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 V: History and the Kingdom of God

V.Introduction: The Systematic Place of the Fifth Part of the Theological System and the Historical Dimension of Life [297-299]

V.I: History and the Quest for the Kingdom of God [300-361]

V.I.A: Life and History [300-339]
  V.I.A.1: Man and History [300-313]
    V.I.A.1.a): History and Historical Consciousness [300-302]
    V.I.A.1.b): The Historical Dimension in the Light of Human History [302-306]
    V.I.A.1.c): Prehistory and Posthistory [306-308]
    V.I.A.1.d): The Bearers of History: Communities, Personalities, Mankind [308-313]
  V.I.A.2: History and the Categories of Being [313-326]
    V.I.A.2.a): Life Processes and Categories [313-315]
    V.I.A.2.b): Time, Space, and the Dimensions of Life in General [315-318]
    V.I.A.2.c): Time and Space under the Dimension of History [318-321]
    V.I.A.2.d): Causality, Substance, and the Dimensions of Life in General [321-324]
    V.I.A.2.e): Causality and Substance under the Dimension of History [324-326]
  V.I.A.3: The Dynamics of History [326-339]
    V.I.A.3.a): The Movement of History: Trends, Structures, Periods [326-331]
    V.I.A.3.b): History and the Processes of Life [331-333]
    V.I.A.3.c): Historical Progress: Its Reality and Its Limits [333-339]

V.I.B: The Ambiguities of Life under the Historical Dimension [339-348]
  V.I.B.1: The Ambiguities of Historical Self-integration: Empire and Centralization [339-342]
  V.I.B.2: The Ambiguities of Historical Self-creativity: Revolution and Reaction [343-344]
  V.I.B.3: The Ambiguities of Historical Self-transcendence: The “Third Stage” as Given and as Expected [344-346]
  V.I.B.4: The Ambiguities of the Individual in History [346-348]

V.I.C: Interpretations of History and the Quest for the Kingdom of God [348-361]
  V.I.C.1: The Nature and the Problem of an Interpretation of History [348-350]
  V.I.C.2: Negative Answers to the Question of the Meaning of History [350-352]
  V.I.C.3: Positive but Inadequate Answers to the Question of the Meaning of History [352-356]
  V.I.C.4: The Symbol “Kingdom of God” as the Answer to the Question of the Meaning of History [356-361]
    V.I.C.4.a): The Characteristics of the Symbol “Kingdom of God” [356-359]
    V.I.C.4.b): The Immanent and Transcendent Element in the Symbol “Kingdom of God” [359-361]

V.II: The Kingdom of God within History [362-393]

V.II.A: The Dynamics of History and the New Being [362-374]
  V.II.A.1: The Idea of “History of Salvation” [362-364]
  V.II.A.2: The Central Manifestations of the Kingdom of God in History [364-369]
  V.II.A.3: Kairos and Kairoi [369-372]
  V.II.A.4: Historical Providence [372-374]

V.II.B: The Kingdom of God and the Churches [374-382]
  V.II.B.1: The Churches as the Representatives of the Kingdom of God in History [374-377]
  V.II.B.2: The Kingdom of God and the History of the Churches [377-382]

V.II.C: The Kingdom of God and World History [382-393]
  V.II.C.1: Church History and World History [382-384]
  V.II.C.2: The Kingdom of God and the Ambiguities of Historical Self-integration [385-388]
  V.II.C.3: The Kingdom of God and the Ambiguities of Historical Self-creativity [388-390]
  V.II.C.4: The Kingdom of God and the Ambiguities of Historical Self-transcendence [390-391]
  V.II.C.5: The Kingdom of God and the Ambiguities of the Individual in History [391-393]

V.III: The Kingdom of God as the End of History [394-423]

V.III.A: The End of History of Eternal Life [394-406]
  V.III.A.1: The Double Meaning of “End of History” and the Permanent Presence of the End [394-396]
  V.III.A.2: The End of History as the Elevation of the Temporal into Eternity [396-398]
  V.III.A.3: The End of History as the Exposure of the Negative as Negative of the “Ultimate Judgment” [398-401]
  V.III.A.4: The End of History and the Final Conquest of the Ambiguities of Life [401-403]
  V.III.A.5: Eternal Blessedness as the Eternal Conquest of the Negative [403-406]

V.III.B: The Individual Person and His Eternal Destiny [406-419]
  V.III.B.1: Universal and Individual Fulfillment [406-409]
  V.III.B.2: Immortality as Symbol and as Concept [409-412]
  V.III.B.3: The Meaning of Resurrection [412-414]
  V.III.B.4: Eternal Life and Eternal Death [415-419]

V.III.C: The Kingdom of God as the End of History [419-423]
  V.III.C.1: Eternity and the Movement of Time [419-420]
  V.III.C.2: Eternal Life and Divine Life [420-423]

V.Introduction: The Systematic Place of the Fifth Part of the Theological System and the Historical Dimension of Life [297-299]

Summary:

[297] Discussion of the historical dimension was put in brackets in previous parts. The historical dimension is special because it both presupposes and adds to the other dimensions. The historical dimension is present in all of life but is actualized properly only in human history after spirit is actualized by life's processes. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish between history proper and its analogues. The fifth part of the theological system extends from the fourth, because the doctrines of life and the spirit include a historical dimension. For this reason, the ambiguities of life must be examined in a historical light. Though the answer to life's ambiguities are the symbols “Spiritual Presence” “Kingdom of God” and “Eternal Life”, the historical dimension should still be examined separately. [298] The encompassing nature of the historical dimension (like reason and Revelation) means we can first examine human history before expanding to an understanding of the historical dimension generally. This discussion must examine the structure of the historical process, the logic of historical knowledge, the ambiguities of historical existence and the meaning of historical movement. These all related to the “Kingdom of God” in both the inner-historical and trans-historical sense, which correlate to “Spiritual Presence and “Eternal Life” respectively. Eternal Life involves eschatology but this is the relation of the temporal to the eternal, not just last things, so eschatology could be discussed anywhere in the theological system. Still, traditional doctrine and the human, linear understanding of time make the treatment of eschatology at the end logical. [299] The doctrines of creation and eschatology are connected and between them all theological questions arise.

Definitions:

  • History Proper: “Although the historical dimension is present in all realms of life, it comes into its own only in human history.” [297].
  • Natural History: “The term 'natural history' directly attributes the dimension of history to every process in nature.” [297]
  • Eschatology: Is “concerned with the doctrine of the last things. The question of the last aim, the telos of everything that is. ”[298]

Questions:

  • What makes the historical dimension special?
  • How are the doctrine of creation and eschatology alike?
  • What is the difference between history proper and the historical dimension?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I: History and the Quest for the Kingdom of God [300-361]

V.I.A: Life and History [300-339]

V.I.A.1: Man and History [300-313]
V.I.A.1.a): History and Historical Consciousness [300-302]

Summary:

[300] Understanding the word historia helps us understand the nature of history and its beginnings. The original use implies a subjective approach or understanding that focuses on inquiry first, and an objective approach, concerned with events, second. In a way, historical consciousness precedes historical events. Not temporally, but in effect, because historical consciousness transforms historical happenings into historical events. Historical consciousness transmits itself through traditions, not simply the remembrance of events, but of events with special significance for the group. This historical consciousness molds or influences historical accounts and creates traditions according to the needs of the group. Therefore, history without a bias is a later development in history, preceded by historical epics, sagas and myths. [301] These histories are symbols of the group. Tradition is a blend of historical reports and symbolic interpretation. This does not invalidate the factual aspect of history, but it is impossible to separate symbolic interpretation from history. Even the original reception of an event likely had a subjective traditional element to it. Scholarly history may also be dependent on symbols. There are too many events to record in history and any selection of specific events implies historical consciousness. [302] Both the writer and the speaker of history, as well as the student of history, are influenced by historical consciousness and tradition. Christianity is not different and the following chapters discuss how Christianity supplies meaning for historical existence.

