A Compendium of Christian Theology

By William Burt Pope, D.D.,

Volume One

Chapter 9





            The Holy Trinity;

            Divine Attributes in Creation






            Materialistic Atheism;



            Scientific Materialism;






            Cosmical and Organic Development





            Matter and the Cosmos


            Divine Image;

            Natural and Federal Unity;

            Hypothesis as to his Origin;

            Unity, and Antiquity on Earth;

            Elements of Human Nature



THE discussion of the Divine Attributes has prepared us for a universe that is not God, but brought into existence by His power, and the object of His providential conservation, care, and government. The two departments of our present subject are, therefore, the Creature and Providence. The former will include all the several orders of created nature; and the latter, the general principles which are revealed as controlling their destiny: in other words, the What and the Why of the universal Creation of God.


The creaturely universe, embracing immaterial intelligences or angels, the world of material elements, and man uniting the two in himself, owes its being to the act of the Triune God, Whose will called it into existence. The revelations of Scripture on this subject may be distributed under the two heads of the Creator in regard to the act of creation, and the several orders of the creatures as the result of His creating act.


Creation is in Scripture assigned to the One Almighty God, in the Trinity of His essence: the Son and the Holy Spirit having the same special relation to the production of all things which they afterwards bear to the redemption of the world. The creating act displays the glory of the Divine attributes, but freely as an act of will, and with the diffusion of happiness as one end attained by the resources of infinite wisdom. Absolute creation is the effect of omnipotence; but the origination of creaturely existence is a mystery which is revealed for adoration only, no other account being given or possible but the all-sufficiency of the Creator. Secondary creation, or the Formation of the material part of the universe into order, exhibits Divine wisdom also and love as preparing the scene of Providence for all living creatures, of probation for all moral intelligences, and of redemption for fallen man.


Allusion has been already made to the Redemptional Trinity as the manifestation of the Eternal Triune One in the salvation of man. Between these may be interposed an Economical Trinity, in some sense mediatorial, but not redemptional: the revelation, that is, of Three Persons after a special manner and order in the production of the universe.

1. Each Person is in Scripture plainly connected with the act of creation: plainly, that is, according to the universal law of gradual development that has been so often referred to.

The Old Testament dimly but not uncertainly gives its evidence, when its words are interpreted in the light of the New. My Father worketh hitherto, 1 is our Lord's testimony, and I work: not so much indicating successive stages as claiming for Himself all Divine acts, and making them His own: the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do. The Father here is the eternal Father; for, the eternal Second Person, both as The Word and as The Son, is expressly asserted to be the author of creation. All things were made by Him. 2 St. John's witness is repeated and confirmed by St. Paul, All things were created by Him; 3 and this in a passage which declares that the Son of His love was the Firstborn of every creature: prootótokos, begotten before all creaturely existence.

These passages in their combination lead our minds to our Lord's only other reference to creation: Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world. 4 To this give all the Scriptures witness. Carrying the evidence back now to the Old Testament we find that it renders to the Spirit the same tribute which the New renders to the Son. Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created; 5 and, before the words Let us make man, 6 we read that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. The doctrine of the Essential Trinity gives harmony and consistency to the whole. Without it the entire fabric of Scripture is unintelligible: it ceases to be a fabric; it is itself without form and void, and darkness rests upon its entire face.

1 John 5:17,19; 2 John 1:3; 3 Col. 1:15,16; 4 John 17:24; 5 Psa. 104:30; 6 Gen. 1:26,27.

2. But there is evidently an Economical Trinity here, the foreshadowing of the Redemptional. What man's word is to his act, the expression of his will, the Eternal Word was in creation: By Whom also He made the worlds, 1 where the Word is the Son who is the Mediator of the creation of the aioónas, or orders of worlds, which He sustains by the word, toó reémati, of His power. His omnipotence as God and His mediatorship as the Word in the created universe are one. The dia, generally used, also indicates this. He is the Mind and Will and Act of His Father. This economical relation does not so expressly extend to the Holy Spirit; but we have seen that of Him also as of the Son it may be said, without Him was not anything made that was made. 2 All this is revealed for the suppression of the notion that matter, or the substance of the visible universe, is eternal; or, supposing it created, that any inferior Demiurgus was employed in the creation; also for the establishment of our faith in the worthiness of all created things: and, finally, to show that the scene of creation was prepared as to be in due time the scene of redemption also.

1 Heb. 1:2; 2 John 1:3.


We have already anticipated our present subject when considering the Divine Attributes in relation to the creature. It is enough to say here that the omnipotence of God, as the outward manifestation of His interior all-sufficiency, is enough for the original production of matter in what may be called absolute creation, that His wisdom and power are seen in the secondary creation or formation of matter into worlds; and that the end of all is the expression of the Divine perfections or their reflection in the works of His hands.


It is only in the Divine All-sufficiency that we can find the ground of the origin of all things that exist not being God Himself. In this we must be content to seek the possibility of all forms of being, spiritual or material; known to us or unknown; our own universe, so far as we may call it ours, and other universes that may be behind it, with others that may follow it. The utmost that human thought can rise to is this, that with God all things are possible: 1 that is, all things possible may, at His will, become actual. In one sense there is no NIHIL to infinite resources, and the maxim "Ex nihilo nihil fit" must either be converted into "In nihilo omnia fiunt," or limited to created agents, with regard to whom it is undoubtedly true. It is the uniform testimony of Scripture, and its fundamental error in the opinion of modern Pantheists, that the Eternal and only Being by His will and word brought all things that are not Himself into an existence which in no ultimate elements they had before. The testimony to this supreme truth is positive and negative.

1 Mat. 19:26.

1. Positively, the beginning of revelation asserts this: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 1 These words concerning the old creation are repeated when the new creation is introduced: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him. 2 In that beginning, which baffles human thought to apprehend, the Son already is as God, and all things BECOME or are made. Hence the same revealing voice which declares the Divinity of the Son declares in contrast the origination in time or with time of all things. We may pass over the many passages which assert the Divine origin of the ordered Cosmos: they might be supposed consistent with the existence of a substance out of which it was arranged. But the incarnate Savior prays, Glorify Thou Me with Thine own Self with the glory which 1 had with Thee before the world was: 3 where pará soí corresponds with the glory as of the Only begotten pará Patrós. 4 And in this light the many testimonies to the creation of all things must mean the bringing them into existence proper. By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. 5 The contrast between the essential being of the Son in the Father, and the created existence of all things else, could not be more clearly laid down. In a very remarkable passage St. Paul declares the possibilities of God to be Tá aórata autoú, the invisible things of Him. 6 What He in the freedom of His omnipotence brings into visible existence proclaims His eternal Power and Godhead: the dúnamis here preceding, and measuring, and, as it were, determining the theiótees, while, on the other hand, the theiótees, or divineness of God, is the substratum of that dúnamis, the resources of which are infinite. What has been clearly seen from the creation of the world is but the manifestation of an invisible infinity of power behind. But there is a still nearer approach to the calling all things out of nothing in another word of St Paul concerning God Who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were: Rom tá meé ónta hoos ónta. 7 Hence we may accept our very term "ex nihilo " from the Vulgate: " Peto, nate, ut aspicias ad coelum, et terram, et ad omnia quae in eis sunt; et intelligas quia ex nihilo fecit illa Deus, et hominum genus;" thus rendering a passage which the Apostle might have in view, ex ouk onton epoihsen auta ho Theos. In the Epistle to the Hebrews the first article of the faith is the primitive creation as distinguished from the formation of all things. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear: eis tó meé ek fainoménoon tó blepómenon gegonénai. 8 The construction and the absolute origination of all things seen are, in fact, separated, and then united. The creating word of God is set over against both: all things were formed by the Divine word in order that faith might lay hold of the truth, which reason cannot penetrate that the created universe did not spring by development from things previously existing, but from the invisible creating power of One afterwards referred to as tón gár aóraton, Him Who is invisible.9 With this the revelation of Scripture has spoken its last word, after which the first word of science must begin.

1 Gen. 1:1; 2 John 1:1-3; 3 John 17:5; 4 John 1:14; 5 Col. 1:16,17; 6 Rom. 1:20; 7 Rom.

4:17; 8 Heb11:3; 9 Heb. 11:27.

2. Negatively, the Scripture precludes any other doctrine than that of an absolute creation of all things by the direct act of the Divine will. It omits any allusion to pre-existing forms of matter, animate or inanimate, out of which the present universe was through long periods developed. Physico-theological speculation may interpose universe after universe, or rather universe before universe, to carry up the continuity of cause and effect nearer to the final source; but at length it must come to the unsearchable chasm between phenomenal things and the eternal essence. Platonic ontology may go farther and contrast phenomena as they are made to appear with the eternal ideas appearing only to God Himself; but the kosmos nohtos in the Divine mind is not creation, and it is of creation we now speak The negative argument is found in all those many passages which bring the Jehovah-name into relation with created things. This is the Scriptural method of proclaiming the infinite and to us unthinkable chasm between necessary being and existence phenomenal. The Bible does not say, in philosophical language, that the Unconditioned One remains the Unconditioned while He creates the conditioned, or that the one Necessary Being cannot have other necessary existence, co-eternal with Himself, which He forms into the universe. But it simply says, in Nehemiah's language, which is the language also of psalm and prophet: Thou, even Thou, ART JEHOVAH ALONE ; Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and Thou preservest them all. 1 Its doctrine is everywhere that the Eternal can clothe Himself with what garments visible He will; in modern language, it teaches that the creating act is the finite expression of the Infinite.

The creation is referred to as its free exercise: all things requiring God as their First Cause, but the First Cause not requiring the creation by any necessity of His nature.

Speculations as to the necessary connection of power and act in the Immutable Being, and therefore as to the necessity of an eternal creation—speculations which forget the difference between the Infinite and the finite, a difference which is to us at once conceivable and inconceivable—are utterly unknown in Scripture.

1 Neh. 9:6.


It is at this point that we are met by those hypotheses which flatly contradict the doctrine thus laid down as Scriptural, and as alone consistent with the true notion of God and His universe. These have been alluded to in their relation to the doctrine of God Himself; but briefly, as the present is their proper place. It may be boldly asserted that Pantheism and Materialism, with a third class of intermediate theories that are composed of elements derived from both, owe their origin not to an anti-Theistic sentiment, but to the difficulty of accepting God as the Creator, primarily and absolutely, of anything that is not God.

What is here said about them will be confined to a brief consideration of their bearing on the subject of creation.


Many definitions may be given of this system of thought, which has had the longest, the most diversified, and the most persistent sway in the annals of human error. But no definition does justice to it which forgets that it is a theory of the universe making God supreme in it without being its Creator: identifying, in fact, God with the universe, or the universe with God: to par Theos esti. But there are two kinds of Pantheism, which are not perhaps distinguished as they should be in reviews of its history. All Pantheism is not the same Pantheism.

1. It cannot be said of the ancient Indian philosophies that they made God and the universe one. What to the Hondo in every age—as long before the Christian era as since—has been the Supreme God, or the abstract Brahm without predicate, exists without a necessary finite created system. This eternal, infinite, immutable Being is sublimely above all creaturely nature. When the repose of incalculable ages is broken, He or It comes as to the creature into existence, is developed to creaturely thought in manifold forms for long ages, and then withdraws into Himself or Itself the whole panorama of phenomenal being to be remembered in their forms no more. Now in this wonderful system of thought, the essential idea of creation cannot be concealed or suppressed. The Hondo Trinity itself, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, is only a representative personification of the Supreme in acts which are not far wide of the Scriptural ideas of creation, preservation, and destruction, at least as far as the two former are concerned; all the phenomena of the universe, on the way to nothing, are surely supposed to be brought into separate existence that the Infinite may appear in them before they go hence; and that separate existence, as separate, they lose when they cease to be. It is true that the entire system may be called, in modern language, pantheistic. But there is a vast difference between its view of the supremacy of the Original of all things which He again withdraws from being and the pure Pantheism that identifies and makes one whole God and the universe.

2. No form of ancient Greek philosophy was Pantheistic in the fullest and deepest sense of the word. From Thales through Plato down to the last of the Stoics the philosophers were occupied with the origin of things. Some denied creation, but they denied also God: such were the earliest of the Ionic school, who strove to find the unity of all phenomena, whether in water, or in air, or in fire; but whatever they called the soul of the world, animating and controlling the endless flux of things, it was not the god of Pantheism.

Their system was Materialism in disguise. Others, as those whose names are the glory of the Socratic school, laid too much stress on the supremacy of the all-controlling mind to be counted Pantheists: moreover, they were always haunted by the notion of an eternal húleen, or matter, as it were something mediatory between matter, as we know it, and pure spiritual being. What they called the Soul of the World, the active principle, namely, which frames and forms and fashions all things, could never be detached from the Stoic conception of matter, and so far their system might be called Pantheistic But their Natura naturans, or ho phusis technikh, was, by the term, an operative mind, as Cicero says: " Natura, non artificiosa solum, sed plane ARTIFEX ab eodem Zenone dicitur; consultrix, et provida utilitatum opportunitatumque omnium. Censet enim artis maxlme proprium est creare et gignere, quodque in operibus nostrarum artium manus efficiet, id multo artificiosius naturam efficere." The Natura naturata, or living Kosmos, was indeed identified with the former, and nature became god. This theory of the universe has been called HYLOZOISM, and has played a conspicuous part in every age. It is really the theory of that class of modern materialists who yield to the evidence of purpose in nature, though only as IMMANENT DESIGN, which is a contradiction in thought, or a refuge from the conception of an external Designer that has no meaning. But design in any form is foreign to the strict notion of Pantheism.

3. Pure Pantheism, as an account of the existence of the universe, assumed its final and only consistent development in Christian times, and in a philosophy that has been in avowed opposition to Christianity from the beginning.

(1.) Its new foundations were laid in Neo-Platonism, an eclectic system which strove to combine all that had been taught in previous schools of philosophy concerning the relation of being to phenomena. It pronounced more boldly than it had ever been pronounced before, that one only indescribable Being exists Who reveals Himself in all things, in the soul of the world, in the universal reason, and in the spirit of man: all seemingly independent things being only transient phenomena, and all personalities being destined for reabsorption into God. While the Fathers of the Christian Church were establishing against early heresy the doctrine of the Trinity, the Second Person being the First begotten before every creature, and the Arche, or source of the creation brought into existence by the energy of the Third Person, Plotinus and Porphyry and Proclus were establishing another trinity: the One absolute, its manifestation in the universe, and its thinking itself in universal reason. Their ideas found their best expositor in John Scotus Erigena, the idealistic Pantheist of the ninth century. His book "De Divisione Naturae " was the first manifesto of the modern system. It makes God " that which neither creates nor is created." " With God being, thought, and creating are identical" " In God it is one and the same thing to know what He makes before it is made, and to make what He knows. Therefore to know and to do is one in Him." "Man is a certain intellectual notion in the Divine mind eternally created. This is his most approved and most true definition: and it is not so only of man, but of all things which, in the Divine wisdom, were made.

The entire visible and invisible creature is a Theophany: it may be called, that is, a Divine apparition." According to this conception the thought must not linger on the existence of anything apart from God; for while we think of it has changed, and of it at any moment existence cannot be predicated. The spirit of man is on the same phenomenal way to its home. The tendency of this system, as of Pantheism in every form, is to abolish sin and responsibility. But that tendency took two directions. In the one it degenerated into the worst mystical antinomianism of the Middle Ages. In the other it was counteracted by better principles; and, with strange inconsistency, the men whose theory made their soul only a spark on its way to a necessary extinction in God were absorbed in the most strenuous endeavors by perfect self-renunciation to bring themselves into a most blessed union with their Maker. But we have here to do only with theories of creation.

