcendence takes place.

[104] The basic ambiguity of religion has a deeper root than any of the other ambiguities of life, for religion is the point at which the answer to the quest for the unambiguous is received. In that sense, religion is unambiguous. In actual reception however, religion is profoundly ambiguous for it occurs in the changing forms of the self’s moral and cultural existence. These forms participate in and point to the holy, but are not the holy. The claim to be the holy makes them demonic. Theologians have long contrasted religion with revelation. Every religion is based on revelation and every revelation expresses itself in religion. Religion is the creation and the distortion of revelation. The concept of religion cannot be avoided by theology.

Some general examples of the demonization of religion will now be discussed. As an historical reality, religion uses cultural creations both in theoria and praxis. It establishes a realm of religious culture which lies [105] alongside other cultural creations. Religion properly claims superiority over all other realms of life insofar as it points to that which transcends them all. Its claim to superiority becomes demonic when religion as a social and personal reality makes this claim for itself and the finite forms by which it points to the infinite.

This is demonstrated in the four functions of human cultural creativity previously discussed: the communal, the personal, the aesthetic, and the cognitive. The solidarity of the community betrays its divine-demonic ambiguity. It can reject all criticisms raised in the name of justice and overrule them in the name of the holy. Numerous examples show why the quest for unambiguous life must transcend religion, even though the answer is given in religion.

In the realm of personal life, the divine-demonic ambiguity of religion appears in the idea of the saint. This raises the conflict between humanity and holiness and divine support and demonic suppression of personal development toward humanity. These conflicts go on within an individual person. One way religion suppresses the idea of humanity within the individual is by engendering an uneasy conscience in one who does not accept the absolute claim of religion.

[106] The divine-demonic ambiguity in the relation of religion to theoria focuses on the problem of religious doctrine, particularly when it appears in the form of an established dogma. The conflict is one between the consecrated truth of the dogma and the truth which unites dynamic change and creative form. At stake is the demonic suppression of honest obedience to the structures of truth. Demonic distortion begins when new insight presses toward the surface and is trodden down in the name of dogma, the consecrated truth, or when new styles seek to express the drives of a period and are prevented from doing so in the name of religiously approved forms of expression. The resisting personalities and the resisting community are victims of the demonic destruction of truth and expressiveness in the name of the holy.

As in relation to justice and to humanity directly, so in relation to truth and to expressiveness indirectly – religion is not the answer to the quest for an unambiguous life, although the answer can only be received through religion.

Definitions:

  • Demons: “In mythological vision are divine-antidivine beings. They are not simply negations of the divine but participate in a distorted way in the power and holiness of the divine. [102]
  • Demonic: “The claim of something finite to infinity or to divine greatness.” [102]
  • Tragic: “The inner ambiguity of human greatness. But the subject of tragedy does not aspire to divine greatness. He does not intend ‘to be like God.’ He touches, so to speak, the divine sphere, and he is rejected by it into self-destruction, but he does not claim divinity for himself.” [102]

Questions:

  • Distinguish the profane from the demonic.
  • Tillich maintains that at the time he wrote (early 1960), the “symbol of the demonic does not need justification as it did thirty years ago, when it was reintroduced to theological language.” [102] Now, nearly fifty years later, does the symbol or term “demonic” carry different baggage and implications than it did in 1960? Is there a term that would better express today the meaning of “demonic” as used by Tillich?
  • How does the Roman Empire serve as an example of the ambiguity of the demonic in the cultural realm?
  • Tillich’s references to psychological truths and theories are based on psychoanalytic theory that dominated theoretical and clinical psychology at that time. Since then however, much has changed in the fields of psychiatry and psychology. To what extent should Tillich’s theories be modified or updated as a result? Are such future developments anticipated by Tillich?

Changes in German:

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IV.I.C: The Quest for Unambiguous Life and the Symbols of Its Anticipation [107-110]

Summary:

[107] The root of ambiguity in life is that life always includes essential and existential elements. Life’s ambiguities are manifest under all dimensions, in all processes, and all realms of life. Although all creatures desire an unambiguous life, only in human beings, as the bearers of spirit, do the ambiguities of life and the quest to overcome them become conscious. Ambiguity is experienced by the self in all dimensions because the self participates in all dimensions, and they are experienced immediately within the self as the ambiguity and functions of the spirit: of morality, culture and religion.

Religion is the self-transcendence of life in the realm of the spirit. It is in religion that the self starts the quest for unambiguous life, and it is in religion that the answer is received. But the answer is not identical with religion, since religion itself is ambiguous.

Religious symbolism has produced three main symbols for unambiguous life: “Spirit of God,” “Kingdom of God,” and “Eternal Life.” It is sufficient for this preliminary discussion of these symbols, to refer to the definitions of these symbols provided below. Each concept will be discussed at length in the remaining parts of the Systematic Theology.

[108] The symbol of Eternal Life, together with that of the Kingdom of God will be the leading notions in the fifth part of the Systematic Theology. The relation of the three symbols expresses the answer revelation gives to the quest for unambiguous life. Each symbol uses a different symbolic material and in doing so express a different direction of meaning within the same idea of unambiguous being. Spiritual Presence uses the dimension of spirit, the bearer of which is the centered self. The Divine Spirit must be present in all the dimensions actual in humanity, and this means the universe.

Kingdom of God is a social symbol [109] taken from the historical dimension insofar as it is actualized in the self’s historical life. Therefore Kingdom of God embraces the destiny of the life of the universe, as does the symbol of Spiritual Presence. History’s quality of running irreversibly toward a goal introduces another element into its symbolic meaning, “eschatological” expectation. See, definitions below. Like Spiritual Presence, the Kingdom of God is working and struggling in history; but as eternal fulfillment the Kingdom of God is above history.

The symbolic material of Eternal Life is taken from the categorical structure of finitude. Unambiguous life is Eternal Life. Spiritual Presence creates Eternal Life in those who are grasped by it. The Kingdom of God is the fulfillment of temporal life in Eternal Life.

The three symbols mutually include each other, but because they each use unique symbolic material, it is preferable to apply them in different directions of meaning. Spiritual Presence is applied for the conquest of the ambiguities of life under the dimension of the spirit. Kingdom of God is applied for the conquest of the ambiguities of life under the dimension of history. And, Eternal Life is applied for the conquest of the ambiguities of life beyond history. Yet in all three we find mutual immanence. The emphasis from one to another is different, the substance is the same – life unambiguous.

The quest for unambiguous life is possible because life has the character of self-transcendence. Under all dimensions, life moves beyond itself in the vertical direction. But under no dimension does it reach that towards which it moves – the unconditional. It does not reach it but the quest remains. Under the dimension of spirit, the quest is for an unambiguous morality, culture and religion. The answer to this quest is the experience of revelation and salvation; they constitute religion above religion. They become religion when they are received. In religious symbolism, they are [110] the work of the Spiritual Presence, or of the Kingdom of God, or of Eternal Life. This quest is effective in all religions and the answer received underlies all religions, giving them their greatness and dignity.

Both the quest and answer become matters of ambiguity if expressed in terms of concrete religion. The age-old experience of all religions is that the quest for something transcending them is answered in shaking and transforming experiences of revelation and salvation. Under the conditions of existence even the absolutely great – the divine self manifestation – becomes not only great but also small, not only divine but also demonic.

Definitions:

  • Spirit of God: “The presence of the Divine Life within creaturely life.” [107]
  • Divine Spirit: “God present. …The Spirit of God is not a separated being. Therefore one can speak of ‘Spiritual Presence’ in order to give the symbol its full meaning.” [107]
  • Presence: “Has an archaic connotation, pointing to the place where a sovereign or a group of high dignitaries is. In capitalizing it, we indicate that it is supposed to express the divine presence in creaturely life.” [107]
  • Spiritual Presence: “Is the first symbol expressing unambiguous life. It is directly correlated to the ambiguities of life under the dimension of spirit although, because of the multidimensional unity of life, it refers indirectly to all realms.” [107-08]
  • Kingdom of God: “Its symbolic material is taken from the historical dimension of life and the dynamics of historical self-transcendence. Kingdom of God is the answer to the ambiguities of man’s historical existence, but, because of the multidimensional unity of life the symbol includes the answer to the ambiguity under the historical dimension of all realms of life.…The symbol of the Kingdom of God covers both the struggle of unambiguous life with the forces which make for ambiguity, and the ultimate fulfillment toward which history runs.” [108]
  • Eternal Life: “Here the symbolic material is taken from the temporal and spatial finitude of all life. Unambiguous life conquers the servitude to the categorical limits of existence. It does not mean an endless continuation of categorical existence but the conquest of its ambiguities.” [108]
  • Unambiguous Life: “Life under the Spiritual Presence, or as life in the Kingdom of God, or as Eternal Life.” [108]
  • Eschatological Expectation: “The expectation of the fulfillment toward which self-transcendence strives and toward which history runs.” [109]

Questions:

  • What is the quest for unambiguous life?
  • What does Tillich mean when he states that: “The fulfillment of unambiguous life transcends any religious form or symbol in which it is expressed.” [107] If that is true, how is the fulfillment of unambiguous life accessible to humanity?
  • How have the preceding three parts of the Systematic Theology prepared you for the discussion of the Symbols of: “Spirit of God,” “Kingdom of God,” and “Eternal Life?”
  • What does eternal life mean, if not the persistence of existence beyond death?

Changes in German:

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IV.II: The Spiritual Presence [111-161]

IV.II.A: The Manifestation of the Spiritual Presence in the Spirit of Man [111-138]

IV.II.A.1: The Character of the Manifestation of the Divine Spirit in the Human Spirit [111-128]

IV.II.A.1.a): The Human Spirit and the Divine Spirit in Principle [111-114]

Summary:

[111] The word ‘spirit’ points both to the function of human life in which morality, culture, and religion are actualized, and to the symbolic use of ‘spirit’ in the terms ‘divine Spirit’ and ‘Spiritual Presence’. The dimension of life called ‘spirit’ unites both the power of being and the meaning of being. Because the human being is the only being in which power and meaning are experientially actualized in unity, humans are the only beings with the dimension of spirit. Further, we are conscious that our nature is determined by spirit as a dimension of life. From our experience as beings with spirit we speak symbolically of God as Sprit- but this is strictly symbolic as applied to God, which means that we appropriate and transcend empirical material. Thus spirit as a dimension of life is a necessity for a doctrine of “the divine Spirit”. The divine Spirit is usually related to the human spirit by metaphorically asserting that Spirit “dwells and works in the human spirit”. [112] Because the divine Spirit is “ultimate and unconditional”, Spirit working in the human spirit enables an out of for spirit, whereby spirit transcends its finitude; this is “ecstasy”. As was discussed in Part I of Systematic Theology (“in the section on ‘Reason and Revelation’”), Spiritual Presence causes an ecstasy for human spirit, without destroying the “essential, i.e., rational, structure” of the latter. Most importantly when Spiritual Presence grasps human spirit it “creates unambiguous life”. Humanity asks the question of the unambiguous life, but “the answer must come to him through the creative power of the Spiritual Presence.” Natural Theology describes but does not answer the ambiguity of human self-transcendence. [112-113] The human spirit cannot “compel the divine Spirit to enter the human spirit”, claims to the contrary are not Spirit descending, they are spirit ascending; “the finite cannot force the infinite; man cannot compel God”. [113] Because human spirit as a dimension of life is, like all life, ambiguous, and because the unambiguous life is possible only by Spirit, the question as to the relation of Spiritual Presence to “the multidimensional unity of life” is now discussed. This relation between the infinite and the finite should not be understood in a dualistic sense, the relation is “incommensurable”, but can be articulated symbolically. The metaphor ‘dimension’ is not the best way to discuss this relation. [113-114] A better way is to state that all finite beings are related as essential or potential elements in divine life; which is existentially actualized both separated from and resisting the “essential unity of the finite and the infinite”. The unity is gone, but it can be remembered. The ‘memory’ of this unity occurs in self-transcendence. This is neither dualism nor supranaturalism. The phrase “the dimension of the ultimate” is to be understood as applying symbolically to God, but metaphorically to humanity.

Definitions:

  • spirit [lower case]: “We have dared to use the almost forbidden word ‘spirit’ (with a small ‘s’) for two purposes: first, in order to give an adequate name to that function of life which characterizes man as man and which is actualized in morality, culture, and religion; second, in order to provide the symbolic material which is used in the symbols ‘divine Spirit’ or ‘Spiritual Presence’ … spirit as a dimension of life unites the power of being with the meaning of being. Spirit can be defined as the actualization of power and meaning in unity. Within the limits of experience this happens only in man- in man as a whole and in all the dimensions of life which are present in him”; “The [human] spirit [is] a dimension of finite life”. [111,112]
  • Symbol: “In them [symbols], empirical material is appropriated and transcended.” [111]
  • Spirit [capitalized]: “Man, in experiencing himself as man, is conscious of being determined in his nature by spirit as a dimension of his life. This immediate experience makes it possible to speak symbolically of God as Spirit and of the divine Spirit. These terms, like all other statements about God, are symbols.” [111]
  • ‘In’: “The question of the relation between Spirit and spirit is usually answered by the metaphorical statement that the divine Spirit dwells and works in the human spirit. In this context, the word ‘in’ implies all the problems of the relation of the divine to the human, of the unconditional to the conditioned, and of the creative ground to creaturely existence.” [111]
  • Ecstasy: “The spirit, a dimension of finite life, is driven into a successful self-transcendence; it is grasped by something ultimate and unconditional. It is still the human spirit; it remains what it is, but at the same time, it goes out of itself under the impact of the divine Spirit. ‘Ecstasy’ is the classical term for this state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence. It describes the human situation under the Spiritual Presence exactly.” [112]
  • Spiritual Presence: C.f. above “Ecstasy”; “Although the ecstatic character of the experience of Spiritual Presence does not destroy the rational structure of the human spirit it does something the human spirit could not do by itself. When it grasps man, it creates unambiguous life”; “Man in his self-transcendence can reach for it, but man cannot grasp it, unless he is first grasped by it.” [112]
  • ‘Natural Theology’: “‘Natural Theology’ describes man’s self-transcendence and the questions implied in his consciousness of its ambiguity. But ‘natural theology’ does not answer the question [the question of unambiguous life]. [112]
  • ‘Dimension’: “[in effort to express the relation of human spirit to divine Spirit] It is not one dimension in this series [series in dimensions of finite life] … but it is the ground of being of them all and the aim toward which they are self-transcendent”; “‘Dimension’, like the categories and polarities, is used symbolically when it is applied to God.” [113,114]

Questions:

  • Why is the human being the only being in whom spirit as a dimension of life can be said to be present?
  • Why is it possible for humans to speak symbolically about God?
  • What is the difference between ‘Spirit’ and ‘spirit’, and how do the two relate?
  • What is the only solution to the ambiguities of life? Why? Do you agree?
  • Why is the term ‘dimension’ to be understood as symbolism when applied to God?

Changes in German:

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IV.II.A.1.b): Structure and Ecstasy [114-120]

Summary:

[114] The structure of a “centered self” (i.e. a human) is not destroyed when grasped by the Spiritual Presence. This statement means that supranatural miracles and the phenomenological tradition, both of which posit the destruction of structure, are rejected. [115] But there are effects on one’s body and mind. We may question the validity of reports about miracles of Spiritual Presence. Nevertheless there are two qualities to note with regard to these reports: “its [Spiritual Presences] universal and extraordinary character”. The universality of the reports implies “the truth of the unity of life”, by the overcoming of life’s dimensions, the questions of life’s ambiguities are answered. This relates to the use of two terms: “inspiration and infusion”. Inspiration occurs in the ecstatic encounter with Spiritual Presence, wherein a person is grasped by “meaning-bearing power”, not an encounter wherein an “informative lesson about God and divine matters” is given. Historically in early church and Catholic history, infusion involves the relation between the divine Spirit as giving faith and love to the human spirit. [115-116] Protestantism is skeptical of this view, because of the “magic-materialistic perversion” it led to in later Roman Catholicism, holding infusion as an “a-personalistic” sort of “matter” given by a priest via sacraments. [116] The Catholic view led to a “materialistic” business transaction involving indulgences. Though somewhat inconsistent, Protestantism holds rather a “personalistic” view of the Spiritual Presence, impacting the “centered self”. Whether the terms inspiration and infusion are used to describe the “ecstatic reception of the Spiritual Presence”, it must be maintained that the encounter does not “disrupt structure”. [116-117] This is accomplished in the apostle Paul’s doctrine of the Spirit, which combines ecstasy and structure in both prayer and participation in Christ. [117] Further, Paul’s discussion of ecstatic union with Spirit is shown in 1 Corinthians as a unity which yields agape (i.e. love). The church should follow this pattern, and not confuse “ecstasy with chaos”; which means that structure must not be lost, but kept in balance with ecstasy. [118] A way of balancing the two is by discussing “ecstasy’s relation to the different dimensions of life.” All dimensions of life are involved in the ecstatic experience of Spiritual Presence; including self-awareness and the organic and inorganic dimensions. In “this whole part of the present system” (i.e. Part IV), ecclesiastical and psychological critics are confronted with the defense of the ecstatic manifestations of the Spiritual Presence, the “most powerful weapon” of which is the New Testament. This defense is based upon the multidimensional unity of life, which accounts for the psychological (self-awareness) and biological as parts or dimensions through which the dimension of spirit is actualized in. [119] Last, the “special phenomenon” is discussed. Ecstasy transcends the “subject-object structure” thereby liberating self-awareness. This leads to the problem of confusing the ‘less’ from the ‘more’ with regard to the subject-object structure. Intoxication moves towards the ‘less than’ the actuality of self-awareness, turning the ‘self’ into “a vacuum”. Ecstasy includes both subjectivity and objectivity. The outer objective manifold of world is transcended by the “Spiritual Presence’s inner infinity”: “He who pronounces the divine Word is, as is the keenest analyst of society, aware of the social situation of his time, but he sees it ecstatically under the impact of the Spiritual Presence in the light of eternity.” So too for one who contemplates or prays, subjectivity and objectivity are held together in unity- “a new unity is created”. [119-120] The “best and most universal example of an ecstatic experience is the pattern of prayer”, when it is not a prayer which objectifies God but one in which the “subject-object structure is overcome”.

Definitions:

  • Transitory Dualism: “Discussed in the last few paragraphs. A dualism of levels logically leads to the destruction of the finite, for example, the human spirit for the sake of the divine Spirit.” [114]
  • Miracles: “God does not need to destroy his created world, which is good in its essential nature, in order to manifest himself in it. We discussed this in connection with the meaning of ‘miracle.’ We rejected miracles in the supranaturalistic sense of the word, and we also rejected the miracle of ecstasy created by the Spiritual Presence when this is understood as inviting the destruction of the structure of the spirit in man (Systematic Theology, I, 111-14).” [114]
  • Inspiration and Infusion: “The terms ‘inspiration’ and ‘infusion’ express the way in which man’s spirit receives the impact of Spiritual Presence. Both terms are spatial metaphors and involve, respectively, ‘breathing’ and ‘pouring’ into the human spirit.” [115]
  • Spiritual Presence: “The Spiritual Presence is not that of a teacher but of a meaning-bearing power which grasps the human spirit in an ecstatic experience”; “The ground and aim of all being … The divine direction of life’s processes.” [115,119]
  • Infusio Fideli/Infusio Amoris/Infusio Spiritus Sancti: (Latin) “Such terms as infusion fidei or infusio amoris derive faith and love from infusion Spiritus Sancti (‘the infusion of the Holy Spirit’).” [115]
  • Agape: (Greek) Love. “Paul speaks of the gifts of the Spirit and rejects ecstatic speaking in tongues if it produces chaos and disrupts the hubris, and the other charismata (gifts of the Spirit) if they are not subjected to agape. He then discusses the greatest creation of the Spiritual presence, agape itself. In the hymn to agape in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, the structure of the moral imperative and the ecstasy of the Spiritual Presence are completely united”; “In ecstatic language Paul points to agape and gnosis- forms of morality and knowledge in which ecstasy and structure are united.” [117]
  • Intoxication: “Intoxication is an attempt to escape from the dimension of spirit with its burden of personal centeredness and responsibility and cultural rationality. Although ultimately it can never succeed, for the reason that man bears the dimension of spirit, it does give temporary release from the burden of personal and communal existence. In the long run, however, it is destructive, heightening the tension it wants to avoid. Its main distinguishing feature is that it lacks both spiritual productivity and Spiritual creativity.” [119]

Questions:

  • One’s encounter with Spiritual Presence does not “destroy the structure of the centered self which bears the dimension of spirit”. How does Tillich show this and why is this important?
  • How does Tillich’s description of Spiritual Presence differ from that which involves Spiritual Presence as a teacher, and “informative lesson about God and divine matters”?
  • What is the difference between the Roman Catholic and Protestant views of the “infusion” of Spiritual Presence?
  • Instead of human structure being destroyed or disrupted, it is kept intact, though it is grasped by Spiritual Presence. How does Tillich use Paul’s writings to support this claim?
  • Tillich says that prayer is the “best and most universal example of an ecstatic experience”. However, the notion of prayer which talks “to God as a familiar partner” is not the ecstatic kind Tillich has in mind. Why is this so? Do you agree?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.A.1.c): The Media of the Spiritual Presence [120-128]
IV.II.A.1.c).(1): Sacramental Encounters and the Sacraments [120-124]

Summary:

[120] Traditional theology holds that the Spiritual Presence is actualized through the Word and the sacraments. The task of this section is “twofold”: “to interpret this tradition” through the relation of divine Spirit to human spirit and to “enlarge the question of the media of the divine Spirit” so as to be inclusive of all “personal and historical events in which the Spiritual Presence is effective”. Reality involves communication as either by the “silent presence of object as object” or the “vocal self-expression of a subject to a subject”. This is significant in a discussion of the duality (Word and sacrament) which includes both silent objectivity and vocal subjectivity. Under both the dimension of self-awareness and the dimension of spirit we receive communication from the Spiritual Presence; which communicates via two modes, sacrament and Word, the order of which (“because of the sequence of the dimensions”) moves from the (objective) sacrament to the (subjective) Word. In other words, the divine Spirit uses objects as “vehicles” through which it can be encountered by humans. These vehicles are objective sacramental materials through which the divine Spirit can be subjectively encountered. [121] The sacrament is older than and precedes the word. Conversely, the word is implicit in the “silent sacramental material”. The concept of “sacramental” has both a larger and a narrower meaning: Christianity has limited the concept ‘sacramental’ to restrictions designated by the church, thereby failing to realize that this concept is larger (or much more inclusive), encompassing anything in which “Spiritual Presence has been experienced”. Narrowly, however, the concept also denotes particular objects through which a “Spiritual community experiences the Spiritual Presence”. The dualistic tendencies which throw sacraments off balance are to be avoided by employing the doctrine of the multidimensional unity of human beings. In other words, both the larger and the narrower aspects of this concept can be unified in this way. Sacramental thinking has undergone a “disappearance” for two reasons, because of: an overemphasis on the “conscious side of the psychological self” and “magical distortion of the sacramental experience”. The Reformation was a war about Roman Catholic sacramentalism, complaining that the latter had perverted “religion into magic”. [122] A “boundary line” must be drawn between: the influence of a sacrament through the “unconscious self” on the conscious self, and “magical techniques” that influence the unconscious self by overriding the will. The important difference is that in the former, the self participates whereas in the latter it does not. Sacraments can become “demonic” if the personal centered self is bypassed. This threat has motivated the Protestantism to “reduce the sacramental mediation of the Spirit drastically or even totally”. Because of the discovery of the unconscious, theology can account for the mediation of Spiritual Presence through sacrament, which is its medium. Again, this ‘formula’ is based on the multidimensional unity of life. [122-123] Sacramental material should not be understood as sign (pointing beyond itself), but as a symbol (participating the reality it represents). [123] “The Spirit ‘uses’ the powers of being in nature in order to ‘enter’ man’s spirit.” The emphasis is not on the sacramental material itself, but on the union of the material to the Spirit which makes them its media. As a result both Catholic transubstantiation and the Protestant transformation of symbol to sign (in other words, Catholicism transforms a symbol into a “thing to be handled” and reformed Protestantism transforms the sacramental material into a sign pointing to but not participating in that which it expresses) are defeated; “A sacramental symbol is neither a thing nor a sign. It participates in the power of what it symbolizes, and therefore, it can be a medium of the Spirit”. Any ‘thing’ can potentially become concrete sacramental material, the making of which depends upon the group or culture which develops sacramental materials. Last, the question ‘is the “Spiritual Community bound to definite media of the Spiritual Presence’” is asked. The answer is both yes and no. Yes, the criterion of sacramental acts is the actualization of the New Being in Jesus the Christ, and these acts must point to historical symbols wherein this actualization is expressed. [123-124] No, in that the Spiritual Community can use any symbol appropriate to this end. [124] The number of sacraments determined is less important than the criterion for them: do they “possess and are [they] able to preserve their power of mediating the Spiritual Presence”?

Definitions:

  • Word and Sacrament: “The terms ‘word’ and ‘sacrament’ designate the two modes of communication in relation to the Spiritual Presence. Words which communicate the Spiritual Presence become the Word (with a capital ‘W’), or in traditional terms, the Word of God. Objects which are vehicles of the divine Spirit become sacramental materials and elements in a sacramental act”; “The sacrament is older than the word, although the word is implicit in the completely silent sacramental material.” [120,121]
  • Sacramental: “The term ‘sacramental,’ in this larger sense, needs to be freed from its narrower connotations … The largest sense of the term denotes everything in which the Spiritual Presence has been experienced; in a narrower sense, it merely refers to some ‘great’ sacraments in the performance of which the Spiritual Community actualizes itself. If the meaning ‘sacramental’ in the largest sense is disregarded, sacramental activities in the narrower sense (sacramentalia) lose their religious significance- as happened in the Reformation- and the great sacraments become insignificant- as happened in several Protestant denominations.” [121]
  • Opus Operatum: (Latin. Lit., ‘a work that has been worked’.) “The Reformation was a concentrated attack on Roman Catholic sacramentalism. The argument was that the doctrine of ‘opus operatum’ in the Roman church distorted the sacraments into non-personal acts of magical technique. If the sacrament has effects by virtue of its mere performance, the centered act of faith is not essential to its saving power. (Only conscious resistance to the meaning of the sacrament would annihilate its effect.)
  • Magical Element: “The magical element in the relation between human beings is still a reality- however scientifically it might be explained. It is an element in most human encounters, including such encounters as those of the listeners to a sermon or a political speech with the speaker … as an element in a larger whole which is determined by the centered self, it expresses the multidimensional unity of life. But if it is exercised as a particular, intentional act- by-passing the personal center- it is a demonic distortion. And every sacrament is in danger of becoming demonic.” [122]
  • Sacramental Symbol(ism): “A sacramental symbol is neither a thing nor a sign. It participates in the power of what it symbolizes, and therefore, it can be a medium of the Spirit”; “Ordinarily, sacramental symbolism is connected with great moments in the individual’s life, birth, maturity, marriage, and imminent death, or with special religious events, such as entering a religious group and being assigned special tasks within it. Above all, sacramental symbolism is associated with the ritual activities of the group itself. Events in both series often become identical.” [123]

Questions:

  • Tillich says that “the sacrament is older than the word, although the word is implicit in the completely silent sacramental material”. What does he mean by this?
  • Do you agree that the concept sacramental, in the larger sense, “denotes everything in which the Spiritual Presence has been experienced”, or do you think it is limited to the sacraments designated by the church? Why?
  • How does Tillich’s doctrine of sacrament as media of the Spirit refute Catholic transubstantiation and the Protestant tendency to confuse sign with symbol?
  • Can any ‘thing’ become sacramental material? Why?
  • What criteria are used to measure sacramental acts? Do you agree that this is the proper criteria to use?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.A.1.c).(2): Word and Sacrament [124-125]

Summary:

[124] Because “language is the fundamental expression of man’s spirit”, sacramental materials (though silent) are not without words. As a result, the word is the more important and ultimate medium for the Spirit. The ‘Word of God’ however, is that which designates the use of human words by the Spirit in order to grasp the human spirit. The Bible and all other literature are understood both positively and negatively in relation to the Word of God. The Bible, for example, “does not contain words of God”, “but it can and in a unique way has become the ‘Word of God’. It serves as a medium for Spirit to human spirit, but it is not the only medium. [124-125] The parts of the Bible are potentially medium, but actually medium only insofar as they have grasped human spirit. [125] The Word of God is only the Word of God if it is “the Word of God for someone” and “a medium whereby the Spirit enters the spirit of someone”. Thus any literature which arouses ultimate concern for someone can be called the Word of God. This is the case because the divine Spirit can use any word to grasp the human spirit. However, there is one criterion by which all words are to be measured; the words of the Bible. Further, “Nothing is the Word of God if it contradicts the faith and love which are the work of the Spirit and which constitute the New Being as it is manifest in Jesus as the Christ.”

Definitions:

  • The word (lower case): “In our analysis of the sacramental character of objects or acts, we found that they are not without words even if voiceless, because language is the fundamental expression of man’s spirit. Therefore the word is the Spirit’s other and ultimately more important medium.” [124]
  • The ‘Word of God’: “If human words become vehicles of the Spiritual Presence they are called the ‘Word of God’. We discussed this term and its many meanings in the first part of the system (Part I, Sec. II D, 13). In connection with the doctrine of the Spirit the following points must be repeated; first, one should emphasize that the ‘Word of God’ is a term which qualifies human words as media of the Spiritual Presence”; “They [languages] can become the Word of God if they become mediators of the Spirit and have the power to grasp the human spirit”; “no word is the Word of God unless it is the Word of God for someone”. [124,125]
  • The Bible and the Word of God: “The Bible does not contain words of God (or as Calvin has said divine ‘oracles’), but it can and in a unique way has become the ‘Word of God’. Its uniqueness resides in the fact that it is the document of the central revelation, with respect to both its giving and its receiving sides”; “We must establish a criterion to use against the false elevation of human words to the dignity of the Word of God. The biblical words are this criterion.” [124]

Questions:

  • Why is “the word” a more important and ultimate medium for the Spirit than the sacramental material itself?
  • What criteria must human words meet to become the ‘Word of God’? Why? Do you agree?
  • Is the Bible the ‘Word of God’? Why?
  • What does Tillich mean when he argues that any literature (even conversation) can potentially become the ‘Word of God’? Do you agree? Why?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.A.1.c).(3): The Problem of the “Inner Word” [125-128]

Summary:

[125] The internal impact of the media through which the Spiritual Presence works has been the focus of the preceding sections. Now the external objective side of this media will be discussed: “objects, acts, sounds, and letters” are such examples. This leads to the question (i.e. problem) as to whether or not these externals are necessary for the internal working of the Spirit. The Reformation held that the manifestations of God do not limit God. [125-126] This led to the “Spirit-movement”, which held that the Spirit of God does not need mediations; because “He dwells in the depth of the person, and when he speaks he speaks through the ‘inner word’”. This view points to the freedom of the Spirit from any of its ambiguous forms of religious reception. This system (i.e. the Systematic Theology) has been influenced by the spirit movement, though some caveats must be noted. First, ‘inner word’ should be understood not as a ‘cutting-off’ of the Spirit from its revelatory tradition. There are two centers between which communication takes place implied by ‘inner word’. We can symbolically say then, that God is one side of the two centers (two centered-self’s), and the human is the other, but this is problematic, because ‘self’ is a “structural concept”, and God is not under the structural conditions of existence. [127] Religious symbolism uses the “self-structure” to speak of God, but “it is misleading if made explicit. (Of the basic polarity of self and world, neither pole can be applied symbolically to God.)” Therefore the notion of ‘inner word’ is better articulated as God, not speaking to, but grasping us through Spiritual Presence; grasping us from outside, though this use of ‘outside’ is neither inner nor outer, but an outside which transcends both categories. Next, the question as to whether God speaks to humanity through a medium is always answered affirmatively. The human mind always has the medium of the word, even when there are no audible words; the organized whole of the words of tradition in one’s mind drive “in the direction of the ultimate”. God uses the medium of the word by putting facts known to us “in the light of ultimate meaning and instruct[s us] to speak out of [our] situation in the language [we know].” [127-128] Therefore the misleading concept of ‘inner word’ is better understood as the impact of the Spiritual Presence which refocuses “into contemporary relevance of the words from traditions and former experiences.” [128] The Reformers feared that an emphasis on Spirit would detract from the New Being in Jesus as the Christ. This is the reason that they equated “Spirit to the Word, to the biblical message of the Christ”. This is “theologically sound”. However, the unintended result was that the impact of the Spiritual Presence was lost in light of the “intellectual acknowledgment of the doctrine of forgiveness by grace alone”. It is proper to understand the Spirit as functioning to affirm the truth of the biblical message, but not the biblical words. As with the Spirit-movement, it is a danger to concentrate too much on inwardness without seeing the ‘outward’ Spirit which is impacting the inner movements of the soul; and the spoken Word with the “words of piety” one speaks to oneself.

Definitions:

  • The Spirit: “The Spirit means ‘God present’”. [125]
  • Spirit Movement/Inner Word: The Spirit does not need mediations, “He dwells in the depth of the person, and when he speaks he speaks thorough the ‘inner word.’ He who listens to it receives new and personal revelations, independent of the churches’ revelatory traditions.” [125-126]
  • Inner word: “This analysis shows that the concept of the ‘inner word’ is misleading. The inner word is the refocusing into contemporary relevance of the words from traditions and former experiences. This refocusing occurs under the impact of the Spiritual Presence.” [127-128]
  • ‘Self’: “[‘Inner word’] is not completely inner, because what has happened in that other finite self, which is a necessary condition of all human language, is replaced by the divine ‘self’ … ‘Self’ is a structural concept and not adequate symbolic material.” [126]
  • ‘Outside’: “If God speaks to us, this is not the ‘inner word’; rather, it is the Spiritual Presence grasping us from ‘outside.’ But this ‘outside’ is above outside and inside; it transcends them … The categories ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ lose their meaning in the relation of God and man.” [127]

Questions:

  • Are external objects necessary for the internal working of the Spirit? Why?
  • Why is the term ‘self’ problematic when applied to God, even symbolically? Do you agree?
  • Why does Tillich say that the “categories ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ lose their meaning in the relation of God and man?
  • Why does Tillich say that God always speaks to humans through a medium?
  • What is the problem with the concept of ‘inner word’ and how is this concept corrected by Tillich?
  • That the Spirit functions to validate the truth of the message, but not the truth of the words, of the Bible is argued at the close of this section. Do you agree with this position? Why?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.A.2: The Content of the Manifestation of the Divine Spirit in the Human Spirit: Faith and Love [129-138]

IV.II.A.2.a): The Transcendent Union and the Participation in it [129-130]

Summary:

[129] The “reunion of essential and existential being” is under discussion. The issue is that the ambiguities of life for a human being spring from the separation and interplay of its essential and existential elements. When these are reunited, or when the potentialities of being become actualities (“in which actual being is the true expression of potential being”), this means that the “creation of the unambiguous life” has occurred. “In the reunion of essential and existential being, ambiguous life is raised above itself to a transcendence that it could not achieve by its own power.” This is what is called a ‘transcendent union’, which is that ecstatic moment in which the human spirit experiences Spiritual Presence. This transcendent union is made manifest by what is characterized by two points of view: ‘faith’ and ‘love’. The former refers to being grasped by, the latter being taken into the transcendent unity of unambiguous life, or Spiritual Presence. These are interdependent, and “result from religious distortions of an original Spiritual creation” (because they occur under the conditions of finite estrangement, which is a result of the fall from essence into existence). [129-130] A discussion of these two concepts (faith and love) will now be given, in order to interpret them in light of this system, and discuss their relation to “other theological concepts and religious symbols”.

