Chapter I--Origin of Our Idea of God's Existence

Part n.




God is the infinite and perfect Spirit in whom all things have their source, support, and end.

On the definition of the term God, see Hodge, Syst. Theol., 1: 366. Other definitions are those of Calovius: "Essentia spirit nulls inflnita"; Ebrard: "The eternal source of all that is temporal"; Kahnls: "The infinite Spirit"; John Howe: "An eternal, uncaused, independent, necessary Being, that hath active power, life, wisdom, goodness, and whatsoever other supposablo excellency, in the highest perfection. In and of Itself"; Westminster Catechism: "A Spirit infinite, eternal and unchangeable In his being, wisdom, power, holiness. Justice, goodness and truth"; Andrew Fuller: "The first cause and last end of all things."

The existence of God is a first truth; in other words, the knowledge of God's existence is a rational intuition. Logically, it precedes and conditions all observation and reasoning. Chronologically, only reflection upon the phenomena of nature and of mind occasions its rise in consciousness.

The term intuition means simply direct knowledge. Lowndes (Fhilos. of Primary Beliefs, 78) and Mansel (Metaphysics, 52) would use the term only of our direct knowledge of substances, as self and body; Porter applies it by preference to our cognition of first truths, such as have, been already mentioned. Harris (Philos. Basis of Theism, 44-151, but esp. 45, 46) makes it include both. He divides intuitions Into two classes: 1. Preventative intuitions, as self-consciousness (in virtue of which I perceive the existence of spirit and already come in contact with the supernatural), and sense-perception (in virtue of which I perceive the existence of matter, at least in my own organism, and come In contact with nature); 2. Rational intuitions, as space, time, substance, cause, final cause, right, absolute being. We may accept this nomenclature, using the terms "first truths" aud "rational intuitions" as equivalent to each other, and classifying rational intuitions under the heads of (1) Intuitions of relations, as space and time; (2) Intuitions of principles, as substance, cause, final cause, right; and (3) intuition of absolute Being, Power, Reason, Perfection, Personality, as God.

We hold that, as upon occasion of the senses cognizing (o) extended matter, (b) succession, (c) qualities, (d) change, (e) order, (/) action, respectively, the mind cognizes (a) space, (b) time, (c) substance, (d) cause, (e) design, (/) obligation, so upon occasion of our cognizing our flniteneSB, dependence and responsibility, the mind directly cognizes the existence of an Infinite and Absolute Authority, Perfection, Personality, upon whom we are dependent and to whom we are responsible. Among those who hold to this general view of an intuitive knowledge of God may be mentioned the following : — Calvin, Institutes, book I., chap. 3; Nitzsch, System of Christian Doctrine, 15-28, 134-140; Julius Mttllcr, Doctrine of Sin, 1: 78-84; Ulricl, Lelb und Seele, 688-725; Porter, Human Intellect, 497: Hickok, Rational Cosmology, 68-89; Farrar, Science in Theology, 27-29; Bib. Sac, July, 1872: 553, and January, 1873: 204; Miller, Fetich in Theology, 110-122; Fisher, Essays, 565-572; Tulloch, Theism, 314-336; Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1: 191-203; Christlieb, Mod. Doubt and Christian Belief, 75, 76; Raymond, Syst. Theology, 1: 247-262; Basoom, Science of Mind, 246,247.

L First Truths In General.

1. Their nature.

A. Negatively.—A first truth is not (a) Truth •written prior to consciousness upon the substance of the soul—for such passive knowledge implies a materialistic view of the soul; (6) Actual knowledge of -which the soul finds itself in possession at birth—for it cannot be proved that the soul has such knowledge; (c) An idea, undeveloped at birth, but -which has the power of self-development apart from observation and experience— for this is contrary to all we know of the laws of mental growth.

Cicero, De Natura Deorum, 1: 17—" Intelligi necesse est esse deos, quonlam insitas eorum vel potius innatas cogitationes habemus." Origen, Adv. Celaum, 1: 4—"Men would not be guilty, if they did not carry in their minds common notions of morality. Innate and written in divine letters." Calvin, Institutes, 1:3: 3—"Those who rightly Judge will always agree that there is an indelible souse of divinity engraven upon men's minds." Fleming, Vocab. of Philosophy, art.: "Innate Ideas"—" Descartes is supposed to have taught (and Locke devoted the first book of his Essay to refuting the doctrine) that these ideas are innate or connate with the soul; i. e., the intellect finds itself at birth, or as soon as it wakes to conscious activity, to be possessed of ideas to which it has only to attach the appropriate names, or of Judgments which it only needs to express in fit propositions—L e., prior to any experience of individual objects."

