The Consequences of Hereditary

Having established that original or hereditary sin enters the world in every individual in the same way as it did in Adam, through the individual's own first sin in a qualitative leap from innocence to guilt as a result ofbecoming anxious about the possibility of freedom, Vigilius may appear to have dismissed the traditional notion of hereditary sin as having a corrupting effect upon later generations through generation. But he explicitly rejects such a conclusion, claiming that 'the view presented in this work does not deny the propagation of sinfulness through generation, or, in other words, that sinfulness has its history through generation', although not in an Augustinian fashion (CA 47). Moreover, he claims that 'Christianity has never assented to giving each particular individual the privilege of starting from the beginning in an external sense. Each individual begins in an historical nexus, and the consequences of nature still hold true' (73).

40 Kant (1978: 68); Schelling (2006: 47); see also Hoberman (1987: 190); Kosch (2006: 87104, 124-5), and McCarthy (1985).

41 Hegel (1991b: 63). 42 Hegel (1984-7: iii. 304-8).

What Vigilius is concerned to point out in this regard is that sinfulness, or the possibility of committing new sin after the Fall, increases quantitatively in the individual and the race through propagation. A predisposition to sin is propagated in individuals, but without actually making them guilty inasmuch as actual sin and guilt continue to occur only through a qualitative leap. Since the human being is a synthesis of mind and body and not merely a physical, instinctive being like animals, one of the consequences of the Fall is that sexuality in the form of a conscious sensuous drive is posited in human beings at the same time sin is posited (CA 48-9). This means that sensuousness, which is present in the state of innocence but does not yet exist as a conscious drive, is not sinful as such but becomes so through the Fall.43 In a passage excised from the final text, Vigilius explains that 'the sexual is the sinful only to the extent that the drive at some moment manifests itself simply as drive in all its nakedness, for this can occur only through an arbitrary abstraction from spirit' (195; cf. JP iv. 3964). When one first posits sin, then, one also posits the sexual as sinful. Yet Vigilius is careful to point out: 'The individual for whose arrival I am responsible does not become sinful through me but becomes that by positing sin himself and then himself positing the sexual as sinfulness' (195). In this way the possibility of the continuation ofsin in sinfulness is introduced and multiplied through propagation or sexuality without compromising individual responsibility for sin or actually causing an individual's progeny to sin, as in the Augustinian view.

Another consequence of hereditary sin is that a second form of anxiety enters the world with sin and continues to enter it quantitatively every time sin is qualitatively posited by the individual. As Vigilius puts it: 'Sin entered in anxiety, but sin in turn brought anxiety along with it' (CA 53). In contrast to the anxiety of innocence, which precedes the Fall as the precondition of first sin in Adam and every subsequent individual, one could call this the anxiety of sinfulness or anxiety after the Fall, which appears in two forms: objective anxiety (the effect of anxiety on nature) and subjective anxiety (anxiety in the individual over the possibility of sinning again in the future) (56-60). It might seem strange to talk about nature being anxious, but what Vigilius has in mind is the anxiety that results from the corrupting effect of human sinfulness upon the whole creation, described in Romans 8: 19-23 as 'groaning' with 'eager longing' (anxiety) for redemption (58). An example of objective anxiety in our time would be the global warming caused by human destruction of the environment that

43 Kierkegaard specifically credits von Baader for this view (CA 59). See also Koslowski (2007: 8-9), and Nordentoft (1978: 53-72).

is increasing quantitatively to the point of irreversibility as a result of the misuse of human freedom.

Subjective anxiety likewise reflects the 'more' or quantitative increase of anxiety that accrues as a consequence of generation. Whereas the anxiety of innocence is prefigured in Adam, the anxiety of sinfulness or subjective anxiety is prefigured in Eve. Having been created out of Adam, Eve is a derived being—a status shared in common with all subsequent individuals (CA 47, 63-4). Thus, what applies in the relation of Eve to Adam also applies to every subsequent individual. Sharing the imperfection of Eve resulting from derivation, which in Vigilius's view 'is never as perfect as the original', subjective anxiety becomes more reflective in later individuals in that the 'nothing' about which they were anxious in the state of innocence now becomes more and more a 'something' in the form of 'a complex of presentiments' that predispose (but do not cause) them to sin again (61-3). Both sensuousness and anxiety are also quantitatively greater in later individuals as a result of their being derived or procreated. The factor of sexual difference also comes into play here in that, according to Vigilius, sensuousness and anxiety are greater in woman than in man (64). That woman is more sensuous than man, he observes, is apparent in her physical structure, which is associated aesthetically with beauty and ethically with procreation, the latter constituting the culmination of her being (64-5). Although both man and woman are essentially qualified as spirit, which is their common task to become in existence, Vigilius contends that 'spirit is furthest away' at conception and childbirth, the latter constituting 'the furthest point of one extreme of the synthesis', that is, the physical or sensuous element in it (72). Both sensuousness and anxiety are therefore greatest at this time. In a passage excised from the final text Vigilius further claims that woman is not only more sensuous than man but also less spiritual than him because her being culminates in another being outside herself, whereas spirit is 'the true independent' (189; JP iv. 4989). Despite this difference, which is only quantitative, not qualitative in nature, Vigilius maintains that, religiously viewed, woman is still 'essentially identical with man' (189).44

