Comments on Hegel

Author: Fr. Robert Levis


Fr. Robert Levis

Hegel is the complete historicist, i.e. everything is true in its own time and place but that's all. He professes to know only the appearance of things, not the substance nor reality. All the real is rational, all the rational is real, thus he is a perfect subjectivist. Man is the highest expression of the divine, as well as the highest manifestation of the mode of God. There is no statis reality for him but only dynamic reality, everything is always moving. "To exist is to be in process, in change, in transit from one thing to another." The dialectic is the highest principle of Hegel's metaphysics. This is the only law of logic and philosophy and of reality. He holds only for the dialectic of the outmoded past. There is no such thing as abiding truth or value. This new concept of truth, always looking at the past as something outmoded, is the perfect application of his dialectic. He taught man to expect no intellectual peace. Truth is never something seen and possessed but there must always be further qualifications and change. We must always be traveling to a new antithesis; to another synthesis and never even to rest there. He wished to change fixed concepts into fluid ones since no idea has an abiding memory. There are no such things as eternal truths expressed in propositions always and everywhere valid. (There goes dogma.)

Hegel was a religious man, but a pantheist. He is the Aquinas of Protestantism. He subordinated religion to philosophy by the dialectics of the World Spirit. He brought religion inside philosophy, seeing philosophy as superior wisdom which evaluates religion. To Hegel the Incarnation is nothing but an early mythical expression of the truth of the dialectic which reveals the progressive incarnation of the Spirit. So Kierkegaard accused Hegel of atheism, and Kierkegaard was correct. Hegel is the philosophical predecessor of liberal Protestantism, Catholic Modernism, and Reformed Judaism. Heidegger was a pupil of Hegel, Fr. Karl Rahner was an admirer of Heidegger,( an interesting connection.)