B. Positively.—A first truth is a knowledge which, though developed upon occasion of observation and reflection, is not derived from observation and reflection,—a knowledge on the contrary which has such logical priority that it must be assumed or supposed, in order to make any observation or reflection possible. Such truths are not, therefore, recognized first in order of time; some of them are assented to somewhat late in the mind's growth; by the great majority of men they are never consciously formulated at all. Yet they constitute the necessary assumptions upon which all other knowledge rests, and the mind has not only the inborn capacity to evolve them so soon as the proper occasions are presented, but the recognition of them is inevitable so soon as the mind begins to give account to itself of its own knowledge.

Mansel, Metaphysics, 52, 279—"To describe experience as the cause of the idea of spaeo would be as Inaccurate as to speak of the soil in which it was planted as the cause of the oak—though the planting in the soil is the condition which brings into manifestation the latent power of the acorn." Coleridge: "We see before we know that we have eyes; but when once this Is known, we perceive that eyes must have preexisted in order to enable us to see." Coleridge speaks of first truths as "those necessities of mind or forms of thinking, which, though revealed to us by experience, must yet have preexisted in order to make experience possible." McCosh, Intuitions, 48, 49—Intuitions are "like flower and fruit, which are in the plant from its embryo, but may not be actually formed till there have been a stalk and branches and leaves." Porter, Human Intellect, 501,619—" Such truths cannot bo acquired or assented to first of all." Some are reached last of all. The moral intuition is often developed late, and sometimes, even then, only upon occasion of corporal punishment. For account of the relation of the intuitions to experience, see especially Cousin, True, Beautiful and Good, 39-64, and History of Philosophy, 2: 199-245. Compare Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Introd., 1. See also Bascom, in Bib. Sac, 23: 1-47; 27: 68-90.

2. Their criteria. The criteria by -which first truths are to be tested are three:

A. Their universality. By this we mean, not that all men assent to them or understand them when propounded in scientific form, but that all men manifest a practical belief in them by their language, actions, and expectations.

B. Their necessity. By this we mean, not that it is impossible to deny these truths, but that the mind is compelled by its very constitution to recognize them upon the occurrence of the proper conditions, and to employ them in its arguments to prove their non-existence.

C. Their logical independence and priority. By this we mean that these truths can be resolved into no others, and proved by no others; that they are presupposed in the acquisition of all other knowledge, and can therefore be derived from no other source than an original cognitive power of the mind.

B. Instances of the professed and formal denial of first truths:—tho posltivlst denies causality; the idealist denies substance; the pantheist denies personality; the necessitarian denies freedom; the nihilist denies his own existence. A man may In like manner argue that there Is no necessity for an atmosphere; but even while ho argues, he breathes it. Instance the knock-down argument to demonstrate the freedom of the will. I grant my own existence in the very doubting of it; for cogilo, ergo sum, as Descartes himself Insisted, really means cngiln, scilicet sum; H. B. Smith: "The statement Is analysis, not proof." On the criteria of first truths, see Porter, Human Intellect, 510, 511.

EL The Existence Of God A Ftbst Truth.

1. That the knowledge of God's existence answers the first criterion of universality, is evident from tho following considerations:

A. It is an acknowledged fact that the vast majority of men have actually recognized the existence of a spiritual being or beings, upon whom they conceived themselves to be dependent.

The Vedas declare: "There Is but one Being—no second." Max Mttller, Origin and Growth of Religion, 34—"Not the visible sun, moon and stars are invoked, but something else that cannot bo seen." The lowest tribes have conscience, fear death, believe In witches, propitiate or frighten away evil fates. Even the fetish-worshipper, who calls the stone or the tree a god, shows that he has already the idea of a God. We must not measure the ideas of the heathen by their capacity for expression, any moro than we should judge the child's belief in the existence of his father by his success in drawing the father's picture. On heathenism, its origin and nature, see Tholuck, in Bib. Repos., 1832: 86; Scholz, Gtttzendlenst und Zauberwesen.

