The Concept of the fall (From Eden)


From his book by Søren Kierkegaard  


Edited by J E BRADBURN


If innocence is ignorance, it might appear that, inasmuch as the quantitative (relating to, concerning, or based on the amount or number of something) determinability of the guiltless of the race is present in the ignorance of the single individual by his act manifests itself as guiltiness, there will be a difference between Adam’s innocence and that of every subsequent person. The answer is already given: a “moredoes not constitute a quality. It might also appear that it would be easier to explain how a subsequent person lost innocence. But this is only apparent (clearly seen or understood). The greatest degree of quantitative determinability no more explains the leap than does the least degree; if I can explain guilt in a subsequent person, I can explain it in Adam as well?



The first book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject of Man’s disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed: Then touches the prime cause of his Fall from Grace, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, rebelling from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the Poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Angels now falling into Hell, described here, not in the centre (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed), but in a place of utter darkness fittingly called Chaos: Here Satan with his angels lying on the burning lake thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain space of time recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him; They confer of their miserable fall; Satan awakens all his legions, who lay until then in the same manner confounded. They rise; their numbers; array of battle; their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in Heaven; for, that Angels were long before this visible creation, was the opinion of very many Fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep: The infernal peers there sit in council.



(From the) BOOK OF ADAM AND EVE, Vita XVI: 3, 4 and XVII (p.137), and John 8:44.

XII 1) And with a heavy sigh, the devil spake: “O Adam! All my hostility, envy, and sorrow is for thee, since it is for thee that I have been expelled from my glory, which I possessed in the heavens in the midst of the angels and for thee I was cast out in the earth.

2) Adam answered, “What dost thou tell me? What have I done to thee or what is my fault against thee?”

3) “Seeing that thou hast received no harm or injury from us, why dost thou pursue us?”



1) the devil replied, “Adam, what dost thou tell me? It is for thy sake that I have been hurled from that place.”

2) “When thou wast formed, I was hurled out of the presence of God and banished from the company of the angels. When God blew into thee the breath of life and thy face and likeness was made in the image of God, (Gen2:7 (KJV)

Michael also brought thee and made (us) worship thee in the sight of God; and God the Lord Spake: ‘Here is Adam. I have made thee in our image and likeness.



1) And Michael went out and called all the angels saying: “Worship the image of God as the Lord God hath commanded.”

2) And Michael himself worshipped first; then he called me and said: “Worship the image of God the Lord.”

3) And I answered, “I have no (need) to worship Adam.” And since Michael kept urging me to worship, I said to him, “Why dost thou urge me? I will not worship an inferior and younger being (than I). I am his senior in the creation, before he was made was I already made. It is his duty to worship me.”



1) When the angels, who were under me, heard this, they refused to worship him.

2) And Michael saith, “Worship the image of God, but if thou wilt not worship him, the Lord God will be wrath with thee.”

3) And I said, ‘If He be wrath with me, I will set my seat above the stars of heaven and will be like the Highest.”



1) “And God the LORD was wrath with me and banished me and my angels from our glory; and on thy account were we expelled from our abodes into this world and hurled on the earth.”

2) “And straightaway we were overcome with grief, since we had been spoiled of so great glory.”

3) “And we were grieved when we saw thee in such joy and luxury.”

4) “And with guile I cheated thy wife and caused thee to be expelled through her (doing) from thy joy and luxury, as I have been driven out of my glory.” (Guile = a cunning, deceitful, or treacherous quality).



1) “when Adam heard the devil say this, he cried out and wept and spake: “O Lord my God, my life is in thy hands. Banish this Adversary far from me, who seeketh to destroy my soul, and give me his glory which he himself hath” lost.”

2) And at that moment, the devil vanished before him.

3) But Adam endured in his penance, standing for forty days (on end) in the water of Jordan.


John 8:44 King James Version (KJV) “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”


1.      By habit, 

2.      especially by thoughtlessness and ethical stupidity,


 it has been made to appear that the first is easier than the last.


We want so badly to sneak away from the sunstroke of the consequence that aims at the top of our heads. We would put up with sinfulness, go along with it, etc., etc. One need not trouble oneself; sinfulness is not an epidemic that spreads like cowpox “and every mouth shall be stopped.” It is true that a person can say in profound earnestness (very great, strong, or intense) that he was born in misery and that his mother conceived him in sin, but he can truly sorrow over this only if he himself brought guilt into the world, and brought all this upon himself, for it is a contradiction to sorrow esthetically over sinfulness (When one points the finger, there is always three pointing back). The only one who sorrowed innocently over sinfulness was Christ, but He did bot sorrow over it as a fate He had to put up with. He sorrowed as the one who freely chose to carry all the sin of the world and to suffer in punishment. This is no aesthetic (pleasing in appearance) qualification, for Christ was more that an individual.


Innocence is ignorance, but how is it lost?

