July 28, 2005
Ch.VI. Q.38. Rationalism
RATIONALISM signifies any system or theory which attributes undue weight to reason in matters of religion. It has three forms: (a) Deistic, which denies both the possibility and fact of revelation, making the unaided reason the ground and source of all religious knowledge; (b) the theory which admits the possibility and fact of revelation, but asserts that its contents are within the power of reason to discover and demonstrate apart from their revelation; (c) Dogmatism, which admits an initial necessity and a real authority of revelation, but claims that what is thus received can be philosophically established and explained so as to elevate the thoughtful believer from dependence on Divine authority to a certainty based wholly on reason.1
2. According to Deism, God so made the world that it is subject to certain laws, and is carried on by secondary causes, with which He neither will nor can interfere. An interference would imply some imperfection in the original work of creation. Such a theory assumes that nature, as originally constituted, is sufficient in itself, and represents the finality of God's external operation and man¬ifestation. But the physical and moral imperfection of nature, thus interpreted, is a frightful enigma, which must drive the questioner into pessimism or scepticism.2
3. According to the second form of rationalism, the purpose of revelation is merely to publish more widely and authenticate to the masses, the doctrines of natural religion, discoverable by philosophers without its aid. A cultivated man should believe only what is reasonable, i.e., comprehensible. Holy Scripture contains a true revelation, but other things also which are to be rejected as unreasonable. But it is to be noted that (a) Assent is based on evidence rather than comprehension. Even in the natural world we accept what we do not understand; (b) The multitude cannot rationalize and are cut adrift by this theory.3
4. Dogmatism distinguishes between faith, πίστις, which is for the common people, and signifies dependence upon authority simply; and knowledge, γνωσις, to which philosophers attain through speculative analysis and logical demonstration of the contents of revelation. This theory (a) Assumes that man can exhaustively analyze and demonstrate such doctrines as the Trinity and Incarnation; (b) Exalts the intellect at the expense of the rest of man's spiritual nature; (c) Disparages the faith of the many, and creates a proud religious aristocracy.4
5. Human reason is necessary for religious knowledge, nor ought anything to be accepted which is seen to be in real conflict with it. Moreover, authority ought not to be accepted, except as rationally credible.5 But reason (a) needs the aid of grace; (b) must use all available sources of truth, including revelation; (c) must assent, on sufficient evidence, even when comprehension is impossible; for what surpasses comprehension or demonstration is not necessarily in conflict with reason.6
6. Rationalism is really Pelagianism in the intellectual sphere; and is found in all its forms among the promoters of what is called "liberal Christianity." Much biblical criticism is tainted with it, refusing to take note of the effect of supernatural inspiration on the phraseology and meaning of Scripture, and denying or ignoring the intervention of God in Israel's history.
1 Hodge, Syst. Theol., Vol. I., pp. 34-49; Christlieb, Modern Doubt, pp. 190-209; Baldwin, Dic. of Philos., "Rationalism (in Theology)." Lecky, Hist. of Rationalism; Farrar, Hist. of Free Thought; Fisher, Faith and Rationalism, pp. 20-40.
2 Hodge, pp. 34-39; Farrar, Lec. IV.; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 55-59.
3 Hodge, pp. 39-44.
4 Hodge, pp. 44-49.
5 Moberly, Reason and Religion; Illingworth, Reason and Revelation. Cf. Q. v. Also Rom. i. 18-23; I. Cor. x. 15; I. Pet. iii. 15.
6 Christlieb, pp. 70-94; Hodge, Outlines, pp. 62-64; Wilhelm and Scannell, Manual, Vol. I., pp. 146-149. Cf. Prov. iii. 5, 6; xiv. 12; I. Cor. ii. 10-16.
Ch.VI. Q.37. The Need of Revelation
NATURE points to its Maker, and indicates somewhat of His nature. But these indications are inadequate for man's religious guidance, and the human mind is unequal to a secure and full mastery of nature's teaching without Divine assistance.1 Such aid is given, however, and is two¬fold: (a) Divine grace, which is an internal gift correcting and strengthening the spiritual vision; (b) Supernatural revelation, which is external and objective.
2. The term revelation signifies, in Theology, a special and supernatural unveiling of truth by God. The word is also used to signify the contents of what is thus unveiled.2
3. The evidences that such revelation has been given to men, and that Christian doctrine correctly summarizes its contents, are considered in another department of Theology. But it is clear that we need such revelation in order (a) to understand more clearly and with infallible authority what nature itself teaches; (b) to gain additional information concerning God's nature and purposes towards us, and concerning the obligations which arise therefrom, more explicit than is otherwise available. Such a God as the theistic teaching of nature reveals may be expected to satisfy this need.3
4. Revelation does not contradict the indications of Divine truth in nature, but gives them articulate expression, and supplements them. Nature without revelation is largely a moral enigma.4 The science of Theology borrows from the sciences of nature, but only as they are irradiated and supplemented by revelation.5
1 Wilhelm and Scannell, Manual, Vol. I., pp. 3-6; Flint, Theism, Lec. X.; Calderwood, Philos. of Infin., pp. 48-51, 148-153; Weidner, Theologia, pp. 2-3.
2 Lee, Inspiration, Lec. I.; Stanton, Place of Authority, pp. 29-38; Weidner, pp. 8-10.
3 Butler, Analogy, Pt. II., ch. i.; Liddon, Some Ele¬ments, pp. 72, 73; Strong, Syst. Theol., pp. 58, 59; Hodge, Outlines, pp. 58-61; Christlieb, Modern Doubt, Lec. ii.; Illingworth, Reason and Revelation, pp. 143-151, 252-256, and ch. ix.; Personality, Lec. vi.; Turton, Truth of Christianity, Bk. II.; Wilhelm and Scannell, pp. 6-15; St. Thos., Summa, I., i. 1, Resp.; Clarke, Outline of Theol., pp. 9, 10.
4 Stanton, pp. 36-38; Martensen, Dogmatics, 10-14, § 43.
5 Martensen, § 44. Cf. Qq. iv. 4; vi.
Chapter VI. Supernatural Revelation
Ch.V. Q.36. Pantheism
PANTHEISM is that system of thought which identifies, or at least confounds, God with the world or totality of being.1
2. Pantheists agree in the following particulars: (a) There is but one substance, universal and eternal, with many modes; (b) God is immanent in the world but not transcendent. Some deny all reality to the world—acosmism; (c) God is impersonal, having neither consciousness nor will; (d) There is no creation, but only an unending and necessary process in eternal substance; (e) Men are not individual substances, but passing moments in the life of Deity, which will disappear with the dissolution of the body, never to return; (f) Human acts are Divine and without freedom; (g) Evil is a form of Divine activity—really good; (h) Man is the highest mode in the life of Deity. The Incarnation, when accepted at all, is said to be a revelation of this.2
3. Pantheism assumes many deceitful shapes, and contaminates the faith of many Christian thinkers and writers who do not suspect the fact.3 The vitality of the system arises from its many-sidedness. It appeals to every type of mind by presenting as Divine those elements of the objective and subjective world to which each individual is attracted. But the religious and moral consequences which Pantheism involves are terrible. (a) By declaring God impersonal it removes the only sufficient basis of worship and dependence upon Divine providence; (b) By merging all things into God it deifies man: (c) By denying the reality of evil and of man's accountability to a personal judge it destroys the only warrant for praising or blaming anybody, and cuts the ground from under common morality.
4. The difficulty is not merely one of practical consequences. It is true that Pantheism, like Theism, cannot be disproved—i.e., by direct evidence. But as a scientific hypothesis it utterly fails to stand the test of experience. The pantheist does not account for the phenomena of mind, personality, and moral judgment. He simply denies that they are what they seem to be, thus stultifying human consciousness in its most elementary exercise.
1 Flint, Anti-Theistic Theories, Lecs. IX., X.; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 59-66; Martensen, Dogmatics, §§ 39-43; Christlieb, Modern Doubt, pp. 161-190; Fraser, Philos. of Theism, pp. 76-103; Caird, Fundamental Ideas, Vol. I., pp. 85-113; Martineau, Religion, Bk. III., ch. i.; Bruce, Apologetics, Bk. I., ch. iii.
2 Hodge, Syst. Theol., Vol. I., pp. 300-309.
3 Flint, pp. 391, 392.
Ch.V. Q.35. Polytheism and Dualism
POLYTHEISM and Dualism are examples of perverted theistic developments. Polytheism represents, intellectually speaking, a failure to pass beyond and above the local and particular manifestations of Divine operation and purpose to the truth that a God must either be supreme over all or merely one of the effects which require a First Cause and Supreme Ruler to account for and govern them. Without such a Ruler chaos must ensue. Divine unity can be seen to be essential to the very idea of God. Polytheism is found only among savage or imperfectly civilized races.1
2. Dualism may arise either from an exaggerated estimate of the amount and power of evil in the universe, or from belief in the eternity of matter. Belief in two rival Gods or ultimate principles—one good and the other evil—ever contending for mastery, prevailed anciently in Persia and the Orient. In the forms of Gnosticism and Manichaeism it troubled the Christian Church. The notion that matter is inherently evil dies hard, and continues still to obscure the doctrines of creation, the Incarnation, and the resurrection.2
3. The problem of evil is too mysterious to be solved. But the forces which make for the triumph of good are obviously supreme, and such a universe as ours could not result from the conflict of mutually independent gods or principles. Evil may be seen to be imperfect good, the good having God for its cause, the evil being a perversion of Divine purposes which is none the less overruled to a progressive fulfilment of God's holy will in history. We are indeed unable to formulate a final theodicy, or theistic philosophy of evil. But the universal trend of events indicates that our failure is due to inadequate knowledge simply.3
4. Many moderns are led by their inability to imagine the ultimate creation of matter to regard it as eternal, and as imposing an external limit upon Divine operations. Thus God and matter are set over against each other as jointly accounting for the present state of the universe.4
5. We cannot, indeed, imagine a beginning of matter, but neither can we imagine its eternal existence. Either hypothesis is thinkable, and both lie beyond the range of scientific verification. It remains that the evidences of God's existence, and the results of analysis of the idea of God involved in them, point to the dependence of matter, for existence as well as form, upon Divine causation. Merely abstract difficulties should give way to such evidence. Moreover, the most elementary and presumably primitive forms of matter bear the marks of adaptation, i.e., of shaping mind; and this suggests that their origin is due to the same cause as is their form.5
6. The human mind ever seeks the simplest philosophy of things, as most likely to be true, in every sphere of thought. Theism is much simpler than either Polytheism or Dualism. The universe is more obviously a unity—a universe— than a bundle of conflicting forces. It is much easier, therefore, to accept the existence of one Supreme God and Cause of all, in spite of incidental difficulties, than to hypothecate a conflict of ultimate causes in an orderly universe of effects.
1 Lacey, Elem. of Doctrine, pp. 75-76; Blunt, Dic. of Theol., "Polytheism" and "Paganism."
2 Lacey, pp. 74-75; Flint, Theism, pp. 113, 114; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 142-148; Strong, Syst. Theol., pp. 186-188; Baldwin, Dic. of Philos., "Dualism."
3 Flint, Theism, pp. 245-263; Oxford House Papers , 2nd Series, pp. 99 et seq.; Illingworth, in Lux Mundi, 3rd Paper; Strong, Manual, pp. 231, 232; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 148-155.
4 Flint, Anti-Theistic Theories, pp. 150-157; Martineau, Seat of Authority, pp. 29-36.
5 Flint, Anti-Theistic Theories, pp. 156-157; Profeit, Creation of Matter, x.
Ch.V. Q.34. Materialism
"MATERIALISM is that system which ignores the distinction between matter and mind, and refers all the phenomena of the world, whether physical, vital, or mental, to the functions of matter."1
2. Materialism was first systematized by Epicurus (342-271 B.C.), and modern Materialism has not advanced beyond his position. He taught that (a) ex nihilo nihil fit, and the universe is without beginning or end; (b) space and the number of bodies in it are infinite; (c) matter is made up of atoms, which are simple, invisible, and indivisible; (d) these atoms are endowed with forces in addition to gravity; (e) the amount of matter and force is always the same; (f) atoms are in perpetual motion, and their combinations form the cosmos; (g) the soul is material and mortal, passing into other combinations with the dissolution of the body; (h) sensation is the only source of knowledge; (i) nothing is immaterial except a vacuum.2
3. Materialism cannot be true unless the following teachings can be accepted: (a) that God is corporeal;3 (b) that the soul is mortal;4 (c) that life is fatalistic, a matter of natural and necessary process simply;5 (d) that there is no moral obligation. Conduct should be ruled by science— e.g., the fittest should survive. Hospitals are a mistake.6 The recent trend of natural scientists is destructive of Materialism. Psychical phenomena are being studied closely, and are seen to be unaccountable on materialistic grounds. A more searching analysis of matter has produced the conviction that it does not contain a sufficient ground for its own phenomena.
