© J. Glenn Friesen 2003-2008
Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless
indicated. See concordance
for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance
is in pdf format.)
NC I, 29 (the as yet closed structure of the logical aspect in
NC II, 184 (animal's subjective psychical feeling is closed), 184
(rigid, closed structure)
Encyclopedia (2002), 178. “The closed structure
of the logical and the postlogical aspects is always characterized
by a rigid dependence on the prelogical aspects of reality, on the
so-called natural dimensions of the cosmos (sensory feeling, organic
life, movement, space and number).
II, 410, 420
NC II, 191 (disclosure)
NC I, 120 (pre-theoretical thought is only actualized in its
retrocipatory structure; theoretical thought opens its anticipatory
NC II, 582 (open the sensory aspect)
NC 1, 29 (temporal character of cosmic time is disclosed in the
opening process of the modal aspects)
NC II, 191 (historical aspect as the nodal point of the process
of opening up)
“Van Peursen’s Critische Vragen bij
“A New Critique of Theoretical Thought,” Philosophia
Reformata 25 (1960), 97-150, at 149: even non-Christian philosophy
has a role to play in the opening process of culture.
||NC III, 91
NC II, 141, 265, 317 (primitive belief), 320 (primitive and diffuse
belief in nature), 329 (In Lévy-Bruhl)
Encyclopedia (2002), 179: The "night of nature"
covers primitive society like a blanket.
||I, 33, 61
II, 405,409, 410, 497
||II, 406, 409
See the extensive discussion of issues
relating to the opening process in my article “Imagination,
Image of God and Wisdom of God: Theosophical Themes in Dooyeweerd’s
Philosophy,” (2006), especially Part
4: Imagination and the historical opening process. The article discusses
the Wisdom tradition within which Dooyeweerd's philosophy is situated,
and how our imagination is dependent on our being created in the image
of God. In our imagination, we discover the figure, the anticipation of
what an individuality structure in the temporal world may become, but
which is presently only a potential reality. In finding the figure within
the temporal world, and in realizing it and embodying it, we form history,
and we fulfill the reality of temporal structures. This is the opening
process, and it is founded in the historical aspect. God’s law or
Wisdom gives the connection between this internal figure of our imagination
and the modal aspects in which our body and other temporal structures
of individuality function.
Our experience is closed off and needs to be opened in
these two circumstances:
(1) Naive experience that needs to be deepened and opened.
(2) Sin also closes off our experience:
Every Christian knows the emptiness of an experience
of the temporal world which seems to be shut up in itself. But the Christian
whose heart is opened to the Divine Word-revelation knows that in this
apostate experiential attitude he does not experience temporal things
and events as they really are, i.e. as meaning pointing beyond and above
itself to the true religious centre of meaning and to the true Origin
(NC III, 30).
Sometimes Dooyeweerd refers to the opening process as
an 'unveiling.' In other places he speaks of an 'unfolding' or a 'disclosing.'
This implies that the full experience already exists in an enclosed or
enfolded state. All of temporal reality is such an unfolding and dis-closing
from the undifferentiated root unity. The deepening process continues
this differentiation and unfolding process.
Dooyeweerd says that the function of faith leads this
opening process. The opening process is founded
in the historical sphere, but it is guided by the function of faith. In
the foundational direction the historical
sphere appears to the starting point. In the anticipatory direction it
is the function of faith (NC III, 91).
The Christian idea of the opening-process is guided by
faith in Christ as Redeemer. This does not mean an idealistic optimism,
but recognizes a brokenness in spite of its direction towards the Root:
Only in its eschatological expectation of the ultimate
full revelation of the Kingdom of God can Christian belief rise above
this broken state without losing its relation to the sinful cosmos.
For the same reason the Idea of the universality of each of the aspects
within its own sphere cannot be conceived in a purely eschatological
sense; it should also be related to our sinful cosmos (NC II, 337).
The Christian opening process therefore has an eschatological
element. This passage also confirms that sphere universality has an eschatological
An example of opening is found in the juridical area
of experience. The Ideas of "good faith" and "equity"
are anticipatory meaning figures not found in a primitive system of law
(NC II, 141).
