fall

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

fall

I, 25, 31 (from God, totality and self), 45 (of selfhood), 64 (from fullness), 64 (in the heart), 64 (entire temporal cosmos), 65 (all meaning-sides), 65 (logos), 68 (selfhood), 73 (root), 80 (from fullness), 81 (from totality), 86 (all absolutizing), 131, 132 (of thought)
II, 409

NC I, 100, 175
NC II, 564

falling away
(‘af-val’)
I, vi (from true human selfhood)
II, 496NC II, 33, 564 (into the temporal horizon)
fallen I, 26 (fallen self), 26 (more primitive), 29 (religious root), 54 (root) , 83 (creation), 132 (selfhood)
II, 491 (from root), 493, 494 (epistemology), 496(selfhood)NC II, 563 (radical corruption of fallen man); 564 (fallen selfhood)

The fall is part of the Christian Ground-Motive of Creation, Fall and Redemption. Dooyeweerd emphasizes that this Ground-Motive must be interpreted in accordance with the “key of knowledge”–the supratemporal selfhood, the supratemporal root of temporal creation. Because man is the root of temporal reality, the rest of temporal reality fell with him in the fall. Dooyeweerd says that all of creation that was “fitted into” [ingevoegd] the world coherence was cursed in Adam; the cosmos fell in Adam! (WdW 65; NC I, 100). Dooyeweerd says “the fallen earthly cosmos is only a sad shadow of God’s original creation” (NC II, 34).

The fall, or sin, is when we seek the origin of the world within the created temporal diversity (I, 63; NC I, 100). We then lack an awareness of our transcendental freedom, and of our transcendence above things given in nature (NC II, 315).

In the fall, in absolutizing the temporal, the human selfhood itself “fell away into the temporal horizon.” (NC II, 564). There was a “falling away” [afval]. The Dutch says, “viel de menschelijk zelfheid af in den tijdshorizon.” This falling away of the selfhood into the temporal has not been referred to by reformational philosophy. This is perhaps not surprising in that most of these philosophers also deny our supratemporal selfhood. But it is from that supratemporal selfhood that there is a falling away. The falling away was from God, from the totality of meaning and from our self:

Deze grond-waarheid, die de menschheid in den af-val van God en daarin van de zin-totaliteit en van zich zelve, uit het oog verloor… (I, 31; not in NC)

[This fundamental truth, that humanity lost sight of, in its falling away from God, and in that fall the falling away from the totality of meaning and from himself…”

There was a falling away from our true human selfhood (I, vi; not in NC). We must now seek true self-knowledge.

When our selfhood fell, the temporal world fell with humanity. It is not that the rest of temporal reality continues and that it is only humanity’s sinfulness that is at issue. That would seem to be Vollenhoven’s view, judging from the “confidential” Divergentierapport, which criticizes the view that there could be a fallen plant, animal or inorganic realm:

Deze wet geldt primair slechts voor het menselijk leven: het heeft geen zin te spreken van Christelijke dieren, planten en fysische dingen.

[This law holds primarily only for human life: it makes to sense to speak of Christian animals, plans and physical things]

We must contrast Vollenhoven’s view with that of Dooyeweerd. For Dooyeweerd, it is not the case that temporal reality has a separate existence, and that it has the capacity to be actualized by fallen man. The Fall is not just a failure to actualize a potentiality. Without the idea of temporal reality depending for its existence on man, Dooyeweerd’s interpretation of the Fall makes no sense.

Dooyeweerd says that our temporal world, in its meaning differentiation and coherence, is bound to this religious root of humanity; it has no meaning and therefore no reality apart from this root. Because the temporal world is concentrated in humanity as the image of God, it fell with man. (WdW I, 65: NC I, 100).

Our temporal world, in its temporal diversity and coherence of meaning, is in the order of God’s creation bound to the religious root of mankind. Apart from this root it has no meaning and so no reality. Hence the apostasy in the heart, in the religious root of the temporal world signified the apostasy of the entire temporal creation, which was concentrated in mankind (NC I, 100).

The falling away from God has affected our cosmos in its root and its temporal refraction of meaning. (NC II, 33).

In his 1930 article “De Structuur der rechtsbeginselen en de methode der rechtswetenschap in het licht der wetsidee,” Dooyeweerd says,

Sin in its supratemporal religous sense is not a transgression of a norm in a meaning-functional sense, but concerns the heart, the root of the human race. It means the rejection of the eternal meaning of the law, the service of God. But sin is revealed in time in a rebellious attitude towards the meaning-functional ordinances, which God the Lord has set [gesteld] for each law-sphere (cited by Verburg 124, my translation).

.The fall is in the supratemporal root, which is an undifferentiated unity.

