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22). But whatever natural external provision had been made, there seems to be much force in the suggestion offered concerning the potency of an unfallen, true spiritual life itself for the conservation of its physical organ and instrument.' The suggestion bases itself on the twofold constitution of man. In his physical organism and life he is a natural being. As a material organization he belongs to Nature. But in that part which constitutes his rational, personal self, he is a created spirit, with attributes, capacities, and activities in which he is an intelligent ethical being, linked in kindredship with God and competent for dominion over Nature, which was ordered in subservience to his higher life and destiny. In this reality of his being he stands above all the essences and forces that produce and maintain physical organizations. It is to be conceded, indeed, as asserted by common experience and empirical science, that all physical organisms, after their growth to maturity, exhibit a tendency to wear out and decay, a tendency so actual and sure that the use of no externally provided nourishment can prevent their dissolution. So far as man is a natural being, a vitalized physical organization, belonging to Nature, Nature may enforce its own law of temporalness and demand the body of man back to itself. But in man God created a being whose constitution and position were exceptional and transcendent, a being whose personality and life belonged to spirit-essence, and to whose destiny and blessedness all inferior Nature was meant to be tributary. And there is unquestionably reason in the suggestion that it belonged to the very life of the human spirit, as designed to be maintained in the pure vigor of its holy powers, to preserve thereby to
· Dr. Dorner's “System of Christian Doctrine," II., pp. 71-72.
itself its bodily organ and instrument, and immortalize it in its given relation of service in the divine teleology for man. Human experience is full of testimony to the susceptibleness of the body to the influence of spirit. The corporeal organism may be inspired and sustained to a most wonderful measure by the energy of mind and will. It is no unreasonable supposition, therefore, that in connection with the distinct provisions made for the sustentation of the human body from without, the unbroken inner spiritual life of man, if lived in its true fellowship with God and in the given energies for its appointed holy“ dominion,” would have sufficed to hold that body above the reach of the dissolution which marks all other types of animated Nature. But whatever may have been the force and way through which the physical side of man was to have been preserved in the composite structure of his being, we may be sure that he, the “son of God” (Luke iii. 38), the one spiritual personality, for whose high position and welfare the entire earth-nature was created, “was not made to die,” under the law of physical death which belongs to impersonal nature. The Biblical view requires us to recognize for him a unique position and an immortal destiny; and without doubt the balance between the spiritual and material in him was divinely adjusted for a victorious life of the composite personality-not, indeed, in necessity, but in freedom.
5. The holiness of this first estate, together with the full reality of dominion, was nevertheless dependent for continuance and confirmation on man himself. Being a moral trait, committed to a free agent, it was amissible, and needed to be made secure and permanent by habits of righteousness. Natural tendencies or adaptations acquire steadiness and momentum through activities in which life exercises and establishes itself. The law of habit is cumulative of facility and certainty. The primitive goodness may be conceived of as comparatively unconscious goodness, spontaneously active in and out of the inner constitutional adjustment to holiness rather than as goodness which has established itself in conscious conflict with evil. The concreated rectitude furnished the true initiation to the life of holiness, to be maintained, confirmed, and made victorious. It is the law of virtue or righteousness to grow strong and forever triumphant through its own action in the midst of moral conditions.
6. The Pelagian view, whether of ancient or modern type,' representing the primitive man as created a moral agent or with faculties of moral agency, but in a state of moral indifference, must be condemned as at once without Biblical or rational warrant. It makes the image of God consist in mere personality. The grounds alleged for it are, primarily, that man could have been free only if no bias had been put into his nature, one way or the other; and, further, that personal character is reached only through the exercise of free powers—not at all in the possession of the faculties or any state of them, except as self-determined. But, in truth, freedom does not stand in indifference or an equipoise between good and evil, but in power or faculty of will, despite either internal adjustment or external motives, to choose between them. The assertion that character was a thing wholly left to be yet formed out of a characterless state
As in Schleiermacher, “Christliche Glaube," p. 60; Julius Müller, “Doctrine of Sin,” ii., pp. 113-133 ; Bishop R. S. Foster, “Sin,” p. 15, seq.
by man himself, is altogether without proof and against proof. For God, infinitely holy and good, could not create a personal being indifferent to holiness, any more than He could create a sinful or wicked being. Moral indifferency in a moral being is of itself of the nature of sin. Character, being the sum of attributes or qualities of a personal being, may consist in the state or attitude of the faculties toward righteousness as well as in the exercise of these faculties. To maintain the contrary is to maintain that man's own acts and help are necessary to complete the Creator's work and make it good, or that God could not give a holy set to the creature's faculties. Moreover, unless we claim that God Himself is marked by moral indifference in the very attitude of His essential nature, the fundamental affirmation of man's creation, “in the image and likeness of God," forbids this negative theory. [an's original holiness must be viewed as positive (Eccl. vii. 29; Jas. iii. 9; Eph. iv. 24; 1 Cor. xv. 45).
7. The theory of man's primitive savagery, whether proclaimed by the Positive Philosophy or held as a conclusion of Evolutionist Science, stands strongly in conflict with the Scripture representations and implications concerning the origin and original status of man. The wide acceptance of the evolutionist theory among professional scientists and certain types of theologians requires some review of the facts, to enable us to reach a conclusion according to truth. The question, as it concerns theology, is not whether or not there may be in nature an evolutionary principle that, by self-contained forces and reactions, has produced the varieties and species of life-organizations inferior to man, but whether the origin of the human race is to be so explained. We
are concerned here only with the formation of Man. And in considering the question, it is immaterial whether the evolutionist theory be based on atheism or on a theistic view of the world and a divine creation, ex nihilo, of the world-matter. And yet with this limitation of the question to the origin of man, it will be necessary to take into consideration some of the difficulties and weaknesses of the evolutionist theory in its offered explanation as to the lower orders of animate nature and its lack of absolute conclusiveness even there. The effort will be, not to disprove the general evolutionist view, but to call attention to the fact that the theory is not proved.” It is not “science” (scientia), actual knowledge, but a speculative or tentative hypothesis.
The theory is wont to be based back upon the nebular hypothesis of an immense mass or mist of glowing vapor filling the spaces of the universe, as the starting-point of world-structure. Thence, under the principle of gravitation, through a conjoined action of motion and cooling, worlds and systems are formed. Our world, as one of the planets, cooling and condensing, takes form, first in the earliest geological period, moving then successively through its later eras, marked by gradual advances in its conditions and forms of life and organisms. But for our present purpose we need go back no further than the beginnings of life on the earth, and start with Darwin's somewhat hesitating admission of a Creator and a direct creation of life: “I imagine that probably all organic beings that ever lived on this earth descended from some primitive form, which was first called into being by the Creator.” 1
Quoted from Dr. Shedd, “Dogmatic Theology," I., p. 503. See also, “Origin of Species," pp. 422, 429 (D. Appleton & Co., 1878).