by A. Strong
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 preexisting
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
volition is related to ourselves. They are not ourselves, and we are greater
than they are. Creation is not simply the idea of God, or even the plan of
God; it is the idea externalized, the plan executed. In other words, it
implies 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 volition, without use of
preexisting material. He also indirectly, through these ideas and volition,
creates brain-modifications. This creation, as Johnson has shown, is.3
without hands, yet elaborate, selective and 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 communication
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 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 concrete 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, coordinating 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..4
“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
“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 amid object. This assumption is founded
on time 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.5
conveyed in it can better be expressed in the phrase “without use of
preexisting materials.”
(b) Creation is not a fashioning of preexisting 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
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 volition, 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 volition 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
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 preexisting 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..6
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, 4 —
“All things were made through him, and without him was not anything
made. That which hath been made was life in him”;

1 Corinthians 8:6
— ‘one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things”;

1:16 — “all things have been created through him, and unto him”;

Hebrews 1:10 — “Thou, 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
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 fulfill 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
intelligence7 it is mind or spirit, which creates the world. It is not a
readymade 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..7
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
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, Systematic Theology, 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 simpler 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.8
divine mind and will. The theories of dualism and of creation from
eternity we shall discuss hereafter.
1. Direct Scripture Statements.

Genesis 1:1 — “In the beginning God created the heaven and the
earth.” To this it has been objected that the verb ar;B; does not necessarily
denote production without the use of preexisting materials (see

1:27 — “God created man in his own image”; cf. 2:7 — “the Lord God
formed man of the dust of the ground”; also

Psalm 51:10 — “Create in
me a clean heart”).
“In the first two chapters of Genesis ar;B; 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 ‘ye 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 up into 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 ar;B; is not entirely conclusive. Other considerations in
connection with the use of this word, however, seem to render this
interpretation of

Genesis 1:1 the most plausible. Some of these
considerations we proceed to mention.
(a) While we acknowledge that the verb arbB; “does not necessarily or
invariably denote production without the use of preexisting 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. Old Testament, 1:177. The quotation in the.9
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.”
Professor W. J. Beecher, in S. furnishes a moderate and scholarly
statement of the facts 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 (

Genesis 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 (

Isaiah 43:1-15; 65:18;

Ezekiel 21:30; 28:13,

Psalm 102:18;

Ecclesiastes 12:1;

Malachi 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
(b) In the account of the creation, ar;K; seems to be distinguished from
hc;[; to make “either with or without the use of already existing material
( twv[1l ar;B; “created in making” or “made by creation,” in 2:3; and
XXX of the firmament, in 1:7), and from r1xy;, “to form” out of such
material. (See ar;byw1 of man regarded as a spiritual being, in 1:27; but
rx,yiw1 of man regarded as a physical being, in 2:7.)
See Conant, Genesis, 1; Bible Com., 1:37 — “‘created to make’ (in

Genesis 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

Genesis 1:1, asah in

Genesis 2:4, of the creation of the heaven and
earth. Of earth, both yatzar and asah are used in

Isaiah 45:18. In
regard to man, in

Genesis 1:27 we find bara; in

Genesis 1:26 and
9:6, asah; and in

Genesis 2:7, yatzar. In

Isaiah 43:7, all three are
found in the same verse: “whom I have bara for my glory, I have yatzar,.10
yea, I have asah him.” In

Isaiah 45:12,” asah the earth, and bara man
upon it”; but in

Genesis 1:1 we read: “God bara the earth,” and in 9:6
“asah man.”

Isaiah 44:2 — “the Lord that asah thee (i.e., man) and
yatzar thee”; but in

Genesis 1:27, God “bara man.”

Genesis 5:2
— “male and female bara he them.”

Genesis 2:22 — “the rib asah he
a woman”;

Genesis 2:7 — “he yatzar man”; i.e., bara male and
female, yet asah the woman and yatzar the man. Asah is not always used
for transform:

Isaiah 41:20 — “fir tree, pine, boa tree” in nature —

Psalm 51:10 — “bara in me a clean heart”;

Isaiah 65:18 —
God “bara Jerusalem into a rejoicing.”
(c) The context shows that the meaning here is a making without the use of
preexisting materials. Since the earth in its rude, unformed, chaotic
condition is still called “the earth” in verse 2, the word ar;K; in verse 1
cannot refer to any shaping or fashioning of the elements, but must signify
the calling of them into being.
Oehler, Theology of OT, 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 ar;B; 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 ar;B; 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 preexisting 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
E. H. Johnson, Outline of Systematic Theology, 94 — “

Romans 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 clearly 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,
Dogmatic Theology, 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.”.12
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. Vedie hymn in Rig Veda, 10:9, quoted by J. F. Clark, Ten Great
Religions, 2:205 — “Originally this universe was soul 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.”
The Egyptian religion in its later development, as well as Brahmanism,
was pantheistic. 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-Raha, in “Records of the Past”;
G. C. Muller, Literature of Greece, 87, 88; George Smith, Chaldean
Genesis, chapters 1, 3, 5 and 6; Dillmann, Com, on Genesis, 6th edition,
Introduction, 5-10: LeNormant. Hist.Ancienne de l’Orient, 1:17-26;
5:238; Otto Zockler, art.: Schopfung, in Herzog and Putt, Encyclop.; S.
B. Gould, Origin and Devel. of Relig. Beliefs, 281-292.

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
preexisting material, but by the direct flat of omnipotence (see Alford, and
Lunemann, Meyer’s Com in loco) ‘
Compare 2 Maccabees 7:28 — ejx oujk o]ntwn ejpoih>sen aujta oJ Qeo>v.
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 ejx ajmo>rfou u[lhv
interprets by this the ejx oujk o]ntwn in 2Maccabees, and denies that this
last refers to creation out of nothing. 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. 2Maccabecs
7:28 must stand by itself as a testimony to Jewish belief in creation.13
without use of preexisting material — belief that can be traced to no other
source than the Old Testament Scriptures. Compare

Exodus 34:10 —
I will do marvels such as have not been wrought [margin ‘created’] in all
the earth”

Numbers 16:30 — “if Jehovah make a now thing” [margin
‘create a creation”];

Isaiah 4:5 — “Jehovah will create… a cloud and
smoke”; 41:20 — “the Holy One of Israel hath created it”; 45:7, 8 — “I
form the light, and create darkness”; 57:19 — “I create the fruit of the
lips” 65:17 — “I create new heavens and a new earth”;

31:22 — “Jehovah hath created a new thing”

Romans 4:17 — “God, who giveth life to the dead, and calleth the
things that are not as though they were”;

1 Corinthians 1:28 —
“things that are not” [did God choose] “that he might bring to naught the
things that are”;

2 Corinthians 4:6 — “God, that said, Light shall
shine out of darkness” = created light without preexisting material — for
darkness is no material;

Colossians 1:16, 17 — “in him were all things
created… and he is before all things”; so also

Psalm 33:9 — “he
spake, and it was done”; 148:5 — “he commanded, and they were
created.” See Philo, Creation of time World, chap. 1-7, and Life of
Moses, book 3, chap. 36 — “He produced the most perfect work, the
Cosmos, out of non-existence tou~ mh< o]ntov into being eijv to< ei=nai.” E.
H. Johnson, Systematic Theology, 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 any preexisting 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 preexisting material, but they are inexplicable upon any other hypothesis.

Mark 13:19 — “from the beginning of the creation which God
created until now”;

John 17:5 — “before the world was”;

Ephesians 1:4 — “before the foundation of the world”.14

Psalm 90:2 — “Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever
thou hadst formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to
everlasting thou art God”;

Proverbs 8:23 — “I was set up from
everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was”;

John 1:1 — “In the
beginning was the Word”;

Colossians 1:17 — “he is before all things”;

Hebrews 9:14 — “the eternal Spirit” (see Tholuck, Com. in loco).

Ephesians 3:9 — “God who created all things”;

Romans 11:36 —
“of him… are all things”;

1 Corinthians 8:6 — “one God, the Father, of
whom are all things… one Lord, Jesus Christ through whom are all things”;
John 3 — “all things were made through him”;

Colossians 1:16 — “in him
were all things created… all things have been created through him, and unto

Hebrews 1:2 — “through whom also he made the worlds”;

Genesis 1:2— “and the Spirit of God moved [margin ‘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 and
(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 tills
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
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 co-eternal 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
u[lh. In this way it was thought to account for the existence of evil, and to.15
escape the difficulty of imagining a production without use of preexisting
material. Basilides (flourished 125) and Valentinus (died 160), the
representatives of this view, were influenced also by Hindu philosophy, anti
their dualism is almost indistinguishable from pantheism. A similar new 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 u[lh 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 u[lh 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 u[lh, 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 time 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 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 Encyclopedia Brit., 10:701 — “In the Alexandrian
Gnosis the stream of being in its ever outward flow at length comes in.16
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 Fullness 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 emit 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
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 and (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.17
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 Old
Testament command in an allegorizing way.”
Lyman Abbott: “The Oriental dreams, the Greek defines and 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
The author of “The Unseen Universe” (page 17) wrongly calls John Stuart
Mill a Manichaean. 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
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..18
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 preexisting 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 preexisting material is
inconceivable, in the sense of being unpicturable to the imagination, yet the
eternity of matter is equally inconceivable. For creation without preexisting
material, moreover, we find remote analogies in our own creation of ideas
and volition, a fact as inexplicable as God’s bringing of new substances
into being.
Mivart, Lessens 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 stance, the analogy would be complete.
Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 1:467 — “Our thoughts and volition 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.19
exalted mood.” “If we are ‘gods’ (

Psalm 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 molding existing material
into form, is the nearest approach in thought which we can make to divine
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 preexisting 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 and
(3) in the invention of relatively novel combinations of material.
Style, subject combination, then, comprise the methods of our originality.
Our new conceptions 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.20
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, 30 — “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
Creators 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 tact. 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) The 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.21
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 imperfect
substance, which nevertheless has self-existence, but is either the work or
the instrument of a personal and positively malignant intelligence, which
wages war against all good. This was the view of the Manichæans.
Manichtæanism 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
Parsecism. Herzog, Encyclopadie, art.: Mani und die Manichaer, 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 Hang, Essays on Parsees, 139-161,
302-309; also our quotations on pp. 347-349; Monier Williams, in I9th
Century, Jan. 1881:155-177 — Ahura Mazda was the creator of the
universe. Matter was created by him and was neither identified with him
or an emanation from him. In the divine nature here were two opposite,
but not opposing, principles or forces, called “twins” — the one
constructive and 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 antagonizing was between the resulting good and
evil brought about by the free agent, man. See Jackson, Zoroaster..22
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, Dictionary Doct. and
Hist. Theology, art.: Dualism; and especially Baur, Das manichilisehe
Religionsaystem. A. H. Newman, Ch. History, 1:194 — “Manichæsche 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 and
(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:

Colossians 1:16 — “for 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.

Ephesians 6:12 — “our 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

2 Peter 2:4 — “God 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”;

Revelation 20:2 — “laid hold on the dragon,
the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan”; 10 — “and 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 medieval 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.23
there is that element of truth in Parseeism but there is no reconciliation
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; 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, 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 Manichæism 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
Disselhoff, Die klassische Poesie und die gottliche 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 worshipers 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 southeast 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.24
deified; and his religion, which begins by giving predominance to the good
Spirit, ends by being honeycombed 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 and
(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 time second century, were representatives of this view.
Blunt, Dictionary 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 Mine formed a world of spirit, 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 attenuation of his substance and the sum of which constitutes
his fullness, 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, 1:372-374. 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..25
On the difference between Oriental emanation and eternal generation, see
Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 1:470, and History Doctrine, 1:11-13, 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 hypo-stasis
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 Encyclopedia 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 Unnamable (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 u[lh, 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.26
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., 1:200 — “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 which is that world of spiritual reality and
fullness; 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 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. Saturninus and Bardesanes distinctly held this
assumption in contradiction 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 Manicheism; 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
practiced 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.27
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
yuch> 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 centers of finite existence which he has
endowed with free will, so that these independent beings may originate.28
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

Hebrews 1:2 — “The 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).”
Individualism admits dualism but not complete division. Still our dualism
holds to underground connections of life between man and man, man and
nature and 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,
303,305 — “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 earth consists 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.29
volition are. Finite spirits, on the other hand, are differentiation within the
being of God himself, and so are not emanations from him.
Napoleon asked Goethe what matter was. “Espirit gele — 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, 109; and Hegel calls nature “the
corpse of the understanding — spirit in 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

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; Fuhlte Mangel,
darum schuf er Geister, Scl’ge Spiegel seiner Seligkeit. Fand das hochste
Wesen schon kein Gleiches; Aus dem Kelch des ganzen Geisterreiches
Schaumt 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 quail 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 moldest 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.30
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, 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, 1:1 — “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.
Philosophically, many find it easier to hold that God has eternally brought
forth creation from himself; 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.31
irrational one. We must distinguish creation in eternity past ( = God and
the world co-eternal, 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, 31, 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 time before
creation, because there was no succession.”
Birks. Scripture Doctrine of Creation, 78-105 — “The first verse of
Genesis excludes five speculative falsehoods:
(1) There is nothing but uncreated matter,
(2) there is no God distinct from his creatures,
(3) creation is a series of acts without a beginning,
(4) there is no real universe and
(5) 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 seesaw 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
marvelous 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 coexistent, creation could not have been
from eternity.

Jude 25 — “Before all time” — implies that time had a beginning, and

Ephesians 1:4 — “before 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.32
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 Muller, 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, 140,
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
(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 fullness of the
time” (

Galatians 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

Genesis 1:1 — “In the beginning God created the
heavens and the earth,” and

John 1:1 — “In the beginning was the.33
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

Colossians 1:20). Athanasius called God kti>sthv — 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 (

Ephesians 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 who would equalize God’s being with the
changeable course of human life. Nor 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,.34
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
Encyclopedia 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.35
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 an 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.
(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 (

Genesis 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 and (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.”.36
(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 also of new creation, including miracle, incarnation,
resurrection, regeneration and 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 or 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 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.”.37
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 Agnostic, 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
1. Its twofold nature — as uniting the ideas of creation and of
(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
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 (

Genesis 1:1 — bara) and he subsequently created animal life.38

Genesis 1:21 — “and God created” — bara) and the life of man

Genesis 1:27 — “and God created man” — bara 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
stardust 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 center, as a universe mechanically
arranged and periodically adjusted must have him at the circumference.
There is no real antagonism between creation and evolution. 50 —
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,
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
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 role 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 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 and
(5) the a priori self-consciousness which is the essential being and true person
of the mind..39
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 differentiation 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 tosiv, not fu>siv.” 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

Genesis 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. (

Genesis 1:12, 22, 24, 28 —
earth brought forth grass, trees yielding fruit whose seed was in itself,
earth brought forth the living creatures and 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.40
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 time 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

Genesis 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

Genesis 1:11 — “let
the earth put forth grass”; 20 — “let the waters bring forth abundantly the
moving creature that hath life”; 2:7 — “the Lord God formed man of the
dust”; 9 — “out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree”; cf.

Mark 4:28 — aujtoma>th h~ gh~ karpoforei~ — “thy earth brings
forth fruit automatically.” Goethe, Spruche in Reimen: “Was war 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 vermisst” — “No, such a God my worship may not win,
Who lets the world about his finger spin, A thing eternal; God must dwell
All the growth of a tree takes place in from four to six weeks in May,
June and July. The addition of woody fiber 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.41
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 Hacekel, 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 myriad. 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 also 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
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 time 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 and 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 steadfast.” God is not limited to creating from.42
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 hyper-literal nor
(c) the hyper-scientific 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 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
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.43
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. Pfliederer, 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 nou~v 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, Introduction, i-xxxvii, civ-cxxx; and Hugh Miller,
Testimony of the Rocks, 179-210; Hastings, Dictionary Bible, art.:
Cosmogony; Sayce, Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia, 372-397.
(b) The hyper-literal 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 Genesis 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. 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

Genesis 1:5 — “God called the light Day” — a day before there was.44
a sun; 8 — “there was evening and there was morning, a second day”; 2:2
— God ‘rested on the seventh day ‘; cf.

Hebrews 4:3-10 — where
God’s day of rest seems to continue, and his people are exhorted to enter
into it; (

Genesis 2:4 — “the day that Jehovah made earth and heaven”
— “day” here covers all the seven days; cf.

Isaiah 2:12 — “a day of
Jehovah of hosts”;

Zechariah 14:7 — “shall no one day which is
known unto Jehovah; not day, and not night”;

2 Peter 3:8 — “one day
is with the Lord as 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 (

Genesis 2:4 — “these 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 hyper-scientific 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 us
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. Subsequently, this chaotic,
amorphous matter was arranged in the succeeding six days”; Dc Genes.
ad Lit., 4:27 — “The length of these days is not to be determined by the.45
length of our weekdays. 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, which is 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. Psalm 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 appearance 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 algae,
were easily dissolved, and might as easily disappear, that graphite and.46
bog-iron ore, appearing lower down than any animal remains, are the
result of preceding vegetation and that animal forms, whenever and
wherever existing, must subsist upon and presuppose the vegetable. The
Eozoon is of necessity preceded by the Eophyte. If it 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 (

Genesis 9:13 — “I do set my bow
in the cloud.” The rainbow had existed in nature before but was now
appointed to serve a peculiar purpose and so in the record of creation sun,
moon and stars, which existed before were appointed as visible lights for
the earth. 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 (radiate, molluscan, articulate
and vertebrate) of the animal kingdom which characterizes the next stage
of geological progress. These are represented in verses 20 and 21 as a
creation of the lower animals — those that swarm in the water 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 Oolitic, 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 (cattle and beasts of prey), is
indicated in verses 24 and 25 by the creation, on the sixth day..47
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 Bibliotheca Sacra, 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 palæzoic 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. He defends the general
correspondence of the Mosaic narrative, with the latest conclusions of
science by saying: “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 on physical science as such.”
On the whole subject, see Guyot, Creation; Review of Guyot, in N. Eng.,
July, 1884:591-594; Taylor 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, 32, and in Expositor, Apl. 1886;
LeConte, Science and Religion, 264; Hill, in Bibliotheca Sacra, April,
1875: Peirce, Ideality in the Physical Sciences, 38-72; Boardman, The
Creative Week; Godet, Bib. Studies of OT, 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.48
Regard to Creation? Cox, Miracles, 1:39 — chapter i, on the Original
Miracle — that of Creation; Zockler, Theologie und Naturwissenschaft,
and Urgeschichte, 1-77; Reusch, Bib. Schopfungsgeschichte. On
difficulties of the nebular hypothesis, see Stallo, Modern Physics, 277-
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 a cosmic 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 and
(d) in the making known of his power, his wisdom and 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 and of the infinite perfection of
his own being..49

Romans 11:36 — “unto him are all things”; (Colossians 16 — “all
things have been created… unto him” (Christ); compare

Isaiah 48:11
— “for mine own sake, for mine own sake, will I do it… and my glory
will I not give to another” and

1 Corinthians 15:28 — “subject 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” (Revised Version).

Ephesians 1:5, 6, 9 — “having foreordained us… according to the
good pleasure of his will, to the praise of thc glory of his grace… mystery
of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him”;
Revelations 4:11 — “thou didst create all things, and because of thy will
they were, and were created.”

Isaiah 43:7 — “whom I have created for my glory”; 60:21 and
61:3 — the righteousness and blessedness of the redeemed are secured,
that “he maybe 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.”

Psalm 143:11 — “In thy righteousness bring my soul out of

Ezekiel 36:21, 22 — “I do not this for your sake… but for
mine holy name”; 39:7 — “my holy name will I make known”;

Romans 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, 23 — “riches of his glory” made
known in vessels of wrath, and in vessels of mercy;

Ephesians 3:9, 10
— “created 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; Hedge,
Systematic Theology, 1:436, 535, 565, 568. Per contra, see Miller, Fetich
in Theology 19, 39-45, 88-98, 143-146.
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..50
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, Llohensticl-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 cud, which is irrational, or from
an end which is impossible without wronging his creatures because (c) 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 (d) 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..51
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 we 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” (

Matthew 3:11). Alexander 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 our sins and us 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 ejle>gcw having this double
(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.

Isaiah 40:15, 16 — “Behold, 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

Hebrews 6:13, because he could
swear by none greater, he swore by himself so here we may say: because
he could choose no greater end in creating, he chose himself. But to swear.52
by himself is to swear by his holiness (

Psalm 88:35). 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 and secondly, so far as God has any love
for the creature, it is because he is himself diffused therein. The fullness
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 that 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
fullness 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.53
everything by it — he nothing except so far as it is his own will that we
should gain what he desires to bestow upon us.” In this last clause we find
the acknowledgment of weariness in the theory that God’s supreme end is
the good of his creatures. God does gain the fulfillment of his plan, the
doing of his will and 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, Dogmatic Theology, 1:357,
358; Shairp, Province of Poetry, 11, 12.
God’s love makes him a self-expressive 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,.54
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 artisan,
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
art 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) God’s 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
vainglory 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 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’ (

13:1). But there are no higher powers to God.” See Park, Discourses,
Bismarck’s motto: “Ohne Kaiser, kein Reich” — “Without an emperor,
there can be no empire” — applies to God, as Von Moltke’s motto: “Erst
wagen, dann wagen” “First weigh, then dare” — applies to man..55
Edwards, Works, 2:2l5 — “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, Pica 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 center and end of all
his creatures must find his center 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 Gods 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. 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 25:11 — “For thy names sake… Pardon mine
iniquity for it is great”; 115 — “Not unto us, O Jehovah, not unto us, But
unto thy name give glory’’;

Matthew 6:33 — “Seek ye first his
kingdom, an its righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto

1 Corinthians 10:31 — “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink or
whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God”;

1 Peter 2:9 — “ye 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 he glorified through Jesus Christ,.56
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.

Jeremiah 45:5 — “seekest 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 Corinthians 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 center. 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.
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, 85 — “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..57
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”

Genesis 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. Secondly, as
constituting, in part the means of future discipline and redemption for the
The coprolites of Saurians contain the scales and bones of fish, which
they have devoured.

Romans 8:20-22 — “For 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 Corinthians 4:17 — “our
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, lightening, 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.58
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, 1:33 — “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 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, 1375 — “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
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.59
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, and 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, Versohnung, 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

Psalm 96:10 “The world also is established
that it cannot be moved” — to the restoration of the inanimate creation;

Hebrews 12:27 — “And 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”; Revelations
21:1,5 — “a new heaven and a new earth… Behold, I make all things
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, even 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 fellowman. The most rational explanation
of physical evil in the universe is that of

Romans 8:20, 21 — “the
creation was subjected to vanity… by reason of him who subjected it” —
i.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.60
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 — l05; Johnson. in Bap. Rev., 6:141-154; Fairbairn, Philos.
Christ. Religion, 94-168.
2. To the wisdom and freewill 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. God was not moved by compulsion from
without and necessity from within 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 has a universe but that he
has 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, Encyclopadie, art.: Schopfung,
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 he have no heart. Formal will alone has no
heart. In God real freedom controls formal, as in fallen man, formal
controls real.”.61
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

Romans 3:28 — “to them that love God all
things work together for good”

1 Corinthians 3:21 — “all things are
For denial of optimism in any form, see Watson, Theol. Institutes, 1:419;
Hovey, God with Us, 206-208; Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:419, 432,
566, and 2:145; Lipsius, Dogmatik, 234-255; Flint, Theists, 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

Isaiah 5:4 — “what 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:

Ecclesiastes 2:11 — “all 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.
G. H. Beard, in Andover Rev., March, 1892 — “Schopenhaner utters one
New Testament truth: the utter delusiveness of self-indulgence. Life,.62
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., 253-260 — “Schopenhauer united Kant’s thought, ‘The inmost
life of all things is one,’ with the Hindu 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, Notebook: “Curious to imagine what mourning 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.
52:197 — “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.63
(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 nave been caused, so that God is in no proper sense its
(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. It is manifested in self-sacrificing love, to
deliver men from the manifold evils in which their sins have involved them.
(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 does 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.

Romans 3:25 — “whom 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”; 8:32 — “He that spared not his own Son has
delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us
all things?”

Hebrews 2:8, 9 — “we see not yet all things subjected to
him. But we behold… Jesus… crowned with glory and honor”;

17:3 — “he 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,
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, 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, ordained the salvation of all who could
wisely have been saved and has permitted the least evil that it was wise to

Revelation 4:11 — “Thou didst create all things, and because
of thy will they were, and were created.” Mason, Faith of the Gospel, 79.64
— “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 are good; 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 fullness. 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 bedbugs,.65
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 that had bitten him, he crushed the insect,
“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 naive 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 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
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 Khayy•m.
Rub•iy•t, 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 Remold 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 and
(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 creator-ship. If the world
is 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
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.67
of Strauss: “Trinity and creation, speculatively viewed, are one and the
same — only the one is viewed absolutely, the other empirically.”
Storrett, 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.
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, 241 — “The world cannot be necessitated in order to satisfy
either want or over fullness a 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, Dogma. 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.

Genesis 2:3 — “And God blessed the seventh day, and hallowed it;
because that in it he rested from all his work which had created and.68
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:

Genesis 4:3 — “And 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”;

Genesis 8:10, 12 — Noah twice
waited seven days before sending forth the dove from the ark;

29:27, 28 “fulfil the week”; cf.

Judges 14:12 — “the seven days of the

Exodus 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:

Exodus 20:8 —
“Remember 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 tunes had the body of the sock
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
are 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..69
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 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 2:27 — “The 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, 18 — “And 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 8th 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 for
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.70
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 also 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. If anywhere
the day is made holy for the mere sake of the day or if any one set up its
observance on a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, ride on
it, dance on it and 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.
Men can simultaneously observe no exact portion of absolute time 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 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

Hebrews 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.”.71
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” (

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” (Revelations
1:10) on which believers met regularly each week with their Lord

Acts 20:7 — “the first day of the week, when we were gathered
together to break bread”) and brought together their benevolent
contributions (

1 Corinthians 16:1, 2 — “Now 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 Psalm 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
or 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 Genesis 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.” (

Galatians 4:10,11 —
“Ye observe days, months, seasons and years. I am afraid of you, least by
any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain”;

Colossians 2:16,.72
17 — “Let 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,
Systematic Theology, 3:321-348: Lotz, Qumstiones 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

Matthew 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
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
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.74
or 32 and four-tenths tons per day. Encyclopædia Britannica, 11: — “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 Tomorrow, 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 and 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.”
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
powers. This divine activity, moreover, is declared to be the activity of
Christ as he is the mediating agent in creation and he is the mediating agent
in preservation.

Nehemiah 9:6 — “Thou 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

Job 7:20 — “O, thou watcher [margin ‘preserver’] of men!”;

Psalm 36:6 — “thou preservest man and beast”; 104:29, 30 — “Thou
takest away their breath, they die, And return to their dust. Thou sendest.75
forth thy Spirit, they are created And thou renewest the face of the
ground.” See Perowne on Psalm 104 — “A 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 17:28 — in him we live
and move and have our being”;

Colossians 1:17 — “in him all things

Hebrews 1:2, 3 — “upholding all things by the word of his

John 5:17 — “My Father worketh even until now and I work”
— refers most naturally to preservation since creation is a work
completed; compare

Genesis 2:2 — “on the seventh day God finished
his work which he had made and he rested on the seven day from all his
work which he had made,” God is the upholder of physical life see

Psalm 66:8, 9 — “O, bless our God… who holdeth our soul in life.”
God is also the upholder of spiritual life; see

1 Timothy 6:13 — “I
charge thee in the sight of God who preserveth all things alive”
zwogonou~ntov tanta = the great Preserver enables us to persist in
our Christian course.

Matthew 4:4 — “Man 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

Psalm 104:26 — “There 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
(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 preservation” — i.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.76
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 is 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 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.77
God nor would creation mean anything.” But this independence is not
absolute. Even man lives, moves and has his being in God (

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, Introduction 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 Muller, 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 he 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 the transcendence. Natural forces
are God’s will but God’s will is more than they are. He is not the
equivalent of the All but its directing Mind. God is neither 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 it by pre-engagement to an end. Yet he is the
continuous source and supply of power to the system.”
Natural force is generic volition 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 centers which it both sets in motion and keeps to
their work. So the divine Will does not work in innumerable separate acts.78
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 is only the constant willing 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 God upholds them.
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. It is altogether more in harmony with the spirit and
teaching of the Gospel than the mechanical conceptions, which prevailed a
century ago and 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 Bibliotheca Sacra,
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..79
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. The English Herbert, Collins, Tindal and
Bolingbroke held this view in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
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 of
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 Teufelsdrtockh speak of “An
absentee God, sitting idle ever since the first Sabbath at the outside of the
universe, and seeing it go.” Blunt, Dictionary 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 and
Lord Bolingbroke its decline. Mount assailed the divine Person of the
founder of the faith, Collins its foundation in prophecy, Woolston its
miraculous attestation and Toland its canonical literature. Tindal took
more general ground and sought to show that a special revelation was.80
unnecessary, impossible and unverifiable; the religion of nature being
sufficient and superior to all religions of positive institution.”
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 pre-existing forces such as gravity,
elasticity and 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 fullness 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 Today, 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
Introduction to History of Old Covenant, lxxxii — xcviii..81
(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 inter-positions
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. 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 moldering stone as in the lifting of the
pillars of heaven and settling the foundations of the earth. 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 moldering of dust as in the kindling of the
day star.” See Pearson, Infidelity, 87; Hanne, Idee der absoluten
Personlichkeit, 76.
2. Continuous Creation.
This view regards the universe as from moment to moment the result of a
new creation. Theologians Edwards, Hopkins and Emmons of New
England held this view and, more recently in Germany, by Rothe.
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, l:164 —
l67 — 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.82
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
volition 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 Welt”
— “There can be no God without an accompanying world.” See Rothe,
Dogmatik, 1: l26 — l60, esp. 150, and Theol. Ethik, 1:186-190; also in
Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan. 1875:144. See also Lotze, Philos. of Religion, 81-
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 humans 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 momentarily 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.83
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 and science relates them to one another as
parts of a visible order. Religion does not tell of this interrelation and
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 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, 1895:509 —
“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. 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.84
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. l897:956; Prof. Gardiner, in
Philos. Rev., Nov. 1900:573-596.
How thorough going this idealism of Edwards was may be learned from
Noah Porters Discourse on Bishop George Berkeley, 71, and quotations
from Edwards, in Journ. Spec. Philos., Oct. 1883:40l — 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 shape be gradually communicated to us and to other
minds according to certain fixed and established methods and laws. 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 (BIackwood’s Philos..85
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 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 foot prints are in one direction. Either it is a bare unity —
the One annuls the many or it is simply the All — the non-unified 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 Muller, Doctrine of Sin, 1:220-
225; Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:258-272; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 50;
Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:577-581, 595; Dabney, Theology, 338,
(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 Corinthians 12:6 — “there are diversities of
workings, but the same God, who worketh all things in all”; cf.

Ephesians 1:23 — the church, “which is his body, the fullness 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.86
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” (

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 Corinthians 4:15) yet the New Testament speaks of this begetting
as the work of God (

1 Peter 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 (

Philippians 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. In evil action God gives
only the natural powers because only man causes the evil direction of
these powers.

Jeremiah 44:4 — “Oh, do not this abominable thing that
I hate”;

Habakkuk 1:12 — “Thou 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,
14 — “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God
cannot he 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” (

Exodus 32:24). Aaron leaves
out one important point — his 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.87
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 (

Hebrews 1:3). On the
importance of the idea of preservation in Christian doctrine, see Calvin,
Institutes, 1:182 (chapter 16)..88
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 foreseeing 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
(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

Corinthians 8:6 — “one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things”

John 5:17 — “My Father worketh even until now, and I work.”
The Germans have the word Fursehung, foreseeing, 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.89
subject of providence, see Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:272-284; Calvin,
Institutes, 1:182-219; Dick, Theology, 1:410-448; Hodge, Systematic
Theology, 1:581-616; Bibliotheca Sacra, 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 was 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 did, since God had ordered it. ‘Silently he left The
Presence, and prevented the king’s sin and helped 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

Matthew 10:30 — “The very
hairs of your head 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 one
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.90
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 nor well how seven times seven, Wronging our
mighty arms with rust, We dared not do the work (if 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 low, we can
believe that Love rules over all, and that “all things work together for
good to them that love God” (

Romans 8:28).
1. Scriptural Proof
The Scripture witnesses to:
A. A general providential government and control.91
(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 and
(k) in the exposure and punishment of the wicked.

Psalm 103:19 — “his kingdom ruleth over all”; Dan. 4:35 —
“doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the
inhabitants of the earth”;

Ephesians 1:11 — “worketh all things after
the counsel of his will.”

Job 37:5, 10 — “God thundereth… By the breath of God ice is

Psalm 104:14 — “causeth the grass to grow for the cattle;
125:6, 7 — “Whatsoever Jehovah pleased, that hath he done, In heaven
and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps… vapor… lightning… wind”;

Matthew 5:45 — “maketh his sun to rise… sendeth rain”;

104:16 — “The trees of Jehovah are filled” = are planted and tended by
God as carefully as those which come under human cultivation; cf.

Matthew 6:30 — “if God so clothe the grass of the field.”

Psalm 104:21, 23 — “young lions roar… seek their food from
God… that thou givest them they gather”; Matthew 6:26 — “birds of the
heaven… your heavenly Father feedeth them”; 10:29 — “two sparrows…
not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father.”

Job 12:23 — “He increaseth the nations, and he destroyeth them:
He enlargeth the nations, and he leadeth them captive;

Psalm 22:23 —
“the kingdom is Jehovah’s; And he is the ruler over the nations”; 66:7 —
“He ruleth by his might forever; His eyes observe the nations’’;

17:26 — “made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face earth,
having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their
habitation” (instance Palestine, Greece, England.)

1 Samuel 16:1 — “fill thy horn with oil, and go: I will send thee to
Jesse the Bethlehemite; for I have provided me a king among his sons”;

Psalm 139:16 — “Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance, And
in thy book were all my members written”;

Isaiah 45:5 — “I will gird.92
thee, though thou hast not known me”:

Jeremiah 1:5 — “Before I
formed thee in the belly I knew thee… sanctified thee… appointed thee”;

Galatians 1:15, 16 — “God, 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.”

Psalm 75:6, 7 — “neither 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 1:52 — “He hath put down princes
from their thrones, And hath exalted them of low degree.”

Proverbs 16:33 — “The lot is cast into the lap; But the whole
disposing thereof is of Jehovah”;

Matthew 10:30 — “the very hairs of
your head are all numbered.”
(h) Ps,4:8 — “In peace will I both lay me down and sleep; For thou,
Jehovah, alone makest me dwell in safety”; 5:12 — “thou wilt compass
him with favor as with a shield”; 63:8 — “Thy right hand upholdeth me”;
121:3 — “that keepeth thee will not slumber”;

Romans 8:28 — “to
them that love God all things work together for good.”

Genesis 22:8, 14 — “God will provide himself the lamb…
Jehovah-jireh” (margin that is, ‘Jehovah will see,’ or ‘provide’);

Deuteronomy 8:3 — “man doth not live by bread only, but by every
thing that proceedeth out of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live”;

Philippians 4:19 — “my God shall supply every need of yours.”

Psalm 68:10 — “Thou, O God, didst prepare of thy goodness for
the poor”;

Isaiah 64:4 — “neither hath the eye seen a God besides
thee, who worketh for him that waiteth for him”;

Matthew 6:8 —
“your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him”;
32, 33 — “all these things shall be added unto you.”

Psalm 7:12, 13 — “If 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”; 11:6 — “Upon
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.93
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
“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 center of the Italian
seacoast, and had to depend on discipline to make headway against
marauders on the surrounding hills. Only when drawn into foreign contest
did the ascendancy 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 similar 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
isolation. Isolation however gave rise to arrogance and self-assertion. The
island became a natural center 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
Isaac Taylor, Spirit of Hebrew Poetry, has a valuable chapter on Palestine
as the providential theater of divine revelation. A little land, yet a sample
land of all lands, a thoroughfare between the greatest lands of antiquity, it
was fitted by God to receive and to communicate his truth. George Adam.94
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 a Roman indifference to scientific explanation of facts on the other.
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 maybe found in Shaler, Nature and Man in America.
Instance the settlement of Massachusetts Bay between l629 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 built
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 the steamboat in 1807, the railroad
locomotive in 1829, the telegraph in 1837 and the 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
Compiegne 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 and (B) to the sinful acts of men also.

Exodus 12:36 — “Jehovah 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 Samuel 24:18 — “Jehovah had delivered me up into
thy hand (Saul to David);

Psalm 33:14, 15 — “He 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);

Proverbs 16:1 — “The plans of
the heart belong to man; But the answer of the tongue is from Jehovah”;
19:21 — “There are many devices in a man’s heart; But the counsel of.95
Jehovah that shall stand”; 20:24 — “A man’s goings are of Jehovah; How
then can man understand his way?” 21:1 “The king’s heart is on 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)

Jeremiah 10:23 —
“O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man
that walketh to direct his steps”;

Philippians 2:13 — “it is God who
worketh in you both so will and to work, for his good pleasure”;

Ephesians 2:10 — “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them”;

James 4:13-15 — “If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or

2 Samuel 16:10 — “because Jehovah hath said unto him [Shimei]:
Curse David”; 24:1 — “the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel,
and he moved David against then, saying, Go, number Israel and Judah”;

Romans 11:32 — “God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he
might have mercy upon all”;

2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12 — “God sent
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 honeycomb 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.

Genesis 20:6 — Of Abimelech: “I also withheld thee from sinning
against me”; 31:24 — “And God came to Laben 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 19:13 — “Keep back thy servant.96
also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me”;

Hosea 2:6 — “Behold, 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
(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 Chronicles 32:31 — “God left him [Hezekiah], to try him, that he
might know all that was in his heart”; cf.

Deuteronomy 8:2 — “that he
might humble thee, to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart.”

Psalm 17:13, 14 — “Deliver my soul from the wicked, who is thy
sword, from men who are thy hand, O Jehovah”;

Psalm 81:12, 13 —
“So 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,
and Israel had walked in my ways”;

Isaiah 53:4 — “Surely he hath
borne our grief… Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him”;

Hosea 4:17
— “Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone”;

Acts 14:16 — “who in
the generations gone by suffered all the nations to walk in their own

Romans 1:24, 28 — “God 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”; 3:25 — “to show his righteousness,.97
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 Samuel 18:10 — “an 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” (

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 Samuel 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 Psalm
s 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 bad
been slandered rebelled when told that God had permitted it for her good
and 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.

Genesis 50:20 — “as 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

Psalm 76:10 — “the wrath of man shall praise thee: The
residue of wrath shalt then gird upon thee” = put on as an ornament —
clothe thyself with it for thine own glory;

Isaiah 10:5 — “O Asyrian,
the rod of mine anger and the staff in whose hand is mine indignation”;

John 13:27 — “What thou doest, do quickly” do in a particular way
what is actually being done (Westcott. Bib. Com. in loco

Acts 4:27,.98
28 — “against thy holy Servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both
Herod and Pontius Pilate, ran the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, were
gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel foreordained
to come to pass.”
To this head of directive providence should probably be referred the
passages with regard to Pharaoh in

Exodus 4:21 — “I will harden his
heart, and he will not let the people go” 7:13 — “and Pharaoh’s heart was
hardened”; 8:15 — “he hardened his heart — i. 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. 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 that
would have influenced to right action. A well disposed mind 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 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 mountainside 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

Romans 9:17, 18 — “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. So, then he hath mercy on whom he wilt and whom
he will he hardeneth.” Thus the very passions which excite men to rebel
against God are made completely subservient to his purposes; see
Annotated Paragraph Bible, on

Psalm 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 Tomorrow,
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.99
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 volition 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 1:12 — “And Jehovah said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is
in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thy hand”; 2:6 — “Behold,
he is in thy hand; only spare his life”;

Psalm 124:2 — “If it had not
been Jehovah who was on our side, when men rose up against us; Then
had they swallowed us up alive”;

1 Corinthians — 10:13 — “will 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 Thessalonians 2:7 — “For the mystery of lawlessness doth already
work; only there is one that restraineth now until he be taken out of the

Revelation 20:2, 3 — “And he laid hold on the dragon, the old
serpent which is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand
Pepper, Outlines of Systematic Theology, 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 coexist,
each in its integrity. Any doctrine which does not allow this is false to
Scripture and destructive of religion.”
2. Rational proof.100
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, 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. This administration of justice is providence.
For heathen ideas of providence, see Cicero, Be 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. You are 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
Bibliotheca Sacra, 16:374. As we shall see, however, many of the heathen
writers believed in a general, rather than in a particular providence.
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

John 5:17 — “My Father worketh yet 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 hearts-ease 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..101
3. Where cats stay at home, field mice abound.
4. Where field mice abound, the nests of bumblebees are destroyed.
5. Where bumblebee’s nests are destroyed, there is no fertilization of
pollen. Therefore, where dogs go loose, no hearts-ease 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
“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
denied the fate of the world — as Xerxes found at Theromopylæ and
Napoleon at Waterloo. Great movements are generally begun without
consciousness of their greatness. Cf.

Isaiah 42:16 — “I will bring the
blind by a way that they know not”

1 Corinthians 5:37, 38 — “thou
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,.102
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” (

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 asceticism, 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
James Russell Lowell, Letters, 2:51, suggests that God’s calm control of
the forces 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.
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,.103
(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 and
(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 and 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 sin 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 and 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 Baghdad 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..104
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; 93-108;
Mill, Autobiography, 168-170, and System of Logic, 521-526; Hamilton,
Metaphysics, 692; Stewart Active and Moral Powers of Man, ed. Walker,
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.
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 riverbeds 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
the Church of God or ourselves 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.105
notion the fact that the causal judgment is formed in accordance with a
fundamental and necessary law of human thought. No science or
knowledge is possible without the assumption of its validity.

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 also 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.
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 infinity’ could be.106
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), 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 southwest, 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 Andre’s lack of self-possession in presence of his captors, which.107
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 and 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 my
self at once to learn German and I went to Gottingen, 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 Lutzen, the
course of history apparently would have been changed, if there had not
been a Newton and a Darwin.” The annexation of Corsica to France 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 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.108
men will not worship or recognize a God who has no direct relation to
Man’s cares 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 or if rain or sun may act like fate sweeping
away the results of years and God have no hand in it all or 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 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 (

Galatians 3:13). The same law that rounds the planets
into spheres molds the dewdrop. Genesis 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 Scribners Monthly for June, 1890:
“Constrained at the darkest hour humbly to confess that without God’s
help I was helpless. I vowed in the forest solitude 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.109
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.
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 on our daily life, as much as by the useful
adaptations, which we see in nature.

Psalm 137:23-28 — “They 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 businessman. 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.110
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 also 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

Job 28:10 — “He 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 Corinthians 19:4 — “and 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

2 Corinthians 2:14 — “But thanks be to 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”

Ephesians 3:1). It was Christ who had shut him up two years In
Cesarean and then two succeeding years in Rome.
1. To miracles and works of grace..111
Particular providence is the agency at God in what seem to us the minor
affairs of nature and human life. Special providence is only an instance 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 providence.
They too, like special providence, 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. 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. 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 29). 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 providence is that the latter give some warrant, while.112
the former give full warrant, for believing that they are wrought by God.
He calls special providence “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’ (

Numbers 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 or between special providence
and miracle is an arbitrary one. 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 Gomorrah.” There is abundant evidence of volcanic action at
the Dead Sea. See article on the Physical Preparation for Israel in
Palestine, by G. Frederick Wright, in Bibliotheca Sacra, April, 1901:364.
The three great miracles — the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the
parting of the waters of the Jordan and 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” (

Genesis 19:28). 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
that Christ is absolute Lord of nature. For the naturalistic view, see
Tyndall on Miracles and Special Providence, 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, Defense 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..113
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 bootstraps. David Hume said well, after heating 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.114
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.
1Kings 17:9 — “behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain
thee.” But God could also feed Elijah by the ravens and the angel
(1Ki.17:4; 19:15), and the pouring rain that followed Elijah’s prayer
(1Ki.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 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.
Those who see in nature no force but the all working will of God might
well hold this third theory. 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”

Matthew 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 and in Romanism the church
will do it all for you..115
(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. If it were, 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 to our
bidding all the better because they are uniform. And our servants are not
God’s master’s.” 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 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.”.116
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 preexisted 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. The rush of elements into chemical union must have been
consummated with inconceivable rapidity. Uniformitarianism is not
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 Psycho.
Research: “Thought transference may involve a critical point, as the
physicists call it. This 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
Since prayer is nothing more nor less than an 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. In other words, prayer 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..117
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. The first step once taken,
all the phenomena constituting combustion engender each other,
conformably to their laws, without a new intervention of the agent. 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 which promotes 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 prearranged 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. Both temporal and spiritual results
are to be attained by intelligent creatures through the use of the appropriate
and appointed means.
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 pre-designed 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 skeptical 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.”.118
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 outdoor 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.” He then 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. Every true prayer is part of the
plan of the universe linked in with all the rest and provided for at the
beginning. God is in nature and in mind supervising all their movements
and making all fulfill his will and reveal his personal care. God can adjust
the forces of nature to each other far more skillfully than can man when
man produces effects which nature of itself could never accomplish. 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 then 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.119
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 and the thunder is God’s voice. What we call Nature the Jews
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 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.

Psalm 116:1-8 — “I love Jehovah because he heareth my voice and
my supplications.” Luther prays for the dying Melanchthon, and he
recovers. George Muller 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.120
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) The 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.

Isaiah 7:10-13 — Ahaz is rebuked for not asking a sign — in him it
indicated unbelief. 1Kings 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

Matthew 21:21, 22 — “even 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.121
mere curiosity or skepticism, as in the case of the Jews who sought a sign
from heaven.

Matthew 12:39 — “An 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 Muller: “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” (

Matthew 26:39) and Paul’s prayer that the “thorn in the
flesh” might depart from him

2 Corinthians 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;.122

Malachi 3:10 — “Bring ye the whole tithe into the storehouse… and
prove me now herewith, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and
roar 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 (

Romans 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 time 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 maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be
uttered” (

Romans 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.123
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. We then can 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. 11:12. 13 — Asa “sought not to
Jehovah, but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers.’ They
forget than 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 escaped drowning.”
“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.124
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”(

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 powerhouse does not make unnecessary the trolley line nor
the secondary motor nor the conductor’s application of the power. The
quietism is a resting in the Lord after we have done our part.”

37:7 — “Rest in Jehovah, and wait patiently for him”;

Isaiah 57:2 —
“Be 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 Muller, 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 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”

Matthew 6:26), not by dropping food from heaven into their mouths.125
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 4:1
— “believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of
God.” The test is the revealed word of God;

Isaiah 8:20 — “To 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,
(b) In opposition to naturalism, we hold that God is continually near the
human spirit by his providential working. 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 providence, as in interpreting Scripture, we are
independent 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. It is a fine sense of
God’s providential purposes with regard to us, which will make our true
course plain to ourselves even though 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

Psalm 106:13, “They waited
not for his counsel,” the true believer has wisdom given him from above.

Psalm 32:8 — “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which
thou shalt go”;

Proverbs 3:6 — “In all thy ways acknowledge him,
And he will direct thy paths”;

Philippians 1:9 — “And this I pray, that
your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all
discernment” (aijsqh>sei = spiritual discernment);

James 1:5 — “if
any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth tou~ dido>ntov
Qeou~ to all liberally and upbraideth not”;

John 15:15 — “No longer
do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth but
I have called you friends”;

Colossians 1:9,10 — “that 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.”.126
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” (

Ephesians 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 Leading see A. H. Strong,
Philosophy and Religion. 560-562
Abraham “went out, not knowing whither he went” (

Hebrews 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

Isaiah 42:16 — “I 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 built 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” (

Romans 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:.127
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 liking 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 4:58 — “One adequate support For
the calamities of mortal life Exists, one only: an assured belief That the
procession of our fate, however 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..128
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 its persuasions.
(b) 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 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 smoothes the path of the sinner. He 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, on 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 and the worship of images
helps modern art, monasticism, scholasticism, the Papacy and even
skeptical 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. Bun 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.129
cage but could not keep himself from starting when the cobra struck.
Tacitus, Annales, 14:5”Noctem sideribus illustrem, quasi convincendum
ad scelus, dii præbuere” — “a night brilliant with stars, as if for the
purpose of proving the crime, was granted by the gods.” See F. A. Noble,
Our Redemption, 59-75, 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.

Isaiah 10:5, 7 — “Ho 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

Exodus 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.

Colossians 2:15 — “having 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 for good” (

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.130
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 whets 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 skillful 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 marvelous 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 one 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)..131
As ministers of divine providence, there is a class of finite beings greater in
intelligence and power than man in his present state of whom some
positively serve God’s purpose by holiness and voluntary execution of his
will. Others serve 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. How many angels could stand at once on the point of a needle
(relation of angels to space)? Could an angel be in two places at the same
time? How great was the interval between the creation of angels and their
fall? Did the sin of the first angel cause the sin of the rest and whether as
many retained their integrity as fell? Is our atmosphere the place of
punishment for fallen angels? Do 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” (

Psalm 78:25), and if angels ate (

18:8), it was argued that we must take the logical consequences.
Scholastics have debated these questions.
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 angel’s 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 skepticism as to his
In medieval times men’s minds were weighed down by the terror of the
spirit of evil. It was thought possible to sell one’s soul Satan, and such
compacts were 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 yonder thou 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.
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 Old Testament, 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.133
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.

Colossians 2:10 —
“who is the head of all principality and power” Christ is the head of
angels us well as of men;

Ephesians 1:10 — “to sum up all things in
Christ the things in the heavens and the things on 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, translation in Bibliotheca Sacra, 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, Encyclopadie,
arts.: Engel, Teufel; Jewett, Diabolology — the Person and Kingdom of
Satan; Alexander, Demonic Possession.
1. As to the nature and attributes of angels.
(a) They are created beings.

Psalm 148:2-5 — “Praise ye him, all his angels… For he commanded
and they were created”;

Colossians 1:16 — “for in him were all things
created… whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers”; cf.

1 Peter 3:32 — “angels and authorities and powers.” God alone is
uncreated and eternal. This is implied in 2 Timothy 6:16 — “who only
hath immortality”
(b) They are incorporeal beings..134

Hebrews 1:14, where a single word is used to designate angels, they
are described as “spirits” — “are 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

Ephesians 6:12 — “for our wrestling is not against flesh and blood,
but against… the spiritual hosts [or ‘things’] of wickedness in the
heavenly places”; cf.

Ephesians 1:3; 2:6. In

Genesis 6:2 — “sons
of God” = not angels, but descendants of Seth and worshipers of the true
God (see Murphy, Com., in loco). In

Psalm 78:25 (A. V.), “angels’
food” = manna coming from heaven where angels dwell; better, however,
read with Revised Version: “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

Matthew 22:30 — “neither marry, nor are given in marriage,
but are as angels in heaven” — and

Luke 20:36 — “neither can they
die anymore: 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
There are no “souls of angels,” as there are “souls of men” (Revelations
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 the 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” (

Matthew 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 Samuel 14:20 — “wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of

Luke 4:34 — “I know thee who thou art the Holy One of God”;

2 Timothy 2:26 — “snare of the devil … taken captive by him unto
his will”; Revelations 22:9 — “See thou do it not” exercise of will;

Revelation 12:12 — “The devil is gone down unto you, having great
wrath” = set purpose of evil..135
(d) They are possessed of superhuman intelligence and power, yet an
intelligence and power that has its fixed limits.

Matthew 24:36 — “of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the
angels of heaven” their knowledge, though superhuman, is yet finite.

Peter 1:12 — “which things angels desire to look into”;

Psalm 103:20
— “angels… mighty in strength”;

2 Thessalonians 1:7 — “the angels
of his power”;

2 Peter 2:11 — “angels, though greater [than men] in
might and power;

Revelation 20:2, 10 — “laid hold on the dragon…
and bound him… cast into the like of fire.” Compare

Psalm 72:18 —
“God… Who only doeth wondrous things” = only God can perform
miracles. Angels are imperfect compared with God (

Job 4:18; 15:15;
Power, rather than beauty or intelligence, is their striking characteristic.
They are ‘principalities and powers” (

Colossians 1:16). They terrify
those who behold them (

Matthew 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 most tender ministrations they strengthen

Luke 22:43; cf.

Daniel 10:19);

1 Timothy 6:15 — “King of
kings and Lord of lords — “the words “kings” and “lords”
(basileuo>ntwn and kurieuo>ntwn) 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 up from the evil
(e) They are an order of intelligences distinct from man and older than man
Angels are distinct from man.

1 Corinthians 6:3 — “we shall judge

Hebrews 1:14 — “Are 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

Hebrews 2:16 — “for verily not to
angels doth he give help, but he giveth help to the seed of Abraham”, also
12:22, 21, where “the innumerable hosts of angels” are distinguished from
“the church of the firstborn” and “the spirits of just men made perfect.” In

Revelation 22:9 — “I am a fellow-servant with thee” — “fellow-servant”
intimates likeness to men, not in nature, but in service and.136
subordination to God, the proper object of worship. Sunday School
Times, Mch. 15, 1902:46 — “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 Corinthians 6:3), and
inferiors are not to judge superiors.”
Angels are an order of intelligences older than man is. 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 stars
= “sons of God,” so that angels are spoken of as present at certain stages
of God’s creative work. The mention of “the serpent” in

Genesis 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

Genesis 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.137
popular mind than had these errors of the Pharisees and Sadducees. That
Jesus did not correct or deny the general belief but rather he 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

Matthew 8:28.

Ephesians 3:10 — “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” — 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 (

Colossians 2:18) but would have
denied their existence, as he denied the existence of heathen gods (

Corinthians 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, 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. There is a personal being of great power, who carries
on organized opposition to the divine government..138
Crane, The Religion of Tomorrow, 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, 134-137. 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” (

Timothy 5:21) then would mean those saved after falling, not those saved
from falling; 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
Mephistoploeles 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.

Deuteronomy 33:2 — “Jehovah … came from the ten thousands of
holy ones”;

Psalm 68:17 — “The chariots of God are twenty
thousand, even thousands upon thousands”;

Daniel 7:10 —
“thousands of thousands ministered unto him and ten thousand times ten.139
thousand stood before him”;

Revelation 5:11 — “I 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.

Matthew 22:30 — “they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but
are as angels in heaven”;

Luke 20:30 — “neither 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 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
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 Old Testament, 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

Hebrews 2:16 — “not 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.

Ephesians 3:14, 15 — “the 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
patriai> are named from the path>r. 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,
anything through a society held together by a bonds 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.140
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.

Colossians 1:16 — “thrones or dominions or principalities or
powers”; 1Thess. 4:16 — “the voice of the archangel”; Jude 9 —
““Michael 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. This 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. This 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;

Galatians 3:19;

Hebrews 2:2; Josephus, Ant.,15:5, 3).
(d) They have an organization.

1 Samuel 1:11 — “Jehovah of hosts”;

1 Kings 22:19 — “Jehovah
sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his
right hand and on his left”;

Matthew 26:53 — “twelve legions of
angels” — suggests the organization of the Roman army; 25:41 — “the
devil and his angels”;

Ephesians 2:2 — “the prince of the powers in
the air”;

Revelation 2:13 — “Satan’s throne” (not “seat”); 16:10 —
“throne of the beast” — “a hellish parody of the heavenly kingdom”
(Trench). The phrase “host of heaven,” in

Deuteronomy 4:19; 17:3;

Acts 7:42, probably = the stars but in

Genesis 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 Chronicles 18:18;


Revelation 19:14 — “the armies which are in heaven.” Yet in.141

Nehemiah 9:6 and

Psalm 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”

Ephesians 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 is (

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 in the account of the Fall in

Genesis 3:1-15; the second in

Leviticus 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 (1Chron. 21:1); the
fourth in the book of

Job 1:6-12; the fifth in

Zechariah 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, page 11, thinks 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 the ‘cherubim’ of Genesis, Exodus, and Ezekiel and 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. They are 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. Dictionary, art.:
Che0406rub; Alford, Com. on

Revelation 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, as a part of nature; as
having a soul, he emerges from nature and gives to nature a voice..142
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. They are symbols of human nature, not of divine or
angelic perfections. (

Exodus 1:5 — “they had the likeness of man”;

Revelation 5:9 — A. V. — “thou hast redeemed us to God by thy
blood” — so read a, B and Tregelles, the Eng. and Am. Revised Version,
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 king like 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;

Revelation 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

Ezekiel 1:12 — “whither 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 in-woven with
cherubic figures and God’s glory was manifested on the mercy seat
between the cherubim (

Ezekiel 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 free of life for man, until by sacrifice
and renewal Paradise should be regained (

Genesis 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;
Bibliotheca Sacra, 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.143
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 and so 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. Breal-Semantics suggests that the three
heads may be dog heads, while the hundred heads may be the heads
snakes. 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 God’s life in the universe as a whole.

Ezekiel 28:14-19 — “the 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,
159-189. On animal characteristics in man, see Hopkins, Scriptural Idea
of Man, 105.
3. As to their moral character.
(a) They were all created holy.

Genesis 1:31 — “God saw everything that he had made and, behold, it
was very good”; Jude 6 — “angels that kept not their own beginning —
ajrch>n 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 Timothy 5:21 — “the elect angels”; cf.

Peter 1:1, 2 — “elect… 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 Elliott on

1 Timothy 5:21. Mason,
Faith of the Gospel, 106-108 — “

Genesis 3:14 — “Because 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 in 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
(c) Some preserved their integrity.

Psalm 89:7 — “the counsel of the holy ones” — a designation of

Mark 8:38 — “the holy angels.” Shakespeare, Macbeth, 4:3
— “Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.”
(d) Some fell from their state of innocence.

John 8:44 — “He was a murderer from the beginning, and standeth
not in the truth, because there is no truth in him;

2 Peter 2:4 —
“angels when they sinned”; Jude 6 — “angels 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.

Matthew 6:10 — “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth”; 18:10
— “in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is
in heaven”;

2 Corinthians 11:14 — “an angel of light.”
(f) The evil are confirmed in evil.

Matthew 13:10 — “the evil one”

1 John 5:18, 19 — “the evil one
toucheth him not ….the whole world lieth in the evil one”; cf.

8:44 — “Ye are of your father the devil… when he speaketh a lie, he
speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the is the father thereof”;

Matthew 6:13 — “deliver 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
and they are drawn in Christ more closely to God and to us. In short, they
are confirmed in their integrity by the cross. See

1 Peter 1:12 —
“which things angels desire to look into”;

Ephesians 3:10 — “that now
unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be
made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God”;

Colossians 1:20 — “through him to reconcile all things unto himself
… whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens”;

1:10 — “to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the
things upon the earth” = “the unification of the whole universe in Christ.145
as the divine center. 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 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 center around which the universe revolves.”
4 As to their employment.
A. The employment of good angels.
(a) They stand in the presence of God and worship him.

Psalm 29:1, 2 — “Ascribe 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.”

Psalm 89:7 — “a 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.”

Matthew 18:10 — “in 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 38:7 — “all the sons of God shouted for joy”

Luke 15:10 —
“there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that
repenteth”; cf.

2 Timothy 2:25 — “if peradventure God may give them.146
repentance.” Dante represents the angels that are nearest to God, the
infinite source of life, as ever advancing toward the springtime of youth,
so that the oldest angels are the youngest.
(c) They execute God’s will — by working in nature.

Psalm 103:20 — “Ye his angels… that fulfill his word, Hearkening
unto the voice of his word; ‘ 104:4 marg. — “Who maketh his angels
winds; His ministers a flaming fire,” i.e., lightning. See Alford on

Hebrews 1:7 — “The order of the Hebrew words here [in

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 messengers’
can give no reason.”
Farrar on

Hebrews 1:7 — “He maketh his angels winds”: “The
Rabbis often refer to the fact that God makes his angels assume any form
he pleases, whether man (

Genesis 18:2) or woman (

Zechariah 5:9
— “two women and the wind was in their wings”), or wind or flame

Exodus 3:2 — “Angel… in a flame of fire”;

2 Kings 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

Revelation 14:18 — an angel ‘that hath power
over fire’;

John 5:4 — intermittent spring under charge of an angel;

Matthew 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;

Daniel 10:12, 13, 21 — “I 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” 11:1 — “And as for me in the
first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him”;
12:1 — “at 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 ease may not be due to the unseen
“principalities” under which men live. Paul certainly recognizes, in

Ephesians 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.147
entrusted with influence over national affairs to counteract the evil and
help the good?
(e) by watching over the interests of particular churches;

1 Corinthians 11:10 — “for 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 is her 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.”

