Page:Essence of Christianity (1854).djvu/137

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


already become flesh and blood, can it be said—as God is, so is man: although, indeed, this proposition never amounts to anything more than tautology. But in the origin of religion it is otherwise; and it is only in the origin of a thing that we can discern its true nature. Man first unconsciously and involuntarily creates God in his own image, and after this God consciously and voluntarily creates man in his own image. This is especially confirmed by the development of the Israelitish religion. Hence the position of theological one-sidedness, that the revelation of God holds an even pace with the development of the human race. Naturally; for the revelation of God is nothing else than the revelation, the self-unfolding of human nature. The supranaturalistic egoism of the Jews did not proceed from the Creator, but conversely, the latter from the former; in the creation the Israelite justified his egoism at the bar of his reason.

It is true, and it may be readily understood on simply practical grounds, that even the Israelite could not, as a man, withdraw himself from the theoretic contemplation and admiration of Nature. But in celebrating the power and greatness of Nature, he celebrates only the power and greatness of Jehovah. And the power of Jehovah has exhibited itself with the most glory, in the miracles which it has wrought in favour of Israel. Hence, in the celebration of this power, the Israelite has always reference ultimately to himself; he extols the greatness of Nature only for the same reason that the conqueror magnifies the strength of his opponent, in order thereby to heighten his own self-complacency, to make his own fame more illustrious. Great and mighty is Nature, which Jehovah has created, but yet mightier, yet greater, is Israel’s self-estimation. For his sake the sun stands still; for his sake, according to Philo, the earth quaked at the delivery of the law; in short, for his sake all nature alters its course. “For the whole creature in his proper kind, was fashioned again anew, serving the peculiar commandments that were given unto them, that thy children might be kept without hurt.”[1] According to Philo, God gave Moses power over the whole of Nature; all the elements obeyed him as the Lord of Nature.[2] Israel’s requirement is the omnipotent law of the world, Israel’s need the fate of the universe. Jehovah is Israel’s consciousness of the

  1. Wisd. xix. 6.
  2. See Gfrörer’s Philo [und die jüdisch-alexandrinische Theosophie].