Definitions:

  • Historia: “Historia means primarily inquiry, information, report, and only secondarily the events inquired about and reported.” [300]
  • Tradition: “Tradition unites historical reports with symbolic interpretations.” [301]

Questions:

  • What is the relation between historical consciousness and tradition?
  • Does Tillich think that history can be unbiased?
  • Are myths, epics and sags completely fictional according to Tillich?
  • In what way is “objective” history, or claims of detachment in the recording of history, similar to telling traditions or myths?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I.A.1.b): The Historical Dimension in the Light of Human History [302-306]

Summary:

[302] Examination of historia shows that history is objective and subjective, factual and interpreted. This is true of all historical events. Human purpose is the first characteristic of history proper. Conditions and institutions are important, but purpose is most important. [303] Processes without purpose cannot be historical events. Human freedom is basically the ability to transcend a situation with purpose. This freedom is the second characteristic of human history. Because humans can do this, historical situations cannot completely determine one another. The polarity of freedom and destiny limits freedom, but within these limits it is possible to produce something qualitatively new. The creation of the new is the third quality of history proper. The new is created in all parts of nature, but it is qualitatively different in history proper, because of its relation to meaning or values.  [304] The creation of a unique embodiments of meaning is what it means to create something new in history. The uniqueness of historical events is the fourth characteristic of history proper. This uniqueness is significant. To signify is to represent something larger than the signifier. Ultimately, this is the meaning of being. Groups of signifiers are historical if they appear within the conditions of existence and the ambiguities of life. Individual events are significant because they represent part of the motion toward the end of history itself. [305] The characteristics of history proper, or human history, implicitly reveal the difference between human history and the historical dimension generally. The four characteristics are present only when spirit is actualized. For instance, animals and inanimate objects are not purposive, they have no freedom, they are not new embodiments of freedom, they are not infinitely significant. [306] Though the historical dimension is still present in all of life, it is only anticipatory to history proper.

Definitions:

  • Historical Event: “In a historical event, human purposes are the decisive, though not the exclusive, factor.” [302]
  • Freedom: Humanity “is self-transcendence that is the first and basic quality of freedom. Therefore, no historical situation determines any other historical situation completely.” [303]
  • Absolute: “By 'absolute' we mean that [values'] validity is independent of the valuating subject.” [303]
  • Signify: “To signify something means to point beyond oneself to that which is signified—to represent something.” [304]
  • Meaning: “If one is hesitant about the term 'value,' an alternative is 'meaning.'” [303] “The word 'meaning,' of course, is not unambiguous. But the merely logical use of the term ('a word has meaning') is transcended if one speaks of 'life in meanings.'” [304] “If the term 'meaning' is used in this sense, one should describe the production of the new in history as the production new and unique embodiments or meaning.

Questions:

  • What are the four characteristics of history proper? Why are they unique to human history?
  • What is the relation of historical events to the whole aim of history?
  • What must be actualized under the conditions of existence in order for history proper to appear?

Changes in German:

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V.I.A.1.c): Prehistory and Posthistory [306-308]

Summary:

[306] Prehistorical humanity is the precursor to historical humanity. For historical humanity to develop, prehistorical man must have freedom, language, universals, cognitive and artistic ability, as well as a sense of hope. The difference between pre- and posthistorical humanity is a level of actualized potential. The transition from one form to another cannot be empirically reified (as a single moment or even) but it supports the denial perfection in prehistorical humanity (Adam as Jesus-like or the existence of the “noble savage”). [307] The continuity of pre-historical humanity with historical humanity keeps prehistorical humanity from being considered mere beasts. If pre-historical humanity were beasts, then historical humanity would be a spontaneous creation. Empirical evidences denies this. Though the actualization of a dimension such as the historical dimension may be hidden, the results are not. Evolution proceeds both smoothly and in leaps. The same is true with historical humanity. We see the results, but not he leaps. Post history must also be considered in this way. We must ask the question: Can historical humanity end? The end of history is associated with the actualization of the Kingdom of God on earth, but these temporal and eschatological ends are not identical. [308] Though “future” symbolizes the actualization of the Kingdom, it is independent of the development of humanity. For instance, humanity could destroy itself. Humanity could become complacent and not seek to exercise the ability to strive for the new, or unforeseeable circumstances could end humanity. Therefore, temporal and eschatological “ends” must be considered separately.

Definitions:

  • Prehistorical Man: “The development from anticipated to actual history can be described as the stage of prehistorical man.” [306]. “Prehistoric man is that organic being which is predisposed to actualize the dimensions of spirit and history and which in his developments drives toward their actualization.” [307]
  • Man: “That being which eventually will produce history is called 'man'.” [306]
  • Posthistorical Man:“A stage of the evolutionary process in which historical mankind, though not as human race, comes to an end.” [307]

Questions:

  • Why does Tillich deny that prehistorical humanity was a “noble savage” or that Adam was perfect like Jesus?
  • How can we know that prehistorical humanity existed?
  • What is the difference between an eschatological end and a temporal one?

Changes in German:

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V.I.A.1.d): The Bearers of History: Communities, Personalities, Mankind [308-313]

Summary:

[308] Human beings are actualized when they encounter other beings in a community. Communities are the direct bearers of history. Individuals are indirect bearers. To bear history, a community or group must have a self-centered binding power which persists even encounters with other groups. [309] This power requires the tool called the state, in order to perpetuate itself. The term state is younger than the groups it signifies (families, cities, nations, etcetera), and while different cultural forces move through states, history is the history of states. The history-bearing group is held together by a communal eros, or passionate belonging. This sense of belonging allows for a centralization of power. [310] Legal structures of enforcement are expressions of the underlying power structure of the eros. The aim of a group also makes it a history bearer. This aim, drive, or vocational consciousness is so integral [311] it can be fulfilled fragmentarily even by such things as Nazism, if nothing else rises to fill the directional void. In these ways history is the history of political entities. Other histories are secondary or derivative. This does not mean the aim of history is a single state. A united humanity would not be historical humanity. It would be one of the possible incarnations of post-historical humanity. [312] Because historical groups are made up of individuals, groups should not be attributed real personalities of their own. Still, communities are bearers of human history and individuals are indirect bearers. They can function as symbols of a group and they both influence and are influenced by a group, but individuals are not, strictly speaking, historical entities.

Definitions:

  • State: “History-bearing groups are characterized by their ability to act in a centered way.” “A history bearing group must also have a central, lawgiving, administering, and enforcing authority.” [309] “Both conditions are fulfilled in what is called, in modern terminology, a 'state'.” [308-9]
  • Eros: “An experience of belonging, a form of communal eros which does not exclude struggles for power within the supporting group but which unites it against other groups.” [309]
  • Vocational Consciousness: “An aim toward which [history-bearing groups] strive and a destiny they try to fulfill.” [310]

Questions:

  • What is the difficulty in defining a historically “great” individual?
  • Are groups or the individuals that comprise groups the bearers of history?
  • Can groups have personalities independent of the individuals that comprise them?
  • Why is the Kingdom of God not a symbol for the unification of man as the end of political human history?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I.A.2: History and the Categories of Being [313-326]
V.I.A.2.a): Life Processes and Categories [313-315]

Summary:

[313] The relation of the categories to the dimension of life was not discussed in the fourth section of the systematic theology so they could all be discussed together with the historical dimension. All the categories, time, space, causality and substance are different in each dimension. They are the same throughout finitude, but different as well in each dimension. [314] The unity of each category within finitude transcends the different dimensions, but the category in its perfect unity is impossible to know in actuality. The self-identity and transcendence of each category in actuality is a part of the mystery of being itself. [315] This self-transcendence allows the categories to be used in religious language. The examples that are examined later are chosen because they are important for understanding religious language, but others could be used and this analysis is not exhaustive.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • Can the unity of the four categories when actualized be known by human beings?
  • Is each category of life both unified through each dimension and identical in each dimension?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I.A.2.b): Time, Space, and the Dimensions of Life in General [315-318]

Summary:

[315] It is somewhat unavoidable to speak of time and space as interdependent. Generally the inorganic is more dominated by the spatial dimension and the historical by the temporal dimension. Inorganic things have temporality, but are measured as a fourth dimension of space. In the inorganic realm, space has an exclusive quality. The same is true of time. [316] Nothing unites two separate spaces in the inorganic realm. In the organic realm there is participation. Different parts of a tree, for instance roots and leaves, participate in each other’s actions. Changes in one affect the other. Likewise, the different times of the tree, youth and old age, are immanent in one another. In the dimension of self-awareness time and space are correlative still, [317] but time is dominated less by space meaning it has a more autonomous function. In historical time, time is free from space. There is also the time and space of the spirit, which are essentially unlimited because they are abstractions. Creation is the activity of the spirit which unites concrete limits with abstract limitlessness. This unity is true of both space and time. [318] Creations of the spirit exist in physical time and space, but transcend them and cannot be measured by them. This leads to the question of the relation of the spirit to time and space, the question of historical time and space. 

