Man as the Object of the Six Days' Work


Sec. I.

That God created the world in six days, and perfected it on the seventh, is not merely a humanitarian mould in which the scriptural history of creation has been cast; but, in the acceptation of the Thora,—which refers thereto not only the law of the Sabbath, but the week of seven days also,—it is an absolute fact.1 We have observed how deeply this number seven of the days is founded in the nature of God; and if we consider attentively, we cannot help observing how remarkably this scheme of creation is reflected in the relations of the creature and its history. It is no mere chance, that in the so-called dual or binary system of notation, the number seven is denoted by three units placed in juxtaposition (III = 7), and that the seventh number of every geometrically progressing series is always a square, and a cube; for example, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64.8 Seven is the number that represents the unfolding of the idea contained in the Trinity, the number that indicates the complete development of the possible, the number of the realization of the completion and repose of all progress and endeavour.

But there is importance also, not only in the number of the creative days, but in the consecutive order of the creative works. It is deeply significant, that on the fourth day, which forms the

1 Thus also Hofmann, in his Schriftbeweis, i. 279. Yet this subject, iu our view, has a far more comprehensive import when we derive the scriptural account of creation, not from the intuitive knowledge of the first created man, but from actual revelation, although not the revelation of vision, as Kurtz, Keerl, and others.

1 Philo observed this (Opp. i. 26). Moreover, both he and the fathers of the church take great pains to bring forward this, that in the fundamental sequence of numbers (1-10) only the number seven has the two peculiarities, that it is never produced by multiplication, nor ever produces by multiplication any other number occurring within the given limits. It is therefore called ttfixttpimo;.Vid. E. H. Lindo, The Conciliator of B. Manasseh ben Israel, London 1842, vol. ii. p. 262.

point of divergence of the two ternaries of days, the light of the sun, of the moon, and of the stars, shines forth, and that from that point, (assuredly not without harmony with its place and sequence, let the influence of the stars be ever so much or ever so little believed,) commence the creations of animated natures. But what chiefly concerns us here is this, that the creation of man closes the six days' work, and immediately precedes the beginning of the Sabbath. With respect to the six work-days, man stands at the end of all creatures as their close; and with respect to the Sabbath, man stands at the summit of all creatures as their leader on the way to God's rest, i.e. to their destination.

Palaeontology, moreover, confirms the assertion that the creation of the terrene world attained its goal in man. A hundred years ago, who would have ventured to dream, that from the excavated bowels of the earth should emerge the most substantial proofs of the historical character of the story of creation which began in Holy Scripture! For the remains of plants in the primeval world are already discovered in the transition and coal periods, while the classes of vertebrate animals do not occur until later on, in an order corresponding to the degree of their perfection,—first fishes, then amphibious creatures, birds, and finally mammals; in respect of which classes, moreover, it is to be observed that the individual types, in proportion as they are more perfect in their organization, emerge so much later, and under more limitations. But human remains occur nowhere in a state of fossil petrifaction, but only calcined, and therefore pertaining to the historical period. Since the time that George Cuvier, in the fossil which Scheuchzer called homo diluvii testis, recognised a great salamander, the fact that human remains do not occur among the fossil deposits has been established by continually increasing evidences. Thus, in those periods of creation in which the generations of plants and animals appeared and perished, from the primeval range of mountains down to the geologic deluge, during which still existed the mammoths, the cave hyaenas, and the cave bears, man had not yet been created. This conclusion of palaeontology, confirming as it does the statement of Scripture, is not a matter foreign to our scientific purpose; but, on the contrary, it is a psychologic result of the deepest importance. Man cannot be estimated psychologically, except as we know something of the position in the world assigned to him by God the Creator. He is the last link of the chain of degrees, which advances in systematic progression from the creation of the ruder and more incomplete, to the more noble and more perfect. Not as though man were the highest and noblest product of any unconscious natural development, left entirely to itself. It is in harmony with a view so pantheistic and substantially atheistic as this, that such absurdities are arrived at, as were lately promulgated by Bayrhoffer and others;—that the ape is the reflection of man as he was, while still undeveloped from the brute, and that there only needed one start of formative nature to reach from the ape to the man. In order to effect for superstition such a creative natura naturans, unnatural force must be put upon the understanding; and the man who, in the ape, greets his brother only removed a little backward, must needs have first substantially brutalized himself, or he would rather shudder at the image of his own degradation. No! between the single steps of creation there are no primeval ova, or similar spawn of a generatio cequivoca, but the seeds of divine creative words, from which springs forth into temporal actuality that which had from all eternity in the divine wisdom its gradual progress accurately prefigured in the design of God. But this gradual progress forms no uninterrupted continuity; but as soon as, in the first half of the sixth day, the nature-life has been elevated to the summit of opulence and intensity, beyond which nothing further is possible, man, to whom the creation from the beginning aspires, appears on the stage of existence, realized in a heavenly form, which is no potentiality of the ape, but the image of the Godhead. In respect of the soul of man, there is between him and the chimpanzee or the orang-utang,—the most exalted among the ape tribe,—an infinite distance of origin and nature, absolutely immeasurable by any degrees. But, on the other hand, it is, moreover, true that man is a microcosm, not merely so far as he, being a mingled nature of spirit and body, presents, according to Gregory of Nyssa, &imrep Tivh (witov Kogfiov auyyevrj T&p Svo Koayt-wv; but also, because everything which is distinguished as precedent and subsequent in the lower grades of natures is concentrated in man. For in man the vegetative life is subordinated to the animal, and the animal to the spiritual; and his body combines effectually in itself all the primitive forms of the elements—fire, air, water, and earth (earths and metals), the body of the man of to-day indeed, as we shall find, combining them in a different manner from that of the body of the first created man.

