The Theology of Martin Luther

By Paul Althaus; Robert C. Schultz | Go to book overview

10
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


THE CREATOR WORKS ALL IN ALL

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-
beis.
”—Trans.]

2David Löfgren, Die Tbeologie der Schöpjung bei Luther (Göttingen:
Vandenhoelc & Ruprecht, 1960).

3WA21, 521. WA46, 558; LW 22, 26.

-105-

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The Theology of Martin Luther
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • From the Preface to the German Edition v
  • Translator's Note ix
  • Contents xi
  • Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The Authority of Scripture and of the Creeds 3
  • 2: The Subject Matter of Theology 9
  • Part One - The Knowledge of God the Word of God and Faith 13
  • 3: The General and the Proper Knowledge of God 15
  • 4: God in Himself and God as He Reveals Himself 20
  • 5: The Theology of the Cross 25
  • 6: The Word of God and the Spirit of God 35
  • 7: Faith 43
  • 8: Reason 64
  • 9: The Holy Scripture 72
  • Part Two - God's Work 103
  • 10: God is God 105
  • 11: God's Will for Men 130
  • 12: Man as a Sinner 141
  • 13: Man Between God and Satan 161
  • 14: Man Under the Wrath of God 169
  • 15: God in Jesus Christ 179
  • 16: The Trinity 199
  • 17: Jesus Christ as the Reconciler and Redeemer 201
  • 18: Righteousness in Faith 224
  • 19: Law and Gospel 251
  • 20: The Freedom of the Gracious God 274
  • 21: The People of God 287
  • 22: The Church as the Community of Saints 294
  • 23: The Office of the Ministry 323
  • 24: The True Church and the Empirical Church 333
  • 25: The Sacrament 345
  • 26: Baptism 353
  • 27: The Lord's Supper 375
  • 28: Eschatology 404
  • Appendixes 427
  • Appendix One - “and Though I Had All Faith” 429
  • Appendix Two - “love and the Certainty of Salvation” 446
  • Indexes 459
  • Index of Names 460
  • Index of Subjects 461
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