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§ 35.

The being of God.

Ir can never be the object of a positive religion to prove the existence of God, inasmuch as it always presupposes the knowledge that there is a God. Christianity stood on the basis of the Old Testament idea of God,-now purified and carried beyond the limits of national interests,-as a personal God, who, as the Creator of heaven and earth, rules over the human race who had given the law, sent the prophets, and manifested Himself most perfectly, and in the fulness of His personal presence, in Jesus Christ (1). Consequently the believing Christian needed, as little as his Jewish contemporary, a proof of the being of God. But, in the further development of the Christian consciousness, it became necessary, on the one hand, that Christians should defend themselves (apologetically) against the charge of atheism which was frequently brought against them (2); on the other, they had to demonstrate to the heathen (polemically) that their pagan worship was false, and consequently in its very foundation was a denial of the living God (atheism) (3). When, therefore, the writings of the Fathers contain anything like a proof of the existence of God, it is either the immediate expression of religious feeling in a

rhetorical and hymnological form (4), or it is intimately connected with other definitions respecting the nature of God, with the doctrine of His unity, or with the doctrine concerning creation, providence, and the government of the world (5). But the Fathers of this period generally recur to the consciousness of God implanted in the human spirit (testimonium animæ, λόγος σπερματικός), which may be traced even in the heathen (6), and on the purity of which the knowledge of God depends (7). With this they connect, but in a popular rather than a strictly scientific form, what is commonly called the physico-theological, or teleological proof, inferring the existence of a Creator from the works of creation (8). More artificial proofs, such as the cosmological and the ontological, were unknown in this period. Even the more profound thinkers of the Alexandrian school frankly acknowledged the impossibility of a strict proof of the existence of God, and the necessity of a revelation on God's part (9).

(1) The distinction, therefore, between Theology and Christology is only relative, and made for scientific purposes. The Christian idea of God always depends on faith in the Son, in whom the Father manifests Himself. "The doctrine of the Logos was the stock out of which Christian theology grew: the divine nature in itself was treated only incidentally and in fragments," Semisch, Just. Mart. ii. s. 247. We find, however, in the writings of some of the earliest Fathers (especially Minucius Felix) a kind of theology which bears much resemblance to what was subsequently called natural theology, being more reflective than intuitive. Others (e.g. Clement) looked at everything as mediated by the Logos; Strom. v. 12, p. 696, comp. note 9 below.

(2) Comp. e.g. Minuc. Fel. Oct. c. 8; and, on the other side, c. 17, 18, also the Edict. Antonini, in Euseb. iv. 13; the phrase ὡς ἀθέων κατηγοροῦντες, however, may be differently interpreted. Comp. Heinichen, i. p. 328.

(3) This was done by all the apologists, each in his turn; comp. as examples of all, Minuc. Fel. c. 20 ss.; Tertullian, Apol. c. 8, De Idololatria; Cyprian, De Idolorum Vanitate, etc.

(4) Thus the passage in Clem. Alex. Cohort. 54: Oeòs dè πῶς ἂν εἴποιμι ὅσα ποιεῖ; ὅλον ἰδὲ τὸν κόσμον. Εκείνου ἔργον ἐστὶν καὶ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἥλιος καὶ ἄγγελοι καὶ ἄνθρωποι, ἔργα τῶν δακτύλων αὐτοῦ. "Οση γε ἡ δύναμις τοῦ θεοῦ ; Μόνον αὐτοῦ τὸ βούλημα κοσμοποιία· ἐποίησεν, ἐπεὶ καὶ μόνος ὄντως ἐστὶ θεός. δημιουργεῖ, καὶ τῷ μόνον ἐθελῆσαι αὐτὸν ἕπεται τὸ γεγενῆσθαι K.T.. Comp. Tertull. Apol. c. 17, 18.

(5) Comp. the following sections.