B. Those races and nations which have at first seemed destitute of such knowledge have uniformly, upon further investigation, been found to possess it, so that no tribe of men with which we have thorough acquaintance can be said to be without an object of worship. We may presume that further knowledge will show this to be true of all.

Moffat, who reported that certain African tribes were destitute of religion, was corrected by the testimony of his son-in-law, Livingstone: "Tho existence of Ood and of a future life is everywhere recognized in Africa." Where men are most nearly destitute of any formulated knowlcdgo of God, the conditions for the awakening of the idea are most nearly absent. An apple-tree may be so conditioned that it never bears apples. "We do not judge of the oak by the stunted, flowerless specimens on the edge of the Arctic circle." On an original monotheism, see Dlcstel, in Jahrbuch ftlr deutsche Theol., I860, and vol. 5: 669; Max Mttller, Chips, 1: 337; Rawllnson, in Present Day Tracts, no. 11; Legge, Religions of China, 8-11. Per amtra. Bee Asmus, Indogerm. Relig., 2: 1-8, and synopsis, in Bib. Sac., Jan., 1877: 167-172.

C. This conclusion is corroborated by the fact that those individuals, in heathen or in Christian lands, who profess themselves to be without any knowledge of a spiritual power or powers above them, do yet indirectly manifest the existence of such an idea in their minds and its positive influence over them.

Herbert Spencer himself affirms the existence of a "Power to which no limit in time or space is conceivable, of which all phenomena as presented in consciousness are manifestations.' The intuition of God, though formally excluded, is Implicitly contained in Spencer's system, in the shape of the "Irresistible belief" in Absolute Being, which distinguishes his position from that of Comte; see Dlman, Theistlc Argument, 68-66. Hume to Ferguson, as they walked on a starry night: "Adam, there is a God I" Voltaire prayed in an Alpine thunderstorm. Shelley, self-styled "Atheist," loved to think of a "fine intellectual spirit pervading the universe." Kenan trusts in goodness, design, ends.

D. This agreement among individuals and nations so widely separated in time and place can be most satisfactorily explained by supposing that it has its ground, not in accidental circumstances, but in the nature of man as man. The diverse and imperfectly developed ideas of the supreme Being which prevail among men are best accounted for as misinterpretations and perversions of an intuitive conviction common to all.

On evidence of a universal recognition of a superior power, see Flint, Anti-thclstlc Theories, 250-289, 522-533; Benouf, Hibbert Lectures for 1879: 100; Bib. Sac., Jan., 188*: 132-157; Peschcl, Races of Men, 261; Ulrici, Leib und Seele, 688, and Gott und die Natur, 658-670, 758; Tylor, Primitive Culture, 1: 377,381, 418; Alexander, Evidences of Christianity, 22; Calderwood, Philosophy of the Infinite, 512; Liddon, Elements of Religion, 50; Methodist Quar. Rev., Jan., 1875: 1; J. F. Clarke, Ten G reat Religions, 2: 17-21.

2. That the knowledge of God's existence answers the second criterion of necessity, will be seen by considering:

A. That men, under circumstances fitted to call forth this knowledge, cannot avoid recognizing the existence of God. In contemplating finite existence, there is inevitably suggested the idea of an infinite Being as its correlative. Upon occasion of the mind's perceiving its own finiteness, dependence, responsibility, it immediately and necessarily perceives the existence of an infinite and unconditioned Being upon whom it is dependent and to whom it is responsible.

We could not recognize the finite as finite, except by comparing it with an already existing standard—the Infinite. Mansel, Limits of Religious Thought, lect. 3—" We are compelled by the constitution of our minds to believe in the existence of an Absolute and Infinite Being—a belief which appears forced upon us as the complement of our consciousness of the relative and finite." Fisher, Journ. Chr. Phllos., Jan., 1883: 113— "Ego and non-ego, each being conditioned by the other, presuppose unconditioned being on which both are dependent. Unconditioned being is the silent presupposition of all our knowing." Calderwood, Philos. of Infinite, 46, and Moral Phllos., 77; Hopkins, Outline Study of Man, 283-285.

