THEOLOGY (DOCTRINE OF GOD),
NATURE AND DEFINITION OF GOD.
Aristotle: Metaphysics, XI. vi., vii. Plato: Phaedo; Laws, X. 894-899. Anselm: Monologium, i.-vi.; xvii.-xxviii. Charnocke: Discourses (God a Spirit). Cudworth: Intellectual System, I. ii.; V. iii. (Corporeal and unextended substance.) More: Immortality of the Soul, I. i.-x.1 Smith: Discourses (Immortality of the Soul; Existence and nature of God). Bates: Immortality of the Soul. Nitzsch: Christian Doctrine, J 63. Ulrici: God and Nature. Christlieb: Modern Doubt, Lecture in. Miiller: Sin, II. 113-139.
The words of our Lord to the Samaritan woman, "God is a Spirit," John 4: 24, although spoken for a practical purpose, are also a scientific definition. The original (irvevfia 6 Seo<;) by its emphatic collocation of irvedfia, and omission of the article, implies that God is spirit in the highest sense. He is not a spirit, but spirit itself, absolutely. The employment of the article in the English version is objec
1 More departed from the common opinion, in contending that spiritual substance has extension and the three dimensions, like material substance. It differs from matter in having self-motion, and in not having impenetrability. It is not moved ab extra, and its presence does not exclude that of material substance. He denied the schoolman's dictum, that the soul is all in every part of the body; because this is incompatible with the view that spiritual substance is extended.
tionable, because it places the deity in a class with other spiritual beings. But this is not the thought of Christ, who asserts that "no one knoweth the Father but the Son" (Matt. 11:27); thus claiming for himself a knowledge of the deity as the absolute and unconditioned spirit, who is not cognizable by the finite mind in the manner and degree that finite spirit is. Man knows the nature of finite spirit through his own self-consciousness, but he knows that of the Infinite spirit only analogically. Hence some of the characteristics of the Divine nature cannot be known by a finite intelligence. For example, how God can be independent of the limitations of time, and have an eternal mode of consciousness that is without succession, including all events simultaneously in one omniscient intuition, is inscrutable to man, because he himself has no such consciousness. The same is true of the omnipresence of God. How he can be all at every point in universal space, baffles human comprehension, though it has some light thrown upon it, by the fact that the human soul is all at every point in the body.
The Divine being is of an essence whose spirituality transcends that of all other spirits, human, angelic, or archangelic; even as his immortality transcends that of man or angel. God is said alone to have immortality (1 Tim. 6 : 16), because his immortality is a parte ante, as well as a parte post. His immortality is eternity. And in the same manner, when the spirituality of God is compared with that of his rational creatures, it might be said that he alone has spirituality.
The transcendent nature of the Divine spirituality is seen in the fact of its being formless and unembodied. "No man hath seen God at any time," John 1 :18. "Ye saw no similitude," Deut. i : 12. The Infinite spirit cannot be so included in a form as not to exist outside of it. The finite spirit can be, and in all its grades is both embodied and limited by the body.
"That each, who seems a separate whole,
Should move his rounds, and, fusing all
The skirts of self again, should fall
Bemerging in the general soul,
Is faith as vague as all unsweet:
Eternal form shall still divide
The eternal soul from all beside;
And I shall know him when we meet."—Tennyson.
The seeming exception to this, in the instance of man between death and the resurrection, is not really such. The disembodiment of the spirit is only temporary. The completeness of the person requires the resurrection and reunion of the bodily form.
Hence in order to have communication with his embodied creature, man, the Supreme being assumes a form; first in the theophaniefl of the Old Testament, and lastly in the incarnation of the Kew.1 In his own original essence he is formless, and hence could not have any intercourse with a creature like man, who is conditioned in his perception by the limitations of finite form. For this reason, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth," John 1:14. Uniting with a human soul and body, "the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath expounded (i^tjy^traro) him," John 1 : 18. In Phil. 2 : 6, the trinitarian personality of the Logos is denominated a "form of God" (jiopfyrj Seov). This does not mean a visible corporeal embodiment, for it describes the Logos before his incarnation. A distinction, or mode of the divine essence is intended by it. This begotten, or filial "form" of God is purely spiritual and incorporeal, and hence is compelled to assume a corporeal form; namely, "the form of a servant" (jiopcprj, explained by ayfma,
1 But in both of these modes of manifestation, the Infinite spirit though in a form is not shnt up and confined in it. The Son of Man was also in heaven, at the same instant that he was on earth in a human body. Jehovah, though present in the form of the burning bush, was at the same moment omnipresent also.
ver. 8); in order to have society with man. Some have supposed that the incarnation is necessitated not only by man's sin, but by the needs of the angelic world, in order that there may be intercourse between God and the angels. That there is a provision for this latter, and that God manifested himself to the holy and happy angels prior to and irrespective of the incarnation of the Word, is clear from the Biblical representations concerning such an intercourse. Compare Ps. 104 : 4; 103 :20; 1 Kings 22 :19; 2 Chr. 18: 18; Isa. 6:5; Luke 15:10; Heb. 1: 7; 2:5. But the embodiment of God the Son in a perishable human form, involves humiliation and suffering for the special purpose of atonement and redemption, and hence it cannot have reference to the needs of the sinless angelic world. Moreover, there would be no reason for the adoption of man's nature and form, in order to a manifestation of God to the angels.
While the spiritual essence of God is incorporeal and formless, it is at the same time the most real substance of all. Mere body or form does not add to the reality of an essence, because the form itself derives its characteristics and its reality from the informing spirit. "The things which are seen were not made of things which do appear," Heb. 11: 3. Visibles were not made of visibles, but of invisibles. The phenomenon, consequently, is less real than the noumenon; the visible than the invisible. God's incorporeal and formless being is so intensely and eminently real, that all formed and corporeal being, in comparison, is unreal. "All nations before him are as nothing, and less than nothing, and vanity," Isa. 40:17. "Mine age is as nothing before thee," Ps. 39 : 5. "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, thou art God," Ps. 90 : 2. "The more unbodied," says Smith (Nature of God, 123), "anything is, the more unbounded also is it in its effective power: body and matter being the most sluggish, inert, and unwieldy thing that may be, having no power from itself, nor over itself; and therefore the purest mind must needs also be the most almighty life and spirit."1
The transcendent reality of the Divine essence appears also in the fact that it is a necessary essence. The objective reality cannot even in thought, still less in fact, be separated from the subjective idea, as it can be in the instance of contingent and created substance. We can conceive of the non-existence of the created and contingent being of whom we have an idea, but not of the uncreated and necessary being of whom we have an idea. A being that might be a nonentity does not correspond to our idea of a necessary being. A necessary being, consequently, has more of being than a contingent being has. He is further from nonentity. God, therefore, is more real than any of his creatures, be they material or immaterial. The Infinite spirit is more real than the finite spirit; and the finite spirit is more real than the body it inhabits, because it can exist without it.
While, however, there is this transcendence in the spirituality of God, there is also a resemblance between the Infinite and the finite spirit. The invisible, immortal, and intelligent mind of man is like in kind to the Divine nature, though infinitely below it in the degree of excellence. What the Arians erroneously asserted respecting the nature of the Son, would be true of the nature of man and angels, namely, that it is ofioiovaio< ; with God, but not ofioovaio?. Man's
1 Claudienus of Vienne, in the 5th century, notes the following points of difference between soul and body: 1. Everything is incorporeal which does not occupy space. The soul occupies no space. 2. Reason, memory, and will oocupy no space. 3. The body feels the impression of touch in the part touched; but the soul feels the impression as a whole, not in a part. 4. There is in all bodies a right and a left, an np and a down, a front and a back; but nothing of the kind in the soul 5. The soul feels by visible organs, but feels invisibly. The eye is one thing, seeing is another; the ears are one thing, hearing is another; the hand is one thing, touching is another. We distinguish by the touch what is hot and what cold, but we do not touch the sensation of touch, which in itself is neither hot nor cold; the organ by whioh we feel is a different thing from the sensation. Guizot: Civilization L 399, Ed. Bohn.
spiritual nature resembles that of the deity, but is not identical with it.
