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Chapter III, "A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman"

Author: 
King, Martin Luther, Jr. (Boston University)
Genre: 
Essay
Topic: 
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Education

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Chapter III
TILLICH'S CONCEPTION OF GOD

1. The question of being

It is impossible to understand Tillich’s conception of God without a prior knowledge of his ontology as a whole, since it is his ultimate position that “God is being-iteelf.” To attempt to understand Tillich’s conception of God without an understanding of his conception of being is like trying to understand the humanistic conception of God without understanding its conception of man. So we may well begin our study with a discussion of Tillich’s ontological position.

Tillich insists that the core of philosophy is the ontological question, and this ontological question is logically prior to every other. Thought must start with being; it cannot go behind it. Ontology is possible because there are concepts less universal than “being,” but more universal than the concepts that designate a particular realm of beings. Such ontological concepts have been called “principles,” “categories” or ultimate notions.* Tillich’s analysis of these concepts is the very heart of his philosophy.1

These concepts, he holds, are strictly a priori. They are necessary conditions for experience itself. They are present whenever something is experienced, and hence constitute the very structure of experience. Tillich makes it emphatically clear that this does not mean that the concepts are known prior to experience; on the contrary, “they are products of a critical analysis of experience.”†2

Taken seriously this Kantian language implies that the “being” to be analyzed is to be found only in the knower, and not, except derivatively, in the known.3 But this is exactly what Tillich seems to be denying, for he says that the structure of experience is discovered in experience, by analysis. In other words Tillich’s language implies the Kantian critical philosophy, while his analysis implies an epistemological realism.‡

Tillich distinguishes four levels of ontological concepts: (1) the basic ontological structure; (2) the “elements” constituting that structure; (3) the characteristics or being which are the conditions of existence, or “existential being;’’ and (4) the categories of being and knowing.4 We shall discuss each of these in order.

* Tillich, ST, I, 166.
† Tillich, ST, I, 165.
‡ In criticizing Tillich at this point Randall has said: "The Kantian language hardly seems essential to Tillich's position, or even indeed, ultimately compatible with it. The structure of experience is discovered in experience, by analysis; it is recognized within the process of experiencing. Why then call it a presupposition, which suggests that is it brought to experience from elsewhere?" (Randall, Art. (1952), 151).

i. The basic ontological structure

The basic starting point for ontology, in Tillich’s thought, is the self-world correlation. The ontological question, “what is being?” presupposes an asking “subject” and an object about which the question is asked; it presupposes the subject-object structure of being. This in turn presupposes the self-world structure as the basic articulation of being; being is man encountering the world. This logically and experientially precedes all other structure.5

(1) Man, self and world

Man experiences himself as having a world to which he belongs, and it is from the analysis of this polar relationship between man and the world that the basic ontological structure is derived. Since man is estranged from nature, and is unable to understand it in the way he understands man—he does not know what men’s behavior means to men—the principles which constitute the universe must be sought in man himself. Following Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit, Tillich finds “being there” (Dasein)—the place where the structure of being is manifest—given to man within himself. “Man is able to answer the ontological question himself because he experiences directly and immediately the structure of being and its elements.”* Tillich makes it palpably clear that this approach does not mean that it is easier to get a knowledge of man “sufficient for our purposes” than a knowledge of nonhuman objects. It means rather that man is aware of the structures which make cognition possible. Being is revealed not in objects, but in “the conditions necessary for knowing.” “The truth of all ontological concepts is their power of expressing that which makes the subject-object structure possible. They constitute this structure.”†6

Being a self means that man is both subject and object. He is a subject in the sense that he is so separated from everything as to be able to look at it and act upon it. He is object in the sense that he so belongs to the world, that he is an intimate part of the process. But each factor determines the other. It is wrong to assume that the environment wholly explains behavior.7

The mistake of all theories which explain the behavior of a being in terms of environment alone is that they fail to explain the special character of the environment in terms of the special character of the being which has such an environment. Self and environment determine each other.‡

* Tillich, ST, I, 169.
† Tillich, ST, I, 169.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 170.

Moreover, because man has an ego-self, he transcends every possible spatio-temporal environment. His “world” cannot be thought of simply as an aggregate containing everything that exists; it is an organized structure, and the organizing reflects the self. In short the self-world correlation includes not only the environment in which man lives, but the universal norms and ideas by means of which man apprehends and interprets. Every content, psychic as well as bodily, is within the world, otherwise the self would be an empty form. But man is so differentiated from the world that he can look at it as an organized whole; otherwise he would be completely immersed in the flux.†8

Tillich is convinced that this starting point avoids the notorious pitfalls of those philosophical systems which attempt to generate the world from the ego, or the ego from the world; it also avoids, he contends, the dilemma of Cartesian dualism which has to try to unite an empty res cogitans with a mechanistically conceived res extensa. In so far as it is thought about, everything (including even God) is an object; but in so far as everything involves individual self-relatedness, nothing (not even an atom) is merely an object.‡9

* In speaking of man as an ego-self Tillich means that man possesses self-consciousness, in contrast to other beings who are not fully developed selves. He writes, “selfhood or self-centeredness must be attributed in some measure to all living beings, and in terms of analogy, to all individual Gestalten even in the inorganic realm. . . . Man is a fully developed and completely centered self. He 'possesses' himself in the form of self-consciousness. He has an ego-self.” (ST, I, 169, 170).
† Tillich, ST, I, 170.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 170.

(2) The logical and the ontological object>

Within the self-world polarity are to be found the derivative polarities of objective and subjective reason, of logical object and subject. Pure objects, “things,” are completely conditioned or bedingt by the scheme of knowing. But man himself is not a “thing” or merely an object. He is a self and therefore a bearer of subjectivity. He is never bound completely to an environment.10

He always transcends it by grasping and shaping it according to universal norms and ideas. . . . This is the reason why ontology cannot begin with things and try to derive the structure of reality from them. That which is completely conditioned, which has no selfhood and subjectivity, cannot explain self and subject. . . . It is just as impossible to derive the subject from the object. . . . This trick of deductive idealism is the precise counterpart of the trick of reductive naturalism. . . . The relation is one of polarity. The basic ontological structure cannot be derived. It must be accepted.*

This analysis of the “basic ontological structure,” in which Tillich is following Heidegger, assumes without question that the epistemological “subject-object distinction” is absolutely ultimate, not only for knowledge, but for being: It is not only “prior to us,” but also “prior in nature,” as Aristotle puts it.† 11

* Tillich, ST, I, 170, 173-174.† Randall has made a very sound criticism of Tillich's analysis of the basic ontological structure. He argues that there are two conflicting strands running through Tillich's thought at this point. At times, Randall affirms, Tillich follows Heidegger's idealistic ontology in looking for the structure of being in man. At other times he holds that the structure of being is found by man in his encounters with the world.12 This, Randall contends, is a quite different ontology from that of idealism it is something of an empirical naturalism. And so Randall concludes that "it would be clarifying to have Tillich decide which position he is really maintaining—idealism; or an experiential and functional realism."

ii. The ontological elements

The second level of ontological analysis deals with those “ontological elements” which constitute the basic structure of being. Unlike the categories, these elements are polar: each is meaningful only in relation to its opposite pole.13 “One can imagine a realm of nature beside or outside the realm of history, but there is no realm of dynamics without form or of individuality without universality.”* There are three outstanding pairs which constitute the basic ontological structure; individuality and universality, dynamics and form, freedom and destiny. Each of these distinctions is discovered in the self’s experience of the world, and then generalized for all interactions within being.14 The first element in each of these polarities expresses the “self-relatedness of being,” i.e., its power of being something for itself. The second element expresses the “belongingness of being,” i.e., its character of being a part of a universe of being.†15

* Tillich, ST, I, 165.
† Tillich, ST, I, 165.

(1) Individuality and participation

Individualization is a quality of everything that exists; “it is implied in and constitutive of every self, which means that at least in an analogous way it is implied in and constitutive of every being.”*16 To be a self is to be an individual. Selfhood and individualization may be different conceptually, but they are inseparable actually. 17 To be is to be an individual. But man’s individualization is not absolute or complete. It gains meaning only in its polar relation with participation. Leibniz emphasizes this point when he speaks of the microcosmic structure of the monad.† Whitehead sets it forth when he speaks of the “prehension” of the whole by the actual occasion.‡ Martin Buber emphasizes this role of participation in the process of individualization when he sets forth the role of the “thou” in the development of the “I”.18 Each of these thinkers gives backing to what Tillich is attempting to say, namely, that individuation implies participation. Man participates in the universe through the rational structure of mind and reality. When individualization reaches the perfect form we call a “person,” participation reaches the perfect form we call “communion.” Persons become persons only by participating in society. It is only in the communion of personal encounter that persons can grow. Participation is essential for the individual.19 “Without individualization nothing would exist to be related. Without participation the category of relation would have no basis in reality.”§20

It is clear from the foregoing that Tillich is not interested in slanting such statements either in the idealistic or in the naturalistic direction. But it is especially important to recognize that he does not regard them as being derived from empirical observation concerning contingent facts. Rather, he conceives of individualization and participation as ontological elements which, in the course of a critical analysis of experience, reveal themselves to be a priori in the sense that experience could not be what it is unless it occurred within them. The reciprocal relationship between “personal” and ‘‘communal’’—for example, one cannot become fully a self except in relation with other selves—is a structural characteristic of being. In the polarity of individualization and participation Tillich finds a solution to the endless problem of nominalism and realism.21 Individuals are real, but they participate in the universal structure, which, however, is not some sort of second reality lying behind empirical reality.#

* Tillich, ST, I, 175.
† Leibniz, Monadology, par. 62.
‡ Whitehead, AOI, 300.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 177.
# Tillich, ST, I, 178.

Being something means having a form. Whatever loses its form loses its being. But every form forms something, and this something Tillich calls “dynamics.” The concept of dynamics is a very complex one with many connotations. Its complexity is due to the fact that it cannot be thought of as something that is; and yet it cannot be thought of as something that is not. Dynamics is the “me on,” the potentiality of being, which is nonbeing in contrast to pure nonbeing.* This polar element to form appears as the Urgrund of Böhme, the will of Schopenhauer, the “will to power” of Nietzsche, the “unconscious” of Hartmann and Freud, the elan vital of Bergson. Each of these concepts points symbolically to what cannot be named literally. “If it could be named properly it would be a formed being beside others instead of an ontological element in contrast with the element of pure form.”†22

The polarity of dynamics and form appears in man as vitality and intentionality. “Vitality is the power which keeps a living being alive and growing.”‡ It is not an existing something such as “will” or the “unconscious;” it is rather the power of being. By intentionality, on the other hand, Tillich does not necessarily mean consciously conceived purpose; but he does mean structures that can be grasped as universals. In other words, when vitality becomes human it cannot be thought of as operating by necessity, or chaotically, or without reference to objective structures.§23

The inclusion of dynamism within the ontological structure of human nature is Tillich’s answer to historical relativism, which denies the possibility of an ontological or a theological doctrine of man because “human nature” connotes to them something static. Tillich willingly admits with process philosophy that human nature changes in history, but he insists that one structural characteristic underlies all these changes; namely, “being one who has a history.’’24

This structure is the subject of an ontological and theological doctrine of man. Historical man is a descendant of beings who had no history, and perhaps there will be beings who are descendants of historical man who have no history, But neither animals nor supermen are the objects of a doctrine of man.#25

Change is just as real as structure; but it is absurd to regard the latter as process, because this would mean that there could be no continuity, within the life of man, between antecedent and subsequent conditions. Consequently, man can develop indefinitely beyond any given physical and biological situation, transforming both nature and himself through applied science and cultural growth; but he cannot slough off the structure which makes intentionality and historicity possible.$26

* Tillich, ST, I, 179.
† Tillich, ST, I, 179.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 180.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 181.
# Tillich, ST, I, 181, 182.
$ Tillich, ST, I, 181, 182.

(3) Freedom and destiny

The third ontological polarity which Tillich discusses is that of freedom and destiny. Here the description of the basic ontological structure and its elements reaches both its fulfilment and its turning point. Ordinarily one thinks of necessity as the correlate of freedom. However, necessity is a category and not an element. Its contrast is possibility, not freedom.27

Whenever freedom and necessity are set over against each other, necessity is understood in terms of mechanistic determinacy and freedom is thought of in terms of indeterministic contingency. Neither of these interpretations grasps the structure of being as it is experienced immediately in the one being who has the possibility of experiencing because he is free, that is, in man.*

The problem of freedom is traditionally posed in terms of mechanistic determinism versus indeterminism. But Tillich asserts that neither of these theories does justice to the way in which man grasps his own ontological structure. Both of these conflicting parties presuppose that there is a thing called “will” which possesses a certain quality, namely freedom. So long as the problem is posed in this manner, determinism always wins; for by definition a thing is always completely determined.28 “The freedom of a thing is a contradiction in terms.”† Thus indeterminism, in a blundering attempt to defend man’s moral and cognitive capacities, is forced to postulate decision without motivation; for at the level of things a break in the causal nexus can occur only as something uncaused. Needless to say, when the indeterminist holds out for the latter his defense of man’s moral and cognitive capacities is not convincing; for he rests his case upon the occurrence of unintelligible accident, which is at the opposite pole from the “responsibility” he is trying to characterize. However, both theories fall into contraction when they claim to be true, for the grasping of truth presupposes an intelligible decision against the false as a possibility. Mechanistic determinism cannot make room for decision, and indeterminism cannot make room for intelligibility.‡29

Freedom must be approached, therefore, not as a quality of a faculty called the will, but as an element in man’s ontological structure.30 We must not speak of the freedom of a function (the “will”), but of man.31 This means that every part and every function which constitutes man a personal self participates in his freedom.32

* Tillich, ST, I, 182.
† Tillich, ST, I, 183.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 183.

Freedom is experienced as deliberation, decision, and responsibility. Deliberation points to an act of weighing motives. The person doing the weighing is always above the motives that are weighed.33 “To say that the stronger motive always prevails is an empty tautology, since the test by which a motive is proved stronger is simply that it prevails.”* The self-centered person does the weighting and then reacts with his whole self. This reaction is called decision. Etymologically the word “decision” like the word “incision” involves the image of cutting. In this context decision means cutting off possibilities. The person who does the cutting is always beyond what he cuts off.34 Responsibility is the obligation that every individual has to give an answer for the decision he has made. Hence the self is responsible in so far as its acts are determined, not by something external or by some dissociated segment or function, but by the centered totality of the person’s being.

Freedom, as thus defined, goes hand and hand with destiny.35 Destiny is the basis of freedom and freedom participates in destiny.† The concrete self out of which decisions arise must not be thought of merely as a center of self-consciousness. Decisions issue from a self which has been formed by nature and history; the self includes bodily structures, psychic strivings, moral and spiritual character, communal relations, past experiences, (both remembered and forgotten), and the total impact of environment. Yet having a destiny does not contradict freedom, as “fate” does, because persons can realize their destinies. If man were subject to fate, there would be no point in talking about accepting or rejecting it, inasmuch as the alternative would disappear.‡

The polarity between freedom and destiny distinguishes man from all other levels of existence, yet this distinction arises within continuity.37

Since freedom and destiny constitute an ontological polarity, everything that participates in being must participate in this polarity. But man, who has a complete self and a world, is the only being who is free in the sense of deliberation, and decision, and responsibility. Therefore, freedom and destiny can be applied to subhuman nature only by way of analogy; this parallels the situation with respect to the basic ontological structure and the other ontological polarities.§38

* Tillich, ST, I, 184.
† Destiny for Tillich is not some strange power that determines us. “It is myself as given, formed by nature, history, and myself.” (ST, I, 195).36
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 185.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 185.

iii. Being and finitude

The third level of ontological concepts expresses the characteristics of being which are conditions of existence, and the difference between “existential being” and “essential being.” This duality of essential and existential being is found both in experience and in analysis.39

There is no ontology which can disregard these two aspects, whether they are hypostasized into two realms (Plato), or combined in the polar relation of potentiality and actuality (Aristotle), or contrasted with each other (Schelling 11, Kierkegaard, Heidegger), or derived from each other, either existence from essence (Spinoza, Hegel), or essence from existence (Dewey, Sartre).* 40

Freedom as such is not the basis of existence, but rather freedom is unity with finitude. “Finite freedom is the turning point from being to existence.”† Finitude is hence the center of Tillich’s analysis, for it is the finitude of existent being which drives men to the question of God.41

* Tillich, ST, I, 165.
† Tillich, ST, I, 165.

(1) Being and nonbeing

The problem of nonbeing brings us face to face with one of the most difficult aspects of Tillich’s thought. He agrees with Heidegger that the logical act of negating presupposes an ontological basis.42 Man

must be separated from his being in a way which enables him to look at it as something strange and questionable. And such a separation is actual because man participates not only in being but also in nonbeing. . . . It is not by chance that historically the recent discovery on the ontological question has been guided by pre-Socratic philosophy and that systematically there has been an overwhelming emphasis on the problem of nonbeing.*

The problem cannot be solved simply by excluding nonbeing. For, as Parmenides’ efforts show, this means that not only “nothing,” but also the totality of finite existence, is excluded, leaving only static Being.†43 The Platonists distinguished between the ouk on which means “nothing at all,” and the me on which meant for them that which does not yet have being but can become being if united with ideas.44 The mystery of nonbeing was not, however, removed, for in spite of its nothingness it had a positive power of resisting the ideas.‡45 The Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo attempts to solve the problem by denying that there is a second principle coeternal with God; but it affirms that there is an element of nonbeing in all finite existence. Tillich denies that when Augustine attributes sin to nonbeing he is following a purely privative theory; rather Augustine is asserting that although sin has no positive ontological status it nevertheless actively resists and perverts being. Indeed, since anything created originated out of nothing, it must return to nothing. This is why any view which regards the Son as a creature (Arianism) had to be rejected by the church on the ground that a creature cannot bring eternal life. And this is why Christianity rejects the doctrine of natural immortality in favor of the belief that eternal life is given by God alone.§46

Tillich concludes that the dialectical problem of nonbeing is inescapable. It is a problem of finitude. Finitude involves a mixture of being and nonbeing.47 “Man’s finitude, or creatureliness, is unintelligible without the concept of dialectical nonbeing.”#

* Tillich, ST, I, 187.
† Tillich, ST, I, 186.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 188.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 188.
# Tillich, ST, I, 189.

