The aim of this essay is to cast light on the puzzling transition from logic to nature that is stated at the end of Hegel's Science of Logic. The passage is summed up by the famous intriguing sentence about the absolute idea freely resolving to let itself go.
Firstly, I shall sketch the, so to speak, “divine” features of the absolute philosophical knowing that is to be developed in the Encyclopaedia system. My point is to account for the relationship between the standpoint reached by the Phenomenology of Spirit and the content of the Logic, regarded as the presentation of God as he is in his eternal essence.
Secondly, I shall focus attention on the way in which the developed idea of philosophical knowing is systematically displayed in the Encyclopaedia. My point is now to account for: i) the mutual relationships among the three parts of philosophical science (science of logic, philosophy of nature, philosophy of spirit); and ii) the relationship between these parts and the whole of philosophy.
Thirdly, I shall examine the two main and opposite standard interpretations of the transition from the first to the second part of the Encyclopaedia. My point here is to challenge the conceptual presuppositions of the readings under consideration, by means of a close examination of the revised editions of Hegel's text.
Fourthly, I shall argue for a different view. My last point is to focus on the character of the absolute idea's self-determination. It involves letting the determination of the distinction exist as something independent, so that the “other” obtains the determinacy of “other-being”, of an actual entity. Therefore it must be distanced from the divine way of generating (the Father-Son relationship) that is the form of love. I shall conclude by discussing the implications of Hegel's use of the notion of “creation” and his paradoxical definition of nature as being the Son and not the Son of God.