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • What is the difference between time and space in the organic and the inorganic realms?
  • What are the two opposites involved in the spirit of creation?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I.A.2.c): Time and Space under the Dimension of History [318-321]

Summary:

[318] History encompasses time and space, which are both affected by growth and self-awareness. History also always includes the spirit of creativity and the time and space of the spirit. For this reason historical time and space are different than those discussed previously. [319] Time becomes dominant over space and historical time, and space includes actual inorganic time and space. Inorganic time and space include history only potentially. This last statement bears further discussion of historical time. Under no conditions does time reverse itself, but historical time, united with the spirit, moves toward an aim. This historical aim transcends all relative aims and temporality. [320] Humanity is conscious of this aim, and all time in all dimensions participates in the movement toward the fulfillment of the aim. This aim also implies a beginning and both aim and beginning are immanent throughout history. The symbol for the aim of history is “Kingdom of God.” [321] The “Kingdom” represents the unity of all space in all dimensions. This spatial end is real, but not as a mere spirituality. Before this end, the consciousness of space in humanity becomes a problem or a question. The answer to this question is the same as the answer to the process of history. 

Definitions:

  • End of History/“Eternal Life”: [320] “The fulfilment [sic] toward which historical time runs is the fulfilment [sic] toward which time under all dimensions runs.”
  • Historical Time: [319] “Historical time is based on the decisive characteristic of form of after-each-other-ness, and that characteristic is irreversibility.”

Questions:

  • What does “Kingdom” in “Kingdom of God” symbolize?
  • What makes historical time different from other dimensions of time?
  • What is the relationship between historical space and time and inorganic space and time?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I.A.2.d): Causality, Substance, and the Dimensions of Life in General [321-324]

Summary:

[321] Causality and substance are both connected and disconnected in the historical dimension. To understand how we first turn to the other dimensions. Causality has a unified aspect throughout all dimensions—the conditioning aspect which precedes all things. Similarly, substance is constant throughout dimensions as the self-identity of things. [321-322] In the inorganic realm cause and effect are different entities, just as in time successive moments are unconnected. [322] Therefore, cause and effect are purely calculable. In the inorganic realm substance is the self-identity of cause and effect as separate entities. Substance is transitory identity in the inorganic realm. One thing can become two without a lasting connection or identity. The one becomes two self-identical things. In the organic realm there is participation. Cause and effect refer to different states of one organism. Substance in this realm is not transitory. An organism cannot be divided. [323] Participation continues in the realm of self-awareness. Causality is second to substance in the organic and psychological dimensions. Under the dimension of spirit, causality is free. Causality participating in the spirit is creative. Causality determines the parameters of creation (preconditions and the impulse to act), but not its content, which is new. There are different levels of the new. Every succeeding inorganic moment is new, but [324] such quantitative newness is different from qualitative transformations in organic beings. Both types of the new are different from the creative newness of humanity participating in spirit. This new creation moves beyond the creator and can influence the creator even as it may continue to be influenced by the creator.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • What is the difference between causality in the inorganic as opposed to the organic dimension?
  • How is newness different in the inorganic, organic, and spiritual dimensions?
  • In what way is causality secondary to substance? When is it not?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I.A.2.e): Causality and Substance under the Dimension of History [324-326]

Summary:

[324] Historical causality embraces all causality because it includes all life purposes. Historical groups show how inorganic, organic, and creative causality all inter-penetrate one another. [325] This inter-penetration manifests as the production of cultural content by sociological structures. Historical substance is the historical situation that underlies events. Like historical causality, it encompasses all dimensions of substance. This is what allows us to identity unified and separate historical movements and periods. [326] Historical causality drives beyond all particular new creations to the essence of newness, or “New Creation.” Similarly, historical substance drives beyond all particular situations to the one that transcends them all—the Kingdom of God.

Definitions:

  • New Creation: “Man's historical consciousness has always looked ahead beyond any particular new to the absolutely new, symbolically expressed as New Creation.” [326]
  • Historical Causality: “Historical causality is the embracing form of causality because of the fact that in historical events all dimensions of life are actively participant.” [324]
  • Historical Substance: “Substance under the historical dimension can be called the 'historical substance'.” In any “situation out of which historical causality drives toward the new, there is substance under the historical dimension.” [325]

Questions:

  • How are cultural contents and sociological structures linked?
  • Why can we speak of single unified historical movements?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I.A.3: The Dynamics of History [326-339]
V.I.A.3.a): The Movement of History: Trends, Structures, Periods [326-331]

Summary:

[326] The previous discussions allow now for a discussion of the movements of history. The first important question to consider is that of the connection between necessity and contingency. [327] Necessity arises from a historical situation and contingency from historical creativity. These two exist in a dialectical relationship called trend necessity is dominant and chance contingency is dominant. Trends, by their nature, preclude natural law. Trends may seem to be universal laws but they are always changeable, because they exist in relation to chances. Chances are the opportunity to change trends. To become real they must be actualized by creative causality. Chances are what make determinism impossible. [328] The second question to be considered concerns the structures of history. Though main structures, like progress and regression, action and reaction, exist as undeniable truths, they are not universal laws because they are limited. [329] The dialectical structure of history bears special consideration, because it appears everywhere, but not even this structure is a law. [330] The rhythm of the historical movement is the third question. It is the question of periods. Periods are names given to differentiate between various cultural epochs. The question is whether this method of differentiation is valid. It is, because this method acknowledges the subject-object nature of history and historical groups. History depends on time and space in addition to the importance of given events to different groups. [331] History is made up of periods which are visible only to those to whom they are significant.

Definitions:

  • Trends: Trends are “certain regularities in the sequences of events, rooted in sociological and psychological laws, which, in spite of their lack of strictness, participate in determining a historical situation.” [327]
  • Chances: “Chances are occasions to change the determining power of a trend.” [327]

Questions:

  • Why is the periodization of history both a subjective and objective process?
  • What is the relationship between trends and chances?
  • Why should the structures of history not be considered universals?
  • Why is the dialiectical structure of history so important?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I.A.3.b): History and the Processes of Life [331-333]

Summary:

[331] The processes of life are all present under the historical dimension. In the fourth section of the systematic theology the ambiguities of life were discussed while history was bracketed. [332] The emphasis now is the historical dimension's relation to the process of life in the personal-communal realm. The three processes of life are self-integration, self-creativity and self-transcendence. They are subsumed under one process: the run toward an aim. In this way they all run toward unity, creativity and transcendence beyond all particulars, but history, like life, is still ambiguous because it is part of existence. The drive toward an aim, then, continues so long as there is history, thought it cannot be fulfilled in history. Myth, literature and art express this question or problem of history. [333] The Kingdom of God is the answer to that question.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • What process unites all the processes of life?
  • Why can't the aim of history be fulfilled in history?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I.A.3.c): Historical Progress: Its Reality and Its Limits [333-339]

Summary:

[333] Because every creative act is progressive, every new moment of history is progressive. Creative acts aim for the ultimately new through historical instances of newness. Therefore, creative acts of progress are inevitable in history, but there are some realms in which there is no possibility of progress. In the moral act there is no progress, though there is in the attendant cultural elements. [334] There is no progress in cultural creation, only the movement of cultural entities from immature to mature forms. The same is true of philosophy. [335] Maturity as such does not progress from one form to another, it exists in different representations. This is true of humanity in general as well as philosophy and cultural creation. [336] As an example, justice is dependent on the conditions of life and existence and is mature when it suits the needs of human interaction relative to their conditions. It cannot progress once it matures, only change to suit shifting existential circumstances. Religion is also a realm where progress is possible only relatively. There are primitive and mature forms of religion and great religions consider themselves ultimate and all others to be half or completely false. [337] Like the other realms, the cultural side of religion has the possibility to progress, but the core of religion, revelation, is always the same. [338] The realms that do progress, though they have non-progressive elements, are technology and the research oriented sciences. [339] Education and the conquest of spatial divisions are also realms that have progress.

Definitions:

  • Progress: “A step (gressus) beyond the given. In this sense the whole movement of history is progressive.” [333]

Questions:

  • Is progress qualitative or quantitative in humanity, morality, philosophy, justice and religion?
  • Why is progress not possible in the non-cultural aspects of these realms?
  • What does progress mean in technology, the sciences, education and the conquest of spatial divisions? Is it the same as the cultural progress that is possible in the previously discussed realms?
  • Accepting all the above, in what way is progress inevitable?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.I.B: The Ambiguities of Life under the Historical Dimension [339-348]

V.I.B.1: The Ambiguities of Historical Self-integration: Empire and Centralization [339-342]

Summary:

[339] History, in achieving individual aims continuously, both fulfills and denies its ultimate end. All historical ambiguities arise from this basic one. The ambiguity of empire is the manifestation of self-integration under the historical dimension. Empires rise and fall before they achieve their aim of universal inclusivity. [340] The will to power and vocational self-interpretation are both necessary for historical groups to act. The will to power and vocational self-interpretation allow groups and consequently empires to act as centered powers with an aim. Empires are both creative and destructive, unifying and divisive. [341] Points of greatest unity are counter balanced by points of greatest disintegration. Isolationist movements are the example of a reaction against imperial unification, but they are ultimately unsuccessful because history itself is essentially unifying. Historical groups are also ambiguous because of their structure. [342] A historical group has a centered power, but this centralized ability to act is stifling to historical creativity. De-centered groups or groups with many sub-centers are more creative, but they lack the power to act. The question, then, is how can imperialism, creative acts and internal centralization be unambiguously integrated into history.

