The Relation Of The Miracle To Nature -- By: William Brenton Greene

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 063:251 (Jul 1906)
Article: The Relation Of The Miracle To Nature
Author: William Brenton Greene


The Relation Of The Miracle To Nature

Professor William Brenton Greene

This is not a question as to the reality of the Supernatural. The reality of the Supernatural is involved in the very conception of the natural. So long as nature is regarded as beginning, it does and must presuppose an eternal, and therefore supernatural, cause; so long as nature is considered as mutable, it does and must imply an immutable, and consequently supernatural, ground: and that nature must be viewed both as beginning and as mutable, such is the latest dictum of all science and of all philosophy worthy of the name. Thus, Spencer says: “The axiomatic truths of physical science unavoidably postulate Absolute Being as their common basis”;1 and Fichte writes: “We must end at last by resting all existence which demands an extrinsic foundation upon Being the fountain of whose life is within himself; by allying the fugitive phenomena which color the stream of time with ever-changing hues to an eternal and unchanging essence”; and Lindsay concludes: “We may surely say that it has become more clearly manifest that what thought as to the Primal Reality known as God testifies to is, above all else, the fact that such Inscrutable Reality, or the Unknowable, does undoubtedly exist.”2 In a word, the reality of the Supernatural is the necessity of consistent thought.

Nor does the question under consideration refer to the mani-

festation of the Supernatural. If the Supernatural be, as we have just seen, both the cause and the ground of the natural, then he must have manifested himself, and he must still manifest himself, in the natural. A cause cannot but express itself more or less in its effect. Even if an artisan strive to have his workmanship misrepresent him, it will yet indicate, it cannot but indicate, his skill in misrepresentation. Nor will it be otherwise, if the Supreme Cause be conceived as acting vitally rather than mechanically. The plant must be the embodiment, and so the revelation, of its life. It is the same, if the Supernatural be regarded as the ground of the natural. The skyscraper may represent only most partially the solidity of the rock on which it rests, but it must disclose solidity equal to the support of its own vast mass. Hence, while the Scriptures speak of God as essentially unknowable, they, nevertheless, declare that “the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity.”3 Whatever theory of the universe, theref...

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