4. Positivism, which is primarily a theory of knowledge, is in effect closely related to Materialism. As formulated by Auguste Comte (1798-1857), it asserts that no knowledge is possible which does not come through the external senses, and that nothing is or can be known except phenomena and their laws. The ideas of causality and design cannot be established and Theology is a delusion.7
5. Positivism is Materialistic, but in being so, is inconsistent; for, if our knowledge is confined to phenomena, how is it possible to assert anything as to what underlies phenomena—that it is material, or spiritual, or anything at all.8 Furthermore, we are not warranted in calling all phenomena material. We have a knowledge of internal phenomena, such as thinking, feeling, and willing, which is as certain as any portion of our knowledge. Phenomenally speaking—i.e., apparently—these are not material phenomena but spiritual, and to say otherwise is to assert more than mere phenomenalism justifies.9
6. Positivism leads logically to scepticism. To be consistent it must repudiate, not only all theistic belief, but also, belief in any thing beyond mere appearances. That these appearances have any real or permanent basis, or any other foundation than subjective delusion, is impossible for a consistent Positivist to assert.10
7. Naturalism is the name of a common form of current Materialism, which views all reality as accounted for by the laws of matter and force, the results of these laws being subject to precise mechanical measure. Obviously the phenomena of mind and conscience do not lend themselves to such explanation or measure; and the exactitude of mechanical laws is open to question.11
1 Flint, Anti-Theistic Theories, Lecs. ii.-iv.; Christlieb, Modern Doubt, pp. 145-161; Tulloch, Modern Theories, pp. 125-168; Hodge, Syst. Theol., Vol. I., pp. 246-299; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 43-48; Wilkinson, in Present Day Tracts, xvii.; Fraser, Philos. of Theism, pp. 43-61; Bruce, Apologetics, Bk. I., ch. iv.
2 Hodge, pp. 246, 247.
3 St. Thos., Summa, I., iii. 1.
4 Strong, Syst. Theol., pp. 555-562.
5 Fisher, Grounds of Belief, pp. 3-18.
6 Flint, pp. 500-504.
7 Flint, Lec. V., esp. pp. 180-190; Liddon, pp. 46-48; Tulloch, pp. 3-88; Didon, Science Without God, Disc. I.
8 Flint, pp. 180, 181.
9 Flint, pp. 181-184.
10 Flint, pp. 184-190.
11 Ward, Naturalism, etc., considers the precision of mechanical laws at length. Balfour, Foundations of Belief, attacks the philosophic basis of Naturalism.
Ch.V. Q.33. Atheism
AN ULTIMATE philosophy of being and life is demanded imperatively by the human mind. Positive reasons have been given for accepting the theistic hypothesis as this philosophy. But other philosophies have been maintained of an anti-theistic nature. Their consideration and comparison with Theism will show their utter inadequacy and inferiority; and that Theism is not only reasonable but the most reasonable philosophy of the universe.
2. Atheism is not so much a positive theory as the negation of any adequate account of things.1 It is, however, anti-theistic, and should be considered here. Atheism consists in an absolute denial that God exists.2 In this it is clearly to be distinguished from Agnosticism, which merely denies our ability to know God, if He exists.
3. No doubt there are sincere atheists; but it can hardly be shown that they are morally disinterested or logically consistent.3 Atheists are opposed to the general convictions of men, so that the burden of proof rests upon their shoulders. It is their part to shift this burden either by showing that common consent has no legitimate basis, or by proving that God does not exist. It has already been pointed out that such proof requires universal induction for its success. No one but the Maker of all things, whose existence the atheist denies, could make such an induction.4
4. The bare possibility that such a moral Sovereign as God exists, whom it is our duty to serve and worship, puts us to a real probation of at least inquiring further before adopting an atheistic position. Atheism is either absolutely demonstrable or morally indefensible. There is no other alternative.5 A consistent and thorough-going attempt to demonstrate the universal negative of Atheism has never appeared in literature.6
1 Flint, Anti-Theistic Theories, pp. 19-20.
2 Flint, Lec. I.; Blackie, Natural Hist. of Atheism; Hodge, Syst. Theol., pp. 241-243; Christlieb, Modern Doubt, pp. 138-144.
3 Flint, pp. 5-8; Hodge, pp. 242-243.
4 Cf. Q. xxiii. 4 for refs.
5 Butler, Analogy, Pt. II., ch. vi. 9, and ch. viii. 9, 10.
6 Flint, pp. 8, 9, 456-458.
Chapter V. Anti-Theistic Theories
July 27, 2005
Ch.IV. Q.32. Theistic Doctrine
BELIEF that God exists is largely instinctive. The arguments for the existence of God do not originate such belief. They justify it, and afford points of view from which to contemplate its Object. They show, not simply that God is; but, by drawing our attention to certain inferences which can be gathered from His handiwork, they help us to see what He is.1
2. The evidences of God's existence teach us that He is the uncaused, eternal and infinite Cause and Orderer of all things, One and unique, intelligent, free, and personal, the beneficent and righteous Governor of the world, whom we should worship and whose will we should ascertain and obey.2
3. The Cosmological argument points to One uncaused First Cause and Orderer of all things. The idea of a cause carries with it the presence of will, and therefore of purpose. The First Cause must also be without beginning, i.e., eternal, and self-conditioned, i.e., infinite. That God is intelligent, wise, and free, is more directly shown by the evidences of design in nature.3
4. The Historical argument employs evidences which indicate this wise Person to be beneficent since He overrules all things for the ultimate good of His creatures. The existence of evil does not conflict with this teaching. It shows, however, that the Divine purpose is not fully worked out, and that Divine power, although infinite, is internally limited. To create finite persons possessing real freedom without ability to sin would seem to exceed the limits of power as such.4
5. So far as the evolutionary theory is true, God seems to work in and through creaturely things as well as upon them. If the higher grows out of the lower, the Divine power operates from within the lower; i.e., God is immanent in the universe. Yet the fact that each step of the evolutionary process brings a higher nature to birth shows that the Divine power which works in evolution transcends the universe in which it works. The lower cannot of itself produce the higher, which is supernatural to itself. God is at once immanent and transcendent — "not far from any one of us,"5 and yet over all His works as almighty and self-sufficient Sovereign.
6. The Moral argument draws attention to indications that the good Being whom we call God is righteous in all His ways and will not behold iniquity.6
7. From the universal prevalence of the religious instinct, and the sense of accountability, we are led to infer that our worship is due to God and that our lives must be conformed to His will, however made known. That will appears truly, although partially, in what are called the laws of nature; and to live according to nature is to that extent to live according to the will of God.
1 Fisher's Grounds of Belief, p. 24; Lindsay, Recent Advances, p. 5; Flint, Theism, pp. 60-61.
2 St. Thos., Summa, I. ii. 2 ad sec.; Martensen, Dogmatics, § 38; Chalmers, Nat. Theol., Bk. V., ch. iv., pp. 358-387; Barry, Boyle Lecs., pp. 320-324.
3 Flint, pp. 124-129; Martineau, Religion, Bk. II., ch. i., § 8. Smyth, Through Science to Faith, ch. ii.-v.
4 Smyth, ch. vi.
5 Acts xvii. 27.
6 Clarke, Outline of Theol., pp. 120-123, 127, 128, urges the dilemma, God is either good or evil, and the improbability of His being evil.
Ch.IV. Q.31. The Cumulative Force of Theistic Arguments
THE force of the arguments for God's existence is cumulative, and sufficient to produce, in any unprejudiced mind, a moral certainty that He exists.1
2. Each particular argument is logically incomplete but each suggests the hypothesis of God's existence as the true explanation of the phenomena of the universe. When this hypothesis is once adopted, innumerable lines of evidence are seen to converge upon and corroborate it. While therefore, the hypothesis is seen to be the "solution of a problem," rather than the conclusion of a demonstration, the fact that it is the true solution becomes as certain as any scientific conviction.2
3. The hypothesis that God exists is known by all; and the a posteriori evidence which corroborates it is everywhere exhibited before the eyes of men. Therefore, the sufficiency of evidence for reasonable assurance, coupled with the fact that the Being whose existence is at issue is a moral Governor who demands our worship and service, renders all men accountable who refuse to believe in Him.3 "Probability is the very guide of life";4 and if a proposition which has practical consequences is seen to have probability in favor of its truth, we are under obligation to make the "venture of faith"—i.e., to think, speak, and act as if it were true. And "if any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine."5 The religious experience of devout Christians supplies them with grounds of assurance concerning God which make good all the imperfections of theistic argument.6
1 Flint, Theism, pp. 62-75; Barry, Boyle Lecs., Lec iii.; Illingworth, Personality, pp. 81-82.
2 Calderwood, Moral Philos., pp. 223-232; Strong, Syst. Theol., p. 50; Mason, Faith of the Gospel, ch. i., § 2; Staley, Nat. Religion, pp. 58-60; Davis, Elem. of Ethics, pp. 20-23.
3 Chalmers, Nat. Theol., Bk. I., ch. i., ii., esp. pp. 72-73; Pusey, Responsibility of the Intellect. Cf. Rom. i. 18-21.
4 Butler, Analogy, Introd.
5 John vii. 17.
6 Dale, Christian Doctrine, pp. 35-42; Clarke, Outline of Theol., pp. 123-120.
Ch.IV. Q.30. Inductions from the Finite
THE things which we see in the visible universe about us are all Unites — i.e., they are externally limited, and are what they are in relation to something other than themselves. This is true of the totality of finites as well as of particular things. But the finite and relative implies what is not finite and not relative — some standard which is the measure of all things, and in relation to which all things are what they are, but which requires nothing except itself for its own measurement or determination. God alone satisfies this requirement.1
2. Wherever there is any degree of being, perfection or beauty to be found, we instinctively and necessarily interpret it or measure it by assuming the existence of an absolute and infinite standard. If this standard has no counterpart in reality our interpretations are the veriest "fabric of a dream." The existence of the Infinite — of God — is then the implicate and validating presupposition of all intelligence, without which we can interpret nothing and think nothing.2
3. The imperfect implies the perfect, and wherever we discern imperfect power, beauty, and goodness, we discern their imperfection because we also discern perhaps without noting it, that a reality which comprehends their perfection is partially reflected in them. We cannot deny the existence of that perfect reality without denying the imperfection which we discern.3
4. Similarly the temporal and contingent implies the eternal and non-contingent, the spatial that which has no spatial measure. Nor may we confound the eternal with the temporal, or the infinite with the spatial; for by so doing we deny what we see, that all temporals and spatials have by nature external limits, and fail to fill out the standard which is presupposed in our estimate of them.4
5. So it is with the moveable, wherein mutable spatial and temporal relations converge. We can give no meaning to a change in space and time relations without at least implicit reference to that which changes in neither. But the more we study the face of nature the more we may assure ourselves that nothing finite is thus immovable. The ultimate involved in motion is the Infinite — the unmoved Mover of all.5
1 This line of argument—the method of invention— underlies Gratry's Introd. to the Knowledge of God. Note esp. pp. 23-25. It is found in what Plato calls dialectic; and is used by St. Anselm, Monologium, ch. i.-iv.; cf. Ilingworth, Personality, pp. 89-92.
2 St. Anselm, ch. ii.; Cousin, in Caldecott and Mackin¬tosh, Selections, pp. 309-315.
3 St. Thos., Summa, I., ii. 3 quarta; St. Augustine, De Trinitate, VIII., iv., v.; St. Anselm, ch. i.
4 Wilhelm and Scannell, Manual, Vol. I., pp. 195-197; Flint, Theism, p. 432; St. Thos., I., ii. 3 tertia.
5 St. Thos., I. ii. 3 prima; Aristotle, Physics, Bk. viii.; Metaphysics, Bk. xi.
Ch.IV. Q.29. Moral Argument
THE Moral argument proceeds from the sense of accountability and the religious instinct common to all men, and infers that there must be a righteous and personal Ruler and Judge to whom we are accountable, and whom we ought to worship.1
2. Men pass judgments upon their neighbors on the assumption that they are accountable morally. These judgments are not limited to cases in which the person judging has been injured. There are instances in which the accountability can only be satisfied on the assumption that there is a Judge and Punisher who is over all. Thus men bear witness to their own accountability, and to the existence of Him to whom they must render account.
3. Attempts have been made to explain away the sense of accountability and the "categorical imperative" of conscience, (a) It is said to be a fruit of natural evolution; but if our possession of conscience has such a genesis, it is none the less what it is, and the validity of its judgments stands on the same footing with the validity of human reason in general, which, according to the evolutionary hypothesis, has had the same origin. Evolutionists do not repudiate reason.2 (b) Moral distinctions are evaporated by hedonistic philosophies, utilitarianism, assertions as to the influence of force, acquired habits and the like. The answer to all such explanations is that they disagree with the data of consciousness, which exhibit the human mind as discerning necessarily and intuitively the difference between duty and all other conceptions whatsoever.
4. Butler says of the conscience, "Had it the power as it has manifest authority, it would absolutely govern the world."3 But authority presupposes power. The conscience has authority because it witnesses to a law, a purpose of One who has the power upon which its authority must rest.4
5. Religion in some form or other, however debased, is universal; and this bears witness to a sense of dependence upon God equally universal. St. Augustine says, "Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless till it find rest in Thee."5
1 Flint, Theism, pp. 210-226; Dale, Christian Doctrine, pp. 26-35; Strong, Syst. Theol., pp. 45-47; Fisher, Grounds of Belief, pp. 55-59; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 67-71; Hodge, Outlines, pp. 41, 42; Mason, Faith of the Gospel, ch. I., § v.; Martineau, Religion, Bk. II., ch. ii.; Calderwood, Philos. of Infin., ch. viii.; Illingworth, Personality, pp. 103-112, 260-264.
2 Hyslope, Elem. of Ethics, pp. 321 et seq., esp. 346-348; Flint, pp. 224-226; Martineau, Vol. II., pp. 21-26; Illing¬worth, p. 110.
