THE ETHICO-PHYSICAL DISTURBANCE.
Absolute and inevitable death (Gen. ii. 17, iii. 3) was the penalty threatened upon transgression; death, in the sense of a return to dust. If men do not become dust immediately after indulgence, it is to be gathered therefrom that the threatening of punishment did not imply this. Meanwhile, as by the creation of the woman the possibility of a ground of mitigation of the guilt had been created, so also had been the possibility of a fulfilment of the threatening, without breaking off the course of human history. But that man, as an individual, from the same day incurred the punitive decree of death, is shown (iii. 19); and that by the sin of one, as the sin of all, death became an inevitable power for all men, is proved (Rom. v. 12).
Death as a return to dust, and thus as a dissolution of the body, is only the sensuous external side of the penalty of sin established in the natural constitution of evil. Evil is a product of the will, that wills itself outside of God and against God. The body that belongs to the nature of man, and to the unity of his personality, would not be liable to death if there had not preceded it, in the spirit and in the soul of man, a change which tended to the death of the body.1
The spirit which was breathed into man was, indeed, the condition of life to his body. But life, light, and love, are throughout the whole Scripture, ideas that are interwoven one in the other. Departed from the love of God, the spirit had thus become incapable of being the principle of life and of glorification for the body. Instead of the life that aspired to glorification, had appeared a life that was sinking back downwards to corruption.
1 Pruys van der Hocven (Prof, der Medicin zu Leiden) says, in accordance with this, in his Sludie der Christelijke Anthropologic (ed. 3, 1856): "That man, conscious to himself of his own independence as a person, who can rule over himself in his life, should die, is an enigma that can only be solved by the fact of the degeneration of his nature" (door de ontaarding zijner natuur).
But. the spirit itself cannot possibly die in the manner in which perishes the bodily form of dust. Such a death is contrary to its nature, and contrary to its origin. It cannot be dissolved into its elements, for it is not composed of elements. Moreover, it cannot be annihilated, for it is immediately of' divine origin. It might indeed be conceived, that, without absolutely annihilating it, God should place it back into the condition of unsubstantiality and of unconsciousness; but that God did not do this, is seen from the condition of the evil angels, whom He did not annihilate, although they are incapable of redemption. Thus, when Scripture appears to declare a resorption of the spirit into God's nature (as Ps. civ. 29, Job xxxiv. 14), nothing else is meant than that the impersonal spirit of the brute, whose individuality is constituted by the spirit, is taken back into the general spirit of nature (Eccles. iii. 21); but the personal spirit of man returns to God who gave it (Eccles. xii. 7), and, indeed, to God the Judge (ver. 14); and thus probably still without any loss of consciousness. And that Scripture, in saying even of the soul ran, and even calling the dead body EJ'W, is not proceeding on the notion of the dissolubility and corruptibility of the soul, we shall see subsequently: for the present it is sufficient to refer to the Old Testament representation of Hades, which quite plainly supposes a perpetuation of souls. According to Scripture, the soul is as little mortal, in the way of dissolution or annihilation, as the spirit whence it proceeded.
But Scripture knows of a spiritual death (1 John iii. 14; Matt. viii. 22; Luke xv. 24; Eph. ii. 1, 5, v. 14; Apoc. iii. 1), and of a second death (Apoc. ii. 11, xx. 6, 14, xxi. 8); thus, of a kind of death which, without their being annihilated, may yet concern both spirit and soul. The second death is the condition of punishment in hell, that lies on the further side of the first death; but spiritual death is the natural condition of punishment in this life, wherein every man apart from grace finds himself, and it is thus a consequence of the primal sin. If it be said that this spiritual death is the alienation of the inner man from God the living, less is thereby suggested to man wherein he may continue, than whence he may make a beginning. He must continue in a state of dissolution similar to bodily death, and in a vanishing away of the previous life similar to bodily death. It is even thus. In consequence of the first sin, the internal nature of man became possessed by death, by the dissolution of the previous unity of the manifold powers interwoven in the life of the spirit and of the soul; and by the disappearance of the spiritual life in God's image, and its reflection in the soul. Hitherto God's love had filled the spirit's will, thought, and feeling: this threefold divinely filled life of the Spirit was the holy image of the Godhead in man. But when satanic thoughts of a loveless God found entrance into man's mind, then entered enmity (e^pa, Rom. viii. 7) into the place of love, and Turba1 into the place of peace: the powers of the soul, at peace in God, fell into confusion, and kindled in passionate eagerness opposed to God. The spirit had fallen away from the love of God, and the soul from the government of God. This is the background of morte morieris, and since its fulfilment we must all chime in, in one song of lamentation: Quaternis elementis componimur et quaternis corrumpimur. Our life is since only a shadow of life, and from the ground of nature whence it rises extend many arms,2 which draw down the fleeting shadow at length into the darkness of death.
As, however, there is a great distinction between the primal
1 As science is entitled to bring biblical representations to terminologic expression, we shall further on sometimes call this disharmony of the powers previously united in God, by an expression borrowed from theosophy—the "Turba," a word of the same meaning as xxxrxatouitt, or, as Luther and Melancthon say, <£t«£i«, confusio partium. It is the opposite of tip*'* (1 Cor. xiv. 33) and hxxioovnv (which, moreover, in Plato, especially in the Republic, indicates the perfect relation of the fundamental elements of the natural condition of man, which corresponds to his idea), of it&rn;, as unity of the differing, and ipftentx (by which Pythagoras characterized the essence of health, and every good, and God Himself), as the Hebrew jiKE* (nKit?) means a confused savage noise, and in opposition to harmony, euphony, and a condition of union,—devastation, and destruction. The
"Turba" as the abolition of that which the Apology for the Augsburg Confession calls sequale temperamentum qualitatum corporis, is the antecedent of
(pDopi; and the position was maintained by Flacius, that, since the fall, the
Turba, or animsc partium horrenda perturbatio, is the forma substantialis
of man (v. Preger Flacius, ii. 409).
* Comp. Keerl, Schopftwgsgcschichte, p. 420. The human organism could
never more be subject to death, if the latent causes of this corruption were
not hidden in it.
sin of Satan and that of man, so also there is between the results of both. In men, by the first sin, was laid the foundation of all sins; in Satan, however, and his angels, the first sin was, as it were, the summit of all sins. The opposition to God into which Satan emerged was an absolute opposition. After he had inflamed his being in sin, and had fallen like lightning from heaven (Luke x. 18), he hardened himself in the darkness of his extinguished glory; and e%ovaia Tov Saravd and o ©eov are now the contrasts symbolized by To Gvioto? and To (Acts xxvi. 15). The primal sin of man, however, had not that insuperable intensity of self-induration. Through their fall, men had fallen into the power of Satan, without being able by their own help to deliver themselves thence; but they were not froward in their position, changed as it was by sin; but they were ashamed of it, and afraid.