Colossians 2:18 — “Let 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 Timothy 5:21 — “I 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” (Revelations 1:20) as
superhuman beings appointed to represent and guard the churches and
that upon the grounds that the word is used elsewhere in the book of
Revelation only in this sense. Nothing in the book is addressed to a
teacher individually but all to someone 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. 1:13
— “Haggai, 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 Bibliotheca
Sacra 12:3539). John Lightfoot, Hebrews 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, Ecclesiastical
Polity, 100 and note. In the Irvingite church, accordingly, “angels”
constitute an official class.
(f) by assisting and protecting individual believers;

1 Kings 19:5 — “an angel touched him [Elijah], and said unto him,
Arise and eat”;

Psalm 91:11 — “he 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”;

Daniel 6:22 — “My God.148
hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths; and they have not
hurt me;

Matthew 4:11 — “angels came and ministered unto him” —
Jesus was the type of all believers; 18:10 — “despise 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 6 — “one 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 16:22 — “the beggar
died, and… was carried away by the angels into Abraham’s bosom”;

Hebrews 1:14 — “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do
service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?” Compare

Acts 12:15 — “And 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

Matthew 18:10
— “It 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 Kings 19:35 — “It came to pass that night that the angel of Jehovah
went forth and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred fourscore and
five thousand”;

Acts 12:23 — “And 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 employment 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. They are 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 (

Deuteronomy 33:2;

Acts 7:53;

Galatians 3:19;

Hebrews 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 between God, and us 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.149
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 (

3:19); at the birth of Christ (

Luke 2:13); at the two temptations in the
wilderness and in Gethsemane (

Matthew 4:11,

Luke 22:43); at the
resurrection (

Matthew 28:2); at the ascension (

Acts 1:10); at the
final judgment (

Matthew 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” (

Colossians 2:18)
seems to suggest the reason. If men have not abstained from worshiping
their fellowmen, 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

Revelation 22:8, 9 —
“I 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 skeptical
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 may, because Christ took, not the nature of angels, but the nature
of man (

Hebrews 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 38:7 — “When the
morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy”;

Deuteronomy 33:2 — “Jehovah came from Sinai… he came from the.150
ten thousands of holy ones: At his right hand was a fiery law for them”;

Galatians 3:19 — “it [the law] was ordained through angels by the
hand of a mediator”

Hebrews 2:2 — “the word spoken through

Acts 7:53 — “who received the law as it was ordained by

Luke 2:13 — “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude
of the heavenly host”;

Matthew 4:11 — ““Then the devil leaveth him;
and behold, angels came and ministered unto him”;

Luke 22:43 —
“And there appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him”:

Matthew 28:2 — “an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and
came and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it”;

Acts 1:10 — “And
while they were looking steadfastly into heaven as he went, behold, two
men stood by them in white apparel”;

Matthew 25:31 — “when 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 or
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 rose leaf 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 and Method of
Revelation, 276 — “The facts of hypnotism illustrate the possibility of
one mind falling into a strange thralldom under another.” If other men can
so power fully 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.151
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 we
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 consciousness 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 employment 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 and, 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”;

Zechariah 3:1
— “Joshua the high priest… and Satan standing at his right hand to be his

Matthew 13:39 — “the enemy that sowed them is the
devil”; 1 Pet. 5:8 — “your adversary the devil.” Satan slanders God to
men, in

Genesis 3:4 — “Yea, hath God said?… “Ye shall not surely
die”; men to God, in

Job 1:9, 11 — “Doth 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, 5 — “Skin 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”; Revelations l2:l0 “the
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 16:8 — “he, when he
is come, will convict the world in respect of sin, act of righteousness and
of judgment”;

Romans 8:26 — “the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity
for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh
intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.” Hence Balaam
can say:

Numbers 23:21, “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob,
Neither bath he seen perverseness in Israel”; and the Lord can say to
Satan as he resists Joshua: “Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; yea, Jehovah.152
that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee” (

Zechariah 3:2). “Thus he
puts himself between his people and very tongue that would accuse them”
(C. H. M.). For the description of the “man of sin,” see

Thessalonians 2:3, 4 — “he that opposeth”; cf. verse 9 — “whose 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 Thessalonians 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 fulfillment does not preclude a future and final
fulfillment of the prophecy.
Contrasts between the Holy Spirit and the spirit of evil:
1. The dove and the serpent contrasted,
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 sifting and the Master 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 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
(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 2:7 — “all that he hath is in thy power” — and Satan uses
lightning, whirlwind, disease, for his purposes;

Luke 13:11, 16 — “a
woman that had a spirit of infirmity… whom Satan had bound, lo, these
eighteen years”

Acts 10:38 — “healing all that were oppressed of the

2 Corinthians 12:7 — “a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of
Satan to buffet me”:1Thess. 2:18 — “we would fain have come unto you,
I Paul once and again and Satan hindered us”;

Hebrews 2:14 — “him
that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Temptation is ascribed to
evil spirits in

Genesis 3:1 sq. — “Now the serpent was more subtle”;

Revelation 2:20 — “the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan”;

Matthew 4:3 — “the tempter came”;

John 13:27 — “after the sop,
then entered Satan into him”;

Acts 5:3 — “why bath Satan filled thy
heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?”

Ephesians 2:2 — “the spirit that now
worketh in the soul of disobedience”;

1 Thess. 3:5 — “led by any
means the tempter had tempted you”;

1 Peter 5:8 — “your 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 and 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 their 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 stats das Bose will
Und stats das Gute schafft” — “Part 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.154
sulfur 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 4:15 — “when they have
heard, straightway cometh Satan, and taketh away the word which hath
been sown in them”; his positive agency in Matthew 13:38, 39 — “the
tares are the sons of the evil one and the enemy that sowed them is the
devil.” One devil, but many angels: see

Matthew 25:41 — “the devil
and his angels”;

Mark 5:9 — “My name is Legion, for we are many”;
Ephesians2:2 — “the prince of the powers of the air”; 6:12 —
“principalities … 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

Matthew 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”

Genesis 3:5).
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.
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 but they are addressed
directly 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..155
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

Matthew 17:15, 18 — “epileptic… the demon went out from him and
the boy was cured”;

Mark 9:25 — “Thou dumb and deaf spirit”; 3:11,
12 — “the unclean spirits… cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. And
he charged them much that they should not make him known”;

8:30, 31 — “And 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, 18 —
“And 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 and 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.156

Matthew 4:24, gives Meyer’s arguments against demoniacal
possession as follows:
1. There is an absence of references to demoniacal possession in the Old
Testament and the fact that exorcists cured so-called demoniacs.
2. Presently there is no clear case of possession.
3. 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.
Satan is said to enter into a man’s mind and take control there (

4. 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.”

Mark 1:21-34, see Maclaren in S. S. Times, Jan. 23, l904 — “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 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. 1855 — “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..157
(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:

Psalm 78:49 — “He cast upon them the
fierceness of his anger, wrath and indignation and trouble, A band of
angels of evil”; 1Kings 22:23 — “Jehovah 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 Corinthians 5:5 —
“deliver 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 Timothy 1:20
— “Hymenæus Alexander, whom I delivered unto 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) there was excommunication from the church.
(2) There was authoritative infliction of bodily disease or death.
(3) There was loss of all protection from good angels who minister only to
saints and
(4) there was subjection to the buffetings and tormenting of the great accuser.
Gould, in Am. Com. on 1Colossians 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
Evil spirits illustrate the nature and fate of moral evil: see

8:29 — “art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”; 25:41 —
“eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels”;

Thessalonians 2:8 — “then shall be revealed the lawless one”;

2:19 — “the demons also believe, and shudder”;

Revelation 12:9 “the
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”;
20:10 — “cast 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 Corinthians 10:20 — “the.158
things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons; and not to

2 Thessalonians 2:8 — “the working of Satan with all power
and signs of lying wonders” — would seem to favor an affirmative
answer. But

1 Corinthians 8:4 — “concerning 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). 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 and 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. 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 employment 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 consent
of the human will and may be resisted and shaken off through prayer and
faith in God.

Luke 22:31, 40 — “Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as
wheat… Pray that ye enter not into temptation”;

Ephesians 6:11 —
“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the
wiles of the devil”; 16 — “the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able.159
to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one”:

James 4:7 — “resist the
devil and he will flee from you”;

1 Peter 5:9 — “whom withstand
steadfast 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, 4 — “Why 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
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.”

Matthew 12:43-45 — “The 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 himself” implies 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.”
Hoffding, 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.160
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 to 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

Zechariah 3:2). By thine election of me, rebuke him, I pray thee, and
deliver me from ‘the power of the dog!’ (

Psalm 22:20).”
Secondly, their power is limited, both in time and in extent, by the
permissive will of God. Evil spirits are not 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 Corinthians 10:13 — “God 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 6 — “angels
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 to 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 attributed to Satan. All this was a relic of the
medieval 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” (

Hebrews 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 (


1 John 3:8 — “To 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.161
power is limited, (1) by the fact that he is a creature, (2) by the fact of
God’s providence and (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.
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 as, corresponding to character
— conditions in which the body and the surroundings of the soul express
and reflect its inward state. The main thing to be insisted on is therefore.162
the state; place is merely incidental. The fact that Christ ascended to
heaven with a human body and that the saints are to possess glorified
bodies would seem to imply that heaven is a place. Christ’s declaration
with regard to him who is “able to destroy both soul and body in hell”

Matthew 10:28) affords some reason for believing that hell is also a
Where heaven and hell are, is not revealed to us. But it is not necessary to
suppose that they are in some remote part of the universe; for all we
know, they may be right about us so that if our eyes were opened, like
those of the prophet’s servant (

2 Kings 6:17), we ourselves should
behold them. Upon ground of

Ephesians 2:2 — “prince of the powers
of the air” and 3:10 — “the principalities and the powers in the heavenly
places” — some have assigned the atmosphere of the earth as the abode of
angelic spirits, both good and evil. But the expressions “air” and
“heavenly places” may be merely metaphorical designations of their
spiritual method of existence.
The idealistic philosophy, which regards time and space as merely
subjective forms of our human thinking and as not conditioning the
thought of God, may possibly afford some additional aid in the
consideration of this problem. If matter be only the expression of God’s
mind and will, having no existence apart from his intelligence and
volition, the question of place ceases to have significance. Heaven is in
that case simply the state in which God manifests himself in his grace and
hell is the state in which a moral being finds himself in opposition to God
and God in Opposition to him. Christ can manifest himself to his
followers in all parts of the earth and to all the inhabitants of heaven at
one and the same time (

John 14:21;

Matthew 28:20; Revelations
1:7). Angels, in like manner, being purely spiritual beings, may be free
from the laws of space and time and may not be limited to any fixed
We prefer therefore to leave the question of place undecided, and to
accept the existence and working of angels both good and evil as a matter
of faith, without professing to understand their relations to space. For the
rationalistic view, see Strauss, Glaubenslehre, 1:670-675. Per contra, see
Van Oosterzee, Christian Dogmatics. 1:308-317. Martensen, Christian
Dogmatics, 127-136.
2. To the doctrine of evil angels in particular. It is objected that:
(a) The idea of the fall of angels is self-contradictory since a fall
determined by pride presupposes pride, that is, a fall before the fall. We.163
reply that the objection confounds the occasion of sin with the sin itself.
The outward motive to disobedience is not disobedience. The fall took
place only when that outward motive was chosen by free will. When the
motive of independence was selfishly adopted, only then did the innocent
desire for knowledge and power become pride and sin. How an evil
volition could originate in spirits created pure is an insoluble problem. Our
faith in God’s holiness, however, compels us to attribute the origin of this
evil volition, not to the Creator, but to the creature.
There can be no sinful propensity before there is sin. The reason of the
first sin cannot be sin itself. This would be to make sin a necessary
development, to deny the holiness of God the Creator and to leave the
ground of theism for pantheism.
(b) It is irrational to suppose that Satan should have been able to change
his whole nature by a single act, so that he thenceforth willed only evil. But
we reply that the circumstances of that decision are unknown to us while
the power of single acts permanently to change character is matter of
observation among men.
Instance the effect upon character and life of a single act of falsehood or
embezzlement. The first glass of intoxicating drink and the first yielding
to impure suggestion, often establish nerve-tracts in the brain and
associations in the mind, which are not reversed and overcome for a whole
lifetime. “Sow an act, and you reap a habit; sow a habit, and you reap a
character; sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” And what is true of
men, may be also true of angels.
(c) It is impossible that so wise a being should enter upon a hopeless
rebellion. We answer that no amount of mere knowledge ensures right
moral action. If men gratify present passion, in spite of their knowledge
that the sin involves present misery and future perdition, it is not impossible
that Satan may have done the same.
Scherer, Essays on English Literature, 139, puts this objection as follows:
“The idea of Satan is a contradictory idea for it is contradictory to know
God and yet attempt rivalry with him.” But we must remember that
understanding is the servant of will and is darkened by will. Many clever
men fail to see what belongs to their peace. It is the very madness of sin
that it persists in iniquity, even when it sees and fears the approaching
judgment of God. Jonathan Edwards: “Although the devil be exceedingly
crafty and subtle yet he is one of the greatest fools and blockheads in the.164
world as the subtlest have wicked men are. Sin is of such a nature that it
strangely infatuates and stultifies the mind.” One of Ben Jonson’s plays
has for its title: “The Devil is an Ass.”
Schleiermacher, Die Christliche Glaube, 1:210, urges that continual
wickedness must have weakened Satan’s understanding so that he could
be no longer feared, and he adds: “Nothing is easier than to contend
against emotional evil.” On the other hand, there seems evidence in
Scripture of a progressive rage and devastating activity in the case of the
evil one beginning in Genesis and culminating in the Revelation. With this
increasing malignity there is also abundant evidence of his lack of
wisdom. We may instance the Devil’s mistakes in misrepresenting
1. God to man (

Genesis 3:1 — “hath God said?”).
2. Man to himself (

Genesis 3:4 — “Ye shall not surely die”).
3. Man to God (

Job 1:9 — “Doth Job fear God for naught?”).
4. God to himself (

Matthew 4:3 — “If thou art the Son of God”).
5. Himself to man (

2 Corinthians 11:14 — “Satan fashioneth himself
into an angel of light”)
6. Himself to himself (

Revelation 12:12 — “the devil is gone down
unto you, having great wrath” — thinking he could successfully oppose
God or destroy man).
(d it is inconsistent with the benevolence of God to create and uphold
spirits, who he knows will be and do evil. We reply that this is no more
inconsistent with God’s benevolence than the creation and preservation of
men, whose action God overrules for the furtherance of his purposes, and
whose iniquity he finally brings to light and punishes.
Seductions of the pure by the impure, piracy, slavery and war have all
been permitted among men. It is no more inconsistent with God’s
benevolence to permit them among angelic spirits. Caroline Fox tells of
Emerson and Carlyle that the latter once led his friend, the serene
philosopher, through the abominations of the streets of London at
midnight, asking him with grim humor at every few steps: “Do you
believe in the devil now?” Emerson replied that the more he saw of the
English people, the greater and better he thought them. It must have been
because with such depths beneath them they could notwithstanding reach
such heights of civilization. Even vice and misery can be overruled for
good and the fate of evil angels may be made a warning to the universe..165
(e) The notion of organization among evil spirits is self-contradictory since
the nature of evil is to sunder and divide. We reply that such organization
of evil spirits is no more impossible than the organization of wicked men
for the purpose of furthering their selfish ends. Common hatred to God
may constitute a principle of union among them, as among men.
Wicked men succeed in their plans only by adhering in some way to the
good. Even a robber-horde must have laws and there is a sort of “honor
among thieves.” Else the world would be a pandemonium, and society
would be what Hobbes called it: “bellum omnium contra omnes.” See art,
on Satan, by Whitehouse, in Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible: “Some
personalities are ganglionic centers of a nervous system, incarnations of
evil influence. The Bible teaches that Satan is such a center.”
But the organizing power of Satan has its limitations. Nevius, Demon-Possession,
279 — “Satan is not omniscient and it is not certain that all
demons are perfectly subject to his control. Want of vigilance on his part,
and personal ambition in them, may obstruct and delay the execution of
his plans, as among men.” An English parliamentarian comforted himself
by saying: “If the fleas were all of one mind, they would have us out of
bed.” Plato, Lysis, 214 — “The good are like one another and friends to
one another. The bad is never at unity with one another or with themselves
for they are passionate and restless. Anything, which is at variance and
enmity with itself, is not likely to be in union or harmony with any other
(f) The doctrine is morally pernicious as transferring the blame of human
sin to the being or beings who tempt men thereto. We reply that neither
conscience nor Scripture allows temptation to be an excuse for sin or
regards Satan as having power to compel the human will. The objection,
moreover, contradicts our observation, for only where the personal
existence of Satan is recognized, do we find sin recognized in its true
The diabolic character of sin makes it more guilty and abhorred. The
immorality lies, not in the maintenance, but in the denial, of the doctrine.
Giving up the doctrine of Satan is connected with laxity in the
administration of criminal justice. Penalty comes to be regarded as only
deterrent or reformatory.
(g) The doctrine degrades man by representing him as the tool and slave of
Satan. We reply that it does indeed show his actual state to be degraded
but only with the result of exalting our idea of his original dignity and of his.166
possible glory in Christ. The fact that mans s sin was suggested from
without and not from within may be the one mitigating circumstance that
renders possible his redemption.
It rather puts a stigma upon human nature to say that it is not fallen —
that its present condition is its original and normal state. Nor is it
worthwhile to attribute to man ‘a dignity he does not possess if thereby,
we deprive him of the dignity that may be his. Satan’s sin was, in its
essence, sin against the Holy Ghost for which there can be no “Father,
forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lake 23:34), since it was
choosing evil with the mala guadia mentis, or the clearest intuition that it
was evil. If there is no devil then man himself is devil. It has been said of
Voltaire that without believing in a devil he saw him everywhere, even
where he was not. Christian, in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, takes
comfort when he finds that the blasphemous suggestions which came to
him in the dark valley were suggestions from the fiend that pursued him.
If all temptations are from within, our case would seem hopeless. But if
“an enemy hath done this” (

Matthew 13:23), then there is hope. And
so we may accept the maxim “Nullus diabolus, nullus Redemptor.”
Unitarians have no Captain of their Salvation and so have no Adversary
against whom to contend. See Trench, Studies in the Gospels, 17; Birks,
Difficulties of Belief, 78-100; Ebrard, Dogmatik, 1:291-293. Many of the
objections and answers mentioned above have been taken from Philippi,
Glaubenslehre, 3:251-284, where a fuller statement of them may be
A. Uses of the doctrine of good angels.
(a) It gives us a new sense of the greatness of the divine resources, and of
God’s grace in our creation, to think of the multitude of non-fallen
intelligences that executed the divine purposes before man appeared.
(b) It strengthens our faith in God’s providential care to know that spirits
of so high rank are deputed to minister to creatures that are surrounded
with temptations and are conscious of sin.
(c) It teaches us humility that beings of so much greater knowledge and
power than ours should gladly perform these unnoticed services in behalf
of those whose only claim upon them is that they are children of the same
common Father..167
(d) It helps us in the struggle against sin, to learn that these messengers of
God are near, to mark our wrong doing if we fall, and to sustain us if we
resist temptation.
(e) It enlarges our conceptions of the dignity of our own being, and of the
boundless possibilities of our future existence, to remember these forms of
typical innocence and love, that praise and serve God unceasingly in
Instance the appearance of angels in Jacob’s life at Bethel (

28:12 — Jacob’s conversion?) and at Mahanaim (Car.. 32:1, 2 — two
camps, of angels, on the right hand and on the left; cf.

Psalm 34:7 —
“The angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear him, And
delivereth them”); so too the Angel at Penuel that struggled with Jacob at
his entering the promised land (

Genesis 32:24; cf.

Hosea 12:3, 4
— “in his manhood he had power with God: yea, he had power over the
angel, and prevailed”), and “the angel who hath redeemed me from all
evil” (

Genesis 48:16) to whom Jacob refers on his dying bed. Edmund
Spenser, The Faerie Queene: “And is there care in heaven? and is there
love In heavenly spirits to these creatures base That may compassion of
their evils move? There is; else much more wretched were the case Of
men than beasts. But O, th’ exceeding grace Of highest God that loves his
creatures so. And all his works with mercy doth embrace, That blessed
angels he sends to and fro To serve to wicked man, to serve his wicked
foe! How oft do they their silver bowers leave And come to succor us who
succor want! How oft do they with golden pinions cleave The flitting skies
like flying pursuivant, Against foul fiends to aid us militant! They for us
fight; they watch and duly ward, And their bright squadrons round about
us plant; And all for love, and nothing for reward. Oh. why should
heavenly God for men have such regard:”
It shows us that sin is not mere finiteness, to see these finite intelligences
that maintained their integrity. Shakespeare, Henry VIII, 2:2 — “He
counsels a divorce — a loss of her That, like a jewel, has hung twenty
years About his neck, yet never lost her luster; Of her that loves him with
that excellence That angels love good men with; even of her That, when
the greatest stroke of fortune falls, Will bless the king.” Measure for
Measure, 2:2 — “Man, proud man, Plays such fantastic tricks before high
heaven, As makes the angels weep.”
B. Uses of the doctrine of evil angels..168
(a) It illustrates the real nature of sin, and the depth of the ruin to which it
may bring the soul, to reflect upon the present moral condition and eternal
wretchedness to which these spirits, so highly endowed, have brought
themselves by their rebellion against God.
(b) It inspires a salutary fear and hatred of the first subtle approaches of
evil from within or from without, to remember that these may be the covert
advances of a personal and malignant being, who seeks to overcome our
virtue and to involve us in his own apostasy and destruction.
(c) It shuts us up to Christ, as the only Being who is able to deliver others
or us from the enemy of all good.
(d) It teaches us that our salvation is wholly of grace, since for such
multitudes of rebellious spirits no atonement and no renewal were
provided; simple justice having its way, with no mercy to interpose or save.
Philippi, in his Glaubenslehre, 3:151-234, suggests the following relations
of the doctrine of Satan to the doctrine of sin:
1. Since Satan is a fallen angel, who once was pure, evil is not self-existent
or necessary. Sin does not belong to the substance, which God
created, but is a later addition.
2. Since Satan is a purely spiritual creature sin cannot have its origin in
mere sensuousness or in the mere possession of a physical nature.
3. Since Satan is not a weak and poorly endowed creature, sin is not a
necessary result of weakness and limitation.
4. Since Satan is confirmed in evil, sin is not necessarily a transient or
remediable act of will.
5. Since in Satan sin does not come to an end sin is not a step of creature
development, or a stage of progress to something higher and better. On the
uses of the doctrine, see also Van Oosterzee, Christian Dogmatics, 1:316;
Robert Hall, Works, 3:35-51; Brooks, Satan and his Devices.
“They never sank so low, They are not raised so high; They never knew
such depths of woe, Such heights of majesty. The Savior did not join
Their nature to his own; For them he shed no blood divine, Nor heaved a
single groan.” If redemption has not been provided for them it may be
1. Sin originated with them..169
2. The sin which they committed was “an eternal sin” (cf.

Mark 3:29).
3. They sinned with clearer intellect and fuller knowledge than ours was

Luke 23:34).
4. Their incorporeal being aggravated their sin and made it analogous to
our sinning against the Holy Spirit (cf.

Matthew 12:31, 32).
5. This incorporeal being gave no opportunity for Christ to objectify his
grace and visibly to join himself to them (cf.

Hebrews 2:16).
6. Their persistence in evil, in spite of their growing knowledge of the
character of God as exhibited in human history, has resulted in a
hardening of heart, which is not susceptible of salvation.
Yet angels were created in Christ (

Colossians 1:16); they consist in
him (

Colossians 1:17); he must suffer in their sin; God would save
them, if he consistently could. Dr. G. W. Samson held that the Logos
became an angel before he became man and that this explains his
appearances as “the angel of Jehovah” in the Old Testament (

22:11). It is not asserted that all fallen angels shall be eternally tormented

Revelation 14:10). In terms equally strong (

Matthew 25:41;

Revelation 20:10) the existence of a place of eternal punishment for
wicked men is declared, but nevertheless we do not believe that all men
will go there in spite of the fact that all men are wicked. The silence of
Scripture with regard to a provision of salvation for fallen angels does not
prove that there is no such provision.

2 Peter 2:4 shows that evil
angels have not received final judgment but are in a temporary state of
existence and their final state is yet to be revealed. If God has not already
provided, may he not yet provide redemption for them. The “elect angels”

1 Timothy 5:21) may be those whom God has predestinated to stand
this future probation and be saved, while only those who persist in their
rebellion will be consigned to the lake of fire and brimstone

Revelation 20:10)?
The keeper of a young tigress patted her head and she licked his hand. But
when she grew older she seized his hand with her teeth and began to
crunch it. He pulled away his hand in shreds. He learned not to fondle a
tigress. Let us learn not to fondle Satan. Let us not be “ignorant of his
devices” (

2 Corinthians 2:11). It is not well to keep loaded firearms in
the chimney corner. “They who fear the adder’s sting will not come near
her hissing.” Talmage: “O Lord, help us to hear the serpent’s rattle before
we feel its fangs.” Ian Maclaren, Cure of Souls, 215 — The pastor.170
trembles for a soul, “when he sees the destroyer hovering over it like a
hawk poised in midair and would have it gathered beneath Christ’s wing.”
Thomas K. Beecher: “Suppose I lived on Broadway where the crowd was
surging past in both directions all the time. Would I leave my doors and
windows open, saying to the crowd of strangers: ‘Enter my door, pass
through my hall, come into my parlor, make yourselves at home in my
dining room, go up into my bedchambers’? No! I would have my windows
and doors barred and locked against intruders, to be opened only to me
and mine and those I would have as companions. Yet here we see foolish
men and women stretching out their arms and saying to the spirits of the
vastly deep: ‘Come in, and take possession of me. Write with my hands,
think with my brain, speak with my lips and walk with my feet. Use me as
a medium for whatever you will’ God respects the sanctity of man’s spirit.
Even Christ stands at the door and knocks. Holy Spirit, fill me so that
there shall be room for no other’.” (

Revelation 3:20;

The fact of man’s creation is declared in

Genesis 1:27 — “And God
created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him”; 2:7 —
“And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
(a) The Scriptures, on the one hand, negative the idea that man is the mere
product of unreasoning natural forces. They refer his existence to a cause
different from mere nature, namely, the creative act of God.

Hebrews 12:9 — “the Father of spirits”;

Numbers 16:22
— “the God of the spirits of all flesh”; 27:16 — “Jehovah, the God of the
spirits of all flesh”;

Revelation 22:6 — “the God of the spirits of the
prophets.” Bruce, The Providential Order, 25 — “Faith in God may
remain intact, though we concede that man in all his characteristics,
physical and psychical, is no exception to the universal law of growth, no
breach in the continuity of the evolutionary process.” By “mere nature”
we mean nature apart from God. Our previous treatment of the doctrine of
creation in general has shown that the laws of nature are only the regular
methods of God and that the conception of a nature apart from God is an
irrational one. If the evolution of the lower creation cannot be explained
without taking into account the originating agency of God, much less can
the coming into being of man, the crown of all created things. Hudson,
Divine Pedigree of Man: “Spirit in man is linked with, because derived
from, God, who is spirit.”
(b) But, on the other hand, the Scriptures do not disclose the method of
man’s creation. Whether man’s physical system is or is not derived, by
natural descent, from the lower animals, the record of creation does not.172
inform us. As the command “Let the earth bring forth living creatures”

Genesis 1:24) does not exclude the idea of mediate creation through
natural generation. So the forming of man “of the dust of the ground”

Genesis 2:7), does not in itself determine whether the creation of
man’s body was mediate or immediate.
We may believe that man sustained to the highest preceding brute the
same relation which the multiplied bread and fish sustained to the five
loaves and two fishes (

Matthew 14:19), or which the wine sustained to
the water which was transformed at Cana (

John 2:7-10), or which the
multiplied oil sustained to the original oil in the Old Testament miracle

2 Kings 4:1-7). The “dust,” before the breathing of the spirit into it,
may have been animated dust. Natural means may have been used, so far
as they would go. Sterrett Reason and Authority in Religion, 39 — “Our
heredity is from God, even though it be from lower forms of life, and our
goal is also God, even though it be through imperfect manhood.”
Evolution does not make the idea of a Creator superfluous, because
evolution is only the method of God. It is perfectly consistent with a
Scriptural doctrine of Creation. Man should emerge at the proper time,
governed by different laws from the brute creation yet growing out of the
brute, just as the foundation of a house built of stone is perfectly
consistent with the wooden structure built upon it. All depends upon the
plan. An atheistic and undesigning evolution cannot include man without
excluding what Christianity regards as essential to man; see Griffith-Jones,
Ascent through Christ, 43-73. But a theistic evolution can
recognize the whole process of man’s creation a equally the work of
nature and the work of God.
Schurman, Agnosticism and Religion, 42 — “You are not what you have
come from, but what you have become.” Huxley said of the brutes:
“Whether from them or not, man is assuredly not of them.” Pfleiderer,
Philos. Religion, 1:289 — “The religious dignity of man rests after all
upon what he is, not upon the mode and manner in which he has become
what he is.” Because he came from a beast, it does not follow that he is a
beast. Nor does the fact that man’s existence can be traced back to a brute
ancestry furnish any proper reason why the brute should become man.
Here is a teleology, which requires a divine Creator-ship.
J. M. Bronson: “The theist must accept evolution if he would keep his
argument for the existence of God from the unity of design in nature.
Unless man is an end, he is an anomaly. The greatest argument for God is
the fact that all animate nature is one vast and connected unity. Man has.173
developed not from the ape but away from the ape. He was never anything
but potential man. He did not, as man, come into being until he became a
conscious moral agent.” This conscious moral nature, which we call
personality, requires a divine Author, because it surpasses all the powers,
which can be found in the animal creation. Romanes, Mental Evolution in
Animals, tells us that:
1. Mollusca learn by experience.
2. Insects and spiders recognize offspring.
3. Fishes make mental association of objects by their similarity.
4. Reptiles recognize persons.
5. Hymenoptera, as bees and ants, communicate ideas.
6. Birds recognize pictorial representations and understand words.
7. Rodents, as rats and foxes, understand mechanisms
8. Monkeys and elephants learn to use tools.
9. Anthropoid apes and dogs have indefinite morality.
But it is definite and not indefinite morality, which differences man from
the brute. Drummond, in his Ascent of Man, concedes that man passed
through a period when he resembled the ape more than any known animal,
but at the same time declares that no anthropoid ape could develop into a
man. The brute can be defined in terms of man, but man cannot be defined
in terms of the brute. It is significant that in insanity the higher
endowments of man disappear in an order precisely the reverse of that in
which, according to the development theory, they have been acquired. The
highest part of man totters first. The last added is first to suffer. Man
moreover can transmit his own acquisitions to his posterity, as the brute
cannot. Weismann, Heredity. 2:69 — “The evolution of music does not
depend upon any increase of the musical faculty or any alteration in the
inherent physical nature of man, but solely upon the power of transmitting
the intellectual achievements of each generation to those which follow.
This, more than anything, is the cause of the superiority of men over
animals — this, and not merely human faculty, although it may be
admitted that this latter is much higher than in animals.” To this utterance
of Weismann we would add that human progress depends quite as much
upon man’s power of reception as upon man’s power of transmission.
Interpretation must equal expression and, in this interpretation of the past,
man has a guarantee of the future that the brute does not possess.
(c) Psychology, however, comes in to help our interpretation of Scripture.
The radical differences between man’s soul and the principle of intelligence
in the lower animals, show that which chiefly constitutes him, man could.174
not have been derived, by any natural process. Man possesses self-consciousness,
general ideas, the moral sense and the power of self-determination
and this shows development from the inferior creatures. We
are compelled, then, to believe that God’s “breathing into man’s nostrils
the breath of life” (

Genesis 2:7), though it was a mediate creation as
presupposing existing material in the shape of animal forms, was yet an
immediate creation in the sense that only a divine reinforcement of the
process of life turned the animal into man. In other words, man came not
from the brute, but through the brute and the same immanent God who had
previously created the brute created also the man.
Tennyson, In Memoriam, XLV — “The baby new to earth and sky, What
time his tender palm is pressed Against the circle of the breast, Has never
thought that ‘this is I’: But as he grows he gathers much, And learns the
use of ‘I’ and ‘me,’ And finds ‘I am not what I see, And other than the
things I touch.’ So rounds he to a separate mind From whence clear
memory may begin, As thro’ the frame that binds him in His isolation
grows defined.” Fichte called that the birthday of his child, when the child
awoke to self-consciousness and said “I.” Memory goes back no further
than language. Knowledge of the ego is objective, before it is subjective.
The child at first speaks of himself in the third person: “Henry did so and
so.” Hence most men do not remember what happened before their third
year, though Samuel Miles Hopkins, Memoir, 20, remembered what must
have happened when he was only 23 months old. Only a conscious person
remembers, and he remembers only as his will exerts itself in attention.
Jean Paul Richter, quoted in Ladd, Philosophy of Mind, 110 — “Never
shall I forget the phenomenon in myself, never till now recited, when I
stood by the birth of my own self-consciousness, the place and time of
which are distinct in my memory. On a certain forenoon, I stood, a very
young child, within the house door, and was looking out toward the
woodpile, as in an instant the inner revelation ‘I am I,’ like lightning from
heaven, flashed and stood brightly before me; in that moment I had seen
myself as I, for the first time and forever.”
Hoffding, Outlines of Psychology, 3 — “The beginning of conscious life
is to be placed probably before birth… Sensations only faintly and dimly
distinguished from the general feeling of vegetative comfort and
discomfort. Still the experiences undergone before birth perhaps suffice to
form the foundation of the consciousness of an external world.” Hill,
Genetic Philosophy, 282, suggests that this early state, in which the child
speaks of self in the third person and is devoid of self-consciousness,.175
corresponds to the brute condition of the race, before it had reached self-consciousness,
attained language and become man. In the race, however,
there was no heredity to predetermine self-consciousness — it was a new
acquisition, marking transition to a superior order of being.
Connecting these remarks with our present subject, we assert that no brute
ever yet said, or thought, “I.” With this, then, we may begin a series of
simple distinctions between man and the brute, so far as the immaterial
principle in each is concerned. These are mainly compiled from writers
hereafter mentioned.
1. The brute is conscious, but man is self-conscious. The brute does not
objectify self. “If the pig could once say, ‘I am a pig,’ it would at once
and thereby cease to be a pig.” The brute does not distinguish itself from
its sensations. The brute has perception, but only the man has
apperception, i.e., perception accompanied by reference of it to the self to
which it belongs.
2. The brute has only percepts; man has also concepts. The brute knows
white things, but not whiteness. It remembers things, but not thoughts.
Man alone has the power of abstraction, i.e., the power of deriving
abstract ideas from particular things or experiences.
3. Hence the brute has no language. “Language is the expression of
general notions by symbols” (Harris). Words are the symbols of concepts.
Where there are no concepts there can be no words. The parrot utters
cries but “no parrot ever yet spoke a true word.” Since language is a sign,
it presupposes the existence of an intellect capable of understanding the
sign. In short, language is the effect of mind, not the cause of mind. See
Mivart, in Brit. Quar.. Oct. 1881:154-172. “The ape’s tongue is eloquent
in his own dispraise.” James, Psychology, 2:356 — “The notion of a sign
as such, and the general purpose to apply it to everything, is the
distinctive characteristic of man.” Why do not animals speak? Because
they have nothing to say, i.e., have no general ideas which words might
4. The brute forms no judgments, i.e., that, this is like that accompanied
with belief. Hence there is no sense of the ridiculous and no laughter.
James, Psychology, 2:360
“The brute does not associate ideas by similarity… Genius in man is the
possession of this power of association in an extreme degree.”
5. The brute has no reasoning — no sense that this follows from that,
accompanied by a feeling that the sequence is necessary. Association of.176
ideas without judgement is the typical process of the brute mind, though
not that of the mind of man. See Mind:402-409, 575-581. Man’s dream-life
is the best analogue to the mental life of the brute.
6. The brute has no general ideas or intuitions, as of space, time,
substance, cause or right. Hence there is no generalizing and no proper
experience or progress. There is no capacity for improvement in animals.
The brute cannot be trained except in certain inferior matters of
association, where independent judgment is not required.
No animal makes tools, uses clothes, cooks food or breeds other animals
for food. No hunter’s dog, however long its observation of its master, ever
learned to put wood on a fire to keep itself from freezing. Even the rudest
stone implements show a break in continuity and mark the introduction of
man; see J. P. Cook, Credentials of Science, 14. “The dog can see the
printed page as well as a man can but no dog was ever taught to read a
book. The animal cannot create in its own mind the thoughts of the writer.
The physical in man, on the contrary, is only an aid to the spiritual.
Education is a trained capacity to discern the inner meaning and deeper
relations of things. So the universe is but a symbol and expression of
spirit, a garment in which an invisible Power has robed his majesty and
glory”; see S. S. Times, April 7, 1903. In man, mind first became
7. The brute has determination, but not self-determination. There is no
freedom of choice, no conscious forming of a purpose and no self-movement
toward a predetermined end. The donkey is determined but not
self-determined; he is the victim of heredity and environment; he acts only
as he is acted upon. Harris, Philos. Basis of Theism, 537-554 — “Man,
though implicated in nature through his bodily organization is in his
personality supernatural. The brute is wholly submerged in nature. Man is
like a ship in the sea — in it, yet above it — guiding his course, by
observing the heavens, even against wind and current. A brute has no
such power; it is in nature like a balloon, wholly immersed in air, and
driven about by its currents, with no power of steering.” Calderwood,
Philosophy of Evolution, chapter on Right and Wrong: “The grand
distinction of human life is self-control in the field of action — control
over all the animal impulses, so that these do not spontaneously and of
themselves determine activity” [as they do in the brute]. By what Mivart
calls a process of ‘ inverse anthropomorphism,” we clothe the brute with
the attributes of freedom but it does not really possess them. Just as we do
not transfer to God all our human imperfections, so we ought not to
transfer all our human perfections to the brute, “reading our full selves in.177
life of lower forms.” The brute has no power to choose between motives;
it simply obeys motive. The necessitation philosophy, therefore, is a
correct and excellent philosophy for the brute. In short, man’s power of
initiative, his freewill, renders it impossible to explain his higher nature as
a mere natural development from the inferior creatures. Even Huxley has
said that, taking mind into the account, there is between man and the
highest beasts an “enormous gulf,” a “divergence immeasurable” and
“practically infinite.”
8. The brute has no conscience and no religious nature. No dog ever
brought back to the butcher the meat it had stolen. “The aspen trembles
without fear, and dogs skulk without guilt.” The dog mentioned by
Darwin, whose behavior in presence of a newspaper moved by the wind
seemed to testify to ‘a sense of the supernatural,’ was merely exhibiting
the irritation due to the sense of an unknown future; see James, Will to
Believe, 79. The bearing of flogged curs does not throw light upon the
nature of conscience. If ethics is not hedonism, if moral obligation is not a
refined utilitarianism, if the right is something distinct from the good we
get out of it, then there must be a flaw in the theory that man’s conscience
is simply a development of brute instincts. A reinforcement of brute life
from the divine source of life must be postulated in order to account for
the appearance of man. Upton. Hibbert Lectures, 165-167 — “Is the
spirit of man derived from the soul of the animal? No, for neither one of
these has self-existence. Both are a self-differentiation of God. The latter
is simply God’s preparation for the former.” Calderwood, Evolution and
Man’s Place in Nature, 337, speaks of “the impossibility of tracing the
origin of man’s rational life to evolution from a lower life. There are no
physical forces discoverable in nature sufficient to account for the
appearance of this life.” Shaler, Interpretation of Nature, 186 — “Man’s
place has been won by an entire change in the limitations of his psychic
development. The old bondage of the mind to the body is swept away. In
this new freedom we find the one dominant characteristic of man, the
feature which entitles us to class him as an entirely new class of animal.”
John Burroughs, Ways of Nature: “Animal life parallels human life at
many points but it is in another plane. Something guides the lower
animals but it is not thought; something restrains them but it is not
judgment; they are provident without prudence; they are active without
industry; they are skillful without practice; they are wise without
knowledge; they are rational without reason; they are deceptive without
guile. When they are joyful, they sing or they play; when they are
distressed, they moan or they cry. Yet I do not suppose they experience
the emotion of joy or sorrow, or anger or love, as we do, because these.178
feelings in them do not involve reflection, memory and what we call the
higher nature, as with us.” Their instinct is intelligence directed outward,
never inward, as in man. They share with man the emotions of his animal
nature, but not of his moral or aesthetic nature; they know no altruism, no
moral code.” Mr. Burroughs maintains that we have no proof that animals
in a state of nature can reflect, form abstract ideas, associate cause and
effect. Animals, for instance, that store up food for the winter simply
follow a provident instinct but do not take thought for the future, any
more than does the tree that forms new buds for the coming season. He
sums up his position as follows: “To attribute human motives and
faculties to the animals is to caricature them. To put us in such relation to
them that we feel their kinship, that we see their lives embossed in the
same iron necessity as our own or that we see in their minds a humbler
manifestation of the same psychic power and intelligence that culminates
and is conscious of itself in man. That, I take it, is the true humanization.”
We assent to all this except the ascription to human life of the same iron
necessity that rules the animal creation. Man is man because his free will
transcends the limitations of the brute.
While we grant, then, that man is the last stage in the development of life
and that he has a brute ancestry, we regard him also as the offspring of
God. The same God who was the author of the brute became in due times
the creator of man. Though man came through the brute, he did not come
from the brute but from God, the Father off spirits and the author of all
life. ådipus’ terrific oracle: “Mayst thou ne’er know the truth of what thou
art!” might well be uttered to those who believe only in the brute origin of
man. Pascal says it is dangerous to let man see too clearly that he on a
level with the animals unless at the same time we show him his greatness.
The doctrine that the brute is imperfect man is logically connected with
the doctrine that man is a perfect brute. Thomas Carlyle: “If this brute
philosophy is true, then man should go on all fours and not lay claim to
the dignity of being moral.” G. F. Wright, Ant. and Origin of Human
Race, lecture IX — “One or other of the lower animals may exhibit all the
faculties used by a child of fifteen months. The difference may seem very
little, but what there is, is very important. It is like the difference in
direction in the early stages of two separating curves, which go on forever
diverging. The probability is that both in his bodily and in his mental
development, man appeared as a sport in nature and leaped at once in
some single pair from the plane of irrational being to the possession of the
higher powers that have ever since characterized him and dominated both
his development and his history.”.179
Scripture seems to teach the doctrine that man’s nature is the creation of

Genesis 2:7 — “Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the
ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a
living soul” — appears, says Hovey (State of the Impen. Dead, 14), “to
distinguish the vital informing principle of human nature from its material
part, pronouncing the former to be more directly from God, and more akin
to hint, than the latter.” So in

Zechariah 12:1 — “Jehovah who
stretcheth forth the heavens and layeth the foundation of the earth and
formeth the spirit of man within him” — the soul is recognized as distinct
in nature from the body, and of a dignity and mind far beyond those of
any material organism.

Job 32:8 — “there is a spirit in man, and the
breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding”;

Ecclesiastes 12:7
— “the dust returneth to the earth as it was and the spirit returneth unto
God who gave it.” A sober view of the similarities and differences
between man and the lower animals may be found in Lloyd Morgan,
Animal Life and Intelligence. See also Martineau, Types, 2:65, 140, and
Study, 1:180; 2:9, 13, 184, 350; Hopkins, Outline Study of Man, 8:23;
Chadbourne, Instinct, 187-211; Porter-Hum. Intellect, 384, 386, 397;
Bascom, Science of Mind, 295-305; Mansel, Metaphysics, 49, 50;
Princeton Rev., Jan. 1881:104-128; Henslow, in Nature, May 1, 1879:21,
22; Ferrier Remains, 2:39; Argyll, Unity of Nature, 117-119: Bibliotheca
Sacra, 29:275-282; Max Muller. Lectures on Philos. of Language, no. 1,
2, 3; F. W. Robertson, Lectures on Genesis, 21, Le Conte, in Princeton
Rev., May, 1884:236-261; Lindsay, Mind in Lower Animals; Romanes,
Mental Evolution in Animals; Fiske, The Destiny of Man.
(d) Comparative physiology, moreover, has, up to the present time, done
nothing to forbid the extension of this doctrine to man’s body. No single
instance has yet been adduced of the transformation of one animal species
into another, either by natural or artificial selection; much less has it been
demonstrated that the body of the brute has ever been developed into that
of man. All evolution implies progress and reinforcement of life and is
unintelligible except as the immanent God gives new impulses to the
process. Apart from the direct agency of God, the view that man’s physical
system is descended by natural generation from some ancestral simian form
can be regarded only as an irrational hypothesis. Since the soul, then, is an
immediate creation of God and the forming of man’s body is mentioned by
the Scripture writer in direct connection with this creation of the spirit,
man’s body was in this sense an immediate creation also.
For the theory of natural selection, see Darwin, Origin of Species. 398-
424, and Descent of Man, 2:368-387; Huxley, Critiques and Addresses,.180
241-269, Man’s Place in Nature, 71-138. Lay Sermons, 323 and art.:
Biology, in Encyclopedia Britannica, 9th ed.; Romanes, Scientific
Evidences of Organic Evolution. The theory holds that, in the struggle for
existence, the varieties best adapted to their surroundings succeed in
maintaining and reproducing themselves, while the rest die out. Thus, by
gradual change and improvement of lower into higher forms of life, man
has been evolved. We grant that Darwin has disclosed one of the
important features of God’s method. We concede the partial truth of his
theory. We find it supported by the vertebrate structure and nervous
organization which man has in common with the lower animals; by the
facts of embryonic development, of rudimentary organs, of common
diseases and remedies and of reversion to former types. But we refuse to
regard natural selection as a complete explanation of the history of life
and that for the following reasons:
1. It gives no account of the origin of substance, nor of the origin of
variations. Darwinism simply says that round stones will roll down hill
further than flat ones” (Gray, Natural Science and Religion). It accounts
for the selection, not for the creation, of forms. “Natural selection
originates nothing. It is a destructive, not a creative, principle. If we must
idealize it as a positive force, we must think of it, not as the preserver of
the fittest, but as the destroyer that follows ever in the wake of creation
and devours the failures. It is the scavenger of creation, that takes out of
the way forms which are not fit to live and reproduce themselves”
(Johnson, on Theistic Evolution, in Andover Review, April, 1884:363-
381). Natural selection is only unintelligent repression. Darwin’s Origin
of Species is in fact “not the Genesis, but the Exodus, of living forms.”
Schurman: “The survival of the fittest does nothing to explain the arrival
of the fittest”; see also DeVries, Species and Varieties, ad finem. Darwin
himself acknowledged that “Our ignorance of the laws of variation is
profound. The cause of each slight variation and of each monstrosity lies
much more in the nature or constitution of the organism than in the nature
of the surrounding conditions” (quoted by Mivart, Lessons from Nature,
280-301). Weismann has therefore modified the Darwinian theory by
asserting that there would be no development unless there were a
spontaneous, innate tendency to variation. In this innate tendency we see,
not mere nature but the work of an Originating and superintending God.
E. M. Caillard, in Contemp. Rev., Dec. 1893:873-881 — Spirit was the
molding power, from the beginning, of those lower forms that would
ultimately become man. Instead of the physical derivation of the soul, we
propose the spiritual derivation of the body.”.181
2. Some of the most important forms appear suddenly in the geological
record, without connecting links to unite them with the past. The first
fishes are the Ganoid, large in size and advanced in type. There are no
intermediate gradations between the ape and man. Huxley, in Man’s Place
in Nature, 94, tells us that the lowest gorilla has a skull capacity of 24
cubic inches, whereas the highest gorilla has 34.5. Over against this, the
lowest man has a skull capacity of 62; though men with less than 65 are
invariably idiotic; the highest man has 114. Professor Burt G. Wilder of
Cornell University: The largest ape brain is only half as large as the
smallest normal human.” Wallace, Darwinism. 458 — “The average
human brain weighs 48 or 49 ounces; the average ape’s brain is only 18
ounces.” The brain of Daniel Webster weighed. 53 ounces; but Dr.
Bastian tells of an imbecile whose intellectual deficiency was congenital,
yet whose brain weighed 55 ounces. Large heads do not always indicate
great intellect. Professor Virchow points out that the Greeks, one of the
most intellectual of nations, are also one of the smallest headed of all.
Bain: “While the size of the brain increases in arithmetical proportion,
intellectual range increases in geometrical proportion.”
Respecting the Enghis and Neanderthal crania, Huxley says: “The fossil
remains of man hitherto discovered do not seem to me to take us
appreciably nearer to that lower pithecoid form by the modification of
which he has probably become what he is. In vain have the links, which
should bind man to the monkey, been sought. Not a single one is there to
show. The so-called Protanthropos who should exhibit this link has not
been found. None have been found that stood nearer the monkey than the
men of today.” Huxley argues that the difference between man and the
gorilla is smaller than that between the gorilla and some apes. If the
gorilla and the apes constitute one family and have a common origin, may
not man and the gorilla have a common ancestry also? We reply that the
space between the lowest ape and the highest gorilla is filled in with
numberless intermediate gradations. The space between the lowest man
and the highest man is also filled in with many types that shade off one
into the other. But the space between the highest gorilla and the lowest
man is absolutely vacant; there are no intermediate types, no connecting
links between the ape and man have yet been found.
Professor Virchow has also very recently expressed his belief that no
relics of any predecessor of man have yet been discovered. He said: “In
my judgment, no skull hitherto discovered can be regarded as that of a
predecessor of man. In the course of the last fifteen years we have had
opportunities of examining skulls of all the various races of mankind —
even of the most savage tribes and among them all no group has been.182
observed differing in its essential characters from the general human type.
Out of all the skulls found in the lake dwellings there is not one that lies
outside the boundaries of our present population.” Dr. Eugene Dubois has
discovered in the Post-Pliocene deposits of the island of Java the remains
of a preeminently hominid anthropoid that he calls Pithecanthropus
erectas. Its cranial capacity approaches the physiological minimum in
man, and is double that of the gorilla. The thighbone is in form and
dimensions the absolute analogue of that of man and gives evidence of
having supported a habitually erect body. Dr. Dubois unhesitatingly
places this extinct Javan ape as the intermediate form between man and
the true anthropoid apes. Haeckel (in The Nation, Sept. 15, 1898) and
Keane (in Man Past and Present, 3), regard the Pithecanthropus as a
“missing link.” But “Nature” regards at as the remains of a human
microcephalous idiot. In addition to all this, it deserves to be noticed that
man does not degenerate as we travel back in time. “The Enghis skull, the
contemporary of the mammoth and the cavebear, is as large as the
average of to-day and might have belonged to a philosopher.” The monkey
nearest to man in physical form is no more intelligent than the elephant or
the bee.
3. There are certain facts which mere heredity cannot explain. Such for
example as the origin of the working bee from the queen and the drone,
neither of which produces honey. The working bee, moreover, does not
transmit the honey making instinct to its posterity for it is sterile and
childless. If man had descended from the conscienceless brute, we should
expect him, when degraded, to revert to his primitive type. On the
contrary, he does not revert to the brute, but dies out instead. The theory
can give no explanation of beauty in the lowest forms of life, such as
mollusks and diatoms. Darwin grants that this beauty must be of use to its
possessor in order to be consistent with its origination through natural
selection. But no such use has yet been shown for the creatures, which
possess the beauty often live in the dark or have no eyes to see. So, too,
the large brain of the savage is beyond his needs and is inconsistent with
the principle of natural selection, which teaches that no organ can
permanently attain a size not required by its needs and its environment.
See Wallace, Natural Selection, 338-360. G. F. Wright, Man and the
Glacial Epoch, 242-301 — “That man’s bodily organization is in some
way a development front some extinct member of the animal kingdom
allied to the anthropoid apes is scarcely any longer susceptible of doubt.
He is certainly not descended from any existing species of anthropoid
apes. When once mind became supreme, the bodily adjustment must have
been rapid, if indeed it is not necessary to suppose that the bodily.183
preparation for the highest mental faculties was instantaneous, or by what
is called in nature a sport.” With this statement of Dr. Wright, we
substantially agree and therefore differ from Shedd, when he says that
there is just as much reason for supposing that monkeys are degenerate
men, as that, men are improved monkeys. Shakespeare, Timon of Athens,
1:1:249, seems to have hinted the view of Dr. Shedd: “The strain of man’s
bred out into baboon and monkey.” Bishop Wilberforce asked Huxley
whether he was related to an ape on his grandfather’s or grandmother’s
side. Huxley replied that he should prefer such a relationship to having for
an ancestor a man who used his position as a minister of religion to
ridicule truth, which he did not comprehend. “Mamma, am I descended
from a monkey?” “I do not know, William, I never met any of your
father’s people.”
4. No species is yet known to have been produced either by artificial or by
natural selection. Huxley, Lay Sermons, 323 — “It is not absolutely
proven that a group of animals having all the characters exhibited by
species in nature has ever been originated by selection, whether artificial
or natural.” Man’s Place in Nature, 107 — “Our acceptance of the
Darwinian hypothesis must be provisional, so long as one link in the chain
of evidence is wanting. So long as all the animals and plants certainly
produced by selective breeding from a common stock are fertile with one
another, that link will be wanting.” Huxley has more recently declared
that the missing proof has been found in the descent of the modern horse
with one toe, from Hipparion with two toes, Anchitherium with three and
Orohippus with four. Even if this were demonstrated, we should still
maintain that the only proper analogue was to be found in that artificial
selection by which man produces new varieties. Natural selection can
bring about no useful results and show no progress unless it is the method
and revelation of a wise and designing mind. In other words, selection
implies intelligence and will, and therefore, cannot be exclusively natural.
Mivart, Man and Apes, 192 — “If it is inconceivable and impossible for
man’s body to be developed or to exist without his informing soul, we
conclude that, as no natural process accounts for the different kind of soul
— one capable of articulately expressing general conceptions. No merely
natural process can account for the origin of the body informed by it — a
body to which such an intellectual faculty was so essentially and
intimately related.” Thus, Mivart, who once considered that evolution
could account for man’s body, now holds instead that it can account
neither for man’s body nor for his soul and calls natural selection “a
puerile hypothesis” (Lessons from Nature, 300; Essays and
(e) While we concede, then, that man has a brute ancestry, we make two
claims by way of qualification and explanation. First, that the laws of
organic development, which have been followed in man’s origin, are only
the methods of God and proves of his creator-ship. Secondly, that man,
when he appears upon the scene, is no longer brute, but a self-conscious
and self-determining being, made in the image of his Creator and capable of
free moral decision between good and evil.
Both man’s original creation and his new creation in regeneration are
creations from within, rather than from without. In both cases, God builds
the new upon the basis of the old. Man is not a product of blind forces,
but is rather an emanation from that same divine life of which the brute
was a lower manifestation. The fact that God used preexisting material
does not prevent his authorship of the result. The wine in the miracle was
not water because water had been used in the making of it, nor is man a
brute because the brute has made some contributions to his creation.
Professor John H. Strong: “Some who freely allow the presence and
power of God in the age long process seem nevertheless not clearly to see
that, in the final result of finished man, God successfully revealed himself.
God’s work was never really or fully done; man was a compound of brute
and man and a compound of two such elements could not be said to
possess the qualities of either. God did not really succeed in bringing
moral personality to birth. The evolution was incomplete; man is still on
all fours; he cannot sin, because he was begotten of the brute. No fall and
no regeneration are conceivable.
We assert, on the contrary, that, though man came through the brute, lie
did not come from the brute. He came from God, whose immanent life he
reveals, whose image he reflects in a finished moral personality. Because
God succeeded, a fall was possible. We can believe in the age long
creation of evolution, provided only that this evolution completed itself.
With that proviso, sin remains and the fall.” See also A. H. Strong, Christ
in Creation, 163-180.
An atheistic and non-teleological evolution is a reversion to the savage
view of animals as brethren and to the heathen idea of a sphinx-man
growing out of the brute. Darwin himself did not deny God’s authorship.
He closes his first great book with the declaration that, with all its
potencies was originally breathed life, “by the Creator, into the first forms
of organic being. And in his letters he refers with evident satisfaction to
Charles Kingsley’s finding nothing in the theory, which was inconsistent
with an earnest Christian faith. It was not Darwin, but disciples like.185
Hacekel, who put forward the theory as making the hypothesis of a
Creator superfluous. We grant the principle of evolution, but we regard it
as only the method of the divine intelligence. We must moreover consider
it as preceded by an original creative act introducing vegetable and animal
life and as supplemented by other creative acts at the introduction of man
and at the incarnation of Christ. Chadwick, Old and New Unitarianism 33
— “What seemed to wreck our faith in human nature [its origin from the
brute] has been its grandest confirmation. For nothing argues the essential
dignity of man more clearly than his triumph over the limitations of his
brute inheritance, while the long way that he has come is prophecy of the
moral heights undreamed of that await his tireless feet.” All this is true if
we regard human nature, not as an undesigned result of atheistic
evolution, but as the efflux and reflection of the divine personality. R. E.
Thompson, in S. S. Times, Dec. 29, 1906 — “The greatest fact in
heredity is our descent from God and the greatest fact in environment is
his presence in human life at every point.”
The atheistic conception of evolution is well satirized in the verse: “There
was an ape in days that were earlier; Centuries passed and his hair
became curlier; Centuries more and his thumb gave a twist, And he was a
man and a Positivist.” That this conception is not a necessary conclusion
of modern science is clear from the statements of Wallace, the author with
Darwin of the theory of natural selection. Wallace believes that man’s
body was developed from the brute, but he thinks there have been three
breaks in continuity:1. the appearance of life, 2. the appearance of
sensation and consciousness and 3. the appearance of spirit. These seem
to correspond to 1. vegetable, 2. animal and 3. human life. He thinks
natural selection may account for man’s place in nature, but not for man’s
place above nature, as a spiritual being. See Wallace, Darwinism, 445-
478 — “I fully accept Mr. Darwin’s conclusion as to the essential identity
of man’s bodily structure with that of the higher mammillae and of his
descent from some ancestral form common to man and the anthropoid
apes.” But the conclusion that man’s higher faculties have also been
derived from the lower animals “appears to me not to be supported by
adequate evidence and to be directly opposed to many well ascertained
facts” (461). The mathematical, the artistic and musical faculties are
results, not causes, of advancement. They do not help in the struggle for
existence and could not have been developed by natural selection. The
introduction of life (vegetable), of consciousness (animal) and of higher
faculty (human), point clearly to a world of spirit, to which the world of
matter is subordinate 474-476). Man’s intellectual and moral faculties
could not have been developed from the animal but must have had another.186
origin and for this origin we can find an adequate cause only in the world
of spirit.”
Wallace, Natural Selection, 338 — “The average cranial capacity of the
lowest savage is probably not less than five-sixths of that of the highest
civilized races. The brain of the anthropoid apes scarcely amounts to one-third
of that of man, in both cases taking the average or the proportions
may be represented by the following figures: anthropoid apes, 10,
savages, 26, civilized man, 32.” Ibid., 360 — “The inference I would
draw from this class of phenomena is, that a superior intelligence has
guided the development of man in a definite direction and for a special
purpose, just as man guides the development of many animal and
vegetable forms. The controlling action of a higher intelligence is a
necessary part of the laws of nature, just as the action of all surrounding
organisms is one of the agencies in organic development, else the laws
which govern the material universe are insufficient for the production of
man.” Sir Wm. Thompson: “That man could be evolved out of inferior
animals is the wildest dream of materialism, a pure assumption which
offends me alike by its folly and by its arrogance.” Hartmann, in his
Anthropoid Apes, 302-306, while not despairing of “the possibility of
discovering the true link between the world of man and mammals,”
declares that, “that purely hypothetical being, the common ancestor of
man and apes, is still to be found.” “Man cannot have descended from any
of the fossil species which have hitherto come to our notice, nor yet from
any of the species of apes now extant.” See Dana, Amer. Journ. Science
and Arts, 1876:251, and Geology, 603, 604; Lotze, Mikrokosmos, vol. I,
bk. 3, chap. 1; Mivart, Genesis of Species, 202-222, 259-307; Man and
Apes, 88, 149-192; Lessons from Nature. 128-242, 280-301, The Cat,
and Encyclop. Britannica, art.: Apes; Quatrefages, Natural History of
Man, 64-87; Bp. Temple, Bampton Lect., 1884:161-189; Dawson, Story
of the Earth and Man, 32l — 329; Duke of Argyll, Primeval Man, 38-75;
Asa Gray, Natural Science and Religion; Schmid, Theories of Darwin,
115-140; Carpenter, Mental Physiology, 59; McIlvaine, Wisdom of Holy
Scripture, 55-86; Bible Commentary, 1:43; Martensen, Dogmatics, 136;
Le Conte, in Princeton Rev., Nov. 1878:776-803; Zockler Urgeschichte,
81-105; Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 1:499-515. Also, see this
Compendium, pages 392, 393.
(f) The truth that man is the offspring of God implies the correlative truth
of a common divine Fatherhood. God is Father of all men, in that he
originates and sustains them as personal beings like in nature to himself.
Even toward sinners God holds this natural relation of Father. It is his.187
fatherly love, indeed, which provides the atonement. Thus the demands of
holiness are met and the prodigal is restored to the privileges of son-ship,
which have been forfeited by transgression. This natural Fatherhood,
therefore, does not exclude, but prepares the way for God’s special
Fatherhood toward those who have been regenerated by his Spirit and who
have believed on his Son. Indeed, since all God’s creations take place in
and through Christ, there is a natural and physical son-ship of all men, by
virtue of their relation to Christ, the eternal Son, which antedates and
prepares the way for the spiritual son-ship of those who join themselves to
him by faith. Man’s natural son-ship underlies the history of the fall and
qualifies the doctrine of Sin.
Texts referring to God’s natural and common Fatherhood are:

2:10 — “Have we not all one father [Abraham]? hath not one God created

Luke 3:38 — “Adam, the son of God”; 15:11-32 — the parable
of the prodigal son, in which the father is father even before the prodigal

John 3:16 — “God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son”;

John 15:6 — “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth
as a branch, and is withered and they gather them, and cast them into the
fire, and they are burned”. These words imply a natural union of all men
with Christ. Otherwise, they would teach that those who are spiritually
united to him can perish everlastingly.