Definitions:

  • Creation of Unambiguous Life: “All ambiguities of life are rooted in the separation and interplay of essential and existential elements of being. Therefore, the creation of unambiguous life brings about the reunion of these elements in life processes in which actual being is the true expression of potential being, an expression, however, which is not immediate, as in ‘dreaming innocence,’ but is realized only after estrangement, contest, and decision. In the reunion of essential and existential being, ambiguous life is raised above itself to a transcendence that it could not achieve by its own power. This union answers the question implied in the processes of life and the function of the spirit. It it’s the direct answer to the process of self-transcendence- which in itself remains a question.” [129]
  • Transcendent Union: “The ‘transcendent union’ answers the general question implied in all ambiguities of life. It appears within the human spirit as the ecstatic movement which from one point of view is called ‘faith,’ from another, ‘love’. These two states manifest the transcendent union which is created by the Spiritual Presence in the human spirit. The transcendent union is a quality of unambiguous life, a quality which we shall meet again in our discussion of the Kingdom of God and eternal life.” [129]
  • Faith/Love: “Faith is the state of being grasped by the transcendent unity of unambiguous life- it embodies love as the state of being taken into that transcendent unity. From this analysis, it is obvious that faith logically precedes love, although in actuality neither can be present without the other. Faith without love is a continuation of estrangement and an ambiguous act of religious self-transcendence. Love without faith is an ambiguous reunion of the separated without the criterion and the power of the transcendent union. Neither of them is a creation of the Spiritual Presence, but both result from religious distortions of an original Spiritual creation.” [129]

Questions:

  • What elements are involved by separation and interplay in the ambiguities of life?
  • What is meant by “transcendent union”?
  • What are the two states which “manifest the transcendent union which is created by the Spiritual Presence in the human spirit”?
  • Why does Tillich say that faith and love are “religious distortions of an original Spiritual creation”?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.A.2.b): The Spiritual Presence Manifest as Faith [130-134]

Summary:

[130] The term faith is one which needs “semantic purging”. The tendency of Churches to preach faith as an “‘absurdity’” and critics of this position are reasons for this need. The term faith needs both formal and material definitions. First, formally, faith is the “basic and universal”, “state of being grasped by an ultimate concern”. Everybody has an ultimate concern; it is inescapable, regardless as to its content. Therefore all persons have faith, regardless of its content. However, there are “faiths with unworthy contents”, these are faiths that have “something preliminary, finite, and conditioned with the dignity of the ultimate, infinite, and unconditional” as their object. [131] History shows the struggle between the faiths which are directed toward “ultimate reality” and those directed toward “preliminary realities claiming ultimacy”. This relates to the material conception of faith, which takes the formal definition and applies it to the “christological assertion” which states that “faith is the state of being grasped by the New Being as it is manifest in Jesus as the Christ”; though Christianity holds that all faiths have their fulfillment in the Christian faith. A word must be said with regard to the crude traditional definitions of faith which designate the act of faith with “intellect, will, or feeling”. This leads to a discussion of the way in which faith relates to mental functions. Faith is not “an act of cognitive affirmation within the subject-object structure of reality”. Therefore faith cannot be: empirically verified or negated, taken from an authority claiming factuality, even if God is that authority. Statements about God’s existence can be neither affirmed nor denied, an attempt at either is “absurd”, and is not really based faith. [131-132] This leads to the way in which faith becomes confused with moral decision. [132] In this way faith is understood as a ‘will to believe’ or to obey; which leads further to the questions of what one is to believe, or who one is to obey. Faith should not be understood in this way (the ‘will to believe’ or the ‘obedience of faith’); nor should faith be understood as feeling, though faith does affect one’s feelings. Faith involves the whole person, combining theory and practice, and all elements of life in all its dimensions, in an “ecstatic openness to Spiritual Presence”. The cognitive ‘assent’ theology speaks of is best understood as assent to the relation of ourselves to our ultimate concern “and the symbols expressing it”. Obedience in faith should not be understood as heteronomous submission, but as “participation”, whereby we are “open to the Spiritual Presence which has grasped us and opened us”. [133] Being grasped by the Spiritual Presence also involves an emotional element. This element is described as an “oscillation between the anxiety of one’s finitude and estrangement and the ecstatic courage which overcomes the anxiety by taking it into itself in the power of the transcendent unity of unambiguous life.” The mental function of faith has shown first that the will, intellect or emotions do not create faith. Second, that faith unites these in itself, subjecting them to transformation under Spiritual Presence; which creates faith and enables faith to occur in the structure of human spirit. Last, faith as a material concept has three elements (and three corresponding characters): First, the element of being opened up by Spiritual Presence (receptive/passive character), second, the element of accepting Spiritual Presence (the paradoxical/courageous character), and third, the element of an expectation of final participation in the “transcendent unity of unambiguous life” (the anticipatory/hopeful character). [133-134] The three “elements” show the relation of human existence to the “ultimate in being and meaning”; the three “characters” relate to New Being as “‘regeneration,’ ‘justification,’ and ‘sanctification’”. Faith is “actual in all life processes”; religion, functions of spirit, and realms of life which “condition the actualization of the spirit”. Faith involves both a subjective and objective side, though in reality neither can be separated.

Definitions:

  • Faith (formal concept/formally defined): “Faith, formally or generally defined, is the state of being grasped by that toward which self-transcendence aspires, the ultimate in being and meaning. In a short formula, one can say that faith is the state of being grasped by an ultimate concern.” [130]
  • Ultimate Concern: “The term ‘ultimate concern’ unites a subjective and an objective meaning: somebody is concerned about something he considers of concern. In this formal sense of faith as ultimate concern, every human being has faith. Nobody can escape the essential relation of the conditional spirit to something unconditional in the direction of which it is self-transcendent in unity with all life … this formal concept of faith is basic and universal.” [130]
  • Faiths With Unworthy Contents: “There is no un-faith in the sense of something antithetical to faith, but throughout all history and, above all, in the history of religion, there have been faiths with unworthy contents. They invest in something preliminary, finite, and conditioned with the dignity of the ultimate, infinite, and unconditional. The continuing struggle through all history is waged between a faith directed to ultimate reality and a faith directed toward preliminary realities claiming ultimacy.” [130-131]
  • Faith (material concept/materially defined): “Faith is the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence and opened to the transcendent unity of unambiguous life. In relation to the christological assertion, one could say that faith is the state of being grasped by the New Being as it is manifest in Jesus as the Christ. In this definition of faith, the formal and universal concept of faith has become material and particular; it is Christian. However, Christianity claims that this particular definition of faith expresses the fulfilment toward which all forms of faith are driven. Faith as the state of being open by the Spiritual Presence to the transcendent unity of unambiguous life is a description which is universally valid despite its particular, Christian background”; “Considered as a material concept, faith has three elements: first, the element of being opened up by the Spiritual Presence; second, the element of accepting it in spite of the infinite gap between the divine Spirit and the human spirit; and third, the element of expecting final participation in the transcendent unity of unambiguous life. These elements are within one another; they do not follow one after the other, but they are present wherever faith occurs.” [131,133]
  • Faith (relation to mental functions): “Faith, as the Spiritual Presence’s invasion of the conflicts and ambitions of man’s life under the dimension of the spirit, is not an act of cognitive affirmation within the subject-object structure of reality. Therefore it is not subject to verification by experiment or trained experience. Nor is faith the acceptance of factual statements or valuations taken on authority, even if the authority is divine, for then the question arises, On the basis of what authority do I call an authority divine?” [131]
  • Oceanic: “The most popular identification is that of faith with feeling. Moreover, it is not only popular but also readily accepted by scientists and philosophers who reject the religious claim to truth but who cannot deny its tremendous psychological and sociological power. This they ascribe to the indefinite yet indisputable realm of ‘oceanic’ or other feeling and oppose it only when it tries to surpass its limits and trespass upon the solid land of knowledge and action.” [132]

Questions:

  • Why is an ‘ultimate concern’ considered a formal, as distinguished from a material, definition for faith?
  • Tillich claims that all humans have an ultimate concern, therefore all persons have faith; though some faiths have “unworthy contents”. What does this mean, and do you agree?
  • How does the material concept of faith Christianize the formal concept of faith?
  • Tillich says that the statement: “‘A being, called God, does exist’ is not an assertion of faith but a cognitive proposition without sufficient evidence”, can be neither affirmed nor denied without falling into absurdity. What does Tillich mean by such a claim? Do you agree?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.A.2.c): The Spiritual Presence Manifest as Love [134-138]

Summary:

[134] Faith is the “state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence”, and love is the “state of being taken by the Spiritual Presence into the transcendent unity of unambiguous life”. Semantically, love is not to be understood as emotion; though emotion may be involved (which will be discussed later). Ontologically, love is “actual in all functions of the mind” and “has roots in the innermost core of life itself”. Further, both ontologically and universally, love “is the drive toward the reunion of the separated” (involving uniting, creating and driving beyond elements). Love has many fragmented forms of life that become reunited. [134-135] One of the questions which have been discussed involves that of love as participation “in the other through participation in the transcendent unity of unambiguous life”; which is answered by the creation of agape (created by Spiritual Presence). [135] Because agape can only be experienced by human spirit through faith in an ecstatic participation in divine Spirit, it is “impossible for the human spirit by itself”. This description of love offers a resolution to the “Catholic-Protestant controversy about the relation of faith and love”. In other words, because faith precedes love (logically), replacing the human tendency to rely on its own self-sufficiency by the breaking in of Spiritual Presence, Luther’s emphasis on faith as reception is reconciled with the “Catholic-Augustinian emphasis on love”; which is equally emphasized. This means that love is more than a “consequence of faith”; it is one of the two sides of the “ecstatic state of being”; the other side is faith. A distortion of the relation of faith and love occurs when contingency is placed upon divine Spirit by human spirit. The Protestant principle safeguards the distortion of this relation, by asserting that “In relation to God everything is done by God”. This description of love further answers the question as to why hope is not added to faith and love but is classified as the third (directing) element of faith. This is so because hope is not (semantically) of equal standing to faith (in humanity); hope is rather related to, but not “on a par with faith”. Hope is not a “pre-Spiritual ‘work’”, it is the third element of faith; faith and love are essentially unified and ‘on par’ with one another, but hope is an element of faith. “Love is not an emotion”, but emotions are involved in love. [136] The relation of love to emotion is now discussed. In the emotional element in love, the “centered whole of a being” participates in the “process of reunion” (“the ecstatic participation in the transcendent unity of unambiguous life”). This participation involves an anticipated fulfillment, but is not the “drive” toward/for “reunion”. Rather agape love is “experienced as blessedness” in the ecstatic participation, and is applied symbolically to divine blessedness; making the emotional element inseparable from love. Further, love includes a volitional element. In this element, a being moves toward another being “to overcome existential separation”; thereby including a will to unite (i.e. an element of will/volition). This will “pierces” the “wall of separation” between the two beings. Because desire and fulfillment never coincide under the conditions of existence, a love relationship involves resistance on both sides. Thus love demands both emotion and will. [137] Love involves knowledge of the beloved; not merely intellectual knowledge, but participatory knowledge that changes both lover and beloved. Agape is a better expression for the word love because it implies love as the “creation of Spiritual Presence”. There is one aspect which the many Greek words for “love” all share; which is that they all “urge toward the reunion of the separated”. The tendency to separate eros from agape is problematic, because both terms relate to the love which seeks participation in unambiguous life. However, agape speaks directly to an “ecstatic manifestation of Spiritual Presence”. Agape is only possible in union with faith. [137-138] Further, agape is the only kind of love which is unambiguous, because it is a creation of Spiritual Presence and has (like faith) the “basic structure of the New Being: the receptive, paradoxical, and anticipatory character.” [138] This is shown in agape’s acceptance (“without restrictions”), its holding fast to its acceptance (“in spite of the estranged, profanized, and demonized state of its objects”), and its expectation (to reestablish the “holiness, greatness, and dignity”) of its object of love. All of these speak of the Spiritual power of agape, which is prior to any actualization (whether personal or social); which makes it a controlling power of life (like sin and faith). Agape is the highest of all the kinds of love, and agape is greater than faith or sin, because it is part of “divine life itself, symbolically and essentially”. Last, with regard to the relation of the love of the creature toward God, agape is used, but without the elements discussed above. In this relation the emphasis is one the “drive toward the reunion of the separated”, wherein all the kinds of love are united (though human agape love is beyond them all). For a creature, “being grasped by God in faith and adhering to him in love is one and the same state”.

Definitions:

  • Love: “Whereas faith is the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence, love is the state of being taken by the Spiritual Presence into the transcendent unity of unambiguous life. Such a definition requires a semantic as well as an ontological explanation. Semantically speaking, love, as faith, must be purged from many distorting connotations. The first is the description of love as emotion. … Love is actual in all functions of the mind and … it has roots in the innermost core of life itself. Love is the drive toward the reunion of the separated; this is ontologically and therefore universally true. It is effective in all three life processes; it unites in a center, it creates the new, and it drives beyond everything given to its ground and aim. It is the ‘blood’ of life and therefore has many forms in which dispersed elements of life are reunited”; “Love, as faith, is a state of the whole person; all functions of the human mind are alive in every act of love.” [134,137]
  • Agape: (Greek) “…The question of an unambiguous reunion, the question of love as participation in the other one through participation in the transcendent unity of unambiguous life. The answer to this question is given in the Spiritual Presence’s creation of agape. Agape is unambiguous love and therefore impossible for the human spirit by itself. As faith, it is an ecstatic participation of the finite spirit in the transcendent unity of unambiguous life. He who is in the state of agape is drawn into this unity”; “The New Testament word agape for love [means] a creation of the Spiritual Presence”; “Agape takes its object into the transcendent unity of unambiguous life”; Agape is “(… greater than faith, in the words of Paul). Agape characterizes divine life itself, symbolically and essentially. Faith characterizes the New Being in time and space but it does not characterize the divine life, and sin characterizes only estranged being. Agape is first of all the love God has toward the creature and through the creature toward himself. The three characteristics of agape must first be ascribed to God’s agape toward his creatures and then to the agape of creature toward creature.” [134-135,137,138]
  • Faith: “We have already indicated that faith logically presences love, because faith is, so to speak, the human reaction to the Spiritual Presence’s breaking into the human spirit; it is the ecstatic acceptance of the divine Spirit’s breaking-up of the finite mind’s tendency to rest in its own self-sufficiency.” [135]
  • The Protestant Principle: “That in relation to God everything is done by God”. [135]
  • Hope: “[Hope is] the third element of faith, that is, [the] anticipatory direction of faith”; “Hope is either an element of faith or a pre-Spiritual ‘work’ of the human mind [it is the former].” [135]
  • The Emotional Element in Love: “The emotional element in love is, as emotion always is, the participation of the centered whole of a being in the process of reunion, whether it is in anticipation or in fulfilment. It would be incorrect to say that the anticipated fulfilment is the driving power in love. Driving power toward reunion also exists in dimensions where awareness, and therefore anticipation, is lacking … the drive for reunion belongs to the essential structure of life … The emotional element cannot be separated from love; love without its emotional quality is ‘good will’ toward somebody or something, but it is not love. This is also true of man’s love of God, which cannot be equated with obedience, as some antimystical theologians teach.” [136]
  • Makaria/Beatitudo: (Greek) “As the ecstatic participation in the transcendent unity of unambiguous life, agape is experienced as blessedness (makaria or beatitudo in the sense of the beatitudes.” [136]
  • The Volitional Element in Love: “Love is not only related to emotion; it is the whole being’s movement toward another being to overcome existential separation. As such it includes a volitional element under the dimension of self-awareness, i.e., the will to unite. Such a will is essential in every love relation, because the wall of separation could not be pierced without it.” [136]
  • Gnosis: (Greek) “In Hellenistic-Christian language, the word gnosis means knowledge, sexual intercourse, and mystical union.” [137]
  • Erkennen: (German) “The German word erkennen, which means to know, is also used for sexual union.” [137]
  • Philia/Eros/Epithymia/Agape: (Greek) “Many kinds of love, which in Greed are designated as philia (friendship), eros (aspiration toward value), and epithymia (desire), in addition to agape, which is the creation of the Spirit ”; “One important truth stands out in the contrast of agape with the other kinds of love: agape is an ecstatic manifestation of the Spiritual Presence”; “Agape is an ecstatic manifestation of the Spiritual Presence. It is possible only in unity with faith and is the state of being drawn into the transcendent unity of unambiguous life. For this reason, it is independent of the other qualities of love and is able to unite them, to judge them, and to transform them. Love as agape is a creation of the Spiritual Presence which conquers the ambiguities of all other kinds of love”; Agape takes its object into the transcendent unity of unambiguous life.” [137,138]
  • Eros: (Greek) “Includes, in this terminology, philia and apithymia or libido”. [137]
  • The Basic Structure of the New Being: “Agape has this power [the power to conquer the ambiguities of all other kinds of love] because, similarly to faith, it has the basic structure of the New Being: the receptive, paradoxical, and anticipatory character. In the case of agape, the first quality is evident in its acceptance of the object of love without restrictions; the second quality its disclosed in agape’s holding fast to this acceptance in spite of the estranged, profanized, and demonized state of its objects, and the third quality is seen in agape’s expectation of the re-establishment of the holiness, greatness, and dignity of the object of love through its accepting him. Agape takes its object into the transcendent unity of unambiguous life.” [137-138]
  • Man’s Love Toward God: “The New Testament uses the word agape for this relation also, disregarding the three elements in the agape of God toward the creatures and of the creatures toward each other. None of these elements is present in the love of man for God. Nevertheless, love as the drive toward the reunion of the separated can be used most emphatically of man’s love for God. It unites all kinds of love and yet is something beyond them all. The best way of characterizing it is to say that in relation to God the distinction between faith and love disappears. Being grasped by God in faith and adhering to him in love is one and the same state of creaturely life. It is participation in the transcendent unity of unambiguous life.” [138]

Questions:

  • Why is agape “impossible for the human spirit by itself?
  • Tillich claims that his description of love can resolve the “Catholic-Protestant controversy about the relation of faith and love”. How does he show this? Do you agree?
  • Why is hope not added to faith and love but classified as the third (directing/anticipatory) element of faith?
  • What is the difference between the emotional and the volitional elements in love?
  • What is the difference between agape and “all other kinds of love”? Why is this difference so significant in Tillich’s system?
  • The New Testament uses the word agape both for the love of God toward humanity, and humanity toward God (as well as creature to creature). However, there is a difference in the agape God has for humanity from that which humanity has for God. What is the difference? How does Tillich articulate the difference within the framework of his system?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.B: The Manifestation of the Spiritual Presence in Historical Mankind [138-161]

IV.II.B.1: Spirit and New Being: Ambiguity and Fragment [138-141]

Summary:

[138] Through faith and love, the Spiritual Presence elevates humanity to the “transcendent unity of ambiguous life”. This process is the creation of the New Being. [139] A discussion of the divine Spirit becoming manifest in the human spirit has preceded this section. Now the manifestation of the creation of the New Being in human history will be discussed. This will involve the historical dimension of life, and discuss theological problems in their historical implications. The divine Spirit invades the human spirit through social groups; not through “isolated individuals”. Thus the points in history which have been decisive for this manifestation must be shown. There are two marks which show the Spiritual Presence in historical groups. First, the “effective presence of” mark appears in theory and praxis. Here a social group shows itself open to the “impact of the Spirit”. Second, the mark appears when groups fight against the “profanization and demonization of … symbols” and fight for the “purification of the symbols”. The latter group “transforms and creates a changed social group”. An example of this is found in Judaism, through the historical fight of the prophets against the profanization and demonization of “the desert religion of Jahweh”. Many other examples could be cited in which God- the “divine Spirit” present to the human spirit- “breaks into” history in “revelatory experiences”, both saving and transforming. Humanity “is never left alone by God … it is continually under the impact of the Spiritual Presence”, thus “there is always New Being in history”. Though all moments are affected by Spiritual Presence, some are greater than others- these are called kairoi. However, there is an important distinction between the ambiguous and the fragmentary (unambiguous). Though there is always participation “in the transcendent union of unambiguous life”, it is a fragmentary participation. New Being is unambiguous, but it is “drawn into the ambiguous actualizations of life”. The New Being, when present, is unambiguous, manifesting itself in fragmentary moments of ambiguous human history. When it is manifest it is apprehended in an unambiguous way, through the ambiguity of the life of those apprehending it. [141] New Being conquers “the ambiguities of life in time and space”, but it does so in a fragmentary way.

Definitions:

  • Creation of New Being: “The Spiritual Presence, elevating man through faith and love to the transcendent unity of unambiguous life, creates the New Being above the gap between essence and existence and consequently above the ambiguities of life.” [138-139]
  • The Historical Dimension of Life: “Has been reserved as the subject of the last part of the system … Such concepts as revelation, providence, and the New Being in Jesus as the Christ, are possible only in the historical context.” [139]
  • Functions of the Human spirit: “All the functions of the human spirit- moral self-integration, cultural self-creation, and religious self-transcendence- are conditioned by the social context of the ego-thou encounter.” [139]
  • Two Marks of the Manifestation of Spiritual Presence: “The Spiritual Presence is manifest in all history; but history as such is not the manifestation of the Spiritual Presence. As in the spirit of the individual, there are particular marks which indicate the Spiritual Presence in a historical group.” These marks are “The effective presence of symbols in theoria and praxis through which a social group expresses its openness to the impact of the Spirit”, “The rise of personalities and movements which fight against the tragically unavoidable profanization and demonization of these symbols.” [139]
  • Kairoi: (Greek) “Now we relate the doctrine of the divine Spirit and its manifestations, and we can assert: Mankind is never left alone. The Spiritual Presence acts upon it in every moment and breaks into it in some great moments, which are the historical kairoi.” [140]
  • Spiritual Presence/New Being/Agape: “When we say ‘Spiritual Presence’ or ‘New Being’ or agape, we point to something unambiguous. It may be drawn into the ambiguous actualizations of life, especially of life under the dimension of the spirit. But in itself it is unambiguous. However, it is fragmentary in its manifestation in time and space”; “The New Being is fragmentarily and anticipatorily present, but in so far as it is present it is so unambiguously … This distinction between the ambiguous and the fragmentary makes it possible for us to give full affirmation and full commitment to the manifestations of the Spiritual Presence while remaining aware of the fact that in the very acts of affirmation and commitment the ambiguity of life reappears.” [140]

Questions:

  • How is the New Being created and what does its creation involve?
  • Why does the divine Spirit invade the human spirit not in individuals but rather in social groups?
  • Why is Spiritual Presence unambiguous and complete (in itself), but when it is actualized/manifested in history, it is ambiguous and fragmentary?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.B.2: The Spiritual Presence and the Anticipation of the New Being in the Religions [141-144]

Summary:

[141] This heading (“The Spiritual Presence and the Anticipation of the New Being in the Religions”), holds a key to discovering meaning “in the seemingly chaotic religious life of mankind”. However, this section will only discuss “only a few typical manifestations of the Spiritual Presence”, which are limited by the presupposition of participation in “existential knowledge”. Western “Christian-humanist civilization” cannot really understand the religious experience that would occur in the context of an Asian religion. “The only authentic way to it is through actual participation”. The typological considerations given here are contingent on the “dimension of spirit in every articulate being”, which makes communication possible. The dimension of spirit is the “common source” from which similarities that enable “existential participation” come. Elements shared by religions vary in order of dominance. Those elements which are either subordinate or dominant change the structure of the given religion, and this point must be kept in mind for the following discussion. [141-142] The stage of original “mana” religion places emphasis on Spiritual Presence in the “depth” of all things, which makes the divine approachable only through rituals, by the priests performing the rituals. [142] Second, the stage of mythological religion (i.e. India and Greece) separates the divine power from things in the world (though still ruling over it), and include an ecstatic character in the manifestation of Spiritual Presence. This stage influenced all that followed it, which makes deliteralization preferable demythologization (the latter cannot be extricated). Deliteralization involves the applying rational criteria to the “meaning of religious symbols”. The mythological stage shows the transformation of the reception of Spiritual Presence (through the fighting of profanization and demonization) in different ways: The “Greek and Hellenistic mystery cults”, which influenced Christianity’s expression of Spiritual Presence in the Christ. The “dualistic purifications of the mythological stage” is another such way. [142-143] Dualism began in Persia, then is shown in Manichaesim, and later influenced Judaism and Christianity (i.e. “fear of Satan”, “baptism and confirmation vow”, and “dualistic symbolism”). [143] Mysticism and exclusive monotheism are the “two most important examples of the experience of Spiritual Presence”. Mysticism exemplifies the mythological stage (and its transformations), because in it the Spiritual Presence is experienced “as above its concrete vehicles”, through which it enters in gradations on a “spiritual stairway to the ultimate”. However, the concrete and the gradations are erased in the ecstatic moment wherein the mind is grasped; the subject-object structure is transcended but the centered self is threatened with destruction. Hence the difficulty Eastern and Western have with religious dialogue involving the self. The ecstatic experience of the former aims toward a “formless self”, whereas that of the latter wants to preserve self cultivating “personality and community”. In the Old Testament this attitude (towards personality and community) is shown as the prophets fight the priests over the demonization of the Spirit. Personality and community/sin and forgiveness are grounded in the prophetic tradition, which views Spiritual Presence as the “presence of the God of humanity and justice”. Elijah fighting the priests of Baal is a fight over two different kinds of ecstasy. [144] The ecstasy of the latter is one in which the human mind and body are “connected with self-intoxication and self-mutilation”, whereas Elijah’s ecstasy is a “person-to-person encounter in prayer”. The key is that Elijah’s ecstasy does not destroy the centered self, and does not cause “physical intoxication”. Throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament this is the kind of ecstasy experienced, and Spiritual Presence always occurs alongside humanity and justice.

Definitions:

  • Mythological Stage: “At the mythological stage of religion (which itself is the result of a purifying impulse arising in the premythological stage, as discussed before), forces that fight its profanized and demonized forms appear and transform the reception of the Spiritual Presence in several directions.” [142]
  • Mysticism: “Mysticism experiences the Spiritual Presence as above its concrete vehicles, which characterize the mythological stage, and its various transformations. Both the divine figures and the concrete realities- personal, communal, and apersonal- in which the divine figures enter temporal and spatial reality lose their ultimate significance, in spite of the fact that they often retain a preliminary importance as grades on a Spiritual stairway to the ultimate. But the Spiritual Presence is fully experienced only when the grades are left behind and the mind is grasped in ecstasy. In this radical sense, mysticism transcends every concrete embodiment of the divine by transcending the subject-object scheme of man’s finite structure, but for this very reason, it is in danger of annihilating the centered self, the subject of the ecstatic experience of the Spirit.” [143]

Questions:

  • Why cannot a person from the “Christian-humanist civilization of the West” really understand the “central experience” of an Asian religion?
  • What are the “two most important examples of the experience of Spiritual Presence”? Why are these so important?
  • What is the difference between the ecstasy of Elijah, and the ecstasy of the priests of Baal?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.B.3: The Spiritual Presence in Jesus as the Christ: Spirit Christology [144-149]

Summary:

[144] In Jesus as the Christ the divine Spirit was present in an undistorted way. He was “possessed” by the divine Spirit. As a result, the appearance of the New Being in him became the standard of measurement (or “criterion”) of “all Spiritual experiences past and future”. “God was in him”, thus he is “the Christ, the decisive embodiment of the New Being for historical mankind.” This section will augment what was said in Part III (of the Systematic Theology). The Synoptic gospels discuss the Spirit-Christology tradition of Jesus and his Spirit driven ecstatic experiences. These include his baptism, desert temptations, conquering of demonic powers and healing of both minds and bodies, and certainty of the kairos. [144-145] The story of the procreation of Jesus by the Spirit (offering a “psychosomatic solution”) was an attempt to answer the question of how the Spirit was able to “pour itself so fully” into Jesus; a better answer refers to the multidimensional unity of life. This section will now discuss the two manifestations of the Spiritual Presence- faith and love- “and their unity in the transcendent union of unambiguous life in relation to the appearance of Jesus as the Christ.” With reference to love, Jesus epitomized self-sacrificial agape love. [145-146] The faith of Jesus is not something often referenced in the New Testament, because ‘in spite of’ does not apply to the Son in “continuous communication with the Father”, and because Christ does not undergo, Christ is, the paradox of faith. [146] However, we can say that the Christ was in the “state of being grasped unambiguously by the Spiritual Presence” and in this sense he had ‘faith’. Both ‘faith’ and ‘love’ with reference to Jesus must be qualified by the “words of the Christ”. There are two further theological implications of the Spirit-Christology in the Synoptic gospels. First, Jesus is the Christ not because of his human spirit, but because of God- the Spiritual Presence- in him (which drives his human spirit) that he is the Christ. This insight refutes those who would make the man Jesus the “object of Christian faith” (as do orthodox pietism and theological liberalism- both fail to realize that it is “Jesus as the Christ in whom the New Being has appeared”). [147] Second, though the event ‘Jesus as the Christ’ is the “keystone”, of the history of all historical manifestations of the divine Spirit. However, this event should not be isolated from the past and present Spiritual manifestations (as it is in “pietistic and liberal thought”). The Spiritual Presence in the Christ is the center of history; and the God who was manifest in Jesus is the same God who has been manifest in all Spiritual manifestations- only in Jesus as the Christ God was manifest “decisively and ultimately”. [147-148] ‘Before’ the “existential encounter” of the New Being in Jesus as the Christ (contrary to the “absurd” literalistic “distortion” of the “scheme of ‘prophecy and fulfilment’), the Spirit who “created the Christ in Jesus” was and is preparing humanity for the “encounter of the New Being in him”. [148] The gospel of John replaces “Spirit-Christology” with “Logos-Christology” in attempts to address the question of the relation of the Spirit of Jesus as the Christ to the Holy Spirit (“working in those who are grasped by the Spiritual Presence after his manifestation to them”), by offering a “two sided” answer which designates the Holy Spirit as the ‘Comforter’. This answer holds that the “Logos-Incarnate” returned to the Father, sending the Spirit to “take his [the Son’s] place”; and all manifestations of the Spiritual Presence are subjected to the criterion of its manifestation in Jesus as the Christ. This answer has been interpreted (by the Motanists, radical Franciscans, Anabaptists, and ‘theologies of experience’) as the “revelatory work of the Spirit qualitatively transcend[ing] that of the Christ”. This interpretation is problematic. Though the Gospel of John does acknowledge the quantitative work of the Spirit as transcending that of the Christ, it does not allow for a qualitative transcendence. “More than one manifestation of the Spiritual Presence claiming ultimacy would deny the very concept of ultimacy; they would, instead, perpetuate the demonic split of consciousness.” Another problem concerning the “so-called processio” of the Spirit has surfaced in the argument between the East and West churches over the relation under discussion. [148-149] The former held that the Spirit proceeds from the Father only, allowing for a “direct theocentric mysticism”; whereas the Western posits that the Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son, leading to a “less flexible and more legalistic” “Christocentric criterion” which limits Spiritual Presence to the “canonical law” (of Scripture).

Definitions:

  • Spirit-Christology: “The synoptic stories show that the earliest Christian tradition was determined by a Spirit-Christology. According to this tradition, Jesus was grasped by the Spirit at the moment of his baptism. This event confirmed him as the elected ‘Son of God.’ Ecstatic experiences appear again and again in the Gospel stories. They show the Spiritual Presence driving Jesus into the desert, leading him through the visionary experiences of temptation, giving him the power of divination with respect to people and events … The Spirit is the force behind the ecstatic experience on the mount of transfiguration. And the Spirit gives him the certainty about the right hour, the kairos, for acting and suffering.” [144]
  • Half-Docetic Legend: “Deprives Jesus of his full humanity by excluding a human father from his conception.” [145]
  • Faith: “The meaning of faith in Protestantism is determined by the doctrine of ‘justification through faith by grace’, and it includes the paradox of the acceptance as just of him who is unjust- the forgiveness of sins”; “The basic definition of faith [is] the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence and through it by the transcendent union of unambiguous life”; “Faith in this sense is a Spiritual reality above its actualization in those who possess it.” [145-146,146]
  • Crypto-Monophysitic: “…Runs the risk of depriving Jesus of his real humanity.” [145]
  • Jesus-Theology: “Jesus-theology … makes the man Jesus the object of Christian faith. This can be done in seemingly orthodox terms, as in Pietism, or in humanistic terms, as in theological liberalism. Both distort or disregard the Christian message that it is Jesus as the Christ in whom the New Being has appeared. And they contradict Paul’s Spirit-Christology, which emphasizes that ‘the Lord is the Spirit’ and that we do not ‘know’ him according to his historical existence (flesh) but only as the Spirit who is alive and present.” [146]
  • ‘Before’: “[God’s] manifestations anywhere before or after Christ must be consonant with the encounter with the center of history. In this context, ‘before’ does not mean before the year A.D. 30 but before an existential encounter with Jesus as the Christ- which probably will never happen universally at any one time in history”; “‘Before’ Christ means ‘before and existential encounter with the New Being in him.’” [147]
  • ‘Prophecy and Fulfilment’: “The assertion that Jesus is the Christ implies that the Spirit, which made him the Christ and which became his Spirit (with a capital ‘S’), was and is working in all those who have been grasped by the Spiritual Presence before he could be encountered as a historical event. This has been expressed in the Bible and the churches by the scheme of ‘prophecy and fulfilment.’” [147]
  • ‘Theologies of Experience’: “To them progressive religious experience, perhaps in terms of an amalgamation of the world religions, will go qualitatively beyond Jesus as the Christ- and not only quantitatively, as the Fourth Gospel acknowledges.” [148]
  • Logos-Christology: “Spirit-Christology [was] replaced by the Logos-Christology in the Fourth Gospel. The answer is two-sided and has determined the church’s attitude ever since: After the return of the Logos-Incarnate to the Father, the Spirit will take his place and reveal the implication of his appearance. In the divine economy, the Spirit follows the Son, but in essence, the Son is the Spirit. The Spirit does not himself originate what he reveals. Every new manifestation of the Spiritual Presence stands under the criterion of his manifestation in Jesus as the Christ.” [148]
  • Processio/Filoque: “Another facet of the same problem appears in the argument between the Eastern and Western churches about the so-called processio of the Spirit from God the Father and God the Son. The Eastern church asserted that the Spirit proceeds from the Father alone, whereas the Western church insisted on the procession of the Spirit from the Father and the Son (filoque).” [148-149]

Questions:

  • Why is Jesus as the Christ “the criterion of all Spiritual experiences in past and future”?
  • What does it mean to speak of the faith of Jesus as the Christ?
  • What is Tillich’s problem with “Jesus-theology” and what resolution does he offer?
  • The event of Jesus as the Christ is the “keystone” of all Spiritual manifestations in history. How does this event relate to the past and the future?
  • What does Tillich mean when he uses the term “before”, when speaking of Jesus as the Christ and why is this distinction important? Do you agree?
  • What are the consequences Tillich mentions with regard to the view that there could be more than one manifestation of the Spiritual Presence which claims ultimacy? Do you agree?

Changes in German:

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IV.II.B.4: The Spiritual Presence and the New Being in the Spiritual Community [149-161]

IV.II.B.4.a): The New Being in Jesus as the Christ and in the Spiritual Community [149-152]

Summary:

[149] The Christ was contingent upon his reception. There are three ways in which the creativity of the Spiritual Presence should be understood: anticipation- in all of humanity as preparatory for the central manifestation of the divine Spirit, central appearance- in the central manifestation itself, and reception- in the creative impact of that central event (i.e. the manifestation of the Spiritual Community). [149-150] The term Spiritual Community, which speaks of the unambiguous, fragmentary, creation of the divine Spirit, will be used instead of the term ‘church’. [150] The Spiritual Community is also “‘invisible,’ ‘hidden,’ ‘open to faith alone,’ but nevertheless real, unconquerably real”; and it can only be seen through the “eyes of faith” which the Spirit creates. The New Being in Christ has a symbolic relation to the New Being in the Spiritual Community. This symbolic relation is shown in stories of the New Testament: First, in Peter’s confession there was recognition of Jesus as the Christ. This recognition was the work of the Spirit (grasping Peter’s spirit and enabling him to recognize the Spirit in Jesus), and this recognition is the “basis of the Spiritual Community against which the demonic powers are powerless”. [150-151] Second, the story of Pentecost yields five important symbolic elements: the ecstatic character of the creation of Spiritual Community which unifies structure and ecstasy, the creation of a certainty of faith (also involving ecstasy), the creation of a self-surrendering love that serves, unity which seeks reunion of estranged humanity, and universality expressed in missionary work. [152] These five elements are the “marks of the Spiritual Community” and will be later developed. These marks are taken from the “image of Jesus as the Christ and the New Being manifest in him.”

