Imatges de pÓgina

tionism has incorporated a thorough and emphatic teleology has evolution found extended acceptance.

The third criticism has aimed its effort against the conclusion as unwarranted by the premises. Even admitting nature to abound in true marks of design, and conceding the full demand of the law of causation, it asserts that these premises do not reach to theistic proof. There are two types of this criticism. One of them, based purely on the fact of "design" in nature, alleges that, as the amount of design is limited, it applies only to the "forms" of creation, not to the question of "substance," and hence its logical conclusion calls only for an artificer for the world and not a Creator, a former and not an absolute First Cause. The other, basing itself on the reality of the cosmos viewed as a total, with respect to both form and substance, and reminding that, after all, the universe is only finite, affirms that we go beyond warrant of the law of causality when, from this limited product, we conclude to "the Infinite" as the necessary cause. So far as theology employs the metaphysical "Infinite" as the designation of God it falls short of proof. All that the finite world demands is an adequate But admitting the force of both forms of the criticism as far as they are valid, they by no means annul the teleological argument, nor set aside its decisive reach. For it still gives an intelligent author or "creator" for all the "design" or purposive reality in the universe; and the best scientific and philosophic judgment is obliged to make this "design" omnipresent in nature's material, structures, and action, holding it to be a reality of the substance as well as of the "forms"


1 For this criticism see Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" (Max Müller's Trans.), pp. 499-507.

of existence. This makes design coextensive with the universe—it being radically, and, as a whole, the embodiment of a thought—and transfers its Maker from the position of an architect to that of a Creator in absolute sense. And though this universe is still only finite, modern astronomy shows it to be in truth so great that no limits are found to it; in fact, it is the most impressive suggestion of infinitude the human mind possesses, and hence the “adequate” First Cause and intelligent Creator becomes inconceivably great. And thus since the argument still legitimately gives us the Creator of the heavens and the earth and our Creator, it fully suffices to establish the essential element in the theistic conclusion. For, the whole question here is simply whether the actual existence of the universe, with signs of conditioned being everywhere and pervaded from atoms to globes and highest organisms with purposive adaptation, requires the existence of a Creator. “ Creator of the universe” to which we belong is but another name for God. The question how great He is, and whether He is to be identified with “the Infinite,” of idealistic metaphysics, is a further problem which is to have its own answer without disturbing the sufficient conclusion already certified.

The effort of non-theistic evolutionism, though worked with great talent and all the apparatus of science, to show how the seeming teleology of nature may be illusory, and all its order and teeming adaptations may be due to a blind self-contained evolution of matter and energy, from homogeneity to heterogeneity, through immense ages of time, out of inherent potencies, through survival of the strongest or best forms of existence, generating life and consciousness and intelligence, and

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reaching the present world-order and man, cannot justly be characterized otherwise than as a failure. To say nothing about the other innumerable blanks and breaks and chasms which have to be crossed or bridged by the use of constant “suppositions” or hypothetical possibilities, idealized as make-shifts in the absence of facts, all along the theoretical world-building, science confesses that this naturalistic evolution has been able to give no explanation of the great and most certain of all the ascending transitions, from lifelessness to life, from unconsciousness to conscious, intelligent mind, from necessity to free-will. Surely this purely materialistic evolutionary hypothesis, with all its constituent and immense assumptions, suppositions built on suppositions, cannot be claimed to possess a tithe of the force that belongs to the teleological argument, which it is invented to set aside. But its absolute futility becomes evident in the further fact that the hypothesis rests upon the absurd assumption that all nature's order, beauty, and utility are the product of chance. For, the explanation that it gives for nature's progress and improvement in organizations, from the lowest to the highest, is based on accidental variations, preserved and strengthened by the blind action of environment under which the useful survive and the inferior perish—"haphazard improvements upon haphazard variations preserved by haphazard conditions." No design whatever guides the movement. Chance is no denial of cause, but of design. It means mere coincidence, a fortuitous result of forces without purpose. Put under the light of a mathematical exposition of the play of chance permutations, it becomes sure that there would be countless millions to one against the possibility of all the molecules and parts, say, of the human eye, coming together in construction of this organ of vision. This even for the production of a single eye; but for the continued regular formation of billions of eyes, generation after generation as ages pass on, and for all the other constructions and uniformities of the total human organization by which we live and move and have our being, the chances against it mount to positive infinity, and show this chance doctrine to be infinitely absurd. Yet this infinitely absurd notion of chance is the only alternative to the admission of design. There is no rational evading of the recognition of design, and so all the rest of the argument stands.

3. THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT. The germs of this were involved in Plato's doctrine of "ideas,” but it was first formulated by Anselm in the eleventh century. From the existence in the human mind of the idea of a “most perfect being," it concluded that the most perfect " being exists—because real existence is a necessary part of the idea of the most perfect being. Descartes, Bishop Butler, Leibnitz, Cousin, and many other eminent writers have used this method of argument; but, standing alone, it has often been shown to be unsound, in confounding real objective existence with the simple idea of it in the mind. A mental concept in itself by no means always assures the corresponding objective reality, whether the concept be of a most perfect being or of any particular lower grade. Existence in re is not a quality of an idea, as the idealizations of men perpetually make manifest. But, though radically deficient in itself, the argument obtains valid force when the concept is viewed not merely with respect to its own content, but especially with respect to the necessity of the human mind's thinking it. Not only must the mind, in order to think of God rationally and fully, think of Him as a being of highest perfections and self-existent, but from the indubitable existence of the finite and dependent world, as forced upon universal experience, the thought is a necessary one. The mind is compelled to think of such a being as the intuitively necessary correlate of the world-existence. So, what the mind must necessarily think and must think as necessarily existing, can hardly be doubted. This inclusion, however, of the element of necessity in the concept, which thus gives validity and cogency to the argument, while completing it, also modifies it into close assimilation with the cosmological proof and the presumption from the universality of the idea of God. The whole force of the proof, as becomes evident, rests in the fact that, the mind being what it is and the world being what it is, the idea of God as a self-existent being necessarily arises. For the actual existence of real being necessitates the reality of self-existent being somewhere -either in the actual of experience itself, or back of it. Thus, from the notion of “being,” taken as real being, must arise the truth of self-existent being. That self-existent Being is God. He is the fundamental necessity of human thought. But thus, as is apparent, the ontology of this argument must cover that of the finite cosmos as well as of the idea of the “most perfect being.”

1 Kant's criticism of the ontological proof, represented often as destructive of it (“Critique of Pure Reason,” pp. 477-486), applies only to the earlier form. His own philosophy, however, deserves credit for helping to establish the truth of the necessity of the idea of God. His "pure reason,” indeed, by the false rupture and isolation from the data of experience in which it was held, could not allow him to accept any logical premise from empirical knowledge, and so left the argument helpless in an incompetent and imprisoned subjectivism. But

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