Definitions:

  • Empire: “The greatness of man's political existence—his striving toward universality and totality in the process of the self-integration of life under the historical dimension—is expressed in the term 'empire'.” [339]
  • World History: “World, in this phrase, means mankind; It mean the history of all mankind. But there is no such thing; all we have had up to the present century are histories of human groups, and the compilation of their histories as far as they are known. May be called world history but certainly not a history of mankind.” [340]

Questions:

  • What is the most basic ambiguity of history?
  • What is necessary for historical groups to act?
  • Why are the points of greatest unity in history also tragic?

Changes in German:

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V.I.B.2: The Ambiguities of Historical Self-creativity: Revolution and Reaction [343-344]

Summary:

[343] All of history is creative. All that is newly created keeps within itself elements of the old. This ambiguity can have destructive consequences. An example of the conflict of this sort is the division between generations. The new generation sees the establishments of the old as obstacles to the new, while the old generation sees these establishments as testaments to their own creativity. This misunderstanding leads to conflict that is destructive on both sides. The same can occur in political life. [344] Sometimes only revolution and destruction can lead to new creation and sometimes that revolution destroys both old and new establishments. Such a threat of total annihilation may justify counter-revolution, but counter-revolution may or may not be successful. Destruction such as this is the drive behind the question of unambiguous historical creativity.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • What is the root cause of the destructive potential of historical creativity?
  • What is the cause of the conflict between the old generation and the new?

Changes in German:

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V.I.B.3: The Ambiguities of Historical Self-transcendence: The “Third Stage” as Given and as Expected [344-346]

Summary:

[344] The demonic occurs when one group, for instance an old or new generation, makes claims of ultimacy. Their claim is to have, bring or be the ultimate end of history. This happens in politics but especially in religion. An exclusive claim to ultimacy leads to persecution and religious wars. [344-345] The symbol of the “third age” is adapted by groups with such a claim to symbolize their historical ultimacy. [345] The idea is that the last age of the world has or will begin, followed by the end of history. Two ambiguous forms of this symbolism can manifest. The self-absolutist form is ambiguous because it has a symbol for the ultimate, the third age, but also treats that symbol as a concrete reality. The utopian form is ambiguous because of the wild oscillations between enthusiastic expectation and the inevitable despair that comes when those expectations show that some remain unfulfilled. [346] The last three sections discussed show that some functions of life can be applied to an analysis of history to reveal its ambiguities as well. This realization frees us from being possessed completely by one side or the other in ambiguous conflicts.

Definitions:

  • The Third Age: “In each form of the symbol, religious of secular, the conviction is expressed that the third age has started, that history has reached a point which cannot be surpassed in principle, that the 'beginning of the end' is at hand, and that we can see the ultimately fulfilment [sic] toward which history moves, in the course of which it transcends itself and each of its moments.” [345]

Questions:

  • What happens, or what process does Tillich describe as demonic, in historical self-transcendence?
  • What does the Third Age symbolize in utopian and self-absolutizing groups?
  • Why is it useful to examine the functions of life under the historical dimension?

Changes in German:

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V.I.B.4: The Ambiguities of the Individual in History [346-348]

Summary:

[346] The individual cannot find happiness or be content in the historical realm, but neither can the individual escape history—history creates individuals. Individuals can shape history, but despite the universal participation of individuals in history, it is the group as group the bears history. The function of groups as the bearers of history is political. [347] Therefore, the predominant frame of history which subsumes all other frames is the political, represented by political figures. Democracy, the best of imperfect political systems, illustrates the ambiguities of the individual in the political realm. By being able to fight for political freedom in democracy, the individual is able to fight for creative freedom in all realms, because all realms depend upon politics. On the other hand, political participation of the individual is mediated. Additionally, majorities can obscure and render powerless large groups of people. [348] The ambiguities of the individual in history can lead to despair and feelings of meaninglessness, which question the purpose of history and lead to the desire to escape history all together. The question of the individual in history, then, leads to the question of the meaning of history universally.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • How is the individual existence in history ambiguous in the most basic sense?
  • Why is democracy the best of imperfect political systems? What are its weaknesses?
  • Can the individual influence history? How?

Changes in German:

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V.I.C: Interpretations of History and the Quest for the Kingdom of God [348-361]

V.I.C.1: The Nature and the Problem of an Interpretation of History [348-350]

Summary:

[348] All accounts of history are interpretations. Underlying each account is an estimation of the meaning of both history and existence, even if they are held only subconsciously. [349] Our concern, then, is: how is history important in relation to the meaning of existence, or, our ultimate concern? The answer is both objective and subjective. We cannot give a purely objective answer as a universal explanation for the meaning of existence, but neither can we raise a subjective experience to the level of a universal. Instead we must understand that each group provides the key to its own interpretation of history even as it experiences that interpretation. This is the nature of the theological circle, an experience of the subjective-objective dialectic. The theological circle leads to Christianity, with the Kingdom of God symbolizing the answer to all ambiguities of life. [350] The power and fitness of this Christian answer must be compared, however, to other understandings of history. This explanation of the meaning of history also exists within the theological circle, supplying a key and an answer, so the subsequent question must be: how do we justify this answer?

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • How are the meanings of history and existence related?
  • How does the answer to the meaning of history imply an answer to the meaning of existence?

Changes in German:

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V.I.C.2: Negative Answers to the Question of the Meaning of History [350-352]

Summary:

[[350] History’s ambiguities express in a final form all of life's ambiguities. These ambiguities lead to a division in the valuation of history between the non-historical and the historical. The non-historical interpretation of history views history merely as the space for humanity to live. The majority of people hold this view and they may not consciously acknowledge that life has a purpose. This interpretation takes three forms: the tragic, the mystical and mechanistic. The tragic view is a circular understanding of history and the world. [351] The tragic history is the circle of genesis and decay with no redemption for the destructive aspects of life, only an eternal descent in decay. Courage is the only way to rise above despair and is a form of transcendence that points to the mystical view. In the mystical view, history is not capable of the real. It is a place of rules, human interaction and suffering and it calls for transcendence. [352] Mechanistic history is a modern development linked to our highly developed scientific inquiry. In this view history has become a series of potentially interesting happenings. It bears no relation to existence or being itself and can have either a progressivistic character or a cynical, meaningless one.

Definitions:

  • Tragic History: "History, in this view, does not run toward a historical or transhistorical aim but in a circle back to its beginning." "Within the cosmic circle, periods can be distinguished which as a whole constitute a process of deterioration, starting with an original perfection and falling by degrees into a stage of utter distortion of what the world and man essentially are." "...There is no consolation for the the disintegrating, destructive, profanizing side of life, and its only resource is the courage which raises both hero and wise man above the vicissitudes of historical existence." [350-1]
  • Mystical History: "Historical existence has not meaning in itself. One must live in it and act reasonably, but history itself can neither create the new nor be truly real." [352] "There is only one way to cope with [the ambiguities of life] and that is to transcend them and life within them as someone who has already returned to the Ultimate One." [351]
  • Mechanistic History: "History has become a series of happenings worthy to be recorded and studied, but without special contribution to the interpretation of existence as such." [352]

Questions:

  • What do these three negative views of history have in common?
  • Which two of these views are most similar? Why?
  • Why does Tillich call these three “negative answers” to the question of the meaning of history?

Changes in German:

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V.I.C.3: Positive but Inadequate Answers to the Question of the Meaning of History [352-356]

Summary:

[352] Progressivism, the first historical interpretation of history, is connected to the mechanistic view. Progressivism is understood as an empirical fact, but also a quasi-religious symbol. [353] Progress becomes the universal law of history. It was a powerful faith for many and its breakdown was spiritually catastrophic. There are two forms of progressivism, one of infinite progress, the other with an aim, called utopianism. The infinite form was dependent on Neo-Kantianism and eventually broke down because of the experiences of the twentieth century. [354] These experiences included the feeling of meaninglessness in an infinite progression, the new moral beginning in every infant, and the ambiguities of progress. Utopianism may also have been the greatest enemy of progressivism. Utopianism is progressivism with a goal, a final stage, and it has secular and religious forms. The problem of utopianism was relapse in the realm of human freedom. [355] Relapses are an existential disappointment, the consequence of idolatrous beliefs, or taking literally a symbol of the universal. The transcendental type is the third inadequate historical interpretation of history. This type differentiates between the power of the Kingdom of God and the power structures of the world. Nothing essentially new happens in history after the coming of the Christ. One short coming of this type is that it separates the salvation of the individual from the group and the universe. [356] Another short coming is that it separates the realm of creation from the realm of salvation. If creative power is beyond salvation, so is life. The last flaw of the transcendental view is that Kingdom of God is taken as a literal place. The transcendental type is unacceptable because it excludes nature and culture from salvation. The failure of these three historical interpretations of history lead the religious socialists to reinterpret the symbol of the kingdom of God.