Definitions:

  • ‘Church’: “We do not use the word ‘church’ for the Spiritual Community, because this word has been used, of necessity, in the frame of the ambiguities of religion. At this point we speak instead of that which is able to conquer the ambiguities of religion- the New Being- in anticipation, in central appearance, and in reception.” [149]
  • Spiritual Community: “Such words as ‘Body of Christ,’ ‘assembly (ecclesia) of God’ or ‘of Christ,’ express the unambiguous life created by the divine Presence, in a sense similar to that of the term ‘Spiritual Community’ … The Spiritual Community is unambiguous; it is New Being, created by the Spiritual Presence. But, although it is a manifestation of unambiguous life, it is nonetheless fragmentary, as was the manifestation of unambiguous life in the Christ and in those who expected the Christ. The Spiritual Community is an unambiguous, though fragmentary, creation of the divine Spirit”; “Without … ecstasy”, “the certainty of faith”, “self-surrendering love”, “ultimate reunion of all the estranged members of mankind”, and “penness to all individuals, groups, and things and the drive to take them into itself”, “there is no Spiritual Community”. [150,151-152]
  • ‘Fragmentary’: “In this context, ‘fragmentary’ means appearing under the conditions of finitude but conquering both estrangement and ambiguity.” [150]
  • Eyes of Faith: “Only the ‘eyes of faith’ see what is hidden or Spiritual, and the ‘eyes of faith’ are the Spirit’s creation.” [150]

Questions:

  • What does it mean to say that the Christ would not be the Christ if it were not for the reception of him as the Christ?
  • What is the difference between the term ‘church’ and the term ‘Spiritual Community’? Do you agree with this distinction?
  • How does Tillich show the relation of the New Being in Christ and the New Being in the Spiritual Community?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.B.4.b): The Spiritual Community in Its Latent and in Its Manifest Stages [152-155]

Summary:

[152] This section will discuss the relation of the Spiritual Community to the varying religious communities in religious history. Though dependent on the appearance of Jesus as the Christ, the Spiritual Community is not the same as the Christian churches. How is the appearance of the Spiritual Community in the preparatory period prior to the appearance of Jesus as the Christ to be understood? On the one hand any time there is “revelation (and salvation)” there is the Spiritual Community. On the other hand the “central manifestation of the divine Spirit” is in the appearance of the Christ. There is a tension here with regard to the difference between the appearance of Spiritual Community in its preparatory period and in its receptive period. [152-153] This distinction will be articulated by appealing to the distinction between the Spiritual Community and the churches in the periods of latency and manifestation of the Spiritual Community’s appearance. [153] The Spiritual Community is not necessarily ‘invisible’ but is latent in the period before its encounter with the “central revelation” and visible in its manifest period after this encounter. This encounter is better understood as kairoi than kairos, because it is the “existential encounter” of a “religious cultural group” that is emphasized. In other words, the distinction between latent and manifest Spiritual Community is necessary because there are “groups outside the organized churches who show the power of the New Being in an impressive way”- groups which show the “impact” of the Spiritual Presence. [153-154] In these groups the Spiritual Community is in a state of “secular latency”, first because they have received Jesus as the Christ without having “yet encountered him” and second because the “principle of resistance” to “profanization and demonization” is absent. Conversely the Spiritual Community is in a state of “manifest religious self-expression” in the churches because they have encountered Jesus the Christ and the principle of resistance is present. [154] Many examples of latent Spiritual Community are listed- all of which share evidence of the impact of the Spiritual Presence. This evidence includes “elements of faith” (being grasped by an ultimate concern) and “elements of love” (a transcendent reunion of the separated). However, these are all examples of latent Spiritual Community because the “ultimate criterion, the faith and love of the Christ, has not yet appeared to these groups”. Because these groups do not meet this criterion, they have not the power to “actualize a radical self-negation and self-transformation as it is present as reality and symbol in the Cross of Christ”. Further, the groups distinguished as the latent Spiritual Community are related to the manifest Spiritual Community in a teleological way. They are “unconsciously driven toward the Christ”, though they reject and oppose his form as portrayed by the churches. [155] This teleological relation is true even for communism, which because of elements of Spiritual Community is classified as latent Spiritual Community. Christian ministry should realize that groups outside of the churches are “members of the latent Spiritual Community “not complete strangers”.

Definitions:

  • ‘Latent’/’Manifest’: “The terms ‘latent’ and ‘manifest’ church have been used by me for many years, and they have been both accepted and rejected quite frequently. Sometimes they were confused with the classical distinction between the invisible and visible church … the qualities invisible and visible must be applied to the church both in its latency and in its manifestation”; “The term ‘latent’ comprises a negative and a positive element. Latency is the state of being partly actual, partly potential … in the state of latency, there must be actualized elements and elements not actualized. And this is just what characterizes the latent Spiritual Community.” [152-153]
  • ‘Before’/‘After’; Kairos/Kairio: (Greek) “It is the Spiritual Community that is latent before an encounter with the central revelation and manifest after such an encounter. This ‘before’ and ‘after’ has a double meaning. It points to the world-historical event, the ‘basic kairos,’ which has established the center of history once and for all, and it refers to the continually recurring and derivative kairoi in which a religious cultural group has an existential encounter with the central event. ‘Before’ and ‘after’ in connection with the Spiritual Community’s latency and manifestation refer directly to the second sense of the words and only indirectly to the first.” [153]
  • Spiritual Community (churches and other): “The churches are not excluded from the Spiritual Community, but neither are their secular opponents. The churches represent the Spiritual Community in a manifest religious self-expression, whereas the others represent the Spiritual Community in secular latency.” [153]
  • Ultimate Criterion: “The ultimate criterion, the faith and love of Christ, has not yet appeared to these groups [those groups distinguished as latent Spiritual Community]- whether they existed before or after the years 1 to 30. As a consequence of their lack of this criterion, such groups are unable to actualize a radical self-negation and self-transformation as it is present as a reality and symbol in the Cross of Christ. This means that they are teleologically related to the spiritual Community in its manifestation; they are unconsciously driven toward the Christ, even though the reject him when he is brought to them through the preaching and actions of the Christian churches”. [154]

Questions:

  • How is the “classical distinction between the invisible and the visible church” related to the distinction between the Spiritual Community and the churches?
  • Tillich claims that there is the latent Spiritual Community outside of organized religion. How does he demonstrate this claim? In other words, what criterion is employed determine latent as opposed to manifest Spiritual Community?
  • What is the “ultimate criterion” for the manifest Spiritual Community, and for what reason do groups classified as latent Spiritual Community not meet this criterion?
  • What are the consequences of not meeting the ultimate criterion?
  • Among the groups listed under “latent Spiritual Community”, Tillich includes “world communism”. Why, and do you agree?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.B.4.c): The Marks of the Spiritual Community [155-157]

Summary:

[155] This section discusses the marks of the Spiritual Community, which are faith and love, from which follow unity, and universality. (For this section it is important to keep in mind the distinction between the Spiritual Community and the churches discussed above.) The Spiritual Community is the “community of the New Being”. The New Being in Jesus as the Christ is the manifestation of the divine Spirit, which creates the Spiritual Community. The qualities or marks in its character function to both describe and judge the churches, which are the “actualization and the distortion of the Spiritual Community”. First, as a community of faith the Spiritual Community involves the tension between the faith of individuals and the community as a whole. This tension does not cause a “split” in the Spiritual Community as it does in the churches. The reason that a split does not occur is because the Spiritual Presence transcends the elements which threaten a split (i.e. individual conditions, beliefs, and expressions of faith). [155-156] Through faith the Spiritual Community “participates in the holiness of the Divine Life” and is the “invisible Spiritual essence” of the churches. [156] Second, as a community of love the Spiritual Community involves a tension between various love relations and the agape love which unites “being with being in the transcendent union of unambiguous life”. This love is “multidimensional”. Though individuals are separate in existence there is an anticipatory union they share. This agape love which the Spiritual Community has in essence (as the community of the New Being) is the criterion for the churches. Through love the Spiritual Community “participates in the holiness of the Divine Life” and is the “invisible Spiritual essence” of the churches. Third, because of the faith of the Spiritual Community, it is a unity. This unity has tensions, but does not break or split. It is the criterion for the churches of which the Spiritual Community and “participates in the holiness of the Divine Life” and is the “invisible Spiritual essence” of the churches. [156-157] Fourth, the Spiritual Community has universality because it has agape love, which unifies all other kinds of love- there are tensions but no split or break. [157] Through agape the many different individuals in the world can universally participate in the Spiritual Community. Therefore this love makes it universal. Universality is “actual in the religious communities as their invisible Spiritual essence and the criterion of their ambiguous life”. And, like the other marks mentioned, the Spiritual Community “participates through its universality in the holiness of the Divine Life.”

Definitions:

  • Spiritual Community: “The Spiritual Community is the community of the New Being. It is created by the divine Spirit as manifest in the New Being in Jesus as the Christ. This origin determines its character: it is the community of faith and love … the churches are both the actualization and the distortion of the Spiritual Community.” [155]
  • The Churches: “The churches are both the actualization and the distortion of the Spiritual Community.” [155]
  • Community of Faith: “As the community of the New Being the Spiritual Community is a community of faith. The term ‘community of faith’ indicates the tension between the faith of the individual member and the faith of the community as a whole. It is of the nature of the Spiritual Community that this tension does not lead to a break (as it does in the churches). The Spiritual Presence by which the individual is grasped in the act of faith transcends individual conditions, beliefs, and expressions of faith. It unites him with the God who can grasp men through all these conditions but who does not restrict himself to any one of them. The Spiritual Community contains an indefinite variety of expressions of faith and does not exclude any of them. It is open in all directions because it is based on the central manifestation of the Spiritual Presence. It is faith, nevertheless, overcoming the infinite gap between the infinite and the finite; it is in every moment fragmentary, a partial anticipation of the transcendent union of unambiguous life. Unambiguous itself, it is the criterion for the faith of the churches, conquering their ambiguities. The Spiritual Community is holy, participating through faith in the holiness of the Divine Life …” [155]
  • Community of Love: “As the community of the New Being, the Spiritual Community is a community of love. The Spiritual Community … contains the tension between the indefinite variety of love relations and the agape which unites being with being in the transcendent union of unambiguous life … it is multidimensional love, fragmentary in view of the separation of everything from everything else in time and space, but an anticipation of the perfect union in Eternal Life. As such it is the criterion of love within the churches, unambiguous in its essence, conquering their ambiguities.” [156]
  • Unity: The unity of the Spiritual Community “Expresses the fact that the tension between the indefinite variety of the conditions of faith does not lead to a break with the faith of the community … this unity is not without tensions, but it is without break.” [156]
  • Universality: “The universality of the Spiritual Community expresses the fact that the tension between the indefinite variety of love relations and the agape which unites being with being in the transcendent union of unambiguous life does not lead to a break between them. The Spiritual Community can stand the diversity of the qualities of love. There is no conflict in between agape and eros, between agape and philia, between agape and libidoAgape, in the Spiritual Community, is not only itself united with the other qualities of love; it also creates unity among them. As a consequence, the immense diversity of beings … does not prevent their participation in the Spiritual Community.” [157]

Questions:

  • What are the “marks” or “qualities” of the Spiritual Community and how do they function with regard to “the churches”?
  • Why is there not a “split” in the Spiritual Community?
  • After discussing each “mark” of the Spiritual Community Tillich states that through each mark the “Spiritual Community is holy”, “participating in the Divine Life”. Why does he repeat these phrases so often? In other words, why are holiness and participation in the Divine Life so significant?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.II.B.4.d): The Spiritual Community and the Unity of Religion, Culture, and Morality [157-161]

Summary:

[157] The “pre-formed” unity in humanity’s essential nature has been disrupted in existence. This disruption is reunified through the “transcendent union of unambiguous life” (which is “recreated” by the Spiritual Presence) through which humanity participates in the Spiritual Community. This unity encompasses the “three functions of life under the dimensions of the spirit”: religion, culture, and morality. First the unity of religion and culture is discussed. Religion in the narrower sense (i.e. religion “as a special function”) is not involved in the Spiritual Community. [157-158] Because all of reality is grasped by the Spiritual Presence and because the Spiritual Presence creates the Spiritual Community, there is no need for a special function of the Spiritual Community with regard to religion; in the Spiritual Community God is unified with people- there is no need for a temple, priests, etc. (i.e. no need for religion in the narrow sense). [158] As a result, the Spiritual Presence which creates the Spiritual Community unifies culture with itself, wherein the “essential relation between religion and culture- that ‘culture is the form of religion and religion the substance of culture’- is realized in the Spiritual Community”. This unity is unambiguous, though it has dynamics and tensions, which result in its fragmentary and anticipatory character. Though it remains fragmentary (because of “the temporal process of the limited field of consciousness”) in the Spiritual Community the distinction between religious self-transcendence and cultural creation is erased, because these are unified. Therefore, though the union of religion and culture in the Spiritual Community is both unambiguous and yet fragmentary, it is their criterion and their “hidden power” which combats “ambiguity and separation”. Second the unity of religion and morality is discussed. Religion in the broader sense is the kind of religion that is brought into unambiguous union with morality in the Spiritual Community. If the narrow sense of religion is taken away from morality, leaving only the broad sense in which religion functions in the Spiritual Community, the two (morality and religion) can be unified, and their conflict erased, in this way: Resulting from the extrication of (narrow sense) religion, both religion and morality are able to “defend their mutual independence” from the influence of the other. As a result the autonomous character of morality is defended from heteronomous religious imposition (i.e. Kant) and religion can show that it neither supports nor interferes with autonomous morals (i.e. Schleiermacher). [158-159] Two “characters” are involved here: On the one hand, the unity of religion and morals involves the personal-communal character of the Spiritual Community. Religion in its broader sense (religion as “being grasped by the Spiritual Presence”) allows for personal autonomy in the “act of moral self-constitution” which a self-established person performs in the Spiritual Community. [159] This is the case because the New Being appears in the personal-communal character of the Spiritual Community. Because of this character, the Spiritual Community is unfettered by the external heteronomous influence of religion in the narrower sense (i.e. external religious commands), which would destroy it. In other words, the Spiritual Community does not destroy autonomy of persons within it. On the other hand the unity of religion and morals in the Spiritual Community is expressed through the theonomous character of morals. This theonomous character (i.e. moral character or moral imperative), is understood in a twofold sense: its unconditional character and its motivating power. First, the moral imperative has an unconditional character because it expresses “man’s essential being”- this is its source [in essence, the conditions of existence do not apply- hence essence means unconditioned in this context]. This is shown by humanity finding its “infinite value” through the impact of the Spiritual Presence, which ushers it into an awareness of belonging to the “transcendent union of … Divine Life” in an act of faith (accepting the unconditional character and faith are “the same act”). Second, the motivating power of the moral imperative in the Spiritual Community is grace (i.e. the Spiritual Presence- symbolized as grace in contrast to law). Because the moral act is based on a preceding “participation in the transcendent union” (enabled by the grasp of the Spiritual Presence) through which the Spiritual impact creates the possibility for the moral act- by “establishing the moral personality and community”, “morality in the Spiritual Community is determined by grace”. [160] Third the unity of culture and morality is discussed. On the one hand morality receives content from culture. This content does not affect the unconditional character of the moral imperative. Cultural creativity gives the ethical content, and this includes the relativities of the cultural creativity, with one exception- the act of the personal self which encounters other persons. In the act of reunion, which involves the affirmation of multidimensional love, “the moral imperative and the ethical content come together and constitute the theonomous morals of the Spiritual Community”. Love is created by the Spiritual Presence, and love applies ethical content to particular circumstances presented by cultural creativity. Thus in the Spiritual Community morality is both independent of and dependent on “the dynamics of cultural creativity”. This unity is also unambiguous, fragmentary and anticipatory because humans in the group are under the conditions of finitude (e.g. the Spirit, by imposing moral decisions, limits others which were not made). Yet this unity also acts as the “criterion” and the “hidden Spiritual power” within moral-cultural situations. On the other hand culture receives “seriousness” from morality. [160-161] Cultural creations should not fall prey to “aestheticism”, which enjoys them without appreciating the creation itself with eros love. [161] There should instead be “seriousness”, and “where there is seriousness there is the unconscious or conscious force of the unconditional character of the moral imperative”. Whether a culture fails to have this seriousness or becomes too serious, either extreme, results in a negation- whether resulting in an “empty personal and communal self-constitution”. Either way, the problem is a “lack of a uniting love”. In the Spiritual Community this problem is not found: a desire for an experience of the ultimate “through every cultural form and task” means seriousness toward culture. There is a “genuine unity of culture and morality in the theonomy of the Spiritual Community”, though it remains fragmentary and anticipatory. Though the limits of finitude prevent perfect seriousness and eros, there is still “moral seriousness and cultural openness” which serve as the criterion for and Spiritual power of all religious and secular groups. In conclusion, the Spiritual Community is both “as manifest and as hidden as the central manifestation of the New Being in Jesus as the Christ … the Spiritual Presence which creates the New Being in the history of mankind”.

Definitions:

  • Spiritual Presence: “The Spiritual Presence which creates the Spiritual Community does not create a separate entity in terms of which it must be received and expressed; rather, it grasps all reality, every function, every situation. It is the ‘depth’ of all cultural creations and places them in a vertical relation to their ultimate ground and aim.” [158]
  • Spiritual Community: “There is no religion as a special function in the Spiritual Community … There are no religious symbols in the Spiritual Community because the encountered reality is in its totality symbolic of the Spiritual Presence, and there are no religious acts because every act is an act of self-transcendence. Thus, the essential relation between religion and culture- that ‘culture is the form of religion and religion the substance of culture’ –is realized in the Spiritual Community”; “The term ‘Spiritual Community’ itself points to the personal-communal character in which the New Being appears”; “This is the reason for the use of the term ‘Spiritual Community,’ for every thing Spiritual is manifest in hiddenness. It is open only to faith as the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence. As we have said before: Only Spirit discerns Spirit.” [157-158;159]
  • Morality/Religion: “We have defined morality as the constitution of the person as person in the encounter with the other person. If religion in the narrower sense is separated from morality, both are forced to defend their mutual independence: morality must defend its autonomous character against religious commandments imposed on it from outside … and religion must defend itself against attempts to explain it as an illusionary support of or a destructive interference with autonomous morals … in the Spiritual Community … religion, in the sense of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence, presupposes self-establishment of the person in the moral act- the condition of everything spiritual and Spiritual in man.” [158-159]
  • Religion (narrower sense): (not clearly defined in this section) Implicitly it is “religion as a special function”; a “separate entity” involving “religious symbol” and “religious acts”; “Religion in the narrower sense is lacking in the Spiritual Community”; It imposes religious commands “external to the act of moral self-constitution”. Implicitly, it is conditioned religion. [157;158;159]
  • Religion (broader sense): “Religion, in the sense of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence, presupposes self-establishment of the person in the moral act- the condition of everything spiritual and Spiritual in man.” Implicitly it is unconditioned religion. [158-159]
  • ‘Theonomous’: “The unity of religion and morals expresses itself in the character of morals in the Spiritual Community. Morals in the Spiritual Community are ‘theonomous’ in a twofold sense. If we ask for the source of the unconditional character of the moral imperative, we must give the following answer: that the moral imperative is unconditional because it expresses man’s essential being”; “If we ask the question of the moral imperative’s motivating power, the answer in light of the Spiritual Community is not the law but the Spiritual Presence, which, in relation to the moral imperative, is grace.” [159]
  • The Moral Act: “The moral act, the act of personal self-constitution in the encounter with other persons, is based on participation in the transcendent union.” [159]
  • The Divine Life: “The transcendent union of unambiguous life … is the Divine Life”. [159]
  • Act of Faith: “The act of faith and the act of accepting the moral imperative’s unconditional character are one and the same act.” [159]
  • Grace: “The Spiritual Presence, which, in relation to the moral imperative, is grace. The moral act, the act of personal self-constitution in the encounter with other persons, is based participation in the transcendent union. This participation makes the moral act possible. By its Spiritual impact, the preceding transcendent union creates the actual union of the centered person with itself, the encountered world, and the ground of self and world. It is the quality of ‘preceding’ that characterizes the Spiritual impact as grace: and nothing establishes the moral personality and community but the transcendent union which manifests itself in the Spiritual Community as grace. The self-establishment of a person as person without grace leaves the person to the ambiguities of the law. Morality in the Spiritual Community is determined by grace.” [159]
  • Aestheticism: “The lack of seriousness toward cultural creativity was first called ‘aestheticism’ by Kierkegaard. It is the detached attitude toward cultural creations that are valued merely for an enjoyment untouched by eros toward the creation itself.” [161]
  • Play: “This attitude [aestheticism] should not be confused with the element of play in cultural creation and reception. Play is one of the most characteristic expression of the freedom of the spirit, and there is a seriousness in free playing not to be surpassed by the seriousness of necessary work.” [161]

Questions:

  • Why does not the Spiritual Community involve religion in the narrow sense (i.e. “religion as a special function”)?
  • What is the “criterion” and “power within” for religion and culture?
  • Why does religion in broader sense apply to the Spiritual Community?
  • What is the conflict between religion and morality when religion in the narrow sense is not removed, and how does the Spiritual Community overcome this conflict?
  • Why is the moral imperative unconditional?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III: The Divine Spirit and the Ambiguities of Life [162-282]

IV.III.A: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Religion [162-245]

IV.III.A.1: The Spiritual Community, the Church, and the Churches [162-172]

IV.III.A.1.a): The Ontological Character of the Spiritual Community [162-165]

Summary:

[162] The concept of the church involving the element which is in designated as both ‘body of Christ’ in the New Testament and the ‘church invisible and spiritual’ by the Reformation has been discussed as ‘The Spiritual Community’. The Spiritual Community is the “invisible essence of the religious communities”. This means that both the power and the structure of religious communities/groups are included in this element characterized as the Spiritual Community. If groups base themselves on the “appearance of the New Being in Jesus as the Christ” they are called churches. If they do not, they have various other names. Regardless, if any such group is “determined by an ultimate concern” the Spiritual Community is “effective in its hidden power and structure”. The New Testament distinguishes different terms for the process of the “manifestation of the Spiritual Community in the Christian church”, but also unifies these in the “Church universal”. [163] The term ‘Church universal’ includes “a double aspect”: including both the universal (‘body of Christ’) and the particular (‘a Spiritual reality’) aspects. Under this double aspect the characteristics of the Spiritual Community and the “ambiguities of religion, culture, and morality” are accounted for. The terminology employed here as “The Spiritual Community” must be clarified so as to avoid confusion; such as has occurred in the misunderstanding of the distinction between the invisible and visible church. The Reformers wanted to connote not two different churches alongside each other, but rather an invisible church as “the Spiritual essence of the visible church”. Though the invisible is hidden, it is the “spiritual essence” of the visible. “In the same way the Spiritual Community does not exist as an entity beside the churches, but it is their Spiritual essence, effective in them though its power, its structure, and its fight against their ambiguities.” The logical-ontological character of the Spiritual Community is stated as: “it is essentially determining existence and being resisted by existence”. [163-164] First, this does not mean that it is an ideal, which would result in an expectation that the churches move towards the ideal. [164] “Where would the churches get the power of establishing and actualizing such an ideal?” A common answer is from the divine Spirit. But how is the Spirit understood here as present in the churches? “Essential power must precede actualization”. Biblical thinking would say that the church is the Body of Christ, the New Creation “into which the individual Christian and the particular church is taken”. This kind of biblical thinking is tenable, and so long as it maintain that “Jesus is the Christ, the mediator of the New Being, it is theologically necessary”. Second, it (the logical-ontological character of the Spiritual Community) is not “a kind of Platonism or mythological literalism”. To avoid this error a category that points to the “power of the essential behind and within the existential” will be employed; this category is the essentialistic. [164-165] Though this category does not involve teleology, the Spiritual Community, in way, does. For it is the “inner telos” and the source of the churches. [165] Therefore the essentialistic interpretation of the Spiritual Community is a category adequate to interpret the unambiguous life as Eternal Life, “for Spiritual life is Eternal Life in anticipation.”

Definitions:

  • Spiritual Community: “The term ‘Spiritual Community’ has been used to characterize sharply that element in the concept of the church which is called the ‘body of Christ’ by the New Testament and the ‘church invisible or Spiritual’ by the Reformation. In the previous discussion this element has sometimes been called the ‘invisible essence of the religious communities.’ Such a statement implies that the Spiritual Community is not a group existing beside other groups but rather a power and a structure inherent and effective in such groups, that is, in religious communities. If they are consciously based on the appearance of the New Being in Jesus as the Christ, these groups are called churches. If they have other foundations, they are called synagogues, temple congregations, mystery groups, monastic groups, cult groups, movements. In so far as they are determined by an ultimate concern, the Spiritual Community is effective in its hidden power and structure in all such groups”; “For the sake of semantic clarification, we have used the term ‘Spiritual Community’ as an equivalent of ‘the church’ (as the body of Christ), avoiding the term ‘the Church’ (with a capital ‘C’) completely”; “The invisible church is the Spiritual essence of the visible church; like everything Spiritual, it is hidden, but it determines the nature of the visible church. In the same way the Spiritual Community does not exist as an entity beside the churches, but it is their Spiritual essence, effective in them though its power, its structure, and its fight against their ambiguities”. [162,163]
  • Churches: “If [a religious group is] consciously based on the appearance of the New Being in Jesus as the Christ, these groups are called churches.” [162]
  • Ecclesia/Apostoloi/Eleutheroi/Koinonia: (Greek) “The church in New Testament Greek is ecclesia, the assembly of those who are called out of all nations by the apostoloi, the messengers of the Christ, to the congregation of the eleutheroi, those who have become free citizens of the ‘Kingdom of the Heavens.’ There is a ‘church,’ an ‘assembly of God’ (or the Christ), in every town in which the message has been successful and a Christian koinonia, or communion, has come into being.” [162]
  • The Church Universal: “The over-all unity of … local assemblies [is] in the Church universal, by virtue of which the particular groups become churches … The Church universal, as well as the particular churches included in it, is seen in a double aspect as the ‘body of Christ,’ on the one hand- a Spiritual reality- and as a social group of individual Christians on the other.” [162-163]
  • The Church Visible and Invisible: “The confusion [resulting from this terminology] is that the ‘church invisible’ is understood as a reality beside the Church visible or, more precisely, beside the visible churches. But in the thought of the reformers, there was no invisible church alongside the historical churches. The invisible church is the Spiritual essence of the visible church; like everything Spiritual, it is hidden, but it determines the nature of the visible church.” [163]
  • The Logical-Ontological Character of the Spiritual Community: “It is essentially determining existence and being resisted by existence.” [163]
  • Spiritual Community as an Ideal: “Two mistakes must be avoided … one is the interpretation of the Spiritual Community as an ideal- as against the reality of the churches- that is, as constructed from the positive elements in the ambiguities of religion and projected onto the screen of transcendence.” [164]
  • Spiritual Community as Platonism or Mythological Literalism: “There is another danger to be avoided, and that is a kind of Platonism or mythological literalism which interprets the Spiritual Community as an assembly of Spiritual beings, angelic hierarchies, saints and the saved from all periods and countries, represented on earth by ecclesiastical hierarchies and sacraments. This idea is in the line of Greek Orthodox thinking. Whatever its symbolic truth may be, it is not what we have called the Spiritual Community.” [164]
  • Essentialistic: “Neither realistic nor idealistic nor supranaturalistic but essentialistic- a category pointing to the power of the essential behind and within the existential. This analysis holds true of every life process: everywhere, the essential is one of the determining powers. Its power is not causal but directive. One could call it teleological, but this word has been misused in the sense of a further causality, which certainly must be rejected by both science and philosophy. And yet, it would be possible to say that the Spiritual Community is the inner telos of the churches and that as such it is the source of everything which makes them churches”; “This essentialistic interpretation of the Spiritual Community can give to theology a category which is most adequate to interpret the unambiguous life as Eternal Life”. [164]
  • Spiritual Life: “Spiritual life is Eternal Life in anticipation.” [164]

Questions:

  • What distinguishes religious groups called “churches”?
  • What is it that determines whether or not “the Spiritual Community is effective in its hidden power and structure” in religious groups/communities?
  • What is meant by the “Church universal”?
  • What is the proper interpretation of the church visible and invisible?
  • What is the logical-ontological character of the Spiritual Community?
  • What is meant by the category ‘essentialistic’?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.1.b): The Paradox of the Churches [165-172]

Summary:

[165] The churches participate generally in the ambiguities of life and particularly in the religious life. At the same time they participate in the unambiguous life of the Spiritual Community. This is the paradox of the churches. As a result of this paradox, the first consequence is the churches must be understood in “two aspects”, the “necessity” of which has led to the distinction between the church as both invisible and visible. But this distinction must be strictly understood as defined in the previous section. One must use this terminology (when speaking of the churches) but also understand that it does not mean that there are two churches; there are “two aspects of one church in time and space”. The reason that this consequence is that in order to articulate “the invisible character of the Spiritual Community, which is the essential power in every actual church”, one must make reference to the two aspects of the churches. The misunderstanding of this distinction has leads to minimizing either the visible church or the invisible. The former occurred in some of the “Spirit movements”, the latter occurred “liberal Protestantism”. This section will now discuss and epistemological language that will include the sociological and the theological interpretations of the history of the church (i.e. all churches in time and space). First, because all churches exist in a “sociological reality”, there are laws determining the “life of social groups and their ambiguities”. [165-166] As such the churches involve a “secular history”, which can be discussed polemically or apologetically. [166] If the sociological/secular aspect of the churches is discussed polemically, the concrete reality can negate the “church Spiritual”; if apologetically discussed they are seen as socially significant “agencies” ostensibly offering “the enhancement of the good life”, “psychological security”. In this view the history of the churches is the history of “humanity’s progress”. Both of these interpretations of the churches history are “utterly inadequate”. The second and better view is the theological, because it accounts for the sociological while pointing to the “presence of the unambiguous Spiritual Community” within “the ambiguities of the social reality of the churches”. The danger of “exclusiveness” epitomized by the Roman Catholic doctrine is to be avoided. Church history should not be “elevated above all other history”, because it is not immune to the “disintegrating, destructive, and demonic features of life”. [167] The result of this danger has led to “hierarchical arrogance” and its oppositions: “anti-ecclesiastical and antihierarchical movements”. Further, the relation of the sociological and the theological characters of the church are “submerged” when they should be held together in a paradoxical understanding which minimizes neither character. Therefore the paradoxical character of the churches is seen in the marks of the Spiritual Community when applied to them. These marks are “holiness, unity, and universality”, and because of the paradox of the churches, the marks can only be applied to the churches with the addition of the phrase “in spite of”. First, in terms of holiness, the presence of the New Being in the churches is the foundation which makes them holy in spite of their unholiness- they are holy “because they stand under the negative and positive judgments of the Cross”. This paradox is related to the seemingly “unbridgeable” gap between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. [168] The latter judges on its own institutional basis, without allowing judgment of that basis. Yet there is still evidence of the “regenerative power” of the Spiritual Presence working in them, as shown in the principle of reformation. The second mark, unity, reveals the paradox of the churches in that the same foundation, the New Being, makes them unified, but this predicate is neither confirmed nor denied by the empirical actuality of unity or disunity in the churches. [169] Though all denominational churches are separated in spite of this they are yet unified by a common relation to “the event of the Christ”, which is their foundation. This corrects the Roman Catholic absolutism which would negate any group claiming to be a church outside its own, and is shown in the Protestant position allowing division and unity in the churches which may differ according to the ambiguities of religion but have the same essential foundation. This “ambiguity of religion” is fought by “the power of the Spiritual Community, to which unambiguous unity belongs”. [169-170] Herein a reunification of manifest and latent churches is attempted, as with the World Council of Churches, though ambiguity can never be completely overcome. [170] The unity of the churches is paradoxical: “It is the divided church as well as the united church”. Third, the universality (meaning “that which concerns all men”) of the churches is paradoxical. Again, the foundation of the churches is the New Being, which makes them universal, and they are universal in two respects: intensively and extensively. Intensively the churches have power and desire to participate in “everything created under all dimensions of life”, though it fights against the ambiguity within the “encountered realms of being”. Though all things are embraced, even the demonic, leading to a danger of elevating any of these to the level of “to an absolute position” which excludes the other elements. [171] If this occurs the element of intensive universality is taken out of the churches and applied to the secular world, as when the Counter Reformation excluded the universality of “abundance and emptiness”, which led to the “wide-open secularism of the modern world”. Regardless as to how the churches view their predicate of universality, “they are essentially universal in spite of their actual poverty in relation to the abundance of the encountered world … however universal they try to be, the universality of the churches is paradoxically present in their particularity”. Last, the second respect of the universality of the churches is their extensive universality. This means that the foundation of the churches is extensively relevant for “all nations, social groups, races, tribes, and cultures”. As discussed in the New Testament, accepting Jesus as the “bringer of the New Being” is valid in an extensive way, to all people groups. However, the churches never have “actual universality” because it is paradoxical. Greek Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism all employ differing ways through which the Spiritual Community is joined. [172] As with the other predicates/marks, the universality of the churches is also present in their particularity, or universal in spite of their particularities, hence another paradox.

Definitions:

  • Paradox of the churches: “The paradox of the churches is the fact that they participate, on the one hand, in the ambiguities of life in general and, on the other hand, in the unambiguous life of the Spiritual Community.” [165]
  • Two Aspects of Paradox of the churches: “The first consequence of this [the paradox of the churches] is that whenever they are interpreted and judged the churches must be seen under tow aspects. The awareness of this necessity has been expressed in the distinction between the church invisible and visible, to which we already referred. As long as one who uses these terms is aware that he does not speak of two churches but of two aspects of one church in time and space, this terminology is possible and even unavoidable, for it is necessary to emphasize the invisible character of the Spiritual Community, which is the essential power in every actual church.” [165]
  • The church (lower case): “The church (meaning every particular church in time and space)”; “The churches are embodiments of the New Being and creations of the Spiritual Presence, and their essential power is the Spiritual Community, which works toward unambiguous life through their ambiguities”. [165,168]
  • Sociological View of the churches discussed Polemically: “If … polemical (often born of undiscerning expectations and the disappointments which inevitably ensue), the rather miserable reality of concrete churches is emphasized and this reality is compared with their claim to embody the Spiritual Community. The church at the street corner hides the church Spiritual from view.” [166]
  • Sociological View of the churches discussed Apologetically: “If … for apologetic purposes, they [the churches] are valued for their social significance. They are praised as the largest and most effective social agencies dedicated to the enhancement of the good life.” [166]
  • Theological View of the churches: “The other view of the churches is the theological. It does not refuse to recognize the sociological aspect, but it does deny its exclusive validity. The theological view points, within the ambiguities of the social reality of the churches, to the presence of the unambiguous Spiritual Community.” [166]
  • Exclusiveness: “A danger … threatens and distorts the theological [view of the churches]: exclusiveness … [which denies the significance of sociological characteristics] for the Spiritual nature of the church. This is the official Roman Catholic doctrine, according to which the Roman church is a sacred reality above the sociological ambiguities of past and present.” [166]
  • Holiness: “The churches are holy because of the holiness of their foundation, the New Being, which is present in them. Their holiness cannot be derived from the holiness of their institutions, doctrines, ritual and devotional activities, or ethical principles; all these are among the ambiguities of religion … the holiness of the churches and of Christians is not a matter of empirical judgment but rather of faith in the working of the New Being within them … they are holy because they stand under the negative and the positive judgments of the Cross”; “The holy church is the distorted church, and this means every church in time and space”. [167,168]
  • In Spite Of: A phrase employed to articulate the paradox of the churches. E.g. “The churches are holy, but they are so in terms of an ‘in spite of’ or as a paradox.” [168]
  • Unity: “Unity is the second predicate of the churches which expresses the paradox of their nature. The churches are unified because of the unity of their foundation, the New Being which is effective in them. But the churches’ unity cannot be derived from their actual unity, nor can the predicate of unity be denied because of their present disunity. The predicate is independent of these empirical realities and possibilities.” [168]
  • Universality: “Universality is the third predicate of the churches which expresses the paradox of their nature. The churches are universal because of the universality of their foundation- the New Being which is effective in them. The word ‘universal’ replaces the classic word ‘catholic’ (that which concerns all men) … every church is universal both intensively and extensively- because of its nature of actualizing the Spiritual Community. The intensive universality of the church is its power and desire to participate as church in everything created under all dimensions of life”; “Their extensive universality- that is, the validity of the church’s foundation for all nations, social groups, races, tribes, and cultures.” [170,171]
  • Complexio Oppositorum: (Latin) “Nothing that is created and, therefore, essentially good is excluded from the life of the churches and their members”; “Protestantism [replaced] the abundance of complexion oppositorum [with] the poverty of sacred emptiness”. [170]
  • Positivism: “Positivism in theology is the resignation of the predicate of universality.” [172]

Questions:

  • What is the “paradox of the churches” and what are the two aspects of the first consequence of this paradox?
  • Why are the “two aspects” (i.e. invisible and visible) of interpreting and judging the churches “unavoidable”, and what are the results of misunderstanding this distinction?
  • Why is the theological view of the churches preferred over the sociological?
  • The danger of the theological view is the exclusiveness shown in Roman Catholic doctrine. Why is this danger problematic?
  • Why does Tillich use the phrase in spite of?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.2: The Life of the Churches and the Struggle against the Ambiguities of Religion [172-216]

IV.III.A.2.a): Faith and Live in the Life of the Churches [172-182]
IV.III.A.2.a).(1): The Spiritual Community and the Churches as Communities of Faith [172-177]

Summary:

[172] Though the Spiritual Community participates through faith and love in the transcendent unity of unambiguous life, its participation is fragmentary and involves tensions. Its participation is fragmentary because it exists under the finite conditions of existence, and involves tensions because of the polarity of individualization and participation. Because the Spiritual Community is the dynamic essence of the churches, they are able through faith and love to conquer the ambiguities of religion- not completely, but only in principle. [173] “In principle” means “the power of beginning, which remains the controlling power in a whole process”. In this way there are three principles, or three ways in which the “self-destructive force” of the ambiguities of religion is conquered- but not eliminated completely- in the life of the churches: the Spiritual Presence, the New Being, and the Spiritual Community. This occurs only in so far as the New Being is present, or embodied, in them. A discussion of the way in which this partial overcoming occurs involves first the act of faith. The act of faith is the reception of the Spiritual Presence and the actualization of the New Being, wherein the “manifold distortions of faith” are met with a “power of resistance” by the “divine Spirit and its embodiment, the Spiritual Community.” Thus to speak of a “community of faith” is to speak of a community whose intention is to be “founded on the New Being in Jesus as the Christ” or whose “dynamic essence is the Spiritual Community”. There is an important tension involved in the faith of the Spiritual Community. This tension is between the “faith of those who are grasped by the Spiritual Presence”, and the faith of the community “which consists of such individuals but is more than each of them and more than their totality”. The key is that this tension leads to a break in the churches (causing the ambiguities of religion), but not in the Spiritual Community. However, if the community of the church (i.e. the churches) participate in the Spiritual Community, they can resist and “in principle overcome” the ambiguities of religion resulting from this break. [174] The faith of the churches” involves “three aspects”, or three difficulties in the “concept of the community of faith”. First, the church characterized as “a community of faith” became questionable with the historical development of the contrast between active faith and creedal foundation, and led to “numerous ambiguities of the religious life”. Second, the history of the creeds includes a contrast between Spiritual creativity and the social forces which had an impact on the creeds. Because the creeds were colored by social forces, it is a “demonic” and “destructive act” for the churches to insist on the acceptance of these creeds. Third, there is a secular world that is critical and doubtful of the creeds, and has influenced the churches. Thus, how can they be called the “community of faith”? As a result of these difficulties in the concept of the community of faith, two things are shown: the power of the ambiguities of religion and the difficulty of faith to resist them. Only one answer to this problem is offered. It is the answer “which underlies all parts of the present system” and it is “the basic content of the Christian faith”: “Jesus is the Christ, the bringer of the New Being”. Therefore the proper concept to apply to the churches is that “a church is a community of those who affirm that Jesus is the Christ”. This does not mean decision in the sense of accepting the assertion “Jesus is the Christ”. [174-175] It speaks of the decision to be part of a community which makes this assertion. [175] The three question discussed lead to two problems: what does it mean to belong to the church, and how is the community of faith related to its creeds? First, the church is “not based on individual decisions but on the Spiritual Presence and its media”. The criterion, then, for belonging to the church (and “through it to the Spiritual Community”), is the serious desire to participate in a group which bases itself on the “New Being as it has appeared in Jesus as the Christ”. Second, the relation of the community of faith to its creeds and doctrines must be “answered ideally by the church universal, actually by the manifold centers between it and the local church”, from which creedal statements result. [175-176] The way in which Roman Catholicism handles this relation is by holding their creeds as “unconditionally valid”, reacting by separating those who differ with its creeds, labeling them as heretics. [176] This reaction is made “impossible” if the Protestant “doctrine of the ambiguity of religion even in the churches” is employed. The church is at risk of falling into “disintegrating, destructive, or even demonic errors” when fighting the inevitable fight “for the community of faith”. Last, the question as to whether affirming the church as a community of faith also means affirming the concept of heresy is discussed. Originally this concept was equated with breaking canonical/doctrinal, and later, state law, resulting in persecution for those accused of heresy. For this reason the word is to be discarded, though the problem cannot. [176-177] The solution offered to the problem of heresy is based on the Protestant principle: “The Protestant principle of the infinite distance between the divine and the human undercuts the absolute claim of any doctrinal expression of the New Being.” [177] Though a church cannot avoid the influence of doctrinal tradition on its preaching and teaching, it must avoid positing these as absolutes, or it violates the Protestant principle. This is so because the “essence of the community of faith in Protestantism” involves embracing and integrating “every expression of thought and life created by the Spiritual Presence anywhere in the history of mankind”. In spite of the fact that Protestantism has many denominations, with its “freedom for essential self-criticism” (which it loses and yet regains “again and again”) it remains a community of faith. Protestantism it always participates in two realities/poles: the Spiritual Community, both its dynamic essence of and its existence within the ambiguities of religion. “Awareness of these two poles of Protestantism underlies the present attempt to develop a theological system.”