3 Sermons on Human Nature, ii.
4 Strong, p. 46; Liddon, pp. 66-70.
5 St. Augustine, Confessions, 1., i. Cf. Q. xxiii.
Ch.IV. Q.28. Historical Argument
THE Historical argument is a special form of the argument of design, as deduced from a consideration of the general march of events, whether cosmological or moral. That all things make for the fulfilment of a plan, in which the interests of wisdom and righteousness are attaining the mastery seems to be writ large upon history, and points to the existence of a supreme, wise, and righteous Governor of the physical and moral world.1
2. The theory of evolution brings this argument into bold relief. It teaches that a development upward has been going on from the beginning, proceeding from simple forms of being and life to those which are highly complex and which point on to still higher levels of life and function. Moreover, with the appearance of man, this advance becomes distinctly moral and spiritual, and seems to have no goal short of spiritual perfection and godlikeness. The evidences of this are very numerous, and can be studied in the histories of social life, nations, crime, law and ethnic religions. Sacred history, whatever may be thought of its sacredness, reveals the same progress towards perfect civilization and exalted ideals of life.2
3. The late John Fiske points out that natural evolution has heretofore proceeded by a continuous widening of correspondence of its products with objective environment. The reality of the environment corresponded with at each stage is a necessary assumption of the evolutionary theory; and within the physical sphere, is repeatedly verified. With the advent of man a reaching forth or aspiration after correspondence with the unseen begins. The existence of religion is the proof of this, and the objective aspired after is God. The reality of this objective — the existence of God — seems to be involved in the continuity and truth of natural evolution. It is hard to believe that nature has all along advanced by true correspondences, and then, when at its most intelligent level, has suddenly blundered and sought correspondence with a delusion.3
4. The evidences of physical and moral disorder in the world raise a serious problem, but do not destroy the force of this historical argument; for (a) The most they can be said to prove is, that the complete fulfilment of God's design has not yet been attained; (b) Whatever may be the nature and origin of evil, it does not defeat the continual moral progress of the world; (c) There are indications that God so overrules the forces of evil that He makes them very instruments in accomplishing His own good designs.4
1 Fisher, Grounds of Belief, pp. 59-60; Hodge, Outlines, pp. 42-44.
2 Fiske, The Destiny of Man; Griffith-Jones, Ascent Through Christ, Introd. ch. iii. and Bk. III., ch. iii.
3 Fiske, Through Nature to God, pp. 177 et seq. Cf. Spencer's First Principles, ch. I., §4; Clarke, Outline of Theol., pp. 118-120.
4 Fiske, Through Nature to God, opening chaps.; Flint, Theism, Lec. viii.; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 142-148; Butler, Analogy, Pt. I., ch. vii.; MacColl, Christianity in Rel. to Science, pp. 57-60.
Ch.IV. Q.27. Teleological Argument
THE teleological argument starts with the evidences of design observable in the universe, and infers a Designer of sufficient intelligence and wisdom to account for them. An intelligible world is readily understood to be, "thought realized," and this means that there has been forethought, and a Fore-thinker.1
2. The facts with which this argument starts are: (a) The general prevalence of order and adjustment, as of means to ends; (b) the unity of nature, as seen in the coincidence and co-operation of physical causes to the production of single results, and in the general harmony of the ends to which all parts of nature are adapted; (c) the progress of natural development towards a "far-off Divine event, to which the whole creation moves."
3. The evolutionary hypothesis strengthens this argument, since it describes nature as developing according to intelligible and therefore intelligent methods. These methods indicate a plan, and point to an intelligent cause. If it be urged that undesigned variations and a survival of the fittest account for all, the reply is that a scheme of variations which by natural survival causes a cosmos, and its advance towards a rational goal, cannot be the result of accident.2
4. Kant raised two objections in his Critique of Pure Reason, (a) the argument proves the existence of an architect or fashioner of nature, but not a Creator of its its [sic] material elements. This is true, but all the argument pretends to prove is that the First Cause is intelligent. None the less, it appears probable that He is also the Creator of matter, although for other reasons. Matter cannot be separated from those properties which constitute its adaptability. Its origination appears to coincide with its adaptation. Moreover, the principle of design is not satisfied except by hypothecating a Designer who is not Himself designed. But a designer who is not the ultimate cause must have been designed. We cannot rationally divorce the Cause of all from the Designer of all.3
5. (b) An Infinite Creator cannot be inferred, strictly speaking, from finite creation, however great and wonderful. All that can be insisted upon is a being of inconceivably great power and wisdom. This is also true, but infinity seems to be involved in the idea of an undesigned and, therefore, uncaused Designer, who has the grounds of His intelligence in Himself.4
6. The alternative of Design is Chance. Lucretius held that the world is the result of a "fortuitious concourse of atoms." But one might as reasonably believe that a haphazard collection of small metallic pieces could, by mere accident, fall on some paper in such wise as to print this volume.5
1 Fisher, Grounds of Belief, pp. 29-55; Paley, Nat. Theol., opening chaps.; Flint, Theism, Lecs. v., vi.; MacColl, Christianity in Relation to Science, pp. 17-21; Mozley, Essays, pp. 363-413; St. Thos., Summa, I., ii., 3 quinta; Profeit, Creation of Matter; Turton, Truth of Christianity, Bk. I., ch. iii.; Illingworth, Personality, pp. 93-100, 255-257. Cf. Psa. xciv. 9, 10.
2 Fisher, pp. 45-55; Profeit, ch. x.; Temple, Bamp. Lecs., Lec. iv.; Flint, pp. 189-209, 390-394; Row, Theism, ch. vi.; Moore, Science and the Faith, pp. 186-200; Ward, Naturalism and Agnosticism, pp. 203 et seq.; Fiske, Idea of God, pp. 118 et seq. and Through Nature to God, pp. 109 et seq.; Jevons, Evolution, ch. xii, xiii.; Martineau, Religion, Vol. I., pp. xv.-xix.; Fairbairn, Philos. Of the Christian Religion, ch. i., §§ iii., iv.; Iverach, Theism, Lecs. i.-iv.; Illingworth, pp. 94-99.
3 Flint, pp. 170-173; Profeit, ch. xi.; Fisher, p. 42.
4 Flint, pp. 174-177; Fisher, p. 42.
5 MacColl, Christianity in Rel. to Science, p. 19; Fisher, pp. 43-45.
Ch.IV. Q.26. Cosmological Argument
THE Cosmological argument proceeds from the phenomena of the universe and their harmony to an Infinite First Cause to account for them.1 "Finite things have not their origin in themselves. We trace effects back to their causes; but these causes are found to be, also, effects.2 The path is endless. There is no goal. There is no satisfaction, save in the assumption of being that is causative without being caused, or being which has its ground of existence in itself." This argument does not require us to retrace causation ad infinitum, as is sometimes alleged. The point is that the idea of causation cannot be satisfied by unending regression, but only by a cause that is not itself caused — which terminates the regressive series of links in causation.3
2. The nearest approximation to a true cause which we directly observe is our own will. Mere sequence, or mere force, does not satisfy the idea of a cause; which involves, apparently, a choice of effects to be produced. Thus we are led to hypothecate will in the cause of all things.4 Moreover, while we may not argue by mere analogy from the nature of effects to a like nature in their cause, we seem to be driven to the conclusion that no impersonal cause is adequate to account for the production of a world containing persons, such as human beings are. Their cause must be personal and free.5 The teleological argument serves to complete and confirm this conclusion.
3. The cosmological argument does not of itself prove that the cause of the universe is infinite. But when we analyze the idea of a cause which is itself uncaused, and has the grounds of its being in itself, we seem to see that such a cause must be self-determinate and unlimited by anything external to itself. This answers to the idea of an infinite Being.6
4. Two premises are assumed: (a) that phenomenal events require causality; (b) that the world is not itself eternal and therefore not self-caused. The former would seem to be axiomatic, but Hume objected that we cannot observe causality. What we actually see is succession. Yes, but we intuitively recognize the difference between mere succession and the succession of cause and effect, and the reality of causality accounts for this discrimination more satisfactorily than any other hypothesis.7
5. The other premise is disputed by the Pantheist, who regards the universe as self-caused and eternal. But, while it is impossible to demonstrate directly the falsity of such a contention, the following considerations militate against its truth: (a) All history, comparative philology, and ethnology indicate that the human race is of recent origin; (b) the evidences of development in nature and of dissipation of heat point back to a beginning of the present order;8 (c) the pantheistic hypothesis does not account satisfactorily for the existence of persons in the universe; and it possesses certain moral difficulties, considered elsewhere.9
1 Flint, Theism, Lec. iv.; Row, Theism, ch. iv.; Calderwood, Philos. of Infin., ch. vii.; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 51-53; St. Thos., Summa, I., ii. 3; Hodge, Outlines, pp. 33-35; Illingworth, Personality, pp. 84-93, 251-255.
2 Flint, pp. 118-124.
3 Fisher, Grounds of Belief, pp. 27, 28; Illingworth, pp. 87-88.
4 Martineau, Religion, Vol. I., pp. 131 et seq.; Vol. II., pp. 227-248; Ward, Philos. of Theism, Essay ix.; Fraser, Philos. of Theism, pp. 190-192; Fisher, pp. 28-29; Illingworth, pp. 86-87; Romanes, Thoughts on Religion, pp. 124-126.
5 Steenstra, Being of God, pp. 31-33; Flint, pp. 129-130.
6 St. Thos., I., vii. 1; Perrone, Praelec. Pt. II., cap. iii., Prop. 2; Jackson, Works, Vol. V., pp. 16-33; Schouppe, Elementa, Tract v., § 110; Calderwood, pp. 383-384.
7 Steenstra, pp. 36-38; Mozley, Essays, pp. 415-444; Flint, pp. 97-101.
8 Chalmers, Nat. Theol., I., v.; Flint, pp. 101-118; Mason, Faith of the Gospel, ch. I., § iv.
9 Steenstra, pp. 43-45.
Ch.IV. Q.25. Argument of Descartes
THE argument of Descartes is as follows: "We have the idea of an infinitely perfect Being. As we are finite, that idea could not have originated with us. As we are conversant only with the finite, it could not have originated from anything around us. It must, therefore, have come from God, whose existence is thus a necessary assumption."1
2. Descartes says elsewhere: "Notiones nostras esse aut adventitias, aut factitias, aut innatas. Ideam de Deo non esse adventitiam, Deum enim non experientia duce reperiri; neque factitiam, nam non arbitrio a nobis affictam esse: ergo esse innatam, sive a Deo ipso nobis suppeditatam."2
3. The difference between the argument of St. Anselm and that of Descartes is that the former supposes the existence of God to be involved in our idea of Him, while the latter infers the existence of God to account for the idea.3 The latter is really a posteriori, and is subject to the limitations of such arguments.4
1 Descartes, Meditations, Prop. ii.; Hodge, Syst. Theol., Vol. I., p. 205; Pearson, De Deo, iii., pp. 27-30; Bowen, Mod. Philos., pp. 27 et seq.
2 Prop, iii., iv.
3 Hodge, p. 206.
4 Bowen, as above.
July 26, 2005
Ch.IV. Q.24. Ontological Argument
THE Ontological argument, which was first formulated by St. Anselm, proceeds as follows: "I have in my mind the idea of the most perfect being conceivable. The most perfect being conceivable must have the attribute of necessary existence. One whose existence was contingent would not be the most perfect conceivable. Necessary existence implies actual existence. An absolutely perfect Being, therefore, actually exists, and He is God."1
2. St. Thomas rejects the argument for the following reasons: (a) It does not appeal to all, for some regard God as a body—not as the greatest Being conceivable; (b) It begs the question, for the necessity of thinking that the most perfect conceivable Being exists is not equivalent to the fact of His existence, nor a demonstration of it.2 To these objections may be added the further difficulty, that our most perfect conception falls short of the Infinite Being whose existence we desire to prove.3
3. Descartes undertook to employ this argument, but was forced by the exigencies of controversy to adopt an a posteriori form.4 Many attempts at a priori proof were also made in the eighteenth century.5
4. A priori proof is formally imperfect; but the attempt to employ it brings to light in a forcible manner (a) the naturalness of our belief in the existence of God; (b) the fact that we must either believe that God exists or else regard the fundamental conditions of human thinking as delusive. The latter alternative is equivalent to an assertion of universal insanity, which would preclude the possibility of any science whatever.6
1 Norris, Rudiments, p. 18; St. Anselm, Proslogium, ch. 2; Illingworth, Personality, pp. 100-103, 257-260; Flint, Theism, Lec. ix., esp. pp. 278-280; Fisher, Grounds of Belief, pp. 26, 27; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 49-51; E. Caird, in Journal of Theol. Studies, Oct. 1899.
2 St. Thos., Summa, I. ii. 1; Bowen, Mod. Philos., p. 27; Mulford, Repub. of God, pp. 1-5; Waterland, Dissert. on Argument a Priori, Works, Vol. III., pp. 321 et seq.
3 Flint, p. 280.
4 Given in Q. xxv., below.
5 Flint, App. xxxviii.
6 Flint, pp. 285-288; Caird, Philos. of Religion, ch. v.; Moberly, Reason and Religion, pp. 141, 142; Calderwood, Philos. of Infin., pp. 51-56; Gratry, Knowl. of God, Pt. I., ch. v.
Ch.IV. Q. 23. Common Consent
BELIEF in the existence of God is practically as widespread as the race, although it is often found in perverted and grotesque forms and buried beneath superstitious ideas. Such exceptions as exist can be accounted for, and are of a nature to prove the rule.1
2. Two sorts of men are mentioned as not acknowledging the existence of the Supreme Being, viz., certain savage races, and certain avowed Atheists. Whatever may be the case with the former,2 they are so abnormally degraded as to lack many other ideas which rational men commonly possess. The latter are interested in denying the existence of God.
3. This common consent can only be accounted for in four ways: (a) by natural necessity of such a belief to one constituted as man is;3 (b) by the strength of the evidence furnished through the common experiences of men; (c) by primitive tradition;4 (d) by repeated supernatural revelations.
