Herbart’s Religious Philosophy
God and purpose
“Purposiveness not only needs a purpose, but must proceed from a purpose already thought, willed and realized by a mind endowed with effectiveness.” (148)
"Speculation seeks the Highest. This object to which it aspires, the First, the Beautiful, the Beloved, indicating it as though by pointing, it calls with a single name: the Holy. Obedient to the sign made to it, wholly by this sign and escaping the tyranny of feeling that boldly requires and imposes, speculation recognizes little by little in the place of a foreshadowed unity, the trinity: pure form, for the three members of this Trinity live equally beyond Being.
In the distance floats the First and the Beautiful, the infinite but unfixed basis of a mystical triangle such that, if this basis disappear and reduce itself to a point, the Beloved, tip of the triangle, would lower itself and come to mix itself with them.
The First allows itself to be discovered in Time. It leads to Being and by [way of] Being to Time, and thus to the eternal contradiction that, a pure Nothing, provides a key which is nothing for the enigmas of the world.
The Beautiful does not know Time. Neither does it know Being. Without resistance, but without knowing it, it follows the common master of both. Softly, as it is, it allows itself to be heard in hard oracles. They echo deafly, prophetic voices, distant in time, and in the depths of the heart.
Do not speak of the Beloved; do not seek it in the Beautiful; do not seek it in the First; do not seek it at all.
Above all and in the heart of Being, there is the True. By it shines the constellation of the triple star in time and in the souls of men." (from On Philosophical Studies, 128-29)
"It remains however, that these various considerations of a moral or even speculative character, whatever may be their value, cannot be considered as a rigorous demonstration: God remains definitively an object of belief, not of science." (158)