Definitions:

  • The Spiritual Community: “The Spiritual Community is the community of faith and love, participating in the transcendent unity of unambiguous life”; “The Spiritual Community as the dynamic essence of the churches makes them existing communities of faith and love in which the ambiguities of religion are not eliminated but conquered in principle”; “The divine Spirit and its embodiment, the Spiritual Community”. [172,173]
  • In Principle: “The phrase ‘in principle’ does not mean in abstracto but means (as do the Latin and Greek words principium and arche) the power of beginning, which remains the controlling power in a whole process. In this sense the Spiritual Presence, the New Being, and the Spiritual Community are principles (archai). The ambiguities of the religious life are conquered in principle in the churches’ life; their self-destructive force is broken.” [173]
  • ‘In So Far’: “The appearance of the New Being overcomes the ultimate power of the demonic ‘structures of destruction.’ The ambiguities of religion in the churches are conquered by unambiguous life in so far as they embody the New Being. But this ‘in so far’ warns us against identifying the churches with the unambiguous life of the transcendent union. Where the church is, there is a point at which the ambiguities of religion are recognized and rejected but not removed.” [173]
  • Act of Faith: “Where the church is, there is a point at which the ambiguities of religion are recognized and rejected but not removed. This is first of all true of the act in which the Spiritual Presence is received and the New Being actualized, the act of faith. Faith becomes religion in the churches- ambiguous, disintegrating, destructive, tragic, and demonic. But at the same time, there is a power of resistance against the manifold distortions of faith- the divine Spirit and its embodiment, the Spiritual Community.” [173]
  • Community of Faith: “If we call the churches or any particular church a community of faith, we say that, according to its intention, it is founded on the New Being in Jesus as the Christ or that its dynamic essence is the Spiritual Community.” [173]
  • Fides Qua Creditur: (Latin) “The active faith.” [174]
  • Fides Quae Creditur: (Latin) “The creedal foundation of the church.” [174]
  • Social Forces: “Ignorance, fanaticism, hierarchical arrogance, and political intrigue.” [174]
  • One Answer: “There is one answer which underlies all parts of the present system and which is the basic content of the Christian faith, and that is that Jesus is the Christ, the bringer of the New Being.” [174]
  • Concept of Heresy: “Originally used for derivations from officially accepted doctrine, the word [heresy] came to signify, with the establishment of the canonic law, a breach of doctrinal law of the church, and with the acceptance of the canonic law as a part of the state law, it became the most serious criminal offense. The persecution of heretics has obliterated the original justified meaning of the word ‘heresy’ for our conscious, and even more for out unconscious, reactions.” [176]
  • Problem of Heresy: “The problem of heresy arises when the unavoidable attempt is made to formulate the implications of the basic Christian assertion conceptually.” [176]
  • The Protestant Principle: “The Protestant principle [posits] the infinite distance between the divine and the human”.

Questions:

  • Why is the participation (in the unity of unambiguous life) of the Spiritual Community fragmentary? Why does it involve tensions?
  • What does it mean to say that the churches conquer the ambiguities of religion only “in principle”?
  • What is the act of faith, and how does it recognize and reject the ambiguities of religion?
  • What is the tension in the faith of the Spiritual Community and what is its result (i.e. there is a different result in the churched from that in the Spiritual Community)?
  • What is the “one answer” underlying all parts of Tillich’s system, which he identifies as the “basic content of the Christian faith”, and answers the difficulties in the concept of the community of faith?
  • What is the church “based on”? Why?
  • What is the Protestant principle and how does it solve the problem of heresy? Do you agree with this solution? Why?
  • What are the two poles of Protestantism and how do they relate to Tillich’s “theological system”?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.2.a).(1): The Spiritual Community and the Churches as Communities of Love [177-182]

Summary:

[177] The churches as discussed above are a community of faith, they are also a community of love. To say that they are a community of love means they are such “within the ambiguities of religion and the Spirit’s struggle with these ambiguities”. Because faith is “the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence”, faith cannot be separated from love in the Spiritual Community and the churches. [178] How the workings of agape love are to be understood within and against the ambiguities of religion will now be discussed. The Spiritual Community is the dynamic essence of the church, and it is actualized in the community of love. This actualization occurs in the “ego-thou” encounter of person to person though agape, which is “reuniting affirmation” of the other person, based on the “eternal meaning of his being”. Each member has this relation to the others, and this relation is actualized in the ‘neighborly’ sense of the New Testament. This mutual acceptance occurs in spite of the fact that it is a “sociologically determined group” involving implicit “separations”. Because there is a distinction between the sociological and the theological character of the church is overlooked in the “ecstatic communism” of some churches, this view is untenable- it fails to account for the ambiguities present in all communities of love. Though the love manifested in the churches is the love of the Spiritual Community, they are still concrete under the conditions of existence, which implies the ambiguities of life. Because the church has the character of the community of love, destructive forms of inequality, though always present under the condition of the ambiguities of life, must be “attacked and transformed” by the church’s character as a community of love. [178-179] The way to do this is first to transform these forms in its own social structure, while also exhibiting charity outside itself. [179] The problem with charity is that it is both necessary and ambiguous. It may restrict itself only to material aid, when it should include the “obligation toward human beings as human beings”; further, it can even lead to an unjust social order by feeding the very context which makes it necessary to begin with. “True agape”, conversely, seeks to make love in the other individual possible by creating such conditions as to enable that possibility. As the community of love the church, in every act of love, becomes a judge against love’s negation- for that which is not love- both to itself and to those outside itself. This leads the church into the “ambiguities of judging- authority and power”. Because it judges in the “name of the Spiritual Community”, its judgment is much more powerful than others outside itself, and thereby more “in danger” of becoming more problematic. Further, the presence of the Spirit in the church, judges the very judging of- and “struggles against the distortions of”- the church. This section will now discuss the relation of the church’s judging to itself, and that of the particular church communities of love to those outside itself. First, in relation to itself, it judges in three ways: through the media of the Spiritual Presence, functions, and discipline of the churches. In Protestantism, discipline has occurred through excommunication- which according to the Protestant principle is untenable-, counseling, and exclusion from office. [179-180] Because the judging of love “has the one purpose of re-establishing the communion of love- not a cutting off, but a reuniting”, the method of discipline which cuts off members is discouraged. [180] This method suppresses the judging function of the community of love. Rather, the Spiritual Community is to be expressed through actualizing the community of love in the three manifestations of love created by the Spiritual Presence and within which the “great ‘in spite of’ of the New Being is effective”: “affirmation, judgment, and reunion”. In the third especially the ‘in spite of’ of the New Being is manifest: “reunion in spite of”, which means forgiveness. [180-181] Thus just as the judging element of love is present in all the church’s functions, so too is the forgiving element of love- only “in so far as they are dependent on the Spiritual Community”. [181] However, because the ambiguities of religion resist “the dynamics of the Spirit in the act of forgiveness”, thus the “paradox of forgiveness” must be observed if authentic forgiveness is to occur. Second, the relation of a particular church as community of love to other communities outside it is “full of problems”. Two problems in particular are discussed. First, how are individual members of all the groups outside the church related to it? Generally the answer is that they should be accepted as participants in the Spiritual Community “in its latency”, and as potential members of the given church. This leads to the question of the conditions for their acceptance, which is answered by the doctrine of the latent Spiritual Community. In short, if one desires to participate in a group founded on the acceptance of Jesus as the Christ, “this desire takes the place of creedal statement and, in spite of the absence of conversion, opens the door into the community of love without reservation on the side of the church”. Second, the problem of one particular church to another is discussed. [181-182] Under the sociological ambiguities of the churches, political and social causes can lead to antagonism between churches. [182] However, these are not the only causes. The Spiritual Presence fighting against the “profanization and demonization of the New Being”, leads to churches experiencing a “profound anxiety” about their creeds and ways of life. The insecurity and anxiety (leading to fanaticism and persecution) is that that taking others into their community of love may distort it. The “suspicion and hate” these groups show is a “fear of the demonic”, the only remedy to which is the Spiritual Presence. Because all these groups have the same source- the creative Spiritual Presence- each can recognize the community of love in the others “in the Spiritual Community as the dynamic essence” of each “by which the particularities of each are affirmed and judged.”

Definitions:

  • Community of Love: “The churches are also a community of love, but this must be understood within the ambiguities of religion and the Spirit’s struggle with these ambiguities.” [177]
  • Love as Agape: “In his anti-Donatist writings Augustine decides that faith is possible outside the church, for example, in schismatic groups, but that love as agape is restricted to the community of the church”; “Agape, the reuniting affirmation of the other [person in an “ego-thou encounter”] in terms of the eternal meaning of his being”. [177,178]
  • Faith: “Faith is the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence”. [177]
  • Spiritual Community: “As a community of love, the church actualizes the Spiritual Community, which is its dynamic essence.” [178]
  • Sociologically Determined Group: “This refers to political, social, economic, educational, national, racial, and above all, personal differences, preferences, sympathies, and antipathies.” [178]
  • Ecstatic Communism: “A resignation of all differences, especially economic ones.” [178]
  • Forms of Inequality: “This refers to political, social, and economic inequalities and forms of suppression and exploitation which destroy the potentialities for humanity in the individual and for justice in the group.” [178]
  • Charity: “At the same time [the church] must help the victims of a distorted social structure and of such forces as sickness and natural catastrophe both the experience the community of love and to attain the material agape which is called charity and which is as necessary as it is ambiguous.” [178-179]
  • True Agape: “True agape tries to create the conditions which make love possible in the other one.” [179]
  • Ambiguities of Judging: “Authority and power.” [179]
  • Church’s Judging in relation to its own Members: “In relation to its own members, the church’s judging occurs through the media of the Spiritual Presence, through the functions of the church, and finally through the discipline which in some churches, notably the Calvinistic ones, is considered as a medium of the Spiritual Presence.” [179]
  • The Judging of Love: “The decisive feature of the judging of love is that it has the purpose of re-establishing the communion of love- not a cutting off, but a reuniting.” [179-180]
  • Threefold Manifestation of Love: “Affirmation, judgment, and reunion”. [180]
  • The ‘Reunion in Spite Of’: “Each of the three manifestations [of love] is a creation of the Spiritual Presence, and in each of them the great ‘in spite of’ of the New Being is effective; but it is most manifest in the third- the ‘reunion in spite of,’ the message and act of forgiveness.” [180]
  • Fanaticism: “Fanaticism, as always, is a result of inner insecurity”. [182]
  • Persecution: “Persecution, as always, is a produced by anxiety.” [182]

Questions:

  • Why cannot faith be separated from love in the Spiritual Community and the churches?
  • How is the Spiritual Community, the dynamic essence of the church, actualized in the community of love?
  • What is the difference between charity and “true agape”?
  • In which manifestation of love is the ‘in spite of’ of the New Being most effective?
  • If someone wants to join a church, “even in the absence of conversion”, how does Tillich suggest the church should react? Do you agree?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.2.b): The Functions of the Churches, Their Ambiguities, and the Spiritual Community [182-216]
IV.III.A.2.b).(1): The General Character of the Functions of the Churches and the Spiritual Presence [182-188]

Summary:

[182] This section will discuss the expression of the churches in their relation to the Spiritual Community as “living entities in a number of functions”, all of which are “immediate and necessary” consequences of their nature or “essential character” (which has been discussed in the previous sections). There are three groups of church functions: their constitution which relates to their foundation in the Spiritual Community, their expansion related to the universal claim of the Spiritual Community, and their construction related to the actualization of the Spiritual potentialities of the churches. [183] First, the question as to the relation of church functions to systematic, and to practical, theology is discussed. Church functions are governed by theological principles, which are different than the way in which they are applied. This section will combine the two. First, logical principles which govern the functions of the churches “all participate in the paradox of the churches”. Though they participate “in the name of the Spiritual Community” those that perform them are sociological groups, which means they are involved in ambiguous religious life, and they aim to “conquer those ambiguities through the power of the Spiritual Presence”. There are three polarities of principles corresponding to the three groups of functions: The functions of constitution are under the polarities of tradition and reformation, expansion under verity and adaptation, and construction under form-transcendence and form-affirmation. Further, these polarities all have “dangers”: that of tradition is “demonic hubris”, reformation “emptying criticism”, verity “demonic absolutism”, adaptation “emptying relativization”, form-transcendence “demonic repression”, and form-affirmation “formalistic emptiness”. Now these functions will be described, and examples of the polarities and their dangers will be given. [183-184] First, the polarity of the principles of tradition and reformation relate to the functions of constitution in the life of the churches. The principle of tradition comes from the link between the “nature of the churches” and the “character of their life”, which are both determined by their function “in the New Being as it has appeared in Jesus as the Christ. [184] Thus tradition “is the link between this foundation and every new generation”: because the Spiritual Community “is effective through every function of the church”, all generations are in a sense present in the principle of tradition. This is the case because the appearance of the Christ is the center of the “history of mankind”, and tradition “expresses” the unity of that history. Greek Orthodoxy criticizes Roman Catholicism (each for the tradition of the other), both of which the Reformation criticized. Protestantism has become suspicious especially of the latter; but even it has elements of tradition. On the other hand the principle of reformation is the event in church history called the Protestant Reformation. It is also the “permanent principle” which is active in all periods of history because the Spirit always fights against the ambiguities of religion. Because the Roman church tried to suppress this permanent principle, the prophetic Spirit “called for a reformation”. [184-185] The prophetic Spirit gives courage to risk involved in the awareness of Spiritual freedom- this risk is taken by Protestantism, which takes the risk (that churches will disintegrate) in its “certainty that the Spiritual Community, the dynamic essence of a church, cannot be destroyed”. [185] Under the polarity of tradition and reformation the Spiritual Presence struggles with the ambiguities of religion. The principle of reformation fights against that of tradition- tradition can lead to a “demonic suppression of the freedom of the Spirit” when it is given too much power. Since all churches have tradition, the temptation of demonic suppression is “actual and successful in all of them”. Through “taboo producing anxiety” (i.e. when a church is afraid to deviate from that which its tradition has given with regard to ‘that which is holy’ or salvific), the demonic temptation is successful. Criticism plays a role in this anxiety as well, and on the other hand, by giving power to the “guardians of an absolutized tradition” to suppress reform and the “coerce the consciences of those who know better but do not have the courage to risk a new road”. Nonetheless the principles of tradition and reformation are united- in “tension but not in conflict” in the Spiritual Community; and if the “dynamics of the Spiritual Community” are “effective in a church, the conflict is transformed into a living tension”. The second polarity of principles, relating to the functions of expansion, is that of verity and adaptation. This polarity is exemplified in the words of the Apostle Paul, who wants on the one hand to be “Jew to the Jews” and “Greek to the Greeks”, yet on the other hand he resolutely rejects the attempt of anyone to “retransform” the New Being. Thus verity and adaptation are in polar tension with one another under the functions of expansion. The early church “small groups” experienced this polarity in the fight between Jewish law (verity) and the Greek and Hellenistic philosophies in the culture (adaptation); similarly the role of icons pertains to this polarity in later church history. [186] Adaptations endanger the Christian message, as shown in the Middle Ages. The feudal order adapted the Germanic-Romanic tribes to itself for missionary and educational purposes. In this process adaptation led to accommodation, and led to the church becoming the “all embracing feudal authority itself” on the pole of adaptation. Its opposition was seen in the “personal piety of the late Middle Ages”, and in the Reformation, in the fight for the pole of verity. Yet these movements also, though fighting adaptation turned accommodation, on the side of verity, were forced to adapt. In spite of the Reformation contention over humanism (on the pole of verity), the “humanist spirit entered Protestantism” (on the pole of adaptation). The struggle in this polarity has never ceased, and is in fact “one of the most actual problems even today”; having to do more with cultures already affected by Christian tradition than by those unaffected (i.e. less to do with missionary expansion than Christianized cultures). Two factors: the “general cultural climate since the sixteenth century and the necessity of inducting new generations into the churches” contribute to the “inescapable problem” of this polarity. When the church “throws the truth like stones at the heads of people, not caring whether they can accept it or not”, verity without adaptation becomes demonic absolutism, which can lead to demonic offense. [187] Conversely, adaptation without verity can become “unlimited accommodation”, wherein the verity of the Christian message is lost, then relativism “takes hold”, followed by secularism- this can lead to a “demonically distorted ecstasy”. Third, the polarity of principles related to the functions of construction, involves form-transcendence and form-affirmation. Because this polarity is corresponds to the functions of construction, the life of the churches uses the “spheres of cultural creation” to express the Spiritual Community under this principle. However, these spheres are both embraced and transcended; for there is an “ecstatic, form-transcending quality” in the works of the churches that function in this way: “the church shows its presence as church only if the Spirit breaks into the finite forms and drives them beyond themselves”. Thus the “ecstatic, form-transcending Spiritual quality” is the important aspect of the pole of form-transcendence. On the other hand the pole of form-affirmation is equally important- the structure of the form is never to be broken- in art, knowledge, ethics, etc., the rules of each must be observed. [188] The two dangers of the functions of construction are: demonic repression (if form-transcendence is not balanced by form-affirmation, for example, when science is ignored) and formalistic emptiness (of form-affirmation is emphasized to the detriment of the former), implying a form “too rigid to be transcended”, becoming meaningless and inviting “demonic invasions”. These two principles are united “where the Spiritual Presence is powerful in the churches”.

Definitions:

  • Functions of the churches (lower case): These are the “Expression as living entities in a number of functions. Each of these functions is an immediate and necessary consequence of the nature of a church. They must be at work where there is a living church, even if periodically they are more hidden than manifest. They [the functions] are never lacking, although the forms they take differ greatly from each other. One can distinguish the following three groups of church functions: the functions of constitution, related to the foundation of the churches in the Spiritual Community; the functions of expansion, related to the universal claim of the Spiritual Community; the functions of construction, related to the actualization of the Spiritual potentialities of the churches.” [182]
  • Logical Principles: “Logical principles governing the churches’ functions as churches … all participate in the paradox of the churches. They are all performed in the name of the Spiritual Community; yet they are also performed by sociological groups and their representatives. They are involved in the ambiguities of life- above all, religious life- and their aim is to conquer these ambiguities through the power of the Spiritual Presence.” [183]
  • Polarities of Principles: “One can distinguish three polarities of principles which correspond to the three groups of functions. The functions of constitution stand under the polarity of tradition and reformation, the functions of expansion under the polarity of verity and adaptation, the functions of construction under the polarity of form-transcendence and form-affirmation. The ambiguities fought by the Spiritual Presence are also indicated in these polarities. The danger of tradition is demonic hubris; the danger of reformation is emptying criticism. The danger of verity is demonic absolutism; the danger of adaptation is emptying relativization. The danger of form-transcendence is demonic repression; the danger of form-affirmation is formalistic emptiness.” [183]
  • Principle of Tradition: “The principle of tradition in the church stems from the fact that the nature of the churches and the character of their life are determined by their function in the New Being which has appeared in Jesus as the Christ and that the tradition is the link between this foundation and every new generation … it expresses the unity of historical mankind, of which the appearance of the Christ is the center.” [184]
  • Principle of Reformation: “The word ‘reformation’ has two connotations: it points to a unique event in church history, the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century; and it points to a permanent principle, active in all periods, which is implied in the Spirit’s fight against the ambiguities of religion.” [184]
  • Principle of Polarity of Tradition and Reformation: “The functions of constitution stand under the polarity of tradition and reformation”; “The polarity of tradition and reformation leads to a struggle of the Spiritual Presence with the ambiguities of religion. The principle of reformation is the corrective against the demonic suppression of the freedom of the Spirit by a tradition which is vested with absolute validity, in practice of by law; and since all churches have a tradition, this demonic temptation is actual and successful in all of them.” [183,185]
  • Demonic Suppression: “The demonic suppression of the freedom of the Spirit [occurs] by a tradition which is vested with absolute validity, in practice or by law; and since all churches have a tradition, this demonic temptation is actual and successful in all of them.” [185]
  • Principle of Polarity of Verity and Adaptation: “The problem is as old as the words of Paul in which he refers to his being a Jew to the Jews and a Greek to the Greeks while rejecting everyone who, against the truth of his message, tries to retransform the New Being (the ‘New Creation,’ as he calls it) into the old being of the Jewish law or of Greek wisdom. The existential conflict between verity and adaptation, as well as the fight of the Spiritual Presence to overcome it, is classically expressed in these sentences.” [185]
  • Demonic Absolutism/Demonic Offense: “The danger of the pronouncement of verity without adaptation, as indicated above, is demonic absolutism which throws the truth like stones at the heads of people, not caring whether they can accept it or not. It is what may be called the demonic offense the churches often give while claiming that they give the necessary divine offense.” [186]
  • Principle of (Polarity of) Form-Transcendence and Form-Affirmation: “The functions of construction use the different spheres of cultural creation in order to express the Spiritual Community in the life of the churches. This refers to theoria and praxis and, within them, to the aesthetic and the cognitive, the personal and the communal, spheres of life under the styles, methods, norms, and relations, but in a way which both affirms and transcends the cultural forms.” [187]
  • Presence of church (lower case) as church (lower case): “The church shows its presence as church only if the Spirit breaks into the finite forms and drives them beyond themselves.” [187]
  • Form-Transcending, Spiritual Quality: “It is this form-transcending, Spiritual quality that characterizes the functions of construction in the church: the functions of aesthetic self-expression, of cognitive self-interpretation, of personal self-realization, of social and political self-organization. It is not the subject matter as such which makes them function of the church but their form-transcending, ecstatic character.” [187]
  • Demonic-Repressive: One of the “Two dangers between which the functions of construction in the life of the churches move. If the principle of form-transcendence is effective in separation from the principle of form-affirmation, the churches become demonic-repressive. They are driven to repress in everyone and every group that conscience of form which demands honest submission to the structural necessities of cultural creation. For example, they violate artistic integrity in the name of a sacred (or politically expedient) style; or they undercut the scientific honesty which leads to radical questions about nature, man, and history; or they destroy personal humanity in the name of a demonically distorted fanatical faith, and so forth.” [188]
  • Formalistic Emptiness: [This term is not given on 188, c.f. 183] The second of the “Two dangers between which the functions of construction in the life of the churches move … On the other pole [i.e. the pole of form-affirmation], there is the danger of profanization of the Spiritual creations and the emptiness which invites demonic invasions. A form which is too rigid to be transcended becomes by degrees more and more meaningless- though not wrong. It is first felt as a protection from transcendent interference, then as autonomous creativity, then as the embodiment of formal correctness, and last as empty formalism.” [188]

Questions:

  • What is the relation of logical/theological principles to the functions of the churches?
  • What determines the principle of tradition?
  • Why is the permanent principle of the reformation pole always active?
  • What causes “demonic suppression” in the churches?
  • What are the two factors listed which lead to the “inescapable problem” in the polarity of verity and adaptation?
  • What are the two dangers in the polarity of form-transcendence and form-affirmation?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.2.b).(2): The Constitutive Functions of the Churches [188-193]

Summary:

[188] Because the functions of the church are “part of its nature”, wherever there is a church they are (in varying degrees) “always present” and “pushing toward actualization”. This is not always the case organizationally. Institutions depend on functions, but the inverse is not so. Thus according to the nature of the church, church functions make themselves felt in “Spiritual experiences and consequent actions”, which then leads to institutional forms. [189] This is consistent with the freedom of the Spirit, which “liberates the church from any kind of ritual legalism, in the power of the Spiritual Community”. Therefore “no institution” follows from the nature of the church, only the functions “for the sake of which” institutions exist do. Because “every church is dependent on the New Being as it is manifest in the Christ and real in the Spiritual Community, the constitutive function of a church is that of receiving”. This reception goes hand in hand with mediation (“through the media of the Spiritual Presence, Word, and sacrament”), because the church functions as “priest and prophet to itself”. As a result the threat of hierarchical groups is removed. The “act of mediation” works both ways- between the priest and laity- mediator responds to mediated, and vice versa. If for example in counseling, this two-way mediation is not realized (i.e. when counselor treats counselee as object “to be handled correctly and perhaps receive an adequate treatment”), an “ambiguity of religion has invaded the Spiritual function of mediation”. If however, this mistake is avoided (i.e. the counselor “subjects himself to the judgments and demands he tries to communicate”), the Spiritual Presence is behind the mediation. [190] In this way only, can the Spirit heal- when one grasped by the Spirit talks to another (i.e. mediates) so as to allow the Spirit to “get hold of the other one through him” “for Spirit can heal only what is open to Spirit”. Response is another function discussed, and it has two sides: affirmation and worship. As affirmation of that which is received, response is related to reception and mediation; response is present where they are present. Response and accepting affirmation are involved in all the functions of the church. Worship is where “the church turns to the ultimate ground of its being”, or to God. Under worship, adoration, prayer, and contemplation are discussed. Adoration is a “paradoxical participation” involving the “ecstatic acknowledgment” of the church of the “divine holiness” and “infinite distance” of God who is also “present in the Spiritual Presence”. This participation is paradoxical, because it is finite and estranged persons participating in the “infinite to which [they] belong”. When this occurs the elements of the “creaturely smallness of man” and the “infinite greatness of the creator” are united. [191] Prayer involves the “creaturely freedom” wherein one “elevates one’s wishes and hopes into the Spiritual Presence. Thus prayer should not be limited simply to prayers of thanksgiving, as with the “Ritschlian school”. This would exclude supplication and expectation for answer, as well as the “wrestling of the human spirit with the divine Spirit”. [191-192] Prayer involves a paradox, which is shown by Paul: the ‘right prayer’ is impossible, and the Spirit speaks for those who pray to God in a way they cannot. “He who speaks through us is He who is spoken to.” [192] Last, contemplation is the third element in the function of response. Contemplation is not “profanized conversation with another being called God”, it is on the contrary, “participation in that which transcends the subject-object scheme”. Protestantism has neglected this function, because it interprets the Spiritual Presence in a “personal-centered” way. This is problematic because Spirit is not ‘person’, “Spirit transcends personality”, and it is ecstatic. And as a result, the impact of the Spirit should be Spiritual, which means “transcending in ecstasy the subject-object scheme of ordinary experience”. In other words proper contemplation erases the distinction between “identity” and “non-identity” which characterizes beings under the conditions of existence”. Further, we need not attempt to view God as one we must surrender to- “According to the Protestant principle, God’s surrender is the beginning; it is an act of his freedom by which he overcomes the estrangement between Himself and man in the one, unconditional, and complete act of forgiving grace.”
Definitions:

  • Nature of the church (lower case): “The nature of the church requires that a particular function make itself felt in Spiritual experiences and consequent actions, which finally lead to an institutional form.” [188]
  • Constitutive Function/Receiving: “Since every church is dependent on the New Being as it is manifest in the Christ and real in the Spiritual Community, the constitutive function of a church is that of receiving.” [189]
  • Function of Reception: “The function of reception includes the simultaneous function of mediation through the media of the Spiritual Presence, Word, and sacrament. He who receives mediates, and, on the other hand, he has received only because the process of mediation is going on continuously. In practice mediation and reception are the same: the church is priest and prophet to itself. He who preaches preaches to himself as listener, and he who listens is a potential preacher. The identity of reception and mediation excludes the possibility of the establishment of a hierarchical group which mediates while all the others merely receive.” [189]
  • Act of Mediation: “The act of mediation occurs partly in communal services, partly in encounters between the priest who mediates and the laity who respond. But this division is never complete; whoever mediates must himself respond, and whoever responds mediates to his mediator.” [189]
  • Seelsorge: “The ‘counselor,’ as the agent of the function of ‘taking care of souls’ (Seelsorge) is in present terminology called, should never be subject only; he should never make of his counselee an object to be handled correctly and perhaps helped by an adequate treatment.” [189]
  • Response: “Where there is reception and mediation, there is also response. The response is the affirmation of that which is received- the confession of faith- and the turning to the source from which it is received, i.e., worship.” [190]
  • Confession of Faith: “The term ‘confession of faith’ has been misinterpreted by being identified with the acceptance of creedal statements and their repetition in ritual acts, but the function of responding and accepting accompanies all other functions of the church.” [190]
  • Worship: “The other side of the function of response is worship; in it the church turns to the ultimate ground of its being, the source of the Spiritual Presence and the creator of the Spiritual Community, to God who is Spirit. Whenever He is reached in communal or personal experiences, Spiritual Presence has grasped those who experience Him. For only Spirit can experience Spirit, as only Spirit can discern Spirit. Worship as the responding elevation of the church to the ultimate ground of its being includes adoration, prayer, and contemplation.” [190]
  • Adoration: “The adoration of a church, vocal in praise and thanksgiving, is the ecstatic acknowledgment of the divine holiness and the infinite distance of Him who at the same time is present in the Spiritual Presence. This acknowledgment is not a theoretical assertion but rather a paradoxical participation of the finite and estranged in the infinite to which it belongs. When a church praises the majesty of God for the sake of his glory, two elements are united: the complete contrast between the creaturely smallness of man and the infinite greatness of the creator, and the elevation into the sphere of the divine glory, so that the praise of His glory is at the same time a fragmentary participation in it.” [190]
  • Prayer: “Every serious prayer produces something new in terms of creaturely freedom which is taken into consideration in the whole of God’s directing activity, as is every act of man’s centered self.” [191]
  • Contemplation: “Contemplation is the stepchild in Protestant worship … Contemplation means participation in that which transcends the subject-object scheme, with its objectifying (and subjectifying) words, and therefore the ambiguity of language as well (including the voiceless language of speaking to oneself)”; “In contemplation the paradox of prayer is manifest, the identity and non-identity of him who prays and Him who is prayed to: God as Spirit.” [192]

Questions:

  • Why are the functions of the church always present when there is a church?
  • Why is the constitutive function of the church a receiving/mediating function? What does this mean?
  • How does Tillich recommend the counselor to function in relation to the person he or she is speaking to and in relation to the Spirit?
  • Why is adoration classified as a “paradoxical participation”?
  • Why is it important that the element of contemplation should not include the subject-object scheme (i.e. viewing God as a person or personality)? Do you agree?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.2.b).(3): The Expanding Functions of the Churches [193-196]

Summary:

[193] Because the Spiritual Community is universal, the function of expansion of the churches is “demanded”. (Three function of expansion will be discussed: missions, education, and evangelism.) First, missions is the function of expansion which is active “during every moment in the church’s existence”; even when members of the church are unaware, they are missionaries. Missions function to actualize the Spiritual Community in “the concrete churches all over the world”. Missionaries imposing their cultural form “in the name of” the New Being in the Christ is an ambiguity of religion which is a problem in missions. This is not entirely unavoidable, because the Christian message is “embodied” in different cultural forms, the missionaries of which, when they bring the former, also bring the latter. However, the Spiritual Presence, through “paradoxical transparence”, can work through this ambiguity. [194] Second, education is discussed. Religious education is a major problem, which can be improved with a better understanding of its employment. This function is always active, and began the first time a family was received in the Christian church, giving it the “task of receiving the new generation into its communion”. With regard to the doubts parents have in education their children with Christian education refer both to the process of education and the “assertion that Jesus is the Christ”. The former can be resolved with “educational theory”, the latter only with courage given by the Spiritual Presence. Further, church education should not be about church doctrine or “subjective piety” it should be to “introduce each new generation into the reality of the Spiritual Community, into its faith and into its love”. [194-195] Third, evangelism is “missions toward non-Christians in a Christian culture”, including two aspects: “practical apologetics and evangelistic preaching”. [195] Practical apologetics is to be emphasized always in “all expressions of the life of the church”, because it is the “reality of the New Being in the Spiritual Community and in the life of the churches” which is communicated and convincingly witnessed of by the community of faith and love which is convincing to those with questions for the church. However, arguments are still necessary and included in the evangelistic function of the expanding functions of the churches. The second evangelistic aspect is evangelistic preaching, which is to be understood as applying to those in a “Christian civilization … who have become indifferent or hostile toward it”. [196] In the power of the Spiritual Community, this function connects with people in a way that “ordinary preaching” cannot. This does not mean that it is simply psychological or emotional, for the Spiritual Presence is not limited to these. It is also important to mention the danger in the function of evangelistic preaching. The “subjective impact of evangelistic preaching” can be confused with the “Spiritual impact which transcends the contrast of subjectivity and objectivity”. The creative character is the criterion of the Spiritual Presence, which is “the creation of the New Being”. The New Being transforms the subjectivity of the listeners, rather than simply causing “mere excitement”, which leads only to “momentary and transitory” effects. Evangelistic preaching should not be eliminated because of this danger, it should be sure however, not to “confuse excitement with ecstasy”.