μόνος γὰρ ὁ θεὸς Ψιλῷ τῷ βούλεσθαι

(6) Tertullian, Advers. Judæos, c. 2: Cur etenim Deus universitatis conditor, mundi totius gubernator, hominis plasmator, universarum gentium sator, legem per Moysen uni populo dedisse credatur, et non omnibus gentibus attribuisse dicatur? et seq. Comp. Apol. c. 17: Vultis ex operibus ipsius tot ac talibus quibus continemur, quibus sustinemur, quibus oblectamur, etiam quibus exterremur? vultis ex animæ ipsius testimonio comprobemus ? Quæ licet carcere corporis pressa, licet institutionibus pravis circumscripta, licet libidinibus ac concupiscentiis evigorata, licet falsis deis exancillata, cum tamen resipiscit ut ex crapula, ut ex somno, ut ex aliqua valetudine, et sanitatem suam potitur, Deum nominat, hoc solo nomine, quia proprio Dei veri: Deus magnus, Deus bonus, et: quod Deus dederit, omnium vox est. Judicem quoque contestatur illum: Deus videt, et: Deo commendo, et: Deus mihi reddet. O testimonium animæ naturaliter christianæ ! Denique pronuntians hæc, non ad capitolium, sed ad cœlum respicit, novit enim sedem Dei vivi.-De Testim. Animæ, c. 2: Si enim anima aut divina aut a Deo data est, sine dubio datorem suum novit. Et si novit, utique et timet, et tantum postremo adauctorem. An non timet, quem magis propitium velit quam iratum? Unde igitur naturalis timor animæ in Deum, si Deus non vult irasci? Quomodo timetur qui nescit offendi? Quid timetur nisi ira? Unde ira nisi ex animadversione? Unde animadversio nisi de judicio? Unde judicium nisi de potestate? Cujus potestas summa nisi Dei solius? Hinc ergo tibi, anima, de conscientia suppetit domi ac foris, nullo irridente vel prohibente, prædicare: Deus videt omnia, et Deo commendo, et: Deus reddet, et: Deus inter nos judicabit, et seq. Comp. Neander, Antignost. s. 88, 89. Justin M. also speaks of an innate idea of God, Apol. ii. 6: To eès

προσαγόρευμα οὐκ ὄνομά ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ πράγματος δυσεξηγήτου ἔμφυτος τῇ φύσει τῶν ἀνθρώπων δόξα. Comp. Dial. c. Tr. c. 93.—Clem. Alex. Coh. vi. 59: Πᾶσιν γὰρ ἁπαξαπλῶς ἀνθρώ ποις, μάλιστα δὲ τοῖς περὶ λόγους ἐνδιατρίβουσιν (qui in studiis literarum versati sunt) ενέστακταί τις ἀπόῤῥοια θεϊκή. Οὗ δὴ χάριν καὶ ἄκοντες μὲν ὁμολογοῦσιν ἕνα τε εἶναι θεὸν, ἀνώλεθρον καὶ ἀγέννητον τοῦτον ἄνω που περὶ τὰ νῶτα τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐν τῇ ἰδίᾳ καὶ οἰκείᾳ περιωπῇ ὄντως ὄντα ἀεί. Comp. Strom. v. 12, p. 698 : Θεοῦ μὲν γὰρ ἔμφασις ἑνὸς ἦν τοῦ παντοκράτορος παρὰ πᾶσι τοῖς εὐφρονοῦσι πάντοτε φυσική· καὶ τῆς ἀϊδίου κατὰ τὴν θείαν πρόνοιαν εὐεργεσίας ἀντελαμβάνοντο οἱ πλεῖστοι, οἱ καὶ μὴ τέλεον ἀπηρυθριακότες πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν.

(7) Theophilus ad Autolycum, at the beginning: “If thou sayest, Show me thy God; I answer, Show me first thy man, and I will show thee my God. Show me first whether the eyes of thy soul see and the ears of thy heart hear; for as the eyes of the body perceive earthly things, light and darkness, white and black, beauty and deformity, etc., so the ears of the heart and the eyes of the soul can perceive God. God is seen by those who can see Him when they open the eyes of their soul. All men have eyes, but the eyes of some are blinded, that they cannot see the light of the sun. But the sun does not cease to shine because they are blind, they must ascribe it to their blindness that they cannot see. Thus is it with thee, O man! The eyes of thy soul are darkened by sin, even by thy sinful actions. Like a bright mirror, man must have a pure soul. If there be any rust on the mirror, man cannot see the reflection of his countenance in it: likewise, if there be sin in man, he cannot see God. Therefore, first examine thyself whether thou be not an adulterer, fornicator, thief, robber, etc., for thy crimes prevent thee from perceiving God." Comp. Clem. Alex. Paed. iii. 1, p. 250: Εαυτὸν γάρ τις ἐὰν γνῴη, Θεὸν εἴσεται. Minuc. Fel. c. 32: Ubique non tantum nobis proximus, sed infusus est (Deus). Non tantum sub illo agimus, sed et cum illo, prope dixerim vivimus.