(2) The finite and the infinite

Now, being when limited by nonbeing is finitude. Finitude is “the ‘not yet’ and ‘no more’ of being."* Everything which participates in the power of being is mixed with nonbeing. It is finite. The basic ontological structure and the elements constituting that structure all imply finitude.48 “To be something is not to be something else. To be here and now in the process of becoming is not to be there and then. . . . To be something is to be finite.”† Experienced on the human level, finitude is nonbeing as the threat to being, ultimately the threat of death.49 Yet in order to experience his finitude, man must look at himself as a potential infinity.50 In grasping his life as a whole as moving toward death, he transcends temporal immediacy. He sees his world in the setting of potential infinity, his participation in the setting of potential universality, his destiny in the setting of potential all-inclusiveness. This power of transcending makes man aware of his own finitude, and at the same time marks him as belonging to Being itself. The latter kinship is shown by the fact that man is never satisfied with any stage of his development; nothing finite can hold him.‡51

From the foregoing it is clearly seen that infinity is related to finitude in a different way than the other polar elements are related to one another. Infinitude is defined by the dynamic and free self-transcendence of finite being.52 “Infinity is a directing concept, not a constituting concept. It directs the mind to experience its own unlimited potentialities, but it does not establish the existence of an infinite being.”§

Finitude is the ontological basis of human anxiety. Therefore anxiety is as omnipresent as is finitude. As such it must be distinguished from fear which is directed toward definite objects and can be removed by action.#53 Anxiety cannot be overcome by action, for no finite being can conquer its finitude. Anxiety is ontological; fear is psychological.55 Like Kierkegaard and Heidegger, Tillich regards anxiety as directed toward “nothingness.” Though ineradicable, it can be accepted and used creatively as a part of what it means to be human.56

* Tillich, ST, I, 189.
† Tillich, ST, I, 190.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 191.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 190.
# Tillich stresses the point that psychotherapy has the power of removing compulsory forms of anxiety and can reduce the frequency and intensity of fears, but never can it remove ontological anxiety, because it cannot change the structure of finitude.54

iv. The categories of being and knowing

The fourth level of ontological concepts consists of the categories. They “are the forms in which the mind grasps and shapes reality.”* But they are not mere logical forms, related only indirectly to reality; they are ontological, and therefore present in everything.57 “They appear implicitly or explicitly in every thought concerning God and the world, man and nature. They are omnipresent, even in the realm from which they are excluded by definition, that is, in the realm of the ‘unconditional.’”†

For theological purposes Tillich finds four main categories that must be analyzed: time, space, causality, and substance. The traditional categories of quantity and quality have no direct theological significance, and therefore are not discussed. Categories (or rather concepts which have been called categories) like movement and rest or unity and manifoldness were treated implicitly in connection with the ontological elements, movement and rest in connection with dynamics and form, unity and manifoldness in connection with individuality and universality.‡58

The four categories are analyzed in the light of human finitude. Externally regarded, these categories express the union of being and nonbeing. Internally regarded, they express the union of anxiety and courage. The latter aspect of the interpretation must not be misunderstood as psychological. In accordance with the self-world correlation, the subjective side of the analysis is just as much a piece of ontology as is the objective.60

The discussion of each category leads to an antinomy where a decision concerning the meaning involved cannot be derived from an analysis of the category itself. This method has obvious similarities to Kant’s, and it leads to a point at which, since metaphysics cannot solve the problem, an existential attitude (positive or negative) is unavoidable.61

* Tillich, ST, I, 192.
† Tillich, ST, I, 191.
‡ Tillich argues that it is inaccurate to speak of concepts like unity and manifoldness, movement and rest as categories. Their polar character, he contends, puts them on the level of the elements of the basic ontological structure and not on the level of the categories.59
§ Anxiety, as we have seen, has no object, or rather, in a paradoxical phrase, its object is the negation of every object. “Anxiety is the existential awareness of nonbeing.” (CTB, 33). Courage, for Tillich, is self-affirmation in spite of that which tends to hinder the self from affirming itself.

(1) Time

Time is the central category of finitude. Like other categories time unites an affirmative and a negative element. Those philosophers who emphasize the negative element

point to the movement of time from a past that is no more toward a future that is not yet through a present which is nothing more than the moving boundary line between past and present.*

Those who emphasize the positive element in time “have pointed to the creative character of the temporal process, to its directness and irreversibility, to the new produced within it.”† Yet neither side of the analysis is entirely satisfactory. Time cannot be illusory because only if the present is real can past and future be linked together. But neither is it simply creative, inasmuch as it carries all things toward disintegration and obliteration.62

To this objective antinomy there corresponds an inward polarity between anxiety and courage. Temporality means, for man, the anxiety of having to die; this anxiety is potentially present in every moment and permeates the whole of man’s being. Yet anxiety of this sort comes from the structure of being and is not due to sin. The anxieties due to sin are, in principle, remediable; but as we have already seen, the anxiety of finitude is ineradicable. It is balanced, however, by a courage which affirms temporality.63 “Without this courage man would surrender to the annihilating character of time; he would resign from having a present.”‡

* Tillich, ST, I, 193.
† Tillich, ST, I, 193.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 194.

(2) Space

The present implies space; time creates the present through its union with space. Space like time is subject to contradictory valuations, being a category of finitude. Moreover, space like time unites being with nonbeing, anxiety with courage. To be means to have space.64 Space is interpreted, on the positive side, in terms of the fact that every being strives to maintain a “place” for himself.65

This means above all a physical location—the body, a piece of soil, a home, a city, a country, the world. It also means a social “space”—a vocation, a sphere of influence, a group, a historical period, a place in rememberance and anticipation, a place within a structure of values and meanings.*

Not to have a place is not to be. Thus the continual striving for spatiality is an ontological necessity.66

On the negative side, however, it must be observed that no place is definitely one’s own.67 “No finite being can rely on space, for not only must it face losing this or that space because it is a ‘pilgrim on earth,’ but eventually it must face losing every place it has had or might have had.”† This awareness of ultimate loss of spatiality means insecurity which goes hand and hand with finitude.68 However this anxiety is balanced by the courage which affirms the present and space.69 “Everything affirms the space which it has within the universe. . . . It accepts its ontological insecurity and reaches a security in this acceptance.‡

* Tillich, ST, I, 194.
† Tillich, ST, I, 195.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 195.

(3) Causality

The affirmative interpretation of causality points to the power from which things proceed, the power which can produce and maintain realities despite the resistance of nonbeing. The negative interpretation notes, however, that finite things do not possess their own power of coming into being. They are contingent: as Heidegger says, they have been “thrown” into being.70

The question, “Where from?” is universal. Children as well as philosophers ask it. But it cannot be answered, for every answer, every statement, about the cause of something is open to the same question in infinite regression. It cannot be stopped even by a god who is supposed to be the answer to the entire series. For this god must ask himself, “Where have I come from?”*

So it turns out that causality and contingent being are the same thing.71 The anxiety in which man is aware of this situation is anxiety about his lack of aseity (the self-sufficiency possessed by God alone). Tillich’s discussion of causality supports the thesis that human existence is not necessitated. If the latter were the case, man would be incapable of anxiety, and he could not ask questions based upon awareness of the fact that he “might not” be. So far as the present category is concerned, the answer to anxiety is a kind of courage which achieves self-reliance despite the inescapable facts of contingency and dependence.†72

* Tillich, ST, I, 196. Note that at this point Tillich is anticipating his main argument that God must be considered as Being-itself. If God is considered as a being then infinite regress cannot be avoided.
† Tillich, ST, I, 196, 197.

(4) Substance

The category of substance, in its connection with human nature, has to do mainly with self-identity.73 It points to something underlying the flux, something relatively static and self contained. But it is nothing beyond the accidents in which it expresses itself—it is no “I-Know-not-what.”74

The problem of substance is not avoided by philosophers of function or process, because questions about that which has functions or about that which is in process cannot be silenced. The replacement of static notions by dynamic ones does not remove the question of that which makes change possible by not (relatively) changing itself.*

Therefore all change threatens the ground on which one stands, and the radical change from life to death threatens an ultimate loss of self-identity. We cannot solve the problem by trying to attribute permanence to a creative work, a love relationship, and the like. Courage can match anxiety only by being able to affirm the significance of the finite despite the fact that it can lose its substance.75

Thus all four categories express the union of being (the positive) and nonbeing (the negative) in everything finite. But the ontological analysis cannot answer the question as to how courage is possible in the face of ineradicable anxiety. The answer to this question is furnished by revelation and by the existential decision which enters into faith in God.76

* Tillich, ST, I, 197.

2. God as being itself

Tillich defines God in diverse ways. God is spoken of as “the name of this infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of all being,”* as the name of the ground of history,”† as “the answer to the question implied in being,”‡ as “the power of being in which every-being participates,”§ as “the power in everything that has power,”# as “the name for that which concerns us ultimately,”$ and as “being itself.”$77 Out of all of these definitions, it seems that Tillich’s most persistent definition of God is “being-itself,” esse ipsum. Let us therefore turn to a discussion of Tillich’s meaning of being-itself.

* Tillich, SOF, 57.
† Tillich, SOF, 59.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 163.
§ Tillich, Art. (1946)2, 11.
# Tillich, Art. (1946)2, 11.
$ Tillich, ST, I, 211.
$ Tillich, ST, I, 189, 205, 230, 235, 237, 243; PE, 63.

i. God's transcendence of finite being

In affirming that God is being-itself, Tillich is denying that God is a being besides other beings. He is also denying that God is a “highest being” in the sense of the “most perfect” and “most powerful” being. If God were a being He would be subject to the categories of finitude, especially to the categories of space and substance. Therefore if such confusions are to be avoided, says Tillich, God must be understood as being-itself or as the ground of being.78 Tillich often speaks as though “absolute,” “unconditional,” “infinite,” “eternal” were synonyms for “being-itself”; but he insists that being-itself, or God, is “beyond finitude and infinity,” “relative” and “absolute,”* “temporal” and “eternal,” and even “spatial” and “spaceless.”†79

In saying that God is being-itself Tillich intends to convey the idea of power of being. God is the power of being in everything and above everything.‡ Tillich is convinced that any theology which does not dare to identify God and the power of being as the first step in its doctrine of God relapses into monarchic monotheism.80

The traditional category of omnipotence is included in the concept of God as being-itself. God as power of being resists and conquers nonbeing.§ In the Christian belief of an “almighty God,” there is the assurance of the inexhaustible power of being to resist nonbeing. This is why God warrants man’s ultimate concern. The omnipotence of God does not mean that God has the power to do anything he wishes.81 Nor does it mean omni-activity in terms of physical causality. Such conceptions of omnipotence, asserts Tillich, are absurd and irreligious. Tillich uses the symbol of omnipotence to express the religious experience “that no structure in reality and no event in nature and history has the power of preventing us from communion with the infinite and inexhaustible ground of meaning and being.”# This idea of omnipotence is expressed in the Pauline assertion that neither natural nor political powers, neither heavenly nor earthly forces can separate us from the love of God.82 All of this leads Tillich to the conclusion that omnipotence means “the power of being which resists nonbeing in all its expressions.”$

* Tillich, ST, I, 144.
† Tillich, ST, I, 138.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 236. This passage suggest an impersonal monism of power.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 272.
# Tillich, Art. (1940)2, 8.
$ Tillich, ST, I, 273.

In this conception of God as being-itself or power of being, Tillich seeks to solve the problems of the immanence and the transcendence of God. God is transcendent in the sense that he, as the power of being, transcends every being and also the totality of beings—the world. God is beyond finitude and infinity; otherwise he would be conditioned by something other than himself.83 Tillich makes it palpably clear that “being itself infinitely transcends every finite being. There is no proportion or gradation between the finite and the infinite. There is an absolute break, an infinite ‘jump’.”*

On the other hand God’s immanence is expressed in the fact that everything finite participates in being itself and in infinity. If this were not the case everything finite would be swallowed by nonbeing, or it never would have emerged out of nonbeing.†84

So we can see that all beings have a double relation to being-itself. This double relation that all beings have to being-itself gives being-itself a double characteristic.85 Being-itself is both creative and abysmal. Its creative character is found in the fact that all beings participate in the infinite power of being. Its abysmal character is found in the fact that all beings are infinitely transcended by their creative ground.‡

* Tillich, ST, I, 237. This reminds one of the Barthian “Wholly Other.”
† Tillich, ST, I, 237.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 237.

ii. God's transcendence of the contrast of essential being

As being-itself God is beyond the contrast of essential and existential being. The transition of being into existence which involves the possibility that being will contradict and lose itself, is excluded from being-itself.* Logically being-itself is prior to the split which characterizes finite being.86

The ground of being cannot be found within the totality of beings, nor can the ground of essence and existence participate in the tensions and disruptions characteristic of the transition from essence to existence.†

Therefore it is wrong to speak of God as universal essence, for if God is so understood, he is identified with the unity and totality of finite potentialities, thereby ceasing to be the power of the ground in all of them. “He has poured all his creative power into a system of forms, and he is bound to these forms. This is what pantheism means.”

On the other hand, it is a grave error to speak of God as existing.87 Tillich affirms that the Scholastics were right in their claim that in God there is no difference between essence and existence. But they perverted this whole truth by proceeding to talk of the existence of God and even attempting to prove such existence.88 “It is as atheistic to affirm the existence of God,” asserts Tillich, “as it is to deny it. God is being-itself, not a being.”§ Again Tillich writes:

It would be a great victory for Christian apologetics if the words “God” and “existence” were very definitely separated except in the paradox of God becoming manifest under the conditions of existence, that is in the Christological paradox. God does not exist. He is being-itself, beyond essence and existence. Therefore, to argue that God exists is to deny him.#

Tillich is convinced that the usual discussions of the existence of God completely miss the essential nature of God. Such discussions start out with the assumption that God is something or someone.89 But God is not a being, not even the most powerful or the most perfect being. The objectification or the “thingification” (to use J. L. Adams’ term) of God is blasphemy.90 Whenever God is made an object besides other objects, the existence of which is a matter of argument, theology becomes the greatest supporter of atheism.91 “The first step to atheism is always a theology which drags God down to the level of doubtful things.”$

* Tillich makes one exception to this statement, viz., the christological paradox.
† Tillich, ST, I, 205.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 236.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 237.
# Tillich, ST, I, 205
$ Tillich, SOF, 45.

iii. The invalidity of all arguments for the existence of God

Since God does not exist, Tillich finds the various arguments for the existence of God both futile and invalid. Theologians and philosophers, contends Tillich, should have said something about the ontological implications of finitude rather than present elaborate arguments for the existence of God. The analysis of finitude shows that finitude witnesses to something beyond the finite.92 “The arguments for the existence of God neither are arguments nor are they proof of the existence of God. They are expressions of the question of God which is implied in human finitude.”* It is in this sense that Tillich seeks to interpret the traditional arguments for the existence of God.

The so-called ontological argument points to the ontological structure of finitude.93 The marks of man’s existence are separation, self-contradiction and estrangement. Man is aware of that from which he is separated, else he could not feel separated at all. He is aware of what he ought to be as well as what he actually is. “Man knows that he is finite, that he is excluded from an infinity which nevertheless belongs to him. He is aware of his potential infinity while being aware of his actual finitude.”† It is in the light of this religious a priori that Tillich would have us understand the ontological argument; not as a proposition which gives the result of God, but as an indication of the ontological structure of finitude.94

The Anselmic statement that God is a necessary thought and that therefore this idea must have objective as well as subjective reality is valid in so far as thinking implies an unconditional element which transcends subjectivity and objectivity. However, the statement is not valid if this unconditional element is considered as a highest being called God.‡95

The so-called cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God are valid in so far as they give an analysis of reality which indicates that the cosmological question of God is unavoidable. But they are not valid when they claim that the existence of a highest being is the logical conclusion of their analysis.§96

The cosmological argument moves from the finitude of being to an infinite being. From the endless chain of causes and effects it arrives at the conclusion that there is a first cause. But cause, affirms Tillich, is a category of finitude.97 “The ‘first cause’ is a hypostasized question, not a statement about a being which initiates the causal chain. Such a being would itself be a part of the causal chain and would again raise the question of cause.”# First cause is a symbol which expresses the question implied in finite being, the question of God.98

* Tillich, ST, I, 205.
† Tillich, ST, I, 206.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 207.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 208.
# Tillich, ST, I, 209.

The teleological argument in the traditional sense moves from the finitude of meaning to a bearer of infinite meaning. It arrives at the conclusion that finite teloi imply an infinite cause of teleology. But this conclusion, contends Tillich, is just as invalid as the other cosmological arguments. As the statement of a question, however, this conclusion is not only valid but inescapable.99

Tillich concludes that the task of a theological treatment of the traditional arguments is “to develop the question of God which they express and to expose the impotency of their ‘arguments,’ their inability to answer the question of God.”*

Tillich’s rejection of all arguments for the existence of God should not leave the impression that he is an irrationalist. What Tillich is really seeking to say is that God is presupposed in the question of God. Even to deny God is to affirm him. Says Tillich:

Die Frage nach der Wahrheit der Religion ist beantwortet durch die metalogisch Erfassung des Wesens der Religion als Richtung auf den unbedingten Sinn. Es ist sinnlos, ausserdem zu fragen, ob das Unbedingte “ist,” ob also der religiöse Akt sich auf Wirkliches richtet und insofern wahr ist oder nicht.†100

Tillich, like Augustine, is convinced that God neither needs nor can receive “proof.” He is that ultimate—Tillich’s term is das Unbedingte—which is a certain quality of the world man encounters and which analysis reveals as “presupposed” in all his encountering. Whereas Augustine’s Platonism led him to an intellectual emphasis on the truth or Logos implied in all knowledge, Tillich has expanded it to the “power of being” implied in all men’s varied participation in the world in which they are grasped by an ultimate concern.

God as the “power of being,” as Seinsmachigkeit, is the source of all power. Thus the power of thought is derived from the Ground of power, yet that Ground is not accessible to thought.101

So far as one has power he cannot escape God. To doubt, to feel, to think, to know, indeed to exist affirms God. For God as “power of being” is that power by which one doubts, feels, thinks, knows, exists.

Being itself, as present in the ontological awareness, is power of Being but not the most powerful being: it is neither ens realissimum nor ens singularissimum. It is the power in everything that has power, be it a universal or an individual, a thing or an experience.‡102

* Tillich, ST, I, 210.
† Tillich, Art. (1925), 798.
‡ Tillich, Art. (1946)2, 11.

iv. God as being and the knowledge of God

As we have already seen, God as being-itself is the ground of the ontological structure of being, without being subject to the structure himself. Therefore, if anything beyond this bare assertion is said about God, it no longer is a direct and proper statement. It is indirect and points to something beyond itself. The statement that God is being-itself is the only literal statement that can be made concerning God. It does not point beyond itself. It means what it says directly and properly. God is not God if he is not being-itself.

However after this has been said, nothing else can be said about God which is not symbolic.103 All knowledge of God is expressed in terms of symbols.

Glaube ist Richtung auf das Unbedingte als solchen Gegenstand sein, sondern nur das Symbol, in dem das Unbedingte anschaut und gewallt wird. Glaube ist Richtung auf das Unbedingte durch Symbole aus den Bedingten hindurch.*

He continues,

Aber das Unbedingte ist kein gegenständlicher objekt. Es kann durch objekts nur symbolisiert, nicht erfasst werden.†

God as being-itself cannot be an object of thought or language.213 All references to God must be expressed in terms of symbols. These symbols indicate something about the nature of God, but that indication is never precise, unambiguous, literal.

The general character of the symbol has been described.§ We must reiterate the fact that symbol and sign are different. The distinct characteristic of a symbol is its innate power. A sign is impotent in itself. Because the sign has no inner power, it does not arise from necessity. It is interchangeable at will. The symbol, however, does possess a necessary character. It cannot be exchanged.#105

* Tillich, Art. (1925), 802.
† Tillich, Art. (1925), 804.
‡ With the possible exception of the affirmation that God is love and God is spirit. "But God is love. And since God is being-itself, one must say that being-itself is love." (ST, I, 279). "God is spirit. That is the most embracing, direct and unrestricted symbol for the divine life." (ST, I, 249).
§ See Chapter 11, ii, (1).
# Tillich, Art. (1940), 14.

But the question arises, can a segment of finite reality become the basis for an assertion about that which is infinite? Tillich’s answer is that it can, because that which is infinite is being-itself, and because everything participates in being-itself.