Definitions:

  • Function of Expansion: “The universality of the Spiritual Community demands the function of expansion of the churches. Since the universality of the Spiritual Community is implied in the confession of Jesus as the Christ, every church must participate in functions of expansion.” [193]
  • Missions: “The first function of expansion, historically and systematically, is missions … Whenever active members of the church encounter those outside the church, they are missionaries of the church, voluntarily or involuntarily. Their very being is missionary … The purpose of missions as an institutionalized function of the church is not to save individuals from eternal condemnation- as it was in some pietistic missions; nor is the purpose cross-fertilization of religions and cultures. The purpose of missions is rather the actualization of the Spiritual Community within concrete churches all over the world.” [193]
  • Paradoxical Transparence: “If the Spiritual power is present”, the cultural forms imposed by missionaries along with the Christian message, “They [the missionaries] can speak of that which concerns us ultimately through the traditional cultural categories. It is not a matter of formal analysis but of paradoxical transparence. Where there is Spiritual Presence, a missionary form any background can communicate the Spiritual Presence.” [193]
  • Evangelistic Function: “It is directed towards the churches’ estranged or indifferent members. It is missions toward the non-Christians within a Christian culture. Its two actives, which overlap but are distinguishable, are practical apologetics and evangelistic preaching.” [194-195]
  • Practical Apologetics: “Practical apologetics is the practical application of the apologetic element in every theology.” [195]
  • Evangelistic Preaching: “Evangelism by preaching, like apologetics, is directed toward people who have belonged or still belong to the realm of Christian civilization but who have ceased to be active members of the church or who have become indifferent or hostile toward it.” [195]
  • Dimension: “The metaphor ‘dimension’ … bridges the gap between the psychological and the Spiritual (as well as the spiritual).” [196]
  • Mere Excitement: “The New Being … does not excite the subjectivity of the listener [to evangelistic preaching] but transforms it. Mere excitement cannot create participation in the Spiritual Community even if it produces the different elements of conversion according to the traditional pattern. Repentance, faith, sanctity, and so on, are not what these words are taken to mean, and therefore their effect is only momentary and transitory.” [196]

Questions:

  • What is it that “demands the function of expansion of the churches”?
  • What is the purpose of missions? Do you agree?
  • Can the problem of missionaries imposing their “own cultural forms upon another culture in the name of the New Being in the Christ” be resolved?
  • What should the educational function of the church entail?
  • How is “mere excitement” the danger in the function of evangelistic preaching and how is it argued against?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.2.b).(4): The Constructing Functions of the Churches [196-212]
IV.III.A.2.b).(4).(a): The Aesthetic Function in the Church [196-201]

Summary:

[196] Under the constructing functions of the churches, the aesthetic function is first discussed (followed by the cognitive and the communal). These functions relate directly to culture by “using and transcending the functions of man’s life under the dimension of the spirit”, using “every cultural creation” in its constructive functions. These functions are (as with the functions) always active. Exclusiveness denies the contact between “cultural creativity and Spiritual creativity”, thereby contradicting its claim, because its denial “uses the whole apparatus of man’s cognitive mind”. Even if exclusivists make this denial by appealing to the Bible, they appeal to a document wherein the culture plays a role- one can only reject culture “by using it as the tool of such rejection.” [197] The aesthetic and cognitive functions operate in the realm of theoria and the personal and communal functions operate in the realm of praxis. There is one underlying question/problem applying to all of these functions, involving the relation between the autonomous form of culture, and their function as “material for the self-construction of the churches. In other words, does the church by using these forms distort them? It would become a demonic element if the church were to distort the cultural forms to serve its functions, and it could lead to “replacing the impact of the Spiritual Presence” with the forms to the detriment of its functions (i.e. with its own creative acts). How can the churches avoid profanization? A resolution will be offered by discussing each function and its problems. First, in the aesthetic function the church uses the aesthetic realm of the culture for religious arts, wherein the church expresses the “meaning of its life” through artistic symbols. These artistic symbols then become religious symbols consisting of both revelatory experiences and their basis in tradition. This leads to ‘double symbolization’, which can also include the transforming power artistic expression is capable of attaining. [198] Expression can give life and power to that which it expresses and the culture in which it is expressed, hence the censuring of the churches over religious arts. The problem implied in the aesthetic function is the tension between the church and the artist- the church wants to ensure that the art expresses what the church confesses and the artist wants artistic freedom to express in the style he or she chooses. This tension is better articulated as two principles: the principle of consecration and the principle of honesty. The former, as the “power of expressing the holy in the concreteness of a special religious tradition” is an application of the principle of form-transcendence, and includes religious symbols and “stylistic qualities” which distinguish it from non religious artwork. In this way the Spiritual Presence can be felt. [198-199] The principle of honest on the other hand acts as an application of the principle of form-affirmation to religious art, and “limits the demands made on artists” by the former principle. [199] Because consecrated art has such an influence on cultures, the principle of honesty is threatened at times when new artistic styles develop. People relate the consecrated forms to the “ecstatic-devotional experiences” they have had, and equate the Spiritual Presence with the old forms, but the new art forms call for expressions that can relate to the current “concrete situation” wherein the older consecrated forms seem outdated. In short, expressions of those grasped by the Spiritual Presence may be current, but they have not yet been ‘consecrated’. The demand of honesty forces both the artist and the church into difficult positions by demanding that neither “admit imitations of styles which once had great consecrative possibilities but which have lost their religious expressiveness for an actual situation”- a great example of this is the “pseudo-Gothic imitation in church architecture. Another problem in the relation of these two principles is that some religious art can appear that excludes consecrated forms, and thereby must themselves be excluded. For example, naturalism or the “contemporary non-objective” styles of art are excluded. [200] Religious artwork should “express the ecstatic character of the Spiritual Presence”, to which the impressionistic style is conducive. Because historical Protestantism has focused more on “the ear” than “the eye”, reduced sacraments and condemned icons, its visual arts have suffered. This is rooted in its fear of idolatry. However, “the very nature of the Spirit stands against the exclusion of the eye from the experience of its presence”. [200-201] This is so because under the multidimensional unity of life the “dimension of spirit includes all other dimensions- everything visible in the whole of the universe”, wherein the basis of spirit is self-awareness. [201] The spirit has both an audio and a visual side. Therefore the “lack of the arts of the eye” in Protestantism is “systematically untenable and practically regrettable”. In conclusion religion should not attempt to force a style on “the autonomous development of the arts. New styles are a combination of the autonomy of the artists and “historical destiny”. However, religion can indirectly influence these, as it does when the impact of the Spiritual Presence is felt in a culture, resulting in “cultural theonomy”.

Definitions:

  • Constructing Functions: “Those functions of the church are constructing functions in which it builds its life by using and transcending the functions of man’s lie under the dimension of the spirit. The church can never be without the functions of construction and, therefore, cannot forego the use of cultural creations in all basic directions”; “The churches are constructive I all those directions of man’s cultural life which we have distinguished in the sections on the cultural self-creation of life.” [196,197]
  • Bible: “The words of the Bible are creations of man’s cultural development.” [196]
  • Diastasis: “The radical separation of the religious from the cultural sphere”. [197]
  • Theoria: The realm of “man’s cultural life” including “the aesthetic and the cognitive functions” of the constructive functions of the churches. [197]
  • Praxis: The realm of “man’s cultural life” including “the personal and the communal functions” of the constructive functions of the churches. [197]
  • Demonic Element in the Ambiguities of Religion: “Expressiveness, truth, humanity, and justice be[ing] bent in order to be built into the life of the churches”. [197]
  • Aesthetic Realm: “The aesthetic realm is used by the church for the sake of the religious arts. In them the church expresses the meaning of its life in artistic symbols.” [197]
  • ‘Double Symbolization’: “The content of artistic symbols (poetical, musical, visual) is the religious symbols given by the revelatory experiences and by the traditions based on them. The fact that artistic symbols try to express in ever changing styles the given religious symbols produces the phenomenon of ‘double symbolization,’ an example of which is the symbol of ‘the Christ crucified’ expressed in the artistic symbols of the Nordic Renaissance painter Matthias Grunewald”. [197]
  • Principle of Consecration: “The power of expressing the holy in the concreteness of a special religious tradition (including its possibilities of reformation). The principle of consecration in this sense is an application of the principle of form-transcendence (as discussed before) to the sphere of religious art.” [198]
  • Principle of Honesty: “This principle is the application of the general principle of form-affirmation, as discussed before, to religious art. It is especially important in a period in which new artistic styles appear and the cultural consciousness is split in the fight between contradictory self-expressions … both artists and non-artists are under the strict demand implied in the principle of honesty- not to admit imitations of styles which once had great consecrative possibilities but which have lost their religious expressiveness for an actual situation. The most famous- or perhaps infamous- example is the pseudo-Gothic imitation in church architecture.” [199]

Questions:

  • What is the relation between the constructing functions of the church and cultural creations?
  • Why is the attempt to separate cultural creativity from Spiritual creativity a contradiction?
  • How does the church use the aesthetic realm of culture?
  • How is the principle of consecration related to the principle of honesty?
  • Why is “the eye” not to be excluded from the experience of the presence of the Spirit?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.2.b).(4).(b): The Cognitive Function in the Church [201-204]

Summary:

[201] Theology, through which the churches “interpret their symbols and relate them to the general categories of knowledge”, is where the cognitive realm appears in the churches. Because the subject of theology is the religious symbols and their traditions on which they are based, these are theologically expressed through concepts determined by rationality. As with the other functions of the churches the cognitive function (one of the constructive functions) is always active. “The statement that Jesus is the Christ contains in some way the whole theological system, as the telling of a parable of Jesus contains all artistic potentialities of Christianity.” [202] As with all other functions of the church, theology is subjected to the principles of form-transcendence and form-affirmation. These appeared as the principles of consecration and honesty in the aesthetic function, and they appear here in the cognitive function as the meditative and discursive elements in theology. The former “penetrates the substance of” religious symbols, and the latter “analyzes and describes the form in which the substance can be grasped”. In the meditative act there is a unity between the person (i.e. “cognitive subject”) and the “mystery of the holy”, but if this is not joined with the discursive, such as in “mystical theology”, it is limited. Both elements/acts are needed for theology. The meditative element looks at the revelatory experience from which concrete symbols arise, whereas the discursive is bound by nothing. As a result the discursive side has caused problems because it seems to threaten the “concrete substance of the church embodied in its symbols”; and the meditative because it seems to “restrict the discourse to preconceived objects and solutions”. But theology can and must overcome these difficulties. This leads to the question. Conceptually, can reality be encountered in a predominantly meditative way without “sacrificing the discursive strictness of thought” necessary for a balance between meditation and discourse? In other words, “is there an analogy to the relation of consecration and honesty in the relation of mediation and discourse”? [202-203] The answer is yes, because “discursive thought does not to exclude a theological sector within itself” if it does not attempt to dominate the others. [203] But are there not forms of discursive thinking that would exclude a theological sector? Materialism has been accused of not allowing for this possibility, people have said that “a materialist cannot be a theologian”. This is not so, because materialism as with all philosophical positions have a “meditative element hidden under their” arguments, theology “is always possible on the basis of any philosophical tradition”, even though they use differing conceptual material. Philosophies, such as existentialist, which discuss the question of human existence and its predicament along with all other existing things, contain strong meditative elements are comparable to art with strong expressionistic elements. This is shown in the way in which symbols are used in existentialist philosophies. Differing philosophies emphasize the one element or the other, but do not exclude that which is deemphasized. In this way these different “‘styles’ of thought” analogously relate to the different styles of art; which like the philosophies have either an existentialistic (expressionistic) emphasis or essentialist (the idealistic-naturalistic polarity) emphasis. [202-203] Because of the ecstatic character of the Spiritual Presence, the churches can use the philosophies with a strong existentialist emphasis for their “cognitive self-expression”, but they should not try to “force a style of thought onto the philosophers”. [204] Rather the churches need only discover and use the “existentialist presuppositions” behind “essentialist descriptions of reality”. The “theology of culture” which will be discussed in a later part of this system, will build on these considerations.

Definitions:

  • Cognitive Realm: “The cognitive realm appears in the churches as theology. In it the churches interpret their symbols and relate them to the general categories of knowledge.” [201]
  • Theology: “The subject matter of theology, like that of the religious arts, is the symbols given by the original revelatory experiences and by the traditions based on them. Yet, whereas the arts express the religious symbols in artistic symbols, theology expresses them in concepts which are determined by the criteria of rationality. In this way the doctrine and legally established dogmas of the churches arise and give impulse to further theological conceptualization.” [201]
  • Meditative Element/Act: “The meditative act penetrates substance of the religious symbols … the cognitive subject and its object, the mystery of the holy, are united”; “The meditative element in theological work is directed toward the concrete symbols originating in the revelatory experience from which they have arisen”. [202]
  • Discursive Element/Act: “The discursive act analyses and describes the form in which the substance can be grasped.” [202]
  • Existentialist: “The term ‘existentialist’ in this connection designates philosophies in which the question of human existence in time and space and of man’s predicament in unity with the predicament of everything existing is asked and answered in symbols or their conceptual transformation.” [203]
  • Essentialist: Deals “More with the structure of reality than with the predicament of existing.” [203]
  • Styles of Thought: “The division of ‘styles’ of thought is analogous to the division of artistic styles. In both cases [i.e. whether existentialist or essentialist] we have on the one side the idealistic-naturalistic polarity, on the other side the expressionistic or existentialistic emphasis.” [203]

Questions:

  • What is the subject of theology?
  • How is theology expressed?
  • Why has the discursive element posed a threat in church history?
  • Tillich claims that theology is not only possible, but is an element in “all philosophical positions”. How does he support this claim? Do you agree?
  • Why is existentialist philosophy analogous to art styles with a strong expressionistic element?
  • What should the churches do with essentialist and existentialist philosophies?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.2.b).(4).(c): The Communal Functions in the Church [204-209]

Summary:

[204] All of the constructing functions of the church share the same general problem: their relation as autonomous cultural forms to their function as material for the churches. The preceding two sections on the aesthetic and cognitive functions dealt with this problem in its functions of theoria, and now the communal functions will deal with this problem in its functions of praxis, meaning “the interdependent growth of community and personality”. The question has been whether the autonomous forms of the functions have been distorted by their use in the life of the churches. With regards to praxis this question becomes more specifically, can community maintain justice and can personality maintain humanity when the church uses them for its self-consecration. More specifically, the question is: Can justice, when used for the realization of communal holiness be preserved and can humanity when used for the realization of personal saintliness be preserved? The answer is yes, but only if the constructive functions are performed in the “power of the Spiritual Presence”, only in this way can they conquer- though only fragmentarily- the ambiguities of religion, thereby creating communal holiness united with justice and personal saintliness united with humanity. The “dynamic essence” of the churches is the Holy Community, which is expressed and distorted, through communal holiness in the churches. The “attempt to actualize the Holy Community in a historical group”, is communal holiness. [204-205] This distortion leads to ambiguities, which the Spiritual Presence combats. [205] When a church acts unjustly or allows injustice in the name of holiness, communal holiness “contradicts the principle of justice”. The church has people with a higher degree of importance. These coincide with the people in the social group within and without the church. Because of this (couple with the “conservative trend” of “tradition against reformation”), the church at times supports injustice in the ‘powers that be’, falling prey to an “injustice of holiness”- for example, the joining of church and feudal hierarchies in medieval times. This is not simply unholiness as such, because the church representatives still represent “religious self-transcendence”. These factors allude to the ambiguities of communal life in relation to justice, four of which are discussed: the ambiguities of inclusiveness, equality, leadership, and the legal form. The issue is that the community participating in the Holy Community, while having these four ambiguities, overcomes them through in some sense- but in what sense? This question will be assessed under all four ambiguities. [205] First, the claim of the church to be all inclusive overcomes the ambiguity of inclusiveness, but the claim is not entirely met, as is shown in the exclusion of those who profess a different faith, predominately in the aspect of church symbols verses competing symbols of other faiths. However, in response to the impact of the Spiritual Presence, churches begin to criticize the symbols they have embraced; showing dependence, though fragmentary, on the Spiritual Presence. Second, the ambiguity of equality involves the fact that the churches claim that before God, all people are equal. However, this does not include social and political equality. This is shown in the New Testament, and especially in the way in which the church treats and has treated “public sinners”. The way that Jesus treated prostitutes and tax collectors is not practiced by the church, though they profess all people as equal under sin and forgiveness. [207] The impact of the Spiritual Presence has been felt in psychology, which has “reestablished the principle of equality as an element of justice”, by showing the equality of all people, by virtue of the subconscious, thereby rediscovering “the reality of the demonic in everyone”. If the church does not admit this, it will become “obsolete, and the divine Spirit will work in and through seemingly atheistic and anti-Christian movements”. Third, the ambiguity of leadership involves leaders that “exclude and produce inequality, even in the relation to God”. And this ambiguity is present in every historical group, as shown in tyranny, even in religion. Ironically, the prophets and apostles helped to save the church. Currently, this is shown in the Catholic leaders denying its ambiguity “gives it a demonic quality”, and Protestant self-criticism is both its weakness and its greatness. Fourth, the ambiguity of the legal form is also unavoidable. All human history has this ambiguity, as well as the church. The Spirit does not prescribe a legal form, but it does guide the church in its employment of “sociologically adequate offices and institutions”; while also fighting the problems of power and prestige in the churches. Nature, not the Spirit, is the reason for church offices. However, these have Spiritual significance in an indirect way, thus they apply to theology. [208] Constitutional forms of churches are taken up theologically, because of the “ultimate theological principles” underneath them, which are “matters of ultimate concern”. Though there is aversion to ‘organized religion’, religious communities cannot avoid the necessity of organization; neither can their communal element be removed. [209] The confrontation between private and organized religion is a misnomer, no religion is private- even monastics take from a tradition which came from an ‘organized’ religious community. However, this confrontation does express a deeper motive, “the religious criticism of every form of religion, whether it is public or private”. The narrow sense of religion expresses the estrangement of humanity from God, and this alludes to the ambiguity of religion.

Definitions:

  • Functions of Praxis: The communal functions of the church are the functions of praxis under the constructing functions of the church. These are “The interdependent growth of community and personality”. [204]
  • Communal Holiness: “The communal holiness in the churches is an expression of the Holy Community, which is their dynamic essence. The churches express, and at the same time distort, communal holiness, and the Spiritual Presence fights against the ambiguities following from this situation. Communal Holiness (an abbreviation for the attempt to actualize the Holy Community in a historical group) contradicts the principle of justice whenever a church commits or permits injustice in the name of holiness.” [204-205]
  • Injustice of Holiness: “There are degrees of importance in the church, and the higher degrees are socially and economically dependent on and interrelated to the higher degrees in the social group. This is one of the reasons why in most cases the churches have supported the ‘powers that be,’ including their injustices against the lower classes … The alliance of the ecclesiastical hierarchies with the feudal hierarchies of medieval society is an example of this ‘injustice of holiness’. The dependence of the parish minister on representatives of the economically and socially influential classes in his parish is another example.” [205]
  • Cathedra Papalis: (Latin) “Infallible place in history”.

Questions:

  • What is the underlying problem of all the constructing function of the church?
  • How is it possible for the constructive functions of the church to unite communal holiness with justice and personal saintliness with humanity?
  • Describe the ambiguity of inclusiveness in the churches.
  • Tillich claims that psychology, through its discovery of “the unconscious”, has “rediscovered the reality of the demonic in everyone”, thereby showing the equality of all people; and if the church denies this, the “divine Spirit will work in and through seemingly atheistic and anti-Christian movements”? Why does he make this claim, and do you agree?
  • Why are constitutional forms in the churches theologically relevant?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.2.b).(4).(d): The Personal Functions in the Church [209-212]

Summary:

[209] Though hermits and monks may try to escape the ambiguities of the sociological character of all religious communities, they cannot- for they develop yet another religious community with an ambiguous sociological character, within which they participate. However, this attempt to escape does function in a symbolic way; it points to the unambiguous life of the Spiritual Community. The attempt to escape or retreat from these ambiguities also involves the problem of the personal life under the impact of the Spiritual Presence. The personal life is ambiguous because of one’s inner aim to actualize oneself- in relation to oneself and in relation to others. This includes the ambiguity of self-determination in two ways: both self-determination and determination of others are ambiguous. [209-210] The first question under discussion relates to this ambiguity in tension between the ideals of saintliness and humanity. The question is asked: “Does the saintliness of the personality within this community destroy the person’s humanity”? Under the impact of the Spiritual Presence how are these two ideal related? This is the problem of asceticism and humanity. Because saintliness is usually understood as asceticism, and also the “transparency of the divine ground of being in a person which makes him a saint”, it involves a negation of humanity. In this way the ideal of saintliness is in tension with the ideal of humanity. According to the types of asceticism, these are in conflict. One type of asceticism is monastic asceticism of Roman Catholicism, which involves the metaphysical-mystical tension. Under the ideal of monastic asceticism lies the resistance of matter to form, wherein resignation from matter enables one to reach up to the Spiritual, liberating oneself from “bondage to matter”. Under this type of asceticism the ambiguities of existence are a result of tension, and this kind of asceticism is “ontological”, because it places its practitioners are seen as higher in the “divine-human” hierarchy than the non-practitioners who remain in the “materially conditioned reality of ‘world’. Thus the monastic asceticism is in “irreconcilable conflict” with the telos of humanity, presupposing a denial the doctrine of creation. For this reason Protestantism rejects monastic asceticism. The Protestant principle holds creation as good, thus it is to be embraced with- not negated by- Spirituality. The second form of asceticism under discussion is that of self-discipline prominent in Judaism and Protestantism. It is more concerned with morality than ontology, and it is based on a view of reality as fallen and humanity as in need of a will to resist temptation in fallen reality. [211] This kind of asceticism is also in tension with the ideal of humanity. Further it restricts things such as sex and emphasizes restraint from “many other potentialities of created goodness”. These restrictions have led to “pharisaic and ludicrous” applications of the asceticism of self-discipline, becoming ultimately “empty and then ridiculous”. Post-Freudian “psychotherapeutic” discoveries have helped show this view to be problematic. There is an ideal/type of asceticism is united with the telos of humanity under the impact of the Spiritual presence, and its discipline shows eros toward its object, unifying the subject with its object. The ambiguity of personal actualization implies the separation of the subject from object, leading to ambiguities. The question of this ambiguity is how personal self-determination is possible. In other words, if the self which determines needs to be determined as much as that self which is already determined, then how can personal self-determination be possible? Until this problem is answered, neither saintliness nor humanity can be posited. “The solution is that the determining subject is determined by that which transcends subject and object, the Spiritual Presence.” The Spiritual Presence overcomes this ambiguity by giving “grace” through its impact, which is never produced, but only given. [211-212] Education functions in the person to person relation, moving towards the “telos of humanity”, and the person to self relation the Spiritual Presence enables “other-determination”. [212] However, “only the Spirit can transcend the split between the subject and the object in education and guidance”.

Definitions:

  • Hermits and Monks: “We have referred to hermits and monks as people who try to escape the ambiguities which are implied in the sociological character of every religious community.” [209]
  • Ambiguities of the Personal Life: “The ambiguities of the personal life are ambiguities in the actualization of humanity as the inner aim of the person. They appear both in the person’s relation to himself and in his relation to others. The ambiguity of determination, which we have mentioned, is involved in both cases: the ambiguity of self-determination and the ambiguity of the determination of others.” [209]
  • Saintliness: “Saintliness has often been identified with, and always been made partly dependent on, asceticism. Beyond asceticism, it is the transparency of the divine ground of being in a person which makes him a saint.” [210]
  • Monastic Asceticism: “Behind the Roman Catholic ideal of monastic asceticism lies the metaphysical-mystical concept of matter’s resistance against form- a resistance from which all the negativities of existence are and ambiguities of life are derived. One resigns from the material in order to reach the Spiritual; this is the way the Spirit is liberated from bondage to matter.” [210]
  • Ontological: “The asceticism which is derived from this religiously founded metaphysics [i.e. monastic asceticism] is an ‘ontological’ one. It implies that those who exercise it are religiously higher in the divine-human hierarchy than those who live in the materially conditioned reality of the ‘world’.” [210]
  • Asceticism of Self-Discipline: “There is another form of asceticism which has developed in the Jewish and Protestant spheres, and this is the asceticism of self-discipline. We find it in Paul and Calvin. It has strong moral connotations rather than ontological ones. It presupposes the fallen state of reality and the will to resist the temptation coming from many things which in themselves are not bad. In principle this is adequate to the human situation , and no humanity is possible without elements of this kind of asceticism.” [210]
  • Saintly: “The very word ‘saintly’ (implying no drinking, dancing, and so on) became first moralistically empty and then ridiculous.” [211]
  • Impact of the Spiritual Presence: “Its [the Spiritual Presence’s] impact on the subject which is existentially separated from its object is called ‘grace’.” [211]
  • Grace: “Grace means that the Spiritual Presence cannot be produced but is given.”

Questions:

  • Why cannot a monk or hermit escape the ambiguities of the sociological character of a religious community?
  • Why is the monastic type of asceticism called “ontological” by Tillich?
  • Why does Protestantism deny monastic asceticism?
  • Why does the asceticism of self-discipline lead to “pharisaic and ludicrous” results?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.2.b).(5): The Relating Functions of the Churches [212-216]

Summary:

[212] Because the churches are in “paradoxical unity with their Spiritual essence”, they are sociological realities. As a result, they are always encountering other sociological groups; which means that they are both “acting upon them and receiving from them”. Systematic theology must develop principles of the ways in which the churches relate to the social groups they encounter. This relation will be discussed as occurring in three ways. Thus the relating function of the churches are silent interpretation, critical judgment, and political establishment. [212-213] The first way of silent interpretation alludes to the way in which the Spiritual essence of the churches radiates out into “all groups of the society” within which the churches are located. The churches change the “whole of social existence”. [213] This happens in a silent and mutual way. The churches receive and transform the cultural forms of their surrounding societies by influencing them, as most strongly shown in the fact that the ways of “understanding and expressing experiences in a living culture” are continually being transformed both by the Spiritual substance that the churches silently give to the culture, and by the Spiritual forms that they silently receive from the same. The first relation of the churches to social groups outside themselves- the way of silent interpretation- is a “priestly” function. The second way is the way of critical judgment, which is a “prophetic” function. This way is also mutual, in that each has critical judgments of the other. This way has always occurred. An example is shown in its relation to the Roman culture, wherein the churches criticized its “pagan ways of life and thought”, ultimately transforming it into a Christian culture. Though a society may react either positively or negatively, it is always transformed. [214] On the other hand the society also criticizes the churches, and this is just a valid as the inverse. This criticism is that of “holy injustice” and “saintly inhumanity”. An example is the labor movement, which was an attempt to create a gap between church and society. This caused the church to rethink their “interpretations of justice and humanity”. Here the culture and churches function in a mutually critical way- each (prophetically) criticizing the other. The third way of the relating functions of the churches is the way of political establishment, which has a “royal” function. In distinction from the first two, this way functions outside of the religious sphere. All churches have a political function, which involves the influence of church leaders on the leaders of society with regard to the churches right to exercise their priestly and prophetic functions. This should be done “in the name of the Spiritual Community”- which excludes the use of “military force, intoxicating propaganda, and diplomatic ruses, the arousing of fanaticism”, etc. [215] The real power of the churches is that it is “a creation of the Spiritual Presence”, which points to the fact that the Christ has a royal function. Thus this third way of the churches relating to their societies “belongs to the Christ Crucified, so the royal function must be exercised by the church under the Cross” as a “humble church”. As with the other ways, this way is mutual. The society also impacts the churches, as with the influence of the “medieval forms of society on the structure of the churches”. This relation should be humbly embraced by the church when they should be directed by their society- with only one limitation; the church has the character of expressing the Spiritual Community, and this “must remain manifest”. This is threatened if the “symbol of the royal office of the Christ, and through him the church”, is mistakenly taken to imply a “theocratic-political system of totalitarian control over all realms of life”. Conversely this limitation is threatened if the state makes the church its servant. This would not be the move of a humble church, but the move of “the disciples who fled the Cross”. The discussion now turns to the polarity in the principles under which the churches relate themselves to other social groups. The churches are actualizations of the Spiritual Community, and when they relate themselves to social groups, there is a polarity between the principle of belonging and a principle of opposing. This is the case because the churches both belong to and fight against, the ambiguities of life. The first of these polar principles of relation- the principle of belonging- implies the character of mutuality, based on the “equality of predicament” [i.e. both the churches and the other social groups exist under the finite conditions of existence]. [216] Because of this principle, the churches are protected from demonic claims to holiness, “it prevents the arrogance of finite holiness, which is the basic temptation of all churches”. This is shown in the protest of the Reformation and the Renaissance against the “demonization of the Roman church”, which liberates the churches from demonic distortion of power by pointing out the “ambiguities of actual religion”. However this can lead to a loss of the principle of opposing other social groups, as occurred as a result of these two movements offering a “nationalism of which culture as well as religion became victims”, weakening the church’s opposition to such ideologies. “Nationalistic fanaticism” “silenced” the “prophetic voice” of the church, and “national sacraments and rites into educaiotn at all levels” “distorted” the “priestly function” of the church. Further, the “royal function” of the church was “made impotent” by subjecting the churches to the state and by the “liberal ideal” of separating church from state. “When the church loses its radical otherness, it loses itself and becomes a benevolent social club.” Phrases such as “the church against the world” must be balanced with those like “the church within the world”. The world, though not the church, yet has elements of the Spiritual Community “in its latency which work toward a theonomous culture”.

Definitions:

  • The Way of Silent Interpretation: “The continuous radiation of the Spiritual essence of the churches into all groups of the society in which they live. Their very existence changes the whole of social existence. One could call it the pouring of priestly substance into the social structure of which the churches are a part”; “The churches silently give Spiritual substance to the society in which they live, and the churches silently receive Spiritual forms from the same society. This mutual exchange, silently exercised at every moment, is the firs elating function of the church.” This way of relation is a “priestly” function. [212-213]
  • Priestly/Prophetic: “If the silent penetration of a society by the Spiritual Presence can be called ‘priestly,’ the open attack on this society in the name of the Spiritual Presence can be called ‘prophetic.’” [213]
  • Theonomy: “The result of a prophetic criticism of society is not the Spiritual Community but, perhaps, a state of society which approaches theonomy- the relatedness of all cultural forms to the ultimate.” [214]
  • The Way of Critical Judgment: “The second [way of the relating functions of the churches] is the way of critical judgment, exercised mutually by the church and the other social groups.” This way of relation is a “prophetic” function. [213]
  • The Way of Political Establishment: “While the priestly and the prophetic ways remain within the religious sphere, the third way seems to fall completely outside this sphere … Every church has a political function, from the local up to the international level. One task of the church leaders on all levels is to influence the leaders of the other social groups in such a way that the right of the church to exercise its priestly and prophetic function is acknowledged by them … The royal function belongs to the Christ Crucified, so the royal function must be exercised by the church under the Cross, the humble church.” [214-215]

Questions:

  • Why must systematic theology develop principles for the relation of churches to social groups outside the churches?
  • Why is the way of silent influence considered as a “priestly” function?
  • Why is the way of critical judgment considered a “prophetic” function?
  • Why should the church, under its “royal” function, never use “military force”, “propaganda”, etc.
  • What prevents the “arrogance of” demonic “finite holiness” on the part of the churches?
  • What should the attitude of the church be toward “the world”?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.3: The Individual in the Church and the Spiritual Presence [217-243]

IV.III.A.3.a): The Entering of the Individual into a Church and the Experience of Conversion [217-220]

Summary:

[217] “The Spiritual Community is the Community of Spiritual personalities”. These personalities have been grasped and determined (unambiguously though only fragmentarily) by the Spiritual Presence. These personalities are also the community of saints, in that they are in the “state of saintliness”, which means that they are transparent toward the divine ground of being, are determined by faith and love, and are united with God in faith and love through participation in the Spiritual Community. These are the creation of the divine Spirit. The dynamic essence of each individual in a church is the Spiritual personality. For this reason each member “is a saint in spite of his lack of saintliness”. Further, each member is a “priest” in his or her belonging to the Spiritual Community. The question as to whether the church or the individual member ontologically precedes the other, led to churches separating between those which emphasize either the former over the latter or vice versa. [217-218] On the one hand if the church predominates over the individual, the church is understood as the communal presence of the New Being- which preceded the individual- this is the interpretation employed for infant baptism. This shows that the state of Spiritual maturity is indeterminable. [218] Because “the faith which constitutes the Spiritual Community” precedes the faith of any individual, the state of faith also is indeterminable. On the other hand if the individual is understood to predominate over the church, the individual act of faith is the way that the church is created and the subject object distinction is erased. This subjective view understands the individual to have been grasped by the Spiritual Presence before creating the church, whereas the former objective view inverts this ontological distinction. Either view is unbalanced. The view offered here seeks to balance and unify the duality between the individual member and the church through the doctrine of the Spiritual Community. This section will now discuss the question of how an individual member can participate in the Spiritual Community (while maintaining his or her individuality) as a Spiritual personality. The answer is the same as it was for spiritual maturity and faith; there is not a determinable moment when one can say that one has entered into participation in the Spiritual Community as a Spiritual personality. This assertion contradicts “the concept of conversion”, which is a concept active in all cultures. This concept posits a particular moment in time in which one enters into (or participates in) the Spiritual Community. This is a problematic view, because there are unconscious processes which can occur for a long time prior to the particular ‘moment’ described above. This is shown in New Testament stories (i.e. the conversion of Paul), and it points to ecstatic moments. But these moments are not the “essence of conversion”. The true nature of essence of conversion is discussed as involving two elements- negation of one’s prior way of thinking and acting and affirmation of the opposite direction. “Bondage to existential estrangement” is negated and that which is affirmed is “the New Being, created by the Spiritual Presence”. “With the whole of one’s being”, rejecting the former is “repentance” and accepting the latter is “faith”. Thus conversion involves these factors, and it involves the impact of the Spiritual Presence, which effects “all the dimensions of human life because of the multidimensional unity of man”. However there is an element of suddenness involved, in that the true essence of conversion includes decision occurring in a momentary way. But this needs to be understood not in the pietistic sense. Rather, the past prepares one through a process which culminates in an ecstatic moment. “Without such preparation conversion would be an emotional outburst without consequences, soon swallowed by the old being instead of constituting the New Being.” The state of latency leads to the state of manifestation for the Spiritual Community; wherein repentance and faith are both creations of the Spiritual Presence. These past stages lead to the moment of kairos, which is a “fertile moment” in which somebody is grasped by the Spiritual Presence. In this way evangelism should be understood also- it is a converting people from “a latent a manifest participation in the Spiritual Community”. This situation speaks to philosophical ‘conversion’, which means that the Spiritual Community is related “to culture and morality as much as to religion and that where the Spiritual Presence is at work a moment of radical change in the attitude to the ultimate is necessary”.

Definitions:

  • The Spiritual Community: “The Spiritual Community is the Community of Spiritual personalities, i.e., of personalities who are grasped by the Spiritual Presence and who are unambiguously, though fragmentarily, determined by it. In this sense the Spiritual Community is the community of saints … The Spiritual Community is the dynamic essence of the churches”. [217]
  • The State of Saintliness: “The state of saintliness is the state of transparency toward the divine ground of being; it is the state of being determined by faith and love.” [217]
  • The Concept of Conversion: This concept “Plays such a role in both Testaments, in church history, and in the life of innumerable individuals in the Christian world and beyond it in all living religions. In this concept the event of conversion marks the moment in which a person enters the Spiritual Community.
  • True Nature of Conversion: “The true nature of conversion is well expressed in the words denoting it in different languages. The word shub in Hebrew points to a turning around on one’s way, especially the social and political spheres. It points to a turning away from injustice toward justice, from inhumanity to humanity, from idols to God. The Greek word metanoia implies the same idea but in relation to the mind … The Latin word conversio (in German Be-kehrung) unites the spatial image with the intellectual content. These words and the images they provoke suggest two elements: the negation of a preceding direction of thought and action and the affirmation of the opposite direction. That which is negatied is the bondage to existential estrangement and that which is affirmed is the New Being, created by the Spiritual Presence.” [219]
  • Repentance/Faith: “The rejection of the negative [i.e. “bondage to existential estrangement”] with the whole of one’s being is called repentance- a concept which must be freed from emotional distortion. The acceptance of the affirmative with the whole of one’s being is called faith- a concept which must be freed from intellectual distortion.” [219-220]
  • Kairos: “Being grasped by the Spiritual Presence in a fertile moment, a kairos.” [220]
  • Evangelism: “The function of [evangelism] is not that of converting people in an absolute sense but rather of converting them in the relative sense of transferring them from a latent to a manifest participation in the Spiritual Community.” [220]

Questions:

  • How does this section define the Spiritual Community?
  • What does it mean to be in “the state of saintliness”?
  • Why cannot the “state of maturity” be determined?
  • Why cannot the “state of faith” be determined?
  • What does the “true character” of conversion discussed by Tillich entail?
  • If conversion were understood in the pietistic sense, what would be the result?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.3.b): The Individual within the Church and the Experience of the New Being [221-243]
IV.III.A.3.b).(1): The Experience of the New Being as Creation (Regeneration) [221-223]

Summary:

[221] If a person grasped by the Spiritual Presence enters a church with the Spiritual Community as its dynamic essence, his dynamic essence is Spiritual personality. He is simultaneously a member of a community that is under both the ambiguities of the religious life and the “paradoxical impact of unambiguous life”. From the perspective of traditional terminology, this is the experience of the New Being. This experience will be discussed with traditional terminology, distinguishing three different elements in this experience: The experience of the New Being as creating (regeneration), as paradox (justification), and as process (regeneration). This discussion will focus on the subjective side of the person who “experiences” the New Being through participating in it, as a Spiritual personality who is a member of the church (the objective side of this experience has already been discussed in Part III, Sec. IIE). There must be a reason, or a foundation, for belief. Here this reason or foundation is described as the experience/awareness of the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence- which also means participation. [221-222] Therefore the object of experience under discussion is the awareness of the Spiritual Presence. [222] The biblical terms ‘new birth’ or ‘regeneration’, point towards the “event” of the divine Spirit taking hold of “a personal life through the creation of faith”. However, the word “experience” does not necessarily mean that a person knows empirically of this reality. One can be “born anew”, and enter into a “new reality” which contains the potential for one becoming a new being. Thus “participation in the New Being does not automatically guarantee that one is new.” As a result the Reformation theologians describe participation in the New Being as paradoxical, placing justification as prior to regeneration. The primary reason for this was that they did not want to make the state of being “born anew” the cause of one’s acceptance by God. This was correct, and “liberated estranged man from the anxiety of the questions: Am I really reborn? And if I am not, must not God reject me?” These questions “destroy the meaning of the ‘good news,’ which is that, although I am unacceptable, I am accepted.” This leads to the question of how one can accept one’s acceptance; what is the “source of such faith”? The answer is that only “God himself as Spiritual Presence” can be the source of this kind of faith- any other answer than this would “degrade faith into a belief”. In other words, faith does not come by intellect, will or emotion; and it is not given by credence to doctrine. Faith comes only through the creation of the divine Spirit- by the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence. [222-223] Therefore the first element in the state of the individual in the church- the church as the “actualization of the Spiritual Community”- is the “participation in the New Being, the creation of the Spirit”. [223] This claim leads to the further question as to how one can acquire such faith. In other words: “If the Spiritual Presence does not grasp me, what can I do in order to reach such faith?” This question has no answer, because it is not asked in an existentially serious way (further, one cannot do anything for the kind of faith that realizes one has nothing to offer, bring, or do to be accepted by God). However, one can asks: “What can I do in order to experience the New Being?” The answer is “implied in the question”. One who is ultimately concerned in an existential way about the seriousness of this question “is already in the grip of the Spiritual Presence”.

