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It is not necessary to show at length, that the doctrine of evolution is at variance with the explicit declarations of Holy Scripture respecting the agency of God in creation, and with the testimony of our Lord, that there is the constant putting forth of a Divine power in connection with the processes of nature. One of the most distinguished advocates of that doctrine affirms, that "the fundamental proposition of Evolution is, that the whole world, living and not living, is the result of the mutual interaction, according to definite laws, of the forces possessed by the molecules of which the primitive nebulosity of the universe was composed ;” and he adds, “ If this be true, it is no less certain that the existing world lay, potentially, in the cosmic vapour; and that a sufficient intelligence could, from a knowledge of the properties of the molecules of that vapour, have predicted, say the state of the Fauna of Great Britain in 1869, with as much certainty as one can say what will happen to the vapour of the breath on a cold winter's day.” Such a theory does not necessarily shut out the being and agency of God; but it restricts His action to the bringing into existence, and endowing with its forces, that “primitive nebulosity of the universe," from which all things now existing have been evolved by the necessary operation of those forces. But we cling with confidence to the Scriptural statements as to the direct putting forth of a Divine power in the formation of the several orders of beings, and especially in the creation of man in God's own image ; and we rejoice to know, on the assurance of the Incarnate Son, that God still “ works" in nature, that He “clothes " the lilies in all their loveliness, and that His hand, ordering and sustaining the processes of nature, feeds the ravens, and provides for the wants of every living thing.
On the reconciliation of the first chapter of Genesis with the conclusions reached by geological science, the position taken by Mr. Pope is shown in the following paragraphs :
" The Cosmogony of Genesis includes both primary and secondary creation. Its opening words alone declare the former : In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Between that Beginning and the Chaos of the second verse, when the earth was without form and void......and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, there is the widest possible or necessary latitude for the geological ages demanded by modern science. And the second Ferse itself leaves the operation of the forming and fashioning Spirit indeterminate. The light of revelation has risen only with dimness as yet upon the scene. The record has not for its object the details of creation as such ; but only so far as they concern the coming history of mankind. This is obvious from the distinction between heaven and earth in the first verse, and the suppression of heaven in the second. The silence that reigns after the first great declaration is at once a warning and an encouragement both to theology and to geology : only there can the reconciliation be sought, but there it may be found.
“There are two methods of seeking it. According to one the sequel of the chapter fills up that interval; returning to it as the second account of the creation of man is the supplement of the first. There is a double series of days, an upper and a lower, the one corresponding to the other. The upper and heavenly are the great cycles of creation which ended in the sabbatic cycle of the reconstruction of this world for man as its head. The lower and eartbly are the form they take to us in the representation of literal days, ending on the seventh day, hallowed for ever : each of our working days being used to symbolize its own term in the secondary creation of God, and our literal Sabbath His rest. But there are many great difficulties in the way of this theory. It seems to many more consonant with the simplicity of the early record to leave the unwritten history of the primitive earth to the researches of science, for which the Spirit of revelation has reserved this honour; and to regard the narrative as literally recording the HEXAHEMERON, or six days' work, which fashioned the new earth for the abode of man. Thus the days of the Scriptural Cosmogony are creative days : the days, however, of a new creation, or of a new formation, superimposed upon an earlier and as it were perished order of things. In this new creation all was very good ; hence every trace of the rapine and death which, through some unknown cause, had existed in the former fallen earth, was removed. Moreover, the new work of formation was hastened and swift : the vast æons of the past dwindled down to natural days. But it must be remembered that the formation was creation also. No theory of evolution or development which seems to trace a regular succession of forms through which organic existence has passed, in obedience to a plastic law originally impressed upon matter, can be made consistent with Scripture. Nor do the discoveries of science give any valid sanction to the theory. The days of the first chapter of Genesis are creative days. Meanwhile, the harmony between the account given by inspiration and the undoubted conclusions of science is at present one of the difficulties of our subject. At present: for that science will ultimately pay its homage to the testimony of the Word of God can be to us no matter of doubt.” (Pp. 162-164.)