4. The fact of common consent shows the onus probandi to be with the Atheist rather than with the Theist.5 The Atheist is under the logical necessity of shifting this burden, either by showing that the consent has an illegitimate basis, or by proving that God does not exist. And, since the bare possibility that such a moral Sovereign as God exists, puts us to a moral probation,6 no one ought to accept the atheistic conclusion until the non-existence of God has been demonstrated beyond doubt. Such demonstration requires universal induction. In short an Atheist should be practically omniscient, lest some indication of God's existence should escape his notice.7
5. It is, however, desirable to exhibit the argument for the existence of God for three reasons, (a) to convince genuine seekers after God; (b) to strengthen the faith of believers; (c) to enrich our knowledge of the nature of God.
1 Flint, Theism, App. note viii.; Staley, Nat. Religion, pp. 63-72; Stanton, Place of Authority, pp. 56-63; Pearson, De Deo, ii., pp. 16, 17; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 48, 49; Flint, Anti-Theistic Theories, Lec. vii. and App. notes xxvi.-xxxii.; Illingworth, Personality, pp. 81, 249-251; Blackie, Atheism, pp. 5-16.
2 Tylor, Prim. Culture, Vol. I., pp. 377, 381, 418; Staley, pp. 72-73.
3 Calderwood, Philos. of Infin., pp. 47-48.
4 Flint, Theism, App. note iv.
5 Mason, Faith of the Gospel, ch. i., § 3.
6 Butler, Analogy, Introd.; Romanes, Thoughts on Religion, pp. 144, 151, 152.
7 Chalmers, Nat. Theol., Vol. I, Bk. I., ch. 2; Flint, Anti-Theistic Theories, pp. 8-14, 446-450; Christlieb, Modern Doubt, pp. 143, 144.
Ch.IV. Q.22. Agnosticism
THE very possibility of Theism is denied by Agnosticism; which is, in effect, the modern equivalent of ancient scepticism. It consists in a denial of the trustworthiness of certain cognitive faculties. Theologically it signifies a denial of human ability to know God.1
2. The testimony of consciousness is the ultimate court of appeal in determining what knowledge is. According to its testimony the cognitive faculties are bound together, and so related in exercise that the validity of one depends absolutely upon that of the others. We cannot discriminate and deny the trustworthiness of the mind in one department, without undermining every mental operation and impugning the trustworthiness of consciousness itself. Yet it is on the testimony of consciousness that sceptics must depend for their rejection of knowledge; and such dependence is inconsistent with the rejection of its testimony in any department of consciousness.2
3. But Agnosticism evolves an abstract definition of knowledge which is not borne out by conscious experience.3 It is alleged that knowledge must be absolute, concerned with things in themselves and apart from their relations to our minds. Such knowledge is obviously impossible, for things appear to us only through relative and phenomenal aspects. Such a contention militates against all knowledge whatsoever. Knowledge is of necessity relative. We cannot know what is unrelated to our cognizing mind.4
4. Consciousness, however, gives knowledge as its primary datum, and we cannot get back of consciousness to criticise its testimony. The possibility of any knowledge depends upon trust in consciousness and the cognitive faculties. We cannot, indeed, prove psychologically that the subjective ideas of our minds truly represent objective reality.5 But neither can we prove that they do not, without assuming the trustworthiness of the very faculties under criticism.6
5. It is not maintained that we know things exhaustively. We know them partially, and only so far as they come into relations with our minds.7 The point maintained is that, so far as such relations are experienced, our knowledge is what consciousness declares it to be—real. And this holds good whether the knowledge is directly empirical or by legitimate inference. It is only when our minds have violated the laws by which they are normally governed that we may suspect the validity of what we seem to know.8 Moreover, although the assistance of grace may enhance our cognitive faculties, it neither subverts the laws of human cognition nor weakens their validity.9
6. Theological Agnosticism also makes use of an abstract and false definition of the Infinite, as the indeterminate and unrelated and equivalent to mental vacuity. The fallacy of this appears when we contrast such a notion with the notion God. The Infinite is obviously determinate if real. The Infinite is not the negation of determinate limitations or of relations, but is the opposite of the finite. It is that which has no external limitations, and which has all the grounds of its determination within itself. It may be related to other things; but, unlike the finite, does not depend upon such relations for its being and nature.10
7. Accepting the trustworthiness of his mental faculties, the Christian theist acknowledges the validity of all implicates which the mind is constrained to discern in the data of experience, when not tampered with. Among these implicates are causation, design, moral government, and the like; and they tend to confirm the common assumption of all sorts and conditions of men that God exists, and possesses certain attributes upon which no limitations can be imposed that are external to the Divine Being itself. To reject the validity of this knowledge, thus verified, requires our use of an a priori philosophy which deprives that very philosophy of valid foundation. The mind must be exercised according to its observed laws or be rejected altogether. Scepticism cannot be demonstrated to be false, but its truth is equally undemonstrable and fatal to its own rationality.
8. The objection that Theism is anthropomorphic is without force. So far as anthropomorphism is fallacious it consists in measuring the Supreme Being by the limitations of human nature. No intelligent theist makes this blunder. He simply recognizes that certain attributes, possessed by men in finite forms and measures, must be possessed somehow by the Creator; for otherwise the Creator could neither have designed the universe nor have brought it into being. It is not necessary that the possession of these attributes should involve finite limitations in God, for their form is determined wholly by what God is in Himself—infinite.11
1 Flint, Agnosticism; Calderwood, Philos. of Infin.; Fisher, Grounds of Belief, pp. 72-88; Iverach, Is God Knowable; Porter, in Present Day Tracts, viii.; Didon, Science Without God, Disc. vii. 1; Bruce, Apologetics, Bk. I., ch. vii. The Agnostic classics are Hamilton's Works; Mansel, Limits of Religious Thought; and Spencer, First Principles, Pt. I.
2 Calderwood, pp. 22-24.
3 Flint, pp. 34-35; Calderwood, ch. iv.
4 Martineau, Religion, Bk. I., ch. iv., pp. 113-123; Fisher, pp. 82-83.
5 Martineau, Bk. I., ch. iv., § 3, pp. 127-128.
6 Martineau, Bk. I., ch. i., ii.; Flint, pp. 336 et seq.
7 Flint, pp. 578-585; Fisher, p. 87; Wilhelm and Scannell, Manual, § 57; Calderwood, pp. 145-148, 218-233.
8 Flint, pp. 348-355.
9 Cf. Q. v. 5. Calderwood, ch. x., discusses the teaching of Scripture that God is knowable; by all men (Rom. i. 18-21; Isa. lii. 10; Psa. xix. 1-4), and especially by grace (Gen. xxxii. 30; Exod. xxxiii. 11; Deut. iii. 24; John i. 14; xvii 3; Acts. xvii. 23-30; I. Cor. xiii. 9, 10, 12; xv. 34; Ephes. iii. 17-19; Col. i. 10; I. John iv. 6-8).
10 Calderwood, pp. 76-98; Martineau, I., xii., xiii.
11 Row, Theism, pp. 35-44.
Ch.IV. Q.21. A Priori and A Posteriori
A PRIORI and a posteriori proof have been employed to prove the existence of God. A priori proof reasons from forms of cognition which are seen to be prior to and independent of experience. A posteriori proof reasons from empirical premises—drawn from experience. Our acquaintance with a priori premises is occasioned by experience; but our assurance of their validity is intuitive and not drawn from experience.
2. Aristotle and the scholastics applied the phrase a priori to reasoning from cause to effect, and the phrase a posteriori to reasoning from effect to cause.1 The definitions here given have prevailed since the time of Kant.2
3. A priori proof is not demonstrative unless both the premises and the deductions made from them are necessary. In Theism this is not the case; for, as has been said already, the being of God is implicitly postulated in every theistic argument. Moreover, the purely a priori nature of theistic arguments called a priori is disputable.
4. A posteriori arguments are most convincing with the majority of men, who find it difficult to follow abstract reasoning or appreciate its force. The value of a priori arguments lies in this, that they show men's belief in God to be grounded in the original constitution of the human mind.3
1 e.g. in St. Thos., Summa, I. ii 2.
2 Fleming, Vocabulary, "A Priori."
3 Cf. Q. xxiv. 4.
Ch.IV. Q.20. Moral Certainty
1. IN the nature of things, the existence of God cannot be demonstrated, for there is no prior premise, independently necessary, from which that conclusion can logically be deduced. We are, therefore, dependent upon moral proof in establishing the truth of Theism on rational grounds.1
2. Demonstration proceeds from necessary and universal, a priori, truths, and deduces particular conclusions which necessarily follow. Such proof is clearly out of question in Theism; for "the being of God is the primal truth. .... There is nothing before it nor apart from it, from which it is to be derived. ... In every mode of demonstration whose object is to arrive at it, it is assumed."2
3. Moreover, we cannot see God with our unaided faculties.3 In the absence of demonstration, therefore, we depend upon moral proof and supernatural revelation for our knowledge of Him, or verification of His existence.4
4. Moral proof, also called probable proof, proceeds from premises which are at least credible, and exhibits a preponderance of argument in favor of its conclusions.5 Probable proof is fitly called moral, because its persuasiveness depends upon moral conditions. It is rarely successful with the unwilling. Yet one becomes responsible, when in possession of moral proof, for every evil which results from evading its conclusions.6 God demands and puts us to the probation of a service which is free—such as free and rational creatures can give. The knowledge of His existence and nature is a primary part of that service and trial. Such knowledge, therefore, depends upon moral conditions within ourselves. No demonstration or revelation is given such as would compel us to believe or do away with effort on our part.7
5. The certainty which results from demonstration is called apodeictic or mathematical. The opposite of a demonstrated proposition is not only false but impossible to conceive.8 On the other hand, moral proof produces moral certainty. Its conclusions can be evaded, through moral perversity. Yet although the opposite of the morally certain is possible to conceive, it is, properly speaking, incredible.9 The difference between demonstrative and moral certainty is not so much one of degree as of the process through which it is attained. Real certainty, as such, admits of no degrees, and of no doubts. Moreover, the logic made use of is equally valid in both kinds of proof, the difference lying in our moral liability to miss the logical results of moral proof.10
6. Religious certainty, so far as connected with logic, is based upon moral proof. All the faculties of the soul are required for its proper acquirement :—the intellect, or logical faculty; the affections, or sympathetic and appreciative faculty; the will or attentive faculty, which also tests by moral experience. A refusal to exercise either faculty renders one accountable for error.11
1 Pearson, De Deo, ii., pp. 12-16; St. Thos., Summa, I., ii. 2.
2 Mulford, Repub. of God, pp. 1-5.
3 John i. 18; Pearson, Lec. xii.
4 St. Thos., I., ii. 1.
5 Pearson, Lec. iii., p. 23; Fleming, Vocabulary, "Certainty."
6 Hooker, Eccles. Polity, II., vii. 5; Butler, Analogy, Introd., p. 72; and Pt. II., ch. vi., pp. 261, 262; Romanes, Thoughts on Religion, p. 154.
7 Butler, II., c. vi., esp. pp. 267 et seq.; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 231-234; Row, Theism, pp. 24-25; Romanes, pp. 144, 151, 152.
8 Fleming, "Demonstration"; Row, pp. 12-15.
9 Fleming, "Probability"; Row, pp. 15-20.
10 Row, pp. 12, 19, 20.
11 Liddon, Lec. I.; Flint, Theism, pp. 2-4; Moberly, Reason and Religion, pp. 16-47.
Ch.IV. Q.19. Theism
THEISM, considered in relation to Dogmatic Theology, is the doctrine that (a) God exists; (b) that He is the one supreme Being whose existence is implied in, and accounts for, the universe and all its phenomena; (c) that He is infinite, self-existent, almighty, intelligent, personal, righteous, and beneficent; and (d) that He is not only the Designer and Maker of all things, but their Sustainer, Controller, and moral Sovereign.1
2 Theistic doctrine is usually taken for granted in Holy Scripture, for the very heavens, visible to all men, "declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork"; and "the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even His everlasting power and Divinity." In fact no one can attend seriously and with good will to the significance of nature without discerning the truth of Theism. Supernatural revelation is not needed to teach this to honest and unprejudiced truth seekers. It is the "fool" that "saith in his heart 'there is no God'," and such an one is "without excuse."2
3. Strictly speaking, it belongs to Apologetics to prove the truth of Theism, and of Dogmatics to exhibit its content. But the evidence of God's existence and the indications of His nature are not easily separated from each other. They are not separated in these Outlines.
1 Among the multitude of treatises on Theism may be mentioned: Flint's Theism; Anti-Theistic Theories; and Agnosticism; Gratry's Guide to the Knowledge of God; Caldecott's Philosophy of Religion; Caldecott and Mackintosh, Selections; Row's Christian Theism; Iverach's Theism in the Light of Present Science and Philos.; Fraser's Philos. of Theism.
2 Psa. xix. 1-4; Rom. i. 20, 21; Psa. xiv. 1; liii. 1. Calderwood, Philos. of Infin., pp. 148-153; Romanes, Thoughts on Religion, p. 154.
Ch.IV. Q.18. Theology Proper
THEOLOGY PROPER is that part of Positive Dogmatics which is concerned with the doctrine of God — His existence, nature, attributes, subsistence, and operations.1
2. The following order will be observed in these outlines: (a) Theism; or the teaching of nature concerning God. (b) Anti-theistic theories. (c) Revelation. (d) The quiescent attributes; or the nature of God. (e) The active attributes. (f) The Trinity. (g) Divine economy or the external operations of God.