(8) Theophil. ad Autol. 5 : " When we see a well-appointed vessel on the sea, we conclude that she has a pilot on board; so, too, from the regular course of the planets, the rich variety of creatures, we infer the Creator." Clem. Alex. (comp. note 4).

Minue. Fel. c. 32: Immo ex hoc Daum credimus, quod eum sentire possumus, videre non possumus. In operibus enim ejus et in mundi omnibus motibus virtutem ejus semper præsentem adspicimus, quum tonat, fulgurat, fulminat, quum serenat, etc. Comp. c. 18 : Quod si ingressus aliquam domum omnia exculta, disposita, ornata vidisses, utique praeesse ei crederes dominum, et illis bonis rebus multo esse meliorem: ita in hac mundi domo, quum cœlum terramque perspicias, providentiam, ordinem, legem, crede esse universitatis dominum parentemque, ipsis sideribus et totius mundi partibus pulchriorem. Novat. ab init. Similarly also the pseudo-Clementines, Hom. vi. 24, 25. After the author has shown how the elements cannot have come together of themselves, he proceeds: Οὕτως ἀνάγκη, τινὰ εἶναι νοεῖν ἀγέννητον τεχνίτην, ὃς τὰ στοιχεῖα ἢ διεστῶτα συνήγαγεν, ἢ συνόντα ἀλλήλοις πρὸς ζώου γένεσιν τεχνικῶς ἐκέρασεν καὶ ἓν ἐκ πάντων ἔργον ἀπετέλεσεν. ̓Αδύνατον γὰρ ἄνευ τινὸς τοῦ μείζονος πάνυ σοφὸν ἔργον ἀπετέλεσεν. ̓Αδύνατον γὰρ ἄνευ τινὸς τοῦ μείζονος πάνυ σοφὸν ἔργον ἀποτελεῖσθαι. God is the principle of all motion. Water, out of which everything rises, is moved by the wind (breath, spirit, πνεῦμα), but this spirit itself again proceeds from God. Comp. Baur, Dg. s. 400.

(9) Clem. Alex. Strom. v. 12, p. 695: Ναὶ μὴν ὁ δυσμεταχειριστότατος περὶ Θεοῦ λόγος οὗτός ἐστιν· ἐπεὶ γὰρ ἀρχὴ παντὸς πράγματος δυσεύρετος, πάντως που ἡ πρώτη καὶ πρεσβυτάτη ἀρχὴ δύσδεικτος, ἥτις καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἅπασιν αἰτία τοῦ γενέσθαι κ.τ.λ. Ib. in calce et 696: 'Αλλ ̓ οὐδὲ ἐπιστήμῃ λαμβάνεται τῇ ἀποδεικτικῇ· αὕτη γὰρ ἐκ προτέρων καὶ γνωριμωτέρων συνίσταται· τοῦ δὲ ἀγεννήτου οὐδὲν προϋπάρχει· λείπεται δὴ θεία χάριτι καὶ μόνῳ τῷ παρ ̓ αὐτοῦ λόγῳ τὸ ἄγνωστον νοεῖν. Strom. iv. 25, p. 635 : Ὁ μὲν οὖν Θεὸς ἀναπόδεικτος ὢν, οὔκ ἐστιν ἐπιστημονικός· ὁ δὲ υἱὸς σοφία τε ἐστὶ καὶ ἐπιστήμη κ.τ.λ. (Comp. above, note 6.) Likewise Origen, Contra Cels. vii. 42 (Opp. t. i. p. 725), maintains, in reference to the saying of Plato, that it is difficult to find God : Ἡμεῖς δὲ ἀποφαινόμεθα, ὅτι οὐκ αὐτάρκης ἡ ἀνθρωπίνη φύσις ὁπωσποτανοῦν ζητῆσαι τὸν θεὸν, καὶ εὑρεῖν αὐτὸν καθαρῶς, μὴ βοηθηθεῖσα ὑπὸ τοῦ ζητουμένου· εὑρισκομένου τοῖς ὁμολογοῦσι μετὰ τὸ παρ ̓ αὐτοὺς ποιεῖν, ὅτι δέονται αὐτοῦ, ἐμφανίζοντος ἑαυτὸν οἷς ἂν κρίνῃ εὔλογον εἶναι ὀφθῆναι, ὡς πέφυκε θεὸς μὲν ἀνθρώπῳ γινώσ

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