Acts 17:28 — “For we are also
his offspring” — words addressed by Paul to a heathen audience;

Colossians 1:16,17 — “in him were all things created… and in him all
things consist;”

Hebrews 12:9 — “the Father of spirits.” Fatherhood,
in this larger sense, implies
1. origination;
2. Impart of life;
3. Sustentation;
4. Likeness in faculties and powers;
5. Government;
6. Care;
7. Love.
In all these respects God is the Father of all men, and his fatherly love is
both preserving and atoning. God’s natural fatherhood is mediated by
Christ, through whom all things were made, and in whom all things, even
humanity, consist. We are naturally children of God, as we were created
in Christ; we are spiritually sons of God, as we have been created anew in
Christ Jesus. G. W. Northrop: “God never becomes Father to any men or
class of men; he only becomes a reconciled and complacent Father to.188
those who become ethically like him. Men are not sons in the full ideal
sense until they comport themselves as sons of God.” Chapman, Jesus
Christ and the Present Age, 39 — “While God is the Father of all men, all
men are not the children of God: in other words, God always realizes
completely the idea of Father to every man but the majority of men realize
only partially the idea of son-ship.”
Texts referring to the special Fatherhood of grace are:

John 1:12, 13
— “as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children
of God, even to them that believe on his name, who were born, not of
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”;

Romans 8:14 — “for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these
are sons of God”; 15 — “ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we
cry, Abba, Father”;

2 Corinthians 6:17 — “Come ye out from among
them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch no unclean thing, and
I will receive you, and will be to you a Father, and ye shall be to me sons
and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty”;

Ephesians 1:5, 6 — “having
foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself”;
3:14, 15 — “the Father, from whom every family [margin ‘fatherhood’] in
heaven and on earth is named” ( = every race an among angels or men —
so Meyer, Romans. 158, 159);

Galatians 3:26 — “for ye are all sons
of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus”. 4:6 — “And because ye are sons,
God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father”;

1 John 3:1, 2 — “Behold what manner of love the Father hath
bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God and such we
are… Beloved, now are we children of God.” The son-ship of the race is
only rudimentary. The actual realization of son-ship is possible only
through Christ.

Galatians 4:1-7 intimates a universal son-ship but a
son-ship in which the child “differeth nothing from a bondservant though
he is lord of all,” and needs still to “receive the adoption of sons.” Simon,
Reconciliation, 81 — “It is one thing to be a father, another to discharge
all the fatherly functions. Human fathers sometimes fail to behave like
fathers for reasons lying solely in themselves or sometimes because of
hindrances in the conduct or character of their children. No father can
normally discharge his fatherly functions toward children who are
unchildlike. So even the rebellious son is a son, but he does not act like a
son.” Because all men are naturally sons of God, it does not follow that
all men will be saved. Many who are naturally sons of God are not
spiritually sons of God; they are only “servants” who “abide not in the
house forever” (

John 8:35). God is their Father, but they have yet to
“become” his children (

Matthew 5:45)..189
The controversy between those who maintain and those who deny that
God is the Father of all men is merely nonsensical. God is physically and
naturally the Father of all men; he is morally and spiritually the Father
only of those who have been renewed by his Spirit. All men are sons of
God in a lower sense by virtue of their natural union with Christ; only
those are sons of God in the higher sense who have joined themselves by
faith to Christ in a spiritual union. We can therefore assent to much that is
said by those who deny time universal divine fatherhood, as, for example,
C. M. Mead, in Am. Jour. Theology, July, 1897:577-600, who maintains
that son-ship consists in spiritual kinship with God, and who quotes, in
support of this view,

John 8:41-44 — “If God were your Father, ye
would love me… Ye are of your father, the devil” = the Fatherhood of
God is not universal;

Matthew 5:44, 45 — “Love your enemies… in
order that ye may become sons of your Father who is in heaven”;

1:12 — “as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become
children of God, even to them that believe on his name. Gordon, Ministry
of the Spirit, 103 — “That God has created all men does not constitute
them his sons in the evangelical sense of the word. The son-ship on which
the New Testament dwells so constantly is based solely on the experience
of the new birth. The doctrine of universal son-ship rests either on a
daring denial or a daring assumption — the denial of the universal fall of
man through sin, or the assumption of the universal regeneration of man
through the Spirit. In either case the teaching belongs to ‘another gospel’

Galatians 1:7), the recompense of whose preaching is not a beatitude,
but an anathema’ (

Galatians 1:8).”
But we can also agree with much that is urged by the opposite party, as
for example, Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, I:193 — “God does not become
the Father, but is the heavenly Father, even of those who become his sons.
This Fatherhood of God, instead of the kingship, which was the dominant
idea of the Jews, Jesus made the primary doctrine. The relation is ethical,
not the Fatherhood of mere origination and, therefore, only those who live
aright are true sons of God. 209 — Mere kingship, or exaltation above the
world, led to Pharisaic legal servitude and external ceremony and to
Alexandrian philosophical speculation. The Fatherhood apprehended and
announced by Jesus was essentially a relation of love and holiness.” A. H.
Bradford, Age of Faith, 116-120 — “There is something sacred in
humanity but systems of theology once began with the essential and
natural worthlessness of man. If there is no Fatherhood, then selfishness is
logical but Fatherhood carries with it identity of nature between the parent
and the child. Therefore every laborer is of the nature of God and he who
has the nature of God cannot be treated like the products of factory and.190
field. All the children of God are by nature partakers of the life of God.
They are called ‘children of wrath’ (

Ephesians 2:3), or ‘of perdition’

John 17:12), only to indicate that their proper relations and duties
have been violated. Love for man is dependent on something worthy of
love and that is found in man’s essential divinity.” We object to this last
statement, as attributing to man at the beginning what can come to him
only through grace. Man was indeed created in Christ (

1:16) and was a son, of God by virtue of his union with Christ (


John 15:6). But since man has sinned and has renounced his son-ship,
it can be restored and realized, in a moral and spiritual sense, only
through the atoning work of Christ and the regenerating work of the Holy
Spirit. (

Ephesians 2:10 — “created in Christ Jesus for good works”;
Pet. 1:4 — “his precious and exceeding great promises; that through these
ye may become partakers of the divine nature”).
Many who deny the universal Fatherhood of God refuse to carry their
doctrine to its logical extreme. To be consistent they should forbid the
unconverted to offer the Lord’s Prayer or even to pray at all. A mother
who did not believe God to be the Father of all actually said: “My
children are not converted, and if I were to teach them the Lord’s Prayer, I
must teach them to say: ‘Our Father who art in hell’; for they are only
children of the devil.” Papers on the question: Is God the Father of all
Men? are to be found in the Proceedings of the Baptist Congress,
1896:106-186. Among these the essay of F. H. Rowley asserts God’s
universal Fatherhood upon the grounds:
1. Man is created in the image of God;
2. God’s fatherly treatment of man, especially in the life of Christ among
3. God’s universal claim on man for his filial love and trust
4. Only God’s Fatherhood makes incarnation possible, for this implies
oneness of nature between God and man. To these we may add.
5. The atoning death of Christ could be efficacious only upon the ground
of a common nature in Christ and in humanity; and
6. The regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is intelligible only as the
restoration of a filial relation which was native to man, but which his sin
had put into abeyance. For denial that God is Father to any but the
regenerate, see Candlish, Fatherhood of God; Wright, Fatherhood of God..191
For advocacy of the universal Fatherhood, see Crawford, Fatherhood of
God: Lidgett, Fatherhood of God.
(a) The Scriptures teach that the whole human race is descended from a
single pair.

Genesis 1:27, 28 — “And God created man in his own image, in the
image of God created he him: male and female created he them. And God
blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and
replenish the earth, and subdue it”; 2:7 — “And Jehovah God formed man
of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul”; 22 — “and the rib, which Jehovah God
had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the
man”; 3:20 — “And the man called his wife’s name Eve; because she was
the mother of all living” = even Eve is traced back to Adam; 9:19 —
“These three were the sons of Noah; and of these was the whole earth
overspread.” Mason, Faith of the Gospel. 110 — “Logically, it seems
easier to account for the divergence of what was at first one, than for the
union of what was at first heterogeneous.”
(b) This truth lies at the foundation of Paul’s doctrine of the organic unity
of mankind in the first transgression and of the provision of salvation for
the race in Christ

Romans 5:12 — “Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the
world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that
all sinned”; 19 — “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many
were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the
many be made righteous”;

1 Corinthians 15:21, 22 — “For since by
man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in
Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”

Hebrews 2:16
— “for verily not of angels doth he take hold, but he taketh hold of the
seed of Abraham.” One of the most eminent ethnologists and
anthropologists, Prof. D. G. Brinton, said not long before his death that
all scientific research and teaching tended to the conviction that mankind
has descended from one pair.
(c) This descent of humanity from a single pair also constitutes the ground
of man’s obligation of natural brotherhood to every member of the race.

Acts 17:26 — “he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the
face of the earth” — here the Revelations Vers. omits the word ‘blood”.192
(“made of one blood” — Authorized Version). The word to be supplied is
possibly “father,” but more probably “body”; cf.

Hebrews 2:11 —
“for both he that sanctifeth and they that are sanctified are all of one
[father or body]: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren
saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, In the midst of the
congregation will I sing thy praise.”
Winchell, in his Preadamites, has recently revived the theory broached in
1655 by Peyrerius, that there were men before Adam: “Adam is
descended from a black race — not the black races from Adam.” Adam is
simply “the remotest ancestor to whom the Jews could trace their lineage.
The derivation of Adam from an older human stock is essentially the
creation of Adam.” Winchell does not deny the unity of the race or the
retroactive effect of the atonement upon those who lived before Adam; he
simply denies that Adam was the first man. 297 — He “regards the
Adamic stock as derived from an older and humbler human type,”
originally as low in the scale as the present Australian savages.
Although this theory furnishes a plausible explanation of certain Biblical
facts, such as the marriage of Cain (

Genesis 4:17), Cain’s fear that
men would slay him (

Genesis 4:14), and the distinction between “the
sons of God” and “the daughters of men” (

Genesis 6:1, 2). it treats the
Mosaic narrative as legendary rather than historical. Shem, Ham, and
Japheth, it is intimated, may have lived hundreds of years apart from one
another (409). Upon this view, Eve could not be “the mother of all living”

Genesis 3:20), nor could the transgression of Adam be the cause and
beginning of condemnation to the whole race (

Romans 5:12, 19). As
to Cain’s fear of other families who might take vengeance upon him, we
must remember that we do not know how many children were born to
Adam between Cain and Abel, what the ages of Cain and Abel were or
whether Cain feared only those that were then living. As to Cain’s
marriage, we must remember that even if Cain married into another
family, his wife, upon any hypothesis of the unity of the race, must have
been descended from some other original Cain that married his sister.
See Keil and Delitzsch, Coon, on Pentateuch, 1:116 — “The marriage of
brothers and sisters was inevitable in the case of children of the first man
in case the human race was actually to descend from a single pair. This
may therefore be justified in the face of the Mosaic prohibition of such
marriages, on the ground that the sons and daughters of Adam represented
not merely the family but the genus. It was not till after the rise of several
families that the bonds of fraternal and conjugal love became distinct from
one another and assumed fixed and mutually exclusive forms, the.193
violation of which is sin.” Prof. W. H. Green: “

Genesis 20:12 shows
that Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister; the regulations subsequently
ordained in the Mosaic Law were not then in force.” G. H. Darwin, son of
Charles Darwin, has shown that marriage between cousins is harmless
where there is difference of temperament between the parties. Modern
paleontology makes it probable that at the beginning of the race there was
greater differentiation of brothers and sisters in the same family than
obtains in later times. See Ebrard, Dogmatik, 1:275. For criticism of the
doctrine that there were men before Adam, see Methodist Quar. Rev.,
April, 1881:205-231; Presb. Rev., 1881:440-444.
The Scripture statements are corroborated by considerations drawn from
history and science. Four arguments may be briefly mentioned:
1. The argument from history.
So far as the history of nations and tribes in both hemispheres can be
traced, the evidence points to a common origin and ancestry in central
The European nations are acknowledged to have come, in successive
waves of migration, from Asia. Modern ethnologists generally agree that
the Indian races of America are derived from Mongoloid sources in
Eastern Asia, either through Polynesia or by way of the Aleutian Islands.
Bunsen, Philos. of Universal History, 2:112 — the Asiatic origin of all the
North American Indians “is as fully proved as the unity of family among
themselves.” Mason Origins of Invention, 361 — “Before the time of
Columbus, the Polynesians made canoe voyages from Tahiti to Hawaii, a
distance of 2300 miles.” Keane, Man Past and Present, 1-15, 349-440,
treats of the American Aborigines under two primitive types: Longheads
from Europe and Roundheads from Asia. The human race, he claims,
originated in Indo-Malaysia and spread thence by migration over the
globe. The Pleistocene man peopled the world from one center. The
primary groups were evolved each in its special habitat, but all sprang
from a Pleistocene precursor 100,000 years ago. W. T. Lopp, missionary
to the Eskimos, at Port Clarence, Alaska, on the American side of Bering
Strait, writes under date of August 31, 1892: “No thaws during the
winter, and ice blocked in the Strait even though this has always been
doubted by whalers. Eskimos have told them that they sometimes crossed
the Strait on ice but they have never believed them. Last February and
March our Eskimos had a tobacco famine. Two parties (five men) went
with dogsleds to East Cape on the Siberian coast, and traded some beaver,
otter and marten skins for Russian tobacco and returned safely. It is only.194
during an occasional winter that they can do this. But every summer they
make several trips in their big forty feet long wolf-skin boats. These
observations may throw some light upon the origin of the prehistoric races
of America.”
Tylor, Primitive Culture, 1:48 — “The semi-civilized nations of Java and
Sumatra are found in possession of a civilization which at first glance
shows itself to have been borrowed from Hindu and Moslem sources.”
See also Sir Henry Rawlinson, quoted in Burgess, Antiquity and Unity of
the Race, 156, 157; Smyth, Unity of Human Races 223-236; Pickering,
Races of Man, Introduction, synopsis, and page 316; Guyot, Earth an)
Mans 298-334; Quatrefages, Natural History of Man, and Unite de
l’Esp’ce Humaine, Godron, Unite de l’Esp’ce Humaine, 2:412 sq. Per
contra, however, see Prof. A. H. Sayce: “All the evidence now tends to
show that the districts in the neighborhood of the Baltic were those from
which the Aryan languages first radiated. This is where the race or races
that spoke them originally dwelt. The Aryan invaders of Northwestern
India could only have been a late and distant offshoot of the primitive
stock, speedily absorbed into the earlier population of the country as they
advanced southward. To speak of ‘our Indian brethren’ is as absurd and
false as to claim relationship with the Negroes of the United States
because they now use an Aryan language.” Scribner, Where Did Life
Begin? has lately adduced arguments to prove that life on the earth
originated at the North Pole, and Prof. Asa Gray favors this view; see his
Darwiniana, 205, and Scientific Papers, 2:152; so also Warren, Paradise
Found; and Wieland, in Am. Journal of Science, Dec. 1903:401430. Dr.
J. L. Wort man, in Yale Alumni Weekly, Jan. 14, 1903:129 — “The
appearance of all these primates in North America was very abrupt at the
beginning of the second stage of the Eocene. It is a striking coincidence
that approximately the same forms appear in beds of exactly
corresponding age in Europe. Nor does this synchronism stop with the
apes. It applies to nearly all the other types of Eocene mammillae in the
Northern Hemisphere and to the accompanying flora as well. These facts
can be explained only on the hypothesis that there was a common center
from which these plants and animals were distributed. Considering further
that the present continental masses were essentially the same in the
Eocene time as now and that the North Polar region then enjoyed a
subtropical climate. As is abundantly proved by fossil plants, we are
forced to the conclusion that this common center of dispersion lay
approximately within the Arctic Circle. The origin of the human species
did not take place on the Western Hemisphere.”
2. The argument from language..195
Comparative philology points to a common origin of all the more
important languages and furnishes no evidence that the less important are
not also so derived.
On Sanskrit as a connecting link between the Indo-Germanic languages,
see Max Muller, Science of Language, 1:146-165, 3:26-342, who claims
that all languages pass through the three stages: monosyllabic,
agglutinative and inflectional. Nothing necessitates the admission of
different independent beginnings for either the material or the formal
elements of the Turanian, Semitic, and Aryan branches of speech. The
changes of language are often rapid. Latin becomes the Romance
language and Saxon and Norman are united into English in three
centuries. The Chinese may have departed from their primitive abodes
while their language was yet monosyllabic.
G. J. Romanes. Life and Letters, 195 — “Children are the constructors of
all languages, as distinguished from language.” Instance Helen Keller’s
sudden acquisition of language and uttering publicly a long piece only
three weeks after she first began to imitate the motions of the lips. G. F.
Wright. Man and the Glacial Period, 242-301 — Recent investigations
show that children, when from any cause isolated at an early age, will
often produce at once a language de novo. Thus it would appear by no
means improbable that various languages in America, and perhaps the
earliest languages of the world, may have arisen in a short time where
conditions were such that a family of small children could have
maintained existence when for any cause deprived of parental and other
fostering care. Two or three thousand years of prehistoric time is perhaps
all that would be required to produce the diversification of languages
which appears at the dawn of history. The prehistoric stage of Europe
ended less than a thousand years before the Christian Era.” In a people
whose speech has not been fixed by being committed to writing, baby talk
is a great source of linguistic corruption and the changes are exceedingly
rapid. Humboldt took down the vocabulary of a South American tribe and
after fifteen years of absence, found their speech so changed as to seem a
different language.
Zockler, in Jahrbuch far deutsche Theologie, 8:68 sq., denies the progress
from lower methods of speech to higher and declares the most highly
developed inflectional languages to be the oldest and most widespread.
Inferior languages are a degeneration from a higher state of culture. In the
development of the Indo-Germanic languages (such as the French and the
English),we have instances of change from more full and luxuriant
expression to that which is monosyllabic or agglutinative. Pott, Die.196
Verschiedenheiten der menschlichen Rassen, also opposes the theory of
Max Muller. 202, 242. Pott calls attention to the fact that the Australian
languages show unmistakable similarity to the languages of Eastern and
Southern Asia, although the physical characteristics of these tribes are far
different from the Asiatic.
On the old Egyptian language as a connecting link between the Indo-European
and the Semitic tongues, see Bunsen, Egypt’s Place, 1: preface,
10; also see Farrar. Origin of Language, 213. Like the old Egyptian, the
Berber and the Touareg are Semitic in parts of their vocabulary, while yet
they are Aryan in grammar. So the Tibetan and Burmese stand between
the Indo-European languages, on the one hand, and the monosyllabic
languages, as of China, on the other. A French philologist claims now to
have interpreted the Yh-King, the oldest and most unintelligible
monumental writing of the Chinese. By regarding it as a corruption of the
old Assyrian or Accadian cuneiform characters, and as resembling the
syllabaries, vocabularies, and bilingual tablets in the ruined libraries of
Assyria and Babylon. See Terrien de Lacouperie, The Oldest Book of the
Chinese and its Authors and The Languages of China before the Chinese,
11, note; he holds to “the derivation of the Chinese civilization from the
old Chaldæo-Babylonian focus of culture by the medium of Susiana.” See
also Sayce, in Contemp. Rev., Jan. 1884:934-936; also, The Monist, Oct.
1906:562-593, on The Ideograms of the Chinese and the Central
American Calendars. The evidence goes to show that the Chinese came
into China from Susiana in the 23d century before Christ. Initial G wears
down in time into a Y sound. Many words which begin with V in Chinese
are found in Accadian beginning with G, as Chinese Ye, ‘night,’ is in
Accadian Ge, ‘night.’ The order of development seems to be: 1. picture
writing; 2. syllabic writing; 3. alphabetic writing.
In a similar manner, there is evidence that the Egyptian Pharaohs were
immigrants from another land, namely, Babylonia. Hommel derives the
hieroglyphics of the Egyptians from the pictures out of which the
cuneiform characters developed and he shows that the elements of the
Egyptian language itself are contained in that mixed speech of Babylonia,
which originated in the fusion of Sumerians and Semites. The Osiris of
Egypt is the Asari of the Sumerians. Burial in brick tombs in the first two
Egyptian dynasties is a survival from Babylonia, as are also the seal-cylinders
impressed on clay. On the relations between Aryan and Semitic
languages, see Renouf, Hibbert Lectures, 55-6l; Murray, Origin and
Growth of the Psalm s, 7; Bib. Sac.. 1870:162; 1876:352-380; 1879:674-
706. See also Pezzi, Aryan Philology, 1%; Sayce, Principles of Comp.
Philology, 132-174; Whitney, art, on Comp. Philology in Encyclopedia.197
Britannica, also Life and Growth of Language, 269, and Study of
Language, 307, 308 — “Language affords certain indications of doubtful
value, which, taken along with certain other ethnological considerations,
also of questionable pertinence, furnish ground for suspecting an ultimate
relationship. That more thorough comprehension of the history of Semitic
speech will enable us to determine this ultimate relationship, may perhaps
be looked for with hope, though it is not to be expected with confidence.”
See also Smyth, Unity of Human Races, 190-222; Smith’s Bib.
Dictionary, art.: Confusion of Tongues.
We regard the facts as, on the whole, favoring an opposite conclusion
from that in Hastings’s Bible Dictionary, art.: Flood: “The diversity of the
human race and of language alike makes it improbable that men were
derived from a single pair.” E. G. Robinson: “The only trustworthy
argument for the unity of the race is derived from comparative philology.
If it should be established that one of the three families of speech was
more ancient than the others, and the source of the others, the argument
would be unanswerable. Coloration of the skin seems to lie back of
climatic influences. We believe in the unity of the race because in this
there are the fewest difficulties. We would not know how else to interpret
Paul in Romans 5.” Max Muller has said that the fountain head of modern
philology as of modern freedom and international law is the change
wrought by Christianity, superseding the narrow national conception of
patriotism by the recognition of all the nations and races as members of
one great human family.
3. The argument from psychology.
The existence, among all families of mankind, of common mental and
moral characteristics, as evinced in common maxims, tendencies and
capacities, in the prevalence of similar traditions, and in the universal
applicability of one philosophy and religion, is most easily explained upon
the theory of a common origin.
Fashioning of the world and man, of a primeval garden, an original
innocence and happiness, a tree of knowledge, a serpent, a temptation and
fall, a division of time into weeks, a flood and sacrifice are all widely
prevalent traditions. It is possible, if not probable, that certain myths,
common to many nations, may have been handed down from a time when
the families of the race had not yet separated. See Zockler, in Jahrbuch
fur deutsche Theologie, 8:71-90; Max Muller, Science of Language,
2:444-455; Prichard, Nat. Hist. of Man, 2:657-714; Smyth, Unity of.198
Human Races, 236-240; Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:77-91;
Gladstone, Juventus Mundi.
4. The argument from physiology.
A. It is the common judgment of comparative physiologists that man
constitutes but a single species. The differences, which exist between the
various families of mankind, are to be regarded as varieties of this species.
In proof of these statements we urge
(a) the numberless intermediate gradations which connect the so-called
races with each other.
(b) The essential identity of all races in cranial, osteopathy, and dental
characteristics and
(c) the fertility of unions between individuals of the most diverse types and
the continuous fertility of the offspring of such unions.
Huxley, Critiques and Addresses, 163 — “It may be safely affirmed that,
even if the differences between men are specific, they are so small that the
assumption of more than one primitive stock for all is altogether
superfluous. We may admit that Negroes and Australians are distinct
species, yet be the strictest monogenists, and even believe in Adam and
Eve as the primeval parents of mankind, i.e., on Darwin’s hypothesis”.
Origin of Species, 113 — “I am one of those who believe that at present
there is no evidence whatever for saying that mankind sprang originally
from more than a single pair. I must say that I cannot see any good
ground whatever, or any tenable evidence for believing that there is more
than one species of man.” Owen, quoted by Burgess, Ant, and Unity of
Race, 185 — “Man forms but one species and differences are but
indications of varieties. These variations merge into each other by easy
gradations.” Alex von Humboldt: “The different races of men are forms of
one sole species — they are not different species of a genus.”
Quatrefages, in Revue d. deux Mondes, Dee. 1860:814 — “If one places
himself exclusively upon the plane of the natural sciences, it is impossible
not to conclude in favor of the monogenist doctrine.” Wagner, quoted in
Bibliotheca Sacra, 19:607 — “Species = the collective total of individuals
which are capable of producing one with another an uninterruptedly fertile
progeny.” Pickering, Races of Man, 316 — “There is no middle ground
between the admission of eleven distinct species in the human family and
their reduction to one. The latter opinion implies a central point of origin.”.199
There is an impossibility of deciding how many races there are, if we once
allow that there is more than one. While Pickering would say eleven,
Agassiz says eight, Morton twenty-two, and Burke sixty-five. Modern
science all tends to the derivation of each family from a single germ.
Other common characteristics of all races of men, in addition to those
mentioned in the text are the duration of pregnancy, the normal
temperature of the body, the mean frequency of the pulse, the liability to
the same diseases. Meehan, State Botanist of Pennsylvania, maintains that
hybrid vegetable products are no more sterile than are ordinary plants
(Independent, Aug. 21, 1884).
E. B. Tylor, art.: Anthropology, in Encyclopedia Britannica: “On the
whole it may be asserted that the doctrine of the unity of mankind now
stands on a firmer basis than in previous ages.” Darwin, Animals and
Plants under Domestication, 1:39 — “From the resemblance in several
countries of the half domesticated dogs to the wild species still living
there, from the facility with which they can be crossed together, from even
half tamed animals being so much valued by savages, and from the other
circumstances previously remarked on which favor domestication, it is
highly probable that the domestic dogs of the world have descended from
two good species of wolf (viz., Canis lupus and Canis latrans), and from
two or three other doubtful species of wolves (namely, the European,
Indian and North American forms); from at least one or two South
American canine species; from several races or species of the Jackal and
perhaps from one or more extinct species.” Dr. E. M. Moore tried
unsuccessfully to produce offspring by pairing a Newfoundland dog and a
wolf-like dog from Canada. He only proved anew the repugnance of even
slightly separated species toward one another.
B. Unity of species is presumptive evidence of unity of origin Oneness of
origin furnishes the simplest explanation of specific uniformity, if indeed
the very conception of species does not imply the repetition and
reproduction of a primordial type-idea impressed at its creation upon an
individual empowered to transmit this type-idea to its successors
Dana, quoted in Burgess, Antiq. and Unity of Race, 185, 186 — “In the
ascending scale of animals, the number of species in any genus diminishes
as we rise, and should by analogy be smallest at the head of the series.
Among mammals, the higher genera have few species and the highest
group next to man, the orang-outan, has only eight and these constitute
but two genera. Analogy requires that man should have preeminence and
should constitute only one.” 194 — “A species corresponds to a specific
amount or condition of concentrated force defined in the act or law of.200
creation. The species in any particular ease began its existence when the
first germ cell or individual was created. When individuals multiply from
generation to generation, it is but a repetition of the primordial type-idea.
The specific is based on a numerical unity, the species being nothing else
than an enlargement of the individual.” For full statement of Dana’s view,
see Bibliotheca Sacra, Oct. 1857:862-866. On the idea of species, see also
Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:63-74.
(a) To this view is opposed the theory, propounded by Agassiz, of
different centers of creation, and of different types of humanity
corresponding to the varying fauna and flora of each. But this theory
makes the plural origin of man an exception in creation. Science points
rather to a single origin of each species, whether vegetable or animal. If
man be, as this theory grants, a single species, he should be, by the same
rule, restricted to one continent in his origin. This theory, moreover,
applies an unproved hypothesis with regard to the distribution of organized
beings in general to the very being whose whole nature and history show
conclusively that he is an exception to such a general rule, if one exists.
Since man can adapt himself to all climes and conditions, the theory of
separate centers of creation is, in his case, gratuitous and unnecessary.
Agassiz’s view was first published in an essay on the Provinces of the
Animal World in Nott and Gliddon’s Types of Mankind, a book gotten up
in the interest of slavery. Agassiz held to eight distinct centers of creation,
and to eight corresponding types of humanity — the Arctic, the
Mongolian, the European, the American, the Negro, the Hottentot, the
Malay, and the Australian. Agassiz regarded Adam as the ancestor only
of the white race, yet like Peyrerius and Winchell are held that man in all
his various races constitutes but one species.
The whole tendency of recent science, however, has been adverse to the
doctrine of separate centers of creation, even in the case of animal and
vegetable life. In temperate North America there are two hundred and
seven species of quadrupeds, of which only eight, and these polar animals
are found in the north of Europe or Asia. If North America be an instance
of a separate center of creation for its peculiar species, why should God
create the same species of man in eight different localities? This would
make man an exception in creation. There is, moreover, no need of
creating man in many separate localities; for, unlike the polar bears and
the Norwegian firs, which cannot live at the equator, man can adapt
himself to the most varied climates and conditions. For replies to Agassiz,
see Bibliotheca Sacra, 19:607-632; Princeton Rev., 1862:435-464..201
(b) It is objected, moreover, that the diversities of size, color, and physical
conformation, among the various families of mankind, are inconsistent with
the theory of a common origin. But we reply that these diversities are of a
superficial character, and can be accounted for by corresponding diversities
of condition and environment. Changes, which have been observed and
recorded within historic time, show that the differences alluded to, may be
the result of slowly accumulated divergences from one and the same
original and ancestral type. The difficulty in the case, moreover, is greatly
relieved when we remember
(1) that the period dining which these divergences have arisen is by no
means limited to six thousand years (see note on the antiquity of the race,
pages 224-226).
(2) That, since species in general exhibit their greatest power of divergence
into varieties immediately after their first introduction, all the varieties of
the human species may have presented themselves in men’s earliest history.
Instances of physiological change as the result of new conditions: The
Irish driven by the English two centuries ago from Armagh and the south
of Down, have become prognathous like the Australians. The inhabitants
of New England have descended from the English, yet they have already a
physical type of their own. The Indians of North America, or at least
certain tribes of them, have permanently altered the shape of the skull by
bandaging the head in infancy. The Sikhs of India, since the establishment
of B•ba N•nak’s religion (A.D.1500) and their consequent advance in
civilization, have changed to a longer head and more regular features, so
that they are now distinguished greatly from their neighbors, the Afghans,
Tibetans, Hindus. The Ostiak Savages have become the Magyar nobility
of Hungary. The Turks in Europe are, in cranial shape, greatly in advance
of the Turks in Asia from whom they descended. The Jews are
confessedly of one ancestry yet we have among them the light-haired Jews
of Poland, the dark Jews of Spain and the Ethiopian Jews of the Nile
Valley. The Portuguese who settled in the East Indies in the 16th century
are now as dark in complexion as the Hindus themselves. Africans
become lighter in complexion as they go up from the alluvial riverbanks to
higher land, or from the coast and on the contrary the coast tribes which
drive out the Negroes of the interior and take their territory end by
becoming Negroes themselves. See, for many of the above facts, Burgess,
Antiquity and Unity of the Race, 195-202..202
Hall, the paleontologist of New York, first hinted of the law of originally
greater plasticity, mentioned in the text. It is accepted and defined by
Dawson. Story of the Earth and Man, 300 — “A new law is coming into
view; that species, when first introduced have an innate power of
expansion, which enables them rapidly to extend themselves to the limit of
their geographical range and also to reach the limit of their divergence into
races. This limit once reached, these races run on in parallel lines until
they one by one run out and disappear. According to this law the most
aberrant races of men might be developed in a few centuries, after which
divergence would cease, and the several lines of variation would remain
permanent, at least so long as the conditions under which they originated
remained.” See the similar view of Von Baer in Schmid, Theories of
Darwin, 55, note. Joseph Cook: Variability is a lessening quantity; the
tendency to change is greatest at the first, but, like the rate of motion of a
stone thrown upward, it lessens every moment after. Ruskin, Seven
Lamps, 125 — “The life of a nation is usually, like the flow of a lava
stream, first bright and fierce, then languid and covered, at last advancing
only by the tumbling over and over of its frozen blocks.” Renouf, Hibbert
Lectures, 54 — “The further back we go into antiquity, the more closely
does the Egyptian type approach the European.” Rawlinson says that
Negroes are not represented in the Egyptian monuments before 1500 BC
The influence of climate is very great, especially in the savage state.
In May, 1891, there died in San Francisco the son of an interpreter at the
Merchants’ Exchange. He was 21 years of age. Three years before his
death his clear skin was his chief claim to manly beauty. He was attacked
by “Addison’s disease,” a gradual darkening of the color of the surface of
the body. At the time of his death his skin was as dark as that of a full-blooded
Negro. His name was George L. Sturtevant. Ratzel, History of
Mankind, 1:9, 10 — As there is only one species of man, “the reunion
into one real whole of the parts which have diverged after the fashion of
sports” is said to be “the unconscious ultimate aim of all the movements”,
which have taken place since man began his wanderings. “With Humboldt
we can only hold fast to the external unity of the race.” See Sir Wm.
Hunter, The Indian Empire, 223, 410; Encyclopedia Britannica 12:808;
20:110; Zockler, Urgeschichte, 109-132, and in Jahrbuch fur deutsche
Theologie, 8:51-71; Prichard, Researches, 5:547-552, and Nat. Hist. of
Man, 2:644-656: Duke of Argyll, Primeval Man. 96-108; Smith, Unity of
Human Races, 255-283; Morris Conflict of Science and Religion, 325-
385; Rawlinson, in Journ. Christ. Philosophy, April, 1883:359..203
1. The Dichotomous Theory.
Man has a two-fold nature — on the one hand material, on the other hand
immaterial. He consists of body and of spirit or soul. That there are two,
and only two, elements in man’s being, is a fact to which consciousness
testifies. This testimony is confirmed by Scripture, in which the prevailing
representation of man’s constitution is that of dichotomy.
Dichotomous, from diJca, ‘in two,’ and te>mnw, ‘to cut,’ = composed of
two parts. Man is as conscious that his immaterial part is a unity, as that
his body is a unity. He knows two, and only two, parts of his being —
body and soul. So man is the true Janus (Martensen), Mr. Facing-both-ways
(Bunyan). That the Scriptures favor dichotomy will appear by
(a) The record of man’s creation (

Genesis 2:7), in which, as a result of
the in-breathing of the divine Spirit, the body becomes possessed and
vitalized by a single principle — the living soul.

Genesis 2:7 — “And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the
ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a
living soul. Here it is not said that man was first a living soul, and that
then God breathed into him a spirit; but that God in-breathed spirit, and
man became a living soul = God’s life took possession of clay and as a
result, man had a soul. Cf.

Job 27:3 — “For my life is yet whole i) n
me. And the spirit of God is in my nostrils”; 32:8 — “there is a spirit in
man, And the breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding”; 33:4 —
“The Spirit of God bath made me, And the breath of the Almighty giveth
me life.”
(b) Passages in which the human soul, or spirit, is distinguished, both from
the divine Spirit from whom it proceeded, and from the body which it

Numbers 16:22 — “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh”;

Zechariah 12:1 — “Jehovah, who… formeth the spirit of man within

1 Corinthians 2:11 — “the spirit of the man which is in him…
the Spirit of God”;

Hebrews 12:9 — “the Father of spirits.” The
passages just mentioned distinguish the spirit of man from the Spirit of
God. The following distinguish the soul, or spirit, of man from the body
which it inhabits:

Genesis 25:18 — “it came to pass, as her soul was
departing (for she died)”;

1 Kings 17:21 — “Jehovah my God, I pray.204
thee, let this child’s soul come into him again”;

Ecclesiastes 12:7 —
“the dust returneth to the earth as it was, and the spirit returneth unto God
who gave it”;

James 2:26 — “the body apart from the spirit is dead.”
The first class of passages refutes pantheism; the second refutes
(c) The interchangeable use of the terms ‘soul’ and ‘spirit.’

Genesis 41:8 — “his spirit was troubled” cf.

Psalm 42:6 — “my
soul is cast down within me.”

John 12:27 — ‘‘Now is my soul
troubled”; cf. 13:21 — “he was troubled in the spirit.”

Matthew 20:28
— “to give his life yuch>n a ransom for many”; cf. 27:50 — “yielded up
his spirit pneu~ma”;

Hebrews 12:23 — “spirits of just men made
perfect”; cf.,

Revelation 6:9 — “I saw underneath the altar the souls
of them that had been slain for the word of God,” In these passages
‘spirit” and ‘soul” seem to be used interchangeably.
(d) The mention of body and soul (or spirit) as together constituting the
whole man:

Matthew 10:28 — “able to destroy both soul and body in hell”;

Corinthians 5:3 — “absent in body but present in spirit”; 3 John 2 — “I
pray that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul
prospereth.” These texts imply that body and soul (or spirit), together
constitute the whole man.
For advocacy of the dichotomous theory, see Goodwin. in Journ. Society
Bib. Exegesis, 1881:73-86; Godet, Bib. Studies of the OT, 32; Oehler,
Theology of the OT, 1:219; Hahn, Bib. Theol. NT, 390 sq.; Schmid, Bib.
Theology NT, 503; Weiss, Bib. Theology NT, 214; Luthardt.
Compendium der Dogmatik, 112-113; Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, 1:294-
298; Kahnis, Dogmatik, 1:549; 3:249; Harless, Com. on Ephesians, 4:23,
and Christian Ethics, 22; Thomasius, Christi Person und Werk, 1:164-
168; lodge, in Princeton Review, 1865:116, and Systematic Theol., 2:47-
51; Ebrard, Dogmatik, 1:261-263; Wm. H. Hodge, in Presb. and Ref.
Rev., Apl. 1897.
2. The Trichotomous Theory.
Side by side with this common representation of human nature as
consisting of two parts, are found passages which at first sight appear to
favor trichotomy. It must be acknowledged that pneu~ma (spirit) and yuch>
(soul), although often used interchangeably, and always designating the
same indivisible substance, are sometimes employed as contrasted terms..205
In this more accurate use, yuch> denotes man’s immaterial part in its
inferior powers and activities; as yuch> man is a conscious individual and,
in common with the brute creation, has an animal life, together with
appetite, imagination, memory, and understanding. Pneu~ma, on the other
hand, denotes man’s immaterial part in its higher capacities and faculties; as
pneu~ma, man is a being related to God, and possessing powers of reason,
conscience, and free will, which difference him from the brute creation and
constitute him responsible and immortal.
In the following texts, spirit and soul are distinguished from each other:

1 Thess. 5:23 — “And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly;
and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”;

Hebrews 4:13 — “For the
word of God is living, and active and sharper than any two-edged sword,
and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit of both joints and
marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of heart” Compare

1 Corinthians 2:14 — “Now the natural [psychical’] man receiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God”; 15:44 — “It is sown a natural [Gr.
‘psychical’] body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural [Gr.
‘psychical’] body, there is also a spiritual body”;

Ephesians 4:23 —
“that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind”; Jude 19 — “sensual [Gr.
‘psychical’], having not the Spirit.”
For the proper interpretation of these texts, see note on the next page.
Among those who cite them as proofs of the trichotomous theory
(trichotomous, from tri>ca, in three parts.’ and te>mnw, ‘to cut,’
composed of three parts, i.e., spirit, soul, and body) may be mentioned
Olshausen, Opuscula, 134. and Com. on 1Thess.,5:23; Beck, Biblische
Seelenehre, 31; Delitzsch, Biblical Psychology, 117, 118; Goschel, in
Herzog, Realencyclopadie, art.: Seele; also, art, by Auberlen: Geist des
Menschen; Cremer, NT Lexicon, on pneu~ma and yuch>; Usteri, Paulin,
Lehrbegriff, 384 sq.; Neander, Planting and Training, 394; Van
Oosterzee, Christian Dogmatics, 365, 366; Boardman, in Bap. Quarterly,
1:177, 325, 428; Heard, Tripartite Nature of Man, 62-114; Ellicott,
Destiny of the Creature, 106-125.
The element of truth in trichotomy is simply this, that man has a triad of
endowment, in virtue of which the single soul has relations to matter, to
self and to God. The trichotomous theory, however, as it is ordinarily
defined, endangers the unity and immateriality of our higher nature, by
holding that man consists of three substances, or three component parts —.206
body, soul and spirit and that soul and spirit are as distinct from each other
as are soul and body.
The advocates of this view differ among themselves as to the nature of the
yuch> and its relation to the other elements of our being; some (as
Delitzsch) holding that the yuch> is an efflux of the pneu~ma, distinct in
substance, but not in essence, even as the divine Word is distinct from
God, while yet he is God; others (as Goschel) regarding the yuch>, not as
a distinct substance, but as a resultant of the union of the pneu~ma and the
sw~ma. Still others (as Cremer) hold the yuch> to be the subject of the
personal life whose principle is the pneu~ma. Heard, Tripartite Nature of
Man, 103 — “God is the Creator ex traduce of the animal and intellectual
part of every man but not so with the spirit. It proceeds from God, not by
creation, but by emanation.”
We regard the trichotomous theory as untenable, not only for the reasons
already urged in proof of the dichotomous theory, but from the following
additional considerations:
(a) Pneu~ma, as well as yuch>, is used of the brute creation.

Ecclesiastes 3:21 — “Who knoweth the spirit of man whether it goeth
[margin ‘that goeth’] upward, and the spirit of the beast, whether it goeth
[margin ‘that goeth’] downward to the earth?”

Revelation 16:3 —
“And the second poured out his bowl into the sea; and it became blood, as
of a dead man; and every living soul died, even the things that were in the
sea” = the fish.
(b) Yuch> is ascribed to Jehovah.

Amos 6:8 — “The Lord Jehovah hath sworn by himself” (lit. ‘by his
soul,’ LXX ejauto>n);

Isaiah 42:1 — “my chosen in whom my soul

Jeremiah 9:9 — “Shall I not visit them for these things?
saith Jehovah; shall not my soul be avenged?”

Hebrews 10:38 — “my
righteous one shall live by faith: And if he shrink back, my soul hath no
pleasure in him.”
(c) The disembodied dead are called yucai>.
Revelations 6:9 — “I saw underneath the altar the souls of them that had
been slain for the word of God”; cf. 20:4 — “souls of them that had been
(d) The highest exercises of religion are attributed to the yuch>..207

Mark 12:30 — “thou shalt love the Lord thy God… with all thy soul”;

Luke 1:46 — “My soul doth magnify the Lord”;

Genesis 6:18, 19
— “the hope set before us: which we have as an anchor of the soul”;

James 1:21 — “the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
(e) To lose this yuch> is to lose all.

Mark 8:36, 37 — “For what doth it profit a man, to gain the whole
world, and forfeit his life [or ‘soul, yuch>]? For what should a man give in
exchange for his life [or ‘soul,’ yuch>]?”
(f) The passages chiefly relied upon as supporting trichotomy may be better
explained upon the view already indicated, that soul and spirit are not two
distinct substances or parts, but that they designate the immaterial principle
from different points of view.

1 Thess. 5:23 — “may your spirit and soul and body be preserved
entire” This is not a scientific enumeration of the constituent parts of
human nature, but a comprehensive sketch of that nature in its chief
relations. Compare

Mark 12:30 — “thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all
thy strength” — where none would think of finding proof of a fourfold
division of human nature. On 1Thess. 5:23, see Riggenbach (in Lange’s
Com.), and Commentary of Prof. W. A. Stevens.

Hebrews 4:12 —
“piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit of both joints and
marrow” = not the dividing of soul from spirit or of Joints from marrow,
but rather the piercing of the soul and of the spirit, even to their very
joints and marrow; i.e., to the very depths of the spiritual nature. On

Hebrews 4:12, see Ebrard (in Olshausen’s Com.), and Lunemann (in
Meyer’s Com.); also Tholuck, Com. in loco. Jude 19 — “sensual, having
not the Spirit” (yucikoi>, pneu~ma mh and pneu~ma is a functional and not a
substantial, distinction.” Moule, Outlines of Christian Doctrine, 161, 162
— “Soul = spirit organized, Inseparably linked with the body; spirit =
man’s inner being considered as God’s gift. Soul — man’s inner being
viewed as his own; spirit = man’s inner being viewed as from God. They
are not separate elements.” See Lightfoot, Essay on St. Paul and Seneca,.208
appended to his Com. on Philippians, on the influence of the ethical
language of Stoicism on the NT writers. Martineau, Seat of Authority, 39
— “The difference between man and his companion creatures on this
earth is not that his instinctive life is less than theirs, for in truth it goes
far beyond them. In him it acts in the presence and under the eye of other
powers, which transform it and by giving to it vision as well as light takes
its blindness away. He is let into his own secrets.”
We conclude that the immaterial part of man, viewed as an individual and
conscious life, capable of possessing and animating a physical organism, is
called yuch>. Viewed as a rational and moral agent, susceptible of divine
influence and indwelling, this same immaterial part is called pneu~ma The
pneu~ma, then, is man’s nature looking God-ward, and capable of receiving
and manifesting the Pneu~ma a[gion; the yuch> is man’s nature looking
earthward and touching the world of sense. The pneu~ma is man’s higher
part as related to spiritual realities or as capable of such relation; the yuch>
is man’s higher part, as related to the body, or as capable of such relation.
Man’s being is therefore not trichotomous but dichotomous, and his
immaterial part, while possessing duality of powers, has unity of substance.
Man’s nature is not a three-storied house, but a two-storied house, with
windows in the upper story looking in two directions — toward earth and
toward heaven. The lower story is the physical part of us, or the body.
But man’s “upper story” has two aspects because there is an outlook
toward things below, and a skylight through which to see the stars. “Soul”
says Hovey, “is spirit as modified by union with the body.” Is man then
the same in kind with the brute but different in degree? No, man is
different in kind though possessed of certain powers, which the brute has.
The frog is not a magnified sensitive plant, though his nerves
automatically respond to irritation. The animal is different in kind from
the vegetable, though he has some of the same powers, which the
vegetable has. God’s powers include man’s but man is not of the same
substance with God, nor could man be enlarged or developed into God. So
man’s powers include those of the brute, but the brute is not of the same
substance with man, nor could he be enlarged or developed into man.
Potter, Human Intellect, 39 — “The spirit of man, in addition to its higher
endowments, may also possess the lower powers which vitalize dead
matter into a human body.” It does not follow that the soul of the animal
or plant is capable of man’s higher functions or developments or that the
subjection of man’s spirit to body, in the present life, disproves his
immortality. Porter continues: “That the soul begins to exist as a vital.209
force, does not require that it should always exist as such a force or in
connection with a material body. Should it require another such body, it
may have the power to create it for itself, as it has formed the one it first
inhabited. The soul may have already formed a body and may hold it
ready for occupation and use as soon as it sloughs off the one which
connects it with the earth.”
Harris, Philos. Basis of Theism, 547 — “Brutes may have organic life
and sensitivity, and yet remain submerged in nature. It is not life and
sensitivity that lift man above nature, but it is the distinctive characteristic
of personality.” Parkhurst. The Pattern in the Mount, 17-30, on

Proverbs 20:27 — “The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah” — not
necessarily lighted, but capable of being lighted, and intended to be
lighted, by the touch of the divine flame. Cf.

Matthew 6:22, 23 —
“The lamp of the body… If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness,
how great is the darkness.”
Schleiermacher, Christliche Glaube, 2:487 — “We think of the spirit as
soul, only when in the body, so that we cannot speak of an immortality of
the soul, in the proper sense, without bodily life.” The doctrine of the
spiritual body is therefore the complement to the doctrine of the
immortality of the soul. A. A. Hodge, Pop. Lectures, 221 — “By soul we
mean only one thing, i.e., an incarnate spirit, a spirit with a body. Thus
we never speak of the souls of angels. They are pure spirits, having no
bodies.” Lisle, Evolution of Spiritual Man, 72 — “The animal is the
foundation of the spiritual; it is what the cellar is to the house; it is the
base of supplies.” Ladd, Philosophy of Mind, 371-378 — “Trichotomy is
absolutely untenable on grounds of psychological science. Man’s reason,
or the spirit that is in man, is not to be regarded as a sort of Mansard roof,
built on to one building in a block, all the dwellings in which are
otherwise substantially alike. On the contrary, in every set of
characteristics, from those called lowest to those pronounced highest, the
soul of man differences itself from the soul of any species of animals. The
highest has also the lowest. All must be assigned to one subject”
This view of the soul and spirit as different aspects of the same spiritual
principle furnishes a refutation of six important errors:
(a) That of the Gnostics, who held that the pneu~ma is part of the divine
essence and therefore is incapable of sin.
(b) That of the Apollinarians, who taught that Christ’s humanity embraced
only sw~ma and yuch>, while his divine nature furnished the pneu~ma..210
(c) That of the Semi-Pelagians, who excepted the human pneu~ma from the
dominion of original sin.
(d) That of Placeus, who held that only God directly created the pneu~ma
(see our section on Theories of Imputation).
(e) That of Julius Muller, who held that the yuch> comes to us from Adam,
but that our pneu~ma was corrupted in a previous state of being (see page
(f) That of the Annihilationists, who hold that man at his creation had a
divine element breathed into him, which he lost by sin, and which he
recovers only in regeneration; so that only when he has this pneu~ma
restored by virtue of his union with Christ does man become immortal,
death being to the sinner a complete extinction of being.
Tacitus might almost be understood to be a trichotomist when he writes:
“Si ut sapientibus placuit, non extinguuntur cum corpore magnæ animæ.”
Trichotomy allies itself readily with materialism. Many trichotomists hold
that man can exist without a pneu~ma, but that the sw~ma and the yuch> by
themselves are mere matter, and are incapable of eternal existence.
Trichotomy, however, when it speaks of the pneu~ma as the divine
principle in man, seems to savor of emanation or of pantheism. A modern
English poet describes the glad and winsome child as “A silver stream,
Breaking with laughter from the lake divine, Whence all things flow.”
Another poet, Robert Browning, in his Death in the Desert, 107, describes
body, soul, and spirit, as “What does, what knows, what is — three souls,
one man.”
The Eastern Church generally held to trichotomy, and is best represented
by John of Damascus (11:12) who speaks of the soul as the sensuous life-principle
which takes up the spirit — the spirit being an efflux from God.
The Western church, on the other hand, generally held to dichotomy, and
is best represented by Anselm: “Constat homo, ex duabus naturis, ex
natura animæ et ex natura carnis.”
Luther has been quoted upon both sides of the controversy: by Delitzsch,
Bib. Psych., 460-462, as trichotomous and as making the Mosaic
tabernacle with its three divisions an image of the tripartite man. “The
first division,” he says, “was called the Holy of Holies, since God dwelt
there, and there was no light therein. The next was denominated the holy
place, for within it stood a candlestick with seven branches and lamps.
The third was called the atrium or court; this was under the broad heaven,.211
and was open to the light of the sun. A regenerate man is depicted in this
figure. His spirit is the Holy of Holies, God’s dwelling place, in the
darkness of faith, without a light, for he believes what he neither sees nor
feels nor comprehends. The psyche of that man is the holy place, whose
seven lights represent the various powers of understanding, the perception
and knowledge of material and visible things. His body is the atrium or
court, which is open to everybody, so that all can see how he acts and
Thomasius, however, in his Christi Person und Werk, 1:164-168, quotes
from Luther the following statement, which is clearly dichotomous: “The
first part, the spirit is the highest, deepest, noblest part of man. By it he is
fitted to comprehend eternal things, and it is, in short, the house in which
dwell faith and the word of God. The other, the soul, is this same spirit,
according to nature, but yet in another soft of activity, namely, in this,
that it animates the body and works through it; and it is its method not to
grasp things incomprehensible, but only what reason can search out,
know, and measure.” Thomasius himself says: “Trichotomy, I hold with
Meyer, is not sustained in the Scripture.” Neander, sometimes spoken of
as a trichotomist, says that spirit is soul in its elevated and normal relation
to God and divine things; yuch> is that same soul in its relation to the
sensuous and perhaps sinful things of this world. Godet, Bib. Studies of
OT, 32 — “Spirit = the breath of God, considered as independent of the
body: soul = that same breath, in so far as it gives life to the body.” The
doctrine we have advocated, moreover, in contrast with the heathen view,
puts honor upon man’s body, as proceeding from the hand of God and as
therefore originally pure (

Genesis 1:31 — “And God saw everything
that he had made, and, behold, it was very good”); as intended to be the
dwelling place of the divine Spirit (

1 Corinthians 6:19 — “know ye
not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye
have from God?”); and as containing the germ of the heavenly body (

Corinthians 15:44 — “it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual

Romans 8:11 — “shall give life also to your mortal bodies
through his Spirit that dwelleth in you” — here many ancient authorities
read “because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you” dia> to< ejnoikou~n
pneu~ma). Birks, in his Difficulties of Belief, suggests that man, unlike
angels, may have been provided with a fleshly body,
(1) to objectify sin, and
(2) to enable Christ to unite himself to the race, in order to save it..212
Three theories with regard to this subject have divided opinion:
1. The Theory of Pre-existence.
First, Plato, Philo, and Origen held the view that the in order to explain the
soul’s possession of ideas not derived from sense; by the second, to
account for its imprisonment in the body; by the third, to justify the
disparity of conditions in which men enter the world. We concern
ourselves, however, only with the forms, which the view has assumed in
modern times. Kant and Julius Muller in Germany, and Edward Beecher in
America, have advocated it, upon the ground that the inborn depravity of
the human will can be explained only by supposing a personal act of self-determination
in a previous, or timeless, state of being.
The truth at the basis of the theory of pre-existence is simply the ideal
existence of the soul, before birth, in the mind of God — that is, God’s
foreknowledge of it. The intuitive ideas, of which the soul finds itself in
possession, such as space, time, cause, substance, right, God, are evolved
from itself; in other words, man is so constituted that he perceives these
truths upon proper occasions or conditions. The apparent recollection that
we have seen at some past time a landscape, which we know to be now for
the first time before us. This is an illusory putting together of fragmentary
concepts or a mistaking of a part for the whole; we have seen something
like a part of the landscape. We fancy that we have seen this landscape
and the whole of it. Our recollection of a past event or scene is one whole,
but this one idea may have an indefinite number of subordinate ideas
existing within it. The sight of something, which is similar to one of these
parts, suggests the past whole. Coleridge: “The great jaw of the
imagination that likeness in part tends to become likeness of the whole.”
Augustine hinted that this illusion of memory may have played an
important part in developing the belief in metempsychosis.
Other explanations are those of William James, in his Psychology: The
brain tracts excited by the event proper, and those excited in its recall, are
different. Baldwin, Psychology, 263, 264: We may remember what we
have seen in a dream, or there may be a revival of ancestral or race
experiences. Still others suggest that the two hemispheres of the brain act
asynchronously; self-consciousness or apperception is distinguished from
perception; divorce, from fatigue, of the processes of sensation and
perception, causes paramnesia. Sully, Illusions, 280, speaks of an organic
or atavistic memory: “May it not happen that by the law of hereditary.213
transmission… ancient experiences will now and then reflect themselves
in our mental life, and so give rise to apparently personal recollections?”
Letson, The Crowd, believes that the mob is atavistic and that it bases its
action upon inherited impulses: “The inherited reflexes are atavistic
memories” (quoted in Colegrove, Memory, 204).
Plato held that intuitive ideas are reminiscences of things learned in a
previous state of being. He regarded the body as the grave of the soul and
urged the fact that the soul had knowledge before it entered the body, as
proof that the soul would have knowledge after it left the body, that is,
would be immortal. See Plato, Meno, 82-85, Phædo, 72-75, Phædrus,
245-250, Republic, 5:460 and 10:614. Alexander, Theories of the Will,
36, 37 — “Plato represents pre-existent souls as having set before them a
choice of virtue. The choice is free, but it will determine the destiny of
each soul. Not God, but he who chooses, is responsible for his choice.
After making their choice, the souls go to the fates that spin the threads of
their destiny, and it is thenceforth irreversible. As Christian theology
teaches that man was free but lost his freedom by the fall of Adam. So
Plato affirms that the pre-existent soul is free until it has chosen its lot in
life.” See Introductions to the above mentioned works of Plato in Jowett’s
translation. Philo held that all souls are emanations from God, and that
those who allowed themselves, unlike the angels, to be attracted by
matter, are punished for this fall by imprisonment in the body, which
corrupts them, and from which they must break loose. See Philo, De
Gigantibus, Pfeiffer’s ed., 2:360-364. Origen accounted for disparity of
conditions at birth by the differences in the conduct of these same souls in
a previous state. God’s justice at the first made all souls equal; condition
here corresponds to the degree of previous guilt.

