Table of Contents

Abstract. The aim of the dissertation is to investigate and clarify Martin Luther's understanding of faith and of reality in his biblical lectures between the years 1513 and 1521. The method of the study is systematic analysis. With regard to its content the work can be seen as an investigation of the history of ideas or dogma. The general context of the study is the examination of the cognition of God in terms of knowledge of acquaintance, as in the tradition of divine illumination. The specific background is the understanding of faith as union with Christ in the Finnish School of Luther research. The study first examines Luther's understanding of reality and then Luther's understanding of faith, as the two are connected. With regard to Luther's understanding of reality, the nature of God, the universe and the human being are examined. Central to the understanding of God is the eternal birth of Christ seen through the concept of the highest good, the idea of God as light, and the divine as uniting contraries. With regard to the universe, the creation as a sign of God, the distinction between the visible and the invisible world, and their coming together in Christ and the Church are examined. With regard to the human being, the distinction between the tripartite and the bipartite anthropologies is analyzed. In them the spirit is the highest part of the human being, capable of grasping God. In the carnal person the spirit is dead and empty. It is made alive by faith. However, the natural capacities cannot grasp the content of faith. Therefore, there is a cognitive and affectual conflict between the flesh and the spirit in the Christian person. With regard to the understanding of faith, Luther's relation to divine illumination is examined. Luther's reading of Ps. 4:7 represents a realist, Augustinian view of illumination. For Luther, the divine light by which the soul knows the true good is precisely the light of faith. Luther defines faith as actual and immediate cognition of God. In relation to God, with regard to the intellect, it is an incomprehensible, captivating light. With regard to the affect, it is a light which grasps God as the highest good, creating joy and delight. In relation to the universe, faith is a light of understanding (intellect) in which all things are seen as related to God. It is also a light for the affect that directs through tribulations, towards good thoughts and actions. Faith is distinct from the heavenly vision because it is only partial possession, it is commixed with the human nature of Christ, and it is made enigmatic by sin. Luther understands the cognition of God through the concept of infused faith. Acquired faith (dogmas or trust) is secondary, but plays a role in tribulations, in which God is not yet perceived as the immediate content of faith. Luther's understanding of faith thus follows in its general form the theory of divine illumination. Luther attributes this illumination to the light of faith, which becomes the true theological intellect. Luther's early theology as a whole can be seen as a continuation of the theology of the medieval Augustinian School. The centrality of faith, seen in interpretation of the divine light precisely as faith, guards the sola gratia principle fundamental to Luther.