Definitions:

  • Progressivism: "The belief in progress as progress without a definite end." [353]
  • Utopianism: "Utopianism is progressivism with a definite aim: arrival at that stage of history in which the ambiguities of life are conquered." [354]
  • The Transcendental: "History is the place in which, after the Old Testament, the Christ has appeared to save individuals within the church from bondage to sin and guilt." "There is no relation between the justice of the Kingdom of God and the justice of power structures. The two worlds are separated by an unbridgeable gap." [355]

Questions:

  • How is progressivism connected with the mechanistic interpretation of history?
  • What is the problem with progressivism?
  • What is the problem with the utopian view?
  • What is the problem with the transcendental type?

Changes in German:

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V.I.C.4: The Symbol “Kingdom of God” as the Answer to the Question of the Meaning of History [356-361]
V.I.C.4.a): The Characteristics of the Symbol “Kingdom of God” [356-359]

Summary:

[356-357] The symbols for the unambiguous life are “Kingdom of God” “Spiritual Presence” and “Eternal Life”. [357] They represent, respectively, the answers to the ambiguities of history, the human spirit, and life. They all include each other, but Kingdom of God is more embracing because it is both inner and trans-historical. It both participates in and answers, the ambiguities of the dynamics of history. Kingdom of God has lost its power because of social and doctrinal distortions. It may become a living symbol again in the encounter with the Asiatic religions. These religions transcend the personal, social and political symbolic material Christianity lives. Kingdom of God signifies the ultimate source from which even these differences arise. [358] The political aspect of the Kingdom of God is of first importance, just as it is in all of history. The symbol has many political connotations in its development in the bible. The social dimension of the symbol is second. This symbolizes the utopian fulfillment of perfect peace and justice, but acknowledges the impossibility of its manifestation on earth. The third aspect is the personal, which gives meaning to every individual. Humanity is fulfilled in every individual in the Kingdom of God. [359] The Kingdom is the fulfillment of life in all dimensions.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • Why is “Kingdom of God” the most inclusive symbol?
  • Why will Kingdom of God become a living symbol again with the encounter with the Asiatic religions?
  • In respect to the social utopian aspects of the Kingdom of God, what is the importance of “of God”?

Changes in German:

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V.I.C.4.b): The Immanent and Transcendent Element in the Symbol “Kingdom of God” [359-361]

Summary:

[359] To be an answer to history's ambiguities, “Kingdom of God” must be both immanent and transcendent. Examples of both aspects are represented in the Old Testament. The messiah as human with super human powers is one example. [360] The destruction of Israel is an example of the consequences of using the Kingdom of God as a lopsided symbol. At that time Israel viewed the Kingdom of God as predominantly inner-historical. The failure of the symbol in one form can lead to a radical reversal. In the Jewish case, to the Kingdom of God as a symbol of the transcendent. [361] The symbol Kingdom of God represents both the immanent and the transcendental to many people throughout history, and though both aspects are included in the symbol, one is usuallheology is devoted to the disc<

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • What is the consequence of believing in the Kingdom of God as predominantly immanent or transcendent?
  • Where do we find support for understanding the Kingdom of God as both immanent and transcendent?

Changes in German:

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V.II: The Kingdom of God within History [362-393]

V.II.A: The Dynamics of History and the New Being [362-374]

V.II.A.1: The Idea of “History of Salvation” [362-364]

Summary:

[362] It is now time to examine the relation of the Spiritual Present to the dynamics of history, since this discussion was bracketed previously. There are three questions to be answered. First: what is the relation of the history of salvation to the history of revelation? The two are mutually inclusive so where there is revelation, there is salvation. Second: what is the relation of human history as a result of human creativity, to the history of salvation? The two are not identical. Human history is ambiguous, salvation is the conquering of ambiguity. [363] Third: how is salvation manifest in history? Salvation as a manifestation of ultimacy is immanent in history, not above it. It is anticipated by history and then changes history as it saves it. Using the term manifestation of the Kingdom of God removes the possibility of revelation being misunderstood as above history supranaturally. [364] The last question is whether there is a structure of rhythm to the manifestation of the Kingdom of God. There is no universal answer, only the particular concrete manifestations experienced by each group that asks this question in the theological circle.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • Why are the histories of salvation and revelation mutually inclusive?
  • Why is human history not identical with the history of salvation?

Changes in German:

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V.II.A.2: The Central Manifestations of the Kingdom of God in History [364-369]

Summary:

[364] Christianity is supposedly based on the central manifestation of the Kingdom of God. The center is not measurable or temporal. It is the moment all of history prepares for and receives in past and present. Calling Jesus as the Christ the center of history is a courageous risk. [365] This faithful courage critiques progressivism. There is no progress after Jesus the Christ because all of history prepares for and receives him at once. The Old Testament shows examples of preparation, but this process of maturation occurs throughout history every time Jesus is accepted as the center. [366] The history of the church is the history of the reception of Jesus as the center. The church exists as least latently in all periods. Prophecy speaks of the possibility of the center at all times. These histories of reception and preparation lead to the question of the beginning and the end of the movement of the center, which is different from the discussion of pre- and posthistory given early. The history of the church begins when humanity raises the question of existential estrangement. [367] It ends when humanity no longer asks this question. Christianity must acknowledge that other cultures have different centers. To remain the true religion it must give a rational definition of faith oriented around the logos. To do so Christianity claims other centers do not answer the questions of history. [368] Neither nationalism, Judaism nor Islam offer centers which give universal meaning to history. Christianity does because it rationally establishes the simultaneous immanence and transcendence of the Kingdom of God which as a manifest center of history has a concrete character that gives meaning to history. [369] Though there is no other center aside from Jesus as the Christ that could potentially be asserted in this way, the actual statement of this faith by individuals requires courage as a daring faith.

Definitions:

  • Prophecy: "In its latency the church is dependent, by anticipation, on what is to come as the center of history. This is the meaning of 'prophecy' in the sense of announcing the future, and it is the meaning of such passages as those in which Fourth Gospel points to the pre-existence of the Christ." [366]

Questions:

  • What is the basis of Christianity?
  • Why does the Christian faith in Jesus as the Christ require courage if there are no other alternatives?
  • What is the difference between discussions of the pre and posthistory and the history of the manifestation of the center?
  • How does Christianity claim ultimacy for Jesus as the Christ as the only true center of history?

Changes in German:

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V.II.A.3: Kairos and Kairoi [369-372]

Summary:

[369] The fulfillment of time, or the moment of historical maturity leading to the manifestation of the center of history is the kairos. The term is meant to convey through Greek the importance of dealing with the dynamics of history. Kairos has this meaning throughout the New Testament. [370] The “great Kairos” is the center of history, or Jesus as the Christ. The experience of the kairos of prophecy is present in every church revolution or reformation. Kairos is connected with the history of prophecy and the church. Though sometimes the power of prophecy is latent, it is always present. The kairos is an experience rather than an objective analysis. [371] However, objective analysis is important in the kairos experience. The great kairos is the criterion against which all others are judged. Kairoi can be wrong, not in their essence, but because they appear in and as a part of history, which is distorting. Specific details of outcomes foretold because of a kairos are never correct, but some sort of change always occurs. Sometimes kairoi do not appear for long periods in history. [372] This absence of kairoi is felt in the Old Testament and the history of Christianity, but that is because the prophetic spirit is latent, not altogether absent.

Definitions:

  • Kairos: "The moment at which history, in terms of concrete situations, had matured to the point of being able to receive the breakthrough of the central manifestation of the Kingdom of God. The New Testament has called this moment the 'fulfilment of time,' in Greek, kairos." [369]  "We have interpreted the fulfilment of time as the moment of maturity in a particular religious of cultural development." [370]

Questions:

  • Can kairoi appear before the manifestation of the center of history?
  • Can Kairoi ever be absent from history? Can prophecy?
  • How do Karoi involve both a subjective and an objective element?

