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Title: Systematic Theology (Volume 2 of 3)

Author: Augustus Hopkins Strong

Release date: December 31, 2013 [eBook #44555]

Language: English

*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (VOLUME 2 OF 3) ***


Systematic Theology

A Compendium and Commonplace-Book

Designed For The Use Of Theological Students

By

Augustus Hopkins Strong, D.D., LL.D.

President and Professor of Biblical Theology in the Rochester Theological Seminary

Revised and Enlarged

In Three Volumes

Volume 2

The Doctrine of Man

The Judson Press

Philadelphia

1907


Contents

Cover Art

[Transcriber's Note: The above cover image was produced by the submitter at Distributed Proofreaders, and is being placed into the public domain.]

[pg v]

Christo Deo Salvatori.

The eye sees only that which it brings with it the power of seeing.Cicero.

Open thou mine eyes, that i may behold wondrous things out of thy law.Psalm 119:18.

For with thee is the fountain of life: In thy light shall we see light.Psalm 36:9.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.1 Cor. 13:9, 10.

[pg 371]

Part IV. The Nature, Decrees, And Works of God. (Continued)

Chapter IV. The Works Of God; Or The Execution Of The Decrees.

Section I.—Creation.

I. Definition Of Creation.

By creation we mean that free act of the triune God by which in the beginning for his own glory he made, without the use of preëxisting materials, the whole visible and invisible universe.

Creation is designed origination, by a transcendent and personal God, of that which itself is not God. The universe is related to God as our own volitions are related to ourselves. They are not ourselves, and we are greater than they. Creation is not simply the idea of God, or even the plan of God, but it is the idea externalized, the plan executed; in other words, it implied an exercise, not only of intellect, but also of will, and this will is not an instinctive and unconscious will, but a will that is personal and free. Such exercise of will seems to involve, not self-development, but self-limitation, on the part of God; the transformation of energy into force, and so a beginning of time, with its finite successions. But, whatever the relation of creation to time, creation makes the universe wholly dependent upon God, as its originator.

F. H. Johnson, in Andover Rev., March, 1891:280, and What is Reality, 285—Creation is designed origination.... Men never could have thought of God as the Creator of the world, were it not that they had first known themselves as creators. We agree with the doctrine of Hazard, Man a Creative First Cause. Man creates ideas and volitions, without use of preëxisting material. He also indirectly, through these ideas and volitions, creates brain-modifications. This creation, as Johnson has shown, is without hands, yet elaborate, selective, progressive. Schopenhauer: Matter is nothing more than causation; its true being is its action.

Prof. C. L. Herrick, Denison Quarterly, 1896:248, and Psychological Review, March, 1899, advocates what he calls dynamism, which he regards as the only alternative to a materialistic dualism which posits matter, and a God above and distinct from matter. He claims that the predicate of reality can apply only to energy. To speak of energy as residing in something is to introduce an entirely incongruous concept, for it continues our guest ad infinitum. Force, he says, is energy under resistance, or self-limited energy, for all parts of the universe are derived from the energy. Energy manifesting itself under self-conditioning or differential forms is force. The change of pure energy into force is creation—the introduction of resistance. The progressive complication of this interference is evolution—a form of orderly resolution of energy. Substance is pure spontaneous energy. God's substance is his energy—the infinite and inexhaustible store of spontaneity which makes up his being. The form which self-limitation [pg 372]impresses upon substance, in revealing it in force, is not God, because it no longer possesses the attributes of spontaneity and universality, though it emanates from him. When we speak of energy as self-limited, we simply imply that spontaneity is intelligent. The sum of God's acts is his being. There is no causa posterior or extranea, which spurs him on. We must recognize in the source what appears in the outcome. We can speak of absolute, but not of infinite or immutable, substance. The Universe is but the partial expression of an infinite God.

Our view of creation is so nearly that of Lotze, that we here condense Ten Broeke's statement of his philosophy: Things are concreted laws of action. If the idea of being must include permanence as well as activity, we must say that only the personal truly is. All else is flow and process. We can interpret ontology only from the side of personality. Possibility of interaction requires the dependence of the mutually related many of the system upon an all-embracing, coördinating One. The finite is a mode or phenomenon of the One Being. Mere things are only modes of energizing of the One. Self-conscious personalities are created, posited, and depend on the One in a different way. Interaction of things is immanent action of the One, which the perceiving mind interprets as causal. Real interaction is possible only between the Infinite and the created finite, i. e., self-conscious persons. The finite is not a part of the Infinite, nor does it partly exhaust the stuff of the Infinite. The One, by an act of freedom, posits the many, and the many have their ground and unity in the Will and Thought of the One. Both the finite and the Infinite are free and intelligent.

Space is not an extra-mental reality, sui generis, nor an order of relations among realities, but a form of dynamic appearance, the ground of which is the fixed orderly changes in reality. So time is the form of change, the subjective interpretation of timeless yet successive changes in reality. So far as God is the ground of the world-process, he is in time. So far as he transcends the world-process in his self-conscious personality, he is not in time. Motion too is the subjective interpretation of changes in things, which changes are determined by the demands of the world-system and the purpose being realized in it. Not atomism, but dynamism, is the truth. Physical phenomena are referable to the activity of the Infinite, which activity is given a substantive character because we think under the form of substance and attribute. Mechanism is compatible with teleology. Mechanism is universal and is necessary to all system. But it is limited by purpose, and by the possible appearance of any new law, force, or act of freedom.

The soul is not a function of material activities, but is a true reality. The system is such that it can admit new factors, and the soul is one of these possible new factors. The soul is created as substantial reality, in contrast with other elements of the system, which are only phenomenal manifestations of the One Reality. The relation between soul and body is that of interaction between the soul and the universe, the body being that part of the universe which stands in closest relation with the soul (versus Bradley, who holds that body and soul alike are phenomenal arrangements, neither one of which has any title to fact which is not owned by the other). Thought is a knowledge of reality. We must assume an adjustment between subject and object. This assumption is founded on the postulate of a morally perfect God. To Lotze, then, the only real creation is that of finite personalities,—matter being only a mode of the divine activity. See Lotze, Microcosmos, and Philosophy of Religion. Bowne, in his Metaphysics and his Philosophy of Theism, is the best expositor of Lotze's system.

In further explanation of our definition we remark that

(a) Creation is not “production out of nothing,” as if “nothing” were a substance out of which “something” could be formed.

We do not regard the doctrine of Creation as bound to the use of the phrase creation out of nothing, and as standing or falling with it. The phrase is a philosophical one, for which we have no Scriptural warrant, and it is objectionable as intimating that nothing can itself be an object of thought and a source of being. The germ of truth intended to be conveyed in it can better be expressed in the phrase without use of preëxisting materials.

(b) Creation is not a fashioning of preëxisting materials, nor an emanation from the substance of Deity, but is a making of that to exist which once did not exist, either in form or substance.

[pg 373]

There is nothing divine in creation but the origination of substance. Fashioning is competent to the creature also. Gassendi said to Descartes that God's creation, if he is the author of forms but not of substances, is only that of the tailor who clothes a man with his apparel. But substance is not necessarily material. We are to conceive of it rather after the analogy of our own ideas and volitions, and as a manifestation of spirit. Creation is not simply the thought of God, nor even the plan of God, but rather the externalization of that thought and the execution of that plan. Nature is a great sheet let down from God out of heaven, and containing nothing that is common or unclean; but nature is not God nor a part of God, any more than our ideas and volitions are ourselves or a part of ourselves. Nature is a partial manifestation of God, but it does not exhaust God.

(c) Creation is not an instinctive or necessary process of the divine nature, but is the free act of a rational will, put forth for a definite and sufficient end.

Creation is different in kind from that eternal process of the divine nature in virtue of which we speak of generation and procession. The Son is begotten of the Father, and is of the same essence; the world is created without preëxisting material, is different from God, and is made by God. Begetting is a necessary act; creation is the act of God's free grace. Begetting is eternal, out of time; creation is in time, or with time.

Studia Biblica, 4:148—Creation is the voluntary limitation which God has imposed on himself.... It can only be regarded as a Creation of free spirits.... It is a form of almighty power to submit to limitation. Creation is not a development of God, but a circumscription of God.... The world is not the expression of God, or an emanation from God, but rather his self-limitation.

(d) Creation is the act of the triune God, in the sense that all the persons of the Trinity, themselves uncreated, have a part in it—the Father as the originating, the Son as the mediating, the Spirit as the realizing cause.

That all of God's creative activity is exercised through Christ has been sufficiently proved in our treatment of the Trinity and of Christ's deity as an element of that doctrine (see pages 310, 311). We may here refer to the texts which have been previously considered, namely, John 1:3, 4All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made. That which hath been made was life in him; 1 Cor. 8:6one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things; Col. 1:16all things have been created through him, and unto him; Heb. 1:10Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands.

The work of the Holy Spirit seems to be that of completing, bringing to perfection. We can understand this only by remembering that our Christian knowledge and love are brought to their consummation by the Holy Spirit, and that he is also the principle of our natural self-consciousness, uniting subject and object in a subject-object. If matter is conceived of as a manifestation of spirit, after the idealistic philosophy, then the Holy Spirit may be regarded as the perfecting and realizing agent in the externalization of the divine ideas. While it was the Word though whom all things were made, the Holy Spirit was the author of life, order, and adornment. Creation is not a mere manufacturing,—it is a spiritual act.

John Caird, Fundamental Ideas of Christianity, 1:120—The creation of the world cannot be by a Being who is external. Power presupposes an object on which it is exerted. 129—There is in the very nature of God a reason why he should reveal himself in, and communicate himself to, a world of finite existences, or fulfil and realize himself in the being and life of nature and man. His nature would not be what it is if such a world did not exist; something would be lacking to the completeness of the divine being without it. 144—Even with respect to human thought or intelligence, it is mind or spirit which creates the world. It is not a ready-made world on which we look; in perceiving our world we make it. 152-154—We make progress as we cease to think our own thoughts and become media of the universal Intelligence. While we accept Caird's idealistic interpretation of creation, we dissent from his intimation that creation is a necessity to God. The trinitarian being of God renders him sufficient to himself, even without creation. Yet those very trinitarian relations throw light upon the method of creation, since they disclose to us the order of all the divine activity. On the definition of Creation, see Shedd, History of Doctrine, 1:11.

[pg 374]

II. Proof of the Doctrine of Creation.

Creation is a truth of which mere science or reason cannot fully assure us. Physical science can observe and record changes, but it knows nothing of origins. Reason cannot absolutely disprove the eternity of matter. For proof of the doctrine of Creation, therefore, we rely wholly upon Scripture. Scripture supplements science, and renders its explanation of the universe complete.

Drummond, in his Natural Law in the Spiritual World, claims that atoms, as manufactured articles, and the dissipation of energy, prove the creation of the visible from the invisible. See the same doctrine propounded in The Unseen Universe. But Sir Charles Lyell tells us: Geology is the autobiography of the earth,—but like all autobiographies, it does not go back to the beginning. Hopkins, Yale Lectures on the Scriptural View of Man: There is nothing a priori against the eternity of matter.Wardlaw, Syst. Theol., 2:65—We cannot form any distinct conception of creation out of nothing. The very idea of it might never have occurred to the mind of man, had it not been traditionally handed down as a part of the original revelation to the parents of the race.

Hartmann, the German philosopher, goes back to the original elements of the universe, and then says that science stands petrified before the question of their origin, as before a Medusa's head. But in the presence of problems, says Dorner, the duty of science is not petrifaction, but solution. This is peculiarly true, if science is, as Hartmann thinks, a complete explanation of the universe. Since science, by her own acknowledgment, furnishes no such explanation of the origin of things, the Scripture revelation with regard to creation meets a demand of human reason, by adding the one fact without which science must forever be devoid of the highest unity and rationality. For advocacy of the eternity of matter, see Martineau, Essays, 1:157-169.

E. H. Johnson, in Andover Review, Nov. 1891:505 sq., and Dec. 1891:592 sq., remarks that evolution can be traced backward to more and more simple elements, to matter without motion and with no quality but being. Now make it still more simple by divesting it of existence, and you get back to the necessity of a Creator. An infinite number of past stages is impossible. There is no infinite number. Somewhere there must be a beginning. We grant to Dr. Johnson that the only alternative to creation is a materialistic dualism, or an eternal matter which is the product of the divine mind and will. The theories of dualism and of creation from eternity we shall discuss hereafter.

1. Direct Scripture Statements.

A. Genesis 1:1—“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” To this it has been objected that the verb ברא does not necessarily denote production without the use of preexisting materials (see Gen. 1:27 “God created man in his own image”; cf. 2:7—“the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground”; also Ps. 51:10—“Create in me a clean heart”).

In the first two chapters of Genesis ברא is used (1) of the creation of the universe (1:1); (2) of the creation of the great sea monsters (1:21); (3) of the creation of man (1:27). Everywhere else we read of God's making, as from an already created substance, the firmament (1:7), the sun, moon and stars (1:16), the brute creation (1:25); or of his forming the beasts of the field out of the ground (2:19); or, lastly, of his building upinto a woman the rib he had taken from man (2:22, margin)—quoted from Bible Com., 1:31. Guyot, Creation, 30—Bara is thus reserved for marking the first introduction of each of the three great spheres of existence—the world of matter, the world of life, and the spiritual world represented by man.

We grant, in reply, that the argument for absolute creation derived from the mere word ברא is not entirely conclusive. Other considerations in connection with the use of this word, however, seem to render this interpretation [pg 375] of Gen. 1:1 the most plausible. Some of these considerations we proceed to mention.

(a) While we acknowledge that the verb ברא “does not necessarily or invariably denote production without the use of preëxisting materials, we still maintain that it signifies the production of an effect for which no natural antecedent existed before, and which can be only the result of divine agency.” For this reason, in the Kal species it is used only of God, and is never accompanied by any accusative denoting material.

No accusative denoting material follows bara, in the passages indicated, for the reason that all thought of material was absent. See Dillmann, Genesis, 18; Oehler, Theol. O. T., 1:177. The quotation in the text above is from Green, Hebrew Chrestomathy, 67. But E. G. Robinson, Christian Theology, 88, remarks: Whether the Scriptures teach the absolute origination of matter—its creation out of nothing—is an open question.... No decisive evidence is furnished by the Hebrew word bara.

A moderate and scholarly statement of the facts is furnished by Professor W. J. Beecher, in S. S. Times, Dec. 23, 1893:807—To create is to originate divinely.... Creation, in the sense in which the Bible uses the word, does not exclude the use of materials previously existing; for man was taken from the ground (Gen. 2:7), and woman was builded from the rib of a man (2:22). Ordinarily God brings things into existence through the operation of second causes. But it is possible, in our thinking, to withdraw attention from the second causes, and to think of anything as originating simply from God, apart from second causes. To think of a thing thus is to think of it as created. The Bible speaks of Israel as created, of the promised prosperity of Jerusalem as created, of the Ammonite people and the king of Tyre as created, of persons of any date in history as created (Is. 43:1-15; 65:18; Ez. 21:30; 28:13, 15; Ps. 102:18; Eccl. 12:1; Mal. 2:10). Miracles and the ultimate beginnings of second causes are necessarily thought of as creative acts; all other originating of things may be thought of, according to the purpose we have in mind, either as creation or as effected by second causes.

(b) In the account of the creation, ברא seems to be distinguished from עשה, “to make” either with or without the use of already existing material (ברא לעשות, “created in making” or “made by creation,” in 2:3; and ויעש, of the firmament, in 1:7), and from יצר, “to form” out of such material. (See ויברא, of man regarded as a spiritual being, in 1:27; but ויצר, of man regarded as a physical being, in 2:7.)

See Conant, Genesis, 1; Bible Com., 1:37—“ created to make (in Gen. 2:3) = created out of nothing, in order that he might make out of it all the works recorded in the six days. Over against these texts, however, we must set others in which there appears no accurate distinguishing of these words from one another. Bara is used in Gen. 1:1, asah in Gen. 2:4, of the creation of the heaven and earth. Of earth, both yatzar and asah are used in Is. 45:18. In regard to man, in Gen. 1:27 we find bara; in Gen. 1:26 and 9:6, asah; and in Gen. 2:7, yatzar. In Is. 43:7, all three are found in the same verse: whom I have bara for my glory, I have yatzar, yea, I have asah him. In Is. 45:12, asah the earth, and bara man upon it; but in Gen. 1:1 we read: God bara the earth, and in 9:6 asah man. Is. 44:2—the Lord that asah thee (i. e., man) and yatzar thee; but in Gen. 1:27, God bara man. Gen. 5:2male and female bara he them. Gen. 2:22the rib asah he a woman; Gen. 2:7he yatzar man; i. e., bara male and female, yet asah the woman and yatzar the man. Asah is not always used for transform: Is. 41:20fir-tree, pine, box-tree in nature—bara; Ps. 51:10bara in me a clean heart; Is. 65:18—God bara Jerusalem into a rejoicing.

(c) The context shows that the meaning here is a making without the use of preëxisting materials. Since the earth in its rude, unformed, chaotic condition is still called “the earth” in verse 2, the word ברא in verse 1 cannot refer to any shaping or fashioning of the elements, but must signify the calling of them into being.

[pg 376]

Oehler, Theology of O.T., 1:177—By the absolute berashith, in the beginning, the divine creation is fixed as an absolute beginning, not as a working on something that already existed. Verse 2 cannot be the beginning of a history, for it begins with and.Delitzsch says of the expression the earth was without form and void: From this it is evident that the void and formless state of the earth was not uncreated or without a beginning. ... It is evident that the heaven and earth as God created them in the beginning were not the well-ordered universe, but the world in its elementary form.

(d) The fact that ברא may have had an original signification of “cutting,” “forming,” and that it retains this meaning in the Piel conjugation, need not prejudice the conclusion thus reached, since terms expressive of the most spiritual processes are derived from sensuous roots. If ברא does not signify absolute creation, no word exists in the Hebrew language that can express this idea.

(e) But this idea of production without the use of preëxisting materials unquestionably existed among the Hebrews. The later Scriptures show that it had become natural to the Hebrew mind. The possession of this idea by the Hebrews, while it is either not found at all or is very dimly and ambiguously expressed in the sacred books of the heathen, can be best explained by supposing that it was derived from this early revelation in Genesis.

E. H. Johnson, Outline of Syst. Theol., 94—Rom. 4:17 tells us that the faith of Abraham, to whom God had promised a son, grasped the fact that God calls into existence the things that are not. This may be accepted as Paul's interpretation of the first verse of the Bible. It is possible that the heathen had occasional glimpses of this truth, though with no such clearness as that with which it was held in Israel. Perhaps we may say that through the perversions of later nature-worship something of the original revelation of absolute creation shines, as the first writing of a palimpsest appears faintly through the subsequent script with which it has been overlaid. If the doctrine of absolute creation is found at all among the heathen, it is greatly blurred and obscured. No one of the heathen books teaches it as do the sacred Scriptures of the Hebrews. Yet it seems as if this One accent of the Holy Ghost The heedless world has never lost.

Bib. Com., 1:31—Perhaps no other ancient language, however refined and philosophical, could have so dearly distinguished the different acts of the Maker of all things [as the Hebrew did With its four different words], and that because all heathen philosophy esteemed matter to be eternal and uncreated. Prof. E. D. Burton: Brahmanism, and the original religion of which Zoroastrianism was a reformation, were Eastern and Western divisions of a primitive Aryan, and probably monotheistic, religion. The Vedas, which represented the Brahmanism, leave it a question whence the world came, whether from God by emanation, or by the shaping of material eternally existent. Later Brahmanism is pantheistic, and Buddhism, the Reformation of Brahmanism, is atheistic. See Shedd, Dogm. Theol., 1:471, and Mosheim's references in Cudworth's Intellectual System, 3:140.

We are inclined still to hold that the doctrine of absolute creation was known to no other ancient nation besides the Hebrews. Recent investigations, however, render this somewhat more doubtful than it once seemed to be. Sayce, Hibbert Lectures, 142, 143, finds creation among the early Babylonians. In his Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia, 372-397, he says: The elements of Hebrew cosmology are all Babylonian; even the creative word itself was a Babylonian conception; but the spirit which inspires the cosmology is the antithesis to that which inspired the cosmology of Babylonia. Between the polytheism of Babylonia and the monotheism of Israel a gulf is fixed which cannot be spanned. So soon as we have a clear monotheism, absolute creation is a corollary. As the monotheistic idea is corrupted, creation gives place to pantheistic transformation.

It is now claimed by others that Zoroastrianism, the Vedas, and the religion of the ancient Egyptians had the idea of absolute creation. On creation in the Zoroastrian system, see our treatment of Dualism, page 382. Vedic hymn in Rig Veda, 10:9, quoted by J. F. Clarke, Ten Great Religions, 2:205—Originally this universe was soul [pg 377]only; nothing else whatsoever existed, active or inactive. He thought: I will create worlds; thus he created these various worlds: earth, light, mortal being, and the waters. Renouf, Hibbert Lectures, 216-222, speaks of a papyrus on the staircase of the British Museum, which reads: The great God, the Lord of heaven and earth, who made all things which are ... the almighty God, self-existent, who made heaven and earth; ... the heaven was yet uncreated, uncreated was the earth; thou hast put together the earth; ... who made all things, but was not made.

But the Egyptian religion in its later development, as well as Brahmanism, was pantheistic, and it is possible that all the expressions we have quoted are to be interpreted, not as indicating a belief in creation out of nothing, but as asserting emanation, or the taking on by deity of new forms and modes of existence. On creation in heathen systems, see Pierret, Mythologie, and answer to it by Maspero; Hymn to Amen-Rha, in Records of the Past; G. C. Müller, Literature of Greece, 87, 88; George Smith, Chaldean Genesis, chapters 1, 3, 5 and 6; Dillmann, Com. on Genesis, 6th edition, Introd., 5-10; LeNormant, Hist. Ancienne de l'Orient, 1:17-26; 5:238; Otto Zöckler, art.: Schöpfung, in Herzog and Plitt, Encyclop.; S. B. Gould, Origin and Devel. of Relig. Beliefs, 281-292.

B. Hebrews 11:3—“By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which appear” = the world was not made out of sensible and preëxisting material, but by the direct fiat of omnipotence (see Alford, and Lünemann, Meyer's Com. in loco).

Compare 2 Maccabees 7:28—ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων ἐποίησεν αὐτὰ ὁ Θεός. This the Vulgate translated by quia ex nihilo fecit illa Deus, and from the Vulgate the phrase creation out of nothing is derived. Hedge, Ways of the Spirit, points out that Wisdom 11:17 has ἐξ ἀμόρφου ὕλης, interprets by this the ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων in 2 Maccabees, and denies that this last refers to creation out of nothing. But we must remember that the later Apocryphal writings were composed under the influence of the Platonic philosophy; that the passage in Wisdom may be a rationalistic interpretation of that in Maccabees; and that even if it were independent, we are not to assume a harmony of view in the Apocrypha. 2 Maccabees 7:28 must stand by itself as a testimony to Jewish belief in creation without use of preëxisting material,—belief which can be traced to no other source than the Old Testament Scriptures. Compare Ex. 34:10I will do marvels such as have not been wrought [marg. created] in all the earth; Num. 16:30if Jehovah make a new thing [marg. create a creation]; Is. 4:5Jehovah will create ... a cloud and smoke; 41:20the Holy One of Israel hath created it; 45:7, 8I form the light, and create darkness; 57:19I create the fruit of the lips; 65:17I create new heavens and a new earth; Jer. 31:22Jehovah hath created a new thing.

Rom. 4:17God, who giveth life to the dead, and calleth the things that are not, as though they were; 1 Cor. 1:28things that are not [did God choose] that he might bring to naught the things that are; 2 Cor. 4:6God, that said, Light shall shine out of darkness—created light without preëxisting material,—for darkness is no material; Col. 1:16, 17in him were all things created ... and he is before all things; so also Ps. 33:9he spake, and it was done; 148:5he commanded, and they were created. See Philo, Creation of the World, chap. 1-7, and Life of Moses, book 3, chap. 36—He produced the most perfect work, the Cosmos, out of non-existence (τοῦ μὴ ὄντος) into being (εἰς τὸ εἶναι). E. H. Johnson, Syst. Theol., 94—We have no reason to believe that the Hebrew mind had the idea of creation out of invisible materials. But creation out of visible materials is in Hebrews 11:3 expressly denied. This text is therefore equivalent to an assertion that the universe was made without the use of anypreëxisting materials.

2. Indirect evidence from Scripture.

(a) The past duration of the world is limited; (b) before the world began to be, each of the persons of the Godhead already existed; (c) the origin of the universe is ascribed to God, and to each of the persons of the Godhead. These representations of Scripture are not only most consistent with the view that the universe was created by God without use of preëxisting material, but they are inexplicable upon any other hypothesis.

[pg 378]

(a) Mark 13:19from the beginning of the creation which God created until now; John 17:5before the world was; Eph. 1:4before the foundation of the world. (b) Ps. 90:2Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God; Prov. 8:23I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was; John 1:1In the beginning was the Word; Col. 1:17he is before all things; Heb. 9:14the eternal Spirit (see Tholuck, Com. in loco). (c) Eph. 3:9God who created all things; Rom. 11:36of him ... are all things; 1 Cor. 8:6one God, the Father, of whom we are all things ... one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things; John 1:3all things were made through him; Col 1:16in him were all things created ... all things have been created through him, and unto him; Heb. 1:2through whom also he made the worlds; Gen. 1:2and the Spirit of God moved [marg. was brooding] upon the face of the waters. From these passages we may also infer that (1) all things are absolutely dependent upon God; (2) God exercises supreme control over all things; (3) God is the only infinite Being; (4) God alone is eternal; (5) there is no substance out of which God creates; (6) things do not proceed from God by necessary emanation; the universe has its source and originator in God's transcendent and personal will. See, on this indirect proof of creation, Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:231. Since other views, however, have been held to be more rational, we proceed to the examination of

III. Theories which oppose Creation.

1. Dualism.

Of dualism there are two forms:

A. That which holds to two self-existent principles, God and matter. These are distinct from and coëternal with each other. Matter, however, is an unconscious, negative, and imperfect substance, which is subordinate to God and is made the instrument of his will. This was the underlying principle of the Alexandrian Gnostics. It was essentially an attempt to combine with Christianity the Platonic or Aristotelian conception of the ὕλη. In this way it was thought to account for the existence of evil, and to escape the difficulty of imagining a production without use of preëxisting material. Basilides (flourished 125) and Valentinus (died 160), the representatives of this view, were influenced also by Hindu philosophy, and their dualism is almost indistinguishable from pantheism. A similar view has been held in modern times by John Stuart Mill and apparently by Frederick W. Robertson.

Dualism seeks to show how the One becomes the many, how the Absolute gives birth to the relative, how the Good can consist with evil. The ὕλη of Plato seems to have meant nothing but empty space, whose not-being, or merely negative existence, prevented the full realization of the divine ideas. Aristotle regarded the ὕλη as a more positive cause of imperfection,—it was like the hard material which hampers the sculptor in expressing his thought. The real problem for both Plato and Aristotle was to explain the passage from pure spiritual existence to that which is phenomenal and imperfect, from the absolute and unlimited to that which exists in space and time. Finiteness, instead of being created, was regarded as having eternal existence and as limiting all divine manifestations. The ὕλη, from being a mere abstraction, became either a negative or a positive source of evil. The Alexandrian Jews, under the influence of Hellenic culture, sought to make this dualism explain the doctrine of creation.

Basilides and Valentinus, however, were also under the influence of a pantheistic philosophy brought in from the remote East—the philosophy of Buddhism, which taught that the original Source of all was a nameless Being, devoid of all qualities, and so, indistinguishable from Nothing. From this Being, which is Not-being, all existing things proceed. Aristotle and Hegel similarly taught that pure Being = Nothing. But inasmuch as the object of the Alexandrian philosophers was to show how something could be originated, they were obliged to conceive of the primitive Nothing as capable of such originating. They, moreover, in the absence of any conception of absolute creation, were compelled to conceive of a material which could be fashioned. Hence the Void, the Abyss, is made to take the place of matter. If it be said that they did [pg 379]not conceive of the Void or the Abyss as substance, we reply that they gave it just as substantial existence as they gave to the first Cause of things, which, in spite of their negative descriptions of it, involved Will and Design. And although they do not attribute to this secondary substance a positive influence for evil, they notwithstanding see in it the unconscious hinderer of all good.

Principal Tulloch, in Encyc. Brit., 10:704—In the Alexandrian Gnosis ... the stream of being in its ever outward flow at length comes in contact with dead matter which thus receives animation and becomes a living source of evil. Windelband, Hist. Philosophy, 129, 144, 239—With Valentinus, side by side with the Deity poured forth into the Pleroma or Fulness of spiritual forms, appears the Void, likewise original and from eternity; beside Form appears matter; beside the good appears the evil.Mansel, Gnostic Heresies, 139—The Platonic theory of an inert, semi-existent matter, ... was adopted by the Gnosis of Egypt.... 187—Valentinus does not content himself, like Plato, ... with assuming as the germ of the natural world an unformed matter existing from all eternity.... The whole theory may be described as a development, in allegorical language of the pantheistic hypothesis which in its outline had been previously adopted by Basilides. A. H. Newman, Ch. History, 1:181-192, calls the philosophy of Basilides fundamentally pantheistic. Valentinus, he says, was not so careful to insist on the original non-existence of God and everything. We reply that even to Basilides the Non-existent One is endued with power; and this power accomplishes nothing until it comes in contact with things non-existent, and out of them fashions the seed of the world. The things non-existent are as substantial as is the Fashioner, and they imply both objectivity and limitation.

Lightfoot, Com. on Colossians, 76-113, esp. 82, has traced a connection between the Gnostic doctrine, the earlier Colossian heresy, and the still earlier teaching of the Essenes of Palestine. All these were characterized by (1) the spirit of caste or intellectual exclusiveness; (2) peculiar tenets as to creation and as to evil; (3) practical asceticism. Matter is evil and separates man from God; hence intermediate beings between man and God as objects of worship; hence also mortification of the body as a means of purifying man from sin. Paul's antidote for both errors was simply the person of Christ, the true and only Mediator and Sanctifier. See Guericke, Church History, 1:161.

Harnack, Hist. Dogma, 1:128—The majority of Gnostic undertakings may be viewed as attempts to transform Christianity into a theosophy.... In Gnosticism the Hellenic spirit desired to make itself master of Christianity, or more correctly, of the Christian communities.... 232—Harnack represents one of the fundamental philosophic doctrines of Gnosticism to be that of the Cosmos as a mixture of matter with divine sparks, which has arisen from a descent of the latter into the former [Alexandrian Gnosticism], or, as some say, from the perverse, or at least merely permitted undertaking of a subordinate spirit [Syrian Gnosticism]. We may compare the Hebrew Sadducee with the Greek Epicurean; the Pharisee with the Stoic; the Essene with the Pythagorean. The Pharisees overdid the idea of God's transcendence. Angels must come in between God and the world. Gnostic intermediaries were the logical outcome. External works of obedience were alone valid. Christ preached, instead of this, a religion of the heart. Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, 1:52—The rejection of animal sacrifices and consequent abstaining from temple-worship on the part of the Essenes, which seems out of harmony with the rest of their legal obedience, is most simply explained as the consequence of their idea that to bring to God a bloody animal offering was derogatory to his transcendental character. Therefore they interpreted the O. T. command in an allegorizing way.

Lyman Abbott: The Oriental dreams; the Greek defines; the Hebrew acts. All these influences met and intermingled at Alexandria. Emanations were mediations between the absolute, unknowable, all-containing God, and the personal, revealed and holy God of Scripture. Asceticism was one result: matter is undivine, therefore get rid of it. License was another result: matter is undivine, therefore disregard it—there is no disease and there is no sin—the modern doctrine of Christian Science.Kedney, Christian Doctrine, 1:360-373; 2:354, conceives of the divine glory as an eternal material environment of God, out of which the universe is fashioned.

The author of The Unseen Universe (page 17) wrongly calls John Stuart Mill a Manichæan. But Mill disclaims belief in the personality of this principle that resists and limits God,—see his posthumous Essays on Religion, 176-195. F. W. Robertson, Lectures on Genesis, 4-16—Before the creation of the world all was chaos ... but with the creation, order began.... God did not cease from creation, for creation is going on [pg 380]every day. Nature is God at work. Only after surprising changes, as in spring-time, do we say figuratively, God rests. ” See also Frothingham, Christian Philosophy.

With regard to this view, we remark:

(a) The maxim ex nihilo nihil fit, upon which it rests, is true only in so far as it asserts that no event takes place without a cause. It is false, if it mean that nothing can ever be made except out of material previously existing. The maxim is therefore applicable only to the realm of second causes, and does not bar the creative power of the great first Cause. The doctrine of creation does not dispense with a cause; on the other hand, it assigns to the universe a sufficient cause in God.

Lucretius: Nihil posse creari De nihilo, neque quod genitum est ad nihil revocari.Persius: Gigni De nihilo nihil, in nihilum nil posse reverti. Martensen, Dogmatics, 116—The nothing, out of which God creates the world, is the eternal possibilities of his will, which are the sources of all the actualities of the world. Lewes, Problems of Life and Mind, 2:292—When therefore it is argued that the creation of something from nothing is unthinkable and is therefore peremptorily to be rejected, the argument seems to me to be defective. The process is thinkable, but not imaginable, conceivable but not probable. See Cudworth, Intellectual System, 3:81 sq. Lipsius, Dogmatik, 288, remarks that the theory of dualism is quite as difficult as that of absolute creation. It holds to a point of time when God began to fashion preëxisting material, and can give no reason why God did not do it before, since there must always have been in him an impulse toward this fashioning.

(b) Although creation without the use of preëxisting material is inconceivable, in the sense of being unpicturable to the imagination, yet the eternity of matter is equally inconceivable. For creation without preëxisting material, moreover, we find remote analogies in our own creation of ideas and volitions, a fact as inexplicable as God's bringing of new substances into being.

Mivart, Lessons from Nature, 371, 372—We have to a certain extent an aid to the thought of absolute creation in our own free volition, which, as absolutely originating and determining, may be taken as the type to us of the creative act. We speak of the creative faculty of the artist or poet. We cannot give reality to the products of our imaginations, as God can to his. But if thought were only substance, the analogy would be complete. Shedd, Dogm. Theol., 1:467—Our thoughts and volitions are created ex nihilo, in the sense that one thought is not made out of another thought, nor one volition out of another volition. So created substance may be only the mind and will of God in exercise, automatically in matter, freely in the case of free beings (see pages 90, 105-110, 383, and in our treatment of Preservation).

Beddoes: I have a bit of Fiat in my soul, And can myself create my little world.Mark Hopkins: Man is an image of God as a creator.... He can purposely create, or cause to be, a future that, but for him, would not have been. E. C. Stedman, Nature of Poetry, 223—So far as the Poet, the artist, is creative, he becomes a sharer of the divine imagination and power, and even of the divine responsibility. Wordsworth calls the poet a serene creator of immortal things. Imagination, he says, is but another name for clearest insight, amplitude of mind, And reason in her most exalted mood. If we are gods (Ps. 82:6), that part of the Infinite which is embodied in us must partake to a limited extent of his power to create. Veitch, Knowing and Being, 289—Will, the expression of personality, both as originating resolutions and moulding existing material into form, is the nearest approach in thought which we can make to divine creation.

Creation is not simply the thought of God,—it is also the will of God—thought in expression, reason externalized. Will is creation out of nothing, in the sense that there is no use of preëxisting material. In man's exercise of the creative imagination there is will, as well as intellect. Royce, Studies of Good and Evil, 256, points out that we can be original in (1) the style or form of our work; (2) in the selection of the objects we imitate; (3) in the invention of relatively novel combinations of material. Style, subject, combination, then, comprise the methods of our originality. Our new conceptions [pg 381]of nature as the expression of the divine mind and will bring creation more within our comprehension than did the old conception of the world as substance capable of existing apart from God. Hudson, Law of Psychic Phenomena, 294, thinks that we have power to create visible phantasms, or embodied thoughts, that can be subjectively perceived by others. See also Hudson's Scientific Demonstration of Future Life, 153. He defines genius as the result of the synchronous action of the objective and subjective faculties. Jesus of Nazareth, in his judgment, was a wonderful psychic. Intuitive perception and objective reason were with him always in the ascendant. His miracles were misinterpreted psychic phenomena. Jesus never claimed that his works were outside of natural law. All men have the same intuitional power, though in differing degrees.

We may add that the begetting of a child by man is the giving of substantial existence to another. Christ's creation of man may be like his own begetting by the Father. Behrends: The relation between God and the universe is more intimate and organic than that between an artist and his work. The marble figure is independent of the sculptor the moment it is completed. It remains, though he die. But the universe would vanish in the withdrawal of the divine presence and indwelling. If I were to use any figure, it would be that of generation. The immanence of God is the secret of natural permanence and uniformity. Creation is primarily a spiritual act. The universe is not what we see and handle. The real universe is an empire of energies, a hierarchy of correlated forces, whose reality and unity are rooted in the rational will of God perpetually active in preservation. But there is no identity of substance, nor is there any division of the divine substance.

Bowne, Theory of Thought and Knowledge, 36—A mind is conceivable which should create its objects outright by pure self-activity and without dependence on anything beyond itself. Such is our conception of the Creator's relation to his objects. But this is not the case with us except to a very slight extent. Our mental life itself begins, and we come only gradually to a knowledge of things, and of ourselves. In some sense our objects are given; that is, we cannot have objects at will or vary their properties at our pleasure. In this sense we are passive in knowledge, and no idealism can remove this fact. But in some sense also our objects are our own products; for an existing object becomes an object for us only as we think it, and thus make it our object. In this sense, knowledge is an active process, and not a passive reception of readymade information from without. Clarke, Self and the Father, 38—Are we humiliated by having data for our imaginations to work upon? by being unable to create material? Not unless it be a shame to be second to the Creator. Causation is as mysterious as Creation. Balzac lived with his characters as actual beings. On the Creative Principle, see N. R. Wood, The Witness of Sin, 114-135.

(c) It is unphilosophical to postulate two eternal substances, when one self-existent Cause of all things will account for the facts. (d) It contradicts our fundamental notion of God as absolute sovereign to suppose the existence of any other substance to be independent of his will. (e) This second substance with which God must of necessity work, since it is, according to the theory, inherently evil and the source of evil, not only limits God's power, but destroys his blessedness. (f) This theory does not answer its purpose of accounting for moral evil, unless it be also assumed that spirit is material,—in which case dualism gives place to materialism.

Martensen, Dogmatics, 121—God becomes a mere demiurge, if nature existed before spirit. That spirit only who in a perfect sense is able to commence his work of creation can have power to complete it. If God does not create, he must use what material he finds, and this working with intractable material must be his perpetual sorrow. Such limitation in the power of the deity seemed to John Stuart Mill the best explanation of the existing imperfections of the universe.

The other form of dualism is:

B. That which holds to the eternal existence of two antagonistic spirits, one evil and the other good. In this view, matter is not a negative and [pg 382] imperfect substance which nevertheless has self-existence, but is either the work or the instrument of a personal and positively malignant intelligence, who wages war against all good. This was the view of the Manichæans. Manichæanism is a compound of Christianity and the Persian doctrine of two eternal and opposite intelligences. Zoroaster, however, held matter to be pure, and to be the creation of the good Being. Mani apparently regarded matter as captive to the evil spirit, if not absolutely his creation.