B. That men, in virtue of their humanity, have a capacity for religion. This recognized capacity for religion is proof that the idea of Ood is a necessary one. If the mind upon proper occasion did not evolve this idea, there would be nothing in man to which religion could appeal.

"It is the suggestion of the Infinite that makes the line of the far horizon, seen over land or sea, so much more impressive than the beauties of any limited landscape." In danger men instinctively cry to God for help, and in the commands and reproaches of the moral nature the son! recognizes a Lawgiver and Judge, whose voice conscience merely echoes. O. P. GitTord: "As milk from which under proper conditions cream does not rise, is not milk, so the man who upon proper occasion shows no knowledge of God, is not man, but brute."

C. That he -who denies God's existence must tacitly assume that existence in his very argument, by employing logical processes whose validity rests upon the fact of God's existence. The full proof of this belongs under the next head.

On the whole section, seo A. M. Fairbairn on Origin and Development of Idea of God, in Studies in Philos. of Kelig. and History; Martineau, Religion and Materialism, 45; Bp. Temple, Hampton Lect., 1884: 37-85.

3. That the knowledge of God's existence answers the third criterion of logical independence and priority, may be shown as follows:

A. It is presupposed in all other knowledge as its logical condition and foundation. The validity of the simplest mental acts, such as sense-perception, self-consciousness, and memory, depends upon the assumption that a God exists who has so constituted our minds that they give us knowledge of things as they are.

B. The more complex processes of the mind, such as induction and deduction, can be relied on only by presupposing a thinking Deity who has made the various parts of the universe to correspond to each other and to the investigating faculties of man.

C. Our primitive belief in final cause, or, in other words, our conviction that all things have their ends, that design pervades the universe, involves a belief in God's existence. In assuming that the universe is a rational whole, a system of thought-relations, we assume the existence of an absolute Thinker, of whose thought the universe is an expression.

Peabody, Christianity the Religion of Nature, 23—" Induction is syllogism, with the immutable attributes of God for a constant term." Porter, Hum. Intellect, 492 -" Induction rests upon the assumption, as it demands for its ground, that a personal or thinking Deity exists " ; 658—" It has no meaning or validity unless we assume that the universe is constituted in such a way as to presuppose an absolute and unconditioned originator of its forces and laws "; 682—" We analyze the several processes of knowledge into their underlying assumptions, and we find that the assumption which underlies them all is that of a self-existent Intelligence who not only can be known bv num. but must be known by man in order that man may know anything besides:" see also pages 4*6, 50s, 509, 518. 519, 585, 618. Harris, Philos. Basis of Theism, 81—" The processes of reflective thought imply that the universe is grounded In, and is the manifestation of, reason"; 560— "The existence of a personal God is a necessary datum of scientific knowledge." So also. Fisher, Essays on Superuat. Origin of Christianity, 5(M, and in Journ. Christ. Philos., Jan., 1883: 129,130.

To repeat these three points in another form—the intuition of an Absolute Beason is (a) the necessary presupposition of all other knowledge, Ro that we cannot know anything else to exist except by assuming first of all that God exists; (b) the necessary basis of all logical thought, so that we cannot put confidence in any one of our reasoning processes except by taking for granted that a thinking Deity has constructed our minds with reference to the universe and to truth; and (c) the necessary implication of our primitive belief in design, so that we can assume all things to exist for a purpose, only by making the prior assumption that a purposing God exists—can regurd the universe as a thought, only by postulating the existence of an absolute Thinker. We cannot prove that God is, but we can show that, in order to the existence of any knowledge, thought, reason, in man, man must assume that God is.

Bowne, Metaphysics, 472—" Our objective knowledge of the flnit<> must rest upon an ethical trust in the infinite "; 480—"Theism is the absolute postulate of all knowledge, science anil philosophy"; "God is the most certain fact of objective knowledge." Ladd, Bib. Sac, Oct., 1877: 611-016—" Cogtto, cryu Deux at. We are obliged to postulate a not-ourselves which makes for rationality, as well us for righteousness." W. T. Harris: "Even natural science is impossible, where philosophy has not yet taught that reason mnde the world, and that nature is a revelation of the rational." Wbately, Logii', 270; New Englander, Oct., 1871, art. on Grounds of Confidence in Inductive Reasoning; Bib. Sac, 7: 415-425; Dorner, Glaubenslchre, 1: 197; Trendelenburg, Logisehe Untersuchungen, cb. 'Zweck': Ulrici, Gott und die Natur, 540-620; Lachelier, Du Fondeinent de l'lnduction, 78. Per contra, see Janet, Final Causes, 174, note, and 457404, who holds final cause to be, not an intuition, but the result of applying the principle of causality to cases which mechanical laws alone will not explain.