If the difference between God and man is exaggerated, then the Infinite and finite are so separated from one another, that religion becomes impossible. God is practically reduced to a nonentity, by being placed wholly outside the sphere of human apprehension. He is so different from his rational creatures, that no analogies can be found between them, and nothing can be positively and absolutely affirmed concerning him. From this extreme and error, spring deism and agnosticism in theory, and epicureanism in practice. Deism asserts the Divine existence, but with the fewest attributes possible. Bolingbroke denied that any of the moral attributes may be affirmed of God. Only power and adaptive intelligence as seen in physical nature, belong to the Supreme being. This is making the difference between the Infinite and finite so great, that the religious feelings of adoration, love, faith, and penitence are impossible. Hobbes taught agnosticism; maintaining that God is so totally different from man, that he is not only incomprehensible, but inconceivable, and not an object of thought. Cud worth, in opposition, maintained that God is conceivable, but not comprehensible; or, in modern phrase, is apprehensible, but not comprehensible. Although God is an inscrutable mystery, he is yet an object of thought. "By mysterious doctrines, we mean," says Conybeare (On Scripture Mysteries) "those concerning which our ideas are inadequate, or indeterminate. This supposes that of mysterious doctrines we have some ideas, though partial and incomplete. Indeed, when we can frame no ideas, we can strictly speaking give no assent. For what is assent, but a perception that the extremes, the subject and predicate of a proposition, do agree, or disagree? But when we have no manner of ideas of these extremes, we can have no such perception. And as no combination of terms actually without significance can make a real proposition, so no combination of terms to us perfectly unintelligible can, with respect to us, be accounted a proposition. We maintain, therefore, that we have some ideas even of mysterious doctrines. There is a vast difference between unintelligible and incomprehensible. That is unintelligible, concerning which we can frame no ideas; and that is only incomprehensible, concerning which our ideas are imperfect."
On the other hand, if the resemblance between the Infinite and finite spirit is so exaggerated as to obliterate the distinction between the two, then materialistic theories in philosophy, and literalizing theories in theology arise. All the errors of gnosticism, of pantheism, and of anthropomorphism are the consequence. Gnosticism and pantheism attribute evolution and development to the Divine essence, and thus subject it to the conditions and limitations of finite growth and succession. Upon this theory, an immutable consciousness that is omniscient, simultaneous, and successionless, in other words, absolutely complete and perfect, cannot belong to the Supreme being. God's consciousness, according to the pantheist, is mutable, fractional, and increasing like that of man and angel. But this is anthropomorphism; God's mental processes are converted into those of man. Anthropomorphism sometimes exaggerates the resemblance between God and man, so far as even to attribute sensuous organs and emotions to God.
It is one of the few benefits in connection with the many evils that have been wrought by modern pantheism, that it has brought into view the absoluteness of the Deity; his transcendent perfection of being. It is true that what pantheism gives with one hand, it takes back again with the other. In identifying man and the universe with God, it obliterates the distinction between the finite and Infinite, and thus abolishes the transcendent perfection of the Deity which it had so emphatically asserted. But setting aside this self-contradiction, which is characteristic of all error, and considering simply the energy with which a pantheist like Hegel, for example, insists upon the unconditioned nature of the Absolute spirit, we perceive that even fatal error may have an element of truth in it.
There are two predicates which are of fundamental importance in determining the idea of God as a spirit: 1. Substantiality; God is an essence or substance. 2. Personality; God is a self-conscious being. Predicates are distinguishable from attributes, as the base is from the superstructure. It is because God is a substance and a person, that he can possess and exert attributes.
1. In the first place, the idea of God as a spirit implies that of substance or essence, because that which has no substance of any kind is a nonentity. "Deus est quaedam substantia; nam quod nulla substantia est, nihil omnino est. Substantia ergo, aliquid esse est." Augustine, on Ps. 68. God is ens: real actual being. He is not a mere idea, or construction of the mind, like a mathematical point or line. A mathematical point is not an entity; it has no substantial being; it exists only subjectively; it is merely a mental construction. The same is true of space and time. These are not two substances. They are not objective entities or beings. Neither are they, as Clarke affirmed in his a priori argument for the Divine existence, the properties of a substance or being; because properties are of the nature of the substance, and have the same kind of objective reality with it. Space and time cannot be classed with either material or spiritual substance. And there are only these two kinds. A substance possesses properties. But space has only one property, namely, extension. This is not sufficient to constitute it a material substance; and it is sufficient to show that it is not spiritual substance, because this is unextended. Time, again, has no one of the properties of matter, and thus is still further off from material substance than space is. And it certainly has none of the properties of mind.1
1 It should be noticed that it is not because apace and time are invisible that they are not substances, or entities. An entity may be invisible. The forces of
Plato (Sophist. 247, 248) defines substance, or objective being, as " that which possesses any sort of power to affect another, or to be affected by another;" or "that which has the power of doing or suffering in relation to some other existing thing." Hence he says that "the definition of being or substance is simply, power." Now, whether substance be defined as entity having properties, or as entity having power, God is a substance. He has attributes which he manifests in his works of creation and providence; and 1 .3 power which he exerts in the universe of matter and id. He makes an impression upon the human soul, as /eally as matter and its forces do upon the human body. "I remembered God and was troubled," Ps. 77: 33. Terror in the soul because of God, is as vivid a form of consciousness as any physical sensation; and if the objective existence of matter is proved by external sensation, the objective existence of God is proved by internal consciousness. Man is not terrified by a nonentity. The Scriptures justify the application of the idea of substance to God, by denominating him "I am," Exod. 3 :14; and "he who is," Rev.
nature arc invisible, but they are entities, not abstract ideas or forms of thought. They make an impression upon substances. They are efficient powers. They answer to Plato's definition of substance. The force of gravity is like time In having none of the geometrical dimensions, but it cannot, like time in Kant's philosophy, be explained as a mere form of the understanding, the mode in which the human mind conceives. Gravity is a substantial or material force, and constitutes a part of the material universe. It is invisible matter; matter without form, but not without entity. The same is truo of all the other forces of inorganic nature.
Matter has an invisible and formless mode of existence in organic nature, as well as in inorganic. The principle of animal life is real entity, but it is without the geometrical dimensions, and is as invisible as the spirit of man, or of God. But it is matter, not spirit. The bodily life, the so-called animal soul of a dog is nothing but matter. It constitutes no part of the moral and spiritual world. It dies with the body which it inhabits and vitalizes. It was the overlooking of the distinction between matter as visible and invisible, that led Butler, Wesley, Agassiz and others, to favor the doctrine of animal immortality. Because the dog's soul is invisible like that of man, they concluded that it is immortal like bis. Bnt an invisible principle may be as perishable as a visible body; and must be, in case it is a material or physical principle; in case it belongs to the world of matter, not of spirit.
1:4; and by attributing to him " godhead" (Seorrj<}), Coloss. 2 : 9, and a " nature" (£wrt?), Gal. 4: 8; 2 Pet. 1 : 4. God, therefore, as the infinite and eternal spirit, is a real being, and not a mere idea of the human intellect. John of Damascus affirms that "entity is attributed to God in scripture in a higher sense (/cvpuorepov) than it is to any creature." Nitzsch: Christian Doctrine, § 62. It is as proper to speak of the substance of God as of the substance of matter.
The two substances, matter and mind, are wholly diverse, and have nothing in common, except that each is the base of certain properties, and the ground of certain phenomena. These properties and phenomena being different in kind, prove that material substance and spiritual substance differ specifically and absolutely. Matter cannot think, and mind cannot be burned. Spiritual substance is known by its qualities and effects. In this respect it is like material substance, which is cognizable only by its properties and effects. Keither matter nor mind can be known apart from, and back of, its properties. That these are two substances, and that each has its own peculiarity, is a common belief of man which appears in the better pagan philosophy. "No origin of souls ■can be discovered in matter; for there is nothing mixed or compounded in souls; or anything that seems to be born or made from matter (ex terra). There is nothing of the nature of water, or air, or fire in them. For in such material elements, there is nothing that has the power of remembering, of perceiving, of thinking; nothing that retains the past, foresees the future, and comprehends the present. These characteristics of the soul are divine, and it is impossible to perceive how man could have obtained them, except from God." Cicero: Tueculan Questions, I. 27, 28. Cicero cites this doctrine as Aristotle's; and mentions with it Aristotle's opinion that since mind as distinguished from matter has these divine qualities, it must be eternal (ob eamque rem, asternnm sit necesse est). Compare More: On Immortality, I. iii.
Spiritual substance in the instance of the Infinite being is not connected with a body, or a form in which it dwells. God as spirit is "without body, parts, or passions." Westminster Confession, II. i. He does not occupy space. But spiritual substance in the instance of finite being is embodied. Both man and angel have form, and are related to space. Yet it must be noticed that even in the case of man, mind is independent of matter. The soul may exist consciously in separation from the body. It does so exist between death and the resurrection. "The spirit returns to God who gave- it." Eccl. 12:17. In dreams, there is consciousness without the use of the senses. In this case, the mind is the sole efficient. St. Paul's vision of the third heavens was independent of the body; because he could not determine whether he was embodied or disembodied. 2 Cor. 12 : 2, 3.