Definitions:

  • Spiritual Personality: “He who enters a church, seen not as one sociological group among others but as that group whose dynamic essence is the Spiritual Community, and who is himself grasped by the Spiritual Presence is, in his dynamic essence, Spiritual personality.” [221]
  • Experiences: “It may be asked whether it is correct to describe the ways of participating in the New Being as ‘experiences,’ since this word seems to introduce a questionable subjective element. However, it is the subject, that is, the Spiritual personality as a member of the church, of whom we speak here.” [221]
  • Experience: “‘Experience here simply means the awareness of something that happens to somebody, namely, the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence.” [221]
  • New Birth/Regeneration/New Being: “In biblical and theological literature, the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence is called ‘new birth’ or ‘regeneration.’ The term ‘new birth’ (like the Pauline term ‘New Creation’) is a biblical precedent to the more abstract concept of New Being. Both point to the same reality, the event in which the divine Spiritu takes hold of a personal life through the creation of faith.” [222]
  • The Meaning of the ‘Good News’: “The meaning of the ‘good news’ … is that, although unacceptable, I am accepted.” [222]
  • Belief: “An intellectual act produced by will and emotion.” [222]
  • Faith: “How can I accept that I am accepted? What is the source of such faith? The only possible answer is: God himself as Spiritual Presence. Every other answer would degrade faith into a belief, an intellectual act produced by will and emotion. Such belief, however, is nothing but the acceptance of the doctrine of ‘justification by grace through faith’; it is not the acceptance that I am accepted, and it is not the faith meant in the word ‘justification.’ That faith is the creation of the Spirit; and it was a complete distortion of the message of justification when the doctrine appeared that the gift of the divine spirit follows faith in divine forgiveness.” [222]

Questions:

  • What does in mean to say that a person is “in his dynamic essence, Spiritual personality”?
  • What does Tillich mean here by “experience”?
  • What is the “object” of experience in this section?
  • What is meant by the terms ‘new birth’, or ‘regeneration’?
  • Why do Reformation theologians place justification before regeneration?
  • What is meant by the ‘good news’, and how is this good news “accepted”?
  • How is “existential” “seriousness” involved in the answer to the question: “What can I do to experience the New Being”?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.3.b).(2): The Experience of the New Being as Paradox (Justification) [223-228]

Summary:

[223] The relation of regeneration to justification involves the key principle of justification by grace through faith. This is called a principle because it is “the first and basic expression of the Protestant principle itself”. [224] Importantly, this principle “permeates every single assertion of the theological system.” The Protestant principle maintains that in the relation between God and humanity, only God can act in order to reunite humanity with God. This excludes any and all human effort, including “religious claims”, as well as “intellectual or moral or devotional” ‘works’. This system [i.e. Tillich’s Systematic Theology] has focused not only on the Protestant principle, but has kept the question (which “has always been before [Tillich])” as to which theological formulations maintain this principle, avoiding the imposition of “intellectual ‘good work’” at all costs. “In this sense the doctrine of justification is the universal principle of Protestant theology” and it is also a “particular article in a particular section of the theological system”. The doctrine of justification has some semantic difficulties which are discussed. First, through the Reformation “struggle with Rome” the sola fide developed into ‘justification by faith’ rather than by ‘works’. The term ‘faith’ in this phrase replaced the Catholic ritual connotation with an understanding of faith as intellectual assent preceding Gods act of justification in a causal way. This is problematic. Grace, not faith, is the cause of justification. Faith is a “receiving act” which is “itself a gift of grace”. [224-225] Thus “justification by grace through faith” is the preferable formula. Second, the term ‘justification’ should be replaced with the term ‘acceptance’, meaning that we are accepted by God though we are considered unacceptable according to the law, “and that we are asked to accept this acceptance”. Third, the phrase ‘forgiveness of sins’ is symbolic and has limitations such as: the relation between God and humanity is not finite (as this phrase implies) but infinite, sin is not accurately remedied in the plural form ‘sins’; The relation between God and man does not involve ‘sins’ as such, but ‘sin’ in the sense that we act as separated from and in resistance to God. If the term ‘sins’ is used to mean that we are estranged from God and that each ‘sin’ is a manifestation of ‘Sin’, which is “the power of estrangement from our true being”, it is admissible. [226] The question under discussion is how one can accept that one is accepted- how to reconcile ones guilt and “desire for punishment with the prayer for forgiveness- and how to attain certainty with regard to forgiveness. This difficulty is answered in the “unconditional character” of Gods act of declaration that one who is unjust is just. God’s judgment is not conditioned in any way by humanity. For this reason God rejects religious efforts to appease God. Therefore the doctrine of the Spiritual Presence turns humans away from “the bad and the good” in humanity and towards the “divine infinite goodness” of God. The fear of punishment is conquered within the New Being though justice “which makes him who is unjust just, by acceptance”. This justice is transcendent justice, but it also “fulfils the ambiguous human justice”. Thus one need cease attempting to conquer one’s own hubris and surrender to God. The perfect picture of this resolution- God accepting the unaccepted, participating in human estrangement, conquering the “ambiguity of good and evil” and in “a transforming way”- is shown in “Jesus the Crucified”. Most importantly, Jesus did not cause this; “The cause is God and God alone”. [226-227] In Paul, Augustine and Luther both “the paradox of the New Being” and the “principle of justification by grace through faith” are seen in different ways. [227] For Paul the issue was how the law was overcome through the Christ, which was answered by participation in a “cosmic” justification. For Augustine grace is given to humanity as a “substance” that is “infused”, resulting in love. God alone does this through predestination. But the church over which the Christ is ruler is the way in which humanity is related to God. And for Luther a person experiences justification when confronted with God’s wrath on sin and God’s forgiveness in a personal, “person-to-person” way. The difference here is that Luther, by excluding the “cosmic and ecclesiastical framework of Paul and Augustine, did not balance the subjective element with an objective one. This led to “intellectual orthodoxy and emotional pietism”. On the other hand Luther offered the most profound “psychology of acceptance” ever. The last question of this section is how justifying faith is related to radical doubt. This question was addressed by John and Augustine but not by Paul or Luther. Because radical doubt involves existential doubt about the meaning of life, and because John and Augustine interact with radical doubt, they are more helpful for today’s existential questions than are Paul and Luther. The answer is based on the “message of the New Being”. [228] The answer is first negative: humanity cannot reach God through intellect and morality. One cannot do anything to overcome radical doubt and meaninglessness, which is why one asking a question as to what one can do “cannot be answered” without contradiction- any answer implies something can be done. Hence the paradox of the New Being: the question of what one can do is rejected because one can do nothing, while at the same time the “seriousness of despair in which the question is asked is itself the answer”. Augustine implies this answer by positing (in a way) truth in doubt. In other words, the doubt presupposes a truth as its contrast- to doubt is to affirm that there must be a truth at which the doubt aims. This relates also to the paradox of justification. “Meaning within meaninglessness” is similar to truth in doubt. The justification of the doubter- not of the sinner- leads to the solution offered here, because the doubter is not concerned about justification of sin. The doubter is concerned with meaninglessness. Because doubt and meaningless are so existentially powerful, they lead one to an ultimate concern for a solution. God is that ultimate concern. This is the message for “our time”: “they are accepted with respect to the ultimate meaning of their lives, although unacceptable in view of the doubt and meaninglessness which has taken hold of them. In the seriousness of their existential despair, God is present to them. To accept this paradoxical acceptance is the courage of faith”.

Definitions:

  • Protestant Principle: “The article by which Protestantism stands or falls, the principle of justification by grace through faith. I call it not only a doctrine and an article among others but also a principle, because it is the first and basic expression of the Protestant principle itself … It should be regarded as the Protestant principle that, in relation to God, God alone can act and that no human claim, especially no religious claim, no intellectual or moral or devotional “work,” can reunite us with him.” [223]
  • Sola Fide: “The doctrine of justification puts before us several semantic problems. In the struggle with Rome about the sola fide [Latin term meaning ‘faith alone’], the doctrine became ‘justification by faith’- and not by ‘works.’” [224]
  • Justification: “Another piece of semantic advice for teaching and preaching can be given in connection with the Pauline term ‘justification’ itself. Paul used it in his discussion of the legalistic perversion of his message of the New Creation in the appearance of the Christ. The propagandists of this perversion, Christians who could not separate themselves from the commands of the Jewish law, spoke in terms of just, justice, justification (tsedaqah in Hebrew, dikiosyne in Greek) … It [i.e. the term ‘justification’] should be replaced … by the term ‘acceptance,’ in the sense that we are accepted by God although being unacceptable according to the criteria of the law (our essential being put against us) and that we are asked to accept this acceptance.” [224-225]
  • Forgiveness of Sins: “It is a religious-symbolic expression taken from such human relations as that between the debtor and the one to whom he is in debt, the child and the father, the servant and the master, or the accused and the judge.” [225]
  • The Symbol of Forgiveness of Sins: “The symbol of the forgiveness of sins has proved dangerous because it has concentrated the mind on particular sins and their moral quality rather than on the estrangement from God and its religious quality.” [225]
  • Sin: “The power of estrangement from our true being.” [225]
  • The Doctrine of Atonement: “The doctrine of God’s participation in man’s existential estrangement and victory over it.” [225]
  • Simul Justus, Simul Peccator: This “Paradox … points to this unconditional divine declaration [c.f. above definition ‘doctrine of atonement’].” [226]
  • The Infinite Divine Goodness: “Is beyond good and bad and … gives itself without conditions and ambiguities.” [226]
  • Surrender: “This surrender of one’s own goodness occurs in him who accepts the divine acceptance of himself, the unacceptable. The courage to surrender one’s own goodness to God is the central element in the courage of faith. In it the paradox of the New Being is experienced, the ambiguity of good and evil is conquered, unambiguous life has taken hold of man through the impact of the Spiritual Presence.” [226]
  • Radical Doubt: “Radical doubt is existential doubt concerning the meaning of life itself; it may include not only the rejection of everything religious in the narrow sense of the word but also the ultimate concern which constitutes religion in the larger sense.” [227]
  • The Paradox of the New Being: “The Paradox of the New Being is just that nothing can be done by man who is in the situation in which he asks the question. One can only say, while rejecting the form of the question, that the seriousness of despair in which the question is asked is itself the answer.” [228]

Questions:

  • What is the principle which “permeates every single assertion of [Tillich’s] theological system”?
  • What it the “Protestant principle”?
  • What is the question which has “always been before [Tillich]” in the Systematic Theology?
  • What is the proper understanding of ‘faith’, and what is the “formula” offered by Tillich relating to justification, faith, and grace?
  • What does Tillich replace the term ‘justification’ with? Do you agree?
  • What does Tillich mean when he uses the term ‘Sin’? Do you agree?
  • What is the strength and what is the weakness of Luther’s doctrine of justification?
  • What is the resolution offered for the existential situation of doubt and meaninglessness? How does it relate to the paradox of justification?

Changes in German:

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IV.III.A.3.b).(3): The Experience of the New Being as Process (Sanctification) [228-243]
IV.III.A.3.b).(3).(a): Contrasting Types in the Description of the Process [228-231]

Summary:

[228] A person experiences a life process resulting from the impact of the Spiritual Presence. After the impact of the Spiritual Presence, one experiences first regeneration, which is “qualified by the experience of justification”. These then lead to the “developing experience of sanctification”. [229] Sanctification as the process of “actual transformation”, is “life process under the impact of the Spirit”. Theologians describe the character of the process of sanctification in differing ways. This section will now compare the Lutheran, Calvinist, and Evangelical-Radical “attitudes” of the “character of the Christian life”, which have yielded repercussions in predominantly Protestant countries. The Protestant rejection of Catholic ‘law’ resulted in the need for its own formulation of ‘law’. Both Calvin and Luther agreed that the law functions in two ways: guiding political life through punishment for transgressions and stimulating a drive towards reunion of humanity’s essential nature from which the law shows estrangement. Calvin held a third realistic function/solution of the law as a guide to persons who though grasped by the Spiritual Presence yet have not complete freedom “from the power of the negative in knowledge and action”- here ambiguity is not overcome. Luther rejected this third function, holding rather to an ecstatic solution: the Spirit sets one free from the law, enlightening one and enabling one to act decisively according to the standard of agape love- here ambiguity is overcome. Evangelical Radicalism (born from the Reformation) employed both Calvin’s third function/solution of law and the realistic use of discipline resulting, as “a tool in the process of sanctification”. This camp failed to understand the “paradoxical character of the churches and the life of the individuals in them. They practically deny the great ‘in spite of’ in the process of sanctification.” [230] Consequences of these attitudes toward the Christian life are: In Calvinism sanctification is a slow process. Faith and love progress slowly as the power of the Spirit increases, but perfection is unattainable. The ideal of perfectionism took hold, and replaced the message of salvation with the message of “moral perfection in the individual members”. This led to progressive sanctification as the “aim of life”, fostering a self centered and self righteous “inner-worldly” asceticism in its adherents. The aim was perfection through one’s own efforts, and this view grew stronger when Evangelicals employed these “perfectionistic elements of Calvinism”. Conversely, Lutheranism emphasized “the paradoxical element in the experience of the New Being”. This did not lead to the perfectionism of the former, rather, sanctification was like a swinging pendulum moving “up-and-down” between “ecstasy and anxiety, of being grasped by agape and being thrown back into estrangement and ambiguity”. [231] Further, Lutheranism deemphasized discipline, which resulted in a “disintegration of morality and practical religion”; sparking the movement of Pietism.

Definitions:

  • Sanctification: “The character of the experience of sanctification cannot be derived from the word itself. Originally, justification and sanctification pointed to the same reality, i.e., the conquest of the ambiguities of the personal life. But slowly, especially under the influence of Paul, the term ‘justification’ received the connotation of the paradoxical acceptance of him who is unacceptable, while ‘sanctification’ received the connotation of actual transformation. In this sense it is synonymous with life process under the impact of the Spirit. It has always been an important theological task to describe the character of this process, and different descriptions were often expressions of different ways of life which, at the same time, received confirmation from the theological emphasis.” [228-229]
  • Calvin’s Realistic Function/Solution: “Calvin spoke of a third function of the law, namely, the function of guiding the Christian who is grasped by the divine Spirit but who is not yet free from the power of the negative in knowledge and action … Calvin’s solution is more realistic, more able to support an ethical theory and a disciplined life of sanctification.” [229]
  • Luther’s Ecstatic Solution: “Luther rejected [Calvin’s ‘more realistic solution’], asserting that the Spirit itself leads to decisions in which the ambiguity of life is conquered. The Spirit, by liberating a person from the letter of the law, gives both insight into the concrete situation and the power to act in this situation according to the call of agape … Luther’s solution is more ecstatic, unable to support a ‘Protestant ethics’ but full of creative possibilities in the personal life.” [229]
  • Inner-Worldly Asceticism: “By work, self-control, and repression of vitality, especially in relation to sex. These perfectionistic tendencies were strengthened when the perfectionism of the Evangelicals merged with the perfectionistic elements of Calvinism.” [230]

Questions:

  • What is the difference between Calvin’s more “realistic” solution regarding the third function of the law and Luther’s more “ecstatic” solution?
  • What did Calvin’s doctrine of sanctification lead to in Evangelical Radicalism and in Evangelicalism?
  • How did Lutheranism interpret sanctification?
  • What led to the Pietistic movement?

Changes in German:

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IV.III.A.3.b).(3).(b): Four Principles Determining the New Being as Process [231-237]

Summary:

[231] This section seeks to establish criteria for the future doctrine of “life under the Spiritual Presence”, under four principles: increasing awareness, increasing freedom, increasing relatedness, and increasing transcendence. First, the principle of awareness holds that in the process of sanctification one becomes more and more aware of the actual situation one is in, the forces against which one struggles, and the answers implied by the questions of one’s situation. In other words, one becomes aware of both the demonic and the divine, and discovers power to affirm life “in spite of its ambiguities”. [232] Second, the principle of increasing freedom accounts for the existentialist notion of freedom from “slavery to the objects” one has produced. Here sanctification is growth in Spiritual freedom as freedom from the law, which shows humanity’s estrangement from its essential state, and reunion with that true essential state under the impact of the Spirit- though this freedom is and remains fragmentary. Freedom from the law means freedom from both its commanding form and its particular content. Under the former, the more one is reunited with ones essence the less one feels an “uneasy conscience”. Under the latter, though law contains helpful wisdom in its particular content, it is also “oppressive” because it does not easily apply to changing situations. Freedom from the law in this way means that one has the “power to judge” a particular situation not by the standard of the law, but by that of the Spiritual Presence- even if the course of action seems to contradict the law. [233] This kind of freedom- “mature freedom”- is one of the goals in the process of sanctification. The danger of both inner “wilfulness” and outer “enslaving powers” is overcome as long as the “reuniting power of the Spiritual Presence is effective”. Third, the principle of relatedness as an element in the process of sanctification is the principle that keeps the maturing person who is resisting enslaving influences from isolation. The divine Spirit creates faith and love, which are the basis of and determining factors in all principles of sanctification. However, they operate in this way by virtue of the four principles of qualification for the New Being as process. [233-234] In this way relatedness is the ability to be aware of and to relate to other persons by resisting self-seclusion in either relation is fueled by the New Being which, “as process drives toward a mature relatedness”, through the impact of the divine Spirit which empowers one to ecstatically transcend himself and relate to the other. [234-235] Regarding self-relatedness (analogically speaking) on the other hand, mature self-relatedness includes self-acceptance (which overcomes self-elevation and self-contempt), which in the process of sanctification is accomplished by reconciling the self in a mature state wherein the self as subject and as object is overcome in a “spontaneous affirmation of one’s essential being beyond the subject and object”. [235] Thus the process of sanctification moves toward a state of self-identity wherein the “essential self” shines through “the contingencies of the existing self”. The fourth determining principle of sanctification is the principle of self-transcendence, which aims towards a mature state under the impact of the Spiritual Presence wherein the three other states (awareness, freedom and relatedness) are attained (though fragmentarily) along with an “act of self-transcendence”, which is necessitated by “participation in the holy”, or the “devotional life under the Spiritual Presence”. Here both the self and the secular are embraced by the holy. [236] Self-transcendence is “devotion toward that which is ultimate”. The distinction between private and organized devotion is erased by the Spiritual Presence which does not require participation in religious services for its impact to be felt. Rather any act which includes the experience of the impact of the Spiritual Presence is a self-transcendent act, which includes many forms but is experienced “like the breathing in of another air, an elevation above average existence”. Importantly, self-transcendence “is the most important thing in the process of Spiritual maturity”. In conclusion, these four principles determining the New Being as process show that one never attains perfection in the Christian life. However, in spite of this “mutable character” which is manifest in the “religious as well as the secular life”, the Christian life moves toward maturity by transcending both “in the power of the Spiritual Presence”.

Definitions:

  • Principle of Awareness: “The principle of awareness is related to contemporary depth psychology, but it is as old as religion itself and is sharply expressed in the New Testament. It is the principle according to which man in the process of sanctification becomes increasingly aware of his actual situation and of the forces struggling around him and his humanity but also becomes aware of the answers to the questions implied in this situation. Sanctification includes awareness of the demonic as well as of the divine.” [231]
  • Principle of Increasing Freedom: “The second principle in the process of sanctification is the principle of increasing freedom. The emphasis on it is especially conspicuous in Paul’s and Luther’s descriptions of life in the Spirit. In contemporary literature the oracles of Nietzsche and the existential struggle for the freedom of man’s personal self from slavery to the objects he has produces are most important … Growth in Spiritual freedom is first of all growth in freedom from the law. This follows immediately from the interpretation of the law as man’s essential being confronting him in the state of estrangement.” [232]
  • Freedom from the Commanding Form of the Law: “The more one is reunited with his true being under the impact of the Spirit, the more one is free from the commandments of the law. This process is most difficult, and maturity in it is very rare. The fact that reunion is fragmentary implies that freedom from the law is always fragmentary. In so far as we are estranged, prohibitions and commandments appear and produce an uneasy conscience. In so far as we are reunited, we actualize what we essentially are in freedom, without command. Freedom from the law in the process of sanctification is the increasing freedom from the commanding form of the law.” [232]
  • Freedom from the Particular Content of the Law: “Freedom from the law … is also freedom from its particular content. Specific laws, expressing the experience and wisdom of the past, are not only helpful, they are also oppressive, because they cannot meet the ever new, ever unique situation. Freedom from the law is the power to judge the given situation in the light of the Spiritual Presence and to decide upon adequate action, which is often in seeming contradiction to the law. This is what is meant when the spirit of the law is contrasted with its letter (Paul) or when the Spirit-determined self is empowered to write a new and better law than Moses (Luther) or- in a secularized form- when the bearer of freedom revaluates all values (Nietzsche) or when the existing subject resolves the impasse of existence by resoluteness (Heidegger).” [232-233]
  • Mature Freedom from the Law: “The mature freedom to give new laws or to apply the old ones in a new way is an aim of the process of sanctification … Mature freedom from the law implies the power of resisting the forces which try to destroy such freedom from inside the personal self and for its social surroundings; and, of course, the enslaving powers from outside can succeed only because there are inside trends toward servitude.” [233]
  • Wilfulness: “The danger that such freedom [i.e. mature freedom] may turn out to be wilfulness is overcome wherever the reuniting power of the Spiritual Presence is effective. Wilfulness is a symptom of estrangement and a surrender to enslaving conditions and compulsions.” [233]
  • Principle of Increasing Relatedness: “The third principle is that of increasing relatedness. It balances, so to speak, the principle of increasing freedom which, through the necessity of resisting enslaving influences, may isolate the maturing person.” [233]
  • Faith and Love: “Both freedom and relatedness, as well as awareness and self-transcendence, are rooted in the Spiritual creations of faith and love. They are present whenever the Spiritual Presence is manifest. They are the conditions of participation in regeneration and acceptance of justification, and they determine the process of sanctification. But the way they do so is characterized by the four principles which qualify the New Being as process.” [233]
  • Relatedness: “Relatedness implies the awareness of the other one and the freedom to relate to him by overcoming self-seclusion within oneself and within the other one.” [233]
  • Self Relatedness: “The species of terms having self as the first syllable is dangerously ambiguous. The term ‘self-centeredness’ can be used to describe the greatness of man as a fully centered self or an ethically negative attitude of bondage to one’s self; the terms ‘self-love’ and ‘self-hate’ are difficult to understand because it is impossible to separate the self as subject of love or hate from the self as object. But there is no real love or real hate without such separation. The same ambiguity damages the term ‘self-relatedness.’ Nevertheless we must use such terms, conscious of the fact that they are used analogically and not properly.” [234]
  • Mature Self-Relatedness: “A mature self-relatedness is the state of reconciliation between eh self as subject and the self as object and the spontaneous affirmation of one’s essential being beyond subject and object. As the process of sanctification approaches a more mature self-relatedness, the individual is more spontaneous, more self-affirming, without self-elevation or self-humiliation.” [235]
  • Search for Identity: “The ‘search for identity’ is the search for what has here been called ‘self-relatedness.’ Properly understood, this search is not the desire to preserve an accidental state of the existential self, the self in estrangement but rather the drive toward a self which transcends every contingent state of its development and which remains unaltered in its essence through such changes. The process of sanctification runs toward a state in which the ‘search for identity’ reaches its goal, which is the identity of the essential self shining though the contingencies of the existing self.” [235]
  • Principle of Self-Transcendence: “The aim of maturity under the impact of the Spiritual Presence comprises awareness, freedom, and relatedness, but in each case we have found that the aim cannot be reached without an act of self-transcendence. This implies that sanctification is not possible without a continuous transcendence of oneself in the directon of the ultimate- in other words, without participation in the holy”; “Self-transcendence is identical with the attitude of devotion toward that which is ultimate”; “It [i.e. self-transcendence] is like the breathing-in of another air, an elevation above average existence. It is the most important thing in the process of Spiritual maturity.” [235,236]
  • Participation in the Holy/Devotional Life: “This participation is usually described as the devotional life under the Spiritual Presence. This description is justified if the term ‘devotion’ is understood in such a way that holy embraces both itself and the secular … In the mature life, determined by the Spiritual Presence, participation in the devotional life of the congregation may be restricted or refused, prayer may be subordinated to meditation, religion in the larger sense of the word; but all this does not contradict the principle of self-transcendence.” [235]
  • Mutable Character: “The Christian life never reaches the state of perfection- it always remains an up-and-down course- but in spite of [this] mutable character it contains a movement toward maturity…” [237]

Questions:

  • Under the principle of awareness, what does one become ‘aware’ of?
  • What does the principle of increasing freedom entail, and how does it relate to the law?
  • How does the principle of freedom avoid the dangers of inner “wilfulness” and outer “enslaving” influences?
  • How is the threat of self-seclusion overcome?
  • What is the end “state” implied in the “search for identity” which reaches its goal in the “process of reunion with one’s self”?
  • What is “the most important thing in the process of Spiritual maturity”? Do you agree?
  • What is meant by the “mutable character” of the Christian life?
  • The “up-and-down course” of the Christian life (i.e. its mutable character) is manifest in both the religious and the secular life, but the Christian life transcends both of them. How?

Changes in German:

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IV.III.A.3.b).(3).(c): Images of Perfection [237-243]

Summary:

[237] The ideal goal of sanctification is implied in the term ‘saint’. The term saint as applied to an individual, like the term ‘holiness’ as applied to the church, has a paradoxical element. Both are holy only in the sense in which they have a holy function, which is “the New Being in the Christ”. Through its etymology the term ‘saint’ has been used in different ways. The early church lost the paradoxical character of saintliness by identifying martyrs and ascetics as such because they were believed to have “transparency to the divine”. This led to the “double standard of judging saintliness” whereby regular church members- in contrast to the New Testament meaning- were not considered saints. The saints in this understanding showed their ‘saintliness’ by performing miracles, which meant that the saints had power over and were superior to nature in a Spiritual- not moral- sense. Therefore the essence of ‘saintliness’ is “transmoral”, and the moral standard of judgment is problematic. Under the criterion of the Protestant principle the above conception of saintliness will be discarded- “there are no Protestant saints”- for three reasons: First, the concept of saintliness elevates those distinguished as such to a “state of perfection”; and this is a contradiction of the paradox of justification; “according to which it is the sinner [not the ‘saint’] who is justified”. Second, during the Reformation saints had become “objects of a cult”. [238] Third, the Roman Catholic idea of the saint held a “dualistic valuation of asceticism”. Though the conception of ‘saints’ is rejected, the representations this concept offers of the impact of the Spiritual Presence on humanity is accepted. The notion of ‘saints’ is understood here to represent sanctification in a symbolic way, by symbolizing the power of the New Being in persons grasped by the Spiritual Presence. There are two “realms of problems” in conjunction with “foundation of perfection” which are faith and love (the creations of the Spirit). The first realm is the relation between the question of doubt and the increase of faith, and the second is the relation of the eros-quality of love to the increase in the agape-quality of love. The first question asked is: “What does doubt mean within the process of sanctification”? Does the state of perfection imply the cessation of doubt? For Catholicism this question is asked with reference to its church doctrines. [239] For this camp perfection in sanctification means acceptance of Roman Catholic doctrine- this assertion is obviously rejected by the Protestant principle. However, orthodox Protestantism (as well as pietism) follows in the answer of Catholicism. The former (orthodox Protestantism) holds that the “literal authority of the Bible (which in practice means the authority of the ecclesiastical creeds)” is believed when perfection in sanctification is reached, though “sin is unavoidable”. The answer is that doubt is not a result of sin. Rather doubt is an element of faith, and the Protestant principle, which holds that the “infinite distance between God and man is never bridged”, calls not for a state of sanctification wherein doubt is overcome. Rather even in the “state of perfection” faith is active through in creative courage, which doubt is a necessary component- one cannot have courage without risk, and risk includes doubt. The latter (pietism) tries to overcome doubt through experiences which anticipate a “mystical union with God”, seeking a feeling of reunion with God, “resting in the saving power of the New Being, drives doubt away.” This is a representation of the “feeling of immediacy”, which provides a “certainty” unreachable through obedience to doctrine. A person who is in a mature state of sanctification will still experience doubt. Where there is a separation between the subject and the object- between God and humanity, there will always be doubt. This is unavoidable because the infinite distance between finite humanity and the infinite by which one is grasped is never bridged- even thought a “feeling of union with the divine” may occur. Ironically, experiences such as these can cause even more doubt by virtue of their intensity, from which one comes back down and can be thrown into “a profounder doubt than people with less intensity in their religious experience”. [240] This is not to emphasize psychological aspects of faith for the pietist, rather the theological “necessity of doubt in the faith of the pietist” is the point. Theology emphasizes doubt because it is directly related to the finitude of humanity “under the conditions of existential estrangement”. The second question asked is how the eros-quality of love relates to increase of the agape-quality of love. This question involves the way in which eros which embraces libido, philia relates to the eros in the Platonic sense- which the New Testament articulates as agape. Further, psychological discoveries have shown that the Christian and humanist moralism yields “distorting consequences” to the vitality of human nature. Moralism represses vitality for the sake of the spirit, and the multidimensional unity of life rejects any attempt of such repression. Sanctification does not presuppose decreasing the “vital self-expression” of humanity. Conversely, these are interdependent. Catholic asceticism and Protestant moralism are repressive, as psychotherapy has shown their “distorting consequences”. [241] These consequences must be recognized by theology, which relate directly to the image of perfection. The church is wrong to preach that one should embrace the “innocent pleasures of life”, because this wrongly paints a picture of pleasures dividing some as “innocent and others guilty”. Instead the pastors and counselors should be pointing out the “ambiguity of creativity and destruction” yielded by every pleasure. “No pleasure is harmless, and seeking for harmless pleasures leads to a shallow valuation of the power of the vital dynamics in human nature.” Further, the repression of human vitality leads to destructive “explosions of the repressed”. Instead the acceptance of eros means acceptance of the “divine-demonic ambiguity” of life. The key is that the Spiritual Presence does not encourage ‘harmless’ pleasures, it “draws” all the “depths” of human nature into itself. The image of perfection is not one who seeks to avoid the demonic side of the holy (thereby missing the divine), it is instead the person who “on the battlefield between the divine and the demonic, prevails against the demonic, though fragmentarily and in anticipation”. Both Protestant orthodoxy and pietism employ the notion of “mystical union” as the climactic point of sanctification. [242] Ritschlian theology rightly rejected this notion; for sanctification aims at a “personal relation to God” which is necessitated by a faith which needs no “ascetic preparation”. Last, the question of the interdependence of faith and mysticism is discussed. Mysticism and faith must both be embraced and held together. On the one hand faith cannot exist except by the mystical-ecstatic experience wherein one is grasped by the Spiritual Presence. This experience of the Spiritual Presence is a mystical experience as a category- not as a religious type, which is interdependent with faith. Therefore there is mystical experience in faith. On the other hand, “there is faith in mystical experience”, because both states occur when a person is grasped by the Spiritual Presence. However, in the mystical courage and risk are evaded, whereas in faith they are actual. [243] Protestantism has lost the mystical element in sanctification by seeking it through asceticism, thereby losing also “human guilt and divine acceptance”, and these are the very “principles of the New Being as justification”.

Definitions:

  • Saint: Sanctus, Hagios: (Latin, Greek) “…The ideal goal of sanctification, the sanctus, the saint. In the New Testament the term ‘saint,’ hagios, designates all members of the congregation, including those who, in terms of what saintliness means today, were certainly not saints. The term ‘saint’ has the same paradoxical implication, when applied to the individual Christian, as the term ‘holiness’ has when applied to the church. Both are holy because of the holiness of their function, the New Being in the Christ.” [237]
  • Miracles: “A saint, according to [early church] doctrine, is one who has performed some miracles. Miracles prove the superiority of the saint over nature, not in a moral, but in a Spiritual sense.” [237]
  • Paradoxical Meaning of Saintliness: “The paradoxical meaning of saintliness was lost when the early church attributed a special saintliness to the ascetics and the martyrs. In comparison with them the ordinary members of the church ceased to be saints, and a double standard of judging saintliness was introduced … Saintliness is transmoral in essence. Nevertheless, Protestantism has rejected the concept of the saint altogether.” [237]
  • Paradox of Justification: “According to which it is the sinner [not the ‘saint’] who is justified.” [237]
  • Image of Perfection: “The image of perfection is patterned after the creations of the Spirit, faith and love, and after the four principles determining the process of sanctification- increasing awareness, increasing freedom, increasing relatedness, increasing transcendence.” [238]
  • Protestant Principle: “The infinite distance between God and man is never bridged; it is identical with man’s finitude.” [239]
  • Principle of Immediacy: “In contrast to orthodoxy, pietism represents the principle of immediacy. Immediacy gives certainty, a certainty which obedience to doctrinal authority cannot give.” [239]
  • Unio Mystica: “In Protestant orthodoxy the highest point reached in the process of sanctification is the unio mystica (mystical union).” [241]
  • The Mystical as a Category: “Faith is mystical … the mystical as a category, that is, the experience of the Spiritual Presence. Every experience of the divine is mystical because it transcends the cleavage between subject and object, and wherever this happens, the mystical as category is given.” [242]
  • Faith: “In faith the elements of courage and risk are actual, whereas in the mystical experience these elements, which presuppose the cleavage between subject and object, are left behind.” [242]

Questions:

  • How does the concept of ‘saintliness’ contradict the paradox of justification?
  • Thought Tillich rejects the idea of ‘saints’, he finds the concept useful in a representative or symbolic way. What is the symbolic/representative function of the term ‘saints’?
  • Tillich says that doubt is not a problem as consequence of sin, but that doubt is a related to courage as an element of faith. What does this mean?
  • Why are Catholic asceticism and Protestant moralism so problematic?
  • What is the relation between faith and mysticism in sanctification?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.A.4: The Conquest of Religion by the Spiritual Presence and the Protestant Principle [243-245]

Summary:

[243] When the Spiritual Presence is effective in the churches it “conquers religion as a particular function of the human spirit”. Christianity is not rightly called a ‘religion’. The coming of the Christ was not meant to start a new religion, but to “transforms the old state of things”. Therefore both the church and the individuals within should be understood as that which represents a “new reality” (in an anticipatory way). Thus the church is “the New Being as community” and its individual members are “the New Being as personality”. The conquest of religion occurs as the Spiritual Presence removes both the sacred and the secular. This means that faith is not doctrinal belief; it is the state of being grasped by our ultimate concern. [243-244] And this also means that love is the reunion- not negation- of all dimensions. [244] Further, the Spiritual Presence conquers religion, this means that profanization and demonization are also conquered. With regard to profanization, the church resists its forms (hierarchical structure, doctrine, and ritual) when it participates in the Spiritual Community. This occurred in the Reformation. Further the profanization in its secular form is resisted. In both its hidden and open forms, demonization is conquered when the Spiritual Presence conquers religion. In addition, the tragic is conquered; as shown in the way that Christianity sees neither the suffering nor the death of the Christ as tragic. This is so because the Christ freely chose to participate in the “tragic consequences of human estrangement”. As exemplified by Jesus the Christ, the church should never fall prey to “self-affirmed greatness in the realm of the holy”, because this is demonic. No church can lay claim to represent the Spiritual Community in itself in an unambiguous way- neither should individual members of a church; which leads to self assurance, fanaticism, and destruction of the meaning of life. [245] When religion is conquered by the divine Spirit, no “claim to absoluteness” can be made by either church or members thereof. This means that “where the divine Spirit is effective”, no one church or group of churches can claim to “represent God” more than others. This is impossible because the “freedom of the Spirit resists” such claims. Fanaticism is overcome by the Spirit because any person in its grasp is unable to boast. People do not grasp the Spirit, the Spirit grasps people. This is the crux of the “Protestant principle”, which expresses the victory of the Spiritual Presence over religion- including its ambiguities, profanization and demonization.