The old story of Mani's travels in Greece is wholly a mistake. Guericke, Church History, 1:185-187, maintains that Manichæanism contains no mixture of Platonic philosophy, has no connection with Judaism, and as a sect came into no direct relations with the Catholic church. Harnoch, Wegweiser, 22, calls Manichæanism a compound of Gnosticism and Parseeism. Herzog, Encyclopädie, art.: Mani und die Manichäer, regards Manichæanism as the fruit, acme, and completion of Gnosticism. Gnosticism was a heresy in the church; Manichæanism, like New Platonism, was an anti-church. J. P. Lange: These opposing theories represent various pagan conceptions of the world, which, after the manner of palimpsests, show through Christianity. Isaac Taylor speaks of the creator of the carnivora; and some modern Christians practically regard Satan as a second and equal God.

On the Religion of Zoroaster, see Haug, Essays on Parsees, 139-161, 302-309; also our quotations on pp. 347-349; Monier Williams, in 19th Century, Jan. 1881:155-177—Ahura Mazda was the creator of the universe. Matter was created by him, and was neither identified with him nor an emanation from him. In the divine nature there were two opposite, but not opposing, principles or forces, called twins—the one constructive, the other destructive; the one beneficent, the other maleficent. Zoroaster called these twins also by the name of spirits, and declared that these two spirits created, the one the reality, the other the non-reality. Williams says that these two principles were conflicting only in name. The only antagonism was between the resulting good and evil brought about by the free agent, man. See Jackson, Zoroaster.

We may add that in later times this personification of principles in the deity seems to have become a definite belief in two opposing personal spirits, and that Mani, Manes, or Manichæus adopted this feature of Parseeism, with the addition of certain Christian elements. Hagenbach, History of Doctrine, 1:470—The doctrine of the Manichæans was that creation was the work of Satan. See also Gieseler, Church History, 1:203; Neander, Church History, 1:478-505; Blunt, Dict. Doct. and Hist. Theology, art.: Dualism; and especially Baur, Das manichäische Religionssystem. A. H. Newman, Ch. History, 1:194—Manichæism is Gnosticism, with its Christian elements reduced to a minimum, and the Zoroastrian, old Babylonian, and other Oriental elements raised to the maximum. Manichæism is Oriental dualism under Christian names, the Christian names employed retaining scarcely a trace of their proper meaning. The most fundamental thing in Manichæism is its absolute dualism. The kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness with their rulers stand eternally opposed to each other.

Of this view we need only say that it is refuted (a) by all the arguments for the unity, omnipotence, sovereignty, and blessedness of God; (b) by the Scripture representations of the prince of evil as the creature of God and as subject to God's control.

Scripture passages showing that Satan is God's creature or subject are the following: Col. 1:16for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; cf. Eph. 6:12our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places; 2 Pet. 2:4God spared not the angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; Rev. 20:2laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan; 10and the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.

The closest analogy to Manichæan dualism is found in the popular conception of the devil held by the mediæval Roman church. It is a question whether he was regarded as a rival or as a servant of God. Matheson, Messages of Old Religions, says that Parseeism recognizes an obstructive element in the nature of God himself. Moral evil is reality, and there is that element of truth in Parseeism. But there is no reconciliation, [pg 383]nor is it shown that all things work together for good. E. H. Johnson: This theory sets up matter as a sort of deity, a senseless idol endowed with the truly divine attribute of self-existence. But we can acknowledge but one God. To erect matter into an eternal Thing, independent of the Almighty but forever beside him, is the most revolting of all theories. Tennyson, Unpublished Poem (Life, 1:314)—Oh me! for why is all around us here As if some lesser God had made the world, But had not force to shape it as he would Till the high God behold it from beyond, And enter it and make it beautiful?

E. G. Robinson: Evil is not eternal; if it were, we should be paying our respects to it.... There is much Manichæanism in modern piety. We would influence soul through the body. Hence sacramentarianism and penance. Puritanism is theological Manichæanism. Christ recommended fasting because it belonged to his age. Christianity came from Judaism. Churchism comes largely from reproducing what Christ did. Christianity is not perfunctory in its practices. We are to fast only when there is good reason for it. L. H. Mills, New World, March, 1895:51, suggests that Phariseeism may be the same with Farseeism, which is but another name for Parseeism. He thinks that Resurrection, Immortality, Paradise, Satan, Judgment, Hell, came from Persian sources, and gradually drove out the old Sadduceean simplicity. Pfleiderer, Philos, Religion, 1:206—According to the Persian legend, the first human pair was a good creation of the all-wise Spirit, Ahura, who had breathed into them his own breath. But soon the primeval men allowed themselves to be seduced by the hostile Spirit Angromainyu into lying and idolatry, whereby the evil spirits obtained power over them and the earth and spoiled the good creation.

Disselhoff, Die klassische Poesie und die göttliche Offenbarung, 13-25—The Gathas of Zoroaster are the first poems of humanity. In them man rouses himself to assert his superiority to nature and the spirituality of God. God is not identified with nature. The impersonal nature-gods are vain idols and are causes of corruption. Their worshippers are servants of falsehood. Ahura-Mazda (living-wise) is a moral and spiritual personality. Ahriman is equally eternal but not equally powerful. Good has not complete victory over evil. Dualism is admitted and unity is lost. The conflict of faiths leads to separation. While one portion of the race remains in the Iranian highlands to maintain man's freedom and independence of nature, another portion goes South-East to the luxuriant banks of the Ganges to serve the deified forces of nature. The East stands for unity, as the West for duality. Yet Zoroaster in the Gathas is almost deified; and his religion, which begins by giving predominance to the good Spirit, ends by being honey-combed with nature-worship.

2. Emanation.

This theory holds that the universe is of the same substance with God, and is the product of successive evolutions from his being. This was the view of the Syrian Gnostics. Their system was an attempt to interpret Christianity in the forms of Oriental theosophy. A similar doctrine was taught, in the last century, by Swedenborg.

We object to it on the following grounds: (a) It virtually denies the infinity and transcendence of God,—by applying to him a principle of evolution, growth, and progress which belongs only to the finite and imperfect. (b) It contradicts the divine holiness,—since man, who by the theory is of the substance of God, is nevertheless morally evil. (c) It leads logically to pantheism,—since the claim that human personality is illusory cannot be maintained without also surrendering belief in the personality of God.

Saturninus of Antioch, Bardesanes of Edessa, Tatian of Assyria, Marcion of Sinope, all of the second century, were representatives of this view. Blunt, Dict. of Doct. and Hist. Theology, art.: Emanation: The divine operation was symbolized by the image of the rays of light proceeding from the sun, which were most intense when nearest to the luminous substance of the body of which they formed a part, but which decreased in intensity as they receded from their source, until at last they disappeared altogether in darkness. So the spiritual effulgence of the Supreme Mind formed a world of spirit, [pg 384]the intensity of which varied inversely with its distance from its source, until at length it vanished in matter. Hence there is a chain of ever expanding Æons which are increasing attenuations of his substance and the sum of which constitutes his fulness, i. e., the complete revelation of his hidden being. Emanation, from e, and manare, to flow forth. Guericke, Church History, 1:160—many flames from one light ... the direct contrary to the doctrine of creation from nothing. Neander, Church History, 1:372-74. The doctrine of emanation is distinctly materialistic. We hold, on the contrary, that the universe is an expression of God, but not an emanation from God.

On the difference between Oriental emanation and eternal generation, see Shedd, Dogm. Theol., 1:470, and History Doctrine, 1:11-18, 318, note—1. That which is eternally generated is infinite, not finite; it is a divine and eternal person who is not the world or any portion of it. In the Oriental schemes, emanation is a mode of accounting for the origin of the finite. But eternal generation still leaves the finite to be originated. The begetting of the Son is the generation of an infinite person who afterwards creates the finite universe de nihilo. 2. Eternal generation has for its result a subsistence or personal hypostasis totally distinct from the world; but emanation In relation to the deity yields only an impersonal or at most a personified energy or effluence which is one of the powers or principles of nature—a mere anima mundi. The truths of which emanation was the perversion and caricature were therefore the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit.

Principal Tulloch, in Encyc. Brit., 10:704—All the Gnostics agree in regarding this world as not proceeding immediately from the Supreme Being.... The Supreme Being is regarded as wholly inconceivable and indescribable—as the unfathomable Abyss (Valentinus)—the Unnameable (Basilides). From this transcendent source existence springs by emanation in a series of spiritual powers.... The passage from the higher spiritual world to the lower material one is, on the one hand, apprehended as a mere continued degeneracy from the Source of Life, at length terminating in the kingdom of darkness and death—the bordering chaos surrounding the kingdom of light. On the other hand the passage is apprehended in a more precisely dualistic form, as a positive invasion of the kingdom of light by a self-existent kingdom of darkness. According as Gnosticism adopted one or other of these modes of explaining the existence of the present world, it fell into the two great divisions which, from their places of origin, have received the respective names of the Alexandrian and Syrian Gnosis. The one, as we have seen, presents more a Western, the other more an Eastern type of speculation. The dualistic element in the one case scarcely appears beneath the pantheistic, and bears resemblance to the Platonic notion of the ὕλη, a mere blank necessity, a limitless void. In the other case, the dualistic element is clear and prominent, corresponding to the Zarathustrian doctrine of an active principle of evil as well as of good—of a kingdom of Ahriman, as well as a kingdom of Ormuzd. In the Syrian Gnosis ... there appears from the first a hostile principle of evil in collision with the good.

We must remember that dualism is an attempt to substitute for the doctrine of absolute creation, a theory that matter and evil are due to something negative or positive outside of God. Dualism is a theory of origins, not of results. Keeping this in mind, we may call the Alexandrian Gnostics dualists, while we regard emanation as the characteristic teaching of the Syrian Gnostics. These latter made matter to be only an efflux from God and evil only a degenerate form of good. If the Syrians held the world to be independent of God, this independence was conceived of only as a later result or product, not as an original fact. Some like Saturninus and Bardesanes verged toward Manichæan doctrine; others like Tatian and Marcion toward Egyptian dualism; but all held to emanation as the philosophical explanation of what the Scriptures call creation. These remarks will serve as qualification and criticism of the opinions which we proceed to quote.

Sheldon, Ch. Hist., 1:206—The Syrians were in general more dualistic than the Alexandrians. Some, after the fashion of the Hindu pantheists, regarded the material realm as the region of emptiness and illusion, the void opposite of the Pleroma, that world of spiritual reality and fulness; others assigned a more positive nature to the material, and regarded it as capable of an evil aggressiveness even apart from any quickening by the incoming of life from above. Mansel, Gnostic Heresies, 139—Like Saturninus, Bardesanes is said to have combined the doctrine of the malignity of matter with that of an active principle of evil; and he connected together these two usually antagonistic theories by maintaining that the inert matter was co-eternal with God, while Satan as the active principle of evil was produced from matter (or, according to another statement, co-eternal with it), and acted in conjunction with it. 142—The [pg 385]feature which is usually selected as characteristic of the Syrian Gnosis is the doctrine of dualism; that is to say, the assumption of the existence of two active and independent principles, the one of good, the other of evil. This assumption was distinctly held by Saturninus and Bardesanes ... in contradistinction to the Platonic theory of an inert semi-existent matter, which was adopted by the Gnosis of Egypt. The former principle found its logical development in the next century in Manichæaism; the latter leads with almost equal certainty to Pantheism.

A. H. Newman, Ch. History, 1:192—Marcion did not speculate as to the origin of evil. The Demiurge and his kingdom are apparently regarded as existing from eternity. Matter he regarded as intrinsically evil, and he practised a rigid asceticism.Mansel, Gnostic Heresies, 210—Marcion did not, with the majority of the Gnostics, regard the Demiurge as a derived and dependent being, whose imperfection is due to his remoteness from the highest Cause; nor yet, according to the Persian doctrine, did he assume an eternal principle of pure malignity. His second principle is independent of and co-eternal with, the first; opposed to it however, not as evil to good, but as imperfection to perfection, or, as Marcion expressed it, as a just to a good being. 218—Non-recognition of any principle of pure evil. Three principles only: the Supreme God, the Demiurge, and the eternal Matter, the two latter being imperfect but not necessarily evil. Some of the Marcionites seem to have added an evil spirit as a fourth principle.... Marcion is the least Gnostic of all the Gnostics.... 31—The Indian influence may be seen in Egypt, the Persian in Syria.... 32—To Platonism, modified by Judaism, Gnosticism owed much of its philosophical form and tendencies. To the dualism of the Persian religion it owed one form at least of its speculations on the origin and remedy of evil, and many of the details of its doctrine of emanations. To the Buddhism of India, modified again probably by Platonism, it was indebted for the doctrines of the antagonism between spirit and matter and the unreality of derived existence (the germ of the Gnostic Docetism), and in part at least for the theory which regards the universe as a series of successive emanations from the absolute Unity.

Emanation holds that some stuff has proceeded from the nature of God, and that God has formed this stuff into the universe. But matter is not composed of stuff at all. It is merely an activity of God. Origen held that ψυχή etymologically denotes a being which, struck off from God the central source of light and warmth, has cooled in its love for the good, but still has the possibility of returning to its spiritual origin. Pfleiderer, Philosophy of Religion, 2:271, thus describes Origen's view: As our body, while consisting of many members, is yet an organism which is held together by one soul, so the universe is to be thought of as an immense living being, which is held together by one soul, the power and the Logos of God. Palmer, Theol. Definition, 63, note—The evil of Emanationism is seen in the history of Gnosticism. An emanation is a portion of the divine essence regarded as separated from it and sent forth as independent. Having no perpetual bond of connection with the divine, it either sinks into degradation, as Basilides taught, or becomes actively hostile to the divine, as the Ophites believed.... In like manner the Deists of a later time came to regard the laws of nature as having an independent existence, i. e., as emanations.

John Milton, Christian Doctrine, holds this view. Matter is an efflux from God himself, not intrinsically bad, and incapable of annihilation. Finite existence is an emanation from God's substance, and God has loosened his hold on those living portions or centres of finite existence which he has endowed with free will, so that these independent beings may originate actions not morally referable to himself. This doctrine of free will relieves Milton from the charge of pantheism; see Masson, Life of Milton, 6:824-826. Lotze, Philos. Religion, xlviii, li, distinguishes creation from emanation by saying that creation necessitates a divine Will, while emanation flows by natural consequence from the being of God. God's motive in creation is love, which urges him to communicate his holiness to other beings. God creates individual finite spirits, and then permits the thought, which at first was only his, to become the thought of these other spirits. This transference of his thought by will is the creation of the world. F. W. Farrar, on Heb. 1:2The word Æon was used by the Gnostics to describe the various emanations by which they tried at once to widen and to bridge over the gulf between the human and the divine. Over that imaginary chasm John threw the arch of the Incarnation, when he wrote: The Word became flesh (John 1:14).

Upton, Hibbert Lectures, chap. 2—In the very making of souls of his own essence and substance, and in the vacating of his own causality in order that men may be free, God already dies in order that they may live. God withdraws himself from our wills, so as to make possible free choice and even possible opposition to himself. Individualism [pg 386]admits dualism but not complete division. Our dualism holds still to underground connections of life between man and man, man and nature, man and God. Even the physical creation is ethical at heart: each thing is dependent on other things, and must serve them, or lose its own life and beauty. The branch must abide in the vine, or it withers and is cut off and burned (275).

Swedenborg held to emanation,—see Divine Love and Wisdom, 283, 303, 905—Every one who thinks from clear reason sees that the universe is not created from nothing.... All things were created out of a substance.... As God alone is substance in itself and therefore the real esse, it is evidence that the existence of things is from no other source.... Yet the created universe is not God, because God is not in time and space.... There is a creation of the universe, and of all things therein, by continual mediations from the First.... In the substances and matters of which the earths consist, there is nothing of the Divine in itself, but they are deprived of all that is divine in itself.... Still they have brought with them by continuation from the substance of the spiritual sum that which was there from the Divine. Swedenborgianism is materialism driven deep and clinched on the inside. This system reverses the Lord's prayer; it should read: As on earth, so in heaven. He disliked certain sects, and he found that all who belonged to those sects were in the hells, condemned to everlasting punishment. The truth is not materialistic emanation, as Swedenborg imagined, but rather divine energizing in space and time. The universe is God's system of graded self-limitation, from matter up to mind. It has had a beginning, and God has instituted it. It is a finite and partial manifestation of the infinite Spirit. Matter is an expression of spirit, but not an emanation from spirit, any more than our thoughts and volitions are. Finite spirits, on the other hand, are differentiations within the being of God himself, and so are not emanations from him.

Napoleon asked Goethe what matter was. Esprit gelé,—frozen spirit was the answer Schelling wished Goethe had given him. But neither is matter spirit, nor are matter and spirit together mere natural effluxes from God's substance. A divine institution of them is requisite (quoted substantially from Dorner, System of Doctrine, 2:40). Schlegel in a similar manner called architecture frozen music, and another writer calls music dissolved architecture. There is a psychical automatism, as Ladd says, in his Philosophy of Mind, 169; and Hegel calls nature the corpse of the understanding—spirit to alienation from itself. But spirit is the Adam, of which nature is the Eve; and man says to nature: This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, as Adam did in Gen. 2:23.

3. Creation from eternity.

This theory regards creation as an act of God in eternity past. It was propounded by Origen, and has been held in recent times by Martensen, Martineau, John Caird, Knight, and Pfleiderer. The necessity of supposing such creation from eternity has been argued from God's omnipotence, God's timelessness, God's immutability, and God's love. We consider each of these arguments in their order.

Origen held that God was from eternity the creator of the world of spirits. Martensen, in his Dogmatics, 114, shows favor to the maxims: Without the world God is not God.... God created the world to satisfy a want in himself.... He cannot but constitute himself the Father of spirits. Schiller, Die Freundschaft, last stanza, gives the following popular expression to this view: Freundlos war der grosse Weltenmeister; Fühlte Mangel, darum schuf er Geister, Sel'ge Spiegel seiner Seligkeit. Fand das höchste Wesen schon kein Gleiches; Aus dem Kelch des ganzen Geisterreiches Schäumt ihm die Unendlichkeit. The poet's thought was perhaps suggested by Goethe's Sorrows of Werther: The flight of a bird above my head inspired me with the desire of being transported to the shores of the immeasurable waters, there to quaff the pleasures of life from the foaming goblet of the infinite. Robert Browning, Rabbi Ben Ezra, 31—But I need now as then, Thee, God, who mouldest men. And since, not even when the whirl was worst, Did I—to the wheel of life With shapes and colors rife, Bound dizzily—mistake my end, To slake thy thirst. But this regards the Creator as dependent upon, and in bondage to, his own world.

Pythagoras held that nature's substances and laws are eternal. Martineau, Study of Religion, 1:144; 2:250, seems to make the creation of the world an eternal process, [pg 387]conceiving of it as a self-sundering of the Deity, in whom in some way the world was always contained (Schurman, Belief in God, 140). Knight, Studies in Philos. and Lit., 94, quotes from Byron's Cain, I:1—Let him Sit on his vast and solitary throne, Creating worlds, to make eternity Less burdensome to his immense existence And unparticipated solitude.... He, so wretched in his height, So restless in his wretchedness, must still Create and recreate. Byron puts these words into the mouth of Lucifer. Yet Knight, in his Essays in Philosophy, 143, 247, regards the universe as the everlasting effect of an eternal Cause. Dualism, he thinks, is involved in the very notion of a search for God.

W. N. Clarke, Christian Theology, 117—God is the source of the universe. Whether by immediate production at some point of time, so that after he had existed alone there came by his act to be a universe, or by perpetual production from his own spiritual being, so that his eternal existence was always accompanied by a universe in some stage of being, God has brought the universe into existence.... Any method in which the independent God could produce a universe which without him could have had no existence, is accordant with the teachings of Scripture. Many find it easier philosophically to hold that God has eternally brought forth creation from himself, so that there has never been a time when there was not a universe in some stage of existence, than to think of an instantaneous creation of all existing things when there had been nothing but God before. Between these two views theology is not compelled to decide, provided we believe that God is a free Spirit greater than the universe. We dissent from this conclusion of Dr. Clarke, and hold that Scripture requires us to trace the universe back to a beginning, while reason itself is better satisfied with this view than it can be with the theory of creation from eternity.

(a) Creation from eternity is not necessitated by God's omnipotence. Omnipotence does not necessarily imply actual creation; it implies only power to create. Creation, moreover, is in the nature of the case a thing begun. Creation from eternity is a contradiction in terms, and that which is self-contradictory is not an object of power.

The argument rests upon a misconception of eternity, regarding it as a prolongation of time into the endless past. We have seen in our discussion of eternity as an attribute of God, that eternity is not endless time, or time without beginning, but rather superiority to the law of time. Since eternity is no more past than it is present, the idea of creation from eternity is an irrational one. We must distinguish creation in eternity past (= God and the world coëternal, yet God the cause of the world, as he is the begetter of the Son) from continuous creation (which is an explanation of preservation, but not of creation at all). It is this latter, not the former, to which Rothe holds (see under the doctrine of Preservation, pages 415, 416). Birks, Difficulties of Belief, 81, 82—Creation is not from eternity, since past eternity cannot be actually traversed any more than we can reach the bound of an eternity to come. There was no timebefore creation, because there was no succession.

Birks, Scripture Doctrine of Creation, 78-105—The first verse of Genesis excludes five speculative falsehoods: 1. that there is nothing but uncreated matter; 2. that there is no God distinct from his creatures; 3. that creation is a series of acts without a beginning; 4. that there is no real universe; 5. that nothing can be known of God or the origin of things. Veitch, Knowing and Being, 22—The ideas of creation and creative energy are emptied of meaning, and for them is substituted the conception or fiction of an eternally related or double-sided world, not of what has been, but of what always is. It is another form of the see-saw philosophy. The eternal Self only is, if the eternal manifold is; the eternal manifold is, if the eternal Self is. The one, in being the other, is or makes itself the one; the other, in being the one, is or makes itself the other. This may be called a unity; it is rather, if we might invent a term suited to the new and marvellous conception, an unparalleled and unbegotten twinity.

(b) Creation from eternity is not necessitated by God's timelessness. Because God is free from the law of time it does not follow that creation is free from that law. Rather is it true that no eternal creation is conceivable, since this involves an infinite number. Time must have had a beginning, and since the universe and time are coëxistent, creation could not have been from eternity.

[pg 388]

Jude 25Before all time—implies that time had a beginning, and Eph. 1:4before the foundation of the world—implies that creation itself had a beginning. Is creation infinite? No, says Dorner, Glaubenslehre, 1:459, because to a perfect creation unity is as necessary as multiplicity. The universe is an organism, and there can be no organism without a definite number of parts. For a similar reason Dorner, System Doctrine, 2:28, denies that the universe can be eternal. Granting on the one hand that the world though eternal might be dependent upon God and as soon as the plan was evolved there might be no reason why the execution should be delayed, yet on the other hand the absolutely limitless is the imperfect and no universe with an infinite number of parts is conceivable or possible. So Julius Müller, Doctrine of Sin, 1:220-225—What has a goal or end must have a beginning; history, as teleological, implies creation.

Lotze, Philos. Religion, 74—The world, with respect to its existence as well as its content, is completely dependent on the will of God, and not as a mere involuntary development of his nature.... The word creation ought not to be used to designate a deed of God so much as the absolute dependence of the world on his will. So Schurman, Belief in God, 146, 156, 225—Creation is the eternal dependence of the world on God.... Nature is the externalization of spirit.... Material things exist simply as modes of the divine activity; they have no existence for themselves. On this view that God is the Ground but not the Creator of the world, see Hovey, Studies in Ethics and Religion, 23-56—Creation is no more of a mystery than is the causal action in which both Lotze and Schurman believe. To deny that divine power can originate real being—can add to the sum total of existence—is much like saying that such power is finite. No one can prove that it is of the essence of spirit to reveal itself,or if so, that it must do this by means of an organism or externalization. Eternal succession of changes in nature is no more comprehensible than are a creating God and a universe originating in time.

(c) Creation from eternity is not necessitated by God's immutability. His immutability requires, not an eternal creation, but only an eternal plan of creation. The opposite principle would compel us to deny the possibility of miracles, incarnation, and regeneration. Like creation, these too would need to be eternal.

We distinguish between idea and plan, between plan and execution. Much of God's plan is not yet executed. The beginning of its execution is as easy to conceive as is the continuation of its execution. But the beginning of the execution of God's plan is creation. Active will is an element in creation. God's will is not always active. He waits for the fulness of the time (Gal. 4:4) before he sends forth his Son. As we can trace back Christ's earthly life to a beginning, so we can trace back the life of the universe to a beginning. Those who hold to creation from eternity usually interpret Gen. 1:1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, as both and alike meaning in eternity. But neither of these texts has this meaning. In each we are simply carried back to the beginning of the creation, and it is asserted that God was its author and that the Word already was.

(d) Creation from eternity is not necessitated by God's love. Creation is finite and cannot furnish perfect satisfaction to the infinite love of God. God has moreover from eternity an object of love infinitely superior to any possible creation, in the person of his Son.

Since all things are created in Christ, the eternal Word, Reason, and Power of God, God can reconcile all things to himself in Christ (Col. 1:20). Athanasius called God κτίστης, ού τεχνίτης—Creator, not Artisan. By this he meant that God is immanent, and not the God of deism. But the moment we conceive of God as revealing himself in Christ, the idea of creation as an eternal satisfaction of his love vanishes. God can have a plan without executing his plan. Decree can precede creation. Ideas of the universe may exist in the divine mind before they are realized by the divine will. There are purposes of salvation in Christ which antedate the world (Eph. 1:4). The doctrine of the Trinity, once firmly grasped, enables us to see the fallacy of such views as that of Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion, 1:286—A beginning and ending in time of the creating of God are not thinkable. That would be to suppose a change of creating and resting in God, which would equalize God's being with the changeable course of human life. Nor [pg 389]could it be conceived what should have hindered God from creating the world up to the beginning of his creating.... We say rather, with Scotus Erigena, that the divine creating is equally eternal with God's being.

(e) Creation from eternity, moreover, is inconsistent with the divine independence and personality. Since God's power and love are infinite, a creation that satisfied them must be infinite in extent as well as eternal in past duration—in other words, a creation equal to God. But a God thus dependent upon external creation is neither free nor sovereign. A God existing in necessary relations to the universe, if different in substance from the universe, must be the God of dualism; if of the same substance with the universe, must be the God of pantheism.

Gore, Incarnation, 136, 137—Christian theology is the harmony of pantheism and deism.... It enjoys all the riches of pantheism without its inherent weakness on the moral side, without making God dependent on the world, as the world is dependent on God. On the other hand, Christianity converts an unintelligible deism into a rational theism. It can explain how God became a creator in time, because it knows how creation has its eternal analogue in the uncreated nature; it was God's nature eternally to produce, to communicate itself, to live. In other words, it can explain how God can be eternally alive, independent, self-sufficient, since he is Trinity. Creation from eternity is a natural and logical outgrowth of Unitarian tendencies in theology. It is of a piece with the Stoic monism of which we read in Hatch, Hibbert Lectures, 177—Stoic monism conceived of the world as a self-evolution of God. Into such a conception the idea of a beginning does not necessarily enter. It is consistent with the idea of an eternal process of differentiation. That which is always has been under changed and changing forms. The theory is cosmological rather than cosmogonical. It rather explains the world as it is, than gives an account of its origin.

4. Spontaneous generation.

This theory holds that creation is but the name for a natural process still going on,—matter itself having in it the power, under proper conditions, of taking on new functions, and of developing into organic forms. This view is held by Owen and Bastian. We object that

(a) It is a pure hypothesis, not only unverified, but contrary to all known facts. No credible instance of the production of living forms from inorganic material has yet been adduced. So far as science can at present teach us, the law of nature is “omne vivum e vivo,” or “ex ovo.”

Owen, Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates, 3:814-818—on Monogeny or Thaumatogeny; quoted in Argyle, Reign of Law, 281—We discern no evidence of a pause or intromission in the creation or coming-to-be of new plants and animals. So Bastian, Modes of Origin of Lowest Organisms, Beginnings of Life, and articles on Heterogeneous Evolution of Living Things, in Nature, 2:170, 193, 219, 410, 431. See Huxley's Address before the British Association, and Reply to Bastian, in Nature, 2:400, 473; also Origin of Species, 69-79, and Physical Basis of Life, in Lay Sermons, 142. Answers to this last by Stirling, in Half-hours with Modern Scientists, and by Beale, Protoplasm or Life, Matter, and Mind, 73-75.

In favor of Redi's maxim, omne vivum e vivo, see Huxley, in Encyc. Britannica, art.: Biology, 689—At the present moment there is not a shadow of trustworthy direct evidence that abiogenesis does take place or has taken place within the period during which the existence of the earth is recorded; Flint, Physiology of Man, 1:263-265—As the only true philosophic view to take of the question, we shall assume in common with nearly all the modern writers on physiology that there is no such thing as spontaneous generation,—admitting that the exact mode of production of the infusoria lowest in the scale of life is not understood. On the Philosophy of Evolution, see A. H. Strong, Philosophy and Religion, 39-57.

[pg 390]

(b) If such instances could be authenticated, they would prove nothing as against a proper doctrine of creation,—for there would still exist an impossibility of accounting for these vivific properties of matter, except upon the Scriptural view of an intelligent Contriver and Originator of matter and its laws. In short, evolution implies previous involution,—if anything comes out of matter, it must first have been put in.

Sully: Every doctrine of evolution must assume some definite initial arrangement which is supposed to contain the possibilities of the order which we find to be evolved and no other possibility. Bixby, Crisis of Morals, 258—If no creative fiat can be believed to create something out of nothing, still less is evolution able to perform such a contradiction. As we can get morality only out of a moral germ, so we can get vitality only out of a vital germ. Martineau, Seat of Authority, 14—By brooding long enough on an egg that is next to nothing, you can in this way hatch any universe actual or possible. Is it not evident that this is a mere trick of imagination, concealing its thefts of causation by committing them little by little, and taking the heap from the divine storehouse grain by grain?

Hens come before eggs. Perfect organic forms are antecedent to all life-cells, whether animal or vegetable. Omnis cellula e cellula, sed primaria cellula ex organismo.God created first the tree, and its seed was in it when created (Gen. 1:12). Protoplasm is not proton, but deuteron; the elements are antecedent to it. It is not true that man was never made at all but only growed like Topsy; see Watts, New Apologetic, xvi, 312. Royce, Spirit of Modern Philosophy, 273—Evolution is the attempt to comprehend the world of experience in terms of the fundamental idealistic postulates: (1) without ideas, there is no reality; (2) rational order requires a rational Being to introduce it; (3) beneath our conscious self there must be an infinite Self. The question is: Has the world a meaning? It is not enough to refer ideas to mechanism. Evolution, from the nebula to man, is only the unfolding of the life of a divine Self.

(c) This theory, therefore, if true, only supplements the doctrine of original, absolute, immediate creation, with another doctrine of mediate and derivative creation, or the development of the materials and forces originated at the beginning. This development, however, cannot proceed to any valuable end without guidance of the same intelligence which initiated it. The Scriptures, although they do not sanction the doctrine of spontaneous generation, do recognize processes of development as supplementing the divine fiat which first called the elements into being.

There is such a thing as free will, and free will does not, like the deterministic will, run in a groove. If there be free will in man, then much more is there free will in God, and God's will does not run in a groove. God is not bound by law or to law. Wisdom does not imply monotony or uniformity. God can do a thing once that is never done again. Circumstances are never twice alike. Here is the basis not only of creation but of new creation, including miracle, incarnation, resurrection, regeneration, redemption. Though will both in God and in man is for the most part automatic and acts according to law, yet the power of new beginnings, of creative action, resides in will, wherever it is free, and this free will chiefly makes God to be God and man to be man. Without it life would be hardly worth the living, for it would be only the life of the brute. All schemes of evolution which ignore this freedom of God are pantheistic in their tendencies, for they practically deny both God's transcendence and his personality.

Leibnitz declined to accept the Newtonian theory of gravitation because it seemed to him to substitute natural forces for God. In our own day many still refuse to accept the Darwinian theory of evolution because it seems to them to substitute natural forces for God; see John Fiske, Idea of God, 97-102. But law is only a method; it presupposes a lawgiver and requires an agent. Gravitation and evolution are but the habitual operations of God. If spontaneous generation should be proved true, it would be only God's way of originating life. E. G. Robinson, Christian Theology, 91—Spontaneous generation does not preclude the idea of a creative will working by natural law and secondary causes.... Of beginnings of life physical science knows nothing.... Of the processes of nature science is competent to speak and against its [pg 391]teachings respecting these there is no need that theology should set itself in hostility.... Even if man were derived from the lower animals, it would not prove that God did not create and order the forces employed. It may be that God bestowed upon animal life a plastic power.

Ward, Naturalism and Agnosticism, 1:180—It is far truer to say that the universe is a life, than to say that it is a mechanism.... We can never get to God through a mere mechanism.... With Leibnitz I would argue that absolute passivity or inertness is not a reality but a limit. 269—Mr. Spencer grants that to interpret spirit in terms of matter is impossible. 302—Natural selection without teleological factors is not adequate to account for biological evolution, and such teleological factors imply a psychical something endowed with feelings and will, i. e., Life and Mind. 2:130-135—Conation is more fundamental than cognition. 149-151—Things and events precede space and time. There is no empty space or time. 252-257—Our assimilation of nature is the greeting of spirit by spirit. 259-267—Either nature is itself intelligent, or there is intelligence beyond it. 274-276—Appearances do not veil reality. 274—The truth is not God and mechanism, but God only and no mechanism. 283—Naturalism and Agnosticism, in spite of themselves, lead us to a world of Spiritualistic Monism. Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, 36—Spontaneous generation is a fiction in ethics, as it is in psychology and biology. The moral cannot be derived from the non-moral, any more than consciousness can be derived from the unconscious, or life from the azoic rocks.

IV. The Mosaic Account of Creation.

1. Its twofold nature,—as uniting the ideas of creation and of development.

(a) Creation is asserted.—The Mosaic narrative avoids the error of making the universe eternal or the result of an eternal process. The cosmogony of Genesis, unlike the cosmogonies of the heathen, is prefaced by the originating act of God, and is supplemented by successive manifestations of creative power in the introduction of brute and of human life.

All nature-worship, whether it take the form of ancient polytheism or modern materialism, looks upon the universe only as a birth or growth. This view has a basis of truth, inasmuch as it regards natural forces as having a real existence. It is false in regarding these forces as needing no originator or upholder. Hesiod taught that in the beginning was formless matter. Genesis does not begin thus. God is not a demiurge, working on eternal matter. God antedates matter. He is the creator of matter at the first (Gen. 1:1bara) and he subsequently created animal life (Gen. 1:21and God createdbara) and the life of man (Gen. 1:27and God create manbara again).

Many statements of the doctrine of evolution err by regarding it as an eternal or self-originated process. But the process requires an originator, and the forces require an upholder. Each forward step implies increment of energy, and progress toward a rational end implies intelligence and foresight in the governing power. Schurman says well that Darwinism explains the survival of the fittest, but cannot explain the arrival of the fittest. Schurman, Agnosticism and Religion, 34—A primitive chaos of star-dust which held in its womb not only the cosmos that fills space, not only the living creatures that teem upon it, but also the intellect that interprets it, the will that confronts it, and the conscience that transfigures it, must as certainly have God at the centre, as a universe mechanically arranged and periodically adjusted must have him at the circumference.... There is no real antagonism between creation and evolution. 59—Natural causation is the expression of a supernatural Mind in nature, and man—a being at once of sensibility and of rational and moral self-activity—is a signal and ever-present example of the interfusion of the natural with the supernatural in that part of universal existence nearest and best known to us.

Seebohm, quoted in J. J. Murphy, Nat. Selection and Spir. Freedom, 76—When we admit that Darwin's argument in favor of the theory of evolution proves its truth, we doubt whether natural selection can be in any sense the cause of the origin of species. It has probably played an important part in the history of evolution; its rôle has been that of increasing the rapidity with which the process of development has proceeded. Of itself it has probably been powerless to originate a species; the machinery by which species have been evolved has been completely independent of natural selection [pg 392]and could have produced all the results which we call the evolution of species without its aid; though the process would have been slow had there been no struggle of life to increase its pace. New World, June, 1896:237-262, art. by Howison on the Limits of Evolution, finds limits in (1) the noumenal Reality; (2) the break between the organic and the inorganic; (3) break between physiological and logical genesis; (4) inability to explain the great fact on which its own movement rests; (5) the a priori self-consciousness which is the essential being and true person of the mind.

Evolution, according to Herbert Spencer, is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion, during which the matter passes from an indefinite incoherent homogeneity to a definite coherent heterogeneity, and during which the retained motion goes through a parallel transformation. D. W. Simon criticizes this definition as defective because (1) it omits all mention both of energy and its differentiations; and (2) because it introduces into the definition of the process one of the phenomena thereof, namely, motion. As a matter of fact, both energy or force, and law, are subsequently and illicitly introduced as distinct factors of the process; they ought therefore to have found recognition in the definition or description. Mark Hopkins, Life, 189—God: what need of him? Have we not force, uniform force, and do not all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation, if it ever had a beginning? Have we not the τὸ πᾶν, the universal All, the Soul of the universe, working itself up from unconsciousness through molecules and maggots and mice and marmots and monkeys to its highest culmination in man?

(b) Development is recognized.—The Mosaic account represents the present order of things as the result, not simply of original creation, but also of subsequent arrangement and development. A fashioning of inorganic materials is described, and also a use of these materials in providing the conditions of organized existence. Life is described as reproducing itself, after its first introduction, according to its own laws and by virtue of its own inner energy.

Martensen wrongly asserts that Judaism represented the world exclusively as creatura, not natura; as κτίσις, not φύσις. This is not true. Creation is represented as the bringing forth, not of something dead, but of something living and capable of self-development. Creation lays the foundation for cosmogony. Not only is there a fashioning and arrangement of the material which the original creative act has brought into being (see Gen. 1:2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 16, 17; 2:2, 6, 7, 8—Spirit brooding; dividing light from darkness, and waters from waters; dry land appearing; setting apart of sun, moon, and stars; mist watering; forming man's body; planting garden) but there is also an imparting and using of the productive powers of the things and beings created (Gen. 1:12, 22, 24, 28—earth brought forth grass; trees yielding fruit whose seed was in itself; earth brought forth the living creatures; man commanded to be fruitful and multiply).

The tendency at present among men of science is to regard the whole history of life upon the planet as the result of evolution, thus excluding creation, both at the beginning of the history and along its course. On the progress from the Orohippus, the lowest member of the equine series, an animal with four toes, to Anchitherium with three, then to Hipparion, and finally to our common horse, see Huxley, in Nature for May 11, 1873:33, 34. He argues that, if a complicated animal like the horse has arisen by gradual modification of a lower and less specialized form, there is no reason to think that other animals have arisen in a different way. Clarence King, Address at Yale College, 1877, regards American geology as teaching the doctrine of sudden yet natural modification of species. When catastrophic change burst in upon the ages of uniformity and sounded in the ear of every living thing the words: Change or die!plasticity became the sole principle of action. Nature proceeded then by leaps, and corresponding to the leaps of geology we find leaps of biology.