I do not intend to repeat all the ingenious and stupid hypotheses with which thinkers and speculators have encumbered (to hamper or impede somebody or something) the beginning of history, men who only out of curiosity were interested in the great human concern called sin, partly because I do not wish to waste the time of others in telling what I myself wasted time in learning (Søren Kierkegaard), and because the whole thing lies outside of history, in the twilight where witches and speculators race on broomsticks and sausage-pegs (i.e. Harry Potter series, and such like). The science that deals with the explanation is psychology, but it can explain only up to the explanation and above all must guard against leaving the impression of explaining that which no science can explain and that which ethics explains further only by presupposing it by way of dogmatics.

If one were to take the psychological explanation and repeat it a number of times and thereby arrive at the opinion that it is not improbable at sin came into the world in this way, everything would be confused. Psychology must remain within its boundary; only then can its explanation have its significance.  A psychological explanation of the fall [paradise lost] is clearly and well set forth in Usteri’s development of the Pauline doctrines. Now theology has become so speculative (based on conjecture or incomplete facts or information) that it makes light of such things, because, after all, it is much easier to explain that the immediate must be annulled, and theology sometimes does what is still more convenient: it becomes invisible to the speculative devotees at the decisive moment of the explanation. Usteri’s explanation is to the effect that it was the prohibition itself not to eat of the tree of knowledge that gave birth to the sin of Adam. This does not at all ignore the ethical, but it admits that somehow the prohibition only predisposes that which breaks forth in Adam’s qualitative leap. It is not my intention to continue this account any further. Everyone has read it or can read it in this author’s work (Søren Kierkegaard),


Everyone who reflects upon the present subject is of course familiar with what Franz Baader has set forth with his usual vigour and authority in several works concerning the significance of temptation for the consolidation of freedom, and the misunderstanding of conceiving temptation one-sidedly as temptation to evil or as something with the purpose of bringing man to the fall [from Eden], when temptation should rather be viewed as freedom’s “necessary other.” To repeat this is not necessary here. Franz Baader’s works are obtainable. To pursue his thought any further is not feasible, for it seems to me that Franz Baader has overlooked the immediate terms. The transition from innocence to guilt merely through the concept of temptation easily brings God into an almost imaginatively constructed [experimenterrende] relation to man and ignores the immediate psychological observation, because the intermediate term still is concupiscentia [inordinate desire] (beyond reasonable limits in amount or degree). Finally, Baader’s account is rather a dialectical deliberation (or depending upon dialectic [accent]) of the concept of temptation instead of a psychological explanation of the more specific.


Where this explanation falters is in its wish be altogether psychological, and for this it cannot be blamed, because it did not wish to be that but set itself another task, that of developing the doctrines of St Paul  and of attaching itself to the Bible  But in this respect the Bible often had a harmful effect. In beginning a deliberation, a person has certain classical passages fixed in his mind, and now his explanation and knowledge  consist in an arrangement of these passages, as if the whole matter were something foreign. The more natural the better, even if he is willing with all deference (polite respect, especially putting another person's interests first) to refer the explanation to the verdict of the Bible, and, if it is not in accord with the Bible, to try over again, Thus a person does not bring himself into the awkward position of having to understand the explanation before he has understood what it should explain, not into the subtle position of using scripture passages as the Persian king in the war against the Egyptians used their sacred animals, that is, in order to shield himself.

If the prohibition is regarded as conditioning the fall [from Eden], it is also conditioning concupisencentia [inordinate desire] (beyond reasonable limits in amount or degree). At this point psychology has already gone beyond its competence.

Concupisencentia is a determinant of guilt and sin, antecedent to guilt and sin, (something that happens or exists before something else) and yet still is not guilt and sin, that is, introduced by it. The qualitative leap is enervated (weakened or exhausted physically, mentally, or moral) the fall [form Eden] becomes something successive. Nor can it be discerned how the prohibition awakens concupisencentia, even though it is certain from pagan as well as from Christian experience that man’s desire is for the forbidden. But a person cannot appeal to experience as a matter of course, for it could be asked more particularly in which period of life is this experienced. This intermediate term, concupisencentia, is not ambiguous either, (having more than one possible meaning or interpretation) from which it can be seen immediately that it is no psychological explanation.

The strongest, indeed, the most positive expression the Protestant Church uses for the presence of hereditary sin in man is precisely that he is born with concupisencentia [all men begotten in a natural way are born with sin, i.e., without the fear of God, without trust in God, and with concupisencentia]) (on this fallen earth, from grace) Nevertheless, the Protestant doctrine makes an essential distinction between the innocence of the subsequent person (If such a one can be spoken of ) and that of Adam.


The psychological explanation must not talk around the point but return in its elastic ambiguity, from which guilt breaks forth in the qualitative leap.



Innocence is ignorance. In innocence, man is not qualified as spirit, but is physically qualified in immediate unity with his natural condition.  The spirit in man is dreaming. This view is in full accord with that of the Bible,  which by denying that man in his innocence has knowledge of the difference between good and evil denounces all the phantasmagoria (a series or group of strange or bizarre images seen as if in a dream) of Catholic meritoriousness (deserving honour and recognition).

In this state there is peace and repose, but there is simultaneously something else that is not contention and strife, for there is indeed nothing against which to strive (to try hard to achieve or get something). What, then, is it?