Matthew 20:3 —
“others standing in the market place idle” = souls not yet brought into the
world. The Talmudists regarded all souls as created at once in the
beginning and as kept like grains of corn in God’s granary, until the time
should come for joining each to its appointed body. See Origen, De
Anima, 7; peri< ajrcw~n, ii:9:6; cf. i:1:2, 4, 18; 4:36. Origen’s view was
condemned at the Synod of Constantinople, 538. Many of the preceding
facts and references are taken from Bruch, Lehre der Praexistenz,
translated in Bib. Sac.. 20:681-783.
For modern advocates of the theory, see Kant, Critique of Pure Reason,
sec. 15; Religion in. d, Grenzen d. bl. Vernunft, 26, 27; Julius Muller,
Doctrine of Sin, 2:357-401; Edward Beecher, Conflict of Ages. The idea
of pre-existence has appeared to a notable extent in modern poetry. See
Vaughan, The Retreate (1621); Wordsworth, Intimations of Immortality
in Early Childhood; Tennyson, Two Voices, stanzas 105-119, and Early.214
Sonnets, 25 — “As when with downcast eyes we muse and brood, And
ebb into a former life, or seem To lapse far back in some confused dream
To states of mystical similitude: If one but speaks or hems or stirs his
chair, Ever the wonder waxeth more and more, So that we say ‘All this
hath been before, All this hath been, I know not when or where.’ So,
friend, when first I looked upon your face, Our thought gave answer each
to each, so true — Opposed mirrors each reflecting each — That though I
knew not in what time or place, Methought that I had often met with you,
And either lived in either’s heart and speech.” Robert Browning, La
Saisiaz, and Christina: “Ages past the soul existed; Here an age ‘tis
resting merely And hence fleets again for ages.” Rossetti, House of Life:
“I have been here before, But when or how I cannot tell; I know the grass
beyond the door, The sweet, keen smell, The sighing sound, the lights
along the shore. You have been mine before, How long ago I may not
know; But just when, at that swallow’s soar, Your neck turned so, Some
veil did fall — I knew it all of yore”; quoted in Colegrove, Memory, 103-
106, who holds the phenomenon due to false induction and interpretation.
Briggs, School, College and Character, 95 — “Some of us remember the
days when we were on earth for time first time;” — which reminds us of
the boy who remembered sitting in a corner before he was born amid
crying for fear he would be a girl. A mere notable illustration is that found
in the Life of Sir Walter Scott, by Lockhart, his son-in-law, 8:274 —
“Yesterday, at dinner time, I was strangely haunted by what I would call
the sense of pre-existence, viz., a confused idea that nothing that passed
was said for the first time — that the same topics had been discussed and
the same persons had started the same opinions on them. It is true there
might have been some ground for recollections, considering that three at
least of the company were old friends and had kept much company
together But the sensation was so strong as to resemble what is called a
mirage in the desert, or a calenture on board of ship, when lakes are seen
in the desert and sylvan landscapes in the sea. It was very distressing
yesterday and brought to mind the fancies of Bishop Berkeley about an
ideal world. There was a vile sense of want of reality in all I did and
said… I drank several glasses of wine, but these only aggravated the
disorder. I did not find the in vino veritas of the philosophers.”
To the theory of pre-existence we urge the following objections:
(a) It is not only wholly without support from Scripture, but it directly
contradicts the Mosaic account of man’s creation in the image of God, and
Paul’s description of all evil and death in the human race as the result of
Adam’s sin..215

Genesis 1:27 — “And God created man in his own image, in the
image of God created he him”; 31 — “And God saw everything that he
had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

Romans 5:12 —
“Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death
through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned.” The
theory of pre-existence would still leave it doubtful whether all men are
sinners, or whether God assembles only sinners upon the earth.
(b) If the soul in this pre-existent state was conscious and personal it is
inexplicable that we should have no remembrance of such pre-existence,
and of so important a decision in that previous condition of being. If the
soul was yet unconscious and impersonal, the theory fails to show how a
moral act involving consequences so vast could have been performed at all.
Christ remembered his pre-existent state so why should not we? There is
every reason to believe that in the future state we shall remember our
present existence; why should we not now remember the past state from
which we came? It may be objected that Augustinians hold to a sin of the
race in Adam — a sin which none of Adam’s descendants can remember.
But we reply that no Augustinian holds to a personal existence of each
member of the race in Adam, and therefore no Augustinian needs to
account for lack of memory of Adam’s sin. The advocate of pre-existence,
however, does hold to a personal existence of each soul in a previous
state, and therefore needs to account for our lack of memory of it.
(c) The view sheds no light either upon the origin of sin, or upon Gods
justice in dealing with it, since it throws back the first transgression to a
state of being in which there was no flesh to tempt, and then represents
God as putting the fallen into sensuous conditions in the highest degree
unfavorable to their restoration.
This theory only increases the difficulty of explaining the origin of sin, by
pushing back its beginning to a state of which we know less than we do of
the present. To say that the soul in that previous state was only potentially
conscious and personal, is to deny any real probation, and to throw the
blame of sin on God the Creator. Pfleiderer, Philos. of Religion, 1:228 —
“In modern times, the philosophers Kant, Schelling and Schopenhauer
have explained the bad from an intelligible act of freedom, which
(according to Schelling and Schopenhauer) also at the same time
effectuates the temporal existence and condition of the individual soul.
But what are we to think of as meant by such a mystical deed or act
through which the subject of it first comes into existence? Is it not this,
that perhaps under this singular disguise there to conceal the simple.216
thought that the origin of the bad lies not so much in a doing of the
individual freedom as rather in the rise of it. That is to say, in the process
of development through which the natural man becomes a moral man and
the merely potentially rational man becomes an actually rational man?”
(d) While this theory accounts for inborn spiritual sin, such as pride and
enmity to God, it gives no explanation of inherited sensual sin, which it
holds to have come from Adam and the guilt of which must logically be
While certain forms of the pre-existence theory are exposed to the last
objection indicated in the text, Julius Muller claims that his own view
escapes it; see Doctrine of Sin, 2:393. His theory, he says, “would
contradict Holy Scripture if it derived inborn sinfulness solely from this
extra-temporal act of the individual, without recognizing in this sinfulness
the element of hereditary depravity in the sphere of the natural life, and its
connection with the sin of our first parents.” Muller, whose trichotomy
here determines his whole subsequent scheme, holds only the pneu~ma to
have thus fallen in a pre-existent state. The yuch> comes, with the body,
from Adam. The tempter only brought man’s latent perversity of will into
open transgression. Sinfulness, as hereditary, does not involve guilt, but
the hereditary principle is the “medium through which the transcendent
self-perversion of the spiritual nature of man is transmitted to his whole
temporal mode of being.” While man is born guilty as to his, pneu~ma, for
the reason that this pneu~ma sinned in a pre-existent state, he is also born
guilty as to his yuch>, because this was one with the first man in his
Even upon the most favorable statement of Muller’s view, we fall to see
how it can consist with the organic unity of the race for in that which
chiefly constitutes us men — the pneu~ma — we are as distinct and
separate creations as are the angels. We also fail to see how, upon this
view, Christ can be said to take our nature; or, if he takes it, how it can be
without sin. See Ernesti, Ursprung der Sunde, 2:1-247; Frohschammer,
Ursprung der Seele, 11-17: Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 3:92-122; Bruch,
Lehre der Praexistenz, translated in Bib.Sac.,20:68l — 733. Also
Bibliotheca Sacra, 11:186-191; 12:156; 17:419-427; 20:447; Kahnis,
Dogmatik, 3:250 — “This doctrine is inconsistent with the indisputable
fact that the souls of children are like those of the parents; and it ignores
the connection of the individual with the race.”
2. The Creation Theory..217
This view was held by Aristotle, Jerome, and Pelagius, and in modern times
has been advocated by most of the Roman Catholic and Reformed
theologians. It regards the soul of each human being as immediately
created by God and joined to the body either at conception, at birth, or at
some time between these two. Referring to God as the Creator of the
human spirit together with the fact that there is a marked individuality in
the child, the advocates of the theory urge in its favor certain texts of
Scripture. This cannot be explained as a mere reproduction of the qualities
existing in the parents.
Creationism, as ordinarily held, regards only the body as propagated from
past generations. Creationists who hold to trichotomy would say,
however, that the animal soul, the yuch>, is propagated with the body,
while the highest part of man, the pneu~ma, is in each case a direct
creation of God, — the pneu~ma not being created, as the advocates of
pre-existence believe, ages before the body, but rather at the time that the
body assumes its distinct individuality.
Aristotle (De Anima) first gives definite expression to this view. Jerome
speaks of God as “making souls daily.” The scholastics followed Aristotle
and through the influence of the Reformed church creationism has been
the prevailing opinion for the last two hundred years. Among its best
representatives are Turretin, Inst., 5:13 (vol.1:425); Hodge, Systematic
Theology,2:65-76; Martensen, Dogmatics, 141-148; Liddon, Elements of
Religion, 99-106. Certain Reformed theologians have defined very exactly
God’s method of creation. Polanus (5:31:1) says that God breathes the
soul into the boys forty days and into the girls eighty days after
conception. Goschel (in Herzog, Encyclop., art.: Seele) holds that while
dichotomy leads to traducianism, trichotomy allies itself to that form of
creationism which regards the pneu~ma as a direct creation of God, but the
yuch> as propagated with the body. To the latter answers the family name;
to the former the Christian name. Shall we count George Macdonald as a
believer in Pre-existence or in Creationism, when he writes in his Baby’s
Catechism: “Where did you come from, baby dear? Out of the everywhere
into here. Where did you get your eyes so blue? Out of the sky, as I came
through. Where did you get that little tear? I found it waiting when I got
here. Where did you get that pearly ear? God spoke, and it came out to
hear. How did they all just come to be you? God thought about me, and so
I grew.”
Creationism is untenable for the following reasons:.218
(a) The passages adduced in its support may with equal propriety be
regarded as expressing God’s mediate agency in the origination of human
souls while the general tenor of Scripture, as well as its representations of
God as the author of man’s body, favor this latter interpretation.
Passages commonly relied upon by creationists are the following:

Ecclesiastes 12:7 — “the spirit returneth unto God who gave it”;

Isaiah 57:16 — “the souls that I have made”;

Zechariah 12:1 —
“Jehovah … who formeth the spirit of man within him”;

Hebrews 12:9
— “the Father of spirits.” But God is with equal clearness declared to be
the former of man’s body: see

Psalm 139:13, 14 — “thou didst form
my inward parts: Thou dust cover me [margin ‘knit me together’] in my
mother’s womb. I will give thanks unto thee; for I am fearfully and
wonderfully made: Wonderful are thy works”;

Jeremiah 1:5 — “I
formed thee in the belly.” Yet we do not hesitate to interpret these latter
passages as expressive of mediate, not immediate, Creatorship. God
works through natural laws of generation and development so far as the
production of man’s body is concerned. None of the passages first
mentioned forbid us to suppose that he works through these same natural
laws in the production of the soul. The truth in creationism is the presence
and operation of God in all-natural processes. A transcendent God
manifests himself in all physical begetting. Shakespeare: “There ‘s a
divinity that shapes our ends, Rough hew them how we will.” Pfleiderer,
Grundriss, 112 — “Creationism, which emphasizes the divine origin of
man, is entirely compatible with Traducianism, which emphasizes the
mediation of natural agencies. So for the race as a whole, its origin in a
creative activity of God is quite consistent with its being a product of
natural evolution.”
(b) Creationism regards the earthly father as begetting only the body of his
child, certainly as not the father of the child’s highest part. This makes the
beast to possess nobler powers of propagation than man does; for the beast
multiplies himself after his own image.
The new physiology properly views the soul, not as something added from
without, but as the animating principle of the body from the beginning and
as having a determining influence upon its whole development. That
children are like their parents, in intellectual and spiritual as well as in
physical respects, is a fact of which the creation theory gives no proper
explanation. Mason, Faith of the Gospel, 115 — “The love of parents to
children and of children to parents protests against the doctrine that only
the body is propagated.” Aubrey Moore, Science and the Faith, 207,.219
quoted in Contemp. Rev., Dec. l893:876 — “Instead of the physical
derivation of the soul, we stand for the spiritual derivation of the body.”
We would amend this statement by saying that we stand for the spiritual
derivation of both soul and body, natural law being only the operation of
spirit, human and divine.
(c) The individuality of the child, even in the most extreme cases, as in the
sudden rise from obscure families and surroundings of marked men like
Luther, may be better explained by supposing a law of variation impressed
upon the species at its beginning. This is a law whose operation is foreseen
and supervised by God.
The differences of the child from the parent are often exaggerated; men
are generally more the product of their ancestry and of their time than we
are accustomed to think. Dickens made angelic children to be born of
depraved parents and to grow up in the slums. But this writing belongs to
a past generation, when the facts of heredity were unrecognized. George
Eliot’s school is nearer the truth. Although she exaggerates the doctrine of
heredity in turn, until all ideas of free will and all hopes of escaping our
fate vanish. Shaler, Interpretation of Nature, 78, 90 — “Separate motives,
handed down from generation to generation, sometimes remaining latent
for great periods, to become suddenly manifested under conditions the
nature of which is not discernible. Conflict of inheritances [from different
ancestors] may lead to the institution of variety.”
Sometimes, in spite of George Eliot, a lily grows out of a stagnant pool
and how shall we explain the fact? We must remember that the paternal
and the maternal elements are themselves unlike and the union of the two
may well produce a third in some respects unlike either as, when two
chemical elements unite, the product differs from either of the
constituents. We must remember also that nature is one factor and
nurture is another and that the latter is often as potent as the former (see
Galton, Inquiries into Human Faculty, 77-81). Environment determines to
a large extent both the fact and the degree of development. Genius is often
another name for Providence. Yet before all and beyond all we must
recognize a manifold wisdom of God, which in the very organization of
species impresses upon it a law of variation. At proper times and under
proper conditions the old is modified in the line of progress and advance
to something higher. Dante, Purgatory, canto vii — “Rarely into the
branches of the tree Doth human worth mount up; and so ordains He that
bestows it, that as his free gift It may be called.” Pompilia, the noblest
character in Robert Browning’s Ring and the Book, came of “a bad lot.”
Geo. A. Gordon, Christ of Today, 123-126 — “It is mockery to account.220
for Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns and William Shakespeare upon
naked principles of heredity and environment… All intelligence and all
high character are transcendent, and have their source in the mind and
heart of God. It is in the range of Christ’s transcendence of his earthly
conditions that we note the complete uniqueness of his person.”
(d) This theory, if it allows that the soul is originally possessed of depraved
tendencies, makes God the direct author of moral evil. If it holds the soul
to have been created pure, it makes God indirectly the author of moral evil,
by teaching that he puts this pure soul into a body which will inevitably
corrupt it.
The decisive argument against creationism is this one, that it makes God
the author of moral evil. See Kahnis, Dogmatik, 3:250 — “Creationism
rests upon a justly antiquated dualism between soul and body and is
irreconcilable with the sinful condition of the human soul. The truth in the
doctrine is just this only, that generation can bring forth an immortal
human life only according to the power imparted by God’s word and with
the special cooperation of God himself.” The difficulty of supposing that
God immediately creates a pure soul, only to put it into a body that will
infallibly corrupt it — “sicut vinum in vase acetoso” — has led many of
the most thoughtful Reformed theologians to modify the creation doctrine
by combining it with traducianism.
Rothe, Dogmatik, 1:249-251, holds to creationism in a wider sense — a
union of the paternal and maternal elements under the express and
determining efficiency of God. Ebrard, Dogmatik, 1:327-332, regards the
soul as newly created yet by a process of mediate creation according to
law, which he calls ‘metaphysical generation.’ Dorner, System of
Doctrine, 3:56, says that the individual is not simply a manifestation of
the species. God applies to the origination of every single man, a special
creative thought and act of will yet he does this through the species. It is
creation by law or else the child would be not a continuation of the old
species, but the establishment of a new one. So in speaking of the human
soul of Christ, Dorner says (3:340-349) that the soul itself does not owe
its origin to Mary nor to the species, but to the creative act of God. This
soul appropriates to itself from Mary’s body the elements of a human
form, purifying them in the process so far as is consistent with the
beginning of a life yet subject to development and human weakness.
Bowne, Metaphysics, 500 — “The laws of heredity must be viewed
simply as descriptions of a fact and never as its explanation. Not as if
ancestors passed on something to posterity, but solely because of the inner.221
consistency of the divine action” are children like their parents. We cannot
regard either of these mediating views as self-consistent or intelligible. We
pass on therefore to consider the Traducian theory, which we believe more
fully to meet the requirements of Scripture and of reason. For further
discussion of creationism, see Frohschammer, Ursprung der Seele, 18-58;
Alger, Doctrine of a Future Life, 1-17.
3. The Traducian Theory.
This view was propounded by Tertullian and was implicitly held by
Augustine. In modern times it has been the prevailing opinion of the
Lutheran Church. It holds that the human race was immediately created in
Adam, and, as respects both body and soul, was propagated from him by
natural generation and all souls since Adam being only mediately created
by God, as the upholder of the laws of propagation which were originally
established by him.
Tertullian, De Anima: “Tradux peccati, tradux animæ.” Gregory of
Nyssa: “Man being one, consisting of soul and body, the common
beginning of his constitution must be supposed also one so that he may
not be both older and younger than himself. In him, which is bodily being
first and the other coming after” (quoted in Crippen, Hist. of Christ.
Doct., 80). Augustine, De Pec. Mer. et Rem., 3:7 — “In Adam all sinned,
at the time when in his nature all were still that one man”; De Civ. Dei.
13:14 — “For we all were in that one man, when we all were that one
man. The form in which we each should live was not as yet individually
created and distributed to us, but there already existed the seminal nature
from which we were propagated.” Augustine, indeed, wavered in his
statements with regard to the origin of the soul, apparently fearing that an
explicit and pronounced traducianism might involve materialistic
consequences; yet, as logically lying at the basis of his doctrine of original
sin. Traducianism came to be the ruling view of the Lutheran reformers.
In his Table Talk, Luther says: “The reproduction of mankind is a great
marvel and mystery. Had God consulted me in the matter, I should have
advised him to continue the generation of the species by fashioning them
out of clay, in the way Adam was fashioned. I should have counseled him
also to let the sun remain always suspended over the earth, like a great
lamp, maintaining perpetual light and heat.”
Traducianism holds that man, as a species, was created in Adam. In
Adam, the substance of humanity was yet undistributed. We derive our
immaterial as well as our material being, by natural laws of propagation,
from Adam — each individual man after Adam possessing a part of the.222
substance that was originated in his. Sexual reproduction has for its
purpose the keeping of variations within limit. Every marriage tends to
bring back the individual type to that of the species. The offspring
represents not one of the parents but both. And, as each of these parents
represents two grandparents, the offspring really represents the whole
race. Without this conjugation the individual peculiarities would
reproduce themselves in divergent lines like the shot from a shotgun.
Fission needs to be supplemented by conjugation. The use of sexual
reproduction is to preserve the average individual in the face of a
progressive tendency to variation. In asexual reproduction the offspring
start on deviating lines and never mix their qualities with those of their
mates. Sexual reproduction makes the individual the type of the species
and gives solidarity to the race. See Maupas quoted by Newman Smith,
Place of Death in Evolution, 19-22.
John Milton, in his Christian Doctrine, is a Traducian. He has no faith is
the notion of a soul separate from and inhabiting the body. He believes in
a certain corporate of the soul. Mind and thought are rooted in the bodily
organism. Soul was not in breathed after the body was formed. The
breathing of God into man’s nostrils was only the quickening impulse to
that which already had life. God does not create souls every day. Man is a
body and soul or a soul-body and he transmits himself as such. Harris,
Moral Evolution, 171 — The individual man has a great number of
ancestors as well as a great number of descendants. He is the central point
of an hourglass or a strait between two seas which widen out behind and
before. How then shall we escape the conclusion that the human race was
most numerous at the beginning? We must remember that other children
have the same great grandparents with ourselves; that there have been
inter-marriages and that, after all, the generations run on in parallel lines,
that the lines spread a little in some countries and periods, and narrow a
little in other countries and periods. It is like a wall covered with paper in
diamond pattern. The lines diverge and converge, but the figures are
parallel. See Shedd Dogm. Theol 2:7-94, Hist. Doctrine, 2:1-26,
Discourses and Essays, 259; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 137-151, 335-384;
Edwards, Works, 2:483; Hopkins, Works, 1:289; Birks, Difficulties of
Belief, 161; Delitzsch, Bib. Psych., 128-142; Frohschammer, Ursprung
der Seele, 59-224.
With regard to this view we remark:
(a) It seems best to accord with Scripture, which represents God as
creating the species in Adam (

Genesis 1:27), and as increasing and
perpetuating it through secondary agencies (1:28; cf. 22). Only once is.223
breathed into man’s nostril the breath of life (2:7, cf. 22;

1 Corinthians

Genesis 4:1; 5:3; 46:26; cf.

Acts 17:21-26;

Hebrews 7:10),
and after man’s formation ceases from his work of creation (


Genesis 1:27 — “And God created man in his own image, in the
image of God created he him: male and female created he them”; 28 —
“And God blessed them: and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth” cf. 22 — of the brute creation: “And
God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in
the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (

Genesis 2:7 — “And
Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”; cf. 22 — “and
the rib which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman,
and brought her unto the man”;

1 Corinthians 11:8 — “For the man is
not of the woman; but the woman of the man” ejx ajnro>v.

Genesis 4:1
— “Eve … bare Cain”; 5:3 — Adam begat a son… Seth”; 46:26 — “All
the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, that came out of his loins:

Acts 17:26 — “he made of one [‘father’ or ‘body’] every nation of

Hebrews 7:10 — Levi was yet in the loins of his father, when
Melchizedek met him”;

Genesis 2:2 — “And on 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.” Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:19-
29, adduces also

John 1:13; 3:6;

Romans 1:13; 5:12;

Corinthians 15:22;

Ephesians 2:3;

Hebrews 12:9;

139:15, 16. Only Adam had the right to be a creationist. Westcott, Com,
on Hebrews, 114 — “Levi paying tithes in Abraham implies that
descendants are included in the ancestor so far that his acts have force for
them. Physically, at least, the dead so rules the living. The individual is
not a completely self-centered being. He is member in a body. So far
traducianism is true. But, if this were all, man would be merely result of
the past and would have no individual responsibility. There is an element
not derived from birth, though it may follow upon it. Recognition of
individuality is the truth in creationism. Power of vision follows upon
preparation of an organ of vision, modified by the latter but not created by
it. So we have the social unity of the race, plus the personal responsibility
of the individual, the influence of common thoughts plus the power of
great men, the foundation of hope plus the condition of judgment.”
(b) It is favored by the analogy of vegetable and animal life, in which
increase of numbers is secured, not by a multiplicity of immediate
creations, but by the natural derivation of new individuals from a parent.224
stock. A derivation of the human soul from its parents no more implies a
materialistic view of the soul and its endless division and subdivision, than
the similar derivation of the brute proves the principle of intelligence in the
lower animals to be wholly material.
God’s method is not the method of endless miracle. God works in nature
through second causes. God does not create a new vital principle at the
beginning of existence of each separate apple and of each separate dog.
Each of these is the result of a self-multiplying force, implanted once for
all in the first of its race. To say, with Moxom (Baptist Review,
1881:278) that God is the immediate author of each new individual, is to
deny second causes and to merge nature in God. The whole tendency of
modern science is in the opposite direction. Nor is there any good reason
for making the origin of the individual human soul an exception to the
general rule. Augustine wavered in his traducianism because he feared the
inference that the soul is divided and subdivided, that is, that it is
composed of parts and is therefore material in its nature. But it does not
follow that all separation is material separation. We do not, indeed, know
how the soul is propagated. But we know that animal life is propagated
and still that it is not material, nor composed of parts. The fact that the
soul is not material, nor composed of parts, is no reason why it may not
be propagated also.
It is well to remember that substance does not necessarily imply either
extension or figure. Substantia is simply that which stands under,
underlies, supports or in other words, that which is the ground of
phenomena. The propagation of mind therefore does not involve any
dividing up, or splitting off, as if the mind were a material mass. Flame is
propagated but division and subdivision do not propagate it. Professor
Ladd, a creationist together with Lotze, whom he quotes, even though he
repudiates the idea that the mind is susceptible of division. See Ladd,
Philosophy of Mind, 206, 359-366 — “The mind comes from nowhere,
for it never was, as mind, in space, is not now in space, and cannot be
conceived of as coming and going in space. Mind is a growth so parents
do not transmit their minds to their offspring. The child’s mind does not
exist before it acts. Its activities are its existence.” So we might say that
flame has no existence before it acts. Yet it may owe its existence to a
preceding time. The Indian proverb is: “No lotus without a stem.” Hall
Caine, in his novel The Manxman, tells us that the Deemster of the Isle of
Man had two sons. These two sons were as unlike each other as are the
inside and the outside of a bowl. But the bowl was old Deemster himself..225
Hartley Coleridge inherited his father’s imperious desire for stimulants
and with it his inability to resist their temptation.
(c) We derive our being from our human ancestry. The observed
transmission not merely of physical but of mental and spiritual
characteristics in families and races and, especially, the uniformly evil moral
tendencies and dispositions, which all men possess from their birth, are
proof of that in soul as well as in body.
Galton, in his Hereditary Genius and Inquiries into Human Faculty,
furnishes abundant proof of the transmission of mental and spiritual
characteristics from father to son. Illustrations, in the case of families, are
the American Adams’s, the English George’s, the French Bourbons, the
German Bach’s. Illustrations, in the case of races, are the Indians, the
Negroes, the Chinese, the Jews. Hawthorne represented the introspection
and the conscience of Puritan New England. Emerson had a minister
among his ancestry either on the paternal or the maternal side back eight
generations. Every man is “a chip of the old block.” “A man is an
omnibus, in which all his ancestors are seated” (O. W. Holmes). Variation
is one of the properties of living things and the other is transmission. “On
a dissecting table, in the membranes of a newborn infant’s body, can be
seen ‘the drunkard’s tinge.’ The blotches on his grandchild’s cheeks
furnish a mirror to the old debauchee. Heredity is God’s visiting of sin to
the third and fourth generations.” On heredity and depravity, see Phelps;
in Bibliotheca Sacra, Apr. 1884:254 — “When every molecule in the
paternal brain bears the shape of a point of interrogation, it would border
on the miraculous if we should find the exclamation sign of faith in the
brain cells of the child.”
Robert G. Ingersoll said that most great men have great mothers and that
most great women have great fathers. Most of the great are like
mountains, with the valley of ancestors on one side and the depression of
posterity on the other. Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables illustrates
the principle of heredity. But in his Marble Faun and Transformation,
Hawthorne unwisely intimates that sin is a necessity to virtue, a
background or condition of good. Dryden, Absalom and Ahithophel.
1:156 — “Great wits are sure to madness near allied, And thin partitions
do their bounds divide.” Lombroso, The Man of Genius, maintains that
genius is a mental disease allied to epileptiform mania or the dementia of
cranks. If this were so, we should infer that civilization is the result of
insanity and that, so soon as Napoleons, Dantes and Newtons manifest
themselves, they should be confined in Genius Asylums. Robert
Browning, Hohenstiel-Schwangau, comes nearer the truth: “A solitary.226
great man’s worth the world. God takes the business into his own hands
At such time: Who creates the novel flower Contrives to guard and give it
breathing room… ‘Tis the great Gardener grafts the excellence On
wildings, where he will.”
(d) The Traducian doctrine embraces and acknowledges the element of
truth, which gives plausibility to the creation view. Traducianism, properly
defined, admits a divine concurrence throughout the whole development of
the human species. This allows, under the guidance of a superintending
Providence, special improvements in type at the birth of marked men,
similar to those, which we may suppose to have occurred in the
introduction of new varieties in the animal creation.
Page-Roberts, Oxford university Sermons: “It is no more unjust that man
should inherit evil tendencies, than that he should inherit good. To make
the former impossible is to make the latter impossible. To object to the
law of heredity, is to object to God’s ordinance of society and to say that
God should have made men, like the angels, a company and not a race.”
The common moral characteristics of the race can only be accounted for
upon the Scriptural view that “that which is born of the flesh is flesh

John 3:6). Since propagation is a propagation of soul, as well as
body, we see that to beget children under improper conditions is a crime
and that fúticide is murder. Haeckel, Evolution of Man, 2:3 — “The
human embryo passes through the whole course of its development in
forty weeks. Each man is really older by this period than is usually
assumed. When, for example, a child is said to be nine and a quarter years
old, he is really ten years old.” Is this the reason why Hebrews call a child
a year old at birth? President Edwards prayed for his children and his
children’s children to the end of time and President Woolsey congratulated
himself that he was one of the inheritors of those prayers. H. V. Emerson:
“How can a man get away from his ancestors?” Men of genius should
select their ancestors with great care. When begin the instruction of a
child? A hundred years before he is born. A lady whose children were
noisy and troublesome said to a Quaker relative that she wished she could
get a good Quaker governess for them, to teach them the quiet ways of the
Society of Friends. “It would not do them that service,” was the reply;
“they should have been rocked in a Quaker cradle, if they were to learn
Quakerly ways.”
Galton, Natural Inheritance, 104 — “The child inherits partly from his
parents, partly from his ancestry. In every population that intermarries
freely, when the genealogy of any man is traced far backwards, his.227
ancestry will be found to consist of such varied elements that they are
indistinguishable from the sample taken at haphazard from the general
population. Galton speaks of the tendency of peculiarities to revert to the
general type and says that a man’s brother is twice as nearly related to
him as his father is and nine times as nearly as his cousin is. The mean
stature of any particular class of men will be the same as that of the race.
In other words, it will be mediocre. This tells heavily against the full
hereditary transmission of any rare and valuable gift, as only a few of the
many children would resemble their parents.” We may add to these
thoughts of Galton that Christ himself, as respects his merely human
ancestry, was not so much son of Mary, as he was Son of man.
Brooks, Foundations of Zoology, 144-167 — In an investigated case, “in
seven and a half generations the maximum ancestry for one person is 382,
or for three persons 1146. The names of 452 of them, or nearly half, are
recorded, and these 452 named ancestors are not 452 distinct persons, but
only 149, many of them, in the remote generations, being common
ancestors of all three in many lines. If the lines of descent from the
unrecorded ancestors were inter-related in the same way, as they would
surely be in and stable community, the total ancestry of these three
persons for seven and a half generations would be 378 persons instead of
1146. The descendants of many died out. All the members of a species
descend from a few ancestors in a remote generation and these few are the
common ancestors of all. Extinction of family names is very common. We
must seek in the modern world and not in the remote past for an
explanation of that diversity among individuals which passes under the
name of variation. The genealogy of a species is not a tree, but a slender
thread of very few strands, a little frayed at the near end, but of
immeasurable length. A fringe of loose ends all along the thread may
represent the animals which having no descendants are now as if they had
never been. Each of the strands at the near end is important as a possible
of union between the thread of the past and that of the distant future.”
Weismann, Heredity, 270, 272, 380, 384, denies Brooks’s theory that the
male element represents the principle of variation. He finds the cause of
variation in the union of elements from the two parents. Each child unites
the hereditary tendencies of two parents and so must be different from
either. The third generation is a compromise between four different
hereditary tendencies. Brooks finds the cause of variation in sexual
reproduction, but he bases his theory upon the transmission of acquired
characters. Weismann denies this transmission by saying that the male
germ cell does not play a different part from that of the female in the
construction of the embryo. Children inherit quite as much from the father.228
as from the mother. Like twins are conceived from the same egg cell. No
two germ cells contain exactly the same combination of hereditary
tendencies. Changes in environment and organism affect posterity, not
directly, but only through other changes produced in its germinal matter.
Hence efforts to reach high food cannot directly produce the giraffe. See
Dawson, Modern Ideas of Evolution, 235-239; Bradford, Heredity and
Christian Problems; Ribot, Heredity; Woods, Heredity in Royalty. On
organic unity in connection with realism, see Hodge, in Princeton Rev.,
Jan. 1865:125-135; Dabney, Theology, 317-321.
By the moral nature of man we mean those powers which fit him for right
or wrong action. These powers are intellect, sensibility and will, together
with that peculiar power of discrimination and impulsion, which we call
conscience. In order to moral action, man has intellect or reason, to discern
the difference between right and wrong, the sensibility to be moved by each
of these and the free will to do the one or the other. Intellect, sensibility
and will are man’s three faculties. In connection with these faculties there is
a sort of activity which involves them all and without which there can be
no moral action, namely, the activity of conscience. Conscience applies the
moral law to particular cases in our personal experience and proclaims that
law as binding upon us. Only a rational and sentient being can be truly
moral yet it does not come within our province to treat of man’s intellect
or sensibility in general. We speak here only of Conscience and of Will.
1. Conscience.
A. Conscience an accompanying knowledge. As already intimated,
conscience is not a separate faculty, like intellect, sensibility and will, but
rather a mode in which these faculties act. Like consciousness, conscience
is an accompanying knowledge. Conscience is a knowing of self (including
our acts and states) in connection with a moral standard or law. Adding
now the element of feeling, we may say that conscience is man’s
consciousness of his own moral relations, together with a peculiar feeling
in view of them. It thus involves the combined action of the intellect and of
the sensibility, and that in view of a certain class of objects, viz.: right and
There is no separate ethical faculty any more than there is a separate or
aesthetic faculty. Conscience is like taste: it has to do with moral being.229
and relations, as taste has to do with aesthetic being and relations. But the
ethical judgment and impulse are, like the aesthetic judgment and impulse,
the mode in which intellect, sensibility and will act with reference to a
certain class of objects. Conscience deals with the right, as taste deals
with the beautiful. Consciousness (con and scio) is a con knowing. It is a
knowing of our thoughts, desires and volition in connection with a
knowing of the self that has these thoughts, desires and volition.
Conscience is a con knowing. It is a knowing of our moral acts and states
in connection with a knowing of same moral standard or law which is
conceived of as our true self and therefore as having authority over us.
Ladd, Philosophy of Mind, 183-185 — “The condemnation of self
involves self-diremption, double consciousness. Without it Kant’s
categorical imperative is impossible. The one self lays down the law to the
other self, judges it, threatens it. This is what is meant, when the apostle
says: ‘It is no more I that do it but sin that dwelleth in me’ (

B. Conscience discriminative and impulsive. But we need to define more
narrowly both the intellectual and the emotional elements in conscience. As
respects the intellectual element, we may say that conscience is a power of
judgment and it declares our acts or states to conform, or not to conform,
to law. It declares the acts or states which conform to be obligatory or
those, which do not conform, to be forbidden. In other words, conscience
judges: (1) this is right (or, wrong); (2) I ought (or, I ought not). In
connection with this latter judgment, there comes into view the emotional
element of conscience when we feel the claim of duty; there is an inner
sense that the wrong must not be done. Thus conscience is (1)
discriminative and (2) impulsive.
Robinson, Principles and Practice of Morality, 173 — “The one
distinctive function of conscience is that of authoritative self-judgments in
the conscious presence of a supreme Personality to whom we as persons
feel ourselves accountable. It is this twofold personal element in every
judgment of conscience, viz., the conscious self-judgment in the presence
of the all-judging Deity. This has led such writers as Bain, Spencer and
Stephen to attempt to explain the origin and authority of conscience as the
product of parental training and social environment. Conscience is not
prudential nor advisory nor executive, but solely judicial. Conscience is
the moral reason pronouncing upon moral actions. Consciousness
furnishes law and conscience pronounces judgments by saying: Thou
shalt, Thou shalt not. Every man must obey his conscience; if it is not
enlightened, that is his outlook. The callusing of conscience in this life is.230
already a penal infliction.” S. S. Times, Apl. 5, 1902:185 — “Doing as
well as we know how is not enough, unless we know just what is right and
then do that. God never tells us merely to do our best or according to our
knowledge. It is our duty to know what is right, and then to do it.
Ignorantia legis neminem excusat. We have responsibility for knowing
preliminary to doing.”
C. Conscience distinguished from other mental processes. The nature and
office of conscience will be still more clearly perceived, if we distinguish it
from other processes and operations with which it is too often confounded.
Conscience is a term that has been used by various writers to designate
either one or all of the following:
1. Moral intuition, which is the intuitive perception of the difference
between right and wrong, as opposite moral categories.
2. Accepted law, which is the application of the intuitive idea to general
classes of actions and the declaration that these classes of actions are right
or wrong, apart from our individual relation to them. This accepted law is
the complex product of
(a) the intuitive idea,
(b) the logical intelligence,
(c) experiences of utility,
(d) influences of society and education, and
(e) positive divine revelation.
3. Judgment is the application of this accepted law to individual and
concrete cases in our own experience and pronouncing our own acts or
states either past, present or prospective, to be right or wrong.
4. Command is the authoritative declaration of obligation to do the right,
or forbear from doing the wrong together with an impulse of the sensibility
away from the one and toward the other.
5. Remorse or approval is moral sentiment either of approbation or
disapprobation, in view of past acts or states, regarded as wrong or right.
6. Fear or hope is instinctive disposition of disobedience to expect
punishment and of obedience to expect reward.
Ladd, Philos. of Conduct, 70 — “The feeling of the ought is primary,
essential, unique; the judgments as to what one ought are the results of.231
environment, education and reflection.” The sentiment of justice is not an
inheritance of civilized man alone. No Indian was ever robbed of his lands
or had his government allowance stolen from him who was not as keenly
conscious of the wrong as in like circumstances we could conceive that a
philosopher would be. The oughtness of the ought is certainly intuitive,
the whyness of the ought (conformity to God) is possibly intuitive also
and the whatness of the ought is less certainly intuitive. Cutler,
Beginnings of Ethics, 163, 164 — “Intuition tells us that we are obliged.
Why we are obliged and what we are obliged to, we must learn
elsewhere.” Obligation = that which is binding on a man, ought is
something owed and duty is something due. The intuitive notion of duty
(intellect) is matched by the sense of obligation (feeling).
Bixby, Crisis in Morals, 203, 270 — “All men have a sense of right — of
right to life and, contemporaneously perhaps but certainly afterwards, of
right to personal property. And my right implies duty in my neighbor to
respect it. Then the sense of right becomes objective and impersonal. My
neighbor’s duty to me implies my duty to him. I put myself in his place.”
Bowne, Principles of Ethics, 156, 188 — “First, the feeling of obligation,
the idea of a right and a wrong with corresponding duties, is universal.
Secondly, there is a very general agreement in the formal principles of
action and, largely in the virtues also, such as benevolence, justice and
gratitude. Whether we owe anything to our neighbor has never been a real
question. The practical trouble has always lain in the other question: Who
is my neighbor? Thirdly, the specific contents of the moral ideal are not
fixed, but the direction in which the ideal lies is generally discernible. We
have in ethics the same fact as in intellect — a potentially infallible
standard with manifold errors in its apprehension and application.
Lucretius held that degradation and paralysis of the moral nature result
from religion. Many claim, on the other hand, that without religion morals
would disappear from the earth.”
Robinson, Princ. and Prac. of Morality, 173 — “Fear of an omnipotent
will is very different from remorse in view of the nature of the supreme
Being whose law we have violated.” A duty is to be settled in accordance
with the standard of absolute right, not as public sentiment would dictate.
A man must be ready to do right in spite of what everybody thinks. Just as
the decisions of a judge are for the time binding on all good citizens, so
the decisions of Conscience, as relatively binding, must always be obeyed.
They are presumptively right and they are the only present guides of
action. Yet man’s present state of sin makes it quite possible that the
decisions which are relatively right may be absolutely wrong. It is not
enough to take one’s time from the watch; the watch may go wrong. There.232
is a prior duty of regulating the watch by astronomical standards. Bishop
Gore: “Man’s first duty is, not to follow his conscience, but to enlighten
his conscience.” Lowell says that the Scythians used to eat their
grandfathers out of humanity. Paine, Ethnic Trinities, 300 — “Nothing is
so stubborn or so fanatical as a wrongly instructed conscience, as Paul
showed in his own case by his own confession” (

Acts 26:9 — “I verily
thought with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name
of Jesus of Nazareth”).
D. Conscience the moral judiciary of the soul. From what has been
previously said, it is evident that only items 3 and 4 are properly included
under the term conscience. Conscience is the moral judiciary of the soul or
the power within of judgment and command. Conscience must judge
according to the law given to it, and therefore, since the moral standard
accepted by the reason may be imperfect, its decisions, while relatively just,
may be absolutely unjust. Items 1 and 2 belong to the moral reason but not
to conscience proper. Hence the duty of enlightening and cultivating the
moral reason so that conscience may have a proper standard of judgment.
Items 5 and 6 belong to the sphere of moral sentiment and not to
conscience proper. The office of conscience is to “bear witness”

Romans 2:15).

Romans 2:15 “they show the work of the law written in their hearts,
their conscience hearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with
another accusing or else excusing them”. We have conscience clearly
distinguished both from the law and the perception of law on the one hand
and from the moral sentiments of approbation and disapprobation on the
other. Conscience does not furnish the law but it bears witness with the
law, which is furnished by other sources. It is not “that power of mind by
which moral law is discovered to each individual” (Calderwood, Moral
Philosophy, 77), nor can we speak of “Conscience, the Law” (as Whewell
does in his Elements of Morality, 1:259-266). Conscience is not the law
book in the courtroom but it is the judge, whose business is not to make
law but to decide cases according to the law given to him.
As conscience does not legislate, so it is not retributive; as it is not the law
book, so it is not the sheriff. We say, indeed, in popular language, that
conscience scourges or chastises but it is only in the sense in which we
say that the judge punishes — i.e., through the sheriff. The moral
sentiments are the sheriff; they carry out the decisions of conscience, or
the judge, but they are not themselves conscience, any more than the
sheriff is the judge..233
Only this doctrine, that conscience does not discover law, can explain on
the one hand the fact that men are bound to follow their consciences, and
on the other hand the fact that their consciences so greatly differ as to
what is right or wrong in particular cases. The truth is, that conscience is
uniform and infallible, in the sense that it always decides rightly according
to the law given it. Men’s decisions vary only because the moral reason
has presented to the conscience different standards by which to judge.
Conscience can be educated only in the sense of acquiring greater facility
and quickness in making its decisions. Education has its chief effect, not
upon the conscience but upon the moral reason in rectifying its erroneous
or imperfect standards of judgment. Give conscience a right law by which
to judge, and its decisions will be uniform, and absolutely as well as
relatively just. We are bound, not only to “follow our conscience,” but
also to have a right conscience to follow and to follow it, not as one
follows the beast he drives but as the soldier follows his commander.
Robert J. Burdette: Following conscience as a guide is like following
one’s nose. It is important to get the nose pointed right before it is safe to
follow it. A man can keep the approval of his own conscience in very
much the same way that he can keep directly behind his nose and go
wrong all the time.”
Conscience is the con knowing of a particular act or state, as coming
under the law accepted by the reason as to right and wrong and the
judgment of conscience subsumes this act or state under that general
standard. Conscience cannot include the law and cannot itself be the law
because reason only knows, never con-knows. Reason says scio; only
judgment says conscio.
This view enables us to reconcile the intuitive theories and the empirical
theories of morals. Each has its element of truth. The original sense of
right and wrong is intuitive for no education could over impart the idea of
the difference between right and wrong to one who had it not. But what
classes of things are right or wrong, we learn by the exercise of our
logical intelligence, in connection with experiences of utility, influences of
society and tradition, and positive divine revelation. Thus our moral
reason, through a combination of intuition and education, of internal and
external information as to general principles of right and wrong, furnishes
the standard according to which conscience may judge the particular
cases, which come before it.
This moral reason may become depraved by sin, so that the light becomes
darkness (

Matthew 6:22, 23) and conscience has only a perverse.234
standard by which to judge. The “weak’ conscience (

1 Corinthians
8:12) is one whose standard of judgment is yet imperfect; the conscience
“branded” (Revelations Vers.) or “seared” (A.V.) “as with a hot iron”

1 Timothy 4:2) is one whose standard has been wholly perverted by
practical disobedience. The word and the Spirit of God are the chief
agencies in rectifying our standards of judgment and so of enabling
conscience to make absolutely right decisions. God can so unite the soul
to Christ, that it becomes partaker on the one hand of his satisfaction to
justice and is thus “sprinkled from an evil conscience” (

10:22). On the other hand of his sanctifying power and is thus enabled in
certain respects to obey God’s command and to speak of a “good
conscience” (

1 Peter 3:16 — of single act 3:21 — of state) instead of
an “evil conscience” (

Hebrews 10:22) or a conscience “defiled”

Titus 1:15) by sin. Here the “good conscience” is the conscience,
which has been, obeyed by the will, and the “evil conscience” the
conscience which has been disobeyed with the result, in the first case, of
approval from the moral sentiments and, in the second case, of
E. Conscience in its relation to God as the lawgiver. Since conscience, in
the proper sense, gives uniform and infallible judgment that the right is
supremely obligatory and that the wrong must be forborne at every cost, it
can be called an echo of God’s voice, and an indication in man of that
which his own true being requires.
Conscience has sometimes been described as the voice of God in the soul
or as the personal presence and influence of God himself. But we must not
identify conscience with God. D. W. Faunce: “Conscience is not God for
it is only a part of one’s self. To buildup a religion about one’s own
conscience, as if it were God, is only a refined selfishness; a worship of
one part of one’s self by another part of one’s self.” In The Excursion,
Wordsworth speaks of conscience as “God’s most intimate presence in the
soul and his most perfect image in the world.” But in his Ode to Duty he
more directly writes: “Stern daughter of the voice of God! O Duty if that
name thou love, Who art a light to guide, a rod To check the erring and
reprove, Thou who art victory and law When empty terrors overawe,
From vain temptations dost set free And calm the weary strife of frail
humanity!” Here is an allusion to the Hebrew Bath Kol. “The Jews say
that the Holy Spirit spoke during the Tabernacle by Urim and Thummim,
under the first Temple by the Prophets, and under the second Temple by
the Bath Kol. It is a divine intimation as inferior to the oracular voice
proceeding from the mercy seat as a daughter is supposed to be inferior to.235
her mother. It is also used in the sense of a conscience giving approval. In
this case it is the echo of the voice of God in those who by obeying hear”
(Hershon’s Talmudic Miscellany, 2, note). This phrase, “the echo of
God’s voice,” is a correct description of conscience, and Wordsworth
probably had it in mind when he spoke of duty as “the daughter of the
voice of God.” Robert Browning describes conscience as “the great
beacon light God sets in all… The worst man upon earth… knows in his
conscience more Of what right is, than arrives at births In the best man’s
acts that we bow before.” Jackson James Martineau, 134 — The sense of
obligation is “a piercing ray of the great Orb of souls.” On Wordsworth’s
conception of conscience, see A. H. Strong, Great Poets, 365-368.
Since the activity of the immanent God reveals itself in the normal
operations of our own faculties, conscience might be also regarded as
man’s true self over against the false self which we have set up against it.
Theodore Parker defines conscience as” our consciousness of the
conscience of God.” In his fourth year, says Chadwick, his biographer
(pages 12, 13, 185), young Theodore saw a little spotted tortoise and
lifted his hand to strike. All at once something checked his arm, and a
voice within said clear and loud: “It is wrong.” He asked his mother what
it was that told him it was wrong.
She wiped a tear from her eye with her apron, and taking him in her arms
said: “Some men call it conscience, but I prefer to call it the voice of God
in the soul of man. If you listen and obey it, then it will speak clearer and
clearer, and will always guide you right but if you turn a deaf ear and
disobey, then it will fade out little by little, and will leave you all in the
dark and without a guide. Your life depends on your hearing this little
voice.” R. T. Smith, Man’s Knowledge of Man and of God, 87, 171 —
“Man has conscience, as he has talents. Conscience, no more than talent,
makes him good. He is good, only as he follows conscience and uses
talent… The relation between the terms consciousness and conscience,
which are in fact but forms of the same word, testifies to the fact that it is
in the action of conscience that man’s consciousness of himself is chiefly
The conscience of the regenerate man may have such right standards and
its decisions may be followed by such uniformly right action, that its
voice, though it is not itself God’s voice, is yet the very echo of God’s
voice. The renewed conscience may take up into itself and may express
the witness of the Holy Spirit. (

Romans 9:1 — “I say the truth in
Christ, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy
Spirit”; cf. 8:16 — “the Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that.236
we are children of God”). But even when conscience judges according to
imperfect standards and is imperfectly obeyed by the will, there is
spontaneity in its utterances and sovereignty in its commands. It declares
that whatever is right must be done. The imperative of conscience is a
“categorical imperative” (Kant). It is independent of the human will. Even
when disobeyed, it still asserts its authority. Before conscience, every
other impulse and affection of man’s nature is called to bow.
F. Conscience in its relation to God as holy. Conscience is not an original
authority. It points to something higher than it does. The “authority of
conscience is simply the authority of the moral law, or rather, the authority
of the personal God, of whose nature the law is but a transcript.
Conscience, therefore, with its continual and supreme demand that the
right should he done, furnishes the host witness to man of the existence of
a personal God and of the supremacy of holiness in him in whose image we
are made.
In knowing self in connection with moral law, man not only gets his best
knowledge of self, but his best knowledge of that other self opposite to
him, namely, God. Gordon, Christ of Today, 236 — “The conscience is
the true Jacob’s ladder, set in the heart of the individual and reaching unto
heaven and upon it the angels of self-reproach and self-approval ascend
and descend.” This is of course true if we confine our thoughts to the
mandatory element in revelation. There is a higher knowledge of God,
which is given only in grace. Jacob’s ladder symbolizes the Christ who
publishes the gospel but the law, and not only the law but the gospel.
Dewey, Psychology, 344 — “Conscience is intuitive, not in the sense that
it enunciates universal laws and principles, for it lays down no laws.
Conscience is a name for the experience of personality that any given act
is in harmony or in discord with a truly realized personality.” Because
obedience to the dictates of conscience is always relatively right, Kant
could say: “an erring conscience is a chimæra.” But because the law
accepted by conscience may be absolutely wrong, conscience may in its
decisions greatly err from the truth. S. S. Times: “Saul before his
conversion was a conscientious wrong doer. His spirit and character was
commendable, while his conduct was reprehensible.” We prefer to say
that Saul’s zeal for the law was zeal to make the law subservient to his
own pride and honor.
Horace Bushnell said that the first requirement of a great ministry is a
great conscience. He did not mean the punitive, inhibitory conscience
merely, but rather the discovering, arousing, inspiring conscience, that.237
sees at once the great things to be done and moves toward them with a
shout and a song. This unbiased and pure conscience is inseparable from
the sense of its relation to God and to God’s holiness. Shakespeare, Henry
VI, 2d Part, 3:2 — “What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted?
Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though
locked up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.” Huxley,
in his lecture at Oxford in 1893, admits and even insists that ethical
practice must be and should hem opposition to evolution; the methods of
evolution do not account for ethical man and his ethical progress.
Morality is not a product of the same methods by which lower orders have
advanced in perfection of organization, namely, by the struggle for
existence and survival of the fittest. Human progress is moral, it is in
freedom, it is under the law of love and it is different in kind from
physical evolution. James Russell Lowell: “In vain we call old notions
fudge, And bend our conscience to our dealing: The Ten Commandments
will not budge, And stealing will continue stealing.”
R. T. Smith, Man’s Knowledge of Man and of God, 161 — “Conscience
lives in human nature like a rightful king, whose claim can never be
forgotten by his people. Even though they dethrone and misuse him and
whose presence, on the seat of judgment, can he alone make the nation to
be at peace with itself.” Seth, Ethical Principles, 424 — “The Kantian
theory of autonomy does not tell the whole story of the moral life. Its
unyielding Ought, its categorical Imperative, issues not merely from the
depths of our own nature but from the heart of the universe itself. We are
self-legislative but we re-enact the law already enacted by God; we
recognize rather than constitute the law of our own being. The moral law
is an echo within our own souls of the voice of the Eternal “whose
offspring we are (

Acts 17:28).”
Schenkel, Christliche Dogmatik, 1:135-155 — “The conscience is the
organ by which the human spirit finds God in itself and so becomes aware
of itself in him. Only in conscience is man conscious of himself as eternal,
as distinct from God and yet as normally bound to be determined wholly
by God. When we subject ourselves wholly to God, conscience gives us
peace. When we surrender to the world the allegiance due only to God,
conscience brings remorse. In this latter case we become aware that while
God is in us, we are no longer in God. Religion is exchanged for ethics,
the relation of communion for the relation of separation. In conscience
alone man distinguishes himself absolutely from the brute. Man does not
make conscience, but conscience makes man. Conscience feels every
separation from God as an injury to self. Faith is the relating of the self-consciousness
to the God-consciousness, the becoming sure of our own.238
personality and in the absolute personality of God. Only in faith does
conscience come to itself. But by sin this faith-consciousness may be
turned into law-consciousness. Faith affirms God in us; law affirms God
outside of us.” Schenkel differs from Schleiermacher in holding that
religion is not feeling but conscience, and that it is not a sense of
dependence on the world, but a sense of dependence on God. Conscience
recognizes a God distinct from the universe, a moral God, and so makes
an unmoral religion impossible.
Hopkins, Outline Study of Man, 283-285, Moral Science, 49, Law of
Love, 41 — “Conscience is the moral consciousness of man in view of his
own actions as related to moral law. It is a double knowledge of self and
of the law. Conscience is not the whole of the moral nature. It
presupposes the moral reason, which recognizes the moral law and
affirms its universal obligation for all moral beings. It is the office of
conscience to bring man into personal relation to this law. It sets up a
tribunal within him by which he by which his own actions are judged
judges his own actions. Not conscience, but the moral reason, judges of
the conduct of others. This last is science but not conscience.
Peabody, Moral Philos., 41-60 — “Conscience not a source but a means
of knowledge analogous to consciousness, a judicial faculty that judges
according to the law before it. Verdict (verum dictum) always relatively
rights although, by the absolute standard of right, it may be wrong. Like
all perceptive faculties, educated by use (not by Increase of knowledge
only, for man may act worse, the more knowledge he has). For absolutely
right decisions, conscience is dependent upon knowledge. To recognize
conscience as legislator (as well as judge), is to fail to recognize any
objective standard of right.” The Two Consciences, 40, 47 —
“Conscience the Law, and Conscience the Witness. The latter is the true
and proper Conscience.”
H. B. Smith, System of Christ. Theology, 178-191 — “The unity of
conscience is not in its being one faculty or in its performing one function,
but in its having one object, its relation to one idea, viz., right. The term
‘conscience’ no more designates a special faculty than the term ‘religion’
does (or than the ‘aesthetic sense’). The existence of conscience proves a
moral law above us; it leads logically to a Moral Governor; it implies an
essential distinction between right and wrong, an immutable morality and
yet needs to be enlightened. Men may be conscientious in iniquity but
conscience is not righteousness. This may only show the greatness of the
depravity, having conscience, and yet ever disobeying it.”.239
On the New Testament passages with regard to conscience, see Hofmann,
Lehre von dem Gewissen, 30-38; Kahler, Das Gewissen, 225-293. For the
view that conscience is primarily the cognitive or intuitive power of the
soul, see Calderwood, Moral Philosophy, 77; Alexander, Moral Science,
20; McCosh, Div. Govt., 297-312; Talbot, Ethical Prolegomena, in Bap.
Quar., July, 1877:257-274; Park, Discourses, 260-296; Whewell,
Elements of Morality, 1:259-266. On the whole subject of conscience, see
Mansel, Metaphysics, 158-170; Martineau, Religion and Materialism, 45
— “The discovery of duty is as distinctly relative to an objective
Righteousness as the perception of form to an external space”; also
Types, 2:27-30 — “We first judge ourselves; then others”; 53, 54, 74,
103 — “Subjective morals are as absurd as subjective Mathematics.” The
best brief treatment of the whole subject is that of E. G. Robinson,
Principles and Practice of Morality, 26-78. See also Wayland, Moral
Science, 49; Harless, Christian Ethics, 45, 60; H. N. Day, Science of
Ethics, 17; Janet, Theory of Morale, 264, 348; Kant, Metaphysic of
Ethics, 62; cf. Schwegler, Hist. Philosophy, 233; Haven, Mor. Philos., 41;
Fairchild, Mor. Philos., 75; Gregory, Christian Ethics, 71; Passavant,
Das Gewissen; Wm. Schmid, Das Gewissen.
2. Will.
A. Will defined. Will be the soul’s power to choose between motives and
to direct its subsequent activity according to the motive thus chosen. In
other words, the soul has the power to choose both an end and the means
to attain it. The choice of an ultimate end we call immanent preference; the
choice of means we call executive volition.
In this definition we part company with Jonathan Edwards, Freedom of
the Will, in Works, vol. 2. He regards the will as the soul’s power to act
according to motive, i.e., to act out its nature, but he denies the soul’s
power to choose between motives, i.e., to initiate a course of action
contrary to the motive which has been previously dominant. Hence he is
unable to explain how a holy being, like Satan or Adam, could ever fall. If
man has no power to change motives, to break with the past, to begin a
new course of action, he has no more freedom than the brute. The younger
Edwards (Works, 1:483) show what his father’s doctrine of the will
implies, when he says: “Beasts therefore, according to the measure of
their intelligence, are as free as men. Intelligence, and not liberty, is the
only thing wanting to constitute them moral agents.” Yet Jonathon
Edwards, determinist as he was, in his sermon on Pressing into the
Kingdom of God (Works, 4:381), urges the use of means, and appeals to
the sinner as if he had the power of choosing between the motives of self.240
and of God. He was unconsciously making a powerful appeal to the will
and the human will responded in prolonged and might efforts; see Allen,
Jonathan Edwards, 109.
For references, and additional statements with regard to the will and its
freedom, see chapter on Decrees, pages 361, 362, and article by A. H.
Strong, in Baptist Review, 1883:219-242, and reprinted in Philosophy
and Religion, 114-128. In the remarks upon the Decrees, we have
intimated our rejection of the Armenian liberty of indifference, or the
doctrine that the will can act without motive. See this doctrine advocated
in Peabody, Moral Philosophy, 1-9. But we also reject the theory of
determinism propounded by Jonathan Edwards (Freedom of the Will, in
Works, vol. 2). This, as we have before remarked, identifies sensibility
with the will, regards affections as the efficient causes of volition and
speaks of the connection between motive and action as a necessary one.
Hazard, Man a creative First Cause, and the Will, 407 — “Edwards gives
to the controlling cause of volition in the past the name of motive. He
treats the inclination as a motive, but he also makes inclination
synonymous with choice and will, which would make will to be only the
soul willing and therefore, the cause of its own act.” For objections to the
Armenian theory, see H. B. Smith, Review of Whedon, in Faith and
Philosophy, 359-399; McCosh, Divine government, 263-318, esp. 312; E.
G. Robinson, Principles and Practice of Morality, 109-137; Shedd,
Dogmatic Theology, 2:115-147.
James, Psychology, 1:139 — “Consciousness is primarily a selecting
agency.” 2:393 — “Man possesses all the instincts of animals, and a great
many more besides. Reason, per se, can inhibit no impulses; the only
thing that can neutralize an impulse is an impulse the other way. Reason
may however make an inference which will excite the imagination to let
loose the impulse the other way.” 549 — “Ideal or moral action is action
in the line of the greatest resistance.” 562 — “Effort of attention is the
essential phenomenon of will.” 567 — “The terminus of the psychological
process is volition. It is the point to which the will is directly applied is
always an idea.” 568 — “Though attention is the first thing in volition,
express consent to the reality of what is attended to is an additional and
distinct phenomenon. We say not only that it is a reality but we also say:
“Let it be a reality.” 571 — “Are the duration and intensity of this effort
fixed functions of the object or are they not? We answer, no, and so we
maintain freedom of the will.” 584 — “The soul presents nothing, creates
nothing and is at the mercy of Material forces for all possibilities. By
reinforcing one and checking others, it figures not as an epiphenomenon
but as something from which the play gets moral support.” Alexander,.241
Theories of the Will, 201-214, finds in Reid’s Active Powers of the
Human Mind the most adequate empirical defense of indetermination.
B. Will and other faculties.
(a) We accept the threefold division of human faculties into intellect,
sensibility and will.
(b) Intellect is the soul knowing, sensibility is the soul feeling (desires,
affections) and will is the soul choosing (end or means).
(c) In every act of the soul, all the faculties act. Knowing involves feeling
and willing and willing involves knowing and feeling.
(d) Logically, each latter faculty involves the preceding action of the
former; the soul must know before feeling and it must know and feel before
(e) Yet since knowing and feeling are activities, neither of these is possible
without willing.
Socrates to theætetus: “It would be a singular thing, my lad, if each of us
was, as it were, a wooden horse, and within us were seated many separate
senses. For manifestly these senses unite into one nature, call it the soul or
what you will. And it is with this central form, through the organs of
sense, that we perceive sensible objects.” Dewey, Psychology, 21 —
“Knowledge and feeling are partial aspects of the self, and hence more or
less abstract, while will is complete, comprehending both aspects. While
the universal element is knowledge, the individual element is feeling and
the relation which connects them into one concrete content is will.” 364 —
“There is conflict of desires or motives. Deliberation is the comparison of
desires; choice is the decision in favor of one. This desire is then the
strongest because the sole force of the self is thrown into it.” 411 — “The
man determines himself by setting up either good or evil as a motive to
himself, and he sets up either, as he will have himself be. There is no
thought without will, for thought implies inhibition.” Ribot, Diseases of
the Will, 73, cites the case of Coleridge, and his lack of power to inhibit
scattering and useless ideas; 114 — “Volition plunges its roots into the
profoundest depths of the individual and beyond the individual into the
species and into all species.”
As God is not mere nature but originating force, so man is chiefly will.
Every other act of the soul has will as an element. Wundt: “Jedes Denken
ist ein Wollen.” There is no perception, and there is no thought without.242
attention and attention is an act of the will. Hegelians and absolute
idealists like Bradely (see Mind, July 1886), deny that attention is an
active function of the self. They regard it as a necessary consequence of
the more interesting character of preceding ideas. Thus all power to alter
character is denied to the agent. This is an exact reversal of the facts of
consciousness, and it would leave no will in God or man. T. H. Green
says that the self makes the motives by identifying itself with one
solicitation of desire rather an another, but that the self has no power of
alternative choice in this identifying itself with one solicitation of desire
rather than another; see Upton, Hibbert Lectures, 310. James Seth,
Freedom of Ethical Postulate: “The only hope of finding a place for real
free will is in another than the Human, empirical or psychological account
of the moral person or self. Hegel and Green bring will again under the
law of necessity but personality is ultimate. Absolute uniformity is
entirely unproved. We contend of a power of free and incalculable
initiation in the self and this it is necessary to maintain in the interests of
morality.” Without will to attend to pertinent Material and to reject the
impertinent, we can have no science, without will to select and combine
the elements of imagination, we can have no art and without will to
choose between evil and good, we can have no morality. Ælfric, AD900:
“The verb ‘to will’ has no imperative, for that the will must be always
C. Will and permanent states.
(a) Though every act of the soul involves the action of all the faculties, yet
in any particular action one faculty may be more prominent that the others.
So we speak of acts of intellect, of affection, of will.
(b) This predominant action of any single faculty produces effects upon the
other faculties associated with it. The action of will gives a direction to the
intellect and to the affections, as well as a permanent bent to the will itself.
(c) Each faculty, therefore, has its permanent states as well as its transient
acts and the will may originate these states. Hence we speak of voluntary
affections and may with equal propriety speak of voluntary opinions. These
permanent voluntary states we denominate character.
I “makeup” my mind. Ladd, Philosophy of Conduct, 152 — I will the
influential ideas, feelings and desires, rather than allow these ideas,
feelings and desires to influence — not to say, determine me.” All men
can say with Robert Browning’s Paracelsus: “I have subdued my life to
the one purpose Whereto I ordained it.” “Sow an act, and you reap a.243
habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a character, and you
reap a destiny.” Tito, in George Eliot’s Romola, and Markheim in R. L.
Stevenson’s story of that name, are instances of the gradual and almost
imperceptible fixation in evil ways which results from seemingly slight
original decisions of the will. See art, on Tito Melema, by Julia H.
Gulliver, In New World, Dec. 1895:688 — “Sin lies in the choice of the
ideas that shall frequent the moral life, rather than of the actions that shall
form the outward life. The pivotal point of the moral life is the intent
involved in attention. Sin consists, not only in the motive, but in the
making of the motive.” By every decision of the will in which we turn our
thought either toward or away from an object of desire, we set nerve-tracts
in operation, upon which thought may hereafter more or less easily
travel. “Nothing makes an inroad, without making a road.” By slight
efforts of attention to truth which we know ought to influence us, we may
“make level in the desert a highway for our God”(

Isaiah 48:3), or
render the soul a hard trodden ground impervious to “the word of the
kingdom” (

Matthew 13:19).
The word “character” meant originally the mark of the engraver’s tool
upon the metal or the stone. It came then to signify the collective result of
the engraver’s work. The use of the word in morals implies that every
thought and act is chiseling itself into the imperishable substance of the
soul. J. S. Mill: “A character is a completely fashioned will.” We may
talk therefore of a “generic volition” (Dewey). There is a permanent bent
of the will toward good or toward evil. Reputation is man’s shadow,
sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, than he is. Character, on the other
hand, is the man’s true self — “what a man is in the dark” (Dwight L.
Moody). In this sense, “purpose is the autograph of mind.” Duke of
Wellington: “Habit a second nature? Habit is ten times nature!” When
Macbeth says: “If ‘t were done when ‘t is done, Then ‘t were well ‘t were
done quickly,” the trouble is that when ‘t is done, it is only begun. Robert
Dale Owen gives us the fundamental principle of socialism in the maxim:
“A man’s character is made for him, not by him.” Hence he would change
man’s diet or his environment, as a means of forming man’s character.
But Jesus teaches that what defiles comes not from without but from
within (

Matthew 15:18), because character is the result of will, the
maxim of Heraclitus is true: h+qov ajnqrw>pw| dai>mwn = man’s character
is his destiny. On habit, see James, Psychology, 1:122-127.
D. Will and motives..244
(a) The permanent states just mentioned, when they have been once
determined also influence the will. Internal views and dispositions and not
simply external presentations, constitute the strength of motives.
(b) These motives often conflict, and though the soul never acts without
motive, it does not withstanding choose between motives and so
determines the end toward which it will direct its activities.
(c) Motives are not causes, which compel the will, but influences, which
persuade it. The power of these motives however is proportioned to the
strength of will, which has entered into them and has made them what they
“Incentives comes from the souls self: the rest avail not.” The same wind
may drive two ships in opposite directions, according as they set their
sails. The same external presentation may result in George Washington’s
refusing and Benedict Arnold’s accepting the bribe to betray his country.
Richard Lovelace of Canterbury: “Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor
iron bars a cage; Minds innocent and quiet take That for a hermitage.”
Jonathan Edwards made motives to be efficient causes when they are only
final causes. We must not interpret motive as if it were locomotive, it is
always a man’s fault when he becomes a drunkard: drink never takes to a
man; the man takes to drink. Men who deny demerit are ready enough to
claim merit. They hold others responsible, if not themselves. Bowne:
“Pure arbitrariness and pure necessity are alike incompatible with reason.
There must be a law of reason in the mind with which volition cannot
tamper and there must also be the power to determine ourselves
accordingly.” Bowne, Principles of Ethics, 135 — “If necessity is a
universal thing, then the belief in freedom is also necessary. All grant
freedom of thought, so that it is only executive freedom that is deeded.”
Bowne, Theory of Thought and Knowledge, 209-244 — “Every system of
philosophy must invoke freedom for the solution of the problem of error
or make shipwreck of reason itself. Our faculties are made for truth, but
they maybe carelessly used, or willfully misused and thus error is born.
We need not only laws of thought but self-control in accordance with
The will, in choosing between motives, chooses with a motive, namely, the
motive chosen. Fairbairn, Philos. Christian Religion, 76 — “While
motives may be necessary, they need not necessitate. The will selects
motives but motives do not select the will. Heredity and environment do
not cancel freedom; they only condition it. Thought is transcendence as
regards the phenomena of space; will is transcendence as regards the.245
phenomena of time; this double transcendence involves the complete
supernatural character of man.” New World, 1892:152 — “It is not the
character, but the self that has the character, to which the ultimate moral
decision is due.” William Ernest Henly, Poems, 119 — “It Matters not
how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the
master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
Julius Muller, Doctrine of Sin, 2:54 — “A being is free, in so far as the
inner center of its life, from which it acts, is conditioned by self-determination.
It is not enough that the deciding agent in an act be the man
himself, his own nature, and his distinctive character. In order to
accountability, we must have more than this; we must prove that this, his
distinctive nature and character springs from his own volition and that it
is itself the product of freedom in moral development.

