Now this is the courageous way in which Anselm attacked the problems of theology. If he says that even the Trinity can be understood in rational terms, then this is an Augustinian heritage; he did it also. We can call it dialectical monotheism, a monotheism in which movement is seen in God Himself. God is a living God and therefore there is a yes and a no in Himself – this is dialectical monotheism. It is not a dead identity of God with Himself, but it is a living separation and reunion of His Life with Himself. In other words, the mystery of the Trinity is understandable for dialectical thought. The mystery of Trinity is included in reason itself and is not against reason. How could it be, according to classical theology, since God has reason in Himself as His Son, the Logos.? Reason, therefore, is valid as far as God and world are essentially considered. Autonomy is not destroyed by the mystery. On the other hand, autonomy is not empty and not formalistic. It doesn’t empty the mysteries of the Divine Life, but only points to it in dialectical terms. The content, the substance and the depth of reason, is a mystery which has appeared in revelation.
Now this means that Anselm was neither autonomous in a formalistic empty sense, nor was he heteronomous in subjecting his reason to an un-understood tradition, to a tradition which is almost a magic mystery. but his attitude is what I would call Theonomy. You will encounter this concept often in my writings and in discussions. And whenever you are asked, “What do you mean with theonomy?” then you say: “The way of philosophizing of Anselm of Canterbury,” or “The way of philosophizing of Augustine,” or “The way of philosophizing” – now I hesitate to say it–“Hegel”, in spite of my criticism of him; namely, acknowledging the mystery of being, but not believing that this mystery is an authoritarian transcendent element which is put upon us, and against us, which breaks our reason to pieces – which would mean that God breaks His Logos to pieces – but that which gives the depth to all Logos. Reason and mystery belong together, like substance and form.
But now there is one point – and that was the point where I deviate from Hegel and go further with Anselm – which is more than a point, namely a total turn of the whole consideration: the Logos becoming flesh, and what this means, is not a matter of dialectical reason. This is not only dialectical, not only mystery, but this is paradoxical. Here we come to the sphere of existence, and existence is rooted in the freedom of God and man, in sin and grace. Here reason can only acknowledge and not understand. The existential sphere, existence itself, is ruled by will and decision, not by rational necessity. Therefore it can become anti-reason, anti-structure, anti- Divine, anti-human.
This means that the limitation of rational necessity is not mystery and revelation. If somebody with whom you talk puts you into a corner, dialectically, don’t say “That is a mystery,” and then you’d escape the corner; but he would not acknowledge that you really have escaped. He will further believe that you are in the corner and that he has caught you. What you must do is to show that you are dialectically superior to him, and that the mystery of being is preserved by good dialectics, and destroyed by bad dialectics – That’s what you have to do. But then there is one thing in which he and you have to acknowledge that there is something which is not mystery and not dialectical, but which is paradoxical, namely that man has contradicted himself and always contradicts himself, and those people who corner you have to acknowledge that also if they are honest with themselves – and they will. And that at the same time there is a possibility of overcoming this situation, because there is a New Reality under the conditions of existence, conquering existence: this is the Christian paradox. It is of serious concern that we do not make a gap between the Divine mystery and the Divine Logos. The Church again and again has affirmed that they belong to each other and are the same Divinity. If you deny that the structure of reason is adequate to the Divine mystery, then you are completely dualistic in your thinking; then God is split in Himself.