(2.) Spinoza, in the seventeenth century, carried the wavering dialectics of his predecessors to their legitimate conclusion. He made the principle of Descartes, that the consciousness of our existence is the first and only certainty, his starting-point. But, whereas the founder of Cartesianism argued to the real existence of a universe and a God, the founder of modern Pantheism argued in the opposite direction. He fell back upon the assured consciousness of one only substance, besides which there could be nothing. That substance may have attributes and modes; but the attributes and modes of that infinite substance, including the entire universe of mind and extension, are not reality but phenomena. Of these phenomena, including ourselves, we may predicate attributes; but not of the infinite All. According to the favorite adage of the system, which is a profound untruth, " Omnis determinatio est negatjo;" and to speak of the Infinite as being this or that, is to make Him less, or It less, than infinite. To assert that God creates or is a Creator is to deny Him His Deity: in diametrical opposition to St. Paul's testimony that phenomenal things from the creation of the world declare His eternal power and Godhead. What in the Christian teaching—and in the Christian teaching alone—is creation, is in Pantheism an eternal and necessary evolution of the One Sum of things: everything and every person is but a mode of the existence of Being absolute; everything in its manifestation, and every person in his act, is determined by the necessity of the Divine nature, if such a term may be used at all. "Without the world no God; and no God without the world." Spinoza's mathematically systematised Pantheism has been idealised in the philosophy of Germany, the keynote of which is that the Infinite is for ever coming to consciousness in the finite, the absolute which in itself is nothing coming to true objective existence in the creature, by an eternal movement which the thinking mind of man requires for the explanation of all being, and in which it finds rest. God is not Himself personal, but He is the sum of all personalities. This system strives to make itself Christian by terming Christ the mediator or reconciler of the Infinite and the finite in Whom God is the universe and the universe is God: the synthesis of all possible opposites.

(3.) With the endless evolutions of modern Pantheistic thought we have not to do. Suffice that it proves one thing most clearly, that the Christian doctrine of creation lies at the basis of all religion. Although the derivation of the word from Religare, to bind to, or to restrain from, be etymologically insecure, that idea is nevertheless rooted in it; and the terms Lex, or law, and Obligation are not far off. But Pantheism knows no bond between Creator and creature, because these terms are gone. Sin is no longer sin: freedom has eternally vanished from the whole economy of things. Immortality is the loss of what seemed personality, and absorption into the abyss of being, without that consciousness of absorption and rest which was the blissful dream of the best mystics, whether in the East or in the West. The universe is not the sphere in which a Creator moves, but the form in which He, by an eternal necessity, evolves Himself. The world of man cannot be the domain of Providence or redemption in which a personal God holds fellowship with His creatures. There are no creatures, nor is God He; for all the terms of personality ought to disappear, if they do not, from the system. Man is part of God's existence —if we may return to the name God, —but God is equally part of man's existence. There is no preeminence on His part, nor is there inferiority in His creature, if we may call man such.

Spinoza says: "Hence it follows that the human mind is part of the infinite intelligence of God: and, forsooth, when we say that the mind of man perceives this or that, we only say no more than that God, not as He is infinite but as far as He is unfolded by the nature of man, or as far as He constitutes the essence of the human mind, has this or that idea." "Accordingly in the human mind there is no absolute or free will. The mind is a sure and determined method of thinking, and therefore cannot possibly be the free cause of its own actions," The only sin the system allows is imperfection on its way to perfectness: it is the loss of that which is the only good, that is, of being. In the evolution of God there is a struggle, and the transient survival of the fittest. " By how much the more anyone can preserve his share of being the greater is the virtue with which he is endowed; conversely, so far as anyone neglects to conserve his being he is impotent." Spinoza, like many other devout Pantheists, had exalted notions of the deification of man in God as His transient representative in the process of His eternal incarnation. But at the point of his highest elevation into union with the Deity, finite man is in this system lost in the infinite. There is no Christian glorification of the creature in God, but only reabsorption into the source whence his fleeting personality came. This is pure Pantheism, creationless, and therefore without a Creator. Man has no distinct existence for ever, because he and his home, and all that is his, must be drawn back again into the ocean that other similar waves of existence may follow. Ancient Hinduism went near to this; but it may be doubted whether it ever went so far. " I am Brahm," was the language that expressed in it the highest consummation of unity with Real Being; but still the I remained. Pantheism proper has no I, either for God or for man.


It cannot be said that all the errors of mankind as to the created universe in its relation to the Creator may be summed up as Pantheism and Materialism. These are the extreme poles, but there are zones between of great importance in which we find the most abundant development of human speculation and practice. These can only be alluded to here, and that for two reasons: first, they do not enter into theology proper: and, secondly, they are not now predominant errors against which theology as such has to contend.


Holy Scripture, which is the revelation of the absolute religion, does not trace the history of man's descent from the worship of one God to the worship of gods many: nor does it shed much light upon the various forms which Polytheistic idolatry has gradually assumed. But there is nothing in the Word of God inconsistent with the following two truths: that Polytheism sprang out of a Pantheistic perversion of the feeling of mankind after one Supreme in nature and yet over nature; that it has always coexisted with a more or less indefinite sense of one Deity; and has in its best forms worked towards the absolute supremacy of the only and true God.

I. The modern Science of Religion aims to trace the development of the instinct or faculty in man for the infinite and eternal through all the records of the races: starting generally from the principle that began by investing the visible and invisible forces of nature with supernatural attributes, and then, as that religion became more dialectic, gradually emerging into Monotheism or Pantheism, in many cases drifting into Atheism by the way. Some of these teachers of Comparative Theology proceed on the theory of evolution. Taking man from the hands of the physical evolutionist, as having been slowly developed into a sentient, moral, and even religious creature, they then carry onward the principle into all the phenomena of what may be called the spiritual history of mankind.

Others take up the theory without its tremendous preliminary assumptions.

1. The testimony of Scripture is explicit here. We might infer from its early records that the successive heads of mankind, and founders of the nations, carried everywhere with them the knowledge or tradition of one Creator; and the tendency of the whole of the record supports that inference. But the New Testament, which in the fullness of time clears up the mysteries of earlier revelation, gives us a clear account of the origin of Polytheism and idolatry. St. Paul, directly dealing with this subject, speaks of the heathen as of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness. 1 He expressly says, that the created universe carried with it to the mind of man a revelation of its one Creator; that their heart was darkened and they became fools; their folly being their idolatry: they changed the glory of the incorruptible God to an image like unto corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. 2 Here we have a kind of programme in brief of all the Polytheistic systems of antiquity. Returning from the moral corruption of the Gentiles to their idolatry, the Apostle says that they changed the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed for ever.

Amen. 3 Every word here is significant. They changed, —for this was their own and their fathers act—the truth of God, the reality of the One God, or the me revelation He had given of Himself, into the Lie, the one lie of Polytheism, and worshipped in their perverted sentiments, and served in their outward idolatry, the creature besides, or above, or instead of the Creator: pará tón Ktísanta. It may be insisted on that this pará, interpreted by the context, shuts out the service of the Creator altogether; but the sacred writer would have found a more forcible way of asserting that. The essence of idolatry throughout Scripture is not the absolute exclusion of the thought of one Supreme; but the giving imaginary representatives of Him the glory due to His one name. That was the idolatry charged against the covenant people themselves; and that, in principle at least, is the idolatry of which superstitious Christendom is found guilty. It is that identification of the Creator with the creature which is the soul of Pantheism. The Holy God does not count His created universe sinful in itself; but in His holiness He is eternally separate from the creature, and will be honored as such. Hence the Scripture warrants our introduction of this subject into the relations between God and the creature.

1 Rom. 1:18; 2 Rom. 1:23; 3 Rom. 1:25.

2. The history of Polytheism confirms all this. Men early lost the supremacy of faith and were surrendered to sense. But the faith only lost its supremacy, and sense was not wholly sense. They never lost that within them which verified three things, let modern philosophy say what it will: the reality of their own dependent existence; the reality of an outer universe not themselves; and the reality of an Infinite Something, Being or Person, beyond that. But the distinctness of these was lost their perfect confusion was pure Pantheism; which, however, was the growth of later ages. At first, the self was distinct; but God and the creature were blended. The One Being was everywhere felt and seen, but not as one being: His energies were distributed, and Naturism, or nature-worship, was the result: the term worship being here conventionally used. The two extremes lie before us in the history of mankind. There is Fetichism, a term invented in the last century to describe the abject superstition which attaches to an endless variety of objects a mysterious connection with supernatural powers, making them symbols of spiritual influences haunting all nature. This takes its most grotesque form in Western Africa, but has pervaded all ages and races, from the Teraphim of Mesopotamia to the Shamanism of Tartary. At the opposite pole is the dread magnificence of the Oriental Greek and Scandinavian Mythologies, where Fetichism is expanded, etherealised, and developed into its grandest proportions. But everywhere, and in all its forms, it is the idolatry of the creature which loses the Creator: in multiplicity forgetting the unity, though the unity was never far off. From that mankind had wandered, and to that must they, after long wanderings, return.

II. The history of the religious beliefs of mankind bears witness that there never was a national or tribal Polytheism which did not, more or less, consciously give the supremacy to one, and only one being.

1. The most wonderful, certainly the earliest system of mythology—if such a name may be allowed—is that of the primitive Aryans, whose strong religious feeling deified all the forces of nature. Every object in which they felt the presence of the invisible and the infinite was raised into something supernatural, into a Deva, bright being; Asura, a living thing; and Amartya, an immortal. By degrees, the multitude of gods approximated to a deification of universal nature; but by degrees also the strong tendency of the Indian religion was to find its refuge in a kind of Atheism which was really a protest in favor of one God, or in aspirations after one God by name.

(1.) As the Aryan theology is the grandest outside of the Bible—how entirely outside of it we shall see—a few illustrations may be derived from it of the principle we are considering, that the One Creator has been always unconsciously groped for in every system. In the Indian religion we may see in epitome, though in a vast epitome, the entire evolution: so absolutely the entire evolution, that it may be selected to represent the whole. We cannot determine what thought concerning the Supreme was behind the earliest Vedic worship; it may have been that the early hymns to Aditi, the boundless or the infinite One, were remembrances of a primitive Monotheistic religion. But certainly in process of ages the whole tide of Hondo thought and feeling set in towards One Highest God, in the noblest, if not the most beautiful, monarchical form of Polytheism.

The supreme sway of the Unknown God, however, was of no avail, so long as He had crowds of representatives nearer than He, The time of reformation came: but it led: to a philosophical Atheism, or to Buddhism and Pantheism. The only religion that India never knew until Christianity brought it near is Monotheism. To that there has always, however, been a steady tendency; though, neither in India, nor in any part of the world, will Polytheism give place to the worship of one God until that God is accepted in the Holy Trinity.

(2.) Professor Max Muller has invented a new word to express a certain peculiarity, as he deems it, in the evolution of Indian thought concerning God: his own description will be given, especially as it is almost applicable to all the more enlightened nations of heathenism. " If we must have a general name for the earliest form of religion among the Vedic Indians, it can be neither Monotheism, nor Polytheism, but only Henotheism, that is, a belief and worship of those single objects, whether semi-tangible or intangible, in which man first suspected the presence of the invisible and the infinite, each of which as we saw was raised into something more than finite, more than natural, more than conceivable." . . . "This is the peculiar character of the ancient Vedic religion which I have tried to characterize as HENOTHEISM or KATHENOTHEISM, a successive belief in single supreme gods, in order to keep it distinct from that phase of religious thought which we commonly call Polytheism, in which the many gods are already subordinated to one supreme God, and by which therefore the craving after the one without a second has been more fully satisfied. In the Veda one god after another is invoked. For the time being all that can be said of a divine being is ascribed to him. The poet, while addressing him, seems scarcely to know of any other gods. But in the same collection of hymns, sometimes even in the same hymn, other gods are mentioned, and they also are truly divine, truly independent, or, it may be, supreme. . . . But what interests us at present is how that intention was realized; by how many steps, by how many names, the infinite was grasped, the unknown named, and at last the Divine reached. Those beings who are called DEVAS in the Veda are in many places not yet even the same as the Greek theos; for the Greeks, even so early as the time of Homer, had begun to suspect that, whatever the number and nature of the so-called gods might be, there must be something supreme, whether a god or a fate, there must be at least ONE Father of gods and men. In some portions of the Veda, too, the same idea breaks through, and we imagine that as in Greece, Italy, Germany, and elsewhere, so in India also, the religious craving after the one would have been satisfied by a monarchical Polytheism. But the Indian mind soon went, and we shall see how in the end it was driven, to a denial of all the devas or gods, and a search for something higher than all the devas, Dyaus himself, or Varuna, or Indra, or Pragapati not excluded . . . The process which we have been watching in the case of the sun, we can watch, again and again, with regard to most of the Vedic deities. Not, however, with regard to all. The so-called semi-deities, the rivers, the mountains, the clouds, the sea, others also, such as the dawn, the night, the wind, or the storm, never rise to the rank of supreme deity; but of Agni, the fire, of Varuna, the covering sky, of Indra, Vishnu, Rudra, Soma, Pargaanya, and others, epithets are used, and whole descriptions given, which, to our mind, would be appropriate to a supreme Deity only." (3.) There was another stage of development. " First of all, we find that several of these single deities, having sprung from one and the same source, have a tendency, after a very short career of their own, to run together. Dyaus was the sky as the ever-present tight Varuna was the sky as the all-embracing. Mitra was the sky as lighted up by the sun of the morning. Surya was the sun as shining in the sky. Savitri was the sun as bringing light and life. Vishnu was the sun as striding with three steps across the sky; Indra appeared in the sky as the giver of rain; Rudra and the Maruts passed along the sky in thunderstorms; Vata and Vayu were the winds of the air; Agni was fire and light, wherever it could be perceived, whether as rising out of darkness in the morning, or sinking in the darkness in the evening. The same applies to several of the minor deities. Hence it constantly happened that what was told of one deity could be told of another likewise; the same epithets are shared by many, the same stories are told of different gods." " Another expedient adopted by the ancient poets, and which seems quite peculiar to the Yeda, is the formation of dual deities" " A third expedient was to comprehend all the gods by one common name, to call them VISVE DEVAS, the all-gods, and to address prayers and sacrifices to them in their collective capacity." (4.) " Lastly, there was that other expedient, which to us seems the most natural of all, in order to bring the craving for one god into harmony with the existence of many gods, viz.

the expedient, adopted by the Greeks and Romans, of making one of the gods supreme above all the rest: thus satisfying the desire for a supreme power, the eis koiranos esto, and not breaking entirely with the traditions of the past, and the worship paid to individual manifestations of the divine in nature, such as were Apollon and Athena, or Poseidon and Hades, by the side of Zeus." . . . Here we have an almost universal phenomenon, and one that pays a deep homage to the truth of the Scriptures, and the revelation of the one only Creator: the peculiarity of the homage being that every such unconscious homage to the one Supreme was paid to Him as the Originator of all things.

There was among the Vedic Aryans the same tendency to establish supremacy among the gods, a one Creating God, as we find in the mythologies not only of Greece and of Rome, but of Germany and Scandinavia. "There are a few hymns addressed to Visvakarman, the creator, and Pragapati, the lord, in which there are but small traces left of the solar germ from whence they sprang. Some of them remind us of the language of the Psalms; and one imagines that a deity such as Pragapati or Visvakarman would really have satisfied the monotheistic yearnings, and constituted the last goal in the growth of the religious sentiment of the ancient Aryans of Indra. But this, as we shall see, was not to be." This was not to be; because men having lost their faith in the one supreme Creator could not return to Him until they were taught to abandon their false gods, forsake their Pantheon, and give back to the True God the glory due to His name. Meanwhile, in evidence that Polytheism has always struggled unconsciously towards the truth, we may quote the Vedic hymn referred to: "He the One God, whose eyes are everywhere, whose mouth, whose arms, whose feet are everywhere; he, when producing heaven and earth, forges them together with his arms and with the wings." " Beyond the sky, beyond the earth, beyond the Devas and the Asuras, what was the first germ which the waters bore, wherein all gods were seen?" "You will never know him who created these things; something else stands between you and him. Enveloped in mist, and with faltering voice, the poets walk along rejoicing in life." There are a few such tributes to the creator dispersed in the Rig-Veda, which, notwithstanding that they are addressed to different beings, are proofs that the true God never left Himself without a witness. To quote Max Muller once more: " With such ideas as these springing up in the minds of the Vedic poets, we should have thought that the natural development of their old religion would have been towards Monotheism, towards the worship of one personal God, and that thus in Indra also the highest form would have been reached which man feels inclined to give to the Infinite, after all other forms and names have failed." 2. These extracts have been given as illustrating the most interesting and affecting phenomenon in the history of the race: its struggles to return from its wanderings to God.

On a smaller scale the same evolution has been going on, and, alas, is still going on, throughout the earth. And the science which makes this history the basis of some great generalizations is called the Science of Religion or Comparative Theology. The study is of great importance, and yields great advantage to the Christian Cause, though it is generally prosecuted in a spirit of opposition to the exclusive claims of Christianity.

