Schelling's Treatise on the Essence if Human Freedom

neither knowledge nor deed reach , and transformation truly brought about is the essence of the creative. For the great beginning of Wes tern philosophy, too, did not come out of nothing. Rather, it became great because it had to overcome its greatest opposite, the mythical in general and the Asiatic in particular, that is, it had to bring it to the jointure of a truth of Being, and was able to do this.

Thus it is evidence of a lack of understanding of the question , and above all a quite unproductive reaction, if one discards Schelling's treatise on freedom by saying that Schelling fell into a false theologizing here. It is certain that after the treatise on freedom, Schelling brings the positivity of Christianity more and more to bear, but this does not yet decide anything about the essence and the meaning of his metaphysical thinking because it is not yet at all grasped in this way, but remains incomprehensible.

With regard to Schelling's equation of evil with sin we must say that sin is evil interpreted in a Christian way, so much so that in this interpretation the essence of evil comes more plainly to light in a quite definite direction. But evil is not only sin and only comprehensible as sin. Since our interpretation is intent upon the true fundamental metaphysical question of Being, we shall not question evil i n the form of sin, but discuss it with regard to the essence and the truth of Being. Thus it is also indicated indirectly that the scope of ethics is not sufficient to comprehend evil. Rather, ethics and morality concern only a legislation with respect to behavior toward evil in the sense of its overcoming and a rejection or its trivialization.

This remark is important in order to estimate correctly in what regard our interpretation is one-sided, consciously one-sided in the direction of the main side of philosophy, the question of Being.

With the presentation of the essential origin of evil nothing has as yet been said about its reality in the form of man's freedom. And nothing can as yet be said directly about it until it is understood how evil could erupt from creation as an unmistakably universal principle everywhere in conflict with the good. Reflections on this will be given in what we demarcate as the second main section.

II. The Universal Reality of Evil as the Possibility of Individuals

The condition of the possibility of evil is the separability of principles in a being, the separability of ground and existence. Separability means (1) the movability of the principles with regard to each other so that one can take the place of the other and (2) not mere detachability of the one from the other, but the reversal of their actual unity since they must always be in a unity of reciprocal relation. Such separability is, however, only present when a being freely stands above both principles, that is, in relation to both principles, where beings are spirit. But a spirit in which the will of the ground can separate itself in a selflike way from the will of the understanding is a created spirit.