We grant the probability that the great majority of what we call species were produced in some such ways. If science should render it certain that all the present species of living creatures were derived by natural descent from a few original germs, and that these germs were themselves an evolution of inorganic forces and materials, we should not therefore regard the Mosaic account as proved untrue. We should only be required to revise our interpretation of the word bara in Gen. 1:21, 27, and to give it there the meaning of mediate creation, or creation by law. Such a meaning might almost seem to be favored by Gen. 1:11let the earth put forth grass; 20let the waters bring forth abundantly [pg 393]the moving creature that hath life; 2:7the Lord God formed man of the dust; 9out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree; cf. Mark 4:28—αὐτομάτη ἣ γή καρποφορεῖ—the earth brings forth fruit automatically. Goethe, Sprüche in Reimen: Was wär ein Gott der nur von aussen stiesse, Im Kreis das All am Finger laufen liesse? Ihm ziemt's die Welt im Innern zu bewegen, Sich in Natur, Natur in sich zu hegen, So dass, was in Ihm lebt und webt und ist, Nie seine Kraft, nie seinen Geist vermisstNo, such a God my worship may not win, Who lets the world about his finger spin, A thing eternal; God must dwell within.

All the growth of a tree takes place in from four to six weeks in May, June and July. The addition of woody fibre between the bark and the trunk results, not by impartation into it of a new force from without, but by the awakening of the life within. Environment changes and growth begins. We may even speak of an immanent transcendence of God—an unexhausted vitality which at times makes great movements forward. This is what the ancients were trying to express when they said that trees were inhabited by dryads and so groaned and bled when wounded. God's life is in all. In evolution we cannot say, with LeConte, that the higher form of energy is derived from the lower. Rather let us say that both the higher and the lower are constantly dependent for their being on the will of God. The lower is only God's preparation for his higher self-manifestation; see Upton, Hibbert Lectures, 165, 166.

Even Haeckel, Hist. Creation, 1:38, can say that in the Mosaic narrative two great and fundamental ideas meet us—the idea of separation or differentiation, and the idea of progressive development or perfecting. We can bestow our just and sincere admiration on the Jewish lawgiver's grand insight into nature, and his simple and natural hypothesis of creation, without discovering in it a divine revelation. Henry Drummond, whose first book, Natural Law in the Spiritual World, he himself in his later days regretted as tending in a deterministic and materialistic direction, came to believe rather in spiritual law in the natural world. His Ascent of Man regards evolution and law as only the methods of a present Deity. Darwinism seemed at first to show that the past history of life upon the planet was a history of heartless and cruel slaughter. The survival of the fittest had for its obverse side the destruction of myriads. Nature was red in tooth and claw with ravine. But further thought has shown that this gloomy view results from a partial induction of facts. Palæontological life was not only a struggle for life, but a struggle for the life of others. The beginnings of altruism are to be seen in the instinct of reproduction and in the care of offspring. In every lion's den and tiger's lair, in every mother-eagle's feeding of her young, there is a self-sacrifice which faintly shadows forth man's subordination of personal interests to the interests of others.

Dr. George Harris, in his Moral Evolution, has added to Drummond's doctrine the further consideration that the struggle for one's own life has its moral side as well as the struggle for the life of others. The instinct of self-preservation is the beginning of right, righteousness, justice and law upon earth. Every creature owes it to God to preserve its own being. So we can find an adumbration of morality even in the predatory and internecine warfare of the geologic ages. The immanent God was even then preparing the way for the rights, the dignity, the freedom of humanity. B. P. Bowne, in the Independent, April 19, 1900—The Copernican system made men dizzy for a time, and they held on to the Ptolemaic system to escape vertigo. In like manner the conception of God, as revealing himself in a great historic movement and process, in the consciences and lives of holy men, in the unfolding life of the church, makes dizzy the believer in a dictated book, and he longs for some fixed word that shall be sure and stedfast. God is not limited to creating from without: he can also create from within; and development is as much a part of creation as is the origination of the elements. For further discussion of man's origin, see section on Man a Creation of God, in our treatment of Anthropology.

2. Its proper interpretation.

We adopt neither (a) the allegorical, or mythical, (b) the hyperliteral, nor (c) the hyperscientific interpretation of the Mosaic narrative; but rather (d) the pictorial-summary interpretation,—which holds that the account is a rough sketch of the history of creation, true in all its essential features, but presented in a graphic form suited to the common mind and to earlier as well as to later ages. While conveying to primitive man as accurate an idea of God's work as man was able to comprehend, the revelation [pg 394] was yet given in pregnant language, so that it could expand to all the ascertained results of subsequent physical research. This general correspondence of the narrative with the teachings of science, and its power to adapt itself to every advance in human knowledge, differences it from every other cosmogony current among men.

(a) The allegorical, or mythical interpretation, represents the Mosaic account as embodying, like the Indian and Greek cosmogonies, the poetic speculations of an early race as to the origin of the present system. We object to this interpretation upon the ground that the narrative of creation is inseparably connected with the succeeding history, and is therefore most naturally regarded as itself historical. This connection of the narrative of creation with the subsequent history, moreover, prevents us from believing it to be the description of a vision granted to Moses. It is more probably the record of an original revelation to the first man, handed down to Moses' time, and used by Moses as a proper introduction to his history.

We object also to the view of some higher critics that the book of Genesis contains two inconsistent stories. Marcus Dods, Book of Genesis, 2—The compiler of this book ... lays side by side two accounts of man's creation which no ingenuity can reconcile.Charles A. Briggs: The doctrine of creation in Genesis 1 is altogether different from that taught in Genesis 2. W. N. Clarke, Christian Theology, 199-201—It has been commonly assumed that the two are parallel, and tell one and the same story; but examination shows that this is not the case.... We have here the record of a tradition, rather than a revelation.... It cannot be taken as literal history, and it does not tell by divine authority how man was created. To these utterances we reply that the two accounts are not inconsistent but complementary, the first chapter of Genesis describing man's creation as the crown of God's general work, the second describing man's creation with greater particularity as the beginning of human history.

Canon Rawlinson, in Aids to Faith, 275, compares the Mosaic account with the cosmogony of Berosus, the Chaldean. Pfleiderer, Philos. of Religion, 1:267-272, gives an account of heathen theories of the origin of the universe. Anaxagoras was the first who represented the chaotic first matter as formed through the ordering understanding (νοῦς) of God, and Aristotle for that reason called him the first sober one among many drunken. Schurman, Belief in God, 138—In these cosmogonies the world and the gods grow up together; cosmogony is, at the same time, theogony. Dr. E. G. Robinson: The Bible writers believed and intended to state that the world was made in three literal days. But, on the principle that God may have meant more than they did, the doctrine of periods may not be inconsistent with their account. For comparison of the Biblical with heathen cosmogonies, see Blackie in Theol. Eclectic, 1:77-87; Guyot, Creation, 58-63; Pope, Theology, 1:401, 402; Bible Commentary, 1:36, 48; McIlvaine, Wisdom of Holy Scripture, 1-54; J. F. Clarke, Ten Great Religions, 2:193-221. For the theory of prophetic vision, see Kurtz, Hist. of Old Covenant, Introd., i-xxxvii, civ-cxxx; and Hugh Miller, Testimony of the Rocks, 179-210; Hastings, Dict. Bible, art.: Cosmogony; Sayce, Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia, 372-397.

(b) The hyperliteral interpretation would withdraw the narrative from all comparison with the conclusions of science, by putting the ages of geological history between the first and second verses of Gen. 1, and by making the remainder of the chapter an account of the fitting up of the earth, or of some limited portion of it, in six days of twenty-four hours each. Among the advocates of this view, now generally discarded, are Chalmers, Natural Theology, Works, 1:228-258, and John Pye Smith, Mosaic Account of Creation, and Scripture and Geology. To this view we object that there is no indication, in the Mosaic narrative, of so vast an interval between the first and the second verses; that there is no indication, in the geological history, of any such break between the ages of preparation and the present time (see Hugh Miller, Testimony of the Rocks, 141-178); and that there are indications in the Mosaic record itself that the word day is not used in its literal sense; while the other Scriptures unquestionably employ it to designate a period of indefinite duration (Gen. 1:5God called the light Day—a day before there was a sun; 8there was evening and there was morning, a second day; 2:2—God rested on the seventh day; cf. Heb. 4:3-10—where God's day of rest seems to continue, and his people are exhorted to enter into it; Gen. 2:4the day that Jehovah made earth and heavendayhere covers all the seven days; cf. Is. 2:12a day of Jehovah of hosts; Zech. 14:7it shall be one day which is known unto Jehovah; not day, and not night; 2 Pet. 3:8one day is with the Lord as [pg 395]a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day). Guyot, Creation, 34, objects also to this interpretation, that the narrative purports to give a history of the making of the heavens as well as of the earth (Gen. 2:4these are the generations of the heaven and of the earth), whereas this interpretation confines the history to the earth. On the meaning of the word day,as a period of indefinite duration, see Dana, Manual of Geology, 744; LeConte, Religion and Science, 262.

(c) The hyperscientific interpretation would find in the narrative a minute and precise correspondence with the geological record. This is not to be expected, since it is foreign to the purpose of revelation to teach science. Although a general concord between the Mosaic and geological histories may be pointed out, it is a needless embarrassment to compel ourselves to find in every detail of the former an accurate statement of some scientific fact. Far more probable we hold to be

(d) The pictorial-summary interpretation. Before explaining this in detail, we would premise that we do not hold this or any future scheme of reconciling Genesis and geology to be a finality. Such a settlement of all the questions involved would presuppose not only a perfected science of the physical universe, but also a perfected science of hermeneutics. It is enough if we can offer tentative solutions which represent the present state of thought upon the subject. Remembering, then, that any such scheme of reconciliation may speedily be outgrown without prejudice to the truth of the Scripture narrative, we present the following as an approximate account of the coincidences between the Mosaic and the geological records. The scheme here given is a combination of the conclusions of Dana and Guyot, and assumes the substantial truth of the nebular hypothesis. It is interesting to observe that Augustine, who knew nothing of modern science, should have reached, by simple study of the text, some of the same results. See his Confessions, 12:8—First God created a chaotic matter, which was next to nothing. This chaotic matter was made from nothing, before all days. Then this chaotic, amorphous matter was subsequently arranged, in the succeeding six days; De Genes. ad Lit., 4:27—The length of these days is not to be determined by the length of our week-days. There is a series in both cases, and that is all. We proceed now to the scheme:

1. The earth, if originally in the condition of a gaseous fluid, must have been void and formless as described in Genesis 1:2. Here the earth is not yet separated from the condensing nebula, and its fluid condition is indicated by the term waters.

2. The beginning of activity in matter would manifest itself by the production of light, since light is a resultant of molecular activity. This corresponds to the statement in verse 3. As the result of condensation, the nebula becomes luminous, and this process from darkness to light is described as follows: there was evening and there was morning, one day. Here we have a day without a sun—a feature in the narrative quite consistent with two facts of science: first, that the nebula would naturally be self-luminous, and, secondly, that the earth proper, which reached its present form before the sun, would, when it was thrown off, be itself a self-luminous and molten mass. The day was therefore continuous—day without night.

3. The development of the earth into an independent sphere and its separation from the fluid around it answers to the dividing of the waters under the firmament from the waters above,in verse 7. Here the word waters is used to designate the primordial cosmic material(Guyot, Creation, 35-37), or the molten mass of earth and sun united, from which the earth is thrown off. The term waters is the best which the Hebrew language affords to express this idea of a fluid mass. Ps. 148 seems to have this meaning, where it speaks of the waters that are above the heavens (verse 4)—waters which are distinguished from the deeps below (verse 7), and the vapor above (verse 8).

4. The production of the earth's physical features by the partial condensation of the vapors which enveloped the igneous sphere, and by the consequent outlining of the continents and oceans, is next described in verse 9 as the gathering of the waters into one place and the appearing of the dry land.

5. The expression of the idea of life in the lowest plants, since it was in type and effect the creation of the vegetable kingdom, is next described in verse 11 as a bringing into existence of the characteristic forms of that kingdom. This precedes all mention of animal life, since the vegetable kingdom is the natural basis of the animal. If it be said that our earliest fossils are animal, we reply that the earliest vegetable forms, the algæ, were easily dissolved, and might as easily disappear; that graphite and bog-iron ore, appearing lower down than any animal remains, are the result of preceding vegetation; that animal forms, whenever and wherever existing, must subsist upon and presuppose the vegetable. The Eozoön is of necessity preceded by the Eophyte. If it [pg 396]be said that fruit-trees could not have been created on the third day, we reply that since the creation of the vegetable kingdom was to be described at one stroke and no mention of it was to be made subsequently, this is the proper place to introduce it and to mention its main characteristic forms. See Bible Commentary, 1:36; LeConte, Elements of Geology, 136, 285.

6. The vapors which have hitherto shrouded the planet are now cleared away as preliminary to the introduction of life in its higher animal forms. The consequent appearance of solar light is described in verses 16 and 17 as a making of the sun, moon, and stars, and a giving of them as luminaries to the earth. Compare Gen. 9:13I do set my bow in the cloud. As the rainbow had existed in nature before, but was now appointed to serve a peculiar purpose, so in the record of creation sun, moon and stars, which existed before, were appointed as visible lights for the earth,—and that for the reason that the earth was no longer self-luminous, and the light of the sun struggling through the earth's encompassing clouds was not sufficient for the higher forms of life which were to come.

7. The exhibition of the four grand types of the animal kingdom (radiate, molluscan, articulate, vertebrate), which characterizes the next stage of geological progress, is represented in verses 20 and 21 as a creation of the lower animals—those that swarm in the waters, and the creeping and flying species of the land. Huxley, in his American Addresses, objects to this assigning of the origin of birds to the fifth day, and declares that terrestrial animals exist in lower strata than any form of bird,—birds appearing only in the Oölitic, or New Red Sandstone. But we reply that the fifth day is devoted to sea-productions, while land-productions belong to the sixth. Birds, according to the latest science, are sea-productions, not land-productions. They originated from Saurians, and were, at the first, flying lizards. There being but one mention of sea-productions, all these, birds included, are crowded into the fifth day. Thus Genesis anticipates the latest science. On the ancestry of birds, see Pop. Science Monthly, March, 1884:606; Baptist Magazine, 1877:505.

8. The introduction of mammals—viviparous species, which are eminent above all other vertebrates for a quality prophetic of a high moral purpose, that of suckling their young—is indicated in verses 24 and 25 by the creation, on the sixth day, of cattle and beasts of prey.

9. Man, the first being of moral and intellectual qualities, and the first in whom the unity of the great design has full expression, forms in both the Mosaic and geologic record the last step of progress in creation (see verses 26-31). With Prof. Dana, we may say that in this succession we observe not merely an order of events like that deduced from science; there is a system in the arrangement, and a far-reaching prophecy, to which philosophy could not have attained, however instructed. See Dana, Manual of Geology, 741-746, and Bib. Sac., April, 1885:201-224. Richard Owen: Man from the beginning of organisms was ideally present upon the earth; see Owen, Anatomy of Vertebrates, 3:796; Louis Agassiz: Man is the purpose toward which the whole animal creation tends from the first appearance of the first palæozoic fish.

Prof. John M. Taylor: Man is not merely a mortal but a moral being. If he sinks below this plane of life he misses the path marked out for him by all his past development. In order to progress, the higher vertebrate had to subordinate everything to mental development. In order to become human it had to develop the rational intelligence. In order to become higher man, present man must subordinate everything to moral development. This is the great law of animal and human development clearly revealed in the sequence of physical and psychical functions. W. E. Gladstone in S. S. Times, April 26, 1890, calls the Mosaic days chapters in the history of creation. He objects to calling them epochs or periods, because they are not of equal length, and they sometimes overlap. But he defends the general correspondence of the Mosaic narrative with the latest conclusions of science, and remarks: Any man whose labor and duty for several scores of years has included as their central point the study of the means of making himself intelligible to the mass of men, is in a far better position to judge what would be the forms and methods of speech proper for the Mosaic writer to adopt, than the most perfect Hebraist as such, or the most consummate votary of physical science as such.

On the whole subject, see Guyot, Creation; Review of Guyot, in N. Eng., July, 1884:591-594; Tayler Lewis, Six Days of Creation; Thompson, Man in Genesis and in Geology; Agassiz, in Atlantic Monthly, Jan. 1874; Dawson, Story of the Earth and Man, 82, and in Expositor, Apl. 1886; LeConte, Science and Religion, 264; Hill, in Bib. Sac., April, 1875; Peirce, Ideality in the Physical Sciences, 38-72; Boardman, The Creative Week; [pg 397]Godet, Bib. Studies of O. T., 65-138; Bell, in Nature, Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 1882; W. E. Gladstone, in Nineteenth Century, Nov. 1885:685-707, Jan. 1886:1, 176; reply by Huxley, in Nineteenth Century, Dec. 1885, and Feb. 1886; Schmid, Theories of Darwin; Bartlett, Sources of History in the Pentateuch, 1-35; Cotterill, Does Science Aid Faith in Regard to Creation? Cox, Miracles, 1-39—chapter 1, on the Original Miracle—that of Creation; Zöckler, Theologie und Naturwissenschaft, and Urgeschichte, 1-77; Reusch, Bib. Schöpfungsgeschichte. On difficulties of the nebular hypothesis, see Stallo, Modern Physics, 277-293.

V. God's End in Creation.

Infinite wisdom must, in creating, propose to itself the most comprehensive and the most valuable of ends,—the end most worthy of God, and the end most fruitful in good. Only in the light of the end proposed can we properly judge of God's work, or of God's character as revealed therein.

It would seem that Scripture should give us an answer to the question: Why did God create? The great Architect can best tell his own design. Ambrose: To whom shall I give greater credit concerning God than to God himself? George A. Gordon, New Epoch for Faith, 15—God is necessarily a being of ends. Teleology is the warp and woof of humanity; it must be in the warp and woof of Deity. Evolutionary science has but strengthened this view. Natural science is but a mean disguise for ignorance if it does not imply cosmical purpose. The movement of life from lower to higher is a movement upon ends. Will is the last account of the universe, and will is the faculty for ends. The moment one concludes that God is, it appears certain that he is a being of ends. The universe is alive with desire and movement. Fundamentally it is throughout an expression of will. And it follows, that the ultimate end of God in human history must be worthy of himself.

In determining this end, we turn first to:

1. The testimony of Scripture.

This may be summed up in four statements. God finds his end (a) in himself; (b) in his own will and pleasure; (c) in his own glory; (d) in the making known of his power, his wisdom, his holy name. All these statements may be combined in the following, namely, that God's supreme end in creation is nothing outside of himself, but is his own glory—in the revelation, in and through creatures, of the infinite perfection of his own being.

(a) Rom. 11:36unto him are all things; Col. 1:16all things have been created ... unto him(Christ); compare Is. 48:11for mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it ... and my glory will I not give to another; and 1 Cor. 15:28subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all. Proverbs 16:4—not The Lord hath made all things for himself (A. V.) but Jehovah hath made everything for its own end (Rev. Vers.).

(b) Eph. 1:5, 6, 9having foreordained us ... according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace ... mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him; Rev. 4:11thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created.

(c) Is. 43:7whom I have created for my glory; 60:21 and 61:3—the righteousness and blessedness of the redeemed are secured, that he may be glorified; Luke 2:14—the angels' song at the birth of Christ expressed the design of the work of salvation: Glory to God in the highest, and only through, and for its sake, on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.

(d) Ps. 143:11In thy righteousness bring my soul out of trouble; Ez. 36:21, 22I do not this for your sake ... but for mine holy name; 39:7my holy name will I make known; Rom. 9:17—to Pharaoh: For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth; 22, 23riches of his glory made known in vessels of wrath, and in vessels of mercy; Eph. 3:9, 10created all things; to the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God. See Godet, on Ultimate Design of Man; God in man and man in God, in Princeton Rev., Nov. 1880; Hodge, Syst. Theol., 1:436, 535, 565, 568. Per contra, see Miller, Fetich in Theology, 19, 39-45, 88-98, 143-146.

[pg 398]

Since holiness is the fundamental attribute in God, to make himself, his own pleasure, his own glory, his own manifestation, to be his end in creation, is to find his chief end in his own holiness, its maintenance, expression, and communication. To make this his chief end, however, is not to exclude certain subordinate ends, such as the revelation of his wisdom, power, and love, and the consequent happiness of innumerable creatures to whom this revelation is made.

God's glory is that which makes him glorious. It is not something without, like the praise and esteem of men, but something within, like the dignity and value of his own attributes. To a noble man, praise is very distasteful unless he is conscious of something in himself that justifies it. We must be like God to be self-respecting. Pythagoras said well: Man's end is to be like God. And so God must look within, and find his honor and his end in himself. Robert Browning, Hohenstiel-Schwangau: This is the glory, that in all conceived Or felt or known, I recognize a Mind, Not mine but like mine,—for the double joy Making all things for me, and me for Him.Schurman, Belief in God, 214-216—God glorifies himself in communicating himself.The object of his love is the exercise of his holiness. Self-affirmation conditions self-communication.

E. G. Robinson, Christian Theology, 94, 196—Law and gospel are only two sides of the one object, the highest glory of God in the highest good of man.... Nor is it unworthy of God to make himself his own end: (a) It is both unworthy and criminal for a finite being to make himself his own end, because it is an end that can be reached only by degrading self and wronging others; but (b) For an infinite Creator not to make himself his own end would be to dishonor himself and wrong his creatures; since, thereby, (c) he must either act without an end, which is irrational, or from an end which is impossible without wronging his creatures; because (d) the highest welfare of his creatures, and consequently their happiness, is impossible except through the subordination and conformity of their wills to that of their infinitely perfect Ruler; and (e) without this highest welfare and happiness of his creatures God's own end itself becomes impossible, for he is glorified only as his character is reflected in, and recognized by, his intelligent creatures. Creation can add nothing to the essential wealth or worthiness of God. If the end were outside himself, it would make him dependent and a servant. The old theologians therefore spoke of God's declarative glory,rather than God's essential glory, as resulting from man's obedience and salvation.

2. The testimony of reason.

That his own glory, in the sense just mentioned, is God's supreme end in creation, is evident from the following considerations:

(a) God's own glory is the only end actually and perfectly attained in the universe. Wisdom and omnipotence cannot choose an end which is destined to be forever unattained; for what his soul desireth, even that he doeth (Job 23:13). God's supreme end cannot be the happiness of creatures, since many are miserable here and will be miserable forever. God's supreme end cannot be the holiness of creatures, for many are unholy here and will be unholy forever. But while neither the holiness nor the happiness of creatures is actually and perfectly attained, God's glory is made known and will be made known in both the saved and the lost. This then must be God's supreme end in creation.

This doctrine teaches us that none can frustrate God's plan. God will get glory out of every human life. Man may glorify God voluntarily by love and obedience, but if he will not do this he will be compelled to glorify God by his rejection and punishment. Better be the molten iron that runs freely into the mold prepared by the great Designer, than be the hard and cold iron that must be hammered into shape. Cleanthes, quoted by Seneca: Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt. W. C. Wilkinson, Epic of Saul, 271—But some are tools, and others ministers, Of God, who works his holy will with all. Christ baptizes in the Holy Spirit and in fire (Mat. 3:11). Alexander [pg 399]McLaren: There are two fires, to one or other of which we must be delivered. Either we shall gladly accept the purifying fire of the Spirit which burns sin out of us, or we shall have to meet the punitive fire which burns up us and our sins together. To be cleansed by the one or to be consumed by the other is the choice before each one of us. Hare, Mission of the Comforter, on John 16:8, shows that the Holy Spirit either convinces those who yield to his influence, or convicts those who resist—the word ἐλέγχω having this double significance.

(b) God's glory is the end intrinsically most valuable. The good of creatures is of insignificant importance compared with this. Wisdom dictates that the greater interest should have precedence of the less. Because God can choose no greater end, he must choose for his end himself. But this is to choose his holiness, and his glory in the manifestation of that holiness.

Is. 40:15, 16Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance—like the drop that falls unobserved from the bucket, like the fine dust of the scales which the tradesman takes no notice of in weighing, so are all the combined millions of earth and heaven before God. He created, and he can in an instant destroy. The universe is but a drop of dew upon the fringe of his garment. It is more important that God should be glorified than that the universe should be happy. As we read in Heb. 6:13since he could swear by none greater, he sware by himself—so here we may say: Because he could choose no greater end in creating, he chose himself. But to swear by himself is to swear by his holiness (Ps. 89:35). We infer that to find his end in himself is to find that end in his holiness. See Martineau on Malebranche, in Types, 177.

The stick or the stone does not exist for itself, but for some consciousness. The soul of man exists in part for itself. But it is conscious that in a more important sense it exists for God. Modern thought, it is said, worships and serves the creature more than the Creator; indeed, the chief end of the Creator seems to be to glorify man and to enjoy him forever. So the small boy said his Catechism: Man's chief end is to glorify God and to annoy him forever. Prof. Clifford: The kingdom of God is obsolete; the kingdom of man has now come. All this is the insanity of sin. Per contra, see Allen, Jonathan Edwards, 329, 330—Two things are plain in Edwards's doctrine: first, that God cannot love anything other than himself: he is so great, so preponderating an amount of being, that what is left is hardly worth considering; secondly, so far as God has any love for the creature, it is because he is himself diffused therein: the fulness of his own essence has overflowed into an outer world, and that which he loves in created beings is his essence imparted to them. But we would add that Edwards does not say they are themselves of the essence of God; see his Works, 2:210, 211.

(c) His own glory is the only end which consists with God's independence and sovereignty. Every being is dependent upon whomsoever or whatsoever he makes his ultimate end. If anything in the creature is the last end of God, God is dependent upon the creature. But since God is dependent only on himself, he must find in himself his end.

To create is not to increase his blessedness, but only to reveal it. There is no need or deficiency which creation supplies. The creatures who derive all from him can add nothing to him. All our worship is only the rendering back to him of that which is his own. He notices us only for his own sake and not because our little rivulets of praise add anything to the ocean-like fulness of his joy. For his own sake, and not because of our misery or our prayers, he redeems and exalts us. To make our pleasure and welfare his ultimate end would be to abdicate his throne. He creates, therefore, only for his own sake and for the sake of his glory. To this reasoning the London Spectator replies: The glory of God is the splendor of a manifestation, not the intrinsic splendor manifested. The splendor of a manifestation, however, consists in the effect of the manifestation on those to whom it is given. Precisely because the manifestation of God's goodness can be useful to us and cannot be useful to him, must its manifestation be intended for our sake and not for his sake. We gain everything by it—he nothing, except so far as it is his own will that we should gain what he desires to bestow upon [pg 400]us. In this last clause we find the acknowledgment of weakness in the theory that God's supreme end is the good of his creatures. God does gain the fulfilment of his plan, the doing of his will, the manifestation of himself. The great painter loves his picture less than he loves his ideal. He paints in order to express himself. God loves each soul which he creates, but he loves yet more the expression of his own perfections in it. And this self-expression is his end. Robert Browning, Paracelsus, 54—God is the perfect Poet, Who in creation acts his own conceptions. Shedd, Dogm. Theol., 1:357, 358; Shairp, Province of Poetry, 11, 12.

God's love makes him a self-expressing being. Self-expression is an inborn impulse in his creatures. All genius partakes of this characteristic of God. Sin substitutes concealment for outflow, and stops this self-communication which would make the good of each the good of all. Yet even sin cannot completely prevent it. The wicked man is impelled to confess. By natural law the secrets of all hearts will be made manifest at the judgment. Regeneration restores the freedom and joy of self-manifestation. Christianity and confession of Christ are inseparable. The preacher is simply a Christian further advanced in this divine privilege. We need utterance. Prayer is the most complete self-expression, and God's presence is the only land of perfectly free speech.

The great poet comes nearest, in the realm of secular things, to realizing this privilege of the Christian. No great poet ever wrote his best work for money, or for fame, or even for the sake of doing good. Hawthorne was half-humorous and only partially sincere, when he said he would never have written a page except for pay. The hope of pay may have set his pen a-going, but only love for his work could have made that work what it is. Motley more truly declared that it was all up with a writer when he began to consider the money he was to receive. But Hawthorne needed the money to live on, while Motley had a rich father and uncle to back him. The great writer certainly absorbs himself in his work. With him necessity and freedom combine. He sings as the bird sings, without dogmatic intent. Yet he is great in proportion as he is moral and religious at heart. Arma virumque cano is the only first person singular in the Æneid in which the author himself speaks, yet the whole Æneid is a revelation of Virgil. So we know little of Shakespeare's life, but much of Shakespeare's genius.

Nothing is added to the tree when it blossoms and bears fruit; it only reveals its own inner nature. But we must distinguish in man his true nature from his false nature. Not his private peculiarities, but that in him which is permanent and universal, is the real treasure upon which the great poet draws. Longfellow: He is the greatest artist then, Whether of pencil or of pen, Who follows nature. Never man, as artist or as artizan, Pursuing his own fantasies, Can touch the human heart or please, Or satisfy our nobler needs. Tennyson, after observing the subaqueous life of a brook, exclaimed: What an imagination God has! Caird, Philos. Religion, 245—The world of finite intelligences, though distinct from God, is still in its ideal nature one with him. That which God creates, and by which he reveals the hidden treasures of his wisdom and love, is still not foreign to his own infinite life, but one with it. In the knowledge of the minds that know him, in the self-surrender of the hearts that love him, it is no paradox to affirm that he knows and loves himself.

(d) His own glory is an end which comprehends and secures, as a subordinate end, every interest of the universe. The interests of the universe are bound up in the interests of God. There is no holiness or happiness for creatures except as God is absolute sovereign, and is recognized as such. It is therefore not selfishness, but benevolence, for God to make his own glory the supreme object of creation. Glory is not vain-glory, and in expressing his ideal, that is, in expressing himself, in his creation, he communicates to his creatures the utmost possible good.

This self-expression is not selfishness but benevolence. As the true poet forgets himself in his work, so God does not manifest himself for the sake of what he can make by it. Self-manifestation is an end in itself. But God's self-manifestation comprises all good to his creatures. We are bound to love ourselves and our own interests just in proportion to the value of those interests. The monarch of a realm or the general of an army must be careful of his life, because the sacrifice of it may involve the loss of thousands of lives of soldiers or subjects. So God is the heart of the great system. Only by being tributary to the heart can the members be supplied with streams of [pg 401]holiness and happiness. And so for only one Being in the universe is it safe to live for himself. Man should not live for himself, because there is a higher end. But there is no higher end for God. Only one being in the universe is excepted from the duty of subordination. Man must be subject to the higher powers (Rom. 13:1). But there are no higher powers to God. See Park, Discourses, 181-209.

Bismarck's motto: Ohne Kaiser, kein ReichWithout an emperor, there can be no empire—applies to God, as Von Moltke's motto: Erst wägen, dann wagenFirst weigh, then dare—applies to man. Edwards, Works, 2:215—Selfishness is no otherwise vicious or unbecoming than as one is less than a multitude. The public weal is of greater value than his particular interest. It is fit and suitable that God should value himself infinitely more than his creatures. Shakespeare, Hamlet, 3:3—The single and peculiar life is bound With all the strength and armor of the mind To keep itself from noyance; but much more That spirit upon whose weal depends and rests The lives of many. The cease of majesty Dies not alone, but like a gulf doth draw What's near it with it: it is a massy wheel Fixed on the summit of the highest mount, To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things Are mortis'd and adjoined; which, when it falls, Each small annexment, petty consequence, Attends the boisterous ruin. Never alone did the king sigh, But with a general groan.

(e) God's glory is the end which in a right moral system is proposed to creatures. This must therefore be the end which he in whose image they are made proposes to himself. He who constitutes the centre and end of all his creatures must find his centre and end in himself. This principle of moral philosophy, and the conclusion drawn from it, are both explicitly and implicitly taught in Scripture.

The beginning of all religion is the choosing of God's end as our end—the giving up of our preference of happiness, and the entrance upon a life devoted to God. That happiness is not the ground of moral obligation, is plain from the fact that there is no happiness in seeking happiness. That the holiness of God is the ground of moral obligation, is plain from the fact that the search after holiness is not only successful in itself, but brings happiness also in its train. Archbishop Leighton, Works, 695—It is a wonderful instance of wisdom and goodness that God has so connected his own glory with our happiness, that we cannot properly intend the one, but that the other must follow as a matter of course, and our own felicity is at last resolved into his eternal glory. That God will certainly secure the end for which he created, his own glory, and that his end is our end, is the true source of comfort in affliction, of strength in labor, of encouragement in prayer. See Psalm 25:11For thy name's sake.... Pardon mine iniquity, for it is great; 115:1Not unto us, O Jehovah, not unto us, But unto thy name give glory; Mat. 6:33Seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you; 1 Cor. 10:31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God; 1 Pet. 2:9ye are an elect race ... that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; 4:11—speaking, ministering, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, whose is the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. On the whole subject, see Edwards, Works, 2:193-257; Janet, Final Causes, 443-455; Princeton Theol. Essays, 2:15-32; Murphy, Scientific Bases of Faith, 358-362.

It is a duty to make the most of ourselves, but only for God's sake. Jer. 45:5seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not! But it is nowhere forbidden us to seek great things for God. Rather we are to desire earnestly the greater gifts (1 Cor. 12:31). Self-realization as well as self-expression is native to humanity. Kant: Man, and with him every rational creature, is an end in himself. But this seeking of his own good is to be subordinated to the higher motive of God's glory. The difference between the regenerate and the unregenerate may consist wholly in motive. The latter lives for self, the former for God. Illustrate by the young man in Yale College who began to learn his lessons for God instead of for self, leaving his salvation in Christ's hands. God requires self-renunciation, taking up the cross, and following Christ, because the first need of the sinner is to change his centre. To be self-centered is to be a savage. The struggle for the life of others is better. But there is something higher still. Life has dignity according to the worth of the object we install in place of self. Follow Christ, make God the center of your life,—so shall you achieve the best; see Colestock, Changing Viewpoint, 113-123.

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George A. Gordon, The New Epoch for Faith, 11-13—The ultimate view of the universe is the religious view. Its worth is ultimately worth for the supreme Being. Here is the note of permanent value in Edwards's great essay on The End of Creation. The final value of creation is its value for God.... Men are men in and through society—here is the truth which Aristotle teaches—but Aristotle fails to see that society attains its end only in and through God. Hovey, Studies, 65—To manifest the glory or perfection of God is therefore the chief end of our existence. To live in such a manner that his life is reflected in ours; that his character shall reappear, at least faintly, in ours; that his holiness and love shall be recognized and declared by us, is to do that for which we are made. And so, in requiring us to glorify himself, God simply requires us to do what is absolutely right, and what is at the same time indispensable to our highest welfare. Any lower aim could not have been placed before us, without making us content with a character unlike that of the First Good and the First Fair. See statement and criticism of Edwards's view in Allen, Jonathan Edwards, 227-238.

VI. Relation of the Doctrine of Creation to other Doctrines.

1. To the holiness and benevolence of God.

Creation, as the work of God, manifests of necessity God's moral attributes. But the existence of physical and moral evil in the universe appears, at first sight, to impugn these attributes, and to contradict the Scripture declaration that the work of God's hand was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). This difficulty may be in great part removed by considering that:

(a) At its first creation, the world was good in two senses: first, as free from moral evil,—sin being a later addition, the work, not of God, but of created spirits; secondly, as adapted to beneficent ends,—for example, the revelation of God's perfection, and the probation and happiness of intelligent and obedient creatures.

(b) Physical pain and imperfection, so far as they existed before the introduction of moral evil, are to be regarded: first, as congruous parts of a system of which sin was foreseen to be an incident; and secondly, as constituting, in part, the means of future discipline and redemption for the fallen.

The coprolites of Saurians contain the scales and bones of fish which they have devoured. Rom. 8:20-22For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation [the irrational creation] groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now; 23—our mortal body, as a part of nature, participates in the same groaning. 2 Cor. 4:17our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory. Bowne, Philosophy of Theism, 224-240—How explain our rather shabby universe? Pessimism assumes that perfect wisdom is compatible only with a perfect work, and that we know the universe to be truly worthless and insignificant. John Stuart Mill, Essays on Religion, 29, brings in a fearful indictment of nature, her storms, lightnings, earthquakes, blight, decay, and death. Christianity however regards these as due to man, not to God; as incidents of sin; as the groans of creation, crying out for relief and liberty. Man's body, as a part of nature, waits for the adoption, and resurrection of the body is to accompany the renewal of the world.

It was Darwin's judgment that in the world of nature and of man, on the whole, happiness decidedly prevails. Wallace, Darwinism, 36-40—Animals enjoy all the happiness of which they are capable. Drummond, Ascent of Man, 203 sq.In the struggle for life there is no hate—only hunger. Martineau, Study, 1:330—Waste of life is simply nature's exuberance. Newman Smyth, Place of Death in Evolution, 44-56—Death simply buries the useless waste. Death has entered for life's sake.These utterances, however, come far short of a proper estimate of the evils of the world, and they ignore the Scriptural teaching with regard to the connection between [pg 403]death and sin. A future world into which sin and death do not enter shows that the present world is abnormal, and that morality is the only cure for mortality. Nor can the imperfections of the universe be explained by saying that they furnish opportunity for struggle and for virtue. Robert Browning, Ring and Book, Pope, 1875—I can believe this dread machinery Of sin and sorrow, would confound me else, Devised,—all pain, at most expenditure Of pain by Who devised pain,—to evolve, By new machinery in counterpart, The moral qualities of man—how else?—To make him love in turn and be beloved, Creative and self-sacrificing too, And thus eventually godlike.This seems like doing evil that good may come. We can explain mortality only by immorality, and that not in God but in man. Fairbairn: Suffering is God's protest against sin.

Wallace's theory of the survival of the fittest was suggested by the prodigal destructiveness of nature. Tennyson: Finding that of fifty seeds She often brings but one to bear. William James: Our dogs are in our human life, but not of it. The dog, under the knife of vivisection, cannot understand the purpose of his suffering. For him it is only pain. So we may lie soaking in a spiritual atmosphere, a dimension of Being which we have at present no organ for apprehending. If we knew the purpose of our life, all that is heroic in us would religiously acquiesce. Mason, Faith of the Gospel, 72—Love is prepared to take deeper and sterner measures than benevolence, which is by itself a shallow thing. The Lakes of Killarny in Ireland show what a paradise this world might be if war had not desolated it, and if man had properly cared for it. Our moral sense cannot justify the evil in creation except upon the hypothesis that this has some cause and reason in the misconduct of man.

This is not a perfect world. It was not perfect even when originally constituted. Its imperfection is due to sin. God made it with reference to the Fall,—the stage was arranged for the great drama of sin and redemption which was to be enacted thereon. We accept Bushnell's idea of anticipative consequences, and would illustrate it by the building of a hospital-room while yet no member of the family is sick, and by the salvation of the patriarchs through a Christ yet to come. If the earliest vertebrates of geological history were types of man and preparations for his coming, then pain and death among those same vertebrates may equally have been a type of man's sin and its results of misery. If sin had not been an incident, foreseen and provided for, the world might have been a paradise. As a matter of fact, it will become a paradise only at the completion of the redemptive work of Christ. Kreibig, Versöhnung, 369—The death of Christ was accompanied by startling occurrences in the outward world, to show that the effects of his sacrifice reached even into nature. Perowne refers Ps. 96:10The world also is established that it cannot be moved—to the restoration of the inanimate creation; cf. Heb. 12:27And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain; Rev. 21:1, 5a new heaven and a new earth ... Behold, I make all things new.

Much sport has been made of this doctrine of anticipative consequences. James D. Dana: It is funny that the sin of Adam should have killed those old trilobites! The blunderbuss must have kicked back into time at a tremendous rate to have hit those poor innocents! Yet every insurance policy, every taking out of an umbrella, every buying of a wedding ring, is an anticipative consequence. To deny that God made the world what it is in view of the events that were to take place in it, is to concede to him less wisdom than we attribute to our fellow-man. The most rational explanation of physical evil in the universe is that of Rom. 8:20, 21the creation was subjected to vanity ... by reason of him who subjected iti. e., by reason of the first man's sin—in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered.

