AW: [hegel] The Holy Trinity
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Datum: 06.01.2011 01:34
[hegel] The Holy Trinity
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, stephen theron <stephentheron@...> wrote:
Like it or hate it you have gone into Trinitarian thought here and it is as good a place as any, as being essential to
As you know Trinitarian thought is a BIG topic. I hesitate to talk about it because,
on the one hand, I wouldn't know where to begin, and, on the other hand, once I started I doubt I'd know where to end.
So I think, at this point at least, I'll just content myself with quoting Hegel. Of course the same problem arises
again. This is such a big deal for Hegel that one doesn't know where to begin or end quoting. But anyway here's a nice
The consequence is that no meaning for the expression 'God' remains in theology any more than in
philosophy, save only the representation, definition or abstraction of the supreme being--a vacuum of abstraction, a
vacuum of 'the beyond'. Such is the overall result of rational theology, this generally negative tendency toward any
content at all in regard to the nature of God...
The result is that one only knows in general that God is; but
otherwise this supreme being is inwardly empty and dead. It is not to be grasped as a living God, as concrete content;
it is not to be grasped as spirit.
If 'spirit' is not an empty word, then God must be grasped under this
characteristic, just as in the church theology of former times God was called 'triune'. This is the key by which the
nature of spirit is explicated.
God is thus grasped as what He is for Himself within Himself; God [the Father] makes
Himself an object for Himself (the Son); then, in this object, God remains the undivided essence within this
differentiation of Himself within Himself, and in this differentiation of Himself loves Himself, i.e., remains
identical with Himself--this is God as Spirit.
Hence if we are to speak of God as spirit, we must grasp God with this
very definition, which exists in the church in this childlike mode of representation as the relationship between father
and son--as representation that is not yet a matter of the concept.
Thus it is just this definition of God by the
church as a Trinity that is the concrete determination and nature of God as spirit; and spirit is an empty word if it
is not grasped in this determination.
But when modern theology says that we cannot have cognition of God or that God
has no further determinations within Himself, it knows only that God IS as something abstract without content, and in
this way God is reduced to this hollow abstraction. It is all the same whether we say we cannot have cognition of God,
or that God is only a supreme being. Inasmuch as we only know that God is, God is the abstractum.
To cognize God means
to have a definite, concrete concept of God. As merely having being, God is something abstract; when God is cognized,
however, we have a representation with a content.
[Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, vol.1, pages 126f]
Thanks for these quotations. From these, I guess, the following can be derived:
(1) The assumption or
determination of God as merely existing implies an abstract God without any content.
(2) For a living God
representations with a concrete content is necessary.
(3) Only with this concrete content God is grasped as living
spirit that He is.
(4) So, beyond living spirit there is no God.
(5) The existence of God is bound to the concrete
content of representation. An abstract God has no existence.
(6) If the concrete content of God as respresentation is
lost there cannot be any longer a meaningful assumption or determination of the existence of God.
(7) Philosophy can
save God as a concrete concept which is the concept of the living spirit and its development.