Nothing. But what effect does nothing have? It begets anxiety. This is the profound secret of innocence, That is at the same time anxiety.


Dreamily (or in the state of sleep and dreaming) the spirit projects its own actuality (something that is real, as opposed to what is expected, intended, or feared), but this actuality is nothing, and innocence always sees this nothing outside itself.

Anxiety is a qualification  of dreaming spirit, and as such it has its place in psychology. Awake, the difference between myself and my other is posited (to put forward for consideration something such as a suggestion, assumption, or fact); sleeping, it is suspended; dreaming, it is an intimated nothing (having, involving, or resulting from a close personal relationship). The actuality of the spirit constantly shows itself as a form that tempts its possibility but disappears as soon as it seeks to grasp for it, and it is a nothing that can only bring anxiety. More it cannot do as long as long as it merely shows itself. The concept of anxiety is almost never treated in psychology. Therefore, I must point out that it is altogether different from fear and different concepts that refer to something definite. Whereas anxiety is freedom’s actuality as the possibility of possibility. For this reason, anxiety is not found in the beast, precisely because by nature the beast is not qualified as spirit. (However; the beast of Revelation is.)

When we consider the dialectical (philosophy achieved or attempted by dialectic [accent]), determinations of anxiety, it appears that exactly these have psychological ambiguity (a situation in which something can be understood in more than one way and it is not clear which meaning is intended). Anxiety is a sympathetic antipathy (strong hostility or opposition towards somebody or something) and an antipathetic sympathy (feeling or expressing anger, hostility, strong opposition, or disgust towards somebody or something). One easily sees, I think, that this is a psychological determination in a sense entirely different from the concupiscentia [inordinate desire] of which we spoke. Linguistic usage confirms this perfectly. One speaks of a pleasing   anxiety, a pleasing anxiousness, and of a strange anxiety, a bashful anxiety, etc.


1.      The anxiety that is posited in innocence is in the first place no guilt,

2.      In the second place it is no troublesome burden.


No suffering that cannot be brought into harmony with the blessedness of innocence. In observing children, one will discover this anxiety intimated more particularly as a seeking for the adventurous, the monstrous, and the enigmatic (hard to understand).




Let us now examine the narrative in Genesis more carefully as we attempt to dismiss the fixed idea that it is a myth, and as we remind ourselves that no age has been more skilful than our own in producing myths of the understanding, an age that produces myths and at the same time wants to eradicate all myths. 

Adam was created; he had given names to the animals (here there is language, though in an imperfect way similar to that of children who learn by identifying animals on an A B C board) but had not found company for himself. Eve was created, formed from [one] of his ribs. She stood in as [an] intimate relation to him as possible, yet it was still an external relation. Adam and Eve are merely a numerical repetition. In this respect, a thousand Adams signify no more than one. So much with regard to the descent of the race one pair. Nature does not favour a meaningless superfluity (an excessive or overabundant supply of something). Therefore, if we assume that the race descended from several pairs, there would be a moment when nature had a meaningless superfluity. As soon as the relationship of generation is posited (to place something firmly in position), no man is superfluous (in excess of what is needed), because every individual is himself and the race.



But the serpent was more cunning than all the animals of the field. He seduced the woman. Even though one may call this a myth, it neither disturbs thought nor confuses the concept, as does a myth of the understanding. The myth allows something that is inward to take place outwardly.  1 John 2:16 (KJV) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” First we must note that the woman was the first to be seduced, and therefore she in turn seduced the man. In what sense woman is the weaker sex, as it is commonly said of her, and also that anxiety belongs to her more than to man, I shall try to develop in another chapter. In the foregoing, it has been said several times that the view presented in this work does not deny the propagation of sinfulness (spread an idea or custom to many people) through generation, or, in other words, that sinfulness has its history through generation. Yet it is said only that that sinfulness moves in quantitative categories, whereas sin constantly enters by the quantitative leap of the individual. Here already one can see one significant aspect of the quantitation that takes place in generation. Eve is a derived creature (obtain something from a source, or come from a source)


Genesis 2:22-24 (KJV)

22 “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”

23 And Adam said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”


To be sure, she is created like Adam, but she is created out of a previous creature.


To be sure, she is innocent like Adam, but there is, as it were, a presentiment (an awareness of some event, especially an unpleasant event, before it takes place and before there is any reason to suspect it or know about it t of a disposition) of a disposition (an inclination or tendency to act in a particular way), that indeed is not sinfulness but may seem like the hint that is posited (to put forward for consideration something such as a suggestion, assumption, or fact) by propagation (reproduce organism) It is the fact of being derived that predisposes the particular individual (to make somebody feel favourably about somebody or something else in advance), yet without making him guilty.

Here we must remember what was said about the prohibition and the word of judgement in Chapter 5 The imperfection in the narrative—how it could have occurred to anyone to say to Adam what he essentially could not understand—is eliminated if we bear in mind that the speaker is language, and also that it is Adam himself who speaks.

*Nothing is hereby determined about woman’s imperfection in relation to man. Although anxiety belongs to her more than to man, anxiety is by no means a sign of imperfection. If one is to speak of imperfection, this must be found in something else, namely, that in anxiety she moves beyond herself to another human being, to man.