(1.) It brings boundless evidence from every corner of the earth and from every tribe of humanity that it is of the very nature of man to inquire after the Creator of the world he lives in. The entire sphere of sensible objects around him, and of perceptible forces above him, have been deified only in the service of a higher and nobler desire to penetrate through all these to the One beyond: appealing to Him always as Creator, or at least thinking of Him and addressing Him as the Author and Disposer of all things. As the ancient Vedic poets perpetually uttered their protests against the Devic idolatry, so all the bards and prophets of every religion have shown their sense of something behind the crowded sphere of their lower divinities. Either as the Great Spirit of the far West, or the Aditi, the Infinite, of the far East or the Moira, Destiny, of the Greeks, or the Jupiter Optimus Maximus of the Romans, there is in every religion or mythology some name that stands as a symbol of the One Supreme as yet unknown. There are thought to be a few exceptions: in the early religion of the Chinese and of the Germans it may be hard to trace these tendencies to Monotheism. But this is mainly because the archives are wanting to complete the evidence. And certain it is that the process of time and of reformation has brought out the latent tendency. This last point is of importance: almost every ancient form of religion has had its eras of reform; and most of those reforms have been Monotheistic in the long run if not immediately so. China might seem to deny this; it was in the earliest ages more Pantheistic than any other nation, and, after receiving the reformation of Confucius, fell under the influence of Buddhism. But through all Chinese philosophy there runs the idea of the Primitive Force, Yang, and primitive matter, Ju.

Ischuhi in due time rose above this dualism and regarded these as the two faces of one sole primitive being, Tai-Ky. This seems pure Pantheism; but Pantheism, whether in East or West, has been the refuge of the minds of men from many gods in one Eternal Self of the universe, its one Cause if not its Creator.

(2.) The study tends greatly to serve the cause of the Christian religion by showing the incomparable superiority of the records of revelation. The Bible is the sole book of the so-called sacred books of the world which contains one, and one only, and one consistent account of the origin of all things. The difference between that account and every other extant in literature is not simply one of degree: the degree cannot be estimated. In every other document, even the noblest fragments of the Veda not excepted, the hints are obscure and inconsistent, the tributes are paid to different beings, or to the same being under different names, and sometimes there are most incongruous associations introduced. But in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments there is one most heavenly hymn to the Creator which has no single discordant note from the first verse of Genesis In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth 1 down to the last hymn of revelation: Thou art worthy, 0 Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they were and were created. 2

1 Gen. 1:1; 2 Rev. 4:11.


This generic word embraces all those systems of antiquity which strove to explain the contradictions manifest in the universe by tracing all things up to two irreconcilable principles; In respect to creation, it assigned to matter in some form an eternal independent existence, or, if not an existence independent, at least an existence as necessary to human thought as that of the Eternal Energy that moulds it. This is its differential element in relation to Pantheism. The one says that God is in all things, or that all things are God; the other says that God MOVES in all-things, either as their soul in their harmony or as their controller in their discords. Hence the distinction is a sound one that has termed Pantheism MONISM, and the system we now consider DUALISM. But we have many subdivisions of Dualism.

1. There is a sense in which the notion of a perpetual conflict pervaded all the religious ideas of antiquity. The sovereignty of one God not being firmly held, there was no settled theory either as to creation or as to the supremacy of one Being in the midst of its disharmonies. Even in the best philosophies the world was the theatre of a mysterious struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, and the step was easy from this to a contest between powers above visible nature, and the evil that was manifest in nature itself. Running through all species of ancient Pantheism and Polytheism there is a stream of Dualism that cannot be hid, There is hardly a form of ancient mythology which did not, more or less distinctly, set over against each other two opposite forces, and distribute its higher powers accordingly; though sometimes introducing a mysterious synthesis of the two by a profound instinct of the truth. We may go farther, and say that this idea unconsciously plays its part in almost every system of thought, Pantheistic or Polytheistic, in ancient and modern times.

2. The most remarkable expression of the principle, in itself the most elaborate and in its influences the most lasting, was that of Zoroaster, the reformer of Persian Dualism.

Before his time Iranian religion was Polytheistic, with a tendency to divide all spiritual powers into two conflicting orders, good and evil; his reform, about twelve hundred years B.C., aimed to bring back a more Monotheistic view, by making both Ormuzd and Ahriman spring from a higher existence, Zeruane Akerene, the infinite and timeless existence, and by teaching the future annihilation of evil. But, whatever the secret philosophy of this Persian religion might be, its open teaching and practical developments were Dualistic. How far its principles touched the question of the eternity of matter has been much questioned: probably that part of the system was derived rather from Buddhistic and Grecian speculation.

3. Certainly the Dualism which we meet with in the Gnostic heresies of the early Christian ages was not more nearly related to Zoroastrianism than to the later speculations of Greek philosophy. From the former it derived the idea of an eternal opposition of light and darkness; and of the Divine operation conceived as the emanation of rays or aeons of existence decreasing in intensity until they reach the darkness of matter, where all evil is. From the latter it derived its philosophical idea of matter, as a certain indeterminate and undefinable principle, existent, and yet not existing, having in it the possibility of all things, not personal, without intelligence, and the material out of which phenomena are woven. The creation in the Gnostic systems was not the work of the Eternal God. Nor was it eternal in any sense, save as spiritual existences for ever flow from the source of light. As matter it was already eternal, in the shape of the kenoma, or empty void, outside of the plhroma, constituting the perfect revelation of the God of true existence. The bridge between the Abyss or buthos of substantial being and the material visible world was the fall of the last of the emanations into matter, and producing the Demiurgus (or Earth-former), or soul of the world. The infinite varieties of the Gnostic systems were efforts to account for the contact between the Eternal Spirit and matter, the seal of all darkness and source of all evil. The result was a Creator, who, first conceived of as unconsciously carrying out the Divine purposes, is at last made the diametrical opposite of God. The history of Gnosticism, in which the Dualist idea sought to Christianize itself, but in. vain, which the Christian Church cast out, stage after stage, until its final overthrow as Manichaeism, is worthy of profound study. But a few remarks in relation to our present subject are all that is necessary here.

(1.) The whole system was a vast and bewildering attempt to bridge over the impassable gulf between the Infinite and the finite. It was one contribution towards solving a problem that has taxed the human mind and baffled it from the beginning. Starting from a principle, the origin of which no man knows, that matter is inherently evil, the question was to account for its existence without disparaging the Supreme. It was assumed that the Eternal Being permitted an aeon from Himself to transgress the oros, or boundary of His own essence, and produce from matter, either by creating it, as some said, or quickening it as others, all creaturely existence. In human souls good and evil elements were mixed; and to undo the work of the Demiurge or creator of this confusion was the work of redemption. The task of the Christ, a new aeon sent forth to assume the docetic semblance of matter, was to bring back the stray emanations that had become imprisoned in the world, to release man therefore from the body, his resurrection being "past already," and either to annihilate matter absolutely or to leave it to its empty chaos. The wildness of these systems was only equaled by their inconsistency. They left the impassable oros where they found it. They sought to trace what, in modern times, would be called the law of continuity from the creation upwards to the Deity, or from the Creator downwards to the creation. And they thought they found it in the gradual attenuation of the light emanations until they passed over the boundary, and mixed with the darkness of matter beyond. But they were for ever vexed by two great anomalies.

First, the Divine Pleroma was supposed to give out aeons urged by love and desire which degraded the eternal essence down to the point of lusting after the material void. And, secondly, they either regarded that material void as eternally existing, or they supposed that the Supreme permitted the Demiurge to create it as the element of all future evil.

(2.) The sublime doctrine of the relation of the Eternal Son to the creature is the only secret of the continuity which is taught, the only bridge between the Creator and the creature. He is the Mediator—if such a use of the term may be allowed—between the Infinite and the finite, between God and the creature. With their eyes on the rising Gnosticism that was to disturb the Church St. Paul and St. John often use expressions which cannot be well understood but as laying down the truth concerning the Son, as the Archeegón teés Zooeés and the Archee tees ktiseos, 1 which the dualistic heretics perverted. St John taught that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all; 2 but he also taught that Jesus, as the true Light which enlighteneth every man, was coming into the world, 3 not, however, as an aeon or emanation; for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. 4 Every word of this last sentence of St. Paul contradicts the Gnostic speculations as to the Demiurgus: the entire pleérooma of the Godhead, and not an emanation, dwelt in Him and did not descend upon Him bodily, and not in semblance.

And He Who was the First begotten before every creature, 5 was such as the Archee or Beginning, in Whom and through Whom creation began. By Him were all things created: as if in Him the Absolute God, or the Father, originated the creaturely existence, upholds it and administers it; by an incarnation before the Incarnation. We cannot conceive how the creaturely universe should have this specific relation to the Son, and how in Him the Infinite became-finite, before God became flesh; but we must receive the mystery and adore it. Our Lord was the Firstborn of the new creation when He began its life in Himself; and He is the First begotten, or the Beginning of the creation of God, which had its origin in Him.

1 Acts 3:15; 2 1 John 1:5; 3 John 1:9; 4 Col. 2:9; 5 Col. 1:15-20.


At the opposite pole of Pantheism stands Materialism as the philosophical or scientific antagonist of the Scriptural doctrine of the Creator and creation: opposite poles, however, of one and the same sphere of thought. Pantheism gives the notion of God the preeminence, all things phenomenal being His eternal but ever-changing vesture; Materialism gives matter the pre-eminence, as the only substance that is, and regards what men call God as the unknown law by which that substance is governed in all its evolutions. Strictly speaking, Materialism proper has no place here. It is simply a question of science and scientific speculation; being, as touching the created universe, a pure negative, that can neither prove itself nor disprove anything else.


Certain fundamental principles are common to the Materialism of all ages. Denying the distinction of matter and spirit it denies the existence of spirit altogether; and soul or spirit, being only one particular form of the existence or function of matter, is immortal only in the sense that matter is indestructible and in some form or other will for ever go on producing the same phenomena. Religion has no place in this system. It makes that the strange fantasy which it is the unaccountable habit of the brain of man almost universally to beget: all its hopes and fears and aspirations perish with the organism that gave them birth. Discarding religion, it nevertheless has always prided itself on being a philosophy.

As such, it must of necessity investigate the origin of things. One of the eccentricities of what we call thought is that matter must seek to know its own beginning, and the reason of its existence. Its futile speculations perish, like its religion, with every individual thinker's brain; yet, like its religion, these are transmitted from age to age. But its questions are never answered. Thinking matter can only say of itself that it must always have existed since it now exists; that it knows nothing about any power that could have brought it into being; that it has no explanation whatever of the difference between itself as inanimate, and itself as endowed with life; and, in short, that it can only say, unconsciously echoing the eternal truth which it will not receive, " I am that I am." If it is not its own creator it at least will know of no other. But the very word creation is abhorrent to the system from beginning to end.


These fundamental principles, however, have been variously molded, from generation to generation. There is a history of Materialism as there is a history of Pantheism and Dualism. With that theology has nothing directly to do, but it may be of indirect advantage to indicate the lines of development as they have been directed consciously or unconsciously by opposition to revealed truth. All the principles of Materialism were laid down by ancient heathenism; they have been asserted in direct opposition to Christianity as a revelation of God; and, lastly, they are now sought to be established in the interests of pure science, which answers every Christian suggestion by either perfect indifference or an appeal to universal nescience. A few words on each of these points in its order.


The Materialism of ancient times was atheistic; and, as such, in professed antagonism to the predominant schools of thought, Eastern and Western. Epicurus, an Athenian philosopher of the fourth century before Christ, is sometimes regarded as its founder. .

From the remains handed down to us we gather that his system contained most of the ideas which rule modern thought on this question. He set out with the principle which Lucretius, his disciple, has thus formulated: Ex nihilo nihil, in nihilum nil posse reverti.

The universe he regarded as infinite: infinite in the number of bodies, infinite in the space that holds them. The elements of which all bodies are constituted are indivisible, atom, and unchangeable, ametablhtoa. These atoms, endowed from eternity with movement which makes them meet, combine into aggregates, whether smaller or larger as in the celestial spaces. As to this world, to pan esti soma. What we know we know through our senses; and when the organs perish the functions perish. Epicurus entirely dismissed the idea of Providence. If he admitted the existence of gods, it was only in the interest of prudence, the one criterion of his morals. " All is false that is commonly said about the gods: there is no truth in the chastisements they are supposed to inflict on men, nor in the rewards they assign to the good." " There are gods, and the knowledge we have of them is certain; but they are not what the vulgar suppose. The impious man is not he who refuses to believe in the gods of the common people, but he who accepts them as they do." His was an Atheism disguised, as Cicero says: " Video nonnullis videri Epicurum, ne in offensionem Atheniensium caderet, verbis reliquisse deos, re sustulisse." Thus Epicurus gathered up the fragments of Leucippus and Democritus, and gave them through Lucretius a form ready for future science. And, as his physical system anticipated much that modern times have more fully formulated, so his moral system was a favorable sketch of the highest ethics of Materialism. With him virtue is only the means, the prudential means, to the end of peace and tranquility. While Plato sought the sovereign good in resemblance to God, and Zeno in conformity with universal law, Epicurus went no farther than the attainment of as near an approach as possible to the tranquil rest of nature, and the utmost enjoyment of life. Let us eat and drink, far to-morrow we die, 1 is St. Paul's account of the ethics down to which this system surely descends or gravitates by its own inherent tendency.

1 1 Cor. 15:32.


When we speak of Atheism proper, we speak of a phase of the controversy touching a great First Cause of creation, which has, for reasons hereafter to be given, almost passed away. The word is not in favor; it is renounced even by those whose reasoning naturally lead to it; let other terms be used and they have no objection to a disguised god, either nameless or with the name they prefer; but Atheism they reject as unphilosophical. But, before reaching this more modern phase of the scientific Materialistic form of it, we must make some remarks on Atheism proper, which has aimed to rid the creation of a Creator and of a God.

1. The question may be fairly asked, is blank Atheism or Antitheism possible to the human mind? And the answer must be finally given that it is not. The appeal may be made to Scripture: an appeal which ought to be allowed, whether for the conclusion of all strife or not, since it is undeniable that the Bible contains the largest and noblest collection of the world's religious thoughts. Throughout the whole of this book, which gives its testimony to the whole variety of human error, there is no single allusion to men from whose minds the thought of God is erased. The book demonstrates everything about the Deity but His existence: it never descends to argue with an Atheist, for it never supposes that it speaks to such a man. Besides the wicked who say onto God, Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways, 1 it singles out the fool who hath said in his heart, there is no God; 2 but these are evidently, as the context proves, the same persons. The theoretical Atheist is not in the Bible. Nor will a believer in revelation allow that he exists in the world at large. Wherever the word of revelation is sent its mission is to proclaim, not the existence of God, but the sin of man, the need of a Deliverer, and a Deliverer provided. All nations are supposed to require only that the Unknown God, Whom they ignorantly worship, be declared unto them. And in every part of the world that faculty to receive the supernatural has been found, which is, if not the belief in God, yet at least the denial of Atheism. The appeal must be made to fact and the testimony of history, past and present: " What people is there 1 said Cicero, " or what race of men, which has not, without traditional teaching, some presentiment of the existence of gods?" That nations may have been found in the past, and tribes of savages now, which have no clear notion of one Supreme Being, and no worship of any kind, may be admitted. But the very lowest waifs and strays of humanity have always manifested the existence of that hidden mystery of its origin which owns affinity with the supernatural.

And that is all our present argument requires.

1 Job 21:14; 2 Psa. 53:1.

2. Atheism proper, as distinguished from other forms of the error that goes astray from God, has mostly sprung from moral causes, and denotes therefore a system of thought which the healthiest instinct of mankind has always abhorred. The early history of our race bears witness that the Atheist was counted unworthy of any respect. The denial of the existence of the gods was proscribed and punished. Even those systems of thought which tended to the removal of faith were careful to disguise their attack on the gods.

Epicurus in words acknowledged their possible existence. After the appearance of our Lord professed atheism was very rare, until the general corruption of society in the last century. And, in fact, the term in theology is reserved for a state of feeling produced by many diversified moral causes, which culminated in the excesses of the French Revolution.