Matthew 12:33
— “make the tree good, and its fruit good” — combines both. Acts
depend upon nature but nature again depends upon the primary decisions
of the will (“make the tree good”). Some determinism is not denied but it
is partly limited [by the will’s remaining power of choice] and partly
traced back to a former self-determining.” Ibid., 67 — “If freedom be the
self-determining of the will from that which is undetermined, Determinism
is found wanting, because in its most spiritual form, though it grants a
self-determination of the will, it is only such a one as springs from a
determinates already present; indifference is found wanting too, because
while it maintains indetermination as presupposed in every act of will. It
does not recognize an actual self-determining on the part of the will,
which, though it be a self-determining, yet begets determination of
character. We must, therefore, hold the doctrine of a conditional and
limited freedom,”
E. Will and contrary choice.
(a) Though no act of pure will is possible, the soul may put forth single
volition in a direction opposed to its previous ruling purpose and thus far
man has the power of a contrary choice (

Romans 7:18 — “to will is
present with me”).
(b) But in so far as will has entered into and revealed itself in permanent
states of intellect and sensibility and in a settled bent of the will itself, man
cannot by a single act reverse his moral state, and in this respect has not
the power of a contrary choice..246
(c) In this latter case he can change his character only indirectly, by turning
his attention to considerations fitted to awaken opposite dispositions and
by thus summoning up motives to an opposite course.
There is no such thing as an act of pure will. Peters, Willenswelt, 126 —
“Jedes Wollen ist ein Etwas wollen” — “all willing is a willing of
something”; it has an object which the mind conceives, which awakens the
sensibility and which the will strives to realize. Cause without alternative
is not true cause. J. F. Watts: “We know causality only as we know will,
i.e., where of two possible causes it makes one actual. A cause may
therefore have more than one certain effect. In the external Material world
we cannot find cause, but only antecedent. To construct a theory of the
will from a study of the Material universe is to seek the living among the
dead. Will is power to make a decision, not to be made by decisions, to
decide between motives and not to be determined by motives. Who
conducts the trial between motives? Only the self.” While we agree with
the above in its assertion of the certainty of nature’s sequences, we object
to its attribution even to nature of anything like necessity. Since nature’s
laws are merely the habits of God, God’s causality in nature is the
regularity, not of necessity, but of freedom. We, too, are free at the
strategic points. Automatic as most of our action is, there are times when
we know ourselves to have power of initiative; when we put under our feet
the motives, which have dominated us in the past or when we mark out
new courses of action. In these critical times we assert our manhood; but
for them, we would be no better than the beasts that perish. “Unless above
himself he can erect himself, How mean a thing is man!”
Will, with no remaining power of contrary choice, may be brute will, but
it is not free will. We therefore deny the relevancy of Herbert Spencer’s
argument, in his Data of Ethics, and in his Psychology, 2:503 —
“Psychical changes either conform to law, or they do not. If they do not
conform to law, no science of Psychology is possible. If they do conform
to law, there cannot be any such thing as free will.” Spinoza also, in his
Ethics, holds that the stone, as it falls, would if it were conscious think
itself free, and with as much justice as man; for it is doing that to which
its constitution leads it; but no more can be said for him. Fisher, Nature
and Method of Revelation, xiii — “To try to collect the ‘data of ethics’
when there is no recognition of man as a personal agent, capable of freely
originating the conduct and the state’s of will for which he is morally
responsible, is labor lost.” Fisher, chapter on the Personality of God, in
Grounds of Theistic and Christian Belief — “Self-determination, as the
very term signifies, is attended with an irresistible conviction that the.247
direction of the will is self-imparted… that the will is free. That is to say,
it is, not constrained by causes exterior, which is fatalism — and not a
mere spontaneity, confined to one path by force acting from within, which
is determinism. It is immediately evident to every unsophisticated mind.
We can initiate action by an efficiency, which is neither irresistibly
controlled by motives, nor determined without any capacity of alternative
action by proneness inherent in its nature. Motives have an influence, but
influence is not to be confounded with causal efficiency.”
Talbot, on Will and Free Will, Bap. Rev., July, 1582 — “Will is neither a
power of unconditioned self-determination, which is not freedom but an
aimless, irrational, fatalistic power nor pure spontaneity, which excludes from
will all law but its own. It is rather a power of originating action — a power
which is limited however by inborn dispositions, by acquired habits and
convictions, by feelings and social relations.” Ernest Naville, in Rev.
Chretienne, Jan. 1878:7 — “Our liberty does not consist in producing an
action of which it is the only source. It consists in choosing between two
preexistent impulses. It is choice, not creation, that is our destiny — a drop of
water that can choose whether it will go into the Rhine or the Rhone. Gravity
carries it down — it chooses only its direction. Impulses do not come from the
will, but from the sensibility but free will chooses between these impulses.”
Bowne, Metaphysics, 169 “Freedom is not a power of acting without, or apart
from, motives but simply a power of choosing an end or law and of governing
one’s self accordingly.” Porter, Moral Science, 77-111, Will has “not the
power to choose without motive.” It “does not exclude motives to the
contrary.” Volition “supposes that there are two or more objects between
which election is made. It is an act of preference, and to prefer implies that
one motive is chosen to the exclusion of another… to the conception and the
act two motives at least are required.” Lyall, Intellect, Emotions, and Moral
Nature, 581, 592 — “The will follows reasons, inducements but it is not
caused. It obeys or acts under inducement, but it does so sovereignly. It
exhibits the phenomena of activity, in relation to the very motive it obeys. It
obeys it rather than another. It determines, in reference to it, that this is the
very motive it will obey. There is undoubtedly this phenomenon exhibited: the
will obeying but elective and active in its obedience. If it be asked how this is
possible — how the will can be under the influence of motive and yet possess
an intellectual activity, we reply that this is one of those ultimate phenomena
which must be admitted while they cannot be explained.”
F. Will and responsibility.
(a) By repeated acts of will put forth in a given moral direction, the
affections may become so confirmed in evil or in good as to make.248
previously certain, though not necessary, the future good or evil action of
the man. Thus, while the will is free, the man may be the “bondservant of
sin” (

John 8:31-36) or the “servant of righteousness” (

Romans 6:15-
23; cf. Hebrews 12-23 — “spirits of just men made perfect”).
(b) Man is responsible for all effects of will, as well as for will itself. He is
responsible for voluntary affections as well as for voluntary acts and for the
intellectual views into which will entered. He is responsible as well for the
acts of will by which these views have been formed in the past or are
maintained in the present (

1 Peter 3:5 — “wilfully forget”).
Ladd, Philosophy of Knowledge, 415 — “The self stands between the two
laws of Nature and of Conscience and, under perpetual limitations from
both, exercises its choice. Thus it becomes more and more enslaved by the
one or more and more free by habitually choosing to follow the other. Our
conception of causality according to the laws of nature, and our
conception of the other causality of freedom, are both derived from one
and the same experience of the self. There arises a seeming antinomy only
when we hypostatize each severally and apart from the other.” R. T.
Smith, Man’s Knowledge of Man and of God, 69 — “Making a will is
significant. Here the action of will is limited by conditions: the amount of
the testator’s property, the number of his relatives, the nature of the
objects of bounty within his knowledge.”
Harris, Philos. Basis of Theism, 349-407 — “Action without motives, or
contrary to all motives, would be irrational action. Instead of being free, it
would be like the convulsions of epilepsy. Motives = sensibilities. Motive
is not cause; it does not determine; it is only influence. Yet determination
is always made under the influence of motives. Uniformity of action is not
to be explained by law of uniform influence of motives but by character
in the will. By its choice, will forms, in it, a character by actions in
accordance with this choice, confirms and develops the character. Choice
modifies sensibilities and so modifies motives. Volitional action expresses
character but also forms and modifies it. Man may change his choice yet
intellect, sensibility, motive, habit remain. Evil choice, having formed
intellect and sensibility into accord with itself, must be a powerful
hindrance to fundamental change by new and contrary choice and gives
small ground to expect that man left to himself ever will make the change.
After will has acquired character by choices, its determinations are not
transitions from complete indetermination or indifference but are more or
less expressions of character already formed. The theory that indifference
is essential to freedom implies that will never acquires character;.249
voluntary action is automatic; every act is disintegrated from every other;
that character, if acquired, would be incompatible with freedom.
Character is a choice yet a choice which persists, which modifies
sensibility and intellect, and which influences subsequent determinations.”
My freedom then is freedom within limitations. Heredity and environment,
and above all the settled dispositions, which are the product of past acts of
will, render a large part of human action practically automatic. The
deterministic theory is valid for perhaps nine-tenths of human activity.
Mason Faith of the Gospel, 118, 119 — “We naturally choose evil
because of a bias toward it To act according to the perfection of nature
would be true freedom and man has lost this. He recognizes that he is not
his true self. It is only with difficulty that he works toward his true self
again. By the fall of Adam, the will, which before was conditioned but
free, is now not only conditioned but also enslaved. Nothing but the action
of grace can free it.” Tennyson, In Memoriam, Introduction: “Our wills
are ours, we know not how; Our wills are ours, to make them thine.”
Studying the action of the sinful will alone, one might conclude that there
is no such thing as freedom. Christian ethics, in distinction from
naturalistic ethics, reveals most clearly the degradation of our nature, at
the same time that it discloses the remedy in Christ: “If therefore the Son
shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (

John 8:36).
Mind, Oct. 1882:567 — “Kant seems to be in quest of the phantasmal
freedom which is supposed to consist in the absence of determination by
motives. The error of the determinists from which this idea is the recoil,
involves an equal abstraction of the man from his thoughts, and interprets
the relation between the two as an instance of the mechanical causality
which exists between two things in nature. The point to be grasped in the
controversy is that a man and his motives are one, and that consequently
he is in every instance self-determined. Indetermination is tenable only if
an ego can be found which is not an ego already determinate; but such an
ego, though it may be logically distinguished and verbally expressed, is
not a factor in psychology.” Morell, Mental Philosophy, 390 — “Motives
determine the will, and so far the will is not free but the man governs the
motives, allowing them a less or a greater power of influencing his life,
and so far the man is a free agent.” Santayana: “A free man, because he is
free, may make himself a slave but, once a slave, because he is a slave, he
cannot make himself free.” Sidgwick, Method of Ethics, 51, 65 — “This
almost overwhelming cumulative proof [of necessity] seems, however,
more than balanced by a single argument on the other side: the immediate
affirmation of consciousness in the moment of deliberate volition. It is
impossible for me to think, at each moment, that my volition is completely.250
determined by my formed character and the motives acting upon it. The
opposite conviction is so strong as to be absolutely unshaken by the
evidence brought against it. I cannot believe it to be illusory.”
G. Inferences from this view of the will.
(a) We can be responsible for the voluntary evil affections with which we
are born and for the will’s inherited preference of selfishness, only upon the
hypothesis that we originated these states of the affections and will, or had
a part in originating them. Scripture furnishes this explanation, in its
doctrine of Original Sin, or the doctrine of a common apostasy of the race
in its first father and our derivation of a corrupted nature by natural
generation from him.
(b) While there remains to man, even in his present condition, a natural
power of will by which he may put forth transient volition externally
conformed to the divine law and so may, to a limited extent modify his
character, it still remains true that the sinful bent of his affections is not
directly under his control. This bent constitutes a motive to evil so
constant, inveterate, and powerful, that it actually influences every member
of the race to reaffirm his evil choice and renders necessary a special
working of God’s Spirit upon his heart to ensure his salvation. Hence the
Scripture doctrine of Regeneration.
There is such a thing as “psychical automatism” (Ladd, Philos. Mind,
169). Mother: “Oscar, why can’t you be good’?” “Mamma, it makes me
so tired!” The wayward four-year-old is a type of universal humanity.
Men are born morally tired, though they have energy enough of other
sorts. The man who sins may lose all freedom so that his soul becomes a
seething mass of eructing evil. T. C. Chamberlaine ‘ Conditions may
make choices run rigidly in one direction and give as fixed uniformity as
in physical phenomena. Put before a million typical Americans the choice
between a quarter and a dime and rigid uniformity of results can be safely
predicted.” Yet Dr. Chamberlain not only grants but claims liberty of
choice. Romanes, Mind and Motion, 155-160 — “Though volition is
largely determined by other and external causes, it does not follow that
they are determined necessity and this makes all the difference between
the theories of will as bond or free. Their intrinsic character as first
causes protects them from being coerced by these causes and therefore
from becoming only the mere effects of them. The condition to the
effective operation of a motive — as distinguished from a motor — is the
acquiescence of the first cause upon whom that motive is operating.”.251
Fichte: “If any one adopting the dogma of necessity should remain
virtuous, we must seek the cause of his goodness elsewhere than in the
innocuousness of his doctrine. Upon the supposition of free will alone can
duty, virtue, and morality have any existence.” Lessing: “Kein Mensch
muss mussen.” Delitzsch: “Der Mensch, wie er jetzt ist, ist wahlfrei, aber
niehet machtfrei.”
Kant regarded freedom as an exception to the law of natural causality.
But this freedom is not phenomenal but noumenal, for causality is not a
category or noumen. From this freedom we get our whole idea of
personality, for personality is freedom of the whole soul from the
mechanism of nature. Kant treated scornfully the determinism of Leibnitz.
He said it was the freedom of a turnspit, which when once wound up
directed its own movements, i.e., was merely automatic. Compare with
this the view of Baldwin, Psychology, Feeling and Will, 373 — “Free
choice is a synthesis, the outcome of which is in every case conditioned
upon its elements, but in no case caused by them. A logical inference is
conditioned upon its premises, but is not caused by them. Both inference
and choice express the nature of the conscious principle and the unique
method of its life. The motives do not grow into volition nor does the
volition stand apart from the motives. The motives are partial expressions,
the volition is a total expression of the same existence. Freedom is the
expression of one’s self conditioned by past choices and present
environment.” Shakespeare, Hamlet, 3:4 — “Refrain tonight, And that
shall lend a kind of easiness To the next abstinence: the next more easy:
For use can almost change the stamp of nature, And either curb the devil
or throw him out With wondrous potency.” 3:2 — “Purpose is but the
slave to memory; Of violent birth but poor validity.” 4:7 — “That we
would do, We should do when we would; for this would changes And hath
abatements and delays as many As there are tongues, are hands, are
accidents.” Goethe: “Von der Gewalt die alle Wesen bindet, Befreit der
Mensch sich der sich uberwindet.”
Scotus Novanticus (Prof. Laurie of Edinburgh), Ethica, 287 — “The
chief good is fullness of life achieved through law by the action of will as
reasons on sensibility. Immorality is the letting loose of feeling, in
opposition to the idea and the law in it; it is individuality in opposition to
personality. In immorality, will is defeated, the personality overcome and
the subject will be as volitional as a dog is volitionally. The subject takes
possession of the personality and uses it for its natural desires.”
Maudsley, Physiology of Mind, 456, quotes Ribot, Diseases of the Will,
133 — “Will is not the cause of anything. It is like the verdict of a jury,.252
which is an effect without being a cause. It is the highest force which
nature has yet developed — the last consummate blossom of all her
marvelous works.” Yet Maudsley argues that the mind itself has power to
prevent insanity. This implies that there is an owner of the instrument
endowed with power and responsibility to keep it in order. Man can do
much, but God can do more.
H. Special objections to the deterministic theory of the will. Determinism
holds that man’s actions are uniformly determined by motives acting upon
his character and that he has no power to change these motives or to act
contrary to them. This denial that the will is free has serious and pernicious
consequences in theology. On the one hand, it weakens even if it does not
destroy man’s conviction with regard to responsibility, sin, guilt and
retribution and so obscures the need of atonement. On the other hand, it
weakens, if it does not destroy man’s faith in his own power as well as in
God’s power of initiating action, and so obscures the possibility of
Determinism is exemplified in Omar Kh•yy•m’s Rub•iyat: “With earth’s
first clay they did the last man knead, And there of the last harvest sowed
the seed; And the first morning of creation wrote What the last dawn of
reckoning shall read.” William James, Will to Believe, 145-183, shows
that determinism involves pessimism or subjectivism — good and evil are
merely means of increasing knowledge. The result of subjectivism is in
theology antinomianism, in literature romanticism, in practical life
sensuality or sensualism, as in Rousseau, Renan and Zola. Hutton, review
of Clifford in Contemp. Thoughts and Thinkers, 1:254 — “The
determinist says there would be no moral quality in actions that did not
express previous tendency, i.e., a man is responsible only for what he
cannot help doing. No effort against the grain will be made by him who
believes that his interior mechanism settles for him whether he shall make
it or no.” Royce, World and Individual, 2:342 — “Your unique voices in
the divine symphony are no more the voices of moral agents than are the
stones of a mosaic.” The French monarch announced that all his subjects
should be free to choose their own religion but he added that nobody
should choose a different religion from the king’s. “Johnny, did you give
your little sister the choice between those two apples?” “Yes, Mamma. I
told her she could have the little one or none, and she chose the little one,”
Hobson was always choose the last horse in the row. The bartender with
revolver in hand met all criticisms upon the quality of his liquor with the
remark: “You’ll drink that whisky, and you’ll like it too!”.253
Balfour, Foundations of Belief 22 — “There must be implicitly present to
primitive man the sense of freedom, since his fetichism largely consists in
attributing to inanimate objects the spontaneity which he finds in himself.”
Freedom does not contradict conservation of energy. Professor Lodge, in
Nature, March 26, 1891 — “Although expenditure of energy is needed to
increase the speed of Matter, none is needed to alter its direction. The rails
that guide a train do not propel it nor do they retard it; they have no
essential effect upon its energy but a guiding effect.” J. J. Murphy, Nat.
Selection and Spir. Freedom, 170-203 — “Will does not create force but
directs it. A very small force is able to guide the action of a great one, as
in the steering of a modern steamship.” James Seth, in Philos. Rev.,
3:285, 286 — “As life is not energy but a determiner of the paths of
energy, so the will is a cause, in the sense that it controls and directs the
channels which activity shall take.” See also James Seth, Ethical
Principles, 345-388 and Freedom as Ethical Postulate, 9 — “The
philosophical proof of freedom must be the demonstration of the
inadequacy of the categories of science: its philosophical disproof must be
the demonstration of the adequacy of such scientific categories.”
Shadworth Hodgson: “Either liberty is true and then the categories are
insufficient or the categories are sufficient and then liberty is a delusion.”
Wagner is the composer of determinism; there is no freedom or guilt;
action is the result of influence and environment; a mysterious fate rules
all. Life: “The views upon heredity Of scientists remind one That, shape
one’s conduct as one may, One’s future is behind one.”
We trace willing in God back, not to motives and antecedents, but to his
infinite personality. If man is made in God’s image, why we may not trace
man’s willing also back, not to motives and antecedents, but to his finite
personality? We speak of God’s fiat, but we may speak of man’s fiat also.
Napoleon: “There shall be no Alps!” Dutch William III: “I may fall, but
shall fight every ditch, and die in the last one!” When God energizes the
will, it becomes indomitable.

Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things
in him that strengtheneth me.” Dr. E. G. Robinson was theoretically a
determinist and wrongly held that the highest conceivable freedom is to
act out one’s own nature. He regarded the will as only the nature in
movement. Will is self-determining, not in the sense that will determines
the self but in the sense that self determines the will. The will cannot be
compelled, for unless self-determined it is no longer will. Observation,
history and logic, he thought, lead to necessitarianism. But consciousness,
he conceded, testifies to freedom. Consciousness must be trusted, though
we cannot reconcile the two. The will is as great a mystery as is the
doctrine of the Trinity. Volition, he says, is often directly in the face of the.254
current of a man’s life. Yet he held that we have no consciousness of the
power of a contrary choice. Consciousness can testify only to what
springs out of the moral nature, not to the moral nature itself.
Lotze, Religionsphilosophie, section 61 — “An indeterminate choice is, of
course, incomprehensible and inexplicable. If it were comprehensible and
explicable by the human intellect, if, that is, it could be seen to follow
necessarily from the preexisting conditions it, from the nature of the case,
could not be a morally free choice at all. But we cannot comprehend any
more how the mind can move the muscles nor how a moving stone can set
another stone in motion nor how the Absolute calls into existence our
individual selves.” Upton, Hibbert Lectures, 308-327, gives an able
expose of the deterministic fallacies. He cites Martineau and Balfour in
England, Renouvier and Fonsegrive in France, Edward Zeller, Kuno
Fischer and Saarschmidt in Germany, and William James in America, as
recent advocates of free will.
Martineau, Study, 2:227 — “Is there not a Causal Self, over and above
the Caused Self, or rather the Caused State and contents of the self left as
a deposit from previous behavior? Absolute idealism, like Green’s, will
not recognize the existence of this Causal Self”; Study of Religion, 2:195-
324, and especially 240 — “Where two or more rival preconceptions
enter the field together, they cannot compare themselves inter se; they
need and meet a superior. It rests with the mind itself to decide. The
decision will not be unmotivated for it will have its reasons. It will not be
uncomfortable to the characteristics of the mind for it will express its
preferences. None the less, it is issued by a free cause that elects from
among the conditions and is not elected by them.” 241 — “So far from
admitting that different effects cannot come from the same cause, I even
venture on the paradox that nothing, which is limited to one effect, is a
proper cause.” 309 — “Freedom, in the sense of option and will and as
the power of deciding an alternative, has no place in the doctrines of the
German schools.” 311 — “The whole illusion of Necessity springs from
the attempt to fling out, for contemplation in the field of Nature, the
creative new beginnings centered in personal subjects that transcend it.”
See also H. B. Smith, System of Christ. Theol., 236-251; Mansel, Proleg.
Log., 113-155, 270-278, and Metaphysics, 366; Gregory, Christian
Ethics, 60; Abp. Manning, in Contem. Rev., Jan. 1871:468; Ward,
Philos. of Theism, 1:287-352; 2:1-79, 274-349; Bp. Temple, Bampton
Lect., 1884:69-96; Row, Man not a Machine, in Present Day Tracts,
5:no. 30; Richards, Lectures on Theology, 97-153; Solly, The Will, 167-
203; William James, The Dilemma of Determinism, in Unitarian Review,.255
Sept. 1884, and in The Will to Besieve, 145-183; T. H. Green,
Prolegomena to Ethics, 90-159; Upton, Hibbert Lectures 310; Bradley, in
Mind, July, 1886; Bradford, Heredity and Christian Problems, 70-101;
Illingworth, Divine Immanence. 220-254; Ladd, Philos. of Conduct, 133-
188. For Lotze’s view of the Will, see his Philos. of Religion, 95-106 and
his Practical Philosophy, 35-50..256
in determining man’s original state, we are wholly dependent upon
Scripture. This represents human nature as coming from God’s hand, and
therefore “very good” (

Genesis 1:31). It moreover draws a parallel
between man’s first state and that of his restoration (

Colossians 3:10;

Ephesians 4:24). In interpreting these passages, however, we are to
remember the twofold danger; on the one hand of putting man so high, that
no progress is conceivable and on the other hand of putting him so low that
he could not fall. We shall the more easily avoid these dangers by
distinguishing between the essentials and the incidents of man’s original

Genesis 1:11 — “And God saw everything that he had made and
behold, it was very good”;

Colossians 3:13 — “the new man, that is
being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him”;

Ephesians 4:24 — “The new man that after God hath been created in
righteousness and holiness of truth.”
Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:387-399 — “The original state must be (1) a
contrast to sin, (2) a parallel to the state of restoration. Difficulties in the
way of understanding it:
(1) What lives in regeneration is something foreign to our present nature (“it
is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me” —

Galatians 2:20); but the
original state was something native.
(2) It was a state of childhood. We cannot fully enter into childhood, though
we see it about us, and have ourselves been through it. The original state is yet
more difficult to reproduce to reason.
(3) Man’s external circumstances and his organization have suffered great
changes, so that the present is no sign of the past. We must recur to the
Scriptures, therefore, as well nigh our only guide.” John Caird, Fund. Ideas of
Christianity, 1:164-195, points out that ideal perfection is to be looked for, not
at the outset, but at the final stage of the spiritual life. If man were wholly
finite, he would not know his finitude..257
Lord Bacon: “The sparkle of the purity of man’s first estate.” Calvin: “It
was monstrous impiety that a son of the earth should not be satisfied with
being made after the similitude of God, unless he could also he equal with
him.” Prof. Hastings: “The truly natural is not the real but the ideal. Made
in the image of God — between that beginning and the end stands God
made in the image of man.” See the general subject of man’s original
state, see Zocker, 3:283-290; Thomasius, Christi Person und Werk,
1:215-243: Ebrard, Dogmatik, 1:267-276; Van Oosterzee, Dogmatics,
374-375; Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:92-116.
These are summed up in the phrase “the image of God.” In God’s image
man is said to have been created (

Genesis 1:26, 27). In what did this
image of God consist? We reply that it consisted in
1. Natural likeness to God, or personality,
2. Moral likeness to God, or holiness.

Genesis 1:26, 27 — “And God said, let us make man in our image,
after our likeness… And God created man in his own image, in the image
of God created he him.” It is of great importance to distinguish clearly
between the two elements embraced in this image of God, the natural and
the moral. By virtue of the first man possessed certain faculties (intellect,
affection, will); by virtue of the second, he had right tendencies (bent,
proclivity, disposition). By virtue of the first, he was invested with certain
powers; by virtue of the second, a certain direction was imparted to these
powers. As created in the natural image of God, man had a moral nature;
as created in the moral image of God, man had a holy character. The first
gave him natural ability; the second gave him moral ability. The Greek
Fathers emphasized the first element, or personality, the Latin Fathers
emphasized the second element, or holiness. See Orr, God’s Image in
As the Logos, or divine Reason, Christ Jesus, dwells in humanity and
constitutes the principle of its being, humanity shares with Christ in the
image of God. That image is never wholly lost. It is completely restored in
sinners when the Spirit of Christ gains control of their wills and they
merge their life in his. To those who accused Jesus of blasphemy, he
replied by quoting the words of

Psalm 82:6 — “I said, ye are gods” —
words spoken of imperfect earthly rulers. Thus, In

John 10:14-36,
Jesus, who constitutes the very essence of humanity, justifies his own.258
claim to divinity by showing that even men who represent God are also in
a minor sense “partakers of the divine nature” (

2 Peter 1:4). Hence the
many legends, in heathen religions, of the divine descent of man.

Corinthians 11:3 — “the head of every man is Christ.” In every man, even
the most degraded, there is an image of God to be brought out, as Michael
Angelo saw the angel in the rough block of marble. This natural worth
does not imply worthiness; it implies only capacity for redemption. “The
abysmal depths of personality,” which Tennyson speaks of, are sounded,
as man goes down in thought successively from individual sins to sin of
the heart and to race sin. But “the deeper depth is out of reach To all, O
God, but the.” From this deeper depth, where man is rooted and grounded
in God, rise aspirations for a better life but these are not due to the man
himself, but to Christ, the immanent God, who ever works within him.
Fanny J. Crosby: “Rescue the perishing, Care for the dying… Down in
the human heart, crushed by the tempter, Feelings lie buried that grace
can restore; Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, Chords that
were broken will vibrate once more.”
1. Natural likeness to God, or personality.
Man was created a personal being, and was by this personality
distinguished from the brute. By personality we mean the twofold power to
know self as related to the world and to God and to determine self in view
of moral ends. By virtue of this personality, man could at his creation
choose which of the objects of his knowledge — self; the world, or God —
should be the norm and center of his development. This natural likeness to
God is inalienable and as constituting a capacity for redemption gives value
to the life even of the unregenerate (

Genesis 9:6;

1 Corinthians 11:7;

James 3:9).
For definitions of personality, see notes on the Anthropological Argument,
page 82; on Pantheism, pages 104, 105; on the Attributes, pages 253-254;
and on the Person of Christ, in Part VI. Here we may content ourselves
with the formula: Personality = self-consciousness + self-determination.
Self-consciousness and self-determination, as distinguished from the
consciousness and determination of the brute, involve all the higher mental
and moral powers, which constitute us men. Conscience is but a mode of
their activity. Notice that the term ‘image’ does not, in man, imply perfect
representation. Only Christ is the “very image” of God (

Hebrews 1:3),
the “image of the invisible God” (

Colossians 1:15 — on which see
Lightfoot). Christ is the image of God absolutely and archetypal; man,
only relatively and derivatively. But notice also that, since God is Spirit.259
that man, made in God’s image, cannot be a Material thing. By virtue of
his possession of this first possession of the image of God, namely,
personality, Materialism is excluded.
This first element of the divine image man can never lose until he ceases
to be man. Even insanity can only obscure this natural image — it cannot
destroy it. St. Bernard well said that it could not be burned out, even in
hell. The lost piece of money (

Luke 15:8) still bore the image and
superscription of the king, even though it did not know it and did not even
knew that it was lost. Human nature is therefore to be reverenced and he
who destroys human life is to be put to death:

Genesis 9:6 — “for in
the image of God made he man”;

1 Corinthians 11:7 — “a man indeed
ought not to have his head veiled, forasmuch as he is the image and glory
of God”;

James 3:9 — even men whom we curse “are made after the
likeness of God”; cf.

Psalm 8:5 — “thou hast made him but little
lower than God”;

1 Peter 2:17 — “Honor all men.” In the being of
every man are continents, which no Columbus has ever yet discovered,
depths of possible joy or sorrow, which no plummet has ever yet sounded.
A whole heaven, a whole hell, may lie within the compass of his single
soul. If we could see the meanest real Christian as he will he in the great
hereafter, we should bow before him as John bowed before the angel in
the Apocalypse, for we should not be able to distinguish him from God
(Revelations 22:8, 9).
Sir William Hamilton: “On earth there is nothing great but man; In man
there Is nothing great but mind.” We accept this dictum only if “mind”
can be understood to include man’s moral powers together with the right
direction of those powers. Shakespeare, Hamlet, 2:2 — “What a piece of
work is man! how noble in reason! how Infinite in faculty! in form and
moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in
apprehension how like a god!” Pascal: “Man is greater than the universe;
the universe may crush him, but it does not know that it crushes him.”
Whiton, Gloria Patri, 94 — “God is not only the Giver but the Sharer of
my life. My natural powers are that part of God’s power which is lodged
with me in trust to keep and use.” Man can be an instrument of God,
without being an agent of God. “Each man has his place and value as a
reflection of God and of Christ. Like a letter in a word or a word in a
sentence, he gets his meaning from his context but the sentence is
meaningless without him; rays from the whole universe converge in him.”
John Howe’s Living Temple shows the greatness of human nature in its
first construction and even in its redo. Only a noble ship could make so
great a wreck. Aristotle, Problem, sec. 30 — “No excellent soul is exempt.260
from a mixture of madness.” Seneca, De Tranquillitate Animi, 15 —
“There is no great genius without a tincture of madness.”
Kant: “So act as to treat humanity, whether in thine own person or in that
of any other, in every case as an end, and never as a means only.” If there
is a divine element in every man, then we have no right to use a human
being merely for our own pleasure or profit. In receiving him we receive
Christ and in receiving Christ we receive him who sent Christ

Matthew 10:40). Christ is the vine and all men are his natural
branches, cutting themselves off only when they refuse to bear fruit and
condemning themselves to the burning only because they destroy, so far as
they can destroy, God’s image in them, all that makes them worth
preserving (

John 15:1-6). Cicero: “Homo mortalis deus.” This
possession of natural likeness to God, or personality, involves boundless
possibilities of good or ill and it constitutes the natural foundation of the
love for man, which is required of us by the law. Indeed it constitutes the
reason why Christ should die. Man was worth redeeming. The woman,
whose ring slipped from her finger and fell into the heap of mud in the
gutter, bared her white arm and thrust her hand into the slimy mass until
she found her ring. But she would not have done this if the ring had not
contained a costly diamond. The lost piece of money, the lost sheep and
the lost son were worth effort to seek and to save (Luke 15). But, on the
other hand, it is folly when man, made in the image of God, “blinds
himself with clay.” The man on shipboard, who playfully tossed up the
diamond ring, which contained his whole fortune, at last to his distress
tossed it overboard. There is a “merchandise of souls (

18:13) and we must not juggle with them.
Christ’s death for man, by showing the worth of humanity, has recreated
ethics. “Plato defended infanticide as under certain circumstances
permissible. Aristotle viewed slavery as founded in the nature of things.
The reason assigned was the essential inferiority of nature on the part of
the enslaved.” But the divine image in man makes these barbarities no
longer possible to us. Christ sometimes hooked upon men with anger, but
he never looked upon them with contempt. He taught the woman, he
blessed the child, he cleansed the leper, and he raised the dead. His own
death revealed the infinite worth of the meanest human soul and taught us
to count all men as brethren for whose salvation we may well lay down
our lives. George Washington answered the salute of his slave. Abraham
Lincoln took off his hat to a Negro who gave him his blessing as he
entered Richmond; but a lady who had been brought up under the old
regime looked from a window upon the scene with unspeakable horror.
Robert Burns, walking with a nobleman in Edinburgh, met an old towns-.261
fellow from Ayr and stopped to talk with him. The nobleman, kept
waiting, grew restive and afterward, reproved Burns for talking to a man
with so bad a coat. Burns replied: “I was not talking to the coat — I was
talking to the man.” Jean Ingelow: “The street and market place Grow
holy ground: each face — Pale faces marked with care, Dark, toil-worn
brows — grows fair. King’s children are all these, though want and sin
Have marred their beauty, glorious within. We may not pass them but
with reverent eye.” See Porter, Human Intellect 393, 394, 401; Wuttke,
Christian Ethics, 2:42; Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:343,
2. Moral likeness to God, or holiness.
In addition to the powers of self-consciousness and self-determination just
mentioned, man was created with such a direction of the affections and the
will, as constituted God the supreme ends of man’s being, and constituted
man a finite reflection of God’s moral attributes. Since holiness is the
fundamental attribute of God, this must of necessity, be the chief attribute
of his image in the moral beings, of whom he creates. That original
righteousness was essential to this image, is also distinctly taught in
Scripture (

Ecclesiastes 7:29;

Ephesians 4:24;

Colossians 3:10).
Besides the possession of natural powers, the image of God involves the
possession of right moral tendencies. It is not enough to say that man was
created in a state of innocence. The Scripture asserts that man had a
righteousness like God’s:

Ecclesiastes 7:29 — “God made man

Ephesians 4:24 — “The new man, that after God hath been
created in righteousness and holiness of truth” — here Meyer says: “katan, ‘after God,’ i.e., ad exemplum Dei, after the pattern of God

Galatians 4:28 — katak ‘after Isaac’ = as Isaac was). This
phrase makes the creation of the new man a parallel to that of our first
parents, when were created after God’s image; they too, before sin came
into existence through Adam, were sinless — ‘in righteousness and
holiness of truth.’” On NT “truth” = rectitude, see Wendt, Teaching of
Jesus, 1:257-260.
Meyer refers also, as a parallel passage, to

Colossians 3:10 — “the
new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him
that created him.” Here the “knowledge” referred to is that knowledge of
God, which is the source of all virtue, and which, is inseparable from
holiness of heart. “Holiness has two sides or phases:
(1) it is perception and knowledge and.262
(2) it is inclination and feeling” (Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2:97). On

Ephesians 4:24 and

Colossians 3:10 the classical passages with regard
to man’s original state, see also the Commentaries of DeWette, Ruckert,
Ellicott, and compare

Genesis 5:3 — “And Adam lived an hundred and
thirty years and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image,” i.e., in his
own sinful likeness, which is evidently contrasted with the “likeness of God”
(verse 1) in which he himself had been created (An. Par. Bible).

Corinthians 4:4 — “Christ, who is the image of God” — where the phrase
“image of God” is not simply the natural, but also the moral image. Since
Christ is the image of God primarily in his holiness, man’s creation in the
image of God must have involved a holiness like Christ’s so far as such
holiness could belong to a being yet untried, that is, so far as respects man’s
tastes and dispositions prior to moral action.
“Couldst thou in vision see Thyself the man God meant, Thou nevermore
couldst be The man thou art — content.” Newly created man had right
moral tendencies, as well as freedom from actual fault. Otherwise the
communion with God described in Genesis would not have been possible.
Goethe: “Unless the eye were sun-like, how could it see the sun?” Because
a holy disposition accompanied man’s innocence, he was capable of
obedience and was guilty when he sinned. The loss of this moral likeness
to God was the chief calamity of the Fall. Man is now “the glory and the
scandal of the universe.” He has defaced the image of God in his nature,
even though that image, in its natural aspect, is ineffaceable (E. H.
The dignity of human nature consists not so much in what man is, as in
what God meant him to be and in what God means him yet to become,
when the lost image of God is restored by the union of man’s soul with
Christ. Because of his future possibilities, the meanest of mankind is
sacred. The great sin of the second table of the Decalogue is the sin of
despising our fellow man. To cherish contempt for others can have its root
only in idolatry of self and rebellion against God. Abraham Lincoln said
well that “God must have liked common people — else he would not have
made so many of them.” Regard for the image of God in man leads also to
kind and reverent treatment even of these lower animals in which so many
human characteristics are foreshadowed. Bradford, Heredity and
Christian Problems, 166 — “The current philosophy says: The fittest will
survive; let the rest die. The religion of Christ says: That maxim as
applied to men is just, only as regards their characteristics, of which
indeed only the fittest should survive. It does not and cannot apply to the
men themselves since all men, being children of God, are supremely fit.
The very fact that a human being is sick, weak, poor, outcast and a.263
vagabond is the strongest possible appeal for effort toward his salvation.
Let individuals look upon humanity from the point of view of Christ, and
they will not be long in finding ways in which environment can be caused
to work for righteousness.”
This original righteousness, in which the image of God chiefly consisted of,
is to be viewed:
(a) Not as constituting the substance or essence of human nature — for in
this case human nature would heave ceased to exist as soon as man sinned.
Men every day change their tastes and loves, without changing the essence
or substance of their being. When sin is called a “nature,” therefore (as by
Shedd, in his Essay on” Sins Nature, and that Nature Guilt”), it in only in
the sense of being something inborn (natura, from nascor). Hereditary
tastes may just as properly be denominated a “nature” as may the
substance of one’s being. Moehler, the greatest modern Roman Catholic
critic of Protestant doctrine, in his Symbolism, 58, 59, absurdly holds
Luther to have taught that by the Fall, man lost his essential nature, and
that another essence was substituted in its room. Luther, however, is only
rhetorical when he says: “It is the nature of man to sin. Sin constitutes the
essence of man; the nature of man since the Fall has become quite
changed. Original sin is that very thing which is born of father and
mother; the clay out of which we are formed is damnable. The fetus in the
Maternal womb is sin; man as born of his father and mother, together
with his whole essence and nature, is not only a sinner but sin itself.”
(b) Nor as a gift from without, foreign to human nature and added to it
after man’s creation — for man is said to have possessed the divine image
by the fact of creation, and not by subsequent bestowal.
As men, since Adam, are born with a sinful nature, that is, with
tendencies away from God, so Adam was created with a holy nature, that
is, with tendencies toward God. Moehler says: “God cannot give a man
actions.” We reply: “No, but God can give man dispositions and he does
this at the first creation, as well as at the new creation (regeneration).”
(c) But rather, as an original direction or tendency of man’s affections and
will, still accompanied by the power of evil choice differs from the
perfected holiness of the saints, as instinctive affection and childlike
innocence differ from the holiness that has been developed and confirmed
by experience of temptation..264
Man’s original righteousness was not immutable or indefectible; there was
still the possibility of sinning. Though the first man was fundamentally
good, he still had the power of choosing evil. There was a bent of the
affections and will toward God, but man was not yet confirmed in
holiness. Man’s love for God was like the germinal filial affection in the
child, not developed, yet sincere — “caritas puerilis, non virilis.”
(d) As a moral disposition, moreover, which was propagated to Adam’s
descendants, if it continued and which though lost to him and to them, if
Adam sinned, would still leave man possessed of a natural likeness to God
which made him susceptible of God’s redeeming grace.
Hooker (Works, ed. Keble, 2:683) distinguishes between aptness and
ability. The latter, men have lost; the former, they retain — else grace
could not work in us, more than in the brutes. Hase: “Only enough
likeness to God remained to remind man of what he had lost, and enable
him to feel the hell of God’s forsaking.” Only God himself can restore the
moral likeness to God. God secures this to men by making “the light of
the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God… dawn upon
them’’ (

2 Corinthians 4:4). Pusey made

Psalm 72:6 — “He will
come down like rain upon the mown grass” — the image of a world
hopelessly dead but with a hidden capacity for receiving life. Dr. Daggett:
“Man is a ‘son of the morning’ (

Isaiah 14:12), fallen, yet arrested
midway between heaven and hell, a prize between the powers of light and
darkness.” See Edwards, Works, 2:19, 20, 381-390; Hopkins, Works,
1:162; Shedd, Hist. Doctrine, 2:50-66; Augustine, De Civitate Dei. 14:11.
In the light of the preceding investigation, we may properly estimate two
theories of man’s original state, which claim to be more Scriptural and
A. The image of God as including only personality.
This theory denies that any positive determination to virtue inhered
originally in man’s nature and regards man at the beginning as simply
possessed of spiritual powers, perfectly adjusted to each other. This is the
view of Schleiermacher, who is followed by Nitzsch, Julius Muller, and
For the view here combated, see Schleiermacher, Christl. Glaube, sec. 60;
Nitzsch, System of Christian Doctrine. 201; Julius Muller, Doct, of Sin,
2:113-133, 350-357; Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, 1:287-291; Bibliotheca
Sacra, 7:409-425. Julius Muller’s theory of the Fall in a preexistent state.265
makes it impossible for him to hold here that Adam was possessed of
moral likeness to God. The origin of his view of the image of God renders
it liable to suspicion. Pfleiderer, Grundriss, 313 — “The original state of
man was that of childlike innocence or morally indifferent naturalness,
which had in itself indeed the possibility (Anlage) of ideal development,
but in such a way that its realization could be reached only by struggle
with its natural opposite. The image of God was already present in the
original state, but only as the possibility (Anlage) of real likeness to God
— the endowment of reason which belonged to human personality. The
reality of a spirit like that of God has appeared first in the second Adam
and has become the principle of the kingdom of God.”
Raymond (Theology, 2:43,132) is an American representative of the view
that the image of God consists in mere personality: “The image of God in
which man was created did not consist in an inclination and determination
of the will to holiness.” This is maintained upon the ground that such a
moral likeness to God would have rendered it impossible for man to fall
— to which we reply that Adam’s righteousness was not immutable, and
the basis of his will toward God did not render it impossible for him to
sin. Motives do not compel the will, and Adam at least had a certain
power of contrary choice. E. G. Robinson, Christ. Theology, 119-122,
also maintains that the image of God signified only that personality which
distinguished man from the brute. Christ, he says, carries forward human
nature to a higher point, instead of merely restoring what is lost. “Very
good” (

Genesis 1:31) does not imply moral perfection — this cannot
be the result of creation, but only of discipline and will. Man’s original
state was only one of untried innocence. Dr. Robinson is combating the
view that the first man was at his creation possessed of a developed
character. He distinguishes between character and the germs of character.
These germs he grants that man possessed. And so he defines the image of
God as a constitutional predisposition toward a course of right conduct.
This is all the perfection, which we claim for the first man. We hold that
this predisposition toward the good can properly be called character, since
it is the germ from which all holy action springs.
In addition to what has already been said in support of the opposite view,
we may urge against this theory the following objections:
(a) It is contrary to analogy, in making man the author of his own holiness;
our sinful condition is not the product of our individual wills, nor is our
subsequent condition of holiness the product of anything but God’s
regenerating power..266
To hold that Adam was created undecided, would make man, as Philippi
says, in the highest sense his own creator. But morally, as well as
physically, man is God’s creature. In regeneration it is not sufficient for
God to give power to decide for good; God must give new love also. If
this be so in the new creation, God could give love in the first creation
also. Holiness therefore can be created. Underived holiness is possible
only in God; in its origin, it is given both to angels and men.” Therefore
we pray: “Create in me a clean heart” (

Psalm 51:10); “Incline my
heart unto thy testimonies” (

Psalm 119:36). See Edwards, Eff. Grace,
sec. 43-51; Kaftan, Dogmatik, 290 — “If Adam’s perfection was not a
moral perfection, then his sin was no real moral corruption.” The animus
of the theory we are combating seems to be an unwillingness to grant that
man, either in his first creation or in his new creation, owes his holiness to
(b) The knowledge of God in which man was originally created logically
presupposes a direction toward God of man’s affections and will, since
only the holy heart can leave any proper understanding of the God of
“Ubi caritas, ibi claritas.” Man’s heart was originally filled with divine
love and out of this comes the knowledge of God. We know God only as
we love him and this love comes not from our own single volition. No one
loves by command because no one can give himself love. In Adam, love
was an inborn impulse, which he could affirm or deny. Compare

Corinthians 8:3 — “if any man loveth God, the same [God] is known by

1 John 4:8 — “He that loveth not knoweth not God.” See other
Scripture references on pages 3, 4.
(c) A likeness to God in mere personality, such as Satan also possesses,
comes far short of answering the demands of the Scripture, in which the
ethical conception of the divine nature so overshadows the merely natural.
The image of God must not simply be an ability to be like God but actual
God could never create an intelligent being evenly balanced between good
and evil — “on the razor’s edge” or “on the fence.” The preacher, who
took for his text “Adam, where art thou?” had for his first heading: “It is
every man’s business to be somewhere.” for his second: “Some of you are
where you ought not to be.” For his third: “Get where you ought to be, as
soon as possible.” A simple capacity for good or evil is, as Augustine
says, already sinful. A man who is neutral between good and evil is
already a violator of that law, which requires likeness to God in the bent.267
of his nature. Delitzsch, Bib. Psychol., 45-64 — “Personality is only the
basis of the divine image — it is not the image itself.” Bledsoe says there
can be no created virtue or viciousness. Whedon (On the Will, 388)
objects to this, and says rather: “There can be no created moral desert,
good or evil. Adam’s nature as created was pure and excellent, but there
was nothing meritorious until he had freely and rightly exercised his will
with full power to the contrary.” We add: Even then, there was nothing
meritorious about it. For substance of these objections, see Philippi,
Glaubenslehre, 2:346. Lessing said that the character of the Germans was
to have no character. Goethe partook of this lack of cosmopolitan
character. (Prof. Seely). Tennyson had Goethe in view when he wrote In
The Palace of Art: “I sit apart, holding no form of creed, but
contemplating all.” And Goethe in probably still alluded to in the words:
“A glorious devil, large in heart and brain, That did love beauty only, Or
if good, good only for its beauty”; see A. H. Strong, The Great Poets and
their Theology, 331; Robert Browning. Christmas Eve: “The truth in
God’s breast Lies trace for trace upon ours impressed: Though he is so
aright, and we so dim, We are made in his image to witness him.”
B. The image of God as consisting simply in man’s natural capacity for
This view, first elaborated by the scholastics, is the doctrine of the Roman
Catholic Church. It distinguishes between the image and the likeness of
God. The former ( µl,X, —

Genesis 1:26) alone belonged to man’s
nature at its creation. The latter ( tWmD]) was the product of his own acts of
obedience. In order that this obedience might be made easier and the
consequent likeness to God more sure, a third element not belonging to
man’s nature was added. Added was a supernatural gift of special grace,
which acted as a curb upon the sensuous impulses, and brought them under
the control of reason. Original righteousness was therefore not a natural
endowment, but a joint product of man’s obedience and of God’s
supernatural grace.
Roman Catholicism holds that the white paper of man’s soul received two
impressions instead of one. Protestantism sees no reason why both
impressions should not leave been given at the beginning. Kaftan, in Am.
Jour. Theology, 4:708, gives a good statement of the Roman Catholic
view. It holds that the supreme good transcends the finite mind and its
powers of comprehension. Even at the first it was beyond man’s created
nature. The donum superadditum did not inwardly and personally belong
to him. Now that he has lost it, he is entirely dependent on the church for.268
truth and grace, he does not receive the truth because it is this and no
other, but because the church tells him that it is the truth.
The Roman Catholic doctrine may be roughly and pictorially stated as
follows: As created, man was morally naked or devoid of positive
righteousness (pura naturalia, or in puris naturalibus). By obedience he
obtained as a reward from God (doum supernaturale, or superadditum) a
suit of clothes or robe of righteousness to protect him so that he became
clothed (vestitus). This suit of clothes, however, was a sort of magic spell
of which he could be divested. The adversary attacked him and stripped
him of his suit. After his sin he was one despoiled (spoliatus a nudo). But
his condition after differed from his condition before the attack, only as a
stripped man differs from a naked man (spoliatus a nudo). He was now
only in the same state in which he was created, with the single exception
of the weakness he might feel as the result of losing his customary
clothing. He could still earn himself another suit — in fact, he could earn
two or more, so as to sell, or give away, what he did not need for himself.
The phrase in puris naturalibus describes the original state, as the phrase
spoliatus a nudo describes the difference resulting from man’s sin.
Many of the considerations already adduced apply equally as arguments
against this view. We may say, however, with reference to certain features
peculiar to the theory:
(a) No such distinction can justly be drawn between the words µl,X, and
tWmD]. The addition of the synonym simply strengthens the expression, and
both together signify “the very image.”
(b) Whatever is denoted by either or both of these words was bestowed
open man in and by the fact of creation, and the additional hypothesis of a
supernatural gift not originally belonging to man’s nature, but subsequently
conferred, has no foundation either here or elsewhere in Scripture. Man is
said to have been created in the image and likeness of God, not to have
been afterwards endowed with either of them.
(c) The concerted opposition between sense and reason which this theory
supposes is inconsistent with the Scripture declaration that the work of
God’s hands “was very good” (

Genesis 1:31) and transfers the blame of
temptation and sin from man to God. To hold to a merely negative
innocence, in which evil desire was only slumbering, is to make God author
of sin by making him author of the constitution which rendered sin
(d) This theory directly contradicts Scripture by making the effect of the
first sin to leave been a weakening but not a perversion of human nature,
and the work of regeneration to be not a renewal of the affections but
merely a strengthening of the natural powers. The theory regards that first
sin as simply despoiling man of a special gift of grace and as putting him
where he was when first created, still able to obey God and to cooperate
with God for his own salvation. The Scripture, however, represents man
since the fall as “dead through… trespasses and sins” (

Ephesians 2:1) as
incapable of true obedience (

Romans 8:7 — “not subject to the law of
God, neither indeed can it be”), and as needing to be “created in Christ
Jesus for good works” (

Ephesians 2:10).
At few points in Christian doctrine do we see more clearly than here the
large results if error wields may ultimately spring from what might at first
sight seem to be only a slight divergence from the truth. Augustine had
rightly taught that in Adam the posse non-peccare was accompanied by a
posse peccare and that for this reason man’s holy disposition needed the
help of divine grace to preserve its integrity. But the scholastics wrongly
added that this original disposition to righteousness was not the outflow if
man’s nature as originally created, but was the gift of grace. As this later
teaching, however, was by some disputed, the Council of Trent (sess. 5,
cap. 1) left the Matter more indefinite, simply declaring man:
“Sanctitatem et justitiam in qua constitutus fuerat, amisisse.” The Roman
Catechism, however (1:2:19), explained the phrase “constitutus fuerat” by
the words: “Tum originalis justitiæ admirabile donum addidit.” And
Bellarmine (De Gratia, 2) says plainly: “Imago, quæ est ipsa natura
mentis et voluntatis, a solo Deo fieri potuit; similitudo autem, quæ in
virtute et probitate consistit, a nobis quoque Deo adjuvante perficitur.”…
(5) “Integritas illa… non fuit naturalis ejus conditio, sed supernaturalis
evectio… Addidisse homini donum quoddam insigne, justitiam videlicet
originalem, qua veluti aureo quodam fræno pars inferior parti superiori
subjecta contineretur.”
Moehler (Symbolism, 21-35) holds that the religious faculty = the “image
of God”; the pious exertion of this faculty = the “likeness of God.” He
seems to favor the view that Adam received “this supernatural gift of a
holy and blessed communion with God at a later period than his creation,
i.e., only when he had prepared himself for its reception and by his own
efforts had rendered himself worthy of it.” He was created “just” and
acceptable to God, even without communion with God or help from God.
He became “holy” and enjoyed communion with God, only when God
rewarded his obedience and bestowed the supernaturale donum. Although.270
Moehler favors this view And claims that it is permitted by the standards,
he also says that it is not definitely taught. The quotations from
Bellarmine and the Roman Catechism above make it clear that it is the
prevailing doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church,
So, to quote the words of Shedd, “the Tridentine theology starts with
Pelagianism and ends with Augustinianism. Created without character,
God subsequently endows man with character. The Papal idea of creation
differs from the Augustinian in that it involves imperfection. There is a
disease and languor which require a subsequent and supernatural act to
remedy.” The Augustinian and Protestant conception of man’s original
state is far nobler than this. The ethical element is not a later addition, but
is man’s true nature — essential to God’s idea of him. The normal and
original condition of man (pura naturalia) is one of grace and of the
Spirit’s indwelling — hence, of direction toward God.
From this original difference between Roman Catholic and Protestant
doctrine with regard to man’s original state result diverging views as to
sin and as to regeneration. The Protestant holds that, as man was
possessed by creation of moral likeness to God, or holiness, so his sin
robbed his nature of its integrity, deprived it of essential and concerted
advantages and powers, and substituted for these a positive corruption
and tendency to evil. Unpremeditated evil desire, or concupiscence, is
original sin; as concerted love for God constituted man’s original
righteousness. No man since the fall has original righteousness and it is
man’s sin that he has it not. Since without love to God, no act, emotion, or
thought of man can answer the demands of God’s law, the Scripture
denies to fallen man all power of himself to know, think, feel, or do aright.
His nature therefore needs a new creation, a resurrection from death, such
as God only, by his mighty Spirit, can work and to this work of God man
can contribute nothing, except as power is first given him by God himself.
According to the Roman Catholic view, however since the image of God
in which man was created included only man’s religious faculty, his sin
can rob him only of what became subsequently and adventitiously his.
Fallen man differs from unfallen only as spolidatus a nudo. He loses only
a sort of magic spell, which leaves him still in possession of all his
essential powers. Unpremeditated evil desire, or concupiscence, is not sin;
this belonged to his nature even before he fell. His sin has therefore only
put him back into the natural state of conflict and concupiscence, ordered
by God in the concerted opposition of sense and reason. The sole
qualification is this that, having made an evil decision, his will is
weakened. “Man does not need resurrection from death, but rather a.271
crutch to help his lameness, a tonic to reinforce his feebleness, a medicine
to cure his sickness.” He is still able to turn to god and in regeneration the
Holy Spirit simply awakens and strengthens the natural ability slumbering
in the natural man. But even here, man must yield to the influence of the
Holy Spirit and by uniting his power to the divine, regeneration is
effected. In baptism the guilt of original sin is remitted, and everything
called sin is taken away. No baptized person has any further process of
regeneration to undergo. Man has not only strength to cooperate with God
for his own salvation, but he may even go beyond the demands of the law
and perform works of supererogation. The whole sacramental system of
the Roman Catholic Church, with its salvation by works, its purgatorial
fires, and its invocation of the saints, connects itself logically with this
erroneous theory of man’s original state.
See Dorner’s Augustinus, 116; Perrone, Prælectiones Theologiæ, 1:737-
748; Winer, Confessions, 79, 80; Dorner, History Protestant Theology
38, 39, and Glaubenslehre, 1:51; Vase Oosterzee, Dogmatics, 376;
Cunningham, Historical Theology, 1:516-586; Shedd, Hist. Doctrine,
1. Results of man’s possession of the divine image.
(a) Reflection of this divine image in man’s physical form. Even in man’s
body were typified those higher attributes which chiefly constituted his
likeness to God. A gross perversion of this truth, however, is the view,
which holds, upon the ground of

Genesis 2:7 and 3:8, that the image of
God consists in bodily resemblance to the Creator. In the first of these
passages, it is not the divine image, but the body that is formed of dust, and
into this body the soul that possesses the divine image is breathed. The
second of these passages is to be interpreted by those other portions of the
Pentateuch in which God is represented as free from all limitations of
Matter (

Genesis 11:5; 18:15).
The spirit represents the divine image immediately: the body mediately.
The scholastics called the soul the image of God proprie; the body they
call the image of God significative. Soul is the direct reflection of God;
body is the reflection of that reflection. The os sublime manifests the
dignity of the endowments within. Hence the word ‘upright,’ as applied to
moral condition; one of the first impulses of the renewed man is to
physical purity. Compare Ovid, Metaph., bk.1, Dryden’s transl.: “Thus.272
while the mute creation downward bend Their sight, and to their earthly
mother tend, Man looks aloft, and with erected eyes Beholds his own
hereditary skies.” (Anqrwpov from ajna>, a]nw>, suffix tra, and w=y, with
reference to the upright posture.) Milton speaks of “the human face
divine.” S. S. Times, July 28, 1900 — “Man is the only erect being
among living creatures. He alone looks up naturally and without effort.
He foregoes his birthright when he looks only at what is on a level with
his eyes and occupies himself only with what lies in the plane of his own
Bretschneider (Dogmatik, 1:682) regards the Scripture as teaching that
the image of God consists in bodily resemblance to the Creator, but
considers this as only the imperfect method of representation belonging to
an early age. See Strauss, Glaubenslehre, 1:687. They refer to

2:7 — “And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground”; 3:8 —
“Jehovah God walking in the garden.” But see

Genesis 11:5 — “And
Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of
men builded”;

Isaiah 66:1 — “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is
my footstool”;

1 Kings 8:27 — “behold, heaven and the heaven of
heavens cannot contain the.” On the Anthropomorphites, see Hagenbach,
Hist. Doct., 1:103, 308,491. For answers to Bretschneider and Strauss,
see Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:364.
(b) Subjection of the sensuous impulses to the control of the spirit.
Here we are to hold a middle ground between two extremes. On the one
hand, the first man possessed a body and a spirit so fitted to each other that
no conflict was felt between their several claims. On the other hand, this
physical perfection was not final and absolute, but relative and provisional.
There was still room for progress to a higher state of being (

Sir Henry Watton’s Happy Life: “That man was free from servile bands
Of hope to rise or fear to fall, Lord of himself if not of lands, And having
nothing yet had all.” Here we hold to the úquale temperamentum. There
was no disease, but rather the joy of abounding health. Labor was only a
happy activity. God’s infinite creator-ship and fountainhead of being was
typified in man’s powers of generation. But there was no concerted
opposition of sense and reason, nor an imperfect physical nature with
whose impulses reason was at war. With this moderate Scriptural
doctrine, contrast the exaggerations of the fathers and of the scholastics.
Augustine says that Adam’s reason was to our what the bird’s is to that of
the tortoise; propagation in the unfallen state would have been without.273
concupiscence, and the newborn child would have attained perfection at
birth. Albertus Magnus thought the first man would have felt no pain even
though he had been stoned with heavy stones. Scotus Erigena held that the
male and female elements were yet undistinguished. Others called
sexuality the first sin. Jacob Boehme regarded the intestinal canal, and all
connected with it, as the consequence of the Fall. He had the fancy that
the earth was transparent at the first and cast no shadow — sin, he
thought, had made it opaque and dark; redemption would restore it to its
first estate and make night a thing of the past. South, Sermons, 1:24, 25
— “Man came into the world a philosopher… Aristotle was but the
rubbish of an Adam.” Lyman Abbott tells us of a minister who assured
his congregation that Adam was acquainted with the telephone. But God
educates his children, as chemists educate their pupils, by putting them
into the laboratory and letting them work. Scripture does not represent
Adam as a walking encyclopedia, but as a being yet inexperienced; see

Genesis 3:22 — “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know
good and evil”;

1 Corinthians 15:46 — “that is not first which is
spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual.” On this
last text, see Expositor’s Greek Testament.
(c) Dominion over the lower creation. Adam possessed an insight into
nature analogous to that of susceptible childhood, and therefore was able
to name and to rule the brute creation (

Genesis 2:19). Yet this native
insight was capable of development into the higher knowledge of culture
and science. From

Genesis 1:26 (cf.

