Bad Philosophy Going To Seed -- By: Anonymous
BSac 52:207 (April 1895) p. 559
Bad Philosophy Going To Seed
G. Frederick Wright
Of late, there has been a marked tendency among Christian apologists to defend miracles, and supernatural intervention generally, by abolishing the doctrine of second causes and resolving everything into the direct acts of God. Calling this the theory of divine immanence does not, however, save it from the ultimate fruitage of pantheism, which, by doing away with the realistic view of nature, does away at the same time with the idea of the supernatural, and with the freedom of the human will, upon which are based the doctrines of sin and redemption through the truth. It is not difficult to see, that, in thus breaking down the barriers between the natural and the supernatural and destroying our belief in the bestowment by the Creator of a limited amount of independence upon the forces of nature, we are cutting from under us the ability to cherish with confidence any reasonable beliefs about anything.
In his anxiety to discredit the doctrine of the derivative origin of species, advocated by Darwin and his followers, a prominent philosophical writer maintained, not long ago, that, of course, each species was a separate creation, because each individual is such, being, with everything else, a direct product of the ever-present activity of the Creator. This denial of the reality of secondary causes is probably, in the minds of the writers referred to, largely a matter of confusion of words rather than of clear thought; but, for all that, it may be equally deleterious when the symbols are carried out in the substitutions of a long line of reasoning.
We do not suppose that the advocates of the doctrine of divine immanence mean to deny to man that amount of independence which makes him responsible for his character, or that they disbelieve in the persistence of force as the idea is involved in the ordinary reasoning of daily life; but they seem to deceive themselves in the use of inconvenient and misleading symbols of thought. In ordinary reasoning, when we refer to a chemical combination we mean that a certain quality and degree of force has been set up by the Creator in a position of limited independence, in a field from which the Creator has withdrawn counteracting agencies or acts of his will, and so, is left as a thing which can be
BSac 52:207 (April 1895) p. 560
treated by itself. As it came into existence by hat of the divine will, it can be destroyed in the same manner.
The extreme advocates of divine immanence attempt to express the same thought by resolving all the persistent phenomena of nature into the direct repetition of divine acts of a similar sort; thus securing a uniformity through the settled purpose of the Creator to ...
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