**If one were to say further that it then becomes a question of how the first man learned to speak, I would answer that this is very true, but also that the question lies beyond the scope of the present investigation. However, this must not be understood in the manner of modern philosophy as though my reply were evasive, suggesting I could answer the question in another place. But this much is certain, that it will not do to represent man himself as the inventor of language. 

There remains the serpent. I am no friend of cleverness and shall, God willing, resist the temptation of the serpent, who, as at the dawn of time when he tempted Adam and Eve, has in the course of time tempted writers to be clever. Instead, I freely admit my inability to connect any definite thought with the serpent. Furthermore, the difficulty with the serpent is something quite different, namely, that of regarding the temptation as coming from without. This is simply contrary to the teaching of the Bible, contrary to the well known classical passage in James,     


James 1:13 (KJV) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man:”


But each person is tempted of himself.


1.      If one indeed believes that he has rescued God by regarding man as tempted by the serpent and believes that in this way one is in accord with James, “that God tempts no one,”

2.      He is confronted with the second statement, that God is not tempted by anyone. For the serpent’s assault upon man is also an indirect temptation of God, since it interferes in the relation between God and man,

3.      One is confronted by the third statement, that every man is tempted of himself.


Now follows the fall from Eden. This is something that psychology is unable to explain, because the fall is the qualitative leap (relating to or based on the quality or character of something, often as opposed to its size or quantity). However, let us for a moment consider the consequence as it is presented in the narrative in order to fix our attention once more on anxiety as the presupposition for hereditary sin (to make something necessary if a particular thing is to be shown to be true or false. The sentence 'Fred loves his daughter' presupposes that Fred has a daughter). The consequence is a double one,


1.      That sin came into the world

2.      That sexuality was posited (to put forward for consideration something such as a suggestion, assumption, or fact).


The one is to be inseparable from the other. This is of utmost importance in order to show man’s original state.


1.      If he were not a synthesis that reposed [rest] in a third (a new unified whole resulting from the combination of different ideas, influences, or objects), one thing could not have two consequences.

2.      If he were not a synthesis of psyche (the human spirit or soul) and body that is sustained by spirit, the sexual could never have come into the world with sinfulness.


We shall leave project makers out of consideration and simply assume the presence of the sexual difference before the fall, except that as yet it was not, because in ignorance it is not In this respect we have support in the Scriptures.

In innocence, Adam as a spirit was a dreaming spirit The synthesis is not actual, (used for emphasis, e.g. to stress that somebody or something being referred to is genuinely the person or thing involved.)

For the combining factor is precisely the spirit and as yet this is not posited as spirit (to put forward for consideration something such as a suggestion, assumption, or fact). In animals the sexual difference can be developed instinctively, but this cannot be the case with a human being precisely because he is a synthesis (a result of combination). In the moment the spirit posits itself, it posits the synthesis, but in order to posit the synthesis it must first pervade it (to spread through or be present throughout something) differentiatingly (to see or show the differences between two or more things), and the ultimate point of the sensuous is precisely the sexual. Man can attain this ultimate point only in the moment the spirit becomes actual (real and existing as fact) Before that time he is not animal, but neither is he really man. The moment he becomes man, he becomes so by being animal as well.


Genesis 3:22-24 (KJV)

22 And the Lord God said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:”

Stood also in the midst of the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:9; 3:22). Some writers have advanced the opinion that this tree had some "secret virtue, which was fitted to preserve life. Probably the" "lesson conveyed was that life was to be sought by man, not in" "himself or in his own power, but from without, from Him who is" emphatically the Life (John 1:4; 14:6). Wisdom is compared to "the tree of life (Prov. 3:18). The "tree of life" spoken of in" "the Book of Revelation (Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14) is an emblem of the" joys of the celestial paradise.


23 “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”

24 “So he drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim’s, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”


So sinfulness is by no means sensuous, but without sin there is no sexuality, no history. A perfect spirit has neither the one or the other, and therefore the sexual difference is cancelled in the resurrection, and therefore an angel has no history. [because it is spiritual]


Matthew 22:30 (KJV) “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”


Even if Michael had made a record of all the errands he had been sent on and performed, this is nevertheless not his history. First in sexuality is the synthesis posited (to place something firmly in position) as a contradiction, but like every contradiction it is also a task, the history of which begins at that same moment. This is the actuality (something that is real, as opposed to what is expected, intended, or feared) that is preceded by freedom’s possibility. However, freedom’s possibility is not the ability to choose the good or the evil. Such thoughtlessness is no more in the interest of Scriptures than in the interest of thought. The possibility is to be able [to do so]. In a logical system, it is convenient to say, that possibility passes over into actuality. However, in actuality it is not so convenient, and an intermediate term is required. The intermediate term is anxiety (nervousness or agitation, often about something that is going to happen), but it no more explains the qualitative leap than it can justify it ethically (consistent with agreed principles of correct moral conduct). Anxiety is neither a category of necessity nor a category of freedom, it is entangled freedom, where freedom is not free in itself but entangled.