Martineau, Types, 2:151—What meaning could Pity have in a world where suffering was not meant to be? Hicks, Critique of Design Arguments, 386—The very badness of the world convinces us that God is good. And Sir Henry Taylor's words: Pain in man Bears the high mission of the flail and fan; In brutes 'tis surely piteous—receive their answer: The brute is but an appendage to man, and like inanimate nature it suffers from man's fall—suffers not wholly in vain, for even pain in brutes serves to illustrate the malign influence of sin and to suggest motives for resisting it. Pascal: Whatever virtue can be bought with pain is cheaply bought. The pain and imperfection of the world are God's frown upon sin and his warning against it. See Bushnell, chapter on Anticipative Consequences, in Nature and the Supernatural, 194-219. Also McCosh, Divine Government, 26-35, 249-261; Farrar, Science and Theology, 82-105; Johnson, in Bap. Rev., 6:141-154; Fairbairn, Philos. Christ. Religion, 94-168.

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2. To the wisdom and free-will of God.

No plan whatever of a finite creation can fully express the infinite perfection of God. Since God, however, is immutable, he must always have had a plan of the universe; since he is perfect, he must have had the best possible plan. As wise, God cannot choose a plan less good, instead of one more good. As rational, he cannot between plans equally good make a merely arbitrary choice. Here is no necessity, but only the certainty that infinite wisdom will act wisely. As no compulsion from without, so no necessity from within, moves God to create the actual universe. Creation is both wise and free.

As God is both rational and wise, his having a plan of the universe must be better than his not having a plan would be. But the universe once was not; yet without a universe God was blessed and sufficient to himself. God's perfection therefore requires, not that he have a universe, but that he have a plan of the universe. Again, since God is both rational and wise, his actual creation cannot be the worst possible, nor one arbitrarily chosen from two or more equally good. It must be, all things considered, the best possible. We are optimists rather than pessimists.

But we reject that form of optimism which regards evil as the indispensable condition of the good, and sin as the direct product of God's will. We hold that other form of optimism which regards sin as naturally destructive, but as made, in spite of itself, by an overruling providence, to contribute to the highest good. For the optimism which makes evil the necessary condition of finite being, see Leibnitz, Opera Philosophica, 468, 624; Hedge, Ways of the Spirit, 241; and Pope's Essay on Man. For the better form of optimism, see Herzog, Encyclopädie, art.: Schöpfung, 13:651-653; Chalmers, Works, 2:286; Mark Hopkins, in Andover Rev., March, 1885:197-210; Luthardt, Lehre des freien Willens, 9, 10—Calvin's Quia voluit is not the last answer. We could have no heart for such a God, for he would himself have no heart. Formal will alone has no heart. In God real freedom controls formal, as in fallen man, formal controls real.

Janet, in his Final Causes, 429 sq. and 490-503, claims that optimism subjects God to fate. We have shown that this objection mistakes the certainty which is consistent with freedom for the necessity which is inconsistent with freedom. The opposite doctrine attributes an irrational arbitrariness to God. We are warranted in saying that the universe at present existing, considered as a partial realization of God's developing plan, is the best possible for this particular point of time,—in short, that all is for the best,—see Rom. 8:28to them that love God all things work together for good; 1 Cor. 3:21all things are yours.

For denial of optimism in any form, see Watson, Theol. Institutes, 1:419; Hovey, God with Us, 206-208; Hodge, Syst. Theol., 1:419, 432, 566, and 2:145; Lipsius, Dogmatik, 234-255; Flint, Theism, 227-256; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 397-409, and esp. 405—A wisdom the resources of which have been so expended that it cannot equal its past achievements is a finite capacity, and not the boundless depth of the infinite God. But we reply that a wisdom which does not do that which is best is not wisdom. The limit is not in God's abstract power, but in his other attributes of truth, love, and holiness. Hence God can say in Is. 5:4what could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?

The perfect antithesis to an ethical and theistic optimism is found in the non-moral and atheistic pessimism of Schopenhauer (Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung) and Hartmann (Philosophie des Unbewussten). All life is summed up in effort, and effort is painful; therefore life is pain. But we might retort: Life is active, and action is always accompanied with pleasure; therefore life is pleasure. See Frances Power Cobbe, Peak in Darien, 95-134, for a graphic account of Schopenhauer's heartlessness, cowardice and arrogance. Pessimism is natural to a mind soured by disappointment and forgetful of God: Eccl. 2:11all was vanity and a striving after wind. Homer: There is nothing whatever more wretched than man. Seneca praises death as the best invention of nature. Byron: Count o'er the joys thine hours have seen, Count o'er thy days from anguish free, And know, whatever thou hast been, 'Tis something better not to be. But it has been left to Schopenhauer and Hartmann to define will as unsatisfied yearning, to regard life itself as a huge blunder, and to urge upon the human race, as the only measure of permanent relief, a united and universal act of suicide.

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G. H. Beard, in Andover Rev., March, 1892—Schopenhauer utters one New Testament truth: the utter delusiveness of self-indulgence. Life which is dominated by the desires, and devoted to mere getting, is a pendulum swinging between pain and ennui.Bowne, Philos. of Theism, 124—For Schopenhauer the world-ground is pure will, without intellect or personality. But pure will is nothing. Will itself, except as a function of a conscious and intelligent spirit, is nothing. Royce, Spirit of Mod. Philos., 253-280—Schopenhauer united Kant's thought, The inmost life of all things is one, with the Hindoo insight, The life of all these things, That art Thou. To him music shows best what the will is: passionate, struggling, wandering, restless, ever returning to itself, full of longing, vigor, majesty, caprice. Schopenhauer condemns individual suicide, and counsels resignation. That I must ever desire yet never fully attain, leads Hegel to the conception of the absolutely active and triumphant spirit. Schopenhauer finds in it proof of the totally evil nature of things. Thus while Hegel is an optimist, Schopenhauer is a pessimist.

Winwood Reade, in the title of his book, The Martyrdom of Man, intends to describe human history. O. W. Holmes says that Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress represents the universe as a trap which catches most of the human vermin that have its bait dangled before them. Strauss: If the prophets of pessimism prove that man had better never have lived, they thereby prove that themselves had better never have prophesied.Hawthorne, Note-book: Curious to imagine what mournings and discontent would be excited, if any of the great so-called calamities of human beings were to be abolished,—as, for instance, death.

On both the optimism of Leibnitz and the pessimism of Schopenhauer, see Bowen, Modern Philosophy; Tulloch, Modern Theories, 169-221; Thompson, on Modern Pessimism, in Present Day Tracts, 6: no. 34; Wright, on Ecclesiastes, 141-216; Barlow, Ultimatum of Pessimism: Culture tends to misery; God is the most miserable of beings; creation is a plaster for the sore. See also Mark Hopkins, in Princeton Review, Sept. 1882:197—Disorder and misery are so mingled with order and beneficence, that both optimism and pessimism are possible. Yet it is evident that there must be more construction than destruction, or the world would not be existing. Buddhism, with its Nirvana-refuge, is essentially pessimistic.

3. To Christ as the Revealer of God.

Since Christ is the Revealer of God in creation as well as in redemption, the remedy for pessimism is (1) the recognition of God's transcendence—the universe at present not fully expressing his power, his holiness or his love, and nature being a scheme of progressive evolution which we imperfectly comprehend and in which there is much to follow; (2) the recognition of sin as the free act of the creature, by which all sorrow and pain have been caused, so that God is in no proper sense its author; (3) the recognition of Christ for us on the Cross and Christ in us by his Spirit, as revealing the age-long sorrow and suffering of God's heart on account of human transgression, and as manifested, in self-sacrificing love, to deliver men from the manifold evils in which their sins have involved them; and (4) the recognition of present probation and future judgment, so that provision is made for removing the scandal now resting upon the divine government and for justifying the ways of God to men.

Christ's Cross is the proof that God suffers more than man from human sin, and Christ's judgment will show that the wicked cannot always prosper. In Christ alone we find the key to the dark problems of history and the guarantee of human progress. Rom. 3:25whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime in the forbearance of God; 8:32He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? Heb. 2:8, 9we see not yet all things subjected to him. But we behold ... Jesus ... crowned with glory and honor; Acts 17:31he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the earth in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained. See Hill, Psychology, 283; Bradford, Heredity and Christian Problems, 240, 241; Bruce, Providential Order, 71-88; J. M. Whiton, in Am. Jour. Theology, April, 1901:318.

G. A. Gordon, New Epoch of Faith, 199—The book of Job is called by Huxley the classic of pessimism. Dean Swift, on the successive anniversaries of his own birth, [pg 406]was accustomed to read the third chapter of Job, which begins with the terrible Let the day perish wherein I was born (3:3). But predestination and election are not arbitrary. Wisdom has chosen the best possible plan, has ordained the salvation of all who could wisely have been saved, has permitted the least evil that it was wise to permit. Rev. 4:11Thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created. Mason, Faith of the Gospel, 79—All things were present to God's mind because of his will, and then, when it pleased him, had being given to them. Pfleiderer, Grundriss, 36, advocates a realistic idealism. Christianity, he says, is not abstract optimism, for it recognizes the evil of the actual and regards conflict with it as the task of the world's history; it is not pessimism, for it regards the evil as not unconquerable, but regards the good as the end and the power of the world.

Jones, Robert Browning, 109, 311—Pantheistic optimism asserts that all things aregood; Christian optimism asserts that all things are working together for good. Reverie in Asolando: From the first Power was—I knew. Life has made clear to me That, strive but for closer view, Love were as plain to see. Balaustion's Adventure: Gladness be with thee, Helper of the world! I think this is the authentic sign and seal Of Godship, that it ever waxes glad, And more glad, until gladness blossoms, bursts Into a rage to suffer for mankind And recommence at sorrow. Browning endeavored to find God in man, and still to leave man free. His optimistic faith sought reconciliation with morality. He abhorred the doctrine that the evils of the world are due to merely arbitrary sovereignty, and this doctrine he has satirized in the monologue of Caliban on Setebos: Loving not, hating not, just choosing so. Pippa Passes: God's in his heaven—All's right with the world. But how is this consistent with the guilt of the sinner? Browning does not say. He leaves the antinomy unsolved, only striving to hold both truths in their fulness. Love demands distinction between God and man, yet love unites God and man. Saul: All's love, but all's law. Carlyle forms a striking contrast to Browning. Carlyle was a pessimist. He would renounce happiness for duty, and as a means to this end would suppress, not idle speech alone, but thought itself. The battle is fought moreover in a foreign cause. God's cause is not ours. Duty is a menace, like the duty of a slave. The moral law is not a beneficent revelation, reconciling God and man. All is fear, and there is no love. Carlyle took Emerson through the London slums at midnight and asked him: Do you believe in a devil now? But Emerson replied: I am more and more convinced of the greatness and goodness of the English people. On Browning and Carlyle, see A. H. Strong, Great Poets and their Theology, 373-447.

Henry Ward Beecher, when asked whether life was worth living, replied that that depended very much upon the liver. Optimism and pessimism are largely matters of digestion. President Mark Hopkins asked a bright student if he did not believe this the best possible system. When the student replied in the negative, the President asked him how he could improve upon it. He answered: I would kill off all the bed-bugs, mosquitoes and fleas, and make oranges and bananas grow further north. The lady who was bitten by a mosquito asked whether it would be proper to speak of the creature as a depraved little insect. She was told that this would be improper, because depravity always implies a previous state of innocence, whereas the mosquito has always been as bad as he now is. Dr. Lyman Beecher, however, seems to have held the contrary view. When he had captured the mosquito who had bitten him, he crushed the insect, saying: There! I'll show you that there is a God in Israel! He identified the mosquito with all the corporate evil of the world. Allen, Religious Progress, 22—Wordsworth hoped still, although the French Revolution depressed him; Macaulay, after reading Ranke's History of the Popes, denied all religious progress. On Huxley's account of evil, see Upton, Hibbert Lectures, 265 sq.

Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion, 1:301, 302—The Greeks of Homer's time had a naïve and youthful optimism. But they changed from an optimistic to a pessimistic view. This change resulted from their increasing contemplation of the moral disorder of the world. On the melancholy of the Greeks, see Butcher, Aspects of Greek Genius, 130-165. Butcher holds that the great difference between Greeks and Hebrews was that the former had no hope or ideal of progress. A. H. Bradford, Age of Faith, 74-102—The voluptuous poets are pessimistic, because sensual pleasure quickly passes, and leaves lassitude and enervation behind. Pessimism is the basis of Stoicism also. It is inevitable where there is no faith in God and in a future life. The life of a seed underground is not inspiring, except in prospect of sun and flowers and fruit. Bradley, Appearance and Reality, xiv, sums up the optimistic view as follows: The world is the best of all possible worlds, and everything in it is a necessary evil. He should [pg 407]have added that pain is the exception in the world, and finite free will is the cause of the trouble. Pain is made the means of developing character, and, when it has accomplished its purpose, pain will pass away.

Jackson, James Martineau, 390—All is well, says an American preacher, for if there is anything that is not well, it is well that it is not well. It is well that falsity and hate are not well, that malice and envy and cruelty are not well. What hope for the world or what trust in God, if they were well? Live spells Evil, only when we read it the wrong way. James Russell Lowell, Letters, 2:51—The more I learn ... the more my confidence in the general good sense and honest intentions of mankind increases.... The signs of the times cease to alarm me, and seem as natural as to a mother the teething of her seventh baby. I take great comfort in God. I think that he is considerably amused with us sometimes, and that he likes us on the whole, and would not let us get at the matchbox so carelessly as he does, unless he knew that the frame of his universe was fireproof.

Compare with all this the hopeless pessimism of Omar Kháyyám, Rubáiyát, stanza 99—Ah Love! could you and I with Him conspire To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire, Would not we shatter it to bits—and then Remould it nearer to the heart's desire? Royce, Studies of Good and Evil, 14, in discussing the Problem of Job, suggests the following solution: When you suffer, your sufferings are God's sufferings, not his external work, not his external penalty, not the fruit of his neglect, but identically his own personal woe. In you God himself suffers, precisely as you do, and has all your concern in overcoming this grief. F. H. Johnson, What is Reality, 349, 505—The Christian ideal is not maintainable, if we assume that God could as easily develop his creation without conflict.... Happiness is only one of his ends; the evolution of moral character is another. A. E. Waffle, Uses of Moral Evil: (1) It aids development of holy character by opposition; (2) affords opportunity for ministering; (3) makes known to us some of the chief attributes of God; (4) enhances the blessedness of heaven.

4. To Providence and Redemption.

Christianity is essentially a scheme of supernatural love and power. It conceives of God as above the world, as well as in it,—able to manifest himself, and actually manifesting himself, in ways unknown to mere nature.

But this absolute sovereignty and transcendence, which are manifested in providence and redemption, are inseparable from creatorship. If the world be eternal, like God, it must be an efflux from the substance of God and must be absolutely equal with God. Only a proper doctrine of creation can secure God's absolute distinctness from the world and his sovereignty over it.

The logical alternative of creation is therefore a system of pantheism, in which God is an impersonal and necessary force. Hence the pantheistic dicta of Fichte: “The assumption of a creation is the fundamental error of all false metaphysics and false theology”; of Hegel: “God evolves the world out of himself, in order to take it back into himself again in the Spirit”; and of Strauss: “Trinity and creation, speculatively viewed, are one and the same,—only the one is viewed absolutely, the other empirically.”

Sterrett, Studies, 155, 156—Hegel held that it belongs to God's nature to create. Creation is God's positing an other which is not an other. The creation is his, belongs to his being or essence. This involves the finite as his own self-posited object and self-revelation. It is necessary for God to create. Love, Hegel says, is only another expression of the eternally Triune God. Love must create and love another. But in loving this other, God is only loving himself. We have already, in our discussion of the theory of creation from eternity, shown the insufficiency of creation to satisfy either the love or the power of God. A proper doctrine of the Trinity renders the hypothesis of an eternal creation unnecessary and irrational. That hypothesis is pantheistic in tendency.

[pg 408]

Luthardt, Compendium der Dogmatik, 97—Dualism might be called a logical alternative of creation, but for the fact that its notion of two gods in self-contradictory, and leads to the lowering of the idea of the Godhead, so that the impersonal god of pantheism takes its place. Dorner, System of Doctrine, 2:11—The world cannot be necessitated in order to satisfy either want or over-fulness in God.... The doctrine of absolute creation prevents the confounding of God with the world. The declaration that the Spirit brooded over the formless elements, and that life was developed under the continuous operation of God's laws and presence, prevents the separation of God from the world. Thus pantheism and deism are both avoided. See Kant and Spinoza contrasted in Shedd, Dogm. Theol., 1:468, 469. The unusually full treatment of the doctrine of creation in this chapter is due to a conviction that the doctrine constitutes an antidote to most of the false philosophy of our time.

5. To the Observance of the Sabbath.

We perceive from this point of view, moreover, the importance and value of the Sabbath, as commemorating God's act of creation, and thus God's personality, sovereignty, and transcendence.

(a) The Sabbath is of perpetual obligation as God's appointed memorial of his creating activity. The Sabbath requisition antedates the decalogue and forms a part of the moral law. Made at the creation, it applies to man as man, everywhere and always, in his present state of being.

Gen. 2:3And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it; because that in it he rested from all his work which God had created and made. Our rest is to be a miniature representation of God's rest. As God worked six divine days and rested one divine day, so are we in imitation of him to work six human days and to rest one human day. In the Old Testament there are indications of an observance of the Sabbath day before the Mosaic legislation: Gen. 4:3And in process of time [lit. at the end of days] it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah; Gen. 8:10, 12—Noah twice waited seven days before sending forth the dove from the ark; Gen. 29:27, 28fulfil the week; cf. Judges 14:12the seven days of the feast; Ex. 16:5—double portion of manna promised on the sixth day, that none be gathered on the Sabbath (cf. verses 20, 30). This division of days into weeks is best explained by the original institution of the Sabbath at man's creation. Moses in the fourth commandment therefore speaks of it as already known and observed: Ex. 20:8Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

The Sabbath is recognized in Assyrian accounts of the Creation; see Trans. Soc. Bib. Arch., 5:427, 428; Schrader, Keilinschriften, ed. 1883:18-22. Professor Sayce: Seven was a sacred number descended to the Semites from their Accadian predecessors. Seven by seven had the magic knots to be tied by the witch; seven times had the body of the sick man to be anointed by the purifying oil. As the Sabbath of rest fell on each seventh day of the week, so the planets, like the demon-messengers of Anu, were seven in number, and the gods of the number seven received a particular honor. But now the discovery of a calendar tablet in Mesopotamia shows us the week of seven days and the Sabbath in full sway in ancient Babylon long before the days of Moses. In this tablet the seventh, the fourteenth, the twenty-first and the twenty-eighth days are called Sabbaths, the very word used by Moses, and following it are the words: A day of rest. The restrictions are quite as rigid in this tablet as those in the law of Moses. This institution must have gone back to the Accadian period, before the days of Abraham. In one of the recent discoveries this day is called the day of rest for the heart, but of the gods, on account of the propitiation offered on that day, their heart being put at rest. See Jastrow, in Am. Jour. Theol., April, 1898.

S. S. Times, Jan. 1892, art. by Dr. Jensen of the University of Strassburg on the Biblical and Babylonian Week: Subattu in Babylonia means day of propitiation, implying a religious purpose. A week of seven days is implied in the Babylonian Flood-Story, the rain continuing six days and ceasing on the seventh, and another period of seven days intervening between the cessation of the storm and the disembarking of Noah, the dove, swallow and raven being sent out again on the seventh day. Sabbaths are called days of rest for the heart, days of the completion of labor. Hutton, Essays, 2:229—Because there is in God's mind a spring of eternal rest as well as of creative energy, we are enjoined to respect the law of rest as well as the law of labor. We [pg 409]may question, indeed, whether this doctrine of God's rest does not of itself refute the theory of eternal, continuous, and necessary creation.

(b) Neither our Lord nor his apostles abrogated the Sabbath of the decalogue. The new dispensation does away with the Mosaic prescriptions as to the method of keeping the Sabbath, but at the same time declares its observance to be of divine origin and to be a necessity of human nature.

Not everything in the Mosaic law is abrogated in Christ. Worship and reverence, regard for life and purity and property, are binding still. Christ did not nail to his cross every commandment of the decalogue. Jesus does not defend himself from the charge of Sabbath-breaking by saying that the Sabbath is abrogated, but by asserting the true idea of the Sabbath as fulfilling a fundamental human need. Mark 2:27The Sabbath was made [by God] for man, and not man for the Sabbath. The Puritan restrictions are not essential to the Sabbath, nor do they correspond even with the methods of later Old Testament observance. The Jewish Sabbath was more like the New England Thanksgiving than like the New England Fast-day. Nehemiah 8:12, 18And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth.... And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the ordinance—seems to include the Sabbath day as a day of gladness.

Origen, in Homily 23 on Numbers (Migne, II:358): Leaving therefore the Jewish observances of the Sabbath, let us see what ought to be for a Christian the observance of the Sabbath. On the Sabbath day nothing of all the actions of the world ought to be done. Christ walks through the cornfield, heals a paralytic, and dines with a Pharisee, all on the Sabbath day. John Milton, in his Christian Doctrine, is an extreme anti-sabbatarian, maintaining that the decalogue was abolished with the Mosaic law. He thinks it uncertain whether the Lord's day was weekly or annual. The observance of the Sabbath, to his mind, is a matter not of authority, but of convenience. Archbishop Paley: In my opinion St. Paul considered the Sabbath a sort of Jewish ritual, and not obligatory on Christians. A cessation on that day from labor beyond the time of attending public worship is not intimated in any part of the New Testament. The notion that Jesus and his apostles meant to retain the Jewish Sabbath, only shifting the day from the seventh to the first, prevails without sufficient reason.

According to Guizot, Calvin was so pleased with a play to be acted in Geneva on Sunday, that he not only attended but deferred his sermon so that his congregation might attend. When John Knox visited Calvin, he found him playing a game of bowls on Sunday. Martin Luther said: Keep the day holy for its use's sake, both to body and soul. But if anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day's sake, if any one set up its observance on a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to do anything that shall reprove this encroachment on the Christian spirit and liberty. But the most liberal and even radical writers of our time recognize the economic and patriotic uses of the Sabbath. R. W. Emerson said that its observance is the core of our civilization. Charles Sumner: If we would perpetuate our Republic, we must sanctify it as well as fortify it, and make it at once a temple and a citadel. Oliver Wendell Holmes: He who ordained the Sabbath loved the poor. In Pennsylvania they bring up from the mines every Sunday the mules that have been working the whole week in darkness,—otherwise they would become blind. So men's spiritual sight will fail them if they do not weekly come up into God's light.

(c) The Sabbath law binds us to set apart a seventh portion of our time for rest and worship. It does not enjoin the simultaneous observance by all the world of a fixed portion of absolute time, nor is such observance possible. Christ's example and apostolic sanction have transferred the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first, for the reason that this last is the day of Christ's resurrection, and so the day when God's spiritual creation became in Christ complete.

No exact portion of absolute time can be simultaneously observed by men in different longitudes. The day in Berlin begins six hours before the day in New York, so that a whole quarter of what is Sunday in Berlin is still Saturday in New York. Crossing the 180th degree of longitude from West to East we gain a day, and a seventh-day [pg 410]Sabbatarian who circumnavigated the globe might thus return to his starting point observing the same Sabbath with his fellow Christians. A. S. Carman, in the Examiner, Jan. 4, 1894, asserts that Heb. 4:5-9 alludes to the change of day from the seventh to the first, in the references to a Sabbath rest that remaineth, and to another day taking the place of the original promised day of rest. Teaching of the Twelve Apostles: On the Lord's Day assemble ye together, and give thanks, and break bread.

The change from the seventh day to the first seems to have been due to the resurrection of Christ upon the first day of the week (Mat. 28:1), to his meeting with the disciples upon that day and upon the succeeding Sunday (John 20:26), and to the pouring out of the Spirit upon the Pentecostal Sunday seven weeks after (Acts 2:1—see Bap. Quar. Rev., 185:229-232). Thus by Christ's own example and by apostolic sanction the first day became the Lord's day (Rev. 1:10), on which believers met regularly each week with their Lord (Acts 20:7the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread) and brought together their benevolent contributions (1 Cor. 16:1, 2Now concerning the collection for the saints ... Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collections be made when I come). Eusebius, Com. on Ps. 92 (Migne, V:1191, C): Wherefore those things [the Levitical regulations] having been already rejected, the Logos through the new Covenant transferred and changed the festival of the Sabbath to the rising of the sun ... the Lord's day ... holy and spiritual Sabbaths.

Justin Martyr, First Apology: On the day called Sunday all who live in city or country gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read.... Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God made the world and Jesus our Savior on the same day rose from the dead. For he was crucified on the day before, that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun (Sunday), having appeared to his apostles and disciples he taught them these things which we have submitted to you for your consideration. This seems to intimate that Jesus between his resurrection and ascension gave command respecting the observance of the first day of the week. He was received up only after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom he had chosen (Acts 1:2).

The Christian Sabbath, then, is the day of Christ's resurrection. The Jewish Sabbath commemorated only the beginning of the world; the Christian Sabbath commemorates also the new creation of the world in Christ, in which God's work in humanity first becomes complete. C. H. M. on Gen. 2: If I celebrate the seventh day it marks me as an earthly man, inasmuch as that day is clearly the rest of earth—creation-rest; if I intelligently celebrate the first day of the week, I am marked as a heavenly man, believing in the new creation in Christ. (Gal. 4:10, 11Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid of you, least by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain; Col. 2:16,17Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ's.) See George S. Gray, Eight Studies on the Lord's Day; Hessey, Bampton Lectures on the Sunday; Gilfillan, The Sabbath; Wood, Sabbath Essays; Bacon, Sabbath Observance; Hadley, Essays Philological and Critical, 325-345; Hodge, Syst. Theol., 3: 321-348; Lotz, Quæstiones de Historia Sabbati; Maurice, Sermons on the Sabbath; Prize Essays on the Sabbath; Crafts, The Sabbath for Man; A. E. Waffle, The Lord's Day; Alvah Hovey, Studies in Ethics and Religion, 271-320; Guirey, The Hallowed Day; Gamble, Sunday and the Sabbath; Driver, art.: Sabbath, in Hastings' Bible Dictionary; Broadus, Am. Com. on Mat. 12:3. For the seventh-day view, see T. B. Brown, The Sabbath; J. N. Andrews, History of the Sabbath. Per contra, see Prof. A. Rauschenbusch, Saturday or Sunday?

Section II.—Preservation.

I. Definition of Preservation.

Preservation is that continuous agency of God by which he maintains in existence the things he has created, together with the properties and powers with which he has endowed them. As the doctrine of creation is [pg 411] our attempt to explain the existence of the universe, so the doctrine of Preservation is our attempt to explain its continuance.

In explanation we remark:

(a) Preservation is not creation, for preservation presupposes creation. That which is preserved must already exist, and must have come into existence by the creative act of God.

(b) Preservation is not a mere negation of action, or a refraining to destroy, on the part of God. It is a positive agency by which, at every moment, he sustains the persons and the forces of the universe.

(c) Preservation implies a natural concurrence of God in all operations of matter and of mind. Though personal beings exist and God's will is not the sole force, it is still true that, without his concurrence, no person or force can continue to exist or to act.

Dorner, System of Doctrine, 2:40-42—Creation and preservation cannot be the same thing, for then man would be only the product of natural forces supervised by God,—whereas, man is above nature and is inexplicable from nature. Nature is not the whole of the universe, but only the preliminary basis of it.... The rest of God is not cessation of activity, but is a new exercise of power. Nor is God the soul of the universe. This phrase is pantheistic, and implies that God is the only agent.

It is a wonder that physical life continues. The pumping of blood through the heart, whether we sleep or wake, requires an expenditure of energy far beyond our ordinary estimates. The muscle of the heart never rests except between the beats. All the blood in the body passes through the heart in each half-minute. The grip of the heart is greater than that of the fist. The two ventricles of the heart hold on the average ten ounces or five-eighths of a pound, and this amount is pumped out at each beat. At 72 per minute, this is 45 pounds per minute, 2,700 pounds per hour, and 64,800 pounds or 32 and four tenths tons per day. Encyclopædia Britannica, 11:554—The heart does about one-fifth of the whole mechanical work of the body—a work equivalent to raising its own weight over 13,000 feet an hour. It takes its rest only in short snatches, as it were, its action as a whole being continuous. It must necessarily be the earliest sufferer from any improvidence as regards nutrition, mental emotion being in this respect quite as potential a cause of constitutional bankruptcy as the most violent muscular exertion.

Before the days of the guillotine in France, when the criminal to be executed sat in a chair and was decapitated by one blow of the sharp sword, an observer declared that the blood spouted up several feet into the air. Yet this great force is exerted by the heart so noiselessly that we are for the most part unconscious of it. The power at work is the power of God, and we call that exercise of power by the name of preservation. Crane, Religion of To-morrow, 130—We do not get bread because God instituted certain laws of growing wheat or of baking dough, he leaving these laws to run of themselves. But God, personally present in the wheat, makes it grow, and in the dough turns it into bread. He does not make gravitation or cohesion, but these are phases of his present action. Spirit is the reality, matter and law are the modes of its expression. So in redemption it is not by the working of some perfect plan that God saves. He is the immanent God, and all of his benefits are but phases of his person and immediate influence.

II. Proof of the Doctrine of Preservation.

1. From Scripture.

In a number of Scripture passages, preservation is expressly distinguished from creation. Though God rested from his work of creation and established an order of natural forces, a special and continuous divine activity is declared to be put forth in the upholding of the universe and its [pg 412] powers. This divine activity, moreover, is declared to be the activity of Christ; as he is the mediating agent in creation, so he is the mediating agent in preservation.

Nehemiah 9:6Thou art Jehovah, even thou alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are thereon, the seas and all that is in them, and thou preservest them all; Job 7:20O thou watcher [marg. preserver] of men!; Ps. 36:6thou preservest man and beast; 104:29, 30Thou takest away their breath, they die, And return to their dust. Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created, And thou renewest the face of the ground. See Perowne on Ps. 104A psalm to the God who is in and with nature for good. Humboldt, Cosmos, 2:413—Psalm 104 presents an image of the whole Cosmos. Acts 17:28in him we live, and move, and have our being; Col. 1:17in him all things consist; Heb. 1:2, 3upholding all things by the word of his power. John 5:17My Father worketh even until now, and I work—refers most naturally to preservation, since creation is a work completed; compare Gen. 2:2on the seventh day God finished his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. God is the upholder of physical life; see Ps. 66:8, 9O bless our God ... who holdeth our soul in life. God is also the upholder of spiritual life; see 1 Tim. 6:13I charge thee in the sight of God who preserveth all things alive (ζωογονοῦντος τὰ πάντα)—the great Preserver enables us to persist in our Christian course. Mat. 4:4Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God—though originally referring to physical nourishment is equally true of spiritual sustentation. In Ps. 104:26There go the ships, Dawson, Mod. Ideas of Evolution, thinks the reference is not to man's works but to God's, as the parallelism: There is leviathan would indicate, and that by ships are meant floaters like the nautilus, which is a little ship. The 104th Psalm is a long hymn to the preserving power of God, who keeps alive all the creatures of the deep, both small and great.

2. From Reason.

We may argue the preserving agency of God from the following considerations:

(a) Matter and mind are not self-existent. Since they have not the cause of their being in themselves, their continuance as well as their origin must be due to a superior power.

Dorner, Glaubenslehre: Were the world self-existent, it would be God, not world, and no religion would be possible.... The world has receptivity for new creations; but these, once introduced, are subject, like the rest, to the law of preservationi. e., are dependent for their continued existence upon God.

(b) Force implies a will of which it is the direct or indirect expression. We know of force only through the exercise of our own wills. Since will is the only cause of which we have direct knowledge, second causes in nature may be regarded as only secondary, regular, and automatic workings of the great first Cause.

For modern theories identifying force with divine will, see Herschel, Popular Lectures on Scientific Subjects, 460; Murphy, Scientific Bases, 13-15, 29-36, 42-52; Duke of Argyll, Reign of Law, 121-127; Wallace, Natural Selection, 363-371; Bowen, Metaphysics and Ethics, 146-162; Martineau, Essays, 1:63, 265, and Study, 1:244—Second causes in nature bear the same relation to the First Cause as the automatic movement of the muscles in walking bears to the first decision of the will that initiated the walk. It is often objected that we cannot thus identify force with will, because in many cases the effort of our will is fruitless for the reason that nervous and muscular force is lacking. But this proves only that force cannot be identified with human will, not that it cannot be identified with the divine will. To the divine will no force is lacking; in God will and force are one.

We therefore adopt the view of Maine de Biran, that causation pertains only to spirit. Porter, Human Intellect, 582-588, objects to this view as follows: This implies, first, that the conception of a material cause is self-contradictory. But the mind recognizes in itself spiritual energies that are not voluntary; because we derive our notion of cause from will, it does not follow that the causal relation always involves will; it [pg 413]would follow that the universe, so far as it is not intelligent, is impossible. It implies, secondly, that there is but one agent in the universe, and that the phenomena of matter and mind are but manifestations of one single force—the Creator's. We reply to this reasoning by asserting that no dead thing can act, and that what we call involuntary spiritual energies are really unconscious or unremembered activities of the will.

From our present point of view we would also criticize Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:596—Because we get our idea of force from mind, it does not follow that mind is the only force. That mind is a cause is no proof that electricity may not be a cause. If matter is force and nothing but force, then matter is nothing, and the external world is simply God. In spite of such argument, men will believe that the external world is a reality—that matter is, and that it is the cause of the effects we attribute to its agency. New Englander, Sept. 1883:552—Man in early time used second causes, i. e., machines, very little to accomplish his purposes. His usual mode of action was by the direct use of his hands, or his voice, and he naturally ascribed to the gods the same method as his own. His own use of second causes has led man to higher conceptions of the divine action. Dorner: If the world had no independence, it would not reflect God, nor would creation mean anything. But this independence is not absolute. Even man lives, moves and has his being in God (Acts 17:28), and whatever has come into being, whether material or spiritual, has life only in Christ (John 1:3, 4, marginal reading).

Preservation is God's continuous willing. Bowne, Introd. to Psych. Theory, 305, speaks of a kind of wholesale willing. Augustine: Dei voluntas est rerum natura.Principal Fairbairn: Nature is spirit. Tennyson, The Ancient Sage: Force is from the heights. Lord Gifford, quoted in Max Müller, Anthropological Religion, 392—The human soul is neither self-derived nor self-subsisting. It would vanish if it had not a substance, and its substance is God. Upton, Hibbert Lectures, 284, 285—Matter is simply spirit in its lowest form of manifestation. The absolute Cause must be that deeper Self which we find at the heart of our own self-consciousness. By self-differentiation God creates both matter and mind.

(c) God's sovereignty requires a belief in his special preserving agency; since this sovereignty would not be absolute, if anything occurred or existed independent of his will.

James Martineau, Seat of Authority, 29, 30—All cosmic force is will.... This identification of nature with God's will would be pantheistic only if we turned the proposition round and identified God with no more than the life of the universe. But we do not deny transcendency. Natural forces are God's will, but God's will is more than they. He is not the equivalent of the All, but its directing Mind. God is not the rage of the wild beast, nor the sin of man. There are things and beings objective to him.... He puts his power into that which is other than himself, and he parts with other use of itby preëngagement to an end. Yet he is the continuous source and supply of power to the system.

Natural forces are generic volitions of God. But human wills, with their power of alternative, are the product of God's self-limitation, even more than nature is, for human wills do not always obey the divine will,—they may even oppose it. Nothing finite is only finite. In it is the Infinite, not only as immanent, but also as transcendent, and in the case of sin, as opposing the sinner and as punishing him. This continuous willing of God has its analogy in our own subconscious willing. J. M. Whiton, in Am. Jour. Theol., Apl. 1901:320—Our own will, when we walk, does not put forth a separate volition for every step, but depends on the automatic action of the lower nerve-centres, which it both sets in motion and keeps to their work. So the divine Will does not work in innumerable separate acts of volition. A. R. Wallace: The whole universe is not merely dependent on, but actually is, the will of higher intelligences or of one supreme intelligence.... Man's free will is only a larger artery for the controlling current of the universal Will, whose time-long evolutionary flow constitutes the self-revelation of the Infinite One. This latter statement of Wallace merges the finite will far too completely in the will of God. It is true of nature and of all holy beings, but it is untrue of the wicked. These are indeed upheld by God in their being, but opposed by God in their conduct. Preservation leaves room for human freedom, responsibility, sin, and guilt.

All natural forces and all personal beings therefore give testimony to the will of God which originated them and which continually sustains them. The physical universe, indeed, is in no sense independent of God, for its forces are only the constant willing [pg 414]of God, and its laws are only the habits of God. Only in the free will of intelligent beings has God disjoined from himself any portion of force and made it capable of contradicting his holy will. But even in free agents God does not cease to uphold. The being that sins can maintain its existence only through the preserving agency of God. The doctrine of preservation therefore holds a middle ground between two extremes. It holds that finite personal beings have a real existence and a relative independence. On the other hand it holds that these persons retain their being and their powers only as they are upheld by God.

God is the soul, but not the sum, of things. Christianity holds to God's transcendence as well as to God's immanence. Immanence alone is God imprisoned, as transcendence alone is God banished. Gore, Incarnation, 136 sq.Christian theology is the harmony of pantheism and deism. It maintains transcendence, and so has all the good of pantheism without its limitations. It maintains immanence, and so has all the good of deism without its inability to show how God could be blessed without creation. Diman, Theistic Argument, 367—The dynamical theory of nature as a plastic organism, pervaded by a system of forces uniting at last in one supreme Force, is altogether more in harmony with the spirit and teaching of the Gospel than the mechanical conceptions which prevailed a century ago, which insisted on viewing nature as an intricate machine, fashioned by a great Artificer who stood wholly apart from it. On the persistency of force, super cuncta, subter cuncta, see Bib. Sac., Jan. 1881:1-24; Cocker, Theistic Conception of the World, 172-243, esp. 236. The doctrine of preservation therefore holds to a God both in nature and beyond nature. According as the one or the other of these elements is exclusively regarded, we have the error of Deism, or the error of Continuous Creation—theories which we now proceed to consider.

III. Theories which virtually deny the doctrine of Preservation.

1. Deism.

This view represents the universe as a self-sustained mechanism, from which God withdrew as soon as he had created it, and which he left to a process of self-development. It was held in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by the English Herbert, Collins, Tindal, and Bolingbroke.

Lord Herbert of Cherbury was one of the first who formed deism into a system. His book De Veritate was published in 1624. He argues against the probability of God's revealing his will to only a portion of the earth. This he calls particular religion.Yet he sought, and according to his own account he received, a revelation from heaven to encourage the publication of his work in disproof of revelation. He asked for a sign, and was answered by a loud though gentle noise from the heavens. He had the vanity to think his book of such importance to the cause of truth as to extort a declaration of the divine will, when the interests of half mankind could not secure any revelation at all; what God would not do for a nation, he would do for an individual. See Leslie and Leland, Method with the Deists. Deism is the exaggeration of the truth of God's transcendence. See Christlieb, Modern Doubt and Christian Belief, 190-209. Melanchthon illustrates by the shipbuilder: Ut faber discedit a navi exstructa et relinquit eam nautis. God is the maker, not the keeper, of the watch. In Sartor Resartus, Carlyle makes Teufelsdröckh speak of An absentee God, sitting idle ever since the first Sabbath at the outside of the universe, and seeing it go. Blunt, Dict. Doct. and Hist. Theology, art.: Deism.