Changes in German:

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V.II.A.4: Historical Providence [372-374]

Summary:

[372] The concept of providence was discussed earlier in Part II, but now we can add the dimension of history to the definition in order to say that historical providence is the movement toward the historically new. It is important to remember that providence is not destiny without freedom. Therefore, we must avoid the idea of providence as “design” which has a deterministic feel. The question of evil as connected with freedom has been an argument against the idea of historical providence, because it means that evil is free as well. [372-373] But providence must encompass evil or it becomes one of the distorted interpretations of history, like progressivism. [373] Providence encompasses evil, because justice in the future does not annihilate injustices in the past. Also, every individual is born with the freedom to choose good and evil. God and evil are equal in historical providence and their capacities in history increase proportionately. This means evil can never stop the movement of history toward the new. This historical providence is beyond human description and understanding since it is the same as the divine mystery. Hegel attempted to describe or understand providence through logic and a description of its structures, but none could ever be complete. [374] Some of them offer useful or insightful analyses of historical structures, but they can never portray historical providence itself.

Definitions:

  • Historical Providence: "Now that we are including the historical dimension we can say that the 'new' toward which history runs, both the particularly new and the absolutely new, is the aim of historical providence." [372]

Questions:

  • Why must providence include evil?
  • Can historical providence be concretely described?
  • What makes attempted descriptions of providence helpful or useful?

Changes in German:

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V.II.B: The Kingdom of God and the Churches [374-382]

V.II.B.1: The Churches as the Representatives of the Kingdom of God in History [374-377]

Summary:

[374] The churches represent the Kingdom of God in history in addition to being embodiments of the Spiritual Community. [375] It is because they are representatives of the Kingdom of God, which is all inclusive, that they can also be embodiments of the Spiritual Community. In both capacities they are ambiguous because they are in existence. They can be distorted and even demonic. Even if they are demonic they are still tied to and representative of the Kingdom of God. As such, the churches participate both in the movement in history toward its aim and the battle against the forces that oppose that aim. Even when distorted the churches portray this mission in their liturgy and tradition. [376] The churches are able to fight against the demonic because they are based upon the New Being which conquers estrangement. The church was latent before the appearance of the New being at the center of history and prepared the way for the struggle of the churches. What is the meaning of the dual participation of the churches (Spiritual Community and Kingdom of God)? [377] To be effective as both embodiments of the spiritual Community and representative of the Kingdom of God, the churches must draw into themselves, with all the rest of life, both the organic and the inorganic realms. The Kingdom of God is an all inclusive symbol. The churches can fight against the demonic, despite sometimes being demonic themselves, by battling both internally and externally. This is possible internally when the holy aspects within the churches attack the unholy.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • How are the churches both embodiments of the Spiritual Community and representatives of the Kingdom of God?
  • Have the churches existed in their current form in all of history?
  • How can the church fight against the demonic when they themselves fall prey to these forces?

Changes in German:

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V.II.B.2: The Kingdom of God and the History of the Churches [377-382]

Summary:

[377] The history of the church and the history of the churches are the same thing, though the church was latent before the churches appeared. [378] It is demonic to elevate one of the church or one period of their history to the status of the church. All the churches founded on the Christ participate in the church. The difference between church history and the manifestation of the Kingdom of God leads to a number of riddles. Among them: why are the churches limited in affiliation to only a portion of human civilization and history? Why have secular developments in Christian cultures turned against Christianity? [379] Why do those developments have such power in non-Christian cultures? Why do so many churches claiming Jesus as the center of history have such different interpretations of this center? The great profanization of the holy through ritual superstition is one example of a divergent account of the center. [380] The secularization of Christianity through the Protestant Principle is another. All this leads to the question of the demonic forces in the churches. [381] The churches, despite their demonic distortions, are superior to other groups because they are founded on New Being and therefore have within themselves the criterion against their own distortion. [382] The next consideration is the effect of the history of the churches in world history.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • Why do the riddles of church history occur?
  • Was there ever one church that cold be considered the church?
  • What is the criterion of the churches that combats their distortion?

Changes in German:

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V.II.C: The Kingdom of God and World History [382-393]

V.II.C.1: Church History and World History [382-384]

Summary:

[384] World is not a comprehensive or cohesive history of all humanity. The following discussion looks at particular histories because the Kingdom of God is related to and unites all histories. Church history is part both of history and that which transcends it. World history is dependent on it even as it is opposed to it. The churches, in a sense, are this section of world history that embodies all of life's elements. [383] The churches also fight against the ambiguities of the world. For these reasons the church can judge world history, instilling an uneasy conscience in anyone who encounters New Being but does not embrace it. Writing church history requires recording the facts as completely as possible while leaving out any mention of providential impetus, and it requires an awareness that the churches are of the Spiritual Community and representing the Kingdom of God. Additionally, the historian must also see world history as preparing for church history, transformed by the Spiritual Community, and both judge of and judged by church history.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • Why can church history judge world history?
  • What is the meaning of “world history”? How can it be misunderstood?
  • What is the biggest influence the churches have on world history? Why is it important?

Changes in German:

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V.II.C.2: The Kingdom of God and the Ambiguities of Historical Self-integration [385-388]

Summary:

[385] History is ambiguous because life is ambiguous. The ambiguous impulses to build empires and control are caused by self-integration under the historical dimension. They are the ambiguities of power and the question then arises: how are the churches and the Kingdom of God related to the ambiguities of power? Power is the power of being itself and therefore essentially divine. So victories for the Kingdom of God are not victories against power, but the negative effects of power. Institutions like democracy, for example, which fight against the objectification of people, win victories for the Kingdom of God. These institutions should not be identified with the Kingdom of God, however. [386] The churches should support power structures as a means of upholding justice, but should never control politics, or force an agenda politically under the banner of the Kingdom of God. In existence different groups interact and assert their power and one is sometimes defeated. The unity of the Kingdom of God can be actualized in the defeat of one or the victory of the other. [387] Sometimes a defeat is the most significant part of a group's history. The churches must find a balance between unity in the Kingdom of God achieved through conquering and unity through pacifism. The one abuses power in an idolatrous way while the other ignores the essential necessity of power. This balance can be achieved fragmentarily by the unity of higher political powers that do not turn one another into mere objects. [383] The churches themselves must remain pacificistic in their actions, but should not force pacifism on the world, because it ignores the essential nature of power and its inclusion in the Kingdom of God.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • Why can the Kingdom of God be actualized both in the defeat of a group, or its victory?
  • Why should the churches be pacifistic but not demand the same from all political groups?
  • What is the fragmentary solution or balance between complete imperialism and complete pacifism?

Changes in German:

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V.II.C.3: The Kingdom of God and the Ambiguities of Historical Self-creativity [388-390]

Summary:

[388] The previous section dealt with politics. This section deals with social growth. The victories of the Kingdom of God come when tradition is balanced with revolution. One common and great example is the creative unity of the different generations. Revolution is necessary and should not be ignored or avoided forever. [389] Neither should it be sought out or used constantly, which would be destructive, or as a means of pushing an eschatological end. Revolution must be balanced creatively by tradition and built into tradition. Democracy tries to do this in its legal systems and electoral process, though with only fragmentary success. [390] In religious traditions the general rule is conservatism and stability punctuated by revolutionary reform. This is necessary because revolution can only critique an established tradition if it is to be creative and meaningful.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • Why is revolution necessary?
  • How is tradition necessary?
  • Can the union of tradition and revolution, as in democracy, ever be complete?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.II.C.4: The Kingdom of God and the Ambiguities of Historical Self-transcendence [390-391]

Summary:

[390] This section discusses the ambiguity caused by the differences between the actualized Kingdom of God and the expectation of the Kingdom. We should never cease to expect the coming of the Kingdom of God, but neither should we cease to appreciate the Kingdom as it has already been actualized. The union of these two is creative, but the tension is difficult to maintain. [391] Usually certain groups wish to retain the status quo, while critics of it seek to reinforce a utopian outlook that is perpetually expectant of the Kingdom, ignoring its fragmentary manifestations. It is the job of the churches to maintain the tension rather than fall to one side or the other. The emphasis of the individual salvation and social transformation are the forms of the churches that are emphasizing the church as already here, or as not yet come. The two must find a balance.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • What form does a purely expectant church take? What of the church that ignores the Kingdom as it is actualized already?
  • What are the consequences of not balancing these two outlooks?

Changes in German:

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V.II.C.5: The Kingdom of God and the Ambiguities of the Individual in History [391-393]

Summary:

[391] Every creative individual contributes to the movements of history, not just the politically active. [392] The attempt to avoid historical participation is dehumanizing. Participation in the struggle of the group, the inner-historical struggle, is necessary in order to reach the Kingdom of God. The struggle leads to sacrifice and as individual participation increases, historical sacrifice, which is the call to give oneself up to an aim that is more than merely political, increases as well. This aim must be personally fulfilling. [392-393] This aim takes many forms, such glory or honor, but each is a victory for the Kingdom of God. [393] The symbol “Kingdom of God” encompasses all expressions of ultimate meaning and this leads to the next and final section of the systematic theology.

