GOD IS GOD
IN USING the phrase “God is God” [Gottes Gottheit] as a heading for our presentation of Luther's theology, we are using a concept that Luther himself frequently uses.1
For Luther, being God and creating are identical. God is God because he and only he creates.2
God creates and preserves everything. Nothing is and nothing continues to be without his activity. “All things must be God's, since nothing can be or become, if he would not bring it into existence; and when he stops, nothing can continue to exist.” God's relationship to the world is quite different from a man's relationship to his work. Once done, man's work exists independently of the man who produced it. It thus condnues to exist without him. The world is different: it cannot exist for even one moment unless God maintains it. God always works; and reality depends on his continuous and uninterrupted activity. “He has not created the world as though he were a carpenter: building a house that he could walk away from when finished and let stand the way it is. On the contrary, he remains with and preserves everything he has made. Otherwise it would neither hold up nor endure.”3 God's
1 Luther finds the concept in the Bible in Romans 1:20 and Colossians 2:9.
Apart from this he translates Paul's “depths of God” [tbeou] in I Corinthians
2:10 as “depths of deity” [Gottheit]. The quotations of this chapter will indi-
cate how often this concept appears in Luther. Cf. WA311, 126; LW 14, 74
where Luther says, “[It is] impossible… that he would forfeit his deity.”
[I have used various forms of “God is God” to translate this term. The
similarity to the title of Philip Watson's study of Luther's theology, Let God
Be God (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg, 1948), is obvious. Althaus used Luther's
phrase in the title of his essay, “Gottes Gottheit als Sinn der Rechtfertigungs-
lehre Luther's,“in Lutber-Jabrbucb XIII (1931), 1–28. The German trans-
lation of Let God Be God uses this same phrase in its title: “Um Gottes Gott-
2David Löfgren, Die Tbeologie der Schöpjung bei Luther (Göttingen:
Vandenhoelc & Ruprecht, 1960).
3WA21, 521. WA46, 558; LW 22, 26.