Religious symbols use a finite reality in order to express our relation to the infinite. But the finite reality they use is not an arbitrary means for an end, something strange to it; it participates in the power of the ultimate for which it stands.*

This leads Tillich to affirm that religious symbols are doubled-edged. They express not only what is symbolized but also that through which it is symbolized.106 They are directed toward the infinite which they symbolize and toward the finite through which they symbolize it. They open the finite and the human for the infinite and divine, and the infinite and divine for the finite and human. The symbol “Father,” for instance, when applied to God, brings God down to the human relationship of father and child. But at the same time it lifts the human relationship up to its theonomous sacramental depth. If God is called king, something is said not only about God but also about the sacredness of kinghood. If the work of God is spoken of as “making whole” or “healing,” something is said not only about God but about the holiness of all healing. Any segment of reality that is used as a symbol for God is at that moment elevated to the realm of the sacred. It becomes theonomous.107

Tillich asserts that theology has neither the duty nor the power to confirm or to negate religious symbols. Its task is to interpret the symbols according to theological principles and methods. But in the process of interpretation at least two things may happen: on the one hand, theology may discover contradictions between symbols within the theological circle; on the other hand, theology may speak not only as theology but also as religion. In the first case, theology can point out the religious and theological errors embedded in certain symbols; in the second case, theology can become prophecy, contributing to a change in the revelatory situation.‡108

Tillich revolts vehemently against the idea that the symbol is nonreal. He contends that this erroneous idea stems partly from the confusion between sign and symbol, and partly from the identification of reality with empirical reality. He sees an even greater source of the confusion stemming from the tendency of some theological movements, such as Protestant Hegelianism and Catholic modernism, to interpret religious language symbolically in order to dissolve its realistic meaning and to weaken its seriousness, its power, and its spiritual impact. Such a view fails to see that the intention of most theologians who have spoken of God in symbolic terms has been to give to God more reality and power than a nonsymbolic and therefore easily superstitious interpretation could give them.§ In this sense, asserts Tillich, symbolic interpretation is proper and necessary.109

* Tillich, PE, 61.
† Tillich, ST, I, 240, 241.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 240.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 241.

3. God as the Unconditional

We have seen that Tillich is insistent on the point that God is not an object for us as subjects. He is not any particular meaning to be placed besides other meanings, not even the highest meaning.* He is not any particular value beside other values, not even the highest value.† He is not any particular being beside other beings, not even the highest being.‡ This complete lack of particularity in God is expressed in Tillich’s idea of God as das Unbedingte, the Unconditioned or the Unconditional.§ Since Tillich has written at length about the unconditioned the idea may profitably be considered.110

Tillich’s thought concerning the Unconditioned is not at all clearly stated. At times Tillich speaks of the unconditional as a quality; at other times he speaks as if the unconditioned were being-itself, i.e. God.111

In a very interesting lecture on "Kairos," Tillich speaks of the unconditional as a quality.112

In every symbol of the divine an unconditional claim is expressed, most powerfully in the command: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul and with all thy mind.” No partial, restricted, conditioned love of God is admitted. The term “unconditioned” or the adjective made into the substantive, “the unconditional,” is an abstraction from such sayings which abound in the Bible and in great religious literature. The unconditional is a quality, not a being. It characterizes that which is our ultimate and, consequently unconditional concern, whether we call it “God” or “Being as such,” or the “God as such” or the “true as such,” or whether we give it any other name. It would be a complete mistake to understand the unconditional as a being the existence of which can be discussed. He who speaks of the “existence of the unconditional” has thoroughly misunderstood the meaning of the term. Unconditional is a quality which we experience in encountering reality, for instance, in the unconditional character of the voice of the conscience, the logical as well as the moral.#113

* Tillich, IOH, 222; PE, 163.
† Tillich, IOH, 223.
‡ Tillich, PE, 163.
§ J. L. Adams, one of the leadeng interpreters of Tillich's thought, says that das Unbedingte should be translated "the unconditional" and never "the unconditioned." (Adams, Art. (1949), 300). But Tillich himself speaks of God as being "the unconditioned." (Art, (1946), 11).
# Tillich, PE, 32n. Italics mine.

In this lengthy passage Tillich is explicit in asserting that the unconditional is not a being but a quality. But even here the issue is clouded when Tillich says that the unconditional “characterizes that which is our ultimate and, consequently, unconditional concern, whether we call it ‘God’ or ‘Being as such.’”114 This seems to contradict the insistence in the immediately preceding passage that the unconditional is a quality.

There are passages in which Tillich seems to identify the unconditional with being-itself. For instance, Tillich writes:

The unconditional meaning . . . toward which every act of meaning is directed is implicit faith, and which supports the whole, which protects it from a plunge into a nothingness void of meaning, itself has two aspects: it bears the meaning of each single meaning as well as the meaning of the whole. That is, it is the basis of meaning.*115

Tillich goes on in the same book to speak of the unconditional simultaneously as basis of meaning and abyss of meaning.†116 Both of these passages seem to set forth the unconditional as identical with being-itself. Again Tillich writes: “But the really real is not reached until the unconditional ground of everything real, or the unconditioned power in every power of being, is reached.” Here again, unconditional seems to refer to the ground of being or being-itself. Other passages could be added to these to indicate Tillich’s tendency to speak of the unconditional as being-itself, in spite of his insistence that the unconditional is a quality of being-itself.117 However despite these ambiguities it seems to be consistent with Tillich’s intention to say that the unconditional is a quality of being-itself; which quality man experiences in the encounter with being-itself.118 J. L. Adams also interprets Tillich’s idea of the unconditional as a quality of being-itself. Of Tillich’s unconditional he writes:

Hence, as the depth or the infinity of things, it is both the ground and abyss of being. It is that quality in being and truth, in goodness and beauty, that elicits man’s ultimate concern; thus it is the absolute quality of all being and meaning and value, the power and vitality of the real as it fulfills itself in meaningful creativity.‡119

In his idea of God as the unconditional, Tillich is attempting to impress the point that God is not an object which we as subjects perceive or think about.120 He insists that the term unconditional is not to be confused with the Absolute of German idealism, with the eternal essence of Platonism, with the superessential One of mysticism, with the Supreme Being of rational deduction, or with the “Wholly Other” of Barthian theology.§ In all these terms that which should be thought of as Being itself tends to be looked upon as a particular being about whose existence there might be an argument. One can argue neither for nor against the existence of the unconditional. To argue about it is to presuppose it, for the very argument presupposes some unconditional demand and reality. The unconditional is not a section of reality; it is not an object among objects, not even the highest “object.” The unconditional transcends the distinction between subject and object. The unconditional is not a section of reality; it is not an object among objects, not even the highest “object.” The unconditional transcends the distinction between subject and object. The unconditional is not a being.121 “Neither ‘the Unconditioned’ nor ‘something unconditioned,’ is meant as a being, not even the highest being, not even God. God is unconditional, that makes him God: but the ‘unconditional’ is not God.”# To draw God down into the world of objects and beings is to indulge in the basest idolatry. And atheism is justified when it protests against the existence of a being.

* Tillich, IOH, 222.
† Tillich, IOH, 222.
‡ Adams, Art. (1948), 300, 301. Italics mine.
§ Tillich, Art. (1946), 2, 10.
# Tillich, Art. (1946)2, 11.

So for Tillich, “God is no object for us as subjects.”* God is rather the prius of the separation into subject and object, that which precedes this division. As we shall see later in the discussion, this prius of separation is not a person. It is power, power of being. Tillich is greatly influenced by existential philosophy at this point. He interprets existential philosophy as an attempt to find a level which precedes the contrast between subject and object. “It aims to cut under the ‘subject-object distinction’ and to reach that stratum of Being which Jaspers, for instance, calls the ‘Ursprung’ or Source,”†122

Tillich’s existential leaning leads him to affirm that one has awareness of the unconditional. The term “awareness” is used because it is a neutral term and may be distinguished from knowledge and experience. The term “experience” should not be used because it ordinarily describes the observed presence of one reality to another reality, and because the unconditioned is not a matter of experiential observation. The term “knowledge” presupposes the separation of subject and object, and implies a discrete theoretical act, which is just the opposite of awareness of the unconditioned.123 Schleiermacher recognized the inappropriateness of “knowledge” as the basis of religious consciousness, but he conditioned the awareness by assigning it to “feeling.” The awareness of the unconditional involves the whole being. “Man, not his cognitive function alone, is aware of the Unconditioned.”‡ It is therefore possible to call this awareness existential in the sense that man as a whole participates in the cognitive act.124

From the above we can see that there is a close relationship between the unconditional and man’s ultimate concern. This passage, in which Tillich defines “ultimate concern,” clearly expresses the similarity:

Ultimate concern is the abstract translation of the great commandment: “The Lord, our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” The religious concern is ultimate; it excludes all other concerns from ultimate significance; it makes them preliminary. The ultimate concern is unconditional, independent of any conditions of character, desire, or circumstance. The unconditional concern is total: no part of ourselves or of our world is excluded from it; there is no “place” to flee from it. The total concern is infinite: no moment of relaxation and rest is possible in the face of a religious concern which is ultimate, unconditional, total, and infinite.§

In an even clearer analysis of the nature of the ultimate concern, Tillich says: “Our ultimate concern is that which determines our being or not-being.”# That which does not have the power of threatening or saving our being$ cannot be of ultimate concern for us. Man is ultimately concerned about his being and meaning, about that which conditions his being beyond all the conditions in him and around him, about that which determines his ultimate destiny beyond all preliminary necessities and accidents.!126

So in Tillich’s usage the unconditional is a philosophical symbol for the ultimate concern of man. God is the name for that which concerns man unconditionally or ultimately.

Tillich, Art. (1946)2, 11.
† Tillich, Art. (1944)2, 56.
‡ Tillich, Art. (1946)2, 10.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 11, 12.
# Tillich, ST, I, 14.
$ Tillich does not use being in this context to designate existence in time and space. He is aware of the fact that existence is continuously threatened and saved by things and events which has no ultimate concern for us. The term "being" means the whole of human reality, the structure, the meaning, and aim of existence.125
! Tillich, ST, I, 14.

4. God as ground and abyss of power and meaning

We have seen that, according to Tillich, all beings have a double relation to being-itself. This double relation of all beings to being-itself gives being-itself a double characteristic. It is creative in the sense that everything participates in the infinite power of being. It is abysmal in the sense that all beings are infinitely transcended by their creative ground.*127 This conception finds powerful expression in Tillich’s assertion that God is ground and abyss of power and meaning.† In this definition Tillich is seeking to establish two polar concepts ontologically. “The divine life,” says Tillich, “is the dynamic unity of depth and form.”‡128

In a passage in his Interpretation of History, Tillich writes:

The unconditional meaning . . . is the basis of meaning. Yet it is never to be grasped as such in any one act of meaning. It is transcendent in regard to every individual meaning. We can therefore speak of the unconditional simultaneously as basis of meaning and abyss of meaning (Sinngrund und abgrund). We call this object of the silent belief in the ultimate meaninglessness, this basis and abyss of all meaning which surpasses all that is conceivable, God. . . . Unconditional meaning has the quality of inexhaustibility. . . . The concept “meaning” is supposed to express all aspects of the human mind and therefore is just as valid in application to the practical as to the theoretical. The basis of meaning is just as much the basis of personality and community as of being and significance; and it is simultaneously the abyss of all. . . . The unconditioned appears as that which does not admit any conditioned fulfillment of its commandments, as that which is able to destroy every personality and community which tries to escape the unconditioned demand. We miss the quality of the unconditioned meaning, of being basis and abyss, if we interpret it either from an intellectual point of view or from a moral point of view alone. Only in the duality of both does the unconditioned meaning manifest itself.§129

This rather lengthy passage sets forth the two ideas that God is basis (ground) of being and meaning, and that God is the depth (abyss) of being and meaning. Here we see correlation lifted to the very nature of God. Moreover, we see that the tensions in existence between form and formlessness find their basis in the nature of God.130 In order to get a clearer conception of these two aspects of the divine life, we shall discuss them separately.

* Tillich, ST, I, 237.
† Tillich, ST, I, 21, 250; IOH, 222.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 156.
§ Tillich, IOH, 222, 223, 224.

i. God as ground

Tillich has a twofold purpose for emphasizing God as the ground of all being and reality. On the one hand, the concept establishes the dependence of “being” upon the source of being, all meaning upon the source of meaning. This emphasis saves man from the arrogance of thinking he is an autonomous being with no dependence on God, the source of being. On the other hand, the concept of ground is a basis of continuity between God and the world, of man and nature. This is the creativity of God.131

In the idea of ground, Tillich seems to be setting forth the idea of the rationality of God. Concerning the ground, Tillich writes:

The ground is not only an abyss in which every form disappears; it also is the source from which every form emerges. The ground of being has the character of self-manifestation; it has logos character. This is not something added to the divine life; it is the divine life itself. In spite of its abysmal character the ground of being is “logical”; it includes its own logos.132

In this passage Tillich seems to be saying that the ground of being has a logos character. Tillich’s usual assertion is that God is ground of being and meaning. But here he says that ground has a logos character. In other words the ground is logical and rational. Here it seems that the ground takes on character and meaning, and God becomes more than the amorphous “being-itself” which is the ground of everything, without itself being anything. The nature of God as ground implies the rationality of God.133

But the issue is not totally clear. As one continues to read Tillich he discovers that it is difficult to determine whether Tillich’s God is logos or the ground of logos. In the paragraph following the difficulty is set forth clearly:

Since God is the ground of being, he is the ground of the structure of being. He is not subject to this structure; the structure is grounded in him. He is this structure, and it is impossible to speak about him except in terms of this structure.†134

Here Tillich inconsistently maintains that God is the ground of the structure, of logos, and that God is the structure. This is one of the difficulties that the interpreter of Tillich continually confronts. Is God a ground somehow behind every form and structure or is he a ground which has a form?135

It seems that Tillich comes to realize the difficulties of his indeterminant “being itself” which is the ground of everything, without itself being anything. And so he emerges to the point of emphasizing God as not only the ground of structure, but as structure; not only as the ground of reason, but as reason.136 God is no longer merely that from which reason proceeds, but he himself is rational.

But this is not all of God. God is not only the source from which every form emerges, but also the abyss in which every form disappears.‡137 If one says that God is rational he must also say that God is abysmal.§

* Tillich, ST, I, 157, 158.
† Tillich, ST, I, 238.
‡ ST, I, 157.
§ “Human intuition of the divine always has distinguished between the abyss of the divine (the element of power) and the fullness of its content (the element of meaning), between the divine depth and the divine logos.” (ST, I, 250).138

ii. God as abyss

In the concept of the abyss Tillich is endeavoring to protect the inexhaustibility of God. God as ground forms creation. But God as abyss connotes the fact that no creation can fully express the richness of God. Abyss means for Tillich the depth of the divine life, its inexhaustible and ineffable character. The abysmal aspect of God represents the depth in God which man’s reason cannot fathom. “That depth is what the word God means.”*139

The holiness of God is included in the concept of God as abyss. The holiness of God expresses the unapproachable character of God, or the impossibility of having a relation with him in the proper sense of the word. God cannot become an object of knowledge or a partner in action. To speak of God as we do of objects whose existence or non-existence can be discussed is to insult the divine holiness. God’s holiness makes it impossible to draw him into the context of the ego-world and subject-object correlation. He is the ground of this correlation, not an element in it.† The holiness of God requires that in relation to him we leave behind all finite relations and enter into a relation which is not a relation at all.140 “God is essentially holy, and every relation with him involves the consciousness that it is paradoxical to be related to that which is holy.”‡

In his conception of abyss, Tillich is seeking to maintain the uniqueness of God; that God cannot be exhausted by any creation or by any totality of creation. In a word, Tillich is seeking to protect the majesty of God.141

* Tillich, SOF, 57.
† Tillich, ST, I, 272.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 271.

iii. Is the abyss irrational?

In discussing the abyss one is almost inevitably led to ask whether the abyss of being-itself is an abyss of inexhaustible meanings with which man’s “meanings’’ are analogous? Or whether the abyss of being-itself is an irrational abyss which swallows up all finite meaning? Although Tillich does not set forth a series of unambigious passages at this point, it seems that the abyss is not irrational.*145 Tillich explicitly states that the abyss manifests itself in logical forms. “The depth of reason is the expression of something that is not reason but which precedes reason and is manifest through it.”†146

Now it is clear that the depth is non-rational, but it is equally clear that the depth must be manifest through reason. In spite of Tillich’s assertion that the abyss is what makes God God, he finds it difficult to rest with merely an abysmal God. He must stress more and more the rational nature of God as “ground.” The abyss is not irrational; rather it is non-rational. Its irrationality is denied by the fact that in manifesting itself it must do so through reason.147

So we may conclude that by abyss Tillich means the mysterium tremendum, the inexhaustible depth of God’s nature.148 God as abyss is negative in content and form. In so far as God is Sinnabgrund he is unapproachably holy, infinitely distant from man.‡ The abyss is not irrational. “It is more a nonrational, unformed dimension of incalculable power.”§

By the ground Tillich means the logical, orderly, knowable side of God.150 The ground of meaning is that in God which supports the rational logos type of manifestation. This manifestation is positive in content and form. In so far as God is Sinngrund man can approach God through his own rational nature.151 In a word, Tillich is saying something positive about the nature of God in the concept of God as “ground,” viz., that God is rational. It is true that Tillich looks upon the abyss as the primary essence of God.# But he is confident that the “abysmal quality cannot swallow the rational quality of the divine life.”$152

* There is quite a similarity between Tillich’s abyss and E. S. Brightman’s “Given” in God. The abyss for Tillich is inexhaustible power, infinite vitality.142 The “Given” of Brightman consists of the eternal uncreated laws of reason, including logic, mathematical relations, and Platonic Ideas, and also of equally eternal uncreated nonrational aspects, “which exhibit all the ultimate qualities of sense objects, disorderly impulses and desires, such experiences as pain and suffering, the forms of space and time, and whatever in God is the source of surd evil.” (POR, 337).143 For Brightman God not only eternally finds “the Given” in his experience, but he also eternally controls it. Tillich asserts that God as form is always in control of the abyss so far as God’s relation with existential man is concerned. Yet he nevertheless emphasizes the abyss as the primary essence of God. The abyss is “that which makes God God” (ST, I, 250). For Brightman God’s essence is meaning, will, value and rationality. God’s reason controls the “given” at every point.144 There is a very interesting comparison of Brightman’s “Given” with Tillich’s “abyss” written by Georgia Harkness (Harkness, Art. (1938)).
† Tillich, ST, I, 79.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 287.
§ Boozer, PRTCG, 209.149
# Tillich asserts that the abyss is what makes God God. (ST, I, 250).
$ Tillich, ST, I, 252.

5. God as creator

Tillich sees creation as the proper activity of God; it is God’s nature to create. Creation is identical with God’s life.*153 For this reason it is meaningless to ask whether creation is a necessary or a contigent act of God. God’s aseity implies that nothing is necessary for him in the sense that he is dependent on a necessity above him. Paradoxically speaking, he eternally “creates himself.” This is the meaning of God’s freedom.154 But it must be affirmed with equal force that creation is not a contigent act of God. “It does not ‘happen’ to God, for it is identical with his life. Creation is not only God’s freedom but also his destiny.”†

But Tillich does not mean by creation an event which took place “once upon a time.” Creation does not refer to an event, it rather indicates a condition, a relationship between God and the world. “It is the correlate to the analysis of man’s finitude, it answers the question implied in man’s finitude and infinitude generally.”‡ Man asks a question which, in existence, he cannot answer. But the question is answered by man’s essential nature, his unity with God. Creation is the word given to the process which actualizes man in existence. To indicate the gap between his essential nature and his existential nature man speaks of creation.§155

Since the divine life is essentially creative, avers Tillich, it is necessary to use all three modes of time in symbolizing it. God has created the world. God is creative in the present moment. And God will creatively fulfill his telos. Therefore Tillich speaks of originating creation, sustaining creation, and directing creation.156

* Tillich, ST, I, 279.
† Tillich, ST, I, 252.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 252.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 253.

i. God’s originating creativity

Classical Christian doctrine expresses God’s originating creativity in the phrase creation ex nihilo. The obvious meaning of the words of this phrase is a critical negation. They express the fact that God finds nothing “given” to him which influences him in his creativity or resist his creative telos. This doctrine of creatio ex nihilo protects Christianity from any type of ultimate dualism. Tillich is convinced that this negative meaning of creatio ex nihilo is decisive for every Christian experience and assertion.157

However the term ex nihilo seems to denote more than the rejection of dualism. The ex seems to refer to the origin of the creature. “Nothing” is what it comes from.† Now nothing can have two meanings. It can mean “nothing at all,” i.e. the absolute negation of being (ouk on), or it can mean the relative negation of being (me on). If it means me on, it cannot be the origin of the creature. The term ex nihilo, nevertheless says something fundamentally important about the creature, namely, that it must take over “the heritage of nonbeing.”‡ Creatureliness implies both the heritage of nonbeing and the heritage of being.158 Its heritage of being stems from its participation in being-itself, in the creative ground of being.§

God’s originating creativity is also expressed in the Nicene Creed which states that God is creator of “everything visible and invisible.” Like the formula just discussed, this phrase also has a protective function. It is directed against the Platonic view that the Creator-God is dependent on the eternal essences or ideas. The essences are not independent of God, standing in some transcendent realm as models for his creative activity. They are, as Neo-Platonism taught, in the divine mind. They are themselves dependent on God’s eternal creativity.159 “The essential powers of being,” affirms Tillich, “belong to the divine life in which they are rooted, created by him who is everything he is ‘through himself.’”#

* Tillich, I, 252.
† Tillich, I, 252.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 254.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 254.
# Tillich, ST, I, 254.