Deism emphasized the inviolability of natural law, and held to a mechanical view of the world (Ten Broeke). Its God is a sort of Hindu Brahma, as idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean—mere being, without content or movement. Bruce, Apologetics, 115-131—God made the world so good at the first that the best he can do is to let it alone. Prayer is inadmissible. Deism implies a Pelagian view of human nature. Death redeems us by separating us from the body. There is natural immortality, but no resurrection. Lord Herbert of Cherbury, the brother of the poet George Herbert of Bemerton, represents the rise of Deism; Lord Bolingbroke its decline. Blount assailed the divine Person of the founder of the faith; Collins its foundation in prophecy; Woolston its miraculous attestation; Toland its canonical literature. Tindal took more general ground, and sought to show that a special revelation was unnecessary, impossible, unverifiable, the religion of nature being sufficient and superior to all religions of positive institution.

[pg 415]

We object to this view that:

(a) It rests upon a false analogy.—Man is able to construct a self-moving watch only because he employs preëxisting forces, such as gravity, elasticity, cohesion. But in a theory which likens the universe to a machine, these forces are the very things to be accounted for.

Deism regards the universe as a perpetual motion. Modern views of the dissipation of energy have served to discredit it. Will is the only explanation of the forces in nature. But according to deism, God builds a house, shuts himself out, locks the door, and then ties his own hands in order to make sure of never using the key. John Caird, Fund. Ideas of Christianity, 114-138—A made mind, a spiritual nature created by an external omnipotence, is an impossible and self-contradictory notion.... The human contriver or artist deals with materials prepared to his hand. Deism reduces God to a finite anthropomorphic personality, as pantheism annuls the finite world or absorbs it in the Infinite. Hence Spinoza, the pantheist, was the great antagonist of 16th century deism. See Woods, Works, 2:40.

(b) It is a system of anthropomorphism, while it professes to exclude anthropomorphism.—Because the upholding of all things would involve a multiplicity of minute cares if man were the agent, it conceives of the upholding of the universe as involving such burdens in the case of God. Thus it saves the dignity of God by virtually denying his omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence.

The infinity of God turns into sources of delight all that would seem care to man. To God's inexhaustible fulness of life there are no burdens involved in the upholding of the universe he has created. Since God, moreover, is a perpetual observer, we may alter the poet's verse and say: There's not a flower that's born to blush unseen And waste its sweetness on the desert air. God does not expose his children as soon as they are born. They are not only his offspring; they also live, move and have their being in him, and are partakers of his divine nature. Gordon, Christ of To-day, 200—The worst person in all history is something to God, if he be nothing to the world.See Chalmers, Astronomical Discourses, in Works, 7:68. Kurtz, The Bible and Astronomy, in Introd. to History of Old Covenant, lxxxii-xcviii.

(c) It cannot be maintained without denying all providential interference, in the history of creation and the subsequent history of the world.—But the introduction of life, the creation of man, incarnation, regeneration, the communion of intelligent creatures with a present God, and interpositions of God in secular history, are matters of fact.

Deism therefore continually tends to atheism. Upton, Hibbert Lectures, 287—The defect of deism is that, on the human side, it treats all men as isolated individuals, forgetful of the immanent divine nature which interrelates them and in a measure unifies them; and that, on the divine side, it separates men from God and makes the relation between them a purely external one. Ruskin: The divine mind is as visible in its full energy of operation on every lowly bank and mouldering stone as in the lifting of the pillars of heaven and settling the foundations of the earth; and to the rightly perceiving mind there is the same majesty, the same power, the same unity, and the same perfection manifested in the casting of the clay as in the scattering of the cloud, in the mouldering of dust as in the kindling of the day-star. See Pearson, Infidelity, 87; Hanne, Idee der absoluten Persönlichkeit, 76.

2. Continuous Creation.

This view regards the universe as from moment to moment the result of a new creation. It was held by the New England theologians Edwards, Hopkins, and Emmons, and more recently in Germany by Rothe.

[pg 416]

Edwards, Works, 2:486-490, quotes and defends Dr. Taylor's utterance: God is the original of all being, and the only cause of all natural effects. Edwards himself says: God's upholding created substance, or causing its existence in each successive moment, is altogether equivalent to an immediate production out of nothing at each moment.He argues that the past existence of a thing cannot be the cause of its present existence, because a thing cannot act at a time and place where it is not. This is equivalent to saying that God cannot produce an effect which shall last for one moment beyond the direct exercise of his creative power. What man can do, God, it seems, cannot (A. S. Carman). Hopkins, Works, 1:164-167—Preservation is really continued creation.Emmons, Works, 4:363-389, esp. 381—Since all men are dependent agents, all their motions, exercises, or actions must originate in a divine efficiency. 2:683—There is but one true and satisfactory answer to the question which has been agitated for centuries: Whence came evil? and that is: It came from the first great Cause of all things.... It is as consistent with the moral rectitude of the Deity to produce sinful as holy exercises in the minds of men. He puts forth a positive influence to make moral agents act, in every instance of their conduct, as he pleases. God therefore creates all the volitions of the soul, as he effects by his almighty power all the changes of the material world. Rothe also held this view. To his mind external expression is necessary to God. His maxim was: Kein Gott ohne WeltThere can be no God without an accompanying world. See Rothe, Dogmatik, 1:126-160, esp. 150, and Theol. Ethik, 1:186-190; also in Bib. Sac., Jan. 1875:144. See also Lotze, Philos. of Religion, 81-94.

The element of truth in Continuous Creation is its assumption that all force is will. Its error is in maintaining that all force is divine will, and divine will in direct exercise. But the human will is a force as well as the divine will, and the forces of nature are secondary and automatic, not primary and immediate, workings of God. These remarks may enable us to estimate the grain of truth in the following utterances which need important qualification and limitation. Bowne, Philosophy of Theism, 202, likens the universe to the musical note, which exists only on condition of being incessantly reproduced. Herbert Spencer says that ideas are like the successive chords and cadences brought out from a piano, which successively die away as others are produced. Maudsley, Physiology of Mind, quotes this passage, but asks quite pertinently: What about the performer, in the case of the piano and in the case of the brain, respectively? Where in the brain is the equivalent of the harmonic conceptions in the performer's mind? Professor Fitzgerald: All nature is living thought—the language of One in whom we live and move and have our being. Dr. Oliver Lodge, to the British Association in 1891: The barrier between matter and mind may melt away, as so many others have done.

To this we object, upon the following grounds:

(a) It contradicts the testimony of consciousness that regular and executive activity is not the mere repetition of an initial decision, but is an exercise of the will entirely different in kind.

Ladd, in his Philosophy of Mind, 144, indicates the error in Continuous Creation as follows: The whole world of things is momently quenched and then replaced by a similar world of actually new realities. The words of the poet would then be literally true: Every fresh and new creation, A divine improvisation, From the heart of God proceeds. Ovid, Metaph., 1:16—Instabilis tellus, innabilis unda. Seth, Hegelianism and Personality, 60, says that, to Fichte, the world was thus perpetually created anew in each finite spirit,—revelation to intelligence being the only admissible meaning of that much abused term, creation. A. L. Moore, Science and the Faith, 184, 185—A theory of occasional intervention implies, as its correlate, a theory of ordinary absence.... For Christians the facts of nature are the acts of God. Religion relates these facts to God as their author; science relates them to one another as parts of a visible order. Religion does not tell of this interrelation; science cannot tell of their relation to God.

Continuous creation is an erroneous theory because it applies to human wills a principle which is true only of irrational nature and which is only partially true of that. I know that I am not God acting. My will is proof that not all force is divine will. Even on the monistic view, moreover, we may speak of second causes in nature, since God's regular and habitual action is a second and subsequent thing, while his act of initiation [pg 417]and organization is the first. Neither the universe nor any part of it is to be identified with God, any more than my thoughts and acts are to be identified with me. Martineau, in Nineteenth Century, April, 1895:559—What is nature, but the promise of God's pledged and habitual causality? And what is spirit, but the province of his free causality responding to needs and affections of his free children?... God is not a retired architect who may now and then be called in for repairs. Nature is not self-active, and God's agency is not intrusive. William Watson, Poems, 88—If nature be a phantasm, as thou say'st, A splendid fiction and prodigious dream, To reach the real and true I'll make no haste, More than content with worlds that only seem.

(b) It exaggerates God's power only by sacrificing his truth, love, and holiness;—for if finite personalities are not what they seem—namely, objective existences—God's veracity is impugned; if the human soul has no real freedom and life, God's love has made no self-communication to creatures; if God's will is the only force in the universe, God's holiness can no longer be asserted, for the divine will must in that case be regarded as the author of human sin.

Upon this view personal identity is inexplicable. Edwards bases identity upon the arbitrary decree of God. God can therefore, by so decreeing, make Adam's posterity one with their first father and responsible for his sin. Edwards's theory of continuous creation, indeed, was devised as an explanation of the problem of original sin. The divinely appointed union of acts and exercises with Adam was held sufficient, without union of substance, or natural generation from him, to explain our being born corrupt and guilty. This view would have been impossible, if Edwards had not been an idealist, making far too much of acts and exercises and far too little of substance.

It is difficult to explain the origin of Jonathan Edwards's idealism. It has sometimes been attributed to the reading of Berkeley. Dr. Samuel Johnson, afterwards President of King's College in New York City, a personal friend of Bishop Berkeley and an ardent follower of his teaching, was a tutor in Yale College while Edwards was a student. But Edwards was in Weathersfield while Johnson remained in New Haven, and was among those disaffected towards Johnson as a tutor. Yet Edwards, Original Sin, 479, seems to allude to the Berkeleyan philosophy when he says: The course of nature is demonstrated by recent improvements in philosophy to be indeed ... nothing but the established order and operation of the Author of nature (see Allen, Jonathan Edwards, 16, 308, 309). President McCracken, in Philos. Rev., Jan. 1892:26-42, holds that Arthur Collier's Clavis Universalis is the source of Edwards's idealism. It is more probable that his idealism was the result of his own independent thinking, occasioned perhaps by mere hints from Locke, Newton, Cudworth, and Norris, with whose writings he certainly was acquainted. See E. C. Smyth, in Am. Jour. Theol., Oct. 1897:956; Prof. Gardiner, in Philos. Rev., Nov. 1900:573-596.

How thorough-going this idealism of Edwards was may be learned from Noah Porter's Discourse on Bishop George Berkeley, 71, and quotations from Edwards, in Journ. Spec. Philos., Oct. 1883:401-420—Nothing else has a proper being but spirits, and bodies are but the shadow of being.... Seeing the brain exists only mentally, I therefore acknowledge that I speak improperly when I say that the soul is in the brain only, as to its operations. For, to speak yet more strictly and abstractedly, 'tis nothing but the connection of the soul with these and those modes of its own ideas, or those mental acts of the Deity, seeing the brain exists only in idea.... That which truly is the substance of all bodies is the infinitely exact and precise and perfectly stable idea in God's mind, together with his stable will that the same shall be gradually communicated to us and to other minds according to certain fixed and established methods and laws; or, in somewhat different language, the infinitely exact and precise divine idea, together with an answerable, perfectly exact, precise, and stable will, with respect to correspondent communications to created minds and effects on those minds. It is easy to see how, from this view of Edwards, the Exercise-system of Hopkins and Emmons naturally developed itself. On Edwards's Idealism, see Frazer's Berkeley (Blackwood's Philos. Classics), 139, 140. On personal identity, see Bp. Butler, Works (Bohn's ed.), 327-334.

(c) As deism tends to atheism, so the doctrine of continuous creation tends to pantheism.—Arguing that, because we get our notion of force [pg 418] from the action of our own wills, therefore all force must be will, and divine will, it is compelled to merge the human will in this all-comprehending will of God. Mind and matter alike become phenomena of one force, which has the attributes of both; and, with the distinct existence and personality of the human soul, we lose the distinct existence and personality of God, as well as the freedom and accountability of man.

Lotze tries to escape from material causes and yet hold to second causes, by intimating that these second causes may be spirits. But though we can see how there can be a sort of spirit in the brute and in the vegetable, it is hard to see how what we call insensate matter can have spirit in it. It must be a very peculiar sort of spirit—a deaf and dumb spirit, if any—and such a one does not help our thinking. On this theory the body of a dog would need to be much more highly endowed than its soul. James Seth, in Philos. Rev., Jan. 1894:73—This principle of unity is a veritable lion's den,—all the footprints are in one direction. Either it is a bare unity—the One annuls the many; or it is simply the All,—the ununified totality of existence. Dorner well remarks that Preservation is empowering of the creature and maintenance of its activity, not new bringing it into being. On the whole subject, see Julius Müller, Doctrine of Sin, 1:220-225; Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:258-272; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 50; Hodge, Syst. Theol., 1:577-581, 595; Dabney, Theology, 338, 339.

IV. Remarks upon the Divine Concurrence.

(a) The divine efficiency interpenetrates that of man without destroying or absorbing it. The influx of God's sustaining energy is such that men retain their natural faculties and powers. God does not work all, but all in all.

Preservation, then, is midway between the two errors of denying the first cause (deism or atheism) and denying the second causes (continuous creation or pantheism). 1 Cor. 12:6there are diversities of workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all; cf. Eph. 1:23—the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. God's action is no actio in distans, or action where he is not. It is rather action in and through free agents, in the case of intelligent and moral beings, while it is his own continuous willing in the case of nature. Men are second causes in a sense in which nature is not. God works through these human second causes, but he does not supersede them. We cannot see the line between the two—the action of the first cause and the action of second causes; yet both are real, and each is distinct from the other, though the method of God's concurrence is inscrutable. As the pen and the hand together produce the writing, so God's working causes natural powers to work with him. The natural growth indicated by the words wherein is the seed thereof (Gen. 1:11) has its counterpart in the spiritual growth described in the words his seed abideth in him (1 John 3:9). Paul considers himself a reproductive agency in the hands of God: he begets children in the gospel (1 Cor. 4:15); yet the New Testament speaks of this begetting as the work of God (1 Pet. 1:3). We are bidden to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, upon the very ground that it is God who works in us both to will and to work (Phil. 2:12, 13).

(b) Though God preserves mind and body in their working, we are ever to remember that God concurs with the evil acts of his creatures only as they are natural acts, and not as they are evil.

In holy action God gives the natural powers, and by his word and Spirit influences the soul to use these powers aright. But in evil action God gives only the natural powers; the evil direction of these powers is caused only by man. Jer. 44:4Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate; Hab. 1:13Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that canst not look on perverseness, wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy peace when the wicked swalloweth up the man that is more righteous than he? James 1:13, 14Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man: but each man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Aaron excused himself for making an Egyptian idol by saying that the fire did it; he asked the people for gold; so they gave it me; and I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf (Ex. 32:24). Aaron leaves out one important point—his [pg 419]own personal agency in it all. In like manner we lay the blame of our sins upon nature and upon God. Pym said of Strafford that God had given him great talents, of which the devil had given the application. But it is more true to say of the wicked man that he himself gives the application of his God-given powers. We are electric cars for which God furnishes the motive-power, but to which we the conductors give the direction. We are organs; the wind or breath of the organ is God's; but the fingering of the keys is ours. Since the maker of the organ is also present at every moment as its preserver, the shameful abuse of his instrument and the dreadful music that is played are a continual grief and suffering to his soul. Since it is Christ who upholds all things by the word of his power, preservation involves the suffering of Christ, and this suffering is his atonement, of which the culmination and demonstration are seen in the cross of Calvary (Heb. 1:3). On the importance of the idea of preservation in Christian doctrine, see Calvin, Institutes, 1:182 (chapter 16).

Section III.—Providence.

I. Definition of Providence.

Providence is that continuous agency of God by which he makes all the events of the physical and moral universe fulfill the original design with which he created it.

As Creation explains the existence of the universe, and as Preservation explains its continuance, so Providence explains its evolution and progress.

In explanation notice:

(a) Providence is not to be taken merely in its etymological sense of foreseeing. It is forseeing also, or a positive agency in connection with all the events of history.

(b) Providence is to be distinguished from preservation. While preservation is a maintenance of the existence and powers of created things, providence is an actual care and control of them.

(c) Since the original plan of God is all-comprehending, the providence which executes the plan is all-comprehending also, embracing within its scope things small and great, and exercising care over individuals as well as over classes.

(d) In respect to the good acts of men, providence embraces all those natural influences of birth and surroundings which prepare men for the operation of God's word and Spirit, and which constitute motives to obedience.

(e) In respect to the evil acts of men, providence is never the efficient cause of sin, but is by turns preventive, permissive, directive, and determinative.

(f) Since Christ is the only revealer of God, and he is the medium of every divine activity, providence is to be regarded as the work of Christ; see 1 Cor. 8:6—“one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things”; cf. John 5:17—“My Father worketh even until now, and I work.”

The Germans have the word Fürsehung, forseeing, looking out for, as well as the word Vorsehung, foreseeing, seeing beforehand. Our word providence embraces the meanings of both these words. On the general subject of providence, see Philippi, [pg 420]Glaubenslehre, 2:272-284; Calvin, Institutes, 1:182-219; Dick, Theology, 1:416-446; Hodge, Syst. Theol., 1:581-616; Bib. Sac., 12:179; 21:584; 26:315; 30:593; N. W. Taylor, Moral Government, 2:294-326.

Providence is God's attention concentrated everywhere. His care is microscopic as well as telescopic. Robert Browning, Pippa Passes, ad finem: All service is the same with God—With God, whose puppets, best and worst, Are we: there is no last nor first. Canon Farrar: In one chapter of the Koran is the story how Gabriel, as he waited by the gates of gold, was sent by God to earth to do two things. One was to prevent king Solomon from the sin of forgetting the hour of prayer in exultation over his royal steeds; the other to help a little yellow ant on the slope of Ararat, which had grown weary in getting food for its nest, and which would otherwise perish in the rain. To Gabriel the one behest seemed just as kingly as the other, since God had ordered it. Silently he left The Presence, and prevented the king's sin, And holp the little ant at entering in. Nothing is too high or low, Too mean or mighty, if God wills it so. ” Yet a preacher began his sermon on Mat. 10:30—The very hairs of your head are are all numbered—by saying: Why, some of you, my hearers, do not believe that even your heads are all numbered!

A modern prophet of unbelief in God's providence is William Watson. In his poem entitled The Unknown God, we read: When overarched by gorgeous night, I wave my trivial self away; When all I was to all men's sight Shares the erasure of the day: Then do I cast my cumbering load, Then do I gain a sense of God. Then he likens the God of the Old Testament to Odin and Zeus, and continues: O streaming worlds, O crowded sky, O life, and mine own soul's abyss, Myself am scarce so small that I Should bow to Deity like this! This my Begetter? This was what Man in his violent youth begot. The God I know of I shall ne'er Know, though he dwells exceeding nigh. Raise thou the stone and find me there. Cleave thou the wood and there am I. Yea, in my flesh his Spirit doth flow, Too near, too far, for me to know. Whate'er my deeds, I am not sure That I can pleasure him or vex: I, that must use a speech so poor It narrows the Supreme with sex. Notes he the good or ill in man? To hope he cares is all I can. I hope with fear. For did I trust This vision granted me at birth, The sire of heaven would seem less just Than many a faulty son of earth. And so he seems indeed! But then, I trust it not, this bounded ken. And dreaming much, I never dare To dream that in my prisoned soul The flutter of a trembling prayer Can move the Mind that is the Whole. Though kneeling nations watch and yearn, Does the primeval Purpose turn? Best by remembering God, say some. We keep our high imperial lot. Fortune, I fear, hath oftenest come When we forgot—when we forgot! A lovelier faith their happier crown, But history laughs and weeps it down: Know they not well how seven times seven, Wronging our mighty arms with rust, We dared not do the work of heaven, Lest heaven should hurl us in the dust? The work of heaven! 'Tis waiting still The sanction of the heavenly will. Unmeet to be profaned by praise Is he whose coils the world enfold; The God on whom I ever gaze, The God I never once behold: Above the cloud, above the clod, The unknown God, the unknown God.

In pleasing contrast to William Watson's Unknown God, is the God of Rudyard Kipling's Recessional: God of our fathers, known of old—Lord of our far-flung battle-line—Beneath whose awful hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine—Lord God of hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! The tumult and the shouting dies—The captains and the kings depart—Still stands thine ancient Sacrifice, An humble and a contrite heart. Lord God of hosts, be with us yet. Lest we forget—lest we forget! Far-called our navies melt away—On dune and headland sinks the fire—So, all our pomp of yesterday Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! Judge of the nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! If, drunk with sight of power, we loose Wild tongues that have not thee in awe—Such boasting as the Gentiles use, Or lesser breeds without the Law—Lord God of hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget! For heathen heart that puts her trust In reeking tube and iron shard—All valiant dust that builds on dust, And guarding calls not thee to guard—For frantic boast and foolish word, Thy mercy on thy people, Lord!

These problems of God's providential dealings are intelligible only when we consider that Christ is the revealer of God, and that his suffering for sin opens to us the heart of God. All history is the progressive manifestation of Christ's holiness and love, and in the cross we have the key that unlocks the secret of the universe. With the cross in view, we can believe that Love rules over all, and that all things work together for good to them that love God. (Rom. 8:28).

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II. Proof of the Doctrine of Providence.

1. Scriptural Proof.

The Scripture witnesses to

A. A general providential government and control (a) over the universe at large; (b) over the physical world; (c) over the brute creation; (d) over the affairs of nations; (e) over man's birth and lot in life; (f) over the outward successes and failures of men's lives; (g) over things seemingly accidental or insignificant; (h) in the protection of the righteous; (i) in the supply of the wants of God's people; (j) in the arrangement of answers to prayer; (k) in the exposure and punishment of the wicked.

(a) Ps. 103:19his kingdom ruleth over all; Dan. 4:35doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; Eph. 1:11worketh all things after the counsel of his will.

(b) Job 37:5, 10God thundereth ... By the breath of God ice is given; Ps. 104:14causeth the grass to grow for the cattle; 135:6, 7Whatsoever Jehovah pleased, that hath he done, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps ... vapors ... lightnings ... wind; Mat. 5:45maketh his sun to rise ... sendeth rain; Ps. 104:16The trees of Jehovah are filled—are planted and tended by God as carefully as those which come under human cultivation; cf. Mat. 6:30if God so clothe the grass of the field.

(c) Ps. 104:21, 28young lions roar ... seek their food from God ... that thou givest them they gather; Mat. 6:26birds of the heaven ... your heavenly Father feedeth them; 10:29two sparrows ... not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father.

(d) Job 12:23He increaseth the nations, and he destroyeth them: He enlargeth the nations, and he leadeth them captive; Ps. 22:28the kingdom is Jehovah's; And he is the ruler over the nations; 66:7He ruleth by his might for ever; His eyes observe the nations; Acts 17:26made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation (instance Palestine, Greece, England).

(e) 1 Sam. 16:1fill thy horn with oil, and go: I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite; for I have provided me a king among his sons; Ps. 139:16Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance, And in thy book were all my members written; Is. 45:5I will gird thee, though thou hast not known me; Jer. 1:5Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee ... sanctified thee ... appointed thee; Gal. 1:15, 16God, who separated me, even from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles.

(f) Ps. 75:6, 7neither from the east, nor from the west, Nor yet from the south cometh lifting up. But God is the judge, He putteth down one, and lifteth up another; Luke 1:52He hath put down princes from their thrones, And hath exalted them of low degree.

(g) Prov. 16:33The lot is cast into the lap; But the whole disposing thereof is of Jehovah; Mat. 10:30the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

(h) Ps. 4:8In peace will I both lay me down and sleep; For thou, Jehovah, alone makest me dwell in safety; 5:12thou wilt compass him with favor as with a shield; 63:8Thy right hand upholdeth me; 121:3He that keepeth thee will not slumber; Rom. 8:28to them that love God all things work together for good.

(i) Gen. 22:8, 14God will provide himself the lamb ... Jehovah-jireh (marg.: that is, Jehovah will see, or provide); Deut. 8:3man doth not live by bread only, but by every thing that proceedeth out of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live; Phil. 4:19my God shall supply every need of yours.

(j) Ps. 68:10Thou, O God, didst prepare of thy goodness for the poor; Is. 64:4neither hath the eye seen a God besides thee, who worketh for him that waiteth for him; Mat. 6:8your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him; 32, 33all these things shall be added unto you.

(k) Ps. 7:12, 13If a man turn not, he will whet his sword; He hath bent his bow and made it ready; He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; He maketh his arrows fiery shafts; 11:6Upon the wicked he will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.

The statements of Scripture with regard to God's providence are strikingly confirmed by recent studies in physiography. In the early stages of human development man was almost wholly subject to nature, and environment was a determining factor in his progress. This is the element of truth in Buckle's view. But Buckle ignored the fact that, as civilization advanced, ideas, at least at times, played a greater part than environment. Thermopylæ cannot be explained by climate. In the later stages of human development, nature is largely subject to man, and environment counts for comparatively little. “There shall be no Alps!” says Napoleon. Charles Kingsley: [pg 422] “The spirit of ancient tragedy was man conquered by circumstance; the spirit of modern tragedy is man conquering circumstance.” Yet many national characteristics can be attributed to physical surroundings, and so far as this is the case they are due to the ordering of God's providence. Man's need of fresh water leads him to rivers,—hence the original location of London. Commerce requires seaports,—hence New York. The need of defense leads man to bluffs and hills,—hence Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, Edinburgh. These places of defense became also places of worship and of appeal to God.

Goldwin Smith, in his Lectures and Essays, maintains that national characteristics are not congenital, but are the result of environment. The greatness of Rome and the greatness of England have been due to position. The Romans owed their successes to being at first less warlike than their neighbors. They were traders in the centre of the Italian seacoast, and had to depend on discipline to make headway against marauders on the surrounding hills. Only when drawn into foreign conquest did the ascendency of the military spirit become complete, and then the military spirit brought despotism as its natural penalty. Brought into contact with varied races, Rome was led to the founding of colonies. She adopted and assimilated the nations which she conquered, and in governing them learned organization and law. Parcere subjectis was her rule, as well as debellare superbos. In a similiar manner Goldwin Smith maintains that the greatness of England is due to position. Britain being an island, only a bold and enterprising race could settle it. Maritime migration strengthened freedom. Insular position gave freedom from invasion. Isolation however gave rise to arrogance and self-assertion. The island became a natural centre of commerce. There is a steadiness of political progress which would have been impossible upon the continent. Yet consolidation was tardy, owing to the fact that Great Britain consists of several islands. Scotland was always liberal, and Ireland foredoomed to subjection.

Isaac Taylor, Spirit of Hebrew Poetry, has a valuable chapter on Palestine as the providential theatre of divine revelation. A little land, yet a sample-land of all lands, and a thoroughfare between the greatest lands of antiquity, it was fitted by God to receive and to communicate his truth. George Adam Smith's Historical Geography of the Holy Land is a repertory of information on this subject. Stanley, Life and Letters, 1:269-271, treats of Greek landscape and history. Shaler, Interpretation of Nature, sees such difference between Greek curiosity and search for causes on the one hand, and Roman indifference to scientific explanation of facts on the other, that he cannot think of the Greeks and the Romans as cognate peoples. He believes that Italy was first peopled by Etrurians, a Semitic race from Africa, and that from them the Romans descended. The Romans had as little of the spirit of the naturalist as had the Hebrews. The Jews and the Romans originated and propagated Christianity, but they had no interest in science.

On God's pre-arrangement of the physical conditions of national life, striking suggestions may be found in Shaler, Nature and Man in America. Instance the settlement of Massachusetts Bay between 1629 and 1639, the only decade in which such men as John Winthrop could be found and the only one in which they actually emigrated from England. After 1639 there was too much to do at home, and with Charles II the spirit which animated the Pilgrims no longer existed in England. The colonists builded better than they knew, for though they sought a place to worship God themselves, they had no idea of giving this same religious liberty to others. R. E. Thompson, The Hand of God in American History, holds that the American Republic would long since have broken in pieces by its own weight and bulk, if the invention of steam-boat in 1807, railroad locomotive in 1829, telegraph in 1837, and telephone in 1877, had not bound the remote parts of the country together. A woman invented the reaper by combining the action of a row of scissors in cutting. This was as early as 1835. Only in 1855 the competition on the Emperor's farm at Compiègne gave supremacy to the reaper. Without it farming would have been impossible during our civil war, when our men were in the field and women and boys had to gather in the crops.

B. A government and control extending to the free actions of men—(a) to men's free acts in general; (b) to the sinful acts of men also.

(a) Ex. 12:36Jehovah gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. And they despoiled the Egyptians; 1 Sam. 24:18Jehovah had delivered me up into thy hand (Saul to David); Ps. 33:14, 15He looketh forth Upon all the inhabitants of the earth, He that fashioneth the hearts of them all (i. e., equally, one as well as another); Prov. 16:1The plans of the heart belong to man; But the answer of the tongue is from Jehovah; 19:21There are many devices in a man's heart; But the counsel of Jehovah, [pg 423]that shall stand; 20:24A man's goings are of Jehovah; How then can man understand his way? 21:1The king's heart is in the hand of Jehovah as the watercourses: He turneth it whithersoever he will (i. e., as easily as the rivulets of the eastern fields are turned by the slightest motion of the hand or the foot of the husbandman); Jer. 10:23O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps; Phil. 2:13it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure; Eph. 2:10we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them; James 4:13-15If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that.

(b) 2 Sam. 16:10because Jehovah hath said unto him [Shimei]: Curse David; 24:1the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them, saying, Go, number Israel and Judah; Rom. 11:32God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all; 2 Thess. 2:11, 12God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Henry Ward Beecher: There seems to be no order in the movements of the bees of a hive, but the honey-comb shows that there was a plan in them all. John Hunter compared his own brain to a hive in which there was a great deal of buzzing and apparent disorder, while yet a real order underlay it all. As bees gather their stores of sweets against a time of need, but are colonized by man's superior intelligence for his own purposes, so men plan and work yet are overruled by infinite Wisdom for his own glory. Dr. Deems: The world is wide In Time and Tide, And God is guide: Then do not hurry. That man is blest Who does his best And leaves the rest: Then do not worry. See Bruce, Providential Order, 183 sq.; Providence in the Individual Life, 231 sq.

God's providence with respect to men's evil acts is described in Scripture as of four sorts:

(a) Preventive,—God by his providence prevents sin which would otherwise be committed. That he thus prevents sin is to be regarded as matter, not of obligation, but of grace.

Gen. 20:6—Of Abimelech: I also withheld thee from sinning against me; 31:24And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream of the night, and said unto him, Take heed to thyself that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad; Psalm 19:13Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me; Hosea 2:6Behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, that she shall not find her paths—here the thorns and the wall may represent the restraints and sufferings by which God mercifully checks the fatal pursuit of sin (see Annotated Par. Bible in loco). Parents, government, church, traditions, customs, laws, age, disease, death, are all of them preventive influences. Man sometimes finds himself on the brink of a precipice of sin, and strong temptation hurries him on to make the fatal leap. Suddenly every nerve relaxes, all desire for the evil thing is gone, and he recoils from the fearful brink over which he was just now going to plunge. God has interfered by the voice of conscience and the Spirit. This too is a part of his preventive providence. Men at sixty years of age are eight times less likely to commit crime than at the age of twenty-five. Passion has subsided; fear of punishment has increased. The manager of a great department store, when asked what could prevent its absorbing all the trade of the city, replied: Death! Death certainly limits aggregations of property, and so constitutes a means of God's preventive providence. In the life of John G. Paton, the rain sent by God prevented the natives from murdering him and taking his goods.

(b) Permissive,—God permits men to cherish and to manifest the evil dispositions of their hearts. God's permissive providence is simply the negative act of withholding impediments from the path of the sinner, instead of preventing his sin by the exercise of divine power. It implies no ignorance, passivity, or indulgence, but consists with hatred of the sin and determination to punish it.

2 Chron. 32:31God left him [Hezekiah], to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart; cf. Deut. 8:2that he might humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart. Ps. 17:13, 14Deliver my soul from the wicked, who is thy sword, from men who are thy hand, O Jehovah; Ps. 81:12, 13So I let them go after the stubbornness of their heart, That they might walk in their own counsels. Oh that my people would hearken unto me! Is. 53:4, 10Surely he hath borne our griefs.... Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him. Hosea 4:17Ephraim [pg 424]Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone; Acts 14:16who in the generations gone by suffered all the nations to walk in their own ways; Rom. 1:24, 28God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness... God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 3:25to show his righteousness, because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God. To this head of permissive providence is possibly to be referred 1 Sam. 18:10an evil spirit from God came mightily upon Saul. As the Hebrew writers saw in second causes the operation of the great first Cause, and said: The God of glory thundereth (Ps. 29:3), so, because even the acts of the wicked entered into God's plan, the Hebrew writers sometimes represented God as doing what he merely permitted finite spirits to do. In 2 Sam. 24:1, God moves David to number Israel, but in 1 Chron. 21:1 the same thing is referred to Satan. God's providence in these cases, however, may be directive as well as permissive.

Tennyson, The Higher Pantheism: God is law, say the wise; O Soul, and let us rejoice, For if he thunder by law the thunder is yet his voice. Fisher, Nature and Method of Revelation, 56—The clear separation of God's efficiency from God's permissive act was reserved to a later day. All emphasis was in the Old Testament laid upon the sovereign power of God. Coleridge, in his Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit, letter II, speaks of the habit, universal with the Hebrew doctors, of referring all excellent or extraordinary things to the great first Cause, without mention of the proximate and instrumental causes—a striking illustration of which may be found by comparing the narratives of the same events in the Psalms and in the historical books.... The distinction between the providential and the miraculous did not enter into their forms of thinking—at any rate, not into their mode of conveying their thoughts.The woman who had been slandered rebelled when told that God had permitted it for her good; she maintained that Satan had inspired her accuser; she needed to learn that God had permitted the work of Satan.

(c) Directive,—God directs the evil acts of men to ends unforeseen and unintended by the agents. When evil is in the heart and will certainly come out, God orders its flow in one direction rather than in another, so that its course can be best controlled and least harm may result. This is sometimes called overruling providence.

Gen. 50:20as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive; Ps. 76:10the wrath of man shall praise thee: The residue of wrath shalt thou gird upon thee—put on as an ornament—clothe thyself with it for thine own glory; Is. 10:5Ho Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in whose hand is mine indignation; John 13:27What thou doest, do quickly—do in a particular way what is actually being done (Westcott, Bib. Com., in loco); Acts 4:27, 28against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel fore-ordained to come to pass.

To this head of directive providence should probably be referred the passages with regard to Pharaoh in Ex. 4:21I will harden his heart, and he will not let the people go; 7:13and Pharaoh's heart was hardened; 8:15he hardened his hearti. e., Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Here the controlling agency of God did not interfere with the liberty of Pharaoh or oblige him to sin; but in judgment for his previous cruelty and impiety God withdrew the external restraints which had hitherto kept his sin within bounds, and placed him in circumstances which would have influenced to right action a well-disposed mind, but which God foresaw would lead a disposition like Pharaoh's to the peculiar course of wickedness which he actually pursued.

God hardened Pharaoh's heart, then, first, by permitting him to harden his own heart, God being the author of his sin only in the sense that he is the author of a free being who is himself the direct author of his sin; secondly, by giving to him the means of enlightenment, Pharaoh's very opportunities being perverted by him into occasions of more virulent wickedness, and good resisted being thus made to result in greater evil; thirdly, by judicially forsaking Pharaoh, when it became manifest that he would not do God's will, and thus making it morally certain, though not necessary, that he would do evil; and fourthly, by so directing Pharaoh's surroundings that his sin would manifest itself in one way rather than in another. Sin is like the lava of the volcano, which will certainly come out, but which God directs in its course down the mountain-side so that it will do least harm. The gravitation downward is due to man's evil will; the direction to this side or to that is due to God's providence. See Rom. 9:17, 18For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth. So then he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thus the very passions which [pg 425]excite men to rebel against God are made completely subservient to his purposes: see Annotated Paragraph Bible, on Ps. 76:10.

God hardens Pharaoh's heart only after all the earlier plagues have been sent. Pharaoh had hardened his own heart before. God hardens no man's heart who has not first hardened it himself. Crane, Religion of To-morrow, 140—Jehovah is never said to harden the heart of a good man, or of one who is set to do righteousness. It is always those who are bent on evil whom God hardens. Pharaoh hardens his own heart before the Lord is said to harden it. Nature is God, and it is the nature of human beings to harden when they resist softening influences. The Watchman, Dec. 5, 1901:11—God decreed to Pharaoh what Pharaoh had chosen for himself. Persistence in certain inclinations and volitions awakens within the body and soul forces which are not under the control of the will, and which drive the man on in the way he has chosen. After a time nature hardens the hearts of men to do evil.

(d) Determinative,—God determines the bounds reached by the evil passions of his creatures, and the measure of their effects. Since moral evil is a germ capable of indefinite expansion, God's determining the measure of its growth does not alter its character or involve God's complicity with the perverse wills which cherish it.

Job 1:12And Jehovah said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thy hand; 2:6Behold, he is in thy hand; only spare his life; Ps. 124:2If it had not been Jehovah who was on our side, when men rose up against us; Then had they swallowed us up alive; 1 Cor. 10:13will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it; 2 Thess. 2:7For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work; only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way; Rev. 20:2, 3And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

Pepper, Outlines of Syst. Theol., 76—The union of God's will and man's will is “such that, while in one view all can be ascribed to God, in another all can be ascribed to the creature. But how God and the creature are united in operation is doubtless known and knowable only to God. A very dim analogy is furnished in the union of the soul and body in men. The hand retains its own physical laws, yet is obedient to the human will. This theory recognizes the veracity of consciousness in its witness to personal freedom, and yet the completeness of God's control of both the bad and the good. Free beings are ruled, but are ruled as free and in their freedom. The freedom is not sacrificed to the control. The two coëxist, each in its integrity. Any doctrine which does not allow this is false to Scripture and destructive of religion.”

2. Rational proof.

A. Arguments a priori from the divine attributes. (a) From the immutability of God. This makes it certain that he will execute his eternal plan of the universe and its history. But the execution of this plan involves not only creation and preservation, but also providence. (b) From the benevolence of God. This renders it certain that he will care for the intelligent universe he has created. What it was worth his while to create, it is worth his while to care for. But this care is providence. (c) From the justice of God. As the source of moral law, God must assure the vindication of law by administering justice in the universe and punishing the rebellious. But this administration of justice is providence.

For heathen ideas of providence, see Cicero, De Natura Deorum, 11:30, where Balbus speaks of the existence of the gods as that, quo concesso, confitendum est eorum consilio mundum administrari. Epictetus, sec. 41—The principal and most important duty in religion is to possess your mind with just and becoming notions of the gods—to believe that there are such supreme beings, and that they govern and dispose of all the affairs of the world with a just and good providence. Marcus Antoninus: If there are no gods, or if they have no regard for human affairs, why should I desire to live in a world without gods and without a providence? But gods undoubtedly there are, and they regard human affairs. See also Bib. Sac., 16:374. As we shall see, however, many of the heathen writers believed in a general, rather than in a particular, providence.