III. Other Supposed Sources Op Our Idea Op God's Existence.

Our proof that the idea of God's existence is a rational intuition will not be complete, until we show that attempts to account in other ways for the origin of the idea are insufficient, and require as their presupposition the very intuition which they would supplant or reduce to a secondary place. We claim that it cannot be derived from any other source than an original cognitive power of the mind.

1. Not from external revelation,—whether communicated (a) through the Scriptures, or (6) through tradition; for, unless man had from another source a previous knowledge of the existence of a God from whom such a revelation might come, the revelation itself could have no authority for him.

(<t) See Gillespie, Necessary Existence of God, 10; Ebrard, Dogmatik, 1: 117: H. B. Smith, Faith and Philosophy, 18—" A revelation takes for granted that he to whom it is made has some knowledge of God, though it may enlarge and purify that knowledge." We cannot prove God from the authority of the Scriptures, and then also prove the Scriptures from the authority of God. The very idea of Scripture as a revelation presupposes belief in a God who can make it. Newman Smyth, in New Euglander, 1878: 355—We cannot derive from a sun-dial our knowledge of the existence of a sun. The sun-dial presupposes the sun, and cannot be understood without previous knowledge of the sun. Wuttke, Christian Ethics, 2: 103—"The voice of the divine ego does not first come to the consciousness of the individual ego from without; rather does every external revelation presuppose already this Inner one; there must echo out from within man something kindred to the outer revelation, in order to its being recognized and accepted as divine."

(10 Nor does our idea of God come primarily from tradition, for "tradition can perpetuate only what has already been originated" (Putton). If the knowledge thus handed down is the knowledge of a primitive revelation, then the argument just stated applies—that very revelation presupposed in those who first received it, and presupposes in those to whom it is handed down, some knowledge of a Being from whom such a revelation might come. If the knowledge thus handed down Is simply knowledge of the results of the reasonings of the race, then the knowledge of God comes originally from reasoning—an explanation which we consider further on. On the traditlve theory of religion, see Flint, Theism, 23, 338; Cocker, Christianity and Greek Philosophy, 86-96; Fairbairn. Studies In Philos. of Itelig. and Hist., 14, 15; Bowen. Metaph. and Ethics, 453, and in Bib. Sac, Oct., 1876; Pfleiderer, Religionsphilos., 312-322.

2. Not from experience,—whether this mean (a) the sense-perception and reflection of the individual (Locke), (6) the accumulated results of the sensations and associations of past generations of the race (Herbert Spencer), or (c) the actual contact of our sensitive nature with God, the supersensible reality, through the religious feeling (Newman Smyth).

The first form of this theory is inconsistent with the fact that the idea of God is not the idea of a sensible or material object, nor a combination of such ideas. Since the spiritual and infinite are direct opposites of the material and finite, no experience of the latter can account for our idea of the former.

With Locke (Essay on Hum. Understanding, 2: 1:4), experience is the passive reception of ideas by sensation or by reflection. Locke's tabula ntm theory mistakes the occasion of our primitive ideas for their cause. To his statement: "Nihil est in intellectu nisi quod ante fuerit in sensu," Leibnitz replied: "Nisi intellectus ipse." . . . . Consciousness is sometimes called the source of our knowledge of God. But consciousness, as simply an accompanying knowledge of ourselves and our states, is not properly the source of any other knowledge. The German (Jijttr.xticwiijwtsein = not 'consciousness of God,' but 'knowledge of God'; BeicuMfwin here = not a 'con-knowing,' but a 'be-knowing'; see Porter, Human Intellect, 80; Cousin, True, Beautiful and Good, 48,48.