With regard to the nature of man, Mr. Pope adheres to the view which recognises in it the two constituent elements of body and soul, or flesh and spirit. He admits that the threefold distinction of spirit, and soul, and body, was adopted by St. Paul, in one place, for practical purposes; but he adds that this distinction was subsequently perverted to heretical ends :
“The Gnostics taught that the spirit in man was an emanation from the essence of God, and therefore incapable of being defiled by matter. Apollinaris availed himself of it to rob the person of Christ of the human spirit: His sensitive soul being a sufficient vehicle for the Divine Logos. In later times the doctrine of original sin was embarrassed by this distinction : a theory was very prevalent, and still is, which limited the transmission of sinful bias to the sensitive nature only. Hence the healthier tone of Christian teaching, especially in the West, has held fast the DICHOTOMY of human nature : body and soul, or flesh and spirit. It will be obvious, however, to those who weigh well the utterances of Scripture, that, provided the constituent elements of human nature are two, the whole religious history of man requires the distinc
tion between soul and spirit : the one personality of man is connected by his soul with the world of sense, and by his spirit with the world of faith. Yet soul and spirit make up one Person. There is a modern theology, orthodox in all other respects, which vainly attempts to make the spirit in man the prerogative of the regenerate only: an attempt to reconcile the two theories which Scripture does not sanction.” (P. 186.)
The subject of the Image of God in which man was created is treated very fully. We advert to it here, partly because of the forcible manner in which Mr. Pope shows that one of the elements of that image was essential and indestructible, while the moral resemblance to God which it included was, alas ! soon forfeited by sin ; but chiefly because of the reference which it contains to the special relation of man, from the very first, to THE Son,-a truth of theology not often, perhaps, dwelt upon, and which requires to be contemplated with profound reverence, but which should by no means be passed over :
“ The Image of God is made the first note and attribute of human nature. It was the Divine purpose, declared when as yet man was not, that this should be his distinction from every other creature. Hence it belonged to his entire constitution as a creature. As such it was essential and indestructible: the selfconscious and self-determining personality of man, as a spirit bearing the stamp of likeness to God and capable of immortality, was the reflection in the creature of the Divine nature. As such it was also accidental and emissible : the free spirit of man reflected the Divine holiness in a perfect conformity of mind, feeling, and will, which might be lost. The Image of God was concreated in man: it was in his nature, and no part of it was superadded after his creation. It must be added, that, as the Eternal Son is, in the supremest sense, Himself the Image of God, man was created in or after that Image. And, thus in his creation related to the Son, he was also united to God by the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (P. 178.)
On the topic briefly indicated in the last two sentences, Mr. Pope subsequently remarks :
“The doctrine of the Divine image in man is carried to its highest point, and beyond the Old Testament record, when it is connected with the Eternal Son as the original, absolute, archetypal Image of God. This description of the Second Person is next to that of Son the most common in the New Testament: it almost becomes a proper name. He is the elkÙY TOû Ocow, the IMAGE OF GOD, as the outbeaming of all His glories and the full expression of His nature. In the image of that Image was man created. Both in His first and in His second creation the Son is the archetype and pattern. It was this specific relation of the Son that made Him the Redeemer of the fallen race: a truth that may be pondered profitably, if it is not perverted into the notion of a necessary incarnation of the Son of God.” (P. 180.)