1 The doctrine of God at large may be studied in St. Thos., Summa Theol., Pt. I.; Owen, Dog. Theol., ch. iv.-vii.; Schouppe, Elem. Theol. Dog., Tracts v., vi.; Suarez, Compend., Tom. I.; Weidner, Theologia; and, best of all, Wilhelm and Scannell, Manual of Cath. Theol., Bk. II. Roman literature is rich in this subject, Anglican literature is largely unsystematic and fragmentary, with some notable studies of particular topics.
Chapter IV. Theism
Ch.III. Q.17. Inspiration and Revelation
INSPIRATION should be distinguished from revelation. All parts of the Sacred Scriptures are inspired, but some portions are not revelations. For example, the greater portion of the Apocalypse consists of a revelation concerning the consummation of things; but the book of Ezra is not a revelation so much as a narrative of events connected with the return of the Jews from Babylon. Yet both books are equally inspired and are given to us for our religious instruction.1
2. It is important to notice, in this connection, that the revealer of all things is the Eternal Word, whether those things are recorded in the Old or the New Testament.2 But the source of inspiration is the Holy Ghost. By His aid the sacred writers were able to give us a true account of the revelations which proceeded from the Son, and to write whatever Scriptures were intended to be preserved by the Church for our profit—whether in the form of narrative, drama, prophecy, parable, exposition, or exhortation.3
3. An examination of Holy Scripture shows that the revelations which it records were progressive; being adapted to the ability of men to receive them, and becoming more explicit with the lapse of ages and the advance of the religious education of God's people. Thus it happens that, while the New Testament is latent in the Old and the Old implies the New, some doctrines of the New Testament cannot be proved by the Old Testament alone.4
4. The record of earlier revelations should be read in the light of later and more explicit ones. And, since the contents of all revelations recorded in Holy Scripture are embodied in "the Faith once delivered to the saints," of which the Catholic Church is the teacher and guardian, we should use her teaching as the only true key to the doctrinal interpretation of the Bible.5 In like manner the imperfections of moral ideals exhibited in the Old Testament should be interpreted as due to the stage of moral tutelage and growth to which they belong, and as intended to be remedied by later growth and fuller teaching.6
1 Lee, Inspiration, pp. 39-44, 144-146; Stanton, Place of Authority, pp. 71, 72; Westcott, Introd., pp. 34, 35.
2 Lee, pp. 22-24.
3 Lee, pp. 24-26, 42, 118-135.
4 Temple, Bamp. Lecs., v., pp. 136-158; Mozley, Ruling Ideas of Early Ages, Lec. x.; Gore, in Lux Mundi, pp. 328-333; Liddon, Divinity of Christ, pp. 46-49. Cf.Isa. xxviii. 9-13.
5 Cf. Q. xiv. 7.
6 Mozley, Lec. x.; Romanes, Thoughts on Religion, pp. 180-184.
Ch.III. Q.16. Theories of Inspiration
THE chief theories of the method of inspiration are the verbal, the doctrinal, the neologian, and the dynamic. The Church has not formulated or sanctioned any one of them.1
2. The verbal theory is that God so inspired the sacred writers that every word which they wrote was selected absolutely by the Holy Ghost and not by themselves. Such a theory empties the human element of all reality, and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to allow any authority to modern texts and translations.2 It should be remembered in this connection that plenary inspiration means the inspiration of every part. It does not signify verbal dictation, or any particular method of inspiration.
3. The doctrinal theory acknowledges that the sacred writers were inspired to write true doctrine, but denies that the particular form of their writings had any other than a human source.3 Against this must be set the evidence that many of the very words of the Bible were divinely selected—e.g., Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Messias, ransom, propitiation, and many others. We cannot determine just how far this verbal inspiration extends.4 Moreover there is often an "inspiration of selection," by virtue of which human materials are chosen and shaped in the manner best adapted to the Divine purpose.5
4. The Neologist identifies the inspiration of the sacred writers with that spiritual insight and wisdom which is possessed by all righteous men who possess great natural gifts. Inspiration is attributed to such men as Socrates, Luther, and Keble.6 Thus inspiration is a matter of degree and is purely natural. This theory empties the word inspiration of all meaning, and is inconsistent with the unique and supernatural character of the Bible.7
5. The dynamic theory is, that the writers of the Bible had their spiritual faculties quickened and enlarged by the Holy Ghost, without losing their literary freedom or the peculiarities of their style.8 This undoubtedly represents the truth in many instances, but, in some cases, the nature of the writing appears to require no peculiar illumination or spiritual power;—e.g., the Book of Ruth, where the inspiration seems to have been merely an impulse to write, accompanied by an overruling of the process so as to impart a meaning to the result which the writer and his contemporaries knew little or nothing of. In fact, the inspiration—i.e., the Divine authority and spiritual bearing—may be the result of an incorporation into the sacred canon, by Divine guidance, of literature produced originally under natural impulse and, until its insertion into the sacred context, without Divine authority or supernatural value. At least Scripture nowhere asserts that all the Scriptures were originally written under Divine impulse.9
6. The variety of the work of the Holy Ghost in inspiration is such that no attempt to generalize is likely to be successful or lessen difficulties.10 It is sufficient to insist upon the fact of inspiration, or Divine authority for the result, and its unique and plenary character; acknowledging, at the same time, the reality of the human element. Light upon the methods of inspiration in particular parts of Scripture is to be sought by studying those parts themselves.11
1 Lee, Inspiration, pp. 32 et seq. and App. C. He gives patristic views, pp. 77-93 and App. G.
2 Lee, p. 33; Westcott, Introd. to the Study of the Gospels, p. 31; Strong, Syst. Theol., pp. 100-102.
3 Briggs, Gen. Introd. to the Study of H.S., p. 635.
4 Lee, Inspiration, pp. 44, 45.
5 Liddon, Univ. Serms., 2nd Series, xx.
6 Newton, Right and Wrong Uses of the Bible, ch. ii.
7 Westcott, Introd. to the Study of the Gospels, p. 31; Strong, Syst. Theol., pp. 97-98 (Intuition Theory).
8 Westcott, Introd., pp. 34-42; Lee, pp. 35 et seq. and Lec. iv.; and many modern orthodox writers.
9 Cf. however II. Pet. i. 21.
10 Clarke, Outline of Theol., pp. 40-41. Cf. Heb. i. 1.
11 Kirkpatrick, Divine Library, Lec. iv.
Ch.III. Q.15. Divine and Human Factors
THE Divine and human factors should be distinguished in the Sacred Scriptures: one due to supernatural inspiration, the other to the fact that this inspiration did not wholly emancipate the sacred writers from human limitations or destroy their freedom. 1
2. The Divine inspiration guarantees the absolute trustworthiness of the Sacred Scriptures for the purposes of their inspiration, and their profitableness for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Moreover the Church is enabled, by the guidance of the Holy Ghost, to preserve the Bible from any corruption which would defeat the purposes for which its authors were inspired.
3. Yet the sacred writers were human even when inspired. They were not universally infallible, nor is it necessary to suppose that they received greater supernatural enlightenment than was needed to enable them to fulfil the purpose for which they were inspired. That purpose did not apparently include a revelation concerning secular history, physical science, or natural things. Whatever learning of such sort is displayed is human learning and is subject to its limitations. Furthermore, Divine providence has not enabled the Church to preserve or recover the exact letter of the original text, or to provide absolutely accurate translations. The fulfilment of the Divine purpose has not required this. 2
4. The Divine and human factors concur in producing one Holy Scripture. They cannot be separated in the result, nor is it possible to draw a line between passages that are human and those that are Divine. Every part of the Bible, in its proper relation, is divinely inspired, and every part is human.
5. Yet we may not confound the two factors. We may not impute omniscience or universal infallibility to the human writers, nor may we admit the possibility of error in the message they were inspired to convey. The religious inspiration and the human limitation must both be acknowledged in their integrity.
6. Finally we must remember that the authority of the several Scriptures does not arise from their human source, but from their Divine sanction and respective positions in the sacred canon. Questions of authorship and date, even when the literary unity of certain books or the correctness of traditional views concerning their origin is involved, in what we believe to be the absence of determinative assertions by our Lord, do not touch the authority of the Scriptures or Christian doctrines contained in them. Conclusions really established by "higher criticism" may be accepted without fear. It remains that rationalistic methods are not likely to produce results in biblical criticism which can gain final acceptance without modification.
1 Lee, Inspiration, Lec. i. and pp. 139-144; Wordsworth, Inspiration, pp. 5-8; Strong, Syst. Theol., pp. 102-104.
2 Driver, Book of Genesis, pp. xxxi. et seq.; Kirkpatrick, Divine Library, Lec. iv., esp. pp. 103-107; Bonney, Old Truths, pp. 144, 145; Gore, in Lux Mundi, pp. 351-357. Cf. Lee, Lec. viii.; Stone, Outlines, pp. 127-130; Strong, 105-111.
July 25, 2005
Ch.III. Q.14. Biblical Inspiration
THE Bible is a series of "Sacred Scriptures," written by holy men of old, as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; which has been compiled and preserved by the Church for the edification of the faithful, as "the Word of God," and a means by which every doctrine can be proved which she requires to be believed as necessary for salvation.1
2. The Scriptures were written under diverse circumstances, by different writers, in different ages, and for a variety of immediate purposes.2 But a Divine unity of purpose governs the whole series. "The Old Testament is not contrary to the New . . . everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ," in both.3
3. The Church declares in the Nicene Creed that the Holy Ghost "spake by the prophets." This is the Catholic doctrine of Inspiration. In other words, the Scriptures not only contain but are the Word of God, and for the purposes of their inspiration have Divine authority throughout.4 How they came to possess this authority, i.e., the method of their inspiration, the Church does not define; but what the Church means by teaching that the Bible is divinely inspired is perfectly clear — that they have Divine authority. Such authority, if present at all, is absolute; and biblical inspiration does not admit of degrees.
4. But the amount of spiritual teaching contained in the various portions of Scripture varies widely, and this has led writers to speak of different degrees or amounts of inspiration.5 In doing so they confuse inspiration with spiritual illumination or with revelation.6 We must distinguish between inspiration, or the authority possessed by the Scriptures, and the immediate purposes which the several parts of Scripture were inspired to fulfil.7 If one Scripture is inspired in order to record in God's way a dark passage in Israel's history, and another in order to make known heavenly mysteries, both are none the less equally inspired — i.e., have equally real Divine authority for their diverse ends. But they have unequal values, if both are viewed as sources of spiritual edification; and if spiritual edification were the invariable mark of Divine inspiration, we should have to deny the place of some parts of the Bible in inspired Scripture.
5. Plenary inspiration, or the equal inspiration of every part of the Bible, is taught by the Catholic Church. But when interpreting the several Scriptures we must bear in mind the limitations of Divine purpose in each, and the organic place of each Scripture in the whole. The biblical meaning, as distinguished from that of the human writer must be ascertained. The two meanings do not invariably coincide. The biblical meaning or purport is Divine and therefore inerrant, as far as it goes, however defective it may appear when compared with that of later Scriptures.
6. That a Scripture is divinely inspired is made known to us primarily by the Church, although the fitness of the Bible as a whole for the general purpose which it is designed to fulfil affords constant verification of the Church's testimony.8 Without ecclesiastical attestation we could not distinguish the Sacred Scriptures with certainty from other holy writings; nor, in view of the inevitable mistakes of copyists, could the Scriptures be preserved from doctrinal corruption except by the Spirit-guided Church. The Church is both the witness and the keeper of Holy Writ.9
7. The Sacred Scriptures were written from the point of view of God’s Kingdom, and for the members of it; and their general purpose is to establish and strengthen them in the doctrine which they have learned or are able to learn in that Kingdom.10 The Bible is not the source of truth for God's Kingdom, for the Church’s possession of it is more ancient than the Bible, and was derived from direct revelation. Yet the Bible contains all saving doctrine, and must be found to prove what the Church teaches. It is often the means, also, by which individuals discover the true religion. The Church and the Bible are both necessary. Both are Divine and we may not separate or mutually oppose them in our study of Theology.11
1 Arts. of Religion, vi. vii.; Forbes, XXXIX. Arts., vi., vii.; Hooker, Eccles. Polity, I., xii.-xv.; Richey, What is the Bible; Mortimer, Cath. Faith, Vol. I., pp. 220-231; Lee, Inspiration; Wordsworth, Inspiration of the Bible; Blunt, Dic. of Theol., "Inspiration."
2 Heb. i. 1.
3 Arts. of Religion , vii.; Lee, pp. 24-32; also Lec. iii. and App. B.; Forbes, in Art. vii.
4 Gen. Convention Digest, Constitution, Art. viii.; De¬claration of 11,000 Clergy, quoted in Liddon, Life of Pusey , Vol. IV., p. 54; St. Thos., Summa, I., i. 10 Conclusio; Stone, Outlines, note 38, p. 310 and pp. 124-126. cf. I. Cor. ii. 13; II. Tim. iii. 15-17; Heb. i. 1; II. Pet. i. 21; Luke i. 70.
5 e.g. Gore, in Lux Mundi, 8th Essay; Sanday, Inspira¬tion, Lec. viii. Cf. Lee, pp. 401-405.
6 Cf. Q. xvii.
7 Bonney, Old Truths, pp. 146, 147; Pusey, Un-Science, pp. 6, 7.
8 Wordsworth, pp. 32-69; Stanton, Place of Authority, pp. 74-80, 138-139, 160-162; Hooker, III., viii. 13, 14; Blunt, Dic. of Theol., p. 350; Ewer, Holy Spirit, pp. 57-62; Moberly, Holy Spirit, pp. 73-90; Lacey, Elem. of Doctrine, pp. 23-26. Cf. Arts. of Religion, vi.