Definitions:

  • Historical Sacrifice:"Genuine sacrifice fulfils rather than annihilates him who makes the sacrifice. Therefore historical sacrifice must be surrender to an aim in which more is achieved than just the power of a political structure of the life of a group or a progress in historical movement or the highest state of human history."  [392]

Questions:

  • Why is the attempt to remove oneself from history dehumanizing?
  • Why does greater historical participation lead to greater sacrifice?
  • How does every creative individual, not just the politically involved, contribute to the movement of history?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III: The Kingdom of God as the End of History [394-423]

V.III.A: The End of History of Eternal Life [394-406]

V.III.A.1: The Double Meaning of “End of History” and the Permanent Presence of the End [394-396]

Summary:

[394] Even though the Kingdom of God transcends history it is related to it at all times as the “end” of history. End means both aim and finish. In a temporal sense history will end, or finish, when the earth or universe ceases to exist in time and space. In the other sense, the end of the aim of history transcends time. This is symbolized by “Eternal Life”. [395] It is the task of theology to describe the interaction of the temporal and the eternal, essence and existence, in the eternal now, using all the attendant religious symbolism. Despite the eternal now there is an end of history for us that gives eschatology a sense of urgency. Though the end of humanity and history rarely was raised as a serious concern previously, the occurrences of the twentieth century have made them especially urgent questions.

Definitions:

  • Eschatos/The Eschaton: "The Greek word eschatos combines, as does the english 'end,' a spatio-temporal and a qualitative sense." [395] "In order to emphasize the qualitative connotation of eschatos  I use the singular: the eschaton." [394]

Questions:

  • How does Tillich define theology in this section? What is its function?
  • Why is the eschaton important in theology?
  • What is the relation of the two meanings of “end”?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III.A.2: The End of History as the Elevation of the Temporal into Eternity [396-398]

Summary:

[396] The previous sections, which determine the aim of history as the eternally present Kingdom of God represented by the symbol Eternal Life lead to the question: what is the content of Eternal Life? One answer is that there is no answer. The Eternal Life is a mystery and is unknowable; but if symbols of this mystery exist and are used, they must be discussed. [397] Another answer is that the Kingdom is simply a perfect form of the existential realm with its ambiguities removed. This is erroneous, however, because it elevates the ambiguities of the historical realm to the level of the eternal. In this answer history has no bearing on the eternal or the Kingdom of God. It is merely an aspect of earthly life. Therefore, history has no transcendent aim. The last possibility elevates the positive creations of history to the eternal and excludes the negative. The negative and the positive lose their ambiguity and are manifest as purely one or the other, giving history a transcendent meaning that allows it to interact with the Kingdom of God. [397-398] This historical process refers primarily to human history, but since the historical dimension includes all realms, they all contribute to the Eternal Life. [398] Therefore, all historical creation contributes to the divine life. The ground of being contains within itself the aim of the end of history. Creation occurs between the beginning, or the ground of being, and the end, or aim of history. Creation is new because it depends on the ground for potential but also the dynamics of the unity of freedom and destiny in actual existence.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • Why is mysticism not an answer to the question of eternal life?
  • Why is the elevation of existence to the level of the eternal not an answer?
  • What is the difference between Tillich's second and third possible explanation of the content of Eternal Life?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III.A.3: The End of History as the Exposure of the Negative as Negative of the “Ultimate Judgment” [398-401]

Summary:

[398] The separation of the positive historical creations from the negative is symbolized by the final or ultimate judgment. Many cultures have symbols for this process including the Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Persian religions. [398-399] The final judgment removes from evil the appearance that it is Good. [399] These considerations lead to the question of how the transition from the temporal to the eternal occurs. It is not a measurable event since it is not temporal. The only way to describe the process of this transition is to call it “eternal memory”. Most other statements or descriptions are merely poetic.  [400] What can be said is that the eternal is not simply all future events. It is ever present. But how, then, is the negative negated? The negative is simply not an object of eternal memory. It was never eternal so can never be remembered except in the way that an exposed lie is remembered. This then leads to the question of what constitutes the positive that is remembered. The positive refers to the positive in creation which is new as actualized potential, and this newness is united with essence to bring something new to essential being. This is called the process of essentialization. [401] This is New Being and is a contribution to the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God. The process of New Being makes every creation important and valid, and since eternal life depends upon the unity of essence with actualized creation, the greater the positive actualization of potential, the higher the standing in eternal life.

Definitions:

  • Eternal Memory: "With a bold metaphor one could say that the temporal, in a continuous process, becomes 'eternal memory.' It is together past, present, and future in a transcendent unity of the three modes of time."  [399]
  • Essentialization: "The new which has been actualized in time and space adds something to essential being, uniting it with the positive which is created in existence, thus producing the ultimately new, or 'New Being,' not fragmentarily as in temporal life, but wholly as a contribution to the Kingdom of God in its fulfilment [sic]." [400]

Questions:

  • What is the nature of the final judgment?
  • How do we measure the transition from temporal to eternal?
  • How can we describe eternal memory? Why is it so difficult to describe?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III.A.4: The End of History and the Final Conquest of the Ambiguities of Life [401-403]

Summary:

[401] Eternal Life is the manifestation of the fulfilled Kingdom of God, so it is necessary to understand what self-integration, self-creativity- and self-transcendence mean in this context. First, unambiguous self-creativity is the perfect balance of individualization and participation. Eternal life is not the end of life, self-centeredness or the self, only ambiguity. [402] Second, unambiguous self-creativity is the perfect balance of dynamics and form. Thirdly, unambiguous self-transcendence is the perfect balance of freedom and destiny. It is necessary also to understand what the function of morality, religion and culture are in Eternal Life. Because ambiguity is conquered and there is no need for law, morality ceases. [403] In Eternal Life truth and aesthetic principles are followed as a matter of course, so culture ceases. And because religion is the ambiguous relation of humanity to the ground of being and ambiguity is conquered in Eternal Life, religion ceases as well. We must then ask the question of how the necessary element of negativity, that which makes life possible, can be united with Eternal Life. The answer in the next section is Blessedness.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • What changes do self-integration, self-creativity and self-transcendence undergo in Eternal Life?
  • What happens to morality, culture and religion?
  • Can you trace the logical progression through the sections of the Systematic Theology that leads to this section?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III.A.5: Eternal Blessedness as the Eternal Conquest of the Negative [403-406]

Summary:

[403] Those who participate in Spirit are fragmentarily blessed. Nothing existential can destroy the feeling of blessedness. Still, in existence this feeling is balanced with all the negative feelings of despair, destruction, etcetera. [404] But how can there be blessedness, or Eternal Blessedness, without negativity? The problem of theodicy highlights the pressing nature of this question. It is the task of theology to answer it, or it is neglectful. [405] Blessedness itself requires negativity, despite its participation in the eternal and this requirement is fulfilled in the definition of Eternal Blessedness as the eternal conquering of negativity. Though perfect and eternal, the Divine Blessedness is also eternally in motion as a process—the conquest of negativity. Individuals can participate in this eternal blessedness, as can the universe at large. Biblical accounts show that nature is either included in the Divine Blessedness with humanity, or it is excluded with humanity.

Definitions:

  • Divine Blessedness: Blessedness "designates a state of mind in which Spiritual Presence produces a feeling of fulfilment which cannot be disturbed by negativities in other dimensions." [405] "It is the nature of blessedness itself that requires a negative element in the eternity of the Divine Life." "The Divine Life is the eternal conquest of the negative; this is its blessedness." [405]

Questions:

  • How does Eternal Blessedness include negativity?
  • Is nature included in Eternal Blessedness?
  • Why can't the question of Eternal Blessedness be answered by saying that it is an unanswerable mystery?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III.B: The Individual Person and His Eternal Destiny [406-419]

V.III.B.1: Universal and Individual Fulfillment [406-409]

Summary:

[406] Only human individuals have an awareness of the aim of history. As limited beings of freedom, we also have a sense of duty. The extent to which we do or do not actualize our potential, given us by destiny, determines our telos, or end in Eternal Life. [407] That we can actualize our potential by degrees and enter Eternal Life by degrees denies the absolutist symbols of Christianity, like being saved, unsaved or absolutely and eternally damned. But this means not all things are saved as a matter of course, so there remains in life an urgency that requires striving. One demonic danger that can arise from this process is demonic personalization. When individualization wins out over participation in the Spirit, each person is separated from everyone else falsely. [408] No human being is ever on one side of eternal judgment or the other. Even sinners and saints are ambiguous. And finally, no individual can radically separate himself from humanity because individuals are created by society. [409] The individualization and participation of human beings in the social context of the entire race means also that no one is ever completely damned or holy because they share in the destinies of all. This allows for the concept of vicarious atonement.

