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Divine Essence

(988 words)

Author(s): Zachhuber, Johannes | Dietz, Walter R.
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion – II. Dogmatics I. Philosophy of Religion Considering that philosophical theories of essence are grounded in the effort to establish a principle of ontological unity in the face of experienced multiplicity and mutability, any talk of divine essence may be surprising, as no such difference is to be presupposed in God. It is indeed essential for one tradition to use the term “essence” precisely to express its absolute simplicity (Unity, Divine), and thus God's self-identity per se. Accordingly, the statement that God is pure essence ( essentia…

Original State

(3,622 words)

Author(s): Grünschloß, Andreas | Arneth, Martin | Dietz, Walter R.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Bible – III. Dogmatics I. Religious Studies Myths of an original state are usually associated with cosmogonic and anthropogonic (Anthropogony) myths concerning the origins of the world, life, animals, and human beings, for the original state refers to a primal age (Protology) before all time, falling between creation and history. Many religious traditions describe a harmonious, even paradisal eon when humans or (sometimes theriomorphic) protohumans were “still” in d…


(141 words)

Author(s): Dietz, Walter R.
[German Version] “Autarchy” denotes individual or national economic independence through self-sufficiency, whereas the goal of autonomy, as a combination of reason (I) and freedom (V), is moral self-determination. Theologically, God alone is autarchic ( indepedentia dei; Aseity; Sovereignty), since only God exists a se. Human beings are not autarchic but are dependent on (God's) Providence (cf. Matt 6:19–32). The New Testament therefore severely attacks human striving for autarchy (…


(4,492 words)

Author(s): Figl, Johann | Dietz, Walter R. | Clayton, John | Henkys, Jürgen | Hoedemaker, Bert
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Church History – III. Philosophy of Religion – IV. Practical Theology – V. Missiology I. Religious Studies 1. Preliminary Considerations. “Atheism” is a Lati-nized term, current since the end of the 16th century, meaning disbelief in God. It derives from Gk ἄθεός/ átheós (alpha privative), literally “without God.” This historical background with its specifically European connotation must be kept in mind in any …


(335 words)

Author(s): Dietz, Walter R.
[German Version] (“self-rule,” from the Greek αὐτοκράτεια) indicates: (a) politically: the sole rule of a (group of) person(s) who possess unlimited power which the people neither share nor control. According to I. Kant, the sovereign in the autocratic state has not merely the supreme but the sole power, which even legitimates him to change the constitution. Autocracy is, thus, not necessarily …


(270 words)

Author(s): Dietz, Walter R.
[German Version] is a fundamental sense of the value of persons (V) and other creatures; when God is its object, it is called reverence. Respect can also be shown toward goods, values, and ideals. Secondarily it is possible to respect the distinctive characteristics of others (Tolerance and intolerance), but only through prior recognition of their personal worth (Human dignity). For I. Kant, respect is the determination of the will by the moral law: it is a positive emotion, immediate and instinctive as well as involuntary ( Kritik der praktischen Vernunft [ KpV], 154), recognizable p…