The truth that God is a substance or essence is important, first, in contradiction to that form of pantheism which defines him as the " absolute idea." An idea is not a being. It is not an objective entity, but a notion of the human mind. If God has no reality other than that of an idea, he is not real in the sense of a being or an essence that can affect other beings or essences. The theorist of this class would relieve the difficulty, by saying that the absolute idea gets essentiality or reality by " positing" itself in the world, or the finite. But this is to say that the finite, or the world, is the true essence of God, and that apart from the world God is not an entity. Secondly, the truth that God is a substance is important, in contradiction to the view that makes him to be the mere order of the universe, or "a power that makes for righteousness." This, too, is not a substance. Thirdly, the truth that God possesses essential being is important, in reference to that hyper-spirituality which transforms him into a mere influence or energy, a stream of tendency pervading the universe, having no constitutional being, and no foundation for natural and moral attributes. The Primitive church was troubled with this false spiritualism in the Gnostic speculations, which led Tertullian to contend that God possesses "body." This vehement Korth African father, laboring with the inadequate Punic Latin to convey his thought, was probably contending for the truth, and intended no materialism; although Augustine (On the Soul, II. ix.) thought him to be obnoxious to this charge. Interpreted by what he says elsewhere, we think that Tertullian only meant to assert that God, though a spirit, is a substance or essence, and employed the word "corpus" to designate this. For he expressly declares that God "has not diversity of parts; he is altogether uniform." But a substance which is uncompounded and without parts, is not a material substance. It is not a body in the strict sense of the term, but an unextended and imponderable substance. Respecting the spirituality of God, Tertullian (Contra Praxeam, 16) affirms that "God holds the universe in his hand, like a nest. His throne is heaven, and his footstool is earth. In him, is all space (locus), and he is not in space; and he is the extreme limit of the universe." In the tract De anima (7), Tertullian asserts a "corporalitas aniniae," which is other than the bodily corporeality, because it is found when the body is separated from the Boui. The instances of Dives and Lazarus are cited. These were disembodied souls, and yet they were capable of suffering and enjoyment. Hence, says Tertullian, they could not be without corporality in the sense of substantiality. "Incorporalitas enim nihil patitur, non habens per quod pati possit; aut si habet, hoc erit corpus. In quantum enim omne corporale passibile est, in tantum quod passibile est, corporale est." Polanus (Syntagma V. 32) so understands Tertullian: "Tertulliano corpus generaliter significat substantiam vere subsistentem, sive sit visibilis, sive invisibilis. Ilinc deum quoque corpus esse dixit. Sed praestat ejusmodi aKvpo\oyla<; vitare." Lactantius (De ira dei, 2) combats those who "deny that God has any figtire, and suppose that he is not moved by any feeling: qui aut figuram negant habere ullam deum, aut nnllo affectu commoveri putant." By "figure" Lactantius means the definiteness of personality.
The pseudo-spirituality of the Gnostics led to these statements of Tertullian and Lactantius. Respecting them, Bentley (Free Thinking, X.) makes the following remark. "With a few of the fathers, the matter stands thus: They believed the attributes of God, his infinite power, wisdom, justice, and goodness, in the same extent that we do; but his essence, no more than we can now, they could not discover. The scriptures, they saw, called him spiritus, spirit; and the human soul anima, breath; both of which, in their primitive sense, mean aerial matter; and all the words that the Hebrew, Greek and Latin, of old, or any tongue now or hereafter can supply, to denote the substance of God or soul, must either be thus metaphysical, or else merely negative, as 'incorporeal' or 'immaterial.1 Whatwonder, then, if, in those early times, some fathers believed that the divine substance was matter or body; especially while the notion of 'body' was undefined and unfixed, and was as extensive as 'thing.' Was this such a shame in a few fathers; while the Stoics maintained qualities and passions, virtues and vices, arts and sciences, nay syllogisms and solecisms, to be 'bodies'?" "Voltaire (Morals of Nations) founds upon these statements of Tertullian and Lactantius the assertion, that " the greater part of the fathers of the church, Platonists as they were, considered the soul to be corporeal." Ilallam (Literature of Europe, III. 94) has the same misconception, and asserts that "the fathers, with the exception, perhaps the single one, of Augustine, taught the corporeity of the thinking substance."
The Westminster Confession (II. 1) defines God to be "a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions." These qualifying clauses define, so far as is possible, the idea of spiritual substance. The invisibility of spirit, as previously remarked, would not of itself differentiate it from matter and material nature. The force of gravity, the chemical forces, electricity, magnetism, and the like, are as invisible as God himself, or the s0ul of man. Heat, according to the recent theory, is the invisible motion of invisible molecules. There is an invisible ground of the visible and tangible. Back of the world of ponderable physics, which we apprehend by the five senses, there is an unseen world which is natural still, not moral; physical still, not spiritual. Who ever saw, or ever will see, that principle of life of which outward and material nature is but the embodiment or manifestation? When we have stripped the visible world of its visibility and ponderability, and have resolved it into unseen forces and laws, we have not reached any higher sphere than that of nature and matter. He who worships the life of nature, or adores the force of gravity; nay, he who has no higher emotions than those of the pantheistic religionist, which are called forth by the beauty and splendor of visible nature, or the cloudy and mystic awfulness of invisible nature, is as really an idolater as is the most debased pagan who bows down before a visible and material idol. But when this definition of God was made, the invisible side of the material world was not the subject of natural science so much as it has been since. The " material " meant the visible and ponderable. Consequently the term "invisible " referred more particularly to the immaterial and spiritual.
In Scripture, this characteristic of invisibility is sometimes attributed to God in a relative sense. It denotes that God, even when he has assumed a form, as in a theophany, may be an object too dazzling and resplendent for the creature's eye to look upon. Jehovah says to Moses, "Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live; thou shalt see my back parts." Ex. 33: 20. The incarnate Son is denominated (Heb. 1: 3) "the brightness (airavyaafia, the reflected splendor) of God's glory," upon which man can look; but in the instance of the transfiguration, the vision was too resplendent for mortal man to behold. In this sense, God is invisible as the incandescent orb of the sun is invisible to the naked eye. It is impossible to fix the gaze upon it without being blinded by excess of light.
In saying that God, as a pure spirit, is "without body, parts or passions," a definite conception is conveyed by which spirit and matter are sharply distinguished. Matter may have bodily form, be divisible, and capable of passions: that is, of being wrought upon by other pieces of ponderable matter. None of these characteristics can belong to God, or to any spirit whatever. "Take ye, therefore, good heed unto yourselves (for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire) lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female," Deut. 4: 15, 16. Idolatry conceives of the deity as a form, and the Hebrews were warned against the error.
It is difficult for man, in his present condition, to think of substance, and yet not think of figure or parts. Augustine (Confessions, VII. i.) describes his own perplexity, when renouncing Manichaeism, in the following manner. "Though not under the form of the human body, yet was I constrained to conceive of Thee as being in space, either infused into the world, or diffused infinitely outside of it. Because, whatsoever I conceived of as deprived of this space seemed to me nothing, yea, altogether nothing, not even a void; as, if a body were taken out of its place, and the place should remain empty of any body at all, yet would it remain a void place, as it were a spacious nothing." In Confessions, V. xiv., he says, "Could I once have conceived of a spiritual substance, all the strongholds of the Manichaeans would have been beaten down and cast utterly out of mind. But I could not."
But that it is possible to think of unextended substance, is proved by the fact that we think of the human soul as without figure and parts, and yet as a real entity. In truth, it is easier to think of the reality and continued existence of the soul after death, than of the body. The body, as to its visible substance, is dissolved into dust, and blown to the four winds, and taken up into other forms of matter. But the soul being indissoluble and indivisible, has a subsistence of its own apart from and independent of the body. It is easier to realize and believe in, the present actual existence of the spiritual part of Alexander the Great, than of the material part of him. That the soul of Alexander the Great is this instant existing, and existing consciously, is not so difficult to believe, as it is to believe that his body is still existing. It is easier to answer the question, Where is the soul of a man who died a thousand years ago? than to answer the question, Where is the body of a man who died a thousand years ago ?" The dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it," Eccl. 12 : 7.
Nothing is more natural and common than to speak of our intellectual "nature" or "being," meaning thereby our immortal substance. In this case, "substance" denotes that entity which stands under agencies and phenomena as their supporting and efficient ground. We cannot conceive of the soul as only a series of exercises. There must be an agent in order to agency; a substantial being in order to exercises. To ask us to think away the substauce of the soul, and then to conceive of its exercises, is like asking us to think away the earth around a hole, and then to conceive of the hole. The thoughts of the mind are distinguishable from the mind. "This perceiving, active being," says Berkeley (Principles of Knowledge, in initio), "is what I call mind, spirit, soul, or myself. By which words I do not denote any one of my ideas, but a thing entirely distinct from them."
Hume (Understanding, IV. vi.) denied the reality of spiritual substance, contending that there is nothing but a series of sensuous "impressions," and remembered "ideas" of them. Mill copies Hume in rejecting the notion of a substance as the foundation of consciousness and the agencies of the human s0ul, and defining the soul to be " a permanent possibility of thought and feeling; a thread of consciousness." Examination of Hamilton, 254, 255. The American theologian Emmons was understood to hold that the soul is a series of exercises. Dwight seems to have had him in view, in his attack upon this theory. Smith: Faith and Philosophy, 241. Mill's definition of mind would not be accepted by the materialist, if applied to matter. The physicist would not grant that gunpowder is only "the permanent possibility of explosion." The term "possibility" does not denote entity; but the chemist affirms that gunpowder is entity. Compare Locke: On Substance.