3. Since that time Atheism has been scientific, philosophical, and generally disguised under the name of AGNOSTICISM: certainly the most refined of all its forms, and that which most directly mocks and insults the dignity of human nature. It shrinks from avowed Atheism; and will not dare to say there is no God. It shrinks from Materialism, and will not dare to say that the forces of matter account for all phenomena. It simply declares the impossibility of knowing what the tremendous FORCE is that controls all things. There is no more deadly form of the great error of mankind than this which undermines every foundation.

4. There may be said to be a modern ANTI-THEISM, that is not content with throwing off the fetters of a Deity, but must needs argue against the possibility of the existence of such a God as the Scriptures present. Atheism is content with the privative particle, Antitheism is active and aggressive. There is, however, a restraint upon the minds of men, and a decency in society, which forbid the explosion of this kind of sentiment. When it does appear it is at best, or at worst, little other than a modern Manichaeism or Dualism. The existence of God is not blankly denied; but the evil that exists is made an argument that, if a God is, He must be limited in many respects, and not by any means the Being Whom we reverence and adore. There is much latent Manichseism in society and in literature; many fall back upon two deities who are hardly conscious of doing so. However, the God Whom the Scriptures reveal must be accepted as He is, even though He says, I form the light and create darkness.1

1 Isa. 14:6,7.


If what has been said is true, then Materialism, makes matter its god. There must be absolute existence: matter is eternal, self-sufficient, infinite, necessary, and the only being. Scientific Materialism, strictly so called, is based upon two principles which it sometimes postulates, though unreasonably, and sometimes seeks to prove, but unsuccessfully. One of them is negative, that there is nothing but matter in existence; and the other is positive, that matter in its combinations and modes of evolution is an adequate cause of all phenomena. It may be objected that this is inverting the order of materialistic argument, which first proves that nothing but the laws of matter are needed to give a reason for all that exists, and then by the principle of the "sufficient reason " renounces all other existence. Yielding to this objection, though denying its truth, let us glance at the principles of the positive argument, and then at the negative conclusion: abstaining, however, from scientific controversy, which is generally not within our compass.

1. We need only mention two necessary demonstrations at which Materialism aims, in which, however, it signally fails: the correlation of physical and vital forces, and the correlation of these with mental and what we call spiritual forces. Here are the stumblingblocks of Materialism, over which it has hitherto fallen, and must for ever fall. Until these are established this system has no claim to be considered as based on inductive science.

For simplification, we may drop the last link, that of the mental forces; and then the question becomes this: Is life one mode of the motion of that force which is supposed to be one, persistent and indestructible in the universe of material atoms? Scientific Materialism has at length, though not without diffidence and many haltings, come to the conclusion that it is so. Taking the material sun for its god— for every theory, like every man, must have a god—it finds in it the original force, potential everywhere and kinetic everywhere, of every movement in the sum of human things. Of the power beyond that made the sun what it is—the god behind the god— it has nothing to say. Now, so long as this law is limited to physical changes, it may be accepted: it has to fight its own battle.

But when it carries the law into the sphere of life, it not only denies the truth of Scripture, but ceases to have even that measure of probability which the theory of the interchangeableness of physical forces has. For a considerable time the argument from analogy was relied on. It was thought unphilosophic to stop short, after having discovered the one secret up to the limits of vital force: at any rate, the temptation was very strong to include the forces of life and thought under the one law. But the phenomena rebelled. It has been found utterly impossible to carry it into this other region. Life and thought have never submitted to measurement and quantification. Dead matter has never been changed into living. It is idle to speak of the correlation of physical and living or mental force, until the latter can be measured by the same standard as the former. The entrance of life into the sphere of matter is the annihilation of Materialism. It cannot explain that secret whereby something in the individual appropriates dead matter, suitable to its own type of existence. Materialists themselves acknowledge that this secret is hid from them; and vainly disguise their impotence by adopting such terms as " directive agency," or " architectonic principle/' or " formative impulse." Whence comes this principle of eternal difference between dead and living matter? Though denying it in words, Materialism touches, nevertheless, in reality the interaction of another set of forces besides those which reign in physics. This it will be driven finally to acknowledge. Materialists have done service by fixing attention upon the deep truth that there is a correlation between these forces; a most mysterious and wonderful interaction between the phenomena of physical and spiritual life. Well for them if they would learn, on their side, to distinguish things that differ.

2. Meanwhile, the system is chargeable with the utmost possible outrage upon the rational convictions of mankind. It is essentially atheistic in its tendency, if all who espouse these principles are not Atheists. There is a large number of those who bind up with matter and molecular action all kinds of life and thought while they admit the possibility of an inscrutable force behind or above all this; but they either deny the possibility of knowing anything about this unknown power, or they absolutely limit it to a force which has no operation save through matter. It may be safely affirmed that those who adopt the leading principles of Materialism either are or soon become Atheists. And, renouncing God, everything that confers dignity on man or worthiness on life is gone.

The system denies the existence of anything beyond matter: it takes away from man his spirit, his immortality, his all. It ought to deny him the consciousness of personal identity; its principles lead that way; for if man is only material, and the particles of his physical self are every moment changing, and undergo a total change in the course of a few years, what can be the substratum of his identity? It dares not take that away; but it takes away all that makes it important Materialism is the most irrational error that ever misled the human mind; and to the holder of it, if to any, applies the Apostle's apostrophe, áfroon!1 Yet we have now to see this made into a philosophy.

1 1 Cor. 15:36.


Positivism has been dignified by the name of a philosophy. Its founder, Auguste Comte, was a legacy of the eighteenth century to the nineteenth, and of French Encyclopsedism and St. Simonianism to modern science. The result of his labors is a philosophy of the physical sciences which is almost entirely limited to induction, renouncing all thought of the causes of things, tracing simply the sequences of nature, and so ascertaining its laws, with a professed rejection of everything that is merely speculative or probable, and stern limitation of knowledge to what can be demonstrated beyond doubt, and is therefore Positive. To construct such a philosophy certain fundamental principles were adopted, which, however, are far from being positively determined: such as that nothing exists of which our senses do not assure us; that there is nothing existent but matter; that all phenomena are subject to invariable laws which it is the business of science to register, and only to register; that these laws are simply relations of succession and resemblance; that in the cerebral phenomena of mind they are as absolutely physical in their necessary sequence as any other observed phenomena, only that they require greater care in observation; and that the highest aim of science should be to forecast by scientific prevision the certain future of human actions, just as the courses of the planets may be predicted. Hence the Positive Philosophy, interpreting the possible future by the past, and the necessary laws of human action which it has discovered, exults in the ambition to reduce the infinite complications of human freewill and congregated action to the exactness of a physical science. " I will venture to say that sociological science, though only established by this book, already rivals mathematical science itself, not in precision and fecundity, but in positivity and rationality." This assertion of Comte was not empty declamation. Both he and his followers have surveyed the history of the world on this principle, and are full of confidence that by mastering the laws of human action they will provide the ordained rulers of the world's social fabric. But Sociology is never far from Religion; and the Positive Philosophy is no exception to the universal rule that every system of thought that commands human attention must deserve it by at least attempting to account for the principles that men call their faith. What then is the relation of this philosophy to Religion? 1. First, Positivism has its method of accounting for the religions that now are, before it substitutes its own. It sets out with the broad generalization that the human race passes through three stages of intellectual evolution. First comes that in which the supernatural haunts the thought, seeking for causes of things, and inventing a Deity with all His court to account for them: this theological stage works itself slowly upwards from abject superstition, such as Fetichism, through the Polytheistic and Pantheistic ' systems, up to Christianity. Secondly comes the Metaphysical stage, in effect only a modification of the first: that in which the ideas of abstract forces, or occult powers, are introduced to account for the phenomena of the universe by those who have rejected the idea of a Creator. Thirdly and lastly, comes the Positive stage, in which the mind, ashamed of its superstitions, and wearied of its ontological researches, limits itself to the arrangement of phenomena When this generalization is examined it explodes immediately. It is not true historically; nor has it any right to govern a philosophy of history. It is undoubtedly correct as an explanation of the career of many individual minds, which have passed through the phases of simple faith in God, and metaphysical, pantheistic, or dualistic subtitles that have been substituted for it, ending in a dreary determination to accept only what is, and to leave the rest to nescience. The celebrated "three stages" have not the slightest value, save as registering the progress of faith through skepticism to unbelief.

2. The Positive Philosophy has its religion. For, in its fidelity to the observation and record of positive facts, it finds nothing more positive than the universal aspiration of mankind towards the unseen and the all but universal practice of some kind of worship.

Now these facts must not be accounted for theologically or metaphysically: that is to say, there must be no God; nor must any force, making for what it may, be substituted. It is a positive fact which must be dealt with philosophically and socially. But, looked at in either light, the Positivist way of treating man's religion is a gigantic inconsistency.

(1.) This last development of the scientific spirit refuses to carry the inductive principle into the region of the mental and emotional and active phenomena of mankind. It observes and notes these things; but with the foregone conclusion that they are the result of a certain combination of material atoms, and development of these forces not yet perfectly accounted for. Forced by its hypothesis to exclude all metaphysical or occult causes on the one hand, and swayed, on the other hand, by the despotism of the desire to find the unity of all things, it notes and registers all the mental and spiritual phenomena of mankind, the thoughts that penetrate the lowest depths, and the aspirations that shrink not from the highest heights, as so many new facts concerning matter. Now here is the deep inconsistency of the whole system. The innumerable phenomena of thought, feeling, and will are as much facts as gravitation, cohesion, and molecular motion. The same consciousness guarantees both: the one as referring to the self, and the other as belonging to not-self. The testimony of conscience asserts that the continuity is broken between these; that they go together up to a certain point, and then separate; not taking two paths, however, for there is an illimitable gulf between. The world of concepts, imaginations, feelings, and emotions, absolutely unallied with matter, is a real world, and ought to be dealt with as such. Positivism shuts its eyes to the positive fact that this ideal world governs the other material world, and is not governed by it.

(2.) Socially, Positivism uses, or would use, the religious instincts—by whatever name known—of mankind for the good of the body corporate. It must have its objective creed; and the only positive thing to believe in, venerate, and worship is Humanity: " The Great Collective Life of which human beings are the individuals. It must be conceived as having an existence apart from human beings, just as we conceive each human being to have an existence apart from, though dependent on, the individual cells of which his organism is composed. This Collective Life is, in Comte's system, the Etre Supreme; the only one we can know, therefore the only one we can worship." This being the first article of the New Creed, its last, as the substitute for Resurrection and Immortality, is " Living in the remembrance" of survivors. Here, it must strike everyone, is another proof of a fact that has forced itself upon us everywhere, that no system is without its god: the human mind can no more think without that condition than without the conditions of time and space. Positivism must have its something beyond, and above, and surviving its material nature. What is its abstract humanity but the creature worshipped para ton Ktisanta, instead of the Creator?


The Wisdom of God, accompanying His Power, presides over Creation as secondary, that is, as Formation. It is necessary to establish a distinction between the first production of matter and its subsequent elaboration, if such a term may be used, into the Cosmos, which brings us into the region of Cosmogony or Cosmology. It is important to consider whether the terms used by the inspired writer permit the distinction. Generally, it may be said that asah kara and to in the Hebrew, are used interchangeably for both, answering to ktizo in the Greek, and that they do not distinguish between the first creation and the second each being equally the act of omnipotence. But the double expression Created and Made 1 seems significantly to indicate a distinction which is not clearly defined; and a careful examination of later passages in which they are used together or separately will confirm this supposition. It must be remembered, however, that this secondary creation, or continuous formation, is in the truest sense production into being, as the infusion into the primitive matter of new forms and types of life, from the lowest trace of it scarcely discernible by science up to the soul of man. Hence the gradual construction of which the Scriptural Cosmogony speaks at length is in reality creation proper to us.

1 Gen. 2:3


The authoritative account of Creation found in Genesis is not, of course, what in modern language would be called scientific. It is given in the form of an express revelation from God Himself, before man or his science existed; given as the basis of all subsequent revelation to Israel, for the Hebrew observance of the Sabbath is essentially bound up with it; but given also for all mankind, the Genesis out of which all human history sprang.

Receiving it as such, we have first to consider its own teaching: its relation to other systems is a subordinate matter, but must be looked at also in its place.

1. It is important to remember that it furnishes an account of all creation, whether primary or secondary; but with special reference to the latter, in the preparation of the earth for the history of man and redemption. Strictly speaking, there is no distinction between these; the six days' work, we are told subsequently, included the universe: In six days the Lord made heaven and the earth. 1 However the days are interpreted they embrace the sum of things. What basis of truth there is in the general theory of evolution, which, as working in the great cosmical forces of inanimate nature, takes the form or many forms of the Nebula Hypothesis, and, as working in animated nature, takes the form or many forms of Development, must be made consistent with this doctrine of creation. But the Scriptural Cosmogony makes the will of God, expressed in fact, first the origin of all things, and then the Law behind these other laws. Before our Biblical Chaos and above it and around it there was a steadfast and tranquil cosmical system, the result of secondary creation acting through the natural laws which it fixed: it was only the earth that was without form and void. 2 And the six days of our account exhibit this truth with special reference to our economy. There was a development from term to term, but each stage marks a new creation in this development. When this evolution of species ended, and all types were consummated in Man, creation closed, and God rested and was refreshed; 3 but only to begin again, in a third sabbatic economy, the continuous uncreating regulation of all minor evolutions: My Father worketh hitherto. 4 The record in Genesis thus includes both primary and secondary creation. Its opening words alone declare the former: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 5 Between that beginning and the chaos of the second verse, when the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, 6 some have interposed a space, giving the widest possible or necessary latitude for the geological ages demanded by modern science. On this principle of interpretation the second verse itself leaves the operation of the forming and fashioning Spirit indeterminate. The light of revelation has risen only with dimness as yet upon the scene.

The record has not for its object the details of creation as such; but only so far as they concern the coming history of mankind. This is thought to be obvious from the distinction between heaven and earth in the first verse, and the suppression of heaven in the second. The silence that reigns after the first great declaration is regarded as at once a warning and an encouragement both to theology and to geology: only there can the reconciliation be sought, and there it may be found. But, whatever of truth there may be in this, it still remains that the six days' work of creation blends the primary and secondary in one: the sabbatic commandment in the Decalogue being witness.

1 Exo. 31:17; 2 Gen. 1:2; 3 Exo. 31:17; 4 John 5:17; 5 Gen.1:1; 6 Gen 1:2.

2. The interpretation of the days must conform to this truth. Accordingly, we may understand the sublime description to mean that the enormous cycles of creative activity, the epochs of God whose periods are not as ours, are presented to us in our history as human epochs. There is then a double series of days, an upper and a lower, the one corresponding to the other. The upper and heavenly are the great cycles of creation which ended in the sabbatic cycle of the reconstructed economy with man at its head. The lower and earthly are the form they take to us in the representation of literal days, ending on the seventh day, hallowed for ever: each of our working days being used to symbolize its own term in the secondary creation of God, and our literal Sabbath His rest. The first day is the most comprehensive, including all down to the production of light: one period of untold duration which it pleased God to call a human day, with its evening and morning.

The last day is the long sabbatic rest with God, with man it is the hallowed day of rest. It is quite consistent with this that the record of the first day is left in such obscurity. It is in harmony with the simplicity of the early record to leave the unwritten history of the primitive earth to the researches of science, for which the Spirit of revelation has reserved this honor; and to regard the narrative as specially limiting the HEXAHE-MERON, or sixdays' work, to the fashioning of the earth as the future abode of man. While the days of the Biblical Cosmogony are creative days, in the most comprehensive sense of the term, they throw the emphasis on the periods of a new creation, or of a new formation, superimposed each on an earlier and, as it were, perished order of things. In the final creation all was very good; 1 hence every trace of the rapine and death which, through some unknown cause, had existed in its earlier epochal stages, were removed, to be detected, however, afterwards, and to be explained. It must be remembered that in this record every day of formation was a day also of absolute creation. No theory of evolution or development that seems to trace a regular succession of forms through which organic existence has passed, in obedience to a plastic law originally impressed upon matter, can be made consistent with Scripture. The days of the first chapter of Genesis are creative days: they spent their cycles and ended, the cycles being shorter and shorter, but each having on earth its memorial day. The last in which creation ceased is running its course now, and will run on to the new creation.