In the religious fullness of meaning there is only one law of God, just as there is only one sin against God, just as there is only one creation that has sinned in Adam (I, 67; NC I, 102)

And God’s common grace is shown to this undifferentiated root:

Shown to his fallen creation as a still undivided totality, the revelation of God’s common grace guards scriptural Christianity against sectarian pride which leads a Christian to flee from the world and reject without further ado whatever arises in western culture outside of the immediate influence of religion. Sparks of the original glory of God’s creation shine in every phase of culture, to a greater or lesser degree, even it its development has occurred under the guidance of apostate spiritual powers (Roots 39).

What is remarkable here is that this common grace is given to creation as a still undivided totality.

But the fall must not be seen in a dualistic way.

…the revelation of the fall does not in any way mean the recognition of an antithetic principle of origin which is opposed to the Creator, sin cannot be thought of as standing in a dialectical relation to the creation.(NC I, 175).

In his first response to the curators of the Free University (April 27, 1937), in response to Hepp’s complaints, Dooyeweerd wrote that the WdW makes a radical break with immanence philosophy in its idea that it understands that our whole temporal human existence proceeds from out of the religious root, the heart. And the fall consisted in the falling away of the heart from its Creator. That is the cause of spiritual death [geestelijken dood]. This spiritual death cannot be confused with bodily [lichamelijken] death nor with eternal [eeuwigen dood]. The acknowledgement of the spiritual death as the consequence of the fall is so central to the WdW that if it is denied, no single part of the WdW can be understood. (Verburg 212).

Spiritual death is the falling away, the apostasy of this centre or root (radix) of existence. This is spiritual death because it is the apostasy from the absolute source of Life. So the fall was also radical. (NC I, 175).

The “earth” referred to in Genesis is the temporal world; it finds its center in the religious root of mankind and was cursed because it had no religious root of its own (WdW, 124).

Christus’ verlossingswerk in principe niet allen de redding van den individueelen mensch, maar van heel het Scheppingswerk Gods, dat in den mensch geconcentreerd was. (“Calvijn als Bouwer,” in Polemios 2/22 Aug 23/1947, 6)

[Christ’s work of redemption is in principle not only the salvation of the individual person, but of all of God’s work of creation, that was concentrated in humanity]

All of creation fell, and it is our duty to help to restore it by participating in Christ, the New Root of creation. It is through man as the redeemed root, that temporal creation will be fulfilled.

A similar idea is found in Dooyeweerd’s Encyclopedia of the Science of Law. Dooyeweerd says that initially, the full meaning of the entire temporal cosmos was focused in the religious root-community. But

Because of humankind’s fall into sin the entire temporal world has been cursed. The other creatures, which are included with humanity in the same temporal order of the world, do not themselves have a religious root to their existence. Humanity’s task was to disclose the entire temporal creation in the service of God (p. 47).

The cosmic law is related to our sinfulness. Dooyeweerd says that without the law there is no sin; but the same law makes the existence of creation possible (Vernieuwing en Bezinning 36-38).

Baader says that in the Fall, we separated ourselves from our relation with God, or what Baader calls our ‘Principle’ (Zeit 29, ft. 9). Man was destined for a direct and complete community with God (Zeit 39). Creation fell with Man just as a kingdom falls with its king. Baader cites Romans 8:19-22, where Paul speaks of all creation groaning for redemption (Susini 286). This redemption can be done only by God Himself, because only God himself can unite us again with our root [Wurzel] (Werke 12, 226; cited by Betanzos 124). Because the center of creation was Man, redemption required a new human root was required; this is the reason for Christ’s incarnation (Weltalter 188).

Baader says that we fell from a dynamic being in God into a mechanical. When an individual leaves the indwelling of God [Inwohnung] it separates itself from the One that reveals himself. Then the law comes so that this individual will again either voluntarily return to the One, or he will be completely separated from the One. Then the individual is merely mechanically in the One. It is no longer dynamically in the One. (Philosophische Schriften I, 111).

The fallen temporal cosmos is therefore an evil, but it is also a blessing. Time is “a gift as well as a punishment” (Werke XII, 417; cited Betanzos 286). Time prevents the possibility of a total fall into nothingness, and it offers the possibility of redemption. “Time has been given us so that we will become free of time” (Werke XII, 419; cited by Betanzos 280).

Redemption is in cosmic time, which permits humanity to recover what was lost, although in fragmented and successive stages. Our evolution (towards or away from God) must continue in time, and time gives us the opportunity to develop to our completed being. But not to progress is to regress (Begründung 7; Werke I, 27). At the end of cosmic time, we will find ourselves in our completed state either for or against God. In between the two extremes of being grounded in one’s supratemporal Center or finding oneself in the temporal periphery with a total loss of center, is the third situation, which Baader calls “movement in the periphery” (Zeit 25). In this situation, one is not grounded in one’s true Center, nor has one’s Center totally disappeared; instead, there is a movement in the periphery, and that is the appearance-time (Schein-Zeit).

Revised June 16/06; Dec 24/16

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