The source of justification: Kant's concept of evil in light of Luther's salvation by grace through faith

Mark Frederick Wilms, Marquette University

Abstract

Noting that justification has been an important element of Christian theology, this dissertation first describes the Lutheran concept of justification by grace through faith in light of impediments to free will. Then, Kant's notion of justification is analyzed in light of his background and philosophical era as well as his synthesis of the formative influences behind his ethical theory of moral autonomy (the ability to make moral choices through free will alone). A closer analysis of Kant's Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone shows Kant moving closer to a doctrine of grace (the work of God, or Providence), as well as a reliance on the human community, in his efforts to deal with what he termed radical evil, which is a perversion of the individual's decision-making process toward immorality. The goal of this dissertation is to show that Kant was neither a Pelagian nor one who sacrificed free will. Rather, he saw the need for combining personal renewal, human action, and the work of "Providence" in his description of the process of justification and its effects. In doing this, he recast Luther's "two kingdoms" (world and gospel) in the language of his era. However, he stopped short of Luther's exclusive reliance on God's grace.

Recommended Citation

Wilms, Mark Frederick, "The source of justification: Kant's concept of evil in light of Luther's salvation by grace through faith" (1996). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9634108.
https://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9634108

Share

COinS