Psalm 8:5-8) it has been
erroneously inferred that the image of God in man consists in dominion
over the brute creation and the natural world. But, in this verse, the words
“let them have dominion” do not define the image of God, but indicate the
result of possessing that image. To make the image of God consist in this
dominion, would imply that only the divine omnipotence was shadowed
forth in man.

Genesis 2:19 — “Jehovah God formed every beast of the field, and
every bird of the heavens; and brought them unto the man to see what he
would call them”; 20 — “And the man gave names to all cattle”;

Genesis 1:26 — “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of
the heavens, and over the cattle”; cf.

Psalm 8:5-8 — “thou hast made
him but little lower than God, And crowned him with glory and honor.
Thou makest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast
put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, Yea, and the beasts of
the field.” Adam’s naming the animals implied insight into their nature;.274
see Porter, Hum. Intellect, 393, 394, 401. On man’s original dominion
over (1) self, (2) nature, (3) fellowman, see Hopkins, Scriptural Idea of
Man, 105.
Courage and a good conscience have a power over the brute creation, and
unfallen man can well be supposed to have dominated creatures, which
had no experience of human cruelty. Rarey tamed the wildest horses by
his steadfast and fearless eye. In Paris a young woman was hypnotized
and put into a den of lions. She had no fear of the lions and the lions paid
not the slightest attention to her. The little daughter of an English officer
in South Africa wandered away from camp and spent she night among
lions. “Katrina,” her father said when he found her, “were you not afraid
to be alone here?” “No, papa,” she replied, “the big dogs played with me
and one of them lay here and kept me warm.” MacLaren, in S. S. Times,
Dec. 28, 1893 — “The dominion overall creatures results from likeness to
God. It is not then a mere right to use them for one’s own Material
advantage, but a viceroy’s authority, which the holder is bound to employ
for the honor of the true King.” This principle gives the warrant and the
limit to vivisection and to the killing of the lower animals for food

Genesis 9:2 3).
Socinian writers generally hold the view that the image of God consisted
simply in this dominion. Holding a low view of the nature of sin, they are
naturally disinclined to believe that the fall has wrought any profound
change in human nature. See their view stated in the Racovian Catechism,
21. It is held also by the Armenian Limborch Theol. Christ., ii, 24:2, 3,
and 11. Upon the basis of this interpretation of Scripture, the Encratites
held, with Peter Martyr, that women do not possess the divine image at
(d) Communion with God. Our first parents enjoyed the divine presence
and teaching (

Genesis 2:16). It would seem that God manifested himself
to them in visible form (

Genesis 3:8). This companionship was both in
kind and degree suited to their spiritual capacity, and by no means
necessarily involved that perfected vision of God, which is possible to
beings of confirmed and unchangeable holiness (

Matthew 5:8;

John 3:2).

Genesis 1:16 — “And Jehovah God commanded the man”; 3:8 —
“And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the
cool of the day”;

Matthew 5:8 — “Blessed are the pure in heart: for
they shall see God”;

1 John 3:2 — “We know that if he shall be.275
manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is”; Rev
22:4 — “and they shall see his face.”
2. Concomitants of man’s possession of the divine image.
(a) Surroundings and society fitted to yield happiness and to assist a holy
development of human nature (Eden and Eve). We append some recent
theories with regard to the creation of Eve and the nature of Eden.
Eden = pleasure, delight. Tennyson: “When high in Paradise By the four
rivers the first roses blew.” Streams were necessary to the very existence
of an oriental garden. Hopkins, Script. Idea of Man, 107 — “Man
includes woman. Creation of a man without a woman would not have
been the creation of man. Adam called her name Eve but God called their
name Adam.” Matthew Henry: “Not out of his head to top him, nor out of
his feet to be trampled on by him; but out of his side to be equal with him,
under his arm to be protected by him and near his heart to be beloved.”
Robert Burns says of nature: “her ‘prentice hand she tried on man, And
then she made the lasses, O!” Stevens, Pauline Theology, 329 — “In the
natural relations of the sexes there is a certain reciprocal dependence,
since it is not only true that woman was made from man, but that man is
born of woman (

1 Corinthians 11:11, 12).” Of the Elgin marbles
Boswell asked: “Don’t you think them indecent?” Dr. Johnson replied:
“No, sir; but your question is.” Man, who in the adult state possesses
twelve pairs of ribs, is found in the embryonic state to have thirteen or
fourteen. Dawson, Modern Ideas of Evolution, 148 — “Why does not the
male man lack one rib? Because only the individual skeleton of Adam was
affected by the taking of the rib… The unfinished vertebral arches or the
skin fibrous layer may have produced a new individual by a process of
budding or germination.”
H. H. Bawden suggests that the account of Eve’s creation maybe the
“pictorial summary” of an actual phylogenetic evolutionary process toy
which the sexes were separated or isolated from a common
hermaphroditic ancestor or ancestry. The mesodermic portion of the
organism in which the urino-genital system has its origin develops later
than the ectodermic or the endodermic portions. The word “rib” may
designate this mesodermic portion. Bayard Taylor, John Godfrey’s
Fortunes, 392, suggests that a genius is hermaphroditic, adding a male
element to the woman and a female element to the man. Professor Loeb,
Am. Journ. Physiology, Vol. III, no. 3, has found that in certain chemical
solutions prepared in the laboratory, approximately the concentration of
seawater, the unfertilized eggs of the sea urchin will mature without the.276
intervention of the spermatozoa. Perfect embryos and normal individuals
are produced under these conditions. He thinks it probable that similar
parthenogenesis may be produced in higher types of being. In 1900 he
achieved successful results on Annelids, though it is doubtful whether he
produced anything more than normal larva. A European investigator who
is also a Roman priest has criticized these results. Prof. Loeb wrote a
rejoinder in which he expressed surprise that a representative of the
Roman church did not heartily endorse his conclusions, since they afford a
vindication of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.
H. H. Bawden has reviewed Prof. Loeb’s work in the Psychological
Review, Jan. 1900. JanÛsik has found segmentation in the unfertilized
eggs of mammals. Prof. Loeb considers it possible that only the ions of
the blood prevent the parthenogenetic origin of embryos in mammals, and
thinks it not improbable that by a transitory change in these ions it will be
possible to produce complete parthenogenesis in these higher types. Dr.
Bawden goes on to say that “both parent and child are dependent upon a
common source of energy. The universe is one great organism, and there
is no inorganic or non-organic matter but differences only in degrees of
organization. Sex is designed only secondarily for the perpetuation of
species; primarily it is the bond or medium for the connection and
interaction of the various parts of this great organism, for maintaining that
degree of heterogeneity which is the prerequisite of a high degree of
organization. By means of the growth of a lifetime I have become an
essential part in a great organic system. What I call my individual
personality represents simply the focusing, the flowering of the universe at
one finite concrete points or center. Must not then my personality continue
as long as that universal system continues? And is immortality
conceivable if the soul is something shut up within itself, unshared and
unique? Are not the many foci mutually interdependent, instead of
mutually exclusive? We must not then conceive of an immortality which
means the continued existence of an individual cut off from that social
context which is really essential to his very nature.”
J. H. Richardson suggests in the Standard, Sept. 10, 1901, that the first
chapter of Genesis describes the creation of the spiritual part of man only
or that part which was made in the image of God. The second chapter
describes the creation of man’s body, the animal part, which may have
been originated by a process of evolution. S. W. Howland, in Bibliotheca
Sacra, Jan. 1903:121-128, supposes Adam and Eve to have been twins,
joined by the ensiform cartilage or breastbone, as were the Siamese Chang
and Eng. By violence or accident this cartilage was broken before it
hardened into bone, and the two were separated until puberty. Then Adam.277
saw Eve coming to him with a bone projecting from her side
corresponding to the hollow in his own side, and said: “She is bone of my
bone; she must have been taken from my side when I slept.” This tradition
was handed down to his posterity. The Jews have a tradition that Adam
was created double sexed and that the two sexes were afterwards
separated. The Hindus say that may was at first of both sexes and he
divided himself in order to people the earth. In the Zodiac of Dendera,
Castor and Pollux appear as man and woman, and these twins, some say,
were called Adam and Eve. The Coptic name for this sign is Pi Mahi,
“the United.” Darwin, in the postscript to a letter to Lyell written as early
as July 1850, tells his friend that he has “a pleasant genealogy for
mankind.” He describes our remotest ancestor as “animal which breathed
water, had a swim-bladder, a great swimming tail, an imperfect skull and
was undoubtedly a hermaphrodite.”
Matthew Arnold speaks of “the freshness of the early world.” Novalis
says: “all philosophy begins in homesickness.” Shelly, Skylark: “We look
before and after, And pine for what is not; Our sincerest laughter With
some pain is fraught; Our sweetest songs are those That tell of saddest
thought.” — “The golden conception of a Paradise is the poet’s guiding
thought.” There is a universal feeling that we are not now in our natural
state; that we are exiles from our true habitation. Keble, Groans of
Nature: “Such thoughts, the wreck of Paradise, Through many a dreary
age, Upbore whate’er of good or wise Yet lived bard or sage.” Poetry and
music echo the longing for some possession lost. Jessica in Shakespeare’s
merchant of Venice: “I am never merry when I hear sweet music.” All true
poetry is forward looking or backward looking prophecy, as sculpture sets
before us the original or the resurrection body. See Isaac Taylor, Hebrew
Poetry, 94-101; Tyler, Theol of Greek Poets, 225, 226.
Wellhausen, on the legend of a golden age, says: “it is the yearning song,
which goes through all the peoples: having attained the historical
civilization, they feel the worth of the goods, which they have sacrificed
for it.” He regards the golden age as only an ideal image, like the
millennial kingdom at the end. Man differs from the beast in this power to
form ideals. His destination to God shows his descent from God. Hegel in
a similar manner claimed that the Paradisaic condition is only an ideal
conception underlying human development. But may not the traditions of
the gardens of Brahma and of the Hesperides embody the world’s
recollection of an historical fact, when man was free from external evil
and possessed all that could minister to innocent joy? The “golden age” of
the heathen was connected with the hope of restoration. So the use of the
doctrine of man’s original state is to convince men of the high ideal once.278
realized, properly belonging to man, now lost, and recoverable, not by
man’s powers but only through God’s provision in Christ. For references
in classic writers to a golden age, see Luthardt, Compendium, 115. He
mentions the following: Hesiod, Works and Days, 109-208; Aratus,
Phenom., 100-184; Plato, Tim., 233; Vergil, Ec., 4 Georgics, 7:135,
Æneid, 8:314.
(b) Provisions for the trying of man’s virtue. Since man was not yet in a
state of confirmed holiness, but rather of simple childlike innocence, he
could be made perfect only through temptation. Hence the “tree of the
knowledge of good and evil” (

Genesis 2:9). The one slight command
best tested the spirit of obedience. Temptation did not necessitate a fall.
If resisted, it would strengthen virtue. In that case, the posse non peccare
would have become the non posse peccare.
Thomasius: “That evil is a necessary transition point to good, is Satan’s
doctrine and philosophy.” The tree was mainly a tree of probation. It is
right for a father to make his son’s title to his estate depend upon the
performance of some filial duty, as Thaddeus Stevens made his son’s
possession of property conditional upon his keeping the temperance
pledge. Whether, besides this, the tree of knowledge was naturally hurtful
or poisonous, we do not know.
(c) Opportunity of securing physical immortality. The body of the first man
was in itself mortal (

1 Corinthians 15:45). Science shows that physical
life involves decay and loss. But means were apparently provided for
checking this decay and preserving the body’s youth. This means was the
“tree of life” (

Genesis 2:9). If Adam had maintained his integrity, the
body might have been developed and transfigured, without intervention of
death. In other words, the posse non mori might have become a non posse
The tree of life was symbolic of communion with God and of man’s
dependence upon him. But this, only because it had a physical efficacy. It
was sacramental and memorial to the soul, because it sustained the life of
the body. Natural immortality without holiness would have been unending
misery. Sinful man was therefore shut out from the tree of life, till he
could be prepared for it by God’s righteousness. Redemption and
resurrection not only restore that which was lost, but give what man was
originally created to attain;

1 Corinthians 15:45 — “The first man
Adam became a living soul. The last man Adam became a life giving.279

Revelation 22:14 — “Blessed are they that wash their robes,
that they may have the right to come to the tree of life.”
The conclusions we have thus reached with regard to the incidents of
man’s original state are combated upon two distinct grounds:
1st. The facts bearing upon man’s prehistoric condition point to a
development from primitive savagery to civilization. Among these acts may
be mentioned the succession of implements and weapons from stone to
bronze and iron, the polyandry and communal marriage systems of the
lowest tribes and the relics of barbarous customs still prevailing among the
most civilized.
For the theory of an originally savage condition of man, see Sir john
Lubbock, Prehistoric Times, and Origin of Civilization: “The primitive
condition of mankind was one of utter barbarism.” L. H. Morgan, Ancient
Society, divides human progress into three great periods, the savage, the
barbarian, and the civilized. Each of the two former has three states, as
I. Savage:1. Lowest state, marked by attainment of speech and subsistence
upon roots. 2. Middle state, marked by fish-food and fire. 3. Upper state,
marked by use of the bow and hunting.
II. Barbarian:1. Lower state, marked by invention and use of pottery. 2.
Middle state, marked by use of domestic animals, maize and building stone. 3.
Upper state, marked by invention and use of iron tools.
III. Civilized man next appears, with the introduction of the phonetic alphabet
and writing. J. S. Stuart-Glennie, Contemp. Rev., Dec. 1892:844, defines
civilization as “enforced social organization, with written records, and hence
intellectual development and social progress.”
With regard to this view we remark:
(a) It is based upon an insufficient induction of facts. History shows a law
of degeneration supplementing and often counteracting the tendency to
development. In the earliest times of which we have any record, we find
nations in a high state of civilization. In the case of every nation whose
history runs back of the Christian era — as for example, the Romans, the
Greeks, the Egyptians — the subsequent progressions have been
downward and no nation is known to have recovered from barbarism
except as the result of influence from without..280
Lubbock seems to admit that cannibalism was not primeval; yet he shows
a general tendency to take every brutal custom as a sample of man’s first
state. And this, in state of the fact that many such customs have been the
result of corruption. Bride catching, for example, could not possibly have
been primeval, in the strict sense of that term. Tyler, Primitive Culture,
1:48, presents a far more moderate view. He favors a theory of
development, but with degeneration “as a secondary action largely and
deeply affecting the development of civilization.” So the Duke of Argyll,
Unity of Nature: Civilization and savagery are both the results of
evolutionary development but the one is a development in the upward, the
latter in the downward direction. For this reason, neither civilization nor
savagery can rationally be looked upon as the primitive condition of
man.” Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 1:467 — “As plausible an argument
might be constructed out of the deterioration and degradation of some of
the human family to prove that man may have evolved downward into an
anthropoid ape, as that which has been constructed to prove that he lens
been evolved upward from one.”
Modern nations fall far short of the old Greek perception and expression
of beauty. Modern Egyptians, Bushmen, Australians, are unquestionably
degenerate races. See Lankester, Degeneration. The same is true of
Italians and Spaniards, as well as of Turks. Abyssinians are now
polygamists, though their ancestors were Christians and monogamists.
The physical degeneration of portions of the population of Ireland is well
known. See Mivart, Lessons from Nature, 146-160, who applies to the
savage theory the tests of language, morals, and religion. He quotes
Herbert Spencer as saying: “Probably most of them [savages], if not all of
them, had ancestors in higher states and among their beliefs remain some
which were evolved during those higher states. It is quite possible, and I
believe highly probable, that retrogression has been as frequent as
progression.” Spencer, however, denies that savagery is always caused by
lapse from civilization.
Bibliotheca Sacra, 6:715; 29:282 — “Man as a moral being does not tend
to rise but to fall, and that with a geometric progress, except he be
elevated and sustained by some force from without and above himself.
While man once civilized may advance, yet moral ideas are apparently
never developed from within.” Had savagery been man’s primitive
condition, he never could have emerged. See Whately, Origin of
Civilization, who maintains that man needed not only a divine Creator but
also a divine Instructor. Seelye, Introduction To A Century of Dishonor, 3
— “The first missionaries to the Indians in Canada took with them skilled
laborers to teach the savages how to till their fields, to provide them with.281
comfortable homes, clothing and food. But the Indians preferred their
wigwams, skins, raw flesh and filth. Only as Christian influences taught
the Indian his inner need, and how this was to be supplied, was he led to
wish and work for the improvement of his outward condition and habits.
Civilization does not reproduce itself. It must first be kindled and it can
then be kept alive only by a power genuinely Christian.” So Wallace, in
Nature, Sept. 7, 1876, vol. 14:408-412.
Griffith-Jones, Ascent through Christ, 149-168, shows that evolution does
not necessarily involve development as regards particular races. There is
degeneration in all the organic orders. As regards man, he may be
evolving in some directions while in others he has degenerated. Lidgett,
Spir. Principle of the atonement, 245, speaks of “Prof. Clifford as
pointing to the history of human progress and declaring that mankind is a
risen and not a fallen race. There is no real contradiction between these
two views. God has not let man go because man has rebelled against him.
Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” The humanity which
was created in Christ and which is upheld by his power has ever received
reinforcements of its physical and mental life, in spite of its moral and
spiritual deterioration. “Some shrimps, by the adjustment of their body
parts, go onward to the higher structure of the lobsters and crabs while
others, taking up the habit of dwelling in the gills of fishes, sink
downward into a state closely resembling that of the worms.” Drummond,
Ascent of Man: “When a boy’s kite comes down in our garden, we do not
hold that it originally came from the clouds. So nations went up, before
they came down. There is a national gravitation. The stick age preceded
the stone age, but has been lost.” Tennyson: “Evolution ever climbing
after some ideal good, And Reversion ever dragging Evolution in the
mud.” Evolution often becomes devolution, if not devolution. A. J.
Gordon, Ministry of the Spirit. 304 — “The Jordan is the fitting symbol
of our natural life, rising in a lofty elevation and from pure springs, but
plunging steadily down till it pours itself into that Dead Sea from which
there is no outlet.”
(b) Later investigations have rendered it probable that the stone age of
some localities was contemporaneous with the bronze and iron ages of
others. Certain tribes and nations, instead of making progress from one to
the other, were never, so far back as we can trace them, without the
knowledge and use of the metals. It is to be observed, moreover, that even
without such knowledge and use man is not necessarily a barbarian,
Though he may be a child..282
On the question whether the arts of civilization can be lost, see Arthur
Mitchell, Past In the Present, 219: Rude art is often the debasement of a
higher, instead of being the earlier; the rudest art in a nation may coexist
with the highest; cave-life may accompany high civilization., where Burial
of a cock for epilepsy and sacrifice of a bull, were until very recently
extant; these are illustrations from modern Scotland. Certain arts have
unquestionably been lost, as glassmaking and iron working in Assyria (see
Mivart, referred to above). The most ancient men do not appear to have
been inferior to the latest, either physically or intellectually. Rawlinson:
“The explorers who have dug deep into the Mesopotamian mounds, and
have ransacked the tombs of Egypt, have come upon no certain traces of
savage man in those regions which a widespread tradition makes the
cradle of the human race.” The Tyrolese peasants show that a rude people
may be moral, and a very simple people maybe highly intelligent. See
football, Recent Origin of Man, 386-449; Schliemann, Troy and her
Remains, 274.
Mason, Origins of Invention, 110, 124, 128 — “There is no evidence that
a stone age ever existed in some regions. In Africa, Canada, and perhaps
Michigan, the metal age was as old as the stone age.” An illustration of
the Mathematical powers of the savage is given by hey. A. E. Hunt in an
account of the native arithmetic of Murray Islands, Torres Straits.
“Netat” (one) and “neis” (two) are the only numerals, higher numbers
being described by combinations of these, as “neis-netat” for three, neis-i-neis”
for four, etc. or by reference to one of the fingers, elbows or other
parts of the body. A total of thirty-one could be counted by the latter
method. Beyond this all numbers were “many,” as this was the limit
reached in counting before the introduction of English numerals, now in
general use in the islands.
Shaler, Interpretation of Nature, 171 — “It is commonly supposed that
the direction of the movement [in the variation of species] is ever upward.
The fact is on the contrary that in a large number of cases, perhaps in the
aggregate in more than half, the change gives rise to a form which, by all
the canons by which we determine relative rank, is to be regarded as
regressive or degradable. Species, genera, families and orders have all,
like the individuals of which they are composed, a period of decay in
which the gain won by infinite toil and pains is altogether lost in the old
age of the group.” Shaler goes on to say that in the matter of variation
successes are to failures as 1 to 100,000 and if man be counted the
solitary distinguished success, then the proportion is something like 1 to
100,000,000. No species that passes away is ever reinstated. If man were
now to disappear, there is no reason to believe that by any process of.283
change a similar creature would be evolved, however long the animal
kingdom continued to exist. The use of these successive chances to
produce man is inexplicable except upon the hypothesis of an infinite
designing Wisdom.
(c) The barbarous customs to which this view looks for support may better
be explained as marks of broken down civilization than as relics of a
primitive and universal savagery. Even if they indicated a former state of
barbarism, that state might have been itself preceded by a condition of
comparative culture.
Mark Hopkins, in Princeton Revelations Sept, 1882:194 — “There is no
cruel treatment of females among animals. If man came from the lower
animals, then he cannot have been originally savage; for you find the most
of this cruel treatment among savages.” Tyler instances “street Arabs.”
He compares street Arabs to a ruined house, but savage tribes to a
builder’s yard. See Duke of Argyll, Primeval Man, 129, 133; Bushnell,
Nature and the Supernatural, 223; McLennan, Studies in Ancient History.
Gulick, a Bibliotheca Sacra, July, 1892:517 — “Cannibalism and
infanticide are unknown among the anthropoid apes. These must be the
results of degradation. Pirates and slave traders are not men of low and
abortive intelligence, but men of education who deliberately throw off all
restraint and who use their powers for the destruction of society.”
Keane, Man, Past and Present, 40, quotes Sir H. H. Johnston, an
administrator who has had a wider experience of the natives of Africa
than any man living says that “the tendency of the Negro, for several
centuries past, has been an actual retrograde one — a return toward the
savage and even the brute. If he had been cut off from the immigration of
the Arab and the European, the purely Negroid races, left to themselves,
so far from advancing towards a higher type of humanity, might have
actually reverted by degrees to a type no longer human.” Ratzel’s History
of Mankind: “We assign no great antiquity to Polynesian civilization. In
New Zealand it is a matter of only some centuries back. In newly
occupied territories, the development of the population began upon a
higher level and then fell off. The Maoris’ decadence resulted In the rapid
impoverishment of culture, and the character of the people became more
savage and cruel. Captain Cook found objects of art worshiped by the
descendants of those who produced them.”
Recent researches have entirely discredited L. H. Morgan’s theory of an
original brutal promiscuity of the human race. Ritchie, Darwin and Hegel,
6, note — “The theory of an original promiscuity is rendered extremely.284
doubtful by the habits of many of the higher animals.” E. B. Tyler, in
19th Century, July. 1906 — “A sort of family life, lasting for the sake of
the young, beyond a single pairing season, exists among the higher
manlike apes. The male gorilla keeps watch and ward over his progeny.
He is the ante-type of the house-father. The matriarchal system is a later
device for political reasons, to bind together in peace and alliance tribes
that would otherwise be hostile. But it is an artificial system introduced as
a substitute for and in opposition to the natural paternal system. When the
social pressure is removed, the maternalized husband emancipates
himself, and paternalism begins.” Westermarck, History of Human
Marriage: “Marriage and the family are thus intimately connected with
one another; it is for the benefit of the young that male and female
continue to live together. Marriage is therefore rooted in the family, rather
than the family in marriage. There is not a shred of genuine evidence for
the notion that promiscuity ever formed a general stage in the social
history of mankind. Instead of belonging to the class of hypotheses which
is scientifically permissible, the hypothesis of promiscuity has no real
foundation, and is essentially unscientific.” Howard, history of
matrimonial Institutions: “Marriage or pairing between one man and one
woman, though the union be often transitory and the rule often violated, is
the typical form of sexual union from the infancy of the human race.”
(d) The well nigh universal tradition of a golden age of virtue and
happiness may be most easily explained upon the Scripture view of an
actual creation of the race in holiness and its subsequent apostasy.
For references in classic writers to a golden age, see Luthardt,
Compendium der Dogmatik, 115; Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion, 1:205 —
“In Hesiod we have the legend of a golden age under the lordship of
Chronos. When man was free from cares and toils, in untroubled youth
and cheerfulness, with a superabundance of the gifts which the earth
furnished of itself, the race was indeed not immortal, but it experienced
death even as a soft sleep.” We may add that capacity for religious truth
depends upon moral conditions. Very early races therefore have a purer
faith than the later ones. Increasing depravity makes it harder for the later
generations to exercise faith. The wisdom-literature may have been very
early instead of very late, just as monotheistic ideas are clearer the further
we go back. Bixby, Crisis in Morals, 171 — “Precisely because such
tribes [Australian and African savages] have been deficient in average
moral quality, have they failed to march upward on the road of
civilization with the rest of mankind, and have fallen into these bog holes
of savage degradation.” On petrified civilizations, see Henry George,.285
Progress and Poverty, 433-439 — “The law of human progress, what is it
but the moral law?” On retrogressive development in nature, see
Weismann, Heredity, 2:1-30. But see also Mary E. Case, “Did the
Romans Degenerate?” In Internat. Journ. Ethics, Jan. 1893:165-182, in
which it is maintained that the Romans made constant advances rather.
Henry Sumner Maine calls the Bible the most important single document
in the history of sociology, because it exhibits authentically the early
development of society from the family, through the tribe, into the nation
— a progress learned only by glimpses, intervals and survivals of old
usage in the literature of other nations.
2nd. That the religious history of mankind warrants us in inferring a
necessary and universal law of progress. In accordance with which man
passes from fetichism to polytheism and monotheism — this first
theological stage, of which fetichism, polytheism, and monotheism are
parts, being succeeded by the metaphysical stage and that in turn by the
This theory is propounded by Comte, in his Positive Philosophy English
transl., 25, 26, 515-636 — “Each branch of our knowledge passes
successively through three different theoretical conditions: the Theological
or fictitious, the Metaphysical or abstract and the Scientific or positive.
The first is the necessary point of departure of the human understanding
and the third is its fixed and definite state. The second is merely a state of
transition. In the theological state, the human mind, seeking the essential
nature of beings, the first and final causes, the origin and purpose, of all
effects — in short, absolute knowledge — supposes all phenomena to be
produced by the immediate action of supernatural beings. In the
metaphysical state, which is only a modification of the first, the mind
supposes, instead of supernatural beings, abstract forces, veritable
entities, that is, personified abstractions, inherent in all beings, and
capable of producing all phenomena. What is called the explanation of
phenomena is, in this stage, a mere reference of each to its proper entity.
In the final, the positive state, the mind has given over the vain search
after absolute notions, the origin and destination of the universe, and the
causes of phenomena, and applies itself to the study of their laws — that
is, their invariable relations of succession and resemblance. The
theological system arrived at its highest perfection when it substituted the
providential action of a single Being for the varied operations of numerous
divinities. In the last stage of the metaphysical system, men substituted
one great entity, Nature, as the cause of all phenomena, instead of the
multitude of entities at first supposed. In the same way the ultimate.286
perfection of the positive system would be to represent all phenomena as
particular aspects of a single general fact — such as Gravitation, for
This assumed law of progress, however, is contradicted by the following
(a) Not only did the monotheism of the Hebrews precede the great
polytheistic systems of antiquity, but also even these heathen religions are
purer from polytheistic elements, the further back we trace them so that the
facts point to an original monotheistic basis for them all.
The gradual deterioration of all religions, apart from special revelation
and influence from God, is proof that the purely evolutionary theory is
defective. The most natural supposition is that of a primitive revelation,
which little by little receded from human memory. In Japan, Shinto was
originally the worship of Heaven. The worship of the dead, the deification
of the Mikado, etc. was a corruption and after growth. The Mikado’s
ancestors, instead of coming from heaven, came from Korea. Shinto was
originally a form of monotheism. Not one of the first emperors was deified
after death. Apotheosis of the Mikados dated from the corruption of
Shinto through the importation of Buddhism. Andrew Lang, in his Making
of Religion, advocates primitive monotheism. T. G. Pinches, of the British
Museum, 1894, declares that, as in the earliest Egyptian, so in the early
Babylonian records, there is evidence of a primitive monotheism. Nevins,
Demon-Possession, 170-173, quotes W. A. P. Martin, President of the
Peking University, as follows: “China, India, Egypt and Greece all agree
in the monotheistic type of their early religion. The Orphic Hymns, long
before the advent of the popular divinities, celebrated the Pantheos, the
universal God. The odes compiled by Confucius testify to the early
worship of Shangte, the Supreme Ruler. The Vedas speak of ‘one
unknown true Being, all-present, all-powerful, the Creator, Preserver and
Destroyer of the Universe.’ And in Egypt, as late as the time of Plutarch,
there were still vestiges of a monotheistic worship.”
On the evidences of en original monotheism, see Max Muller, Chips,
1:337; Rawlinson, in Present Day Tracts. 2:no.11; Legge, Religions of
China, 8, 11; Diestel, in Jahrbuck fur deutsche Theologie, 1860, and vol.
5:669; Philip Smith, Anc. Hist. of East, 65, 195; Warren, on the Earliest
Creed of Mankind, in the Methodist Quarterly Rev., Jan. 1884..287
(b) “There is no proof that the Indo-Germanic or Semitic stocks ever
practiced fetich worship or were ever enslaved by the lowest types of
mythological religion or ascended from them to somewhat higher” (Fisher).
See Fisher, Essays on Supernat. Origin of Christianity, 545; Bartlett,
Sources of History in the Pentateuch, 86-115. Herbert Spencer once held
that fetichism was primordial. But he afterwards changed his mind, and
said that the facts proved to be exactly the opposite when he had become
better acquainted with the ideas of savages; see his Principles of
Sociology, 1:343. Mr. Spencer finally traced the beginnings of religion to
the worship of ancestors, but in China no ancestor has ever become a god;
see Hill, Genetic Philosophy, 304-313. And unless man had an inborn
sense of divinity, he could deify neither ancestors nor ghosts. Professor
Hilprechet of Philadelphia says: “As the attempt has recently been made
to trace the pure monotheism of Israel to Babylonian sources, I am bound
to declare this an absolute impossibility on the basis of my fourteen year
research in Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions. The faith of Israel’s
chosen people is: ‘hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.’ And this
faith could never have proceeded from the Babylonian mountain of gods,
that charnel-house full of corruption and dead men’s bones.”
(c) Some of the earliest remains of man yet found show, by the burial of
food and weapons with the dead, that there already existed the idea of
spiritual beings and of a future state, and therefore a religion of a higher
sort than fetichism.
Idolatry proper regards the idol as the symbol and representative of a
spiritual being who exists apart from the material object, though he
manifests himself thorough it. Fetichism, however, identifies the divinity
with the Material thing, and worships the stock or stone; spirit is not
conceived of as existing apart from body. Belief in spiritual beings and a
future state is therefore proof of a religion higher in kind than fetichism.
See Lyell, Antiquity of Man, quoted in Dawson, Story of Earth and Man,
384; see also 368, 872, 386 — “Man’s capacities for degradation are
commensurate with his capacities for improvement” (Dawson). Lyell, in
his last edition, however, admits the evidence from the Aurignac cave to
be doubtful. See art. by Dawkins, in Nature, 4:208.
(d) The theory in question, in making theological thought a merely
transient stage of mental evolution, ignores the fact that religion has its
root in the intuitions and yearnings of the human soul, and that therefore
no philosophical or scientific progress can ever abolish it. While the terms.288
theological, metaphysical, and positive may properly mark the order in
which the ideas of the individual and the race are acquired, positivism errs
in holding that these three phases of thought are mutually exclusive; upon
the rise of the later the earlier must of necessity become extinct.
John Stuart Mill suggests that” personifying” would be a much better
term than “theological” to designate the earliest effects to explain physical
phenomena. On the fundamental principles of Positivism, see New
Englander, 1873:323-386; Diman, Theistic Argument, 338 — “Three
coexistent states are here confounded with three successive stages of
human thought; three aspects of things with three epochs of time.
Theology, metaphysics, and science must always exist side by side, for all
positive science rests on metaphysical principles and theology lies behind
both. All are as permanent as human reason itself” Martineau, Types,
1:487 — “Comte sets up medieval Christianity as the typical example of
evolved monotheism and develops it out of the Greek and Roman
polytheism which it overthrew and dissipated. But the religion of modern
Europe notoriously does not descend from the same source as its
civilization and is no continuation of the ancient culture; it comes rather
from Hebrew sources. Essays, Philos. and Theol., 1:24, 62 — “The Jews
were always a disobliging people; what business had they to be up so
early in the morning, disturbing the house ever so long before M. Comte’s
bell rang to prayers?” See also Gillett, God in Human Thought 1:17-23;
Rawlinson, in Journ. Christ. Philos., April, 1883:353; Nineteenth
Century, Oct. 1886:473-490..289
As preliminary to a treatment of man’s state of apostasy, it becomes
necessary to consider the nature of that law of God, the transgression of
which is sin. We may best approach the subject by inquiring what is the
true conception of
1. Law is an expression of will.
The essential idea of law is that of a general expression of will enforced by
power. It implies:
(a) A lawgiver, or authoritative will.
(b) Subjects, or beings upon whom this will terminates.
(c) A general command or expression of this will.
(d) A power, enforcing the command.
These elements are found even in what we call natural law. The phrase
‘law of nature’ involves a self-contradiction, when used to denote a mode
of action or an order of sequence behind which there is conceived to be no
intelligent and ordaining will. Physics derives the term ‘law’ from
jurisprudence, instead of jurisprudence deriving it from physics. It is first
used of the relations of voluntary agents. Causation in our own wills
enables us to see something besides mere antecedence and consequence in
the world about us. Physical science, in her very use of the word ‘law,’
implicitly confesses that a supreme Will has set general rules, which center
the processes of the universe.
Wayland, Moral Science, 1, unwisely defines law as “a mode of existence
or order of sequence,” thus leaving out of his definition all reference to an
ordaining will. He subsequently says that law presupposes an establisher
but in his definition there is nothing to indicate this. We insist, on the
other hand, that the term ‘law’ itself includes the idea of force and cause..290
The word ‘law’ is from ‘lay’ (German legen), something laid down;
German Gesetz, from setzen, = something set or established; Greek
no>mov, from ne>mw, = something assigned or apportioned; Latin lex, from
lego, = something said or spoken.
All these derivations show that man’s original conception of law is that of
something proceeding from volition. Lewes, in his Problems of Life and
Mind, says that the term ‘law’ is so suggestive of a giver and impresser of
law, that it ought to be dropped, and the word ‘method’ substituted. The
merit of Austin’s treatment of the subject is that he “rigorously limits the
term ‘law’ to the commands of a superior”; see John Austin, Province of
Jurisprudence, 1:88-98, 220-223. The defects of his treatment we shall
note further on.
J. S. Mill: “It is the custom, wherever they [scientific men] can trace
regularity of any kind, to call the general proposition, which expresses the
nature of that regularity, a law; as when in mathematics we speak of the
law of the successive terms of a converging series. But the expression
‘law of nature’ is generally employed by scientific men with a sort of tacit
reference to the original sense of the word ‘law’ namely, the expression of
the will of a superior — the superior in this case being the Ruler of the
universe.” Paley, Nat. Theology, chap. 1 — “It is a perversion of
language to assign any law as the efficient operative cause of anything. A
law presupposes an agent; this is only the mode according to which an
agent proceeds; it implies a power, for it is the order according to which
that power acts. Without this agent, without this power, which are both
distinct from itself, the law does nothing.” “Quis custodiet ipsos
custodes?” “Rules do not fulfill themselves, any more than a statute book
can quell a riot” (Martineau, Types, 1:367).
Charles Darwin got the suggestion of natural selection, not from the study
of lower plants and animals, but from Malthus on Population; see his Life
and Letters, Vol. I, autobiographical chapter. Ward, Naturalism and
Agnosticism, 2:248-252 — “The conception of natural law rests upon the
analogy of civil law.” Ladd, Philosophy of Knowledge, 333 — “Laws are
only the more or less frequently repeated and uniform modes of the
behavior of things.” Philosophy of Mind, 122 — “To be, to stand in
relation, to be self-active, to act upon other being, to obey law, to be a
cause, to be a permanent subject of states, to be the same today as
yesterday, to be identical, to be one. All these and all similar conceptions,
together with the proofs that they are valid for real beings, are affirmed of
physical realities, or projected into them, only on a basis of self-knowledge,
envisaging and affirming the reality of mind. Without.291
psychological insight and philosophical training, such terms or their
equivalents are meaningless in physics. And because writers on physics do
not in general have this insight and this training, in spite of their utmost
endeavors to treat physics as an empirical science without metaphysics,
they flounder and blunder and contradict themselves hopelessly whenever
they touch upon fundamental matters.” See President McGarvey’s
Criticism on James Lane Allen’s Reign of Law: “It is not in the nature of
law to reign. To reign is an act, which can be literally affirmed only of
persons. A man may reign, a God may reign, a devil may reign but a law
cannot reign. If a law could reign, we should have no gambling in New
York and no open saloons on Sunday. There would be no false swearing
in courts of justice, and no dishonesty in politics. It is men who reign in
these matters — the judges, the grand jury, the sheriff and the police.
They may reign according to law. Law cannot reign even over those who
are appointed to execute the law.”
2. Law is a general expression of will.
The characteristic of law is generality. It is addressed to substances or
persons in classes. Special legislation is contrary to the true theory of law.
When the Sultan of Zanzibar orders his barber to be beheaded because the
latter has cut his master, this order is not properly a law. To be a law it
must read: “Every barber who cuts his majesty shall thereupon be
decapitated.” Einmal ist keinmal = “Once is no custom.” Dr. Schurman
suggests that the word meal (MahI) means originally time (mal in
einmal). The measurement of time among ourselves is astronomical,
among our earliest ancestors it was gastronomical, and the reduplication
mealtime = the ding-dong of the dinner bell. The Shah of Persia once
asked the Prince of Wales to have a man put to death in order that be
might see the English method of execution. When the Prince told him that
this was beyond his power, the Shah wished to know what was the use of
being a king if he could not kill people at his pleasure. Peter the Great
suggested a way out of the difficulty. He desired to see keelhauling. When
informed that there was no sailor liable to that penalty, he replied: “That
does not matter — take one of my suite.” Amos, Science of Law, 33, 34
— “Law eminently deals in general rules.” It knows not persons or
personality. It must apply to more than one case. “The characteristic of
law is generality, as that of morality is individual application.” Special
legislation is the bane of good government; it does not properly fall within
the province of the lawmaking power; it savors of the caprice of
despotism, which gives commands to each subject at will. Hence our more
advanced political constitutions check lobby influence and bribery, by.292
prohibiting special legislation in all cases where general laws already
3. Law implies power to enforce.
It is essential to the existence of law, that there be power to enforce.
Otherwise law becomes the expression of mere wish or advice. Since
physical substances and forces have no intelligence and no power to resist,
the four elements already mentioned exhaust the implications of the term
‘law as applied to nature. In the case of rational and free agents, however,
law implies in addition: (e) Duty or obligation to obey and (f) Sanctions, or
pains and penalties for disobedience.
“Law that has no penalty is not law but advice, and the government in
which infliction does not follow transgression is the reign of rogues or
demons.” On the question whether any of the punishments of civil law are
legal sanctions, except the punishment of death, see N. W. Taylor, Moral
Govt., 2:367-387. Rewards are motives, but they are not sanctions. Since
public opinion may be conceived of as billeting penalties for violation of
her will, we speak figuratively of the laws of society, of fashion, of
etiquette, of honor. Only so far as the community of nations can and does
by sanctions compel obedience, can we with propriety assert the existence
of international law. Even among nations, however, there may be moral as
well as physical sanctions. The decision of an international tribunal has
the same sanction as a treaty, and if the former is impotent, the latter also
is. Fines and imprisonment do not deter decent people from violations of
law half so effectively as do the social penalties of ostracism and disgrace
and it will be the same with the findings of an international tribunal.
Diplomacy, without ships and armies has been said to be law without
penalty. But exclusion from civilized society is penalty. “In the
unquestioning obedience to fashion’s decrees, to which we all quietly
submit, we are simply yielding to the pressure of the persons about us. No
one adopts a style of dress because it is reasonable, for the styles are often
most unreasonable; but we meekly yield to the most absurd of them rather
than resist this force and be called eccentric. So what we call public
opinion is the most mighty power today known, whether in society or in
4. Law expresses and demands nature.
The will, which thus binds its subjects by commands and penalties is an
expression of the nature of the governing power, and reveals the normal
relations of the subjects to that power. Finally, therefore, law (g) is an.293
expression of the nature of the lawgiver; and (h) sets forth the condition or
conduct in the subjects, which is requisite for harmony with that nature.
Any so-called law, which fails to represent the nature of the governing
power, soon becomes obsolete. All law that is permanent is a transcript of
the facts of being, a discovery of what is and must be, in order to harmony
between the governing and the governed. In short, positive law is just and
lasting only as it is an expression and republication of the law of nature.
Diman, Theistic Argument, 106, 107: John Austin, although he
“rigorously limited the term law to the commands of a superior,” yet
“rejected Ulpian’s explanation of the law of nature, and ridiculed as
fustian the celebrated description in Hooker.” This we conceive to be the
radical defect of Austin’s conception. The Will, which natural law
proceeds from, is conceived of after a deistic fashion, instead of being
immanent in the universe. Lightwood, in his Nature of Positive Law, 78-
90, criticizes Austin’s definition of law as command, and substitutes the
idea of law as custom. Sir Henry Maine’s Ancient Law has shown us that
the early village communities had customs, which only gradually took
form as definite laws. But we reply that custom is not the ultimate source
of anything Repeated acts of will are necessary to constitute custom. The
first customs are due to the commanding will of the father in the
patriarchal family. So Austin’s definition is justified. Collective morals
(mores) come from individual duty (due); law originates in will.
Martineau, Types, 2:18, 19, Behind this will however, is something which
Austin does not take account of, namely, the nature of things as
constituted by God, as revealing the universal Reason, and as furnishing
the standard to which all positive law, if it would be permanent, must
See Montesquieu, Spirit of Laws, book 1, sec. 14 — “Laws are the
necessary relations arising from the nature of things. There is a primitive
Reason, and laws are the relations subsisting between it and different
beings, and the relations of these to one another. These rules are a fixed
and invariable relation. Particular intelligent beings may have laws of
their own making, but they have some likewise that they never made. To
say that there is nothing just or unjust but what is commanded or
forbidden by positive laws, is the same as saying that before the
describing of a circle all the radii were not equal. We must therefore
acknowledge relations antecedent to the positive law by which they were
established.” Kant, Metaphysic of Ethics, 169-172 — “By the science of
law is meant systematic knowledge of the principles of the law of nature
— from which positive law takes its rise — which is forever the same,.294
and carries its sure and unchanging obligations over all nations and
throughout all ages.” It is true even of a despot’s law, that it reveals his
nature, and shows what is requisite in the subject to constitute him in
harmony with that nature. A law, which does not represent the nature of
things, or the real relations of the governor and the governed, has only a
nominal existence, and cannot be permanent. On the definition and nature
of law, see also Pomeroy, in Johnson’s Encyclopædia, art.: Law; Ahrens,
Cours de Droit Naturel, book 1, sec. 14; Lorimer, Institutes of Law, 256,
who quotes from Burke: “All human laws are, properly speaking, only
declaratory. They may alter the mode and application, but have no power
over the substance of original justice”; Lord Bacon: “Regula enim legem
(ut acus nautica polos) indicat, non statuit.” Duke of Argyll, Reign of
Law, 64; H. C. Carey, Unity of Law.
Fairbairn, in Contemp. Rev., Apl. 1895:478 — “The Roman jurists draw
a distinction between jus naturale and jus civile and they used the former
to affect the latter. The jus civile was statutory, established and fixed law,
as it were, the actual legal environment; the jus naturale was ideal, the
principle of justice and equity immanent in man, yet with the progress of
his ethical culture growing ever more articulate.” We add the fact that jus
in Latin and Recht in German have ceased to mean merely abstract right
and have come to denote the legal system in which that abstract right is
embodied and expressed. Here we have a proof that Christ is gradually
moralizing the world and translating law into life. E. G. Robinson: “Never
a government on earth made its own laws. Even constitutions simply
declare laws already and actually existing. Where society falls into
anarchy, the lex talionis becomes the prevailing principle.”
The law of God is a general expression of the divine will enforced by
power. It has two forms: Elemental Law and Positive Enactment.
1. Elemental Law, or law inwrought into the elements, substances, and
forces of the rational and irrational creation. This is twofold:
A. The expression of the divine will in the constitution of the Material
universe — this we call physical, or natural law. Physical law is not
necessary. Another order of things is conceivable. Physical order is not an
end in itself; it exists for the sake of moral order. Physical order has
therefore only a relative constancy and God supplements it at times by
Bowne, Theory of Thought and Knowledge, 210 — “The laws of nature
represent no necessity, but are only the orderly forms of procedure of
some Being back of them. Cosmic uniformity is God’s method in
freedom.” Philos. of Theism, 73 — “Any of the cosmic laws, from
gravitation on, might conceivably have been lacking or altogether
different. No trace of necessity can be found in the Cosmos or in its
laws.” Seth, Hegelianism and Personality: “Nature is not necessary. Why
put an island where it is, and not a mile east or west? Why connect the
smell and shape of the rose or the taste and color of the orange? Why do
H2O form water? No one knows.” William James: “The parts seem shot at
us out of a pistol.” Rather, we would say, out of a shotgun. Martineau,
Seat of Authority, 33 — “Why undulations in one medium should
produce sound and in another light, why one speed of vibration should
give red color, and another blue can be explained by no reason of
necessity. Here is selecting will.”
Brooks, Foundations of Zoology. 126 — “So far as the philosophy of
evolution involves belief that nature is determinate, or due to a necessary
law of universal progress or evolution, it seems to me to be utterly
unsupported by evidence and totally unscientific.” There is no power to
deduce anything whatever from homogeneity. Press the button and law
does the rest? Yes, but what presses the button? The solution crystalizes
when shaken?
Yes, but what shakes it? Ladd, Philos. of Knowledge, 810 — “The
directions and velocities of the stars fall under no common principles that
astronomy can discover. One of the stars — ‘1830 Groombridge’ — is
flying through space at a rate many times as great as it could attain if it
had fallen through infinite space through all eternity toward the entire
physical universe. fluids contract when coded and expand when heated yet
there is the well known exception of water at the degree of freezing.” 263
— “Things do not appear to be Mathematical all the way through. The
system of things may be a Life, changing its modes of manifestation
according to immanent ideas, rather than a collection of rigid entities,
blindly subject in a mechanical way to unchanging laws.”
Augustine: “Dei voluntas rerum natura est.” Joseph Cook: “The laws of
nature are the habits of God.” But Campbell, Atonement, Introduction,
xxvi, says there is this difference between the laws of the moral universe
and those of the physical, namely, that we do not trace the existence of the
former to an act of will, as we do the latter. “To say that God has given
existence to goodness as he has to the laws of nature, would be equivalent
to saying that he has given existence to himself.” Pepper, Outlines of.296
Systematic Theology, 91 — “Moral law, unlike natural law, is a standard
of action to be adopted or rejected in the exercise of rational freedom, i.e.,
of moral agency.” See also Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 1:531.
Mark Hopkins, In Princeton Rev., Sept 1882:190 — “In moral law there
is enforcement by punishment only — never by power, for this would
confound moral law with physical and obedience can never be produced
or secured by power. In physical law, on the contrary, enforcement is
wholly by power and punishment is impossible. So far as man is free, he
is not subject to law at all, in its physical sense. Our wills are free from
law as enforced by power; but are free under law, as enforced by
punishment. Where law prevails in the same sense as in the Material
world, there can be no freedom. Law does not prevail when we reach the
region of choice. We hold to a power in the mind of man originating a free
choice. Two objects or courses of action, between which choice is to be
made, are presupposed: (1) A uniformity or set of uniforms implying a
force by which the uniformity is produced [physical or natural law]. (2) A
command, addressed to free and intelligent beings, that can be obeyed or
disobeyed, and that has connected with it rewards or punishments” [moral
law]. See also Wm. Arthur Difference between Physical and Moral Law.
B. The expression of the divine will in the constitution of rational and free
agents — this we call moral law. This elemental law of our moral nature
with which only we are now concerned, has all the characteristics
mentioned as belonging to law in general. It implies:
(a) A divine Lawgiver, or ordaining Will.
(b) Subjects, or moral beings upon whom the law terminates.
(c) General command or expression of this will in the moral
constitution of the subjects.
(d) Power, enforcing the command.
(e) Duty, or obligation to obey.
(f) Sanctions, or pains and penalties for disobedience.
All these are of a loftier sort than are found in human law. But we need
especially to emphasize the fact that this law
(g) is an expression of the moral nature of God, and therefore of God’s
holiness, the fundamental attribute of that nature; and that it
(h) sets forth absolute conformity to that holiness, as the normal
condition of man. This law is inwrought into man’s rational and moral.297
being. Man fulfills it only when, in his moral as well as his rational
being, he is the image of God.
Although the will from which the moral law springs is an expression of
the nature of God and a necessary expression of that nature in view of the
existence of moral beings, it is none the less a personal will. We should be
careful not to attribute to the law a personality of its own. When Plutarch
says: “Law is king both of mortal and immortal beings,” and when we
say: “The law will take hold of you,” “The criminal is in danger of the
law,” we are simply substituting the name of the agent for that of the
principal. God is not subject to law, God is the source of law and we may
say “If Jehovah be God, worship him; but if Law, worship it.”
Since moral law merely reflects God, it is not a thing made. Men discover
laws, but they do not make them any more than the chemist makes the
laws by which the elements combine. Instance the solidification of
hydrogen at Geneva. Utility does not constitute law, although we test law
by utility; see Murphy, Scientific Bases of Faith, 53-71. The true nature
of the moral law is set forth in the noble though rhetorical description of
Hooker: (Ecclesiastes Pol., 1:194) — “Of law there can be no less
acknowledged than that her seat is in the bosom of God, her voice the
harmony of the world. All things in heaven and earth do her homage, the
very least as feeling her care and the greatest as not exempted from her
power. Both angels and men and creatures of what condition soever,
though each in a different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent
admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.” See also Martineau,
Types, 2:119, and Study, 1:35.
Curtis, Primitive Semitic Religions, 66, 101 — “The Oriental believes
that God makes right by edict. Saladin demonstrated to Henry of
Champagne the loyalty of his Assassins, by commanding two of them to
throw themselves down from a lofty tower to certain and violent death.”
H. B. Smith, System. 192 — “Will implies personality and personality
adds to abstract truth and duty the element of authority. Law therefore has
the force that a person has over and above that of an idea.” Human law
forbids only those offences, which constitute a breach of public order or
of private right. God’s law forbids all that is an offence against the divine
order, that is, all that is unlike God. The whole law maybe summed up in
the words: “Be like God.” Salter, First Steps in Philosophy, 101-126 —
“The realization of the nature of each being is the end to be striven for.
Self-realization is an ideal end, not of one being, but of each being, with
due regard to the value of each in the proper scale of worth. The beast can
be sacrificed for man. All men are sacred as capable of unlimited.298
progress. It is our duty to realize the capacities of our nature so far as
they are consistent with one another and go to make up one whole.” This
means that man fulfills the law only as he realizes the divine idea in his
character and life or, in other words, as he becomes a finite image of
God’s infinite perfections.
Bixby, Crisis in Morals, 191, 201, 285, 286 — “Morality is rooted in the
nature of things. There is a universe. We are all parts of an infinite
organism. Man is inseparably bound to man [and to God]. All rights and
duties arise out of this common life. In the solidarity of social life lies the
ground of Kant’s law: So will, that the maxim of thy conduct may apply
to all. The planet cannot safely fly away from the sun and the hand cannot
safely separate itself from the heart. It is from the fundamental unity of
life that our duties flow. The infinite world-organism is the body and
manifestation of God. And when we recognize the solidarity of our vital
being with this divine life and embodiment, we begin to see into the heart
of the mystery, the unquestionable authority and supreme sanction of
duty. Our moral intuitions are simply the unchanging laws of the universe
that have emerged to consciousness in the human heart. The inherent
principles of the universal Reason reflect themselves in the mirror of the
moral nature. The enlightened conscience is the expression in the human
soul of the divine Consciousness. Morality is the victory of the divine Life
In us. Solidarity of our life with the universal Life gives it unconditional
sacredness and transcendental authority. The microcosm must bring itself
en rapport with the Macrocosm. Man must bring his spirit into
resemblance to the World-essence and into union with it.”
The law of God, then, is simply an expression of the nature of God in the
form of moral requirement and a necessary expression of that nature in
view of the existence of moral beings (

Psalm 19:7; cf. 1). To the
existence of this law all men bear witness. The consciences even of the
heathen testify to it (

Romans 2:14, 15). Those who have the written law
recognize this elemental law as of greater compass and penetration

Romans 7:14; 8:4). The perfect embodiment and fulfillment of this law
is seen only in Christ (

Romans 10:4;

Philippians 3:8, 9).

Psalm 19:7 — “The law of Jehovah is perfect restoring the soul”; cf.
verse 1 — “The heavens declare the glory of God” two revelations of God
— one in nature, the other in the moral law.

Romans 2:14, 15 — “for
when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law,
these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves. In that they show
the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing.299
witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else
excusing them” — here the “work of the law” not the Ten
Commandments, for of these the heathen were ignorant, but rather the
work corresponding to them, i.e., the substance of them.

Romans 7:14
— “For we know that the law is spiritual” — this, says Meyer, is
equivalent to saying “its essence is divine, of like nature with the Holy
Spirit who gave it, a holy self-revelation of God.”

Romans 8:4 —
“that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after
the flesh, but after the spirit”; 10:4 — “For Christ is the end of the law
unto righteousness to every one that believeth,”

Philippians 3:8, 9 —
“that I any gain Christ and he found in him, not having a righteousness of
mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in
Christ the righteousness which is from God by faith”;

Hebrews 10:9
— “Lo, I am come to do thy will.” In Christ “the law appears Drawn out
in living characters.” Just such as he was and is, we feel that we ought to
be. Hence the character of Christ convicts us of sin, as does no other
manifestation of God. See, on the passages from Romans, the
Commentary of Philippi.
Fleming, Vocab. Philos., 286 — “Moral laws are derived from the nature
and will of God, and the character and condition of man.” God’s nature is
reflected in the laws of our nature. Since law is inwrought into man’s
nature, man is a law unto himself. To conform to his own nature, in which
conscience is supreme, is to conform to the nature of God. The law is only
the revelation of the constitutive principles of being, the declaration of
what must be, so long as man is man and God is God. It says in effect:
“Be like God, or you cannot be truly man.” So, moral law is not simply a
test of obedience, but is also a revelation of eternal reality. Man cannot be
lost to God, without being lost to himself also. “The hands of the living
God” (Hebrews l0:31) into which we fall, are the laws of nature.” In the
spiritual world “they are the same that wheels revolve, only there is no
iron” (Drummond, Natural Law in the Spiritual World, 27). Wuttke,
Christian Ethics, 2:82-92 — “The totality of created being is to be in
harmony with God and with itself. The idea of this harmony, as active in
God under the form of will, is God’s law.” A manuscript of the U. S.
Constitution was so written that when held at a little distances the shading
of the letters and their position showed the countenance of George
Washington. So the law of God is only God’s face disclosed to human
R. W. Emerson, Woodnotes, 57 — “Conscious Law is King of Kings.”
Two centuries ago John Norton wrote a book entitled The Orthodox
Evangelist, “designed for the begetting and establishing of the faith which.300
is in Jesus,” in which we find the following: “God doth not will things
because they are just, but things are therefore just because God so willeth
them. What reasonable man but will yield that the being of the moral law
hath no necessary connection with the being of God? That the actions of
men not conformable to this law should be sin, that death should be the
punishment of sin, these are the constitutions of God, proceeding from
him not by way of necessity of nature, but freely, as effects and products
of his eternal good pleasure.” This to make God an arbitrary despot. We
should not say that God makes law, nor on the other hand that God is
subject to law, but rather that God is law and the source of law.
Bowne, Philos. of Theism, 161 — “God’s law is organic — inwrought
into the constitution of men and things. The chart however does not make
the channel. A law of nature is never the antecedent but the consequence
of reality. What right has this consequence of reality to be personalized
and made the ruler and source of reality? Law is only the fixed mode in
which reality works. Law therefore can explain nothing. Only God, from
whom reality springs, can explain reality.” In other words, law is never an
agent but always a method — the method of God, or rather of Christ who
is the only Revealer of God. Christ’s life in the flesh is the clearest
manifestation of him who is the principle of law in the physical and moral
universe. Christ is the reason of God in expression. It was he who gave
the law on Mount Sinai as well as in the Sermon on the Mount. For fuller
treatment of the subject, see Bowen, Metaph. and Ethics, 321-344;
Talbot, Ethical Prolegomena, in Bap. Quar., July, 1877:257-274;
Whewell, Elements of Morality, 2:85; and especially E. G. Robinson,
Principles and Practice of Morality, 79-108.
Each of the two last mentioned characteristics of God’s law is important in
its implications. We treat of these in their order.
First, the law of God as a transcript of the divine nature. If this is the
nature of the law, then certain common misconceptions of it are excluded,
The law of God is
(a) Not arbitrary, or the product of arbitrary will. Since the will from which
the law springs is a revelation of God’s nature, there can be no rashness or
wisdom in the law itself.
E. G. Robinson, Christ. Theology, 193 — ““No law of God seems ever to
have been arbitrarily enacted, or simply with, a view to certain ends to be
accomplished; it always represented some reality of life, which it was
inexorably necessary that those who were to be regulated should carefully.301
observe.” The theory that law originates in arbitrary will results in an
effeminate type of piety, just as the theory that legislation has for its sole
end the greatest happiness results in all manner of compromises of justice.
Jones, Robert Browning, 43 — “He who cheats his neighbor believes in
tortuosity, and, as Carlyle says, has the supreme Quack for his god.”
(b) Not temporary, or ordained simply to meet an exigency. The law is a
manifestation, not of temporary moods or desires, but of the essential
nature of God.
The great speech of Sophocles’ Antigone gives us this conception of law:
“The ordinances of the gods are unwritten, but sure. Not one of them is
for today or for yesterday alone, but they live forever.” Moses might
break the tables of stone upon which the law was inscribed, and Jehoiakim
might cut up the scroll and cast it into the fire(

Exodus 32:19;
Jeremiah36:23), but the law remained eternal as before in the nature of
God and in the constitution of man. Prof. Walter Rauschenbusch: “The
moral laws are just as stable as the law of gravitation. Every fuzzy human
chicken that is hatched into the world tries to fool with those laws. Some
grow wiser in the process and some do not. We talk about breaking God’s
laws. But after those laws have been broken several billion times since
Adam first tried to play with them, those laws are still intact and no seam
or fracture is visible in them — not even a scratch on the enamel. But the
lawbreakers — that is another story. If you want to find their fragments,
go to the ruins of Egypt, of Babylon and of Jerusalem. Study statistics,
read faces, keep your eyes open, visit Blackwell’s Island. Walk through
the graveyard and read the invisible inscriptions left by the Angel of
Judgment, for instance: ‘Here lie the fragments of John Smith, when he
contradicted his Maker, played football with the ten commandments and
departed this life at the age of thirty-five. His mother and wife weep for
him. Nobody else does. May he rest in peace!”
(c) Not merely negative, or a law of mere prohibition since positive
conformity to God is the inmost requisition of law.
The negative form of the commandments in the Decalogue merely takes
for granted the evil inclination in men’s hearts and practically opposes its
gratification. In the case of each commandment a whole province of the
moral life is taken into the account, although the act expressly forbidden
is the acme of evil in that one province. So the Decalogue makes itself
intelligible; it crosses man’s path just where he most feels inclined to
wander. But back of the negative and specific expression do each case lies
the whole mass of moral requirement; the thin edge of the wedge has the.302
positive demand of holiness behind it, without obedience to which even the
prohibition cannot in spirit be obeyed. Thus “the law is spiritual”

Romans 7:14), and requires likeness in character and life to the
spiritual God;

John 4:24 — “God is spirit and they that worship him
must worship in spirit and truth.”
(d) Not partial, or addressed to one part only of man’s being since likeness
to God requires purity of substance in man’s soul and body, as well as
purity in all the thoughts and acts that proceed therefrom. As law proceeds
from the nature of God, so it requires conformity to that nature in the
nature of man.
Whatever God gave to man at the beginning he requires of man with
interest; cf.