The second form of the theory is open to the objection that the very first experience of the first man, equally with man's latest experience, presupposes this intuition, as well as the other intuitions, and therefore cannot be the cause of it. Moreover, even though this theory of its origin were correct, it would still be impossible to think of the object of the intuition as not existing, and the intuition would still represent to us the highest measure of certitude at present attainable by man. If the evolution of ideas is toward truth instead of falsehood, it is the part of wisdom to act upon the hypothesis that our primitive belief is veracious.

See Bowne, Examination of Spencer, 163,164—"Are we to seek truth in the minds of pre-human apes, or In the blind stirrings of some primitive pulp? In that case we can Indeed put away all our science, but we must put away the great doctrine of evolution along with it. The experience-philosophy cannot escape this alternative: cither the positive deliverances of our mature consciousness must be accepted as they stand, or all truth must be declared impossible." See also Harris, Philos. Basis Theism, 137-142.

The third form of the theory seems to make God a sensuous object, to reverse the proper order of knowing and feeling, to ignore the fact that in all feeling there is at least some knowledge of an object, and to forget that the validity of this very feeling can be maintained only by previously assuming the existence of a rational Deity.

Newman Smyth tells us that feeling comes first; the idea is secondary. Intuitive ideas are not denied, but they are declared to be direct reflections, in thought, of the feelings. They are the mind's immediate perception of what it feels to exist. Direct knowledge of God by intuition is considered to be idealistic; reaching God by inference is regarded as rationalistic, in its tendency. See Smyth, The Religious Feeling; reviewed by Harris, in New Englandcr, Jan., 1878; reply by Smyth, in New Englander May, 1878.

3. Not from reasoning,—because

(a) The actual rise of this knowledge in the great majority of minds is not the result of any conscious process of reasoning. On the other hand, upon occurrence of the proper conditions, it flashes upon the soul with the quickness and force of an immediate revelation.

(6) The strength of men's faith in God's existence is not proportioned to the strength of the reasoning faculty. On the other hand, men of greatest logical power are often inveterate sceptics, while men of unwavering faith are found among those who cannot even understand the arguments for God's existence.

(c) There is more in this knowledge than reasoning could ever have furnished. Men do not limit their belief in God to the just conclusions of argument. The arguments for the divine existence, valuable as they are for purposes to be shown hereafter, are not sufficient by themselves to warrant our conviction that there exists an infinite and absolute Being. It will appear upon examination that the a priori argument is capable of proving only an abstract and ideal proposition, but can never conduct us to the existence of a real Being. It will appear that the a posteriori arguments, from merely finite existence, can never demonstrate the existence of the infinite. In the words of Sir Wm. Hamilton (Discussions, 23)—" A demonstration of the absolute from the relative is logically absurd, as in such a syllogism we must collect in the conclusion what is not distributed in the premises "—in short, from finite premises we cannot draw an infinite conclusion.

Whatcly, Logic, 290-293; Jcvons, Lessons in Logic, 81; Thompson, Outline Laws of Thought, sections 82-92; Caldcrwood, Philos. of Infinite, 60-69, and Moral Philosophy, 238; Turnbull, in Bnp. Quarterly, July, 1872: 271; Van Oostcrzce, Dogmatics, 239; Dove, Logic of Christian Faith, 21. Sir Wm. Hamilton: "Departing from the particular, we admit that we cannot, in our highest generalizations, rise above the finite."

(d) Neither do men arrive at the knowledge of God's existence by inference; for inference is condensed syllogism, and, as a form of reasoning, is equally open to the objection just mentioned. We have seen, moreover, that all logical processes are based upon the assumption of God's existence. Evidently that which is presupposed in oil reasoning cannot itself be proved by reasoning.

By inference, we of course mean mediate inference, for in immediate inference d:. (/. "All good rulers are just; therefore no unjust rulers are good ") there is no reasoning, and no progress in thought. Mediate inference is reasoning—is condensed syllogism ; and what is so condensed may be expanded into regular logical form. Deductive inference: 4t A negro is a fellow-creature; therefore he who strikes a negro strikes a fellowcreature." Inductive inference: "The nrst finger is before the second; therefore it is before the third." On inference, sec Martineau, Essa>'6, 1: 105-108; Porter, Human Intellect, 444-448; Jevons, Principles of Science, 1: 14,136-139, 168, 282.