That the idea of unextended spiritual substance is a rational idea, is proved by the fact that the human intellect naturally adopts it. Plato and Aristotle argued in defence of it, in opposition to the atheistic schools of their time, who contended that there is nothing objectively existent but matter or extended substance. The later Platonists also, like Plotinus and Simplicius, affirmed the validity of the idea. Plotinus maintained that "one and the selfsame numerical thing may be, all of it, entirely everywhere;" that "the deity is not part of it here, and part of it there;that "God being not in space, is yet present to everything that is in space ;" that "God is all of him indivisibly present to whatsoever he is present." Pythagoras and Plutarch took the same ground.
These philosophers endeavored to prove that there is another species of substance than that which has figure in space, and is divisible into parts. This is spiritual substance; the eternal essence of God, and the immortal essence of angel and man. "There are," says Cudworth (System, Y. iii.), "two kinds of substances in nature: the first, extension or magnitude, really existing without the mind, which is a thing that hath no self-unity at all in it, but is infinite alterity and divisibility, as it were mere outside and outwardness, it having nothing within,1 nor any other action belonging to it, but only locally to move when it is moved. The second, life and mind, or the self-active cogitative nature, an inside being, whose action is not local motion, but an internal energy, within the substance or essence of the thinker himself, or in the inside of him." Material substance is moved ab extra; spiritual substance is moved ab intra, that is, is self-moved. This is perhaps the most important point in the distinction between mind and matter. Mind moves voluntarily; matter is moved mechanically. That mind is a substance, though unextended and incorporeal, was strongly maintained by Plato and Aristotle. "The Peripatetics, though they expressly held the soul to be da(ofiaro<; or incorporeal, yet still spoke of a vov<; V\iko<;, a material [substantial] mind or intellect. This, to modern ears, may possibly sound somewhat harshly. Yet if we translate the words by 'natural capacity,' and consider them as only denoting that original and native power of intellection which being prior to all human knowledge is yet necessary to its reception, there seems nothing then to remain that can give offence." Harris: Hermes, III. i.
Spinoza has done more than any other modern philosopher, to annihilate the distinction between incorporeal and corporeal substance, or between mind and matter, by attributing to his one infinite substance two heterogeneous and incompatible modes or properties: thought and extension.
1 Similarly, Sohelling (Idealismus der Wissensohaftslehre, 240) remarks: "Nur eine in sioh selbst zurQokgehende Kraft schaflt sich selbst ein Innres. Daher der Materie kein Innres zukommt." Coleridge adopts this in bis Biographia (Harper's Ed. 242). Schubert says that "the farther we penetrate into matter, we find the minute and raicroscopio more and more; but the further wo penetrate into mind, we discover the great and grand, more and more." Ansichten, 195.
Spinozism teaches: 1. There is only one substance, and this substance is God. 2. This substance thinks: "cogitatio attributum dei est, sive deus est res cogitans." 3. This substance is extended: "extensio attributum dei, sive dcu3 est res extensa." Ethices, II. ii. But these two modes of Spinoza's one substance exclude each other. If one and the same substance is extended in space, and is also a thinking Bubstance, it follows that matter thinks. To say that matter thinks is materialism, in the same way that to say that matter is God is atheism. This theory is revived in the recent attempt to explain thought by the molecular motion in the brain.1
Plato (Sophist, 246) describes the conflict going on in his day respecting the definition of substance (ovaia). "Some of them are dragging down all things from heaven, and from the unseen, to earthj and seem determined to grasp in their hands rocks and oaks; of these they lay hold, and are obstinate in maintaining that only the things which can be touched and handled have being or essence, because they define being and body as one, and if anyone says that what is not a body exists, they altogether despise him, and will hear of nothing but body. And that is the reason why their opponents cautiously defend themselves from above, out of an unseen world, mightily contending that true essence consists of certain intelligible and incorporeal ideas; the bodies of the materialists which are maintained by them to be the very truth, they break up into little bits by their arguments, and affirm them to bo generation and not essence. O Theatetus, there is an endless war which is always raging between these two armies on this ground."
The quantity of unextended and invisible substance is
1 For a refutation of Spinoza, see Howe: Living Temple, Pt. II. oh. i For a clear statement of Spinozism, see Uebcrweg: History, II. 55 sq. Hobbes denied the existence of anything but body, and asserted that God is corporeal. Cudworth : System, Ch. V. Seotion in. Berkeley (Principles of Knowledge) takes the other extreme, and maintains that mind is the only substance.
greater than of extended and visible substance. 1. God is unextended substance, and his immensity is vaster than that of the whole finite universe. 2. The unextended and invisible part of the finite universe is larger in amount than the ponderable, extended, and visible part of it: viz. (a) the spirits of men and angels; (5) invisible atoms, or molecules; (c) the invisible forces of nature. These constitute a sum total of existence that is greater and more important than the whole visibility that clothes them. The unseen universe is vaster than the seen. A man's soul is greater than his body. The invisible force of gravity is greater than all its visible effects. The invisible force of cohesion is the cause of all the visibility and ponderability of matter. Without it, there would be no extended and ponderable substance, for the atoms or molecules apart from its attraction would be infinitely separated and scattered.
In defining God to be "a most pure spirit without passions," it must be remembered that the term "passion " is used etymologically. It is derived from patior, to suffer. Passion implies passivity. It is the effect of an impression from without. The effervescence of an alkali under an acid illustrates the meaning of the term. One substance in nature works upon another, by virtue of a correlation and correspondence that is fixed. The one in reference to the other is passive and helpless. Ascending higher, passion in sentient existence, as in man or brute, arises from the impression upon a physical nature of the physical object that is correlated to it. Passion in man or brute is the working of mere appetite. In this sense, St. Paul speaks of the motions, or passions (iraS^ara) of sins which are in the members. Rom. 7:5; Gal. 5 : 24 Locke (Essay, II. xxi. 4) distinguishes between "active and passive power." "From body [matter], we have no idea of the beginning of motion. A body at rest affords us no idea of active power to move; and when it is set in motion itself, that motion is rather a passion than an action: for when the ball obeys the stroke of the billiard stick, it is not any action of the ball, but bare passion. "Passion" in the Westminster definition, is the same as Locke's " passive power."
God has no passions. He stands in no passive and organic relations to that which is not himself. He cannot be wrought upon, and impressed, by the universe of matter and mind which he has created from nothing. Creatures are passively correlated to each other, and are made to be affected by other creatures; but the Creator is self-subsistent and independent of creation, so that he is not passively correlated to anything external to himself. God, says Aquinas, has absolute, not merely relative existence, like a creature. "Esse relativi est ad aliud se habere. Si igitur relatio sit ipsa divina essentia, sequitur quod esse divinae essentiae sit ad aliud se habere; quod repngnat perfectioni divino esse quod est maxime absolutum est et per se subsistens." Summa, I. iii. Men and angels are put into a certain relation to the world which they inhabit, and there is action and reaction between them and the external universe. This does not apply to God. He is not operated upon and moved from the outside, but all his activity is self-determined. All the movement in the Divine essence is internal and ab intra. Even when God is complacent towards a creature's holiness, and displacent towards a creature's sin, this is not the same as a passive impression upon a sensuous organism, from an outward sensible object, eliciting temporarily a sensation that previously was unfelt. Sin and holiness are not substances; and God's love and wrath are self-moved and unceasing energies of the Divine nature. He is voluntarily and eternally complacent towards good, and displacent towards evil.
The forces of nature do not make an impression upon the Divine essence. There is no organic action and reaction between the created universe of mind and matter, and the eternal being of God. "In God," says Newton (Scholium, at the end of the Principia), "all things are contained and move, but without mutual passion. God is not acted upon by the motions of bodies; and they suff er no resistance from the omnipresence of God." Passions are liable to be excessive. Not being self-determined, but determined ab extra, their intensity depends upon what is outward. God has no passionate or exorbitant emotions. The doctrine that God has passions would imply that there is an organic unity between him and the universe, with action and reaction. But two such different beings as God and material nature, or God and man, cannot constitute one organic system of existence. In an organism, one part is as old as another, and as necessary as another. Organs are contemporaneous; having the same common nature and origin, and developing simultaneously. This cannot be true of the Infinite and finite spirit, and still less of the Infinite spirit and matter. See Presbyterian Review, Oct. 1880, 769, 770.