[pg 426]

On the argument for providence derived from God's benevolence, see Appleton, Works, 1:146—Is indolence more consistent with God's majesty than action would be? The happiness of creatures is a good. Does it honor God to say that he is indifferent to that which he knows to be good and valuable? Even if the world had come into existence without his agency, it would become God's moral character to pay some attention to creatures so numerous and so susceptible to pleasure and pain, especially when he might have so great and favorable an influence on their moral condition. John 5:17My Father worketh even until now, and I work—is as applicable to providence as to preservation.

The complexity of God's providential arrangements may be illustrated by Tyndall's explanation of the fact that heartsease does not grow in the neighborhood of English villages: 1. In English villages dogs run loose. 2. Where dogs run loose, cats must stay at home. 3. Where cats stay at home, field mice abound. 4. Where field mice abound, the nests of bumble-bees are destroyed. 5. Where bumble-bees' nests are destroyed, there is no fertilization of pollen. Therefore, where dogs go loose, no heartsease grows.

B. Arguments a posteriori from the facts of nature and of history. (a) The outward lot of individuals and nations is not wholly in their own hands, but is in many acknowledged respects subject to the disposal of a higher power. (b) The observed moral order of the world, although imperfect, cannot be accounted for without recognition of a divine providence. Vice is discouraged and virtue rewarded, in ways which are beyond the power of mere nature. There must be a governing mind and will, and this mind and will must be the mind and will of God.

The birthplace of individuals and of nations, the natural powers with which they are endowed, the opportunities and immunities they enjoy, are beyond their own control. A man's destiny for time and for eternity may be practically decided for him by his birth in a Christian home, rather than in a tenement-house at the Five Points, or in a kraal of the Hottentots. Progress largely depends upon variety of environment(H. Spencer). But this variety of environment is in great part independent of our own efforts.

There's a Divinity that shapes our ends, Rough hew them how we will. Shakespeare here expounds human consciousness. Man proposes and God disposes has become a proverb. Experience teaches that success and failure are not wholly due to us. Men often labor and lose; they consult and nothing ensues; they embattle and are broken. Providence is not always on the side of the heaviest battalions. Not arms but ideas have decided the fate of the world—as Xerxes found at Thermopylæ, and Napoleon at Waterloo. Great movements are generally begun without consciousness of their greatness. Cf. Is. 42:16I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; 1 Cor. 5:37, 38thou sowest ... a bare grain ... but God giveth it a body even as it pleased him.

The deed returns to the doer, and character shapes destiny. This is true in the long run. Eternity will show the truth of the maxim. But here in time a sufficient number of apparent exceptions are permitted to render possible a moral probation. If evil were always immediately followed by penalty, righteousness would have a compelling power upon the will and the highest virtue would be impossible. Job's friends accuse Job of acting upon this principle. The Hebrew children deny its truth, when they say: But if not—even if God does not deliver us—we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up (Dan. 3:18.)

Martineau, Seat of Authority, 298—Through some misdirection or infirmity, most of the larger agencies in history have failed to reach their own ideal, yet have accomplished revolutions greater and more beneficent; the conquests of Alexander, the empire of Rome, the Crusades, the ecclesiastical persecutions, the monastic asceticisms, the missionary zeal of Christendom, have all played a momentous part in the drama of the world, yet a part which is a surprise to each. All this shows the controlling presence of a Reason and a Will transcendent and divine. Kidd, Social Evolution, 99, declares that the progress of the race has taken place only under conditions which have had no sanction from the reason of the great proportion of the individuals who submit to them. He concludes that a rational religion is a scientific impossibility, and that the function of religion is to provide a super-rational sanction for social progress. We prefer to say that Providence pushes the race forward even against its will.

James Russell Lowell, Letters, 2:51, suggests that God's calm control of the forces [pg 427]of the universe, both physical and mental, should give us confidence when evil seems impending: How many times have I seen the fire-engines of church and state clanging and lumbering along to put out—a false alarm! And when the heavens are cloudy, what a glare can be cast by a burning shanty! See Sermon on Providence in Political Revolutions, in Farrar's Science and Theology, 228. On the moral order of the world, notwithstanding its imperfections, see Butler, Analogy, Bohn's ed., 98; King, in Baptist Review, 1884:202-222.

III. Theories opposing the Doctrine of Providence.

1. Fatalism.

Fatalism maintains the certainty, but denies the freedom, of human self-determination,—thus substituting fate for providence.

To this view we object that (a) it contradicts consciousness, which testifies that we are free; (b) it exalts the divine power at the expense of God's truth, wisdom, holiness, love; (c) it destroys all evidence of the personality and freedom of God; (d) it practically makes necessity the only God, and leaves the imperatives of our moral nature without present validity or future vindication.

The Mohammedans have frequently been called fatalists, and the practical effect of the teachings of the Koran upon the masses is to make them so. The ordinary Mohammedan will have no physician or medicine, because everything happens as God has before appointed. Smith, however, in his Mohammed and Mohammedanism, denies that fatalism is essential to the system. Islam = submission, and the participle Moslem= submitted, i. e., to God. Turkish proverb: A man cannot escape what is written on his forehead. The Mohammedan thinks of God's dominant attribute as being greatness rather than righteousness, power rather than purity. God is the personification of arbitrary will, not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. But there is in the system an absence of sacerdotalism, a jealousy for the honor of God, a brotherhood of believers, a reverence for what is considered the word of God, and a bold and habitual devotion of its adherents to their faith.

Stanley, Life and Letters, 1:489, refers to the Mussulman tradition existing in Egypt that the fate of Islam requires that it should at last be superseded by Christianity. F. W. Sanders denies that the Koran is peculiarly sensual. The Christian and Jewish religions, he says, have their paradise also. The Koran makes this the reward, but not the ideal, of conduct; Grace from thy Lord—that is the grand bliss. The emphasis of the Koran is upon right living. The Koran does not teach the propagation of religion by force. It declares that there shall be no compulsion in religion. The practice of converting by the sword is to be distinguished from the teaching of Mohammed, just as the Inquisition and the slave-trade in Christendom do not prove that Jesus taught them. The Koran did not institute polygamy. It found unlimited polygamy, divorce, and infanticide. The last it prohibited; the two former it restricted and ameliorated, just as Moses found polygamy, but brought it within bounds. The Koran is not hostile to secular learning. Learning flourished under the Bagdad and Spanish Caliphates. When Moslems oppose learning, they do so without authority from the Koran. The Roman Catholic church has opposed schools, but we do not attribute this to the gospel.See Zwemer, Moslem Doctrine of God.

Calvinists can assert freedom, since man's will finds its highest freedom only in submission to God. Islam also cultivates submission, but it is the submission not of love but of fear. The essential difference between Mohammedanism and Christianity is found in the revelation which the latter gives of the love of God in Christ—a revelation which secures from free moral agents the submission of love; see page 186. On fatalism, see McCosh, Intuitions, 266; Kant, Metaphysic of Ethics, 52-74, 98-108; Mill, Autobiography, 168-170, and System of Logic, 521-526; Hamilton, Metaphysics, 692; Stewart, Active and Moral Powers of Man, ed. Walker, 268-324.

2. Casualism.

Casualism transfers the freedom of mind to nature, as fatalism transfers the fixity of nature to mind. It thus exchanges providence for chance. [pg 428] Upon this view we remark:

(a) If chance be only another name for human ignorance, a name for the fact that there are trivial occurrences in life which have no meaning or relation to us,—we may acknowledge this, and still hold that providence arranges every so-called chance, for purposes beyond our knowledge. Chance, in this sense, is providential coincidence which we cannot understand, and do not need to trouble ourselves about.

Not all chances are of equal importance. The casual meeting of a stranger in the street need not bring God's providence before me, although I know that God arranges it. Yet I can conceive of that meeting as leading to religious conversation and to the stranger's conversion. When we are prepared for them, we shall see many opportunities which are now as unmeaning to us as the gold in the river-beds was to the early Indians in California. I should be an ingrate, if I escaped a lightning-stroke, and did not thank God; yet Dr. Arnold's saying that every school boy should put on his hat for God's glory, and with a high moral purpose, seems morbid. There is a certain room for the play of arbitrariness. We must not afflict ourselves or the church of God by requiring a Pharisaic punctiliousness in minutiæ. Life is too short to debate the question which shoe we shall put on first. Love God and do what you will, said Augustine; that is, Love God, and act out that love in a simple and natural way. Be free in your service, yet be always on the watch for indications of God's will.

(b) If chance be taken in the sense of utter absence of all causal connections in the phenomena of matter and mind,—we oppose to this notion the fact that the causal judgment is formed in accordance with a fundamental and necessary law of human thought, and that no science or knowledge is possible without the assumption of its validity.

In Luke 10:31, our Savior says: By chance a certain priest was going down that way. Janet: Chance is not a cause, but a coincidence of causes. Bowne, Theory of Thought and Knowledge, 197—By chance is not meant lack of causation, but the coincidence in an event of mutually independent series of causation. Thus the unpurposed meeting of two persons is spoken of as a chance one, when the movement of neither implies that of the other. Here the antithesis of chance is purpose.

(c) If chance be used in the sense of undesigning cause,—it is evidently insufficient to explain the regular and uniform sequences of nature, or the moral progress of the human race. These things argue a superintending and designing mind—in other words, a providence. Since reason demands not only a cause, but a sufficient cause, for the order of the physical and moral world, casualism must be ruled out.

The observer at the signal station was asked what was the climate of Rochester. Climate? he replied; Rochester has no climate,—only weather! So Chauncey Wright spoke of the ups and downs of human affairs as simply cosmical weather.But our intuition of design compels us to see mind and purpose in individual and national history, as well as in the physical universe. The same argument which proves the existence of God proves also the existence of a providence. See Farrar, Life of Christ, 1:155, note.

3. Theory of a merely general providence.

Many who acknowledge God's control over the movements of planets and the destinies of nations deny any divine arrangement of particular events. Most of the arguments against deism are equally valid against the theory of a merely general providence. This view is indeed only a form of deism, which holds that God has not wholly withdrawn himself from the universe, but that his activity within it is limited to the maintenance of general laws.

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This appears to have been the view of most of the heathen philosophers. Cicero: Magna dii curant; parva negligunt. Even in kingdoms among men, he says, kings do not trouble themselves with insignificant affairs. Fullerton, Conceptions of the Infinite, 9—Plutarch thought there could not be an infinity of worlds,—Providence could not possibly take charge of so many. Troublesome and boundless infinitycould be grasped by no consciousness. The ancient Cretans made an image of Jove without ears, for they said: It is a shame to believe that God would hear the talk of men. So Jerome, the church Father, thought it absurd that God should know just how many gnats and cockroaches there were in the world. David Harum is wiser when he expresses the belief that there is nothing wholly bad or useless in the world: A reasonable amount of fleas is good for a dog,—they keep him from broodin' on bein' a dog. This has been paraphrased: A reasonable number of beaux are good for a girl,—they keep her from brooding over her being a girl.

In addition to the arguments above alluded to, we may urge against this theory that:

(a) General control over the course of nature and of history is impossible without control over the smallest particulars which affect the course of nature and of history. Incidents so slight as well-nigh to escape observation at the time of their occurrence are frequently found to determine the whole future of a human life, and through that life the fortunes of a whole empire and of a whole age.

Nothing great has great beginnings. Take care of the pence, and the pounds will take care of themselves. Care for the chain is care for the links of the chain.Instances in point are the sleeplessness of King Ahasuerus (Esther 6:1), and the seeming chance that led to the reading of the record of Mordecai's service and to the salvation of the Jews in Persia; the spider's web spun across the entrance to the cave in which Mohammed had taken refuge, which so deceived his pursuers that they passed on In a bootless chase, leaving to the world the religion and the empire of the Moslems; the preaching of Peter the Hermit, which occasioned the first Crusade; the chance shot of an archer, which pierced the right eye of Harold, the last of the purely English kings, gained the battle of Hastings for William the Conqueror, and secured the throne of England for the Normans; the flight of pigeons to the south-west, which changed the course of Columbus, hitherto directed towards Virginia, to the West Indies, and so prevented the dominion of Spain over North America; the storm that dispersed the Spanish Armada and saved England from the Papacy, and the storm that dispersed the French fleet gathered for the conquest of New England—the latter on a day of fasting and prayer appointed by the Puritans to avert the calamity; the settling of New England by the Puritans, rather than by French Jesuits; the order of Council restraining Cromwell and his friends from sailing to America; Major André's lack of self-possession in presence of his captors, which led him to ask an improper question instead of showing his passport, and which saved the American cause; the unusually early commencement of cold weather, which frustrated the plans of Napoleon and destroyed his army in Russia; the fatal shot at Fort Sumter, which precipitated the war of secession and resulted in the abolition of American slavery. Nature is linked to history; the breeze warps the course of the bullet; the worm perforates the plank of the ship. God must care for the least, or he cannot care for the greatest.

Large doors swing on small hinges. The barking of a dog determined F. W. Robertson to be a preacher rather than a soldier. Robert Browning, Mr. Sludge the Medium: We find great things are made of little things, And little things go lessening till at last Comes God behind them. E. G. Robinson: We cannot suppose only a general outline to have been in the mind of God, while the filling-up is left to be done in some other way. The general includes the special. Dr. Lloyd, one of the Oxford Professors, said to Pusey, I wish you would learn something about those German critics. In the obedient spirit of those times, writes Pusey, I set myself at once to learn German, and I went to Göttingen, to study at once the language and the theology. My life turned on that hint of Dr. Lloyd's.

Goldwin Smith: Had a bullet entered the brain of Cromwell or of William III in his first battle, or had Gustavus not fallen at Lützen, the course of history apparently would have been changed. The course even of science would have been changed, if there had not been a Newton and a Darwin. The annexation of Corsica to France [pg 430]gave to France a Napoleon, and to Europe a conqueror. Martineau, Seat of Authority, 101—Had the monastery at Erfurt deputed another than young Luther on its errand to paganized Rome, or had Leo X sent a less scandalous agent than Tetzel on his business to Germany, the seeds of the Reformation might have fallen by the wayside where they had no deepness of earth, and the Western revolt of the human mind might have taken another date and another form. See Appleton, Works, 1:149 sq.; Lecky, England in the Eighteenth Century, chap. I.

(b) The love of God which prompts a general care for the universe must also prompt a particular care for the smallest events which affect the happiness of his creatures. It belongs to love to regard nothing as trifling or beneath its notice which has to do with the interests of the object of its affection. Infinite love may therefore be expected to provide for all, even the minutest things in the creation. Without belief in this particular care, men cannot long believe in God's general care. Faith in a particular providence is indispensable to the very existence of practical religion; for men will not worship or recognize a God who has no direct relation to them.

Man's care for his own body involves care for the least important members of it. A lover's devotion is known by his interest in the minutest concerns of his beloved. So all our affairs are matters of interest to God. Pope's Essay on Man: All nature is but art unknown to thee; All chance, direction which thou canst not see; All discord, harmony not understood; All partial evil, universal good. If harvests may be labored for and lost without any agency of God; if rain or sun may act like fate, sweeping away the results of years, and God have no hand in it all; if wind and storm may wreck the ship and drown our dearest friends, and God not care for us or for our loss, then all possibility of general trust in God will disappear also.

God's care is shown in the least things as well as in the greatest. In Gethsemane Christ says: Let these go their way: that the word might be fulfilled which he spake, Of those whom thou hast given me I lost not one (John 18:8, 9). It is the same spirit as that of his intercessory prayer: I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition (John 17:12). Christ gives himself as a prisoner that his disciples may go free, even as he redeems us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us (Gal. 3:13). The dewdrop is moulded by the same law that rounds the planets into spheres. Gen. Grant said he had never but once sought a place for himself, and in that place he was a comparative failure; he had been an instrument in God's hand for the accomplishing of God's purposes, apart from any plan or thought or hope of his own.

Of his journey through the dark continent in search of David Livingston, Henry M. Stanley wrote in Scribner's Monthly for June, 1890: Constrained at the darkest hour humbly to confess that without God's help I was helpless, I vowed a vow in the forest solitudes that I would confess his aid before men. Silence as of death was around me; it was midnight; I was weakened by illness, prostrated with fatigue, and wan with anxiety for my white and black companions, whose fate was a mystery. In this physical and mental distress I besought God to give me back my people. Nine hours later we were exulting with a rapturous joy. In full view of all was the crimson flag with the crescent, and beneath its waving folds was the long-lost rear column.... My own designs were frustrated constantly by unhappy circumstances. I endeavored to steer my course as direct as possible, but there was an unaccountable influence at the helm.... I have been conscious that the issues of every effort were in other hands.... Divinity seems to have hedged us while we journeyed, impelling us whither it would, effecting its own will, but constantly guiding and protecting us. He refuses to believe that it is all the result of luck, and he closes with a doxology which we should expect from Livingston but not from him: Thanks be to God, forever and ever!

(c) In times of personal danger, and in remarkable conjunctures of public affairs, men instinctively attribute to God a control of the events which take place around them. The prayers which such startling emergencies force from men's lips are proof that God is present and active in human affairs. This testimony of our mental constitution must be regarded as virtually the testimony of him who framed this constitution.

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No advance of science can rid us of this conviction, since it comes from a deeper source than mere reasoning. The intuition of design is awakened by the connection of events in our daily life, as much as by the useful adaptations which we see in nature. Ps. 107:23-28They that go down to the sea in ships ... mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths ... And are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto Jehovah in their trouble. A narrow escape from death shows us a present God and Deliverer. Instance the general feeling throughout the land, expressed by the press as well as by the pulpit, at the breaking out of our rebellion and at the President's subsequent Proclamation of Emancipation.

Est deus in nobis; agitante calescimus illo. For contrast between Nansen's ignoring of God in his polar journey and Dr. Jacob Chamberlain's calling upon God in his strait in India, see Missionary Review, May, 1898. Sunday School Times, March 4, 1893—Benjamin Franklin became a deist at the age of fifteen. Before the Revolutionary War he was merely a shrewd and pushing business man. He had public spirit, and he made one happy discovery in science. But Poor Richard's sayings express his mind at that time. The perils and anxieties of the great war gave him a deeper insight. He and others entered upon it with a rope around their necks. As he told the Constitutional Convention of 1787, when he proposed that its daily sessions be opened with prayer, the experiences of that war showed him that God verily rules in the affairs of men. And when the designs for an American coinage were under discussion, Franklin proposed to stamp on them, not A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned, or any other piece of worldly prudence, but The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom. ”

(d) Christian experience confirms the declarations of Scripture that particular events are brought about by God with special reference to the good or ill of the individual. Such events occur at times in such direct connection with the Christian's prayers that no doubt remains with regard to the providential arrangement of them. The possibility of such divine agency in natural events cannot be questioned by one who, like the Christian, has had experience of the greater wonders of regeneration and daily intercourse with God, and who believes in the reality of creation, incarnation, and miracles.

Providence prepares the way for men's conversion, sometimes by their own partial reformation, sometimes by the sudden death of others near them. Instance Luther and Judson. The Christian learns that the same Providence that led him before his conversion is busy after his conversion in directing his steps and in supplying his wants. Daniel Defoe: I have been fed more by miracle than Elijah when the angels were his purveyors. In Psalm 32, David celebrates not only God's pardoning mercy but his subsequent providential leading: I will counsel thee with mine eye upon thee (verse 8). It may be objected that we often mistake the meaning of events. We answer that, as in nature, so in providence, we are compelled to believe, not that we know the design, but that there is a design. Instance Shelley's drowning, and Jacob Knapp's prayer that his opponent might be stricken dumb. Lyman Beecher's attributing the burning of the Unitarian church to God's judgment upon false doctrine was invalidated a little later by the burning of his own church.

Job 23:10He knoweth the way that is mine, or the way that is with me, i. e., my inmost way, life, character; When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. 1 Cor. 19:4and the rock was Christ—Christ was the ever present source of their refreshment and life, both physical and spiritual. God's providence is all exercised through Christ. 2 Cor. 2:14But thanks be unto God, who always leadeth us in triumph in Christ; not, as in A. V., causeth us to triumph. Paul glories, not in conquering, but in being conquered. Let Christ triumph, not Paul. Great King of grace, my heart subdue; I would be led in triumph too. A willing captive to my Lord, To own the conquests of his word. Therefore Paul can call himself the prisoner of Christ Jesus (Eph. 3:1). It was Christ who had shut him up two years in Cæsarea, and then two succeeding years in Rome.

IV. Relations of the Doctrine of Providence.

1. To miracles and works of grace.

Particular providence is the agency of God in what seem to us the minor affairs of nature and human life. Special providence is only an instance [pg 432] of God's particular providence which has special relation to us or makes peculiar impression upon us. It is special, not as respects the means which God makes use of, but as respects the effect produced upon us. In special providence we have only a more impressive manifestation of God's universal control.

Miracles and works of grace like regeneration are not to be regarded as belonging to a different order of things from God's special providences. They too, like special providences, may have their natural connections and antecedents, although they more readily suggest their divine authorship. Nature and God are not mutually exclusive,—nature is rather God's method of working. Since nature is only the manifestation of God, special providence, miracle, and regeneration are simply different degrees of extraordinary nature. Certain of the wonders of Scripture, such as the destruction of Sennacherib's army and the dividing of the Red Sea, the plagues of Egypt, the flight of quails, and the draught of fishes, can be counted as exaggerations of natural forces, while at the same time they are operations of the wonder-working God.

The falling of snow from a roof is an example of ordinary (or particular) providence. But if a man is killed by it, it becomes a special providence to him and to others who are thereby taught the insecurity of life. So the providing of coal for fuel in the geologic ages may be regarded by different persons in the light either of a general or of a special providence. In all the operations of nature and all the events of life God's providence is exhibited. That providence becomes special, when it manifestly suggests some care of God for us or some duty of ours to God. Savage, Life beyond Death, 285—Mary A. Livermore's life was saved during her travels in the West by her hearing and instantly obeying what seemed to her a voice. She did not know where it came from; but she leaped, as the voice ordered, from one side of a car to the other, and instantly the side where she had been sitting was crushed in and utterly demolished.In a similar way, the life of Dr. Oncken was saved in the railroad disaster at Norwalk.

Trench gives the name of providential miracles to those Scripture wonders which may be explained as wrought through the agency of natural laws (see Trench, Miracles, 19). Mozley also (Miracles, 117-120) calls these wonders miracles, because of the predictive word of God which accompanied them. He says that the difference in effect between miracles and special providences is that the latter give some warrant, while the former give full warrant, for believing that they are wrought by God. He calls special providences invisible miracles. Bp. of Southampton, Place of Miracles, 12, 13—The art of Bezaleel in constructing the tabernacle, and the plans of generals like Moses and Joshua, Gideon, Barak, and David, are in the Old Testament ascribed to the direct inspiration of God. A less religious writer would have ascribed them to the instinct of military skill. No miracle is necessarily involved, when, in devising the system of ceremonial law it is said: Jehovah spake unto Moses (Num. 5:1). God is everywhere present in the history of Israel, but miracles are strikingly rare. We prefer to say that the line between the natural and the supernatural, between special providence and miracle, is an arbitrary one, and that the same event may often be regarded either as special providence or as miracle, according as we look at it from the point of view of its relation to other events or from the point of view of its relation to God.

E. G. Robinson: If Vesuvius should send up ashes and lava, and a strong wind should scatter them, it could be said to rain fire and brimstone, as at Sodom and Gomorrha. There is abundant evident of volcanic action at the Dead Sea. See article on the Physical Preparation for Israel in Palestine, by G. Frederick Wright, in Bib. Sac., April, 1901:364. The three great miracles—the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha, the parting of the waters of the Jordan, the falling down of the walls of Jericho—are described as effect of volcanic eruption, elevation of the bed of the river by a landslide, and earthquake-shock overthrowing the walls. Salt slime thrown up may have enveloped Lot's wife and turned her into a mound of salt (Gen. 19:26). In like manner, some of Jesus' works of healing, as for instance those wrought upon paralytics and epileptics, may be susceptible of natural explanation, while yet they show [pg 433]that Christ is absolute Lord of nature. For the naturalistic view, see Tyndall on Miracles and Special Providences, in Fragments of Science, 45, 418. Per contra, see Farrar, on Divine Providence and General Laws, in Science and Theology, 54-80; Row, Bampton Lect. on Christian Evidences, 109-115; Godet, Defence of Christian Faith, Chap. 2; Bowne, The Immanence of God, 56-65.

2. To prayer and its answer.

What has been said with regard to God's connection with nature suggests the question, how God can answer prayer consistently with the fixity of natural law.

Tyndall (see reference above), while repelling the charge of denying that God can answer prayer at all, yet does deny that he can answer it without a miracle. He says expressly that without a disturbance of natural law quite as serious as the stoppage of an eclipse, or the rolling of the St. Lawrence up the falls of Niagara, no act of humiliation, individual or national, could call one shower from heaven or deflect toward us a single beam of the sun. In reply we would remark:

A. Negatively, that the true solution is not to be reached:

(a) By making the sole effect of prayer to be its reflex influence upon the petitioner.—Prayer presupposes a God who hears and answers. It will not be offered, unless it is believed to accomplish objective as well as subjective results.

According to the first view mentioned above, prayer is a mere spiritual gymnastics—an effort to lift ourselves from the ground by tugging at our own boot-straps. David Hume said well, after hearing a sermon by Dr. Leechman: We can make use of no expression or even thought in prayers and entreaties which does not imply that these prayers have an influence. See Tyndall on Prayer and Natural Law, in Fragments of Science, 35. Will men pray to a God who is both deaf and dumb? Will the sailor on the bowsprit whistle to the wind for the sake of improving his voice? Horace Bushnell called this perversion of prayer a mere dumb-bell exercise. Baron Munchausen pulled himself out of the bog in China by tugging away at his own pigtail.

Hyde, God's Education of Man, 154, 155—Prayer is not the reflex action of my will upon itself, but rather the communion of two wills, in which the finite comes into connection with the Infinite, and, like the trolley, appropriates its purpose and power.Harnack, Wesen des Christenthums, 42, apparently follows Schleiermacher in unduly limiting prayer to general petitions which receive only a subjective answer. He tells us that Jesus taught his disciples the Lord's Prayer in response to a request for directions how to pray. Yet we look in vain therein for requests for special gifts of grace, or for particular good things, even though they are spiritual. The name, the will, the kingdom of God—these are the things which are the objects of petition.Harnack forgets that the same Christ said also: All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them (Mark 11:24).

(b) Nor by holding that God answers prayer simply by spiritual means, such as the action of the Holy Spirit upon the spirit of man.—The realm of spirit is no less subject to law than the realm of matter. Scripture and experience, moreover, alike testify that in answer to prayer events take place in the outward world which would not have taken place if prayer had not gone before.

According to this second theory, God feeds the starving Elijah, not by a distinct message from heaven but by giving a compassionate disposition to the widow of Zarephath so that she is moved to help the prophet. 1 K. 17:9behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain thee. But God could also feed Elijah by the ravens and the angel (1 K. 17:4; 19:15), and the pouring rain that followed Elijah's prayer (1 K. 18:42-45) cannot be explained as a subjective spiritual phenomenon. Diman, Theistic Argument, 268—Our charts map out not only the solid shore but the windings of the ocean currents, and we look into the morning papers to ascertain the gathering of storms on the [pg 434]slopes of the Rocky Mountains. But law rules in the realm of spirit as well as in the realm of nature. See Baden Powell, in Essays and Reviews, 106-162; Knight, Studies in Philosophy and Literature, 340-404; George I. Chace, discourse before the Porter Rhet. Soc. of Andover, August, 1854. Governor Rice in Washington is moved to send money to a starving family in New York, and to secure employment for them. Though he has had no information with regard to their need, they have knelt in prayer for help just before the coming of the aid.

(c) Nor by maintaining that God suspends or breaks in upon the order of nature, in answering every prayer that is offered.—This view does not take account of natural laws as having objective existence, and as revealing the order of God's being. Omnipotence might thus suspend natural law, but wisdom, so far as we can see, would not.

This third theory might well be held by those who see in nature no force but the all-working will of God. But the properties and powers of matter are revelations of the divine will, and the human will has only a relative independence in the universe. To desire that God would answer all our prayers is to desire omnipotence without omniscience. All true prayer is therefore an expression of the one petition: Thy will be done (Mat. 6:10). E. G. Robinson: It takes much common sense to pray, and many prayers are destitute of this quality. Man needs to pray audibly even in his private prayers, to get the full benefit of them. One of the chief benefits of the English liturgy is that the individual minister is lost sight of. Protestantism makes you work; in Romanism the church will do it all for you.

(d) Nor by considering prayer as a physical force, linked in each case to its answer, as physical cause is linked to physical effect.—Prayer is not a force acting directly upon nature; else there would be no discretion as to its answer. It can accomplish results in nature, only as it influences God.

We educate our children in two ways: first, by training them to do for themselves what they can do; and, secondly, by encouraging them to seek our help in matters beyond their power. So God educates us, first, by impersonal law, and, secondly, by personal dependence. He teaches us both to work and to ask. Notice the perfect unwisdom of modern scientists who place themselves under the training of impersonal law, to the exclusion of that higher and better training which is under personality(Hopkins, Sermon on Prayer-gauge, 16).

It seems more in accordance with both Scripture and reason to say that:

B. God may answer prayer, even when that answer involves changes in the sequences of nature,—

(a) By new combinations of natural forces, in regions withdrawn from our observation, so that effects are produced which these same forces left to themselves would never have accomplished. As man combines the laws of chemical attraction and of combustion, to fire the gunpowder and split the rock asunder, so God may combine the laws of nature to bring about answers to prayer. In all this there may be no suspension or violation of law, but a use of law unknown to us.

Hopkins, Sermon on the Prayer-gauge: Nature is uniform in her processes but not in her results. Do you say that water cannot run uphill? Yes, it can and does. Whenever man constructs a milldam the water runs up the environing hills till it reaches the top of the milldam. Man can make a spark of electricity do his bidding; why cannot God use a bolt of electricity? Laws are not our masters, but our servants. They do our bidding all the better because they are uniform. And our servants are not God's masters. Kendall Brooks: The master of a musical instrument can vary without limit the combination of sounds and the melodies which these combinations can produce. The laws of the instrument are not changed, but in their unchanging steadfastness produce an infinite variety of tunes. It is necessary that they should be [pg 435]unchanging in order to secure a desired result. So nature, which exercises the infinite skill of the divine Master, is governed by unvarying laws; but he, by these laws, produces an infinite variety of results.

Hodge, Popular Lectures, 45, 99—The system of natural laws is far more flexible in God's hands than it is in ours. We act on second causes externally; God acts on them internally. We act upon them at only a few isolated points; God acts upon every point of the system at the same time. The whole of nature may be as plastic to his will as the air in the organs of the great singer who articulates it into a fit expression of every thought and passion of his soaring soul. Upton, Hibbert Lectures, 155—If all the chemical elements of our solar system preëxisted in the fiery cosmic mist, there must have been a time when quite suddenly the attractions between these elements overcame the degree of caloric force which held them apart, and the rush of elements into chemical union must have been consummated with inconceivable rapidity. Uniformitarianism is not universal.

Shaler, Interpretation of Nature, chap. 2—By a little increase of centrifugal force the elliptical orbit is changed into a parabola, and the planet becomes a comet. By a little reduction in temperature water becomes solid and loses many of its powers. So unexpected results are brought about and surprises as revolutionary as if a Supreme Power immediately intervened. William James, Address before Soc. for Psych. Research: Thought-transference may involve a critical point, as the physicists call it, which is passed only when certain psychic conditions are realized, and otherwise not reached at all—just as a big conflagration will break out at a certain temperature, below which no conflagration whatever, whether big or little, can occur. Tennyson, Life, 1:324—Prayer is like opening a sluice between the great ocean and our little channels, when the great sea gathers itself together and flows in at full tide.

Since prayer is nothing more nor less than appeal to a personal and present God, whose granting or withholding of the requested blessing is believed to be determined by the prayer itself, we must conclude that prayer moves God, or, in other words, induces the putting forth on his part of an imperative volition.

The view that in answering prayer God combines natural forces is elaborated by Chalmers, Works, 2:314, and 7:234. See Diman, Theistic Argument, 111—When laws are conceived of, not as single, but as combined, instead of being immutable in their operation, they are the agencies of ceaseless change. Phenomena are governed, not by invariable forces, but by endlessly varying combinations of invariable forces. Diman seems to have followed Argyll, Reign of Law, 100.

Janet, Final Causes, 219—I kindle a fire in my grate. I only intervene to produce and combine together the different agents whose natural action behooves to produce the effect I have need of; but the first step once taken, all the phenomena constituting combustion engender each other, conformably to their laws, without a new intervention of the agent; so that an observer who should study the series of these phenomena, without perceiving the first hand that had prepared all, could not seize that hand in any especial act, and yet there is a preconceived plan and combination.

Hopkins, Sermon on Prayer-gauge: Man, by sprinkling plaster on his field, may cause the corn to grow more luxuriantly; by kindling great fires and by firing cannon, he may cause rain; and God can surely, in answer to prayer, do as much as man can. Lewes says that the fundamental character of all theological philosophy is conceiving of phenomena as subject to supernatural volition, and consequently as eminently and irregularly variable. This notion, he says, is refuted, first, by exact and rational prevision of phenomena, and, secondly, by the possibility of our modifying these phenomena so as to promote our own advantage. But we ask in reply: If we can modify them, cannot God? But, lest this should seem to imply mutability in God or inconsistency in nature, we remark, in addition, that:

(b) God may have so preärranged the laws of the material universe and the events of history that, while the answer to prayer is an expression of his will, it is granted through the working of natural agencies, and in perfect accordance with the general principle that results, both temporal and spiritual, are to be attained by intelligent creatures through the use of the appropriate and appointed means.

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J. P. Cooke, Credentials of Science, 194—The Jacquard loom of itself would weave a perfectly uniform plain fabric; the perforated cards determine a selection of the threads, and through a combination of these variable conditions, so complex that the observer cannot follow their intricate workings, the predesigned pattern appears.E. G. Robinson: The most formidable objection to this theory is the apparent countenance it lends to the doctrine of necessitarianism. But if it presupposes that free actions have been taken into account, it cannot easily be shown to be false. The bishop who was asked by his curate to sanction prayers for rain was unduly sceptical when he replied: First consult the barometer. Phillips Brooks: Prayer is not the conquering of God's reluctance, but the taking hold of God's willingness.

The Pilgrims at Plymouth, somewhere about 1628, prayed for rain. They met at 9 A. M., and continued in prayer for eight or nine hours. While they were assembled clouds gathered, and the next morning began rains which, with some intervals, lasted fourteen days. John Easter was many years ago an evangelist in Virginia. A large out-door meeting was being held. Many thousands had assembled, when heavy storm clouds began to gather. There was no shelter to which the multitudes could retreat. The rain had already reached the adjoining fields when John Easter cried: Brethren, be still, while I call upon God to stay the storm till the gospel is preached to this multitude!Then he knelt and prayed that the audience might be spared the rain, and that after they had gone to their homes there might be refreshing showers. Behold, the clouds parted as they came near, and passed to either side of the crowd and then closed again, leaving the place dry where the audience had assembled, and the next day the postponed showers came down upon the ground that had been the day before omitted.

Since God is immanent in nature, an answer to prayer, coming about through the intervention of natural law, may be as real a revelation of God's personal care as if the laws of nature were suspended, and God interposed by an exercise of his creative power. Prayer and its answer, though having God's immediate volition as their connecting bond, may yet be provided for in the original plan of the universe.

The universe does not exist for itself, but for moral ends and moral beings, to reveal God and to furnish facilities of intercourse between God and intelligent creatures. Bishop Berkeley: The universe is God's ceaseless conversation with his creatures.The universe certainly subserves moral ends—the discouragement of vice and the reward of virtue; why not spiritual ends also? When we remember that there is no true prayer which God does not inspire; that every true prayer is part of the plan of the universe linked in with all the rest and provided for at the beginning; that God is in nature and in mind, supervising all their movements and making all fulfill his will and reveal his personal care; that God can adjust the forces of nature to each other far more skilfully than can man when man produces effects which nature of herself could never accomplish; that God is not confined to nature or her forces, but can work by his creative and omnipotent will where other means are not sufficient,—we need have no fear, either that natural law will bar God's answers to prayer, or that these answers will cause a shock or jar in the system of the universe.

Matheson, Messages of the Old Religions, 321, 322—Hebrew poetry never deals with outward nature for its own sake. The eye never rests on beauty for itself alone. The heavens are the work of God's hands, the earth is God's footstool, the winds are God's ministers, the stars are God's host, the thunder is God's voice. What we call Nature the Jew called God. Miss Heloise E. Hersey: Plato in the Phædrus sets forth in a splendid myth the means by which the gods refresh themselves. Once a year, in a mighty host, they drive their chariots up the steep to the topmost vault of heaven. Thence they may behold all the wonders and the secrets of the universe; and, quickened by the sight of the great plain of truth, they return home replenished and made glad by the celestial vision. Abp. Trench, Poems, 134—Lord, what a change within us one short hour Spent in thy presence will prevail to make—What heavy burdens from our bosoms take, What parched grounds refresh as with a shower! We kneel, and all around us seems to lower; We rise, and all, the distant and the near, Stands forth in sunny outline, brave and clear; We kneel how weak, we rise how full of power! Why, therefore, should we do ourselves this wrong, Or others—that we are not always strong; That we are ever overborne with care; That we should ever weak [pg 437]or heartless be, Anxious or troubled, when with us is prayer, And joy and strength and courage are with thee? See Calderwood, Science and Religion, 299-309; McCosh, Divine Government, 215; Liddon, Elements of Religion, 178-203; Hamilton, Autology, 690-694. See also Jellett, Donnellan Lectures on the Efficacy of Prayer; Butterworth, Story of Notable Prayers; Patton, Prayer and its Answers; Monrad, World of Prayer; Prime, Power of Prayer; Phelps, The Still Hour; Haven, and Bickersteth, on Prayer; Prayer for Colleges; Cox, in Expositor, 1877: chap. 3; Faunce, Prayer as a Theory and a Fact; Trumbull, Prayer, Its Nature and Scope.

C. If asked whether this relation between prayer and its providential answer can be scientifically tested, we reply that it may be tested just as a father's love may be tested by a dutiful son.

(a) There is a general proof of it in the past experience of the Christian and in the past history of the church.

Ps. 116:1-8I love Jehovah because he heareth my voice and my supplications. Luther prays for the dying Melanchthon, and he recovers. George Müller trusts to prayer, and builds his great orphan-houses. For a multitude of instances, see Prime, Answers to Prayer. Charles H. Spurgeon: “If there is any fact that is proved, it is that God hears prayer. If there is any scientific statement that is capable of mathematical proof, this is.” Mr. Spurgeon's language is rhetorical: he means simply that God's answers to prayer remove all reasonable doubt. Adoniram Judson: “I never was deeply interested in any object, I never prayed sincerely and earnestly for anything, but it came; at some time—no matter at how distant a day—somehow, in some shape, probably the last I should have devised—it came. And yet I have always had so little faith! May God forgive me, and while he condescends to use me as his instrument, wipe the sin of unbelief from my heart!”

(b) In condescension to human blindness, God may sometimes submit to a formal test of his faithfulness and power,—as in the case of Elijah and the priests of Baal.

Is. 7:10-13—Ahaz is rebuked for not asking a sign,—in him it indicated unbelief. 1 K. 18:36-38—Elijah said, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel.... Then the fire of Jehovah fell, and consumed the burnt offering. Romaine speaks of a year famous for believing. Mat 21:21, 22even if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up and cast into the sea, it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Impossible? said Napoleon; then it shall be done! Arthur Hallam, quoted in Tennyson's Life, 1:44—With respect to prayer, you ask how I am to distinguish the operations of God in me from the motions of my own heart. Why should you distinguish them, or how do you know that there is any distinction? Is God less God because he acts by general laws when he deals with the common elements of nature? Watch in prayer to see what cometh. Foolish boys that knock at a door in wantonness, will not stay till somebody open to them; but a man that hath business will knock, and knock again, till he gets his answer.