Flint, in his Theism, 77, and Herbert, in his Mod. Realism Examined, would reach the knowledge of God's existence by inference. The latter says God is not demonstrable, but his existence is inferred, like the existence of our fellow men. But we reply that in this last case we infer only the Unite from the finite, while the difficulty in the case of God is in inferring the infinite from the finite. This very process of reasoning, moreover, presupposes the existence of God as the absolute Reason, in the way already indicated.

Substantially the same error is committed by H. B. Smith, Introd. to dir. Theol., 84-133, and by Diman, Theistic Argument, 316, 364, both of whom grant an intuitive element, but use it only to eke out the insufficiency of reasoning. They consider that the intuition gives us only an abstract idea, which contains in itself no voucher for the existence of an actual being corresponding to the idea, and that we reach real being only by inference from the facts of our own spiritual natures and of the outward world. But we reply, in the words of McCosh, that "the intuitions are primarily directed to individual objects." We know, not the infinite in the abstract, but infinite space and time, and the infinite God. See McCosh, Intuitions, 26, l'.IN, who, however, holds the view here combated.

IV. Contents Of This Intuition.

1. In this fundamental knowledge that God is, it is necessarily implied that to some extent men know intuitively what God is, namely, (a) a Reason in which their mental processes are grounded; (6) a Power above them upon which they are dependent; (c) a Perfection which imposes law upon their moral natures; (d) a Personality which they may recognize in prayer and worship.

In maintaining that we have a rational intuition of God, we by no means imply that a presentative intuition of God is impossible. Such a presentative intuition was perhaps characteristic of unfallen man; it does belong at times to the Christian; it will be the blessing of heaven (Mat. 5: 8— "the pure in heart . . . shall see God;" Rev. 22: 4—"they shall see his face "). Men's experiences of face-to-face apprehension of God, in danger and guilt, give some reason to believe that a presentative knowledge of God is the normal condition of humanity. But as this presentative intuition of God is not in our present state universal, we here claim only that all men have a rational intuition of God.

It is to be remembered, however, that the loss of love to God has greatly obscured even this rational intuition, so that the revelation of nature and the Scriptures is needed to awaken, confirm, and enlarge it, and the special work of the Spirit of Christ to make it the knowledge of friendship and communion. Thus, from knowing about God, we come to know God (John 17: 3— "This is life eternal, that they should know thee;" 2 Tim. 1: 12— "I know him whom I have believed ").

Harris, Philosophical Basis of Theism, 208—" By rational intuition man knows that absolute Being ci Ms; his knowledge of what it is, is progressive with his progressive knowledge of man and of nature." Hutton, Essays: "A haunting- presence besets man behind and before. He cannot evade It. It gives new meanings to his thoughts, new terror to his sins. It becomes intolerable. He Is moved to set up some idol, carved out of his own nature, that will take its place—a non-moral God who will not disturb his dream of rest. It Is a righteous Life and Will, and not the mere iilta of righteousness that stirs men so." Porter, Hum. Int., 661—"The Absolute is a thinking Agent." The intuition does not grow in certainty; what grows is the mind's quickness in applying it and power of expressing it. The Intuition Is not complex; what is complex is the Being intuitively cognized. See Calderwood, Moral Philosophy, 233; Lowndes, PhUos. of Primary Beliefs, 108-112; Luthardt, Fund. Truths, 157: Latent faculty of speech called forth by speech of others; choked-up well flows again when debris is cleared away. Bowen, in Bib. Sac, 33: 740-754; Bowne, Theism, 79.

2. The Scriptures, therefore, do not attempt to prove the existence of God, but, on the other hand, both assume and declare that the knowledge that God is, is universal (Rom. 1: 19-21, 28, 32; 2: 15). God has inlaid the evidence of this fundamental truth in the very nature of man, so that nowhere is he without a witness. The preacher may confidently follow the example of Scripture by assuming it. But he must also explicitly declare it, as the Scripture does. "For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen" {Ka-ftoparai—spiritually viewed); the organ given for this purpose is the vovs (voobficva) • but then—and this forms the transition to our next division of the subject—they are "perceived through the things that are made" (roic xott/fiaow, Rom. 1: 20).

On Rom. 1:19-31, see Weiss, Bib. Theol. des N. T., 251, note; also Commentaries of Meyer