1 Gen. 1:31.

3. The glory of the Mosaic Cosmogony is its testimony to God, Who reigns supreme in it from beginning to end, whether as the Elohim of the first chapter, or the Jehovah-Elohim of the second. He is the Absolute Creator of a universe which is not Himself, evolved according to laws which in this record are exhibited as successively communicated by a series of fiats or impulses. The beginning of each great development is marked, and nothing more. So long as we hold fast this principle we shall find the original document unassailable: if we attempt to harmonies the order of the days with the exact results of scientific discovery we undertake a needless and a doubtful task. Science has nothing to object against a Creator of matter and of life: it knows no other origin of existence phenomenal. Whether, and at what points, the creating impulse infused new energies into the order of nature, science is utterly powerless to say. But the Bible distinctly, most distinctly, gives its answer: what science may call permanent causes were necessarily introduced: no induction has ever proved the contrary, however sometimes longing to do so. The reign of law is a favorite scientific notion: the adaptation of everything to its specific function, and the invariable submission of all things to its rule. The Scripture is no less precise: He commanded and they were created; He hath also stablished them for ever and ever; He hath made a decree which shall not pass. 1 The beautiful idea of Development has also full justice done to it in Scripture: a development that proceeds through its evenings and mornings, each good but leading to that which is finally very good in the consummation of man, and followed by a rest of formative activity which science admits, but admits sometimes to pervert. At this point we are met by two different classes of objection: one to the order of the development as given by Moses; the other to the general principle of successive impulses.

1 Psa. 148:5,6.


1. The record of Genesis divides the creation into two parts: the inorganic and the organic. Each begins by the creation of light: on the first day, light cosmical, the radiating force of light and heat, with its medium of ether; on the fourth day, light as connected for man with visible light-bearers. No valid objection arises here: science knows nothing of the amazing quantity of light which is dispersed from the son and stars, an infinitesimal portion only of which is intercepted by attendant planets; nor can it give any account of the origination of light and heat in the sun. On the second day, the earth was individualized as such, by the creation of its atmosphere; against this also there is no scientific argument. On the third day the earth's surface was constituted, and vegetation began. The Biblical relation of land to sea is in harmony with geological conclusions. But the question is, whether all the previous conditions of the terrestrial economy were sufficient to bring plants into existence without a creative fiat. Science admits a VITAL force in the plant: how many forms or types were created we are not told; herbs and trees are distinguished, but what after his kind 1 may include we cannot determine. In the order of nature, as well as in that of Scripture, plants, the food of all animals, must precede the animal creation. Geology has failed to prove that the fossil representations of the vegetable world are not, in some parts of the earth, below the remains of any animals.

With the fifth day animal life began, for which the partial organic life of the vegetable prepared the way; and on the sixth day the inhabitants of the earth were formed, including man, but created according to a larger variety of types. The whole account is in the simplest form of words; but bears witness to a profound method. Each era preludes that which follows; each day is prophetic of the next; and while man is included among the mammalia his pre-eminence is asserted, as we shall hereafter see. The whole bears precisely the relation to science which we should expect in a record dated before science was known: giving the great outline which He alone could furnish Who was there from the beginning, and which He gave to a chosen people to be the first fragment of revelation.

1 Gen. 1:1.

2. He alone was there from the beginning; but as the days moved on in their slow procession His works were watched by other intelligences whose creation belonged to the first day; though of that the record gives no distinct account, being intended for man alone. What the book of Genesis may be in other worlds we know not. Our record is limited to ourselves. But we mark the chasms in it which we cannot supply: or which we can supply only by dangerous speculation. The great convulsion in the spiritual world is omitted: the fall of the angels, and its possible connection with the destiny of our earth. It has been a favorite hypothesis to assume that between the first verse and the second there is a break; that the words the earth was without form and void 1 indicate a disorganization and ruin which had come upon all things for reasons unknown; that the six days were periods of readjustment, or of a first restitution of all things answering to that restitution of all things 2 which will take place at the end. But tohu does not necessarily mean ruin: He created it not in vain, tohu, He formed it to be inhabited. 3 Moreover, this theory does not solve, it only evades, our great difficulties. In the strata of the earth's crust there lie the remains of animals which had lived under the dominion of disease, and rapine, and death: a prelude of human history which is as deep a mystery, and must remain so, as that other prelude, the sin of angels.

1 Gen. 1:2; 2 Acts 3:21; 3 Isa. 45:18.


In almost all the religious annals of mankind there are to be found traditions of the creation, which, for the most part, are entirely independent of the Hebrew Scriptures as to their origin, while their form is often strikingly parallel with the Mosaic account They are found among nations to which the Hebrew Scriptures could never have penetrated, from the ancient Aryan tribes to the islands of the Pacific. Yet a few points, common to all, seem to indicate one primeval Cosmogony, of which, as we believe, the Biblical is the genuine text. In the Indian Vedas the Eternal One thought " I will create worlds," and water came into existence, with the germs of all life; but we read of the original chaos, the formless mist, in which being was mirrored, and the creative word. In the Persian Zendavesta, Ormuzd, the god of light, as well as Ahriman, the god of darkness, arose out of the abyss of primitive being; the former fashioned the world in six long successive periods, a remarkable parallel with the account in Genesis. With this agrees most strangely the Etruscan cosmogony from quite a different quarter. In the Egyptian, as handed down by Diodorus Siculus, the moving wind separated heaven and earth out of chaos, and the successive periods of formation followed. In the Phoenician the origin of all was a dark, windy chaos, on which the Spirit rested; producing the original matter of creation. Hesiod's Theogony begins with the universal void, and goes on with an order of production that strangely agrees with our record, though many of the details are inverted.

Not unlike this is the Latin, according to Ovid's version. In all these the chaos, the brooding spirit, and the successive separations and creations of Genesis, appear in some form or other. But there the parallel mostly ends. The grotesque and utterly extravagant conceits from which every instinct recoils, and of which the imagination is ashamed, — the " world-egg " playing a prominent part from China to the South Seas—place a great gulf between all the cosmogonies of the world and the sublime simplicity of the record in which faith hears the voice of God and nought beside.


With the modern, or rather the revived, theories of Evolution, the Cosmogony of science, we have nothing to do save as they are related to theology. They are considered at this point, because they are not necessarily to be placed among Pantheistic, Dualistic, or Materialist errors. Undoubtedly, they are propounded by many in these three several interests, or rather in the interests of the first and last of the three. But it cannot be too distinctly remembered that their entire terminology, almost from beginning to end, implies that they are describing the production of all things phenomenal out of things that do not appear through the operation of some laws which necessarily connote a power guiding the law. Evolution is either the law by which that power constructs the inorganic universe, or that by which it orders the development of life in all its manifestations.


Bold hypothesis, sustained by mathematical science, has assumed that elementary matter existed in a highly attenuated state, for the expression of which every material word is too gross. This nebula, fire-mist, or dust of creation had in it or received all the powers and potentialities of the vast future. Some flash of energy threw this silent depository of all known laws into eternal activity. Rotation, radiation, cooling, produce centrifugal force which detaches the nucleus of future planets, and these by known laws necessarily seeking their origin again are thrown into orbits, meanwhile throwing off in their turn, during the process, attendants of their own. On the vastest scale this is the universe; on a smaller scale the solar system; on the smallest scale our little earth with its endless molecular, chemical, and dynamical laws. But the central fires are not lighted to burn for ever. The dissipation of heat must sometime bring all motion to a standstill; for that heat, so far as science knows, does not return to its place. Systems must therefore collapse, to engender heat for other great evolutions into system. But this cannot go on for ever. The beginning of any system can be calculated; so can its end. This rough sketch of the Nebular Hypothesis gives us a Cosmogony which is not inconsistent with the Scriptural Genesis as to its beginning; nor is it inconsistent with the prophecies of Scripture, as to its end. But the gigantic fallacy is that such mathematicians as Laplace should think that they have no need of the hypothesis of a God; and that such philosophers as Hegel should say that the final cause of the universe is only its inward nature. Whence the forces residing in matter? Whence the beautiful order into which it falls? Whence the variety of elementary substances with all their endowments of gravitation, chemical affinity, and magnetic attraction? And how could these evolve the minds that make them all objective, and, by becoming their historians, show that they are themselves of another and a higher order?


One of the most remarkable evolutions of modern science is the attempt to account for the phenomena by assuming the principle that from one primordial germ all the infinite varieties of organic life have been developed through a very long series of ages. Perhaps, it would be more fair to say that students of natural history have thought themselves justified, by a great number of observations, in supposing this to be the law of the living universe. But whether they work downwards from a bold hypothesis, or work upwards by bold generalizations, the fact remains the same, that this is what the theory known as the Darwinian aims at. If, however, the law is not absolute, if there are exceptions anywhere, the simplicity of their cosmogony is gone, and the principle of the Mosaic creation must be conceded. The theory is most exacting. It is held by pantheistic Positivists, who imagine they believe in immanent final causes, and undirected evolution; it is held also by the Agnostic thinkers, who muse over the unknowable force that displays such cunning; and it is held by men who assume that the Eternal Creator simply appointed this method of evolving His universe. These last believe that Heredity, the inscrutable power of transmitting peculiarities; Natural Selection, or the survival of nature's best types; and, lastly, a Law Unknown in human knowledge, conduct the great development under the eye of the Eternal Whose rest, as the Creator of all, began not on the seventh day but on the first.

1. The continuity of this development suffers a fatal breach at the outset: it has no link between the inorganic and the organic worlds. The Mosaic Genesis has that link; it tells us that the Creator has prepared the material world by progressive stages to be the habitation of life. And the New-Testament Genesis tells us that the development is yet proceeding towards a consummation when all things will again be made new. The modern hypothesis desires that this should be left an open question: it may hereafter appear that under certain conditions inorganic matter may be formed into cells containing the germ of life, in which case the continuity would be complete. Meanwhile, the doctrine of Biogenesis, that all life comes from life, holds the field against all experiment, or rather in the strength of all experiment. Spontaneous generation has never yet been attested. But that is not the only gap. The genesis of a new species of any kind, whether of plant or animal, has never been observed by man: has the universe come to its consummation, and reached its sabbatic rest? Again, it is the opinion of the majority of those competent to speak that there are absolute limits to the variability of species; that many fossil transitional forms are utterly and most conspicuously absent. And, most fatal gap of all, the leap from the highest approximate to the appearance of man himself is one over a great gulf as fixed as that between Paradise and the lower Hades. But of Man we must speak hereafter.

2. As held by its best advocates this theory pays a high tribute to the truth against which it seems to contend. No writings have done so much, certainly none have done more, to open men's eyes to the infinite variety, and beauty, and wonderfulness of the adjustments of the vegetable and animal worlds, than those which are written in opposition to the doctrine of occasional Divine interventions in the economy of things. Moreover, they have called attention to some truths that are too generally neglected as to the degree in which it has pleased the Creator to use the principle which they so much dishonor by exaggeration. He has committed much to development. Within certain limits the fauna and the flora of our earth are replenished and beautified by manifold variations, through which, however, His original types are clearly seen by every unbiased eye. They have also taught us to appreciate the wonderful relation in which man is placed to the creatures whose all is bound up with the earth; that, as created out of the dust, he is a development of older physical types, a final development on which evolution has spent itself, found worthy at last to be the receptacle of an immortal spirit By tracing so elaborately the dim and impersonal reflections of our mental and moral characteristics in the lower creatures, it has read us some important lessons: pre-eminently, the necessity of accurately distinguishing between instinct and reason; between the only " unconscious cerebration " of which we ought to speak and the thought of a personal thinker; between the animal soul, which, using a physical brain, may have its resemblances in the brutes that have brains also, and the immortal spirit whose consciousness and conscience and feeling for the infinite can have nothing resembling them in the lower economy. But, when this theory of long, slow, cyclical development is burdened with the production of all things, the growth of moral and spiritual sentiments included, it has two unrelenting opponents: Science cannot allow time enough since the calculated beginning of the solar system; and Religion protests in the name of God, and for the honor of His incarnate Son, and for the dignity of man himself; the descendant of Adam, [Which was] the son of God.1

1 Luke 3:38.


Supposing the Scriptural doctrine of creation established against Pantheism, Dualism, and Materialism, and as the free act of an Infinite Spirit, it remains to ask concerning the purpose of God in the production of finite nature. As soon as we are disencumbered of the pantheistic and materialistic notion of an immanent necessity of all things being as they are, and separate the finite from the Infinite, we are compelled by the constitution of our nature to ask the Why of creaturely existence. We must seek and cannot rest till we find a cause of all things before they are, and a reason of all things when they are. The question of the final cause is as urgent in the human spirit as the question of the originating cause. The latter is easily answered, and we have been satisfied as to that. But the former, the final cause of all things, is not so easily answered. It might be reserved for the doctrine of Providence, to which it strictly belongs. But it cannot be altogether omitted here. To the humble reader of Scripture nothing seems more obvious than at once to answer: The universe was brought into being for the display of the Divine glory in the diffusion of His communicative goodness. But, simple as this solution seems, each branch of it is burdened with difficulties, and the whole must be supplemented by another clause: according to a design the issues of which are to human reason now, and possibly may be for ever, unfathomable.

1. No reverent mind can doubt that the manifestation of the Divine glory is a worthy end of all things. But it must be remembered that the Scriptures, our only guide, do not make this the only end: they speak of the glory of God as being proclaimed, and of all creatures as brought into being for His pleasure, and for Himself; but they do not, in express terms, assert that the final cause of creaturely existence is the display of the Divine attributes.

We can hardly sever from such a thought the idea of a necessary manifestation: His glory must be revealed, and ought not to be made subject even in appearance to the law of design and final causes. And, to speak with reverence, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion, that, if the manifestation of Deity is the final end of creation, creation must be made eternal. But the free determination of a personal Spirit to bring a universe into being must have some place in its design for that love which neither in God nor in man seeks only its own things. Hence the true heart of all catholic theology has added the second clause: in the diffusion of His communicative goodness.

2. On the other hand, while a motive of creation was undoubtedly the communicative goodness of God, which brought numberless beings into existence to rejoice in them and make them blessed, the mind cannot rest satisfied in this alone; for the world was created in the foreknowledge of its evil. Men who make Divine benevolence the supreme motive in the creation are tempted to reduce the evil of sin by making this, as Leibnitz did, the best possible world, on the whole, for the ultimate diffusion of happiness. This is termed OPTIMISM, and is harmonized with Christianity by assuming that the great Restoration in Christ will make the evil subserve an infinitely greater good. Moreover, those who insist that, the nature of God being love, the creation of objects of that love was a necessity in the Divine Being Himself, forget that in the Infinite essence love has its own interior satisfaction eternally in the intercommunion of the Three Persons.

3. The only sufficient answer, therefore, is that the ultimate final cause of creation is unfathomable. The supreme design is a secret not yet unveiled. When our Lord said, in reply to a question which closely bordered on the origin of evil, that the works of God should be made manifest, 1 He suggested the display of all God's perfections, including His love, but put His answer in such a form as to shut out any further human inquiry. The Creator has given being to a finite universe for the display of all His perfections, for the glory of His name. But we are limited to our own portion of it. To us the universe is our own world; and we know that creation and redemption are bound up in one. He Who created mankind was the Same Who redeemed the race; He Who redeemed it created it for redemption. And we believe and are sure, though the mystery is unfathomable, that God's name will be glorified for ever in the issue of redemption, under the sovereign ascendancy of love. So, with regard to the wider universe of creation generally, we must repose in the assurance that it is the sphere of the manifestation of Divine perfections, under the sovereign ascendancy of His goodness, but with an ulterior end transcending all finite thought. For the rest, this subject links Creation with Providence, and will return upon us.

1 John 9:3.


Sundry comprehensive terms are used in Scripture to embrace and describe the sum of creaturely existence. The most convenient theological distribution of the entire Creation for our present purpose is that which divides it into the Spiritual World, the Material Universe, and Man as uniting both in himself.

The Old Testament begins its announcement of the creation of all things by saying that God created THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH, 1 and retains that designation throughout its whole compass to the end. The New Testament adds many other general descriptive definitions: pánta and ta pánta all things, 2 modified as things visible and things invisible; 3 ktíseoos, the creation of God; 4 kosmos, the world 5 in its form and order; aioónas, the worlds, in their secular succession. These expressions approach very nearly the classical to pan 6 of ancient philosophy, the Universum, or the modern term Universe as the system of created things.