Matthew 25:17 — “thou oughtest therefore to have put my
money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back mine
own with interest.” Whatever comes short of perfect purity in soul or
perfect health in body is nonconformity to God and contradicts his law. It,
being understood that only that perfection is demanded, which answers to
the creature’s stage of growth and progress; of the child there is required
only the perfection of the child, of the youth only the perfection of the
youth, of the man only the perfection of the man. See Julius Muller,
Doctrine of Sin, chapter 1
(e) Not outwardly published since all positive enactment is only the
imperfect expression of this underlying and unwritten law of being.
Much misunderstanding of God’s law results from confounding it with
published, enactment. Paul takes the larger view that the law is
independent of such expression,. See

Romans 2:14,15 — “for when
Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these,
not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the
work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness
therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing
them:” see Expositor’s Greek Testament, in loco: “‘written on their
hearts,’ when contrasted with the law written on the tables of stone, is
equal to ‘unwritten’; the Apostle refers to what the Greeks called
a]grafov no>mov.”
(f) Not inwardly conscious, or limited in its scope by men’s consciousness
of it. Like the laws of our physical being, the moral law exists whether we
recognize it or not..303
Overeating brings its penalty in dyspepsia, whether we are conscious of
our fault or not. We cannot by ignorance or by vote repeal the laws of our
physical system. Self-will does not secure independence any more than the
stars can by combination abolish gravitation. Man cannot get rid of God’s
dominion by denying its existence or by refusing submission to it.

Psalm 1:1-4 — “Why do the nations rage… against Jehovah…
saying, Let us break their bonds asunder… He that sitteth in the heavens
will laugh.” Salter, First Steps in Philosophy, 91 — “The fact that one is
not aware of obligation no more affects its reality than ignorance of what
is at the center of the earth affects the nature of what is really
discoverable there. We discover obligation, and do not create it by
thinking of it, any more than we create the sensible world by thinking of
(g) Not local, or confined to place since no moral creature can escape from
God, from his own being, or from the natural necessity that unlikeness to
God should involve misery and ruin.
“The Dutch auction” was the public offer of property at a price beyond its
value, followed by the lowering of the price until some one accepted it as
a purchaser. There is no such local exception to the full validity of God’s
demands. The moral law has even more necessary and universal sway
than the law of gravitation in the physical universe. It is inwrought into
the very constitution of man and of every other moral being. The man who
offended the Roman Emperor found the whole empire a prison.
(h) Not changeable, or capable of modification. Since law represents the
unchangeable nature of God, it is not a sliding scale of requirements which
adapts itself to the ability of the subjects. God himself cannot change it
without ceasing to be God.
The law, then, has a deeper foundation than that God merely “said so.”
God’s word and God’s will are revelations of his inmost being; every
transgression of the law is a stab at the heart of God. Simon,
Reconciliation, 141, 142 — “God continues to demand loyalty even after
man has proved disloyal. Sin changes man, and man’s change involves a
change in God. Man now regards God as a ruler and exactor and God
must regard man as a defaulter and a rebel.” God’s requirement is not
lessened because man is unable to meet it. This inability is itself non-conformity
to law, and is no excuse for sin; see Dr. Bushnell’s sermon on
“Duty not measured by Ability.” The man with the withered hand would
not have been justified in refusing to stretch it forth at Jesus’ command

Matthew 13:10-13)..304
The obligation to obey this law and to he conformed to God’s perfect
moral character is based upon man’s original ability and the gifts which
God bestowed upon him at the beginning. Created in the image of God, it
is man’s duty to render back to God that which God first gave, enlarged
and improved by growth and culture. (

Luke 19:23 — “wherefore
gavest thou not my money into the bank, and I at my coming should have
required it with interest”). This obligation is not impaired by sin or by the
weakening of man’s powers. To let down the standard would be to
misrepresent God. Adolphe Mound would not save himself from shame
and remorse by lowering the claims of the law: “Save first the holy law of
my God,” he says, “after that you shall save me!”
Even salvation is not through violation of law. The moral law is
immutable, because it is a transcript of the nature of the immutable God.
Shall nature conform to me or I to nature? If I attempt to resist even
physical laws, I am crushed. I can use nature only by obeying her laws.
Lord Bacon: “Natura enim non nisi parendo vincitur.” So in the moral
realm, we cannot buy off nor escape the moral law of God. God will not
and God cannot change his law by one hair’s breadth, even to save a
universe of sinners. Omar Kh•yy•m, in his Rub•yat, begs his god to
“reconcile the law to my desires.” Marie Corelli says well: “As if a gnat
should seek to build a cathedral and should ask to have the laws of
architecture altered to suit its gnat-like capacity.” See Martineau, Types,
Secondly, the law of God as the ideal of human nature. A law thus identical
with the eternal and necessary relations of the creature to the Creator and
demanding of the creature nothing less than perfect holiness, as the
condition of harmony with the infinite holiness of God, is adapted to man’s
finite nature, as needing law. It is to man’s free nature, as needing moral
law and to man’s progressive nature, as needing ideal law.
Man, as finite, needs law just as railway cars need a track to guide them
— to leap the track is to find, not freedom, but ruin. Railway President:
“Our rules are written in blood.” Goethe, Was Wir Bringen, 19 Auftritt:
“In vain shall spirits that are all unbound To the pure heights of perfection
aspire; In limitation first the Master shines, And law alone can give us
liberty.” — Man, as a free being, needs moral law. He is not an
automaton, a creature of necessity, governed only by physical influences.
With conscience to command the right, and will to choose or reject it, his
true dignity and calling are that he should freely realize the right. Man, as
a progressive being, needs nothing less than an ideal and infinite standard.305
of attainment, a goal which he can never overpass, an end which shall
ever attract and urge him forward. This he finds in the holiness of God.
The law is a fence, not only for ownership but also for care. God not only
demands but he protects. Law is the transcript of love as well as of
holiness. We may reverse the well known couplet and say: “I slept and
dreamed that life was Duty; I woke and found that life was Beauty.” “Cui
servire regnare est.” Butcher, Aspects of Greek Genius, 56 — “In Plato’s
Crito, the Laws are made to present themselves in person to Socrates in
prison, not only as the guardians of his liberty, but as his lifelong friends,
his well-wishers, his equals, with whom he had of his own free will,
entered into binding compact.” It does not harm the scholar to have before
him the ideal of perfect scholarship nor the teacher to have before him the
ideal of a perfect school nor the legislator to have before him the ideal of
perfect law. Gordon, The Christ of Today, 384 — “The moral goal must
be a flying goal the standard to which we are to grow must be ever rising;
the type to which we are to be conformed must have in it inexhaustible
John Caird, Fund. Ideas of Christianity, 2:139 — “It is just the best,
purest, noblest human souls, who are least satisfied with themselves and
their own spiritual attainments. The reason is that the human is not a
nature essentially different from the divine but a nature which, just
because it is in essential affinity with God, can be satisfied with nothing
less than a divine perfection.” J. M. Whiton, The Divine Satisfaction:
“Law requires being, character, likeness to God. It is automatic, self-operating.
Penalty is nontransferable. It cannot admit of any other
satisfaction than the re-establishment of the normal relation, which it
requires. Punishment proclaims that the law has not been satisfied. There
is no canceling of the curse except through the growing up of the normal
relation. Blessing and curse ensue upon what we are, not upon what we
were. Reparation is within the spirit itself. The atonement is educational,
not governmental.” We reply that the atonement is both governmental and
educational and that reparation must first be made to the holiness of God
before conscience, the mirror of God’s holiness, can reflect that reparation
and be at peace.
The law of God is therefore characterized by:
(a) All-comprehensiveness. It is over us at all times, it respects our past,
our present, and our future. It forbids every conceivable sin, it requires
every conceivable virtue, and emissions as well as commissions are
condemned by it..306

Psalm 119:96 — “I have seen an end of all perfection… thy
commandment is exceeding broad’’

Romans 3:23 — “all have sinned,
and fall short of the glory of God”;

James 4:17 — “To him therefore
that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it sin.” Gravitation holds
the mote as well as the world. God’s law detects and denounces the least
sin, so that without atonement it cannot be pardoned. The law of
gravitation may be suspended or abrogated, for it has no necessary ground
in God’s being but God’s moral law cannot be suspended or abrogated,
for that would contradict God’s holiness. “About right” is not “all right.”
“The giant hexagonal pillars of basalt in the Scottish Staffs are identical
in form with the microscopic crystals of the same mineral.” So God is our
pattern, and goodness is our likeness to him.
(b) Spirituality. It demands not only right acts and words, but also right
dispositions and states. Perfect obedience requires not only the intense and
unremitting reign of love toward God and man but also conformity of the
whole inward and outward nature of man to the holiness of God.

Matthew 5:22, 28 — “the angry word is murder, the sinful look is

Mark 12:30, 31 — “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind and with all thy
strength… Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”;

2 Corinthians
10:5 — “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”;

Ephesians 5:1 — “Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved

1 Peter 1:16 — “Ye shall be holy for I am holy.” As the
brightest electric light, seen through a smoked glass against the sun
appears like a black spot, so the brightest unregenerate character is dark,
when compared with the holiness of God. Mattheson, Moments on the
Mount 235, remarks on

Galatians 6:4 — “let each man prove his own
work and then shall he have his glorying in regard of himself alone and
not of his neighbor.” “I have a small candle and I compare it with my
brother’s taper and come away rejoicing. Why not compare it with the
sun? Then I shall lose my pride and selfishness.” The distance to the sun
from the top of an ant-hill and from the top of Mount Everest is nearly the
same. The African princess praised for her beauty had no way to verify
the compliments paid her but by looking in the glassy surface of the pool.
But the trader came and sold her a mirror. Then she was so shocked at her
own ugliness that she broke the mirror in pieces. So we look into the
mirror of God’s law, compare ourselves with the Christ who is reflected
there and hate the mirror which reveals us to ourselves (

James 1:23,
(c) Solidarity. It exhibits in all its parts the nature of the one Lawgiver, and
it expresses, in its least command, the one requirement of harmony with

Matthew 5:48 — “Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly
Father is perfect”;

Mark 12:29, 30 — “The Lord our God, the Lord is
one and thou shalt love the Lord thy God”;

James 2:10 — “For
whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is
become guilty of all” 4:12 — “One only is the lawgiver and judge.” Even
little rattlesnakes are snakes. One link broken in the chain and the bucket
will fall into the well. The least sin separates us from God. The least sin
renders us guilty of the whole law, because it shows us to lack the love,
which is required in all the commandments. Those who send us to the
Sermon on the Mount for salvation, send us to a tribunal that damns us.
The Sermon on the Mount is but a republication of the law given on Sinai
but now in more spiritual and penetrating form. Thunder and lightning
proceed from the NT, as from the OT, mount. The Sermon on the Mount
is only the introductory lecture of Jesus’ theological course, as John 14-17
is the closing lecture. In it is announced the law, which prepares the way
for the gospel. Those who would degrade doctrine by exalting precept will
find that they have left men without the motive or the power to keep the
precept. Æschylus, Agamemmon: “For there’s no bulwark in man’s
wealth to him Who, through a surfeit, kicks — into the dim And
disappearing — Right’s great altar.”
Only to the first man, then, was the law proposed as a method of salvation.
With the first sin, all hope of obtaining the divine favor by perfect
obedience is lost. To sinners the law remains as a means of discovering and
developing sin in its true nature and of compelling a recourse to the mercy
provided in Jesus Christ.

2 Chronicles 34:19 — “And it came to pass, when the king had heard
the words of the law, that he rent his clothes”;

Job 42:5, 6 — “I had
heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye seeth thee;
Wherefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.” The revelation
of God in

Isaiah 6:3, 5 — “Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of hosts” —
causes the prophet to cry like the leper: “Woe is me! For I am undone;
because I am a man of unclean lips.”

Romans 3:20 — “by the works
of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for through the law
cometh the knowledge of sin” 5:20 — “the law came in besides that the
trespass might abound” 7:7, 8 — “I had not known sin, except through
the law: for I had not known coveting, except the law had said, Thou shalt.308
not covet, but sin, finding occasion, wrought in me through the
commandment all manner of coveting: for apart from the law sin is dead”;

Galatians 3:24 — “So that the law is become our tutor,” or attendant-slave,
“to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” = the
law trains our wayward boyhood and leads it to Christ the Master, as in
old times the slave accompanied children to school. Stevens, Pauline
Theology, 177, 178 — “The law increases sin by increasing the
knowledge of sin and by increasing the activity of sin. The law does not
add to the inherent energy of the sinful principle which pervades human
nature, but it does cause this principle to reveal itself more energetically in
sinful act.” The law inspires fear, but it leads to love. The Rabbins said
that if Israel repented but for one day, the Messiah would appear.
No man ever yet drew a straight line or a perfect curve; yet he would be
poor architect who contented himself with anything less. Since men never
come up to their ideals, he who aims to live only an average moral life
will inevitably fall below the average. The law, then, leads to Christ. He
who is the ideal is also the way to attain the ideal. He who is himself the
Word and the Law embodied is also the Spirit of life that makes obedience
possible to us. (

John 14:6 — “I am the way, and the truth, and the

Romans 8:2 — “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
made me free from the law of sin and of death”). Mrs. Browning. Aurora
Leigh: “The Christ himself had been no Lawgiver, Unless he had given
the Life too with the Law.” Christ for us upon the Cross, and Christ doe
us by his Spirit, is the only deliverance from the curse of the law;

Galatians 3:13 — “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law,
having become a curse for us.” We must see the claims of the law
satisfied and the law itself written on our hearts. We are “reconciled in
God through the death of his Son,” but We are also “saved by his life”

Romans 5:10).
Robert Browning, in The Ring and the Book, represents Caponsacchi as
comparing ‘himself at his best with the new ideal of “perfect as Father in
heaven is perfect” suggested by Pompilia’s purity, and as breaking out
into the cry: “O great, just, good God! Miserable me!” In the Interpreter’s
House of Pilgrim’s Progress, Law only stirred up the dust in the foul
room — the Gospel had to sprinkle water on the floor before it could be
cleansed. E.G. Robinson: “It is necessary to smoke a man out, before you
can bring a higher motive to bear upon him.” Barnabas said that Christ
was the answer to the riddle of the law.

Romans 10:4 — “Christ is the
end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth.” The
railroad track opposite Detroit on the St. Clair River runs to the edge of
the dock and seems intended to plunge the train into the abyss. But when.309
the ferryboat comes up, rails are seen upon its deck, and the boat is the
end of the track, to carry passengers over to Detroit. So the law, which by
itself would bring only destruction, finds its end in Christ who ensures our
passage to the celestial city.
Law, then, with its picture of spotless innocence, simply reminds man of
the heights from which he has fallen. “It is a mirror which reveals
derangement but does not create or remove it.” With its demand of
absolute perfection, up to the measure of man’s original endowments and
possibilities, it drives us, in despair of ourselves, to Christ as our only
righteousness and our only Savior (

Romans 8:3, 4 — “For what the
law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his
own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the
flesh: that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk after
the flesh, not after the Spirit”;

Philippians 3:8, 9 — “that I may gain
Christ, and be fund in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even
that which is of the law but that which is through faith in Christ, the
righteousness which is from God by faith”). Thus law must prepare the
way for grace, and John the Baptist must precede Christ.
When Sarah Bernhardt was solicited to add an eleventh commandment,
she declined upon the ground there were already ten too many. It was as
expression of pagan contempt of law. In heathendom, sin and insensibility
to sin increased together. In Judaism and Christianity, on the contrary,
there has been a growing sense of sin’s guilt and condemnation. McLaren,
in S. S. Times, Sept. 23, 1893:600 — “Among the Jews there was a far
profounder sense of sin than in any other ancient nation. The law written
on men’s hearts evoked a lower consciousness of sin, and there are
prayers on the Assyrian and Babylonian tablets which may almost stand
beside the 51st Psalm . But, on the whole, the deep sense of sin was the
product of the revealed law.” See Fairbairn, Revelation of Law and
Scripture; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 187-242; Hovey, God with Us, 187-
210; Julius Muller, Doctrine of Sin, 1:45-50; Murphy, Scientific Bases of
Faith, 53-71; Martineau, Types, 2:120-125.
2. Positive Enactment, or the expression of the will of God in published
ordinances. This is also twofold:
A. General moral precepts. These are written summaries of the elemental
law (

Matthew 5:48; 22:37-40), or authorized applications of it to
special human conditions (

Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew, chap. 5-8)..310

Matthew 5:48 — “Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly
Father is perfect”; 21:37-40 — “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God…
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, in these two commandments the
whole law hangeth and the prophets”;

Exodus 20:1-17 — the Ten
Commandments; Matthew, chap. 5-8 — the Sermon on the Mount. Cf.
Augustine, on

Psalm 57:1.
Solly, On the Will, 162, gives two illustrations of the fact that positive
precepts are merely applications of elemental law or the law of nature.
“‘Thou shalt not steal,’ is a moral law which may be stated “thou shalt
not take that for thy own property, which is the property of another.”
The contradictory of this proposition would be “thou mayest take that for
thy own property which is the property of another.” But this is a
contradiction in terms for it is the very conception of property, that the
owner stands in a peculiar relation to its subject matter and what is every
man’s property is no man’s property, as it is proper to no man. Hence the
contradictory of the commandment contains a simple contradiction
directly it is made a rule universal and the commandment itself is
established as one of the principles for the harmony of individual wills.
“‘Thou shalt not tell a lie,’ as a rule of morality, may be expressed
generally: thou shalt not by thy outward act make another to believe thy
thought to be of other than it is. The contradictory made universal is
“every man may by his outward act make another to believe his thought
to be other than it is.” Now this maxim also contains a contradiction, and
is self-destructive. It conveys a permission to do that which is rendered
impossible by the permission itself. Absolute and universal indifference to
truth, or the entire internal independence of the thought and symbol,
makes the symbol cease to be a symbol and the conveyance of thought by
its means, an impossibility.”
Rant, Metaphysic of Ethics, 48, 90 — “Fundamental law of reason: So
act, that thy maxims of will might become laws in a system of universal
moral legislation.” This is Kant’s categorical imperative. He expresses it
in yet another form: “Act from maxims fit to be regarded as universal
laws of nature.” For expositions of the Decalogue which bring out its
spiritual meaning, see Kurtz, Religionslehre, 9-72; Dick, Theology, 2:5l3-
554; Dwight, Theology, 3:163-560; Hodge, Systematic Theology, 3:259-
B. Ceremonial or special injunctions. These are illustrations of the
elemental law, or approximate revelations of it, suited to lower degrees of
capacity and to earlier stages of spiritual training (

Exodus 20:25;.311

Matthew 19:8;

Mark 10:5). Though temporary, only God can say
when they cease to be binding upon us in their outward form.
All positive enactment, therefore, whether they are moral or ceremonial, is
republications of elemental law. Their forms may change but the substance
is eternal. Certain modes of expression, like the Mosaic system, may be
abolished, but the essential demands are unchanging (

Matthew 5:17, 18;

Ephesians 2:15). From the imperfection of human language, no
positive enactment is able to express in themselves the whole content and
meaning of the elemental law. “It is not the purpose of revelation to
disclose the whole of our duties.” Scripture is not a complete code of rules
for practical action but an enunciation of principles with occasional
precepts by way of illustration. Hence we must supplement the positive
enactment by the law of being — the moral ideal found in the nature of
Es. 20:25 — “Moreover also I gave them statutes that were not good and
ordinances wherein they should not live”

Matthew 15:9 — “Moses for
your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives”;

10:5 — “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment”;

Matthew 5:17, 18 — “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or
the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. Verily I say unto you,
Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass
away from the law, till all things be accomplished’’ cf.

Ephesians 2:15
— “having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of
commandments contained in ordinances”;

Hebrews 8:7 — “if that first
covenant had been faultless, then would no place have been sought for a
second.” Fisher, Nature and Method of Revelation, 90 — “After the
coming of the new covenant, the keeping up of the old was as needless a
burden as winter garments in the mild air of summer or as the attempt of
an adult to wear the clothes of a child.”
Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, 2:5-35 — “Jesus repudiates for himself and for
his disciples absolute subjection to Old Testament Sabbath law (

2:27 sq.); to Old Testament law as to external defilement (

Mark 7:15);
to Old Testament divorce law (

Mark 10:2 sq.) He would ‘fulfill’ law
and prophets by complete practical performance of the revealed will of
God. He would bring out their inner meaning, bot by literal and slavish
obedience to every minute requirement of the Mosaic law but by revealing
in himself the perfect life and work toward which they intended. He would
perfect the Old Testament conceptions of God — not keep then intact in
their literal form, but in their essential spirit. Not by quantitative.312
extension, but by qualitative renewal he would fulfill the law and the
prophets. He would bring the imperfect expression in the Old Testament
to perfection, not by servile letter-worship or allegorizing, but through
grasp of the divine idea.”
Scripture is not a series of minute injections and prohibitions such as the
Pharisees and the Jesuits had lain down. The Koran showed its
immeasurable inferiority to the Bible by establishing the letter instead of
the spirit, by giving permanent, definite and specific rules of conduct
instead of leaving room for the growth of the free spirit and for the
education of conscience. This is not true either of Old Testament of the
New Testament law. In Miss Fowler’s novel “The Farringdons”, Mrs.
Herbert wishes “that the bible had been written on the principle of that
dreadful little book called ‘Don’t’, which gives a list of the solecisms you
should avoid; she would have understood it so much better than the
present system.” Our Savior’s words about giving to him that asketh, and
turning the cheek to the smiter (

Matthew 5:39-42) must be interpreted
by the principle of love that lies at the foundation of the law. Giving to
every tramp and yielding to every marauder is not pleasing our neighbor
“for that which is good unto edifying” (

Romans 15:2). Only by
confounding the divine law with the Scripture prohibition could one write
as in N. Amer. Rev., Feb 1890:275 — “Sin is the transgression of a
divine law but there is no divine law against suicide, therefore, suicide is
not sin.”
The written law was imperfect because God could, at the time, give no
higher to an unenlightened people. “But to say that the scope and design
were imperfectly moral is contradicted by the whole course of the history.
We must ask what is the moral standard in which this course of education
issues.” And this we find in the life and precepts of Christ. Even the law
of repentance and faith does not take the place of the old law of being, but
applies the latter to the special conditions of sin. Under the Levitical law,
the prohibition of the touching of the dry bone (

Numbers 19:16)
equally with the purification and sacrifices, the separations and penalties
of the Mosaic code, expressed God’s holiness and his repelling from him
all that savored of sin or death. The laws with regard to leprosy were
symbolic, as well as sanitary. So church polity environs consciences
better than abstract propositions could have done, the fundamental truths
of the Christian scheme. Hence, they are not to be abrogated “till he
come” (

1 Corinthians 11:26).
The Puritans, however, in re-enacting the Mosaic code, make the mistake
of confounding the eternal law of God with a partial temporary and.313
obsolete expression of it. Se we are not to rest in external precepts
respecting woman’s hair, dress and speech but to find the underlying
principle of modesty and subordination which alone is of universal and
eternal validity. Robert Browning, the Ring the Book, 1:255 — “God
breathes, not speaks, his verdicts, felt not heard — Passed on successively
to each court I call Man’s conscience, custom, manners and all that make
More and more effort to promulgate, mark God’s verdict in determinable
words, Till last come human jurists — solidify Fluid results — what’s
fixable lies forged, Statute, the residue escapes in fume, Yet hangs aloft a
cloud, as palpable To the finer sense as word the legist welds. Justinian’s
Pandects only make precise What simply sparkled in men’s eyes before,
Twitched in their brow or quivered on their lip, Waited the speech they
called, but would not come.” See Mozley, Ruling Ideas in Early Ages,
104; Tulloch, Doctrine of Sin, 141-144; Finney, Systematic Theology, 1-
40, 135-319; Mansel, Metaphysics, 378, 379; H. B. Smith, system of
Theology, 191-195
Paul’s injunction to women to keep silence in the churches (

Corinthians 14:35, 1Tim 2:11, 12) is to be interpreted by the larger law of
gospel equality and privilege (

Colossians 3:11). Modesty and
subordination once required a seclusion of the female sex, which is no
longer obligatory. Christianity has emancipated woman and has restored
her to the dignity, which belonged to her at the beginning. “In the old
dispensation, Miriam and Deborah and Huldah were recognized as leaders
of God’s people and Anna was a notable prophetess in the temple courts
at the time of the coming of Christ. Elizabeth and Mary spoke songs of
praise for all generations. A prophecy of

Joel 2:28 was that the
daughters of the Lord’s people should prophesy, under the guidance of the
Spirit, in the new dispensation. Philip the evangelist had ‘four virgin
daughters, who prophesied’ (

Acts 21:9), and Paul cautioned Christian
women to have their heads covered when they prayed or prophesied in
public (

1 Corinthians 11:5), but had no words against the work of
such women. He brought Priscilla with him to Ephesus, where she aided
in training Apollos into better preaching power (

Acts 18:26). He
welcomed and was grateful for the work of those women who labored
with him in the gospel at Philippi (

Philippians 4:3). And it is certainly
an inference from the spirit and teachings of Paul that we should rejoice in
the efficient service and sound words of Christian women today in the
Sunday School and in the missionary field.” The command “And he that
heareth let him say, Come” (Revelations 22:17) is addressed to women
also. See Ellen Batelle Dietrick, Women in the Early Christian Ministry;
per contra, see G. F. Wilkin, Prophesying of Women, 183-193..314
In human government, while law is an expression of the will of the
governing power, and so of the nature lying behind the will, it is by no
means an exhaustive expression of that will and nature. Since it consists
only of general ordinances, and leaves room for particular acts of command
through the executive, as well as for “the institution of equity, the faculty
of discretionary punishment and the prerogative of pardon.”
Amos, Science of Law, 29-46, shows how “the institution of equity, the
faculty of discretionary punishment and the prerogative of pardon” all
involve expressions of will above and beyond what is contained in mere
statute. Century Dictionary, on Equity: “English law had once to do only
with property in goods, houses and lands. A man who had none of these
might have an interest in a salary, a patent, a contract, a copyright or a
security, but a creditor could not at common law levy upon these. When
the creditor applied to the crown for redress, a chancellor or keeper of the
king’s conscience was appointed, who determined what and how the
debtor should pay. Often the debtor was required to put his intangible
property into the hands of a receiver and could regain possession of it only
when the claim against it was satisfied. These chancellors’ courts were
called courts of equity and redressed wrongs, which the common law did
not provide for. In later times, law and equity are administered for the
most part by the same courts. The same court sits at one time as a court
of law and at another time as court of equity.” “Summa lex, summa
injuria,” is sometimes true.
Applying now to the divine law this illustration drawn from human law, we
(a) The law of God is a general expression of God’s will, applicable to all
moral beings. It therefore does not exclude the possibility of special
injunctions to individuals and special acts of wisdom and power in creation
and providence. The very specialty of these latter expressions of will
prevents us from classing them under the category of law.
Lord Bacon, Confession of Faith:
“The soul of man was not produced by heaven or earth but was
breathed immediately from God. The ways and dealings of God
with spirits are not included in nature, that is, in the laws of heaven
and earth but are reserved to the law of his secret will and grace.”.315
(b) The law of God, accordingly, is a partial, not an exhaustive, expression
of God’s nature. It constitutes, indeed, a manifestation of that attribute of
holiness which is fundamental in God and which man must possess in order
to be in harmony with God. But it does not fully express God’s nature in
its aspects of personality, sovereignty, helpfulness and mercy.
The chief error of all pantheistic theology is the assumption that law is an
exhaustive expression of God: Strauss, Glaubenslehre, 1:31 — “If nature,
as the self-realization of the divine essence, is equal to this divine essence,
then it is infinite, and there can be nothing above and beyond it.” This is a
denial of the transcendence of God (see notes on Pantheism, pages 100-
105). Mere law is illustrated by the Buddhist proverb: “As the cartwheel
follows the tread of the ox, so punishment follows sin.” Denovan: “Apart
from Christ, even if we have never yet broken the law, it is only by steady
and perfect obedience for the entire future that we can remain justified. If
we have sinned, we can be justified [without Christ] only by suffering and
exhausting the whole penalty of the law.”
(c) Mere law, therefore, leaves God’s nature in these aspects of
personality, sovereignty, helpfulness and mercy to be expressed toward
sinners in another way, namely, through the atoning, regenerating,
pardoning and sanctifying work of the gospel of Christ. As creation does
not exclude miracles, so law does not exclude grace (

Romans 8:3 —
“what the law could not do… God” did).
Murphy, Scientific Bases, 303-327, esp. 315 — “To impersonal law, it is
indifferent whether its subjects obey or not. But God desires, not the
punishment, but the destruction, of sin.” Campbell, Atonement,
Introduction, 28 — “There are two regions of the divine self-manifestation,
one the reign of law, the other the kingdom of God.” C. H.
M.: “Law is the transcript of the mind of God as to what man ought to be.
But God is not merely law, but love. There is more in his heart than could
be wrapped up in the ‘ten words.’ Not the law, but only Christ, is the
perfect image of God” (

John 1:17 — “For the law was given through
Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”). So there is more in
man’s heart toward God than exact fulfillment of requirement. The mother
when sacrifices herself for her sick child does it, not because she must,
but because she loves. To say that we are saved by grace, is to say that
we are saved both without merit on our own part, and without necessity
on the part of God. Grace is made known in proclamation, offer,
command but in all these it is gospel, or glad tidings..316
(d) Grace is to be regarded, however, not as abrogating law, but as
republishing and enforcing it (

Romans 3:31 — “we establish the law”).
By removing obstacles to pardon in the mind of God, and by enabling man
to obey, grace secures the perfect fulfillment of law (

Romans 8:4 —
“that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us”). Even grace has its
law (

Romans 8:2 — “the law of the Spirit of life”); another higher law
of grace, the operation of individualizing mercy, overhears the “law of sin
and of deaths.” This last, as in the case of the miracle, not being suspended,
annulled or violated, but being merged in, while it is transcended by, the
exertion of personal divine will.
Honker, Ecclesiastical Polity, 1:155, 185, 194 — “Man, having utterly
disabled his nature unto those [natural] means, hath had other revealed by
God, and hath received from heaven a law to teach him how that which is
desired naturally, must now be supernaturally attained. Finally, we see
that, because those latter exclude not the former as unnecessary.
Therefore, the law of grace teaches and includes natural duties also, such
as are hard to ascertain by the law of nature.” The truth is midway
between the Pelagian view, that there is no obstacle to the forgiveness of
sins, and the modern rationalistic view, that since law fully expresses
God, there can be no forgiveness of sins at all. Greg. Creed of
Christendom, 2:217-228 — “God is the only being who cannot forgive
sins… Punishment is not the execution of a sentence, but the occurrence
of an effect.” Robertson, Lect. on Genesis, 100 — “Deeds are
irrevocable, their consequences are knit up with them irrevocably.” So
Baden Powell, Law and Gospel, in Noyes’ Theological Essays, 27. All
this is true if God be regarded as merely the source of law. But there is
such a thing as grace, and grace is more than law. There is no forgiveness
in nature but grace is above and beyond nature.
Bradford, Heredity, 233, quotes from Huxley the terrible utterance:
“Nature always checkmates, without haste and without remorse, never
overlooking a mistake, or making the slightest allowance for ignorance.”
Bradford then remarks: “This is Calvinism with God left out. Christianity
does not deny or minimize the law of retribution, but it discloses a Person
who is able to deliver in spite of it. There is grace but grace brings
salvation to those who accept the terms of salvation — terms strictly in
accord with the laws revealed by science.” God revealed himself, we add,
not only in law but in life; see

Deuteronomy 1:6, 7 — “Ye have dwelt
long enough in this mountain” — the mountain of the law; “turn you and
take your journey” — i. e., see how God’s law is to be applied to life..317
(e) Thus the revelation of grace, while it takes up and includes in itself the
revelation of law, adds something different in kind, namely, the
manifestation of the personal love of the Lawgiver. Without grace, law has
only a demanding aspect. Only in connection with grace does it become
“the perfect law, the law of liberty” (

James 1:25). In fine, grace is that
larger and more complete manifestation of the divine nature of which law
constitutes the necessary but preparatory stage.
Law reveals God’s love and mercy but only in their mandatory aspect; it
requires in men conformity to the love and mercy of God and as love and
mercy in God are conditioned by holiness, so law requires that love and
mercy should be conditioned by holiness in men. Law is therefore chiefly
a revelation of holiness. It is in grace that we find the chief revelation of
love though even love does not save by ignoring holiness but rather by
vicariously satisfying its demands. Robert Browning, Saul: “I spoke as I
saw. I report as man may of God’s work — All’s Love, yet all’s Law.”
Dorner, Person of Christ, 1:64, 78 — “The law was a word lo>gov but it
was not a lo>gov te>leiov, a plastic word, like the words of God that
brought forth the world, for it was only imperative and there was no
reality nor willing corresponding to the command (dem Sollen fehlte das
Wollen). The Christian lo>gov ajlhqei>av — no>mov te>leiov th~v
ejleuqeri>av — an operative and effective word, as that of creation.”
Chaucer, The Persones Tale: “For sothly the lawe of God is the love of
God.” S. S. Times, Sept. 14, 1901:595 — “Until man ceases to be an
outsider to the kingdom and knows the liberty of the sons of God, he is apt
to think of God as the great Exactor or the great Forbidder who reaps
where he has not sown and gathers where he has not strewn.” Burton, in
Bap. Rev., July, 1879:261-273, art.: Law and Divine Intervention; Farrar,
Science and Theology, 184; Salmon, Reign of Law; Philippi,
Glaubenslehre. 1:31..318
Sin is lack of conformity to the moral law of God, either in act, disposition
or state.
In explanation, we remark that
(a) This definition regards sin as predicable only of rational and
voluntary agents.
(b) It assumes, however, that man has a rational nature below
consciousness and a voluntary nature apart from actual volition.
(c) It holds that the divine law requires moral likeness to God in the
affections and tendencies of the nature, as well as in its outward
(d) It therefore considers lack of conformity to the divine holiness in
disposition or state as a violation of law equally with the outward act of
In our discussion of the Will (pages 504-513), we noticed that there are
permanent states of the will, as well as of the intellect and of the
sensibilities. It is evident, moreover, that these permanent states, unlike
man’s deliberate acts, are always very imperfectly conscious, and in many
cases are not conscious at all. Yet it is in these very states that man is
most unlike God and so, as law only reflects God (see pages 537-544),
most lacking in conformity to God’s law.
One main difference between Old School and New School views of sin is
that the latter constantly tends to limit sin to mere act while the former
finds sin in the states of the soul. We propose what we think to be a valid
and proper compromise between the two.
We make sin coextensive, not with act but with activity. The Old School
and the New School are not so far apart when we remember that the New
School “choice” is elective preference, exercised so soon as the child is
born (Park) and reasserting itself in all the subordinate choices of life. The
Old School “state” is not a dead, passive or mechanical thing but is a state
of active movement or of tendency to move, toward evil. As God’s.319
holiness is not passive purity but purity willing (pages 268-275), so the
opposite to this, sin, is not passive impurity but is impurity willing.
The soul may not always be conscious, but it may always be active. At
his creation man “became a living soul” (

Genesis 2:7), and it may be
doubted whether the human spirit ever ceases its activity any more than
the divine Spirit in whose image it is made. There is some reason to
believe that even in the deepest sleep the body rests rather than the mind.
And when we consider how large a portion of our activity is automatic
and continuous, we see the impossibility of limiting the term ‘sin’ to the
sphere of momentary act, whether conscious or unconscious.
E. G. Robinson: “Sin is not mere act — something foreign to the being. It
is a quality of being. There is no such thing as a sin apart from a sinner or
an act apart from an actor. God punishes sinners, not sins. Sin is a mode
of being as an entity by itself it never existed. God punishes sin as a state,
not as an act. Man is not responsible for the consequences of his crimes,
nor for the acts themselves except as they are symptomatic of his personal
states.” Dorner, Hist. Doct. Person Christ, 5:162 — “The knowledge of
sin has justly been termed the b and y of philosophy.”
Our treatment of Holiness, as belonging to the nature of God (pages 268-
275); of Will, as not only the faculty of volition but also a permanent state
of the soul (pages 504-513); and of Law as requiring the conformity of
man a nature to God’s holiness (pages 537-544); has prepared us for the
definition of sin as a state. The chief psychological defect of New School
theology, next to its making holiness to be a mere form of love, is its
ignoring of the unconscious and subconscious elements in human
character. To help our understanding of sin as an underlying and permanent
state of the soul, we subjoin references to recent writers of note upon
psychology and its relations to theology.
We may preface our quotations by remarking that mind is always greater
than its conscious operations. The man is more than his acts. Only the
smallest part of the self is manifested in the thoughts, feelings and
volition. In counting, to put myself to sleep, I find, when say, attention,
has been diverted by other thoughts that the counting has gone on all the
time. Ladd, Philosophy of Mind, 176, speaks of the “dramatic sundering
of the ego.” There are dream conversations. Dr. Johnson was once greatly
vexed at being worsted by his opponent in an argument in a dream. M.
Maury, in a dream corrected the bad English of his real self by the good
English of his other unreal self. Spurgeon preached a sermon in his sleep
after vainly trying to excogitate one when awake and his wife gave him.320
the substance of it after he woke. Hegel said that “Life is divided into two
realms — a night life of genius and a day life a of consciousness.”
Du Prel, Philosophy of Mysticism, propounds the thesis: “The ego is not
wholly embraced in self-consciousness,” and claims that there is much of
psychical activity within us of which our common waking conception of
ourselves takes no account. Thus when ‘dream dramatizes’ — when we
engage in a dream conversation in which our interlocutor’s answer comes
to us with a shock of surprise — if our own mind is assumed to have
furnished that answer, it has done so by a process of unconscious activity.
Dwinell, in Bibliotheca Sacra July, 1890:369-389 — “The soul is only
imperfectly in possession of its organs and is able to report only a small
part of its activities in consciousness.” Thoughts come to us like
foundlings who were laid at our door. We slip in a question to the
librarian, Memory, and after leaving it there awhile the answer appears on
the bulletin board. Delúuf, Le Sommeil et lee R’ves, 91 — “The dreamer
is a momentary and involuntary dupe of his own imagination, as the poet
is the momentary and voluntary dupe and the insane man is the permanent
and involuntary dupe.” If we are the organs sent only of our own past
thinking but, as Herbert Spencer suggests, also the organs of the past
thinking of the race, his doctrine may give additional, though unintended
confirmation to a Scriptural view of sin.
William James, Will to Believe, 316, quotes from F. W. H. Myers, in
Jour. Psych. Research, who likens our ordinary consciousness to the
visible part of the solar spectrum. The total consciousness is like that
spectrum prolonged by the inclusion of the ultra-red and the ultra-violet
rays = 1 to 12 and 96. “Each of us,” he says, is an abiding psychical
entity far more extensive than he knows — an individuality, which can
never express itself completely through any corporeal manifestation. The
self manifests itself through the organism but there is always some part of
the self non-manifested and always, as it seems, some power of organic
expression in abeyance or reserve.” William James himself, in Scribner’s
Monthly, March, 1890:361-373 sketches the hypnotic investigations of
Janet and Binet. There is a secondary, subconscious self. Hysteria is the
lack of synthesizing power and consequent disintegration of the field of
consciousness into mutually exclusive parts. According to Janet, the
secondary and the primary consciousness added together can never exceed
the normally total consciousness of the individual. But Prof. James says:
“There are trances which obey another type. I know a non-hysterical
woman, who in her trances knows facts which altogether transcend her
possible normal consciousness, facts about the lives of people whom she
never saw or heard of before.”.321
Our affections are deeper and stronger than we know. We learn how deep
and strong they are, when their current is resisted by affliction or dammed
up by death. We know how powerful evil passions are, only when we try
to subdue them. Our dreams show us our naked selves. On the morality of
dreams, the London Spectator remarks: “Our conscience and power of
self-control act as a sort of watchdog over our worse selves during the day
but, when the watchdog is off duty, the primitive or natural man is at
liberty to act as he pleases. Our ‘soul’ has left us at the mercy of our own
evil nature and in our dreams we become what, except for the grace of
God, we would always be.”
Both in conscience and in will there is a self-direction. Kant’s categorical
imperative is only ones self-laying down the law to the other self. The
whole Kantian system of ethics is based on this doctrine of double
consciousness. Ladd, in his Philosophy of Mind, 169 sq., speaks of
“psychical automatism.” Yet this automatism is possible only for self-conscious
and cognitively remembering minds. It is always the “I” that
puts itself into “that other.” We could not conceive of the other self except
under the figure of the “I.” All our mental operations are ours and we are
responsible for them because the subconscious and even the unconscious
self are the products of past self-conscious thoughts and volition. The
present settled state of our wills is the result of former decisions. The will
is a storage battery, charged by past acts, full of latent power, ready to
manifest its energy so soon as the force which confines it is withdrawn.
On unconscious mental action, see Carpenter, Mental Physiology, 139,
515-543 and criticism of Carpenter, in Ireland, Blot on the Brain, 226-
238; Bramwell, Hypnotism, its History, Practice and Theory, 358-398;
Porter, Human Intellect, 333, 334; versus Sir Win. Hamilton, who adopts
the maxim: “Non sentimus, nisi sentiamus nos sentire” (Philosophy, ed.
Wight, 171). Observe also that sin may infect the body, as well as the
soul, and may bring it into a state of non-conformity to God’s law (see H.
B. Smith, Systematic Theology, 267).
In adducing our Scriptural and rational proof of the definition of sin as a
state, we desire to obviate the objection that this view leaves the soul
wholly given over to the power of evil. While we maintain that this is true
of man apart from God, we also insist that side by side with the evil bent of
the human will there is always an immanent divine power, which greatly
counteracts the force of evil. If not resisted, this leads the individual soul
— even when resisted leads the race at large — toward truth and salvation.
This immanent divine power is none other than Christ, the eternal Word,
the Light which lighteth every man; see

John 1:4, 9..322

John 1:4, 9 — “In him was life, and the life was the light of men…
There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man.” See a
further statement in A. H. Strong, Cleveland Sermon May, 1904, with
regard to the old and the new view as to sin. “Our fathers believed in total
depravity. We agree with them that man naturally is devoid of love to God
and that every faculty is weakened, disordered, and corrupted by the
selfish bent of his will. They held to original sin. The selfish bent of the
will of man can be traced back to the apostasy of our first parents and, on
account of that, departure of the race from God all men are by nature
children of wrath. And all this is true, if it is regarded as a statement of
the facts, apart from their relation to Christ. But our fathers did not see as
we do, that man’s relation to Christ antedated the Fall and constituted an
under and modifying condition of man’s life. Humanity was naturally in
Christ; in which things were created and in whom they all consist. Even
man’s sin did not prevent Christ from still working in him to counteract
the evil and to suggest the good. There was an internal, as well as an
external, preparation for man’s redemption. In this of a divine principle in
man striving against the selfish and godless will, there total redemption,
over against man’s total depravity and an original grace that was even
more powerful than original sin.
We have become conscious that total depravity alone is not a sufficient or
proper expression of the truth and the phrase has been outgrown. It has
been felt that the old view of sin did not take account of the generous and
noble aspirations, the unselfish efforts, and the strivings after God of even
unregenerate men. For this reason has been less preaching about sin and
less conviction as to its guilt and condemnation. The good impulses of
men outside the Christian pale have been often credited to human nature,
when they should have been credited to the indwelling Spirit of Christ. I
make no doubt that one of our radical weaknesses at this present time is
our more superficial view of sin. Without some sense of sin’s guilt and
condemnation we cannot feel our need of redemption. John the Baptist
must go before Christ; the law must prepare the way for the gospel.
“My belief is that the new apprehension of Christ’s relation to the race
will enable us to declare, as never before, the lost condition of the sinner
while at the same time we show him that Christ is with him and in him to
save. This presence in every man of a power not his own that works for
righteousness is a very different doctrine that ‘divinity of man’ which is so
often preached. The divinity is not the divine man but the divinity of
Christ. And the power that works for righteousness is not the power of
man but the power of Christ. It is a power whose warning, inviting,
persuading influence renders only more marked and dreadful the evil-will.323
which hampers and resists it. Depravity is all the worse when we
recognize in it the constant antagonist of an ever-present, all-holy, and all-loving
1. Proof.
As it is readily admitted that the outward act of transgression is properly
denominated sin; we here attempt to show only that lack of conformity to
the law of God in disposition or state is also and equally to be so
A. From Scripture.
(a) The words ordinarily translated ‘sin,’ or used as synonyms for it are as
applicable to dispositions and states as to acts (ha;f;j1 and aJmarti>a = a
missing, failure, coming short [sc. of God’s will]).

Numbers 15:28 — “sinneth unwittingly”;

Psalm 51:2 —
“cleanse me from my sin”; 5 — “Behold. I was brought forth in iniquity;
And in sin did, my mother conceive me”;

Romans 7:17 — “sin which
dwelleth in me’: compare

Judges 20:16, where the literal meaning of
the word appears: “sling stones at a hair-breadth, and not miss” ( af;j;). In
a similar manner, [V1S, [LXX ajse>beia] = separation from, rebellion
against [sc. God]; see

Leviticus 16:16, 21; cf. Delitzsch on

32:1. ow[; [ajdiki>a] = bending, perversion [sc. of what is right], iniquity;

Leviticus 5:17; cf.

John 7:18. See also the Hebrew [r [V;r;,
[= ruin, confusion], and the Greek ajpostasi>a ejpiquri>a ecqra kaki>a
ponhri>a sa>rx,. None of these designations of sin limits it to mere act —
most of more naturally suggest disposition or state. Amarti>a implies that
man in sin does not reach what he seeks therein; sin is a state of delusion
and deception (Julius Muller). On the words mentioned, see Girdlestone,
Old Testament Synonyms; Cremer, Lexicon New Testament; Present Day
Tracts, 5:no. 28, pp. 43-47; Trench, New Testament Synonyms, part
2:61, 73
(b) The New Testament descriptions of sin bring more distinctly to view
the states and dispositions than the outward acts of the soul (

1 John 3:4
— hJ aJmarti>a ejstia, where ajnomi>a, = not “transgression of
the law,” but, as both context and etymology show, “lack of conformity to
law” or “lawlessness” — Revised Version).

1 John 5:17 — “All unrighteousness is sin”;

Romans 14:23 —
“whatsoever is not of faith is sin”;

James 4:17 — “To him therefore.324
that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Where the sin
is that of not doing, sin cannot be said to consist in act. It must then at
least be a state.
(c) Moral evil is ascribed not only to the thoughts and affections but to the
heart from which they spring (we read of the “evil thoughts” and of the
“evil heart” —

Matthew 15:19 and

Hebrews 3:12).
See also

Matthew 5:22 — anger in the heart is murder; 28 — impure
desire is adultery;

Luke 6:45 — “the evil man out of the evil treasure
[of his heart] bringeth forth that which is evil”;

Hebrews 3:12 — “an
evil heart of unbelief”; cf.

Isaiah 1:5 — “the whole head is sick, and
the whole heart faint”;

Jeremiah 17:9 — “The heart is deceitful above
all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” — Here the
sin that cannot be known is not sin of act, but sin of the heart. “Below the
surface stream, shallow and light Of what we say we feel; below the
stream, As light, of what we think we feel, there flows, With silent
current, strong, obscure and deep, The central stream of what we feel
(d) The state or condition of the soul which gives rise to wrong desires and
acts is expressly called sin (

Romans 7:8 — “Sin… wrought in me… all
manner of coveting”).

John 8:34 — “Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of

Romans 7:11, 13, 14, 17, 20 — “sin beguiled me… working
death to me… I am carnal, sold under sin… sin which dwelleth in me.”
These representations of sin as a principle or state of the soul are
incompatible with the definition of it as a mere act. John Byrom, 1691-
1763: “Think and be careful what thou art within, For there is sin in the
desire of sin. Think and be thankful in a different case, For there is grace
in the desire of grace.”
Alexander, Theories of the Will, 85 — “In the person of Paul is
represented the man who has been already justified by faith and who is at
peace with God. In the 6th chapter of Romans, the question is discussed
whether such a man is obliged to keep moral law. But in the 7th chapter
the question is not, must man keep the moral law but why is he so
incapable of keeping the moral law? The struggle is thus, not in the soul
of the unregenerate man who is dead in sin, but in the soul of the
regenerate who has been pardoned and is endeavoring to keep the law. In
a state of sin, the will is determined toward the bad, in a state of grace the
will is determined toward righteousness but not wholly so, for the flesh is.325
not at once subdued. There is a war between the good and bad principles
of action in the soul of him who has been pardoned.”
(e) Sin is represented as existing in the soul prior to the consciousness of it
and as only discovered and awakened by the law. (

Romans 3:9, 10 —
“when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died” — if sin “revived,”
it must have had previous existence and life, even though it did not
manifest itself in acts of conscious transgression).

Romans 7:8 — “apart from the law sin is dead” — here is sin which is
not yet sin of act. Dead or unconscious, sin is still sin. The fire in a cave
discovers reptiles and stirs them, but they were there before because the
light and heat do not create them. Let a beam of light, says Jean Paul
Richter, through your window shutter into a darkened room and you
reveal a thousand motes floating in the air whose existence was before
unsuspected. So the law of God reveals our “hidden faults” (

19:12) — infirmities, imperfections, evil tendencies and desires which
also cannot all be classed as acts of transgression.
(f) The allusions to sin as a permanent power or reigning principle, not
only in the individual but also in humanity at large, forbid us to define it as
a momentary act. We are compelled to regard it as being primarily a settled
depravity of nature, of which individual sins or acts of transgression are the
workings and fruits. (

Romans 5:21 — “sin reigned in death”; 6:12 “let
not therefore sin reign in your mortal body”).

Romans 5:21, the reign of sin is compared to the reign of grace. As
grace is not an act but a principle, so sin is not an act but a principle. As
the poisonous exhalations from a well indicate that there is corruption and
death at the bottom, so the ever recurring thoughts and acts of sin are
evidence that there is a principle of sin in the heart, in other words, that
sin exists as a permanent disposition or state. A momentary act cannot
“reign” nor “dwell” but a disposition or state can. Maudsley, Sleep, its
Psychology, makes the damaging confession: “If we were held responsible
for our dreams, is no living man who would not deserve to be hanged.”
(g) The Mosaic sacrifices for sins of ignorance and of omission, and
especially for general sinfulness, are evidence that sin is not to be limited to
mere act but that it includes something deeper and more permanent in the
heart and the life (

Leviticus 1:3; 5:11; 12:8; cf.

Luke 2:24).
The sin offering for sins of ignorance (

Leviticus 4:14, 20, 31), the
trespass offering for an omission (

Leviticus 5:5, 6), and the burnt.326
offering to expiate general sinfulness (

Leviticus 1:3; cf.

Luke 2:22-
24), all witness that sin is not confined to mere act.

John 1:29 — “the
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin,” not the sins, “of the world.” See
Oehler, Old Testament Theology, 1:233; Schmid, Bib. Theol. New
Testament, 194, 381, 442, 448, 492, 604; Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 3:210-
217; Muller, Doctrine of Sin, 2:259-306; Edwards, Works. 3:16-18. For
the New School definition of sin, see Fitch, Nature of Sin, and Park, in
Bibliotheca Sacra, 7:551.
B. From the common judgment of mankind.
(a) Men universally attribute vice as well as virtue not only to conscious
and deliberate acts but also to dispositions and states. Belief in something
more permanently evil than acts of transgression is indicated in the
common phrases “hateful temper,” “wicked pride” or “bad character.”
As the beatitudes (

Matthew 5:1-12) are pronounced, not upon acts,
but upon dispositions of the soul, so the curses of the law are uttered not
so much against single acts of transgression as against the evil affections
from which they spring. Compare the “the works of the flesh”

Galatians 5:19) with the “fruit of the Spirit” (5:22). In both,
dispositions and states dominate.
(b) Outward acts, indeed, are condemned only when they are regarded as
originating in, and as symptomatic of, evil dispositions. Civil law proceeds
upon this principle in holding crime to consist, not alone in the external act
but also in the evil motive or intent with which it is formed.
The mens rea is essential to the idea of crime. The “idle word”

Matthew 12:36) shall be brought into the judgment, not because it is
so important in itself but because floating straw that indicates the
direction of the whole current of the heart and life. Murder differs from
homicide, not in any outward respect, but simply because motive that
prompts it — and that motive is always, in the last analysis, an evil
disposition or state.
(c) The stronger an evil disposition, or in other words, the more it connects
itself with, or resolves itself into, a settled state or condition of the soul,
the more blameworthy is it felt to be. This is shown by the distinction
drawn between crimes of passion and crimes of deliberation.
Edwards: “Guilt consists in having one’s heart wrong and in doing wrong
from the heart.” There is guilt in evil desires, even when the will combats
them. But there is greater guilt when the will consents. The outward act.327
may be in each case the same but the guilt of it is proportioned to the
extent to which the evil disposition is settled and strong.
(d) This condemning sentence remains the same, even although the origin
of the evil disposition or state cannot be traced back to any conscious act
of the individual. Neither the general sense of mankind, nor the civil law in
which this general sense is expressed, goes behind the fact on an existing
evil will. Whether this evil-will is the result of personal transgression or is a
hereditary bias derived from generations passed, this evil will is the man
himself, and upon him terminates the blame. We do not excuse arrogance
or sensuality upon the ground that they are family traits.
The young murderer in Boston was not excused upon the ground of a
congenitally cruel disposition. We repent in later years of sins of boyhood,
which we only now see to be sins and converted cannibals repent, after
becoming Christians, of the sins of heathendom, which they once
committed without a thought of their wickedness. The peacock cannot
escape from his feet by flying nor can we absolve ourselves from blame
for an evil state of will by tracing its origin to a remote ancestry. We are
responsible for what we are. How can this be, when we have not
personally and consciously originated it, is the problem of original sin,
which we have yet to discuss.
(e) When any evil disposition has such strength in itself, or is so combined
with others as to indicate a settled moral corruption in which no power to
do good remains, this state is regarded with the deepest disapprobation of
all. Sin weakens man’s power of obedience but the cannot is a will-not and
is, therefore, condemnable. The opposite principle would lead to the
conclusion that, the more a man weakened his powers by transgression, the
less guilty he would be, until absolute depravity became absolute
The boy who hates his father cannot change his hatred into love by a
single act of will but he is not therefore innocent. Spontaneous and
uncontrollable profanity is the worst profanity of all. It is a sign that the
whole will is like a subterranean Kentucky river and moving away from
God. No recuperative power is left in the soul, which can reach, into the
depths to reverse its course. See Dorner, Glaubenslehre. 2:110-114;
Shedd, Hist. Doct., 2:79-92, 152-157; Richards, Lectures on Theology,
256-301; Edwards, Works, 2:134; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 243-262;
Princeton Essays, 2:224-239; Van Oosterzee, Dogmatics, 394.
C. From the experience of the Christian..328
Christian experience is a testing of Scripture truth, and therefore is not an
independent source of knowledge. It may, however, corroborate
conclusions drawn from the word of God. Since the judgment of the
Christian is formed under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we may trust this
more implicitly than the general sense of the world. We affirm, then, that
just in proportion to his spiritual enlightenment and self-knowledge, the
(a) Regards his outward deviations from God’s law, and his evil
inclinations and desires, as outgrowths and revelations of a depravity of
nature which lies below his consciousness and
(b) Repents more deeply for this depravity of nature, which constitutes his
inmost character and is inseparable from himself than for what he merely
feels or does.
In proof of these statements we appeal to the biographies and writings of
those in all ages, who by general consent, have been regarded as most
advanced in spiritual culture and discernment.
“Intelligentia prima est, ut te noris peccatorem.” Compare David’s

Psalm 51:6 — “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward
parts: And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom” — with
Paul’s experience in

Romans 7:24 — “Wretched man that l am! who
shall deliver me out of the body of this death?” — with Isaiah’s
experience (6:5), when in the presence of God’s glory he uses the words
of the leper (

Leviticus 13:45) and calls himself “unclean,” and with
Peter’s experience [

Luke 5:8) when at the manifestation of Christ’s
miraculous power he “fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me,
for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” So the publican cries: “God, be thou
merciful to me the sinner’ (

Luke 18:13) and Paul calls himself the
“chief” of sinners (

1 Timothy 1:15). It is evident that in none of these
cases were there merely single acts of transgression in view; the
humiliation and self-abhorrence were in view of permanent states of
depravity. Van Oosterzee: “What we do outwardly is only the revelation
of our inner nature.” The outcropping and visible rock is but small in
extent compared with the rock that is underlying and invisible. The
iceberg has eight-ninths of its mass below the surface of the sea, yet
icebergs have been seen near Cape Horn from 700 to 800 feet high above
the water.
It may be doubted whether any repentance is genuine which is not
repentance for sin rather than for sins. Compare

John 16:8 — the.329
Holy Spirit “will convict the world in respect of sin.” On the difference
between conviction of sins and conviction of sin, see Hare, Mission of the
Comforter. Dr. A. J. Gordon, just before his death, desired to be left
alone. He was then overheard confessing his sins in such seemingly
extravagant terms as to excite fear that he was in delirium. Martensen,
Dogmatics, 389 — Luther during his early experience “often wrote to
Staupitz ‘Oh, my sins, my sins!’ Yet in the confessional he could name no
sins in particular which he had to confess so that it was clearly a sense of
the general depravity of his nature which filled his soul with deep sorrow
and pain.” Luther’s conscience would not accept the comfort that he
wished to be without sin and therefore had no real sin. When he thought
himself too great a sinner to be saved, Staupitz replied: “Would you have
the semblance of a sinner and the semblance of a Savior?”
After twenty years of religious experience, Jonathan Edwards wrote
(Works 1:22, 23; also 3:16-18): “Often, since I have lived in this town I
have had very affecting views of my own sinfulness and vileness to such a
degree as to hold me in a kind of loud weeping sometimes for a
considerable time. I have been often obliged to shut myself up. I have had
a vastly greater sense of my own wickedness and the badness of my heart
than ever I had before my conversion. It has often appeared to me that if
God should mark iniquity against me, I should appear the very worst of
all mankind, of all that have been since the beginning of the world to this
time and that I should have by far the lowest place in hell. When others
who have come to talk with me about their soul’s concerns have expressed
the sense they have had of their own wickedness by saying that it seemed
to them they were as bad as the devil himself. I thought their expressions
seemed exceeding faint and feeble to represent my wickedness.”
Edwards continues: “My wickedness, as I am in myself, has long
appeared to me perfectly ineffable and swallowing up all thought and
imagination — like an infinite deluge, or mountains over my head. I know
not how to express better what my sins appear to me to be than by
heaping infinite on infinite and multiplying infinite by infinite. Very often
for these many years, these expressions are in my mind and in my mouth:
‘Infinite upon infinite — infinite upon infinite!’ When I look into my heart
and take a view of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper
than hell. It appears to me that, were it not for free grace exalted and
raised up to the infinite height of all the fullness and glory of the great
Jehovah and the arm of his power and grace stretched forth in all the
majesty of his power and in all the glory of his sovereignty, I should
appear sunk down in my sins below hell itself, far beyond the sight of
everything but the eye of sovereign grace that can pierce even down to.330
such a depth. And yet it seems to me that my conviction of sin is
exceeding small and faint; it is enough to amaze me that I have no more
sense of my sin. I know certainly that I have very little sense of my
sinfulness. When I have had turns of weeping for my sins, I thought I
knew at the time that my repentance was nothing to my sin. It is affecting
to think how ignorant I was, when a young Christian, of the bottomless,
infinite depths of wickedness, pride, hypocrisy and deceit left in my
heart.” Jonathan Edwards was not an ungodly man, but the holiest man of
his time. He was not an enthusiast but a man of acute and philosophic
mind. He was not a man who indulged in exaggerated or random
statements for with his power of introspection and analysis he combined a
faculty and habit of exact expression unsurpassed among the sons of men.
If the maxim “cuique in arte sua credendum est” is of any value,
Edwards’s statements in a matter of religious experience are to be taken
as correct interpretations of the facts. H. B. Smith (System. Theol. 275)
quotes Thomasius as saying: “It is a striking fact in Scripture that
statements of the depth and power of sin are chiefly from the regenerate.”
Another has said that, “a serpent is never seen at its whole length until it
is dead.” Thomas • Kempis (ed. Gould and Lincoln, 142) — “Do not
think that thou hast made any progress toward perfection, till thou feelest
that thou art less than the least of all human beings.” Young’s Night
Thoughts: “Heaven’s Sovereign saves all beings but himself That hideous
sight — a naked human heart.
Law’s Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life: “You may justly condemn
yourself for being the greatest sinner that you know, 1. Because you know
more of the folly of your own heart than of other people’s, and can charge
yourself with various sins which you know only of yourself and cannot be
sure that others are guilty of them. 2. The greatness of our guilt arises
from the greatness of God’s goodness to us. You know more of these
aggravations of your sins than you do of the sins of other people. Hence
the greatest saints have in all ages condemned themselves as the greatest
sinners.” 3. We may add that since each man is a peculiar being, each
man is guilty of peculiar sins and, in certain particulars and aspects, may
constitute an example of the enormity and hatefulness of sin such as
neither earth nor hell can elsewhere show.
Of Cromwell, as a representative of the Puritans, Green says (Short
History of the English People, 454): “The vivid sense of the divine Purity
close to such men, made the life of common men seem sin.” Dr. Arnold of
Rugby (Life and Corresp., App. D.): “In a deep sense of moral evil, more
perhaps than anything else, abides a saving knowledge of God.”
Augustine, on his deathbed, had the 32d Psalm written over against him.331
on the wall. For his expressions with regard to sin, see his Confessions,
book 10. See also Shedd, Discourses and Essays, 284, note.
2. Inferences.
In the light of the preceding discussion, we may properly estimate the
elements of truth and of error, in the common definition of sin, as ‘the
voluntary transgression of known law.’
(a) Not all sin is voluntary as being a distinct and conscious volition; for
evil disposition and state often precede and occasion evil volition, and evil
disposition and state are themselves sin. All sin, however, is voluntary as
springing either directly from will, or indirectly from those perverse
affections and desires, which have themselves, originated in will.
‘Voluntary’ is a term broader than ‘volitional,’ and includes all those
permanent states of intellect and affection, which the will has made what
they are. Will, moreover, is not to be regarded as simply the faculty of
volition but as primarily the underlying determination of the being to a
supreme end.
Will, as we have seen, includes preference (qe>lhma voluntas, Wille) as
well as volition (boulh>, arbitrium, Willkur). We do not, with Edwards
and Hodge, regard the sensibilities as states of the will. They are,
however, in their character and their objects determined by the will and so
they may be called voluntary. The permanent state of the will (New
School “elective preference”) is to be distinguished from the permanent
state of the sensibilities (dispositions, or desires). But both are voluntary
because both are due to past decisions of the will, and “whatever springs
from will we are responsible for” (Shedd, Discourses and Essays, 243).
Julius Muller, 2:51 — “We speak of self-consciousness and reason as
something which the ego has, but we identify the will with the ego. No one
would say, ‘my will has decided this or that,’ although we do say, my
reason, my conscience teaches me this or that.’ The will is the very man
himself, as Augustine says: ‘Voluntas est in omnibus; imo omnes nihil
aliud quam voluntates sunt.”’
For other statements of the relation of disposition to will, see Alexander,
Moral Science, 151 — “In regard to dispositions, we say that they are in
a sense voluntary. They properly belong to the will, taking the word in a
large sense. In judging of the morality of voluntary acts, the principle
from which they proceed is always included in our view and comes in for
a large part of the blame.” See also pages 201, 207, 208. Edwards on the
Affections, 3:1-22; on the Will, 3:4 — “The affections are only certain.332
modes of the exercise of the will.” A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology,
234 — “All sin is voluntary in the sense that all sin has its root in the
perverted dispositions, desires and affections which constitute the
depraved state of the will.” But to Alexander, Edwards, and Hodge, we
reply that the first sin was not voluntary in this sense for there was no
such depraved state of the will from which it could spring. We are
responsible for dispositions, not upon the ground that they are a part of
the will, but upon the ground that they are effects of will or, in other
words, that past decisions of the will have made them what they are. See
pages 504-513.
(b) Deliberate intention to sin is an aggravation of transgression but it is
not essential to constitute any given act or feeling a sin. Those evil
inclinations and impulses which rise unbidden and master the soul before it
is well aware of their nature, are themselves violations of the divine law
and indications of an inward depravity which, in the case of each
descendant of Adam, is the chief and fatal transgression.
Joseph Cook: “Only the surface water of the sea is penetrated with light.
Beneath is a half-lit region and still further down is absolute darkness. We
are greater than we know.” Weismann, Heredity, 2:8 — “At the depth of
170 meters, or 552 feet, there is about as much light as that of a starlight
night when there is no moon. Light penetrates as far as 400 meters, or
1,300 feet, but animal life exists at a depth of 4,000 meters, or 13,000
feet. Below 1,300 feet, all animals are blind.” Cf.