9 Arts. of Religion, xx.
10 Tertullian, De Prescrip. Her., ch. 19 et seq. ; Gore, Rom. Cath. Claims, pp. 57, 58; Ewer, pp. 52-58; Gore, Creed of a Christian, pp. 61-66. Cf. Luke i. 4; I. Cor. xi. 2, 23; xv. 1-4; Gal. i. 8; Heb. v. 11-vi. 3; I. John ii. 21; Jude 3.
11 Forbes, XXXIX Arts., pp. 93-95; Gore, Rom. Cath. Claims, pp. 60-64; Hutchings, Holy Spirit, pp. 154-157; Pusey, Church of Eng. a Portion of Christ's Cath. Church, pp. 336-351 (for patristic passages); Lacey, pp. 20-22; Mortimer, Vol. I., pp. 106-107. Cf. Acts xvii. 11. Palmer, The Church, Vol. II., pp. 5-25; Church Hist. Soc. Lecs., 2nd Series, 1st Paper, pp. 10-12.
July 24, 2005
Chapter III. Holy Scripture
Ch.II. Q.13. Development of Doctrine
DEVELOPMENT of Catholic doctrine is not legitimate, in the sense of an increase in its substance or area; but it is both legitimate and necessary in the sense of (a) profounder analysis; (b) larger statement; (c) richer application; and (d) apologetical adjustment of language.1
2. The Faith once for all delivered, and held by the Church from the beginning, contains either explicitly or by necessary implication, all that man can learn with certainty of revealed truth in this life. But the Holy Ghost is ever guiding the Church into a deeper appreciation and fuller consciousness of the truth. The studies of her theologians are continually bringing to light new treasures as well as old, such as were not realized in detail before. The meaning of the Sacred Scriptures can be more fully ascertained now than ever before, but "the latest age has not exhausted the meaning of what was once said."2
3. Ecclesiastical statements of doctrine develop along with the development of Christian consciousness. The Church's explicit Faith is continually embracing larger areas of her implicit Faith. The growth of the Creeds from the baptismal formula illustrates this, as does also the gradual increase in the richness of Catholic theology.
4. The relation and application of revealed truth to human life and its conditions cannot but be more adequately understood in the Church as the stores of her practical experience increase. The science of Moral Theology cannot be permanently crystalized.3 Moreover, every development of the sciences of nature and of man must put the Church in a better position to perceive the bearing of revealed truth.
5. New forms of thought, and, therefore, of unbelief and assault upon the Faith, are continually appearing. In order to meet them, Catholic theologians must translate the old truths into new language, and employ such forms of thought and argument as are likely to meet the difficulties of the willing and the sophistries of the unwilling. This does not involve an adjustment of the Faith itself, but of its presentation. Nor does it justify a surrender of the Catholic Creeds or Sacred Scriptures, but only an explanation of their meaning, in view of contemporary thought.
6. Illegitimate developments arise from (a) treating as essential what is only pious opinion; (b) undue emphasis of isolated parts of the Faith. This last is the characteristic mistake of heresy, which signifies making a private choice of what to accept. It involves necessarily a denial of some other part.4 Theological speculation is inevitable; and remains harmless so long as speculative conclusions are not allowed to modify or displace Catholic doctrine.
1 St. Vincent, Commonitorium, ch. 23; Treatises of Mozley, Butler, Palmer, and Blenkinsopp on Development; Liddon, Divinity of Our Lord, pp. 435-441, 448-450; Stone, Outlines, pp. 136-139. Gore, Rom. Cath. Claims, pp. 53-55; Stanton, Place of Authority, pp. 128-138, 168-170. The theory of development has been exploited in Romish interests. See Newman, Development; Carson, Reunion Essays, I.; Loisy, Gospel and the Church.
2 Westcott, Revelation of the Risen Lord, p. 160.
3 Temple, Bamp. Lecs., pp. 146, 147.
4 Richey, Truth and Counter Truth, p. iii.; Blunt, Dic. of Sects, "Heretics."
Ch. II. Q.12. Essential Doctrine
THE essentials of the Faith include every doctrine of the Church, known to be contained or necessarily implied in her original deposit of truth, and nothing more or less.
2. The distinction often made between essential and non-essential truth is misleading. The apparent insignificance of a truth cannot make it less essential to be believed, if it is known to have been revealed by God; nor is the obligation to hold such a central doctrine as that of the Incarnation more imperative than that of accepting any other article of the Catholic Faith. The only circumstance which warrants our calling a doctrine non-essential is that it is not certainly revealed.1
3. There are certain theories of the schools which are called pious opinions ordubia. These are non-essential because they are uncertain. They may be true or not. They cannot be proved by Holy Scripture, and the Church does not require them of any man that they should be believed as articles of the Faith.2
4. No one can be justly assailed because of his attachment to a "pious opinion," unless it can be demonstrated that that opinion is inconsistent with some portion of the Catholic Faith.
1 Hooker, Serm. ii., 32; Palmer, The Church , Pt. I., ch. v., esp. pp. 129, 130; Pusey, quoted by Liddon, Life of Pusey, Vol. IV., pp. 7, 8.
2 Palmer, Pt. I. ch. iv., § 3; Pt. IV. ch. vi.; Gore, Rom. Cath. Claims, p. 66.
Ch. II. Q.11. The Rule of Faith
REDUCED to its simplest and most general terms, the rule of faith is to accept with docile spirit the existing teaching of the Church, and to verify it by searching the Scriptures; for it is the function of the Church to teach and of the Scriptures to prove the Faith.1 Among us this means practically that an unlearned Anglican should assume that the Church's teaching is correctly embodied in the Book of Common Prayer. If he does otherwise, he rejects providential guidance in favor of incompetent private judgment.
2. But competent theologians may and ought to test the provincial and current doctrines which they have received, in order to ascertain if such doctrines really have Catholic authority. And such testing, repeated in every generation and in various lands, is one of the chief means under God by which the Faith is preserved in the Church in its original purity and integrity. The method to be employed is implied in the rule of St. Vincent of Lerins: "In the Catholic Church we must take care to hold what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all," "quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est." In short, the marks of universality, antiquity and consent are to be looked for; and this, not to discover the Catholic Faith, but to verify the Catholicity of existing doctrines.2
3. The test of universality is applied first, or the concurrent voice of the living Church, heard in all its various particular portions.3 If the doctrines considered stand this test, adequately and correctly applied, they will stand the other two tests; for the Church universal ever teaches the same Faith, and the consent meant by St. Vincent is never wanting to universal doctrine.
4. The test of antiquity is next applied by tracing the doctrine through the ages to primitive days, in order to ascertain if it agrees with what has been taught by the Church from the beginning. This test is of especial importance when dispute exists as to the mark of universality. Legitimate developments in doctrinal language must, of course, be carefully allowed for.4
5. Finally the test of consent is made use of. This does not require us to discover that the doctrine has been explicitly accepted by every Catholic believer, or even by every theologian. A mere counting of heads is futile. What is to be ascertained is, whether the generality of representative Catholic theologians can be seen to agree, when their respective places in theological development, and diverse points of view and modes of expression, are taken duly into account. Catenas have to be used with care in this connection. Their value is sometimes doubtful.5
6. In the case of certain doctrines, theologians find themselves unable to apply all the Vincentian tests, because of insufficient data. Such failure is not necessarily a proof that the doctrine is not Catholic. If such research as is practicable tends to confirm the ability of a doctrine to stand the necessary tests, this fact, along with the doctrine's ecclesiastical origin, affords sufficient warrant for accepting its Catholic value. In the case of a doctrine imposed by ecclesiastical authority, the burden of proof lies with the subject of such authority who would reject its Catholic value. To disprove this value in such a case one must prove positively, and with adequate knowledge, that the doctrine cannot stand the Vincentian tests. An appeal to silence or to ignorance is not necessarily sufficient.
7. In conclusion, it is to be remembered that the Vincentian rule is a rule of scholarship. Its value is scientific. Scholarly results which concern doctrine ultimately stand or fall according to the subsequent attitude of the Church towards them. Scholastic judgment must bow to the authority of the Church in controversies of faith. This does not mean that true results of research can be reduced to invalidity, but that they may not, and in fact will not, nullify the doctrinal authority of the Spirit-guided Church.6 The Church is certain to make use of sound learning when this becomes necessary, but always as having authority to teach and define the Faith.
1 Gore, Mission of the Church, Lec. II. i.; Church Hist. Soc. Lecs., 2nd Series, 1st Paper, pp. 12-21, 28-40. cf. Luke i. 4; Acts xvii. 11.
2 St. Vincent, Commonitorium, esp. ch. 3; Pusey, Rule of Faith; McLaren, Cath. Dogma, ch. xv., xvi.; Stanton, Place of Authority, pp. 167-175; Luckock, After Death, ch. i.; Tracts for the Times, No. 78 (Anglican Catena on the subject).
3 Ewer, Holy Spirit, pp. 65-72; Pullan, Christian Tradition, ch. vii., § 4.
4 Gore, Rom. Cath. Claims, ch. iii.
5 Gore, Rom. Cath. Claims, pp. 47, 48; Lacey, Elem. of Doctrine, pp. 65-68.
July 12, 2005
Ch. II. Q.10 Provincial Authority
THE teaching authority of a genuine portion of the Catholic Church is, within its lawful sphere, Catholic authority; and may not be rejected by private judgment or by appeal to other particular Churches. An individual obeys the Catholic Church when and only when he obeys his own provincial authority, legitimately constituted and exercised.1
2. Particular Churches can not impose legitimately any teaching or definitions which really conflict with Catholic dogmas, or with doctrines previously and undeniably taught by the Church universal as necessary to be believed; nor may such Churches add to the substantial area of what is required to be believed for salvation. But particular Churches may, within these limitations, impose upon their own people such phrases as seem necessary for the peace and safety of faithful believers. These phrases have authority within the Church which imposes them, their authority being determined as to its extent by the official manner of their imposition. It is not essential to such authority that the phrases imposed should have exact definition for their aim. An eirenicon may be imposed as well as an exact Confession of Faith.2
3. The Anglican Churches have received the ecumenical Creeds and the decrees of faith of the Ecumenical Councils, as having permanent authority.3 They have also set forth a Catechism and other doctrinal language contained in the Book of Common Prayer, and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. These have authority, in their several manners, over the clergy and laity. The only reasons which would justify an Anglican in rejecting any of them are ones which would require him to forsake the Anglican Communion.
4. The Thirty-Nine Articles appeared at a time of confusion, when exact definition was difficult, but when the quieting of controversy seemed necessary for the Church's safety. Except in the limited sphere of Catholic dogma, strictly understood, they were designed to be an eirenicon. Controversies which seemed incapable of precise determination at such a moment were shut up in large phrases, sound so far as their very limited plain grammatical meaning went,4 but sufficiently general, it was hoped, to serve as a provisional basis of peace between opposite partisans.5
5. The authority of such a formulary is obviously limited, but real. No one is obliged to admire its phrases, to make personal use of them, or to accept any interpretation which is not demonstrably intended by the Church and required by their own plain and grammatical meaning.6 Formal subscription to them, such as is required of the English clergy, binds to nothing more, since it is simply a solemn promise to be faithful to the Articles as legitimately interpreted. The historical purpose of the Articles; their undeniably vague phraseology; and the principle that legislative language, apart from its subsequent judicial interpretation, binds no one except to its express and undeniable meaning; all make this view of the Articles natural and legitimate.7 It should be added that the most natural meaning of a formulary issued by a Catholic body is the meaning most consistent with Catholic doctrine, unless the contrary is clearly established.8
6. The writer holds that, in spite of their ambiguities and obscurities, the Articles contain much clear teaching of positive nature and great value. This teaching is authoritative, and may not be rejected by any member of this Church. He holds further that no heresy can be discovered in the Articles, rightly interpreted.
1 Palmer, The Church, Pt. IV., ch. xiii. § 1; Lacey, Elem. of Doctrine, pp. 216-217; Stone, Outlines, pp. 146-148.
2 Palmer, Pt. IV., ch. xiv. § 2.
3 Gore, Rom. Cath. Claims, ch. x.; Mission of the Church, Lec. II., ii. Cf. Arts. of Religion, viii.; Stat. of Eliz., I., ch. i.
4 The Royal Declaration prefixed to the Articles in 1628 required that they should be taken "in the literal and grammatical sense." Cf. Tracts for the Times, No. 90, fin.
5 Forbes, XXXIX. Arts., Epis. Dedicatory; Gore, Rom. Cath. Claims, p. 19, note 1; Maclear, XXXIX. Arts., pp. viii., ix.; Kidd, XXXIX. Arts., ch. i. § 1.
6 Palmer, Pt. IV., ch. xiv.
7 Palmer, Pt. IV., ch. xiv. § 1, who gives references to Anglican divines agreeing.
8 Palmer, Vol. II., pp. 283-285. The best treatises on the Articles are those of Bp. Forbes, E. T. Green, B. J. Kidd, G. F. Maclear, and (with exceptions) E. C. S. Gibson. Hardwick's Hist, of the XXXIX. Arts., is valuable.
