The conception of history in the Bible can be described as linear, not cyclical. Things come to a conclusion. History does not repeat itself. Here is the difference between the conception of nature, life and history from the immanence point of view and the conception that goes forth from the belief in God and from the revelation of God. From our human point of view within history, we can never transcend our human, i.e., historical limits. No ballistic instrument can bring us beyond the borders of history and time. Therefore the human philosophy of history is always bound to history itself. It seeks the absolute in the relative, eternity in time, God in man. And only in a very modest way can it succeed. Centuries of history are only waves in the sea of eternity, human life is only an infinite little lake of foam in the breaking waves. But all is involved in the eternal motion of going and returning. Nothing seems really to hold its place, nothing comes to a definite end and goal; there is an eternal change, and the change is eternal.

The Biblical Contrast

In the Bible, the conception of history is a different one. The biblical viewpoint is not closed up in history itself but surpasses the waves of time. It sees history and the world in their relation to God. In the Bible, therefore, history has not lost its beginning, nor does it lack its end. The pattern in which the Bible describes history is not that of a circle or circumference without; it is rather that of a path of time which God has made and still is making, from the point when he created the world towards the ends and goals he is leading it.

This conception of the Bible means on the one hand an infinite relativity of world and history. There is not even a spark of the ...

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