Definitions:

  • Religion: “When contemporary theology rejects the name ‘religion’ for Christianity, it is in the line of New Testament thought. The coming of the Christ is not the foundation of a new religion but the transformation of the old state of things.” [243]
  • The Church: “The church is not a religious community but the anticipatory representation of a new reality, the New Being as community.” [243]
  • Conquest of Religion: “Everything said heretofore about the churches and the life of their members points in the direction of a conquest of religion. Conquest of religion does not mean secularization but rather the closing of the gap between the religious and the secular by removing both through the Spiritual Presence.” [243]
  • Faith: “This [i.e. conquest of religion] is the meaning of faith as the state of being grasped by that which concerns us ultimately, and not as a set of beliefs, even if the object of belief is a divine being.” [243]
  • Love: “This [i.e. conquest of religion] is the meaning of love as reunion of the separated in all dimensions, including that of the spirit, and not as an act of negation of all dimensions for the sake of a transcendence without dimensions.” [244]
  • Profanization: “The inner-religious profanization of religion, its transformation in to a sacred mechanism of hierarchical structure, doctrine, and ritual, is resisted by the participation of church members in the Spiritual Community.” [244]
  • Spiritual Community: “Is the dynamic essence of the churches and of which the churches are both the existential representation and the existential distortion.” [244]
  • Secular Form of Profanization: “The secular as secular lives from the protest against the profanization of religion within itself.” [244]
  • Hidden Demonic: “The affirmation of a greatness which leads to the tragic conflict with the ‘great itself’.” [244]
  • Openly Demonic: “The affirmation of a finite as infinite in the name of the holy.” [244]
  • Self-Affirmed Greatness: “Self-affirmed greatness in the realm of the holy is demonic.” [244]
  • The Protestant Principle: “The Protestant principle is an expression of the conquest of religion by the Spiritual Presence and consequently an expression of the victory over the ambiguities of religion, its profanization, and its demonization. It is Protestant, because it protests against the tragic-demonic self-elevation of religion and liverates religion from itself for the other functions of the human spirit, at the same time liberating these functions from their self-seclusion against the manifestations of the ultimate. The Protestant principle (which is a manifestation of the prophetic Spirit) is not restricted to the churches of the Reformation of to any other church; it transcends every particular church, being an expression of the Spiritual Community … It is an expression of the victory of the Spirit over religion.” [245]

Questions:

  • Why should Christianity not be called a ‘religion’?
  • What should the church and the individual member of the church be called?
  • What is meant by the conquest of religion?
  • Why are claims to absoluteness and fanaticism overcome in the churches and individual members within them “where the divine Spirit is effective”?
  • What is the Protestant principle?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.B: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Culture [245-265]

IV.III.B.1: Religion and Culture in the Light of the Spiritual Presence [245-249]

Summary:

[245] “The relation of the Spiritual Presence to religion has two aspects, because both the profoundest ambiguity of life and the power of conquering the ambiguities of life are manifest in religion. This in itself is the basic ambiguity of religion and the root of all its other ambiguities.” [246] Religion and Culture, as previously discussed, are essentially unified and existentially separated. The question here is how the relation between religion and culture looks in the light of the Spiritual Presence and its creation, the Spiritual Community. This relation is different from that of the churches to culture. The churches both distort and represent the Spiritual Community. Because the churches have a “dual relation” to the Spiritual Community, the relations of church to culture demand a “dual consideration”. On the one hand, because their “dynamic essence” is the Spiritual Community, the churches influence their surrounding culture by acting as a “medium” through which the Spiritual Presence reaches and enables “self-transcendence” for the culture. On the other hand, because they represent the Spiritual Community in a religious sense which is ambiguous, the churches influence culture ambiguously. As a result, both the demonizing attempt to erect a theocracy (“in the name of the spiritual Community”) and the profanizing attempt to isolate church from culture are both impossible. Further, though the “inner-historical representation of the Spiritual Community in a church” is necessary for the impact of the Spirit on cultural creativity, this impact can still be experienced in other groups outside the church. This impact of the divine Spirit outside the churches can occur in preliminary “latent ways” (i.e. in groups, movements, and personal experience). These preliminary impacts of the Spiritual Presence serve to prepare culture either “for the full manifestation of the Spiritual Community in a church” or to keep the “self-transcendence of the cultural creativity alive” in a culture which once had a church present which had the power of mediation mentioned above, but has lost that power, leaving “effects of its previous power” as “latently present”. For these reasons, the divine Spirit is not limited to the media it has created (“the churches (and their media, word and sacrament)”. Rather the divine Spirit can have a “free impact” on a culture which either prepares that culture for the reception of a religious community or is received by the culture impacted because such community had already done preparatory work. As a result, principles of the relation between religion and culture can be developed. These principles will now be discussed. [247] The first principle of the relation between religion and culture is the principle of the principle of the consecration of the secular. According to the freedom of the Spirit, the secular is consecrated under this principle. This does not mean that the secular is Spiritual, but that the culture does not need a church in order to be impacted by the Spirit. This principle (also called “the emancipation of the secular”) challenges assertions that the answer to the ambiguities of culture is to strengthen religion. These assertions are “offensive”. Religion cannot save a culture or a nation. To claim that it can is to use “the ultimate as a tool for something non-ultimate”. Even if this is avoided, there is still the “mistake” of “thinking that the divine Spirit is bound to religion in order to exercise its impact on culture”. This mistake tries to limit the freedom of the divine Spirit by a religious group claiming absolutism, and it is demonic because it “identifies churches with the Spiritual Community”. This first principle is also relevant to persons and groups that are in opposition to Christianity. The Spirit uses groups outside the churches- even those hostile to them, to transform both the cultures and the churches. The Spirit is not bound to, but the Spirit is free from the churches, “even the Protestant churches”. The second principle is the convergence of the holy and the secular. This recapitulates that the Spiritual Presence has a “latent effect which comes from and drives toward” a manifestation of the Spiritual Presence in the historical community of a church. [247-248] The secular, which becomes the secular by virtue of resistance “against the actualization of vertical self-transcendence”, ambiguously transcends itself in a vertical way. Because the resistance of the secular is in opposition to the churches claim to “represent the transcendent” in a direct and exclusive way, the secular is the “the necessary corrective of the holy”. However, because the attempt (of secularism) to resist self-transcendence leads to emptiness and meaninglessness- which in turn leads to a desire for self-transcendence yet again- the secular “is driven toward union with the holy, a union which actually is a reunion because the holy and the secular belong to each other”. In this way the secular cannot resist the holy, and “neither can the holy resist the secular”. Because any attempt of the holy to resist the secular must take part in the secular in its attempt, the holy is led into self-contradictory emptiness: “The simplest proposition in which the holy tries to isolate itself from the secular is secular in form.” Further, the holy “tends to fill the ‘world,’ the realm of the secular, with holiness”. It does this by trying to pull the secular into the “life of ultimate concern”. Thus the holy tries to take up the secular, while the secular tries to resist and isolate itself. Though the two are in opposition, they also share a convergence- each moves toward the other. This leads to the third principle, upon which the first and second are “rooted”, this is the principle of the way in which religion and culture have an essential belongingness to one another. This principle has been often expressed by the statement: “Religion is the substance of culture and culture is the form of religion”. [249] It is impossible for religion to “express itself without culture”, and “and culture loses its depth and inexhaustibility without the ultimacy of the ultimate”.

Definitions:

  • The Spiritual Community: The “basic creation” of the Spiritual Presence, “The community of faith and love.” [246]
  • The Churches and Culture: “Since the churches themselves are distortions as well as representations of the Spiritual Community, their relation to culture is itself culture and not the answer to the questions implied in culture.” [246]
  • Preliminarily: “The Spiritual impact can be experienced preliminarily in groups, movements, and personal experiences which have been characterized as the latent working of the Spiritual Presence. ‘Preliminarily’ in our context means in preparation for the full manifestation of the Spiritual Community in a church, or it can mean in consequence of such a full manifestation if the church has lost its power of mediating but the effects of its previous power are latently present in a culture and keep the self-transcendence of the cultural creativity alive.” [246]
  • The Churches, Media: The churches are the “media” created by the Spiritual Presence. The “media” of the churches are “word and sacrament”. [246]
  • Principle of the Consecration of the Secular: “This first principle is found in the freedom of the Spirit, according to which the problem of religion and culture is not identical with the problem of the relation between the churches and culture. One could call it ‘the principle of the consecration of the secular.’ This, of course, is does not mean that the secular as such is Spiritual, but it does mean that it is open to the impact of the Spirit even without the media of a church. The practical consequences this ‘emancipation of the secular,’ which was implied in the words and acts of Jesus and was rediscovered by the Reformation, are far-reaching.” [246-247]
  • Mistake: “Even if the offensiveness of using the ultimate as a tool for something non-ultimate is avoided, the mistake remains of thinking that the divine Spirit is bound to religion in order to exercise its impact on culture. This ‘mistake’ is actually the demonic identification of churches with the Spiritual Community and an attempt to limit the freedom of the Spirit by the absolute claim of a religious group.” [247]
  • Principle of Convergence of the Holy and the Secular: “This converging trend is the explanation of the fact, already referred to, that the latent effect of the Spiritual Presence comes from and drives toward a manifestation of it in a historical community, a church.” [247]
  • The Secular: “The secular stands under the rule of all life, which we have called its self-transcending function, transcending itself in the vertical line. The secular is, as we have seen, the result of a resistance against the actualization of vertical self-transcendence. This resistance is in itself ambiguous. It prevents the finite from being swallowed by the infinite. It makes the actualization of its potentialities possible. And, above all, it creates opposition to claims on the part of the churches that they represent the transcendent directly and exclusively. In this sense the secular is the necessary corrective of the holy. Yet, it itself drives toward the holy … The secular is driven toward union with the holy, a union which actually is a reunion because the holy and the secular belong to each other.” [248]
  • The Holy: “The holy tends to fill the ‘world,’ the realm of the secular, with holiness. It tries to take the secular into the life of ultimate concern.” [248]

Questions:

  • What is the basic ambiguity of religion which is also the root of all the other ambiguities of religion?
  • What is meant by the “dual relation” of the churches to the Spiritual Community?
  • Why is the claim of absolutism by any religion called “demonic”?
  • Why does the resistance of secularism lead to a drive “toward union with the holy”?
  • Why is it impossible and “self-contradictory” for the holy to isolate itself from the secular?
  • What is the expression Tillich has so often used, with regard to the third principle of the essential belongingness of religion and culture to each other?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.B.2: Humanism and the Idea of Theonomy [249-252]

Summary:

[249] The principle of humanism is the “development of all human potentialities”, but humanism does not offer a way in which these potentialities are to be developed. The term “education” implies “the necessity of transcending humanism” by implying a community into which one is initiated. This leads to the question this section will address: “What happens to culture as a whole under the impact of the Spiritual Presence”? The answer to this question is theonomy. This term is employed based on the Religious Socialist experience of the author [Tillich], and it is used here to mean “the state of the culture under the impact of the Spiritual Presence”, the nomos in this term implies “directedness” toward “the ultimate in being and meaning”. [250] In the idea of Theonomy there is no a “heteronomous” law imposed from without. A Theonomy is a culture that is determined, directed, and fulfilled, by the divine Spirit. Neither is theonomy anti-humanistic; but it does provide transcendent direction for directionless humanism. In addition, theonomy offers a “key the interpretation of history”. This interpretive use of theonomy is shown historically in such instances as when theonomy opposes heteronomy (e.g. ecclesiastical or political providence), or when autonomous elements in theonomy are imposed on (e.g. as occurred the late Middle Ages). Theonomous elements can clash with a “victorious autonomy” (e.g. rationalism or nationalism), etc. However theonomy is operative in culture, it can never entirely succeed or entirely be defeated. Thus because of “existential estrangement”, it is always victorious in a fragmentary way. The characterization of a theonomous culture is difficult. In general, theonomy is characterized by stating that the style and form of theonomous works of culturual creation are all consecrated in so far as they “express the ultimacy of meaning” (though they may not be consecrated by a church or other external means). [250-251] Further, characterizing theonomy always involves the use of historical situations in a symbolic way. Three qualities of a theonomous culture are now given. First, it will “communicate the experience of holiness, of something ultimate in being and meaning, in all its creations”. Second, it will affirm the “autonomous forms of the creative process”. This means that valid attempts to utilize autonomy are not to be rejected by appealing to ultimates, as this would lead to a distortion of theonomy “into heteronomy”. In other words, the autonomy or “freedom which characterizes” both the human spirit and the divine Spirit should never be “repressed”. If repressed, the result could be “autonomy break[ing] through the suppressive forces of heteronomy” thereby losing both heteronomy and theonomy in its emphasis on autonomy. Third, theonomy will always struggle against both an “independent heteronomy and an independent autonomy”. Theonomy both “precedes and follows” its “contrasting elements”, which are autonomy and theonomy. This happens by a process wherein the “original theonomous union” is moved away from through “autonomous trends”. This then stimulates a heteronomous “reaction”. Culture cannot “develop its potentialities” unless its autonomy overcomes its “mythologically founded theonomy”. [251-252] Philosophy, science, poetry and the other arts are impossible unless they are “liberated from the “uniting myth and the theonomous state of consciousness” of a culture. [252] However, this liberation is tempered by the “reaction of heteronomy”, or the “transcendent foundation” upon which they stood would be lost. The reaction of heteronomy occurs as the “experience of the ultimate as expressed in the religious tradition, reacts against the creations of an empty autonomy” through its religious tradition which expresses the “experience of the ultimate”. Thus, “A justified warning against the loss of being and meaning is expressed in the distorted form of heteronomous reactions against cultural autonomy”. Therefore when cultural creations are rejected by virtue of heteronomous reactions, they must be resisted “in the power of the Spirit”. But when the conflict is ideological or religious, it is a conflict not between autonomy and heteronomy, but between “two ultimates”. Last, there is a “permanent struggle between autonomous independence and heteronomous reaction”. This situation leads to “the quest for a new theonomy”, which “is answered by the impact of the Spiritual Presence on culture. Wherever this impact is effective, theonomy is created, and wherever there is theonomy, traces of the impact of the Spiritual Presence are visible.”

Definitions:

  • The Principle of Humanism: “The development of all human potentialities, the principle of humanism, does not indicate in what direction they shall be developed.” [249]
  • Education: “Means ‘leading out,’ i.e., out of the state of crudeness.” [249]
  • Initiation: “‘Initiation’ into the mystery of being could be [the aim of humanism]. This, of course, presupposes a community in which the mystery of life, particularly expressed, is the determining principle of its life.” [249]
  • Self-Transcendence of Culture: “This is a general function of life, which under the dimension of spirit appears as religion”. [249]
  • Theonomy: “On the basis of my Religious Socialist experience, I keep [continue to use the term] theonomy … At this point the word is used for the state of culture under the impact of the Spiritual Presence. The nomos (law) effective in it is the directness of the self-creation of life under the dimension of the Spirit toward the ultimate in being and meaning”; “The idea of theonomous culture does not imply any imposition from outside”; “The idea of theonomy is not antihumanistic, but it turns the humanistic indefiniteness about the ‘where-to’ into a direction which transcends every particular human aim … Theonomy can characterize a whole culture and give a key to the interpretation of history.” [249, 250]
  • Heteronomy/Heteros Nomos: “A law from outside, a strange law (heteros nomos)”. [250]
  • Autos Nomos: “The autonomy of cultural creativity, its autos nomos, its inner law.” [250]
  • Theonomous Culture: “The idea of a theonomous culture does not imply any imposition from outside. Theonomous culture is Spirit-determined and Spirit-directed culture, and Spirit fulfils spirit instead of breaking it.” [250]
  • Characterizing a Theonomous Culture: “First of all, the style, the over-all form, of theonomous works of cultural creation expresses the ultimacy of meaning even in the most limited vehicles of meaning- a painted flower, a family habit, a technical tool, a form of social intercourse, the vision of a historical figure, an epistemological theory, a political document, and so on. None of these things is unconsecrated in a theonomous situation; they are perhaps not consecrated by a church, but they are certainly consecrated in the way they are experienced even without external consecration. In trying to characterize theonomy, one should be aware of the fact that the image of theonomy one develops is never independent of a concrete historical situation which is seen as a symbol of a theonomous culture.” [250-251]
  • Qualities of a Theonomous Culture: “The first quality of a theonomous culture is that it communicates something ultimate in being and meaning, in all its creations. The second quality is the affirmation of the autonomous forms of the creative process … The third quality of theonomy, i.e., its permanent struggle against both an independent heteronomy and an independent autonomy. Theonomy is prior to both, they are elements within it. But theonomy, at the same time, is posterior to both; they tend to be reunited in the theonomy from which they come. Theonomy both precedes and follows the contrasting elements it contains.” [251]

Questions:

  • What does the term “theonomy” mean?
  • How does theonomy offer an interpretation of history?
  • Why is theonomy victorious in only a fragmentary way?
  • How does heteronomy react to the independent autonomy?
  • Autonomous independence and heteronomous reaction are in a “permanent struggle”, leading to the “quest for a new theonomy”. What is the answer to this quest?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.B.3: Theonomous Manifestations of the Spiritual Presence [252-265]

IV.III.B.3.a): Theonomy: Truth and Expressiveness [252-258]

Summary:

[252] Culture has realms of its “self-creation of life”. God, or the Spiritual Presence, creates theonomous forms through which it works in these realms to overcome the ambiguities of culture. Before discussing these theonomous forms, two factors will be assessed. First, the cleavage of subject and object (which is the basic ambiguity in all functions of culture) and the way that the impact of the Spiritual Presence overcomes this basic ambiguity are discussed. Second, the enumeration of cultural ambiguities, and the way in which the impact of the Spiritual Presence affects these ambiguities of culture are analyzed. [253] The question as to how theonomy will answer the basic ambiguity (or the problem of the subject-object cleavage) is suspended while two answers which have been given, mysticism and eros, are shown to be inadequate. Humans experience a problem in the cleavage between ‘self’ as subject and that which is ‘not self’ as object. Attempts to overcome this cleavage are many, but the root desire is to find something “transsubjective” (something not objective, but “beyond subjectivity and objectivity”) which one can “dissolve one’s subjectivity into”. Mysticism tries to answer this problem with disappearance through a “state of mind”, but the self is not dissolved, it has only a future hope for an “eternal fulfilment”. Eros hope to overcome this problem through human love, but neither can it be fulfilled in finitude; if it were, both subject (i.e. lover) and object (i.e. beloved) would be lost. Language is based on the subject-object cleavage. The ambiguities of language are many, but the fact that language is only possible because of and defeated by, this cleavage, underlies all of them. However, theonomy can liberate language (though only fragmentarily), in moments when language is a “bearer of the Spirit expressing the union of him who speaks with that of which he speaks in an act of linguistic self-transcendence”. [253-254] When this occurs the Spirit “witnesses to the sublimity of life beyond subject and object”, and in these moments the subject-object structure is transcended. [254] This occurs in the Spirit-created symbol, the epitome of which is the “Word of God”, which is the “Spirit-determined human word”. Word of God is beyond particular religions, and occurs when the Spiritual Presence “imposes itself” on a person or group. When this happens some words take on special significance, and this is experienced repeatedly in a theonomous culture. [254-255] The ambiguities of “poverty and abundance”, “particularity and universality”, “indefiniteness of language”, and “communicative and anticommunicative possibilities” are conquered by the Logos, or the Spiritual Presence impacting humanity through language. [255] This is accomplished by its “uniting the centers of the speaker and the listener in the transcendent unity”. Here the “human word” becomes the “divine Word”. The divine Spirit also overcomes the ambiguities of cognition, which are related to the fact that all cognition requires abstraction from the concrete, and as a result the concrete can be minimized. Further, cognition can only yield partial truth, though “truth is the whole”. And cognition is limited to relation of finite objects. But the divine Spirit “embraces both the totality and the concrete”, “not by avoiding universals … but by using them only as vehicles for the elevation of the partial and concrete to the eternal”. In other words, “Religious knowledge is knowledge of something particular in the light of the eternal and of the eternal in light of something particular.” [256] This applies also to theonomous cognition. Under the “structure of subject-object separation”, a subject attempts to understand an object by “observation and conclusion”; but the subject has no certainty that its attempts are successful. When this structure is overcome, observation becomes participation and conclusion becomes insight as the subject is “elevated” by the Spiritual Presence into transcendent unity. This is Spirit-determined cognition, or revelation. (“Such Spirit-determined cognition ‘revelation,’ just as Spirit-determined language is ‘Word of God.”) Revelation is not limited to the revelatory experiences of religion, just as ‘Word of God’, is not restricted to the Bible; neither are subjected to only narrow forms of religion. Wisdom, as opposed to knowledge, is able to “manifest itself” beyond the subject-object cleavage. The Logos is with both God and with men, thus “Theonomous knowledge is Spirit-determined Wisdom”, and this kind of knowledge does not negate autonomously created knowledge- it negates knowledge claiming to be such but is actually knowledge from a “distorted theonomy”. The aesthetic function of humanity’s “cultural self-creation” is next discussed. This function involves the same problem as that of the language and cognitive functions. The problem here is whether or not “the arts express the subject or the object”. The theonomous answer will be shown to resolve this problem, but the “problem of aestheticism” is first discussed. This problem, as the others, is a result of the “subject-object structure of finite being”. [257] The danger is that a person (i.e. subject) may misuse an object as “nothing but an object by using it for itself”, rather than “trying to enter it in a reunion of the separated”. Images become objects of enjoyment through the aesthetic function of human self-creation, which is related to the “creativity of the [human] spirit”. The problem of aestheticism is that these objects are enjoyed without being participated in. But the impact of the Spiritual Presence overcomes this problem because it unites subject and object. Therefore the answer to the question of the aesthetic function is that the arts express neither the subject nor the object, because the Spiritual Presence unites both “in a theonomous creation” which occurs “through the aesthetic function”. The last question asked is whether some styles of art are more theonomous than, or singularly theonomous over against, the other artistic styles. “In analogy to the cognitive function” this question is asked by theologians who employ the Platonic, Aristotelian, Stoic, or Kantian philosophy in constructing a theology. However, theonomy distinguishes not styles, but “stylistic elements”. This is so because as philosophers use elements from other philosophers, so too artistic styles exchange elements; but neither exchange traditions- some may have more theonomous elements than others, but no tradition is either fully or devoid of theonomous elements. The important issue is that humanity develop “all potentialities” of its “cognitive encounter with reality” under the principle of autonomy. [258] Artistic styles include particularly the realitstic, idealistic, and expressionistic elements. Though all art works have each of these elements, one or another is usually predominant. Because the expressionistic element expresses the “self-transcendence of life in the vertical line”, and in so doing it shows the Spiritual Presence symbolically breaking into finitude, which is why it is “the genuine theonomous element”.

Definitions:

  • Problem of the Cleavage of Subject and Object: “The basic ambiguity which has appeared, more or less obviously, in all cultural functions, the cleavage of subject and object … Philosophers, mystics, lovers, seekers of intoxication- even of death- have tried to conquer this cleavage. In some of these attempts the Spiritual Presence is manifest; in others the desperate and often demonic desire to escape the cleavage by escaping reality is visible. Psychology has become aware of this problem; the unconscious desire to return to the mother’s womb or to the devouring womb of nature or to the protective womb of contemporary society is an expression of the will to dissolve one’s subjectivity into something transsubjective, which is not objective (otherwise it would reinstate the subject) but lies beyond subjectivity and objectivity.” [252-253]
  • Answer of Mysticism: “Mysticism answers [the basic ambiguity of the cleavage between subject and object] with the description of a state of mind in which the ‘universe of discourse’ has disappeared but the experiencing self is still aware of this disappearance. Only in eternal fulfilment does the subject (and consequently the object) disappear completely.” 253
  • Answer of Eros “A similar phenomenon [i.e. similar to mysticism] is human love. The separation of lover and the beloved is the most conspicuous and painful expression of the subject-object cleavage of finitude. The subject of love is never able to penetrate fully into the object of love, and love remains unfulfilled, and necessarily so, for if it were ever fulfilled it would eliminate the lover as well as the beloved; this paradox shows the human situation and with it the question to which theonomy, as the creation of the Spiritual Presence, gives the answer.” [253]
  • Spirit-Created Symbol: “Whereas the ordinary symbol is open to an interpretation which throws it back into the subject-object scheme, the Spirit-created symbol overcomes this possibility and with it the ambiguities of language.” [254]
  • Word of God: “‘Word of God’ is the Spirit-determined human word. As such it is not bound to a particular revelatory event, Christian or non-Christian; it is not bound to religion in the narrower sense of the term; it is not tied up with a special content or a special form. It appears wherever the Spiritual Presence imposes itself on an individual or a group. Language, under such impact, is beyond poverty and abundance”; “Spirit-determined language is ‘Word of God’”. [254,256]
  • Logos: “The [universal] criterion of every particular logos [word]”. [254]
  • Revelation: “Spirit-determined cognition is called ‘revelation’.” [256]
  • Sapientia, Scientia: “Wisdom can be distinguished from objectifying knowledge (sapientia from scientia).” [256]
  • Theonomous Knowledge: “Theonomous knowledge is Spirit-determined Wisdom.” [256]
  • Problem of Aestheticism: “The relation of man as self-integrating personality to the whole realm of aesthetic expression … it is rooted in the subject-object structure of finite being. The subject can transform any object into ‘nothing but an object’ by using it for itself instead of trying to enter it in a reunion of the separated.” [256-257]
  • The Aesthetic Function: “The aesthetic function of man’s cultural self-creation presents the same problem as language and cognition: in seeking for expressiveness in its creations it is confronted by the question of whether the arts express the subject or the object”; “The aesthetic function- whether pre-artistic or artistic- creates images which are objects of aesthetic enjoyment.” [256, 257]

Questions:

  • How does the Spiritual Presence work to overcome the ambiguities of culture?
  • What is the “basic ambiguity … in all cultural functions”?
  • Why cannot mysticism and eros resolve the problem of the subject-object cleavage?
  • What fact underlies all of the ambiguities of language?
  • How is the subject-object cleavage of language overcome?
  • How does the divine Spirit overcome the ambiguities of cognition?
  • What is the most theonomous artistic element? Why?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.B.3.b): Theonomy: Purpose and Humanity [258-262]

Summary:

[258] The basic subject object ambiguity (as discussed above) is shown in the relation of humanity and technical progress. The latter is unlimited it possibility, the former in its ability to adapt to technological changes; and this creates a conflict between the two. A further expression of the subject-object ambiguity occurs in the “production of means for ends which themselves become means without an ultimate end”, and in the problem of transforming parts of nature into parts of technology. Theonomy works to overcome this ambiguity in three ways: First by producing “objects which can be imbued with subjective qualities”, second by giving an ultimate end to all the various means- resulting third in the limitation of “man’s unlimited freedom to go beyond the given”. This is so because the divine Spirit impacts even technical processes in a theonomous way in order to overcome the subject-object split. For the Spirit, all ‘things’ are potentially objects of eros love, because all ‘things’ bear form and meaning. [258-259] Therefore eros (love) toward the technical Gestalt (form) can yield a “theonomous relation to technology”. [259] For example, the eros in the relation between children and adult is analogous to the Gestalten in the relation between ships, cars, planes, etc. These Gestalten have a theonomous character if the eros toward them is not ruined by economic interests (i.e. competition and merchants). The “technical object” is not opposed to theonomy, but because it contributes to the ambiguity of culture it must be “sublimat[ed]” under eros and art. Theonomous culture will also solve the second problem involved in the means for ends problem (mentioned above) by “technical self-limitation”. The problem of economic interests ruining the eros toward Gestalten occurs in the production of the “gadget”. The question of the ultimate end of production is repressed when economy is geared toward the gadget. Theonomy answers this problem by the influence of the divine Spirit on the consumers of technical production. The divine Spirit “drives toward” a production subjected to Eternal Life as its end. Consequences of the limitless possibilities of technical production are problematic because they can be destructive. These are most clearly seen in the development of “structures of destruction”, such as nuclear weapons. Those who developed such technical productions react to the “demonic character inherent in such weapons” in a “split” way. [260] The destruction atomic weapons are capable of will be “banned” by the Spiritual Presence (according to the prophecies in the book of “Revelation”), which is the only power able to resolve the “ambiguity of destruction and production”. The subject-object split is the root of all cultural ambiguities. It is active in the ambiguities of self-determination, other-determination, and personal participation (all of which are reunified by the Spiritual Presence), and the ambiguities of “educating and guiding another person”, which involve the relation between self-restriction and self-imposition. Progressive schools can be too restrictive on the self (i.e. the student), resulting in ineffectiveness. [261] The other extreme makes the student “an object without subjectivity” by trying to control through “indoctrination, commands, tricks, ‘brainwashing’” etc.; which is too imposing on the self. The Spirit resolves these extremes by liberating from the subjective-objective split. The impact of the Spiritual Presence yields a theonomous educational system which gives the self a direction towards the ultimate, uniting freedom and form in the person to person encounter. Other person to person encounters also need reunion. Because an ‘other’ in a person to person encounter is not necessarily a complete ‘stranger’, the other person is “an estranged part of one’s self”. For this reason the self cannot realize its own humanity except in reunion with the other, and vice versa. On the horizontal line (i.e. human to human) there are two possible (but ambiguous) ways of person to person reunion (or overcoming the subject object split). Either one can surrender to the other, or one can take the other into oneself. Neither way works, because both “destroy the persons they seek to unite”. Only the vertical dimension can resolve the subject-object split. In other words, only when both “sides in the encounter belong to some third thing which transcends them both”, when neither surrender nor subjection are attempted, but each is “elevated above self-relatedness”, can the sides be reunited. [261-262] Therefore, theonomy can “save humanity” through the impact of the Spiritual Presence, which enables each side in an encounter to experience the other “as coming from the same ground as one’s self”.

Definitions:

  • Eros: (Greek) Human love. [258]
  • Gestalt, Gestalten: (German) Form, forms. [258]

Questions:

  • How is the subject-object ambiguity/split expressed in technical progress?
  • How can a “theonomous relation to technology be achieved”?
  • What does a theonomous educational system look like?
  • Why is one’s humanity realized only in reunion with other people?
  • What is the only way that the subject-object split in person to person encounters can be overcome?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.B.3.c): Theonomy: Power and Justice [262-265]

Summary:

[262] The subject-object split also causes ambiguities in the communal realm. This section will discuss the way in which the impact of the Spiritual Presence overcomes (only fragmentarily) ambiguities of community. The first problem in community is its exclusiveness in correlation to its limiting inclusiveness. Here the community cannot avoid rejecting those outside the community (just as those who are one’s friends implies a rejection/negation of those who are not). This means that “social cohesion” implies “the injustice of social rejection”. This communal injustice is overcome by justice under the impact of the Spiritual Presence. The sense in which the churches represent the Spiritual Community is the sense in which they are transformed into inclusive holy communities, and this effects the secular communities outside, as well as the actualization of justice on the inside. These two effects of the Spirit’s impact lead to the creation of larger groups which can include more people. In this way the “ambiguity of cohesion and rejection” is fragmentarily conquered. Inequality is another ambiguity of justice to consider. Justice is ambiguous in this way: “Justice implies equality”, but this does not mean that what is not equal should be considered equal. Were this mistake made, it would be unjust. [262-263] The impact of the Spiritual Presence fragmentarily overcomes this ambiguity by uniting ultimate equality of all in the Spiritual Community with the existential inequality of each individual. (The reason individuals represent inequality is based on the fact of self-actualization as a prerequisite for individualization; or each ‘self’ through freedom and destiny is actualized as individual- this leads to existential inequality.) [263] On the one hand the Spirit judges the existential inequality when it subverts the justice of the ultimate equality. On the other hand the Spirit resists not only communal inequality as such, but the kinds of communal equality which result in the negation of essential inequality, “for example, in the principle of equal education in a mass society”. This kind of education would be unjust to one who could transcend cultural conformity. The solution of the Spiritual Presence to the ambiguity of inequality (one of the ambiguities of justice) occurs when a theonomous culture affirms both the ultimate equality of all humans as humans along with the “relative polarity of relative equality and relative inequality in the actual communal life”. The ambiguity of community next discussed is the ambiguity of leadership and power. This ambiguity also is caused by the subject-object split. Under the ambiguity of leadership, the individual (subject) lacks centeredness, which the community (object) provides by creating a sense of centeredness. This implies a “ruling group” which creates centeredness- but the ruling group is represented by an individual. The ambiguity is that the ruling individual represents “psychosomatic centeredness”, or the “center, but he is not the center of the group the way that he is the center of himself. This leads to ambiguities of justice, because a leader actualizing the power of being in a community actualizes his own power of being at the same time. [263-264] This results in tyranny, or “a powerless liberalism or anarchism, which is usually soon succeeded by a conscious and unrestricted tyranny”. [264] The ambiguity of justice in leadership is fragmentarily solved under the democratic principle. Under the impact of the Spiritual Presence, the rulers sacrifice their subjectivity to those they rule, thereby elevating those under their rule. The second part of the ambiguity of justice in the ambiguity of leadership and power is discussed. Justice in the communal life means law, and law brings power with it through a “power-supported legal system”. This leads to two ambiguities under that of power. Establishing the law and executing the law are both ambiguous. Establishing the law is similar to the ambiguity of leadership, as the ruling group must establish principles of oughtness and principles by which these principles are enforced. Law relates to justice, which relates to power. This means that “justice implies injustice”. However the Spiritual Presence can impact the law, giving it theonomous qualities. This means that the law can symbolically represent justice where the Spirit is effective; uniting law, justice, and community by supporting all of the dimensions of life on the one hand and by fighting against injustices which would suppress the “vital basis of law” on the other. [265] “Theonomous legislation is the work of the Spiritual Presence through the medium of prophetic self-criticism in those who are responsible for it”. This statement is not “idealistic in the negative sense” because of the “realistic” way in which the Spirit works through both the dimensions of the human spirit and the dimensions of life. The ambiguity of the execution of the law is that those who execute the law are expressing both the spirit of the law and their own spirit (the “spirit of the judge”). This is further intensified by the fact that the nature of the law is abstract, which makes the application of abstract law to concrete situations difficult. The judge (or executer of the law) must use wisdom in order to bridge the gap between abstract law and concrete application, and this is where the Spirit can inspire the judge in a theonomous way. Therefore theonomy resolves the ambiguity of justice/power in the execution of law, in a fragmentary way, when the impact of the Spiritual Presence is effective. This leads to the next section, which discusses the root of justice and humanity- morality (and the impact of the Spiritual Presence upon morality).

Definitions:

  • Under the Impact of the Spiritual Presence: “Is the same as saying, determined by faith and love”. [262]
  • Democratic Principle: The “Partial sacrifice of the subjectivity of the rulers and this partial elevation of the ruled to subjectivity is the meaning of the ‘democratic’ idea. It is not identical with any particular democratic constitution which attempts to actualize the democratic principle. This principle is an element in the Spiritual Community and its justice. It is present even in aristocratic and monarchic constitutions- and it may be greatly distorted in historical democracies. Wherever it is fragmentarily actual the Spiritual Presence is at work- through or in opposition to the churches or outside the overtly religious life.” [264]

Questions:

  • What causes ambiguities in the communal realm?
  • How does the impact of the Spiritual Presence overcome the ambiguity of cohesion and rejection?
  • One of the ambiguities of justice occurs when what is essentially unequal is called equal. How does the impact of the Spiritual Presence fragmentarily overcome this ambiguity?
  • The Spiritual Presence overcomes the ambiguity of leadership through the principle of democracy which is an “element in the Spiritual Community and its justice”. What is the principle of democracy and how does it function to overcome the ambiguity of justice in leadership?
  • The ambiguity of the power supported legal system is answered by theonomous legislation. Why is this not “idealistic in the negative sense of the word”?
  • How does theonomy answer the ambiguity of justice/power in the execution of law?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.C: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Morality [266-275]

IV.III.C.1: Religion and Morality in the Light of the Spiritual Presence: Theonomous Morality [266-268]

Summary:

[266] Essentially, morality, culture, and religion are in unity. Existentially, or “under the conditions of existence”, this unity is destroyed. All that is left is “an ambiguous version” of this “essential unity”, which is reunited in a fragmentary and unambiguous way under the impact of the divine Spirit. The Spiritual Presence creates both a theonomous culture (or ‘transcultural culture’), and a theonomous morality (or ‘transmoral morality’). As the “self-transcendence of life under the dimension of spirit”, religion enables both self-creation and self-integration under this dimension. The relation of religion and morality in light of the Spiritual Presence will now be discussed. The question of the relation of religion and morality will be articulated through the relation/duality of philosophical ethics and theological ethics, which is a “duality analogous to the duality of autonomous [philosophy] and Christian philosophy”. [In other words, religion/philosophical ethics/autonomous philosophy are on one side of the relation, and morality/theological ethics/Christian philosophy are on the other.] The duality of philosophical and theological ethics is “a part of” Christian philosophy, but the “idea of a Christian philosophy” has been rejected [by Tillich], because it would “betray the honesty of search by determining before inquiry which results must be found”. Theonomous ethics and theonomous philosophy (the former is a part of the latter) are preferable because they are both subordinate to the divine Spirit. [266-267] “Theological ethics as an independent theological discipline” is rejected because it leads to an “intolerable dualism” separating philosophical and theological ethics which further results in a “schizophrenic position of ‘double truth.’” [267] Examples of this schizophrenia would be one course teaching the autonomy of practical reason (Kant and Hume), and the other the “heteronomy of divine commandments” (Bible and Church doctrine). Rather, a course in ethics which both “analyzes the nature of the moral function” and “judges the changing contents in light of this analysis” should be provided. Here the “unconditional character of the moral imperative” as well as the “theonomous quality of ethics” could be either affirmed or denied. The important thing is that the affirmation or denial of these is determined within the philosophical arena, not by external church or political authorities. The theologian can enter into this discussion as a “philosophical ethicist whose eyes are opened by the ultimate concern that has taken hold of [i.e. the divine Spirit has grasped] him”. He argues from the same principles as the others, therefore one who teaches ethics is a philosopher (though he may also be a theologian). [267-268] This “combination of ultimate concern and partly detached argument” is impossible empirically because the “theonomous quality of an ethics” always depends on “concrete” religious “traditions” (i.e. Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc.), but it is possible under theonomous ethics which expresses the religious substance (i.e. “the experience of ultimate concern”) with argument but does not try to determine the religious substance. [268] Theonomy must not be forced or it turns into heteronomy, which ethicists must reject. “Actual theonomy is autonomous ethics under the Spiritual Presence”. Both church doctrine and Bible relating to ethics should not be seen as revelatory ethical information, but as that which- along with all commandments- is judged by the divine Spirit.