Psalm 51:6; 19:12
— “the inward parts… the hidden parts… hidden faults” — hidden not
only from others but even from ourselves. The light of consciousness
plays only on the surface of the waters of man’s soul.
(c) Knowledge of the sinfulness of an act or feeling is also an aggravation
of transgression but it is not essential to constitute it a sin. Moral blindness
is the effect of transgression and, as inseparable from corrupt affections
and desires, does the divine law condemn itself.
It is our duty to do better than we know. Our duty of knowing is as real as
our duty of doing. Sin is an opiate. Some of the most deadly diseases do
not reveal themselves in the patient’s countenance nor has the patient any
adequate understanding of his malady. There is ignorance, which is
indolence. Men are often unwilling to take the trouble of rectifying their
standards of judgment. There is also ignorance, which is intention.
Instance many students’ ignorance of College laws..333
We cannot excuse disobedience by saying: “I forgot.” God’s
commandment is:
“Remember” — as in

Exodus 20:8; cf.

2 Peter 3:5 — “For this
they willfully forget.” “Ignorantia legis neminem excusat.”

2:12 — “as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without
the law”;

Luke 12:43 — “he that knew not and did things worthy of
stripes, shall be beaten [though] with few stripes.” The aim of revelation
and of preaching is to bring man “to himself” (cf.

Luke 15:17) — to
show him what he has been doing and what he is. Goethe: “We are never
deceived; we deceive ourselves.” Royce, World and Individual, 2:359 —
“The sole possible free moral action is then a freedom that relates to the
present fixing of attention upon the ideas of the Ought which are already
present. To sin is consciously to choose to forget, through a narrowing of
the field of attention, an Ought that one already recognizes.”
(d) Ability to fulfill the law is not essential to constitute the non-fulfillment
sin. Inability to fulfill the law is a result of transgression and, as consisting
not in an original deficiency of faculty but in a settled state of the affections
and will, it is itself condemnable. Since the law presents the holiness of
God as the only standard for the creature, ability to obey can never be the
measure of obligation or the test of sin.
Not power to the contrary, in the sense of ability to change all our
permanent states by mere volition, is the basis of obligation and
responsibility for surely Satan’s responsibility does not depend upon his
power at any moment to turn to God and be holy.
Definitions of sin — Melanchthon: Defectus vel inclinatio vel actio
pugnans cum lege Dei. Calvin: Illegalitas, seu difformitas a lege. Hollaz:
Aberratio a lege divina. HolIaz adds: “Voluntaries do not enter into the
definition of sin, generically considered. Sin may be called voluntary,
either in respect to its cause as it inheres in the will or, in respect to the
act, as it proceeds from deliberate volition. Here is the antithesis to the
Roman Catholics and to the Socinians, the latter of whom define sin as a
voluntary [i. e., a volitional] transgression of law.” It is a view, says Hase
(Hutterus Redivivus, 11th ed., 162-164), “which is derived from the
necessary methods of civil tribunals and which is incompatible with the
orthodox doctrine of original sin.”
On the New School definition of sin, see Fairchild, Nature of Sin, in
Bibliotheca Sacra, 25:30-48; Whedon, in Bibliotheca Sacra, 19:251, and
On the Will, 323. Per contra, see Hodge, Systematic Theology, 2:180-.334
190; Lawrence, Old School in New Testament Theol., in Bibliotheca
Sacra, 20:317-328; Julius Muller, Doc. Sin. 2:40-72; Nitzsch, Christ.
Doct., 216; Luthardt, Compendium der Dogmatik, 124-126.
The definition of sin as lack of conformity to the divine law does not
exclude, but rather necessitates, an inquiry into the characterizing motive
or impelling power, which explains its existence and constitutes its guilt.
Only three views require extended examination. Of these the first two
constitute the most common excuses for sin, although not propounded for
his purpose by their authors: Sin is due (1) to the human body or (2) to
finite weakness. The third, which we regard as the Scriptural view,
considers sin as (3) the supreme choice of self or selfishness.
In the preceding section on the Definition of Sin, we showed that sin is a
state, and a state of the will. We now ask, what is the nature of this state?
We expect to show that it is essentially a selfish state of the will.
1. Sin as Sensuousness.
This view regards sin as the necessary product of man’s sensuous nature
— a result of the soul’s connection with a physical organism. This is the
view of Schleiermacher and of Rothe. More recent writers, with John
Fiske, regard moral evil as man’s inheritance from a brute ancestry.
For statement of the view here opposed, see Schleiermacher, Der
Christliche Glaube, 1:361-364 — “Sin is a prevention of the determining
power of the spirit, caused by the independence (Selbstandigkeit) of the
sensuous functions.” The child lives at first a life of sense, in which the
bodily appetites are supreme. The senses are the avenues of all
temptation, the physical domineers over the spiritual and the soul never
shakes off the body. Sin is, therefore, a malaria’s exhalation from the low
grounds of human nature or, to use the words of Schleiermacher, “a
positive opposition of the flesh to the spirit.” Pfleiderer, Prot. Theol. seit
Kant, 113, says that Schleiermacher here repeats Spinoza’s “inability of
the spirit to control the sensuous affections.” Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion,
1:230 — “In the development of man out of the natural, the lower
impulses have already won a power of self-assertion and resistance before
the reason could yet come to its valid position and authority. As this
propensity of the self-will is grounded in the specific nature of man, it
may be designated as inborn, hereditary or original sinfulness.”.335
Rothe’s view of sin may be found in his Dogmatik, 1:300-302; notice the
connection of Rothe’s view of sin with his doctrine of continuous creation
(see page 416 of this Compendium). Encyclopædia Britannica, 21:2 —
“Rothe was a thorough going evolutionist who regarded the natural man
as the consummation of the development of physical nature and regarded
spirit as the personal attainment, with divine help, of those beings in
whom the further creative process of moral development is carried on.
This process of development necessarily takes an abnormal form and
passes through the phase of sin. This abnormal condition necessitates a
fresh creative act, that of salvation, which was however from the very
first a part of the divine plan of development. Rothe, notwithstanding his
evolutionary doctrine, believed in the supernatural birth of Christ.”
John Fiske, Destiny of Man, 103 — “Original sin is neither more nor less
than the brute inheritance which every man carries with him and the
process of evolution is an advance toward true salvation.” Thus man is a
sphinx in whom the human has not yet escaped from the animal. So
Bowne, Atonement, 69, declares that sin is “a relic of the animal not yet
outgrown, a resultant of the mechanism of appetite and impulse and reflex
action for which the proper inhibitions are not yet developed. Only slowly
does it grow into a consciousness of itself as evil. It would be hysteria to
regard the common life of men as rooting in a conscious choice of
In refutation of this view, it will be sufficient to urge the following
(a) It involves an assumption of the inherent evil of matter, at least so far
as regards the substance of man’s body. But this is either a form of dualism
and may be met with the objections already brought against that system or
it implies that God, in being the author of man’s physical organism, is also
the responsible originator of human sin.
This has been called the “caged-eagle theory” of man’s existence; it holds
that the body is a prison only or, as Plato expressed it, “the tomb of the
soul,” so that the soul can be pure only by escaping from the body. But
matter is not eternal. God made it and made it pure. The body was made
to be the servant of the spirit. We must not throw the blame of sin upon
the senses but upon the spirit that used the senses so wickedly. To
attribute sin to the body is to make God, the author of the body, to be also
the author of sin, which is the greatest of blasphemies. Men cannot “justly
accuse Their Maker or their making or their fate” (Milton, Paradise Lost,
3:112). Sin is a contradiction within the spirit itself and not simply.336
between the spirit and the flesh. Sensuous activities are not themselves
sinful — this is essential Manichæanism. Robert Burns was wrong when
he laid the blame for his delinquencies upon “the passions wild and
strong.” And Samuel Johnson was wrong when he said “Every man is a
rascal so soon as he is sick.” The normal soul has power to rise above
both passion and sickness and to make them serve its moral development.
On the development of the body, as the organ of sin, see Straffen’s
Hulsean Lectures on Sin, 33-50. The essential error of this view is its
identification of the moral with the physical. If it were true then Jesus,
who came in human flesh, must be a sinner.
(b) In explaining sin as an inheritance from the brute, this theory ignores
the fact that man, even though derived from a brute ancestry is no longer
brute but man, with power to recognize and to realize moral ideals and
under no necessity to violate the law of his being.
See A. H. Strong, Christ in Creation, 163-180, on The Fall and the
Redemption of Man, in the Light of Evolution: “Evolution has been
thought to be incompatible with any proper doctrine of a fall. It has been
assumed by many that man’s immoral course and conduct are simply
survivals of his brute inheritance, inevitable remnants of his old animal
propensities, yielding of the weak will to fleshly appetites and passions.
This is to deny that sin is truly sin but it is also to deny that man is truly
man. Sin must be referred to freedom or it is not sin. To explain it as the
natural results of the weak will that is overmastered by lower impulses is
to make the animal nature, and not the will, the cause of transgression.
And that is to say that man at the beginning is not man, but brute.” See
also D. W. Simon, in Bibliotheca Sacra, Jan. 1897:1-20 — “The key to
the strange and dark contrast between man and his animal ancestry is to
be found in the fact of the Fall. Other species live normally. No remnant
of the reptile hinders the bird. The bird is a true bird. Only man fails to
live normally and is a true man only after ages of sin and misery.”
Marlowe very properly makes his Faustus to be tempted by sensual baits
only after he has sold himself to Satan for power.
To regard vanity, deceitfulness, malice and revenge as inherited from
brute ancestors is to deny man’s original innocence and the creator-ship of
God. B. W. Lockhart, “The animal mind knows not God, is not subject to
his law neither indeed can be, just because it is animal and as such is
incapable of right or wrong. If man were an animal and nothing more, he
could not sin. It is by virtue of being something more that he becomes
capable of sin. Sin is the yielding of the known higher to the known lower.
It is the soul’s abdication of its being to the brute, hence the need of.337
spiritual forces from the spiritual world of divine revelation. This is to
heal and build and discipline the soul within itself, giving it the victory
over the animal passions, which constitute the body and over the kingdom
of blind desire, which constitutes the world. The final purpose of man is
growth of the soul into liberty, truth, love and likeness to God. Education
is the word that covers the movement and probation is incident to
education.” We add that reparation for past sin and renewing power from
above must follow probation in order to make education possible.
Some recent writers hold to a real fall of man and yet regard that fall as
necessary to his moral development. Emma Marie Caillard, in Contemp.
Rev., Dec. 1893:879 — “Man passed out of a state of innocence —
unconscious of his own imperfection — into a state of consciousness of it.
The will became slave instead of master. The result would have been the
complete stoppage of his evolution but for redemption, which restored his
will and made the continuance of his evolution possible. Incarnation was
the method of redemption. But even apart from the fall, this incarnation
would have been necessary to reveal to man the goal of his evolution and
so to secure his cooperation in it.” Lisle, Evolution of Spiritual Man, 39,
and in Bibliotheca Sacra, July, 1892:431-452 — “Evolution by
catastrophe in the natural world has a striking analogue in the spiritual
world. Sin is primarily not so much a fall from a higher to a lower, as a
failure to rise from a lower to a higher, not so much eating of the
forbidden tree, as failure to partake of the tree of life. The latter
represented communion and correspondence with God, and had innocent
man continued to reach out for this, he would not have fallen. Man’s
refusal to choose the higher preceded and conditioned his fall to the lower
and the essence of sin is therefore in this refusal, whatever may cause the
will to make it. Man chose the lower of his own free will. Then his
centripetal force was gone. His development was swiftly and endlessly
away from God. He reverted to his original type of savage animalism and
yet, as a self-conscious and free-acting being, he retained a sense of
responsibility that filled him with fear and suffering.”
On the development-theory of sin, see W. W. McLane, in New Englander,
1891:180-188; A. B. Bruce, Apologetics, 60-62; Lyman Abbott,
Evolution of Christianity, 203-208; Le Conte, Evolution, 330, 365-375:
Henry Drummond, Ascent of Man, 1-13, 329, 342; Salem Wilder, Life,
its Nature, 266-273; Wm. Graham, Creed of Science, 38-44; Frank H.
Foster, Evolution and the Evangelical System; Chandler, The Spirit of
Man, 45-47..338
(c) It rests upon an incomplete induction of facts, taking account of sin
solely in its aspect of self-degradation but ignoring the worst aspect of it as
self-exaltation. Avarice, envy, pride, ambition, malice, cruelty, revenge,
self-righteousness, unbelief, enmity to God, are none of them fleshly sins
and, upon this principle, are incapable of explanation.
Two historical examples may suffice to show the insufficiency of the
sensuous theory of sin. Goethe was not a markedly sensual man yet the
spiritual vivisection, which he practiced on Friederike Brion. His
perfidious misrepresentation of his relations with Kestner’s wife in the
“Sorrows of Werther” and his flattery of Napoleon when a patriot would
have scorned the advances of the invader of his country, show Goethe to
have been a very incarnation of heartlessness and selfishness. The patriot
Boerne said of him: “Not once has he ever advanced a poor solitary word
in his country’s cause — he who from the lofty height he has attained
might speak out what none other but himself would dare pronounce.” It
has been said that Goethe’s first commandment to genius was: “Thou
shalt love thy neighbor and thy neighbor’s wife.” His biographers’ count
up sixteen women to whom he made love and who reciprocated his
affection, though it is doubtful whether he contented himself with the
doctrine of 16 to 1. As Sainte-Beuve said of Ch‚teaubriand’s attachments,
“They are like the stars in the sky, the longer you look, the more of them
you discover.” Christiane Vulpius, after being for seventeen years his
mistress, became at last his wife. But the wife was so slighted that she
was driven to intemperance and Goethe’s only son inherited her passion
and died of drink. Goethe was the great heathen of modem Christendom,
deriding self-denial, extolling self-confidence, attention to the present, the
seeking of enjoyment and the submission of one’s self to the decrees of
fate. Hutton calls Goethe “a Narcissus in love with himself.” Like George
Eliot’s “Dinah,” in Adam Bede, Goethe’s “Confessions of a Beautiful
Soul,” in Wilhelm Meister, are the purely artistic delineation of a
character with which he had no inner sympathy. On Goethe, see Hutton,
Essays, 2:1-79; Shedd, Dogm. Theology, 1:490; A. H. Strong, Great
Poets, 279-331 Principal Shairp, Culture and Religion, 16 — “Goethe,
the high priest of culture, loathes Luther, the preacher of righteousness”;
S. Law Wilson, Theology of Modem Literature, 149-156.
Napoleon was not a markedly sensual man, but “his self-sufficiency
surpassed the self-sufficiency of common men as the great Sahara desert
surpasses an ordinary sand patch.” He wantonly divulged his amours to
Josephine, with all the details of his ill-conduct, and when she revolted
from them, he only replied: “I have the right to meet all your complaints.339
with an eternal I.” When his wars had left almost no able-bodied men in
France, he called for the boys, saying: “A boy can stop a bullet as well as
a man,” and so the French nation lost two inches of stature. Before the
battle of Leipzig when there was prospect of unexampled slaughter, he
exclaimed, “What are the lives of a million of men, to carry out the will of
a man like me?” His most truthful epitaph was, “The little butchers of
Ghent to Napoleon the Great” [butcher]. Heine represents Napoleon as
saying to the world, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Memoirs
of Madame de Remusat, 1:225 — “At a f’te given by the city of Paris to
the Emperor, the repertory of inscriptions being exhausted, a brilliant
device was resorted to. Over the throne, of which he was to occupy were
placed in letters of gold, the following words from the Holy Scriptures: ‘I
am the I am.’ And no one seemed to be scandalized.” Iago, in
Shakespeare’s Othello, is the greatest villain of all literature but
Coleridge, Works, 4:180, calls attention to his passionless character. His
sin is, like that of Goethe and of Napoleon, sin not of the flesh but of the
intellect and will.
(d) It leads to absurd conclusions, as, for example, that asceticism, by
weakening the power of sense, must weaken the power of sin; that man
becomes less sinful as his senses fail with age; that disembodied spirits are
necessarily holy; that death is the only Redeemer.
Asceticism only turns the current of sin in other directions. Spiritual pride
and tyranny take the place of fleshly desires. The miser clutches his gold
more closely as he nears death. Satan has no physical organism yet he is
the prince of evil. Not our own death but Christ’s death saves us. But
when Rousseau’s …mile comes to die, he calmly declares, “I am delivered
from the trammels of the body and am myself without contradiction.” At
the age of seventy-five Goethe wrote to Eckermann: “I have ever been
esteemed one of fortune’s favorites nor can I complain of the course my
life has taken. Yet truly there has been nothing but care and toil and I may
say that I have never had four weeks of genuine pleasure” Shedd, Dogm.
Theology, 2:743 — “When the authoritative demand of Jesus Christ to
confess sin and beg remission through atoning blood is made to David
Hume or David Strauss or John Stuart Mill, none of whom were
sensualists, it wakens intense mental hostility.”
(e) It interprets Scripture erroneously. In passages like

Romans 7:18 —
oujk oijkei~ ejmoi> tou~t ejstin ejn th~| sarki> mou ajgaqo>n — sa>rx, or
flesh, signifies not man’s body but man’s whole being when destitute of the
Spirit of God. The Scriptures distinctly recognize the seat of sin as being in.340
the soul itself, not in its physical organism. God does not tempt man nor
has he made man’s nature to tempt him (

James 1:13, 14).
In the use of the term “flesh” Scripture puts a stigma upon sin and
intimates that human nature without God is as corruptible and perishable
as the body would be without the soul to inhabit it. The “carnal mind,” or
“mind of the flesh” (

Romans 8:7), accordingly means not the sensual
mind but the mind which is not under the control of the Holy Spirit, its
true life. See Meyer, on

1 Corinthians 1:26 — sa>rx = “the purely
human element in man, as opposed to the divine principle”; Pope,
Theology, 2:65 — sa>rx = “the whole being of man, body, soul, and
spirit, separated from God and subjected to the creature”; Julius Muller,
Proof-texts, 19 — sa>rx = “human nature as living in and for itself,
sundered from God and opposed to him.” The earliest and best statement
of this view of the term pneu~ma is that of Julius Muller, Doctrine of Sin,
1:295-333, especially 321. See also Dickson, St. Paul’s Use of the Terms
Flesh and Spirit, 270-271 sa>rx = “human nature without the pneu>ma…
man standing by himself or left to himself, over against God… the natural
man, conceived as not having yet received grace or as not yet wholly
under its influence.”

James 1:14, 15 — “desire, when it hath conceived, beareth sin” =
innocent desire — for it comes in before the sin — innocent constitutional
propensity, not yet of the nature of depravity, is only the occasion of sin.
The love of freedom is a part of our nature; sin arises only when the will
determines to indulge this impulse without regard to the restraints of the
divine law. Luther, Preface to Ep. to Romans: “Thou must not understand
‘flesh’ as though that only were ‘flesh’ which is connected with
unchastely. St. Paul uses ‘flesh’ of the whole man, body and soul, reason
and all his faculties included, because all that is in him longs and strives
after the flesh’.” Melanchthon: “Note that ‘flesh’ signifies the entire
nature of man, sense and reason, without the Holy Spirit.” Gould Bib.
Theol. New Testament 78 — “The sa>rx of Paul corresponds to the
ko>smov of John. Paul sees the divine economy and John the divine nature.
That Paul did not hold sin to consist in the possession of a body appears
from his doctrine of a bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 25:38-49). This
resurrection of the body is an integral part of immortality.” Sa>rx, see
Thayer, New Testament Lexicon, 571; Kaftan, Dogmatik, 319.
(f) Instead of explaining sin, this theory virtually denies its existence, for if
sin arises from the original constitution of our being, reason may recognize
it as misfortune but conscience cannot attribute to it guilt..341
Sin, which, in its ultimate origin, is a necessary thing, is no longer sin. On
the whole theory of the sensuous origin of sin, see Neander, Planting and
Training, 386, 428; Ernesti, Ursprung der Sunde, 1:29-274; Philippi,
Glaubenslehre, 2:132-147; Tulloch, Doctrine of Sin, 144 — “That which
is an inherent and necessary power in the creation cannot be a
contradiction of its highest law.” This theory confounds sin with the mere
consciousness of sin. On Schleiermacher, see Julius Muller, Doctrine of
Sin, 341-349. On the sense-theory of sin in general, see John Caird, Fund.
Ideas of Christianity, 2:26-52; N. R. Wood, The Witness of Sin, 79-87.
2. Sin as Finiteness.
This view explains sin as a necessary result of the limitations of man’s finite
being. As an incident of imperfect development, the fruit of ignorance and
impotence, sin is not absolutely but only relatively evil — an element in
human education and a means of progress. This is the view of Leibnitz and
of Spinoza. Modern writers as Schurman and Royce have maintained that
moral evil is the necessary background and condition of moral good.
The theory of Leibnitz may be found in his Theodicee, part 1, sections 20
and 31; that of Spinoza in his Ethics, part 4, proposition 20. Upon this
view, sin is the blundering of inexperience, the thoughtlessness that takes
evil for good, the ignorance that puts its fingers into the fire, the stumbling
without which one cannot learn to walk. It is a fruit which is sour and
bitter simply because it is immature. It is a means of discipline and
training for something better, it is holiness in the germ, good in the
making — “Erhebung des Menschen zur freien Vernunft.” The Fall was a
fall up and not down. John Fiske, in addition to his sense-theory of sin
already mentioned, seems to hold this theory also. In his Mystery of Evil
he says, “Its impress upon the human soul is the indispensable
background, which, shall be set hereafter the eternal joys of heaven.” In
other words, sin is necessary to holiness, as darkness is the indispensable
contrast and background to light for without black, we should never be
able to know white. Schurman, Belief in God, 251 sq. — “The possibility
of sin is the correlative of the free initiative God has vacated on man’s
behalf. The essence of sin is the enthronement of self. Yet, without such
self-absorption, there could be no sense of union with God. For
consciousness is possible only through opposition. To know A, we must
know it through not A. Alienation from God is the necessary condition of
communion with God. And this is the meaning of the Scripture that
‘where sin abounded grace shall much more abound.’ Modern culture
protests against the Puritan enthronement of goodness above truth. For the.342
Decalogue it would substitute the wider new commandment of Goethe:
‘Live resolutely in the Whole, in the Good, in the Beautiful.’ The highest
religion can be content with nothing short of the synthesis demanded by
Goethe. God is the universal life in which individual activities are
included as movements of a single organism.
Royce, World and Individual, 2:361-384 — “Evil is a discord necessary
to perfect harmony. In itself it is evil, but in relation to the whole it has
value by showing us its own finiteness and imperfection. It is a sorrow to
God as much as to us, indeed, all our sorrow is his sorrow. The evil
serves the good only by being overcome, thwarted, overruled. Every evil
deed must somewhere and at some time must be atoned for, by some other
than the agent, if not by the agent himself. All finite life is a struggle with
evil. Yet from the final point of view the Whole is good. The temporal
order contains at no moment anything that can satisfy. Yet the eternal
order is perfect. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Yet in just our life, viewed in its entirety, the glory of God is completely
manifest. These hard sayings are the deepest expressions of the essence of
true religion. They are also the most inevitable outcome of philosophy.
Were there no longing in time, there would be no peace in eternity. The
prayer that God’s will may be done on earth as it is in heaven is identical
with what philosophy regards as simple fact.”
We object to this theory that
(a) It rests upon a pantheistic basis, as the sense-theory rests upon dualism.
The moral is confounded with the physical; might is identified with right.
Since sin is a necessary incident of finiteness and creature can never be
infinite, it follows that sin must be everlasting, not only in the universe, but
in each individual soul.
Goethe, Carlyle and Emerson are representatives of this view in literature.
Goethe spoke of the “idleness of wishing to jump off from one’s own
shadow.” He was a disciple of Spinoza, who believed in one substance
with contradictory attributes of thought and extension. Goethe took the
pantheistic view of God with the personal view of man. He ignored the
fact of sin. Hutton calls him “the wisest man the world has seen who was
without humility and faith and who lacked the wisdom of a child.”
Speaking of Goethe’s Faust, Hutton says, “The great drama is radically
false in its fundamental philosophy. Its primary notion is that even a spirit
of pure evil is an exceedingly useful being because he stirs into activity
those whom he leads into sin and so prevents them from rusting away in
pure indolence. There are other and better means of stimulating the.343
positive affections of men than by tempting them to sin.” On Goethe, see
Hutton, Essays, 2:1-79; Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 1:490; A. H. Strong,
Great Poets and their Theology, 279-331.
Carlyle was a Scotch Presbyterian minus Christianity. At the age of
twenty-five, he rejected miraculous and historical religion and thenceforth
had no God but natural Law. His worship of objective truth became a
worship of subjective sincerity, and his worship of personal will became a
worship of impersonal force. He preached truth, service, sacrifice but all
in a mandatory and pessimistic way. He saw in England and Wales
“twenty-nine millions — mostly fools.” He had no love, no remedy and no
hope. In our civil war, he was upon the side of the slaveholder. He
claimed that his philosophy made right to be might, but in practice he
made might to be right. Confounding all moral distinctions, as he did in
his later writings, he was fit to wear the title, which he invented for
another: “President of the Heaven-and-Hell-Amalgamation Society.”
Froude calls him “a Calvinist without the theology” — a believer in
predestination without grace. On Carlyle, see S. Law Wilson, Theology of
Modern Literature, 131-178.
Emerson also is the worshiper of successful force. His pantheism is most
manifest in his poems “Cupido” and “Brahma,” and in his Essays on
“Spirit” and on “The Oversoul.” Cupido: “The solid, solid universe Is
pervious to Love; With bandaged eyes he never errs, Around, below,
above. His blinding light He flingeth white On God’s and Satan’s brood,
And reconciles by mystic wiles The evil and the good.” Brahma: “If the
red slayer thinks he slays, Or if the slain think he is slain, They know not
well the subtle ways I keep, and pass, and turn again. Far or forgot to me
is near; Shadow and sunlight are the same; The vanished gods to me
appear; And one to me are shame or fame. They reckon ill who leave me
out; When me they fly, I am the wings; I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings. The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven; But thou, meek lover of the good, Find
me, and turn thy back on heaven.”
Emerson taught that man’s imperfection is not sin, and that the cure for it
lies in education. “He lets God evaporate into abstract Ideality. Not a
Deity in the concrete, nor a superhuman Person, but rather the immanent
divinity in things, the essentially spiritual structure of the universe, is the
object of the transcendental cult.” His view of Jesus is found in his
Essays, 2:263 — “Jesus would absorb the race but Tom Paine, or the
coarsest blasphemer, helps humanity by resisting this exuberance of
power.” In his Divinity School Address, he banished the person of Jesus.344
from genuine religion. He thought “one could not he a man if he must
subordinate his nature to Christ’s nature.” He failed to see that Jesus not
only absorbs but transforms and that we grow only by the impact of
nobler souls than our own. Emerson’s essay style is devoid of clear and
precise theological statement, and in this vagueness lies its harmfulness.
Fisher, Nature and Method of Revelation, xii — “Emerson’s pantheism is
not hardened into a consistent creed, for to the end he clung to the belief in
personal immortality, and he pronounced the acceptance of this belief ‘the
test of mental sanity.’” On Emerson, see S. L. Wilson, Theology of
Modern Literature, 97-128.
We may call this theory the “green-apple theory” of sin. Sin is a green
apple, which needs only time and sunshine and growth to bring it to
ripeness and beauty and usefulness. But we answer that sin is not a green
apple but an apple with a worm at its heart. The evil of it can never be
cured by growth. The fall can never be anything else than downward.
Upon this theory, sin is an inseparable factor in the nature of finite things.
The highest archangel cannot be without it. Man in moral character is
“the asymptote of God,” — forever learning, but never able to come to the
knowledge of the truth. The throne of iniquity is set up forever in the
universe. If this theory were true, Jesus, in virtue of his partaking of our
finite humanity, must be a sinner. His perfect development, without sin,
shows that sin was not a necessity of finite progress. Matthews, in
Christianity and Evolution, 137 — “It was not necessary for the prodigal
to go into the far country and become a swineherd, in order to find out the
father’s love.” E. H. Johnson, Systematic Theology, 141 — “It is not the
privilege of the Infinite alone to be good.” Dorner, System, 1:119, speaks
of the moral career, which this theory describes, as “a progressus in
infinitum, where the constant approach to the goal has as its reverse side
an eternal separation from the goal.” In his “Transformation,” Hawthorne
hints, though rather hesitatingly, that without sin the highest humanity of
man could not be taken up at all, and that sin may be essential to the first
conscious awakening of moral freedom and to the possibility of progress;
see Hutton, Essays, 2:381.
(b) So far as this theory regards moral evil as a necessary presupposition
and condition of moral good, it commits the serious error of confounding
the possible with the actual. What is necessary to goodness is not the
actuality of evil but only the possibility of evil.
Since we cannot know white except in contrast to black, it is claimed that
without knowing actual evil we could never know actual good. George A:
Gordon, New Epoch for Faith, 49, 50, has well shown that in that case the.345
elimination of evil would imply the elimination of good. Sin would need to
have place in God’s being in order that he might be holy, and thus he
would be divinity and devil in one person. Jesus too must be evil as well
as good. Not only would it be true, as intimated above,, that Christ since
his humanity is finite, must be a sinner, but also that we ourselves who
must always be finite, must always be sinners. We grant that holiness, in
either God or man, must involve the abstract possibility of its opposite.
But we maintain that, as this possibility in God is only abstract and never
realized, so in man it should be only abstract and never realized. Man has
power to reject this possible evil. His sin is a turning of the merely
possible evil, by the decision of his will, into actual evil. Robert Browning
is not free from the error above mentioned; see S. Law Wilson, Theology
of Modern Literature, 207-210; A. H. Strong, Great Poets and their
Theology, 433-444.
This theory of sin dates back to Hegel. To him there is no real sin and
cannot be. Imperfection there is and must always be, because the relative
can never become the absolute. Redemption is only an evolutionary
process, indefinitely prolonged, and evil must remain an eternal condition.
All finite thought is an element in the infinite thought and all finite will an
element in the infinite will. As good cannot exist without evil as its
antithesis, infinite righteousness should have for its counterpart an infinite
wickedness. Hegel’s guiding principle was that “What is rational is real
and what is real is rational.” Seth, Hegelianism and Personality, remarks
that this principle ignores “the riddle of the painful earth.” The disciples
of Hegel thought that nothing remained for history to accomplish, now
that the World-spirit had come to know himself in Hegel’s philosophy.
Biedermann’s Dogmatik is based upon the Hegelian philosophy. At page
649 we read: “Evil is the finiteness of the world-being which clings to all
individual existences by virtue of belonging to the immanent world-order.
Evil is therefore a necessary element in the divinely willed being of the
world.” Bradley follows Hegel in making sin to be no reality, but only a
relative appearance. There is no freewill, and no antagonism between the
will of God and the will of man. Darkness is an evil, a destroying agent.
But it is not a positive force, as light is. It cannot be attacked and
overcome as an entity. Bring light and darkness disappears. So evil Is not
a positive force, as good is. Bring good, and evil disappears. Herbert
Spencer’s Evolutionary Ethics is in with such a system, for he says: “A
perfect man in an imperfect race is impossible.” On Hegel’s view of sin, a
view that denies holiness even to Christ, see J. Muller Doct:. Sin, 1:390-
407; Dorner, Hist. Doct. Person of Christ, B. 3:131-162: Stearns,.346
Evidence of Christ. Experience, 92-96; John Caird, Fund. Ideas, 2:1-25;
Forrest, Authority of Christ, 13-16.
(c) It is inconsistent with known facts, as for example, the following: Not
all sins are negative sins of ignorance and infirmity; there are acts of
positive malignity, conscious transgressions, willful and presumptuous
choices of evil. Increased knowledge of the nature of sin does not of itself
give strength to overcome it but, on the contrary, repeated acts of
conscious transgression harden the heart in evil. Men of greatest mental
powers are not of necessity the greatest of saints nor are the greatest
sinners men of least strength of will and understanding.
Not the weak but the strong are the greatest sinners. We do not pity Nero
and Caesar Borgia for their weakness; we abhor them for their crimes.
Judas was an able man, a practical administrator and Satan is a being of
great natural endowments. Sin is not simply a weakness, it is also a
power. A pantheistic philosophy should worship Satan most of all for he
is the truest type of godless intellect and selfish strength.

John 12:6 — Judas, “having the bag, made away with what was put
therein.” Judas was set by Christ to do the work he was best fitted for and
that was best fitted to interest and save him. Some men may be put into
the ministry because that is the only work that will prevent their
destruction. Pastors should find for their members work suited to the
aptitudes of each. Judas was tempted, or tried, as all men are according to
his native propensity. While his motive in objecting to Mary’s generosity
was really avarice, his pretext was charity, or regard for the poor. Each
one of the apostles had a gift that was peculiar to him and was chosen
because of it. The sin of Judas was not a sin of weakness or ignorance or
infirmity. It was a sin of disappointed ambition, of malice, of hatred for
Christ’s self-sacrificing purity.
E. H. Johnson: “Sins are not men’s limitations, but the active expressions
of a perverse nature.” M. F. H. Round, Sec. of Nat. Prison Association,
after examining the record of a thousand criminals, found that one quarter
of them had an exceptionally fine basis of physical life and strength; the
other three quarters fell only a little below the average of ordinary
humanity. See The Forum, Sept. 1893. The theory that sin is only holiness
in the making reminds us of the view that the most objectionable refuse
can by ingenious processes be converted into butter or at least into
oleomargarine. It is not true that “tout comprendre est tout pardonner.”
Such doctrine obliterates all moral distinctions. Gilbert, Bab Ballads, “My
Dream”: “I dreamt that somehow I had come To dwell in Topsy-.347
Turvydom, Where vice is virtue, virtue vice; Where nice is nasty, nasty
nice; Where right is wrong, and wrong is right; Where white is black and
black is white.”
(d) Like the sense-theory of sin, it contradicts both conscience and
Scripture by denying human responsibility and by transferring the blame of
sin from the creature to the Creator. This is to explain sin, again, by
denying its existence.
(Edipus said that his evil deeds had been suffered, not done. Agamemnon,
in the Thad, says the blame belongs, not to himself, but to Jupiter and to
fate. So sin blames everything and everybody but self. (

Genesis 3:12
— “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree,
and I did eat.” But self-vindicating is God-accusing. Made imperfect at
the start, man cannot help his sin. By the very fact of his creation he is cut
loose from God. That cannot be sin, which is a necessary outgrowth of
human nature, for it is not our act but our fate. To all this, the one answer
is found in Conscience. Conscience testifies that sin is not “das
Gewordene” but “das Gemachte” and that it was his own act when man,
by transgression, fell. The Scriptures refer man’s sin, not to the limitations
of his being, but to the free will of man himself. On the theory here
combated, see Muller, Doct. Sin, 1:271-295; Philippi, Glaubenslehre,
3:123-131; N. H. Wood, The Witness of Sin, 20- — 42.
3. Sin as Selfishness.
We hold the essential principle of sin to be selfishness. By selfishness we
mean not simply the exaggerated self-love which constitutes the antithesis
of benevolence, but that choice of self as the supreme end which
constitutes the antithesis of supreme love to God. That selfishness is the
essence of sin may be shown as follows:
A. Love to God is the essence of all virtue. The opposite of this, the choice
of self as the supreme end, must therefore be the essence of sin.
We are to remember, however, that the love to God in which virtue
consists is a love for that which is most characteristic and fundamental in
God, namely, his holiness. It is not to be confounded with supreme regard
for God s interests or for the good of being in general not mere
benevolence, but love for God as holy, is the principle and source of
holiness in man. Since the love of God required by the law is of this sort, it
not only does not imply that love, in the sense of benevolence, is the
essence of holiness in God rather, it implies that holiness, or self-loving and.348
self-affirming purity, is fundamental in the divine nature. From this self-loving
and self-affirming purity, love properly so-called, or the self-communicating
attribute, is to be carefully distinguished (see vol. 1, pages
Bossuet, describing heathendom, says: “Every thing was God but God
himself.” Sin goes further than this, and says: “I am myself all things,”
not simply as Louis XVI: “I am the state,” but: “I am the world, the
universe, God.” Heinrich Heine: “I am no child. I do not want a heavenly
Father any more.” A French critic of Fichte’s philosophy said that it was
a flight toward the infinite, which began with the ego, and never got
beyond it. Kidd, Social Evolution, 75 — “In Calderon’s tragic story, the
unknown figure, which throughout life is everywhere in conflict with the
individual whom it haunts, lifts the mask at last to disclose to the
opponent his own features.” Caird, Evolution of Religion, 1:78 — “Every
self, once awakened, is naturally a despot and ‘bears, like the Turk, no
brother near the throne.”’ Every one has, as Hobbes said, “an infinite
desire for gain or glory,” and can be satisfied with nothing but a whole
universe for himself. Selfishness = “homo homini lupus.” James
Martineau: We ask Comte to lift the veil from the holy of holies and show
us the all-perfect object of worship, he produces a looking glass and
shows us ourselves.” Comte’s religion is a “synthetic idealization of our
existence” — a worship, not of God, but of humanity, and “the festival of
humanity” among Positivists = Walt Whitman’s “I celebrate myself.” On
Comte, see Martineau, Types, 1:499. The most thorough discussion of the
essential principle of sin is that of Julius Muller, Doct. Sin, 1:147-182. He
defines sin as “a turning away from the love of God to self-seeking.”
N. W. Taylor holds that self-love is the primary cause of all moral action.
Selfishness is a different thing and consists not in making our own
happiness our ultimate end, which we must do if we are moral beings, but
in love of the world and in preferring the world to God as our portion or
chief good. (See N. W. Taylor, Moral Govt., 1:24-26; 2:20-24, and Rev.
Theol., 134-162; Tyler, Letters on the New Haven Theology, 72). We
claim, on the contrary, that to make our own happiness our ultimate aim
is itself sin and the essence of sin. As God makes his holiness the central
thing, so we are to live for that, loving self only in God and for God’s
sake. This love for God as holy is the essence of virtue. The opposite to
this, or supreme love for self, is sin. As Richard Lovelace writes: “I could
not love thee, dear, so much, Loved I not honor more,” so Christian
friends can say: “Our loves in higher love endure.” The sinner raises some
lower object of instinct or desire to supremacy, regardless of God and his.349
law, and this he does for no other reason than to gratify self. On the
distinction between mere benevolence and the love required by God’s law,
see Hovey, God With Us, 187-200; Hopkins, Works, 1:235; F. W.
Robertson, Sermon I. Emerson: “Your goodness must have some edge to
it, else it is none.” See Newman Smyth, Christian Ethics, 327-370, on
duties toward self as a moral end.
Love to God is the essence of all virtue. We are to love God with all the
heart. But what God is that? Surely, not the false God, the God who is
indifferent to moral distinctions and who treats the wicked as he treats the
righteous. The love, which the law requires, is love for the true God, the
God of holiness. Such love aims at the reproduction of God’s holiness in
us and in others. We are to love ourselves only for God’s sake and for the
sake of realizing the divine idea in us. We are to love others only for
God’s sake and for the sake of realizing the divine idea in them. In our
moral progress we, first, love self for our own sake, secondly, God for our
own sake, thirdly, God for his own sake, fourthly, ourselves for God’s
sake. The first is our state by nature, the second requires munificent
grace, the third, regenerating grace, and the fourth, sanctifying grace.
Only the last is reasonable self-love. Balfour, Foundations of Belief, 27
— “Reasonable self-love is a virtue wholly incompatible with what is
commonly called selfishness. Society suffers, not from having too much of
it, but from having too little.” Altruism is not the whole of duty. Self-realization
is equally important. But to care only for self, like Goethe, is
to miss the true self-realization, which love to God ensures.
Love desires only the best for its object, and the best is God. The golden
rule bids us give, not what others desire, but what they need.

15:2 — “Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is good,
unto edifying.” Deutsche Liebe: “Nicht Liebe die fragt: Willst du mein
sein? Sondern Liebe die sagt: Ich muss dein sein.” Sin consists in taking
for one’s self alone and apart from God that in one’s self and in others to
which one has a right only in God and for God’s sake. Mrs. Humphrey
Ward, David Grieve, 403 — “How dare a man pluck from the Lord’s
hand, for his wild and reckless use, a soul and body for which he died?
How dare he, the Lord’s bondsman, steal his joy, carrying it off by
himself into the wilderness, like an animal his prey, instead of asking it at
the hands and under the blessing of the Master? How dare he, a member
of the Lord’s body, forget the whole, in his greed for the one — eternity in
his thirst for the present?” Wordsworth, Prelude, 546 — “Delight how
pitiable, Unless this love by a still higher love Be hallowed, love that
breathes not without awe; Love that adores, but on the knees of prayer,
By heaven inspired… This spiritual love acts not nor can exist Without.350
imagination, which in truth Is but another name for absolute power, And
clearest insight, amplitude of mind, And reason in her most exalted
mood.” Aristotle says that the wicked have no right to have a love of self
but that the good may. So, from a Christian point of view, we may say
that no unregenerate man can properly respect himself. Self-respect
belongs only to the man who lives in God and who has God’s image
restored to him thereby. True self-love is not love for the happiness of the
self, but for the worth of the self in God’s sight, and this self-love is the
condition of all genuine and worthy love for others. But true self-love is in
turn conditioned by love to God as holy, and it seeks primarily, not the
happiness, but the holiness, of others. Asquith, Christian Conception of
Holiness, 98, 145, 154, 207 — “Benevolence or love is not the same with
altruism. Altruism is instinctive and has not its origin in the moral reason.
It has utility and it may even furnish material for reflection on the part of
the moral reason. But so far as it is not deliberate, not indulged for the
sake of the end, but only for the gratification of the instinct of the
moment, it is not moral. Holiness is dedication to God, the Good, not as
an external Ruler, but as an internal controller and transformer of
character. God is a being whose every thought is love, of whose thoughts
not one is for self, save so far as himself is not himself, that is, so far as
there is a distinction of persons in the Godhead. Creation is one great
unselfish thought — the bringing into being creatures that can know the
happiness that God knows. To the spiritual man holiness and love are one.
Salvation is deliverance from selfishness.” Kaftan, Dogmatik, 319, 320,
regards the essence of sin as consisting, not In selfishness, but in turning
away from God and so from the love which would cause man to grow in
knowledge and likeness to God. But this seems to be nothing else than
choosing self instead of God as our object and end.
B. All the different forms of sin can be shown to have their root in
selfishness, while selfishness itself, considered as the choice of self as a
Supreme end, cannot be resolved into any simpler elements.
(a) Selfishness may reveal itself in the elevation to supreme dominion of
any one of man’s natural appetites, desires, or affections. Sensuality is
selfishness in the form of inordinate appetite. Selfish desire takes the forms
respectively of avarice, ambition, vanity, pride, according as it is set upon
property, power, esteem, independence. Selfish affection is falsehood or
malice, according as it hopes to make others its voluntary servants, or
regards them as standing in its way; it is unbelief or enmity to God,
according as it simply turns away from the truth and love of God, or
conceives of God’s holiness as positively resisting and punishing it..351
Augustine and Aquinas held the essence of sin to be pride; Luther and
Calvin regarded its essence to be unbelief. Krebig (Versohnungslehre)
regards it as “world-love”; still others consider it as enmity to God. In
opposing the view that sensuality is the essence of sin, Julius Muller says:
“Wherever we find sensuality, there we find selfishness but we do not find
that where there is selfishness there is always sensuality. Selfishness may
embody itself in fleshly lust or inordinate desire for the creature but this
last cannot bring forth spiritual sins which have no element of sensuality
in them.”
Covetousness or avarice makes, not sensual gratification itself, but the
things that may minister thereto, the object of pursuit and, in this last
chase often loses sight of its original aim. Ambition is selfish love of
power and vanity is selfish love of esteem. Pride is but the self-complacency,
self-sufficiency, and self-isolation of a selfish spirit that
desires nothing so much as unrestrained independence. Falsehood
originates in selfishness, first as self-deception, and then, since man by sin
isolates himself and yet in a thousand ways needs the fellowship of his
brethren, as deception of others. Malice, the perversion of natural
resentment (together with hatred and revenge), is the reaction of
selfishness against those who stand, or are imagined to stand, in its way.
Unbelief and enmity to God are effects of sin, rather than its essence;
selfishness leads us first to doubt, and then to hate the Lawgiver and
Judge. Tacitus: “Humani generis proprium est odisse quem læseris.” In
sin, self-affirmation and self-surrender are not coordinate elements, as
Dorner holds, but the former conditions the latter.
As love to God is love to God’s holiness, so love to man is love for
holiness in man and desire to impart it. In other words, true love for man
is the longing to make man like God. Over against this normal desire
which should fill the heart and inspire the life, there stands a hierarchy of
lower desires which may be utilized and sanctified by the higher love but
which may assert their independence and may thus be the occasions of sin.
Physical gratification, money, esteem, power, knowledge, family, virtue,
are proper objects of regard, so long as these are sought for God’s sake
and within the limitations of his will. Sin consists in turning our backs on
God and in seeking any one of these objects for its own sake, which is the
same thing as for our own sakes. Appetite gratified without regard to
God’s law is lust and the love of money becomes avarice. The desire for
esteem then becomes vanity, the longing for power becomes ambition, the
love for knowledge becomes a selfish thirst for intellectual satisfaction,
parental affection degenerates into indulgence and nepotism, the seeking
of virtue becomes self-righteousness and self-sufficiency. Kaftan,.352
Dogmatik, 323 — “Jesus grants that even the heathen and sinners love
those who love them. But family love becomes family pride, patriotism
comes to stand for country right or wrong, happiness in one’s calling
leads to class distinctions.”
Dante, in his Divine Comedy, divides the Inferno into three great sections:
those in which are punished respectively: incontinence, bestiality and
malice. Incontinence = sin of the heart, the emotions, the affections.
Lower down is found bestiality = sin of the head, the thoughts, the mind,
as infidelity and heresy. Lowest of all is malice = sin of the will,
deliberate rebellion, fraud and treachery. So we are taught that the heart
carries the intellect with it and that the sin of unbelief gradually deepens
into the intensity of malice. See A. H. Strong, Great Poets and their
Theology, 133 — “Dante teaches us that sin is the self-perversion of the
will. If there is any thought fundamental to his system, it is the thought of
freedom. Man is not a waif swept irresistibly downward on the current; he
is a being endowed with power to resist and therefore, guilty if he yields.
Sin is not misfortune or disease or natural necessity but it is willfulness
and crime and self-destruction. The Divine Comedy is, beyond all other
poems, the poem of conscience and this could not be if it did not recognize
man as a free agent, the responsible cause of his own evil acts and his
own evil state.” See also Harris, in Jour. Spec. Philos., 21:350-451;
Dinsmore, Atonement in Literature and Life, 69-86.
In Greek tragedy, says Prof. Win. Arnold Stevens, the one sin, which the
gods hated and would not pardon was uJbriv — obstinate self-assertion of
mind or will, absence of reverence and humility — of which we have an
illustration in Ajax. George MacDonald: “A man may be possessed of
himself, as of a devil.” Shakespeare depicts this insolence of infatuation in
Shylock, Macbeth and Richard III. Troilus and Cressida, 4:4 —
“Something may be done that we will not; And sometimes we are devils to
ourselves, When we will tempt the frailty of our powers, Presuming on
their changeful potency.” Yet Robert G. Ingersoll said that Shakespeare
holds crime to be the mistake of ignorance! N. P. Willis, Parrhasius:
“How like a mounting devil in the heart Rules unrestrained ambition!”
(b) Even in the nobler forms of unregenerate life, the principle of
selfishness is to be regarded as manifesting itself in the preference of lower
ends to that of God’s proposing. Others are loved with idolatrous affection
because these others are regarded as a part of self. That the selfish element
is present even here, is evident upon considering that such affection does
not seek the highest interest of its object that it often ceases when not.353
returned and that it sacrifices to its own gratification the claims of God and
his law.
Even in the mother’s idolatry of her child, the explorer’s devotion to
science, the sailor’s risk of his life to save another’s, the gratification
sought may be that of a lower instinct or desire. Any substitution of a
lower for the highest object is non-conformity to law, and therefore sin. H.
B. Smith, System Theology, 277 — “Some lower affection is supreme.”
And the underlying motive, which leads to this substitution, is self-gratification.
There is no such thing as disinterested sin, for “every one
that loveth is begotten of God” (

1 John 4:7). Thomas Hughes, The
Manliness of Christ: Much of the heroism of battle is simply “resolution
in the actors to have their way. Contempt for ease, animal courage, which
we share with the bulldog and the weasel, intense assertion of individual
will and force, avowal of the rough-handed man that he has that in him
which enables him to defy pain and danger and death.”
Mozley on Blanco White, in Essays, 2:143: Truth may be sought in order
to absorb truth in self, not for the sake of absorbing self in truth. So
Blanco White, in spite of the pain of separating from old views and
friends, lived for the selfish pleasure of new discovery, till all his early
faith vanished, and even immortality seemed a dream. He falsely thought
that the pain he suffered in giving up old beliefs was evidence of self-sacrifice
with which God must be pleased, whereas it was the inevitable
pain, which attends the victory of selfishness. Robert Browning,
Paracelsus, 81 — “I still must hoard and heap and class all truths With
one ulterior purpose: [must know! Would God translate me to his throne,
believe That I should only listen to his words To further my own ends.” F.
W. Robertson on Genesis, 57 — “He who sacrifices his sense of right, his
conscience, for another sacrifices the God within him; he is not sacrificing
self. He who prefers his dearest friend or his beloved child to the call of
duty, will soon show that he prefers himself to his dearest friend and
would not sacrifice himself for his child.” Ib., 91 — “In those who love
little, love [for finite beings] is a primary affection, a secondary, in those
who love much. The only true affection is that which is subordinate to a
higher.” True love is love for the soul and its highest, its eternal interests;
love that seeks to make it holy, love for the sake of God and for the
accomplishment of God’s idea in his creation.
Although we cannot, with Augustine, call the virtues of the heathen
“splendid vices” for they were relatively good and useful. They still,
except in possible instances where God’s Spirit wrought upon the heart,
were illustrations of a morality divorced from love to God, were lacking in.354
the most essential element demanded by the law, were therefore infected
with sin. Since the law judges all action by the heart from which it
springs, no action of the unregenerate can be other than sin. The ebony-tree
is white in its outer circles of woody fiber; at heart it is black as ink.
There is no unselfishness in the unregenerate heart, apart from the divine
enlightenment and energizing. Self-sacrifice for the sake of self is
selfishness after all. Professional burglars and bank-robbers are often
carefully abstemious in their personal habits, and they deny themselves
the use of liquor and tobacco while in the active practice of their trade.
Herron, The Larger Christ, 47 — “It is as truly immoral to seek truth out
of mere love of knowing it as it is to seek money out of love to gain. Truth
sought for truth’s sake is an intellectual vine; it is spiritual covetousness.
It is an idolatry, setting up the worship of abstractions and generalities in
place of the living God.”
(c) It must be remembered however, that side by side with the selfish will
and striving against it, is the power of Christ, the immanent God, imparting
aspirations and impulses foreign to unregenerate humanity and preparing
the way for the soul’s surrender to truth and righteousness.

Romans 8:7 — “the mind of the flesh is enmity against God”;

17:2; 28 — “he is not far from each one of us: for in him we live, and
move, and have our being”;

Romans 2:4 — “the goodness of God
leadeth thee to repentance”;

John 1:9 — “the light which lighteth every
man.” Many generous traits and acts of self-sacrifice in the unregenerate
must be ascribed to the munificent grace of God and to the enlightening
influence of the Spirit of Christ. A mother, during the Russian famine,
gave to her children all the little supply of food that came to her in the
distribution and died that they might live. In her decision to sacrifice
herself for her offspring she may have found her probation and may have
surrendered herself to God. The impulse to make the sacrifice may have
been due to the Holy Spirit and her yielding may have been essentially an
act of saving faith. In

Mark 10:21, 22 — “And Jesus looking upon
him loved him… he went any sorrowful.” Our Lord apparently loved the
young man not only for his gifts, his efforts and his possibilities, but also
for the manifest working in him of the divine Spirit even while in his
natural character he was without God and without love, self-ignorant,
self-righteous, and self-seeking.
Paul, in like manner, before his conversion, loved and desired
righteousness, provided only that this righteousness might be the product
and achievement of his own will and might reflect honor on himself, in
short, provided only that self might still be uppermost. To be dependent.355
for righteousness upon another was abhorrent to him. And yet this very
impulse toward righteousness may have been due to the divine Spirit
within him. On Paul’s experience before conversion, see E. B. Burton,
Bib. World, Jan. 1893. Peter objected to the washing of his feet by Jesus

John 13:8), not because it humbled the Master too much in the eyes
of the disciple, but because it humbled the disciple too much in his own
eyes. Pfleiderer, Philos. Religion, 1:218 — “Sin is the violation of the
God-willed moral order of the world by the self-will of the individual.”
Tophel on the Holy Spirit, 17 — “You would deeply wound him [the
average sinner] if you told him that his heart, full of sin, is an object of
horror to the holiness of God.” The impulse to repentance, as well as the
impulse to righteousness, is the product, not of man’s own nature, but of
the Christ within him who is moving him to seek salvation.
Elizabeth Barrett wrote to Robert Browning after she had accepted his
proposal of marriage: “Henceforth I am yours for everything but to do
you harm.” George Harris, Moral Evolution, 138 — “Love seeks the true
good of the person loved. It will not minister in an unworthy way to afford
a temporary pleasure. It will not approve or tolerate that which is wrong.
It will not encourage the coarse, base passions of the one loved. It
condemns impurity, falsehood or selfishness. A parent does not really love
his child if he tolerates the self-indulgence and does not correct or punish
the faults of the child.” Hutton: “You might as well say that it is a fit
subject for art to paint the morbid ecstasy of cannibals over their horrid
feasts as to paint lust without love. If you are to delineate man at all, you
must delineate him with his human nature and therefore, you can never
omit from any worthy picture that conscience which is its crown.”
Tennyson. in In Memoriam, speaks of “Fantastic beauty such as lurks In
some wild poet when he works Without a conscience or an aim.” Such
work may be due to mere human nature. But the lofty work of true
creative genius, and the still loftier acts of men still unregenerate but
conscientious and self-sacrificing, must be explained by the working in
them of the immanent Christ, the life and light of men. James Martineau,
Study, 1:20 — “Conscience may act as human, before it is discovered to
be divine.” See J. D. Stoops, in Jour. Philos., Psych., and Sci. Meth.,
2:512 — “If there is a divine life over and above the separate streams of
individual lives, the welling up of this larger life in the experience of the
individual is precisely the point of contact between the individual person
and God.” Caird, Fund. Ideas of Christianity, 2:122 — “It is this divine
element in man, this relationship to God, which gives to sin the darkest
and direst complexion. For such a life is the turning of a light brighter
than the sun into darkness, the squandering or bartering away of a.356
boundless wealth, the suicidal abasement to the things that perish. This
nature is destined by its very constitution and structure for participation in
the very being and blessedness of God.”
On the various forms of sin as manifestations of selfishness, see Julius
Muller, Doct. Sin, 1:147-182; Jonathan Edwards, Works, 2:268, 269;
Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 3:5, 6; Baird, Elohim Revealed, 243-262;
Stewart, Active and Moral Powers, 11-91; Hopkins, Moral Science, 86-
156. On the Roman Catholic “Seven Deadly sins” (pride, envy, anger,
sloth, avarice, gluttony, lust), see Wetzer und Welte, Kirchenlexikon, and
Orby Shipley, Theory about Sin, preface, xvi — xvii.
C. This view accords best with Scripture.
(a) The law requires love to God as its all-embracing requirement.
(b) The holiness of Christ consisted in this, that he sought not his own will
or glory, but made God his supreme end.
(c) The Christian is one who has ceased to live for self.
(d) The tempter’s promise is a promise of selfish independence.
(e) The prodigal separates himself from his father and seeks his own
interest and pleasure.
(f) The “man of sin” illustrates the nature of sin, in “opposing and exalting
himself against all that is called God.”
(a) Matthew. 22:37-39 — the command of love to God and man;

Romans 13:8-10 — “love therefore is the fulfillment of the law”;

Galatians 5:14 — “the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”;

James 2:8 — “the royal

John 5:30 — “my judgment is righteous; because I seek not mine own
will, but the will of him that sent me”; 7:18 — “He that speaketh from himself
seeketh his own glory but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, the
same is true and no unrighteousness is in him”;

Romans 15:3 — “Christ
also pleased not himself”

Romans 14:7 — “none of us liveth to himself and none dieth to

2 Corinthians 5:15 — “he died for all, that they that live should