We said (2) that man, as considered with reference to the divine Sabbath, is placed at the summit of all creatures; as considered with reference to the divine six days' work—at their end. Regarding carefully this aspect of the position of man in the field of creation, we proceed from an empirical fact already mentioned, which we cannot forbear considering, and which, under the light of the Holy Scripture, leads us to important disclosures, or at least suggests weighty questions which occur on the subject. This is the fact—that before man came into being, entire races of plants and animals which we now find embedded in the mountain strata appeared, and again perished: perished in a great measure by earthquakes, which surprised them without warning; in a great measure by mutual destruction; and partly also by painful mortal disease. The adversaries of revelation do not fail to bring this fact triumphantly under our notice, by opposing to us—(to formulate their objection briefly and well)—that the SovXeia rrjs fyOopas, to which, in consequence of the fall of man, the creature was subjected (Rom. viii. 20), was already in operation prior to the fall of man, and in general before man existed at all. What are we to reply to them? Must we deny the fact? It is undeniable. The fact is indeed as we state it; but it does not give them on their side any ground for triumph. For what the Pauline testimony affirms by way of commentary on Gen. iii. 17-19, of the unwilling bondage of corruption of the creature, is true only of the present form of the world, and of its histoiy as centralized in man. And, moreover, Scripture gives us many intimations which may save us from embarrassment, even although the fact of a bondage of corruption already existing, and indeed preceding the creation of man, obtrude itself upon us. When man was transplanted into Paradise, with the purpose of dressing it and keeping it (Gen. ii. 15); and the secret meaning of these words—ut custodiret—soon became apparent from the fact that, by means of a magic spell, a brute becomes even in the midst of Paradise the instrument of speech of an evil spirit, who designed it for the ruin of the man who had heen appointed to watch over Paradise,—these things, even apart from the tree of knowledge with its deadly fruits, are retrospective hints which give us to understand that there was a destructive power -to which man was placed in opposition, that he might overcome it; and which, therefore, was older than the ruin which man's defeat introduced into the last creation. This destructive power is not human, and yet it is self-conscious; and therefore it is an angelic power,—a conclusion which the progressive development of Scripture entirely confirms to us. It is true that the biblical story of creation tells us nothing of the creation of angels. But that which in itself is probable, we find presupposed in Job xxxviii. 4-7, viz. that the angels were created before the creation of the corporeal world; for there it is asserted, that before Job, and absolutely before man existed, stars and angels—that is, the hosts of heaven —were there, and with songs of triumph and exultation beheld the earth come forth, as the residence of humanity, and the theatre of the great events which crowned the loving counsel of God. The creation of angels is thus comprehended in the summary statement of Gen. i. 1 (comp. ii. 1, and in addition Neh. ix. 6); and the more particular narrative, i. 2, takes its point of departure at a time when the angels were already created.1 In this we are saying nothing new. Among the fathers of the church, Gregory of Nyssa, Basilios, Gregory of Nazianzum, and others, have taught of old, and Jo. Philoponas (in his seven books of the creation of the world) has strenuously maintained against Theodore of Mopsuestia, that God created Top Vxikov xoafiov after He had perfected Top aifKovv Koi voepanarov Ts>v aopuTwv Svvafiewv Koafiov. If this be true, it is moreover obvious to place the fall of the angels—Lucifer in the front—(as we have no hesitation in adopting the church's view of the Satan as the earliest prince of the angels of light, comparing Luke x. 18 with Isa. xiv. 12), prior to Gen. i. 2. The passage in 1 John iii. 8, aii apxrj<; 6 8ta/3oXo? dfjuipravei, suggests to us at least no limit in dating back this downfall; and our old dogmatists, in