It is important to remember this signification of the term "passion," and the intention in employing it. Sometimes it has been understood to be synonymous with feeling or emotion, and the erroneous and demoralizing inference has been drawn, that the Divine nature is destitute of feeling altogether. "God," says Spinoza (Ethices, V. 17-19), "is free from all passions; he is not affected with joy and sadness; or with love and hatred. No one can hate God: and he who loves God cannot endeavor to cause God to love him, because God can neither love nor hate." Spinoza assumes that love and hatred involve alternations of happiness and misery in the being who has such emotions. Consequently God cannot have either love or hatred. Similarly, Hartmann (Krisis des Christenthums, 41) remarks that "die Liebe Gottes ist eine anthropopathische Vorstellung von ganz gleicher Ordnung mit der Personlichheit Gottes; sie steht und fallt mit dieser, und ist dem religiosen Bewusstseyn auf pautheistischer Basis ebenso entbehrlich wie diese." Such a statement reduces the Supreme Being to mere intelligence, and to the lowest form of intelligence; that, namely, which is disconnected with moral characteristics. It denudes God of those emotional qualities that necessarily enter into personality, and are requisite in order to love, worship, and obedience upon the part of the creature. But the error could not logically stop here. The intelligence of the deity could not long survive his moral feeling. If he is conceived to have the power of perceiving sin, for example, but no power of feeling displeasure towards it, such a weak and inefficient perception would be unworthy of notice, and would soon be theoretically, as well as practically denied. A theory that begins with affirming absolute indifference in God, and denying that he either loves the good, or hates the evil, must end ultimately in rejecting all moral attributes, and reducing him to blind force. It could not even concede happiness to the deity, because this is a species of feeling. "When," says Howe (Redeemer's Tears), "expressions that import anger or grief are used concerning God himself, we must sever in our conception everything of imperfection, and ascribe everything of real perfection. We are not to think that such expressions signify nothing, that they have no meaning, or that nothing at all is to be attributed to Him, under them. Nor are we, again, to think that they signify the same thing with what we find in ourselves, and arc wont to express by these names. In the Divine nature, there may be real and yet most serene complacency and displacency; viz., such as are unaccompanied with the least commotion, and import nothing of imperfection, but perfection rather, as it is a perfection to apprehend things suitably to what in themselves they are."
The Scriptures attribute feeling to God, and nearly all forms of feeling common to man. That all of these are not intended to be understood as belonging to the Divine nature is plain, because some of them are as incompatible with the idea of an infinite and perfect being as are the material instruments of hands and feet attributed to him in Scripture. Such an emotion as fear, for example, which God is represented as experiencing (Gen. 3 : 22, 23; Ex. 13 :17 ; Deut. 32 : 27), must be regarded as metaphorical. The same is true of jealousy (Deut . 32:21); of grieving and repenting (Gen. 6 : 6, 7; Ps. 95 :10; Jer. 15 : 6).
The criterion for determining which [form of feeling is literally, and which is metaphorically attributable to God, is the divine blessedness. God cannot be the subject of any emotion that is intrinsically and necessarily an unhappy one. If he literally feared his foes, or were literally jealous of a rival, he would so far forth be miserable. Literal fear and literal jealousy cannot therefore be attributed to him. Tried by this test, it will be found that there are only two fundamental forms of feeling that are literally attributable to the Divine essence. These are love (ayairv), and wrath (ppyrj). Hatred is a phase of displeasure or wrath. These two emotions are real and essential in God; the one wakened by righteousness, and the other by sin. The existence of the one necessitates that of the other; so that if there be no love of righteousness, there is no anger at sin, and, conversely, if there be no anger at sin, there is no love of righteousness. "He who loves the good," says Lactantius (De ira, 5), "by this very fact hates the evil; and he who does not hate the evil, does not love the good; because the love of goodness issues directly out of the hatred of evil, and the hatred of evil issues directly out of the love of goodness. No one can love life without abhorring death; and no one can have an appetency for light, without an antipathy to darkness." The necessary coexistence of these opposite feelings towards moral contraries like righteousness and sin, is continually taught in Scripture. "All they that hate me love death," Prov. 8 : 36. "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil," Ps. 97:10.
Complacency towards righteousness and displacency towards sin are not contraries, but qpposites, or antitheses. They are the action of one and the same moral attribute, viz., holiness, towards the two contraries right and wrong. Consequently they are homogeneous feelings. The Divine wrath is the Divine holiness in one phase or mode of it; and the Divine love is the same Divine holiness in another phase or mode of it. One involves and supposes the other. But in the instance of contrary feelings, such for example as pleasure and pain, or contrary qualities like righteousness and sin, there is heterogeneity. Pain and pleasure are not two modes or phases of the same thing; and neither are righteousness and sin. These are not opposite antitheses which involve and imply each other. Each exists alone without the other. The one excludes the other, instead of supposing the other. The relation of opposites or antitheses is that of polarity. Moral love and moral wrath are like the two poles, north and south, of the same magnet, or the two manifestations, positive and negative, of the same electricity. Boreal magnetism is as really magnetism as austral; and positive electricity is as really electricity as negative. So, also, moral wrath is as truly holiness as moral love. "He who leaveth Thee," says Augustine, "whither goeth or fleeth he, but from Thee pleased, to Thee displeased." Accordingly, the two feelings of love of holiness and hatred of evil coexist in the character of God, the most perfect of beings, and in that of angels and redeemed men. Human character is worthless, in proportion as abhorrence of sin is lacking in it. It is related of Charles the Second, that "he felt no gratitude for benefits, and no resentment for wrongs. He did not love anyone, and hated no one." He was indifferent towards right and wrong, and "the only feeling he had was contempt." Green: History of the English People, IX.1
These emotions of love and wrath are compatible with
1 Upon the subject of the Divine anger, nee Tertnllian: De ira dei. Ncander: Apostel-Geschichte, II. 616. (Reconciliation, in Bom. 4:86 j Phil. 2:6). Shedd: Theological Essays, 269-285.
the Divine blessedness. To love righteousness is confessedly blessedness itself. To be displeased with and hate wickedness, at first sight, would seem to introduce commotion and unhappiness into the Divine mind. But this is because it is confounded with the passion of anger and hatred in the depraved human heart. This is an unlawful feeling; a man has no right to hate his fellow, or to be angry with him with this species of wrath. He is forbidden by the moral law to exercise such an emotion. It is the illegitimateness of the feeling that makes it a wretched one. But any emotion that is permitted, and still more that is commanded by the moral law, cannot cause mental distress. To suppose this, is to suppose that morality and misery are inseparably connected, and that to feel rightly and righteously is to be miserable.
There is a kind of wrath in the human soul that resembles the wrath of God, and constitutes its true analogue. It is the wrath of the human conscience, which is wholly different from that of the human heart. This kind of anger is commanded in the injunction, "Be ye angry and sin not," Eph. 4 : 26. Were this species of moral displacency more often considered, and the Divine anger illustrated by it, there would be less of the common and unthinking opposition to the doctrine of the Divine wrath.
That this species of moral displeasure is compatible with blessedness, is plain from an examination of the nature of happiness. Aristotle (Ethics, X. 4) defines happiness or pleasurable emotion to be "the coincidence and harmony between a feeling and its correlative object." Bishop Butler gives the same definition, substantially, in his remark that "pleasure arises from a faculty's having its proper object." When the feeling of hunger, for illustration, is met by food, two things are brought into contact that are intended for each other, and the consequence is a pleasurable sensation. If the feeling of hunger were met by an innutritions fluid like water, there would be no coincidence and agreement between them, and the result would be dissatisfaction and some degree of pain.
Now when the emotion of anger in a most pure spirit like God comes into contact with moral evil, there is harmony between the feeling and its object. It is a righteous feeling spent upon a wicked thing. When God hates what is hateful, and is angry at that which merits wrath, the true nature and fitness of things is observed, and he feels in himself that inward satisfaction which is the substance of happiness. Anger and hatred are associated in our minds with nnhappiness, because we behold their exercise only in a sinful sphere, and in an illegitimate manner. In an apostate world, the proper and fitting coincidence between emotions and their objects has been disturbed and destroyed by sin. A sinner hates the holiness which he ought to love, and loves the sin which he ought to hate. The anger in his heart is selfish and passionate, not legitimate and calm. The love in his heart is illicit; and hence in scripture it is denominated "lust," or "concupiscence" (einSvfiia). In a sinful world, the true relations and correlations are reversed. Love and hatred are expended upon exactly the wrong objects. But when these feelings are contemplated within the sphere of the Holy and the Eternal; when they are beheld in God, a most pure spirit, without body, parts, or passions, and exercised only upon their appropriate and deserving objects; when the wrath falls only upon the sin and uncleanness of hell, and burns up nothing but filth in its pure celestial flame; then the emotion is not merely right and legitimate, but it is beautiful with an august beauty, and no source of pain either to the Divine mind, or to any minds in sympathy with it.
It is here and thus, that we can explain the blessedness of God in connection with his omniscience and omnipresence. We know that sin and the punishment of sin are ever before him. The feeling of wrath against the wickedness of man and devils, is constantly in the Divine essence. Yet God is supremely and constantly blessed. He can be so, only because there is a just and proper harmony between the wrath and the object upon which it falls; only because he hates that which is hateful, and condemns what is damnable. Hence he is called "God over all [hell as well as heaven] blessed forever." The Divine blessedness is not destroyed by the sin of his creatures, or by his own holy displeasure against it. And here, also, is seen the compatibility of some everlasting sin and misery with the Divine perfection. If the feeling of wrath against moral evil is right and rational, there is no impropriety in its exercise by the Supreme being, and its exercise by him is the substance of hell. If the feeling is proper for a single instant, it is s0 forever.