Martineau, Seat of Authority, 102, 103—God is not beyond nature simply,—he is within it. In nature and in mind we must find the action of his power. There is no need of his being a third factor over and above the life of nature and the life of man.Hartley Coleridge: Be not afraid to pray,—to pray is right. Pray if thou canst with hope, but ever pray, Though hope be weak, or sick with long delay; Pray in the darkness, if there be no light. Far is the time, remote from human sight, When war and discord on the earth shall cease; Yet every prayer for universal peace Avails the blessed time to expedite. Whate'er is good to wish, ask that of heaven, Though it be what thou canst not hope to see; Pray to be perfect, though the material leaven Forbid the spirit so on earth to be; But if for any wish thou dar'st not pray, Then pray to God to cast that wish away.

(c) When proof sufficient to convince the candid inquirer has been already given, it may not consist with the divine majesty to abide a test imposed by mere curiosity or scepticism,—as in the case of the Jews who sought a sign from heaven.

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Mat. 12:39An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. Tyndall's prayer-gauge would ensure a conflict of prayers. Since our present life is a moral probation, delay in the answer to our prayers, and even the denial of specific things for which we pray, may be only signs of God's faithfulness and love. George Müller: I myself have been bringing certain requests before God now for seventeen years and six months, and never a day has passed without my praying concerning them all this time; yet the full answer has not come up to the present. But I look for it; I confidently expect it. Christ's prayer, let this cup pass away from me(Mat. 26:39), and Paul's prayer that the thorn in the flesh might depart from him (2 Cor. 12:7, 8), were not answered in the precise way requested. No more are our prayers always answered in the way we expect. Christ's prayer was not answered by the literal removing of the cup, because the drinking of the cup was really his glory; and Paul's prayer was not answered by the literal removal of the thorn, because the thorn was needful for his own perfecting. In the case of both Jesus and Paul, there were larger interests to be consulted than their own freedom from suffering.

(d) Since God's will is the link between prayer and its answer, there can be no such thing as a physical demonstration of its efficacy in any proposed case. Physical tests have no application to things into which free will enters as a constitutive element. But there are moral tests, and moral tests are as scientific as physical tests can be.

Diman, Theistic Argument, 576, alludes to Goldwin Smith's denial that any scientific method can be applied to history because it would make man a necessary link in a chain of cause and effect and so would deny his free will. But Diman says this is no more impossible than the development of the individual according to a fixed law of growth, while yet free will is sedulously respected. Froude says history is not a science, because no science could foretell Mohammedanism or Buddhism; and Goldwin Smith says that prediction is the crown of all science. But, as Diman remarks: geometry, geology, physiology, are sciences, yet they do not predict. Buckle brought history into contempt by asserting that it could be analyzed and referred solely to intellectual laws and forces. To all this we reply that there may be scientific tests which are not physical, or even intellectual, but only moral. Such a test God urges his people to use, in Mal. 3:10Bring ye the whole tithe into the storehouse ... and prove me now herewith, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. All such prayer is a reflection of Christ's words—some fragment of his teaching transformed into a supplication (John 15:7; see Westcott, Bib. Com., in loco); all such prayer is moreover the work of the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:26, 27). It is therefore sure of an answer.

But the test of prayer proposed by Tyndall is not applicable to the thing to be tested by it. Hopkins, Prayer and the Prayer-gauge, 22 sq.We cannot measure wheat by the yard, or the weight of a discourse with a pair of scales.... God's wisdom might see that it was not best for the petitioners, nor for the objects of their petition, to grant their request. Christians therefore could not, without special divine authorization, rest their faith upon the results of such a test.... Why may we not ask for great changes in nature? For the same reason that a well-informed child does not ask for the moon as a plaything.... There are two limitations upon prayer. First, except by special direction of God, we cannot ask for a miracle, for the same reason that a child could not ask his father to burn the house down. Nature is the house we live in. Secondly, we cannot ask for anything under the laws of nature which would contravene the object of those laws. Whatever we can do for ourselves under these laws, God expects us to do. If the child is cold, let him go near the fire,—not beg his father to carry him.

Herbert Spencer's Sociology is only social physics. He denies freedom, and declares anyone who will affix D. V. to the announcement of the Mildmay Conference to be incapable of understanding sociology. Prevision excludes divine or human will. But Mr. Spencer intimates that the evils of natural selection may be modified by artificial selection. What is this but the interference of will? And if man can interfere, cannot God do the same? Yet the wise child will not expect the father to give everything he asks for. Nor will the father who loves his child give him the razor to play with, or stuff him with unwholesome sweets, simply because the child asks these things. If the engineer of the ocean steamer should give me permission to press the lever that sets all the machinery in motion, I should decline to use my power and should prefer to leave such matters to him, unless he first suggested it and showed me how. So the Holy Spirit helpeth our infirmity; for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself [pg 439]maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Rom. 8:26). And we ought not to talk of submitting to perfect Wisdom, or of being resigned to perfect Love. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, 2:1—What they [the gods] do delay, they do not deny.... We, ignorant of ourselves, Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers Deny us for our good; so find we profit By losing of our prayers. See Thornton, Old-Fashioned Ethics, 286-297. Per contra, see Galton, Inquiries into Human Faculty, 277-294.

3. To Christian activity.

Here the truth lies between the two extremes of quietism and naturalism.

(a) In opposition to the false abnegation of human reason and will which quietism demands, we hold that God guides us, not by continual miracle, but by his natural providence and the energizing of our faculties by his Spirit, so that we rationally and freely do our own work, and work out our own salvation.

Upham, Interior Life, 356, defines quietism as cessation of wandering thoughts and discursive imaginations, rest from irregular desires and affections, and perfect submission of the will. Its advocates, however, have often spoken of it as a giving up of our will and reason, and a swallowing up of these in the wisdom and will of God. This phraseology is misleading, and savors of a pantheistic merging of man in God. Dorner: Quietism makes God a monarch without living subjects. Certain English quietists, like the Mohammedans, will not employ physicians in sickness. They quote 2 Chron. 16:12, 13—Asa sought not to Jehovah, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers. They forget that the physicians alluded to in Chronicles were probably heathen necromancers. Cromwell to his Ironsides: Trust God, and keep your powder dry!

Providence does not exclude, but rather implies the operation of natural law, by which we mean God's regular way of working. It leaves no excuse for the sarcasm of Robert Browning's Mr. Sludge the Medium, 223—Saved your precious self from what befell The thirty-three whom Providence forgot. Schurman, Belief in God, 213—The temples were hung with the votive offerings of those only who had escapeddrowning. So like Provvy! Bentham used to say, when anything particularly unseemly occurred in the way of natural catastrophe, God reveals himself in natural law. Physicians and medicine are his methods, as well as the impartation of faith and courage to the patient. The advocates of faith-cure should provide by faith that no believing Christian should die. With the apostolic miracles should go inspiration, as Edward Irving declared. Every man is as lazy as circumstances will admit. We throw upon the shoulders of Providence the burdens which belong to us to bear. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure (Phil. 2:12, 13).

Prayer without the use of means is an insult to God. If God has decreed that you should live, what is the use of your eating or drinking? Can a drowning man refuse to swim, or even to lay hold of the rope that is thrown to him, and yet ask God to save him on account of his faith? Tie your camel, said Mohammed, and commit it to God. Frederick Douglas used to say that when in slavery he often prayed for freedom, but his prayer was never answered till he prayed with his feet—and ran away. Whitney, Integrity of Christian Science, 68—The existence of the dynamo at the power-house does not make unnecessary the trolley line, nor the secondary motor, nor the conductor's application of the power. True quietism is a resting in the Lord after we have done our part. Ps. 37:7Rest in Jehovah, and wait patiently for him; Is. 57:2He entereth into peace; they rest in their beds, each one that walketh in his uprightness. Ian Maclaren, Cure of Souls, 147—Religion has three places of abode: in the reason, which is theology; in the conscience, which is ethics; and in the heart, which is quietism. On the self-guidance of Christ, see Adamson, The Mind in Christ, 202-232.

George Müller, writing about ascertaining the will of God, says: I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If I do so, I make myself liable to a great delusion. I seek the will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone, without [pg 440]the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, he will do it according to the Scriptures, and never contrary to them. Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's will in connection with his Word and his Spirit. I ask God in prayer to reveal to me his will aright. Thus through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my knowledge and ability, and, if my mind is thus at peace, I proceed accordingly.

We must not confound rational piety with false enthusiasm. See Isaac Taylor, Natural History of Enthusiasm. Not quiescence, but acquiescence, is demanded of us. As God feeds the birds of the heaven (Mat. 6:26), not by dropping food from heaven into their mouths, but by stimulating them to seek food for themselves, so God provides for his rational creatures by giving them a sanctified common sense and by leading them to use it. In a true sense Christianity gives us more will than ever. The Holy Spirit emancipates the will, sets it upon proper objects, and fills it with new energy. We are therefore not to surrender ourselves passively to whatever professes to be a divine suggestion: 1 John 4:1believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God. The test is the revealed word of God: Is. 8:20To the law and to the testimony! if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them. See remarks on false Mysticism, pages 32, 33.

(b) In opposition to naturalism, we hold that God is continually near the human spirit by his providential working, and that this providential working is so adjusted to the Christian's nature and necessities as to furnish instruction with regard to duty, discipline of religious character, and needed help and comfort in trial.

In interpreting God's providences, as in interpreting Scripture, we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit. The work of the Spirit is, indeed, in great part an application of Scripture truth to present circumstances. While we never allow ourselves to act blindly and irrationally, but accustom ourselves to weigh evidence with regard to duty, we are to expect, as the gift of the Spirit, an understanding of circumstances—a fine sense of God's providential purposes with regard to us, which will make our true course plain to ourselves, although we may not always be able to explain it to others.

The Christian may have a continual divine guidance. Unlike the unfaithful and unbelieving, of whom it is said, in Ps. 106:13, They waited not for his counsel, the true believer has wisdom given him from above. Ps. 32:8I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; Prov. 3:6In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he will direct thy paths; Phil. 1:9And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment (αἰσθήσει = spiritual discernment); James 1:5if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth (τοῦ διδόντος Θεοῦ) to all liberally and upbraideth not; John 15:15No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; Col. 1:9, 10that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to walk worthily of the Lord unto all pleasing.

God's Spirit makes Providence as well as the Bible personal to us. From every page of nature, as well as of the Bible, the living God speaks to us. Tholuck: The more we recognize in every daily occurrence God's secret inspiration, guiding and controlling us, the more will all which to others wears a common and every-day aspect prove to us a sign and a wondrous work. Hutton, Essays: Animals that are blind slaves of impulse, driven about by forces from within, have so to say fewer valves in their moral constitution for the entrance of divine guidance. But minds alive to every word of God give constant opportunity for his interference with suggestions that may alter the course of their lives. The higher the mind, the more it glides into the region of providential control. God turns the good by the slightest breath of thought. So the Christian hymn, Guide me, O thou great Jehovah! likens God's leading of the believer to that of Israel by the pillar of fire and cloud; and Paul in his dungeon calls himself the prisoner of Christ Jesus (Eph. 3:1). Affliction is the discipline of God's providence. Greek proverb: He who does not get thrashed, does not get educated. On God's Leadings, see A. H. Strong, Philosophy and Religion, 560-562.

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Abraham went out, not knowing whither he went (Heb. 11:8). Not till he reached Canaan did he know the place of his destination. Like a child he placed his hand in the hand of his unseen Father, to be led whither he himself knew not. We often have guidance without discernment of that guidance. Is. 42:16I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; in paths that they know not will I lead them. So we act more wisely than we ourselves understand, and afterwards look back with astonishment to see what we have been able to accomplish. Emerson: Himself from God he could not free; He builded better than he knew. Disappointments? Ah, you make a mistake in the spelling; the D should be an H: His appointments. Melanchthon: Quem poetæ fortunam, nos Deum appellamus.Chinese proverb: The good God never smites with both hands. Tact is a sort of psychical automatism (Ladd). There is a Christian tact which is rarely at fault, because its possessor is led by the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14). Yet we must always make allowance, as Oliver Cromwell used to say, for the possibility of being mistaken.

When Luther's friends wrote despairingly of the negotiations at the Diet of Worms, he replied from Coburg that he had been looking up at the night sky, spangled and studded with stars, and had found no pillars to hold them up. And yet they did not fall. God needs no props for his stars and planets. He hangs them on nothing. So, in the working of God's providence, the unseen is prop enough for the seen. Henry Drummond, Life, 127—To find out God's will: 1. Pray. 2. Think. 3. Talk to wise people, but do not regard their decision as final. 4. Beware of the bias of your own will, but do not be too much afraid of it (God never unnecessarily thwarts a man's nature and likings, and it is a mistake to think that his will is always in the line of the disagreeable). 5. Meantime, do the next thing (for doing God's will in small things is the best preparation for knowing it in great things). 6. When decision and action are necessary, go ahead. 7. Never reconsider the decision when it is finally acted on; and 8. You will probably not find out until afterwards, perhaps long afterwards, that you have been led at all.

Amiel lamented that everything was left to his own responsibility and declared: It is this thought that disgusts me with the government of my own life. To win true peace, a man needs to feel himself directed, pardoned and sustained by a supreme Power, to feel himself in the right road, at the point where God would have him be,—in harmony with God and the universe. This faith gives strength and calm. I have not got it. All that is seems to me arbitrary and fortuitous. How much better is Wordsworth's faith, Excursion, book 4:581—One adequate support For the calamities of mortal life Exists, one only: an assured belief That the procession of our fate, howe'er Sad or disturbed, is ordered by a Being Of infinite benevolence and power, Whose everlasting purposes embrace All accidents, converting them to good. Mrs. Browning, De Profundis, stanza xxiii—I praise thee while my days go on; I love thee while my days go on! Through dark and dearth, through fire and frost, With emptied arms and treasure lost, I thank thee while my days go on!

4. To the evil acts of free agents.

(a) Here we must distinguish between the natural agency and the moral agency of God, or between acts of permissive providence and acts of efficient causation. We are ever to remember that God neither works evil, nor causes his creatures to work evil. All sin is chargeable to the self-will and perversity of the creature; to declare God the author of it is the greatest of blasphemies.

Bp. Wordsworth: God foresees evil deeds, but never forces them. God does not cause sin, any more than the rider of a limping horse causes the limping. Nor can it be said that Satan is the author of man's sin. Man's powers are his own. Not Satan, but the man himself, gives the wrong application to these powers. Not the cause, but the occasion, of sin is in the tempter; the cause is in the evil will which yields to his persuasions.

(b) But while man makes up his evil decision independently of God, God does, by his natural agency, order the method in which this inward evil shall express itself, by limiting it in time, place, and measure, or by guiding it to the end which his wisdom and love, and not man's intent, has [pg 442] set. In all this, however, God only allows sin to develop itself after its own nature, so that it may be known, abhorred, and if possible overcome and forsaken.

Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:272-284—Judas's treachery works the reconciliation of the world, and Israel's apostasy the salvation of the Gentiles.... God smooths the path of the sinner, and gives him chance for the outbreak of the evil, like a wise physician who draws to the surface of the body the disease that has been raging within, in order that it may be cured, if possible, by mild means, or, if not, may be removed by the knife.

Christianity rises in spite of, nay, in consequence of opposition, like a kite against the wind. When Christ has used the sword with which he has girded himself, as he used Cyrus and the Assyrian, he breaks it and throws it away. He turns the world upside down that he may get it right side up. He makes use of every member of society, as the locomotive uses every cog. The sufferings of the martyrs add to the number of the church; the worship of relics stimulates the Crusades; the worship of the saints leads to miracle plays and to the modern drama; the worship of images helps modern art; monasticism, scholasticism, the Papacy, even sceptical and destructive criticism stir up defenders of the faith. Shakespeare, Richard III, 5:1—Thus doth he force the swords of wicked men To turn their own points on their masters' bosoms; Hamlet, 1:2—Foul deeds will rise, though all the earth o'erwhelm them, to men's eyes; Macbeth, 1:7—Even handed justice Commends the ingredients of the poisoned chalice To our own lips.

The Emperor of Germany went to Paris incognito and returned, thinking that no one had known of his absence. But at every step, going and coming, he was surrounded by detectives who saw that no harm came to him. The swallow drove again and again at the little struggling moth, but there was a plate glass window between them which neither one of them knew. Charles Darwin put his cheek against the plate glass of the cobra's cage, but could not keep himself from starting when the cobra struck. Tacitus, Annales, 14:5—Noctem sideribus illustrem, quasi convinsendum ad scelus, dii præbuerea night brilliant with stars, as if for the purpose of proving the crime, was granted by the gods. See F. A. Noble, Our Redemption, 59-76, on the self-registry and self-disclosure of sin, with quotation from Daniel Webster's speech in the case of Knapp at Salem: It must be confessed. It will be confessed. There is no refuge from confession but suicide, and suicide is confession.

(c) In cases of persistent iniquity, God's providence still compels the sinner to accomplish the design with which he and all things have been created, namely, the manifestation of God's holiness. Even though he struggle against God's plan, yet he must by his very resistance serve it. His sin is made its own detector, judge, and tormentor. His character and doom are made a warning to others. Refusing to glorify God in his salvation, he is made to glorify God in his destruction.

Is. 10:5, 7Ho Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, the staff in whose hand is mine indignation!... Howbeit, he meaneth not so. Charles Kingsley, Two Years Ago: He [Treluddra] is one of those base natures, whom fact only lashes into greater fury,—a Pharaoh, whose heart the Lord himself can only harden—here we would add the qualification: consistently with the limits which he has set to the operations of his grace. Pharaoh's ordering the destruction of the Israelitish children (Ex. 1:16) was made the means of putting Moses under royal protection, of training him for his future work, and finally of rescuing the whole nation whose sons Pharaoh sought to destroy. So God brings good out of evil; see Tyler, Theology of Greek Poets, 28-35. Emerson: My will fulfilled shall be, For in daylight as in dark My thunderbolt has eyes to see His way home to the mark. See also Edwards, Works, 4:300-312.

Col. 2:15having stripped off from himself the principalities and the powers—the hosts of evil spirits that swarmed upon him in their final onset—he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it, i. e., in the cross, thus turning their evil into a means of good. Royce, Spirit of Modern Philosophy, 443,—Love, seeking for absolute evil, is like an electric light engaged in searching for a shadow,—when Love gets there, the shadow has disappeared.But this means, not that all things are good, but that all things work together [pg 443]for good (Rom. 8:28)—God overruling for good that which in itself is only evil. John Wesley: God buries his workmen, but carries on his work. Sermon on The Devil's Mistakes: Satan thought he could overcome Christ in the wilderness, in the garden, on the cross. He triumphed when he cast Paul into prison. But the cross was to Christ a lifting up, that should draw all men to him (John 12:32), and Paul's imprisonment furnished his epistles to the New Testament.

It is one of the wonders of divine love that even our blemishes and sins God will take when we truly repent of them and give them into his hands, and will in some way make them to be blessings. A friend once showed Ruskin a costly handkerchief on which a blot of ink had been made. Nothing can be done with that, the friend said, thinking the handkerchief worthless and ruined now. Ruskin carried it away with him, and after a time sent it back to his friend. In a most skilful and artistic way, he had made a fine design in India ink, using the blot as its basis. Instead of being ruined, the handkerchief was made far more beautiful and valuable. So God takes the blots and stains upon our lives, the disfiguring blemishes, when we commit them to him, and by his marvellous grace changes them into marks of beauty. David's grievous sin was not only forgiven, but was made a transforming power in his life. Peter's pitiful fall became a step upward through his Lord's forgiveness and gentle dealing. So men may rise on stepping stones Of their dead selves to higher things(Tennyson, In Memoriam, I).

Section IV.—Good And Evil Angels.

As ministers of divine providence there is a class of finite beings, greater in intelligence and power than man in his present state, some of whom positively serve God's purpose by holiness and voluntary execution of his will, some negatively, by giving examples to the universe of defeated and punished rebellion, and by illustrating God's distinguishing grace in man's salvation.

The scholastic subtleties which encumbered this doctrine in the Middle Ages, and the exaggerated representations of the power of evil spirits which then prevailed, have led, by a natural reaction, to an undue depreciation of it in more recent times.

For scholastic discussions, see Thomas Aquinas, Summa (ed. Migne), 1:833-993. The scholastics debated the questions, how many angels could stand at once on the point of a needle (relation of angels to space); whether an angel could be in two places at the same time; how great was the interval between the creation of angels and their fall; whether the sin of the first angel caused the sin of the rest; whether as many retained their integrity as fell; whether our atmosphere is the place of punishment for fallen angels; whether guardian-angels have charge of children from baptism, from birth, or while the infant is yet in the womb of the mother; even the excrements of angels were subjects of discussion, for if there was angels' food (Ps. 78:25), and if angels ate (Gen. 18:8), it was argued that we must take the logical consequences.

Dante makes the creation of angels simultaneous with that of the universe at large. The fall of the rebel angels he considers to have taken place within twenty seconds of their creation, and to have originated in the pride which made Lucifer unwilling to await the time prefixed by his Maker for enlightening him with perfect knowledge—see Rossetti, Shadow of Dante, 14, 15. Milton, unlike Dante, puts the creation of angels ages before the creation of man. He tells us that Satan's first name in heaven is now lost. The sublime associations with which Milton surrounds the adversary diminish our abhorrence of the evil one. Satan has been called the hero of the Paradise Lost. Dante's representation is much more true to Scripture. But we must not go to the extreme of giving ludicrous designations to the devil. This indicates and causes scepticism as to his existence.

In mediæval times men's minds were weighed down by the terror of the spirit of evil. It was thought possible to sell one's soul to Satan, and such compacts were [pg 444]written with blood. Goethe represents Mephistopheles as saying to Faust: I to thy service here agree to bind me, To run and never rest at call of thee; When over yonderthou shalt find me, Then thou shalt do as much for me. The cathedrals cultivated and perpetuated this superstition, by the figures of malignant demons which grinned from the gargoyles of their roofs and the capitals of their columns, and popular preaching exalted Satan to the rank of a rival god—a god more feared than was the true and living God. Satan was pictured as having horns and hoofs—an image of the sensual and bestial—which led Cuvier to remark that the adversary could not devour, because horns and hoofs indicated not a carnivorous but a ruminant quadruped.

But there is certainly a possibility that the ascending scale of created intelligences does not reach its topmost point in man. As the distance between man and the lowest forms of life is filled in with numberless gradations of being, so it is possible that between man and God there exist creatures of higher than human intelligence. This possibility is turned to certainty by the express declarations of Scripture. The doctrine is interwoven with the later as well as with the earlier books of revelation.

Quenstedt (Theol., 1:629) regards the existence of angels as antecedently probable, because there are no gaps in creation; nature does not proceed per saltum. As we have (1) beings purely corporeal, as stones; (2) beings partly corporeal and partly spiritual, as men: so we should expect in creation (3) beings wholly spiritual, as angels. Godet, in his Biblical Studies of the O. T., 1-29, suggests another series of gradations. As we have (1) vegetables—species without individuality; (2) animals—individuality in bondage to species; and (3) men—species overpowered by individuality: so we may expect (4) angels—individuality without species.

If souls live after death, there is certainly a class of disembodied spirits. It is not impossible that God may have created spirits without bodies. E. G. Robinson, Christian Theology, 110—The existence of lesser deities in all heathen mythologies, and the disposition of man everywhere to believe in beings superior to himself and inferior to the supreme God, is a presumptive argument in favor of their existence. Locke: That there should be more species of intelligent creatures above us than there are of sensible and material below us, is probable to me from hence, that in all the visible and corporeal world we see no chasms and gaps. Foster, Christian Life and Theology, 193—A man may certainly believe in the existence of angels upon the testimony of one who claims to have come from the heavenly world, if he can believe in the Ornithorhyncus upon the testimony of travelers. Tennyson, Two Voices: This truth within thy mind rehearse, That in a boundless universe Is boundless better, boundless worse. Think you this world of hopes and fears Could find no statelier than his peers In yonder hundred million spheres?

The doctrine of angels affords a barrier against the false conception of this world as including the whole spiritual universe. Earth is only part of a larger organism. As Christianity has united Jew and Gentile, so hereafter will it blend our own and other orders of creation: Col. 2:10who is the head of all principality and power—Christ is the head of angels as well as of men; Eph. 1:10to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth. On Christ and Angels, see Robertson Smith in The Expositor, second series, vols. 1, 2, 3. On the general subject of angels, see also Whately, Good and Evil Angels; Twesten, transl. in Bib. Sac., 1:768, and 2:108; Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:282-337, and 3:251-354; Birks, Difficulties of Belief, 78 sq.; Scott, Existence of Evil Spirits; Herzog, Encyclopädie, arts.: Engel, Teufel; Jewett, Diabolology,—the Person and Kingdom of Satan; Alexander, Demonic Possession.

I. Scripture Statements and Imitations.

1. As to the nature and attributes of angels.

(a) They are created beings.

Ps. 148:2-5Praise ye him, all his angels.... For he commanded, and they were created; Col. 1:16for in him were all things created ... whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; cf. 1 Pet. 3:32angels and authorities and powers. God alone is uncreated and eternal. This is implied in 1 Tim. 6:16who only hath immortality.

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(b) They are incorporeal beings.

In Heb. 1:14, where a single word is used to designate angels, they are described as spiritsare they not all ministering spirits? Men, with their twofold nature, material as well as immaterial, could not well be designated as spirits. That their being characteristically spirits forbids us to regard angels as having a bodily organism, seems implied in Eph. 6:12for our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against ... the spiritual hosts [or things] of wickedness in the heavenly places; cf. Eph. 1:3; 2:6. In Gen. 6:2, sons of God =, not angels, but descendants of Seth and worshipers of the true God (see Murphy, Com., in loco). In Ps. 78:25 (A. V.), angels' food = manna coming from heaven where angels dwell; better, however, read with Rev. Vers.: bread of the mighty—probably meaning angels, though the word mighty is nowhere else applied to them; possibly = bread of princes or nobles, i. e., the finest, most delicate bread. Mat 22:30neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven—and Luke 20:36neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels—imply only that angels are without distinctions of sex. Saints are to be like angels, not as being incorporeal, but as not having the same sexual relations which they have here.

There are no souls of angels, as there are souls of men (Rev. 18:13), and we may infer that angels have no bodies for souls to inhabit; see under Essential Elements of Human Nature. Nevius, Demon-Possession, 258, attributes to evil spirits an instinct or longing for a body to possess, even though it be the body of an inferior animal: So in Scripture we have spirits represented as wandering about to seek rest in bodies, and asking permission to enter into swine (Mat. 12:43; 8:31). Angels therefore, since they have no bodies, know nothing of growth, age, or death. Martensen, Christian Dogmatics, 133—It is precisely because the angels are only spirits, but not souls, that they cannot possess the same rich existence as man, whose soul is the point of union in which spirit and nature meet.

(c) They are personal—that is, intelligent and voluntary—agents.

2 Sam. 14:20wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God; Luke 4:34I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God; 2 Tim. 2:26snare of the devil ... taken captive by him unto his will; Rev. 22:9See thou do it not = exercise of will; Rev. 12:12The devil is gone down unto you, having great wrath = set purpose of evil.

(d) They are possessed of superhuman intelligence and power, yet an intelligence and power that has its fixed limits.

Mat. 24:36of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven = their knowledge, though superhuman, is yet finite. 1 Pet. 1:12which things angels desire to look into; Ps. 103:20angels ... mighty in strength; 2 Thess. 1:7the angels of his power; 2 Pet. 2:11angels, though greater [than men] in might and power; Rev. 20:2, 10laid hold on the dragon ... and bound him ... cast into the lake of fire. Compare Ps. 72:18God ... Who only doeth wondrous things = only God can perform miracles. Angels are imperfect compared with God (Job 4:18; 15:15; 25:5).

Power, rather than beauty or intelligence, is their striking characteristic. They are principalities and powers (Col. 1:16). They terrify those who behold them (Mat. 28:4). The rolling away of the stone from the sepulchre took strength. A wheel of granite, eight feet in diameter and one foot thick, rolling in a groove, would weigh more than four tons. Mason, Faith of the Gospel, 86—The spiritual might and burning indignation in the face of Stephen reminded the guilty Sanhedrin of an angelic vision. Even in their tenderest ministrations they strengthen (Luke 22:43; cf. Dan. 10:19). In 1 Tim. 6:15King of kings and Lord of lords—the words kings and lords (βασιλευόντων and κυριευόντων) may refer to angels. In the case of evil spirits especially, power seems the chief thing in mind, e. g., the prince of this world, the strong man armed, the power of darkness, rulers of the darkness of this world, the great dragon, all the power of the enemy, all these things will I give thee, deliver us from the evil one.

(e) They are an order of intelligences distinct from man and older than man.

Angels are distinct from man. 1 Cor. 6:3we shall judge angels; Heb. 1:14Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation? They are not glorified human spirits; see Heb. 2:16for verily not to angels doth he give help, but he giveth help to [pg 446]the seed of Abraham; also 12:22, 23, where the innumerable hosts of angels are distinguished from the church of the firstborn and the spirits of just men made perfect. In Rev. 22:9I am a fellow-servant with theefellow-servant intimates likeness to men, not in nature, but in service and subordination to God, the proper object of worship. Sunday School Times, Mch. 15, 1902:146—Angels are spoken of as greater in power and might than man, but that could be said of many a lower animal, or even of whirlwind and fire. Angels are never spoken of as a superior order of spiritual beings. We are to judge angels (1 Cor. 6:3), and inferiors are not to judge superiors.

Angels are an order of intelligences older than man. The Fathers made the creation of angels simultaneous with the original calling into being of the elements, perhaps basing their opinion on the apocryphal Ecclesiasticus, 18:1—he that liveth eternally created all things together. In Job 38:7, the Hebrews parallelism makes morning starssons of God, so that angels are spoken of as present at certain stages of God's creative work. The mention of the serpent in Gen. 3:1 implies the fall of Satan before the fall of man. We may infer that the creation of angels took place before the creation of man—the lower before the higher. In Gen. 2:1, all the host of them, which God had created, may be intended to include angels. Man was the crowning work of creation, created after angels were created. Mason, Faith of the Gospel, 81—Angels were perhaps created before the material heavens and earth—a spiritual substratum in which the material things were planted, a preparatory creation to receive what was to follow. In the vision of Jacob they ascend first and descend after; their natural place is in the world below.

The constant representation of angels as personal beings in Scripture cannot be explained as a personification of abstract good and evil, in accommodation to Jewish superstitions, without wresting many narrative passages from their obvious sense; implying on the part of Christ either dissimulation or ignorance as to an important point of doctrine; and surrendering belief in the inspiration of the Old Testament from which these Jewish views of angelic beings were derived.

Jesus accommodated himself to the popular belief in respect at least to Abraham's bosom(Luke 16:22), and he confessed ignorance with regard to the time of the end (Mark 13:32); see Rush Rhees, Life of Jesus of Nazareth, 245-248. But in the former case his hearers probably understood him to speak figuratively and rhetorically, while in the latter case there was no teaching of the false but only limitation of knowledge with regard to the true. Our Lord did not hesitate to contradict Pharisaic belief in the efficacy of ceremonies, and Sadducean denial of resurrection and future life. The doctrine of angels had even stronger hold upon the popular mind than had these errors of the Pharisees and Sadducees. That Jesus did not correct or deny the general belief, but rather himself expressed and confirmed it, implies that the belief was rational and Scriptural. For one of the best statements of the argument for the existence of evil spirits, see Broadus, Com. on Mat. 8:28.

Eph. 3:10to the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God—excludes the hypothesis that angels are simply abstract conceptions of good or evil. We speak of moon-struck people (lunatics), only when we know that nobody supposes us to believe in the power of the moon to cause madness. But Christ's contemporaries did suppose him to believe in angelic spirits, good and evil. If this belief was an error, it was by no means a harmless one, and the benevolence as well as the veracity of Christ would have led him to correct it. So too, if Paul had known that there were no such beings as angels, he could not honestly have contented himself with forbidding the Colossians to worship them (Col 2:18) but would have denied their existence, as he denied the existence of heathen gods (1 Cor. 8:4).

Theodore Parker said it was very evident that Jesus Christ believed in a personal devil. Harnack, Wesen des Christenthums, 35—There can be no doubt that Jesus shared with his contemporaries the representation of two kingdoms, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil. Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, 1:164—Jesus makes it appear as if Satan was the immediate tempter. I am far from thinking that he does so in a merely figurative way. Beyond all doubt Jesus accepted the contemporary ideas as to the real existence of Satan, and accordingly, in the particular cases of disease referred to, he supposes a real Satanic temptation. Maurice, Theological Essays, [pg 447]32, 34—The acknowledgment of an evil spirit is characteristic of Christianity. H. B. Smith, System, 261—It would appear that the power of Satan in the world reached its culminating point at the time of Christ, and has been less ever since.

The same remark applies to the view which regards Satan as but a collective term for all evil beings, human or superhuman. The Scripture representations of the progressive rage of the great adversary, from his first assault on human virtue in Genesis to his final overthrow in Revelation, join with the testimony of Christ just mentioned, to forbid any other conclusion than this, that there is a personal being of great power, who carries on organized opposition to the divine government.

Crane, The Religion of To-morrow, 299 sq.—We well say personal devil, for there is no devil but personality. We cannot deny the personality of Satan except upon principles which would compel us to deny the existence of good angels, the personality of the Holy Spirit, and the personality of God the Father,—we may add, even the personality of the human soul. Says Nigel Penruddock in Lord Beaconsfield's Endymion: Give me a single argument against his [Satan's] personality, which is not applicable to the personality of the Deity. One of the most ingenious devices of Satan is that of persuading men that he has no existence. Next to this is the device of substituting for belief in a personal devil the belief in a merely impersonal spirit of evil. Such a substitution we find in Pfleiderer, Philosophy of Religion, 1:311—The idea of the devil was a welcome expedient for the need of advanced religious reflection, to put God out of relation to the evil and badness of the world. Pfleiderer tells us that the early optimism of the Hebrews, like that of the Greeks, gave place in later times to pessimism and despair. But the Hebrews still had hope of deliverance by the Messiah and an apocalyptic reign of good.

For the view that Satan is merely a collective term for all evil beings, see Bushnell, Nature and the Supernatural, 131-137. Bushnell, holding moral evil to be a necessary condition privative of all finite beings as such, believes that good angels have all been passed through and helped up out of a fall, as the redeemed of mankind will be. Elect angels (1 Tim. 5:21) then would mean those saved after falling, not those saved fromfalling; and Satan would be, not the name of a particular person, but the all or total of all bad minds and powers. Per contra, see Smith's Bible Dictionary, arts.: Angels, Demons, Demoniacs, Satan; Trench, Studies in the Gospels, 16-26. For a comparison of Satan in the Book of Job, with Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost, and Goethe's Mephistopheles in Faust, see Masson, The Three Devils. We may add to this list Dante's Satan (or Dis) in the Divine Comedy, Byron's Lucifer in Cain, and Mrs. Browning's Lucifer in her Drama of Exile; see Gregory, Christian Ethics, 219.

2. As to their number and organization.

(a) They are of great multitude.

Deut. 33:2Jehovah ... came from the ten thousands of holy ones; Ps. 68:17The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands upon thousands; Dan. 7:10thousands of thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; Rev. 5:11I heard a voice of many angels ... and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. Anselm thought that the number of lost angels was filled up by the number of elect men. Savage, Life after Death, 61—The Pharisees held very exaggerated notions of the number of angelic spirits. They said that a man, if he threw a stone over his shoulder or cast away a broken piece of pottery, asked pardon of any spirit that he might possibly have hit in so doing. So in W. H. H. Murray's time it was said to be dangerous in the Adirondack to fire a gun,—you might hit a man.

(b) They constitute a company, as distinguished from a race.

Mat. 22:30they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven; Luke 20:36neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are sons of God. We are called sons of men, but angels are never called sons of angels, but only sons of God. They are not developed from one original stock, and no such common nature binds them together as binds together the race of man. They have no common character and history. Each was created separately, and each apostate angel fell by himself. Humanity fell all at [pg 448]once in its first father. Cut down a tree, and you cut down its branches. But angels were so many separate trees. Some lapsed into sin, but some remained holy. See Godet, Bib. Studies O. T., 1-29. This may be one reason why salvation was provided for fallen man, but not for fallen angels. Christ could join himself to humanity by taking the common nature of all. There was no common nature of angels which he could take. See Heb. 2:16not to angels doth he give help. The angels are sons of God, as having no earthly parentage and no parentage at all except the divine. Eph. 3:14, 15the Father, of whom every fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named,—not every family, as in R. V., for there are no families among the angels. The marginal rendering fatherhood is better than family,—all the πατριαί are named from the πατήρ. Dodge, Christian Theology, 172—The bond between angels is simply a mental and moral one. They can gain nothing by inheritance, nothing through domestic and family life, nothing through a society held together by a bond of blood.... Belonging to two worlds and not simply to one, the human soul has in it the springs of a deeper and wider experience than angels can have.... God comes nearer to man than to his angels. Newman Smyth, Through Science to Faith, 191—In the resurrection life of man, the species has died; man the individual lives on. Sex shall be no more needed for the sake of life; they shall no more marry, but men and women, the children of marriage, shall be as the angels. Through the death of the human species shall be gained, as the consummation of all, the immortality of the individuals.

(c) They are of various ranks and endowments.

Col. 1:16thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; 1 Thess. 4:16the voice of the archangel; Jude 9Michael the archangel. Michael (= who is like God?) is the only one expressly called an archangel in Scripture, although Gabriel (= God's hero) has been called an archangel by Milton. In Scripture, Michael seems the messenger of law and judgment; Gabriel, the messenger of mercy and promise. The fact that Scripture has but one archangel is proof that its doctrine of angels was not, as has sometimes been charged, derived from Babylonian and Persian sources; for there we find seven archangels instead of one. There, moreover, we find the evil spirit enthroned as a god, while in Scripture he is represented as a trembling slave.

Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, 1:51—The devout and trustful consciousness of the immediate nearness of God, which is expressed in so many beautiful utterances of the Psalmist, appears to be supplanted in later Judaism by a belief in angels, which is closely analogous to the superstitious belief in the saints on the part of the Romish church. It is very significant that the Jews in the time of Jesus could no longer conceive of the promulgation of the law on Sinai, which was to them the foundation of their whole religion, as an immediate revelation of Jehovah to Moses, except as instituted through the mediation of angels (Acts 7:38, 53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2; Josephus, Ant. 15:5, 3).

(d) They have an organization.

1 Sam. 1:11Jehovah of hosts; 1 K. 22:19Jehovah sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left; Mat. 26:53twelve legions of angels—suggests the organization of the Roman army; 25:41the devil and his angels; Eph. 2:2the prince of the powers in the air; Rev. 2:13Satan's throne (not seat); 16:10throne of the beasta hellish parody of the heavenly kingdom (Trench). The phrase host of heaven, in Deut. 4:19; 17:3; Acts 7:42, probably = the stars; but in Gen. 32:2, God's host = angels, for when Jacob saw the angels he said this is God's host. In general the phrases God of hosts, Lord of hosts seem to mean God of angels, Lord of angels: compare 2 Chron. 18:18; Luke 2:13; Rev. 19:14the armies which are in heaven. Yet in Neh. 9:6 and Ps. 33:6 the word host seems to include both angels and stars.