 (See internal spirit link for more information) (this is the fallen earth) not by necessity, but in itself. If sin has come into the world by necessity (which is a) contradiction (something that has aspects that are illogical or inconsistent with each other), there can be no anxiety. Nor can there be any anxiety if sin came into the world by an act of an abstract (not relating to concrete objects but expressing something that can only be appreciated intellectually) [which no more existed in the world in the beginning than in a late period, because it is a nuisance for thought]. To want to give a logical explanation of the coming of sin into the world is a stupidity that can occur only to people who are comically worried about finding an explanation.

Where  I allowed to make a wish, then I would wish that no reader would be so profound (showing great perception, understanding, or knowledge) as to ask: What if Adam had not sinned? In the moment actuality  (something that is real, as opposed to what is expected, intended, or feared not), is posited (to place something firmly in position), possibly walks by its side as a nothing that entices every thoughtless man. If only science could make up its mind to keep men under discipline and to bridle itself!  When someone asks a stupid question, care should be taken not to answer him, lest he who answers becomes just as stupid as the questioner. The foolishness of the above question [above in red] consists not so much in the question itself as in the fact that it is directed to science (and what we are told in school) If one stays at home with it, and like, Clever Elsie with her projects, calls together like minded friends, then he has tolerably understood his own stupidity. Science, on the contrary, cannot explain such things. 


1.      Every science lies either in a logical immanence (describes God as existing in and extending into all parts of the created universe)

2.      Or in an immanence within a transcendence (to exist above and apart from the material world) that it is unable to explain.


Now sin is precisely that transcendence, that [crisis] in which sin enters into the single individual as the single individual. Sin never enters into the world differently and has never entered differently. So when the single individual is stupid enough to enquire about sin as if it were something foreign to him, he only asks as a fool,


·         For either he does not know at all what the question is about, and thus cannot come to know it.

·         Or he knows it and understands it, and also knows that no science can explain it to him.


However, science at times has been adequately accommodating in responding to wishes with weighty hypotheses that it at last admits are inadequate as explanations. This, of course, is entirely true, yet the confusion is that that science did not energetically dismiss foolish questions but instead confirmed superstitious men in their notion that one day there would come a project maker who is smart enough to come up with the right answer. That sin came into the world six thousand years ago is said in the same way that one would say about Nebuchadnezzar that it was four thousand years ago that he became an ox. When the case is understood in this way, it is no wonder that the explanation accords with it.


What in one respect is the simplest thing in the world has been made the most difficult.


What the most ordinary man understands in his own way, and quite correctly so—because he understands that it is not only sic thousand years since sin came into the world—science with the art of speculators has announced as a prize subject that as yet has not been answered satisfactorily. How sin came into the world each man knows solely by himself. If he would learn it from another, he would misunderstand it. The only science that can help a little is psychology, yet it admits that it explains nothing, and also that it cannot and will not explain more. If any science could explain it, everything would be confused.  That the man of science ought to forget himself is entirely true; nevertheless, it is therefore also very fortunate that sin is no scientific problem, and thus no man of science has an obligation (and the project maker just as little) to forget how sin came into the world. If this is what he wants to do, if he magnanimously (very generous, kind, or forgiving) wants to forget himself in the zeal to explain all of humanity, he will become as comical as the privy councillor who was so conscientious about leaving his calling card with every Tom, Dick, and Harry that in so doing he at last forgot his own name. 

Or his philosophical enthusiasm will make him so absent minded that he needs a good natured, level headed wife, whom he can ask, as Soldin asked Rebecca, when in enthusiastic absent mindedness he also lost himself in the objectivity of the chapter: “Rebecca, is it I who is speaking?”

That the admired men of science in my most honoured contemporary age, men whose concern in their search after the system is known to the whole congregation and who are concerned also to find a place for sin within it, may find the above position highly unscientific is entirely in order. But let the congregation join in the search, or at least include these profound seekers (showing great perception, understanding, or knowledge)  in their pious intercessions; they will find the place as surely as he who hunts for burning tow finds it when he is unaware that it is burning in his own hand.


The sense in which creation sank into corruption through Adam’s sin, how freedom was posited (to put forward for consideration something such as a suggestion, assumption, or fact) by the fact that its misuse was posited and thus cast a reflection of possibility (careful thought, especially the process of reconsidering previous actions, events, or decisions) and a trembling of complicity (involvement with another in doing something illegal or wrong) over creation, the sense in which this had to take place because man is a synthesis (a new unified whole resulting from the combination of different ideas, influences, or objects) whose most extreme opposites were posited and whose  one opposite, precisely on account of man’s sin, became a far more extreme opposite than it was before---all this has no place in a psychological deliberation but belongs in dogmatics (the study of religious dogmas, especially Christian dogmas), in the atonement (the making of reparation for a sin or a mistake). In the explanation by which this science explains the presupposition of sinfulness (to believe that a particular thing is true before there is any proof of it)

Dogmatics must be designed in this way. Above all, every science must vigorously lay hold of its own beginning and not live in complicated relations with other sciences. If dogmatics begins by wanting to explain sinfulness or by wanting to prove its actuality (real and existing as fact), no dogmatics will come out of it, but the entire existence of dogmatics will become problematic (involving difficulties or problems: and vague not clear in meaning or intention)


Anxiety as Saving through Faith   

In one of Grimm’s fairy tales there is a story of a young man who goes in search of adventure in order to learn what it is to be in anxiety. We will let the adventurer pursue his journey without concerning ourselves about whether he encountered the terrible on his way. However, I will say that this is an adventure that every human being must go through—to learn to be anxious in order that he may not perish either by never being in anxiety or succumbing in anxiety. Whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate.

