Hegel. The Philosophical Propadeutic. 1808-1811

Outlines of the Science of Laws, Morals and Religion

Third Part.
The Science of Religion

71. The Moral Law within us is the Eternal Law of Reason which we must respect without reserve and by which we must feel indissolubly bound. We see, however, the immediate incommensurateness of our individuality with it and recognize it as higher than ourselves, as a Being independent from us, self-existent and absolute.

72. This Absolute Being is present in our pure consciousness and reveals Himself to us therein. The knowing of Him is, as mediated through our pure consciousness, for us immediate and called Faith.

73. The elevation above the sensuous and finite constitutes in a negative form the mediation of this knowing, but only in so far as having originated from a sensuous and finite. The latter is at the same time abandoned and recognized in its nullity. But this knowing of the Absolute is itself an absolute and immediate knowing and cannot have anything finite as its positive ground or be mediated through anything that is not itself a proof.

74. This knowing must determine itself more closely and not remain a mere inner feeling, a faith in an undefined Being in general, but become a cognition of it. The cognition of God is not above Reason, for Reason is only God’s image and reflection and is essentially the knowledge of the Absolute. But such cognition is above the Understanding, the knowledge of what is finite and relative.

75. Religion itself consists in the employment or exercise of feeling and thought in forming an idea or representation of the Absolute Being, wherewith is necessarily connected forgetfulness of one’s own particularity and actions from this disposition [Sinn] in regard to the absolute Being.

76. God is the Absolute Spirit, i.e. he is the pure Being that makes himself his own object and in this contemplates only himself, or who is, in his other-being, absolutely returned into himself and self-identical.

77. God is, according to the moments of his Being: (1) Absolutely Holy, in as much as he is in himself the purely universal Being; (2) Absolute Power, in as much as he actualizes the universal and preserves the individual in the universal or is the Eternal Creator of the Universe; (3) Wisdom, in so far as his power is only holy power; (4) Goodness, in so far as he allows the individual in his actual existence to be a free agent; and (5) Justice, in so far as he eternally brings the individual back to the universal.

78. Evil is alienation from God in so far as the individual, in his freedom, separates himself from the universal and strives by excluding himself from it to become absolute for himself. In so far as it is the nature of the finite free being to reflect itself into this individuality, this nature is to be regarded as Evil.

79. But the freedom of the individual being is at the same time implicitly, or in-itself, an identity of the divine Being with himself or it is, in-itself, of divine nature. This knowledge, that human nature is not truly alien to the divine nature, is assured to man by Divine Grace; which Grace allows him to lay hold of this knowledge whereby through it the reconciliation of God with the world is achieved or man’s alienation from God disappears.

80. The Divine Service is the specific occupation of the thought and feelings with God whereby the individual strives to bring about his union with God and to become conscious and assured of this union. The harmony of his will with the divine will should be demonstrated by the spirit in which he acts in his daily life.


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