While therefore God as a most pure spirit has no passions, he has feelings and emotions. He is not passively wrought upon by the objective universe, so that he experiences physical impressions and organic appetites, as the creature does, but he is self-moved in all his feelings. God's moral love and wrath relate to the character and actions of free moral agents. He does not either love or hate inorganic matter. He has no physical appetite or antipathy. The emotions of love and wrath go forth not towards the substance of free agents, but towards the agency only. God does not hate the soul of a sinner, but only his 6in; and he does not love with holy complacence the substance of the human mind, but its activity.
2. Personality is the second fundamental predicate of spirit. God is a personal Being. Personality is marked by two characteristics: (a) self-consciousness; (b) self-determination.1
1 One of the contradictions in Spinoza's system is, that while he denies to man self-determination, he concedes to him self-consciousness. But a theorist who conld attribute to God the two contradictories, thought and extension, conld attribute to man the two contradictories, personality and necessity. On these two factors in personality, see Mu ler: Sin, II. 113-143. Urwick's Trans.
Self-consciousness is, first, the power which a rational spirit has of making itself its own object, and, secondly, of knowing that it has done so. All consciousness implies a duality of subject and object; a subject to know, and an object to be known. If there be a subject but no object, consciousness is impossible. And if there be an object, but no subject, there can be no consciousness. Mere singleness is fatal to consciousness. I cannot be conscious of a thing, unless there is a thing to be conscious of. Take away all objects of thought, and I cannot think.
Consciousness is very different from self-consciousness, and the two must be carefully discriminated. In consciousness, the object is another substance than the subject; but in self-consciousness the object is the same substance as the subject. When I am conscious of a tree, the object is a different entity from my mind; but when I am conscious of myself, the object is the same entity with my mind. In consciousness, the duality required is in two things. In selfconsciousness, the duality required is in one thing.
An animal has consciousness in the sense of sentiency, but not self-consciousness. It is impressed by external objects that are no part of its own substance, but it is never impressed by itself. It never duplicates its own unity, and contemplates itself. It is aware of heat and cold, of pleasure and pain, but it is never aware of the subject which experiences these sensations. It cannot refer any of its experiences back to itself as the person that experiences them. An animal is not a person, and cannot have the consciousness of a person; that is to say, it cannot have self-consciousness. "Why is it," says Christlieb (Modern Doubt, 153), "that the gorilla with a throat similar to that of man, can only howl or whine, and that man with a throat like the ape's can speak and sing? The answer is, that the beast cannot form an objective notion of his sensations and feelings, and therefore cannot reproduce them in language; it cannot distinguish between a personal ego and the mornentary sensation. It is the power to do this, and not bis organs of voice (for even the deaf and dumb make a language for themselves) which gives man the faculty of speech."
Man has both consciousness and self-consciousness. He has that inferior species, in which he only feels, but does not place his feeling in relation to himself Bb the ego. In the first place, he has the sensuous consciousness of the animal, and the blind agencies of physical appetite. This is mere sentiency, differing from that of the animal only in the fact that it is capable of being scrutinized and converted into self-consciousness. In the second place, there are the spontaneous workings of thought and feeling continually going on, which constitute a consciousness, but not necessarily a self-consciousness. The man thinks, but does not think of what he thinks. He feels, but does not scrutinize his feeling. His feeling is said to be " unconscious," in the sense of unreflecting, or not self-conscious. It is one of the effects of conviction by the Holy Spirit, to convert consciousness into self-consciousness. Conviction of sin is the consciousness of self as the guilty author of sin. It is forcing the man to say, " I know that / have thus felt, and thus thought, and thus acted." The truth and Spirit of God bring sinners to self-knowledge and self-consciousness, from out of a state of mere consciousness.
Self-consciousness is higher than consciousness. It is the highest and most perfect form of consciousness. It is the species that characterizes the Supreme Being. God does not like man have consciousness separate from self-consciousness. In the first place, he has no sentiency. He is not impressed and wrought upon by an external object, as creatures are, by virtue of a correlation between himself and it. He is without body, parts and passions. In the second place, there are no blind and unreflecting mental processes in God. He never comes to self-consciousness out of mere consciousness, as man does; but he is perpetually self-contemplating, self-knowing, and self-communing. God is cognizant of the universe of matter which he created ex nihilo, and which consequently is no part of his own essence. But this cognition comes not through the medium of the senses, and is not an imperfect kind of knowledge like the sentiency of an animal, or the passive consciousness of the unreflecting man. The Divine consciousness of the universe, as an object, is always related to and accompanied with the Divine self-consciousness, which is immutable and eternal. In God, consciousness and self-consciousness are inseparable, but not in man. Man may be conscious, yet not self-conscious. God cannot be. Man passes from consciousness to self-consciousness, and back again. God does not. Consequently, God's self-consciousness is more perfect and of a higher grade than that of man or angel.
Self-consciousness is more mysterious and inexplicable than mere consciousness. It has been the problem of the philosophic mind in all ages. The pantheist asserts that the doctrine of the dualism of mind and matter renders cognition impossible, but that the doctrine of monism explains cognition. He maintains that if it can be shown that all consciousness is in reality self-consciousness, because all substance is one substance, then the problem of cognition is made clear. But in fact it is made darker. For mere sameness of substance does not account for cognition. One stone is identical in substance with another, but this does not go to prove that one stone knows or can know another stone. There is no reason, consequently, for asserting that mind cannot know matter, unless mind and matter are the same substance. In order to be conscious of a material object, it is not necessary to be a material subject. The only case in which it is necessary for the subject and object to be identical in substance, is that of ^//'-consciousness. In this instance, the object known must be one in substance with the subject knowing. The identity of subject and object is true only in reference to the knowledge which the individual person has of himself. The instant he passes to the knowledge of any other object than his own soul, he has another form of consciousness than self-consciousness. When I cognize a tree, I am conscious, but not self -conscious. "When I know God, I am conscious, not selfconscious. The substance, or object, known in each of these instances, is not my substance, but that of another being, and my consciousness is not self-consciousness. I can indeed pass from consciousness to self-consciousness, by referring the consciousness of the tree to the self as the subject of it. But this is a second act additional to the first act of mere consciousness.
The truth is, that it is more difficult to explain self-consciousness than consciousness; to conceive how the subject can know itself, than how it can know something that is not itself. The act of simple consciousness, which is common to both man and brute, is comparatively plain and explicable. When we look at an object other than ourselves; when we behold a tree or the sky, for example; the act of cognition is easier to comprehend than is the act of selfknowledge. For there is something outside of us, in front of us, and another thing than we are, at which we look, and which we behold. But in this act of self inspection, there is no second thing, external and extant to us, which we contemplate. That which is seen, is one and the same thing with that which sees. The act of cognition, which in all other instances requires the existence of two totally different entities—an entity that is known, and an entity that knows —in this instance, is performed with only one entity. It is the individual soul that perceives, and it is this identical individual soul that is perceived. It is the individual man that knows, and it is this very same man that is known. The eyeball looks at the eyeball. This latter act of cognition is much more mysterious than the former, so that nothing is gained by contending that all consciousness is really self-consciousness. Compare Augustine: Trinity, XIV. vi.
We have said that all consciousness implies a duality of subject and object. Self-consciousness, consequently, requires these. And the peculiarity and mystery is, that it obtains them both, in one being or substance. The human spirit, in the act of self-cognition, furnishes both the subject that perceives, and the object that is perceived. The soul duplicates its own unity, as it were, and sets itself to look at itself. It is this power which the rational spirit possesses of making itself its own object, that constitutes it a personal being. Take away from man this capacity of setting himself off over against himself, and of steadily eying himself, and whatever other capacities he might be endowed with, he would not be a person. Even if he should think, and feel, and act, he could not say, "I know that I think; I know that I feel; I know that I am acting."
God as personal, is self-conscious. Consequently he must make himself his own object of contemplation. Here the doctrine of the trinity, the deep and dark mystery of Christianity, pours a flood of light upon the mystery of the Divine self-consciousness. The pillar of cloud becomes the pillar of fire. The three distinctions in the one essence personalize it. God is personal because he is three persons: Father, Son, and Spirit.
Self-consciousness is (1), the power which a rational spirit, or mind, has of making itself its own object; and (2), of knowing that it has done so. If the first step is taken, and not the second, there is consciousness but not self-consciousness; because the subject would not, in this case, know that the object is the self. And'the second step cannot be taken, if the first has not been. These two acts of a rational spirit, or mind, involve three distinctions in it, or modes of it. The whole mind as a subject contemplates the very same whole mind as an object. Here are two distinctions or modes of one mind. And the very same whole mind also perceives, that the contemplating subject and the contemplated object are one and the same essence or being. Here are three modes of one mind, each distinct from the others, yet all three going to make up the one self-conscious spirit. Unless there were these two acts and the three resulting distinctions, there would be no self-knowledge. Mere singleness, a mere subject without an object, is incompatible with self-consciousness. And mere duality would yield only consciousness, not self-consciousness. Consciousness is dual; self-consciousness is trinal.