Satan is the ape of God. He has a throne. He is the prince of the world (John 14:30; 16:11), the prince of the powers of the air (Eph. 2:2). There is a cosmos and order of evil, as well as a cosmos and order of good, though Christ is stronger than the strong man armed (Luke 11:21) and rules even over Satan. On Satan in the Old Testament, see art. by T. W. Chambers, in Presb. and Ref. Rev., Jan. 1892:22-34. The first mention of Satan is in the account of the Fall in Gen. 3:1-15; the second in Lev. 16:8, where one of the two goats on the day of atonement is said to be for Azazel, or Satan; the third where Satan moved David to number Israel (1 Chron. 21:1); the fourth in the book of Job 1:6-12; the fifth in Zech. 3:1-3, where Satan stands as the adversary of Joshua the high priest, but Jehovah addresses Satan and rebukes him. Cheyne, Com. on Isaiah, vol. 1, p. 11, thinks [pg 449]that the stars were first called the hosts of God, with the notion that they were animated creatures. In later times the belief in angels threw into the background the belief in the stars as animated beings; the angels however were connected very closely with the stars. Marlowe, in his Tamburlaine, says: The moon, the planets, and the meteors light, These angels in their crystal armor fight A doubtful battle.

With regard to the “cherubim” of Genesis, Exodus, and Ezekiel,—with which the “seraphim” of Isaiah and the “living creatures” of the book of Revelation are to be identified,—the most probable interpretation is that which regards them, not as actual beings of higher rank than man, but as symbolic appearances, intended to represent redeemed humanity, endowed with all the creature perfections lost by the Fall, and made to be the dwelling-place of God.

Some have held that the cherubim are symbols of the divine attributes, or of God's government over nature; see Smith's Bib. Dict., art.: Cherub; Alford, Com. on Rev. 4:6-8, and Hulsean Lectures, 1841: vol. 1, Lect. 2; Ebrard, Dogmatik, 1:278. But whatever of truth belongs to this view may be included in the doctrine stated above. The cherubim are indeed symbols of nature pervaded by the divine energy and subordinated to the divine purposes, but they are symbols of nature only because they are symbols of man in his twofold capacity of image of God and priest of nature. Man, as having a body, is a part of nature; as having a soul, he emerges from nature and gives to nature a voice. Through man, nature, otherwise blind and dead, is able to appreciate and to express the Creator's glory.

The doctrine of the cherubim embraces the following points: 1. The cherubim are not personal beings, but are artificial, temporary, symbolic figures. 2. While they are not themselves personal existences, they are symbols of personal existence—symbols not of divine or angelic perfections but of human nature (Ex. 1:5they had the likeness of a man; Rev. 5:9—A. V.—thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood—so read א, B, and Tregelles; the Eng. and Am. Rev. Vers., however, follow A and Tischendorf, and omit the word us). 3. They are emblems of human nature, not in its present stage of development, but possessed of all its original perfections; for this reason the most perfect animal forms—the kinglike courage of the lion, the patient service of the ox, the soaring insight of the eagle—are combined with that of man (Ez. 1 and 10; Rev. 4:6-8). 4. These cherubic forms represent, not merely material or earthly perfections, but human nature spiritualized and sanctified. They are living creatures and their life is a holy life of obedience to the divine will (Ez. 1:12whither the spirit was to go, they went). 5. They symbolize a human nature exalted to be the dwelling-place of God. Hence the inner curtains of the tabernacle were inwoven with cherubic figures, and God's glory was manifested on the mercy-seat between the cherubim (Ex. 37:6-9). While the flaming sword at the gates of Eden was the symbol of justice, the cherubim were symbols of mercy—keeping the way of the tree of life for man, until by sacrifice and renewal Paradise should be regained (Gen. 3:24).

In corroboration of this general view, note that angels and cherubim never go together; and that in the closing visions of the book of Revelation these symbolic forms are seen no longer. When redeemed humanity has entered heaven, the figures which typified that humanity, having served their purpose, finally disappear. For fuller elaboration, see A. H. Strong, The Nature and Purpose of the Cherubim, in Philosophy and Religion, 391-399; Fairbairn, Typology, 1:185-208; Elliott, Horæ Apocalypticæ, 1:87; Bib. Sac., 1876:32-51; Bib. Com., 1:49-52—The winged lions, eagles, and bulls, that guard the entrances of the palace of Nineveh, are worshipers rather than divinities.It has lately been shown that the winged bull of Assyria was called Kerub almost as far back as the time of Moses. The word appears in its Hebrew form 500 years before the Jews had any contact with the Persian dominion. The Jews did not derive it from any Aryan race. It belonged to their own language.

The variable form of the cherubim seems to prove that they are symbolic appearances rather than real beings. A parallel may be found in classical literature. In Horace, Carmina, 3:11, 15, Cerberus has three heads; in 2:13, 34, he has a hundred. Bréal, Semantics suggests that the three heads may be dog-heads, while the hundred heads may be snake-heads. But Cerberus is also represented in Greece as having only one head. Cerberus must therefore be a symbol rather than an actually existing creature. H. W. Congdon of Wyoming, N. Y., held, however, that the cherubim are symbols of [pg 450]God's life in the universe as a whole. Ez. 28:14-19the anointed cherub that covereth—the power of the King of Tyre was so all-pervading throughout his dominion, his sovereignty so absolute, and his decrees so instantly obeyed, that his rule resembled the divine government over the world. Mr. Congdon regarded the cherubim as a proof of monism. See Margoliouth, The Lord's Prayer, 159-180. On animal characteristics in man, see Hopkins, Scriptural Idea of Man, 105.

3. As to their moral character.

(a) They were all created holy.

Gen. 1:31God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good; Jude 6angels that kept not their own beginning—ἀρχήν seems here to mean their beginning in holy character, rather than their original lordship and dominion.

(b) They had a probation.

This we infer from 1 Tim. 5:21the elect angels; cf. 1 Pet. 1:1, 2elect ... unto obedience. If certain angels, like certain men, are elect ... unto obedience, it would seem to follow that there was a period of probation, during which their obedience or disobedience determined their future destiny; see Ellicott on 1 Tim. 5:21. Mason, Faith of the Gospel, 106-108—Gen. 3:14Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou—in the sentence on the serpent, seems to imply that Satan's day of grace was ended when he seduced man. Thenceforth he was driven to live on dust, to triumph only in sin, to pick up a living out of man, to possess man's body or soul, to tempt from the good.

(c) Some preserved their integrity.

Ps. 89:7the council of the holy ones—a designation of angels; Mark 8:38the holy angels.Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4:3—Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.

(d) Some fell from their state of innocence.

John 8:44He was a murderer from the beginning, and standeth not in the truth, because there is no truth in him; 2 Pet. 2:4angels when they sinned; Jude 6angels who kept not their own beginning, but left their proper habitation. Shakespeare, Henry VIII, 3:2—Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition; By that sin fell the angels; how can man then, The image of his Maker, hope to win by it?... How wretched Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favors!... When he falls, he falls like Lucifer, Never to hope again.

(e) The good are confirmed in good.

Mat. 6:10Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth; 18:10in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven; 2 Cor. 11:14an angel of light.

(f) The evil are confirmed in evil.

Mat. 13:19the evil one; 1 John 5:18, 19the evil one toucheth him not ... the whole world lieth in the evil one; cf. John 8:44Ye are of your father the devil ... When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof; Mat. 6:13deliver us from the evil one.

From these Scriptural statements we infer that all free creatures pass through a period of probation; that probation does not necessarily involve a fall; that there is possible a sinless development of moral beings. Other Scriptures seem to intimate that the revelation of God in Christ is an object of interest and wonder to other orders of intelligence than our own; that they are drawn in Christ more closely to God and to us; in short, that they are confirmed in their integrity by the cross. See 1 Pet. 1:12which things angels desire to look into; Eph. 3:10that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God; Col. 1:20through him to reconcile all things unto himself ... whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens; Eph. 1:10to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earththe unification of the whole universe in Christ as the divine centre.... The great system is a harp all whose strings are in tune but one, and that one jarring string makes discord throughout the whole. The whole universe shall feel the influence, and shall be reduced to harmony, when that one string, the world in which we live, shall be put in tune by the hand of love and mercy—freely quoted from Leitch, God's Glory in the Heavens, 327-330.

It is not impossible that God is using this earth as a breeding-ground from which to populate the universe. Mark Hopkins, Life, 317—While there shall be gathered at [pg 451]last and preserved, as Paul says, a holy church, and every man shall be perfect and the church shall be spotless.... there will be other forms of perfection in other departments of the universe. And when the great day of restitution shall come and God shall vindicate his government, there may be seen to be coming in from other departments of the universe a long procession of angelic forms, great white legions from Sirius, from Arcturus and the chambers of the South, gathering around the throne of God and that centre around which the universe revolves.

4. As to their employments.
A. The employments of good angels.

(a) They stand in the presence of God and worship him.

Ps. 29:1, 2Ascribe unto Jehovah, O ye sons of the mighty, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength. Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name. Worship Jehovah in holy array—Perowne: Heaven being thought of as one great temple, and all the worshipers therein as clothed in priestly vestments. Ps. 89:7a God very terrible in the council of the holy ones, i. e., angels—Perowne: Angels are called an assembly or congregation, as the church above, which like the church below worships and praises God. Mat. 18:10in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. In apparent allusion to this text, Dante represents the saints as dwelling in the presence of God yet at the same time rendering humble service to their fellow men here upon the earth. Just in proportion to their nearness to God and the light they receive from him, is the influence they are able to exert over others.

(b) They rejoice in God's works.

Job 38:7all the sons of God shouted for joy; Luke 15:10there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth; cf. 2 Tim. 2:25if peradventure God may give them repentance. Dante represents the angels that are nearest to God, the infinite source of life, as ever advancing toward the spring-time of youth, so that the oldest angels are the youngest.

(c) They execute God's will,—by working in nature;

Ps. 103:20Ye his angels ... that fulfil his word, Hearkening unto the voice of his word; 104:4 marg.—Who maketh his angels winds; His ministers a flaming fire, i. e., lightnings. See Alford on Heb. 1:7The order of the Hebrew words here [in Ps. 104:4] is not the same as in the former verses (see especially v. 3), where we have: Who maketh the clouds his chariot. For this transposition, those who insist that the passage means he maketh winds his messengerscan give no reason.

Farrar on Heb. 1:7He maketh his angels winds; The Rabbis often refer to the fact that God makes his angels assume any form he pleases, whether man (Gen. 18:2) or woman (Zech 5:9two women, and the wind was in their wings), or wind or flame (Ex. 3:2angel ... in a flame of fire; 2 K. 6:17). But that untenable and fleeting form of existence which is the glory of the angels would be an inferiority in the Son. He could not be clothed, as they are at God's will, in the fleeting robes of material phenomena. John Henry Newman, in his Apologia, sees an angel in every flower. Mason, Faith of the Gospel, 82—Origen thought not a blade of grass nor a fly was without its angel. Rev. 14:18—an angel that hath power over fire; John 5:4—intermittent spring under charge of an angel; Mat. 28:2—descent of an angel caused earthquake on the morning of Christ's resurrection; Luke 13:11—control of diseases is ascribed to angels.

(d) by guiding the affairs of nations;

Dan. 10:12, 13, 21I come for thy words' sake. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me ... Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me ... Michael your prince; 11:1And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him; 12:1at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people. Mason, Faith of the Gospel, 87, suggests the question whether the spirit of the age or the national character in any particular case may not be due to the unseen principalities under which men live. Paul certainly recognizes, in Eph. 2:2, the prince of the powers of the air, ... the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience. May not good angels be entrusted with influence over nations' affairs to counteract the evil and help the good?

[pg 452]

(e) by watching over the interests of particular churches;

1 Cor. 11:10for this cause ought the women to have a sign of authority [i. e., a veil] on her head, because of the angels—who watch over the church and have care for its order. Matheson, Spiritual Development of St. Paul, 242—Man's covering is woman's power. Ministration isher power and it allies her with a greater than man—the angel. Christianity is a feminine strength. Judaism had made woman only a means to an end—the multiplication of the race. So it had degraded her. Paul will restore woman to her original and equal dignity. Col. 2:18Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshiping of the angels—a false worship which would be very natural if angels were present to guard the meetings of the saints. 1 Tim. 5:21I charge thee in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things—the public duties of the Christian minister.

Alford regards the angels of the seven churches (Rev. 1:20) as superhuman beings appointed to represent and guard the churches, and that upon the grounds: (1) that the word is used elsewhere in the book of Revelation only in this sense; and (2) that nothing in the book is addressed to a teacher individually, but all to some one who reflects the complexion and fortunes of the church as no human person could. We prefer, however, to regard the angels of the seven churches as meaning simply the pastors of the seven churches. The word angel means simply messenger, and may be used of human as well as of superhuman beings—see Hag. 1:13Haggai, Jehovah's messenger—literally, the angel of Jehovah. The use of the word in this figurative sense would not be incongruous with the mystical character of the book of Revelation (see Bib. Sac. 12:339). John Lightfoot, Heb. and Talmud. Exerc., 2:90, says that angel was a term designating officer or elder of a synagogue. See also Bp. Lightfoot, Com. on Philippians, 187, 188; Jacobs, Eccl. Polity, 100 and note. In the Irvingite church, accordingly, angels constitute an official class.

(f) by assisting and protecting individual believers;

1 K. 19:5an angel touched him [Elijah], and said unto him, Arise and eat; Ps. 91:11he will give his angels charge over thee, To keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone; Dan. 6:22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, and they have not hurt me; Mat. 4:11angels came and ministered unto him—Jesus was the type of all believers; 18:10despise not one of these little ones, for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father; compare verse 6one of these little ones that believe on me; see Meyer, Com. in loco, who regards these passages as proving the doctrine of guardian angels. Luke 16:22the beggar died, and ... was carried away by the angels into Abraham's bosom; Heb. 1:14Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation? Compare Acts 12:15And they said, It is his angel—of Peter standing knocking; see Hackett, Com. in loco: the utterance expresses a popular belief prevalent among the Jews, which is neither affirmed nor denied. Shakespeare, Henry IV, 2nd part, 2:2—For the boy—there is a good angel about him. Per contra, see Broadus, Com. on Mat. 18:10It is simply said of believers as a class that there are angels which are their angels; but there is nothing here or elsewhere to show that one angel has special charge of one believer.

(g) by punishing God's enemies.

2 K. 19:35it came to pass that night, that the angel of Jehovah went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand; Acts 12:23And immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

A general survey of this Scripture testimony as to the employments of good angels leads us to the following conclusions:

First,—that good angels are not to be considered as the mediating agents of God's regular and common providence, but as the ministers of his special providence in the affairs of his church. He “maketh his angels winds” and “a flaming fire,” not in his ordinary procedure, but in connection with special displays of his power for moral ends (Deut. 33:2; Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2). Their intervention is apparently occasional and exceptional—not at their own option, but only as it is permitted or commanded by God. Hence we are not to conceive of angels as coming [pg 453] between us and God, nor are we, without special revelation of the fact, to attribute to them in any particular case the effects which the Scriptures generally ascribe to divine providence. Like miracles, therefore, angelic appearances generally mark God's entrance upon new epochs in the unfolding of his plans. Hence we read of angels at the completion of creation (Job 38:7); at the giving of the law (Gal 3:19); at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:13); at the two temptations in the wilderness and in Gethsemane (Mat. 4:11, Luke 22:43); at the resurrection (Mat. 28:2); at the ascension (Acts 1:10); at the final judgment (Mat. 25:31).

The substance of these remarks may be found in Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:637-645. Milton tells us that Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep. Whether this be true or not, it is a question of interest why such angelic beings as have to do with human affairs are not at present seen by men. Paul's admonition against the worshiping of the angels (Col. 2:18) seems to suggest the reason. If men have not abstained from worshiping their fellow-men, when these latter have been priests or media of divine communications, the danger of idolatry would be much greater if we came into close and constant contact with angels; see Rev. 22:8, 9I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not.

The fact that we do not in our day see angels should not make us sceptical as to their existence any more than the fact that we do not in our day see miracles should make us doubt the reality of the New Testament miracles. As evil spirits were permitted to work most actively when Christianity began its appeal to men, so good angels were then most frequently recognized as executing the divine purposes. Nevius, Demon-Possession, 278, thinks that evil spirits are still at work where Christianity comes in conflict with heathenism, and that they retire into the background as Christianity triumphs. This may be true also of good angels. Otherwise we might be in danger of overestimating their greatness and authority. Father Taylor was right when he said: Folks are better than angels. It is vain to sing: I want to be an angel. We never shall be angels. Victor Hugo is wrong when he says: I am the tadpole of an archangel.John Smith is not an angel, and he never will be. But he may be far greater than an angel, because Christ took, not the nature of angels, but the nature of man (Heb. 2:16).

As intimated above, there is no reason to believe that even the invisible presence of angels is a constant one. Doddridge's dream of accident prevented by angelic interposition seems to embody the essential truth. We append the passages referred to in the text. Job 38:7When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy; Deut. 33:2Jehovah came from Sinai ... he came from the ten thousands of holy ones: At his right hand was a fiery law for them; Gal. 3:19it [the law] was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator; Heb. 2:2the word spoken through angels; Acts 7:53who received the law as it was ordained by angels; Luke 2:13suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host; Mat. 4:11Then the devil leaveth him; and behold, angels came and ministered unto him; Luke 22:43And there appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him; Mat. 28:2an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it; Acts 1:10And while they were looking steadfastly into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Mat. 25:31when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory.

Secondly,—that their power, as being in its nature dependent and derived, is exercised in accordance with the laws of the spiritual and natural world. They cannot, like God, create, perform miracles, act without means, search the heart. Unlike the Holy Spirit, who can influence the human mind directly, they can influence men only in ways analogous to those by which men influence each other. As evil angels may tempt men to sin, so it is probable that good angels may attract men to holiness.

Recent psychical researches disclose almost unlimited possibilities of influencing other minds by suggestion. Slight physical phenomena, as the odor of a violet or the sight in a book of a crumpled roseleaf, may start trains of thought which change the whole course of a life. A word or a look may have great power over us. Fisher, Nature [pg 454]and Method of Revelation, 276—The facts of hypnotism illustrate the possibility of one mind falling into a strange thraldom under another. If other men can so powerfully influence us, it is quite possible that spirits which are not subject to limitations of the flesh may influence us yet more.

Binet, in his Alterations of Personality, says that experiments on hysterical patients have produced in his mind the conviction that, in them at least, a plurality of persons exists.... We have established almost with certainty that in such patients, side by side with the principal personality, there is a secondary personality, which is unknown by the first, which sees, hears, reflects, reasons and acts; see Andover Review, April, 1890:422. Hudson, Law of Psychic Phenomena, 81-143, claims that we have two minds, the objective and conscious, and the subjective and unconscious. The latter works automatically upon suggestion from the objective or from other minds. In view of the facts referred to by Binet and Hudson, we claim that the influence of angelic spirits is no more incredible than is the influence of suggestion from living men. There is no need of attributing the phenomena of hypnotism to spirits of the dead. Our human nature is larger and more susceptible to spiritual influence than we have commonly believed. These psychical phenomena indeed furnish us with a corroboration of our Ethical Monism, for if in one human being there may be two or more consciousnesses, then in the one God there may be not only three infinite personalities but also multitudinous finite personalities. See T. H. Wright, The Finger of God, 124-133.

B. The employments of evil angels.

(a) They oppose God and strive to defeat his will. This is indicated in the names applied to their chief. The word “Satan” means “adversary”—primarily to God, secondarily to men; the term “devil” signifies “slanderer”—of God to men, and of men to God. It is indicated also in the description of the “man of sin” as “he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God.”

Job 1:6—Satan appears among the sons of God; Zech. 3:1Joshua the high priest ... and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary; Mat. 13:39the enemy that sowed them is the devil; 1 Pet. 5:8your adversary the devil. Satan slanders God to men, in Gen. 3:1, 4Yea, hath God said?... Ye shall not surely die; men to God, in Job 1:9, 11Doth Job fear God for naught?... put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will renounce thee to thy face; 2:4, 5Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will renounce thee to thy face; Rev. 12:10the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our God night and day.

Notice how, over against the evil spirit who thus accuses God to man and man to God, stands the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who pleads God's cause with man and man's cause with God: John 16:8he, when he is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment; Rom. 8:26the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Hence Balaam can say: Num. 23:21, He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, Neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel; and the Lord can say to Satan as he resists Joshua: Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; yea, Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee (Zech. 3:2). Thus he puts himself between his people and every tongue that would accuse them (C. H. M.). For the description of the man of sin, see 2 Thess. 2:3, 4he that opposeth; cf. verse 9whose coming is according to the working of Satan.

On the man of sin, see Wm. Arnold Stevens, in Bap. Quar. Rev., July, 1889:328-360. As in Daniel 11:36, the great enemy of the faith, he who shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every God, is the Syrian King, Antiochus Epiphanes, so the man of lawlessness described by Paul in 2 Thess. 2:3, 4 was the corrupt and impious Judaism of the apostolic age.This only had its seat in the temple of God. It was doomed to destruction when the Lord should come at the fall of Jerusalem. But this fulfilment does not preclude a future and final fulfilment of the prophecy.

Contrasts between the Holy Spirit and the spirit of evil: 1. The dove, and the serpent; 2. the father of lies, and the Spirit of truth; 3. men possessed by dumb spirits, and men given wonderful utterance in diverse tongues; 4. the murderer from the beginning, and the life-giving Spirit, who regenerates the soul and quickens our mortal bodies; 5. the adversary, and the Helper; 6. the slanderer, and the Advocate; 7. Satan's sifting, and the Master's winnowing; 8. the organizing intelligence and malignity of the evil one, and the Holy Spirit's combination of all the forces of matter and mind to build up [pg 455] the kingdom of God; 9. the strong man fully armed, and a stronger than he; 10. the evil one who works only evil, and the holy One who is the author of holiness in the hearts of men. The opposition of evil angels, at first and ever since their fall, may be a reason why they are incapable of redemption.

(b) They hinder man's temporal and eternal welfare,—sometimes by exercising a certain control over natural phenomena, but more commonly by subjecting man's soul to temptation. Possession of man's being, either physical or spiritual, by demons, is also recognized in Scripture.

Control of natural phenomena is ascribed to evil spirits in Job 1:12, 16, 19 and 2:7all that he hath is in thy power—and Satan uses lightning, whirlwind, disease, for his purposes; Luke 13:11, 16a woman that had a spirit of infirmity ... whom Satan had bound, lo, these eighteen years; Acts 10:38healing all that were oppressed of the devil; 2 Cor. 12:7a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me; 1 Thess. 2:18we would fain have come unto you, I Paul once and again; and Satan hindered us; Heb. 2:14him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Temptation is ascribed to evil spirits in Gen. 3:1 sq.Now the serpent was more subtle; cf. Rev. 20:2the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan; Mat. 4:3the tempter came; John 13:27after the sop, then entered Satan into him; Acts 5:3why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? Eph. 2:2the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; 1 Thess. 3:5lest by any means the tempter had tempted you; 1 Pet 5:8your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

At the time of Christ, popular belief undoubtedly exaggerated the influence of evil spirits. Savage, Life after Death, 113—While God was at a distance, the demons were very, very near. The air about the earth was full of these evil tempting spirits. They caused shipwreck at sea, and sudden death on land; they blighted the crops; they smote and blasted in the tempests; they took possession of the bodies and the souls of men. They entered into compacts, and took mortgages on men's souls. If some good end has been attained in spite of them they feel that Their labor must be to pervert that end. And out of good still to find means of evil. In Goethe's Faust, Margaret detects the evil in Mephistopheles: You see that he with no soul sympathizes. 'Tis written on his face—he never loved.... Whenever he comes near, I cannot pray. Mephistopheles describes himself as Ein Theil von jener Kraft Die stäts das Böse will Und stäts das Gute schafftPart of that power not understood, which always wills the bad, and always works the good—through the overruling Providence of God. The devil says his prayers backwards. He tried to learn the Basque language, but had to give it up, having learned only three words in two years. Walter Scott tells us that a certain sulphur spring in Scotland was reputed to owe its quality to an ancient compulsory immersion of Satan in it.

Satan's temptations are represented as both negative and positive,—he takes away the seed sown, and he sows tares. He controls many subordinate evil spirits; there is only one devil, but there are many angels or demons, and through their agency Satan may accomplish his purposes.

Satan's negative agency is shown in Mark 4:15when they have heard, straightway cometh Satan, and taketh away the word which hath been sown in them; his positive agency in Mat. 13:38, 39the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy that sowed them is the devil. One devil, but many angels: see Mat. 25:41the devil and his angels; Mark 5:9My name is Legion, for we are many; Eph. 2:2the prince of the powers of the air; 6:12principalities ... powers ... world-rulers of this darkness ... spiritual hosts of wickedness. The mode of Satan's access to the human mind we do not know. It may be that by moving upon our physical organism he produces subtle signs of thought and so reaches the understanding and desires. He certainly has the power to present in captivating forms the objects of appetite and selfish ambition, as he did to Christ in the wilderness (Mat. 4:3, 6, 9), and to appeal to our love for independence by saying to us, as he did to our first parents—ye shall be as God (Gen. 3:5).

C. C. Everett, Essays Theol. and Lit., 186-218, on The Devil: If the supernatural powers would only hold themselves aloof and not interfere with the natural processes of the world, there would be no sickness, no death, no sorrow.... This shows a real, though perhaps unconscious, faith in the goodness and trustworthiness of nature. The world in itself is a source only of good. Here is the germ of a positive religion, though this religion when it appears, may adopt the form of supernaturalism. If there was no Satan, then Christ's temptations came from within, and showed a predisposition to evil on his own part.

[pg 456]

Possession is distinguished from bodily or mental disease, though such disease often accompanies possession or results from it.—The demons speak in their own persons, with supernatural knowledge, and they are directly addressed by Christ. Jesus recognizes Satanic agency in these cases of possession, and he rejoices in the casting out of demons, as a sign of Satan's downfall. These facts render it impossible to interpret the narratives of demoniac possession as popular descriptions of abnormal physical or mental conditions.

Possession may apparently be either physical, as in the case of the Gerasene demoniacs (Mark 5:2-4), or spiritual, as in the case of the maid having a spirit of divination (Acts 16:16), where the body does not seem to have been affected. It is distinguished from bodily disease: see Mat. 17:15, 18epileptic ... the demon went out from him: and the boy was cured; Mark 9:25Thou dumb and deaf spirit; 3:11, 12the unclean spirits ... cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And he charged them much that they should not make him known; Luke 8:30, 31And Jesus asked him, What is thy name? And he said, Legion; for many demons were entered unto him. And they entreated him that he would not command them to depart into the abyss; 10:17, 18And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject unto us in thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven.

These descriptions of personal intercourse between Christ and the demons cannot be interpreted as metaphorical. “In the temptation of Christ and in the possession of the swine, imagination could have no place. Christ was above its delusions; the brutes were below them.” Farrar (Life of Christ, 1:337-341, and 2:excursus vii), while he admits the existence and agency of good angels, very inconsistently gives a metaphorical interpretation to the Scriptural accounts of evil angels. We find corroborative evidence of the Scripture doctrine in the domination which one wicked man frequently exercises over others; in the opinion of some modern physicians in charge of the insane, that certain phenomena in their patients' experience are best explained by supposing an actual subjection of the will to a foreign power; and, finally, in the influence of the Holy Spirit upon the human heart. See Trench, Miracles, 125-136; Smith's Bible Dictionary, 1:586—“Possession is distinguished from mere temptation by the complete or incomplete loss of the sufferer's reason or power of will; his actions, words, and almost his thoughts, are mastered by the evil spirit, till his personality seems to be destroyed, or at least so overborne as to produce the consciousness of a twofold will within him like that in a dream. In the ordinary assaults and temptations of Satan, the will itself yields consciously, and by yielding gradually assumes, without losing its apparent freedom of action, the characteristics of the Satanic nature. It is solicited, urged, and persuaded against the strivings of grace, but it is not overborne.”

T. H. Wright, The Finger of God, argues that Jesus, in his mention of demoniacs, accommodated himself to the beliefs of his time. Fisher, Nature and Method of Revelation, 274, with reference to Weiss's Meyer on Mat. 4:24, gives Meyer's arguments against demoniacal possession as follows: 1. the absence of references to demoniacal possession in the Old Testament, and the fact that so-called demoniacs were cured by exorcists; 2. that no clear case of possession occurs at present; 3. that there is no notice of demoniacal possession in John's Gospel, though the overcoming of Satan is there made a part of the Messiah's work and Satan is said to enter into a man's mind and take control there (John 13:27); 4. and that the so-called demoniacs are not, as would be expected, of a diabolic temper and filled with malignant feelings toward Christ. Harnack, Wesen des Christenthums, 38—“The popular belief in demon-possession gave form to the conceptions of those who had nervous diseases, so that they expressed themselves in language proper only to those who were actually possessed. Jesus is no believer in Christian Science: he calls sickness sickness and health health; but he regards all disease as a proof and effect of the working of the evil one.”

On Mark 1:21-34, see Maclaren in S. S. Times, Jan. 23, 1904—We are told by some that this demoniac was an epileptic. Possibly; but, if the epilepsy was not the result of possession, why should it take the shape of violent hatred of Jesus? And what is there in epilepsy to give discernment of his character and the purpose of his mission? Not Jesus' exorcism of demons as a fact, but his casting them out by a word, was our Lord's wonderful characteristic. Nevius, Demon-Possession, 240—May not demon-possession be only a different, a more advanced, form of hypnotism?... It is possible that these evil spirits are familiar with the organism of the nervous system, and are capable [pg 457]of acting upon and influencing mankind in accordance with physical and psychological laws.... The hypnotic trance may be effected, without the use of physical organs, by the mere force of will-power, spirit acting upon spirit. Nevius quotes F. W. A. Myers, Fortnightly Rev., Nov. 1885—One such discovery, that of telepathy, or the transference of thought and sensation from mind to mind without the agency of the recognized organs of sense, has, as I hold, been already achieved. See Bennet, Diseases of the Bible; Kedney, Diabolology; and references in Poole's Synopsis, 1:343; also Bramwell, Hypnotism, 358-398.

(c) Yet, in spite of themselves, they execute God's plans of punishing the ungodly, of chastening the good, and of illustrating the nature and fate of moral evil.

Punishing the ungodly: Ps. 78:49He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, Wrath and indignation, and trouble, A band of angels of evil; 1 K. 22:23Jehovah hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets; and Jehovah hath spoken evil concerning thee. In Luke 22:31, Satan's sifting accomplishes the opposite of the sifter's intention, and the same as the Master's winnowing (Maclaren).

Chastening the good: see Job, chapters 1 and 2; 1 Cor. 5:5deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus; cf. 1 Tim. 1:20Hymenæus and Alexander; whom I delivered onto Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme. This delivering to Satan for the destruction of the flesh seems to have involved four things: (1) excommunication from the church; (2) authoritative infliction of bodily disease or death; (3) loss of all protection from good angels, who minister only to saints; (4) subjection to the buffetings and tormentings of the great accuser. Gould, in Am. Com. on 1 Cor. 5:5, regards delivering to Satan as merely putting a man out of the church by excommunication. This of itself was equivalent to banishing him into the world, of which Satan was the ruler.

Evil spirits illustrate the nature and fate of moral evil: see Mat 8:29art thou come hither to torment us before the time? 25:41eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; 2 Thess. 2:8then shall be revealed the lawless one; James 2:19the demons also believe, and shudder; Rev. 12:9, 12the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world ... the devil is gone down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time; 20:10cast into the lake of fire ... tormented day and night for ever and ever.

It is an interesting question whether Scripture recognizes any special connection of evil spirits with the systems of idolatry, witchcraft, and spiritualism which burden the world. 1 Cor. 10:20the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; 2 Thess. 2:9the working of Satan with all power and signs of lying wonders—would seem to favor an affirmative answer. But 1 Cor. 8:4concerning therefore the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world—seems to favor a negative answer. This last may, however, mean that the beings whom the idols are designed to represent have no existence, although it is afterwards shown (10:20) that there are other beings connected with false worship (Ann. Par. Bible, in loco). Heathenism is the reign of the devil(Meyer), and while the heathen think themselves to be sacrificing to Jupiter or Venus, they are really sacrificing to demons, and are thus furthering the plans of a malignant spirit who uses these forms of false religion as a means of enslaving their souls. In like manner, the network of influences which support the papacy, spiritualism, modern unbelief, is difficult of explanation, unless we believe in a superhuman intelligence which organizes these forces against God. In these, as well as in heathen religions, there are facts inexplicable upon merely natural principles of disease and delusion.

Nevius, Demon-Possession, 294—Paul teaches that the gods mentioned under different names are imaginary and non-existent; but that, behind and in connection with these gods, there are demons who make use of idolatry to draw men away from God; and it is to these that the heathen are unconsciously rendering obedience and service.... It is most reasonable to believe that the sufferings of people bewitched were caused by the devil, not by the so-called witches. Let us substitute devilcraft for witchcraft.... Had the courts in Salem proceeded on the Scriptural presumption that the testimony of those under the control of evil spirits would, in the nature of the case, be false, such a thing as the Salem tragedy would never have been known.

A survey of the Scripture testimony with regard to the employments of evil spirits leads to the following general conclusions:

First,—the power of evil spirits over men is not independent of the human will. This power cannot be exercised without at least the original [pg 458] consent of the human will, and may be resisted and shaken off through prayer and faith in God.

Luke 22:31, 40Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat.... Pray that ye enter not into temptation; Eph. 6:11Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; 16the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one; James 4:7resist the devil, and he will flee from you; 1 Pet. 5:9whom withstand stedfast in your faith. The coals are already in the human heart, in the shape of corrupt inclinations; Satan only blows them into flame. The double source of sin is illustrated in Acts 5:3, 4Why hath Satan filled thy heart?... How is it that thou hast conceived this thing in thine heart? The Satanic impulse could have been resisted, and after it was suggested, it was still in his own power, as was the land that he had sold (Maclaren).

The soul is a castle into which even the king of evil spirits cannot enter without receiving permission from within. Bp. Wordsworth: The devil may tempt us to fall, but he cannot make us fall; he may persuade us to cast ourselves down, but he cannot cast us down. E. G. Robinson: It is left to us whether the devil shall get control of us. We pack off on the devil's shoulders much of our own wrong doing, just as Adam had the impertinence to tell God that the woman did the mischief. Both God and Satan stand at the door and knock, but neither heaven nor hell can come in unless we will. We cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, but we can prevent them from making their nests in our hair. Mat 12:43-45The unclean spirit, when he is gone out of a man—suggests that the man who gets rid of one vice but does not occupy his mind with better things is ready to be repossessed. Seven other spirits more evil than himselfimplies that some demons are more wicked than others and so are harder to cast out (Mark 9:29). The Jews had cast out idolatry, but other and worse sins had taken possession of them.

Hudson, Law of Psychic Phenomena, 129—The hypnotic subject cannot be controlled so far as to make him do what he knows to be wrong, unless he himself voluntarily assents. A. S. Hart: Unless one is willing to be hypnotized, no one can put him under the influence. The more intelligent one is, the more susceptible. Hypnotism requires the subject to do two-thirds of the work, while the instructor does only one-third—that of telling the subject what to do. It is not an inherent influence, nor a gift, but can be learned by any one who can read. It is impossible to compel a person to do wrong while under the influence, for the subject retains a consciousness of the difference between right and wrong.

Höffding, Outlines of Psychology, 330-335—Some persons have the power of intentionally calling up hallucinations; but it often happens to them as to Goethe's Zauberlehrling, or apprentice-magician, that the phantoms gain power over them and will not be again dispersed. Goethe's Fischer—Half she drew him down and half he sank—repeats the duality in the second term; for to sink is to let one's self sink. Manton, the Puritan: A stranger cannot call off a dog from the flock, but the Shepherd can do so with a word; so the Lord can easily rebuke Satan when he finds him most violent.Spurgeon, the modern Puritan, remarks on the above: O Lord, when I am worried by my great enemy, call him off, I pray thee! Let me hear a voice saying: Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; even Jehovah that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee! (Zech. 3:2). By thine election of me, rebuke him, I pray thee, and deliver me from the power of the dog! (Ps. 22:20).

Secondly,—their power is limited, both in time and in extent, by the permissive will of God. Evil spirits are neither omnipotent, omniscient, nor omnipresent. We are to attribute disease and natural calamity to their agency, only when this is matter of special revelation. Opposed to God as evil spirits are, God compels them to serve his purposes. Their power for harm lasts but for a season, and ultimate judgment and punishment will vindicate God's permission of their evil agency.

1 Cor. 10:13God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it; Jude 6angels which kept not their own beginning, but left their proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Luther saw Satan nearer to man than his coat, or his shirt, or even his skin. In all misfortune he saw the devil's work. Was there a conflagration in the town? By looking closely you might see a demon blowing upon the flame. Pestilence and storm he [pg 459] attributed to Satan. All this was a relic of the mediæval exaggerations of Satan's power. It was then supposed that men might make covenants with the evil one, in which supernatural power was purchased at the price of final perdition (see Goethe's Faust).

Scripture furnishes no warrant for such representations. There seems to have been permitted a special activity of Satan in temptation and possession during our Savior's ministry, in order that Christ's power might be demonstrated. By his death Jesus brought to naught him that had the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2:14) and having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it, i. e., in the Cross (Col. 2:15). 1 John 3:8To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Evil spirits now exist and act only upon sufferance. McLeod, Temptation of our Lord, 24—Satan's power is limited, (1) by the fact that he is a creature; (2) by the fact of God's providence; (3) by the fact of his own wickedness.

Genung, Epic of the Inner Life, 136—Having neither fixed principle in himself nor connection with the source of order outside, Satan has not prophetic ability. He can appeal to chance, but he cannot foresee. So Goethe's Mephistopheles insolently boasts that he can lead Faust astray: What will you bet? There's still a chance to gain him, If unto me full leave you give Gently upon my road to train him! And in Job 1:11; 2:5, Satan wagers: He will renounce thee to thy face. ” William Ashmore: Is Satan omnipresent? No, but he is very spry. Is he bound? Yes, but with a rather loose rope. In the Persian story, God scattered seed. The devil buried it, and sent the rain to rot it. But soon it sprang up, and the wilderness blossomed as the rose.

II. Objections to the Doctrine of Angels.

1. To the doctrine of angels in general.

It is objected:

(a) That it is opposed to the modern scientific view of the world, as a system of definite forces and laws.—We reply that, whatever truth there may be in this modern view, it does not exclude the play of divine or human free agency. It does not, therefore, exclude the possibility of angelic agency.

Ladd, Philosophy of Knowledge, 332—It is easier to believe in angels than in ether; in God rather than atoms; and in the history of his kingdom as a divine self-revelation rather than in the physicist's or the biologist's purely mechanical process of evolution.

(b) That it is opposed to the modern doctrine of infinite space above and beneath us—a space peopled with worlds. With the surrender of the old conception of the firmament, as a boundary separating this world from the regions beyond, it is claimed that we must give up all belief in a heaven of the angels.—We reply that the notions of an infinite universe, of heaven as a definite place, and of spirits as confined to fixed locality, are without certain warrant either in reason or in Scripture. We know nothing of the modes of existence of pure spirits.

What we know of the universe is certainly finite. Angels are apparently incorporeal beings, and as such are free from all laws of matter and space. Heaven and hell are essentially conditions, corresponding to character—conditions in which the bo