If a human being were a beast or an angel, he could not be in anxiety. Because he is a synthesis (result of combination), he can be in anxiety; and the more profoundly (showing great perception, understanding, or knowledge) he is in anxiety, the greater is the man—yet not in the sense usually understood, in which anxiety is about something external, about something outside a person, but in the sense that he himself produces the anxiety. Only in this sense can the words be understood when it is said of Christ that he was anxious unto death, as well as the words spoken by Christ to Judas:


John 13:18-26 (KJV)

18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.

19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He.”

20 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth Me; and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me.”

21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.”

22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.

23 “Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.”

24 “Simon Peter therefore beckoned to Him, that he should ask who it should be of whom He spake.”

25 He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto Him, ‘Lord, who is it?’”

26 Jesus answered, “He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when He had dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.”


27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. ‘Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly


Not even the terrifying verse that made even Luther anxious when preaching on it—“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me.”—not even these words express suffering so profoundly.


·         For the latter signify a condition in which Christ finds Himself.

·         And the former signify to a condition which is not.


Anxiety is freedom’s possibility, and only such anxiety is through faith absolutely educative, because it consumes all finite ends and discovers all their deceptiveness. And no Grand Inquisitor has such dreadful torments in readiness as anxiety has, and no secret agent knows as cunningly as anxiety how to attack his suspect in his weakest moment or to make alluring the trap in which he will be caught, and no discerning judge understands how to interrogate and examine the accused as does anxiety, which never lets the accused escape, neither through amusement, nor by noise, nor during work, neither by day nor by night. Whoever is educated by anxiety is educated by possibility, and only he who is educated by possibility is educated according to his infinitude (the infinite nature of something). Therefore possibility is the weightiest of all categories. It is true that we often hear the opposite stated that possibility (something that is possible) is so light, whereas actuality (something that is real, as opposed to what is expected, intended, or feared) is so heavy. But from whom does one hear such words?  The answer is: from wretched men who never even knew what possibility is, and who, when actuality had shown that they were not good for anything and never would be, mendaciously (having lied in the past or prone to lying at any time) revived a possibility that was very beautiful and very enchanting, while the foundations of this possibility was at the most a little youthful giddiness, of which they ought rather be ashamed (inherited sin). Therefore this possibility that is said to be so light is commonly regarded as the possibility of happiness, fortune, etc. But this is not possibility. It is rather a mendacious invention that human depravity has dressed up so as to have a reason for complaining of life and Governance and a pretext for becoming self-important. No, in possibility all things are equally possible, and whoever has truly been brought up by possibility has grasped the terrible as well as the joyful. So when such a person graduates from the school of possibility, and he knows better than a child knows his ABC’s that he can demand absolutely nothing of life and that the terrible, perdition, (in some religions, the state of everlasting punishment in hell that sinners endure after death) and annihilation (the complete destruction of something) live next door to everyman, and when he has thoroughly learned that every anxiety about which he was anxious came upon him in the next momenthe will give actuality another explanation, he will praise actuality, and even when it rests heavily upon him, he will remember that it nevertheless is far, far lighter than possibility was.

Only in this way can possibility be educative, because finiteness and the finite (having an end [days] relations in which every individual is assigned a place, whether they be small, or everyday, or world historical, educate only finitely, and a person can always persuade them, always coax something else out of them, always bargain, always escape from them tolerably well (not too unpleasant or severe to put up with) always keep himself a little on the outside, always prevent himself from absolutely learning something from them, and if he does this, the individual must again have possibility in himself and himself develop that in which he is to learn, even though in the next moment that from which he is to learn does not at all acknowledge that it is formed by him  but absolutely deprives him of the power.

However, in order that an individual may thus be educated absolutely (used to give strong emphasis to what is being said) and Infinitely (without any finite or measurable limits) by the Possibility (something that is possible: 157), he must be honest toward possibility and have faith By faith I understand here what Hegel somewhere in his way correctly calls the inner certainty that Anticipates (to think or be fairly sure that something will happen) Infinity (limitless time, space, or distance). When the discoveries of possibility are honestly administered, possibility will discover all the Finitudes (the condition of being finite), but it will idealise –venerate (to regard somebody with profound respect or reverence) them in the form of infinity and in anxiety overwhelm the individual until he again overcomes them in the anticipation of faith.

What am I saying here probably strikes many as obscure and foolish talk, because they pride themselves on never having been in anxiety. To this I would reply that one certainly should not be in anxiety about men and about finitudes (the condition of being finite 157), but only he who passes through the anxiety of the possible is educated to have no anxiety, not because he can escape the terrible things of life but because these always become weak by comparison with those of possibility.