Revelation represents God as " blessed forever." This blessedness is independent of the universe which once did not exist, and which he created from nothing. God, therefore, must find all the conditions of blessedness within himself alone. He is " blessed forever " in his own self-contemplation and self-communion. He does not need the universe, in order that he may have an object which he can know, which he can love, and over which he can rejoice. "The Father knoweth the Son," from all eternity (Matt. 11: 27); and "loveth the Son," from all eternity (John 3: 35); and "glorifieth the Son," from all eternity (John 17: 5). Prior to creation, the eternal Wisdom " was by him as one brought up with him, and was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him" (Prov. 8: 30); and the eternal Word "was in the beginning with God" (John 1:2); and "the only begotten Son" (or God only begotten, as the uncials read) was eternally "in the bosom of the Father" (John 1: 18). Here is society within the essence, and wholly independent of the created universe; and self-knowledge, self-communion, and blessedness resulting therefrom. But this is impossible to an essence destitute of these internal personal distinctions. Not the singular unit of the deist, but the plural unity of the trinitarian explains this. A subject without an object could not know. What is there to be known? Could not love. What is there to be loved? Could not rejoice. What is there to rejoice over? And the object cannot be the created universe. The infinite and eternal object of God's infinite and eternal knowledge, love, and joy, cannot be his creation; because this is neither eternal nor infinite. There was a time when the universe was not; and if God's self-consciousness and blessedness depend upon the universe, there was a time when he was neither self-conscious nor blessed. The objective God for the subjective God, therefore, must be very God of very God, begotten not made, the eternal Son of the eternal Father.
At this point, the radical difference between the Christian trinity and that of the later pantheism appears. The later pantheism (not the earlier of Spinoza) constructs a kind of trinity, but it is dependent upon the universe. God distinguishes himself from thetoorld, and thereby finds the object required for the subject. This is the view of Hegel. "As God is eternal personality, so he eternally produces his other self, namely, Nature, in order to self-consciousness." Michelet: Geschichte der Philosophic, II. 647. This conditions the Infinite by the finite. God makes use of the world in order to personality. To know himself as ego, he must know the universe as the non-ego. Without the world, therefore, he could not be self-conscious. There would be nothing from which to distinguish himself, and without such an act of distinction and contrast he would be impersonal. God is thus dependent upon the world for his personality. But by his idea, he cannot be dependent upon anything that is not himself. Consequently God and the world must.ultimately be one and the same substance. God's personality is God's becoming conscious of himself in man and in natnre. These latter are a phase or mode of the Infinite. The universe, consequently, must be coeval with God, because he cannot have any self-consciousness without it. Says Hartmann (Krisis des Christenthums, 42), "Ein Gegensatz von Selbstbewusstsein und Weltbewusstsein, von Ich und Nicht Ich, von Subject und Object in Gott, nicht denkbar ist. Vielmehr sein Selbstbewusstsein mit seiner intuitiven Weltbewusstsein eins ist. Das Absolute kann kein anderes Selbstbewusstsein haben als sein intuitives Weltbewusstsein." See Kurtz: Sacred History, 23.
But this is not the way in which the self-consciousness of the Godhead is mediated and brought about, according to divine revelation. In the Christian scheme of the trinity, the media to self-consciousness are all within the divine essence, and are wholly separate from, and independent of, the finite universe of mind and matter. The divine nature has all the requisites to personality in its own trinal constitution. God makes use of his own eternal and primary essence, and not of the secondary substance of the world, as the object from which to distinguish himself, and thereby be self-knowing, and self-communing. God distinguishes himself from himself, not from something that is not himself. This latter would yield consciousness merely, not self-consciousness. God the Father distinguishes himself from God the Son, and in this way knows himself. "No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son," Matt. 11: 27. The divine self-contemplation is the beholding and loving of one divine person by another divine person, and not God's beholding of the universe, and loving and communing with it. "The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth," John 5:20. "The first love of God the Father to the Son is that which we call ad intra, where the divine persons are objects of each other's actings. The Father knows the Son, and the Son knows the Father; the Father loves the Son, and the Son loves the Father; and so consequently of the Holy Ghost, the medium of all these actings." Owen: Sacramental Discourse, XXII.
The self-consciousness of God has an analogue in the selfconsciousness of man, in that the latter also is brought about without the aid of any other substance, or object, than the mind itself. In the instance of the finite spirit of man, we have seen that in the act of self-consciousness, no use is made of the external world, or of the non-ego. The human spirit in this act of seZ^-contemplation duplicates its own unity, and finds an object for itself as a subject, in its own substance, and not, as in the act of mere consciousness, in the substance of the external world. If this is possible and necessary in reference to man, and finite personality, it is still more so in reference to God, and infinite personality. The Supreme being cannot be dependent upon another essence than his own, for the conditions of self-consciousness. He is self-sufficient in this central respect, as in all others, and finds in his own nature all that is requisite to self-knowledge, as well as to self-communion and blessedness. Were it not so, God would be dependent upon his creation, and the blasphemous language which Byron puts into the mouth of Lucifer would be true.
"He is great,
But, in his greatness, is no happier than
We in onr conflict
Sit on his vast and solitary throne,
Creating worlds, to make eternity
Less burlhensome to his immense existence
And vnparticipated solitude.
Let him crowd orb on orb: he is alone. . . .
Could he but crash himself, 'twere the best boon
He ever granted; but let him reign on,
And multiply himself in misery!
. . . . He, so wretched in his height,
So restless in his wretchedness, must still
Create, and recreate."—Cain, I. i.
The Biblical doctrine of three distinctions, in one essence, each of which possesses the entire undivided essence, shows how God's self-consciousness is independent of the universe. God makes himself his own object. The first act, in the natural order, is the distinguishing of himself from himself. This yields the first and second distinctions, or persons. The eternal Father beholds himself in the eternal Son; his alter ego, or other self. The subject contemplating is different and distinct, as to form (jioptfrf, Phil. 2 : 6), not as to essence (owmj), from the object contemplated. God the Father is not the same person (fiopcf»j rod Seov) as God the Son, though he is the same substance or being (ovo-la rov Seov). But this is not the whole of the trinitarian process. There must be a second act, namely, the perception that the subject-ego and object-ego, arrived at in the first act, are one and the same essence; that the Father and the Son are not two beings but one. This second act of perception supposes a percipient; and the percipient is a third distinction or mode of the divine essence, the Holy Spirit, who is different as to form (/ao/jgsj?) from the first and second, because he recognizes both their distinctness of person and their unity and identity of nature. The circle of the divine self-consciousness is now complete. By the two acts of perception, and the three resulting distinctions, the eternal Being has made himself his own object, and has perceived that he has done so. And there is real trinality in the unity. For the subject-ego is not the object-ego; the first "form of God" is not the second "form of God." And the third distinction who reunites these two in the perception of their identity of essence, is neither the subject-ego nor the object-ego; the third "form of God" is not the first or the second form, and yet is consubstantial with them both. The third distinction does not, like the first, posit an object, but only perceives the act of positing. There is, consequently, no second object that requires to be reunited in the unity of essence. Hence the two acts and the three resulting distinctions are sufficient to complete the circle of self-consciousness.1
1 For a fuller development of this subject upon this line, see note in Shedd: History of Doctrine, L 365-368; Introduction to Augustine on the Trinity, pp. 8, 9. Also Angnstine: Trinity, XIV. vi.-viii Guerioke: Church History, 803. MQUer: On Sin, II. 136 sq. Billroth: Religions-Philosophie, § 89, 90. Wilberforce: Incarnation, IH. Kidd: On the Trinity (Eternal Sonship); with Candlish's Introduction. Candlish: Fatherhood of God. Dorner: Christian Doctrine, I. 412-462. Kurtz: Sacred History, § 2. Christlieb: Modern Doubt4 Lect . III. Passavant: WUle, p. 4.
Thug the Divine personality, in the light thrown upon it by the revealed doctrine of the trinity, is seen to be wholly independent of the finite. God does not struggle out into self-consciousness by the help of the external universe. Before that universe was created, and in the solitude of his own eternity and self-sufficiency, he had within his own essence all the conditions of self-consciousness. And after the worlds were called into being, the divine personality remained the same immutable self-knowledge, unaffected by anything in his handiwork.
"Oh Light Eterne, sole in thyself that dwellest,
Sole knowest thyself, and known unto thyself,
And knowing, lovest and smilest on thyself!"
Dante: Paradise, xxxiii. 125.
