Paul Tillich on Question and Answer: The Method of Correlation or From Existential Phenomenology to the Meaning of Being

Tyler Tritten



This essay is an attempt to reconstruct Paul Tillich’s argument that existential philosophy is not adequate to answer the question, i.e. the problem, of the human situation because mere existentialism, consisting of a phenomenological description of the human predicament, serves as a departure point for ontology only. Only revelation can provide a sufficient “essentialist” response to this problem. Tillich is also an Augustinian rather than a Thomist. As such, he finds the human connection to God within the soul rather than positing God as an object, e.g. as a first or final cause, outside the soul. This Augustinian principle grounds the possibility of truth for Tillich, which is, arguably, the decisive point of his theology. The emphasis throughout his work that God is not a being is but one lucid example of his rejection of Thomism as well as his general rejection of God as a supernatural, that is, transcendent or externally located being. This distinction precludes any proofs for God’s existence for Tillich, which must thus be a matter of revelation. God is either immediately present to the soul rather than inferred or not at all. Accordingly, this essay will show how, given this Tillichian foundation, God can be first both with respect to the order of being and of knowledge.

Słowa kluczowe

Paul Tillich; Martin Heidegger; Correlation; Phenomenology; Existentialism; Ontology; Metaphysics; God; demonic; holy

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