1 Hofmann rejects these consequences (Schriftbeweis, i. 400) ; similarly Philippi, Dogm. ii. 288. After repeated examination, we agree with Kurtz and Keerl, SchSpfungsgeschichte, 291. The book of Job is rich in angelological disclosures.

saying that the angels fell at all events intra hexaSmeron, are only careful to assert that their fall did not happen prior to the rw'jro: for, without contradiction, rpmo here is absolutely the beginning inclusively of every creature. But the special narrative begins with the second verse, with an existing condition of the earth that was to be, which followed that primeval beginning. It is the condition of tn3l inn. How we are to apprehend this condition, occurs to us when we reflect that thohu in every case, where it has not the general meaning of wasteness, of emptiness, of nothingness, betokens a condition of desolation by judgment of God (Isa. xxiv. 10), and especially fiery judgment (Isa. xxxiv. 9-11; Jer. iv. 23-26); that moreover here, in the narrative of creation, it is only said that in the beginning of the six days' work God found the earth in the state of thohu wabohu, but not that this was the original state in which He had created it, as also none of the extra-Israelitish cosmogonies regard God as creator of chaos; that consequently this condition must have had a cause apart from God, which cause can be looked for in no other direction than in that of the world of those spirits whose creation preceded the six days' work, as is further shown by their unauthorized intrusion into human history, and as is expressly intimated in Job xxxviii. 4-7. Pondering this, and holding it in connection with the undeniable fact that, prior to the fall of man, painful death, mutual murder, and the like phenomena, not conceivable nut of connection with sin, were present among the creatures of the primeval world, we conclude that the creation described in Gen. i. 2 presupposes the fall of the angels; that the world which here is created out of the inn stands in connection with that, which had been entrusted to those angels as a territory under their jurisdiction; that this world, when the prince of the angels, created for higher glory, instead of abiding in the truth (John viii. 44), as god of this world selfishly revolted against God, and fell into the fire of wrath; and that the imi inn was the rudis indigestaque moles into which God gathered together the world, inflamed by the fire of the wicked one and of judicial wrath, when He quenched it down and materialized it, in order to make it the substratum for a new creation.1 This coagulation did not abolish the prin

1 Lucifer, says the author of the Qusestiones ex vetere et Novo Testamento (opp. Augustiui, ed. Bened. T. iii. Append, p. 35), beholding many spiritual

ciple of wrath that had hecome operative therein, but placed to it walls of separation and limits; and when, therefore, the divine love, in the interpenetrating activity of its almighty Will and Word and Spirit, with the forming powers of the water and the light, began its work in this chaos, and raised it gradually to the condition of u good," 310, there arose—not without continual attempts of demoniac powers, but nevertheless with continual victory over them—a world mingled of wrath and love, but in such a way that the love had the dominion, and Satan was banished out of its territory, and was limited to the principle of wrath, narrowed by this dominion and supremacy, (ct/coto?, Eph. vi. 12). All, which in the primeval world resembles him, which in the mid-world, according to the testimony of Scripture, is the result of the sin that proceeds from satanic seduction, was the expression of the principle of wrath involved in the becoming conquered; above which the creative omnipotence in ever new deposits hus reared higher and higher its structures, but which still, as at first, bear on themselves the traces of their chaotic origin. Then, when this conquest was so far advanced that the love and its blessing reigned supreme, it was required to place another, instead of the fallen and displaced and exiled Ruler, on the throne of the earth, that had been new created amid the songs of angels and of spheres; and with this purpose the Godhead proceeded, according to everlasting counsel in the depth of its being, to the creation of man; and the biblical story of creation soars aloft as it were in triumph, celebrating in three parallel members, as on a tripod, the crowning of the six days' work, in the words: "So God created mau in His own image; in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them."1

powers beneath himself, which he in the Paradise of God had surpassed in knowledge of the heavenly mystery, puffed up with pride, wished to be called a god. Hence it was that God, in order to bring to nothing his arrogance, not by force, but by conviction, brought matter into being, this chaotic material of the world which was thence to be formed (hinc est unde Deus, ut ejus prsesumptionem non poteslate, sed ratione destrueret, materiam condidlt quse esset rerum con/usio, ex qua faceret munduni).

1 I had just written thus far, when R. Rocholl, referring to my previous controversy on the hypothesis of Restitution, proposed to me the following questions for answer: 1. Whence are we to explain to ourselves the wild recklessness of the Evil One, whence, the animosity and invidiam of the Satanic