Wednesday, December 27, 2006

God and Evil in Hegel

Hegel talks about belief, and as he untangles the notions of what we believe about ourselves and a possible a separate insight we have about ourselves, Hegel decides that we couldn't, ultimately, have a relation to ourselves that didn't find itself embedded in circumstances.

I couldn't be me, the same me, in a Romantic world as in a Medieval world. None of us can be anything other than we are in the world in which we find ourselves. As Hegel spins this out, we relate to ourselves in a context, and that context is a historical one. There are problems.

Hegel has the notion of "absolute spirit". That's his successor notion to God. Hegel understands God as being the unfolding of human history, and therefore he understands God as history itself. The unfolding of history is God's autobiography. This is very difficult. Awful things happen in history. Any time one looks around, there are terrible things happening. If history is God, God is evil.

For Hegel, if this is his argument, it is enormously flawed. However, some have said that Hegel was an atheist, who uses religious language to cover his tracks. After all, he was "Lutheran" professor. Robert Solomon says that his Lutheranism was his cover. If he was a Lutheran, then he has not solved the problem of evil. Even so, History is evil. Sometime later I will explore the "end of history" and whether history and absolute spirit can ever not be evil.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

God and Satan are the same regarded under different aspects; you can find this in Hegel, too. That evil exists is no counterargument to God, but its proof. The Absolute in Hegel, its power, is in the very possibility of self-negation and losing itself in the other. This other - nature, evil, animal life - does not negate it, but affirm its ultimate power.