A further qualification of the human spirit also comes into existence as a result of hereditary sin, namely the determination of the human being as a synthesis of the temporal and the eternal, which is composed differently from the first synthesis. Whereas the first synthesis consists of the physical and the psychical united in the third term of spirit, the second synthesis contains only two terms, the temporal and the eternal (CA 85). Yet Vigilius

44 For feminist critiques of the view of woman in Kierkegaard's writings, see Léon and Walsh (1997).

maintains that the latter 'is not another synthesis but is the expression for the first synthesis' inasmuch as spirit is the eternal, which means that the first synthesis is posited only in and through the introduction of the eternal in the second synthesis (88, 90). The concept of temporality, or the division of time into past, present, and future, also comes into existence with the introduction of the eternal, which appears as possibility or the future in the context of temporality. Because human beings succumb to sin by positing an unwarranted actuality instead of the eternal in the exercise of freedom, temporality like sensuousness, comes into being as sinfulness, signifying that the person who sins 'lives only in the moment as abstracted from the eternal' (91, 93). As Vigilius expresses it: 'The moment sin is posited, temporality is sinfulness' (92).

Within the temporal realm Vigilius maintains that 'the whole of paganism and its repetition within Christianity lie in a merely quantitative determination' of sinfulness (CA 93). Even though paganism lacked a consciousness of sin, which was first posited by Christianity, Vigilius nevertheless agrees with Christian orthodoxy that paganism lies in sin because it 'never arrives at sin in the deepest sense', which 'is precisely sin' (93). The sinfulness of paganism, therefore, may be characterized as the absence of spirit, qualified as moving towards spirit, whereas paganism within Christendom is simply spiritlessness or the 'stagnation of spirit', qualified as moving away from spirit (95). Of the two, Vigilius thinks paganism 'is much to be preferred', as 'the human being qualified as spiritless has become a talking machine' that merely repeats philosophical, religious, and political slogans by rote and understands nothing spiritually or as a task (95, translation modified).

Although anxiety, like spirit, is excluded in spiritlessness, Vigilius nevertheless claims that it is present in a hidden or disguised form, which is even more terrifying than when anxiety appears directly as what it is (CA 96). Anxiety was also present in paganism; in fact, Vigilius suggests that it might be more correct to say that paganism lies in anxiety rather than sin since 'on the whole' it is characterized by sensuousness (96). In paganism, however, the 'nothing' that constitutes the object of anxiety is fate or a blind necessity that stands in an external relation to spirit and thus is cancelled as soon as spirit is posited. In Christendom, the anxiety of sinfulness manifests itself either as an anxiety about evil, the possibility of committing new sin and thereby sinking deeper into sin, or as anxiety about the good, in which one becomes demonically enclosed or shut up within oneself, unable to relate positively to others and to the good. Vigilius suggests that the latter form of anxiety 'probably has never been as widespread as in our times, except that nowadays it manifests itself especially in the spiritual spheres' (136). He also identifies a 'lofty inclosing reserve' that is not demonic but synonymous with inwardness, subjectivity, or earnestness, whose object is to actualize the possibility of the eternal within oneself (126, 148, 151). Whoever becomes anxious in this manner is educated by anxiety in such a way as to anticipate faith, which for Vigilius is the only thing that is truly capable of disarming 'the sophistry of sin' and extricating the self from anxiety (117). Paraphrasing Hegel's definition of faith as an inner feeling of the certainty that God exists,45 Vigilius describes faith as 'the inner certainty that anticipates infinity' or possibility (157). 'Whoever is educated by anxiety is educated by possibility, and only he who is educated by possibility is educated according to his infinitude', he declares (156). Becoming anxious is thus an adventure every person must go through in order to avoid perishing 'by never having been in anxiety or by succumbing in anxiety' (155). Vigilius thus concludes: 'Whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate' (155).

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