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of Nature is the most sublime work ever achieved in the history of philosophy.
The question of possibility or impossibility is of great importance, both in relation to philosophy and the Bible record. It certainly is altogether impossible that the creation of the heavens and earth should have taken place in six natural days of twenty-four hours each. Creation in six natural days neither agrees with geology, astronomy, nor logical philosophy. We need not here discuss the agreement or disagreement of the record with geology and astronomy on the one hand and with philosophy on the other. Our contention is that the earth, sun, moon and stars must have existed during eternal ages before six or seven thousand years ago. Our point is, does the Bible account agree with logical philosophy ? There ought to be no unnatural forcing of the two into agreement. The facts and explanations of each must stand on its own ground, awaiting further light. Man, however, in his empirical existence is certainly of recent creation. (The week of seven days, we reserve for after consideration.)
It has long been noted that the word day in the first chapters of Genesis has three different meanings. First, the light is called day and the darkness is called night; then the evening and the morning is a day, thus day includes the unison of light and darkness; then we read, “In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. The word day here neither stands for light, nor a time of twentyfour hours, including light and darkness, nor for an indefinite geological period of time. The word day in its third meaning is the most important, for it involves no division of time whatever, neither past nor present : it rather signifies an eternal day, and if the word day stands for light, as it undoubtedly does, then it would mean that in the eternal lightday of God's own self, God made the earth and the heavens. Without thought, day and light have no meaning.
Further, it must be noted that in this early account it is not at all definitely stated that God created the heavens and the earth in six ordinary days. Such statement is found in the Decalogue, but not in the first biblical account of creation. Leaving this for the moment, we may note, that it is not even stated that God created anything on any one of the six divisions now called days. It seems permissible to regard these six divisions in creation as six stages only (not six geological periods, for the creation of all in six such periods, however long or short, is as impossible to reconcile to true reason, as in six ordinary natural days), in which they present themselves as a total whole at once to the writer of this account. This panorama of Nature in its external form as presented to sense-perception, is there a matter of fact in a total necessary relation of ideas. So far the external sense-view is, in the form of a rational presentation, absolutely in unity with the rational thought of man, in which he is at one with God in thought and reason.
In the first stage is the recognition of light and darkness, day and night, that is all; in the second stage is the recognition of the sky above, named the firmament, together with the water above and water below, that is all. In the third there is simply the recognition of dry land and seas; in the earth, grass, herbs, and fruit-tree, each having a seed of its own and each yielding seed and fruit after its kind. In the fourth stage, the recognition of lights in the sky (expanse), sun, moon, and stars shedding light upon the earth; the sun by day, and the moon
Here are six stages or great strikin
and stars by night. “For signs and for seasons, for days and for years. In the fifth stage, the writer recognizes the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, each bringing forth abundantly after its kind. In the sixth stage, we have domestic fowls and all kinds of land animals, all bringing forth young after their kind, and then the creation of man and woman (male and female created He them'), made in the image of the Creator, to have dominion over all.
divisions, standing out openly in absolute relation in all their parts to the Creator, and claiming the contemplation of all as the work of the Creator; for the Bible requires men to study the works of God—the operations of His hands.
It is a simple, artless account as it presents itself to ordinary sense-perception, but yet creation is quite rationally presented as the work of God, the infinite, eternal Spirit. Such a descriptive view of creation necessarily partakes of the limitations that belong to a period when the general system of the universe was unknown. It is quite remarkable that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of the seventh day, the Sabbath rest, and of God as the present and final rest into which His people enter by a true and living faith ; the Psalmist speaks of God as his true resting-place.
The whole of this early period contains a remarkable natural blending of what is real to sense-perception with the philosophical, making the reader feel that he is not reading fiction but something really true. If each day can be legitimately regarded as a natural division of Nature; and God, the Creator, as man's sabbath rest, then this sense-view would form a not unnatural reason for setting apart one day in seven for the special united worship of God on earth. According to the words of Christ, the Sabbath was made for
man, and not man for the sabbath.' If this division into different stages is real, they are seen, not as one springing or being evolved out of the other, but there at once, together. We cannot admit that the Mosaic account is a mere myth on its own account ;
and further, because a mythical origin is indirect opposition to the teaching of the writers of the New Testament. The account as given is both natural and rational. There is no warrant for saying, as some critics do, that this account was derived from ancient Babylonian sources. It cannot well escape the notice of any person that the methods of the Higher Critics tend to lessen in the end the authority of Jesus Himself, and this lays their methods open to suspicion. The true method for a right understanding is the Ego, or the science of Concrete Logic.
The critical biblical study of the person and teaching of Christ has taken a strange turn in its treatment of the fourth gospel. This is treated as if its teaching were a mixture of the teaching of Christ with some elements of Grecian philosophy, and, therefore, unreliable. The teaching of Christ concerning His own Divine personality is certainly fuller here than in the other three gospels, though to a certain extent they are in perfect agreement. St. John is a little more explicit and full on this subject than are the other three evangelists. Concerning the Divine person of Christ, the teaching of Paul and John is in explicit ness in perfect agreement. To a certain extent one explains the other, which is thus a real gain so far as their philosophical foundation is concerned. John has kept well in mind many of the great sayings of Christ about Himself, and we have no difficulty in seeing that what he states in the prologue to his gospel is in perfect accord with Christ's own words. However, though we attach the highest value to the teaching of the New Testament about Christ, our faith in His Divine personality and work does not rest entirely on the wording of the record. It may seem an extreme view, but we venture to say that the Ego of reason is in perfect accord with the God-man the record claims Him to have been. The record does not make Him to be what He was, rather He makes the record; both His claim and record rest on a genuine
! logical philosophy. We base our belief in the genuineness of both on this fact, and further say that anyone refusing to acknowledge the record as truth must show that it is absolutely contrary to reason.
A sound philosophy and divinity of Christ through a knowledge of the Ego reveals Christianity as the Religion of Reason. What it does in helping to a right conception of the personality of Christ, it also does in setting before us the sacred volume in a light that makes it worthy of our highest admiration, love, and confidence. It is not, however, the book that saves us ; God and Christ are our salvation. But, as Christ says, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life’; also, ' Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'
Whittle away the authority of the word, and thereby you whittle away the divinity of the Spirit, the reality of the miracles, the divinity and authority of Christ, and then comes chaos. But the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, is so interwoven into the very letter of the word, so constituting its web, warp and woof, that its living eternal power cannot be diminished. So, in spite of the human composition of the Bible and its finite limitation in the external form of the letter, God and His Christ are in the word just as certainly as they are in every finite object in Nature.