Definitions:

  • Theonomous: [Greek: theo meaning God, nomos meaning law] “The term ‘theonomous,’ as applied to culture and morality, has the meaning of the paradoxical phrases ‘transcultural culture’, and ‘transmoral morality’”. [266]
  • Religion: “Religion, the self-transcendence of life under the dimension of spirit”. [266]
  • A Christian Philosophy: The duality of philosophical ethics and theological ethics is “Analogous to the duality of autonomous and Christian philosophy and is actually a part of the latter. We have already rejected the idea of a Christian philosophy, which would inevitably betray the honesty of search by determining before inquiry what results must be found.” [266]
  • Theonomous Philosophy: “A philosophy is theonomous which is free from external interferences and in which, in the actual process of thought, the impact of the Spiritual Presence is effective.” [266]
  • Theonomous Ethics: “An ethics is theonomous in which the ethical principles and processes are described in the light of the Spiritual Presence. Theonomous ethics is part of theonomous philosophy”; “Theonomous ethics in the full sense of the phrase … is ethics in which, under the impact of the Spiritual Presence, the religious substance- the experience of an ultimate concern- is consciously expressed though the process of free arguing and not through an attempt to determine it.” [266, 267-268]

Questions:

  • How is the essential unity of morality, culture and religion reunited?
  • Why does Tillich reject the idea of a Christian philosophy?
  • Why is a theonomous ethics/philosophy superior to others?
  • Why is the attempt to separate theological ethics as an independent theological discipline so problematic? What does this separation lead to?
  • How should a theonomous ethics treat church doctrine and the bible? Do you agree?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.C.2: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Personal Self-integration [268-271]

Summary:

[268] As previously discussed in the ambiguities of the integration of the moral personality, the polarity of self-identity and self-alteration were shown to result in a “loss of a centered self” through either empty self-identity or chaotic self-alteration. This then led to the concept of sacrifice and its ambiguities, which included sacrifice; either of the possible or the actual- the one to the detriment of the other- in the ambiguity of self-integration. The same questions from these discussions are relevant in this section: What can and must one take from the world into one’s centered self, how many directions can and must one push, and how many potentialities can and must one attempt to actualize? [269] The answers were shown to be found under the impact of the Spiritual Presence, wherein the Spirit takes the personal center of a person into the universal center, “the transcendent unity which makes faith and love possible”. Then, because all possibilities in the concrete are embraced in the transcendent unity the divine life (i.e. the divine Spirit), the personal center can face all concrete encounters. This is so because the divine life transcends all potentiality and actuality, and the Spirit liberates one from the polarity of freedom and destiny; and one’s “acceptance” of this transcendent unity is both the “all-inclusive sacrifice” and “all-inclusive fulfilment”. Though this sacrifice is the “only unambiguous sacrifice a human being can make”, it is made under the conditions of existence in the “process of life”, which means that it is fragmentary and subjected to the “ambiguities of life”. As a result of this sacrifice the above questions can be answered: The establishment of the personal center in the universal center makes one able to filter that which is encountered in the concrete, only permitting that which can express “the essential being” of the person to be taken into the “unity of the centered self”. This is a process of judgment which a person is empowered to make by “Wisdom in the Spirit”. This judgment works toward the polarity involved in the “self-integration of the moral self”- the polarity of self-identity and self-alteration. The pole of self-identity is kept intact by the Spirit as the Spiritual Presence moves a person toward self-alteration, thereby conquering the “double anxiety” (the anxiety of either not actualizing one’s essential being or of losing one’s self if one self-actualizes) involved in one’s movement from essence to existence. This is so because the Spirit does not disrupt the self-identity in the person’s movement toward self integration- the Spiritual Presence “maintains” without “impoverishing” (one’ self-identity), and “drives toward” without “disrupting” (self to alteration). “Where there is Spirit, the actual manifests the potential and the potential determines the actual”. When a person is in the Spiritual Presence, that person can overcome the “distortions of existence”. Because that person who is in the Spiritual Presence, he or she comes to exist “in the reality of the New Being”. [270] This claim is based on the “christological assertion”. In other words, because in the Christ God and humanity were eternally unified under the existential conditions of existence, persons who “participate” in the New Being are by virtue of that participation brought into a state wherein the conflict between their essence and existence is no more. “The Spiritual Presence actualizes the essential within the existential in an unambiguous way”. There is another need humanity has in its self-actualization: one’s “directions and aims” need an “unambiguous determination of the life processes”. Because of the Spiritual Presence, one has an ultimate aim in the midst of one’s other aims. In other words there is balance between the extremes for the “saint” (i.e. one who is determined by the Spiritual Presence): the saint is neither too ascetic nor too liberal, neither too restrictive nor too disruptive, because the Spirit gives the saint a “unity in divergent directions”, all the saints directions diverge and then reconverge in the “direction of the ultimate”. Therefore the saint has directiveness without anxiety. [270-271] The answer to the question of which potentialities one can and must actualize, is found in the Spiritual Presence: it does not change the fact that not all potentialities can be actualized in human finitude. [271] Rather the Spirit enables one to accept one’s finitude, and change sacrifice from a negative into a positive aspect of existence by giving meaning to sacrifice through the “uninterrupted unity with God”. Here the saint sacrifices all potentialities on the horizontal plane (i.e. human finitude) for the sake of the vertical direction (i.e. the direction of the ultimate), which then are then given back to the vertical direction in a “theonomous personal fulfilment”.

Definitions:

  • Double Anxiety: This anxiety “Logically (but not temporally) precedes the transformation from essence to existence, the anxiety of not actualizing one’s essential being and the anxiety of losing oneself within one’s self-actualization”. [269]
  • Christological Assertion: “The basic christological assertion [is] that in the Christ the eternal unity of God and man becomes actual under the conditions of existence without being conquered by them.” [270]
  • Saint: “He who is determined by the Spiritual Presence.” [270]

Questions:

  • What is the polarity that implies problems relating to the concept of sacrifice and its ambiguities?
  • What is involved in the ambiguities of sacrifice?
  • How is a person empowered to judge those things which are able to express the “essential being of a person” in the concrete?
  • What does the judgment empowered by “Wisdom in the Spirit” work towards, and which polarity does this involve?
  • What is the “double anxiety” one experiences in one’s self-actualization under the polarity of self-identity and self-alteration?
  • How does the Spirit keep one’s self-identity in tact in the process of moving toward self-alteration?
  • Why is a person who is “in the Spiritual Presence” able to overcome the “distortions of existence”?
  • How does the saint have directiveness without anxiety?
  • How does the problem of which or how many potentialities should be actualized resolved?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.C.3: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of the Moral Law [271-275]

Summary:

[271] The previous section functioned to “establish a theonomous foundation for the moral law”. [This section will discuss three paradoxes of theonomous morality and the ways in which love answers all three of them.] [271-272] The three fold “paradox of transmoral morality has been discussed”. It is threefold aspect includes “the validity of the moral imperative, the relativity of the moral content, and the power of the moral motivation”; all of which are answered by Agape. [272] As a result “the moral law is both accepted and transcended”. The moral law is accepted as that which expresses what humanity “essentially or by creation is”, and transcended in the sense that it obeys the law not under compulsion but freely and voluntarily through Agape love. However, offering love as the answer to the paradox of theonomous morality does not mean that love is unambiguous, because love can be interpreted as a kind of law in itself. The interpretation of love as law is untenable though, because it would insist on love as an emotion. A better way of articulating love is not as law based upon emotion, but rather as “a reality”. Therefore “theonomous morals are morals of love as the creation of the Spirit”. Therefore the threefold paradox of theonomous morality (its “validity, content, and motivation”) is solved in these ways: First, the validity of the moral imperative in theonomous morality is unambiguously given by the Spiritual Presence transcending law as form, and reuniting one’s essential and estrangement by elevating one to transcendent unity in the divine life. In this way the reunion that the moral law demands is given, making the “moral imperative unconditionally valid”. [The key to this claim is that, as discussed in the above section, in self-identity and self-alteration the Spirit empowers one to only filter those elements or contents in existential existence that are compatible with one’s essential being.] Thus, the fact that “ethical contents” are relative [existentially] does not affect the “unconditional validity of the moral imperative, because all contents must, in order to be valid, confirm the reunion of man’s existential with his essential being”. [273] Because love is “unconditional in its essence, [but] conditional in its existence”, love serves as the uniting force of existential/conditional ethics and the essential/unconditional moral imperative. Second, the problem of content in a theonomous morality is answered. The moral imperative has contents include both “moral demands” for concrete situations, and “abstract norms”. This leads to the “oscillation” one experiences according to application of the law, hence the “ambiguity of the law”. One wishes for an “unambiguous criterion” by which to judge how to act in accordance with abstract law in the concrete situations of life. This criterion is satisfied by agape love, which meets the criterion because it is unambiguous though fragmentarily so. Nevertheless love can reach both the abstract and the concrete requirements of the paradoxical content of theonomous transmoral morality, because it reaches both poles (abstract and concrete). The abstract is reached through wisdom given by the divine Spirit through love, as found in the medium of moral laws (though these are not unconditional). [273-274] On the concrete side (where ethics are existentially experienced) abstract ethical norms are sought, but they cannot “reach the situation” because they are not concrete. [274] But love can reach the concrete situation, by unifying the abstract with the concrete through wisdom, while love also transcends wisdom through courage. Through this courage one can judge the concrete particular situation without distorting it with abstract norms. When the divine Spirit creates love that a person is able to courageously employ, the person experiences what once was an ethical dilemma as an unambiguous courageous decision. “Theonomous morality is determined by Spirit-created love”, “supported by Spirit-created wisdom”, and “made concrete and adequate by the application of the courage of love to the unique situation”. Third, the problem of motivation in theonomous morality is solved through the motivating power of love as grace. Because “Spirit, love, and grace are one and the same reality in different aspects”, grace is the motivating power of love in theonomous morality. The Spirit creates love, and love works as “the effective presence of love in man”. Through the impact of the Spiritual Presence, humanity (as participating in the New Being), is given the free gift of grace; and grace fulfils the law (though only fragmentarily), and reunifies one with one’s essential being, “and this means a reunion with oneself, with others, and with the ground of one’s self and others”. Thus only the Spiritual Presence which is love can motivate a person, and only the former can satisfy its own demand. Autonomous and heteronomous morality cannot motivate in this way. Last, because non-theonomous ethics have not love as their motivation, they are not ethics of love, but ethics of law; which always means estrangement.

Definitions:

  • Agape: “The love which reunites centered persons with centered person”. [272]
  • Form of the Moral Law: The moral law is “Both accepted and transcended … It is transcended in its form as law, that is, as that which stands against man in his existential estrangement, as commandment and threat.” [272]
  • Love: “Love is not a law; it is a reality. It is not a matter of ought-to-be- even if expressed in imperative form- but a matter of being.” [272]
  • Spirit, Love, Grace: “Theologically speaking, Spirit, love, and grace are one and the same reality in different aspects.” [274]
  • Grace: “The very term ‘grace’ indicates that it is not a product of any act of goodwill on the part of him who receives it but that it is given gratuitously, without merit on his side. The great ‘in spite of’ is inseparable from the concept of grace. Grace is the impact of the Spiritual Presence that makes the fulfilment of the law possible- though fragmentarily. It is the reality of that which the law commands, the reunion of one’s true being.” [274]

Questions:

  • What is the answer to the threefold “paradox of transmoral morality”?
  • How is the moral law both “transcended and accepted” through Agape?
  • Why should love not be interpreted as law? What alternative does Tillich offer for the interpretation of love?
  • How is the “moral imperative made unconditionally valid”?
  • Why is love able to unite conditional/existential ethics with the unconditional/essential moral imperative?
  • How does love answer the issue of moral content in theonomous morality?
  • In what way is love the resolution to the moral motivation of theonomous morality?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.D: The Healing Power of the Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Life in General [275-282]

IV.III.D.1: The Spiritual Presence and the Ambiguities of Life in General [275-277]

Summary:

[275] All of the preceding sections on the divine Spirit were focused on its relation to the dimensions of the human spirit (i.e. morality, culture, and religion). The divine Spirit has been shown to relate to these clearly and directly. But here the question is whether or not the divine Spirit relates as clearly to the dimensions of life which precede the dimensions of the human spirit. First, there is no direct relation of the divine Spirit to the dimensions of the inorganic, organic, or of self-awareness. The divine Spirit only appears in the “ecstasy of the human spirit”, but not in the dimensions which “conditions the appearance of spirit”. The Spiritual Presence is neither psychological nor physiological. For this reason the literal interpretation of reports of miracles or other events which break the basic laws of nature in religious traditions (including the Bible) are to be discarded. If stories entailing such events are read literally, the divine Spirit would be reduced to a mere finite “cause beside other causes”, or basic “physical matter”, losing “both its Spirituality and its divinity”. [275] Neither should the divine Spirit be understood as a “substance of higher power and dignity than that of ordinary natural substances”, because this claim would negate the Spirit as higher than the human spirit. In other words, if human spirit is above natural substances, and the divine Spirit is above the human spirit, classifying the divine Spirit as substantive would be a contradiction. [276] Second, the Spiritual Presence influences the ambiguities of life in general in an “indirect and limited way”. Because all dimensions of life are either potentially or actually present in each dimension of the multidimensional unity of life, whatever occurs in one dimension is occurring (at some level) in the others, when the Spirit influences the human spirit, it indirectly influences all dimensions within which the human dimension partakes. For example the impact of the Spiritual Presence as creating theonomous morality affects the psychological state of the person, which means also that it affects the physiological and biological elements of humanity. But this does not imply cause and effect. The impact of the Spiritual Presence on the human spirit “is at the same time, an impact on the psyche, the cells, and the physical elements which constitute man”. Further, the fact that the term “impact” implies causality, does not mean that it should be understood to denote “categorical” causality, it is to be understood symbolically to mean “present” to the dimensions of life “in one and the same Presence”. This means “present” only to human beings, because only humans embody the “dimension of the spirit”; “which qualitatively refers to all realms”, but “quantitatively it is limited to man as the being in whom spirit is actualized”. Thus the processes of self-integration, self-creation, and self-transcendence are only unambiguous in a fragmentary way- the Divine Spirit conquers these ambiguities fragmentarily because it influences them only through the dimension of the human spirit; the other dimensions are not directly affected except through the human spirit. [277] Humanity alone is directly impacted in the human spirit by God the Spirit, the universe only partially through the human spirit, which thereby partakes of the Divine. The New Being is limited to humanity, and the universe “will follow” the “first fruits” of the New Being in the human spirit. The only “function” which unites “the universality of the Kingdom of God with the limited impact of he Spiritual Presence” is the function of “healing”. Healing is directly tied to “salvation”, for “salvation is healing”, and the Spiritual Presence effectively heals in an anticipatory way, which will affect “all dimensions of life” in future “eternal fulfilment”.

Definitions:

  • Functions/Dimensions of the Human spirit (lower case): The functions of the human spirit are “morality, culture, [and] religion.” [275]
  • Dimensions of Life: “The descriptions of the ambiguities of life in the dimensions which precede the appearance of the dimensions of the [human] spirit … [The dimensions of life connote] life in general”. [275]
  • Healing: The only function “Which unites the universality of the Kingdom of God with the limited impact of the Spiritual Presence [to the human spirit]- the function of healing. All dimensions of life are involved in it. It is produced by actions in all realms, including the realm which is determined by the dimension of spirit. It is an effect of the Spiritual Presence and an anticipation of eternal fulfilment. Therefore it requires a special consideration. Salvation means healing, and healing is an element in the work for salvation.” [277]

Questions:

  • This section discussed the relation of the divine Spirit to the dimensions of life (life in general), which precede the dimensions of the human spirit. What do these dimensions entail?
  • Why does Tillich discard the literal interpretation of miracles or the breaking of natural laws in religious traditions (including the Bible)?
  • What is meant by the divine Spirit only affecting the dimensions of life other than that of the human spirit in a limited way?
  • What is meant by “healing”, and how does the impact of the Spiritual Presence differ in this way than in any other?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.III.D.2: Healing, Salvation, and the Spiritual Presence [277-282]

Summary:

[277] The polarity of self-identity and self-alteration is united in “the life process under all dimensions”. If this polarity is disturbed by either pole dominating in an unbalanced way, “disintegration” of the balance of life occurs. This disintegration is called “disease”, and it leads to death. Healing forces attempt to prevent either pole from outweighing the other, by working for health. Because disease disrupts the centeredness of life in all dimension, so too must all dimensions fight for centeredness; which means fighting for health and healing. The question of this section is whether or not there is healing by the Divine Spirit, and if so, “how it relates to other ways of healing”, and last, how it relates to what is called “salvation”. First, the realm of “health, disease, and healing: most clearly shows the multidimensional unity of life, because all other dimensions of life “are included in them”. As a result, “healing” means healing “the whole person”. [278] Different dimensions of a human can be affected at different levels, because the dimensions are all related. Thus the type of healing needed is determined by the “degree in which unity or independence prevails”, which is a way of articulating healing under the different dimensions: healing of the brain does not imply healing of the finger, and surgery is meant to heal only a part. However, these considerations do not refer to “the healing power of the Spiritual Presence”. This kind of healing is ambiguous, but is answered under the “concept of faith healing”. [278-279] “Faith Healing” does not mean magical healing, but the kind of healing which results from the impact of the Spiritual Presence, which is the opposite of magical healing determined by the subject intensely concentrating to incur healing. [279] Magic healing can be effective, and is not here discredited, it is however distinguished from the faith healing of the Spiritual Presence; which can neither fully accept nor fully reject magical healing. However, there are three important elements of magic healing: it is healing not through faith but through concentration, it is an element in many human encounters, and if it excludes other kinds of healing it is destructive. The churches include faith healing, as do groups outside the churches. This can be shown in repetition of prayer, sacramental performances, etc. There is an ambiguous distinction between Spirit-determined prayer and magic prayer. The former brings the personal center of the person praying with it to God, and accepts the answer whether or not the request is granted. [280] The latter is a prayer which concentrates only on the desired effect, and wants to use God for this effect, rejecting the prayer which does not yield the desired result. In other words, faith prayer seeks God, whereas magic prayer seeks its object. Therefore one can pray for health under the grasp of the Spirit, and this is not “an attempt of faith healing but an expression of the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence. These two ways of healing relate to the New Being. Because the integration of the personal center to is necessitated by its elevation to the divine center, which is further necessitated by the impact of the Spirit, health and salvation both exemplify this elevation because they include the elevation of a person to the divine life. Humanity receives this healing through faith, and actualizes it through love. Therefore the ultimate meaning of health is salvation, which “is life in faith and love”. And faith and love are creations of the Spirit through its impact. How then this “unambiguous though fragmentary health, created by the Spirit, is related to the healing activities under the different dimensions” is now discussed. The answer is primarily negative. The healing of the Spiritual impact does not take away the other ways of healing, neither do other ways of healing [as discussed above: surgery, medicine, magic healing, etc.] erase the former. [280-281] Thus the claims of faith healers and the notion that diseases came from sin are disregarded. It also means that the attempts of the churches to claim healing power over and against the medical ways of healing, or the attempts of psychotherapy to eliminate medical and Spiritual healing, are untenable. [281] The latter would include a denial of human existential estrangement and possible reunion, denying the “vertical line in man’s encounter with reality”. Therefore, the different ways of healing should not be denied by positing one to the detriment of the others, just as the “dimensions of life do not conflict with one another”. In other words, “the correlate of the multidimensional unity of life is the multidimensional unity of healing.” [282] However, the different functions should always be distinguished from one another, and one should never eliminate another. Last, healing is always fragmentary, and some manifestations of disease are always in conflict with health, and the Spirit does not override this situation; and death is never avoided, even under the impact of the Spiritual Presence. “Therefore the question of healing, and this means the question of salvation, goes beyond the healing of the individual to the healing through history and beyond history; it leads us to the question of the Eternal Life as symbolized by the Kingdom of God. Only universal healing is total healing- salvation beyond ambiguities and fragments.”

Definitions:

  • Disease: “Disintegration occurs if one of the two poles [in the polarity of self-identity and self-alteration] is so predominant that the balance of life is disturbed. The name of this disturbance is disease, and its final result is death.” [277]
  • Health: “The self-integration of a centered life”; “Health in the ultimate sense of the word, health as identical with salvation, is life in faith and love.” [277,280]
  • Faith Healing: “The term ‘faith healing’ is currently used for psychological phenomena which suggest the term ‘magic healing’. Faith, in the faith-healing movements of by individual faith healers, is an act of concentration and autosuggestion … the genuinely religious concept of faith, as the state of being grasped by the Spiritual Presence, has little in common with this autosuggestive concentration called ‘faith’ by the faith healers. In a sense it is just the opposite, because the religious concept of faith points to its receptive character, the state of being grasped by the Spirit, whereas the faith-healer’s concept of faith emphasizes an act of intensive concentration and self-determination.” [278-279]
  • Magic: “Magic must be defined as the impact of one being upon another which does not work through mental communication or physical causation but which nevertheless has physical or mental effects.” [279]

Questions:

  • What is meant by the disintegration of the “balance of life”?
  • What is meant by “health”?
  • What is meant by “healing faith”?
  • How does healing faith differ from “magic healing”?
  • How does the healing that the Spirit creates relate to the other ways of healing?
  • What is the further question which the question of healing, which is the question of salvation, lead to?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.IV: The Trinitarian Symbols [283-294]

IV.IV.A: The Motives of the Trinitarian Symbolism [283-286]

Summary:

[283] There is a distinguishing aspect of the Spiritual Presence which differs from God’s presence in aspects of creation and salvation. The aspect in which God is present in the symbol of the Spiritual Presence refers explicitly to the presence of God “ecstatically present” in the human spirit, and implicitly to God’s presence in all that constitutes the dimension of the spirit. These aspects have a foundation in reality, and that foundation is the reality these aspects of God’s presence express of something real in the divine nature for “religious experience” and for “the theological tradition”. These aspects are objectively valid, though they affect subjectivity. Therefore Trinitarian Symbols are a religious discovery of the truth of aspects of the God’s presence. There are three primary factors of trinitarian thought in the history of religious experience: First, the tension between the absolute element and the concrete element in our ultimate concern, second, the symbolic application of the concept of life to the divine ground of being, and third, the threefold manifestation of God as creative power, saving love, and ecstatic transformation. This third factor is what has led to the symbols “Father, Son, and Spirit”. If the third factor is not accompanied by the first and second factors, it leads “into a crude mythology”. The first factor was discussed in relation to our ultimate concern and the resulting need for concrete symbols of the divine as a result of the tension between the absolute and concrete elements. [284] The second factor was discussed in the sections under “God as Life”, which yielded the insight that to experience God as a living God means that ‘otherness’ must be included in the concept of God. The otherness leads to an “eternal ‘process’” of God’s reuniting of otherness and identity; thus God is ground, form, and act (this is a “pretrinitarian formula”). The mystery of being is not resolved, which necessitates “dialectical” thinking toward the doctrine of the Trinity. It is important to reiterate this point: The Doctrine of the Trinity is not irrational nor is it paradoxical, it is dialectical; for nothing about God is irrational because God the divine Logos, as the manifestation of reason in finitude. “Only the transition from essence to existence, the act of self-estrangement, is irrational.” And the only paradox in the relation between God and humanity is the appearance of the Logos in the flesh, which is the paradoxical because it is the eternal/essential unity of God and humanity under the conditions of the very separation between God and humanity- finite/existential estrangement in history, meaning in time and space. The doctrine of the Trinity is dialectical, in that it represents the “dialectics of life”, or the “movement of separation and reunion”. The “worst distortion of the mystery of Trinity” is the assertion that “three is one and one is three”. Numerically, this is “simply nonsense”. [285] But if this assertion is meant to describe a “real process” it is accurate in describing “all life processes”. This brings us to the third factor of trinitarian thought in religious experiences, which is “the manifestation of the divine ground of being in the appearance of Jesus as the Christ”. This assertion led to the Christological problem. For this reason the christological claims of Christianity must precede discussion of trinitarian symbolism, which must further include discussing the doctrine of the Spirit, because “the Christ is the Spirit, and the actualization of the New Being in history is the work of the Spirit”. An existential perspective on theology was encouraged by Schleiermacher’s discussion of “Christian consciousness”, but an emphasis on the receptive side of this consciousness was overlooked. The source of “religious knowledge and theological reflection, including the trinitarian symbols” is revelation. Trinitarian symbols “must be understood as an answer to the questions implied in man’s predicament”. There are three concepts involved in the existence of humanity: First, finitude (humanity’s essential being as creature), second, estrangement (humanity’s existential being in time and space), and third, ambiguity (humanity’s participation in life universal). [286] Doctrine and symbolism about: God attempt to answer the questions which arise out of the first, Christ toward those of the second, and the Spirit toward the third. These symbols all attempt to offer answers to matters of ultimate concern, and they come from revelatory experiences. The truth of these symbols is determined by their power to express “the ultimacy of the ultimate in all directions”, and the “history of the trinitarian doctrine is a continuous fight against formulations which endanger this power.” Monotheism and “mediating figures” are results of the impact of the Spiritual Presence, God experienced as a “living God”, and the experience of Jesus as the Christ also are the work of the Spirit. Trinitarian doctrine, however, is not the work of the Spirit, but the result of “theological thought” using philosophical concepts. However, the “substance of all trinitarian thought is given in revelatory experiences, and the form has the same rationality that all theology, as a work of the Logos, must have.”

Definitions:

  • The Spiritual Presence: “The Spiritual Presence is the presence of God under a definite aspect. It is not the aspect expressed in the symbol of creation, nor is it the aspect expressed in the symbol of salvation, although it presupposes and fulfils both. It is the aspect of God ecstatically present in the human spirit and implicitly in everything which constitutes the dimension of the spirit.” [283]
  • Aspects: “These aspects [of the presence of God] are reflections of something real in the nature of the divine for religious experience and for theological tradition.” [283]
  • Fundamentum In Re: (Latin) “A foundation in reality”. [283]
  • The Trinitarian Symbols: “The trinitarian symbols are a religious discovery which had to be made, formulated, and defended.” [283]
  • The Doctrine of the Trinity: “The doctrine of the Trinity- this is our main contention- is neither irrational nor paradoxical but, rather, dialectical. Nothing divine is irrational- if irrational means contradicting reason”. [284]
  • Reason: “Reason is the finite manifestation of the divine Logos.” [284]
  • Paradoxical: “Nor is the doctrine of the Trinity paradoxical. There is only one paradox in the relation between God and man, and that is the appearance of the eternal or essential unity of God and man under the conditions of their existential separation- or in Johannine language, the Logos has become flesh, i.e., has entered historical existence in time and space. All other paradoxical statements in Christianity are variations and applications of this paradox, for example, the doctrine of justification by grace alone or the participation of God in the suffering of the universe.” [284]
  • Dialectics of Life: “The movement of separation and reunion.” [284]
  • Pneumatology: “The doctrine of the Spirit”. [285]
  • Trinitarian Symbolism: “Like every theological symbol, the trinitarian symbolism must be understood as an answer to the question implied in man’s predicament”; “The questions arising out of man’s finitude are answered by the doctrine of God and the symbols used in it. The questions arising out of the ambiguities of man’s finitude are answered by the doctrine of God and the symbols used in it. The questions arising out of man’s estrangement are answered by the doctrine of the Christ and the symbols applied to it. The questions arising out of the ambiguities of life are answered by the doctrine of the Spirit and its symbols. Each of these answers expresses that which is a matter of ultimate concern in symbols derived from particular revelatory experiences. Their truth lies in their power to express the ultimacy of the ultimate in all directions. The history of the trinitarian doctrine is a continuous fight against formulations which endanger this power.” [285,286]

Questions:

  • What is meant by the aspect in which God is present in the symbol called ‘the Spiritual Presence’? In other words, how does it differ from the aspects of creation and salvation?
  • What is the reality these aspects of God’s presence are based upon?
  • What are the three factors leading to trinitarian thinking in religious history, and why must the third factor be accompanied by the first and second?
  • What does it mean to say that the doctrine of the trinity is neither irrational nor paradoxical, but rather dialectical?
  • What is the “source of religious knowledge and theological reflection, including the trinitarian symbols”?
  • What determines the truth of symbols?
  • What is the substance and what is the form, of “all trinitarian thought”?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.IV.B: The Trinitarian Dogma [286-291]

Summary:

[286] Some remarks on the “methodological procedures” employed by this [Tillich’s] system are necessary. The first remark is on the Ritschlian interpretation of trinitarian dogma, as elaborated by Harnack and Loofs. These have shown the “greatness and the fundamental decision made at Nicea” which resulted in the “impasse” Christian theology entered because of the “conceptual form” Nicea used. [287] These insights are still effecting theology, and Protestant theology should not forget them. Harnack theology is not historically true, because it misrepresents Greek and Hellenistic thought by calling it “intellectualistic”. As a result he rejects “the whole of early Christian theology”, holding that it was invaded by the Hellenism. Instead, a proper understanding of these shows that Greek thought seeks “eternal truth and eternal life” in existential concern, Hellenistic thought required “these categories” (i.e. eternal truth/life), just as Jews in Paul’s time, for the reception of the Christian gospel. Thus Harnack should not have rejected early Christian theology for using categories. Further, categories should neither be imposed upon nor extricated from Christian theology. That theology should not be forced to continue to use or not use previous categories is relevant to Harnack’s criticism of “early trinitarian dogma”; he complains of its use of categories, but fails to recognize the value “of what the synodal decisions achieved in spite of their questionable formulations”. The Ritschlian theologians tried to replace the Greek (ontological) categories with Kantian (moral) categories, but the use of ontological categories can never be avoided. As a result the proper attitude towards the early trinitarian dogma is to ask the question as to what its theology has or has not “achieved”. Exclusive monotheism results from holding the name “God” for that which is our ultimate concern; “there is no god besides God”. But the trinitarian symbols show a “plurality of divine figures”, which means either that some are less divine than others or the position of monotheism “and with it the ultimacy of ultimate concern” must be discarded. If these are discarded they are replaced with “half-ultimate concerns” and “quasi-divine powers”, and this happened with the “problem of the divinity of the Christ”. [288] Greek thought tried to solve this problem with the concept of the “Logos doctrine”. However this may aid the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of God must include both “ground” (principle of abyss) and “form” (principle of self-manifestation) when discussing the living God as creator. Thus a “Logos doctrine” should apply not only to Christ but also to God. In order to do this the “prechristological and the christological assertions about the divine life” must be “merged” in the development of a trinitarian doctrine. As a result of this “synthesis” is that one who rejects the “Logos principle sacrifices the idea of a living God, and he who rejects the application of this principle to Jesus as the Christ rejects his character as Christ”. The main question for Nicea was about the relation between God and “his Logos (also called his Son)”. That the answer to the question of this relation determined the “revelatory and saving power” of Jesus the Christ, it was an existential question for the early church; and this “existential concern” is the root of early church debates. [289] But Nicea did not solve the question, they simply stated the problem of the trinitarian symbols. Further, it acknowledged the fact that both the “Logos-Son” and the “God-Father” are “expressions of ultimate concern”. This led to the understanding of the Spirit as the creator of Jesus, and the director of the church; holding that “the divine Spirit is God himself as Spirit in the Christ and through him in the church and the Christian”. Yet the question remains: “How can ultimate concern be expressed in more than one divine hypostasis”? Regarding prayer, the question as to which one of the three personae (i.e. Father, Son, or Spirit) to which prayer should be directed, is a problem, which relates to the interpretation of “the historical Jesus” as the second hypostasis in the Trinity. [290] For this reason the historical should be interpreted symbolically: “the face of God manifest for historical man is the face of Jesus as the Christ”, but the God understood in trinitarian symbolism is still free to show himself in other ways. The trinitarian doctrine is mostly Eastern, as shown by Augustine’s attempt to articulate this doctrine through “psychological analogies”. Further the tendency to subordinate the “Son to the Father and the Spirit to the Son” comes from Greek Orthodox thought, as the understanding of reality through higher and lower “grades” comes from Plato’s Symposium, and through Origen to the Eastern Church and then Christian mysticism; leading finally to a “personalistic worldview”. The personalistic worldview still remains in the symbolism the church uses for God. [290-291] We must question the usefulness of this tendency [to attribute personhood to God] in light theological developments (such as historical analysis and systematic criticism of Protestant dogma), “in spite of its reaffirmation in the so-called basis of the World Council of Churches, which in any case falls short of the real achievement of Nicaea and Chalcedon.”

Definitions:

  • Ousia: (Greek) “Nature … that which makes a thing what it is, its particular physis.” [289]
  • Hypostasis: (Greek) “The power of standing upon itself, the independence of being which makes mutual love possible.” [289]
  • Personae: “One of the three personae in whom the one divine substance exists”. [289]
  • The Historical Jesus: “The man in whom the Logos became ‘flesh’”. [289]

Questions:

  • Why does Tillich say that Harnack’s theology is untrue?
  • How should the use of categories in theology be handled? In other words, is it wrong to use categories, and should categories always be used in theology?
  • Why should a “Logos doctrine” apply to both Christa and God?
  • How should one interpret the “historical Jesus”?
  • Tillich suggests that we rethink the “strangely personalistic world view” which has attributed personhood to God. Do you agree?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

IV.IV.C: Reopening the Trinitarian Problem [291-294]

Summary:

[291] There are “dangerous consequences” to the “situation of the dogma of the Trinity”. First, the way in which the dogma functions has radically changed. Initially it was intended to “express in three central symbols the self-manifestation of God to man”, showing the “divine abyss” and answering humanity’s question of the “meaning of existence”. This changed, as the dogma “became an impenetrable mystery, put on the altar, to be adored”. Instead of showing the mystery of the “divine ground of being” it became a theological riddle, a “glorification of an absurdity”, which was yielded as a weapon by church authorities and a “suppression of the searching mind”. The Renaissance and Reformation movements led to the rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity in Socinianism, which then indirectly affected Protestant churches, which produced “no new understanding of the Trinity”. What did develop was a “Christocentric Unitarianism”, discarding the emphasis of God as God, and on the mystery of God as divine ground and creator. Further, the Spiritual Presence the “ecstatic character of faith, love, and prayer”. Protestant Christianity was “reduced” to becoming a mere “tool for moral education”, basing this education on the “teachings of Jesus”. [292] Is it possible to use trinitarian symbols to talk about God, but a “radical revision of the trinitarian doctrine and a new understanding of the Divine Life and the Spiritual Presence” must precede the use of these symbols. [292-293] The number “three” in discussing the Trinity can be kept [by Tillich’s System], so long as it is understood as a way of symbolically articulating the “manifoldness of divine self-manifestations”. Further, the number ‘three’ is useful in dialectical thinking; but it is not a magical number. The symbol of the Holy Virgin for Mary has been discarded by Protestant theology (largely because of its female element), and it will most likely not be reinstated, because it is too concrete to function symbolically. Protestantism should employ gender neutral symbols, which “transcend the alternative male-female and which are capable of being developed over against a one-sided male-determined symbolism”. [293-294] There are some possibilities open for developing better symbols: The symbols “ground of being” or “being-itself”, because it is both conceptual and symbolic, can include the female qualities lost when Holy Virgin was discarded, and it can also include the “father-image” of God without the shortcomings of the term “Father”. [294] And the symbol of God as “power of being”, as the power in all beings, reduces the male element in symbols of God. The symbol Logos, which symbolizes self-sacrifice, is gender neutral, but it is exclusive (by excluding the other). The symbol of the divine Spirit also lost the female element it once had, but it is useful in describing the “ecstatic character of the Spiritual Presence which transcends” gender specific elements. For it is “Protestant moralistic personalism which is distrustful of the ecstatic element in the Spiritual Presence and drives many people, in protest, toward an apersonal mysticism”. In conclusion, the doctrine of the Trinity is still open; it can neither be dropped nor accepted according to its traditional form. “It must be kept open in order to fulfil its original function- to express in embracing symbols the self-manifestation of the Divine Life to man.”

Definitions:

  • (none listed here)

Questions:

  • What are some of the consequences resulting from the use of Trinitarian dogma?
  • In what way does Tillich employ the symbol of the number “three” toward the doctrine of the Trinity in his system? Do you agree with his employment?
  • Why is the symbol “Holy Virgin” problematic as a symbol?
  • Is the doctrine of the Trinity closed? What it function to accomplish?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

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