Volume 36, 1998
Philosophy of Religion
The Meaning of the Present Age
The Final Stage of Mankind’s Education — From Nihilism to Kingdom Come
I give reasons to believe that our present situation is not as bleak as some would have it. I show how the historical process can be understood in terms of a Premodernity (Aquinas), Modernity (Hegel), and Postmodernity (Nietzsche) division of human history. I argue that both Hegel and Nietzsche were fully aware that Modernity was over and that a negative Postmodern condition was to necessarily precede a consummatory positive one. Also since history may be taken to have reached its goal at the end of Modernity (with Reasons grasp of Christianity’s principle), Postmodernity can best be understood in terms of its central task of elevating all humanity into absolute knowing (the knowing of the God within)—an elevation via Reason and Faith achievable only by the abolition of the God outside, i.e., by a negative followed by a positive period of history, which Schelling refers to as the Church of John, a synthesis of Catholicism and Protestantism, the perfected Church.