chapter  9
22 Pages

The Justification of the Doctrine of Timelessness: Schleiermacher

ByNelson Pike

According to Schleiermacher, religion has its centre in a certain feeling, consciousness or awareness. In The Christian Faith, this consciousness is characterized as the 'feeling of absolute dependence'. It could hardly escape notice that the doctrine of God's timelessness does not square well with the standard Christian belief that God once assumed finite, human form. Schleiermacher seems to have been aware of a logical tension between the idea that God is timeless and the standard interpretation of the Christian doctrine of divine creation. To say that God exists 'before the ages' is to say that God exists at a time before the sun was created and thus before time, itself, could be divided into measurable units. Schleiermacher says that theological doctrines, such as the doctrine of timelessness, are to be judged in accordance with two broad criteria of adequacy, viz., the 'scientific' criterion and the 'ecclesiastical' criterion.