Tillich goes on to affirm that originating creativity means that the creature is rooted in the creative ground of the divine life. But it also means that “man has left the ground in order to ‘stand upon’ himself, to actualize what he essentially is in order to be finite freedom.”* This is the point at which creation and the fall join.† Tillich admits that this is the most difficult and the most dialectical point in the doctrine of creation. It says that fully developed creatureliness is fallen creatureliness. Man is not only “inside” the divine life, but also “outside” it. Being outside the divine life means to stand in actualized freedom, in an existence which is no longer united with essence. Seen from one side, this is creation. Seen from the other side, this is the fall.‡161 Creation is fulfilled in the creaturely self-realization which simultaneously is freedom and destiny.§162

From this background we gain the meaning of what is called “human creativity.” Man is creative in the sense of “bringing the new into being.” But this human creativity differs sharply from God’s creativity which consists of “bringing into being that which had no being.” Man creates new syntheses out of given material.# But God creates the material out of which the new syntheses can be developed. God creates man, giving him the power of transforming himself and the world. Man can only transform that which is given.$163 “God is primarily and essentially creative; man is secondarily and existentially creative.”$

* Tillich, ST, I, 255.
† In identifying creation with the fall, Tillich seems to be implying, against his own intentions, that there is a destructive principle within God. He contends that creation has no ulterior purpose (ST, I, 263); it occurs as the exercise of divine creativity. In other words, God creates because he must, because that is how he is. (Tillich alludes to both freedom and destiny in this connection). Now, if creation is inevitable, and if the result is inevitably bad (a “fall”), then it follows that God contains a destructive principle.160
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 255.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 256.
# Tillich says that man’s creativity is really transformation.
$ Tillich, ST, I, 256.
$ Tillich, ST, I, 256.

ii. God’s sustaining creativity

We have seen that man has left the ground of his being in order to stand upon himself, to actualize what he essentially is.164 But this actualized freedom remains continuously dependent on its creative ground. It is only in the power of being-itself that the creature is able to resist nonbeing. Creaturely existence includes a double resistence, that is, resistence against nonbeing as well as resistence against the ground of being upon which it is dependent.* This relation of God to the creature is called in traditional terms the preservation of the world.165

Tillich rejects those theories of preservation which affirm that after God created the world he either does not interfere at all (consistent deism) or interferes occasionally through miracles and revelation (theistic deism), or he acts in a continual interrelationship (consistent theism). In none of these cases, asserts Tillich, would it be proper to speak of sustaining creation.† Tillich finds a more adequate interpretation of preservation in the Augustinian Theory that preservation is continuous creativity, in that God out of eternity creates things and time together. Tillich contends that since God is essentially creative, he is creative in every moment of temporal existence,166 “giving the power of being to everything that has being out of the creative ground of life.”‡

Sustaining creativity differs from originating creativity in that the former refers to the given structures of reality, to that which continues in change, to the regular and calculable in things. Without this static element neither action for the future nor a place to stand upon would be possible; and therefore being would not be possible. So Tillich concludes that faith in God’s sustaining creativity is faith in the continuity of the structure of reality as the basis for being and acting.§167

* Tillich, ST, I, 261.
† Tillich, ST, I, 262.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 262.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 262.

iii. God’s directing creativity

When one thinks of God’s directing creativity, he usually thinks of the purpose of creation. But Tillich finds that the concept of “the purpose of creation” is at best an ambiguous concept. Creation, contends Tillich, has no purpose beyond itself. Looked at from the point of view of the creature, the purpose of creation is the creature itself, the actualization of its potentialities.168 Looked at from the point of view of the creator, “the purpose of creation is the exercise of his creativity, which has no purpose beyond itself because the divine life is essentially creative.”* Tillich rejects both the Calvinistic doctrine, which designates the purpose of creation as “the glory of God,” and the Lutheran doctrine, which affirms that God creates the world in order to have a communion of love with his creatures. In both of these theologies God needs something that he could not have without creation.† Such an idea Tillich rejects as pagan.

So the ambiguity of the concept “the purpose of creation” leads Tillich to replace the concept by “the telos of creativity”—the inner aim of fulfilling in actuality what is beyond potentiality and actuality in the divine life. One of the basic functions of the divine creativity is to drive every creature toward such a fulfillment. This is the directing creativity of God in addition to his originating and sustaining creativity. This is the side of the divine life which is directed toward the future. The traditional term for God’s directing creativity is “providence.”‡169

The term providence means a fore-seeing (pro-videre) which is a foreordering (“seeing to it”). Different interpretations of the concept of providence have resulted from this definition. There are those who have emphasized the element of foreseeing, making God an omniscient spectator who knows what will happen but who does not interfere with the freedom of his creatures. On the other hand there are those who have emphasized foreordering, making God a planner who has ordered everything that will happen “before the foundation of the world.” In the first interpretation the creatures make their world, while God is a distant spectator. In the second interpretation, God is the only active agent, making the creatures mere cogs in a universal mechanism.§170

* Tillich, ST, 263, 264.
† Tillich, ST, I, 264.
‡ ”Tillich, ST, I, 264.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 266.

Tillich is emphatic in affirming that both of these interpretations of providence must be rejected. He sees providence as a permanent activity of God. God is never a spectator; he is forever directing everything toward its fulfillment.”171 “Yet God’s directing creativity always creates through the freedom of man and through the spontaneity and structural wholeness of all creatures.”* Providence works through the polar elements of being, through conditions of individual, social and universal existence, and through finitude, nonbeing, and anxiety. All existential conditions are included in God’s directing creativity.172 “Providence,” says Tillich, “is not interference; it is creation. It uses all factors, both those given by freedom and those given by destiny, in creatively directing everything toward its fulfillment.”† The man who believes in providence does not believe that a special divine activity will alter man’s existential conditions. He believes with the courage of faith that no condition whatsoever can frustrate the fulfillment of his ultimate destiny.‡ In Pauline terms it means that nothing can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.§173

Tillich discusses the question of theodicy under the concept of the directing creativity of God. Faith in God’s directing creativity is continually challenged by the presence of meaninglessness and futility in the universe. The question forever arises, how can an almighty God be justified (theos-dike) in view of realities in which no meaning whatsoever can be discovered?174

In his discussion of the question of theodicy, Tillich divides evil into three classes. First there is physical evil, pain and death—which, according to him, offer no real problem because they are natural implications of creaturely finitude.# Secondly, there is moral evil which is the tragic implication of creaturely freedom. Tillich contends that as creator, God cannot create what is opposite to himself; he must create creative beings, beings which are free, and in so far as they are free, independent and therefore estranged from the ground of being.$ Finally, there is the (apparent) fact of meaninglessness and futility. This, according to Tillich, is the sort of evil which offers genuine difficulties for theological belief. Examples cited by Tillich are “early death, destructive social conditions, feeble-mindedness and insanity, the undiminished horrors of historical existence”—all of these being cases of entities which “are excluded from any kind of fulfillment, even from free resistance against their fulfillment.”$ Tillich’s solution of the problem of evil of this third sort is very difficult to understand, partly because of its excessive conciseness. Such evils are described as “the negativities of creaturely existence.” But God himself may be said to participate in the negativities of creaturely existence. God includes within himself “the finite and, with it, non-being.” “Nonbeing is eternally conquered and the finite is eternally reunited within the infinity of the divine life.”!175 This is the ultimate answer to the question of theodicy.176 “The certainty of God’s directing creativity is based on the certainty of God as the ground of being and meaning. The confidence of every creature, its courage to be, is rooted in faith in God as its creative ground.”@

* Tillich, ST, I, 266.
† Tillich, ST, I, 267.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 267.
§ Romans, 8:38-39.
# Here again it is very difficult to follow Tillich, Surely physical evil, pain, and death are evils, and the fact that they are implicated in the finitude of all creaturely being does not help at all. For if creation is of finitude, and infinitude is evil, then God is the creator of evil.
$ Tillich, ST, I, 269.
$ Tillich, ST, I, 269.
! Tillich, ST, I, 270.
@ Tillich, ST, I, 270.

6. The ontological elements applied to God

How are the polar elements of everything that has being related in being-itself? Tillich answers this question by asserting that the proper sense of the concepts must be distinguished from their symbolic sense. The symbols taken from finite relationships must be qualified when applied to God. In order to symbolize divine life, the concepts must be stripped of certain existential connotations.177 This is what Tillich proceeds to do in applying each of the ontological elements to God.

i. Individualization and participation

Individualization is that self-centered character of everything in the light of which a thing is a definite thing. In the case of man individualization means unity of consciousness, selfhood. But man’s individualization is not complete or absolute. The element of participation is in polar relation with individualization.178

When applied to God, these elements must be qualified. God is the “principle” of individualization and participation; God as being-itself is the ground of both. This does not mean that there is something alongside God in which he participates. God’s participation and individualization are symbolical. God is not subject to the polarities of the ontological elements.179

If one asks the question, in what sense can God be called an individual, Tillich would answer that this question is only meaningful in the sense that God be called the “absolute participant.”180 And, according to Tillich, “this can only mean that both individualization and participation are rooted in the ground of the divine life and that God is equally “near” to each of them while transcending them both.”*

* Tillich, ST, I, 245.

ii. Dynamics and form

The dynamic-form polarity gives rise to several symbols which are central for any present day doctrine of God. Terms such as potentiality, vitality, and self-transcendence are indicated in the term “dynamics,” while the term “form” embraces actuality, intentionality, and self-preservation.181

Potentiality and actuality appear in the famous Aristotelian-Thomistic formula that God is actus-purus. Tillich rejects this formula as inadequate because it allows the dynamic side in the dynamics-form polarity to be swallowed by the form side. Actuality free from any element of potentiality is not alive. The God who is actus-purus, affirms Tillich, is not the living God.*182

This situation has induced many thinkers to emphasize the dynamics in God “and to depreciate the stabilization of dynamics in pure actuality.” This first element is called the Ungrund by B&ouml:hme, the first potency by Schelling, the “given” in God by Brightman, me-onic freedom in Berdyaev, and the contingent in Hartshorne.† Each of these cases points symbolically to a quality of the divine life which is analogous to what appears as dynamics in the ontological structure.183

Tillich’s symbolic application of the dynamics-form polarity to the divine life causes him to reject a nonsymbolic, ontological doctrine of God as becoming. Being, contends Tillich, is not in balance with becoming.184

Being comprises becoming and rest, becoming as an implication of dynamics and rest as an implication of form. If we say that God is being-itself, this includes both rest and becoming, both the static and the dynamic elements. However, to speak of a “becoming” God disrupts the balance between dynamics and form and subjects God to a process which has the character of a fate or which is completely open to the future and has the character of an absolute accident.‡

What Tillich is getting at is now clear. In man there is a tension between dynamics and form. Vitality or dynamics is the power of life, open in all directions toward channels of expression. But man’s vitality is conditioned by his form.185

The dynamics-form polarity, when applied to God, takes on a different meaning. It does not mean that there is tension in the divine life. The dynamics-form polarity applied to God means rather that in God possibility is united with fulfillment. “Neither side threatens the other, nor is there a threat of disruption.”§ God is dynamic in absolute unity with form.#186

* Tillich, ST, I, 246.
† Tillich, ST, I, 246.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 247.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 247.
# Tillich, ST, I, 244.

iii. Freedom and destiny

In finite life freedom and destiny are in a polar relation of interdependence. In finite life destiny is the basis of freedom and freedom participates in shaping destiny. But when the elements of freedom and destiny are applied to divine life their meaning is altered.187 Tillich affirms that if we speak of God as free in a non-symbolic sense, we are confronted with the unanswerable question of whether the structure of freedom is not itself something given in relation to which God has no freedom. Because of this difficulty, Tillich asserts that freedom in God, like the other ontological concepts must be understood symbolically.188 When it is so understood,

freedom means that that which is man’s ultimate concern is in no way dependent on man or on any finite concern. Only that which is unconditional can be the expression of unconditional concern. A conditional God is no God.*

Likewise, the term destiny cannot be applied to God if the connotation of a “destiny-determining’’ power above God is given. But both freedom and destiny can be applied symbolically to the divine life if one affirms that in God freedom and destiny are identical. God is his destiny. God’s freedom does not shape his destiny. There is an absolute unity and identity of freedom and destiny in God.†

* Tillich, ST, I, 248.
† Tillich, ST, I, 248.

7. The traditional attributes of God

One of the most illuminating sections in Tillich’s discussion of the question of God is his analysis of the traditional attributes of God. Tillich feels that theologians have too long interpreted the attributes of God quantitatively. This type of interpretation has led to both illogical and irrational ideas about the nature of God. So Tillich proceeds to give a qualitative interpretation to the attributes of God rather than a quantitative one. We have already discussed Tillich’s interpretation of the omnipotence of God. Now we may turn to a discussion of the eternity, the omnipresence, and the omniscience of God.

i. God is eternal

The concept of eternity is a genuine religious concept. It takes the place of something like omnitemporality, which would be the analogy to omnipotence and omnipresence. In his interpretation of the concept of eternity, Tillich contends that the concept must be protected against two misinterpretations. The first misinterpretation is the tendency to look upon eternity as timelessness. The meaning of olim in Hebrew and of aiones in Greek does not indicate timelessness. Rather than meaning timelessness, eternity means “the power of embracing all periods of time.”* If God is a living God, asserts Tillich, he must include temporality and with this a relation to the modes of time. Philosophers throughout the ages have realized that eternity includes temporality. Plato, for instance, called time the moving image of eternity. For Plato eternity included time, even though it was the time of circular movement. Hegel pointed to a temporality within the absolute. These theories, says Tillich, point to the fact that eternity is not timelessness.189

Another misinterpretation that Tillich finds surrounding the concept of eternity is the tendency to look upon it as the endlessness of time. The concept of endless time, called “bad infinity” by Hegel, means the endless reiteration of temporality. Tillich looks upon this tendency to elevate the dissected moments of time to infinite significance as idolatry in the most refined sense. Eternity in this sense would mean that God is subjected to a superior power, namely, to the structure of dissected temporality.190 “It would deprive him of his eternity and make him an everliving entity of subdivine character.”†

So, for Tillich, eternity is neither timelessness nor the endlessness of time. Now the question arises: “What is the relation of eternity to the modes of time?” Tillich answers this question in terms of an analogy which is found in human experience, that is, the unity of remembered past and anticipated future in an experienced present. This analogy implies a symbolic approach to the meaning of eternity. Eternity is symbolized as an eternal present (nunc eternum).‡ But this nunc eternum is not simultaneity. Simultaneity would erase the different modes of time. The eternal present is moving from past to future but without ceasing to be present.191

It is through faith in the eternity of God that one finds the courage to conquer the negativities of the temporal process. Both the anxiety of the past and that of the future pass away. The dissected moments of time are united in eternity. Here, and not in the doctrine of the human soul, Tillich finds the certainty of man’s participation in eternal life.192 “The hope of eternal life,” asserts Tillich, “is based not on a substantial quality of man’s soul but on his participation in the eternity of the divine life.”

* Tillich, ST, I, 274.
† Tillich, ST, I, 275.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 275.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 276.

ii. God is omnipresent

God’s relation to space, as his relation to time, is interpreted by Tillich in qualitative terms. God, avers Tillich, is neither endlessly extended in space, as a theology inclined toward pantheist formulation would assert, nor limited to a definite space, as a theology of deistic tendencies would assert. The tendency to interpret omnipresence as an extension of the divine substance through all space subjects God to dissected spatiality and puts him alongside himself sacrificing the personal centers of the divine life.* The tendency to interpret omnipresence as meaning that God is present “personally” in a circumscribed place is equally inadequate. The spatial symbols of above and below should never be taken literally. The statement “God is in heaven,” for instance, does not mean that he “lives in” or “descends from” a special place; it means, rather, that his life is qualitatively different from creaturely existence.†193

It is also improper to interpret omnipresence as spacelessness. Tillich holds that punctuality in the divine life must be rejected as much as simultaneity and timelessness. Extension is found in the ground of the divine life in which everything spatial is rooted. But God is not subject to this spatial existence; he transcends it and participates in it.194 “God’s omnipresence is his creative participation in the spatial existence of his creatures.”‡

The religious value of God’s omnipresence is immense. It overcomes the anxiety of not having a space for one’s self. It means that wherever man is he is “at home” in the ground of God. One is always “in the sanctuary” when he experiences God’s omnipresence. In such a presence of God every place is a “holy place.” There is in that situation no difference between the sacred and the secular.§195

* Tillich, ST, I, 277.
† Tillich, ST, I, 277.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 277.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 278.

iii. God is omniscient

In traditional theology omniscience is the faculty of a highest being who is supposed to know all objects, past, present, and future, and beyond this, everything that might have happened if what has happened had not happened. But Tillich looks upon this interpretation of omniscience as illogical and absurd. The absurdity of such an interpretation is due to the impossibility of subsuming God under the subject-object scheme. If one speaks of the unconditional character of divine knowledge, therefore, one must speak symbolically, indicating that God is not present in an all-permeating manner but that he is present spiritually.196 It means that

nothing is outside the centered unity of his life; nothing is strange, dark, hidden, isolated, unapproachable. Nothing falls outside the logos structure of being. The dynamic element cannot break the unity of the form; the abysmal quality cannot swallow the rational quality of the divine life.*

This has tremendous implications for man’s personal and cultural existence. In personal life it means that there is no absolute darkness in one’s being. Faith in God’s omniscience overcomes the anxiety of the dark and the hidden. The divine omniscience is ultimately the logical foundation of the belief in the openness of reality to human knowledge. We are able to gain knowledge because we participate in divine knowledge. We are able to reach truth because the divine life in which we are rooted embodies all truth.197

* Tillich, ST, I, 279.