Dooyeweerd distinguishes between primitive and opened
Primitive cultures are important to historical science
only insofar as they are referred to by an opened and deepened form
of cultural development. (NC II, 265).
But a theoretical inquiry into pre-historical cave-cultures
is not a genuine historical theme, unless documentary evidence enables
us to trace the historical advancement of these closed cultures into opened
and deepened cultural development. (NC II, 265)
The unfolding of the anticipatory spheres is part of
our articipation in the fulfillment of all things. In his article “Het
juridisch causaliteitsprobleem in it licht der wetsidee,”Anti-revolutionaire
Staatkunde 2 (1928) 21-124, Dooyeweerd says at p.61:
De “ontsluiting der anticipatiesferen,”
als actieve “door-geestelijking” van de wetskringen, is
een religieus thema in de Calvinistische levens- en wereldbeschouwing,
een thema, dat zijn hoogste spanning verkrijjgt door de onmetelijke
kracht der in universeelen zin genomen allesbeheerschende praedestinatiegedachte.
Overal, in alle wetskringen moet de religieuze zin doordringen en den
zin der wetsgedachte “voleindigen,” al wordt in deze zondige
bedeeling dit ideaal nimmer vervuld, tenzij dan door Christus!
[The “unfolding of the anticipatory spheres,”
as an active “in-spiration" [lit. “spiritualizing-through”]
of the law-spheres, is a religious theme in the Calvinistic life and
worldview, a theme that reaches its highest tension through the immeasurable
power of the all-ruling idea of predestination, taken in its universal
meaning. Religious meaning must penetrate everywhere, in all law-spheres,
and it must “complete” the meaning of the law-idea, although
in this sinful dispensation this ideal is never fulfilled, except through
And at p. 113 Dooyeweerd says,
De “volle realiteit” als kosmische subjectiviteitseenheid
bouwt zich op in den organischen samenhang der subjectsfuncties, gelijk
alle wetskringen individueel slechts straalbrekingen zijn van Gods wereldplan.
[The “full reality” as cosmic unity of
subjectivity constructs itself in the organic coherence of the subject
functions, just as all law-spheres are individually only refractions
of God's world plan.]
Baader also speaks of an unfolding from a previously
Each embodied or realizing and fulfilling life proceeds
from a Center, in which the individual limbs of the organism are still
undifferentiated, as partial lives, and in a seed state, the still state
of potential. ["Über Sinn und Zweck der Verkörperung,
Leib oder Fleischwerdung des Lebens," Philosophische Schriften
I, 86. ]
Baader says that there is a twofold circulation between
the factors of a life that are distinguished, as individual points or
individual limbs, with their unfolded unity [entfaltenden Einheit].
Baader also speaks of the successive unfolding of life,
in which there is either a deepening or a disclosing (Zeit 44
ft. 25). It is not sufficient to rest in the enstatic
state. We must move ex-statically into the
temporal world in order to co-create with God. If we do not do this we
have failed our mission to ‘dominate’ the world.
Übrigens ist es wesentlich, zu bemerken, daß
diese Verschließung oder Vertiefung sukzessiv in der sukzessiven
Entfaltung des Lebens eines Wesens geschieht (eine Enfaltung, welche
seine Geschichte ausmacht), so daß das, was in einer vorhergehended
Epoche das Obere (den Gipfel) dieses Wesens ausmachte, in einer folgenden
Epoche das Untere oder die Grundlage ausmachen muß. (Zeit
44, ft. 25).
[Furthermore it is necessary to notice that this hidden
mystery or deepening occurs gradually in the successive unfolding of
the life of a being (an unfolding which makes up his history), so that
that which was the highest (the peak) for a being in a previous era
becomes the lower or the foundation].
Using Dooyeweerd’s language, I understand Baader
to be saying that the retrocipatory functions were previously experienced
as the highest. They now become the foundation of the unfolding process.
In another passage, Baader speaks of some functions as leading other functions,
and as accompanying other functions (als Leiter und Begleiter) (Philosophische
Schriften II, 175)
And like Dooyeweerd, Baader sees faith as the function
that opens our inner self (Weltalter 278).
Revised Oct 13/08