1 Gen. 1:1; 2 John 1:3; 3 Col. 1:16; 4 Rev. 3:14; 5 John 17:5; 6 Heb. 1:2.


Revelation gives a large place to an order of intelligences higher than man: the history of creation, the records of providence, and the economy of redemption, connect them with mankind in various ways. We now consider them simply as part of the creation of God, and as to their place in the economy of things. They are everywhere designated Spirits and Angels. Being Spirits they are represented as, to a certain extent, independent of matter; highly exalted in their faculties; diversified in their range of existence; under a law of probation; and, as a result of that probation, distributed into two classes of good and evil. As Angels, they are represented as attendants on the Supreme, employed in the service of His providence; and especially as connected for good or evil with the history of the Divine purpose in redemption, from its origin upon earth throughout all its processes to its close at the final judgment.


The name Spirits is given to these creatures of God to denote their specific nature, concerning which we are of necessity shut up entirely to the teaching of Holy Scripture.

1. They occupy a sphere of existence less closely connected with the material universe than that of man in his present estate. Their spirituality, however, must not be misunderstood. It seems to be synonymous with invisibility in the only passage which directly links them with the creaturely universe, or records their creation: by Christ were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible. 1 God alone is pure essential Spirit: these created spirits are clothed upon with ethereal vestures, such as Paul describes when he says, There is a spiritual body. 2 Thus our Lord tells us that the children of the resurrection are isángeloi, equal unto the angels. 3 Having a more subtle organization than man, they are at present higher in their range of faculties: greater in power and might 4 and angels that excel in strength. 5 But what their faculties are, what organs they use, and what is the bond between their psychology and our own, we know not. They were created at once and in a wide variety of grades. Though the description thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, 6 partly refers to their ministerial offices, there are other indications of a boundless range of existence in the super-terrestrial world, answering to the abundance and diversity of life upon earth; but without the law of species, and admitting of no increase by generation or development: they are all and individually, as created at once one by one, sons of God 7 by direct filiation. Hence the revelation of Scripture discloses precisely such a continuation upwards of the scale of being as analogy would suggest: as in the lower orders the species is all and the individual nothing, as in man the species and the individual are blended, so in the upper world the species is lost, and each is apart and alone before God: all, however, being marshaled and distributed into orders of the laws of which we know nothing save that they do not include species and generation.

1 Col. 1:16; 2 1 Cor. 15:44; 3 Luke 20:36; 4 2 Pet. 2:11; 5 Psa. 103:20; 6 Col. 1:16; 7 Job 1:6.

2. All spirits were created in the image of God: and their first estate was probationary: this law of the moral government of the Most High seems to be universal. In the constitution of their nature lay the possibility of falling from their allegiance. The issue of probation was the fall of a portion of these spirits, with One as their head. These, sharing his rebellion, were condemned with him. We read once of the condemnation of the devil:1 a remarkable expression, which can have but one meaning, as no created being has the authority to condemn. Hence we gather that Satan, before a tribunal of which we have no record, was convicted of pride and cast out of his high place; doomed to a degradation commensurate with the height of his former dignity. Many fell into his apostasy, and were condemned to the same ruin: how many we need not ask, though it is observable that all the notes of multitude which the Scripture uses are employed to swell the numbers of the good spirits. On the other side we hear one say, my name is Legion, 2 and that they constituted the third part of the stars of heaven: 3 words on which we cannot lay any stress. But their sentence is for mysterious reasons not yet fully executed: they are reserved for a last judgment and sentence: know ye not that we shall judge angels? 4 The great majority—not of the angels that sinned 5 —were confirmed in their state of holiness for ever: they are, therefore, elect angels; 6 elect, as in the case of man, not through preordination, but through approval and separation from the doomed of their own order.

Hence, they are also termed Saints: He came with ten thousands of saints. 7 The whole economy of the angel world as known to man is divided into two orders, retaining severally their orderly ranks, as a good and an evil hierarchy. The Epistle to the Ephesians, which gives in compensation to those who burned their books of curious arts the most explicit revelation touching the spiritual world, refers in the beginning to the ranks of the better class, and in the end to the ranks of the fallen. But it must be observed that the evil are generally designated spirits, the good are almost invariably angels: the exceptions on either side are few. The spirits of evil are pre-eminently Satan or the Devil, and demons, or unclean spirits; 8 Satan the first sinner, the first tempter, the true Antichrist, and, retaining one of his archangel names, the prince or god of this world; 9 and devils, daimónia, who in great numbers troubled the bodies and souls of men while their Head assailed the Redeemer. When we reach the doctrine of Sin it will be necessary to introduce these higher intelligences again.

1 1 Tim. 3:6; 2 Mark 5:9; 3 Rev. 12:4; 4 1 Cor. 6:3; 5 2 Pet. 2:4; 6 1 Tim. 5:21; 7 Deu. 33:2; 8 Mark 1:27; Zec. 13:2; 9 John 14:30.

3. While the good and unfallen spirits are generally the Holy Angels, and the evil spirits of Scripture are not generally termed by that name, yet these are also represented as subserving the purposes of the Supreme. Even if they are the servants of their prince, both they and he alike must directly or indirectly, by command or by permission, do the behest of the only Supreme Will. In the mystery of that will they are left in the free restraint or the restrained freedom of the sphere of the redeeming economy. Satan is the prince of the power of the air, 1 and his hosts are spiritual wickedness in high places; 2 but both the air and the high places are within the Savior’s domain: His authority compasses our world, and no line limits it outward. Still more strange is it that both in ancient and in modern revelation the ministers of evil are exhibited as in the upper spiritual world: a true wonder in heaven. 3 But the term is used here symbolically for the spiritual sphere only. It may be noted, finally, that while the Divine Being uses the good spirits to chastise wickedness, almost always the evil spirits are used to discipline the offending righteous.

1 Eph. 2:2; 2 Eph. 6:12; 3 Rev. 12:3.


The denomination Angels, which runs through the Scriptures as pervadingly as the name of God Himself, before Whom they stand, is used with reference to their ministerial service; as the Hebrew mal'ak and the Greek aggelos signify. With the exception of some few passages, such as the Devil and his angels; 1 Messenger, 2 or angel, of Satan; the Dragon fought and his angels 3 — which do not use the term in an official sense, and are therefore scarcely exceptions, — the angels are the attendants on God and ministers of His will throughout all the economies of His government. This gives them their glory and their grace in the Bible.

1 Mat. 25:41; 2 2 Cor. 12:7; 3 Rev. 12:7.

1. There can be no higher description of them than that they wait upon God. The Lord is the Lord of hosts, 1 and the holy angels are His sons: 2 all the sons of God shouted for joy. 3 Their joy is the joy of worship: they sing the doxology to the Holy Trinity —to man as yet unrevealed, but revealed to them—in Isaiah's mystical temple; 4 they receive the commandment, which they were quick to obey, to worship the Son when He was brought into the world; 5 and they descend to sympathies with, if indeed they do not join in, the devotion of the Church of God among men. So near are they to the manifested Divine glory, and so do they reflect it, that they are called gods: —worship Him, all ye gods!6 though this, as in the case of human judges, receiving the same designation, may refer rather to their representative character as executing their functions in the Divine name. In this character they are known as Cherubim: forms which are symbolical, rather than descriptive, and signify the forces of the created universe, attendant upon God, but not God Himself; and Seraphim, also representing the creature before God and extolling His perfections, as unslumbering Watchers, 7 burning with Divine love. But the highest honor conferred upon them is this, that the Supreme unites them with Himself as His court: — Let us go down! 8 includes them, though the US points to another mystery. Throughout the Old Testament the Lord is in the assembly of His saints; 9 into which even the representative of evil spirits might enter, before Christ came to cast them out finally: and Satan came also among them. 10 But this leads to the ministry of these blessed spirits of heaven.

1 Isa. 47:4; 2 Job 1:6; 3 38:7; 4 Isa. 6; 5 Heb 1:6; 6 Psa. 97:7; 7 Dan. 4:17; 8 Gen. 1:26; 9 Psa. 89:7: 10 Job 1:6.

2. They are called ministering spirits, leitourgiká pneúmata: 1 ministering to God, that is, in His general government of the universe, in the economy of redemption, and in His providence over the saints. As to the first, we have no power to determine the extent of their operation in the physical universe; but we read of such occasional interventions — for instance, the slaying of the Assyrian host, 2 the phenomena at Mount Sinai 3 — as forbid any doubt concerning their rare and occasional ministry in this domain: if, indeed, rare and occasional, of which there is no proof. But in the history of redemption they appear as statedly and fixedly as Prophets and Apostles themselves: especially at the great crises, the Creation, the Lawgiving, the History of the Incarnate Lord, seen of angels, 4 and the dread solemnities of the Last Day. In this high service they seem to have always acted in the order of a hierarchy. For the loftiest functions—for the guardianship of Israel in the old economy, the announcement of Christ and the protection of His kingdom in the new—there are Archangels, though so called only in the New Testament.

First Michael, 5 Who is like God? whose name declares that he, the highest in the scale of created beings, the first-born OF every creature 6 as Christ is the First-born BEFORE every creature, for ever remembers his finite creatureliness. He accordingly vindicates Monotheism in the Old Testament and is the conqueror of Satan in the New: Who is like God? Then Gabriel, 7 Hero of God, the supreme representative in the heavenly host of God's executive will, who in both the Old and the New Testaments announces the coming of the Christ: the angelic Forerunner, as the Baptist was the human. It is probable that Satan, then Lucifer, or known by some name that he has lost, was the third in this angelic trinity. Daniel's princes of Grecia and Persia may without violence be interpreted of human potentates. 8 The highest angels seem alone in the Old Testament to have been employed in human service: always, however, in subordination to One Who, called an angel, is the Lord Himself. He, as will hereafter be seen, was the Angel Jehovah, or the Angel of Jehovah, the Angel of the Covenant, a Divine Person Who, before He became man, appeared in human form, taking the name though He never took the nature of angels. Always distinguished from Him are the pre-eminent ministers from the spiritual world in the Old-Testament economy, who were thus prepared for the higher service of ministering to the Lord when He came, Whose entire incarnate life was seen of angels.9 Especially they drew near to Him in His sorrow: absent at the Transfiguration, but necessary to Gethsemane. They do nut attend the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost: they are comparatively lost in His higher dispensation, and their absence on that day preludes their absence now. Not that they are wholly absent: they still and ever are ministers for them who shall be heirs of salvation. 10 Not as GUARDIAN ANGELS in the strict sense of the word; it is rather for the sake of the heirs of salvation that they minister.

Their angels are not the guardians of children individually, any more than Peter's angel11 was his specific guardian. Hence while the tenor of the Word of God permits us to include angel-ministry among the all things which work together for good, 12 it is careful so to describe and define their service to mankind as to render both unreasonable and sinful every form of the worshipping of angels.13

1 Heb. 1:14; 2 2 Kings 19:35; 3 Deut. 33:2; 4 1 Tim. 3:16; 5 Dan. 10:13; 6 Col. 1:15; 7 Luke 1:19; 8 Dan. 10:20; 9 1 Tim. 3:16; 10 Heb. 1:14; 11 Acts 12:15; 12 Rom. 8:28; 13 Col. 2:18.


Whatever else of theological interest belongs to Angelology may be touched upon in a brief notice of its historical aspects: with reference, first to Superstition, and secondly to Infidelity.

1. The Jewish and the Christian Churches have their respective developments of superstition on this subject, the former being the basis of the latter. After the Captivity, Jewish theology betrayed to some extent the infection of its contact with foreign speculations, especially in Persia: the Apocrypha abounds with evidences of a departure from the simple teaching of the Old Testament, as that takes its last form in Daniel.

During the interval before the final settlement of the New-Testament canon there appears a tendency in the Christian Church to honor the angels unduly. The seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicaea, A.D. 787, concedes to them proskuneései, though not the Divine latreúoo. The Nicene Creed, issuing from an earlier and better Council, had declared that they were created; and Irenaeus had protested against invocation of angels. But the evil made steady progress in the general corruption of Christian doctrine, and received its final confirmation at Trent. There is no error more distinctly guarded against in Scripture: Hóra meé, See thou do it not . . . worship God. 1 Superstition has made the world of evil angels also its domain. Forgetting the great change that the coming of Christ has effected, and that the influence of evil spirits has been more effectually controlled than it was before, the Christian Church during almost its entire history down to the Reformation was haunted by an unevangelical idea of their operation in all regions of the Divine Government, physical and spiritual. Hence the place given to Satan, as having a right to the redemption price, in the doctrine of the Atonement; hence the elaborate ceremonials of exorcism; hence the abject dread of the powers of malign spirits in the infliction of the natural calamities of life: hence the notion of personal contacts with the Evil One; and hence, lastly, the judicial treatment of witchcraft and sorcery down to a recent time.

1 Rev. 19:10.

2. But infidelity sweeps away, not only the superstitious appendages of the revealed truth concerning angels, but the revealed truth itself. In its more reckless form it has renounced the whole economy of the angel world. Though the Biblical revelation only confirms the inferences of analogical reasoning and the universal instinct of mankind, skepticism not only doubts but denies the existence of beings superior to man: thus rejecting in fact the whole Bible with the very fabric of which this revelation is interwoven. It specially argues against the personality of Satan: either returning to the Manichsean delusion of an independent power autothuhs and agennhtos, or making him merely the personification of evil which undeniably exists. But here Rationalistic Christian theology joins the infidel. It is enough to say that the person of the Enemy of Christ is as distinctly presented in the history of revelation, though not so fully described, nor so constantly present, as the Person of the Lord Himself. There is nothing more remarkable, nothing more worthy of study, than the parallel development of the representative of sin and the Redeemer from sin throughout the Bible. In the same way the argument against demoniacal possession may be met. Though Scripture allows that suffering, as part of the penalty of sin, is, like death itself, in some respect in the ministry of Satan, it makes a distinction between all trouble or wickedness arising from within, and the torment inflicted by evil spirits from without. There are in the New Testament daimonizouenio, persons demonized, who, in body and soul, if not in spirit, are under the special influence of daemons. That this was a reality, and not a style of language accommodated to Jewish notions, is evident from the combination of healing diseases and casting out devils in the Savior’s commission, as also from His habitually addressing Himself to personal beings when He cast them out. There is a grand consistency in the Scriptural revelation on this subject. The Old Testament gives some distant indications of such possession; when our Lord appears there is an outbreak of these powers on earth: but the chief enemy is always pre-eminent, as appears in the fact that the last Evangelist withdraws his attention from all besides him, never mentioning the daemons. And it is an illustration of the same consistency that their full force in human affairs has never been felt since the Conqueror said: Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 1 How far they are still permitted to seduce men, and what part they play in the modern devices of so-called spiritualistic science, which professes to call them in as evidence of another world, we need not now inquire.

1 John 12:31.

3. This last observation will apply to the whole topic which is here closed: the angels have retreated from their high preeminence. The doctrine concerning them belongs to the entire scheme of revelation, as in course of delivery, and pervades every part of it. The angel world is around us everywhere in Biblical theology, and we must prepare ourselves by a firm faith at the outset for the reappearance of its representatives as we proceed through the several doctrines. It has been viewed here only or chiefly in its relation to the universe as created, but at every stage in our future course it will meet us again.

Meanwhile, it may be well to observe at this point that the ANGELOLOGY of the Bible is always subordinated to human interests; and, saving as they are connected with redemption wrought out and administered, spirits good and evil, or rather spirits and angels, need not and should not be too curiously investigated. Why askest thou thus after My name? said One in the Old Testament. Seeing, it is secret, He added, doubtless for a higher reason than what is here suggested: His name was as yet concealed, and in a certain sense is concealed for ever. But the caution is generally appropriate. The student, and the preacher especially, should in this matter limit himself to the clear testimonies of the Oracle, not keeping back the truth from the skeptic, but not pandering to a false Spiritualism, as the modern word is. Both evil spirits and angels may, on these conditions, most fruitfully and profitably enter into practical theology, even as they necessarily occupy a large and important place in dogmatics.


The material universe as such occupies a considerable place in revelation, which establishes a few cardinal principles of great importance to theology. Matter is declared to have been created by God, though no name is given to it; fashioned into the orderly arrangement of systems, it is the Kosmos; these are the result of successive creations, which are indicated by the term worlds. We are taught that the universe of matter was ordained to be the scene of life, passing through its several stages up to life spiritual; but the inhabitation of other worlds, and their relations to redemption, are questions which have little light thrown upon them in the Word of God. Lastly, as the revelation of Scripture concerns only that part of the universe which belongs to man, we cannot draw any certain conclusion as to the final destiny of the universe of matter from the testimony of prophecy concerning the end of our heaven and earth: we are left to the inferences of analogy. These general principles may be usefully applied to many current theories and cosmical speculations.