8. Divine love and divine justice

Love and justice have often been looked upon as two distinct attributes of God. But Tillich feels that such a position is due to a misconception of the nature of love and justice. Justice, contends Tillich, is a part of love. Love is the ontological concept. Justice has no independent ontological standing. Justice is dependent on love. It is a part of love’s activity. With this statement of the complementary nature of love and justice we may examine them separately.198

i. The divine love

Love, for Tillich, is an ontological concept. He finds the ontological nature of love expressed in the tendency of every life-process to unite a trend toward separation with a trend toward reunion. Such a tendency is based on the polarity of individualization and participation. Love is absent where there is no individualization, and love can be fully realized only where there is full individualization, in man. But the individual also longs to return to the unity to which he belongs, in which he participates by his ontological nature.*199 This is what Tillich means when he says that love is not the union of the strange but the reunion of the estranged. †

To say that God is love literally is to apply the experience of separation and reunion to the divine life. This, however, is impossible since God is not subject to the ontological elements. Therefore one must speak symbolically of God as love. When God is spoken of as love, the meaning is that the divine life has the character of love but beyond the distinction between potentiality and actuality.‡200

In order to gain a clearer meaning of the divine love, Tillich distinguishes between several different types of love.§ In each type of love there is a quest for reunion. There is love as libido which is the movement of the needy toward that which fulfills the need. There is love as philia which is movement of the equal toward union with the equal. There is love as eros which is the movement of that which is lower in power and meaning to that which is higher. In all three of these forms of love the element of desire is present. But there is a from of love which transcends these, namely, the desire to fulfill the longing of the other being. This is love as agape. All love, except agape, is dependent on contingent characteristics which change and are partial, such as repulsion and attraction, passion and sympathy.# Agape is independent of these states. It affirms the other unconditionally. It is agape that suffers and forgives. It seeks the personal fulfillment of the other.

* Tillich, ST, I, 279.
† Tillich, LPJ, 25.

§ In his Systematic Theology Tillich refers to types of love. But in a more recent work Tillich affirms that it is improper to speak of types of love. There are not types of love, but qualities of love. "But I have learned, while elaborating these lectures, that there are not types but qualifications of love." (LPJ, 5).
# Tillich, ST, I, 280.

It is this type of love that is the basis for the assertion that God is love.201 “God works toward the fulfillment of every creature and toward the bringing-together into the unity of his life all who are separated and disrupted.”* It is in this sense, and in this sense only that God is called love. None of the other types of love can be applied to God. Certainly not libido, because God is not in need of anything. Philia cannot properly symbolize God’s love, because there is no equality between man and God. Moreover, eros cannot properly synbolize God’s love, because God in his eternity transcends the fulfillment and non-fulfillment of reality. The basic and only adequate symbol for God’s love is agape.†

We may raise the question of the possibility of divine self love at this point. Tillich is reluctant to speak of self-love on the human level, since he sees love as the drive towards the reunion of the separated. He contends that within the unity of self-consciousness there is no real separation, comparable to the separation of self-centered being from all other being.‡ But although Tillich is reluctant to speak of self-love on the human level, he is quite willing to speak of divine self-love. He says in one instance that “man’s love of God is the love with which God loves himself.”§ This is an expression of the truth that God is a subject even when he seems to be an object. It is a statement about God loving himself. As we shall see subsequently, the trinitarian distinctions (separation and reunion) make it possible to speak of divine self-love.202

Without separation from one’s self, self-love is impossible. . . . Through the separation within himself God loves himself and through separation from himself (in creaturely freedom) God fulfills his love of himself-primarily because he loves that which is estranged from himself.#

* Tillich, ST, I, 281.
† Tillich, ST, I, 281.
‡ Tillich, LPJ, 33.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 282. This passage is definitely suggestive of absolute quantitative monism.
# Tillich, ST, I, 282. Here again we can see Tillich’s absolute monism.

ii. The divine justice

As we have seen, justice has no independent ontological standing. Justice is dependent on love. Justice is really an act of love protesting against that which violates love. Whenever an individual violates the structure of love, judgment and condemnation follow. But they do not follow by an act of divine retribution; they follow by the reaction of God’s loving power against that which violates love.203 “Condemnation is not the negation of love but the negation of the negation of love.”* It is the way in which that which resists love, i.e. that which resists being reunited to that from which it is separated, is left to separation, with an implied and inescapable self-destruction.204

Tillich feels that the ontological character of love not only solves the problem of the relation of love and retributive justice, but also provides theology with the possibility of using the symbol “the wrath of God.” The wrath of God is not an affect alongside God’s love nor is it a motive for action alongside his providence;205 “it is the emotional symbol for the work of love which rejects and leaves to self-destruction what resists it.”† In this sense the metaphorical symbol “the wrath of God” is necessary and unavoidable.206

Tillich finds the final expression of the unity of love and justice in the symbol of justification. Justification points to the divine act in which love conquers the immanent consequences of the violation of justice. This divine love in relation to the unjust creature is grace.‡207

* Tillich, ST, I, 284.
† Tillich, ST, I, 284.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 285.

9. The trinity

For Tillich the trinity is not the illogical and irrational assertion that three are one and one is three. It is a qualitative rather than a quantitative characterization of God. It is an attempt to express the richness and complexity of the divine life.208

The first person of the trinity is abyss. It is the abysmal character of God, the element of power which is the basis of the Godhead, “which makes God God.”*209 As we have seen, this first principle is the root of God’s majesty, the unapproachable intensity of his being. It is the power of being infinitely resisting nonbeing.210 God as Father is power.

The second person† of the Trunity is the logos, the element of meaning, the element of structure.211 “The logos opens the divine ground, its infinity and its darkness, and it makes its fullness distinguishable, definite, finite.”‡ Without this second principle the first principle would be chaos, and God would be demonic.212

As we have seen in the earlier part of the discussion, these two poles in God’s nature are indicated in the definition of God as abyss and ground of being and meaning. But Tillich does not stop with this polar concept of God’s nature. There is a third principle, that of spirit.213

Spirit is that principle in which power and meaning, abyss and ground are united. Spirit stands for the unity of all the polar opposites: of power with meaning, of the static with the dynamic, even of mind with body.§ God is no nearer one “part” of being than he is to another. He is as near the creative darkness of the unconscious as he is to the critical light of cognitive reason.215 “Spirit is the power through which meaning lives, and it is the meaning which gives direction to power.”#

It is through the concept of the Spirit that Tillich explains the self-separating and self-returning activity of God. Through the Spirit God goes out of himself, the Spirit proceeds from the divine ground.216 He gives actuality to that which is potential in the divine ground. “Through the Spirit the divine fullness is posited in the divine life as something definite, and at the same time it is reunited in the divine ground.”$

Tillich emphasizes the point that a consideration of the trinitarian principles is not the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. It is preparation for it. The doctrinal formulation of the Trinity can be discussed only after the Christological dogma has been elaborated.$ But in order to speak meaningfully of the living God it is necessary to discuss the trinitarian principles.217

* Tillich, ST, I, 250; ST, I, 156.
† Tillich prefers to say principle instead of person.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 251.
§ Tillich seems to be abusing language here, for if religious common sense means anything in saying that God is a spirit, it means that God is immaterial. Probably the responsibility for such unnatural changes of meaning must be charged to the dialectical principle, which necessitates that a given meaning should embrace its opposite. Certainly no precision of meaning is possible under such conditions.319
# Tillich, ST, I, 250.
$ Tillich, ST, I, 251.
$ Tillich’s Christology will be presented in the second volume of his Systematic Theology.

10. The question of the personality of God

We have seen throughout the discussion that Tillich continually talks of God in terms of power. Now the question arises whether Tillich’s God is an unconscious reservoir of power or whether he is a conscious person. An answer to this question is crucial for any adequate interpretation of Tillich’s God-concept.

We have seen that Tillich considers all statements about God as being of a symbolic nature, except the statement that God is being-itself. We cannot say, for instance, that God is living in the literal sense of the word because life is literally “the process in which potential being becomes actual being,” and God “transcends” the distinction between potential and actual. But God does live in the sense that He is the ground of life. Tillich carries this same method of thinking over into the question of the personality of God. He insists that the symbol, “personal God,” does not mean that God is a person. “It means that God is the ground of everything personal and that he carries within himself the ontological power of personality.”*218 Tillich thinks that the tendency to speak of God as “a person” was a nineteenth century creation, brought into being through the Kantian separation of nature ruled by physical law from personality ruled by moral law.219 Under this influence theism made God “a heavenly, completely perfect person who resides above the world and mankind.”† But there is no evidence for the existence of such a highest person. At best Tillich finds the symbol “personal God” quite confusing.

In answering a criticism which Einstein raised against the idea of a personal God, Tillich admitted that most concepts of a personal God contradicted the scientific interpretation of nature. He writes:

The concept of a “Personal God,” interfering with natural events or being an independent cause of natural events makes God a natural object besides others, an object amongst objects, a being amongst beings, maybe the highest, but anyhow a being. This, indeed, is the destruction, not only of the physical system, but even more the destruction of any meaningful ideas of God.

Yet in spite of the confusing nature of the idea of a “personal God,” Tillich finds it indispensable for living religion, if for no other reason than, as the philosopher Schelling says, “only a person can heal a person.”20 God cannot be considered less than personal, although he can and must be more than personality.

* Tillich, ST, I, 245.
† Tillich, ST, I, 245.
‡ Tillich, Art. (1940)2, 9.

In a sense God is the supra-personal.

The supra-personal is not an “It,” or more exactly, it is a “He” as much as it is an “It,” and it is above both of them. But if the “He” element is left out, the “It” element transforms the alleged supra-personal into sub-personal, as it usually happens in monism and pantheism.*

Now we can clearly see that there is a basic inconsistency in Tillich’s thought at this point. On the one hand Tillich’s thought suggests the sub-personalism of Oriental Vedantism. On the other hand Tillich recognizes personality as a precious symbol denoting the unconditional, the ground and abyss of all being. He contends that this kind of symbolsim is indispensable and must be maintained against pantheistic and naturalistic criticism, lest religion fall back to the level of a primitive-demonic pre-personalism.†221 Certainly this is a flagrant contradiction. It seems that Tillich both wants a personal God and does not want a personal God.222

At any rate, all of Tillich’s conclusions tend to point to an impersonal God. Despite his warning that God is not less than personal, we see traits throughout Tillich’s thinking that point to a God that is less than personal. Even those things which Tillich says about God with personalistic implications are finally given impersonal explanations. For instance, Tillich speaks of God as love. But on closer scrutiny we discover that love, for Tillich, is just the dialectical principle of the union of opposites. Tillich’s use of the word love inevitable reminds one of the love (and strife) of Empodocles, who meant by “love” no more than the attraction of the elements for one another.223 At one point Tillich stresses the logos character of God, which would certainly give personalistic tones. But even this is distorted through Tillich’s insistence that the abyss is what makes God God.

So Tillich ends with a God who is a sub-personal reservoir of power, somewhat akin to the impersonalism of Hindu Vedantism. He chooses the less than personal to explain personality, purpose, and meaning.

* Tillich, Art. (1940)2, 10.
† Tillich, PE, 119.

11. Is Tillich an absolute quantitative monist?

We come to a question at this point which has been cropping up throughout our discussion of Tillich’s God-concept, viz., the question of whether Tillich holds to an absolute quantitative monism. Certainly there is much in Tillich’s conception of God which suggest that he does. For instance, his emphasis on God’s participation in every life as its ground and aim is monistic.* Also he can talk of God’s going out of himself and resting in himself. “The finite is posited as finite within the process of divine life, but it is reunited with the infinite within the same process.”† Again he says: “God is infinite because he has the finite within himself united with his infinity.”‡ Still again he says: “The divine life is creative, actualizing itself in inexhaustible abundance.”§ The similarity of Tillich’s view at this point to Hegel’s philosophy of spirit and Plotinus’ philosophy of the One inclines one to interpret Tillich as an absolute monist.224

Perhaps Tillich’s most explicit statement of monism is his contention that “man’s love of God is the love with which God loves himself. . . . The divine life is the divine self-love.”# Tillich makes the same assertion about divine knowledge. “If there is knowledge of God, it is God who knows himself through man.”$ Passages such as these cited indicate an absolute monism.225

There are some passages, on the other hand, which imply a quantitative pluralism. Tillich insists, for instance, that man is free. In fact he defines the nature of man as “finite freedom.”$ Tillich affirms that there would be no history unless man were to some degree free; that is, to some extent, independent from God. Tillich goes on to insist that one of the basic characteristics of existence is a separation of man and God. Man in existence is conscious of being separated from what he ought to be. He is to some extent “outside” the divine life.226 This means that he stands “in actualized freedom, in an existence which is no longer united with essence.”!227

* Tillich, ST, I, 245.
† Tillich, ST, I, 251.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 282.
§ Tillich, ST, I, 282.
# Tillich, ST, I, 282.
$ Tillich, ST, I, 172.
$ Tillich, Art. (1939), 202.
! Tillich, ST, I, 255.

It is obvious that this represents a basic contradiction in Tillich’s thought, and he nowhere seeks explicitly to resolve the contradiction. Is any resolution of these seeming contradictions possible?228 Boozer, in interpreting Tillich’s thought at this point, thinks that the contradiction can be resolved on the basis of Tillich’s distinction between essence and existence. Boozer writes:

Essentially God is all in all; God is one, and man is not actual as a separate being. Man is a part of God. But in existence, in the realm of God’s creation there is a partial separation of man from God through the actualization of man’s finite freedom. The sustaining structure of existence is still unity with God. But the unity is not complete in existence. In existence, then, God and man are separate to an extent, and there is pluralism.*

It is probably an oversimplification to say that this resolves the contradiction completely, for a contradiction cannot be resolved merely by denying one term of it (in this case pluralism), Moreover, even if it is gratned that Tillich holds to an ultimate ontological monism there is the further contradiction of how man can be free in such a monistic system. Freedom implies metaphysical otherness, and it is hardly possible to hold to an ultimate ontological monism and the freedom of man simultaneously. This is a contradiction that Tillich never seems to resolve.

In spite of the foregoing, however, Boozer is basically sound in his interpretation of Tillich’s God as the only metaphysical reality; a God who goes out of himself into existence and returns to himself. At least three quotations from Tillich give weight to this conclusion.

The dialectical method attempts to mirror the movement of reality. It is the logical expression of a philosophy of life, for life moves through self-affirmation, going out of itself and returning to itself.†229

Speaking of God, Tillich writes: “We assert that he is the eternal process in which separation is posited and is overcome by reunion.”‡230 Again he writes:

The ground of Being of which every being takes its power of being has the character of selfseparating and selfreturning life. Selfseparating is the abbreviation for separating itself from itself towards the complete individualization of the self having itself. Selfreturning is the abbreviation of the return of life to itself in the power of returning love.§231

In a very informative article on the nature of man, Tillich asserts that man has a threefold nature, viz., an essential nature, an existential nature, and an eschatological nature. It becomes clear now that Tillich applies this same threefold nature to God. It is through such an interpretation that we can understand Tillich’s statement that God “is the eternal process in which separation is posited and is overcome by reunion.” When one considers the fullness of God in the three natures, many contradictions are reconciled.

The conclusion is that Tillich holds to an ultimate ontological monism both qualitative and quantitative. God is ultimately the only metaphysical reality. The life of man is a phase of the actualization of God and not a separate metaphysical reality.232

* Boozer, PRTCG, 62.
† Tillich, ST, I, 234.
‡ Tillich, ST, I, 242.
§ Tillich, Art. (1949)2, 15.

1. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 151: “Ontology is the core of philosophy, and the ontological question of the nature of being is logically prior to all others. Ontology is possible because there are concepts less universal than ‘being,’ but more universal than the concepts that designate a particular realm of beings. Such ontological concepts have been called ‘principles,’ ‘categories,’ or ‘ultimate notions.’ Tillich’s analysis of these concepts is the heart of his philosophy.”

2. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 151: “Such concepts, he holds, are strictly ‘a priori: they are present whenever something is experienced, and determine the nature of experience itself. . . . This does not mean that they can be known prior to experience: they are known rather through the critical analysis of actual instances of experience.”

3. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 151: “Taken seriously, such language implies that the ‘being’ to be analyzed is to be found only in the knower, and not, except derivatively, in the known; and this is the essence of an idealistic epistemology.”

4. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 152: “Tillich distinguishes four levels of ontological concepts: (1) the basic ontological structure; (2) the ‘elements’ constituting that structure; (3) the characteristics of being which are the conditions of existence, or ‘existential being’; and (4) the categories of being and knowing.”

5. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 152: “The ontological question, ‘What is being?’ presupposes an asking ‘subject’ and an ‘object’ about which the question is asked; it presupposes the subject-object structure of being. This in turn presupposes the self-world structure as the basic articulation of being: being is man encountering the world. This logically and experientially precedes all other structures.”

6. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 152: “Man experiences himself as having a world to which he belongs, and it is from the analysis of this polar relationship between man and the world that the basic ontological structure is derived. Since man is estranged from nature, and is unable to understand it in the way he understands man—he does not know what the behavior of things means to them, as he does know what men’s behavior means to men—the principles which constitute the universe must be sought in man himself. Following Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit, Tillich finds ‘being there’ (Daesin)—the place where the structure of being is manifest—given to man within himself. ‘Man is able to answer the ontological question himself because he experiences directly and immediately the structure of being and its elements’ within himself. This does not mean that it is easier to get a knowledge of man ‘sufficient for our purposes’ than a knowledge of nonhuman objects. . . . It means that man is aware of ‘the structure that makes cognition possible,’ the conditions of knowing. Being is revealed, not in objects, but in ‘the conditions necessary for knowing.’ ‘The truth of all ontological concepts is their power of expressing that which makes the subject-object structure possible. They constitute this structure’ (169).”

7. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 115: “Being a self means that man is both over against the world, as a subject, and in the world, as an object. He is so separated from everything as to be able to look at it and act upon it; he so belongs to the world that he is an episode in the process. But each factor determines the other. It is wrong to assume that the environment wholly explains behavior.”

8. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” pp. 115-116: “Moreover, because of self-consciousness man transcends every possible spatiotemporal environment. His ‘world’ cannot be thought of simply as an aggregate containing everything that exists; it is an organized structure, and the organizing reflects the self. In short, the self-world correlation includes not only the environment in which man lives, but the universal norms and ideas by means of which man apprehends and interprets. Every content, psychic as well as bodily, is within the world; otherwise the self would be an empty form. But man is so differentiated from the world that he can look at it as an organized whole, otherwise he would be completely immersed in the flux.”

9. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 116: “This starting-point avoids the notorious pitfalls involved in trying to generate the world from the ego, or the ego from the world; it also avoids the dilemma of Cartesian dualism which has to try to unite an empty res cogitans with a mechanistically conceived res extensa. In so far as it is thought about, everything (including even God) is an object; but in so far as everything involves individual self-relatedness, nothing (not even an atom) is merely an object.”

10. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 153: “It is within this polarity that are to be found the derivative polarities of objective and subjective reason, of logical object and subject. Pure objects, ‘things,’ are completely conditioned or bedingt by the scheme of knowing. But man himself is not a ‘thing’ or object: he is never bound completely to an environment.” The following quotation appears verbatim in Randall, “Ontology,” p. 153.

11. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 153: “This analysis of ‘the basic ontological structure,’ in which Tillich is following Heidegger, assumes without question that the epistemological ‘subject-object distinction’ is absolutely ultimate, not only for knowledge, but for all being: It is not only ‘prior for us,’ but also ‘prior in nature,’ as Aristotle puts it.”

12. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 154: “At times he follows Heidegger in looking for the structure of being ‘in man.’ . . . But at other times Tillich, following his own insights rather than another’s thought, holds that the structure of being is found by man in his encounters with the world.”

13. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 154: “The second level of ontological analysis deals with those ‘ontological elements’ which constitute the basic structure of being. Unlike the categories, these elements are polar: each is meaningful only in relation to its opposite pole.”

14. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 154: “There are three outstanding pairs: individuality and universality or participation, dynamics and form, and freedom and destiny. These distinctions are discovered in the self’s experience of the world, and then generalized for all interactions within being.”

15. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 165: “In these three polarities the first element expresses the self-relatedness of being, its power of being something for itself, while the second element expresses the belongingness of being, its character of being a part of a universe of being.”

16. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 154: “Individualization is a quality of everything: ‘it is implied in and constitutive of every self, which means that at least in an analogous way it is implied in and constitutive of every being.’”

17. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 175: “Selfhood and individualization are different conceptually, but actually they are inseparable.”

18. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 244: “But man’s individualization is not absolute or complete. The element of participation is in polar relation with individualization. Leibniz speaks of the microcosmic structure of the monad. Whitehead speaks of the ‘prehension’ of the whole by the actual occasion. Both indicate the element of participation. Martin Buber emphasizes the role of the ‘thou’ in the development of the ‘I.’”

19. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 176-177: “Man participates in the universe through the rational structure of mind and reality. . , . When individualization reaches the perfect form which we call a ‘person,’ participation reaches the perfect form which we call ‘communion.’ . . . Participation is essential for the individual, not accidental. . . . Persons can grow only in the communion of personal encounter.”

20. Boozer quoted this passage from Tillich (“Place of Reason,” p. 244).

21. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 116: “It is clear from the foregoing that Tillich is not interested in slanting such statements either in an idealistic or in a naturalistic direction. But it is especially important to recognize that he does not regard them as deriving from empirical observation concerning contingent facts. Rather, he conceives of individualization and participation as ontological elements which, in the course of a critical analysis of experience, reveal themselves to be a priori in the sense that experience could not be what it is unless it occurred within them. The reciprocal relationship between ‘personal’ and ‘communal’—for example, one cannot become fully a self except in relation with other selves—is a structural characteristic of being. The polarity between individualization and participation also solves the problem of nominalism and realism.”

22. Randall, “Ontology,” pp. 154-155: “Being something means having a form. But every form forms something, and this something Tillich calls ‘dynamics’—a rather unfortunate term. ‘Dynamics’ is the ‘me on, the potentiality of being, which is nonbeing in contrast to things that have a form, and the power of being in contrast to pure nonbeing’ (179). This element polar to form appears as the Urgrund of Böhme, the ‘will’ of Schopenhauer, the ‘will to power’ of Nietzche, the ‘unconscious’ of Hartmann and Freud, the álan vital of Bergson. Each of these concepts points symbolically to what cannot be named literally. ‘If it could be named properly, it would be a formed being beside others instead of an ontological element in contrast with the element of pure form’ (179).”

23. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 117: “Another polarity, that of dynamics and form, appears in man as vitality and intentionality. . . . ‘Potentiality,’ in this sense, is not an existing something, such as ‘will’ or ‘the unconscious’; it is rather the power of being. By ‘intentionality,’ on the other hand, Tillich does not necessarily mean consciously conceived purpose; but he does mean structures that can be grasped as universals. In other words, when vitality becomes human it cannot be thought of as operating by necessity, or chaotically, or without reference to objective structures.”

24. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 117: “The inclusion of dynamism within the ontological structure of human nature is Tillich’s answer to those who eschew all talk about human ‘nature’ because it connotes to them something static. He willingly admits that human nature changes in history, but he insists that one structural characteristic underlies all these changes; namely, ‘being one who has a history.”

25. The citation and text are inaccurate. The last sentence begins, “This simply means that neither animals nor supermen” (Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 167). The inaccurate quotation appears verbatim in Randall (“Ontology,” p. 151).

26. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. i 17: “Change is just as real as structure; but it is absurd to regard the latter as process, because this would mean that there could be no continuity, within the life of a man, between antecedent and subsequent conditions. Consequently, man can develop indefinitely beyond any given physical and biological situation, transforming both nature and himself through applied science and cultural growth; but he cannot slough off the structure which makes intentionality and historicity possible.”

27. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 182: “The third ontological polarity is that of freedom and destiny, in which the description of the basic ontological structure and its elements reaches both its fulfilment and its turning point. . . . Ordinarily one speaks of freedom and necessity. However, necessity is a category and not an element. Its contrast is possibility, not freedom.”

28. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 117: “The problem of freedom is often posed in terms of mechanistic determinism versus indeterminism. But Tillich asserts that neither of these theories does justice to the way in which man grasps his own ontological structure. Both of them treat the will as though it were a thing, and then disagree about whether it possesses a certain quality; namely, freedom. So long as the problem is posed in this manner, determinism always wins; by definition, a thing is completely determined.”

29. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” pp. 117- 118: “Thus indeterminism, in a blundering attempt to defend man’s moral and cognitive capacities, is forced to postulate decision without motivation; for at the level of things a break in the causal nexus can occur only as something uncaused. Needless to say, when the indeterminist holds out for the latter his defense of man’s moral and cognitive capacities is not convincing; for he rests his case upon the occurrence of unintelligible accident, which is at the opposite pole from the ‘responsibility’ he is trying to characterize. However, both theories fall into contradiction when they claim to be true, for the grasping of truth presupposes an intelligible decision against the false as a possibility. Mechanistic determinism cannot make room for decision, and indeterminism cannot make room for intelligibility.”

30. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 118: “Freedom should be approached, therefore, not as the quality of a faculty (the will), but as an element in man’s ontological structure.”

31. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 183: “Freedom is not the freedom of a function (the ‘will’) but of man.”

32. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 118: “This means that every function which plays a part in constituting man as personal also participates in his freedom.”

33. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 184: “Freedom is experienced as deliberation, decision, and responsibility. . . . Deliberation points to an act of weighing (librare) arguments and motives. The person who does the weighing is above the motives.”

34. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 184: “The self-centered person does the weighing and reacts as a whole, through his personal center, to the struggle of the motives. This reaction is called ‘decision.’ The word ‘decision,’ like the word ‘incision,’ involves the image of cutting. A decision cuts off possibilities. . . . The person who does the ‘cutting’ or the ‘excluding’ must be beyond what he cuts off or excludes.”

35. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 118: “Hence the self is responsible in so far as its acts are determined, not by something external or by some dissociated segment or function, but by the centered totality of the person’s being. Freedom, as thus defined, goes hand in hand with destiny.”

36. The correct citation is Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 185.

37. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” pp. 118-119: “The concrete self out of which decisions arise must not be thought of merely as a center of self-consciousness. Decisions issue from a self which has been formed by nature and history; the self includes bodily structure, psychic strivings, moral and spiritual character, communal relations, past experiences (both remembered and forgotten), and the total impact of the environment. Yet having a destiny does not contradict freedom, as ‘fate’ does, because persons can realize their destinies. If man were subject to fate, there would be no point in talking about accepting or rejecting it, inasmuch as the alternative would disappear. The polarity between freedom and destiny distinguishes man from all other levels of existence, yet this distinction arises within continuity.”

38. On a draft of this chapter, Schilling noted: “Inaccurately quoted. This passage varies considerably from the actual text” (King, Draft of chapter 3, 1954-1955, MLKP-MBU: Box 96A; see Calendar of Documents, no. 550000-096). King corrected the quotation.

39. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 165: “The third level of ontological concepts expresses the power of being to exist and the difference between essential and existential being. Both in experience and in analysis being manifests the duality of essential and existential being.”

40. Randall quoted this passage from Tillich (“Ontology,” p. 156).

41. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 156: “Freedom as such is not the basis of existence, but rather freedom in unity with finitude. Finite freedom is the turning point from being to existence. Finitude is hence the center of Tillich’s analysis, for it is the finitude of existent being which drives men to the question of God.”

42. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 119: “He agrees with Heidegger that the logical act of negating presupposes an ontological basis.”

43. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 119: “The problem cannot be solved simply by excluding nonbeing. For, as Parmenides’ efforts show, this means that not only ‘nothing,’ but also the totality of finite existence, is excluded, leaving only static Being.”

44. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 156: “The Platonists distinguished between the &omnicron;υκ &omnicron;υ which means ‘nothing at all,’ and the μ&eta) &omnicron;υ which meant for them that which does not yet have being but can become being if united with ideas.”

45. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 188: “The mystery of nonbeing was not, however, removed, for in spite of its ‘nothingness’ nonbeing was credited with having the power of resisting a complete union with the ideas.”

46. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” pp. 119-120: “The Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo attempts to solve the problem by denying that there is a second principle co-eternal with God; but it affirms that there is an element of nonbeing in all finite existence. Tillich denies that when Augustine attributes sin to nonbeing he is following a purely privative theory; rather, Augustine is asserting that although sin has no positive ontological status it nevertheless actively resists and perverts being. Indeed, since anything created originates out of nothing, it must return to nothing. This is why any view which regards the Son as a creature (Arianism) had to be rejected by the Church on the ground that a creature cannot bring eternal life. And this is why Christianity rejects the doctrine of natural immortality in favor of the belief that eternal life is given by God alone.”

47. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 189: “The dialectical problem of nonbeing is inescapable. It is the problem of finitude. Finitude unites being with dialectical nonbeing.”

48. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 189-190: “Being, limited by nonbeing, is finitude. Nonbeing appears as the ‘not yet’ of being and as the ‘no more’ of being. . . . However, everything which participates in the power of being is ‘mixed’ with nonbeing. . . . It is finite. Both the basic ontological structure and the ontological elements imply finitude.”

49. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 157: “Experienced on the human level, finitude is nonbeing as the threat to being, ultimately the threat of death.”

50. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 190: “In order to experience his finitude, man must look at himself from the point of view of a potential infinity.”

51. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 120: “In grasping his life as a whole as moving toward death, he transcends temporal immediacy. He sees his world in the setting of potential infinity, his participation in the setting of potential universality, his destiny in the setting of potential all-inclusiveness. This power of transcending makes man aware of his own finitude, and at the same time marks him as belonging to Being itself. The latter kinship is shown by the fact that man is never satisfied with any stage of his development; nothing finite can hold him.”

52. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 190: “According to this analysis, infinity is related to finitude in a different way than the other polar elements are related to one another. As the negative character of the word indicates, it is defined by the dynamic and free self-transcendence of finite being.”

53. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 120: “Finitude is the ontological basis of human anxiety. . . . As such it must be distinguished, of course, from fear, which is directed toward definite objects and can be overcome by action.”

54. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 191n.7: “Psychotherapy cannot remove ontological anxiety, because it cannot change the structure of finitude. But it can remove compulsory forms of anxiety and can reduce the frequency and intensity of fears.”

55. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 191: “Fear can be conquered by action. Anxiety cannot, for no finite being can conquer its finitude. . . . Anxiety is ontological; fear, psychological.”

56. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” pp. 120- 121 : “Like Kierkegaard and Heidegger, Tillich regards Urangst as directed toward ‘nothingness.’ Though ineradicable, it can be accepted and used creatively as a part of what it means to be human.”

57. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 157: “The fourth level of ontological concepts consists of the categories. They are ‘the forms in which the mind grasps and shapes reality.’ But they are not mere logical forms, only indirectly related to reality itself; they are ontological, present in everything.”

58. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 165-166: “From the theological point of view four main categories must be analyzed: time, space, causality, and substance. Categories like quantity and quality have no direct theological significance and are not especially discussed. Other concepts which often have been called ‘categories,’ like movement and rest, or unity and manifoldness, are treated implicitly on the second level of analysis, movement and rest in connection with dynamics and form, unity and manifoldness in connection with individuality and universality.”

59. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 166: “The polar character of these concepts puts them on the level of the elements of the basic ontological structure and not on the level of the categories.”

60. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 121: “Externally regarded, these categories express the union of being and nonbeing. Internally regarded, they express the union of anxiety and courage. The latter aspect of the interpretation must not be misunderstood as psychological. In accordance with the self-world correlation, the subjective side of the analysis is just as much a piece of ontology as is the objective.”

61. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 121: “The discussion of each category leads to an antinomy where a decision concerning the meaning involved cannot be derived from an analysis of the category itself. This method has obvious similarities to Kant’s, and it leads to a point at which, since metaphysics cannot solve the problem, an existential attitude (positive or negative) is unavoidable.”

62. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 121: “Yet neither side of the analysis is entirely satisfactory. Time cannot be illusory because only if the present is real can past and future he linked together. But neither is it simply creative, inasmuch as it carries all things toward disintegration and obliteration.”

63. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 121: “To this objective antinomy there corresponds an inward polarity between anxiety and courage. Temporality means, for man, the anxiety of having to die; this hangs over every moment and characterizes the whole of human existence. Yet anxiety of this sort comes from the structure of being and is not due to sin. . . . The anxieties due to sin are, in principle, remediable; but as we have already seen, the anxiety of finitude is ineradicable. It is balanced, however, by a courage which affirms temporality.”

64. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 194: “The present implies space. Time creates the present through its union with space. . . . Like time, space unites being with nonbeing, anxiety with courage. Like time, space is subject to contradictory valuations, for it is a category of finitude. To be means to have space.”

65. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 122: “Space is interpreted, on the positive side, in terms of the fact that every being strives to maintain a ‘place’ for itself.”

66. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 194: “Not to have space is not to be. Thus in all realms of life striving for space is an ontological necessity.” Cf. Randall, “Ontology,” p. 157.

67. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 122: “But on the negative side it must be observed that no place is definitely one’s own.”

68. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 122: “This means insecurity which goes hand in hand with finitude.”

69. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 195: “On the other hand, man’s anxiety about having to lose his space is balanced by the courage with which he affirms the present and, with it, space.”

70. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 122: “The affirmative interpretation of causality points to the power from which things proceed, the power which can produce and maintain realities despite the resistance of nonbeing. The negative interpretation notes, however, that finite things do not possess their own power of coming into being; they are ‘thrown’ into existence.”

71. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 196: “In this respect causality and contingent being are the same thing.”

72. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” pp. 122- 123: “For our purposes the most important point is that human anxiety is here associated with lack of aseity (the self-sufficiency possessed by God alone). We should also note that Tillich’s discussion of causality supports the thesis that human existence is not necessitated. If the latter were the case, man would be incapable of anxiety, and he could not ask questions based upon awareness of the fact that he ‘might not’ be. So far as the present category is concerned, the answer to anxiety means a kind of courage which achieves self-reliance despite the inescapable facts of contingency and dependence.”

73. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 123: “The category of substance, in its connection with human nature, has to do mainly with self-identity.”

74. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 197: “In contrast to causality, substance points to something underlying the flux of appearances, something which is relatively static and self-contained. . . . But the substance is nothing beyond the accidents in which it expresses itself.”

75. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 123: “Therefore all change threatens the ground on which one stands, and the radical change from life to death threatens an ultimate loss of self-identity. We cannot solve the problem by trying to attribute permanence to creative work, a love relationship, and the like. Courage can match anxiety only by being able to affirm the significance of the finite despite the fact that it can lose its substance.”

76. Roberts, “Tillich’s Doctrine of Man,” p. 123: “Thus all four categories express the union of being (the positive) and nonbeing (the negative) in everything finite. But the ontological analysis cannot answer the question as to how courage is possible in the face of ineradicable anxiety. The answer to this question is furnished by revelation and by the existential decision which enters into faith in God.”

77. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 151: “Though [Tillich] speaks of God in such diverse ways as ‘the answer to the question implied in being,’ ‘the name of this infinite and inexhaustible depth and ground of all being,’ as ‘the name of the ground of history,’ ‘the basis and abyss of all meaning which surpasses all that is conceivable,’ ‘the power of being in which every being participates,’ ‘the power in everything that has power,’ ‘the name for that which concerns man ultimately,’ as ‘being itself,’ and as ‘Lord’ and ‘Father,’ he is jealous to safeguard the non-existential status of God.” King’s footnotes are similar to Boozer’s. In another section of his dissertation Boozer also wrote about God as being-itself (p. 256) and included a footnote listing the additional page numbers from Systematic Theology and The Protestant Era that King cites here.

78. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 235: “If God is a being, he is subject to the categories of finitude, especially to space and substance. Even if he is called the ‘highest being’ in the sense of the ‘most perfect’ and the ‘most powerful’ being, this situation is not changed. . . . Many confusions in the doctrine of God and many apologetic weaknesses could be avoided if God were understood first of all as being-itself or as the ground of being.”

79. Charles Hartshorne, “Tillichs Doctrine of God,” in Kegley and Bretall, eds., Theology of Paul Tillich, pp. 164-165: “Professor Tillich often speaks, indeed, almost as though ‘absolute,’ ‘unconditioned,’ ‘infinite,’ ‘eternal,’ were synonyms for ‘being-itself,’ and equally literal in application to deity; but he also insists that being-itself, or God, is ‘beyond finitude and infinity’ (144), and implies the same with respect to ‘relative’ and ‘absolute’ (cf. 138), ‘temporal’ and ‘eternal,’ and even ‘spatial’ and ‘spaceless’ (184, 186).”

80. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 236: “He is the power of being in everything and above everything, the infinite power of being. A theology which does not dare to identify God and the power of being as the first step toward a doctrine of God relapses into monarchic monotheism.”

81. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 189: “The traditional category of omnipotence is included in the concept of God as being-itself. God as power of being resists and conquers non-being. In the Christian belief in an ‘almighty God,’ Tillich sees a confidence in the inexhaustible power of being to resist nonbeing. Only the ‘almighty’ God can warrant man’s ultimate concern. . . . The omnipotence of God does not mean that God is able to do whatever he wishes.”

82. Paul Tillich, “The Idea of the Personal God,” Union Review 2 (1940): 9: “Or what ‘omnipotence’ means must be found in the words Paul (Rom. 8) speaks to the few Christians in the slums of the big cities when he pronounces that neither natural nor political powers, neither earthly nor heavenly forces can separate us from the ‘Love of God.’”

83. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 237: “As the power of being, God transcends every being and also the totality of beings—the world. Being-itself is beyond finitude and infinity; otherwise it would be conditioned by something other than itself, and the real power of being would lie beyond both it and that which conditioned it.”

84. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 237: “On the other hand, everything finite participates in being-itself and in its infinity. . . . It would be swallowed by nonbeing, or it never would have emerged out of nonbeing.”

85. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 237: “This double relation of all beings to being-itself gives being-itself a double characteristic.”

86. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 236: “As being-itself God is beyond the contrast of essential and existential being. We have spoken of the transition of being into existence, which involves the possibility that being will contradict and lose itself. This transition is excluded from being-itself (except in terms of the christological paradox), for being-itself does not participate in nonbeing. . . . Logically, being-itself is ‘before,’ ‘prior to,’ the split which characterizes finite being.”

87. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 236: “On the other hand, grave difficulties attend the attempt to speak of God as existing.”

88. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 205: “The scholastics were right when they asserted that in God there is no difference between essence and existence. But they perverted their insight when in spite of this assertion they spoke of the existence of God and tried to argue in favor of it.”

89. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 151: “Therefore the usual discussion of the existence of God, as if God were something or someone completely misses the essential nature of God.”

90. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 159: “The objectification, or the ‘thingification’ (to use J. L. Adams’ term) of God is demonry.”

91. Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations (New York: Scribner, 1948), p. 45: “In making God an object besides other objects, the existence and nature of which are matters of argument, theology supports the escape to atheism.”

92. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 152: “What the theologians and philosophers should have said rather than arguments for the existence of God was something about the ontological implications of finitude. The analysis of finitude shows that finitude witnesses to something beyond the finite.”

93. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 206: “The so-called ontological argument points to the ontological structure of finitude.”

94. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 27-28: “The marks of man’s existence are separation, self-contradiction and estrangement. . . . Man is aware of that from which he is separated as well as his actual state, else he could not feel separated at all. He is aware of the essence of what he is (what he ought to be) as well as what he actually is. . . . ‘Man knows that he is finite, that he is excluded from an infinity which nevertheless belongs to him. He is aware of his potential infinity while being aware of his actual finitude.’ It is in the light of this religious a priori that Tillich would have us understand the ontological argument for God, not as a proposition which gives the result as God, but as an indication of the ontological structure of finitude.”

95. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 207: “The Anselmian statement that God is a necessary thought and that therefore this idea must have objective as well as subjective reality is valid in so far as thinking, by its very nature, implies an unconditional element which transcends subjectivity and objectivity, that is, a point of identity which makes the idea of truth possible.” In the margins of King’s draft Schilling noted that this sentence was “almost exactly quoted” (King, draft of chapter 3).

96. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 208: “The so-called cosmological and teleological arguments for the existence of God are the traditional and inadequate form of this question. . . . They are valid in so far as they give an analysis of reality which indicates that the cosmological question of God is unavoidable. They are not valid in so far as they claim that the existence of a highest being is the logical conclusion of their analysis.”

97. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 209: “[The cosmological argument] has moved from the finitude of being to an infinite being. . . . From the endless chain of causes and effects it arrives at the conclusion that there is a first cause. . . . But cause and substance are categories of finitude.”

98. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 209: “First cause and necessary substance are symbols which express the question implied in finite being, . . . the question of God.”

99. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 210: “This structure is used as a springboard to the conclusion that finite teloi imply an infinite cause of teleology. . . . In terms of logical argument this conclusion is as invalid as the other cosmological ‘arguments.’ As the statement of a question it is not only valid but inescapable and, as history shows, most impressive.”

100. Boozer quoted this passage from Tillich (“Place of Reason,” pp. 73-74).

101. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 74: “God as the ‘power of being,’ as ousia, as , is the source of all power. . . . The power of thought is derived from the Ground of power, yet that Ground is not accessible to thought.”

102. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 105: “To doubt, to feel, to think, to know; indeed, to exist affirms God. For God as ‘power of Being’ is the power by which one doubts, feels, thinks, knows, exists. ‘Being itself, as present in the ontological awareness, is power of Being but not the most powerful being. . . . It is the power in everything that has power, be it a universal or an individual, a thing or an experience.’”

103. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 238-239: “The statement that God is being-itself is a nonsymbolic statement. It does not point beyond itself. It means what it says directly and properly. . . . However, after this has been said, nothing else can be said about God as God which is not symbolic. As we already have seen, God as being-itself is the ground of the ontological structure of being without being subject to this structure himself. . . . Therefore, if anything beyond this hare assertion is said about God, it no longer is a direct and proper statement, no longer a concept. It is indirect, and it points to something beyond itself.”

104. Boozer also quoted the previous two passages from Tillich. He introduced them with the sentence, “God as ground and abyss cannot be an object of thought or language” (“Place of Reason,” p. 160).

105. Paul Tillich, “The Religious Symbol,” Journal of Liberal Religion 2 (1940): 13-14: “The third characteristic of the symbol is its innate power. This implies that the symbol has a power inherent within it that distinguishes it from the mere sign which is impotent in itself. This characteristic is decisive for the distinction between a sign and a symbol. The sign is interchangeable at will. It does not arise from necessity, for it has no inner power. The symbol, however, does possess a necessary character. It cannot be exchanged.”

106. Tillich, Protestant Era, p. 61: “A religious symbol is double edged. It expresses not only what is symbolized but also that through which it is symbolized.”

107. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 240-241: “Religious symbols are double-edged. They are directed toward the infinite which they symbolize and toward the finite through which they symbolize it. . . . They open the divine for the human and the human for the divine. For instance, if God is symbolized as ‘Father,’ he is brought down to the human relationship of father and child. But at the same time this human relationship is consecrated into a pattern of the divine-human relationship. If ‘Father’ is employed as a symbol for God, fatherhood is seen in its theonomous, sacramental depth. . . . If a segment of reality is used as a symbol for God, the realm of reality from which it is taken is, so to speak, elevated into the realm of the holy. . . . It is theonomous. If God is called the ‘king,’ something is said not only about God but also about the holy character of kinghood. If God’s work is called ‘making whole’ or ‘healing,’ this not only says something about God but also emphasizes the theonomous character of all healing.”

108. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 240: “Theology as such has neither the duty nor the power to confirm or to negate religious symbols. Its task is to interpret them according to theological principles and methods. In the process of interpretation, however, two things may happen: theology may discover contradictions between symbols within the theological circle and theology may speak not only as theology but also as religion. In the first case, theology can point out the religious dangers and the theological errors which follow from the use of certain symbols; in the second case, theology can become prophecy, and in this role it may contribute to a change in the revelatory situation.”

109. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 241: “This is partially the result of confusion between sign and symbol and partially due to the identification of reality with empirical reality, with the entire realm of objective things and events. . . . But one reason remains, namely, the fact that some theological movements, such as Protestant Hegelianism and Catholic modernism, have interpreted religious language symbolically in order to dissolve its realistic meaning and to weaken its seriousness, its power, and its spiritual impact. . . . Their intention and their result was to give to God and to all his relations to man more reality and power than a nonsymbolic and therefore easily superstitious interpretation could give them. In this sense symbolic interpretation is proper and necessary.”

110. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 154-155: “A persistent idea in Tillich’s writing about God is that God is not an object for us as subjects. God is not any particular meaning to be placed beside other meanings, not even the highest meaning. God is not any particular value beside other values, not even the highest value. God is not any particular being beside other beings, not even the highest being. The complete lack of particularity in God led Dr. Harkness to write: ‘The one element in our knowledge of God which is literal fact, and not symbol, is God’s character as the Unconditioned.’ As Tillich has written at length about the unconditioned, though without consistent clarity, the idea may profitably be considered.” The quotation is from Georgia Harkness, “The Abyss and the Given,” Christendom 3 (1938): 512.

111. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 155: “At times Tillich speaks of the unconditional as a quality of the encounter; at other times he speaks of the unconditional as if it were being-itself; indeed, as if it were God.”

112. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 155: “In a footnote to a lecture on ‘Kairos’ Tillich speaks of the unconditional as a quality.”

113. Boozer quoted this passage from Tillich (“Place of Reason,” p. 155).

114. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 156: “Tillich is clear in asserting that the unconditional is not a being but a quality. Yet the issue is clouded in the next sentence when he says that the unconditional characterizes that which is our ultimate concern, whether we call that God or Being as such.” King’s quotation is from Tillich, Protestant Era, p. 32n.

115. Boozer quoted this passage from Tillich (“Place of Reason,” p. 157).

116. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 157: “Again in the Interpretation of History Tillich says that we can speak of the unconditional simultaneously as basis of meaning and abyss of meaning.”

117. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 158: “Again Tillich writes: ‘But the really real is not reached until the unconditional ground of everything real, or the unconditioned power in every power of being, is reached.’ Here again, unconditional refers to the ground of being or being-itself. Other passages could be added to these to indicate that in spite of Tillich’s assertion that the unconditional is a quality and not a being.” The quotation is from Paul Tillich, The Protestant Era, trans. J. L. Adams (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), p. 76.

118. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 156: “It seems to be quite consistent with Tillich’s intention to say that unconditionality is a quality of being itself; not of a being, but of being itself, which quality man experiences in the encounter with being itself.”

119. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 158: “J. L. Adams also interprets Tillich‘s idea of the unconditional as a quality of being-itself. Of Tillich’s unconditional he writes: ‘Hence, as the depth or the infinity of things, it is both the ground and abyss of being. It is that quality in being and truth, in goodness and beauty, that elicits man’s ultimate concern; thus it is the absolute quality of all being and meaning and value, the power and vitality of the real as it fulfills itself in meaningful creativity.’”

120. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 102: “God is not an object which we as subjects perceive or think about.”

121. James Luther Adams, “Tillich’s Concept of the Protestant Era,” in Tillich, Protestant Era, p. 300: “One misunderstands the term ‘the unconditional’ if one confuses it with the Absolute of German idealism, with the eternal essences of Platonism, with the superessential One of mysticism, with the mathematically calculated laws of nature, with the Supreme Being of rational deduction, or with the ‘Wholly Other’ (as characterized by Rudolph Otto or Karl Barth). . . . In all these terms that which should be thought of as Being itself tends to be conceived as a particular being about whose ‘existence’ there might be an argument. . . . To argue about it is to presuppose it, for the very argument must itself presuppose some unconditional demand and reality. . . . The unconditional is not a section of reality; it is not a thing or an ‘existing’ entity; it is not an object among objects, not even the highest ‘object.’ . . . The unconditional transcends the distinction between subject and object. . . . The unconditional is not a being.”

122. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 102-104: “Believing that God ‘is no object for us as subjects,’ Tillich moves behind the separation to the prius of the separation into subject and object, to that which precedes this division. . . . But Tillich does not think of God as a person. . . . The prius of separation, then, is power, power of being. Tillich follows existential philosophy at this point. For he interprets existential philosophy as an attempt to find a level which precedes the contrast between subject and object. ‘It aims to cut under the “subject-object distinction” and to reach that stratum of Being which Jaspers, for instance, calls the “Ursprung” or “Source.”’”

123. Paul Tillich, “The Two Types of Philosophy of Religion,” Union Seminary Quarterly Review 1, no. 4 (May 1946): 10: “Neither should the word ‘experience’ be used, because it ordinarily describes the observed presence of one reality to another reality, and because the Unconditioned is not a matter of experiential observation. ‘Knowledge’ finally presupposes the separation of subject and object, and implies an isolated theoretical act, which is just the opposite of awareness of the Unconditioned.”

124. Tillich, “Two Types of Philosophy,” p. 10: “It would, therefore, be possible to call this awareness ‘existential’ in the sense in which the Existential philosophy has used the word, namely the participation of man as a whole in the cognitive act.”

125. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 14: “The term ‘being’ in this context does not designate existence in time and space. Existence is continuously threatened and saved by things and events which have no ultimate concern for us. But the term ‘being’ means the whole of human reality, the structure, the meaning, and the aim of existence.”

126. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 14: “Nothing can be of ultimate concern for us which does not have the power of threatening and saving our being. . . . Man is ultimately concerned about his being and meaning. . . . Man is unconditionally concerned about that which conditions his being beyond all the conditions in him and around him. Man is ultimately concerned about that which determines his ultimate destiny beyond all preliminary necessities and accidents.”

127. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 237: “This double relation of all beings to being-itself gives being-itself a double characteristic. In calling it creative, we point to the fact that everything participates in the infinite power of being. In calling it abysmal, we point to the fact that . . . all beings are infinitely transcended by their creative ground.”

128. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 168, 170: “Tillich’s basic definition of God is that God is ground and abyss of power and meaning. . . . Tillich here wishes to establish two polar concepts ontologically.” In his footnote to the last sentence Boozer quoted page 156 of Systematic Theology: “The divine life is the dynamic unity of depth and form.”

129. This quotation appears verbatim in Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 169.

130. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 170-171: “The two persistent ideas here are that God is basis (ground) of being and meaning, and that God is the depth (abyss) of being and meaning. . . . The tensions in existence between form and the formless, good and evil, the sacred and the secular, find their basis in the nature of God.”

131. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 171: “In emphasizing God as the ground of all being and meaning, Tillich wishes to establish the dependence of all ‘beings’ upon the source of being, all meanings upon the source of meaning. . . . But the major idea which Tillich strives to express in the concept of ‘Ground’ is a basis of continuity between God and the world of man and nature. This is the creativity of God.”

132. Boozer quoted this passage from Tillich (“Place of Reason,” p. 172).

133. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 174: “Tillich’s basic and usual assertion is that God is the ground of being and meaning. But here he says that the ground has a logos character, that the ground is therefore logical and rational. . . . In this case the ground itself takes on character and meaning, and it supersedes the amorphous ‘being itself’ which is the ground of everything that is, without itself being anything. If this statement of Tillich’s may be taken seriously the nature of God as ground seems to mean the rationality of God.”

134. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 183- 184: “The inconsistency about whether God is logos or ground of is still a point at issue. . . . In the concise paragraph following the difficulty is clearly put.” Boozer then quoted a long passage from Tillich that includes the three sentences King quoted.

135. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 184: “Here Tillich maintains both that God is the ground of structure, of logos, and that God is the structure. . . . Is God a ground somehow behind and under every form and structure, or is God a ground which has a form and structure?”

136. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 185: “He emphasizes God not only as ground of reason, but as reason; not only as ground of structure, but as structure.”

137. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 157-158: “The ground is not only an abyss in which every form disappears; it also is the source from which every form emerges.”

138. Boozer quoted this passage from Tillich in a footnote (“Place of Reason,” p. 186).

139. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 187: “Through the concept of the abyss Tillich wants to protect the inexhaustibility of God. God as ground of logos forms creation. But no creation can express fully the richness of God. . . . Abyss means for Tillich the ‘depth of the divine life, its inexhaustible and ineffable character.’ . . . There is always a depth in God which man’s reason cannot fathom. ‘That depth is what the word God means.’”

140. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 271-272: “The unapproachable character of God, or the impossibility of having a relation with him in the proper sense of the word, is expressed in the word ‘holiness.’ . . . God cannot become an object of knowledge or a partner in action. . . . Ultimately, it is an insult to the divine holiness to talk about God as we do of objects whose existence or nonexistence can be discussed. . . . The holiness of God makes it impossible to draw him into the context of the ego-world and the subject-object correlation. . . . The holiness of God requires that in relation to him we leave behind the totality of finite relations and enter into a relation which, in the categorical sense of the word, is not a relation at all.”

141. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 191: “What Tillich is trying to maintain through the concepts of abyss and being-itself is the infinity, the uniqueness of God; that God cannot be exhausted by any creation or by any totality of them. The majesty of God is the issue here for Tillich.”

142. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 193- 194: “There are similarities between Tillich’s ‘abyss’ and E. S. Brightman’s ‘given’ in God. . . . The abyss for Tillich is inexhaustible power, infinite vitality.”

143. Brightman, Philosophy of Religion, p. 337: “The Given consists of the eternal, uncreated laws of reason including logic, mathematical relations, and Platonic ideas, and also of equally eternal and uncreated processes of nonrational consciousness which exhibit all the ultimate qualities of sense objects . . .” The rest of the quotation from Brightman is accurate.

144. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 193- 194: “So far as God’s revealing activity is concerned, that is God’s relation with existential man, God as form is always in control of the abyss. As there are similarities between Tillich’s ‘abyss’ and E. S. Brightman’s ‘given’ in God, there is also a similarity between Tillich’s idea that God’s form controls his power and Brightman’s idea that God’s reason controls the given. . . . For Brightman God in his essence is meaning, will, purpose, value and rationality.”

145. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 192: “Is the abyss of being-itself an abyss of inexhaustible meaning (the richness of God’s personality) with which man’s ‘meanings’ are analogous? Or is the abyss of being-itself an irrational abyss which swallows up all finite meanings? It seems that in spite of contrary passages, the abyss is not irrational.”

146. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 192: “The abyss manifests itself in logical forms, meaningful structures. ‘The depth of reason is the expression of something that is not reason but which precedes reason and is manifest through it.’”

147. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 192: “One cannot deny the non-rationality of the depth here, but neither can one deny the reason through which the depth is manifest. . . . But Tillich himself cannot rest with an abysmal God. He must emphasize more and more the rational nature of God as ‘ground.’ The abyss is non-rational; but it is not irrational. And in manifesting itself it must do so through reason.”

148. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 193: “Tillich means by the abyss the mysterium tremendum, the inexhaustible depth of God’s nature.”

149. King’s source is Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 193, not p. 209: “This abysmal nature of God is not irrational.”

150. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 193: “Tillich means by the ground, on the other hand, the logical, orderly, calculable, revealing, knowable side of God.”

151. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 153: “In general the ground of meaning is that in God which supports the rational, logos type of manifestation. This manifestation is positive in content and form. In so far as God is Sinngrund man can approach God through his own rational nature.”

152. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 193: “For Tillich says that the abyss is what makes God God. Yet Tillich is confident that ‘the abysmal quality cannot swallow the rational quality of the divine life.’”

153. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 45: “Creation is the proper activity of God; it is God’s nature to create. Creation is identical with God’s life.”

154. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 252: “Therefore, it is meaningless to ask whether creation is a necessary or a contingent act of God. Nothing is necessary for God in the sense that he is dependent on a necessity above him. . . . He eternally ‘creates himself,’ a paradoxical phrase which states God’s freedom.”

155. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 45-46: “But Tillich does not mean by creation an event which took place ‘once upon a time.’ Creation does not describe an event, it rather indicates a condition, a relationship between God and the world. ‘It is the correlate to the analysis of man’s finitude, it answers the question implied in man’s finitude and in finitude generally.’ Man asks a question which, in existence, he cannot answer. But the question is answered by man’s essential nature, his unity with God. Creation is the word given to the process which actualizes man in existence. To indicate the gap between his essential nature and his existential nature man speaks of ‘creation.”’ The quotation that Boozer and King attributed to Tillich is inaccurate. It should read: “It is the correlate to the analysis of man’s finitude. It answers the question implied in man’s finitude and in finitude generally” (Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 252).

156. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 253: “Since the divine life is essentially creative, all three modes of time must be used in symbolizing it. God has created the world, he is creative in the present moment, and he willcreatively fulfil his telos. Therefore, we must speak of originating creation, sustaining creation, and directing creation.”

157. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 253: “The classical Christian doctrine of creation uses the phrase creatio ex nihilo. . . . Their obvious meaning is a critical negation. God finds nothing ‘given’ to him which influences him in his creativity or which resists his creative telos. The doctrine of creatio ex nihilo is Christianity’s protection against any type of ultimate dualism. . . . This negative meaning of creatio ex nihilo is clear and decisive for every Christian experience and assertion.”

158. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 253: “The question arises, however, whether the term ex nihilo points to more than the rejection of dualism. The word ex seems to refer to the origin of the creature. ‘Nothing’ is what (or where) it comes from. Now ‘nothing’ can mean two things. It can mean the absolute negation of being (ouk on), or it can mean the relative negation of being (me on). . . . If ex nihilo meant the absolute negation of being, it could not be the origin of the creature. Nevertheless, the term ex nihilo says something fundamentally important about the creature, namely, that it must take over what might be called ‘the heritage of nonbeing.’ . . . [Creatureliness] includes both the heritage of nonbeing (anxiety) and the heritage of being (courage).”

159. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 254: “In the Nicene Creed, God is called the creator of ‘everything visible and invisible.’ Like the formula just discussed, this phrase also has, first of all, a protective function. It is directed against the Platonic doctrine that the creator-god is dependent on the eternal essences or ideas, the powers of being which make a thing what it is. . . . Neo-Platonism, and with it much Christian theology, taught that the essences are ideas in the divine mind. . . . They are themselves dependent on God’s eternal creativity; they are not independent of him, standing in some heavenly niche as models for his creative activity.”

160. Demos, Review of Systematic Theology, p. 701: “The author identifies creation (of finite being) with the fall (p. 257) and here the thoughtful reader is perplexed. Creation, says the author, has no ulterior purpose; it occurs as the exercise of divine creativity. In other words, God creates because he must, because that is how he is. (The author alludes to both destiny and freedom in this connection.) Now, if creation is inevitable, and if the result is inevitably bad (a ‘fall’), then it follows that God contains a destructive principle.”

161. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 255: “This is the point at which the doctrine of creation and the doctrine of the fall join. It is the most difficult and the most dialectical point in the doctrine of creation. . . . Fully developed creatureliness is fallen creatureliness. . . . To be outside the divine life means to stand in actualized freedom, in an existence which is no longer united with essence. Seen from one side, this is the end of creation. Seen from the other side, it is the beginning of the fall.”

162. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 256: “Creation is fulfilled in the creaturely self-realization which simultaneously is freedom and destiny.”

163. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 256: “Man creates new syntheses out of given material. This creation really is transformation. God creates the material out of which the new syntheses can be developed. God creates man; he gives man the power of transforming himself and his world. Man can transform only what is given to him.”

164. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 255: “Man has left the ground in order to ‘stand upon’ himself, to actualize what he essentially is.”

165. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 261: “At the same time, actualized freedom remains continuously dependent on its creative ground. Only in the power of being-itself is the creature able to resist nonbeing. Creaturely existence includes a double resistance, that is, resistance against nonbeing as well as resistance against the ground of being in which it is rooted and upon which it is dependent. Traditionally the relation of God to the creature in its actualized freedom is called the preservation of the world.”

166. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 262: “But after its beginning he either does not interfere at all (consistent deism) or only occasionally through miracles and revelation (theistic deism), or he acts in a continual interrelationship (consistent theism). In these three cases, it would not be proper to speak of sustaining creation. . . . Preservation is continuous creativity, in that God out of eternity creates things and time together. . . . God is essentially creative, and therefore he is creative in every moment of temporal existence.”

167. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 262: “The latter refers to the given structures of reality, to that which continues within the change, to the regular and calculable in things. Without the static element, finite being would not be able to identify itself with itself or anything with anything. Without it, neither expectation, nor action for the future, nor a place to stand upon would be possible; and therefore being would not be possible. The faith in God’s sustaining creativity is the faith in the continuity of the structure of reality as the basis for being and acting.”

168. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 263: “Creation has no purpose beyond itself. From the point of view of the creature, the purpose of creation is the creature itself and the actualization of its potentialities.”

169. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 264: “The concept ‘the purpose of creation’ should be replaced by ‘the telos of creativity’—the inner aim of fulfilling in actuality what is beyond potentiality and actuality in the divine life. One function of the divine creativity is to drive every creature toward such a fulfilment. Thus directing creativity must be added to originating and sustaining creation. It is the side of the divine creativity which is related to the future. The traditional term for directing creativity is ‘providence.’”

170. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 266: “Providence means a fore-seeing (pro-videre) which is a fore-ordering (‘seeing to it’). . . . If the element of foreseeing is emphasized, God becomes the omniscient spectator who knows what will happen but who does not interfere with the freedom of his creatures. If the element of foreordering is emphasized, God becomes a planner who has ordered everything that will happen ‘before the foundations of the world.’ . . . In the first interpretation the creatures make their world, and God remains a spectator; in the second interpretation the creatures are cogs in a universal mechanism, and God is the only active agent.”

171. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 266: “Both interpretations of providence must be rejected. Providence is a permanent activity of God. He never is a spectator; he always directs everything toward its fulfilment.”

172. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 266: “Providence works through the polar elements of being. It works through the conditions of individual, social, and universal existence, through finitude, nonbeing, and anxiety. . . . All existential conditions are included in God’s directing creativity.”

173. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 267: “The man who believes in providence does not believe that a special divine activity will alter the conditions of finitude and estrangement. He believes, and asserts with the courage of faith, that no situation whatsoever can frustrate the fulfilment of his ultimate destiny, that nothing can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans, chap. 8).”

174. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 269: “How can an almighty God be justified (theos-dikā) in view of realities in which no meaning whatsoever can be discovered?

175. Demos, Review of Systematic Theology, p. 702: “In these two pages the author divides evil into three classes: (a) Physical evil, pain, and death—which, according to him, offer no real problem because they are natural implications of creaturely finitude. Yet surely they are evils, and the fact that they are implicated in the finitude of all creaturely being does not help at all. For if creation is of finitude, and finitude be evil, then God is the creator of evil. (b) Then there is moral evil which is the tragic implication of creaturely freedom. Professor Tillich makes what seems to me a wholly valid point, that, as a creator, God cannot create what is opposite to himself; he must create creative beings, beings which are free, and in so far as they are free, independent and therefore estranged from the ground of being. . . . (c) Finally, there is the (apparent) fact of meaninglessness and futility—and this, according to the author, is the only sort of evil which offers genuine difficulties for theological belief. Examples cited by the author are ‘early death, destructive social conditions, feeble-mindedness and insanity, the undiminished horrors of historical existence’—all of these being cases of entities which ‘are excluded from any kind of fulfilment, even from free resistance against their fulfilment.’ The author’s solution of the problem of evil of this third sort is very difficult to understand, partly because of its excessive conciseness. Such evils are described as ‘the negativities of creaturely existence.’ . . . God himself may be said to participate in the negativities of creaturely existence. God includes within himself ‘the finite and, with it, non-being.’ . . . ‘Non-being is eternally conquered and the finite is eternally reunited within the infinity of the divine life.’”

176. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 270: “This is the ultimate answer to the question of theodicy.”

177. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 244,246: “But how are these polar elements of everything that has being related in being-itself? . . . The proper sense of the concepts must be distinguished from their symbolic sense, Tillich maintains. The symbols taken from finite relationships must be qualified when applied to God. . . . But to symbolize the divine life, they must be stripped of certain existential connotations.”

178. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 243-244: “Individualization is that self-centered character of everything in the light of which a thing is a definite thing. In the case of man individualization means the indivisible unity of consciousness, selfhood. But man’s individualization is not absolute or complete. The element of participation is in polar relation with individualization.”

179. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 245: “God is the ‘principle’ of individualization and participation; God as being-itself is the ground of both. This does not mean that there is something alongside God in which God participates. . . . God’s participation and his individualization are symbolical. . . . God is not subject to the polarity of the ontological elements.”

180. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 244: “The question arises in what sense God can be called an individual. Is it meaningful to call him the ‘absolute individual’? The answer must be that it is meaningful only in the sense that he can be called the ‘absolute participant.’”

181. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 245-246: “The polarity of dynamics and form supplies the material basis for a group of symbols which are central for any present-day doctrine of God. Potentiality, vitality, and self-transcendence are indicated in the term ‘dynamics,’ while the term ‘form’ embraces actuality, intentionality, and self-preservation.”

182. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 246: “Potentiality and actuality appear in classical theology in the famous formula that God is actus purus. . . . In this formula the dynamic side in the dynamics-form polarity is swallowed by the form side. Pure actuality, that is, actuality free from any element of potentiality, is a fixed result; it is not alive. . . . The God who is actus purus is not the living God.”

183. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 246: “This situation has induced some thinkers . . . to emphasize the dynamics in God and to depreciate the stabilization of dynamics in pure actuality. . . . The first element is called the Ungrund or the ‘nature in God’ (Böhme), or the first potency (Schelling), or the will (Schopenhauer), or the ‘given’ in God (Brightman), or me-onic freedom (Berdyaev), or the contingent (Hartshorne). . . . They point symbolically to a quality of the divine life which is analogous to what appears as dynamics in the ontological structure.”

184. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 247: “These assertions include a rejection of a nonsymbolic, ontological doctrine of God as becoming. . . . Being is not in balance with becoming.”

185. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 246-247: “In man there is a tension between dynamics and form as well as between dynamic form and being-itself. Vitality or dynamics is the power of life, open in all directions toward channels of expression. But man’s vitality is conditioned by his form.”

186. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 247: “If one applies the dynamics-form polarity to God, he does not mean thereby that there is tension within the divine life. He rather means that in God possibility is united with fulfillment. ‘Neither side threatens the other, nor is there a threat of disruption.’ . . . God is dynamic in absolute unity with form.”

187. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 247-248: “In finite life freedom and destiny are in a polar relation of interdependence. In finite life destiny is the basis of freedom and freedom participates in shaping destiny. . . . But when the elements of freedom and destiny are applied to the divine life their meaning is altered somewhat.”

188. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 248: “If taken nonsymbolically, this naturally leads to an unanswerable question, whether the structure of freedom, because it constitutes his freedom, is not itself something given in relation to which God has no freedom. The answer can only be that freedom, like the other ontological concepts, must be understood symbolically.”

189. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 274-275: “‘Eternity’ is a genuine religious word. It takes the place of something like omni- or all-temporality, which would be the analogy to omnipotence, omnipresence, etc. . . . The concept of eternity must be protected against two misinterpretations. Eternity is neither timelessness nor the endlessness of time. The meaning of olim in Hebrew and of aiones in Greek does not indicate timelessness. . . . If we call God a living God, we affirm that he includes temporality and with this a relation to the modes of time. Even Plato could not exclude temporality from eternity; he called time the moving image of eternity. . . . For Plato eternity included time, even though it was the time of circular movement. . . . Hegel pointed to a temporality within the Absolute. . . . Eternity is not timelessness.”

190. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 275: “Endless time, correctly called ‘bad infinity’ by Hegel, is the endless reiteration of temporality. To elevate the dissected moments of time to infinite significance by demanding their endless reduplication is idolatry in the most refined sense. . . . For God it would mean his subjection to a superior power, namely, to the structure of dissected temporality.”

191. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 275: “‘What is the relation of eternity to the modes of time?’ An answer demands use of the only analogy to eternity found in human experience, that is, the unity of remembered past and anticipated future in an experienced present. Such an analogy implies a symbolic approach to the meaning of eternity. . . . Eternity must first be symbolized as an eternal present (nunc eternum). But this nunc eternum is not simultaneity or the negation of an independent meaning of past and future. The eternal present is moving from past to future but without ceasing to be present.”

192. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 276: “Faith in the eternal God is the basis for a courage which conquers the negativities of the temporal process. Neither the anxiety of the past nor that of the future remains. . . . The dissected moments of time are united in eternity. Here, and not in a doctrine of the human soul, is rooted the certainty of man’s participation in eternal life.”

193. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 276-277: “God’s relation to space, as his relation to time, must be interpreted in qualitative terms. God is neither endlessly extended in space nor limited to a definite space; nor is he spaceless. A theology inclined toward pantheist formulation prefers the first alternative, while a theology with deistic tendencies chooses the second alternative. Omnipresence can be interpreted as an extension of the divine substance through all spaces. This, however, subjects God to dissected spatiality and puts him, so to speak, alongside himself sacrificing the personal center of the divine life. . . . Further, omnipresence can be interpreted to mean that God is present ‘personally’ in a circumscribed place (in heaven above) but also simultaneously present with his power every place (in the earth beneath). But this is equally inadequate. The spatial symbols of above and below should not be taken literally in any respect. . . . ‘God is in heaven’; this means that his life is qualitatively different from creaturely existence. But it does not mean that he ‘lives in’ or ‘descends from’ a special place.”

194. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 277: “We must reject punctuality in the divine life as much as simultaneity and timelessness. God creates extension in the ground of his life, in which everything spatial is rooted. But God is not subject to it; he transcends it and participates in it.”

195. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 198: “The religious value of the concept is immense. Wherever man is he is ‘at home’ in the ground of God. One is always ‘in his sanctuary’ when he experiences God’s omnipresence. When the sacramental presence of God is felt, every place is a ‘holy place.’ There is in that situation no difference between the sacred and the secular.”

196. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 278-279: “Omniscience is not the faculty of a highest being who is supposed to know all objects, past, present, and future, and, beyond this, everything that might have happened if what has happened had not happened. The absurdity of such an image is due to the impossibility of subsuming God under the subject-object scheme, although this structure is grounded in the divine life. If one speaks, therefore, of divine knowledge and of the unconditional character of the divine knowledge, one speaks symbolically, indicating that God is not present in an all-permeating manner but that he is present spiritually.”

197. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 279: “This certainty has implications for man’s personal and cultural existence. In personal life it means that there is no absolute darkness in one’s being. . . . And, on the other hand, the anxiety of the dark and the hidden is overcome in the faith of the divine omniscience. . . . Therefore, the divine omniscience is the logical (though not always conscious) foundation of the belief in the openness of reality to human knowledge. We know because we participate in the divine knowledge. Truth is not absolutely removed from the outreach of our finite minds, since the divine life in which we are rooted embodies all truth.”

198. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 201-202: “iii. Divine love and divine justice. . . .Justice is part of love. Love is the ontological concept. Justice has no independent ontological standing. It is in a sense parasitic, a part of love’s activity. . . . Recognizing the complementary nature of [love and justice] we may examine them separately.”

199. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 279-280: “Love is an ontological concept. . . . According to the ontological polarity of individualization and participation, every life-process unites a trend toward separation with a trend toward reunion. . . . Love is absent where there is no individualization, and love can be fully realized only where there is full individualization, in man. But the individual also longs to return to the unity to which he belongs, in which he participates by his ontological nature.”

200. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 280: “If we say that God is love, we apply the experience of separation and reunion to the divine life. As in the case of life and spirit, one speaks symbolically of God as love. He is love; this means that the divine life has the character of love but beyond the distinction between potentiality and actuality.”

201. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 280-281: “Love as libido is the movement of the needy toward that which fulfils the need. Love as philia is the movement of the equal toward union with the equal. Love as erōs is the movement of that which is lower in power and meaning to that which is higher. It is obvious that in all three the element of desire is present. . . . But there is a form of love which transcends these, namely, the desire for the fulfilment of the longing of the other being, the longing for his ultimate fulfilment. All love, except agapē, is dependent on contingent characteristics which change and are partial. It is dependent on repulsion and attraction, on passion and sympathy. Agapē is independent of these states. It affirms the other unconditionally. . . . It suffers and forgives. It seeks the personal fulfilment of the other. . . . This type of love is the basis for the assertion that God is love.”

202. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 282: “This is an expression of the truth that God is a subject even where he seems to be an object. . . . The trinitarian distinctions (separation and reunion) make it possible to speak of divine self-love.”

203. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 283: “But they do not follow by a special act of divine wrath or retribution; they follow by the reaction of God’s loving power against that which violates love.”

204. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 283: “It is the way in which that which resists love, namely, the reunion of the separated in the divine life, is left to separation, with an implied and inescapable self-destruction.”

205. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 283-284: “The ontological character of love solves the problem of the relation of love and retributive justice. . . . This again provides theology with the possibility of using the symbol ‘the wrath of God.’ . . . The wrath of God is neither a divine affect alongside his love nor a motive for action alongside providence.”

206. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 284: “The metaphorical symbol ‘the wrath of God’ is unavoidable.”

207. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 284-285: “The final expression of the unity of love and justice in God is the symbol of justification. It points to the unconditional validity of the structures of justice but at the same time to the divine act in which love conquers the immanent consequences of the violation of justice. . . . The divine love in relation to the unjust creature is grace.”

208. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 214: “The doctrine of the trinity is not the illogical assertion that three are one. Rather it is a qualitative characterization of God. It is an effort to express the richness of the divine life.”

209. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 214: “It is the abysmal character of God, the element of power, which is the basis of the Godhead, ‘which makes God God.”’

210. Tillich, Systematic Theology, pp. 250-251: “It is the root of his majesty, the unapproachable intensity of his being, the inexhaustible ground of being in which everything has its origin. It is the power of being infinitely resisting nonbeing.”

211. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 215: “The second person (or principle, as Tillich prefers) is the logos, the element of meaning, the element of structure, fullness, content.”

212. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 251: “Without the second principle the first principle would be chaos. . . . Without the second principle God is demonic.”

213. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 215: “These poles within God’s nature have been indicated in the basic definition of God as abyss and ground of being and meaning. But Tillich is not at ease in this polar concept of the nature of God. There is a third principle, that of spirit.”

214. Demos, Review of Systematic Theology, p. 700: “Spirit, he says, stands for the unity of all the polar opposites: of power with meaning, of the static with the dynamic, even of mind with body (pp. 849-251). Surely he is abusing language here, for if religious common sense means anything in saying that God is a spirit, it means that God is immaterial. I think that the responsibility for such unnatural changes of meaning must be charged to the dialectical principle, which necessitates that a given meaning should embrace its opposite. I doubt that any precision of meaning—indeed any meaning—is possible under such conditions.”

215. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 250: “God is not nearer to one ‘part’ of being or to a special function of being than he is to another. As Spirit he is as near to the creative darkness of the unconscious as he is to the critical light of cognitive reason.”

216. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 251: “It is the Spirit in whom God ’goes out from’ himself, the Spirit proceeds from the divine ground. He gives actuality to that which is potential in the divine ground and ‘outspoken’ in the divine logos.”

217. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 251: “The consideration of the trinitarian principles is not the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. It is a preparation for it, nothing more. The dogma of the Trinity can be discussed only after the christological dogma has been elaborated. But the trinitarian principles appear whenever one speaks meaningfully of the living God.”

218. Schilling wrote on an early draft of this chapter: “On this basis, might we not just as well speak of a material, animal, or impersonal God, since G. for T. is the ground of all being?” (King, Draft of chapter 3).

219. Tillich, Systematic Theology, p. 245: “God became ‘a person’ only in the nineteenth century, in connection with the Kantian separation of nature ruled by physical law from personality ruled by moral law.”

220. Tillich, “Idea of the Personal God,” p. 10: “For as the philosopher Schelling says: ‘Only a person can heal a person.’ This is the reason that the symbol of the Personal God is indispensable for living religion.”

221. Tillich, Protestant Era, p. 119: “This kind of symbolism is indispensable and must be maintained against pantheistic, mystical, or naturalistic criticism, lest religion and with it our attitude toward nature, man, and society fall back to the level of a primitive-demonic prepersonalism.”

222. DeWolf wrote “Good” next to this sentence on a draft of this chapter (King, Draft of chapter 3).

223. Demos, Review of Systematic Theology, p. 701: “Love is just the dialectical principle of the union of opposites. . . . The author’s use of the word love in this connection inevitably reminds one of the love (and strife) of Empedocles, who meant by ‘love’ no more than the attraction of the elements for one another.”

224. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 61: “The similarity of Tillich’s theology with Hegel’s philosophy of spirit and Plotinus’ philosophy of the One inclines one to interpret Tillich as an absolute monist. God goes out from himself. He rests in himself. ‘The finite is posited as finite within the process of the divine life, but it is reunited with the infinite within the same process.’ ‘God is infinite because he has the finite within himself united with his infinity.’ ‘The divine life is creative, actualizing itself in inexhaustible abundance.’”

225. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 62: “But perhaps the most convincing statement of monism is in terms of love, that ‘man’s love of God is the love with which God loves himself. . . . The divine life is the divine self-love.’ . . . Passages such as these certainly indicate an absolute monism.” Ellipsis in quotation from Tillich is in the original text of Boozer’s dissertation. Boozer’s footnote to the quotation reads: “Actually Tillich makes the same assertion about divine knowledge. ‘If there is a knowledge of God, it is God who knows himself through man.’”

226. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 62: “There would be no history unless man were to some degree free; that is, to some degree independent from God. . . . The basic characteristic of existence is a separation of man from God. . . . Man in existence is conscious of an absolute demand, an unconditional demand to become what he is not. . . . He is to some extent ‘outside’ the divine life.”

227. Boozer quoted this passage from Tillich (“Place of Reason,” pp. 62-63).

228. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 63: “What sort of resolution of these seeming contradictions is possible?”

229. Boozer quoted this passage from Tillich (“Place of Reason,” pp. 63-64).

230. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” p. 64: “Speaking of God, Tillich writes: ‘We assert that he is the eternal process in which separation is posited and is overcome by reunion.’”

231. Boozer quoted this passage from Tillich (“Place of Reason,” p. 64).

232. Boozer, “Place of Reason,” pp. 44, 45, 64: “Man for Tillich is not real as an individual metaphysical entity, the creation of God. Man is a phase of the objectification of God, the actualization of God. . . . The basic position around which Tillich’s thought is oriented is that of an ultimate ontological monism, both quantitative and qualitative. . . . For Tillich, then, there is ultimately only one metaphysical reality, God.” On a draft of this chapter, Schilling wrote: “A sound conclusion. But does this resolve the contradiction? It does, if a contradiction can be resolved, denying one term of it, in this case, personalism! Should you not point this out?” (King, Draft of chapter 3).

Source: 

MLKP-MBU, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Mass.