Revelation And Inspiration -- By: E. P. Barrows

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 025:98 (Apr 1868)
Article: Revelation And Inspiration
Author: E. P. Barrows

Revelation And Inspiration

Rev. E. P. Barrows

No. II.

Modern Assumptions Against The Supernatural

Between the denial of the supernatural in the sphere of nature and of revelation in the sphere of mind there is a close connection. When a writer maintains an ominous silence in respect to the active presence of a personal God in nature, and proceeds to explain the present order of the universe in all its parts by an inward principle of development inherent in nature herself, and which produces all its results in and of itself, without any superadded energy from without, anywhere or at any crisis in the progress of this development, we infer with much confidence that the scriptural doctrine of divine revelation — the supernatural manifestation of himself to men by God — finds no place in his system of the universe. If he stands upon the platform of impersonal pantheism, then, as was shown in the preceding Article, he must deny, from logical necessity, every form of the supernatural, revelation included. But there is a class of philosophers who, while they admit the being of a personal God, or at least do not deny his existence, are yet strongly inclined to reduce his supernatural action in nature, over and above the operation of her inherent laws, to a minimum. Admitting, from the necessity of the case, a Creator of primordial matter, they seem to think that matter possessed, somehow, from the beginning the capacity of developing itself into the present orderly system of the universe — of producing out of dead matter life, vegetable and animal; then of diversifying life into the magnificent orders which we see around us, with the addition, as a crowning develop-

ment, of intelligent mind; so that the Almighty Maker has nothing left him to do except to stand by in inactivity, and contemplate the onward course of his creation. Even upon this theory the marks of intelligence with which the world is filled must be referred to God. Whatever exists now in a visibly developed form must have been put into creation at the beginning in a germinal and undeveloped way. Design is a present reality, and it cannot be eliminated from the universe by crowding it back to the beginning of primordial matter. There is no back door in the abyss of past eternity through which it can be dumped into nonentity. It is not necessary that we should be able to decide when the present order of things began, or how, that is, in what particular way it has been brought to its present state. Independently of these questions, we certainly know that it is the work of a personal God. . Were a mass of iron to develop itself before the eyes of men into a steam-engine without the help of mortal hands, we might no...

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