If, on the other hand, the speaker maintains that the great thing about him is that he has never been in anxiety, I will gladly provide him with my explanation: that it is because he is very spiritless.

If an individual defrauds possibility, by which he is to be educated, he never arrives at faith then his faith will be the sagacity (profound knowledge and understanding, coupled with foresight and good judgment) of finitude (the condition of being finite).

Just as his school was that of finitude. But men defraud possibility in every way, because otherwise every man, if he had merely put his head out of the window, would have seen enough for possibility to use in beginning in exercises. There is an engraving by Chodowiecki that represents the surrender of Calais as viewed by four persons of different temperaments, and the task of the artist was to mirror the various impressions in the facial expressions of the four.      

The most common place life no doubt has experiences enough, but the question is that of the possibility in the individuality who is honest with himself. The individuality who is educated by possibility needs but one story. In that very moment, he is absolutely identified with the unfortunate man; he knows no finite evasion by which he may escape. Now the anxiety of possibility holds him as its prey until, saved, it must hand him over to faith. In no other place can he find rest, for every other place of rest is mere chatter, although in the eyes of men it is sagacity (profound knowledge and understanding, coupled with foresight and good judgment 158). Therefore possibility is absolutely (used to give strong emphasis to what is being said 158) educative (giving knowledge, instruction, or information 158). In actuality, (something that is real, as opposed to what is expected, intended, or feared 158), no man has ever become so unhappy that he did not retain a little remnant, and common sense (although common sense is not very common) says quite correctly that if one is cunning, one knows how to make the best of things. But whoever took possibility’s course in misfortune lost all, all, as no one in actuality ever lost it. Now, if he did not defraud (cheat) the possibility that wanted to teach him and did not wheedle the anxiety that wanted to save him, then he would also receive everything back, as no one in actuality ever did, even though he received all things tenfold, for the disciple of possibility received infinity, and the soul of the other expired in the finite. In actuality (something that is real, as opposed to what is expected, intended, or feared 158), no one ever sank so deep that he could not sink deeper, and there may be one or many who sank deeper. But he who sank in possibility—his eye became dizzy, his eye became confused, so he could not grasp the measuring stick that Tom, Dick, and Harry hold out as a saving straw to one sinking; his ear was closed so that he could not hear what the market price of men was in his own day, did not hear he was just as good as the majority.


For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,

But against principalities, against powers.

Against the powers of darkness of this world

Against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour

Of God, that ye may be able to withstand,

In the evil day, and having done all; Stand.


Ephesians 6:13  He sank absolutely, but then in turn he emerged from the depth of the abyss lighter than all the troublesome and terrible things in life. However, I will not deny that whoever is educated by possibility is exposed to danger, not that of getting into bad company and going astray in various ways as are those educated by the finite (grammar appearing in a verb form that limits a person number, and tense), but the danger of a fall, namely suicide, if at the beginning of his education he misunderstands the anxiety, so that it does not lead him to faith but away from faith, then he is lost. On the other hand, whoever is educated [by possibility] remains with anxiety, he does not permit himself to be deceived by its countless falsifications and accurately remembers the past. Then the assaults of anxiety, even though they be terrifying will not be such that he flees from them. For him, anxiety becomes a serving spirit that against his will leads him where he wants to go. Then, when it announces itself, when it cunningly pretends to have invented a new instrument of torture, far more terrible than anything before, he does not shrink back, and still less does he attempt to hold it off with noise and confusion; but he bids it welcome, greets it festively, and like Socrates who raised the poison cup, he shuts himself up with it and says as a patient would say to the surgeon when the painful operation is about to begin: “Now I am ready.”

Then anxiety enters into his soul and searches out everything and anxiously torments everything finite and petty out of him, and then it leads him to where he wants to go.

When one or another extraordinary event occurs in life, when a world historical hero gathers heroes about him and performs deeds of valour, when a crisis occurs and everything gains significance, then men want to have a part in it, because all of this is educative. Possibly so. But there is a simpler way in which one may become more thoroughly educated. Take the pupil of possibility, place him in the middle of the Jutland heath, where no event takes place or where the greatest event is a grouse flying up noisily, and he will experience everything more perfectly, more accurately, more thoroughly than the man who received the applause on the stage of world history if that man was not educated by possibility (the condition or quality of being possible 159). So when the individual through anxiety is educated unto faith, anxiety will eradicate (to destroy or get rid of something completely, so that it can never recur or return) precisely what it brings forth in-self. Anxiety discovers fate, but just when the individual wants to put his trust in fate, anxiety turns around and takes fate away, because fate is like anxiety, and anxiety, like possibility, is a “magic” picture. When the individuality is not thus transformed by himself in relation to fate, he will always retain a dialectical remnant that no finitude (the condition of being finite 160), just as no man will lose faith in the lottery if he does not lose it by himself but is supposed to lose it by continually losing when he gambles. Even in relation to the most insignificant things, anxiety is promptly at hand as soon as the individuality wants to sneak away from something or stumble upon something by chance. In itself, it is of no significance; from the outside, from the finite, the individual can learn nothing about it. But anxiety takes swift action, and instantly plays the trump card of infinity, of the category, and the individuality cannot take the trick. Such an individuality cannot in an outward way fear fate, its vicissitudes (unexpected changes, especially in somebody's fortunes) and defeats, because the anxiety within him has already fashioned fate and has taken away from him absolutely all that any fate could take away.  