This analysis shows that self-consciousness is trinal, while mere consciousness is only dual. The former implies three distinctions; the latter only two. When I am conscious of a tree, there is first, a subject, namely, my mind; and secondly, an object, namely, the tree. This is all there is in the process of consciousness. But when I am conscious of myself, there is first, a subject, namely, my mind as a contemplating mind; there is, secondly, an object, namely, my mind as a contemplated mind; and, thirdly, there is still another subject, namely, my mind as perceiving that these two prior distinctions are one and the same mind. In this trinal process of self-consciousness, there is much more than in the dual process of simple consciousness.
The earlier pantheism of Spinoza differs from the later of Hegel, in combating the doctrine of the divine personality altogether, and in any form whatsoever. Hegel, as has been previously noticed, would obtain a kind of personality for the Infinite through the medium of the world, but Spinoza maintains that the Infinite, from the very idea of it, cannot be personal. If it should become so, it would cease to be infinite. He condensed his view in the dictum: "omnis determinatio est negatio;" all limitation is negation. A person in order to be such, must distinguish himself from something that is not himself. If God is personal, he must therefore be able to say that he is not the world. In personally defining himself, he sets limits to himself; and if he sets limits, he is not unlimited, and if not unlimited, not infinite. If God and the universe, says Spinoza, are two different substances, and exclude each other in the way the theist maintains, then God is not the All, and therefore not the Infinite. God plus the universe would be greater than God minus the universe.
This reasoning proceeds upon a false idea and definition of the Infinite. It confounds the Infinite with the All. The two are wholly diverse. In the first place, the Infinite is the perfect. Consequently, it excludes all modes of existence that are imperfect. But the All includes these. Secondly, infinite qualities of necessity exclude finite qualities; but the All does not. One and the same being cannot be both infinite and finite. But the fact that a being is not finite and in this sense limited, does not make him finite. This is the obvious fallacy in the pantheistic position, that if God can distinguish himself as other than the world, and as not the world, he is not infinite. A limitation of this kind is necessary in order that he may be the Infinite. To say that a being is not finite; to "determine" him by this "negative" (using Spinoza's dictum), is the very way to say that he is infinite. An infinite power cannot be a finite power; an infinite knowledge cannot be a finite knowledge. A physical force able to lift one hundred pounds cannot be a force able to lift only fifty pounds, any more than one hundred can be only fifty. The Infinite, therefore^ does not like the All, comprise all varieties of being, possible and actual, limited and unlimited, good and evil, perfect and imperfect, matter and mind. The Infinite can create the finite, but cannot be the finite. Thirdly, the Infinite is simple; the All is complex. Everything in the former is homogeneous. The contents of the latter are heterogeneous. Fourthly, the Infinite is without parts, and indivisible; the All is made up of parts, and is divisible.
The All, consequently, is a pseudo-Infinite, and to assert that it is greater than the simple Infinite is the same error that is committed in mathematics, when it is asserted that an infinite number plus a vast finite number is greater than the simple infinite. Mathematical infinity is neither increased nor diminished by the addition or subtraction of millions of units. In like manner, it is no increase of infinite and absolute perfection, to add a certain amount of finite imperfection to it. God's essence, for example, is eternal, immutable, and necessary; the substance of the finite universe is temporal, mutable, and contingent. The former must be, and cannot be conceived of as non-existent; the latter may or may not be. Now, to add such an inferior and secondary species of being to the absolutely perfect and eternal essence of God, and regard it as increasing his eternity and immensity, or to subtract it and assert that it diminishes his eternity and immensity, is irrational. God's power again is infinite. This omnipotence would not be made more mighty, by endowing it with that infinitely less degree of power which resides in a man or an angel. The same is true of infinite knowledge. God's omniscience would not -be made greater, by the addition of a narrow finite intelligence. To add contingent being to necessary being, does not make the latter any more necessary. To add imperfect being to perfect being, does not make the latter any more perfect. "God," says Miiller (Sin, I. 14), "is a universe in himself, whether the world exist or not."
The error of confounding the Infinite with the All has been committed by writers who are far from pantheism, in their intention. The phraseology of Edwards is sometimes open to objection, in that he appears to combine God with the universe in one system of being, thereby making him a part of the All, and obliterating the distinction between Infinite and finite existence. "If the deity," he says (Nature of Virtue), "is to be looked upon as within that system of beings which properly terminates onr benevolence, or belonging to that whole, certainly he is to be regarded as the head of the system, and the chief Tp&rt of it; if it be proper to call him apart who is infinitely more than all the rest, and in comparison of whom, and without whom, all the rest are nothing, either as to beauty or existence." This qualification of his remark, shows that Edwards had doubts whether it is proper to speak of one universal system of being; what he elsewhere calls "being in general;" of which God is a part.1 In another place (End in Creation), he speaks still more unguardedly, when he says that " the first Being, the eternal and infinite Being, is in effect Being in general, and comprehends universal existence." This, if found in Spinoza, would mean that God is the All. A similar confounding of God with the All is found in Edwards on the Will (I. iii.), where he remarks that "there is a great absurdity in supposing that there should be no God, or in denying being in general." Here, " God" and "being in general" are convertible terms. Andrew Fuller (Calvinism and Socinianism, Letter VII.) says that "God must be allowed to form the far greater proportion, if I may so speak, of the whole system of being." He probably borrowed this from Edwards. This is the same error that appears in the Greek pantheism, which regarded To ev as To irdv.
Dorner (Christian Doctrine, I. 319) falls into the same error. "We have previously regarded God as the infinite original Being or Essence—indeed as the original All of
1 It is also to be observed, that God oannot properly be denominated an object of benevolence or benevolent regard. Only a created being can be such. We bless God in the sense of adoring him, bnt not in the sense of bestowing a blessing upon him. We do not wish him well, as we do or should all creatures. God is above this. To wish a being well, implies the possibility of his not being so.
being. God is originally the totality of being, and therefore a universality attaches to him, inasmuch as somehow all being must originally be included in him." Cudworth (Int. Syst., IV. xvii.) finds the doctrine that God is All, in the Orphic poetry, but would interpret it in an allowable sense; referring to such texts as 1 Cor. 15 : 28, "God is all in all; " Acts 17: 28, "In him we have our being." But he thinks that the Stoics, and some others, held the doctrine in a "gross" pantheistic sense: there being "Spinozism before Spinoza." Hamilton and Mansel confound the Infinite with the All, and employ this spurious idea in proving the position that the personal Infinite involves limitation and self-contradiction. If God distinguishes himself from the universe, then God minus the universe is less than God plus the universe. Hamilton, in his letter to Calderwood, explicitly defines the Infinite as To ev zcal irav. He also confounds the Infinite with the Indefinite or Unlimited. See his list of antinomies, in Bowen's Hamilton, p. 522.
The personality of the Essence or Godhead, must be distinguished from that of a Person in the Essence or Godhead. The existence of three divine persons in the divine essence results in the self-consciousness of the essence. This general self-consciousness of the triune Godhead must not be confounded with the particular individual consciousness of the Father as Father, of the Son as Son, of the Spirit as Spirit. The personality of the trinity is not the same as that of one of its persons. The personality of a trinitarian person consists in the fatherhood, or the sonship, or the procession, as the case may be. But the personality of the trinity consists not in any one of these individual peculiarities, but in the result of all three. The three hypostatical consciousnesses make one self-consciousness, as the three persons constitute one essence.
The personality of one of the persons, the Greek trinitarians denominated ISiorrjs (individuality); that peculiarity which distinguishes him from the others. The personality of the Son, is his sonship; of the Father, his paternity; of the Spirit, his procession. In this reference, it is preferable to speak of the personality of the essence, rather than of the person of the essence; because the essence is not one person, but three persons. The personality of the Divine essence, or of God in the abstract, is his self-consciousness, which, as we have seen, results from the subsistence of three persons in the essence and the corresponding trinal consciousness. From this point of view, it is less liable to misconception, to say that God is personal, than to say that God is a person. The latter statement, unless explained, conflicts with the statement that God is three persons; the former does not.
The Divine essence cannot be at once three persons and one person, if "person" is employed in one signification; but it can be at once three persons and one personal Being. The Divine essence, by reason of the three distinctions in it, is self-contemplative, self-cognitive, and self-communing. If there were only a single subject, this would be impossible. Consequently, that personal characteristic by which thetrinitarian persons differ from each other cannot be the personal characteristic of the essence, or the entire Godhead. The fatherhood of the first person is not the fatherhood of the Trinity. The sonship of the second person is not the sonship of the Trinity. The procession of the third person is not the procession of the Trinity. If, however, the distinction is marked between a single trinitarian person, such as the Father, or the Son, or the Spirit, and a triune person such as the Godhead, it would not be self-contradictory to say that God is three persons and one person; because the term "person" is employed in two senses. In one instance, it denotes the hypostatical personality, in the other, the tripersonality; in one case, it denotes a consciousness that is single, in the other a consciousness that is trinal; in one case the consciousness is simple, in the other, complex.