Only the individual can truthfully will the Good. For he is in touch with the demand that calls for purity of heart by willing only one thing.
A definition of faith: “By relating itself to its own self and by willing to be itself, the self is grounded transparently in the Power which constituted it.” This means we must not despair over despairing about our sins, nor must we abandon faith and instead substitute indifference.
The story of Abraham has the remarkable property that it is always glorious, however poorly one may understand it. The ethical expression for what Abraham did is that he would murder Isaac, and the religious expression is that he would sacrifice Isaac. Abraham had to live with this contradiction which could make a man sleepless. But Abraham is not what he is without this dread.
Remorse is a guide that calls out to the wanderer that he should take care. In confession one becomes at one with himself.
The cause of all suffering is love, precisely because God is not jealous for himself, but desires in love to be the equal of the humblest. It is only in love that the unequal can be made equal, and it is only in equality or unity that an understanding of God can be achieved.
A man’s life is wasted when he lives on, so deceived by the joys of life or by its sorrows, that he never becomes decisively conscious of himself as spirit, as self, that is, he never is aware in the deepest sense that there is a God.
In every instant a self exists and is in the process of becoming. The self does not actually “exist,” but is only that which it is to become. In so far as the self does not become itself, it is not its own self, and not to be one’s own self is despair.
To will one thing can only mean to will the good, because every other object is not a unity. The will that only wills that another object, therefore, must become double-minded.
The dialectical consequences in the story of Abraham are expressed here in the form of problemata in order to see what a tremendous paradox faith is, for this story presents the paradox which gives Isaac back to Abraham, which no thought can master, because faith begins precisely there where thinking leaves off.
One should not think slightingly of the paradoxical, for the paradox is the source of the thinker’s passion A thinker without paradox is like a lover without feeling — a paltry mediocrity.