Ch. II. Q.9 The Dogmatic Office
The basis of the Church's authority to impose dogmas is partly her own nature, partly the perpetual guidance of the Holy Ghost vouchsafed to her, and partly the commission which has been given to her Ministers to disciple all nations.1
2. The Church is the Body of Christ, indissolubly united to her Head, the Word of God. She is thus the Word Incorporate, in whom no one who earnestly seeks can fail to find the Word Incarnate, the Light of the world.2
3. Our Lord promised that the Holy Ghost should guide His Church into all truth. It is true that she incorporates fallible men into herself, and that they do not cease to be fallible, in this life, even when assembled in ecclesiastical Councils; but, in her corporate capacity, she is always "the pillar and ground of the truth" to those who are faithful to her life. Multitudes of her members and Ministers may fall away, but the gates of hell can never prevail against her.3
4. In order to disciple all nations successfully, the Church must at all times make known the real contents of her message to those who are ready to receive her teaching. Therefore, when the prevalence of error threatens to defeat this object, she has the right and obligation to put forth plain statements of the truth and to stamp them with her formal authority.4
5. It will be seen that the Church does not exercise her dogmatic office in order to repress or set the bounds of thought, but to protect her faithful ones from erroneous thought. She furnishes guides to true thinking, not substitutes for it.5
6. The Church was established in order that she might bear witness to the Resurrection and other facts of the Gospel. These facts cannot be known now except by tradition and testimony— i.e., on authority. The Church is the only living thing capable of giving this testimony. Her life spans the interval between the Resurrection and our own day; and, as the only contemporary wit¬ness now surviving, she is the only immediate authority which is sufficient to teach dogmatically the facts of the Gospel.6
7. The setting forth of Catholic dogmas is caused by the prevalence of novel and suspicious opinions touching the Faith. Such opinions are tested by their agreement or disagreement with what has been universally handed down from the Apostles. The result is positive definition of what is to be believed, in such language as to exclude prevalent error. Such error is then reckoned to be formal heresy. The sphere of Catholic dogma is limited to the bounds of saving truth, of revealed certainties. The Church has no authority to settle speculative problems or to define non-saving truth dogmatically.7
1 XXXIX. Articles, xx.; Palmer, The Church, Pt. III., ch. v.; Pt. IV., ch. i.-vii.; Garbett, Dogmatic Faith, esp. Lec. i.; Stanton, Place of Authority, ch. i., ii., iv.; Moberly, Reason and Religion, pp. 131-136; Church Hist. Soc. Lecs., 2nd Series, 2nd Paper; Lacey, Elem. of Doctrine, pp. 232-240; Mozley, The Dogmatic Office, in Lecs. and Other Theol. Papers; Strong, Authority in the Church; Stone, Outlines of Dogma, ch. x.
2 Ewer, Holy Spirit, pp. 45-47; cf. John xvi. 12, 13; I. Tim. iii. 15; Matt. xvi. 18.
3 Stanton, p. 105; Gore, Rom, Cath. Claims, ch. iii.
4 Liddon, Divinity of Our Lord, pp. 34-43, 445-447; MacColl, Lecs. on the Creed, pp. 7-9; Newbolt, Religion, ch. ii.
5 Stanton, pp. 187-190; Illingworth, Reason and Revelation, pp. 6, 7. Cf. Q. vi. 4.
6 Stanton, pp. 163-167; Mason, Faith of the Gospel, ch. viii. 5; Palmer, Vol. II., Pt. III., ch. iii.; Lacey, pp. 11-13, 21. Cf. John xiv. 26; I. Tim. vi. 20; iii. 15; II. Tim. i. 13, 14; I. Cor. xv. 3; I. John i. 1-3; Jude 3; II. Thes. ji. 15; Mark vii. 1-13.
Ch. II. Q.8. Dogma
DOGMA (δόγμα, authoritative teaching) is an authoritative formulation of truth. Its authority is equal to that of its source. Thus Catholic dogmas have the authority of the Catholic Church.1
2. Catholic dogmas are concerned with the facts of revelation, and are framed by the Church for the purpose of affording explicit, accurate, and exclusive statements concerning them, for the guidance of the faithful in the midst of error.2 Strictly speaking, such dogmas consist of the language which has received ecclesiastical sanction, as well as the doctrines defined thereby. This sanction consists either of an ecumenical decree of faith or of separate though consentient action of different portions of the Church. In any event the sanction is official and formal. Dogmas in this proper sense are not numerous. They cover only the more central doctrines. Much that is necessary to be believed has not been given dogmatic form in the ecumenical sphere; e.g., the doctrine of baptismal regeneration.3
3. Dogmas which have provincial sanction merely, but which are seen to exhibit ecumenical doctrine, have Catholic weight. But they are improperly called Catholic dogmas, for their phrases do not bind private consciences except in the particular Churches which adopt and impose them.
4. It is one thing to hold the faith implicitly and another to state it explicitly, or receive it in the form in which it is explicitly stated. The faithful are under obligation to receive all the teachings of the Church implicitly, however set forth. They must also receive all explicit dogmas of the Church universal, or of their particular Church, so far as they are in a position to ascertain what those dogmas are. It can be shown that one who accepts all Catholic dogmas in their Catholic meaning and lives the life involved, is thus protected practically from permanent or fatal error in the rest of the Faith.4
1 Owen, Dogmatics, p. v., vi.; Martensen, Dogmatics, §1; Moberly, in Lux Mundi, pp. 220-229; Garbett, Dog. Faith, pp. 13-16; Baldwin, Dic. of Philos. gives various uses of the word "dogma."
2 Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 24-29; Divinity of Our Lord, pp. 3, 4.
3 Church Hist. Soc. Lecs., 2nd Series, pp. 41-44.
4 Dix, Authority of the Church, Lecs. i., ii.; Pusey, Responsibility of the Intellect; Liddon, Life of Pusey, Vol. IV., pp. 7, 8; Lacey, Elements of Doctrine, pp. 62-65.
July 11, 2005
Chapter II. The Dogmatic Office of the Church
July 07, 2005
July 06, 2005
Ch. I. Q.7. Divisions of Theology
THEOLOGY is conveniently divided into Historical, Systematic, and Exegetical Theology.
2. In Historical Theology we study the development of human knowledge concerning Divine things, whether by means of revelation or human effort; the conflict between truth and error; the origin and historical significance of the dogmatic formularies of the Church; and the general course of Christian thought and action.
3. In Systematic Theology the materials furnished by Historical Theology are arranged in logical order, for fuller and more connected study and for practical application. It is divided into Dogmatic and Practical Theology.
4. In Exegetical Theology, the truths and principles which are taught by the Church and arranged in Systematic Theology, are established and illustrated by a critical analysis and interpretation of the contents of Holy Scripture.
5. Dogmatic Theology is a subdivision of Systematic Theology, and treats of sacred doctrine in all its departments. It is called Dogmatic because its premises are the dogmas of the Catholic Church.
6. Dogmatic Theology is subdivided into (a) Positive Dogmatics, the subject of these Outlines, or the logical exposition of sacred doctrine; (b) Polemics, which is devoted to the refutation of erroneous doctrines and systems; (c) Apologetics, which is concerned with the evidences of Christianity and its defence against the attacks of alien thinkers.
Ch. I. Q.6. Theological Sources
THE chief sources of theological data are (a) the physical sciences, so far as they indicate the existence and attributes of God and the manner Divine operations;1 (b) Anthropology, so far as it treats of the moral and religious nature and history of man;2 (c) revealed truth, or the Catholic Faith, contained in the Sacred Scriptures, summed up in the Creeds, and affirmed by the undisputed general councils. 3
2. The original source of knowledge concerning such truths as surpass our natural ability to discover is a series of progressive and supernatural revelations from God through His prophets and Incarnate Word, attested by miracles. But the immediate source of such knowledge on our part is the testimony of the Church, which has been constituted "the pillar and ground of the truth." This testimony does not take the place of the Sacred Scriptures, but furnishes us with sure guidance in their doctrinal interpretation.4
3. The testimony or "voice" of the Church is to be ascertained primarily from the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Symbols, which furnish the premises of Christian thought.
4. The Creeds do not set the bounds of Christian thought, but furnish it with proper points of departure. Christian thought is true "free thought," as opposed to all that is falsely so called.5
5. The Creeds do not explicitly contain all that the Church teaches, nor all that her members are under obligations to believe. She utters her "voice" in various ways — in the decrees of her undisputed General Councils, and at all times in her unformulated common consent; but especially in her Liturgy, Ecclesiastical Calendar, and other permanent institutions. Theologians must study all of these, and the writings of the great Catholic Doctors of all ages, in order to avoid error.6
1 Clarke, Outline of Theol., pp. 50-53. Cf. Acts xiv. 15-17; xvii. 22-29; Rom. i. 18-22; Ps. xix. 1-4.
2 Clarke, pp. 48-50. Cf. Gen. i. 26, 27; Rom. ii. 14-16.
3 Lambeth Conference, 1878, Introd. to Resolutions.
4 Palmer, The Church, Pt. III., ch. iii., v.; cf. Qq. ix., xi. See also Matt. xxviii. 19, 20; I. Tim. iii. 15.
5 Garbett, Dogmatic Faith, pp. 22-26; Green, The Church, pp. 139-141; Liddon, Univ. Serms., 1st Series, iv., pp. 67-78. Cf. John viii. 31, 32.
6 Stanton, Place of Authority, pp. 175-187; Owen, Dogmatics, pp. 50-63.
Ch. I. Q.5. Reason and Faith
THE study of Theology and every serious consideration of spiritual reality require a free exercise of reason and faith. Faith is a department of reason, although dependent upon supernatural grace for its successful exercise, and in its highest development secures knowledge of Divine things.1
2. Reason may be defined as an intellectual process making for the acquisition of truth. But reason is invariably conditioned in its exercise by the will and affections. Without purpose and desire to know, and to submit to the conditions suitable to each sphere of knowledge, there can be no successful exercise of reason. Every psychical faculty is required, therefore, in the acquirement of theological knowledge.2
3. Faith, πίστις, is a term having various uses. It may mean (a) belief in the credible as credible3; (b) the truths necessary to be believed in the Church for salvation—"the Faith";4 (c) the faith which works miracles, a supernaturally imparted confidence which involves power over nature;5 (d) justifying faith, a virtuous disposition and right belief which issues in good works and holiness;6 (e) the spiritual faculty by which we discern spiritual things.7
4. This last meaning is the one here employed. It is a faculty of the reason; and man has but one reason by which to discern truth, however diverse may be the methods and directions of its exercise. But it is reason as directed upon spiritual things, and with supernatural illumination.8
5. The exercise of faith is therefore intellectual, although conditioned, as is every intellectual process, by the volitional and emotional exercises which pertain to its peculiar sphere. It results in various degrees of certainty. The laws of human reason hold good, and the same fundamental assumption is present in all cases, viz., that the faculty employed is trustworthy. It is of course, possible to arrive at mere opinions through the supernatural intelligence, as well as through the natural; but knowledge can be distinguished from opinion in one case as well as in the other.9
6. The energizing principle of an accurate faith is the supernatural life of grace. This is given in Baptism, and nourished and developed in the Catholic Church. Yet a measure of faith is imparted to all who respond to the motions of prevenient grace, whether they are afforded the opportunity of enjoying any or all of the benefits of God's Kingdom or not.10 Failure to respond to Grace involves a lack of faith, and those who do have faith possess it in various degrees. Scepticism as to its reality and trustworthiness cannot be removed so long as the sceptic refuses to exercise it.11
7. There is a substantial unity of belief in all the widely sundered Communions of the Catholic Church. This unity is so close that Greek, Latin, and Anglican alike employ three common Creeds, with but slight verbal variations and with the same meaning, to express their faith — the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian symbols. Such a "common consent" is significant, in view of the diversity of races and usages which exists, and the age-long mutual hostility which has prevailed. Such consent is not to be found elsewhere.12
8. The supernaturally assisted reason which we call faith is to be exercised to its full. True authority is to be accepted because reasonable, and addresses its testimony to the spiritually enlightened reason. Rationalism does not consist in the amount of reason exercised upon spiritual realities; but in a wrong use of reason, in which the authority of Scripture and the Church is disregarded, and the other assistances and conditions of spiritual knowledge are neglected.
1 Flint, Agnosticism, ch. ix.; Moberly, Reason and Re¬ligion; Fisher, Faith and Rationalism; Gladstone, Church Prins., pp. 40-54; Newman, Grammar of Assent.
2 Flint, Theism, pp. 68-71, 351-355; McLaren, Cath. Dogma, ch. ii.; Moberly, Reason and Religion, pp. 16-47, 131; Lacey, Elem. of Doctrine, pp. 45-50; Romanes, Thoughts on Religion, pp. 140-147; Illingworth, Reason and Revela¬tion, pp. 44-54.
3 Pearson, On the Creed, Art. i.
4 Jude 3.
5 Matt. xvii. 20.
6 Rom. iii. 28; cf. Rom. vi. 17-19; James ii. 14-26.
7 I. Cor. ii. 5-16; Heb. xi. 1; I. Cor. xiii. 9-12; Col. i. 9, 10. On the New Test. uses of πίστις see Lightfoot, Epis. to the Galat., p. 154; Forbes, Creed, p. 15.
8 Blunt, Dic. of Theol., "Faith"; Forbes, pp. 15-18; Flint, Theism, pp. 356-358.
9 Moberly, pp. 47-58; Caird, Fund. Ideas, Vol. I., ch. ii.; Ewer, Holy Spirit, pp. 103-106; Flint, Theism, pp. 85, 86; Weidner, Theologia, pp. 14-16; Calderwood, Philos. of Infin., ch. iii. and pp. 121-131; Denny, Studies, pp. 2-17. Many biblical passages assert or assume belief in God to be knowledge or wisdom: e.g., I. Cor. xiii. 12; ii. 6-16; II. Cor. iv. 6; iii. 18; Ephes. i. 7-9; 16-18; iii. 17-19; iv. 17, 18; v. 15-19; I. John ii. 21-23; iii. 2; iv. 2-6, 7, 13-16; v. 20.