Definitions:

  • Vicarious Fulfiment (using Tillich's spelling): "Whoever condemns anyone to eternal death condemns himself, because his essence and that of the other cannot be absolutely separated." "The essentialization of the individual in unity with all beings makes the concept of vicarious fulfilment [sic] possible." [409]

Questions:

  • Can infants, or those who grew up in destructive environments that left no room for maturity, ever be saved?
  • Why can individuals never completely separate themselves from the rest of humanity?
  • What is the problem with the doctrine of double predestination?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III.B.2: Immortality as Symbol and as Concept [409-412]

Summary:

[409] “Resurrection” and “Immortality” are symbolic references to Eternal Life, but only resurrection is a biblical reference, and immortality has become distorted. [410] Christianity must reject this superstitious distortion. Immortality does not contradict Eternal Life, but it has a Platonic rather than biblical meaning, namely, the “immortality of the soul”. This leads to a dualism that is not compatible with the “resurrection of the body”. Only if the soul is understood, in an Aristotelian sense, as the essential collection of all life processes, can “resurrection” be compatible with immortality through the process of essentialization. Immortality must be understood as a symbol of eternity, not as a philosophical or literal concept that refers to a specific object. [411] The conceptual understanding of the soul originated in Plato, was critiqued by Aristotle, and lead eventually to Plotinus' mysticism. Christianity could not deny the individuality of each Christian and therefore could not accept Plotinus outright, but returned to Plato's soul concept. This leads to the problem of superstition and the confusion of the symbol and the concept of the immortal soul. Any philosophical attack on “immortality” should be understood as a liberation of the symbol from the concept. [412] It would be best, then, to use the term Eternal Life in order to avoid all these confusions.

Definitions:

  • Immortality: The non-traditional symbol of immortality "does not mean a continuation of temporal life after death, but it means a quality which transcends temporality." [410] "But the term is traditionally used in the phrase 'immortality of the soul.'" This "introduces a dualism betweens soul and body, contradicting the Christian concept of Spirit, which includes all dimensions of being; and it is incompatible with the symbol 'resurrection of the body.'" [411]

Questions:

  • What is the difference between the symbol of immortality ad the concept of immortality?
  • Where do these differences come from?
  • Does Tillich ultimately consider the term “immortality” useful?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III.B.3: The Meaning of Resurrection [412-414]

Summary:

[412] “Resurrection of the body” is a better symbolic understanding of Eternal Life than “Immortality”. It stands both against a dualism of body and soul and the superstitious eternalization of the physical body. The resurrection is of the Spiritual body means that all dimensions of being are included in the Eternal Life, not simply the flesh. [413] Resurrection of the body also emphasizes individuality. This capturing of individuality also occurs in portrait painting and in the Greek-Orthodox use of icons. It is the distillation of identity and essence. This all leads to the question of the inclusion of a self-conscious self in Eternal Life. The only answer is that Eternal Life does not exclude the self-conscious self since it includes everything. If individuality disappeared from the Kingdom of God, so too would participation. [414] Self-consciousness cannot be excluded from the Eternal Life because the entire structure of life includes it and leads up to it. At the same time, Eternal Life is not the unending temporal extension of the body. Neither is it the unending stream of thoughts and experience we know as self-consciousness in existence. More cannot be said except in poetic imagery. The resurrection symbolism is used to express the certainty that after existential death there is eternity. It is an expression of hope.

Definitions:

  • Resurrection: "Man's participation in eternal life beyond death is more adequately expressed by the highly symbolic phrase 'resurrection of the body.'" [412]
  • Spiritual Body: "A Spiritual body then is a body which expresses the Spiritually transformed total personality of man." [413]

Questions:

  • Why is the resurrection of the body a better symbol for Eternal Life than Immortality?
  • How does resurrection emphasize individuality?
  • What are Tillich's arguments for the participation of self-consciousness in Eternal Life? Are there limitations to these arguments?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III.B.4: Eternal Life and Eternal Death [415-419]

Summary:

[415] Eternal death is the demythologized symbol of eternal punishment, meaning simply that one never reaches Eternal Life or transcends the temporal. But this definition of eternal death would deny the meaning of essentialization, that everything comes from the ground of being and returns to it. How are we to reconcile the two? [416] The trouble with this reconciliation is that no one can be certain of their ultimate destiny, and neither do they want to attribute eternal death to themselves or others. Practically, it seems best to preach eternal death, but believe in life. There are attempts to bridge this practical polarity: reincarnation, an intermediary state and purgatory. They deny the fact that all of life determines participation in Eternal Life and death is the end of this process. [417] Reincarnation is not a viable concept because it is the consequence of negative aspects of creation and there is no identity between different reincarnations. Purgatory is impossible because it assumes that change can come from prolonged periods of suffering and pain, which are psychologically impossible. Transformation through pain is better understood as Blessedness which is with, but not solely through, pain or negativity. The intermediary state of Protestantism was the weak response to Catholic purgatory. [418] This state applies temporality to life beyond death and a bodiless state that ignores the multidimensionality of Eternal Life. A real answer to this polarity is beyond us. We can only assert the polarity and know the truth is both above and in their unity.

Definitions:

  • Reincarnation: In reincarnation "the assertion of 'life after death' is no t a consoling idea. On the contrary, the negative character of all life leads to reincarnation [the rebirth of a soul in a new body], the painful way of returning to the eternal."  [417]
  • Purgatory: "Purgatory is a state in which the soul is 'purged' from the distorting elements of temporal existence. In Catholic doctrine mere suffering does the purging."  [417]
  • Intermediary State: "The main weakness of this doctrine is the idea of a bodiless intermediary state which contradicts the truth of the multidimensional unity of life and involves an unsymbolic application of measurable time to life beyond death." [418]

Questions:

  • Why are reincarnation, purgatory and the intermediary state unacceptable solutions to the problem of denying both eternal death and eternal life for all?
  • Why should Christianity retain the symbols of heaven and hell despite their frequent distortion?
  • What is Tillich's answer to the problem of the polarity of eternal death?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III.C: The Kingdom of God as the End of History [419-423]

V.III.C.1: Eternity and the Movement of Time [419-420]

Summary:

[419] We must now examine the nature of eternity as neither temporality extended indefinitely nor the complete denial of the temporal. Spatial images help us in this endeavor. The Greek understanding of time began with the circular image of Pythagorean thought, then evolved into Plato's moving image of eternity. Augustine rejected this circularity and replaced the circle with a line leading from the beginning of temporality and ending with the transformation of the temporal into the eternal. [420] The line represents that time not only runs toward an aim, but contributes to it. But the line ignores or cannot portray the origin of time in, and its return to, eternity. Instead of the line, we must imagine a curve, coming from and returning to eternity in every moment, with no final moment of one beginning or return.

Definitions:

  • Nunc Existentiale: “The existential now” [420].

Questions:

  • What is the problem with Plato's “moving image of eternity?
  • What is wrong or imperfect in Augustine's line image?
  • What is the best image we can use? Why?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

V.III.C.2: Eternal Life and Divine Life [420-423]

Summary:

[420] Eternal Life is life in God, since there cannot be two separate or parallel divine lives. Biblical imagery and doctrine support this. [421] By “in” God we mean first that God is the creative origin of everything. It also implies an ontological dependence. All finite things are dependent upon the eternal ground of being. Finally, we also mean by “in” that God is the end, the essentialization, of all things. This all refers to the process of essentialization—essence to existence followed by a return of existence or creation to essence. We must also ask the question of the relation of creaturely life in eternity to the Divine life. It can only be answered with religious and poetic symbols. The logos as the Trinitarian symbol brings a otherness into interaction with the divine life, making life possible. [422] This otherness of creatures, of the worldly process, is meaningful to God in that God moves toward the actualization of love as the end of history. This discussion is symbolic, however, and does not make God into an object of analysis. Also, theology must assert the seriousness of life or the world is of no consequence to God. Still, this is a theocentric theology rather than an anthropocentric or cosmocentric one. [423] It is necessary to discuss religious symbols first in the consideration of the human condition, but ultimately in light of the relation of humanity to God, in order to avoid the wishful imaginings of humanity that distort symbols like heaven and hell.

Definitions:

  • None.

Questions:

  • Why is it necessary to begin this discussion of symbols with the human condition?
  • Why must we then move to the relation between humanity and God?
  • Why can there not be two separate divine lives?

Changes in German:

  • (none listed here)

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