Matter, or ulh, has no name in Scripture: it is indicated there generally as having been at first without form and void, diffused, unorganized, and lifeless. Science is left free to discover and give its own names to the primary elements. The atoms of the universe and their molecular arrangements are never once alluded to: they are left to man's discovery.

But the same God Who is the Father of spirits was the Creator of pure matter. He impressed their unchangeable properties upon all the particles of the universe, created, in their number and potentialities, like the angels, at once. Before this truth Materialism, ancient and modern, in its variety of forms as a theory, vanishes. In ancient philosophy it was the anima mundi, or soul of the world, or natura naturans that took the place of God.

Modern Materialism, through all its phases down to Positivism, makes everything, including the phenomena of mind, physical; and, while acknowledging that it is as yet far from being able to account for the facts, and that the molecular laws of mind, feeling, and will are perhaps undiscoverable, it nevertheless asserts that they are the results of changes in matter and governed by invariable laws, directed by something inscrutable and unknowable behind. Materialism has been the same in every age: modern science has not advanced one step beyond ancient philosophy; except in this, that it gives up that vestige of instinct towards God that Pantheism exhibited. The ancient theorists thought of a plastic soul in things: pan-Theism. The modern theorists think only of matter as the vehicle of energy: pan-Materialism. One of its tendencies is to resolve matter into a congregation of forces; by which it unconsciously argues itself in a circle back to God.

Scripture, which asserts that the beginning of the living creature was a new Divine act, vindicates the reality of matter from the philosophy which would resolve it into nothing.

Idealism and Realism preside over the whole range of speculation on this subject respectively. The former as represented by Berkeley denies the existence, or the possibility of proving the existence, of any substance behind the phenomena which affect our senses: these senses being ordained to see either in God Himself, or according to some unknown laws, what seems to be matter. But, however that notion may be qualified, it falls before the early testimony which tells us that the material universe was formed before there were any creatures to receive its impressions. So all the more recent theories of force which would annihilate objective substance as the vehicle of energy must yield to the evidence of a creation which preceded all life. This hypothesis seems to breathe into the inorganic universe a kind of life, called force, which preceded its organic forms; but it has no support It would seem, like Berkeley's theory, to be a useful ally of the theologian, in as far as it saves us from the necessity of believing in a creation apart from God; but the testimony of Genesis confirms the universal realistic instinct of man, that there is a substance behind the phenomena of matter. As it regards the scientific theories of the persistence of force, the conservation of energy, and the correlation of its physical manifestations, they do not in the slightest degree affect theology, until they penetrate the region of life. When it is affirmed that physical and vital forces are correlated and convertible—in other words, that all the phenomena of thought, and feeling, and will, are only transformed forces of matter—sound reasoning is violated as well as Scripture. It may be said that the material basis of animal and vegetable life is something in the molecular arrangement of its particles; and this may be called protoplasm. But it cannot be shown that anything but living matter communicates or feeds life. Spontaneous generation is a figment that Materialists have made their as yet unknown God. The true God giveth life, and breath, and all things. 1 But, as man's body was created for the instant inhabitation of his living soul, so the matter of the universe was intended to be the instant abode of life. That life was breathed into it by the Spirit Who brooded over our chaos: He is the Lord and Giver of life in every manifestation of it, from the most elementary protoplasm up to that which beholds the face of God.

1 Acts 17:25.


The testimony of Revelation to the universe of other worlds than ours is limited. But what we have is consistent with every discovery and every rational hypothesis of modern science. The heavens have their host: to us an ambiguous word, which refers either to the worlds or to the inhabitants of those worlds, but is in the Scripture limited to the physical universe. As ordered in systems the universe is a kosmos, as in our Lord's words, before the foundation of the world: 1 the ancient use of the term to signify the ordered whole of the heavenly bodies is retained in the New Testament, though the common use limits it to man's world. Hence it is too pan, the universe; which, however, is never a unity in the Bible, heaven and earth being sundered. Viewed in the orderly succession of its creations the universe is made up of the aiones: through Whom also He made the worlds, 2 that is, the worlds which fill the ages of so-called past eternity. One of the first exercises of faith is said to embrace the fact that these worlds were framed, kateertísthai, 3 as the phenomenal, or in their present appearance, ra pXeiroficva. The silence of the Scripture as to the inhabitants of these worlds is unbroken. But there is nothing either in its words or in its silence that forbids the reasonable inferences of analogy. The one point at which the vast extent of the peopled realms of the universe touches theological faith is the immeasurable dignity conferred on man's insignificance by the Incarnation. More than once the ancient Scripture seems to be oppressed though not overwhelmed by this truth.

"We can interpret our meaning, at least, into those passages which so often bid the children of the earth to lift up their eyes and behold the innumerable hosts of heaven.

What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? 4 But in the Creator's relations to His creatures there is no great and small, no greater and less: the transcendent mystery of the Divine condescension must be regarded in itself, and without the most distant reference to the insignificance of man in relation to the universe. The Old Testament derives a lesson from the contemplation that knows no doubt or dismay or fear: its faith is strengthened rather than endangered by every view of the steadfast and unviolated ordinances of heaven. Lift up your eyes on Ugh, and behold Who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names, by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth. 5 All are equally great in His sight: NOT ONE FAILETH; each has the burden of its own glorious destiny.

1 John 17:24; 2 Heb. 1:2; 3 Heb. 11:3; 4 Psa. 8:4; 5 Isa. 40:26.


There is no grander truth revealed than the comparative insignificance of the creature as material. All the constellations of systems in the universe—or, as the Scripture says, the heavens —are the work of the Divine hand, which shall roll them up as a garment, and they shall be changed. 1 They are of less value in all their vast extent and grandeur than one immortal spirit, And with the utmost tranquility it is said that all the phenomena of creation will pass away, be dissolved. 2 In the spirit of Jonah we take pity upon the great works of man which are to be destroyed. But the greater works of God are destroyed, and it costs the Supreme no thought! As to the substance behind the phenomena, and its reconstruction, more will be said hereafter.

1 Heb. 1:12; 2 2 Pet. 3:11.


Man, or mankind, occupies the noblest and most ample section in the history of creation as revealed in Scripture. This is in harmony with the central place which he occupies in Divine revelation generally, as the object around whom all revolves. His pre-eminence as a creature is noted in the circumstantials of dignity attending his origin; and in the relations he bears to the other orders of the creature. But it is chiefly seen in the constituent elements of his nature, reflecting the Divine Image in which he was formed.

this being the basis of his dignity and prerogatives as the head of the earthly creation; in the organic unity of man as constituting one species; and the connection between the original estate, fall, and redemption of mankind as he was a probationary creature.

This department is sometimes called ANTHROPOLOGY, a term which in science means the zoological and biological study of human nature. Not including formally, though not absolutely excluding, the physical, physiological, and psychological study of our species, it is its theological bearing that we mainly keep in view. This, however, must not be too narrowly limited; such topics as the Original State of Man, the Image of God in Man, Man before the Fall, do not exhaust it. It is better to regard the whole as a wide field of which these subjects are only sections.


The Divine record represents to us our first father, Adam, as the end and consummation of all creating acts, and gives his twofold nature a peculiar relation to both the spiritual and the material worlds. In the unity of body and soul, the one taken from the earth and the other breathed into him by his Maker, he is the link between these two great spheres.

1. The bringing of man into the world is in Genesis the result of a special design. And God said, Let Us make man: 1 the first intimation in Scripture of the Divine counsel preceding the act. Of the other creatures it is said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life 2 . . .. Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind; 3 but every word touching the origin of the human race indicates the issue of all former purposes: the creation of A NEW THING. Hence the emphatic double account of man's beginning: generally in Genesis 1 the introduction of the race with its pre-eminent dignity into the system of things, and, particularly, in Genesis 2. the physical details of his origin with specific intervention for the formation of the Mother of all living. Hence also the clause in the second account which returns to the creating act to show that the body of the first man was immediately fashioned out of the dust, and that the origin of his life was the breathing into him of a living soul. 4 The same Divine act produced both body and soul, without any interval. This is said of no other creature; though the real distinction between man and the lower creation is not in the words of this verse, but in the first note of man's origin: Let Us make man in Our image.5

1 Gen. 1:26; 2 Gen. 1:20; 3 Gen. 1:24; 4 Gen. 2:7; 5 Gen. 1:26.

2. This gives breath of lives a higher meaning: there is a spirit in man, 1 as well as an animal life. And the high distinction of human nature is that in its constitution it is a union of the two worlds of spirit and matter, a reflection of spiritual intelligences in the material creation. The immaterial principle is the soul or psuche as connected with matter through the body, and the spirit or pneuma as connected with the higher world. There is in the original record a clear statement as to the two elements of human nature. Man derives his name from the word earth, one of the constituents of which his body was formed: yatsar connected with adamah earth. 2 But this was not as yet, though it afterwards became, a name of humiliation, for the inbreathing of life or lives gave him his essential dignity; this Adam, or Man, the person and the nature he represented, became a living soul, lnepesh chayaah. 3 Though the same word is used concerning other creatures, which have the abortive rudiments of intellectual life, it is here used with a special emphasis. His name is Man, from the earth; his nature is that he is a living soul, which is also an immortal spirit. But it must be remembered that the two substances are distinct. The Bible confirms the instinctive belief in the difference between mind and matter: the unsearchable mystery of the nature of the union between soul and body, and the secret of the action of the one on the other, or rather of their mutual action, are left unsolved. Whether the term soul or the term spirit be used, there is throughout Scripture the most emphatic testimony to the unity and dignity of the higher element of human nature. This Dichotomy is quite consistent with a certain measure of truth in the theory of Trichotomy which separates between soul and spirit. It will hereafter be seen that St.

Paul adopts that distinction for practical purposes: when he does so, the soul and spirit are distinguished as one the immaterial principle in relation to the world of sense and the other in relation to a world of spiritual realities; just as the flesh as the material and the body as the organization are distinguished when occasion demands.

1 Job 32:8; 2 Gen. 2:7; 3 Gen. 2:7.


The Image of God is made the first note and attribute of human nature: the first revealed truth concerning our race declares the peculiarity of man as a new thing in creation to be this, that he should bear in himself the likeness of his Creator. It was the Divine purpose, spoken before the creating fiat was executed, that this should be his distinction from every other creature. Hence this image must belong to his inmost creaturely constitution.

As such it was Essential and Indestructible: the self-conscious and self-determining personality of man, as a spirit bearing the stamp of likeness to God and capable of immortality, was the reflection in the creature of the Divine nature. While all creatures up to man reflect the perfections of their Creator, it is man's distinction, made emphatic in the act of his creation, that he alone should bear His image. This therefore is the ground of his dignity, and, while that dignity belongs to his nature as a whole, it necessarily is found in that part of his nature which is not material, and therefore imperishable. From beginning to end the holy record regards this image as uneffaced and ineffaceable, and still existing in every human being. But it also speaks of the renewal or restoration of that image in its moral lineaments. There is a sense then in which it was also Accidental and Amissible: the free spirit of man reflected the Divine holiness in a perfect conformity of mind, feeling, and will, which was lost through sin: not utterly lost only because redemption intervened. The Image of God was, according to the sacred narrative, concreated in man: it was in his nature, and no part of it was super-added after his creation. Finally, as the Eternal Son is, in the supremest sense, Himself the Image of God, Adam as the representative of mankind was created in or after that Image. And, thus in his creation related to the Second Person of the Trinity, he was also united to the Triune by the gift of the Holy Ghost, that breath of God which gave him life eternal.

1. It is usual to distinguish between the Natural or permanent and the Moral or accidental image of God in man; it must be remembered, however, that the moral image in a true sense was also natural, and that in the creation there could be no distinction. But the distinction between the image that was indestructible and that which might be lost has an unqualified and necessary truth. It lies in the very notion of a created free personality: the freedom of the created spirit is the purest reflection of the Divine nature, but that same freedom involves the possibility of its excellence being lost. That which is its highest glory contains the secret of the possibility of its deepest degradation. Theology cannot take a second step unless this is admitted in its full force.

2. The distinction runs through the entire fabric of Scripture. It is in the New Testament, however, that we find the elements of the complete doctrine on this subject as on every other connected with the original and the restored condition of mankind. It speaks of the renewal of the regenerate into the image of the Creator as that consisted in Original Righteousness, or the moral image. The two cardinal passages which must regulate our views are in the Epistles to the Colossians and the Ephesians. In the former the Apostle speaks of believers as having put on the new man, which is renewed (or in process of renewal) unto knowledge after the image of Him that created him. 1 In the latter the description becomes an exhortation: be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 2 These passages must be united and carefully compared, as they supplement each other.

They both distinguish between the first creation and the second in Christ, between the ktísantos and the ananeoústhai. The latter verb refers to the restoration of what the former describes as originally given but lost. Both passages make the knowledge of God—that is, the spiritual knowledge of God—the object of the restoration. This the latter and more amplified passage unfolds as righteousness and holiness: the first man knew the Creator's law, his will was conformed to it, and he was righteous in principle; he knew the Creator's holiness, loved Him as holy, and was holy himself in principle. Thus the moral image of the Creator lost in the Fall is restored through the putting on of the same image as presented in Jesus Christ, the eternal Image of God manifested in human nature. Each of the passages speaks of putting off the old man, which is the fallen and corrupt nature as derived from Adam. In the former, the process is regarded as gradual; in the latter, the new image was stamped upon the soul in its regeneration. But the second passage adds what the former omits, that the Holy Spirit Who was the conservator of the holy image in Paradise is the agent of its renewal in redemption: be renewed in the Spirit, the seat of whose working is in the mind. Hence the New Testament never speaks of a renewal of the Divine image in man's nature as he is man: only in his fallen nature. The indestructible image is in both Testaments always referred to as existing still in man universal. Men which are made after the similitude of God 3 is the language of St. James.

And St. Paul, referring to the heathen, and quoting the testimony of their own poets with approval, For we are also his offspring, 4 goes on most expressly to argue from the likeness of the children of men to their Creator that their thoughts of God ought to be altogether spiritual: rebuking idolatry as contrary to the instinct of the Divine image within us. So, also, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews asserts with the utmost generality that God is The Father of spirits. 5 And this is in harmony with the Old Testament. After the Flood there is a most impressive remembrance of the abiding and permanent dignity of the chastised race. The waters had not washed away the original image; nor was it created anew in those who were saved. No clearer evidence of the indestructibility of the Divine likeness could be given than that of the sanction thrown around human life; it is inviolate, for in the image of God made He man. 6 Of course this does not decide the question whether or not immortality was part of the indestructible image, though it might seem that we affirm it by using the term indestructible. We are told by St. Paul, in one of the few passages which speak of athanasía, that it is God Who only hath immortality, 7 but He Who is the life hath given to man in His Son to have life in himself.

1 Col. 3:10; 2 Eph. 4:23,24; 3 Jas. 3:9; 4 Acts 17:28; 5 Heb. 12:9; 6 Gen. 9:6; 7 1 Tim. 6:16.

3. It is of great importance to remember that whatever is meant by the image of God was at once concreated in man. In the Middle Ages a distinction was established between the Image and the Likeness, between the two Hebrew terms btsalmeenuw and kidmuwteenuw. This was formulated by the catechism of the Council of Trent thus: Tum originalis justitiae donum addidit. The doctrine of Rome is that immunity from concupiscence or victory over it was a supernatural and added gift, like immortality; that over and above his " pura naturalia" there was a righteousness in which Adam was " constitutus." Hence all that he lost or could lose was the gift of his original righteousness, which left the natural conflict between flesh and spirit without the restraint of the added gift. Man has still all that in which he was created as such. The effect of this view will be hereafter seen when we reach the doctrine of Original Sin. Meanwhile, it is sufficient now to assert the Scriptural doctrine that whatever belonged to his likeness to God was stamped upon man in his original character: he received both the image and its superscription.

4. The doctrine of this Divine image is carried to its highest point, and beyond the Old Testament record, when it is connected with the Eternal Son as the original, absolute, archetypal Image of God. This description of the Second Person in the Trinity is next to that of Son the most common in the New Testament: it almost becomes a proper name.