10 Liddon, Some Elements, p. 71; Ewer, pp. 27-31; 125-149; Stanton, Place of Authty., p. 105, cf. I. Cor. ii. 11-15.
11 Lux Mundi, 1st paper, pp. 7-11; Hooker, Eceles. Polity, V. Ixiii. 2. cf. John vii. 17; Acts xix. 9; II. Cor. iv. 3, 4.
12 Cf. Q. xi. 2, 3.
Ch. I. Q.4. Natural Law
NATURAL LAW may be defined either as the observed conjunction and sequence of natural phenomena, or as the underlying system of forces by which the natural order is governed and developed.
2. In its former sense natural law may not be taken to mean what must happen forever, but what does happen now, so far as our experience extends. The "uniformity of nature" is a hypothesis which assumes that events will continue to happen as they have happened. There can be no demonstration of this.1
3. Historical evidence shows that the present order of phenomena has been subject to miraculous exceptions; and we learn from the revelations which these miracles attest that this order will, in due time, give place to a new one.2
4. We learn from revelation and natural experience alike that the works of God are usually regular both in nature and in the supernatural. But the uniformity and unity of the supernatural was appreciated long before that of nature. Theological science is more ancient than physical science—in fact, the mother of it.3
5. But theological science dwells upon its uniformities — e.g., the sacramental laws of grace — chiefly with reference to their moral purpose. Physical science is concerned more with the uniformities themselves, and their utility for man. Theology takes note of the data and conclusions of physical science, but with reference to their theistic and spiritual interpretation. It recognizes that natural laws reveal methods of Divine operation, and therefore teach somewhat of the Divine nature and character. It also assumes that ascertained uniformities, so long as they continue, represent the conditions under which human character is formed and men are to serve their probation in this life. This is true of the laws both of nature and of supernatural grace.4
6. So long as natural science confines itself to the investigation of nature as such, and theological science to the theistic and spiritual interpretation of facts undeniably established, there can be no conflict. But when natural scientists undertake to advance theological interpretations of their results, a collision is apt to occur between their crude speculations and more mature Theology. And when theologians continue to rely upon exploded views of nature, basing theological speculations upon them, a conflict occurs between out-of-date and up-to-date natural science. As Dr. Pusey says, unscience, not science, is adverse to Faith.5
1 Mozley, Bamp. Lecs., ii.; Temple, Bamp. Lecs., i.
2 Mozley, v.
3 A. Moore, Science and the Faith, Essay i., esp. pp. 13, 14.
4 Temple, iii., pp. 90-96.
5 Pusey, Un-Science.
Ch. I. Q.3. Miracles
A MIRACLE (a) is a supernatural event; (b) which innovates upon the normal order of sensible phenomena. Such an event causes wonder, and this accounts for the name miracle. Not every supernatural event is a miracle. Thus the Eucharistic mystery is supernatural, but as it is not wrought in the sensible sphere, it is not miraculous, theologically speaking.1
2. In the New Testament miracles are called signs, σημεια; wonders, τέρατα ; and works of power, δυνάμεις The miracles of Christ are often called works, εργα; i.e. , such works as might be expected of the God-man, and which reveal His Person.2
3. Miracles interrupt the course of purely natural phenomena; and those who define the laws of nature as referring to the conjunction and sequence of its phenomena speak of miracles as violating these laws. Such language is apt to suggest what is untrue, that miracles are capricious and lawless, and inconsistent with the orderly plan and principle by which nature is governed. In fact, miracles have a real part in fulfilling the plan which nature is designed to subserve. The law that the same unhindered causes invariably produce the same effects is not violated. But miracles illustrate another law, equally valid, that two causes working jointly produce effects which one or the other alone does not produce. The phenomenon is exceptional; and this is because a non-resident force is working with the forces resident in nature, modifying effects without nullifying forces. This is analogous to the innovations upon physical phenomena caused by the art and power of man.3
4. Two conceptions of the world should be con¬sidered. It may be viewed as a κόσμος, or existing visible order; and as an αίών, or age-long drama, which is worked out through a progressive evolution of Divine purposes. What is termed natural represents the existing condition and working of the κόσμος. But an uninterrupted uniformity of phenomena would mean an endless cycle without progress. The advance of the αίών requires innovations, steps, and the entrance of higher forces than those previously resident in the κόσμος. The evolutionary hypothesis requires this supposition; and, unless we become materialists, we must assume that the progress of cosmical development, however gradual, depends upon an involution of forces which are supernatural to the previously existing natures which undergo development.4
5. Belief in miracles goes along with belief that God rules the universe, and directs its working according to a plan and with progress toward a “far-off event." That the steps onward should involve sensible innovations is a credible supposition, and violates none of the real results of scientific investigation. It should be noted that moral issues are involved in the Divine plan, as well as physical, and therefore that miracles may be expected to be charged with moral significance; also that the Divine plan requires for its fulfilment a revelation of Divine purposes to man, over and above what is discernible in the existing state of nature.
6. To sum up, the natural manifests the existing method and condition of the visible work of God. The supernatural supplies the factors of progress towards higher stages in the fulfilment of the Divine plan. Miracles are (a) signs, and therefore evidences of new steps in this progress; (b) peculiar manifestations of Divine power in and over nature; (c) attestations of the supernatural, and authentications of its teaching; (d) vindications of the moral order, disturbed by sin,5 as well as means by which the moral purposes of God are positively advanced.
1 Baldwin, Dic. of Philos., "Miracle"; Fleming, Vocab., idem; Mozley, Bamp. Lecs. , esp. i., ii.,; Temple, Bamp. Lecs., vii.; Liddon, Some Elements, pp. 73-77; Fisher's Grounds of Belief, ch. viii.; Trench, Notes on the Miracles of Our Lord, Prelim. Essay; Church Quarterly Review, April 1876, Art. I.; Weidner, Theologia, pp. 101-107.
2 Trench, ch. i.
3 Fisher, pp. 167-168.
4 Gore, Bamp. Lecs., pp. 52-53.
5 Gore, pp. 48-51.
Ch. I. Q.2. The Supernatural
THE supernatural is a relative term, and signifies in Dogmatic Theology that which cannot be referred to forces resident in the visible universe, or in man, but transcends their causation.1
2. The meaning of the term "supernatural" hinges upon that of the term "natural"; and the latter term is relative and technical. It is not to be understood accurately, unless we know what the things are whose nature is considered.2
3. In Dogmatic Theology the word nature is applied to the visible universe, including man. Its resident forces, and whatever can be accounted for by them, are called natural. The supernatural comes thus to mean whatever is unexplainable by such reference, but must be referred to higher natures.
4. There is also a philosophical use of the term supernatural, by which everything which is conscious and free is included in its application. The natural then signifies that which is unconscious and subject to a law which impels it by necessity, in one determined direction, from without. Man, by original constitution, is therefore supernatural.3 This use of the terms in question is perfectly valid and is common in Apologetics; but it does not apply in Positive Dogmatics, to such phrases as supernatural revelation, supernatural inspiration, supernatural grace, etc., where the thought of something super-human is implied.
5. We must distinguish between the natural and the supernatural orders of Divine operation, as defined in Dogmatic Theology, for much biblical and theological language will otherwise be unintelligible. But there can be no opposition between them. Certain writers4 err in supposing that the distinction between lower and higher natures and between the forces resident in them (for this is what the distinction between natural and supernatural really means) has the effect of banishing God from nature and of reducing nature's Divine significance. It is God that worketh whether He employs the forces resident in lower or higher natures, or dispenses with the use of means.
1 Fleming, Vocab. , "nature" and "supernatural." Baldwin, Dic. Of Philos. , idem.
2 Gore, Bamp. Lecs. , pp. 38, 39.
3 Bushnell, Natural and Supernatural , ch. ii.; Temple, Bamp. Lecs. , vii.
4 E.G. , Romanes, Thoughts on Religion , pp. 126-133.
July 04, 2005
Ch. I. Q.1. Theology
THEOLOGY is the science of God and things Divine. 1 It is properly called a science since it treats of ascertained facts; coöordinating them and exhibiting them, with their logical implications, in systematic order. 2
2. Theology cannot be shut out from any sphere of being or fact, but treats of all things in so far as they are related to God and Divine purposes. In particular it treats of the nature of God and His operations; His creatures and providential government; His dealings with all creature-hood; His designs, and the historical facts and institutions which reveal and fulfil them; the future for which He is preparing all things; and the principles and laws of conduct which, as a consequence, it is the duty of man to obey. 3
3. These elements are partly natural and partly supernatural. They lie partly within the range of our natural faculties and partly beyond, so as to require the aid of grace for their proper mastery.
4. True Theology assumes the Catholic Faith as its premise and governing principle. This Faith is unalterable in substantial content, and its fundamental meaning remains forever the same. Yet Theology is a progressive science, for it can never exhaust the scientific bearings of the Faith; and is enriched by every increase in natural knowledge, in so far as such knowledge throws light upon Divine operations and purposes. 4
1,Hooker, Eccles. Polity , III. viii. 11; Fleming, Vocab. of Philos.; Pearson, De Deo, p. 1; St. Thos., Summa, I. i. 7; Suicer, Thesaurus, Θεολογια.
2, Newman, Idea of a University, Disc, ii.; Fleming, “Science”; St
Thos., I. i. 2; Martensen, Dogmatics, §2; Clarke, Outline of Theol., pp. 4, 5.
3, St. Thos., I. i. 7.
4, Anglican literature lacks a really complete treatise of Dogmatic Theology. Of small manuals, the best are Lacey's Elements of Doctrine; Stone's Outlines of Dogma, and Norris' Rudiments of Theology. Owen's Dogmatic Theology is useful, but dry for this generation. Mortimer's Catholic Faith and Practice is in many ways valuable; but, along with Percival's Digest of Theology, is somewhat Latin in point of view and terminology. Moule's Outlines of Christian Doctrine and Walker's Outlines of Christian Theology are evangelical and limited in value.
Looking afield, St. John of Damascus' On the Orthodox Faith is the classic resumé of Greek patristic Theology; and St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica is the flower of Scholastic Theology, and indispensable. Of modern treatises in the Eastern Church should be mentioned Macaire's Theologie Dogmatique Orthodoxe; and Blackmore's Doctrine of the Russian Church, containing two important Russian Catechisms. Modern Latin Theology is very rich. Petavius' De Dogmatibus and Thomassinus' Dogmata Theologica contain ample historical treatments of each topic considered. Their Latin is stiff. Suarez' Summa, Perrone's Praelectiones, and Schouppe's Elementa Theologica Dogmatica are standard. Wilhelm and Scannell's Manual of Catholic Theology is in English, and very valuable. Hunter's Outlines of Dogmatic Theology, also in English, is polemical and perverse. The Latin treatises of Klee and Franzelin should also be mentioned as valuable.
Protestant Theology is fatally defective in certain respects; yet may not be altogether disregarded, allowance being made, of course, for its presuppositions and rationalistic private judgment. Among Lutheran works may be mentioned Martensen's Christian Dogmatics, and Dorner's Christian Doctrine. The chief Calvinistic works readily available are Chas. Hodge's Systematic Theology and Shedd’s Dogmatic Theology. The best Baptist work is A.H. Stone's Systematic Theology.
Much help in the systematic study of Dogmatics can be gained from works on the Catholic Creeds. Forbes' Nicene Creed is especially valuable, and Pearson's classic treatise on The Apostles' Creed, is very learned. Maclear's Introduction to the Creeds is more elementary, but useful. Mortimer’s The Creeds may also be mentioned, and Lias on The Nicene Creed.
July 01, 2005
Theological Outlines by Rev. Dr. Francis J. Hall
Volume I. The Doctrine of God
Chapter I. — The Science of Theology
Chapter II. — The Dogmatic office of the Church
Chapter III. — Holy Scripture
Chapter IV. — Theism
Chapter V. — Anti-Theistic Theories
Chapter VI. — Supernatural Revelation
Chapter VII. — The Divine Nature
Chapter VIII. — Active Attributes
Chapter IX. — Moral Attributes
Chapter X. — The Trinity
Chapter XI. — The Divine Economies
Volume II. The Doctrine of Man and of the God-Man
Chapter XII. — Creation
Chapter XIII. — Angelology
Chapter XIV. — Man
Chapter XV. — The Fall of Man
Chapter XVI. — The Incarnation
Chapter XVII. — The Person of Christ
Chapter XVIII — Properties of Christ
Chapter XIX. — Offices of Christ
Chapter XX. — Mysteries of Christ's Earthly Love
Chapter XXI. — Mysteries of Christ's Exaltation
Volume III. The Doctrine of the Church and of Last Things
Chapter XXII. — The Economy of the Holy Ghost
Chapter XXIII. — The Church
Chapter XXIV. — The Offices of the Church
Chapter XXV. — The Doctrine of Grace
Chapter XXVI. — The Sacramental System
Chapter XXVII. — Baptism and Confirmation
Chapter XXVIII. — The Holy Eucharist
Chapter XXIX. — The Lesser Sacraments
Chapter XXX. — Death and After Death
Chapter XXXI. — The end of All Things
Hall, Francis J. Theological Outlines Volume I: The Doctrine of God. 2nd ed. Milwaukee: The Young Churchman, 1905.
Hall, Francis J. Theological Outlines Volume II: The Doctrine of Man and of the God-Man. 2nd ed. Milwaukee: The Young Churchman, 1915.
Hall, Francis J. Theological Outlines Volume III: The Doctrine of the Church and of Last Things. Milwaukee: The Young Churchman, 1895.
The third edition of Theological Outlines, collected into a single volume and thoroughly revised by Frank Hudson Hallock, can be ordered from Wipf and Stock.