In the dialogue Cratylus, Socrates says that it is terrible to be deceived by oneself, because one always has the deceiver present (Another name for Satan), similarly, one may say that it is fortunate to have present such a deceiver who piously deceives and always weans the child before finitude (the condition of being finite) begins to bungle him (to cause something to fail through carelessness or incompetence). Even in our time an individuality is not educated by possibility in this manner, our age nevertheless has an excellent characteristic for each one in whom there is a deeper nature and who desires to learn the good.The more peaceful and quiet an age is and the more accurately everything follows to regular course, so that the good has its reward, the easier it is for an individuality to deceive himself about whether in all his striving he has a beautiful but nevertheless a finite goal.

In these times, one does not need to be more than sixteen years old in order to recognise that whoever performs on the stage of the theatre of life is like the man who travelled from Jericho and fell among robbers. Whoever does not wish to sink in the wretchedness of the finite is constrained in the most profound sense (showing great perception, understanding, or knowledge) to struggle with the infinite (without any finite or measurable limits) Such a preliminary orientation is analogous (describes body parts and organs that have equivalent functions but that have evolved independently of one another in different plants or animals. The wings of birds, bats, and insects are analogous). To the education by possibility, and such an orientation cannot take place except through possibility. So when shrewdness has completed its innumerable calculations, when the game is won—then anxiety comes, even before the game in actuality has been lost or won, and anxiety makes the sign of the cross against the devil { The Enemy}, and shrewdness becomes helpless and in most clever vanish like a witticism compared with the case that anxiety forms with the omnipotence of possibility. Even I the most trifling matters, as soon as the individuality wants to make a cunning turn that is merely cunning, and wants to sneak away from something, and the probability is that he will succeed—because actuality is not as sharp an examiner as anxiety—then anxiety is there at once. If it is dismissed because it is merely a trifle, then anxiety makes this trifle as prominent as the little place Marengo in the history of Europe, because there the great battle of Marengo was fought. If an individuality is not weaned away from shrewdness by himself, it will never be thoroughly accomplished, because finitude always explains in parts, never totally, and he whose shrewdness always fails (and even this is inconceivable in actuality) may seek the reason for this in his shrewdness and then strive to become still more shrewd. With the help of faith, anxiety brings up the individuality to rest in providence. So it is always in relation to guilt which is the second thing anxiety discovers. 

Whoever learns to know his guilt only from the finite is lost in the finite, and finitely the question of whether a man is guilty cannot be determined except in an external (situated on, happening on, or coming from the outside) juridical and most imperfect sense. Whoever learns to know his guilt only by analogy to judgements of the police court and the supreme court never really understands that he is guilty, for if a man is guilty, he is infinitely guilty. Therefore, if such an individuality who is educated only by finitude does not get a verdict by the police or a verdict by public opinion to the effect that he is guilty, he becomes of all men the most ridiculous and pitiful, a model of virtue who is a little better than most people but not quite so good as the parson (vicar). What help would such a man need in life? Why, almost before he dies he may retire to a collection of models. From finitude one can learn much, but not how to be anxious, except in a very mediocre and depraved sense. On the other hand, whoever has truly learned how to be anxious will dance when the anxieties of finitude strike up the music and when the apprentices of finitude lose their minds and courage. One is often deceived this way in life. The hypochondriac is anxious about every insignificant thing, but when the significant appears he begins to breathe more easily. And why? Because the significant actuality after all is not so terrible as the possibility himself had fashioned, and which he used his strength to fashion, whereas he can now use all his strength against actuality. Yet the hypochondriac is only an imperfect autodidact (somebody whose knowledge is self-taught) when compared with the person who is educated by possibility,

Because hypochondria is partly dependent upon the somatic (relating to or affecting the body, especially the body as considered to be separate from the mind) and is consequently accidental.

The true autodidact is precisely in the same degree a theodidact (One who on his own cultivates philosophy), as another author has said, or to use an expression less reminiscent of the intellectual, he is [one on his own cultivates philosophy] and in the same degree; [one who tends the things of God]. Therefore he who in relation to guilt is educated by anxiety will rest only in the atonement (Yom Kippur)

Here the deliberation ends, where it began. As soon as psychology has finished with anxiety, it is to be delivered to dogmatics.


It is therefore with a higher meaning that Hamman employs the word “hypochondria” when he says: However, this anxiety in the world is the only proof of our heterogeneity. If we lacked nothing, we should do no better than the pagans and the transcendental philosophers, who know nothing of God and like fools fall in love with lovely nature, and no homesickness, would overcome us. This impertinent disquiet, this holy hypochondria is perhaps the fire with which we season sacrificial animals in order to preserve us from the putrefaction of the current seculi secular century (not religious or spiritual in nature).