He is the eikoón toú Theoú, 1 the IMAGE or GOD, as the outbeaming of all the Divine glories and the full expression of the Divine nature towards the creature, regarded as possible or as actual. In the image of that Image was man created. Both in his first and in his second creation the Son was the archetype and pattern. It was this specific relation of the Son that made it possible, becoming, and appropriate, that He should be the Redeemer of the fallen race: a truth that may be pondered profitably, if it is not perverted into the doubtful notion of a necessary incarnation, apart from sin, of the Second Person.

1 2 Cor. 4:4.

5. But this doctrine is incomplete without the addition of the supernatural gift of the Holy Ghost: if that may be called supernatural which belonged to the union of God with this His Elect Creature. The Holy Trinity must be connected with every stage of the history of mankind. As the Protoplast was formed in the image of the eternal Image—a son of God,1 after the likeness of the ONLY-BEGOTTEN SON—so he was under the spiritual and natural government of the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son. He Who brooded over the chaos, presided over all the successive dispensations of life in its advancing stages towards perfection, and was the supreme life inbreathed into the highest creature, took full possession of that new creature. He did not add the moral image, but He guided the principles of action of man's soul created in that image. This solves the difficulty sometimes expressed as to the creation of a character which, it is said, must of necessity be formed by him who bears it. Man was led of the Spirit, 2 Who was the power of love in his soul, already in his first estate as now in his last estate. How long this holy discipline lasted we are not given to know; but we do know that the Fall was its departure as a free and perfect education. This explains also the wonderful endowments of Adam, who reasoned and formed his language, and understood and gave names to his fellowcreatures below him. The LORD GOD of the garden was the Holy Ghost in the human soul.

The Spirit in man's spirit must not, however, be confounded with the image of God as such: the gift was distinct, but the true complement and perfection of every other gift.

This is, as will be afterwards seen, the secret of the trichotomy of body, soul, and spirit in human nature.

1 Luke 3:38; 2 Gal. 5:18.

6. From all this it appears that the expression Image of God, in relation to the original constitution of Adam, is a very broad one. A few particulars are not enough for its statement. It includes the whole sum of man's dignity and prerogative, and it brings all that belongs to God into some relation with this His highest reflection in the creature.

There is nothing Divine that is not reflected in some most wonderful sense: the Holy Trinity, and all the Attributes, in the unity of light and love.


Adam was created as the head of a race, to descend from him by natural generation. He represented that race in his supremacy over the lower world; as also in his subjection to a probationary law. Thus he was, in a certain sense, both the natural and the federal head of mankind: in him both the natural and the spiritual development and destiny of the human species were decided.

1. As one of the laws of man's combination of spirit and matter, he propagates his species in the integrity of its individual members. Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image. 1 This sentence, following on the account of the creation, and connected with it, proves that there were not two or more simultaneous creations of man, or creative centers: the lines of Cain, Abel, and Seth meet in Adam. It shows also that immediate creation, as in the case of angels, was no longer the law. It seems to favor what is known as the theory of Traducianism, the propagation of the entire being of man by natural generation; though it does not preclude the theory of Creationism, which regards the individual spirit as in every case created by God, the Father of spirits. 2 Both theories must be in a certain sense true, but the secret of their unity is past our finding out The doctrine of the Pre-existence of human souls, which, after a fall in a supersensible state, were sent for punishment, trial, or expiation, into human bodies, is altogether contrary to the record of Genesis.

1 Gen. 5:3; 2 Heb. 12:9.

2. The human race in Adam was invested with supreme prerogatives over the lower creation. The first man was the representative of God upon earth. It yielded its secrets to his knowledge, its fruits sprang from his cultivation, and its inhabitants were consigned to his government. It is difficult now to estimate the dignity of this prerogative: it was not the image itself, but was its necessary consequence. Much of the miseries of our race is due to its forfeiture. The history of science and civilization is the history of the struggles of mankind to repair the loss. The remembrance of it as a vanished estate and the anticipation of its return unite in the poetry of the nations. The poetry of the Bible finds the same expression in Psalm 8, specially as touching the past; and the Epistle to the Hebrews expatiates upon it in reference to the future, 1 when the second Head of mankind shall restore to the race what it has lost.

1 Heb. 2:8 3. The first man was in a certain sense the federal representative of his race as placed in a state or condition of trial with two sides of a tremendous alternative before him.

Hereafter we must consider this more fully: suffice now that the record in Genesis, interpreted by St. Paul to the Romans, represents the dealings of God with our first parents as regarding their posterity in them. Adam was in a state of probation, and man was in a state of probation: that is, the garden was a scene of test to the whole estate of mankind. The failure of man was foreseen; but it was permitted, because of the new creation and new probation which a second Adam would introduce: here is the profoundest problem of our origin and destiny. With all this, however, we have not yet to do. Enough that the entire human race was as one organic unity represented in Adam, even as it was as one organic unity represented by Christ. If one died for all, then were all dead or all died: 1 this is equally true of the first and of the Second Adam.

1 1 Cor. 15:14.

4. It might seem as if God, in the creation of man, took account of his coming fall and decreed redemption. The dust was ready to receive him when he returned to his earth, and the spirit to return to the God Who gave it. In the New Testament St. Paul tells us that the first man is of the earth, earthy, 1 and that in him the natural body was given to man; adding further that the Second Man is of heaven, and became a life-giving Spirit, whereas Adam became a living soul. The comparison of Genesis with St. Paul's comment shows that there was a development of being, as it were, purposed and suspended in Adam: that he was to have enjoyed immortality through the gradual or sudden spiritualization of his bodily frame; but that it required the Last Adam to come to accomplish the design of creation. Through the Fall, the first Adam became to us all the father of a dying nature: he bereft himself and us of the quickening Spirit Who would have rendered the resurrection needless. But this glance into the coming mystery of the Cross is anticipating.

1 1 Cor. 15:45-49.


This Divine account of man's origin displaces every other devised by man's science.

Accepting the testimony, as we believe it, of the Creator Himself, we have only to stand on the defensive. " Neganti incumbit probatio." And it may safely be said that no other hypothesis of the production of mankind has yet proved its case. Those which deny the general principles, of creation have been already considered, as also those which have given other accounts of the origin of our race. One thing it settles definitively: that it has not been produced by any development of the principle of life in matter, whether the theory takes its earliest rude form that man is terrigena, autochthon, a production of the soil, or the scientific evolutional form of later days; that his history has not been a gradual ascent from the savage state, but that the savage condition is a descent from his original; and that he was created in one type, the representative of a single species. The slightest doubt on any of these points is inconsistent, not only with the subsequent matter of theology, but with the primitive record, the only one we possess, of the creation of mankind. According to the principle we adopt, and must adopt, it is not directly necessary to examine the hypotheses of scientific Anthropology; for science has no generally accepted hypothesis which fundamentally contradicts Scripture. On all the points just mentioned, and especially the unity of the race, the best representatives of science are on our own side.


Speculations as to the Origin of Man upon the earth have been more or less bound up with those on the origination of life generally. Antiquity had its vague theories, half poetry, half science, of the necessary evolution of all forms of life from the soil. Men were autochthones, terrigenae, born of the earth. The Pantheism of every age has held the same idea, but dignified it by the supposition of an internal source of life which moulds matter into forms innumerable, and that of man among the rest: assuming its highest known immaterial expression in the human subject. Materialism inverts the process, and makes man an organism in which matter exhibits its perfection in the phenomena of thought and conscious personality. Modern speculations on this subject differ generally from the ancient, in consequence of their being constructed on a theory that does not necessarily exclude a personal God, the origin of all life. Placing Him at the ultimate point where life originated, they regard the evolution of all the forms of life as the operation of forces impressed upon matter, or constituting matter itself: some making the long time up to man, and his high intelligence, a continuous advance of nature upon itself, naturally selecting and making permanent its best types; others regarding the original law as having provided for a series of leaps from species to species: but all, whether they intend it or not, practically denying the creation of the human soul or spirit as a substance distinct from matter. It is impossible so to state the theory of evolution as to preserve the integrity of the higher element in man's nature. But the true theory of that nature requires that something was superadded to the physical and immaterial life that lay behind it in the history of the creation. The Scriptural account is plain and express: man was created in the image of God. 1 This was the formal character of his nature as new in the Divine economy: and modern science will never find rest until it is acknowledged.

1 Gen. 1:27.


The UNITY of the race, or the human species, is a subject which brings much modern science into collision with Scripture.

1. The holy record declares that the species of man is one, and that it sprang from one common ancestor: Adam being the personal name of the first man, and the generic name of mankind. This truth is the common foundation of the doctrines of sin and redemption.

By one man sin entered Mo the world; 1 and death the consequence of that has passed upon all men. There was no other centre of the same species: God hath made of one blood all nations of men. 2 Christ is the Son of Man; and He the One died for all the entire history of Revelation, and the whole economy of human development as that of sin and recovery from sin, is based on this assumption.

1 Rom. 5:12; 2 Acts 17:26.

2. No results of modern science disprove, or even render doubtful, this truth. On the contrary, evidences converge from all quarters to confirm it. Whatever criteria are applied to test the unity of species—whether physiological or psychological—the human subject sustains. And the history of the race furnishes a multitude of corroborations. In two lines especially, those of language and religion, the argument, if argument it may be called, gathers its endless materials. Comparative philology and comparative theology, the science of language and the science of religion, both throw wonderful light upon the past of mankind; but upon no truth does that light fall more brightly than upon the unity of the human race. Meanwhile, the sacred record gives a clear account both of the central unity and of the manifold diversity of the languages of men; both of the fundamental unity and endless variations of their religious beliefs.


The antiquity of man on the earth is simply a chronological question. Christ came at the end of the world 1 and in the fullness of the time; 2 but over how long a series of ages the preparations for His corning extended is not expressly declared. Provided the unity of the race be maintained, the length of its past continuance on earth is a subordinate matter. If longer, it only enlarges the number of the Redeemer's subjects, though of course it deepens the mystery of His long delay. Whatever is now, however, or may hereafter be, absolutely proved as to the antiquity of the human species in this world, Christian theology is prepared to receive. But it is impossible to forget that with this question is bound up a congeries of hypotheses most degrading to the dignity of our race as such, and most perilous to the doctrine of its unity. This chronological inquiry takes several forms. One weighs the evidence derived from the early remains of mankind; another estimates the time requisite for the gradual formation of their various race distinctions.

And the question remains whether the chronology of the Bible, so far as it contains a chronology, meets the reasonable demands of the results of both investigations.

1 Heb. 9:26; 2 Gal. 4:4.

1. It cannot be denied that the tendency of modern scientific opinion is in favor of a very long past history of the race of man upon earth. But it is equally undeniable that the induction of evidence is of the most precarious character; that its elements are not only composite, but mutually inconsistent; and that all the value it has is bound up with the assumption that man began his history at the first remove from the mere animal life. The most substantial evidence would, of course, be the discovery of human remains—whether the bones of man or his instruments— in juxtaposition with those of extinct races of animals. But that evidence is contradicted by some of the best observers: geology has no peremptory law for the rate of deposition, on the one hand; and, on the other, the methods of accounting for the collocation of human remains in connection with other remains in caverns are not exhausted. Moreover, the inferences defeat themselves. They require, for example, at least a hundred thousand years for the existence of man on the earth; but the known laws of population would account for the present numbers of the race in six or seven thousand years; while, on the other hand, even supposing him to have risen from a state of savagism, there is no reasonable account to be given of his remaining sostationary during so many tens of thousands of historical years. Linguistic arguments are equally precarious. Languages without a literature change very swiftly. As to the requirements of ethnological variety, we have no means of judging how soon the early varieties would receive from surrounding circumstances their final impress: under our own eyes a very few generations suffice to produce great changes and make them permanent. But we must take higher ground. We doubt not that in due time scientific researches will answer many of the scruples of science; and the Holy Record gives us reason to believe that many special interpositions of Providence account for much that we cannot quite harmonies. Though the God of creation rested, the God of providence worketh hitherto; and we do not know all the secrets of man's gradual descent to the present term of his life, of the Flood, of the extraordinary impress upon the second originals of the race, the phenomena of Babel, and the dispersion of the nations.

2. The received chronology of our earliest sacred books is not rigorous. Estimates perfectly orthodox have added to the commonly received term of the duration of human life upon earth a sufficient number of centuries to allow time enough for all race and linguistic variations. The question has theological interest only as affecting the truth of Scripture; and, before the Scriptural chronology is attacked, both friends and foes must agree as to what it teaches. But it is no disparagement to the Old Testament to say that we have not yet a certain key to its dates. That they do not harmonies with Egyptian, and Chinese, and Indian chronology is of no importance: no reliance can be placed upon the latter, when they go back beyond about three millennia B.C. But the laws of reckoning generations in the Book of Genesis are not clearly determined; nor on what principles we are to reconcile the Hebrew original and the Septuagint, which latter allows nearly two thousand years more. The genealogies for the most part mark the descent, and not always the regular succession. Hence there are multitudes of estimates given by Jewish and Christian chronologists of the period elapsing between Adam and Christ. The longest of them would allow all the latitude we need.


1. Discussions have never been wanting as to the constituents of human nature. The early Christian Church inherited the ancient philosophical Trichotomy, as expounded by Plato.

The soul was regarded as the principle of animal life, common to man and the lower orders, and the spirit as added by the Divine inbreathing to be man's special prerogative: whether as a new substance or a new qualification of the soul was never determined. But this distinction, which is adopted for practical purposes by St. Paul, was perverted to heretical ends. The Gnostics taught that the spirit in man was an emanation from the essence of God, and therefore incapable of being defiled by matter: thus undermining the true doctrine of the fall, and the very foundation of redemption. Apollinaris availed himself of it to rob the person of Christ of the human spirit: the Lord's sensitive soul being a sufficient vehicle for the Divine Logos. In later times the doctrine of original sin was embarrassed by this distinction: a theory was very prevalent, and still is, which limited the transmission of sinful bias to the sensitive nature only. Hence the healthier tone of Christian teaching, especially in the West, found it needful to hold fast the Dichotomy of human nature: body and soul, flesh and spirit, being interchangeable expressions for the dual nature of man. It will be obvious, however, to those who weigh well the utterances of Scripture, that, provided the original constituent elements of human nature are only two, the whole religious history of man requires a certain distinction between soul and spirit: his one personality being connected by his soul with the world of sense, and by his spirit with the world of faith. Yet soul and spirit make up one person.

2. There is a modern theology, orthodox in all other respects, which assumes that the spirit in man is the prerogative of the regenerate only: an attempt to reconcile the two theories which Scripture does not sanction. It is true that in the Old Testament the terms lnepesh chayaah and Wnishmat, answering to psuche, soul, and pneuma, spirit, are used both of men and animals; but in the fuller revelation certainly the pneuma is never given to the beast, and never denied to man. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? 1 is a question which would be put in the New Testament into different terms. The Ego of man is now pre-eminently the spirit, inasmuch as that is the sphere in which the Holy Spirit dwells pre-eminently; but it must not be forgotten that the person of man is below and behind all these: the body, and soul, and spirit are his as a personality embracing all.

It is true also that St. Paul says that the first man, Adam, became a living soul; the Last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. 2 But the Apostle speaks here only with reference to the resurrection; and leaves out of view the fact, that the first man was in another sense also made a possessor of the quickening Spirit. Most certainly when the personality of man is crowned in regeneration with the Holy Ghost fully restored his soul becomes, in a sense in which it was not before, the Godward principle in his compound nature.

1 Ecc. 3:21; 2 2 Cor. 15:45.

3. Adam was generic humanity as well as the personal Adam: that name in the Hebrew never knows inflection. Scripture uses no such abstract term as human nature; though St.

James speaks of every fúsis of beasts that hath been tamed teé fúsei teé anthroopínee 1 the bestial nature is under the human nature, or mankind. In the ancient discussion between the Realists and Nominalists the question arose whether there is not in the Divine mind, and in human thought reflecting the Divine mind, a reality of human nature, of which every living man is an expression and representative. As there is an abstract theioths, of which the Three Persons are representatives, so there is a human nature which the Second Person represented in the Incarnation, rather than as becoming a personal individual man.

Granting the truth of this mysterious principle—not the less true because we cannot fathom it—every man descended of Adam presents his own personal individualization of a generic character impressed by its Creator on mankind; and receives into himself the generic evil of original sin, which is the sin of the race in Adam. But this is anticipating.

1 Jas. 3:7.