The entire section which relates to Providence is one of the most valuable and instructive portions of the book. The Providence of God is viewed as embracing the conservation of all things with reference to the end for which they exist; the constant care which He exercises over the creatures that are dependent for the susten. tation of sensitive life; and His government of intelligent or probationary creatures. We can only find room for one paragraph which bears on the precious doctrine of a special Providence. After observing that, “ If we give all the revealed Divine perfections their equal homage, Providence is no other than the purpose of infinite Love using with almighty Power the means which unfailing Wisdom ordains," Mr. Pope proceeds,
“ This equal tribute to the Divine attributes will secure at once the unity and the distinction between the GENERAL and the SPECIAL Providence of God. As He is present everywhere in His infinite power, all providential relation must be minute and special: to think otherwise of the Divine control of the laws of nature and the actions of men is inconsistent with the first principles of the doctrine. This is the glory of the Scriptural teaching, that it knows nothing of a Divine general care which does not descend to the minutest particulars. The apcient Epicureans thought that God either was indifferent to human affairs or limited His care to their more important interests : Magna Dii curant, parva negligunt.' From the beginning of Scripture to the end the presence and influence of God are brought into the most immediate relation with all things and all events. But not always the same relation. When we include some other attributes, the Divine love in Christ Jesus and fidelity to His promises, the doctrine of a special Providence begins at once to emerge. A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps : this is an unlimited declaration of a universal control. But when it is said that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way, there is implied that most special and minute supervision of the life of the righteous which adds one more to the mysteries of Divine Providence. The New Testament teaches us everywhere that His special supervision is bound up with answers to prayer; and generally that all things work together for good to them that love God : the provision of His providence carries out the purpose of His grace. It is not, however, a doctrine of the New Testament only : it is the gracious theory of the whole Bible, and exhibited in all narrations and histories.” (Pp. 191, 192.)
The fourth Division of Mr. Pope's work is devoted to the consideration of Sin, in its origin, its nature, and its relation to redemption in the case of man, together with the Scriptural doctrine of Original Sin, or the effect of the Fall upon all the descendants of Adam, the first Head and Representative of our race.
No thoughtful man can approach the subjects thus indicated without a consciousness of their difficulty, or without & vivid impression that many questions may suggest themselves, the solution of which will be beyond his power. For ourselves, we have no hesitation in referring the origin of sin in the universe to the revolt of the creaturely will against the authority and rule of the Creator. Then there rises to our view the solemn fact of the fall
of the first transgressor, Satan; and we have to ponder the deep significance of the expressions of Holy Scripture which relate to him as the leader of the hosts of evil, seduced, as it would appear, by his persuasion or example. Mr. Pope's words on the subject are carefully chosen and guarded :-" Always there is assigned to one being a pre-eminence over a multitude of others who owed their sin to him: not, however, through the inheritance of a propagated depravation, but by each one independently yielding to his temptation, or following his example. On this subject we can say but little. His was the original sin ; it was the misuse of freedom; it was the mysterious birth in his being of an ambition to rival God, or the Son of God, an ambition which was transferred to this world after his exclusion from heaven; it was imitated by many others; it was irreparable, at least we know of no redemption or hope; and, lastly, it was the fountain of temptation to our race." (P. 204.)
But the mystery connected with the origin and the permission of sin is not wholly dissipated when we refer it to the abuse of freedom on the part of the created will. We hope for a state in which, while retaining our freedom, we shall yet be placed beyond the possibility of sinning; and the question arises, How is this to be secured? We are aware of the reasoning by which Bishop Butler, in one chapter of his great work, seeks to solve the difficulty; but while that reasoning has great force, it has always appeared to us insufficient to meet all the facts of the case. “Virtuous self-government,” he says, “is not only right in itself, but also improves the inward constitution or character ; and may improve it to such a degree, that, though we should suppose it impossible for particular affections to be absolutely coincident with the moral principle, and consequently should allow that such creatures as have been above supposed would for ever remain defectible ; yet their danger of actually deviating from right may be almost infinitely lessened, and they fully fortified against what remains of it; if that may be called danger, against which there is an adequate effectual security. But still, this their higher perfection may continue to consist in habits of virtue formed in a state of discipline, and this their more complete security remain to proceed from them. And thus it is plainly conceivable that creatures without blemish, as they came out of the hands of God, may be in danger of going wrong, and so may stand in need of the security of virtuous habits, additional to the moral principle wrought into their nature by Him. That which is the ground of their danger, or their want of security, may be considered as a deficiency in them, to which virtuous habits are the natural supply. And as